Old Ways and New Ways 2

oldnewshoesHave you been hearing the fears in the air? The waves of uncertainty? The talk of what’s not possible anymore?

There’s been talk that the well has run dry. That the gold rush is now over. That it’s not possible to get that surge of eyes on your work of art because all of the ways to get them there have been overused and overdone and no longer work anymore.

It can get disheartening to hear these types of things about self-publishing, and, oh, how it starts to suck you dry of all of your enthusiasms, your hopes, and your dreams.

But you have to remember

At one time, there was a way to publish your book that would take years and years, and possibly NEVER happened. There was a time when you submitted your work and your voice was not heard. There was a time when it seemed like now…hopeless.

But that time could never get you as close to your dream as THIS time.

So, the sales aren’t coming like they use to.
So, you’re not getting as much attention as THAT author over there.
So, you’ve done EVERYTHING and there’s still no eyes coming your way.

But you MUST remember

Your step today is a step higher from yesterday. And you can’t give up even though things look grim. You keep going because if you STOP, then you really did come to…nothing.

If you’re someone who is getting buys, NO MATTER THE NUMBER, they are buys.
If you’re someone who hasn’t received any buys, NO MATTER, there will be buys.
If you’re someone whose buys don’t go up and don’t go down, NO MATTER… THEY ARE BUYS.

The point is, we all wear shoes, Old and NEW, but we do the same in either case.

We Keep Walking…



Marketing Break! 2

FrustratedDoing all the things you hear to do to get your book seen can be overwhelming and become very frustrated. I know the list and the time (Especially the TIME) to do all this marketing is the pits!

However, there may be a way that you can market your book but not feel like you have another job doing it!

I mentioned back in November 2012 that I was testing out some marketing stuff for my book. Well, I think I found out that it works!

I’ve decided to go to websites and be a part of communities that I actually enjoy being a part of. For me, unfortunately, being a part of Goodreads, LibraryThing and Shelfari, as well as constantly posting on blogs and Facebook and Twitter, hasn’t been for me. I don’t have time to read, and I don’t have time to do all the blogging and twittering, so none of that socializing works for me. I don’t write enough for Wattpad and nor have the time to read other’s work. However, other things that I’m interested in DO work for me.

Yahoo! Answers

On my Blogger website that I have for my readers, and which I use as another marketing tool to gain readers, I like to talk a lot about feelings and the matters of the heart and life. I do love to talk about those things, and so what I started testing was Yahoo! Answers. It’s a community where people post questions on what’s on their hearts and minds and people respond with their answers. I found that it’s similar, to me, like Dear Abby where I can be Abby! And I’m actually pretty good at it. I get a lot of 10 points for being accepted as the Best Answer, and that makes me feel good to help someone else out.

I have a steady buy of three (3) books a month, and I found while being on Yahoo! Answers, that keeps that going because I see that the books are being bought much earlier in the month than so slowly throughout the month when I get a lot of Best Answers.

Criticker

The other place that I enjoy is Criticker. I found this website when Netflix, for some reason, stopped allowing people to post their reviews on movies. I needed an outlet to put my 2 cents and my opinion on the films I enjoyed. Netflix now allows people to post reviews again, but I’ve gotten so use to Criticker that I mainly post there now, as well as my ratings of the movies I’ve seen that week on Netflix.

Though I don’t think I get any readers from Criticker, I still enjoy being there, especially being a part of the forums every blue moon. I’ve even got an answer of a movie title I was looking for but I just couldn’t remember what it was, and someone answered it for me! Now that was just a great relief.

FanForum

A third site I would go to frequently but it’s forum just loads WAY too slow for me–FanForum. It’s the best place to subsidize my Criticker site, which is for films only, so that I can talk about TV series I enjoy to my heart’s content. I also lurk to find out all the side information and people’s opinions on my favorite TV series. My only problem is that I watch my series so late, so I can’t join in with the current conversations, but I can participate when I catch up.


In all these places, I don’t post, “Hey! I’m a Writer! Buy my Book!” Plus, you really don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be a Spammer nor a Bug-A-Boo. What you should do is just be your witty and special self, and people will take a look at your profile where you have your website for them to take a looksie.

I’m quite enjoying these sites and, what’s importantly, it’s not like I’m working to market. I’m doing something that I already enjoy doing. Though these places aren’t really after my target audience, I do get an ongoing, steady, buy of my three books a month and sometimes four! LOL!! I know that sounds like chump change but it’s great numbers for me since I don’t put the time in to do much marketing at all, and this goes WAY beyond just family and friends, which is your ultimate goal.

Bottom line, go out there and participate in things that you already enjoy. Because you’ll never know who’s interest you might peek.



Until Next Time!!



The Book Cover for Tirna Magique is Here!!

Where have I been again? Yep, I’ve been busy working on another book. This one is a novella. “What’s a novella?” some might ask, well it’s a bit shorter than an novel. See definitions of the differences below.

Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words

So back to my novella….

Previously, it was going to part of an anthology, but the project was, unfortunately, unable to be completed. The good news is that when working with anthologies you can take your own work, apart from the others, and have another book for yourself!!

Now, Dah-dah-dah-dah-dahhhhh!!!!!…. to my AMAZING Book Cover Designer.
As you know, she starts of with a sketch.

MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO GET A GREAT VIEW!!


I start with describing what I would like the cover to look like. I wanted: a mermaid, a dragon, four women characters in blue jeans and T-shirts, fairies, a mountain and trees with twisted trunks. Yeah, yeah. I’m a bit detail about my covers, but I love to have them match as close to my stories as possible.

Rough Draft Tirna Magique

After viewing the draft, I needed to have my character with the ponytail have a much longer ponytail because she sits on it accidentally sometimes. So, she made that change and made the first color design.

Tirna Magique 1st Color

Next, we needed to add a few updates. The boulder the mermaid sits on needed to be gold. Also, my 3rd character needed more tightly curly hair. The Pegasus, I wanted the face a bit more updated because my sister said it looked more like a goat. And we needed to add some brightly color fairies flying around.

Tirna Magique 2nd Color

And, of course, I get so very excited when I see such awesome work. So, yeah, I got to say that word again.

COMPLETE AWESOMENESS!!!



This book cover looks like some place I really, really, really want to go to. And I absolutely LOVE that feeling! I already have the book up and ready to buy on Amazon and Smashwords (while waiting patiently for Smashwords to push to Barnes and Noble).

Until Next Time!



See the previous post for Creations’s Book Cover design steps.
See the previous post for Jetta’s Book Cover design steps.
See the previous post for Irid’s Book Cover design steps.
See the previous post for Ruby, Flesh and Heart Cover design steps.
See the previous post for The Made Cover design steps.
See the previous post for The 9th Symbol design steps.



Happy Happy Happy Year 2013!!!!



Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Good to be here 2013!!!

I wanted to share a video that was posted on the Kindleboards that I thought would be the best thing to have on your mind for this year. It’s a speech that’s definitely worth listening to for the entire twenty (2) minutes. Yes. Very well worth it.

An inspirational speech that we all need. Enjoy!!

Is my Book Cover included in the copyright protection of my book?

I just went through the CopyRight Office for my last two books, and they are now buckling down on their procedures. Before, I just had to send electronic works, but now, if there’s a paperback version of my work available to buy, I also need to provide two (2) physical proofs of that as well. If my novels were selling in eBook format only, I wouldn’t have to mail the CopyRight Office proof of the work just upload the digital format.

So, then there was this thing about my Book Cover and if I Own it. I had two choices, which they emailed to me and let me know how I should answer.

CHOICE ONE: If I didn’t make the Book Cover, then the registration record must contain an explanation of how I obtained the copyright book cover designer. I can then say it was transferred “By written agreement”.

CHOICE TWO: Alternatively, if the artwork was done on a work-for-hire basis, and that I, the author of the text, was the employer, then I can say that. When a work is made for hire, the employer is considered the author, and not the individual(s) who created the work. I can then authorize the CopyRight office to name me as the author of the “for hire” artwork.

So, if you pay someone to do the cover for you, just let the CopyRight office know that the artwork was “for hire” and that says that you own it and it will also be copyrighted, belonging to you, along with your novel.

Just wanted to pass along that bit of new information. I always learn something new in this business.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

On a personal note…. Yeah, yeah, I haven’t been posting like I used to. I’m working on a novella and as well as a sideline of marketing, which is also fun for me. I’m still doing some testing on this marketing, which I really don’t do much of, or rather very little of–marketing, that is. So, I’ll let you know how it works.


Until Next Time!



More Book Trailers!

YES! It’s ALIVE!!!!

Uh huh. I created more Book Trailers just to spice up my websites. Uh huh. Yes, I did!

I don’t know. I just enjoy making them. For me, it brings more life to my books when they are ready to be read by the masses! And I just so LOVE editing them and putting music to the screens.

Yeah. Yeah. They’re still pictures, but I like it anyway. I ESPECIALLY like it when I can get music that brings out the feeling of the images and words I’m trying to convey. It brings depth to the entire project. It brings it TO LIFE!!

So…check out my Book Trailers for the 2nd and 3rd Books that are available out there to be read and devoured.
Come in…Take A Bite!



Jetta (Book 2)




Creations (Book 3)

The Book Cover for Creations Is Here!!!

Yep! Yep! The Book Cover for the third book of The Calling Series is in. Wanna see some pictures? Hear ya go!

CLICK THE PICTURES TO GET A BETTER VIEW! 🙂



First we have a couple of draft copies. I sent a description of each character I wanted on the front cover and my Book Cover Designer came up with this.

creations_sketch1

I needed a few changes: 1) switch the poses of the two middle characters (because Metz is the sexy one and Vegan is a leader, so their poses had to switch), 2) make the one with the feathers shorter (because Metz is short), and 3) make the first character have more curls in her hair. This was the final draft.

creations_sketch2

So, now to color! Yes! My favorite part!

creations_cover_color1st

Back again to lights. I mention this with Book 2 of this series and my IRID novel. With such darkness, I needed some light or sparkles in the black clothes, and I wanted the last character to have a peak-toe shoe since her pose was just sooo sexy!

creations_coverfinal

Then I went back a third time, some weeks later because I really had an image of one of my characters to have a BIG AFRO! Yep. Alien girl with an Afro. And she came back with this.

AND AGAIN…AWESOMENESS!!! 🙂



I just couldn’t BELIEVE that I finally got books 1-3 of The Calling Series available to look at and to motivate me as I finish up their final polishing for sell. This has been an incredible journey!



See the previous post for Jetta’s Book Cover design steps.
See the previous post for Irid’s Book Cover design steps.
See the previous post for Ruby, Flesh and Heart Cover design steps.
See the previous post for The Made Cover design steps.
See the previous post for The 9th Symbol design steps.

Until Next Time!



The Book Cover for Jetta Is Here!!!

So, yep, I’ve been on hiatus working on my 2nd and 3rd books of The Calling Series, as well as taking vacation and just taking an overall break. And, YES! I’m so Excited!!!! Jetta, Book 2, of The Calling Series has the book cover completed!!! Yes! Yes! Yes! Below are the stages of development.

CLICK THE PICTURES TO GET A BETTER VIEW! 🙂



So, first, there’s the sketch draft….

I needed to move two characters around, placing the smiling one in the middle. She made those change and sent me color.

Jettacoverdraft

The other change was that I had to add the word “Series” to the subtitle and remove the face of the red cloak. And there was also something very else…. I mean, it looked good, but it was missing something… Hmmm… What? What was it missing?

I thought about my other book cover, Irid, and remembered it was missing something too, and the hubby suggested putting some stars in the darkness between the colors and that brought out that book cover and it was amazing! Just that little bit of something…. And then I had it. LIGHTS. I told her rope lights, like back in the 1970s, or something like that, but not too cheezy. Some kind of electricity to make the metal shine. And so she did something better.

Jettacoverfinal

AND IT WAS AWESOME! 🙂

I was so very please with this cover. And I didn’t think I could be so happy about every single one of my covers, but I am.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be very happy about your product and not having to “settle” for something you’re just not quite satisfied with. It’s just wonderful!

I’m done with most of the setup for Jetta to be published, but I had to have one final thing to add. A MAP!

I made a little sketch of a map and sent it to my cover designer and asked for something better.

She came back with a black map that just blew me away! But I also needed a map for the interior of my book. So she made that one too.

Print

calling map book version

And there you have them!
AWESOME and AMAZING!
All these pictures just make me want to sing, I tell ya!

Next is the Book Cover for Creations. I can’t wait!


See the previous post for Irid’s Book Cover design steps.
See previous post for Ruby, Flesh and Heart Cover design steps.
See the previous post for The Made Cover design steps.
See the previous post for The 9th Symbol design steps.

Until Next Time!



OK With Not Recovering Costs 1

Money. Money. Money. That’s what some potential novelists think about when they enter into the decision on trying to get their book next to a BUY button.

The first thing an author does is to research how to get their books published. And the first thing that they see are these someones. Then, they make a chart of: “them” versus “me“.

They hear all about how much someone else is making; how someone else was able to leave their day jobs; how someone else’s novels are soooo popular; how someone else is getting hundred and thousands of hits on their blog sites a day…. But then when they get into the arena, they’re bombarded with disappointment because their books aren’t selling, or not selling as well as the someone else’s, and they’re not as popular, and no one sees them. They then sulk in a corner, degrade themselves for being failures or tell themselves that they weren’t good at writing anyway, and they disappear from the scene, never to achieve their dreams at all.

I’ve talked about this before, and I wanted to talk about it again. I wish there was an entire blog on the How To Be Successful…Actual Answers. In fact, I wish every single author would write the honesty of being a success. And at every online site there should be a statement as follows:

Their numbers will NOT predict MY success

That statement should be branded into every new author’s mind and have temporary tatooes stamped on the back of both of their typing hands for one week of every quarterly period of the year.

And, again, if you hear writers stating that they don’t write for the money and they don’t care who reads their work and that they’re writing for THEMSELVES, then they are NOT authors…they’re writing DIARIES. An author has something they want to say and they want to say it to someone, a group of someones, or to the entire world. That is what an author is. That is what defines a novelist.

And Money Is Just The Icing On The Cake.

Yes, I spend a lot of money getting my books together and putting this business (and yes, it’s a business) together. I spent a lot more money than I will get back in sells. However, as I stated before as to the WHY I decided self-publishing, I feel that putting money into something you LOVE to do is not a waste at all. Heck, I spent more on my wedding day, for ONE day, than I have on my novels, and my wedding day was in 2008! Also, grant it, I’m not the type of woman who shops, or get my hair “did”, or get my nails done, or wear make-up. I only shop for clothes maybe once a year, and I wear the same pair of shoes to work daily until I have to replace them. So, for me, spending all this money on my novels and not recovery costs is okay. I put my money into buying something I enjoy just like everyone else who spends money shopping. It equals about the same anyway.

So, in the end, one has to think about the WHY they are putting an effort, and your money, into a novel. Think about a realistic goal, and remember that the J.K. Rowling’s and the Amanda Hocking’s are really Lotto winners…and we know how much of a chance it is to win the Lotto, right?

Remember those statement that you made to want to reach just one, just ONE reader, “…and I will be happy!” And when you reach that goal, then what you need to do is try for one more….just ONE.

Currently, I’m up to three buys a month. Yep, just three. For two years I had no buys. But now, somehow, ONE more person has found me. And then another. And then another.

When I have more items on my virtual book store to sell, I’m hoping that will increase. Until then, I will travel the road of the Lone Self-Publisher and be Happy!





Oh Well…Just Not Gonna Do Another Techie Thing

Soooo, I found out that google no longer uses the “Note In Reader” tool, which means I can no longer do this nifty trick: Tutorial: Create RSS Feeds for your Website. And that’s really upsetting, because I just can’t figure out all that HTML coding and such for my static (or don’t-change-so much) website www.Zhollis.com to have RSS on it’s page.

Darn it! Darn it!

Oh well. I guess I ain’t gonna do it…period.

Sometimes with all this techie stuff, you just have to throw in the towel and submit and give up.

I don’t have time do figure out and research all the RSS stuff. But then again, I’m wondering if anybody uses it anyway….

Then there’s the “Subscribe” field I could add to my site, but I can’t figure out a way to do that either. I mean, I could use MailChimp which is FREE and what some people have done, but I figure it would be a learning curve just like when I had to learn how to build my own Contact Me Form. I mean, I did A LOT for my webpage and even put a blog out when I finished building everything that listed on all the websites I used to help me. But then I took a look at MailChimp and found out it isn’t that much to do, it’s just that their Form is pretty basic and you need an actual picture banner to make it a bit more of your own. So, the form isn’t quite “your” website per se. It isn’t a part of it like my Contact Me form is exactly on My website, but it’s on MailChimp’s site (well, that’s how it looked like it functioned).

Thank goodness the blog sites (My Word Press and Blogger) don’t have that problem and adding Apps and neat little features to them are a cinch. But having your OWN website without all the nifty tools to help you build it…well…it can be a pain in the, uh, bottom.

Sigh. Oh well. I just removed the darn RSS that was on my website, which wasn’t working very well anyway, and called it a day. I’d look into more on MailChimp later. It seemed to be my easiest choice.

If ya’ll have any other ideas out there, give a girl some help, will ya! 🙂

Until Next Time.






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