Self-Publishing: Five Time-Saving Tools

Time saving tools for authors from The Writer’s Path Blog. I use Grammarly, Canva, and Mailchimp so I’ll vouch for these: )

A Writer's Path

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by Hope Ann

A writer’s life is filled with so much more than the mere creating of stories. There is editing and proofreading. Marketing and newsletters. Blogging and graphics. We can take any help offered, and here are five free tools which have helped me save time and work the best I can.

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Separation From Blogging

The sun had not completely set on my first night away before I was flooded with post and story ideas. And by the time the sky was overspread with blackness and poured into my bedroom, I’d written two poems already. To what do I owe this sudden flood of inspiration? I suppose it’s because a relaxed mind is a creative mind, or so they say. But in my reflection, I’ve had a lot of time to think and have come to the conclusion that there is some truth to that saying; separation from the online scene does tend to resurrect a kind of motivation lost during the constant interaction online. Personally, the desire to force a thought on top white paper seems to ring too loudly when I want to write, or rather feel I have to as opposed to when I’m just living life. The anxious stroke of the pen, or the thrashing keyboard always comes in that moment when you’re consciously aware that you must scribble something into existence. You thus search desperately for something to spark a flame, something to satisfy this urge but pushing always pulls away. The more you push a thought, try as you must to force a post, the more ideas slip from your fingers like liquid desperation.

It is at this point that the mind needs to be set aside for a while. To separate, to relax, and to calm from the influx of emails, WordPress Readers, and advice on how we should transfer our thoughts on to the page or rather, the screen. This tends to, for me, bring to life a sudden rush of creativity. Where thoughts have been left to grow and to mature before hitting the spotlight. To give my thoughts a chance to breathe and to exist, all neatly wrapped and stored into this place inaccessible among the crowd but dancing in a place called solitude. Even this post for instance,  came easy, smooth and without effort. There was no question or debate or concern about what it would be like. It just existed and I let it be. Just a coming forth of thoughts I’d written down while sitting on my bed and yet not at all there. Somewhere uninterrupted by the perspective of others, whose words do tend to spark great creativity, but whose birth is not as beautiful as the new born torn from my own flesh. Words that come untainted and unscathed by opinion. Nothing but pure inspiration come from my own head, smack down in the midst of the quite.

Book Trailers

I love book trailers, though lots of people don’t. They do not feel that they add value to the marketing of the book and that it is a waste of time. I do not agree. While Book Trailers may not appear to contribute a whole lot to the process, they do provide visual stimulation for potential readers in understanding what your book is about. Making them is also a lot of fun! Which is primarily why I make them because I enjoy doing so. A Book Trailer is, in short,  a visual representation of a book. In a world dominated by technology, more and more people learn best by way of media: moving pictures and music for instance. The same way people read more e-books than paperback, in the same way more and more people are drawn in by movies and TV shows.

Low Quality

It is not just the Book Trailer itself that makes people skeptical of Book Trailers, it is the quality. The reason Book Trailers are not very popular is because the production of most of these videos is not very good: cheap graphics, still frames, simple fonts, and cheesy music. And this is the part where I tell you not to buy book trailers. I just told you they are fun to watch and good to have so why not pay* for them? Because you don’t have to. If you’re going to pay for a collection of still frames behind cheesy music you may as well learn to make your own.

*The only time Book Trailers should be bought is if the quality is on point. I’ve seen some of what people have claimed as some of the best Book Trailers and so far I’m not impressed.

Using Your Skills

One thing I’ve noticed immediately about the Self-Publishing business is how to invest in my own talents and skills first before seeking assistance that’s going to cost me lots of money. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll always need professional help somewhere, but you are a professional at something yourself too. You may not know it yet but there is something that you do very well and yet you pay someone else to do it for you.

One thing I am passionate about aside from writing is photography and video production. Now, I don’t know much about photography, but I developed an interest in taking pictures in High School when I was on the yearbook team. It was my job to go around the school snapping pictures of assemblies, basketball games, meetings, and interviews. Because I was the only person on the team, I received valuable one on one instruction from my English teacher who ran the program. She taught me how to transfer these pictures to a computer where they will be organized on the template that will become the yearbook. As I look back, I was in the infancy stages of understanding how to put a book together and also how to produce a video.

I am not very knowledgeable concerning the technicalities of photography, but video production is another topic. I’ve worked with a number of video software programs to include: Video Explosion, Pinnacle, I Movie, Power Director, and I am in the process of learning Final Cut Pro. What I like about each program is that they basically have the exact same foundation. The concept of how to build a video from the ground up, even if you’re just using Windows Movie Maker, is the same. Hollywood movies even use the same basic format! There is more they can do of course and the technicalities require more brain power, but the basic make-up of how to put clips together, add background music and text is essentially the same. It is fascinating to watch movies and see the text come across the screen because I know exactly how they did it. On a much lower level of course, but I have a basic understanding of how it is done.

Book Trailers can be done in so many creative ways. Here is one that is very simple but that caught and kept my attention:

What this trailer achieved is making me want to read the book which is what the Trailer is all about. While this isn’t my style of production, the voice and constant moving of text keeps us captivated to the end.

I started experimenting with video production seven years ago and for this reason I’ve never paid for a Book Trailer. Instead, I’ve done my own research and utilized my own skills to produce the best quality videos possible.

My style of production is the Movie Trailer. I produce Book Trailers that are as close to that movie trailer feel as is possible without going too far. Did I say too far? Yes, you can go too far. If it’s produced to look too much like a movie with actors and all, as is some book trailers produced by Hollywood directors, it can draw away from the audience desire to read the book. Take this trailer here for instance. It’s OK, but I think it’s too much. I don’t want to read a book; I want to see the movie:

I’m not sure if there is a movie for this book but the point is this trailer is to promote the book. We must keep in mind that Book Trailers are designed to draw attention to the book, not the possible movie to the book which is why this fall I will be launching a video series to help you to learn to make your own Book Trailers. You will learn how to acquire royalty free photos, instrumentals people actually want to listen to, and even video footage that does not transgress copyright laws for your next bestseller.

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These videos will not be available on this blog so please make sure you are Subscribed to My Newsletter to receive this valuable private instruction free of cost and to also receive notice of when this series will begin.

In the meantime, below is a video I put together for my Stella Trilogy Presentation in Atlanta this past February. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can put this together.