Sunday, November 29, 2015

Think Outside the Bookstore


Copyright © Heidi M. Thomas
Originally Published by 1st Turning Point

When my first book, Cowgirl Dreams, was published, I was shocked and surprised to learn that you don’t necessarily sell books in bookstores. That just doesn’t seem logical, does it?
Well, it does, if you think about it. Bookstores shelve thousands of books. Customers have their favorite well-known authors and usually they go in specifically to purchase that particular author. Some may browse and run across your book and be intrigued enough to buy it, but unless your name is John Grisham or Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts, don’t count on it.
Even when I put on a reading and PowerPoint presentation one time at a local independent bookstore, I had an audience of about twenty people, but I sold two only books.
Seems daunting, doesn’t it? Where do you sell books, if not in bookstores?
Since my novels are based on my grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos, I look for any store or event where people might be interested in rodeo, horses, ranch life, and cowgirls. My very first signing was at a local Farmers Co-op store, where they sell feed, farm supplies, and some gift items. It was around Christmastime, they featured a “customer appreciation day,” and Santa was there. I sold about 20 books in three or four hours.
Other venues I’ve tried:
  • I’ve set up a table outside a western wear store.
  • I’ve attended an event for National Cowboy Day at another farm supply store.
  • Rodeos and horse shows.
  • I’ve given talks to local organizations—libraries, museums, service groups such as Soroptimists or Rotary. These service-type organizations are always looking for speakers.
  • Farmers markets. Many will allow crafts and other items besides fruits and veggies.
  • Arts and crafts fairs around the holidays are good for selling books.
  • Since I teach classes on writing, I give workshops.
  • I was invited to participate in a “Storytelling Roundup” event in Cut Bank, Montana, where my grandparents lived, and gave workshops in schools.
What is your book about? What are some sub-themes? If you have a mystery but your main character raises show dogs, look for stores and venues that cater to dog people. Is your character in your thriller a gourmet cook? See if you can set up a signing at a kitchen store. Where is the setting of your book? If possible, go to that town. Find organizations or places that might be interested in subject matter in your book. Is there a specific landmark mentioned, a well-known bar or restaurant, a university, Alcoholics Anonymous or the Society for Retired Train Conductors?
To paraphrase the old cliché, “think outside the bookstore.” And have fun!



I love hearing from you! Leave a comment and let me know about your bookstore signing success or failures. And don't forget to enter our contest to win a complete book promo package at http://www.castelane.com/contest-promo-package-s/2041.htm


Heidi M. Thomas is the EPIC and WILLA Literary Award-winning author of the “Dare to Dream” series, is a freelance editor for fiction and non-fiction, and teaches memoir and beginning fiction writing classes in her Pacific Northwest community. She is the member of Women Writing the West, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Northwest Independent Editors Guild, and Skagit Valley Writers League. http://www.heidimthomas.com

Friday, November 27, 2015

Weighing Up Traditional Publishing & Ebook Publishing



Copyright © Robert W. Walker
Originally published by 1st Turning Point

In any non-traditional publishing, as in ebook publication, there is no such thing as an advance against royalties.  In Traditional Publishing, now often termed DTBs (Dead Tree Books) by our younger generations, the advance has always been there.  This is a significant difference.  For the older generation—my generation—the first phrase that comes to mind for the author is “an advance against royalties,” and what this means is the author gets a lump sum loan payment to start work on the process of crafting a book or novel.  However, in ebook non-traditional publishing, wherein everything is lower case, there are no advances.  In fact, in “non-publishing” as some like to call it, there are a lot of no’s to the traditional model.
However, before we get too far afield, an advance against a royalty of a $100,000 is a thing of beauty on the surface.  No doubt about that.  A writer can rejoice.  However, if it is for four books to be written over four years, that’s pretty much slave wages, or $25,000 a year, which if one is independently wealthy makes for nice pen money.  Not so with most people who are attempting to make a living (no joke) at writing.
To the midlist author who wins this arrangement or spin of the publishing wheel, $25,000 a year does not go far.  It’s about minimum wage if that.  Whereas in ebook publishing, there are no advances and no paying back of that $25,000 a year.  On the one hand, your publisher grants you a “loan” to be paid back via your royalties (if royalties even occur); on the other hand, every cent of an advance must be paid back to the publisher via your royalties, and until that hundred thousand is worked off by your royalties (if at all), you see no additional funds from royalties.  Should your sales be too low to return that advance to your publisher, you are left with a bad business loan, and your name or reputation as a writer is mud thereafter.
The above is one area where traditional and non-traditional publishing go in very different directions. But there are far more differences for the writer-as-businessman as well.  Below are some of the glaring differences between the two, other than the way they deal with advances:


Traditional Publishing

Ebook Publishing

They contract for all rights including ebook

You are in a partnership with Kindle/other

Your royalty rate for paper is 10 percent/12 hardcover

Your royalty rate is 70 percent

Your chance of having returns is 100%, & remainders, too

So few returns, negligible/no remainders

Your chance of getting a rejection letter 90 to 100%

No rejection letters

Prestige of publishing with 1 of the big six…

Little to no “prestige”/much criticism

Professional, topnotch editorial help at no charge

Editorial help at your expense

Author pockets 10-12% of a $25 book *

Author pockets 70% of $2.99/3.99

9 months to 2 yrs. from acceptance final MS till pub date

Author publishes when s/he wishes

Publisher provides overworked PR person

You are the PR person or you hire PR

Publisher determines everything on cover

Author decides all cover art matters

Publisher writes copy/description of book

Author writes copy/description

Publisher can/often does change title

Author determines title

Publisher determines price of book

Author determines price

Publisher dictates/curtails length of book

Author determines length

Publisher’s royalty statement routinely confusing

Ebook gives clear daily sales report

Publisher’s royalty statement not seen for 6-12 months

Ebook statement daily report

Royalty statement/payment confusing 90% of the time

Payout arrangement clear

Publisher may/may not find review outlets

You seek out reviewers
* This means an author makes more on each $2.99 ebook than each $25 traditional book



Following up on some of these glaring differences between traditional and non-traditional publishing discussed in allow me to add some other hard-won lessons to the list.
The traditional publisher determines design matters such as single or multiple volumes or a series, and in ebook publishing, the author has control over such issues as series, stand-alone, or three volumes in one.
These differences are due in large part to the medium.  The medium is the message.  What I can add is that with traditional publishing comes “traditional” notions of prestige, as in “real book publication,” which grants a writer a certain prestige among readers, critics, and other writers.  However, a new attitude is being seen, an attitude among readers and writers that says the text is of tantamount importance, not the way a book is delivered.  While this notion and ebook publishing have been around for approximately thirty to forty years, young people, new generations, are embracing it completely.  The idea that a book delivered in sixty seconds on a Kindle reader is as viable a piece of writing as if it is delivered between the covers of a hardbound book—this is something of a radical shift—not in publishing but in readers.
Many traditional publishers either do not get this or simply wish to fight for the old standards of ‘proper’ format and delivery of books.  In the past and now, many people believe that a book showing up in hardcover is a better book, better vetted, better edited, and certainly written better.  However, we have all encountered hardbound books riddled with problems from grammar to concept.  More and more, readers are learning about the struggle that goes on behind the writing of a novel, the research, the rewrites, the editing, vetting, and more rewrites that go into the creation of an ebook by a writer, and while some ebooks display a lack of talent, nowadays more and more display genius “outside the bun,” or in this case, “outside the covers.”  ”Never judge a book by its cover” takes on a whole new meaning, despite the fact ebook cover graphics has spawned a whole new industry as has ebook digital platform and editing services.
Publishing with a major traditional publisher certainly can win one respect and sometimes critical acclaim, neither of which are automatically going to increase sales, but awards and accolades are a wonderful thing.  However, the drawbacks can be many for the author, not the least being a far smaller percentage (12 vs. 70).  Notably, traditional publishers, since the state-of-the-art Kindle device has skyrocketed in sales, are suddenly insisting contractually that authors turn over their electronic rights to the publisher.  Some authors have been savvy to maintain their ebook rights regardless.  However, traditional publishers holding your ebook rights—especially the majors—as a rule will set your ebook price far too high to the detriment of ebook sales.
E-readers are savvy and will turn away in droves if an ebook is priced too high.  Several of my books are saddled with this problem as the publisher set the price, while ebooks priced by me are selling a thousand books a month nowadays.  In short, the e-reading public will seldom to never purchase an e-novel or ebook priced at the same or nearly the same as the paper or hardbound book.  Not to mention that an author will always make more money putting his ebook rights to work on his own rather than through a publisher.
Working directly with Amazon.com, the author is basically given—at no charge—the opportunity to become a franchise.  Most traditionally published midlist authors are given no advertising budget, no coop monies, nothing, as any ad dollars go for the stars alone.  With Amazon/Kindle and other ebook publishers, every ebook an author places on digital platform gains instant distribution (distribution with traditional publishers presents both publisher and author with stripped, returned books, a nightmare in bookkeeping, and a sure path to remainders).  Reading a royalty statement from a traditional publisher is always a guessing game; reading the daily ‘ticker’ on each ebook with your name on it is as easy as reading the stock market and about as addictive.
Going back to ebook distribution—In the ebook world, distribution = advertising & promotion, and advertising and promotion = distribution, as having one’s book automatically on Amazon.com/Kindle’s bookshelf (without need of trucks and unloading trucks) is online distribution.  You have a place to send to anyone and everyone at the click of a key and wink of an eye.  Whispernet allows the reader to have the ebook in hand within sixty seconds!  And that kind of distribution is at no cost to the author and a great service to the reader.  With Kindle ads going out on national TV and Kindles being used as props in major motion pictures, the author can only benefit more.
There are no doubt many other comparison points between traditional and non-traditional publishing, but you know what?  Non-traditional modes of publication are getting to be part of the mainstream and hardly ‘non’ anymore.  Many authors are going the Indie Author/Publisher route as it makes perfect economical sense to do so.  This is especially true for authors with large backlists of otherwise dead books known as out of prints.  Already edited and vetted books that have seen returns, remainder days, used bookstore days—all of which pulls money from the pocket of authors.  Now, such lost titles are working for authors to the tune of thousands going back into the author’s pocket.
I hope my compare/contrast articles have been of help to you personally, if not professionally.  Hope to see you on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere online.


I love hearing from you! Have you recently made a leap from one form of publishing to another? Share your experiences with others. And don't forget to enter our contest to win a complete book promo package at http://www.castelane.com/contest-promo-package-s/2041.htm




Award-winning author and graduate of Northwestern University, ROBERT W. WALKER created his highly acclaimed INSTINCT and EDGE SERIES between 1982 and 2005. Rob since then has penned his award-winning historical series featuring Inspector Alastair Ransom with CITY FOR RANSOM (2006), SHADOWS IN THE WHITE CITY (2007), and CITY OF THE ABSENT (2008), and most recently placed Ransom on board the Titanic in a hybrid historical/science fiction epic entitled Titanic 2012 – Curse of RMS Titanic. The original Ransom trilogy straddles the Chicago World’s Fair circa 1893, and has had enthusiastic reviews from Chicago historians and the Chicago Tribune, which likened “the witticism to Mark Twain, the social consciousness to Dickens, and the ghoulish atmosphere to Poe!”  Rob has since published DEAD ON (also an audiobook), a PI’s tale of revenge as a reason to live—a noir set in modern day Atlanta,  followed more recently by Bismarck 2013, an historical horror title, The Edge of Instinct, the 12th Instinct Series, and a short story collection entitled Thriller Party of Eight (also an audiobook).
Rob’s historical novel CHILDREN of SALEM, while an historical romance and suspense novel exposes the evil in mankind via the politics of witchcraft in grim 1692 New England, which one professional editor reviewed as:  A title that only Robert Walker could make work—romance amid the infamous witch trials. The author followed this ANNIE’S WAR, an historical romance set in 1859, a tale from the point of view of the daughter of the infamous John Brown of Harpers Ferry notoriety.
Robert currently resides in Charleston, West Virginia with his wife, children, pets, all somehow normal. For more on Rob’s published works, see  www.RobertWalkerbooks.com, www.HarperCollins.com, www.amazon.com/kindle books. He maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Killer Instinct, the first book in Robert W.  Walker's Instinct series.
DR. JESSICA CORAN - A brilliant and determined FBI medical examiner, she was an expert student of the criminal mind who thought she could face anything. 
That was before Wisconsin. Before she saw one of his victims... 
THE VAMPIRE KILLER -The FBI agent had a special code name for his unusual method of torture: Tort 9, the draining of the victims blood. The newspapers called him the Vampire-Killer. But his own twisted love letters were signed "Teach"... and were addressed to the one woman he wanted most of all: His hunter, his prey, Dr. Jessica Coran.






Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Newsletters As Promo

Copyright © 2013 Ginger Duran
Posted By 1st Turning Point

I love receiving newsletters from authors.  Invariably I learn something I didn’t know and the best ones combine information with promotion for an unbeatable combination.
Properly constructed newsletters will showcase your “platform” or author brand—the indefinable “something” that characterizes your writing and your personality as unique.  The artwork you use, font style, masthead and color scheme, articles and interviews should all reflect your individuality and voice.
If you write dark paranormals, your newsletter’s style should reflect that ambiance.  Women’s fiction, ditto.  Do you write historical romances?  If so, include articles on history for the time period of your stories.  Or about the language, dress, and cultural issues that affect your characters.  The same would be true of science fiction—there are any number of new inventions and discoveries that would increase your reader’s level of understanding and enhance your credibility.  Do you write contemporary romance?  There is a plethora of articles that could be written about the state of romantic relationships in today’s society.  Who doesn’t want to know how to navigate those sometimes rough waters?  Don’t forget to include articles about writing craft!  Most writers want to hone their technique and usually like insight on how to construct books and make them engaging.
Ask other authors to write an article for your newsletter.  It’s a great way to promote them, generate a positive response, and perhaps a little reciprocity.  If the author is fairly well known, it generates curiosity, which is an instant draw to your website.
Another way to generate interest is to have giveaways or drawings for books: include your newest release as well as useful promotional items, like pens, bookmarks, etc.  This can be tied into a writing puzzle, game, or contest. Check out HomeBizWomen for tips on how to run your own contests.  Another thing to include is links to other sites that readers or other authors might find helpful.  Inspirational quotes can be a lift to many a sagging spirit and excellent filler for those small spaces that will inevitably appear.  Don’t forget to add a link to your own website or blog!
If all this sounds complicated or daunting, it doesn’t have to be.  Build it as you go.  As ideas strike you, write them down.  Keep a template open on your computer so you can add to it as needed and before the inspiration or time slips away.
One huge caveat:  Be aware of your own time constraints and institute a regular schedule–and stick to it.  Once you establish a readership, your fans will want to hear from you on a regular basis.  Keep them up to date on what you are writing, where you are blogging, and how your next work in progress is moving ahead.  This is a terrific motivational tool as well.  If you start strong and fade away, you risk losing your potential readers’ interest in what you do.
Today’s reader is busy and inundated with choices on how to spend their time–you cannot count on them to remember to check in at your website or to take an active role in contacting you for this information.  A newsletter can be an effective way to reach out to readers and writers alike.  A way to welcome, inform, and attract positive notice to you and to your writing career.  Happy Writing!


I love hearing from you! Leave a comment and let me know about your newsletter successes, or even about your newsletter failures. We learn from those too. And don't forget to enter our contest to win a complete book promo package at http://www.castelane.com/contest-promo-package-s/2041.htm




By day, Ginger is a stockbroker.  By night, the author Ann Duran.  Haunted most of her life by the need to connect with other realms, Ginger looked to writing as a creative outlet. As a child she grew up engrossed in the classics, with her favorite authors being Louisa May Alcott, Alexandre Dumas, and Mark Twain. Currently, she is writing her third paranormal romance novel, Waking the Dead and has two books, Phoenix Rising and Raven’s Nest, published on Amazon, B & N, and Smashwords. In addition, she writes sports articles published by Press Box, a Baltimore, MD, sports newspaper and Pop Flies, the magazine of the St. Louis Browns Fan Club.  Ginger resides in Las Vegas.

Raven's Nest, by Ann Duran. Pirates, shapeshifters and travel through time…how much more complicated can love get? Eric Morgan, a time traveler and shapeshifter living nearly 300 years in the future, will find out when he travels to 1718 Camden Maine to rescue Celeste Beckett from the clutches of ruthless Blackheart the Pirate.
When Eric receives the call from Celeste’s father, begging him to save his beloved daughter, Eric can’t resist going back in time to save the one woman he has always loved.  Little does he know his trip will bring him face to face with an old nemesis and a new dangerous one.  Eric’s actions cause a cascade of events that will tear one family apart and force another to test the bonds of forgiveness and love.






Sunday, November 22, 2015

What's Your Niche?


What's Your Niche
by Kim McDougall

Copyright © 2013 Kim McDougall 
Originally published by 1st Turning Point

When my first picture book was released, I did my due diligence and created an entire marketing plan.  I researched marketing for two weeks.  Another month and I had a detailed plan of action.  Two years later, I’m still implementing those ideas.  My second picture book was much easier because I had already laid the groundwork.  However, marketing is an ongoing puzzle.  Each new piece makes a bigger picture, but one that will never be finished.
Niche markets are often overlooked in the grand marketing scheme.  These little nuggets may seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.  Isn’t it easier to target the big guys, make tons of sales with one swoop?  The problem is that new authors are practically banned from the big-box book stores.  You may get into your local Borders and online at others, but getting an in-store presence nationwide is equivalent to finding the Holy Grail.  When I realized this, I turned my attention to smaller stores-first, independent book stores, then niche markets.
What’s Your Niche?  Well, that may take some thinking out of the box.  For me, the niche came naturally since I illustrated my picture book, Rainbow Sheep, with fiber art.  Wool and craft shops were a given, but I also targeted toy stores and country gift shops.  Children’s books seem to fit niche marketing easily, but novels and nonfiction can work this way too.  First, you need to ask, who is your market, and then where would you find these readers?
Is your book about horses?  Target trade shows for tack shops.  Mystery fiction?  What about selling it to bed and breakfasts?  Is your book set in a specific locale?  Would the tourist bureau for that area be interested in stocking it?  Love animals?  Look at the hundreds of zoos and aquariums.
The possibilities are endless if you stop thinking about bookstores and start thinking about who your market really is, and where you might find them.
You Found Your Niche.  Now What?  Maybe it’s motorcycle enthusiasts.  Now you need to reach these readers.  Most writers are familiar with services such as Writer’s Market that list magazines.  Turn back to these resources and find magazines that focus on your niche.  You may ask for a review of your book or offer to write an article about motorcycles.  Since you’ve written a book on the subject, you are, after all, an expert.
Next, look into motorcycle groups.  Can your book be used as a fundraiser in conjunction with a charity ride?  What about insurance companies?  Perhaps they need corporate gifts for their customers.  And, of course, there are the thousands of specialty shops for parts and service.  It never hurts to ask.  They can only say no, and most of them will.  But a yes or two will make the effort worthwhile.
Start Local and then Think Global
I also bring my books and art to local craft fairs, libraries and schools.  I don’t have a budget to travel nationwide, but local contacts are important.  One venture will often lead to the next.  I meet teachers, librarians, other artists, and business people at the fairs.  These contacts have turned into more engagements and given me more ideas.  An administrator at a senior’s home loved my picture book, and I suggested having a grandparent/grandchild reading event.  Several artists I met pointed me toward the local arts council, which in turn gave me more contacts.  Be open to conversations and ideas at these events, bring many business cards, and don’t forget to send your itinerary to the local paper.
As you establish your name locally, you can also advertise globally.  Before you attack foreign markets, be sure you understand how your books may be purchased internationally to avoid frustration from the buyer.  You may want to include this information on any advertising you send out.
I made postcards for Rainbow Sheep and sent them to yarn shops and craft stores all over the country.  My postcards read “Inspire your next generation of customers.”  This shows stores that even if they don’t stock items for kids, they should.
But where to send them?  My first idea was to buy a list of craft shops.  Many such companies exist to sell these lists.  In the end, I didn’t need to.  This is where your online connections come in handy.  I have always been overwhelmed by the generosity of the online writing community.  In what other industry would competitors be on such friendly, helpful terms?  I put out the call to my friends around the world to send me addresses of local shops.  Not only did I get addresses, I got offers from friends in Australia, England, and across the US to bring brochures about my book into local shops!  I will never forget that warm feeling of gratitude to those authors.  Don’t underestimate the power of your online connections.  Ask for help brainstorming your niche and following through on your marketing schemes.

I love hearing from you! Leave a comment and let me know how you take advantage of your niche. And don't forget to enter our contest to win a complete book promo package at http://www.castelane.com/contest-promo-package-s/2041.htm



Kim McDougall is an author, fiber artist and photographer.  Kim writes fiction for children under her married name, Kim Chatel.
In 2007, Kim McDougall had her first book published and began the arduous journey of marketing her novel. This was the beginning of era of ebooks. Amazon was getting ready to launch the first Kindle. The world was becoming a multi-media social network jungle. Kim immersed herself in the publishing industry and discovered the newest marketing tool: book trailers. She created her first trailer for her young adult novel, The Stone Beach. Having been a photographer all her life, she had a flare for the creation of these visually stimulating videos that promoted books. Soon, other authors started asking her to produce trailers for their books and McDougall Previews was born. Since then, she has created over 400 unique videos to promote books of all genres. Under the business, Castelane, Inc., Kim has joined forces with her husband, Louis Chatel, former Sales and Marketing Director of Olympus Imaging America, to create an all-in-one shopping experience for both the authors looking to market a book and for readers looking for their next great read. 


Rainbow Sheep by Kim Chatel. 2009 EPPIE Winner, Best Children’s eBook. 
Genevieve is a little shepherdess with a big imagination. When she finds a sad, pale rainbow, she tells him funny stories until he cries happy tears and his colors return. Genevieve’s sheep are caught in the colorful rain of tears and become the RAINBOW SHEEP.
RAINBOW SHEEP is a picture book by author and fiber artist Kim Chatel. Each illustration is a felt ‘painting.’ The text also includes instructions for two simple felt crafts for kids. Available from Guardian Angel Publishing. Join Kim Chatel at her website (www.kimchatel.com) for some fun and games.





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Trailer Gaffes and Greats



Copyright © 2013 Kim McDougall
Originally published by 1st Turning Point

It’s better to have no book video preview than to have a bad one. There I said it. Coming from someone who makes trailers for a living, that might sound like sacrilege. But I see so many trailers that are nothing more than static slideshows—image after image that mean nothing to someone who hasn’t read the book. Like a jacket blurb, a trailer needs to stand out from the crowd. It needs to hook a reader, demand that the book be taken off the virtual shelf.  After making two hundred plus trailers and reviewing them for others, I’ve picked up a few tips to help authors create good trailers, or evaluate existing trailers with a critical eye. 
Rather than pick on someone else’s preview to show what not to do, I remade one of my own with many of the mistakes I see too often. Below are two videos for my story “Barbegazi.” You may think that the mistakes in the first trailer are exaggerated, but I assure you, I’ve seen these gaffes in many trailers. Test yourself to see how many differences you can find between the two. If you’d like to play along, list your observations in the comments. Use the list of Trailer Do’s and Don’ts to help you.
Barbegazi “Don’t” Trailer

Barbegazi “Do” Trailer

Trailer Do’s and Don’ts
Style:
Don’t use quirky, hard to read fonts. Outlining text can often make it easier to read. Choose font colors and size to stand out from the screen images.
Do be consistent with font style. Choose one and stick to it. Exceptions to this rule would be changing the font color to better suit an image or font style for dramatic or humorous effect.
If adding an effect (like brush strokes or sepia) to your images, do be consistent and make them easy to see. Often I see altered images that are barely recognizable.
Do consider transitions carefully. No transitions between images can make a video feel stilted. Too many fancy transitions can seem amateurish.
Text and Voice Over
Do leave text on screen long enough to be read aloud.
Don’t tell the whole story. A trailer is a hook, not a movie. Trailers should show mood, character, genre and basic plot. No spoilers!
Don’t be overly wordy. Think in headline format for text.
Don’t put text lines over black screens unless for dramatic or humorous effect. Putting the text directly over the images adds drama and saves time.
Do be consistent with punctuation. Some trailers use text like headlines with no punctuation. Some use punctuation. Either style is fine, but be consistent. 
When using voice-over, do sound professional and eliminate background noise. Click here for some tips on getting good quality sound at home. Click On Screen Text or Voice-over? for an article about getting the best sound quality from a home recording.
Images
Don’t cover faces or main objects with text. Try to keep text off to the side or in a spot that doesn’t detract from the visual appeal.
Do choose dramatic pictures that will show up well on a small screen. 
Do use the images to enhance the text. For instance, a generic text line like “Danger stalked her” can be enhanced with an image of a kidnapping, a war zone or a plague. In this way, very different plots can be hinted at while keeping text lines short.
Do add movement to your photos through zooms and pans.
Do think about adding live video clips, even if it’s just animated text. Live video takes a trailer from a slide-show to a movie. One clip can often be cut into pieces and used throughout the trailer for better effect at lower cost.
Don’t leave black space behind your images. Use the whole screen. This includes cover images. Add a background texture behind your cover for visual appeal.
When choosing photos, don’t use different models for the same character. This is just plain confusing to the viewer. Many stock photo sites offer the option to see other pictures of the same model.
Do use only royalty free music and images. Here is an article, A Few Cautionary Words about Royalty-free, that list some limitations of royalty-free media as well a offers a partial list of royalty-free media sites.
Music and Sound Effects
Do choose music that suits the story, is not irritating and allows for sound effects or voice-over if necessary. 
Do fade music at the end. Music that cuts off abruptly is jarring.
Do use the beat of the music to add dramatic emphasis to the photos. This often happens naturally, but you may need to tweak the placement and length of images to take advantage of the music’s beat.
Don’t use music with lyrics along with on-screen text. It can be difficult for the viewer to concentrate on both. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. If the music lyrics are quiet or generic enough that the viewer can tune them out, then it may work.
Promotion:
Do show your cover at least twice. I prefer to begin with the cover (if it doesn’t detract from the drama) and then show it again before the credits. Finally, I end with the cover (or logo) because this is the image that will stay on the screen.
Do include the author website and buy links in the credits. Don’t miss out on this valuable marketing real estate.
Do post your trailer on your website and as many video sharing sites as you can.
Don’t send viewers to a dead end link to view your trailer. Most video sharing sites have no way to link to the buying site for your book. When inviting viewers to watch your trailer, send them to your website or a book site that includes buy links.
Do target your audience. Children’s books need to target both adults (the buyers) and children (the readers). Romance novels may want to include images that appeal more to women, while WWII mysteries might benefit from images that appeal to men. Know your audience and target the trailer accordingly.
General
Don’t make the trailer longer than two minutes. Sixty to ninety seconds is best.
For children’s books, do include the reading age.
Don’t regurgitate the book jacket blurb. Often times, the trailer will work in conjunction with the blurb. Give the viewer a reason to watch the trailer.
Do try to think out of the box. Book video previews are the hot new marketing tool in a multimedia world. How will yours standout from the thousands of slideshows out there?


I love hearing from you! Let me know what your worst trailer gaffes or best trailer greats have been! And don't forget to enter our contest to win a complete book promo package at http://www.castelane.com/contest-promo-package-s/2041.htm




Kim McDougall is an author, fiber artist and photographer. Kim writes between the cracks of fiction genres, mixing literary, romantic and fantasy elements for a new brand of storytelling: Between the Cracks Fiction
In 2007, Kim McDougall had her first book published and began the arduous journey of marketing her novel. This was the beginning of era of ebooks. Amazon was getting ready to launch the first Kindle. The world was becoming a multi-media social network jungle. Kim immersed herself in the publishing industry and discovered the newest marketing tool: book trailers. She created her first trailer for her young adult novel, The Stone Beach. Having been a photographer all her life, she had a flare for the creation of these visually stimulating videos that promoted books. Soon, other authors started asking her to produce trailers for their books and McDougall Previews was born. Since then, she has created over 400 unique videos to promote books of all genres. Under the business, Castelane, Inc., Kim has joined forces with her husband, Louis Chatel, former Sales and Marketing Director of Olympus Imaging America, to create an all-in-one shopping experience for both the authors looking to market a book and for readers looking for their next great read. 
The Golden Hour, a novella by Kim McDougall. This is not a romance. This is not the story of boy meets girl, boy wins girl.  The Golden Hour goes beyond erotica and romance. Instead, it is an exploration of how sex defines us, particularly in those first years of sexual burgeoning when it is intoxicating and empowering. Sarah’s life has been defined by the men in it. Now she must learn to define herself or forever live in the past. The Golden Hour is a story of the greatest love of all.
Malek and Sarah have a passionate and destructive relationship. When fate and stubborn pride separates them for good, they promise to meet twenty years later in that exact hour at their favorite restaurant in Nice.  At age 42, Sarah waits at the little cafe for her first love to appear in the falling afternoon light. Will Malek be the same mysterious man he was? Will he still want her? Will he even come? Her imagination is overwhelming as she remembers their dark and fiery past, and dreads the secret she must finally reveal.  
Heat Warning: For mature readers only. Contains explicit heterosexual encounters. The Golden Hour is a novella, approximately106 print pages. This version is the second edition. 


Monday, November 16, 2015

Marketing Before Publication? How About Before It’s Written?

Copyright © 2013 Robert W. Walker
Originally Published by 1st Turning Point
In what I consider a bold move, a writer decides to create a journal-type blog that will follow his work in progress. He makes challenging deadline predictions for completing the rough draft and the edited-vetted final: a book in a year, a rough draft in three months.
This is a novel that has not been written yet, much less published, and while there is no pre-ordering set up, people who follow the blog, hopefully, will want to get the book they have been hearing about for so long once it’s available.  Hopefully the premise, the setting, sharing characters, even setting up chapters on the blog, will entice readers and generate buzz.
This has been my plan with my work in progress-to put out there how I write, where I get my premise, how I do research, fashioning drama out of said research, holding research down to backdrop and pulling the human story to the forward stage.  The blog gets into details of various tools and instruments used in putting the story together as close to a seamless symphony as one can make it.  It speaks of the unique character of this particular book, what special needs are required in this book.  The blog appeals to those who wish to see how a novel is built brick by brick, scene by scene, chapter by chapter.
I have had mixed results thus far, but it is early in the process.  The first draft has yet to be completed. I set out in mid-February. Mid-May marked three months, so I have run past my initial deadline; the beauty of one that is self-imposed, yes, but there is so much value in having a deadline of any sort.  It’s something to shoot for.
How is this marketing?  With each blog entry, I announce it on chat groups, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and elsewhere. As I speak about it in my various blogs, I set up a free chapter for download from my website.  It has gotten twenty followers, which may not seem like much, but they are avid folks and interested in seeing the book evolve.  All the while, I can also speak to the publication date when it begins to loom closer to the time when people can read the book from beginning to end in a neat, orderly, well-edited copy.  I can also demonstrate putting this title up as a Kindle Original and market it as such.
Should you do this with your work in progress?  I will admit, writing novels has become somewhat second nature after doing some 50-odd novels, but part of the purpose of the blog is to demonstrate just how many ways I mess up and pick myself up and go on in the face of adversity and life in general.  I believe anyone contemplating a work in progress can and should give this a try.  Why?  Because of the rewards that come out of it.  Even if no one reads my journal on writing Curse of the Titanic (for which I ran a title contest that ‘failed’ as no title rattled my cage like the one that came from another source)-and even if no one reads your blog about your work in progress, either, YOU will feel wonderful after getting these asides about the process out of your head and on screen or on paper. I do.
We often say our first reader happens to be us.  That makes good sense since in the writing we free ourselves to fly. Keeping a journal on a work in progress is quite freeing.  Many a writer, like John Steinbeck, who worked with traditional tools, kept journals wherein they railed against themselves and the work in progress to shake it up and strangle it and get what they needed from it to MAKE the story.
It does take time, and at times I wish I had blogged more on the manuscript, but I have to also find the time to WRITE the thing.  I have tried to blog every other weekend at the very least, though I began with it once a week.  It is rather overdue for an update now, so I am away!


I love hearing from you! Leave a comment with your innovative book marketing ideas. And don't forget to enter our contest to win a complete book promo package at http://www.castelane.com/contest-promo-package-s/2041.htm





Award-winning author and graduate of Northwestern University, ROBERT W. WALKER created his highly acclaimed INSTINCT and EDGE SERIES between 1982 and 2005. Rob since then has penned his award-winning historical series featuring Inspector Alastair Ransom with CITY FOR RANSOM (2006), SHADOWS IN THE WHITE CITY (2007), and CITY OF THE ABSENT (2008), and most recently placed Ransom on board the Titanic in a hybrid historical/science fiction epic entitled Titanic 2012 – Curse of RMS Titanic. The original Ransom trilogy straddles the Chicago World’s Fair circa 1893, and has had enthusiastic reviews from Chicago historians and the Chicago Tribune, which likened “the witticism to Mark Twain, the social consciousness to Dickens, and the ghoulish atmosphere to Poe!”  Rob has since published DEAD ON (also an audiobook), a PI’s tale of revenge as a reason to live—a noir set in modern day Atlanta,  followed more recently by Bismarck 2013, an historical horror title, The Edge of Instinct, the 12th Instinct Series, and a short story collection entitled Thriller Party of Eight (also an audiobook).
Rob’s historical novel CHILDREN of SALEM, while an historical romance and suspense novel exposes the evil in mankind via the politics of witchcraft in grim 1692 New England, which one professional editor reviewed as:  A title that only Robert Walker could make work—romance amid the infamous witch trials. The author followed this ANNIE’S WAR, an historical romance set in 1859, a tale from the point of view of the daughter of the infamous John Brown of Harpers Ferry notoriety.
Robert currently resides in Charleston, West Virginia with his wife, children, pets, all somehow normal. For more on Rob’s published works, see  www.RobertWalkerbooks.com, www.HarperCollins.com, www.amazon.com/kindle books. He maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Killer Instinct, the first book in Robert W.  Walker's Instinct series.
DR. JESSICA CORAN - A brilliant and determined FBI medical examiner, she was an expert student of the criminal mind who thought she could face anything. 
That was before Wisconsin. Before she saw one of his victims... 
THE VAMPIRE KILLER -The FBI agent had a special code name for his unusual method of torture: Tort 9, the draining of the victims blood. The newspapers called him the Vampire-Killer. But his own twisted love letters were signed "Teach"... and were addressed to the one woman he wanted most of all: His hunter, his prey, Dr. Jessica Coran.