Trailers for Books?

I love movie trailers, especially the really good and long ones you see while at a movie theater. A few weeks ago, I heard someone mention “book trailer” and I scratched my head. How can you take a novel and make it into a movie? The thought enticed me.

Apparently, this is a thing. A BIG thing. Today, I played with iMovie and whipped out a quick trailer for my novel. It was SUPER EASY (though, mine’s not great–all of you with more creative talent than me will easily be able to put together a fantastic one.)

It’s super simple. Here’s what I did.

  1. Downloaded iMovie for my iphone.
  2. Found the template for the canned movie trailer I wanted HERE (I wasn’t going to plan it out, but it turned out this was a critical step.) I broke my book blurb into chunks to fill each of the scenes/slides.
  3. Using PIXABAY to download images and CANVA to add the text to the photos I created the slides.
  4. I dragged and dropped them into position, modified the motion a little, and HORRAY, here it is. (Yeah, I know, it moves too fast and is kinda cheesy, but I had fun. That’s what counts, right?) Sorry if you’re sick of hearing about my novel already. I’ll be moving on someday, I promise! 😉
  5. Now, I need to modify mine a little–cut down on text perhaps…then figuring out what the heck to do with it. (Facebook & Twitter here I come!)

Do you have a novel trailer?

Feel free to share the link below. It may give me some good ideas!

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Queries, Rejection, & Self-Publishing

For LOVE, LIES, & CLONES, I promised myself  I’d send out queries the traditional publishing route until I received ten rejections, then I’d self-publish. I know, ten rejections is not nearly enough, but I really want to self-publish. I’m interested in the idea of controlling all the aspects of my book – cover, editing, marketing, pricing, etc. In fact, I’d love to have the freedom to give it away free – if I want to.

Well, I’m sticking to my commitment to send out ten queries. I’ve sent out seven in the last week and received two rejections already… Only eight more rejections until self-publication. It’s a funny feeling – these rejections coming in aren’t discouraging. I actually feel relieved to see them.

I just heard of a program through Amazon, Kindle Scout. Anyone out there tried this? It seems like a hybrid between self-publishing and traditional publishing – but I could be completely off base. You post your book (it has to be completely done) and then readers/authors vote on whether they think Amazon Publishing should consider the project. I’m torn – you give up control, but Amazon does some advertising for you.

I’m off… I need to find three more agents to query.

–Joy

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Creating a Mailing List

Since February, I’ve been struggling with getting a mailing list sign-up on my blog. The value of a mailing list for authors has been cited in numerous articles I’ve read. In fact, you should be creating this list as soon as possible – well before finishing a novel.

I finally figured it out and wanted to share!

First, I created an account through http://www.mailchimp.com/ and designed a mailing list. I learned that having a wordpress.com site only allowed me to embed a POP-UP subscription window. I didn’t want the annoyance of a pop-up. Personally, I don’t want to be a pushy sales-person.

What I wanted was a subscription column added to my widgets on my blog home page. It turns out, using the wordpress.com platform, this isn’t possible – you need wordpress.org to do this. And I’m cheap – I couldn’t justify switching platforms at this point. Well, I found a work around.

Through MailChimp, I created a launchpad signup and added a link to this on my sidebar. It works great! (Assuming people actually see it!)

Simplified directions:

  1. Create MailChimp account
  2. Create a list through MailChimp
  3. Create a signup form (general form) through MailChimp
  4. Take this link and add it to your wordpress.com sidebar (customize format à widgets àadd text à add link for your signup Launchpad from MailChimp – here’s directions for getting the link in html format: https://en.support.wordpress.com/links/text-widget-links/ )

As I’m working on obtaining subscribers, I’m trying to figure out what I’ll do with this list. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Ask for beta readers of new books
  2. Offer free books in exchange for reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads (advance reader copies)
  3. Give free short stories away (as a cheap ploy to drive traffic to the novels)
  4. Announce when new publications are coming out
  5. ????

 Mailing List

(If you’re interested, click here for the link to sign up for my mailing list)

Do you have an email subscription list? What do you use it for?

How to Write an Enticing Book Blurb

What pulls you in to actually read a novel? Many things. It starts with the cover… Maybe the reviews or a friend’s recommendations? But the book blurb seals the deal.

Today I set off to write a blurb for both my novels. I figured a good blurb I could use for self-publishing, enticing beta readers, and, with a little modification, for query letters. Here is my walk-through of creating a blurb and how I applied it to my two novels.

This is a combination of formulas from: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/4-easy-steps-to-an-irresistable-book-blurb/ and here: http://writerswrite.co.za/how-to-write-an-irresistible-book-blurb-in-five-easy-steps

Here are the components:

  1. Situation/Setting: Describe your main character and their situation/circumstance.
  2. Problem/Conflict/Inciting Incident: What situation is causing your character’s to need to react. This part often starts with “But…” or “However…” or “Until…”
  3. Hopeful Possibility/Possible Solution/Objective: What do your characters need to do to overcome their crisis? This should be what makes the reader want to read the story/ offer the reader hope. Good word to use here is “if”.
  4. Mood/Emotional Promise: Tell them how the book will make them feel and what type of book it is. This sets the mood/tone of the book for the reader.

Now, here is how I applied them to my novels. I’ll definitely work on tweaking these more, but a general structure.

LLC Cover - FinalLove, Lies, & Clones:

(1) Thirty-year-old June’s biggest struggle isn’t that she’s a clone. (2) It’s that her father disappeared and the police aren’t doing enough to find him.

Maybe they’d be more interested if June confessed his involvement in illegal human cloning. But then, he might face the death penalty when, or perhaps if, he’s found.

(3) Torn whether to tell the police everything or keep her father’s secret, June decides to put her troubled past behind and search for him herself. When Elliot, a man AWOL from the military, insists June’s father is the key to finding his missing brother, she reluctantly agrees to a partnership.

With each clue they uncover, June learns more about the twisted experiments her father used to create her. Her whole life she’s been taught to not trust anyone with her secret, but as the bullets begin to fly, she’s left with no choice.

(4) This speculative fiction novel, set twenty years in the future, is packed with mystery and romance and will leave you wanting more.

BHW final Blood & Holy Water:

(1) Second Order Angel, Ava, is sick of helping elderly women cross the street and strategically placing spare change where the poor can find it. (2) She wants to be promoted and finally earn her wings. An angel promotion takes more than Ava’s hard work and determination – it takes a miracle – literally. (3) Unfortunately, her miracle is impossible, as it involves a vampire.

(1) Fin, the vampire in question, has a different agenda, no miracle needed, no helping a naïve angel earn her wings. (2) He is busy keeping the Blood Board off his back. Fin has spent his entire time as a vampire avoiding his own kind, and now they are forcing him to work with them. (3) When one of his secrets surfaces, he needs the help of an angel — too bad he scared her away.

(4) Blood & Holy Water is a romantic story of the blurry lines between good and evil told from alternating perspectives.

Do you have a blurb you’ve written? Share it below, I’d love to read it!

(Also, I’d take any suggestions you have on mine.)

I Wrote a Novel (or Two), Now What?

I’ve read that only about 3% of novels are ever finished. (Keep in mind, 99% of statistics are false. 🙂)

So here I sit with two manuscripts, asking myself… “There. I’m done. I said I’d finish… But now what? It’s a shame to just let it sit in a pile or on a file on my hard drive.”

I began doing my research and holy crap is the publishing industry confusing. Where does one even start? Ten years ago, I would have had a quick and easy answer to that. Find an agent and get a publisher, of course. Now, that whole philosophy is changing.

The first decision I need to make is between the two main types of publishing, traditional publishing versus self-publishing. After this decision, there are many choices within each publishing umbrella. Agent vs. direct to the publisher, large press vs. small press, Amazon vs. Smashwords, $3.99 vs. FREE.

Urgh! I’ve never been good with choices!

I could write a blog laying out these choices, but I thought it would be better to just link some of the good ones here:

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs Indie Publishing: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/self-publishing-vs-traditional/ (There’s a little propaganda here, but it lays it out nicely.)

And for lighter reading: http://annerallen.com/ive-written-book-now-what-22-steps-to/

So where does that leave me? I had to get down to my PURPOSE for writing. Besides enjoying it, I want to write stories that will bring many people entertainment… So, how do I get my writing into as many hands as possible?

At first, I figured I’d self-publish and GIVE my novels away for FREE. The more and more I researched that, the more it concerned me. First, I still am not certain that people would find and take the stories seriously, even if they were FREE. Secondly, would I be insulting the whole writing community by doing this? (And thirdly, how would I justify spending $1000-$2000 dollars on a novel cover, book editor, formatting, etc. of self-publishing with no return?)

So, I moved off that thought… (Though, if anyone asked me for my story, I’d be happy to send them a free copy.😊 I can’t say no.)

Next, I moved on to self-publishing, but struggle how to get readers. That’s my goal, right? To have people actually find my story and read it? I love the control one has in the publishing process, but if I wrote a story to have nobody find it? That would be heart wrenching.

I feel that breaking into the traditional publishing market is like finding a needle in a haystack… Or maybe a field of haystacks, but I read that the experience of trying, is probably a learning experience every author should have… Small press publishing may be easier, but I feel readership is probably similar to self-publishing.

So… I have two books and know I’ll have more in the future. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’m going to query agents for LOVE, LIES, & CLONES and self-publish BLOOD & HOLY WATER. The best of both worlds, right? I’m excited for the experience of trying both methods and comparing the two.(Both of which, I’ll update in this blog.) I’m shooting for only 10 rejections before I turn to self-publishing.  I know that’s not enough, but I’m not sold on traditional publishing anyway. When all is said and done, I’ll probably end up self-publishing both books.

What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?

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