Is it Real or Not?

by Carole Brownbook world free

Writers are creators. They create people, settings and events. To do this, they need real or realistic thoughts that turn real-life into imaginary stories on paper. And to produce the work they do, they need three things: 

  1. Imagination
  2. Love of work
  3. Dedication

Why? Because without all three, most people could not continue through the pressure and discouragement you encounter in this line of work. Today, let’s focus on the first one: Imagination.

Without imagination stories would be unrealistic, flat and boring. Imagination keeps the writer soaring and excited over their work, during their production and marketing. Imagination helps to produce the results you, as a writer, craves. Using your imagination successfully is what keeps the reader reading and coming back for more of your work.

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How would you like to stroll along this lane? What emotions would fill you? What sensations would stroke you?

  • Writers create settings. That includes communities, whether a forest or a city. To do so and do so correctly, one must give the reader that pull into the setting. As one reader said of the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mystery series: “I want to move there.” That’s making the setting real. The reader must experience the coolness of the shady forest and cool wind on their cheeks and shoulders, sense with their feet the squishy, moist softness of pine needles on the path, sway with the headiness of standing on the edge of a cliff and staring into the abyss below. These settings can be real places you’ve visited or imaginary ones you’ve dreamed up, but whichever they must seem real to the reader.

 

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The Civil War was a very real event. How would you draw your readers into this? What would the sound of a cannon be like? What emotions would your characters feel? Fear? Excitement? Awe? 

  • Writers create events. Again, whether you’re writing about specific happenings in our world and inserting special scenes that help create the story you’re penning, the reader must believe, as they’re reading, that this certainly did happen–or at least it did while they’re reading your book. 

 

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What is she experiencing right now? What emotions are running through her? Is she remembering her past? Worrying over her future? Afraid? Hungry?

  • Writers create characters. They become people watchers. A certain move, speech impediment or action from a real life person aids them in creating their story world character and help that character emit responses that bring them alive.  If your characters are “real-like”, readers will shiver with fright, laugh with happiness and cry over the characters’ disappointments.

Is it okay to use real “stuff” in your books. Depending on what it is, usually, yes. Normally, it’s okay to mention historical figures, historical events and settings from yesteryears and today. In my WWII Spies series, I bring in a mention of the current president during that era. In some of my books, I’ll mention nearby towns and cities, but create my own community. In one book, I was asked where the town was located. Real? Seemed so to that reader.

Does it matter whether your book is filled with real settings and events? Do you need a book filled with people who really did/do live? No, not exactly.

  • But bringing in real historical people lends an air of truth to your book. Studying people aids you in inventing your characters.
  • Showing that your story plot happened during a specific event grabs a reader’s attention of what could have been. 
  • Setting your book in a particular city or place is great if you stay true to locations and particular things in that city. Equally good is creating chef Ok freean imaginary community where it’s so lifelike that, as I mentioned above, readers want to move there.

Is it real? Or imaginary? Only the writer knows for sure. That’s the way we want it, isn’t it?

Tell me, how do you create your settings, events and characters? How much truth is in your work/books?

Successful writing!

Overwhelmed…Again!

by Carole BrownBurnout2 free

Once again I’ve allowed too many things to gather in one week than is healthy for me physically and mentally, and probably spiritually too.

This week has been stressful to say the least.  Grandson care, writing, appointments, therapy, driving, housework and all that goes with that, battle with faulty internet, inability to get satisfaction with a book cover, events that were scheduled but not necessary for us to attend although hubby and I felt “obligated” for various reasons.

Does every writer take on more than they can handle, or is it just me? I think not. Once again I have to sit down and figure out how to de-stress my life, and I’d like to share that with you today. Unless you’re a permanently organized individual, you might find these ideas helpful. I’m going to:

  1. First I need to sit down and study my upcoming weekly schedules and check off everything that positively needs to stay on my to-do list. These are very important things that should not be put off: a doctor’s appointment for hubby that I want to share with him. An Essential oil meeting that is important to me for various reasons, including my health regards. A promotion evening that is important in marketing my writing. Church, of course. These items are the basic things I know I have to keep.
  2. There were two events going on today that hubby and I felt pressured to attend–not that it was necessary to do so, but by “guilt words” from others. To say the least, we were stressed, and after we’d headed down the road, hubby said, basically: “That’s it. We’re not going to either.” And we didn’t. But we did make a detour for a few minutes alone to have breakfast together. Something we haven’t had time to do for awhile. Reminder, stop scheduling events that are unnecessary for ME.
  3. Writer (Me!), stop allowing unimportant life stuff drain the energy and inspiration from my being. Find the perfect time to write, and get something down. Stop allowing distractions to hinder my writing time. Figure out my best writing time and do my best to stick with it.
  4. prayer freeFor me, I have to take the time to replenish my soul with prayers and reading God’s word and good devotionals. When my soul is at peace, then it’s so much easier to handle all the rest of life.

 

 

Keep life as simple as possible. I KNOW who and what are important to me, so focus on those things and people, and stop being pushed into thingsdog free I have zero interest in. Take breaks. Sit on the porch. Read a book I love. Do nothing but stare at the leaves and sky. Whisper after dark with the one you love whether person or pet. Call someone you’ve neglected. Take a walk by yourself or with a friend or someone else. Do something you really enjoy at least once a week. Plan a vacation: short or long, close by or far away. Smile. Love. Pray. Relax.

I need to remember to stay on track. Only then will I have fewer weeks like this past one. 

Do you have weeks that are desperately hard to get through? What’s your go-to help to prevent the overwhelming?

Wishing you all a great week!

Do Book Promotions Really Work? Part II

by Carole Brownbook

Yes!

There are two ways to look at promoting books.

  • Discoverability
  • Sales

Both are valuable. Both are necessary to progress as a writer. Only you, as a writer, can determine which you’ll need/want at different times in your promotional periods.

Best ideas to gaining readers and buyers:

  • Capture readers’ attention with your blog posts. Quirky, Eye-catching titles, opening sentences/paragraphs, follow-through information guarantees interest. Some of my posts has experienced the attention, and I do believe the titles have much to do with it. If I follow through with the rest it cinches the interest.
  • Spark interest w/attention-grabbing memes and videos. Nowadays, the attention span of readers wanders if they hit boring information. BUT they love these visual instruments that are well developed and interesting. That draws the eyes. 
  • Well targeted and planned ads that inform and engage with as wide an audience as possible. Always study what marketers are saying. Study others ads. Are they doing well? Sometimes it’s necessary to experiment. Don’t get discouraged if your first one fails to deliver outstanding sales. There’s a learning curve so keep at it until you’ve hit on the right way, the right place, and the best way to ad for YOU.

I want to say here: some will say they have no money for advertising. That’s okay. I’ve been there. But I’ve also learned that if I can’t catch the fish (so to speak) in one way, then I’m determined to do what I CAN do. Remember YOU and your book needs to be discoverable.

  1. Join writing groups. No I don’t participate all the time, and sometimes no time. But they can be valuable to keep your name and your books in front of readers’ eyes. Don’t scorn at the thought. Being discoverable is very important to your books sale-ability.
  2. Participate in Facebook author parties. I’ve been on at least two so far this year and planning one more this month with six other author friends to promote my WWII Spies series book one: With Music in Their Hearts. Remember, you don’t always have to giveaway tons of books. Other items that pertain to your book are fabulous gifts that readers love. For With Music in Their Hearts’ first promotion, I used an older “diamond” studded pin, puzzles, sweetheart chests, etc. as gifts. I had a lot of people attend and lots of interest going around! Also, plan ahead what you’re going to say. I like to have a prepared document w/many items ready to copy and paste. Toward the end share your social and book information too.
  3. website freeOn your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., share tidbits of your book, your progress in writing it, why you wrote it, a recipe or pattern or something else that will catch attention. Offer small rewards off and on. Don’t throw “buy my book” comments outward too often. Let them get a feel of your book, show them what they’re missing, and they won’t be able to resist! 

More on how to make your books discoverable on the next point. 

  • Invest the time in making your books discoverable on book retailer sites. Play around with keywords, descriptions and price for your books on Amazon and other retail sites. What words are used with other books in your genre? What makes them stand out? Make sure you have a beautiful (and I don’t mean just romantically) and interesting cover. That’s the first thing readers will see. Some check the back covers to read the book blurb. Write the best you can, get help, critics to look over yours before it goes to print. The first chapter needs to draw in your reader, so hone that baby till it’s as perfect as you can make it. Add videos. Encourage people to follow you so they will be notified when you have a new book out. 
  • Invest money in online promotion. (Again, even inexpensive ones give you some exposure).  
  1. Keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t, and remember, that sometimes you might have to try a certain promotion or ad more than once to see results or realize it’s not working at this time. 
  2. Hopefully, before your book’s published, you will be a member of your chosennewsletter free social media sites. Start your newsletter, decide how often you’ll put it out, and even though your book may not be out yet, give subscribers a glimpse of your writing life, how the writing is going, tidbits of your book, and when the cover is ready, a preview of it. Ask for opinions, offer rewards for being a subscriber, and encourage them to stay with you by keeping them up-to-date on your progress.
  3. Find what avenues of advertising that you can afford and use as many as you can. I suggest once a month do something special for your book, or if you have many, alternate between books. It’s ALWAYS profitable! In different ways, but still profitable. 
  4. Study and keep track of what others use as promotional means. Sometimes, many of them will offer promotions at a discount. Even if you can’t use it now, and it’s allowed, sign up and plan on the date when you can use it. Good author stewardship.

Okay, Now I’m going to share a few places I’ve used and maybe a very few I haven’t tried yet, but plan to in the future. Remember, it’s not always easy to get accepted into their promotional services, so follow their rules and be as pliable as you can. Here goes:

  1. Bookbub. Yes, it’s VERY expensive. Most writers I’ve heard, say they get their investment back and profit from it, lots of downloads, and good results. But do your homework. Realize the costs. Calculate all you need to do to try to get accepted by Bookbub.
  2. Ryan Zee. I definitely plan to use this soon.
  3. ENT. That’s E-Reader News Today. They are great and considerably cheaper. But, again, you don’t always get accepted. 
  4. Ask David is a Twitter service that’s fairly cheap, but seems to produce good results. Check it out.
  5. I’ve heard good things about Book Funnel, but haven’t tried them or even checked them out yet.
  6. Amazon ads and promotion. Supposedly a good thing. Again, I haven’t used them yet, but plan to in the near future as soon as I have time.
  7. Keiki Hendrix (Vessel Project), Paige Boggs (google) and Celebrate Lit (Check out Facebook) are good avenues to use for advertising and promotions. 
  8. Free Kindle Books and Tips (Michael Gallagher) is a good one to try. He has some requirements so check them out.
  9. Books Butterfly, Books Daily (but keep your eye on it to make sure it’s what you want and that you realize additional costs for extra items), Robin Reads. There are tons more, some that give more results. 
  10. Don’t ignore your fellow writers. They can be valuable sources of spreading the word about your book(s). Interviews, blog posts, and simple promotional times help. Endorsements from those YOU’ve helped give an extra touch of sale-ability to them too.

I’vbook notes lists etce done a lot of promoting and studying on the different methods of promoting and haven’t touched some avenues yet. I’ve mentioned only a small portion of possibilities. I’ve tried to keep lists of every method I’ve heard of. It’s a good way to pick and choose what you want to try. You’ll soon find what works best for you and your books.

Do Book Promotions work? Yes,

Why? Because once you have these ideas set up, you can count on them to work 24/7 for you, without you doing much else.

Happy Promoting!

Do Book Promotions Really Work? Part I

by Carole Brownconfused frog free

Yes.

No.

It depends. What I mean is, it’s how you go about it. Today I want to post I few ways that promotions will NOT work.

For instance,

 

 

  • You share a post on Facebook about your ailing dog who needs surgery. You ask dog freeeveryone to buy your books this weekend so that you might use the money for your pet’s upcoming surgery expenses. More than likely, you will sell few or no books. Although your friends and acquaintances may sympathize with your poor pet and your feelings, it won’t be enough. Or…

 

no thanks free

  • Pasting one or more Facebook messages on others’ (especially those you scarcely, or not at all, know) personal pages about your book. No! That page is for friends and others to fellowship and share, not to try to sell your book. It’s a sure way to “turn off” any sales, and very likely will get you blocked–or worse. 

 

  • Unwilling to pay for any or all help, ignoring or downplaying other, more money freeexperienced authors advice or suggestions, especially with the attitude that you have no time for all that malarkey or that you know what is best for your book, etc, etc. Sometimes it IS necessary to spend money to get the best promotion, to study from others who’ve been at the business longer about the right approaches, the right tools to use, so be prepared and humble enough to do it. Don’t believe or go into book marketing expecting it all to be free or simple or that you have all the answers. No one person has!

 

buy icon free

  • This one particularly irks me: following someone, then receiving an immediate reply of “buy my book.” No, thank you. I don’t know you, don’t know your genre, don’t know how you write, if you can write, etc. This is a sure-fire way to get me to ignore you right now, and possibly in the future, depending how often I get such messages from you, delete you from that social network friendship status. 

To recap:

  1. Don’t try to sell your book by begging and asking for sympathy “buys.”
  2. Don’t forget your manners on social media
  3. Stay humble and consider advice
  4. Don’t be pushy with new friends.

Have you seen particular habits that irk you with certain authors? What is your least favorite?

Next month I’ll touch on a few absolute best ways to gain readers and sales for your book. 

Happy Writing!

 

Iny, Miny, Miney, Moe…An Agent–or Not!

By Carole Brown

So you think you want an agent?

A writer is just that a writer. But he/she can, and many times are more than that.

  • Marketer. Sometimes a writer will find they’re very good at marketing. Learning what works and what doesn’t takes determination, attention, and perseverance.
  • Publisher. So you’re cheap. Or detail oriented. Or savvy with computer programs. Whatever. Many times writers find publishing your work is easier, better for you–timewise and moneywise–than working with an established publisher.

So do you need an agent? Here’s a few thoughts to help you make a decision:

Pros:

  • Literary agents have excellent industry contacts and most times good working relationships with editors and publishers.The level of trust between them gives them the confidence to work together comfortably. A really good agent can improve your chances of being published. Remember: publication is not guaranteed.
  • They know editors and publishers and that makes it easier to contact them. Editors and Publishers many times refuse to accept submissions unless agent-sent.
  • Agents have experience in the industry that enables them to negotiate favorable contracts and deals that won’t cheat you out of your royalties. They know their way around author-y contracts.
  • If need be and problems arise, they act as mediators between authors and publishing houses, softening constructive criticism, negotiating when contract problems interfere, and guarding that you aren’t robbed of your rights, regarding international publication and film rights.

Literary agent cons

  • Your literary agent will take between 10-15% of your royalties, depending on where in the world you are. If you go it alone, all the royalties will be yours.
  • You’ll have to wait twice as long before your book is published, this is because you first have to find a literary agent, who will make you jump through some hoops before sending your book to a publishing house, which will make you jump through some more hoops.
  • Again, if you are knowledgeable, you can “do the work” yourself
  • There’s always the risk of unreliable agents who will stiff you for work undone, for tasks unneeded and/or for small, meaningless tasks.

So, do you need an agent? That’s up to you. Just be sure to do your homework. Decide what your writing journey is and follow that journey. You’ll be glad you did.

March is read a book month! (But then, I think all months are “read a book” month!) Why not try a super fun and interesting new book?

With Music in their Hearts is a WWII spy book that is filled with music, teasing, romance and suspense!

One reader has this to say about this book:

With Music In Their Hearts is a mystery romance. This is the most adorable mystery ever! Emma Jaine is a strong character and I really like her. Not only does she run a boarding house, but she also takes care of her father and two younger sisters. She’s a spunky and pretty woman, and a few men at the boarding house are attracted to her.

Tyrell is a good-looking man and absolutely adorable when he teases and flirts with Emma Jaine. He is a reverend, a minister of a nearby church, but at the same time he’s an undercover agent for the government. His flirtations with Emma are appropriate for a minister and you can see the attraction between the two. I love the mystery that goes along with the romance. Romance and mystery make a book so much fun to read.

Moving Forward!

by Carole Brown

Alrebook-freeady, almost a month has past in this new year 2017. Writers, have you advanced in your writing? Have you kept to resolves you made in your New Year’s plans for your writing journey? Have you…advanced?

Here were some of my writing plans for 2017 and how much I’ve progressed (accountability, you know. Smile):

  • Finish writing, editing and preparing for the delayed-from-last-year publication of the second book in my WWII series (A Flute in the Willows). With several obstacles that kept the publication from happening, I’m certainly looking forward to this. So far, I’ve increased the words, edited at least two times the already written words, and preparing to move ahead toward my goal. 
  • I’ve tentatively planned to finish three more books this year (not novellas). Although I’m not holding my breath on this one, if I can obtain at least the publication of a second one, I will be farther up the road than now. So…, as of today, I’ve plotted (lightly) the events in both of my newer series books (the third book in the Denton and Alex Davies series: Daffy’s Duck and the fourth book in my Appleton, WV series: Toby’s Troubles). 
  • Thirdly, I have a standalone book set in the mid-to-late 1800s, a light mystery filled with lots of romance, that I’d love to see published soon. The title is Caleb’s Destiny, and is already from a third-to half done. We’ll see about this as the months pass. 

RECAPPING:Working

  1.  Finish writing and editing A Flute in the Willows, WWII 
  2. Complete and edit either or both Daffy’s Duck and Toby’s Troubles
  3. If time permits, move on and complete Caleb’s Destiny

I’ve got my work cut out for me! 🙂

What’s your specific writing plans this year?

 

3 Ways to Organize Your Research

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

All successful authors need to do research while blank sheet in a typewriterplanning their novels. Those in specialty genres such as medical or legal suspense or historical have even more research to do. Sometimes the amount of information needed becomes daunting. If you don’t organize your research, you could use valuable time hunting for a note you wrote on a post-it note or napkin instead of writing. Here are three tips for effectively organizing your research so you can find it when you need it.

Make a system for organizing your research that works for you. There are two computer programs that act like filing cabinets for your information. MS OneNote is my favorite and comes with most MS Office packages. One great feature on OneNote is that you can print any page from the internet directly to a file in your OneNote. Apple’s Evernote work similarly although I haven’t used it. The best part is both programs are free. If you are old school and like to have paper files, keep all of your research filed in a drawer of your filing cabinet.

Vintage desctop letter backgroundKeep accurate notes on your research. Even sources that aren’t on the internet should be recorded. Note the book or magazine, author, and page number as well as they information you’ve gleaned so you can refer back to it at any time. There is another important reason to keep accurate records. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and you may need to prove your research and facts to an editor who doesn’t know the history.

Keep research organized in categories. Keeping your research organized in categories will help you find what you need when you need it. Here are some suggestions for historical research categories.

  • Location
  • Slang
  • Inventions
  • Timeline of Events
  • Culture
  • Household
  • Fashion