Indie Author Spotlight – S.J. Hermann

As an indie author I like to pay it forward with other indies and give them a little love. This week, I wanted to introduce you to S.J. Hermann. Steve’s an all around great guy, an anti-bullying advocate and has a razor sharp wit.

His Morium Trilogy is a gripping YA Supernatural Thriller series. I’ll let Steve tell you about his inspiration for writing the series:

After I finished writing final book of the Morium Trilogy, I paused and reflected back as to why I wrote these books. It was more than releasing the one scene that played out in my head; the foundation in which Morium was built upon. I wanted to tackle tough subjects that teenagers may face on a daily basis. The emotional pain that lay buried deep in the conscious of their fragile minds as a result of relentless mental torture. How it might mold them into someone they never desired to be. To do unimaginable things to others, or to themselves.

I dig into sensitive topics that readers may have a hard time reading. Even though these books are YA, I don’t sugar coat. My goal was to provide an entertaining read while bringing forth serious problems; bullying, self-harm, addiction, loneliness, dealing with loss, sexual abuse and hiding your true self for fear of what others may think. Since it was integral to the story line, my writing had to be raw and to the point, for doing otherwise, would have lessened the impact.

Is this a dark series? Very. Is this a series for those younger than fifteen? Probably not. Give any teenager that has bottled up anger and give them the gift of supernatural powers, they will lash out any way they can.

None of this could’ve been possible if not for strong and developed characters. Alexandria (Lexi), Nathan, Stacy, and further in the trilogy, Renee, have their morals tested; fueled by abilities that two of them believe are an entitlement. I want readers to ask themselves how they’d react if they were walking in the shoes of the main characters. As I laid the groundwork for the trilogy, my personal demons from the past had me questioning my own morality. What would’ve I done?

(You can check out his books by clicking on the thumbnail of each one)

His Books

MORIUM (Book One of the Morium Trilogy)

Books Go Social Runner-up for Best Self-Published Book of 2015

morium-book-1If you had the powers to avenge yourself… would you? Bullied… Years of shame… Lexi and Nathan knew pain.

A GRIPPING YA SUPERNATURAL THRILLER

MORIUM is the story of Alexandria and Nathan… and Stacy. Three teenagers who were victims of bullying all through high school. They kept their torment a secret from their family and tried to cope in their own way. They only had each other. Their friendship saw them through the seemingly endless years of suffering.

But hope was in sight… they will be graduating soon. The vision of a new life away from the bullies and the constant humiliation, gave them something to look forward to. If only that day came sooner.

One night, Lexi and Nathan saw an object fall from the sky and went to investigate. As they touched the rock, a strange power entered their bodies. Suddenly, they’re not helpless anymore. They can get revenge for all the suffering and pain they had to endure.

How will they use these powers?

MORIUM discusses the moral dilemma of doing what’s right against getting revenge. When your dignity has been shattered and your life has been a living hell… what is RIGHT?

MORIUM: Dark Horizons (Book Two of the Morium Trilogy)

morium-book-2When the Light of Hope fades….
All that’s left are Dark Horizons…

A POWERFUL and INTENSE SUPERNATURAL THRILLER

In Book 2 of the MORIUM Trilogy, Alexandria and Nathan’s struggle with their supernatural powers continue.

When a new person enters her life, Alexandria or Lexi discovers that she doesn’t need supernatural powers to have a brighter future. She can leave her bullied past behind and rebuild her life. Meanwhile, “The Gift” takes deeper hold of Nathan and his hunger for revenge grows. But he fights his need to absorb souls to regain Lexi’s trust and save their friendship.

Stacy finds herself caught in the conflict between her closest friends, even as she battles her own demons. Whose side should she take? Will she choose love over friendship… or will she fail them both?

An opportunity to get back at Lexi’s assaulter pushes Nathan back into the path of darkness. One final act of bullying sets him over the edge, and he decides to put an end to the never ending pain and humiliation he and his friends suffered over the years.

Can Lexi save Nathan from completely giving in to the dark influence of The Gift?
Will their friendship survive?

DARK HORIZONS will immerse the reader into the intricate psyches of the bullied characters we rooted for in MORIUM. Morals aside, can we really blame Nathan for his anger and his need for revenge? Through indifference, did we not have a hand in creating the monster he has become?

MORIUM: Terminus (Book Three of the Morium Trilogy)

Coming in May 2017 Special Pre-Release price of $0.99

morium-book-3IT ALL ENDS HERE.

One final confrontation between friends… One final outcome.

In the finale of the highly rated supernatural thriller series, The Morium Trilogy, Lexi must not only fight the evil that resides within her, but also struggle to keep her relationship with Kyle from falling apart. Unknown to Lexi, Nathan is planning to exterminate not only the remaining bullies, but the entire town as well.

In the end, what will Lexi and Nathan choose… FRIENDSHIP or REVENGE?

Can they fight their inner demons and preserve what matters most?

steve

S.J. Hermann is a writer of paranormal, science fiction, horror, and romance novels. His books have moral basis hidden within them, and he brings some of his experiences into his characters. Hermann is an anti-bullying advocate and his struggles with self-harm can be read on his website.

Hermann currently resides in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where after a break, he hopes to return to college to earn a certificate in graphic or web design.  When he is not thinking of stories to write, he is an award winning artist.

Hermann is an avid roller coaster fan who has ridden over forty different coasters throughout his life. Though he is terrified of heights, there is not a ride he won’t conquer. If there is a hockey game on television, you can bet that he will be watching, especially his favorite team the Chicago Blackhawks.

He is an avid Walking Dead fan and will read or watch anything about zombies. Max Brooks and Stephen King are his authors of choice. He is a strong supporter of indies.

If you’d like to know more about Steve you can visit his website, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, and/or GoodReads.

From conquering fear to business models that don’t react – best reads of the week

It’s been a while since I’ve done a link post – and I think I want to get that back in on this blog. The holidays and general craziness is over for now, so time to get back to basics. Following are some super reads that I wanted to share.

Overcoming Fear by Jo Eberhardt. This has to be one of the best things I’ve ever read on overcoming our own doubts about ourselves. I actually cried as I read this heartfelt and often funny story. Do yourself a favor and read it – it will make your day, put a little bounce in your step and lift your head just a little higher.

THE E-PUBLISHING REVOLUTION IS DEFINITELY NOT OVER (Regardless of what you’ve heard)
Literary Agent Laurie McLean, is pretty sure the ePub revolution is not over and that Indies still have some serious say in the world of books.

75 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers. Yup that’s right WiseInk has 75 resolutions from which to choose that you could conquer this year. I have to admit, there were quite a few I think I’m going for.

9 Ways To Make Your Author Resource Box Sizzle by Publicist Joan Stewart. You know she has some great examples of the mini bios that authors can do for various platforms. Some of them really quite good.

Business Musings: The Reactive Business Model by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It’s a long read and there was a lot of ‘back story’ to get to the point but when she gets there, it’s worth the trip. And I couldn’t agree more with her.

As a little bit of further inspiration, I tossed in this trailer for a movie called, “Joy,” which I just saw this afternoon. If you are someone with a dream, I highly recommend the film. One of the most inspirational stories I’ve seen in a long time.

Have a great week.

Annie

The Unvarnished Truth – Do We Want it?

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Porter Anderson wrote a very thought-provoking post on Writer Unboxed the other day: Truth Be Told? Truth Is on Thin Ice.

He opens with a formula for ‘authenticity’ as developed by branding expert, Marc Ecko, which is this:

Authenticity is equal to your unique voice,
multiplied by truthfulness,
plus your capacity for change,
multiplied by range of emotional impact,
raised to the power of imagination.

And then Porter uses this formula to springboard into the main topic, which is truth in publishing. And poses these questions:

How good are you at truthfulness? Why don’t we tell the truth more in publishing? And especially in writing?

He answers them in part by using his own experiences from an event called Author Day that he put on in London. Long story short, during the conference things were said that were kind and encouraging, afterward criticism was launched from the same people that was not so kind.

And then he makes the point that many of us have made. We say things that we don’t mean about books we don’t read, to be nice. Or write reviews that a more glowing than they should be, and so it goes. And it’s of course, something that all of us have done. We have our reasons. Maybe to be nice. Maybe to avoid conflict. Maybe because we’re worried that if we are totally truthful, someone may turn around and do the same to us. And each person has their own version of truthfulness, and some versions can be quite devastating.

The Truth Bureau – are we ready for it?

Ultimately, Porter suggests developing what he calls the Truth Bureau. A group of anonymous readers who agree to give the unvarnished truth about books that are submitted for their critique. The books of course would be anonymous too, with no clue as to the author or any other identifying data that might give a clue. This would then ensure that we could learn the real truth about our books. It would possibly be set up as a service for which authors would pay. All from the view of course, of improving their work.

I found this to be a very interesting idea. Certainly on the face of it, there is a lot of potential to opening the doors of truly improving our work. And I don’t know any writer who is serious about their craft who doesn’t want to be better than they are. It’s a natural desire for any artist to strive for improvement – otherwise, you are in essence just phoning it in. And what writer worth their weight in words wants that?

Of course there is the bugaboo of having yet another thing that we indies must pay for. And you can’t swing a dead cat (sorry cat lovers) without hitting some guy with a service that guarantees he will realize your writer dreams. There’s even one guy out there promising people he will make you a best selling author on Amazon – even if you hate to write. Think about that one for a minute. Gives one pause, doesn’t it?

The other main stumbling block, I believe to something like the Truth Bureau is I think, human nature. We can be quite cruel to one another, especially when anonymous. The Internet is teeming with trolls and flamers and people who love to visit their hatred on poor unsuspecting strangers. The whole review system online is problematic. There are so many concerns people have; if they are authors they know that whatever they say online can be found and used against them; writers are cautioned against responding to negative reviews; and conversely I’ve seen writers attack reviewers, which only ends up making people think twice about writing them. And the list goes on. And what’s to say that people wouldn’t sign up to be an anonymous reviewer just to get their hate on?

Likely a service like this would have better oversight than Amazon, where anybody can lob hate bombs with impunity, but there would still probably be damage done before they were removed from participating.

What about a co-op?

Personally, I do like the idea of a Truth Bureau because it has great potential to help authors and thusly readers. Perhaps a co-op of writers and readers who are not completely anonymous but instead are committed to truthfulness. With a list of criteria to follow in their critiques, to avoid the feedback from becoming personal would work. The names of the authors could be left off, so that wouldn’t act as influence and perhaps the reader picks a genre that they read and gets a choice of 3 or 4 titles to choose from. Or perhaps I’ve just described a critique group. Not sure.

I do agree with Porter though, who I believe to be one of the good guys out there, telling the truth as best he can. We need more truth online in general, and in publishing specifically. The current review system is broken. Is is unpoliced and you honestly have no idea what you’ll get. Good. Bad. Hate. Love. It’s all up for grabs. And a crap shoot at best.

In the meantime

But in the meantime, given the way things are currently I will probably still continue to give overly nice reviews. Sorry but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Even with authors I don’t know, I am ever aware of the fact that if I’m too honest I will be attacked whether by the author or their fans or someone else. So, for now, I won’t write the unvarnished truth. Is this wrong? Perhaps. But in my experience, it is the rare person who wants the total truth about their creations. And sometimes a little truth goes a long way.

What about you? Are you totally truthful in critiquing another’s work? Are your reviews/critiques overly nice? Short and sweet? Any ideas on how a Truth Bureau could work? Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments.

Note: I’m offline for a few days but will happily respond to any comments when I return.

Annie

Technology, Computers, and Me

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So about a week ago, while I stepped away from my computer to refill my coffee cup my computer refused to boot. Odd thing was that it had already booted up. Naturally, the dreaded thought of all computer users popped into my head: Virus.

I was ever so glad that I have an external hard drive that I use for back up. Because otherwise I’d have had to shoot myself.

Well, despite my crying, pleading, and begging the computer just wouldn’t boot up and in fact gave me the boot. I called around and spoke to a couple of computer repair guys who apparently didn’t need the work because they told me I could buy a new computer for what they’d charge me.

I didn’t believe them, but lo and behold they were not lying. I found just the baby I wanted and ordered it on Black Friday. Gotta love it when timing and big sales come together right?

Of course that meant it would be a week before I had my new computer. So, I pulled out my ancient eMachines (do they even make those anymore?) computer which I shoved in the closet seven years ago and set it up. It groaned, it whirred, it made this awful grinding noise but it worked. Of course doing anything more than writing in Word and checking my emails was about all I could get out of it. And even then it was iffy. But somehow I managed. (Still, I felt like Fred Flintstone trying to work with a chisel and stone tablet).

It is funny though how we get so used to things going lightning fast that when they don’t, we get upset and tense. Could explain some of the road rage you see these days, right?

Then I got the new computer and you want to talk about fast – wow – I had no idea what I was missing. I really must come out of my cave more often and see about all this new-fangled high technology stuff.

So, I guess the moral of this story is that I’m an idiot but things worked out in the end anyway.

mre thumbnailBTW, I’m doing a Kindle countdown on M.urder R.eady to E.at (Book 2 of Scotti Fitzgerald Series) tomorrow and Wednesday. You can get all that fun and adventure for a mere 99 cents. And please do. Okay – end of plug.

Hopefully, once I learn how to ride my new computer I’ll be able to do things like tweet and facebook and other fun stuff.

Annie

Marketing – let me count the ways. Great links to help you market your books

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Did I just hear a mass wince? Yup, I’m sure I did, or maybe it was just me. Writing a novel is nothing compared to having to then market it. From the ‘deer in the headlights syndrome’ of just not having a clue – to the ‘it just makes me feel so icky to self promote’ whiners, none of us seem to like marketing very much. But if you’re in it for the long haul and have any hope of making it as an author, marketing is something in which you must become proficient.
Following are links to some kick-ass articles about book marketing. If you have a book you need to market, you need to read these posts.

Can You Promote a Book without Making Yourself Miserable? Jane Friedman gives us some decidedly authentic and down to earth advice about book marketing that may surprise you.

Standing Out on the Crowded Shelf—How to Help Your Fiction Find an Audience
Sage advice on what you can do to find your audience and get your books into the readers who want them.

Marketing Your Book on Social Media? How to Avoid Scams
Anne R. Allen warns about the the pitfalls of those feeding off authors with marketing scams.

A 12-Month Strategic Plan for Marketing Your Book before Release
CS Lakin writes a great nuts and bolts post about marketing your book, 12 months before release.

The 6 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Made by Authors
Another great post from Writer Unboxed about common marketing mistakes made by authors. No more excuses after you’ve read this.

In the meantime, I’ve managed to slog through week 2 of NaNo, clocking in a total of 34,993 words so far. I’m pretty sure I’ll meet the NaNo target of 50K – but that won’t produce a finished first draft. So, I’ll persist and hope I reach my target of 75K. The good news is that I have now developed some awesome callouses on my fingertips which makes the typing go a little faster.

Have a great week.

Annie

All NaNo All the Time

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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is quickly approaching and since I’m participating this year, it’s on my mind. So, I’ve gathered up some good posts that give tips, tricks and methods for surviving NaNo. If you want to join in the insanity, you can sign up here.

And now for the secrets of the NaNo universe:

The Glorious Insanity that is Nanowrimo

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Prep: 30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days

5 Tips for #NaNoWriMo I’ve Learned from My 464-Day Writing Streak

How to Survive NaNoWriMo: Tricks, Tools and Tips

And as a bonus I’ll throw in my tips:

  1. NaNo is not about completing a totally polished, ready for publication novel. It is about (at best) completing a first draft of a hopefully future totally polished, ready for publication novel.
  2. First drafts are butt ugly. They have typos, they have crude dialogue, undeveloped characters and subplots that meander and get lost in Cleveland. This is okay. This is how first drafts are.
  3. Editing, revising, and rewriting comes after NaNo
  4. Your competition is you and you alone, the other participants are not competing with you.
  5. There are no losers in NaNo. You give it your best shot, improve your discipline and resolve. If you  hit that 50,000 word mark. Bravo. If you hit something less, bravo! The win is in the words, not the count.
  6. Have fun. Challenge yourself. And who knows, you might end up with a butt ugly first draft that you can then skillfully mold into a great reading experience for total strangers who may even pay you money for the pleasure.

Have fun!

Annie

How to be a Squeamish Marketer

squeamish marketer eek

I’ve freelanced for several years now and marketing almost always plays a part in my work. I write copy for a living, and most copy is marketing copy. Whether it’s in your face and obvious or subtle – it’s marketing.

Even before I became a freelancer, I worked in small businesses and almost always, marketing fell to me. I guess that means I get it, or I’m good at it and there are results that show at least in part, that’s true.

However, when it comes to my own stuff. My own products and services I became a sniveling, whining, scaredy-cat at the mere mention of marketing. Suddenly it all becomes so personal. Ask people to buy my stuff? My God, what would they think of me?

Shouldn’t art be its own marketing sphere?

Self published authors in particular seem to have this problem. Perhaps because the work is creative and feels so personal – and in fact, is personal. To then turn around and market it may feel like you’re cheapening it. Reducing it down to the level of a handy dandy vacuum bag. And art is well art, right? Shouldn’t people just gravitate toward art? Toward the beauty, the aesthetics, the passion within? Isn’t art its own marketing sphere?

Sure, why not? Let’s go with that. And this is the marketing plan you come up with basically entails what every other author is doing:

  • Incessantly tweeting and getting others to incessantly tweet your books
  • Posting the buy links on Facebook
  • Writing blog posts about your book on your blogs (or maybe a friend’s blog, if you have any friends with blogs).
  • Badgering your friends and family to buy your books, then spread the word.
  • Rinse and repeat

Yep, that’s about it. That’s about as far as you can take it if you choose only to work safe venues with people who know you and won’t think poorly of you for trying to sell your stuff. Or at least will be too polite to say you’re irritating them.

Then there is the magic approach

We’ve all read the blog post where a successful author claims they didn’t market at all. They sold twenty books the first month and then lo and behold, the next month they sold 100,000 books. It just sort of happened. It was magic.

We squeamish marketers like that approach, no actually, we love that approach, because it means that we don’t have to do anything. That the universe will just reward us for all our hard work. That the cream will automatically rise to the top (of course our books are the cream). That there are no dues to be paid. No hard work involved. That we can continue to live in the rarefied world of the author who does nothing but imagines, inks up her quills and ponders the deep meaning of life within her world of story.

Meanwhile, other people are selling books

Meanwhile, the authors who recognize that they are not only writers, but also publishers, publicists, and marketer, promote the heck out of their books. They blatantly embrace commercialism, run promotions, pay for advertising, email market, experiment with marketing approaches, and take every opportunity they can find to tell people about their books. Guess who ends up selling books? And lots of them.

Not the squeamish marketer. Not the one who worries about what people will think of them. Not the one who prays the world will step in and just make it happen for them. Yep, it’s those hacks who understand that they are their entire team. That it’s up to them to spread the word, through whatever means possible. That they wear more than one hat as authors. That when they aren’t writing, they aren’t writers – they’re publishers, marketers, and the sales team.

There is an art to marketing

For some reason, marketing has gotten a nasty rep. It’s crass, it’s pushy, and it’s just not cool. I beg to differ. Ever watch an Apple commercial? Millions of people tune in every year to watch the Super Bowl, just to see the commercials. Millions of dollars are spent every year creating movie trailers. Art galleries spend months putting together marketing for exhibitions. And people will talk about an effective marketing campaign, promo, or commercial as much as they’ll talk about the product they promote. Some of them even go viral.

There is an art to marketing. And if you approach marketing as yet another art form for you to master you may get onto something that will, guess what, sell books.
Personally, I don’t like to run with the crowd. Doing all the same things that everybody else is doing. And right now, I’m learning what works and what doesn’t. But I’m really looking for something new, different, creative, and workable. Something that doesn’t just blend into all the white noise of every other author who is selling a book. I suggest you do the same.

However, here are a few tips that might be helpful:

  • Run different promos rather than the same one over and over. For example, run a 1-day freebie and promote the heck out of it. Then later run a freebie without telling anyone. Compare the results.
  • Keep a log of all your promo actions. Whether it is a book reading, a free promo, a contest giveaway, a personal appearance, a special on a book promotion site, etc. By keeping a log, you are more likely to be able to track cause and effect of your promotions. For example, if you spoke at the ladies auxiliary about botany on Friday and then on Sunday saw a big spike in sales, it’s reasonable to think there is a connection. This will help you to determine what is effective and isn’t. And encourage you to do more of what works and leave what doesn’t work behind, so you aren’t spinning your wheels.
  • Change your point of view. Part of the thing that makes marketing hard for us is that it’s personal. We aren’t objective. So every win feels bigger than it is and every loss does too. Try to take on the project of promoting your books as though you had nothing to do with creating the product. What would Suzie the publicist do? Or Mark the marketer? It’s not easy to do this, but if you can pull it off, you’ll be amazed at the stuff you might come up with.
  • Never give up on a project. Or in your case, a book. Case in point, my first book was published five years ago and frankly went nowhere. When the rights reverted back to me, I took that book, tore it apart, edited, revised and essentially rewrote it. My plan was to use it as my promotional book. Run a free promo then drop it down to 99 cents after the free promo. In the hopes that it would create visibility for my current books. I had ten times as many downloads as I expected and to my surprise, I’ve sold copies of the book every day since the promotion. I’m not going to retire on the proceeds from the sales but it amazed me that I book I essentially had decided to write off is now doing better than it ever did before. So…you just never know.

Whatever you do, do something

We all want to believe that the universe is just going to simply reward us for all the good things we do and all our hard work – and unfortunately, that rarely happens. So sitting around and doing nothing will typically get you nothing.
If you feel squeamish, weird, odd, floopy in the area of marketing that’s okay. Acknowledge that and then do something. Anything. As long as it results in more people knowing about your book. Start small. Then do something a little bigger. A little more daring. If you can just make yourself get through those first few icky beginnings of marketing, you may find that marketing is nothing to be squeamish about. You might even like it.

How about you? Do you have a hard time marketing? Have tried and failed? Have tried and succeeded? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Ever done anything outrageous that paid off? Tell us your marketing tales in the comments.

Annie

Free Book Promo Weekend – Results

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As noted in my last post, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I relaunched my first book False Witness by offering the book for free. For years, I’ve read of the impact and effect that a free book/give-away can have and was itching to give it a test drive.
When the rights to my book reverted back to me, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to try out this whole free thang.

So this is what I did prior to the freebie weekend:

  • Designed a new cover
  • Wrote a new blurb
  • Revised, edited and rewrote the book. The main problem with the original book was that there was a lot of head hopping between characters, which was probably a left over from my days of writing scripts. So the simple edit I expected to do turned into a major rewrite, while not changing the path of the story. It was a challenge and half the time I felt like Psycho Writer Girl, but when I came out the other side of it, I knew I’d made the right decision.
  • Assigned new ISBN
  • Did key word research
  • Uploaded the new manuscript, cover and book blurb to Amazon
  • Spent 2 days communicating with KDP about migrating my existing reviews to the new edition
  • Scheduled the promo
  • Created a promo email to my mailing list
  • Created and scheduled a Face Book post
  • Wrote and scheduled a post on my blog about the freebie
  • Put together an excerpt (guest) post here
  • Then we let her rip

It’s like a drug

I told myself that I would then go about my business and check the sales dashboard once or twice a day. Sorry, writers are just too obsessed to act that rationally. And yeah, I checked every ten minutes for the first day. It was like a drug, watching that stat graph go up, up, up. I just couldn’t do anything else. It was exhausting, but also very cool. By the next day I was able to only check every hour. By the last day I checked in a few times. Aside from seeing my graph going up the things that were cool:

  • I hit page one for sub category ‘cozy mystery’ in US, UK, DE & AU
  • I ranked #368 in the Free Kindle Store

So, the book was ‘visible’ for a few days. And that was very exciting.

Today I received an email from what appears to be a reputable book promotion site, asking me to do a promo deal with them. That’s a first. LOL. And I’ve decided to think of it as a win.

Expectations

I’ve seen blog posts where writers talk about thousands of books being downloaded during free promotions, but I had no such expectations. Though I certainly would’ve been delighted had that happened, I tried to be realistic maybe even pessimistic in my expectations. So I was pleasantly surprised that nearly 1,000 books were downloaded.

I write this post not to brag but to possibly help other writers see what they might be able to expect when doing their first free promo. If there are any other developments that come from the free promo, I will update you.

How about you? Have you done a free promo with any of your books? How did it go? Were your expectation met? Were you surprised with the results or disappointed? Feel free to share your war stories in the comments.
Annie

False Witness 2.0 – Free this Weekend

 

 

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When a publisher accepted my murder mystery, False Witness, several years ago for publication, I was thrilled. So thrilled in fact, I let her publish it as is, without a thought to editing, cover design or marketability.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about both the business and creative side of publishing. And between you and me, I cringe a little that I was in such a hurry to throw the book up. And I always hated the cover – even though the photograph used for it was one I took myself. A lot of shouldas, wouldas, and couldas.

So when my publisher told me that she was moving on and the rights to my book were reverting back to me, I was excited at the prospect of revising and editing the book. And making it the book it should’ve been. I believe that the edits and revisions have made False Witness a better, deeper, and more cohesive story – and hopefully a better read.

And to celebrate its new life, I am offering False Witness for free for the next three days. (Oct 2, 3 & 4). If you previously purchased False Witness, Amazon should automatically send the new edition to your Kindle, so don’t be surprised if it just magically appears. However, if it doesn’t magically appear on your Kindle or you haven’t read it and might be curious enough to give it a try, then please be my guest and grab yourself a free copy here.

And…we now return to our regular programming…

Annie

Copyrighting your book – nuts & bolts

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Great news. Like just about everything else, you can now file a copyright claim via the Internet. The not so great news is that it still takes approximately 8 months to receive your certificate, but trade-offs are a part of life.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy the whole process is. But since I spent a fair amount of time actually looking for a post that easily explains the steps and was unsuccessful, I thought I should write one myself for poor unsuspecting authors who are looking for a little  help.

Steps to copyrighting your book:

Before you go to the site have your ISBN number, the text file of the manuscript and  your book cover handy. That will just make it easier for you.

  1. To to: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/
  2. Register an account. This is like setting up an account at most any other site, except that the Username section was a little confusing and when I clicked on the help screen it sent me to a page that was unrelated. Basically just create a user name and move on.
  3. Your password should contain both upper and lower case letters, numbers and one special symbol that is not an Ampersand.
  4. Register new claim. Once you have registered you will see a left hand sidebar, click on “register new claim”
  5. Verify rights. You click each box to confirm you have the right to register a copyright with the material.
  6. Type of work. Click on “Literary Work”
  7. Title of Work. Type in the name of your book and answer whether the book has been published or not.
  8. Publication information. Fill publication info, including your ISBN
  9. Author info. Fill in author information as appropriate
  10. Address info. Enter your address info
  11. Rights & Permission. Fill in the info of the person who has the right and permission to manage and/or grant permission use of your work. It can be a person you’ve appointed like an attorney or business manager or yourself.
  12. Correspondent. Fill in the contact info of person who the Copyright office should contact if they have questions about the application. It can be you or someone you’ve appointed.
  13. Mail certificate. Contact info for the person to whom the copyright certificate should be mailed.
  14. Special handling (optional). If you need special handling on the claim there is a considerable fee and strict parameters. Read instructions, if they don’t apply go on to next screen.
  15. Certification. On this pay you certify that you have the rights to the material – check the box and type in your name.
  16. Review. You are then sent to a review screen to ensure all the information entered is correct. If you need to correct something, click on the appropriate screen in the left hand column to return to that screen.
  17. Once you’re sure it’s all good to go, click on ADD to CART.
  18. Then click on CHECKOUT
  19. Verify. Again verify the info is correct and that payment is $35. After this you will be redirected to the government payment site.
  20. Select payment method (electronic check or credit/debit card payment), fill in  your financial info, then click on CONTINUE
  21. Next screen will ask for email so confirmation can be sent, fill in email address and click on box authorizing payment
  22. SUBMIT PAYMENT. Once payment has been made you will go back to fill in the info on the material and upload files. Click on CONTINUE
  23. Instructions are easy, just follow them. You can select multiple files at the same time (such as manuscript and book cover) and click upload. Usually takes about 1-3 minutes.
  24. Once files are uploaded, click on green button to the right to COMPLETE SUBMISSION.

And that’s it. You will receive confirmation emails on payment and your submission and then you wait until the cert comes in the mail. Note: on most screens you will have to click on the CONTINUE BUTTON in the upper righthand screen – though not always. It’s best to just take your time and ensure you’ve filled out the current screen completely before you move on. All in all though, it is a very short and pretty convenient process.

Now, go get that copyright baby!

Annie