Tag Archives: Facebook

Virtual unreality

midnight-new-years-champagneWhat are your New Years traditions? Normally my hubby and I do something a little fun to celebrate, but this year we were pretty low-key. I’ve been suffering from a flu-like virus, and I was finally fairly mobile, enough to go out to dinner at the local Mexican restaurant we like so much.

Then we spent New Year’s eve at an all-night party with friends from all over the world. I love the virtual reality of the internet universe. You’re never alone unless you log off Facebook.

canapes (1)My publisher, Myrddin Publishing threw a great virtual New Year’s party on Facebook where the authors and readers got to meet and have a rollicking time in the virtual universe. For a short time (until Sunday Jan 4th 2015) kindle downloads of Huw the Bard and Tales From The Dreamtime are on sale for .99 cents.

breakfastThe party is still going on today, with a virtual breakfast being served, and people popping in and out. I’ve had a lot of fun with that, despite being under the weather. And this morning on New Years Day, I actually feel good.

So what are my goals for this new year that looms fresh and untrammeled before us?

My goal is to create and implement a marketing plan for my books.  This is something I have attempted, but have always become side-tracked by life, and never got back to it. From what I’ve read on the internet this involves a combination of things:

1. During January I’m going to create a plan-of-action, and map out my strategy. Once I know the answers to the next two questions I will be able to develop a plan of attack.

2. I will identify my audience.  This is hard–I write for my own amazement, so I’m not sure what my audience is! But I will spend some  time figuring that out, and I will blog about the process.

2. I will figure out what makes my books different from all the other books out there, aside from their obvious, amazing wonderfulness. This is also difficult! I wrote these things while in a trance, apparently, as the minute someone asks me about them, my mind goes blank and I have no idea how they got here, or what they’re about. I will probably blog about that process too.

3. I will budget $$ for Google ads and Goodreads ads, and see how they perform. My Goodreads ad seems to get a lot of clicks, but I’m not sure it translates into sales. I haven’t done a Google ad yet.

Possibilites copyI’m pretty lousy at blatant self-promotion. But I intend to make this a good year for honing my marketing skills in such a way that I can sell a few books without annoying my friends!

It’s a brand new beginning, with endless possibilities. In completing and publishing my books, I’ve already achieved dreams I never thought possible, and now a new year lies before me. How wonderful to know that anything can happen!

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Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, writer, writing

Strapping the Monkey to the Typewriter and Selling His Work

0000-9780857863782At times, creativity seems to fail. We’ve become bored with the work we’re doing and need some new thing to spark that creative genius lurking deep within our coffee-addled brains (or wine-soaked, as the case may be.) An infinite number of monkeys strapped to IBM Selectrics, industriously typing out Shakespeare could do better.

For myself, the way to beat this is to write something, anything–even if it doesn’t pertain to my major work in progress. The best part of being an indie is that you can write in whatever direction the mood takes you.

And that is how Huw the Bard  came about. I was supposed to be working on Forbidden Road, but I had become bogged down. NaNoWriMo came along and Huw grabbed me by the imagination and away we went.  This jump-started my mind on the other book too, so I wrote on both books for the next year. Forbidden Road was finished, edited and published in 2013

Now Huw the Bard has been published and I am working on Valley of Sorrows. In the meantime I have to find ways to publicize my work, and since we just acquired a hefty car payment, it must be affordable. (As in CHEAP.)

google plus iconIn other posts I have discussed the importance of getting Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ profiles created. You must also have your Author Central profile put together on Amazon and one for Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and any other major online place you sell your works.

Today, I want to say that Facebook is fun, and a great place for a free launch party. We had a great time with that, and I do think it helped sell books.  But you need a sustainable place to put your work, and Facebook is no longer that great a venue for selling books.  I’ve had better luck through blogging, if the truth be told.  My good friends helped get Huw the Bard off the ground with their blogs and tweets.

Also, Facebook won’t allow your posts to be seen by many people unless you pay them. They call it ‘Boosting’ the post. I have done that on occasion, and  for 30.00 I sold 3 books.  That is a terrible return on investment.

tsra-button-01I was directed by Aura Burrows, who writes the hit series, “The Cold” on www.BigWorldNework.com, to an interesting and free website run by a friend of hers. It is called The Story Reading Ape Blog and I have gone to the “contact me” page and followed the instructions. It is free, and Chris is awesome as a person–he is very sincere about helping indies get their work seen. I will keep you posted as to how that goes for me, and if you want to try it yourself, please feel free to click the link and go for it.

There are many venues–blog hops,  paid ads on Goodreads and Google–all of which I will be doing over the next year. Paid ads are tricky–the ones I can afford are not that big or prominent so perhaps they aren’t a good investment. However, there are many affordable indie book websites who will sell you ad space for $30.00 to $50.00 a whack–a sum that is doable for me if I give up Starbucks for my craft.

So now begins my real push to get my work out there–to make it visible so readers will see it and want to know what it’s about.  I have to push Tales From the Dreamtime as well as Huw the Bard, because I have that wonderful narrator, Craig Allen, depending on me to sell our audio-book! I’m selling a few books here and there, but I’ll be posting about which venues were most successful as the year progresses.

The real trick will be to get the work out in the public eye without spamming and alienating my friends.

 

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Filed under Books, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Literature, Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

HUW the BARD Launch

HTB New Front Cover with gold frameToday is the official launch of HUW THE BARD, a novel set in the alternate medieval world of Waldeyn.

I am doing something quite unique, for me–I am hosting a Virtual Launch Party via Facebook, complete with virtual canapes, champagne, and caviar. The link for this event is here: Huw The Bard Launch Party. Any and all are welcome to stop by and share in the revelry.

This is the hard part of going the indie route–I wrote, had it edited, got it published, and now I have to sell it. There is an art to this, I ‘m sure! Some people with moderately good books are quite successful, and others with truly great books, not so much.  Even Charles Dickens had trouble selling his work, back in the early days of publishing. In fact, most of the early authors of books we now consider classics were unheard of in their own time, except by a few intrepid readers.

So now, in this modern era of social media, I am trying to let the world know I wrote a book. I want folks who might be interested in it to be able to find it.

But I want to do this in such a way that I am not spamming my Facebook friends — because they get enough of that already without me adding to it. Hence, my launch party, open to the public and of course, my friends. How this will go, I don’t know, but I have been looking at other avenues of exposure, and now begins the (tasteful) twitter campaign. Also, many of my friends are supporting me by posting reviews, excerpts and cover reveals on their blogs, which is a huge help.

Carlie M.A. Cullen posted a lovely review.

Maria V.A. Johnson also posted a great review.

Fresh Pot of Tea, Alison DeLuca hosted the cover reveal, and posted an excerpt of the book.

So if you are available, feel free to stop on by  the Launch Party, have a virtual canape and swap a joke or two with me and my friends. I will be posting medieval music that I have come across on YouTube, and of course, we will talk about the book.

HUW THE BARD on Amazon.com

YouTube video book trailer featuring the music of Tom Cusack

 

Lute onBlack Background

 

 

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Dash it all

Rex BArksI am a product of 1960’s American public school system.  The foundation of my knowledge of the English language is that of American English from forty years ago.

When I was a student in elementary school and even in high-school, we “diagrammed sentences,” and in doing so, it was thought that we bored students would learn the proper way to write a compound sentence, and even to combine our sentences into paragraphs. Had I ever paid attention in class, I suppose I would have learned something.

Alas, I spent more time staring out the window, or reading my contraband ‘Lensman Series’ books concealed inside my textbooks than I did studying.

Sentence diagramming is defined as a method of grammar instruction that relies on a standardized framework of lines and branches to reveal the syntactic structure of a sentence.

Example:Image17

Years and years spent diagramming sentences and at the end of it all I had learned little, if anything, about grammar. Even in high-school I had no clue what the diagram meant or why we were doing it. It was like hearing Merlin mumbling a magic spell. I didn’t understand it, but I knew it must mean something.

But I could quote lengthy passages from any of Tolkien’s works.

Many people still swear by this arcane and mysterious craft. There are entire websites devoted to teaching grammar to people blessed with  more patience and free time than I. If you are interested, here is one I came across:

Basic Sentence Parts, Phrase Configurations

Over the years, as I’ve become a professional writer, I have learned what I know about my craft by not only experiencing the editing process, but by availing myself of both the Chicago Manual of Style, and Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. I have also invested in many books written by editors and famous authors, all in my quest to write as well as I can.

In the last year I have noticed a plague of sorts–a plethora of hyphens and dashes, as annoying as a wall of italics and they show up in both indie and traditionally published works.  I don’t really like them, as a reader, but I find myself using them almost habitually. I have resolved to break that habit.

Elements of StyleIn informal writing, such as notes or Facebook posts, hyphens and dashes are common, and are like the ubiquitous ‘F’ word–one hardly notices it anymore. (See?)

Hyphens and dashes are used in several ways. One is the ‘en dash’, which is the width of an ‘n’. It is written space hyphen space.  Another is the ’em dash’, which is the width of an ‘m’. It is written this way: word–word (or word dash dash word) and when using the MS-WORD program for word-processing, it makes a long dash. The en dash seems to be more British, and em dash more American, but they have become interchangeable.

I have read an amazing number of books written by wonderful authors who all seem to use em or en dashes in lieu of proper punctuation when they are trying to emphasize a particular thought.  I also tend to do that in blogging and in Facebook posts, but I hate to see it used in a novel.  I DON’T like them because some authors rely on them too heavily. It is too distracting to see an em dash in every paragraph or even on every page. If we think about it, it is like any other repetitive word in a manuscript. It is useful to emphasize certain ideas, but needs to be used sparingly and creatively.

Properly, an author should use a comma, a semi colon, or a period to create that dramatic break, because too many em dashes are like too many curse words: they lose their power when used too freely.  Lynn Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves: the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, has been quoted as saying “People use the em dash because they know you can’t use it wrongly—which for a punctuation mark, is an uncommon virtue.”  

So what are these alternative forms of punctuation to create that dramatic pause?

MSClipArt MP900390083.JPG RF PD

PERIOD = a full stop. End of Sentence. That’s all folks.

SEMICOLON:Use a semicolon in place of a period to separate two sentences where the conjunction has been left out. Call me tomorrow; we’ll go dancing then. ( The AND has been left out.)

COLON: Use the colon after a complete sentence to introduce a list of items when introductory words such as namelyfor example, or that is do not appear.

Hyphens, en dashes and em dashes are like crack. Authors and editors become addicted to using them. Perhaps this plague of dashes has occurred because they don’t understand the basic rules of the road regarding periods, colons and semi-colons.

I love this quote from a wonderful blog on the website Slate.com. The blog post, called “The Case—Please Hear Me Out—Against the Em Dash,” is by the witty Noreen Malone, staff writer for The New Republic:

“What’s the matter with an em dash or two, you ask?—or so I like to imagine. What’s not to like about a sentence that explores in full all the punctuational options—sometimes a dash, sometimes an ellipsis, sometimes a nice semicolon at just the right moment—in order to seem more complex and syntactically interesting, to reach its full potential? Doesn’t a dash—if done right—let the writer maintain an elegant, sinewy flow to her sentences?”

That wonderful paragraph says it all for me.  I will have to work harder to develop my writing chops, and find ways to set certain phrases off within the framework of a sentence without resorting to the hyphen, the dash, the em dash or the en dash.

Dash it all.

The butter churn

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Filed under Battles, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, writer, writing

The Author With the Tolstoy Tattoo

250px-Branding_irons-Dutch_K,_c,_and_kToday’s post will continue the discussion on building your brand through social Media, and today we’re taking on Facebook.

I can hear you screaming, “What brand? I don’t have a brand! Keep that hot iron away from me!” (Cue the theme music from “Rawhide”)

Well, I’m not asking you to be The Author with the Tolstoy Tattoo or anything, unless dead Russian authors really ring your bells. While that would garner attention at the family picnic or the opening night mixer at the writers’ convention, it’s not really a useful tool for getting your name out there.

What you want to do is Brand Yourself through social media.

You will probably write many books, so your book titles can’t be your brand, even if you are writing an epic fantasy series.  Neither my Tower of Bones series nor my Billy’s Revenge series can be my brand, because using their titles doesn’t focus the attention into one cohesive spot well enough.

So what IS your brand? I sat in on a webinar on marketing that was made available to me by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association this last weekend. While I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know about marketing in general, this is what the presenter said, and it made sense to me:

Your Author Name is your Brand, so you must:

1.            Market the underlying theme that links your books–your AUTHOR NAME

2.            Communicate that brand though social media

3.            Blog, and communicate—write what you know or what you want to read and post it regularly

Yesterday you opened a twitter account.  Today you are going to make a Facebook Author Page.  If you look at my Google page from yesterday, the first 5 things come up in this order:

first page of google 3-18-2013

1>     My GoodReads profile (That will be our 5th and final workshop)

2>     My Amazon Author Page (Once we have all of these media pulled together and you have your book published you will put together an Amazon Author Page with links to all your media.)

3>     This blog, Life in the Realm of Fantasy (See? Regular blogging does pay off.)

4>     My Facebook Author Page

5>     My LinkedIn page

SO – today we are going to get ourselves out there on Facebook.  First, you must go to www.facebook.com and open a personal account if you don’t already have one. You don’t have to use it, but you can’t get a professional page without one. YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO SPAM YOUR PERSONAL FB FRIENDS ABOUT YOUR BOOK—it’s rude and ruins folks’ cute kitty picture moments.

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Once you have that taken care of, you go to the ‘create pages’ page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php . There are 6 squares representing the various sectors of professional pages. You want to click on ‘public figure’.

fb pages chart

Click here  and a new menu will open up. You will select ‘Author’. Fill in your Pen Name exactly as you want it to be.  Place a check in the little box that says you agree to Facebook’s terms and click the ‘get started’ button.

This will take you to a place where you will fill in the blanks and soon you will have your professional fb page up and running.  You can use your personal page to invite your friends to ‘like’ your page once, that is not considered too rude.

My author page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/cjjasperson and I’ve fixed it up to represent me as a writer.  Everyone has a different style, this is mine.

You’re telling me it’s just like twitter—you don’t have anything to say. I am telling you that it IS EXACTLY like twitter.

You have plenty to say! You’re an author, you spew words out the ends of your fingers. Keep both your tweets and your Facebook posts light, and keep them short.  This is where you let your prospective fans know what is going on with your work. On  Facebook, occasionally post about things you are doing, such as word-count on a current project, the projected date of publication for the new novel, these sorts of things.

I linked this blog to something called Networked Blogs which is a Facebook app, and my blog posts automatically post to my professional page so that the content there regularly updates itself and my page doesn’t stagnate. That link is http://www.networkedblogs.com/syndication and it is a really good resource.

Now that you have your Facebook page, it’s time to get your Linked In account up and running and also your about.me account.  We will be discussing these two wonderful resources tomorrow!

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