Author Spotlight – Nov 2017

Just seeing this. Thanks so much AWP for the promo!

Advertisements

We have an idea…

Excellent idea!

Tampa Indie Author Book Convention

A few of us that have been planning this event thought that maybe since this is an indie convention, maybe we should do an indie awards, live in person.

Not the type of awards you’re used to where they pick the best author in their given genre, but instead we reward the people that help us get noticed in the first place. We want to reward the authors, readers and pimpers that go above and beyond to get their favorite authors out there, because without them, we wouldn’t get very far on our own.

It’s just in the planning stages at the moment, but I am thinking it might be a great way to kick off the after party. Before everyone starts drinking. =D

More details to come, but if you know some amazing pimpers, authors, or readers that go out of their way to help the community, please share…

View original post 56 more words

Released Today! “A Tale of Three Cities” by Alexander McCabe

You may remember the review I did for Mr. McCabe about a week ago. As a reminder, it releases today. Please find the links below:

unnamed

Amazon UK – http://goo.gl/iXLUNO
Amazon US – http://goo.gl/UlTOxs
Smashwords – https://goo.gl/vNsohS
Barnes and Noble – http://goo.gl/V2muNx
Kobo – https://goo.gl/Oz0Aar

He is also holding a raffle copter competition to win one of 2 signed paperbacks or 3 ebook copies:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e3ee7f693/

I’m sure McCabe will appreciate your support. Indie Authors are Awesome!

Book Cover Designs – 5 Resources for Self-Publishers

PBS bc front
Custom Book Cover for Pearls Before Swine by Andre Hawkings, Kenosis Design Innovations

One of the most exciting things for me as a Self-Publisher is the Book Cover reveal, especially if it’s a really neat one. Personally, I like to get an early start on purchasing book covers. It helps me to get that part of the process out of the way, keeps me excited as I polish off the book, secures the cover so that no one else can get it (if its premade), and helps me to schedule the Book Reveal to build momentum. Nonetheless, custom book covers are expensive. To secure a really great cover will run you at least $300+ dollars if you want it done right. There is an alternative however that can save you money and keep your cover looking fresh.

Pre-Made Book Cover Designs

Pre-Made Book Cover Design from Self-Pub for Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2
Pre-Made Book Cover Design from Self-Pub for Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2

As the Self-Publishing Industry blossoms, the web is flooded with resources. Everything from marketing and promotion to editing services and even book cover designs. If you have deep pockets, you’d really be able to take advantage of even paying for marketing and promotion if that’s not your cup of tea, so why not book cover design? After all, we are writers, not designers.

But with the amount of information now available, I realize there is no reason for an unattractive cover. For this reason, I am in the process of re-vamping all of my book covers to look more appealing. So of late, I have been looking to purchase a few book cover designs and found some great resources for Pre-Made designs. I am re-editing my novel and I would like to add a better book cover for the next edition. I am also shopping for a cover for my early poetry books and the third installment of the Stella series.

The great thing about Pre-Made Book Covers is that once you buy them they are no longer available anywhere else, so there’s no reason to be selfish about where you got your covers since no one else will have the exact same one. Pre-Made also does not have to mean amateur looking (though some of them are). But there are lots of striking professional looking covers to match your story at great prices. Just make sure your pre-made cover doesn’t look like a four-year-old did it because those ones exist too.

#1: Fiverr

Number 1 on my list is Fiverr. For those who are not familiar by now, Fiverr is an online service where individuals with various skills hire themselves out at very inexpensive rates. You can purchase editing or Book Cover designs for as low as $5! Now, I warn that you get what you pay for, so it is not wise to purchase a $5 cover (just saying). I would also not recommend them unless you really have to but will list it here first because I know some of our finances will work with this option. Be sure to have additional work done (such as 3D stock images added) by purchasing the sellers additional services. Even still, you can spend under $50 and come out with a great book cover design (and be sure to purchase a back and spine).

#2: Self-Pub Book Covers

Next on my list is Self-Pub Book Covers. I love them! I have so far purchased two of their covers already. To sign up is free and I love their variety. You can pretty much find something that fits your book (especially if you spend hours strolling through every single pic. I know, I’m a bit thorough. OK obsessed, whatever). My only thing with them is that you have to purchase a back and spine at a cost separate from the cover. Even still, you’d come out spending far less than you would a custom cover. (If you can afford a custom cover please do so. It is the best thing. This list is for those of us on budgets).

#3: The Cover Collection

My next favorite is The Cover Collection. I have not worked with them but they have great covers on their site at reasonable prices (I think the prices are in British Pounds so you’ll have to convert that if you’re in the U.S.).

#4: Paper and Sage

Another awesome site is Paper and Sage. Find neat pre-made e-book and print book cover designs at low prices. I’m currently seriously looking at their site. Their variety is good and the covers are professional. You can also order custom made covers through this service.

#5: Author Marketing Club

On this site, you’d get to explore the work of an individual artist who designs their own pre-made covers. If you like one, you will email them through the site but you will buy directly from the artist just as you would if you spoke to them directly. Their prices are also extremely affordable. I’ve seen some really professional looking covers for as low as $20.

PreMade Cover for my 3rd Poetry Book.
PreMade Cover for my 3rd Poetry Book.

This is just a fraction of the number of Pre-Made Book Cover Designs available out there for Self-Publishers. I didn’t include 99 Designs because though the process is off the charts (I really enjoyed working with the various professional artist to see who could make the best cover), it’s not ideal if you are on a budget and falls into the custom book cover category.

The benefit of pre-made covers (if you can’t afford a custom cover) is that they are professionally pre-designed by professional artists who understands exactly how to position the font and combine colors and everything that is important to a cover. With all of this information at our fingertips, there really is no reason for a crappy cover.

Remember: Books are judged by their covers! And in this age of technology, there really is no excuse.

Book Release Trivia Day! Post #2 *GAME TIME*

7424465-120875522_1-v1Yall ready? Here we go:

GAME #1:

Fresh Cup: Since it’s still early, the name of this game is Fresh Cup. Sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea with Stella by winning a Free Coffee Mug when you answer this question correctly. I will take the first 2 commenters to this post:

IMG_20150823_171651

Stella’s life takes place during the Jim Crow Laws that forbade African American’s from doing certain things. Name at least two of the things blacks couldn’t do during this time.

*First 2 Answers*

(Winners announced soon…….hurry!)

Word to the Wise

how-to-self-publish-your-book-pop_8319

As we approach the month of August, when teachers return to work and students go back to school, I couldn’t help but to get excited that in just a few short weeks (mid August) I will be publishing another book. I’m really excited about this one and this excitement led me to a thought which in turn led me to something I think all Self-Publishers should take into consideration. I know that finances are a big deal to Self-Publishers and we are always looking for the most cost effective, yet professional, way to produce so here goes:

Never use POD (Print on Demand) services like LuLu and Createspace for anything other than Printing your books. Do not use POD editing services, POD promotional services, or POD book cover design services. Why? Because you can save a lot of money not doing so.

The most effective and creative action we can take as Self-Publishers is to use Print on Demand Companies as Printer Companies for our books, and then sell them from our own Author websites. Let people buy your books from YOU and you take a percentage of that income to pay the Printing Company (Createspace) to print the book AND if you don’t have the funds to buy your books in bulk from the POD, you can still send it to the buyer directly from the POD service. Remember to apply wisdom to everything that you do, so remember that you still have to pay the POD to print the book and to ship it so set your prices high enough to actually reap a profit but low enough to be reasonable. When people have to go to YOUR website this helps build you as an Author brand.

LOL

However, there are some exceptions  to be understood when considering these methods:

  • You’ll never make Amazon’s Best Sellers List using this method because your buyers are not buying from Amazon they’re buying from you. If making Amazon’s Best Sellers list is important to your writing goal (which is understandable) I suggest you ignore this post, carry on and not use this method. (It would be wise to use Amazon to sell your e-books and your Author site to sell your print books, kill two birds with one stone).

*Here’s another secret*

Amazon, Createspace, Kindle Select etc., is extremely popular right now. When people hear your book is on Amazon they go and inquire, they get excited and you feel like you’ve accomplished something great, AND YOU HAVE. But, it’s not really that big of a deal. If you really want to build yourself as a Self-Publisher, invest in your own Self-Publishing Company and make YOUR name the one people get excited about. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just your name alone will do. (I will draft another post for another day on building a Self-Publishing Company and creating a name brand in the most cost effective way possible).

  • If you don’t buy in bulk and are shipping directly from your POD, you won’t have the chance to include promotional products with the book since it ships directly from the POD, which doesn’t help you with promotion.

BUT …

(OK so I’m really letting all the cats out the bag, gonna have to get a dog)

…you can send readers a separate gift with the money you saved AHEAD of the books arrival with these special offers (bookmarks, flyers, business cards, gifts etc.). Make sure to expedite the mail so that it gets there BEFORE the book for a professional outcome. Include a little note that thanks them for the purchase and that you hope they’ll enjoy the free gift. Don’t forget to include your contact information (business card) and to also inform them that their book is on the way! Readers will appreciate this, trust me. Why? Because, who doesn’t like to get mail filled with free goodies? Plus, if your readers are anything like yours truly, they’re extremely anxious for the book’s arrival and a little something ahead of time will help calm their nerves while they wait .

I hope this information has been helpful. Now, get off the internet and back to writing :).

Self-Publishing: Do Your Research!

When a writer sits down to write, he does not fully understand the capacity of that in which he seeks to embark. When he runs his fingers across the keyboard, or scribbles his heart into ink, he does not fully realize the power of his actions. Who would have thought a single chapter could change the world? The life of a Self-Publisher does not fully evolve until after the book is done. He does not see the many hats that must be worn in order writerwalksintothat the world may feel his voice, or sniff out his vision. What Self-Publishers are doing today is very powerful. Just by writing one book we are becoming professionals in fields that people have gone years studying in schools. People have invested in years of schooling in that they may understand how to properly market, promote, and format documents and here you understand this thing just by publishing a book alone. If that is not power, I do not know what is.

writers-block21The first book I published was a collection of essays that none of you would probably read. It started as an assignment from my English Professor in College “Does Racism in America Still Exist?” I wrote so much I could not stop writing. I wrote and read, and wrote and read, until the paper became a book, a 3 part  book to be exact. Then I had a brilliant idea: “I’m going to publish it!” When this thought entered my mental space it wasn’t occupied with much else. I didn’t even see it as Self-Publishing in particular. I did not say to myself, “Self, we’re going to Self-Publish a book.” For me it was simply, “I’m going to publish these papers.” And that was the extent of my brilliant idea. I had no intention of sharing it and no other ambition beyond that. In the end, I gave copies to some family members and college buddies but that was it. I was not interested at the time in Self-Publishing nor did I even know what it was. I always wanted to be a published author, but Self-Publishing in particular was not part of the plan. It would be years later before I actually took the concept  seriously and before I understood what it was in it’s full capacity.

selfpublishingWhen I first started out, The Self-Publishing Industry was not like it is today. In fact, it wasn’t really an industry at all. Of course, in 2007 Self-Publishing existed, but there was not the same amount of information available to Self-Publishers that there is now. We are in the age of information and in just a few short years Self-Publishing ballooned into a plethora of opportunity for authors. Self-Publishing blogs are going viral and men and women alike are making thousands, some millions, of dollars from the expertise they are able to provide on the topic. Regular, ordinary people are making something of themselves by being a part of what they were told only those with Master Degrees and PhD’s could do. But, to aspiring writers who wish to Self-Publish, I beg of you, please, do your research!

relaxed-writer_1I know we do not live in a fair world, but nothing is more unfair to me than a teenager who decides he or she will write a book and publish it and yet have no idea what is necessary to do this. There is nothing more aggravating than for me to hear a young person say that they are publishing a book, and when I ask them what POD company they are going to choose, or if they are going to purchase their own ISBN number, or their marketing plan, they have no idea what I am asking of them. All of this work, and someone’s kid is just going to write a book because its fun. How can you write a book and not understand the basics of print book formatting? Do you even know what that is? Do you even know what POD stands for? Most importantly, do you know there are tons of resources available to help you to find the answers to these questions? I am not talking about places that require hundreds of dollars of investment; I am talking about places that require only pennies. And if you do not have the penny, there are tons of free resources as well. In fact, you need to make sure that Self-Publishing is even a route you want to take. Self-Publishing is hated enough as is because big publishing houses are not making as much money. People are not forced to Self-Publish, people are choosing  to Self-Publish. The problem however, is that people are not researching this industry and making sure they understand what it means to be a part of it. Mediocrity in Self-Published books is not just because of poor editing, book cover design, etc. No, mediocrity is rooted in writers who do not research their field. This is how poor cover design and poor editing is even born.

But times are changing and the industry is not like it was in 2007. No longer can Self-Publishing be stigmatized as a field of nonprofessionals. With the amount of information out today, a nonprofessional product can only be the fault of the author and the author alone, not the industry in general. Being a Self-Publisher alone does not automatically degrade the quality of work, but the lazy work of the Self-Publisher can. I am not saying I have it all together but please research what you want to be apart of. Today, there is a host of information available to help us to get started or to sharpen our skills. So to those who are currently writing books and are seeking to be a part of the Self-Publishing field for the first time, stay encouraged. And please, I cannot stress this enough, do your research. You’ll be thankful for it in the end. You can start off with something as simple as a Google Search. And because blogs are doing so well these days, a lot of the information you’re looking for can be found right here in the blogosphere. One blogger who is always on her game with research for Self-Publishing is my good friend Colleen Chesebro. Colleen is writing her first book and is always on point with her research. She is a great example of what to do as you are writing. You don’t wait until you are about to publish a book to find out how to do it. Ttake some time out of your day and walk around the neighborhood. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.