Category Archives: Writing & Self Publishing

How to Build Better Books – Awesome Site!

Tired of hunting for information?

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If you want to find out how to do just about anything pertaining to writing, publishing and marketing books, this is one of the most comprehensive websites I have found yet.  It is run by Joel Friedlander, and there are links to information you may not even have thought you would need.  I have found it to be incredibly helpful in so many areas and thought I would pass it along.  Definitely check it out.  You’ll be glad you did!

Here is the link -

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/

Who is Warren Murphy?

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Warren Murphy has written movies and books with sales of 50 million copies. He has won a dozen national awards including two Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America.

“He has served as a mentor and teacher to a whole generation of crime and thriller writers.”

For all you mystery writers out there, check out his Online Writing Class where you can learn how to go about writing a mystery novel. He shares his expertise in a series of lessons. Here’s the link -

http://warrenmurphy.com/writing-class/

Social Media – A Different Approach

Social Media Marketing

Some months ago, I came across a post written by Tom Conrad, from The Indie Pedant called “Selling an ebook – is it a little like begging on the street?” His satirical point of view on how we as self-published authors are using social media as our “cardboard plea” struck me as funny, but also made me wonder about my approach to marketing.

Is my method one that will improve sales and stats, but not leave me looking like the character “Puss In Boots”…you know, those big sad eyes, luring you in…”pa pa pa please buy my book!” Ha!

With the advent of indie authors/self publishing, we have found that we alone are our sole promoters. If we don’t get out there and plaster the many social media sites with our name and product, we are just as unknown and unheard of as ever! And of course there’s the “etiquette” one must follow to avoid being blacklisted as a spammer of sorts. Everyone’s looking for the next hook or gimmick to stand out above the rest. It all does begin to seem like one massive sales pitch!

In essence it is, but for the author it begins merely as a love of writing and the hope that someone else out there will enjoy reading what you have to offer. While many of us still work a full time job and dream of the day when we can give our two weeks notice, oh hell, our 2 minutes notice and gallivant off on our ticket to fame…we humbly climb back down to reality and trudge on. Our approach may mirror at times the bum on the streets begging for change, but I think I speak for everyone…the truth is, we all know deep down that we’re the next superstars! We just have to convince everyone else!

The strategy I have adopted is certainly not the most original, but it is one I believe in most! So what is it, you ask? To help others. To quote Nick Thacker of LiveHacked.com, “You’re in charge of your own career, and you know that helping people is a major reason why successful writers, creators, and entrepreneurs are successful.” There are tons of ways to help others online:

  • Tweeting someone’s link or post
  • Commenting on a great post
  • Reviewing someone’s book
  • Participating in an online forum
  • Writing an awesome guest post
  • Sending an email

Nick’s post called “Why You Should Start Doing My Work For Me”, states that “If you think of these tasks as doing someone else’s work for them, you’ll be making a great step toward building a reputation as someone who helps others first.” That’s not to say that you don’t promote yourself at all…but instead of a post touting your novels and why people should buy them, include a link back to your website or blog instead. The content within your post will do the promoting for you and you’d be surprised how many people will actually click through! As far as posts on your own blog…put more emphasis on posts that will help and/or entertain your reader in some way. These will not only bring quality content to your blog, but will consistently draw readers back to your blog.

I don’t claim to be an expert, but I will continue to share what I have learned and I hope that it will help in some way! :)

Be sure to visit LiveHacked.com – excellent site for writers and bloggers!

Nick Thacker also has an excellent ebook available on Amazon – “Building A Blog For Readers”…a manifesto that will help you ask the right questions!

What Was My Inspiration For Becoming a Writer?

Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is upon us and we’re all breathing a big sigh of relief! As far as we’re concerned (we being authors) that doesn’t really mean much other than the possibility of sleeping in (if the kids comply, of course) and at least the option of staying in your pj’s all day long if you want to! Otherwise, it’s back to work at the computer typing just as fast as our fingers will allow in hopes of reaching the day’s writing goal. I know I’ll be doing just that! Guilty as charged! Whether you have an amazing ten page day, you write an inspired blog post or even just manage to jot down an idea, keep in mind what inspired you to become a writer in the first place…don’t allow yourself to become discouraged! Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal! I wish you all a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

I wrote a guest post about my inspiration for becoming a writer, and it is featured on “Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf”. You can click on the image below or the link http://www.moonlightgleam.com/2012/06/author-guest-post-with-solitaire-parke.html to read the post.

Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf

*** Fellow Indie Authors and friends…what was your inspiration for becoming a writer? ***

I’m learning how to stand on a bowling ball!

In my new novel, “The Emerald Dragon”, one of the baby Aguiva Warbirds felt it necessary to learn how to stand on a bowling ball. In the end, it helped his balance, strengthened his legs and made him incredibly more observant. In learning how to be a good Indie Author, I discovered the similarities between authorship and a baby Aguiva Warbird.

In other words, we need a balanced approach, a higher level of observancy of peoples’ needs and a new level of strength to get up every day to be an author.  Anyone who’s tried it knows exactly what I mean.  So, metaphorically speaking, I decided I needed to learn how to stand on a bowling ball.

So where is this crazy metaphor going, you ask???

I recently read a blog post written by Merry Farmer, a guest writer on the Novel Publicity blog, in which she discussed the importance of finding what she called a “tribe” – a group of like-minded individuals with similar goals. She states that this is important, especially for the Indie Author, because “There is not only safety in numbers, there is caring, support, and networking.” An author has a far better chance at making it in this “Indie Revolution” with encouragement from others on our journey to climb our way from the unknown to our ultimate success as a writer. Merry writes, “In essence, we have banded together in this vast sea of independent authors to form a tribe.” The founder of Novel Publicity, Emlyn Chand, also describes it as “karma”; you give what you get. In helping one another, we build “our writerly karma”.

With all of this in mind, I have been exploring the many avenues for building relationships with fellow Indie Authors and exploring what it is that we can do to reach our ultimate goal…our book/s in the hands of the Reader.

Here are some of the channels I have found to be of great help! (Listed in no particular order)

  • Goodreads Groups  such as:
    • Goodreads Authors/Readers – (over 5,000 members) Contains an amazing array of discussion groups, including an author list, a folder index of the many genres where you can specifically mention your books with links, a list of giveaways, author bloggers, reviewers and supporters…and the list goes on!
    • Novel Publicity’s Author Karma – (over 200 members) A great place to meet with other authors for “Author Blog Swaps” and where you can share your book trailers and get friendly feedback!

There are so many wonderful groups on Goodreads, look through them and find what fits for you!

  • Novel Publicity & Co.– This website is a fantastic source of information! Emlyn Chand has really outdone herself! The blog features such categories as: Writing Advice, Publishing Advice and Social Media Advice. There’s tons of information for bloggers and those interested in blogging. Novel Publicity also offers their services in Marketing, Editing and Design for all budgets! One of my favorite features is the “Karmic Initiative”!!
    • Karma – Novel Publicity’s free initiatives help to build our social media family! Be sure to visit their website to learn about their Karmic Fan Chains on Goodreads, Karmic Liking Chain on Facebook and their Retweet Chain on Twitter!
  • My Pathway to Books: Indie Revolution – this is a blog devoted only to Indie/Self Published Authors! The creator, Tess, has started her own initiative – “Indie Revolution“ and is a weekly feature on Thursdays that will spotlight a different author each week with Giveaways, Guest Posts, Interviews, Excerpts, etc. She has an awesome “Indie Revolution” badge you can add to your website, blog, facebook, etc. Be sure to check out her blog and submit the application provided on her site!
  • For those of us that write poetry, I found a blog called “Novelista” (created by IE Castellano, a Speculative Fiction author), that loves to feature poetry submissions every Wednesday!  The Face of Love from my book “Tapestry” will be featured on the blog this Wednesday, May 2nd!

The list could go on, but I’ll save that for part two! I encourage you to go check out these sites and start forming your “tribe”! That my friends is my introduction to…learning how to stand on a bowling ball!

One last thing…a lot of people have one tucked away in a closet somewhere. Go on, pull the bowling ball out…you know you want to. Give it a whirl! It’s harder than it looks! :-)

What’s that clicking sound??

I was asked recently about my writing process…hmmm. First of all, I use an outline…but I’m not married to it. I find that if the outline is loose enough it stimulates the writing flow. Even though I get up every morning with the idea of getting to work, being methodical; the fact of the matter is most of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night in the form of dreams. The characters in ALL of my books are modeled after people I know. That way it’s easier for me to hear conversations that would involve them. For instance, the character Stephen Anthony from my novel “Vengeance of the Wolf” was modeled, in part, after my father. He’s intelligent, brash, aggressive, impulsive and prone to say whatever is on his mind at the time. He is the perfect characterization of the private detective. So…if I wake up at 2am with an intense idea of a conversation between characters, I’ll make a bee-line for the computer before the idea simply fades away. It was during one of those nights that I kept hearing a clicking sound. I don’t know how long it took me to realize what I was doing, but eventually it dawned on me that my forehead was on the keyboard. I had typed one letter for several pages! As a result I have developed my own curriculum; the number of hours changes daily. I do however try to keep my face off the keyboard!

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve also been known to take long sojourns around my back yard; pretending to be both characters in any given dialogue. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m nuts! It does however make them seem more realistic. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand at the end of a rainbow in Ireland? Or watching the earth light from the moon? Or at the very least, have you ever seen a martian sunset? The answers to these are probably no, because in most cases there is probably no way for you to know…But, it occurred to me to ask the characters that I’ve created; and I’ll be a son-of-a-gun, they DID!

In conclusion, let it be it known that I also work on more than one book at the same time. However I recognize that this is potentially a recipe for disaster. Take two stories, add fatigue and total darkness; paragraphs have actually made it from book one to book two! I’m glad it doesn’t happen very often because whatever it is that flows is where my computer goes.

Oh! One more thing…

Call me paranoid, but part of my routine everyday involves saving the document I am working on in two completely different folders on two completely different hard drives. This ensures that should one of my hard drives crash, I have a backup. This actually happened to me while writing my very first book. I come by my paranoia honestly.  :-)

Can’t see the forest through all the DARN trees!

Somewhere in the writing process I realized I wasn’t capable of doing it all. Shocker I know! I wrote the book…I’m finished right? I don’t need to edit; who needs it proofread, didn’t I just do that?! If I talk with perfect diction, doesn’t it stand to reason that I would type that way as well? REALITY CHECK!! With so many thoughts, character traits, and dialogue all floating through my head at the same time…not likely! In my case, that averages out to about one mistake every six words! Then one day the book is finished and I’m ready to sprint for the finish line! Time to upload and experience one million downloads every thirty minutes!! Yeah I know…I’m delusional! But it’s a nice thought, right? The reality is the actual writing of the book turns out to be the smallest part of the total process (for me the most fun).

I needed to take my hands out of the cookie jar, stop micro-managing and recruit some help. This was also the point where as a graphic artist I had to ask myself, should I go with my own thoughts where the book cover is concerned or is it time to go for new blood? I mean seriously?? How come I can’t see the forest? AHA! It’s because there are too many darn trees in the way!! So I relinquished control. I’m quite proud to say that my daughter just happens to be not only a premier graphic artist but also on my staff. (She will be implementing the first of her cover designs on my soon to be released action/sci-fi novel “Tinker Smith & the Conspiracy of OZ”.) The two editors that I now depend on daily rip and snort their way from page one to page last fixing me and making sure I don’t publicly humiliate myself. Now I know what you’re thinking…how does a new author afford all of this?! I call them family. When it’s time for the proofreading, I lean on my friends. This all accomplishes the same things that the big name writers enjoy every day. So far everyone humors me and I am indebted to them forever!

The point to my ramble is this; no author is an island, not even one with my first name. It takes oodles and oodles of SUPPORT and the invaluable information and advice given freely from other authors and experienced professionals. Many thanks to everyone!!

For tons of useful information, be sure to visit:

Joel Friedlander – The Book Designer and follow on Twitter @jfbookman

Joanna Penn – The Creative Penn and follow on Twitter @thecreativepenn

Molly Greene – Writer and follow on Twitter @mollygreene

Melissa Foster – Founder of World Literary Café and follow on Twitter @Melissa_Foster

World Literary Café – Where Readers & Authors Unite and follow on Twitter @WorldLitCafe

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