• Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Amazon- One Day Free

Amazon Image

Is anyone else’s stomach twisting like a porcupine’s trying to tear its way out? Oh then, it must just be me. My book, “To Kill a Wizard,” has been out since June 30th, and so far, I’ve only sold a handful of copies. Depressing, right? Well, as a new author, I didn’t expect to be carried on the shoulders of my waves of readers, but I’d hoped for more than this. But then, my initial plans for promoting my book kind of didn’t work out the way I planned. So today, I’m giving away my book for free on Amazon. Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog… I’ll let you know what I did wrong, and then, what I’m trying now when it comes to promoting my book.

Initial plan:

  • Give away a free copy of a short story, in my novel’s world, to generate some readers for the novel.
  • Release “To Kill a Wizard” a few weeks later.
  • Promote on Twitter, Amazon, and blogs.
  • Wait for the orders to roll in.

Okay, so at this point, I’ve had about 300 downloads of my short story from Smashwords and a handful from Amazon. I have no idea how many of those copies have actually been read, but the overall feedback has been excellent. However, not many copies of my book (as I’ve said) were actually purchased after that point. And the big issue, I’d hoped Amazon would “price match” (although they technically say they don’t do that) my short story and make it free on Amazon. Weeks later, they still haven’t, so there is no free story to entice Amazon readers to give my novel a shot.

New Plan:

  • I’m giving away a copy of my novel on Smashwords.
  • I enrolled my novel in KDP Select, at least for the first 90 days.
  • I’m doing a “free day,” where my novel will be free.

So that brings me to my “free day” on Amazon. It’s today! I have no idea how it will go over. Maybe I won’t get a single download. Maybe I’ll get a bunch of them. Either way, I’ll update all of you, so you know whether it was worth it. Wish me luck!

And if you’d like to download my book, check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Wizard-Roses-Story-Protectors-ebook/dp/B00X4XR32I/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1436653857

Goodreads Book Giveaway

goodreads

I’m a writer, not a marketing guru, so I feel like I’m constantly scrambling to figure out how to use all of the tools at my disposal. Today is the day my book giveaway should be starting on Goodreads, and I honestly have no idea how it will turn out. In my research, I found mostly contradictory “facts” about how to have a successful campaign. So, I chose the suggestions that worked best with my current situation, which are as follows:

  • Keeping my giveaway short. It’ll only last for one week. But by doing this, I should come up on Goodreads lists as both a giveaway ending soon and a new giveaway. Hopefully, this will bring me more exposure.
  • Giving away one copy of my book. Some authors gave up to fifty copies away, but most later decided to only give away one or two copies, saying the results were close to the same. And as a new writer trying to limit my expenses, I thought testing this marketing strategy with just one book was the smartest way to go.
  • Including an autographed copy. A lot of authors said this encouraged people to enter the giveaway. No idea if this will matter, but I thought it was worth a shot.

I plan to update all of you on the results of my giveaway, so you can benefit from either my success or my failure. If you’re interested in entering the giveaway, you can find it here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

The Mysteries of an Author’s Brain

Neat Glass

My writing ideas come from a variety of different places. A lot of the times, I’ll have dreams that are so real and unique that I immediately run over and write them down, so I don’t forget. Later on, I usually find my dreams don’t logically make a lot of sense, but I start to mull over some of the more interesting parts, and usually before the day is done, I’ve got a great story idea.

Another way I come up with my ideas is that I’ll think of a really challenging situation or a really unusual character. Then, while I’m going about my day, I’ll slowly build on that single idea until I’ve got the plot for an entire book.

I often read about author’s running out of ideas. I’m not worried about running out of ideas, so much as, I’m worried that I’ll never find the time to take the best ones and create something really spectacular with them.

Struggling for ideas? Here are some suggestions:

  • Find a picture online and try to write something about it
  • “People watch” when you’re out and about. See if you can create a story behind a person.
  • Look for an unusual object and tell the story of where it came from and how it ended up there.
  • Listen to a song and see what it inspires you to write
  • Think of a really neat setting and build a story around it

How do you come up with ideas?

“To Kill a Wizard” is Available on Amazon

I know I just published my first short story on Amazon, introducing people to the world of Tarak, but now the first novel in the series is also available. It is absolutely amazing to see two and a half years of work finally being “completed.” So much about being a writer is working alone, just hoping that someday, someone, might see your work. To be at this point feels even more incredible than I ever imagined.

If you’d like to check out my book, here is the cover and the blurb:

Book- Without Back Cover- 1500Pixels

When eighteen-year-old Rose is chosen to join a mysterious order of women known as The Protectors, she hopes to escape a forced marriage and a miserable life. Instead, she unveils the dark secrecy surrounding The Protectors, and uncovers the horrific truth behind their power source. With her loyalty in tatters and her best friend’s life held hostage, she must learn to unlock the powerful magic slumbering deep inside her.

But time is running out.

The Undead Wizards, a dangerous enemy, have re-emerged from the Underworld, plunging The Protectors and the kingdom into a brutal war. Unfortunately, The Fates decree that Rose is the answer to the war may cost her more than she ever imagined. To win, she must decide whether to join them and betray the man she loves, or risk the annihilation of all she holds dear.

Book Covers and Blurbs with that Extra Something

Creating a cover is such an emotional process. “They” say the two things that help to sell your book the most are the cover and the blurb. It’s heart-wrenching to create a book that makes you sing with pride, but worry that no one will ever read your story if the cover and blurb aren’t good enough.

Luckily, I have a friend who has some computer magic and was excited to use it on my book cover. It was awesome to sit down together and come up with an idea of what I wanted it to look like, but then to actually have him create it. Because the truth is, I have some skills, but creating an amazing cover is not one of them.

I also luckily have an amazing group of writers, the 7 Evil Dwarves, who were willing to look at my blurb and help give it that extra something. Most people have no idea how hard it is for a writer to try to sum up their book in just a few paragraphs, but trust me, it’s painful. A special thanks to Jami Gray who sprinkled some writer-magic on it.

After several drafts, and countless hours spent constructing my vision, here is the cover to my first young adult fantasy novel, along with the blurb:

Book- Without Back Cover- 1500Pixels

When eighteen-year-old Rose is chosen to join a mysterious order of women known as The Protectors, she hopes to escape a forced marriage and a miserable life. Instead, she unveils the dark secrecy surrounding The Protectors, and uncovers the horrific truth behind their power source. With her loyalty in tatters and her best friend’s life held hostage, she must learn to unlock the powerful magic slumbering deep inside her.

But time is running out.

The Undead Wizards, a dangerous enemy, have re-emerged from the Underworld, plunging The Protectors and the kingdom into a brutal war. Unfortunately, The Fates decree that Rose is the answer to the war may cost her more than she ever imagined. To win, she must decide whether to join them and betray the man she loves, or risk the annihilation of all she holds dear.

What are some of your favorite blurbs or covers?

Like my posts?  Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

The Sea Goddess is Available on Amazon!

I’m so excited to announce my first short story “The Sea Goddess” is available on Amazon today! It has been such an amazing struggle to get to this point, and I am so thankful for all the support I’ve received from friends and family. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. And, of course, that includes my 7 Evil Dwarves. There’s never been a better group of writers to work with!

If you’re interested in checking out “The Sea Goddess,” here is the cover, the blurb, and a link to Amazon:

The Sea Goddess

The Goddess of the Sea no longer cares just for sacrifices; she’ll punish all those tainted by blood on The Feast of Darkness.

On this cursed night each year, The Goddess’s powerful magic lingers in the air. The moon and seas turn red, stirring violence in all those creatures dark of soul. Lady Dessi Quinn has vowed not to leave the castle on such a dangerous night. Instead, she longs to explore the strange connection between Lord Smit Croswell and herself, even as she tries to deny it.

But as the night progresses, events outside of her control force her to make an impossible choice. A choice that will throw her into danger and change the course of her life forever.

If she can survive it.

Note: “The Goddess of the Sea” takes place in the world of Tarak, but readers can either enjoy this short story before or after “To Kill a Wizard.”

And if you’d like to, I’d appreciate anyone interested in leaving a review!

Non-Writing Responsibilities of an Indie Author

tree-and-storm-2

The next couple of months are going to be a little crazy for me. The plan is to release two of my short stories, in the world of Tarak, before releasing the first novel in the series To Kill a Wizard. So far, I’m running a bit behind in my “schedule,” because all of the non-writing stuff that goes into self-publishing is getting in the way.

These are some of the things that have been driving me crazy, that I had no idea would take up so much of my time:

  • Creating a marketing “plan”
  • Converting all my books to the proper format for each retailer. (Right now, I’m working on Smashwords.)
  • Making sure I have the right cover for each work, and that they are formatted correctly.
  • AND making sure all the information I provide actually shows up accurately at each place.

I will say, after the past couple of months working with all these programs, I can see why established writers pay someone to do a lot of these things. It kills me to spend so much time on all of this stuff when I could be writing. Even though I enjoy the control publishing as an indie author gives me, I can see why one of the reasons people go traditional is to avoid having to spend their time on all this non-writing stuff.

A fellow author of mine pays someone about thirty dollars to put their book in each format for them. At first, I thought this was crazy. Now, I plan to keep a special account of anything I make off my first works, so I can hopefully pay someone to do the formatting next time.

What do all of you think? Does the formatting get easier? Or is it smarter just to pay someone?

Navigating Kindle Direct Publishing

KDP

Learning to use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish my novel To Kill a Wizard wasn’t nearly as hard as learning to properly format my book for Kindle readers. Both, however, had their challenges, which I’ll share here, as well as, some tips on how I formatted my novel.

Things I learned:

  • First, I uploaded my book and made sure there were no basic issues.
  • After that, I looked at how my book actually appeared on my Kindle Previewer. I found I needed to adjust my spacing, indents, and font size, depending on what I thought looked best.
    • In “page setup,” I changed the page size to be six-by-nine.
    • Then, I had to select a “custom margin” based on the size of my book. I believe I went with the “top,” “bottom,” and “outside” being .5, the “inside” being 0, and the “gutter” being .75.
    • I selected “mirror margins” and applied it to the “whole document.”
    • But these numbers vary based upon the number of pages in your book.
    • A lot of writers also choose to space their lines by 1.5, but I found that it looked like way too much, so I played with it until I found the perfect number (for me) 1.35.
    • I finally changed my “style set” to “simple.”
    • (For more information on formatting these areas for Kindle, check out: Createspace Help.)
  • Youtube was my friend for the next step in formatting. Creating a table of contents within the novel, with links to each chapter in my book, sounds like an easy process, but it wasn’t. I used buttons in Microsoft Word that I’ve never used before. I’ll sum it up below:
    • I changed the “style” of my document to “simple.”
    • Then went to “Insert” and “Table.” It then warned me “No Table of Contents Entries Found.”
    • I highlighted each chapter title, clicked “Heading 1” under the “Home” menu in Microsoft Word.
    • When I was done highlighting each chapter, I hit “Update Table,” and it all showed up.
    • Finally, I highlighted “Table of Contents” and made a “Bookmark” (Found under the “Insert” menu). When the box pops up, name it “toc” for table of contents.
    • And that’s about it!
    • (For more information on formatting your table of contents, check out: YouTube Video.)
  • Finally, I uploaded my cover. The first time, I included the entire cover. But then, I realized that the image people saw when searching for my book was the entire cover, including the back, so I had to reload my image with just the front of the cover.
  • After that, I had to determine the cost for my book, the channels I wanted it distributed on, and whether to join KDP Select. I think these options are personal choices, so I won’t go into that.
  • One thing I will say, however, is that because I was setting things up for pre-releasing my book at the end of June, it seemed I had a lot of options. Most everything appeared like it could be adjusted up until right before the date the novel would be available. So, I selected July 4th as my release date, thinking I could change it later. Turns out that’s a big no, no. I contacted Amazon who explained I could move it up once, without penalty, but not back. Next time, I’ll make sure I am 100% sure about my date before I choose it.

So overall, Kindle Direct was really easy to use, but it did require some internet research, random texts to my good friends Amber Kallyn and Aeon Igni, and picking the brains of several other writer friends. I’m sure many people have done this completely on their own, but there is nothing better than an assortment of awesome people to help make the process easier.

Like my blogs? Follow my personal blog at: Lisa Morrow

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

The Ups and Downs of Book Covers

The first major frustration I ran into in the past couple of months was cover art problems. I found an amazing cover artist for the first book in my series, but he has a day job, so he couldn’t drop everything and create the covers for my short stories. So… I had to venture out and try someone new.

I hired a cover artist for my short stories who immediately lacked good communication skills. For a good week, I held my breath, hoping she’d still deliver an excellent product, because she came highly recommended. The deadline for my cover came and went, and still I hoped she was just creating something really beautiful.

In the end, the cover came late and was everything I didn’t want. In fact, it was so far from what I wanted, I wondered if she’d done more than skim our email exchanges. It was that moment when I wondered if I’d have to create my own covers. I used to be good with Photoshop, but those skills seem to have faded, and all my attempts at covers ended up cringe-worthy.

After that, I very hesitantly went with another cover artist, but my stomach was in knots for days. Immediately she had amazing communication skills, and I had a much better feeling. The deadline for the project came… and so did my covers. And I LOVED them. Here is the first cover and blurb:

The Sea Goddess

“Lady Dessi Quinn feels a connection to Lord Smit Croswell that’s hard to ignore. Something unseen and powerful draws them together, even though she longs to deny it. But on The Feast of Darkness, Dessi has more important things to worry about than the strangely compelling Smit, at least with her grandmother’s prophesy hanging over her head:

The Goddess of the Sea no longer cares just for sacrifices; she’ll punish all those tainted by blood this night. Should any Quinn draw blood, they will be punished by the goddess herself.

As the night progresses, events outside of her control force her to make an impossible choice. A choice that will throw her into danger on the one night each year where The Goddess of the Sea’s powerful magic lingers in the air, stirring violence in all those creatures dark of soul.

Will she survive against mounting impossible odds – or will the Goddess of the Sea crush her? And will destiny bring Dessi and Smit together, or tear them apart?”

Everyone says a cover is one of the most important things to selling your book. All I can say is: make sure it’s something you’re proud of. I can’t stop staring at my new covers, and I hope everyone feels the same way about their books.

(“The Sea Goddess” will be available on June 16th, but is currently available to pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords.)

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

Favorite Books – by Tara Rane

Meme

 

I was given marching orders to submit a blog post about my favorite book in the genre I write in. That sounds easy enough. However, I ended up struggling for days.

The biggest challenge is that I write in a genre that doesn’t exist. My genre is a place where horror, paranormal romance, sci-fi, and urban fantasy make out in the backseat while YA/new adult steers wildly behind the wheel. I haven’t come across many books that are mashups like the ones I write and that’s a damn shame.

So I’ll cheat and pick a favorite book or series from each of the genres that influence my writing.

Horror: The Stand by Stephen King. It’s a fantastic apocalyptic tale filled with rich and compelling characters that stay with you. Even though it has been years since I’ve re-read this book, I still think of Stu, Larry, Frannie, Nadine, and the Trashcan man often. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out.

Paranormal Romance: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. With the interesting spin on Greek mythology and the combustible sexual chemistry between the tortured alpha male heroes and the take-no-shit heroines, these are fabulous reads. Speaking of Sherrilyn, I might just pee myself with excitement when I meet her at Phoenix Comicon in a few days.

Sci-Fi: Frank Herbert’s Dune. This book rocked my world when I read it over two decades ago. It still remains one of my favorites for its superb world building. Herbert went into such exquisite detail on the history, culture, and ecology of his world that you almost believe the planet Arrakis exists. True story. On our first date, my now husband confessed he’d never read this book. Can you guess what I gave him on our second date?

Urban Fantasy: Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. I love these books because of the evolution of the main character. She goes from immature teen to badass hybrid vampire killer over the course of series. Jeaniene also manages to accomplish what few authors have. She keeps the sexual tension going between the heroine and her master vampire lover throughout the seven book series.

YA/New Adult: Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. Don’t let the movie sour these books for you. The series is awesome. The heroine’s journey from a mouthy Dhampir student to a battle-honed killing machine takes you on a wild ride. It takes skill to buckle the reader into a roller coaster that spans six books, and keep you somewhere between gasping for breath, grabbing the tissue box, and fanning yourself much of the time.

I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours. What are your favorite books?

Like this post? Check out my website (www.tararane.com) and my blog (www.tararane.com/blog/)

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