Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Few Thoughts on Unforgetable Romance

Based on Rachel Ann Nunes' 
6 Steps to Unforgettable Romance & 
my examples underneath

1. Both main characters have goals outside of falling in love. 

          One of them is trying to get a promotion. Someone moved to a new town and is struggling to fit in. Their business is on the verge of failure than they are working nonstop to save it. 

2. The plot is relatable to the reader
          The reader might think, "I have those fears." "Something like that happened to my friend." "I can totally see that happening." (In the world the author is creating.)

3. Emotional reactions between characters create tension

          Something is out of their control, there is oppression, freedom limited, conflicting ideas of life and love, want the same thing--competing for it, ruthless antagonist, phobia, past failure

4. Intimacy feels real and earned

          See my blogpost from September of last year about Romantic Tension

5. Reader satisfaction
          Romances all end with a happily every after (HEA) or a happily for now. If it doesn't, it's not a romance.

6. Beta-readers to give feedback on reader's response

          The more the merrier! Everyone has a different perspective. Everyone will read the sentences you wrote and inject their own life and circumstances into the story and interpret it differently. It is worth reading each comment carefully, deliberately, and seriously.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Five Steps to Selling Your Book in Person

Five steps to selling your book in person.

I sell my books at a lot of live events. I perfected my approach selling books at Costco. I just finished a three day signing event at Salt Lake Comic Con. You'll have fans like the princess in the picture below come to see you to buy all your new stuff, but you'll also need to introduce your books to people who have no idea who you are. Here's what works for me.

Before you go:

comic con 2016
1. Memorize a killer one-liner to describe your books generally.
I say, "My books are Mission Impossible meets Bourne Identity."

2. Memorize a short description for each of your books that grabs their interest and makes them want to know more.
Here's what I say for the Watched Trilogy:
"Christy doesn't fit in. She never has. She decides she wants to and so she goes on a school trip to DC. Once there, she stumbles upon a murder. Voila. She gets her change of life only in a twisted way. Now she has to change into all these different people in the witness protection program in order to survive. And of course there are hot guys in the story. You have to have hot guys in every story."

I have a short description like that for each series. I have three and a few standalones.

When you get there:

Comic con 2016
3. As people pass, say one of these things, "Do you like to read?" "What do you like to read?" or "Are you a reader?" Smile. Act like you like being there and are happy to have met them.

4. Once they say they are a reader, then pitch them. Say something like, "Great. I'll quickly tell you about my book, then." (If you are with group, you could ask them what they like to read at that point- then you can direct them to the right author who writes the genre of book they like.)
You say your one liner.
If they don't walk away, then give them your short description and as you near the end,
hand them the book you just pitched and say, "You can read the back of the book if you want."

5. Once you can see they're done, tell them the price. "It's only $10 today and if you buy the whole trilogy, you get this short story for free--or it's only $27. That's almost a twenty dollar savings from buying it anywhere else."

Then be silent and let them speak next. Answer any questions they have and then sign the book.

Comic con 2016
P.S. Don't forget to come up with something to write above your signature. A lot of times, it has to do with the concept or theme of the book.

P.S.S. Make sure you ask if they want their name in the book. Some don't.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Writer Accessories

Everyone with a passion needs toys, right? You know. Like Harry Potter fans wanting a wand, or Star Wars fans wanting a lightsaber.

What do writers want? A cool pen and notebook? A laptop? A thesaurus?

I love t-shirts with clever sayings. Like some of these:

Click here for source

Click here for source

Click here for source
I love this kind of thing. If my family wanted to get me writing "gear," the sites linked above would be great places to start.

What's your favorite writing stuff?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not too Long. Not too Short.

Novellas are bigger than a short story, but shorter than a novel.
The length is between 17,500 and 40,000 words. Ideas to keep in mind when writing one...

You may not have enough room to invest in subplots. Make sure the plot is full and, the subplots dove-tail on it if they are included. They can be used to feed conflict into the main plot or as a way to bring your main characters together.

Scenes contain the main conflict and character development--there's no room for lengthy descriptions.

Novels can span a lifetime or centuries. They have hundreds of pages to fill. Novella's have a little more or less than a hundred pages so they typically have a compressed timeline. They answer the question: What's critical right now?

There isn't a lot of time for your readers to jump onto your character's side. Consider writing in first-person or using deep POV if in third-person.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Writing The End

After spending weeks and months and sometimes even years on a book, is there any feeling in the world more exhilarating than writing "The End" and then throwing up your hands in the time-honored cheer of victory that is recognized the world over? For an author, it's like chocolate and Christmas all in one.

In fact, I love writing the end so much that I often race toward it a whole lot faster than I should. I see the conclusion coming, I wrap everything up in a neat bow, I do the dance of the awesome . . . and then I realize that I did it again. I rushed the ending, and it's not going to be satisfying to the reader.

When you invite the reader into your world, you are creating an experience for them. You're asking them to invest emotionally in the story you're telling. You encourage them to fall in love with your characters. By the time they've been through every peak and valley and adventure with those characters, they very much want to know who succeeds and who fails, and they want that sigh of satisfaction at the end. Rushing the ending is like handing them a bowl of Jell-O when they've been anticipating chocolate cake all during the meal.

(Yeah, I'm using a lot of food metaphors ... chocolate metaphors ... but I'm on a diet and I've already lost two pounds since yesterday, so we'll just deal.)

As you reach the ending, check to make sure that you've answered all the story questions. Slow down the declaration of love or the discovery of the treasure or the solving of the crime just a little bit and let the reader savor the moment. Don't drag them out forever - that's annoying too - but give your reader enough to sink their teeth into. This is their payoff for having given you so much of their time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an ending to write. Of course, I can't really write an ending until the book is finished ... so if you'll excuse me, I have a book to write.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SmartUrls? What?

You've heard of link shorteners like bitly.com, right? If you're using bitly, it's time to move onto bigger and better things with smarturl.it.

Once you finish this article you are going to want to give me a kiss! Guaranteed.

Never heard a link shortener? It's time to learn. It will take you from circling and circling success like these hawks to finding it.
Instead of giving someone this link to get to your books:


You would give them this:

The second one looks so much better-cleaner, and less scary to someone wanting to get your book or go to your website. It keeps the masses calm, like this picture. And it works great for sites like Instagram and Twitter where you are restricted to using only a few characters.

SmartUrl not only helps you shorten your links, but it will also revolutionize your marketing efforts.

Here is their motto:
Smarter, Not Shorter, URLs
smartURL is designed to help simplify the process of marketing online. Our goal is not just to make shorter URLs, but to create a platform that enables smarter marketing.

And it's true.
I'll highlight three features today- there might be a bonus at the end.

You can monitor your clicks and control your campaigns with ease.

Geo Aware links:  
SmartURLs can be set to drive traffic based on the click’s country of origin. Let's say your book is available on Amazon.com as well as every online store in the world available to you through Amazon like France, Germany, Australia, etc. You don't want to direct someone in France to your U.S. store. You want them to go to the store in the language they speak. Depending on where someone is when they click on your smartUrl (one link for all the various stores), it will take them to the right store. Seriously cool.

It also can direct traffic based on what type of device users click your links from. If someone clicks on your link on an android device, they will be directed to one online store and iPhone to another. 

You can redirect traffic in real time: Let's say I have a book coming out soon and I want to track interest or I'm releasing books every six weeks. With the latter, I can put a link in the back of a book that comes out before I release the next one. Maybe I send them to my books page on my blog until the book is released- or a page that gets them more excited for the release with an actual release date.

Once I'm ready to release that book, I simply go back into my smarturl account, find the link, click on it and put the new destination link in the place of the old one and click save. Everyone who clicks on the link after that will be taken to the new destination of the second link. I can change it a hundred times if I want and the link that people see never changes-only the destination does.

Here's a second example: I can first set up the link to take people to an information page on my blog (where I can collect their email to let them know when the book launches) until the book actually releases and then change it to the buy site as soon as it is actually released.

#4 Bonus! A kiss for you...
Smarturl keeps track of all of the above and creates awesome graphics and diagrams for you to use to track how your links are working. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Call for Submissions

Spots are available for new (never published before) novellas to be a part of our next Sweet & Sassy Anthology releasing April 2017. 

The theme is Europe
(meaning it must have part of the setting there and be a meaningful part of the story)
you must include a strong, clean romance element.
(No swearing. No sex. Nothing erotic please.) 
To submit, you'll need 
  • A full synopsis (tell all the plot points from beginning to end, including the ending)
  • The first chapter of your story.
  • Email to 2anthologies@gmail.com by October 30th.                       
The purpose of this anthology is to help provide more exposure for the authors included.

Those who are chosen for the anthology will need to pay $20.00 for cover and formatting and $25 for promotions, agree to adhere to the schedule and word counts, critique for all members of the group, and pay for their own story to be professionally line edited prior to final submission. All other deadlines will be emailed out to those who are chosen.

The accepted stories only have a 90-day exclusive to the anthology, then the authors may publish them on their own.

We are looking forward to reading your stories! 

Proposed Schedule

October 30: Submission of application (full synopsis and first chapter)
November 15 (on or before ): Notification to successful applicants 
January 31Draft (20,000-30,000 word count) sent to group for critiques
February 15 (on or before )Critiques back to all other authors
March 15 (on or before ): Professionally line edited final draft due
April 15Proposed publication date 

Royalties are paid twice per year in April and October.

Feel free to email, FB or comment any questions you may have. :)