Monday, May 2, 2016

Research Is Hard ...

I recently attended a writing conference and overheard an attendee complaining that she wanted to write a nonfiction book, but because research is hard, she didn't know if she really wanted to do it. (There was whining involved ... rather than "hard," it was more like "haaaaard.")

I apologize in advance for my strong feelings on this subject, but ... yeah. My feelings are strong ...

I began my career as a historical fiction author, and you know what, research is hard. It takes time and effort, but you know what else? It's rewarding. You learn so much, you become so enlightened, it makes you a more interesting person, it takes you out of your comfort zone ... I can't even explain how the things I learned by doing research have shaped me. I'd say I actually only used maybe 10% of what I researched in the final product, but everything else lent to setting and characterization and perhaps most importantly, to making me into the kind of author who could tell the story.

Nothing about writing is easy. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme or an overnight success venture. If you want to write, it will take work - that should be understood right off the bat. And if you want to write well, you're going to need to research. Even if you're writing contemporary and you're very familiar with your setting already, you'll need to stop and make sure that fact is correct, etc. You're not going to get out of this without doing some research, so it's best just to make peace with that fact.

I love researching, actually. I love learning all the little side tidbits and finding pictures of the people I'm looking up and seeing what the town looked like back then and learning why there was a land dispute. No, I'm not volunteering to do your research for you - I'm just saying, there's a lot to love about it.

Yes, research is hard. Writing is hard. Heck, life is hard. But everything worth doing is worth doing right, and research will help you accomplish that. Now go write something really good and make me proud. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Covers. Covers. Covers. 3 Pro-Tips

Can we talk covers?

I've seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the extraordinary. Here are three pro-tips to make sure your covers land in the extraordinary category.

#1 HIRE SOMEONE to create your covers. Your cover is what is going to sell your book.

This is how the system works:
1-The cover catches a customer's eye.
2-The customer buys the book- sometimes, but most of the time, the customer looks for more information.
3-The customer reads the catchy description-(on a print book this is the back of the book)
4-The customer buys the book or delves into reviews
5-If the customer reads the reviews and likes what he sees, he buys the book.

If you don't have a great cover-no one will buy the book-except maybe your mother or best friend.

Depending on the designer you choose, you can spend as little as $50 and as much as $450...possibly more.  If you write in a genre that requires an illustrated cover (or you just want one), it can get very pricey.  I've seen quality pre-made covers for as little as $50. If you are working with a tiny budget- go this route. I've never spent more than $140 on any of my covers. Keep in mind that if you are only do eBooks, you do not need a full wrap. If you want a print copy of your book, you will need a full wrap (This includes the spine of the book and the back as well as the front).

#2 A word of caution- 
Covers must convey genre and concept-not story

I like teen books. I like suspense and mystery and action. I won't even consider buying a book, without a hefty recommendation from someone I trust, if the cover does not show these things. Make sure that at a glance, a prospective reader can tell what genre your book is.

#3 Here's a little phrase to help you remember-
Covers are marketing, not storytelling.

Can you guess the genres of these books?
Amazon only .99 

1.)Romance 2.)YA mystery 3.)YA suspense 4.) YA contemporary

How'd you do? 
If you want to learn more about covers and all things self-publishing- don't miss iPublishCon- register now to get early bird pricing and save some dinero. 
See you there. Just click here.

Need a gift for your mom? Give the gift of reading.
Try out this Kindle Fire HD10 for only $179 
even this Paper White for only $99 
Happy Reading

Cindy M. Hogan
Join mybook club here.
Catch my deals here- just click follow
My books! Amazon, iBooksNook, Kobo

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pinterest Tip for Book Marketing

Use Pinterest to get your books seen by more people than regularly visit your blog. I use three elements to bring traffic in--original recipes, book covers and reviews, and memes. Then, along the sidebar, I post my books with links to their Amazon pages, like this

Step 1: Design blog posts that can have pin-able elements.
This includes pictures for my recipes,

Book Covers that lead them to my reviews,

and memes they want to save that will point them back to my blog.

Step 2: Pin to Pinterest

Step 3: Check your blog's analytics to see which pins people are interested in following back to your blog post. For me, they come for the original recipes.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Writing Is an Art Form

I confess, I've been a little frustrated lately. Language is a beautiful thing full of nuance and shade and light. Well-chosen words can convince men to go to war and women to fall in love. The classics shape our minds and our world view. The modern classics tell us about today's human condition. Books are valuable. Stories are precious. Words are powerful and compelling. Communication is a priceless gift.

However, as time goes on and we see grammar rules shift and morph into something simpler, we are losing some of that refinement of speech. Meanings aren't as clear anymore. Sometimes it's hard to guess at the author's real meaning. And I'm afraid that as time goes on, beautiful language is going to be come rare.

This is where we can make a difference, authors. Please don't let yourself allowed to be swayed by the "easier is better" mindset - please always be seeking to tell your stories in the best possible way so we can preserve what makes language special and unique. Always seek to improve your craft. Always work on finding a better turn of phrase or stand-out voice. Writing is an art form, one we can fight to preserve.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What is an LCCN and Why Would I Want One?

If you Google or Bing "indie publishing", you could take the rest of your life reading articles and posts about it. Stay on top of it, but don't let it bog you down. You need to be actively working toward getting your book out, not just reading about other people doing it.


You know when you look on the title page of books and they have an LCCN Number and words after it?

This number is for cataloguing with the Library of Congress. LCCN is short for Library of Congress Control Number and is assigned to titles it’s likely to acquire. If you want the opportunity to have your book in the Library of Congress, you’ll need an LCCN. (pretty cool, eh?)

You place on the copyright page and it looks something like this:
“Library of Congress Control Number: 2001012345”.
Sorry, only U.S. book publishers are eligible to get an LCCN and ebooks are ineligible for an LCCN.

You want this number in your book.

Check out all your books by traditional publishers. They have this number. You should, too. (use the links in the text below to get you to the right places.)

You have to apply for that number and it takes a while to go through the process. It is a two step process and it's free. (You get your LCCN on the PCN site- weird, I know.)
  1. You are the publisher, so fill out the publisher's form. This is the application to start the process.
  2. You will receive an email with your account number and password to log onto the site and apply for your number.
Once they've reviewed your application and approved it, they will send you your LCCN and you can print it in your book. (You will have to send them a copy of the book as soon as you print it.)

A word of caution. If you publish your book before getting this number, you will not be able to get one. You will need to start over with a new ISBN. Don't make that mistake.

You do need very specific information about your book when applying for the number. so if you haven't uploaded your interior text file to Createspace (or other printer) yet, you will need to do that before filling out the second form to get your number.

Go ahead and fill out the publisher form and then upload your file to your printer so that you can give that final information in order to get your LCCN.

Happy Applicationing.

Cindy M. Hogan
Join mybook club here.
Catch my deals here- just click follow
My books! Amazon, iBooksNook, Kobo