Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Writing Process: Self Publishing #mfrworg

So this month we’ll talk about self publishing...something I haven’t done so don’t know much about, but I’ll do my best.

There are a lot of places where you can publish your own work. I googled it and found a slew of places. A few I recognized were Lulu, Createspace, IUniverse, Xlibris and of course Amazon, but there are a ton more out there. I found out there is even a Readers Digest book on self publishing companies. Each has their good and bad points and you need to find the one that works best for you.

After you’ve done your research you should reach out to other authors who have self published. Find out why they went that route and what worked and didn’t work for them. Which publishers they have tried and which ones they ended up using.

You’ll also need to find a cover artist and editor. Most of these publishers will offer a package deal that cover most, if not all, of what you want. Others seem to do things ala cart. You can also find companies that make covers, have editors – they do everything but publish your book. I did search but couldn’t6 find what I was looking for so those of you who know companies like this please chime in...

I asked some of my self published friends out there what an author should do and Kayelle Allen gave me these five suggestions:

1. Create a company name for your publishing endeavor (she uses Romance Lives Forever Books).
2. Set up accounts well ahead of your first book. You'll want to be on Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.
3. Create a PayPal account you can use for your books, especially if you want to sell them yourself from your site or at conventions.
4. Find a good cover artist and a good editor. Don't skimp on either one.
5. Make a marketing plan for your books that goes from pre-release through to the next book.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Monique DeVere's Secret to a Polished Manuscript #Novel #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #EditTip

Last month I shared my secret to writing great dialogue. This month, I'm going to share my secret to a polished manuscript. This is my prized resource for catching mistakes, plot holes, story flow/pacing, clarity, and the dozen other errors we as authors miss because we're so close to our work.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I tell you that every author would be prudent to find a way to HEAR her/his story read aloud. You've heard this advice a thousand times before, right? So have I, and I've heard other authors say they print out their MS and read it aloud so they can hear it. Or they read it aloud while recording their voice so they can replay it. I don't know about you, but that seems so last century to me.

I can't imagine sitting around reading my MS for hours on end hoping to hear mistakes. Surely, it's almost impossible to read and listen so carefully as to pick out errors at the same time. Personally, I don't believe we can effectively catch mistakes this way since we're still too close to what we've written. Then we encounter the problem of wasted hours of reading aloud that we'll never get back.

My solution? My biggest helper--outside of my CP--is my beautiful Kindle Keyboard. I love that baby. All I need to do is email my word doc to my Kindle, turn on Text-to-Speech and I can easily listen while I do the school run or clean the house. When I hear something I wish to change, I pause the Kindle, bookmark the page and make a note of what I need to change. If this happens while I'm driving, I'll make a mental note and write it down as soon as I reach my destination. On occasion, I've been known to pull over to the side of the road and make notes. But I'm sure you guys do that too. :)

I've found that using Kindle to read my story while I listen is the best option for me. I've tried using read aloud in PDF but the voice is far too tinny and computer generated for my taste. It distracts and irritate me, and I end up missing mistakes. Plus I lose the on-the-go editing option that I love so much.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is fool proof. I'm simply saying it's another wonderful editing resource to add to our creative arsenal. For instance, you won't notice homophones, but you'll certainly notice flow and pacing. You'll notice tone and characterization, plot problems or whether you spend too much time in your characters' heads, whether your dialogue sounds natural, and a host of other niggles you might've otherwise overlooked.

The Kindle Keyboard isn't the only Kindle that has the Text-to-Speech function. According to the Text-to-Speech: Enabled link in the Product details section of my books on Amazon, Text-to-Speech is available for Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle (2nd generation), and Kindle DX. That's a huge choice of read aloud choices I never knew existed until lately. I haven't researched it, so I can't say if the other devices also have a read aloud function. If you know of any other reader besides the ones I listed, please tell us about it in the comments section below.

What do you use to help you polish your MS? Do you listen to your WIP via your reading device? Have you any special, trusted and adored methods for polishing your MS? If so, please share, I'd love to hear your secrets. 

Do leave a comment in the comment section below. Even if you just want to say "Hi!", I'd be thrilled to know you stopped by.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!

Monique x 

Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge. 

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her HERE to learn more about her and check out her other books.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Celebrate the Day - Retweet Feast on Twitter June 10 #MFRWauthor

MFRW graphics photo MFRWThunderclap_zpse01964cf.jpg

For this month's Retweet Day on Twitter, we'd like to invite all Marketing for Romance Writers to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Once the tweet has been posted. Click on the ... (three dots) in the right hand corner.

This will give you the option to (copy link to tweet). Copy this link and put it in the comment section of this post.

On June 10, click on each link and share everyone's post on twitter. Also, make sure to have #MFRWauthor in the tweet.

This month I did not create a MFRWauthor thunderclap campaign for lack of interest.

Here's to a great day of retweets,

Tina Gayle

Tina Gayle writes stories with strong women fiction elements. Visit her website and read the 1st chapter of any of her books.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How Indie Authors Pick Keywords @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #authortips

 A Romance for Christmas 
Today's post on Marketing for Romance Writers Marketing blog is by the founder, Kayelle Allen.

If you are an independently published author (also called self published, self pubbed, indie, hybrid author, and entrepreneurial author), you know the necessity of picking the right keywords for your books. If you are just getting started on this journey, here are a few tips to help you choose the right keywords. 

What's Your Story?

You must start by knowing what your book is about. That sounds silly but not all authors know. You should be able to relate the topic of your book in one or two sentences. I'll use my best selling holiday romance, A Romance for Christmas, as an example. It's about two people who have lost their spouses and are alone at Christmas. They meet, are attracted to one another, and must decide if they're ready to risk falling in love again.

Have the blurb and tagline for your book on hand and consider the words you used in that. Your keywords should be used within the blurb if possible. If not, you might need to consider a rewrite or tweak.

Is Anyone Searching for Your Genre

I decided what keywords to use by researching them on Amazon. I went to the site's homepage, put my cursor in the search box, and began typing in keywords that I thought were relevant. I would see what suggested things showed up in the drop down search listing and jot them down in a brainstorm-type list.

I didn't have to type the whole word. Just part of it. When I typed in "Christmas roma" (without the quotes) I got "christmas romance" "christmas romance ebooks" "christmas romance movies" and more.

"Christmas roma" search
Then, type those keywords fully and see how many come up. Before you decide on a keyword, you want to be sure people are searching for it. "Christmas romance" for Kindle on Amazon brings up about 8000 books. That's a huge category but it's also the main genre for the book, so it was necessary. I used other keywords to narrow it. If it was less than 200 I didn't use it. If it was over 3000 I didn't use it. I used phrases that stayed in the midrange between those two.

You can have up to 7 keywords on Amazon. Keywords can be phrases, and aren't limited to single words. For example: urban fantasy, science fiction fantasy, new adult romance, young adult historical romance, and so on.

Doing the research to see what others are searching for will narrow the keywords that help readers find your book.

What Not to Use

Don't use your name, because that's automatically searchable on any of the book selling site, since you are the author. Don't waste your keyword resources with words that don't fit your genre, thinking that will draw new readers to your book. It won't work -- if you mislead readers, they will not be pleased. Be as specific as possible while still using words that are being used on the book's site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.).

Once you have your keywords, record them with your blurb, buy links, and other info for you book, and use them on your website, guest blog spots, and elsewhere.

What I Used

For A Romance for Christmas, here's the tagline and blurb used on Amazon:
A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift. A sweet holiday romance showcasing love, loss, and the spirit of giving. It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves has been lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.
My keywords are:
  • Christmas romance
  • holiday romance
  • sweet christmas romance
  • sweet holiday romance
  • sweet contemporary christmas
  • alone at christmas

Did It Work?

Yes, it did. A Romance for Christmas was in the top 100 on Amazon for 3 months. I'm convinced most of that was due to A) a good story, B) a good cover, and C) good keywords. It jumped to #18 within a day of release. I promoted it heavily on Twitter and by guest blogging. I shared it only 2-3 times on Facebook. It's now June, and the book is still selling 1-3 copies a day.

In summary, to pick good keywords, see if others are searching for your genre, how many are searching for it, and decide which best fits your book. Try to include the keywords in your blurb for the book. Research each before you decide.

I adapted this tip from author Travis Luedke, who's a member of ASMSG (Author Social Media Support Group). He's a NY Times and USA Today best selling author.

Feel free to share your experience on how you choose keywords. Did you use another method? Please let me know what you think in the comments.

Kayelle Allen, author of A Romance for Christmas
A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift.
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble