Sunday, May 26, 2013

Work(s) in Progress - 5/26/2013

For all of yous who be interested, here's what I've been working on lately.

Book Two of the 'Full of Whit' Series "Whit's Complicated." 

Book One dealt with Whit, our incompetent but with good intentions demon hunter moving to the Big City.
(possible cover for book one in the series)
In Book Two, Whit starts feeling acclimated to the Big City only to find political upheaval and personal trusts shattered in the second book in the series. I'm currently working on a bit where another demon hunter shows up and hopes to become Whit's mentor and help shape him into a better hunter.

No Rest (working title)

(This is a picture I drew for the character Dorian in "No Rest" but it probably is more like Lem now that I think about it.)
I featured this post apocalyptic tale of horror and hope back in 2011 and then the story went unfinished. After a 10 year old flash drive bit the dust, I decided to track down what was lost and what I could piece back together. This story was one of the things that needed to be pieced back together and I found myself invested in the project again and I've started working to rebuild it and finish it. 

In addition to working on these two stories I'm also in the process of preparing the first book in the "Full of Whit" series for publication, so keep an eye out for that in the near future. :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Using Facebook to Publicize Your Books

Since I've been delving into the world of social media as of late I figured I'd share my most recent online endeavor. Recently, I created a Facebook page for my co-author and I. This page will allow us to market our 'Full of Whit' series and potentially other works we publish.

(The cover image and header on our FB page.

We don't have a lot of traffic yet but I'm not too worried about it since we are in the process of polishing the first book and should have it ready to sell a few months from now. Getting the page up and running was important so that when the book is ready we will already have people waiting. It's also given us the opportunity to get some awesome feedback from future readers on both cover design and potential editors. Ultimately, I think there are a lot of interesting things a Facebook page can do for any author who is willing to take the time to set one up and maintain it.

The best place to start is to look at pages made by other authors and see how they built their page and what updates they make. Since there is two of us I decided our page needed both of our photos, but our faces are too big to fit in the tiny box given for personal photos so I made our cover image a picture of us. We also didn't have any good pictures of the two of us together so I had to cut and paste two different pictures and add an artsy effect so that it appeared seamless. In the smaller photo I posted a potential book cover for our first book in the series. Why I decided to do a joint author page was because a page for a book only works for that book (not easy to cross promote) and a page for a series alienates readers who enjoy your other works (also hard to cross promote when you start publishing other books or series). So an author's page seemed like the best option. Here we are able to promote our series and our own works.

Just like on Twitter where it's important to engage with others, Facebook requires a level of engagement because it is a "social" media. It's hard to engage others through a Facebook page but once you do you are reaching more individuals than you probably are through a blog or other media outlet. Every time a person shares your FB page, all of their friends/family will be exposed to it unlike your blog which is harder to share with everyone your readers know.

A final comment, keep it professional. Writing is fun but marketing/promoting your work is a job and to be successful you need to be professional. Maybe that's not the rule for everyone, but it's the rule for most people. Keep your photos clean, keep your content kind, and keep active online. :)

Do you have an author/book/series Facebook page? How has it worked out for you? Let us know in the comments! :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest Post: Author KR Mitchell On Self-Publishing Your Own Novel

With his first ebook published, KR. Mitchell tells us about his self-publishing

I didn’t think I would ever get a book published, and nine years ago without the rise of ebooks that would have been true. The book I had wanted to write was nontraditional and unique in a literary sense. I was more inspired by the fast-moving action and stylistic quirks of animation, movies and video games than any actual book. The result is a book that's dialogue focused and character driven with an emphasis on humor as well as action.
I'd like to explain to you all the process through which I self-published. Let me start by saying there is a wealth of additional information about self-publishing and if anyone wants to know more about it check out my Facebook page or Twitter feed for more advice.
First, I wrote the book. This was quite honestly the easy part. I was free to be as creative as I wished to be without regard to style or form. You don't have to worry about bad dialogue, cut it out later; no need for intensive research, google it later; and no need for editing—which bring us to point number two.
  I had to edit. I hated editing. I hated it more than I hate math and I loathe math. Punctuation, grammar, style and so on had to be carefully checked line by line. There was a lot of addition and subtraction, which coincidentally are the only things I know how to do with math. Dialogue had to be rewritten and scenes had to be switched. It was a heavy task and it took about a week but I eventually turned in a clean copy. I'd recommend pushing this work off on some editor if you can afford it. I currently eat canned beans for dinner so that should tell you my money situation. Pop-tarts are equivalent to French macaroons at the moment. I'll let you know how the macaroons taste as soon as the royalties start coming in.
The final step was publishing the book via Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and iBooks. The method to do so couldn’t be simpler as long as you take a deep breath, be composed and follow the instructions like a worker drone in an ant colony. When you’re writing the story be sure to set a half-inch first tab stop, use an auto generated table of contents, use page breaks when needed and use “Heading 1” paragraph style for the chapter titles. After you’ve finished the book convert it into an ePub file. Most programs should have an export or save as function to do this for you, but if you’re not sure if your writing program has this function; you can use this website to convert it for you. I recommend using an epub, because the format is universally accepted by all major ebook publishers. Yes you can set the pricing to whatever you want, but stick between the sweet spot of $2.99 and $9.99. You shouldn’t bother with ¢0.99 because you’re not only devaluing your work but every self-published ebook as well.
I lied, the final step is marketing, which is a subject I’m still learning about myself, so I can’t offer you any advice beside the obvious such as use social media and everything else to get the word of mouth started.
Don't look down on self-publishing. The era of "vanity publishing" is over. This is a time where vanity is the social norm. Vanity is the reason why we know who Mark Zuckerberg is and why we should hate him. Having a digital prescience won't hurt your chances at getting a deal with a traditional publisher. In fact, it could help if you can use any sales reports to prove to the gatekeepers who keep their bony claws on the printing press lever that there is a market for your book.
Some additional advice: have your bank information available. All ebook publishers will want to know where to send your well-deserved money. Keep your check or savings and bank routing numbers available as well your Social Security or Tax ID numbers on hand for tax purposes. Don’t be intimidated by the technology or the paperwork assets of self-publishing just be calm. Oh and one more thing, take the plunge and either hire a professional cover designer or buy a royalty free stock photo and edit it yourself. You don't have to use any fancy, finicky programs like Photoshop just use PowerPoint like I did by following this guy's advice.
I hope to see all of you aspiring writers alongside me on the Kindle store. There's no need to keep buying TV dinners with the ice crusted brownies and rubbery corn nimblest. Go forth and write books.

About Forces of Nature Series
The adventures of a young girl named Alison Moody and her friends, Ren Kiramitsu and Edwin Silversine, as they try to save their country and the world from corruption by secret forces with extremist intents. The Forces of Nature is seamlessly mixed with drama and action that keeps you laughing on the edge of your seat. The character development is fascinating along with the twists and turns associated with them. Find the FON Series on Facebook:

About KR. Mitchell
            KR. Mitchell is currently working on a Bachelors of Arts
 in Journalism at the University of Alabama. KR. Mitchell began with a love of reading and writing from a young age. Not until reaching college did KR start serious work on honing his skills in writing thanks to vigorous journalism courses. It is an adherence to AP Style and brevity that influences his writing style's focus on minimalist descriptions, short sentences and conciseness. It's not the standard, but it works for him. Find him on Facebook: 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fonts and Cover Design

Lately, I've been working on potential cover designs for the book I've co-written with my good friend Andrew. One thing that I think non-professionally made covers need to make them look a tiny bit more professional are some awesome fonts. In my exploration of fonts, my sister Amanda directed me to some awesome links. I loved what I found at the first one so much I haven't actually explored the other ones yet. The site offers free fonts for commercial use.

When you download a font you will often find a 'read-me' document where the creator of the font has a few words to say but other than their simple requests (i.e. let them know if/how you use the font) it seems to me that these fonts are truly free for commercial use. Which is important because the last thing you want is for your book to get popular and then get sued by a font maker or font website because you didn't have the rights to use their font in that capacity.

Here are a few of the fonts that really struck me as being awesome enough to be on the cover of a book. The story is an urban fantasy with vampires so I tried to find fonts that worked with that idea.

Haunting Attraction:

Riky Vampdator:

Zombie Holocaust: