have viewed videos of others who have voice-overs, and I was very impressed at how professional they were.
It takes a lot of time and energy to make the trailers.  Why do we do it?

My answer is, because I enjoy it.  Searching for the pictures and music is the hard part.   I must admit it does get easier.  I know several very generous musicians that allow people to use their music in videos.  As long as you are diligent about giving them credit, most don't mind, some like to get an email of the link to the video.  Pictures seem a lot harder, but I have found a few sites for that as well. 

The next thing I will be looking into is free live action shorts to incorporate into my videos.  I

The programs I use to build the video are easy and quick.  The whole process is fun and the results look pretty good to me.

However, does it sell a book?  Is it useful as a hook that causes someone to look further into the book?   It's nice to see how many people have viewed one of my videos, but I'm not sure it translates to sales.  I would be interested in replies from anyone who could shed light on this issue from either the readers point of view or the writer who makes the videos.
 
Picture
I'm chronologically considered old.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am healthy, active, and certainly not ready for the rockin' chair.
So... why won't you hire me?

After a certain age, if you aren't already working in a stable job, it is extremely hard to find something.  It is becoming a major problem as people are living longer and remaining healthy, viable workers. If you are in this position, you know what I'm talking about.

The mind set seems to be that:
1. They want a long time commitment to employment and because we are over a certain age they believe we will retire soon.
2. We are a health risk.
3. We don't have the endurance, energy, or enthusiasm as a younger person.
4. Many of us don't have degrees, so experience means nothing.
5. We are unreliable for whatever other reason they can think up. 

Of course they don't voice these concerns to us, so we are unable to refute them.  There are various ways they are able to find out how old we are without asking, which is illegal.  Not only can they see how many years of work you have accomplished with a chronological resume, but I have been required to give what year I graduated from High School.  Hardly important information for the job, but it identifies your age group.  An immediate signal that you don't fit their profile.

I would bet these are the same people who are jumping on the band wagon about the Social Security crisis.  As an older American I am encouraged to work longer, and continue to add to the fund through paycheck deductions.  To me, this is a catch-22.   I worked with a woman who had  to retire early, and because she couldn't exist on what she received, she was lucky enough to return to work full time.  Many things are wrong with this.  First she was forced into retirement after running through all her unemployment benefits, unable to find a job.  She filed for social security but continued to look for work.  Finding a full time job, her benefits were suspended.  She would never get an increase in her benefit, and yet after returning to work, the deduction was still taken from her check.

There will be people who read this and say, she should have prepared herself better for retirement.   That is another blog post.  It's not always possible to prepare.  I will leave it at that, everyone's situation is different, life events sometimes prevent the best laid plans.

The point I would like to make here is, we have to change how we feel about older workers.  If they have the requirements for the job, they should be considered the same as any other applicant.  That's what the law states, however, we all know it doesn't happen.  We ask for a chance to prove ourselves.  Our years of hands on experience is a asset to any company.  You can read about how to do something but putting it into practical use takes a learning curve. We are ahead of that curve.  We hit the ground running.

My expertise is running an office all by myself, to running just a small facet of a large company.  In my portfolio, is experience from food service management, to a high level distribution company.   I have had experience with  different types of companies from a factory assembler, to financial management.  I worked my way up, it wasn't given to me.  I would be most happy to provide my resume to any serious employers close to this zip code, 78664.


 
Picture
Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, horror, and speculative fiction. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk)

That kinda defines it, but doesn't begin to cover it.  Steampunk adds a flavor to a story line like no other.  It's fun, and ever so exciting!  Blending the romance of the Victorian age and technology, can be tricky.
Don't think that adding a few gears here and there makes it Steampunk.  There is so much more.

Unfortunately, it's rather poorly defined.  Although the Victorian/ Technology scenario is a common theme, there have been many variations of that:

  • Take place in the Victorian era but include advanced machines based on 19th century technology (e.g. The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling);
  • Include the supernatural as well (e.g. The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger);
  • Include the supernatural and forgo the technology (e.g. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, one of the works that inspired the term ‘steampunk’);
  • Include the advanced machines, but take place later than the Victorian period, thereby assuming that the predomination by electricity and petroleum never happens (e.g. The Peshawar Lancers by S. M. Stirling); or
  • Take place in an another world altogether, but featuring Victorian-like technology (e.g. Mainspring by Jay Lake).
    (http://www.steampunk.com/what-is-steampunk/)
I am a huge fan of cowboy/technology stories. 

The love for Steampunk has spilled over into many facets of our lives.  There are now games, movies, and TV programs that have a Steampunk flavor. Many main stream stores are selling Steampunk related clothing, and shoes.  Themed parties are sprouting up all over.  People are even redoing everyday items they own in the Steampunk theme.








Miram's Uncle is in the service of Union of States, most of his job is secret. Miram longs to follow her uncle on one of his adventures.  She stows away aboard the airship, with her uncle's help!  See what happens when they go in search of a Mummy! Many more adventures await Miram.

This is entered in a contest called the Watty Awards from Wattpad.  I would love some votes if you have the time follow this link:

http://www.wattpad.com/5547423-the-air-ship-the-time-jump-and-the-mummy
I have tried to capture the Steampunk flavor with a book I wrote.  It's in the short story phase at this time.  I have introduced the characters and sent them on a short mission.

My hope is to expand that story, but to have every chapter be a new adventure.  The book, when finished with be targeted for YA, but I believe even adults will find it appealing.




 
Picture
What's that saying?  Opinions are like (fill in the blank), everyone has one!
First time I have ever done a rant, here goes.

This is my blog, my opinion, nobody asked for your opinion.  Who are these people who surf the net, determined to foist their opinions down your throat?  You are asked to believe that they are the authority on every subject known to man.  They know better, and whatever you have to say, is boring, a waste of their time, you don't know what you're talking about...  The list is endless.  It doesn't stop with blogs either.  In a simple post, where you voice your opinion, someone comes along and tears you up one side and down the other, because you don't agree with them. 

Don't get me wrong I love a good debate.  State your case in an intelligent manner and move on.  Stop with the personal attacks, the 'holier than thou' attitudes, and the rudeness.  What's the matter with you people?  Do they just want attention?  Do they purposely use big words to WOW us?  Did they just get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?  Is their real life so mundane that they must appear to be ever so knowledgeable online? 

I don't believe I have a mean bone in my body.  I don't hold grudges.  I try to see the good in everyone.  I am appalled every time someone who doesn't know me personally, is rude to me.  What's your point?  If I don't agree with someone, I normally don't post anything. 

The funny part is, the event that sparked this blog, was even about an opinion!  I was giving information, and someone posted how the information was a waste of their time.  Also, that my advice was for beginners and the people in that group were all way above that information. (They spoke for everyone!)  They wanted links to where I got my information and I didn't have any; it was personal experience.  The one link I included, in their opinion was horrible.  Naturally, they suggested a 'much better' program to use. Thanks Mr. Know It All!!!

Oh, and in case that person is reading?  This information is courtesy of mymomma.org.    Pffft!

 
Picture
It's all marketing from the first word that hits the page until well after the first sale.  However, there are different phases.  Making an attractive book cover is an important phase.

Before the reader is captivated by your words they must be drawn in by the "curb appeal" of your cover.  Yes, they judge a book by it cover.

If you are lucky enough to have a professional graphic designer to help you and you have the money to pay them, this article probably won't interest you.  Those of you on a budget, read on.

Color: Black or red backgrounds suggest danger, fear, guilt, death, or anger.  White or blue-colors makes you think of something soothing and peaceful.  Select your genre and check out other successful books to see what they used.  I have even heard of a book that used the same graphic in four different background colors.

Text: Just be reasonable.  We all want to be different, to stand out, but please don't use unreadable fonts!  Rule of thumb is usually title on top, your name on the bottom.  Nothing is written in stone.  Try to use a color for the font that compliments the major background cover.  Above all, remember it must be fairly readable in a thumbnail view.  Most of the time that is how it will be viewed initially.

Artwork:  Photos or drawings, it's up to you.  Make sure the graphic reflects what the book is about without being too busy.  Too many objects will only confuse people.   Color is as important here as the background.   You have three elements that must mesh together in such a way that it looks as though they are one.  Whatever you use it must be original art, free to use, or you must purchase it and give credit, if necessary.  Be very aware of copyright infringement when choosing art from the internet, read carefully all the rules for where you acquire it.

Putting it all together:  Paint does an okay job.  I have Photoshop, which I love, but I had to buy it.  Good news!  There is a free program called PAINT.net that is made to mimic Photoshop.  You can download it here: http://www.getpaint.net/    Small learning curve and you will be making great covers!

This is a "Get Started Quick" Guide.  There are other programs to use, everyone has a favorite.  These are the best choices in my opinion.  Most of the advice here is common sense, but I believe using these simple tips, you can come up with something beautiful.












 
Picture
You have written this lovely book, edited it, have a great synopsis, even made a video trailer.  Now what?  You post it on Face Book and you Tweet it.  Try to get some interviews....  There has to be a better way. 

Exposure is the key.  Be a household name.  The best way to do that is to  find good and different ways to market.  I am a huge fan of revealing a chapter and then adding the link on where to buy.  If you have a good enough hook it works.

I have searched the internet for places to post and this is what I have come up with.

http://www.bookdaily.com/free   and  http://www.scribd.com/    They offer excerpt uploads to link to.

http://www.author-promotion.com/BookMarketingTools.pdf     This is a link to 60 sites to announce the launching of a book. 

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/free-ebook-promotion_b52130   Another link to some useful sites to upload your promos.

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/where-to-announce-your-book-for-free/    More useful sites.

To the best of my knowledge these are all free.   Please be smart and read the instructions for each site.  Some of these may be more obscure than others, but using these links I guarantee you will, come up in more search engines, gain exposure,  and reach people who don't use social media.  These are writer/reader sites for the most part and therefore a targeted source.

I hope this helps!  Good Luck!



 
Picture
Over the last week I have read many articles that have given Indie authors a good bashing by publishers.

How many articles have I read, or even heard of for that matter, that bash publishers by Indie authors?  None

They don't want the majority of us.  Ok great.  Then leave me alone to make my own way. 

The much overused complaint is that we don't edit properly.  If that's all you got publishers....  Granted there are those that throw up (pun intended) garbage on Amazon, or like sites, without a thought to editing.  As usual those are the few that spoil it for the many.  I'll be honest here, I was one of them.  My earlier books are probably riddled with mistakes.  In my defense, I was learning, as are most independent  writers.  The first book I self-published was Abduction Trilogy, it even has a bad review complaining about grammar, it remains to be my best seller so far.

Why so many attacks in your interviews, publishers?  Do you have any idea how ridiculous and desperate you sound?  Who are you trying to convince?  Look, it isn't like we didn't try.  I have submitted books, that I DID have edited, to several publishers and got a thanks but no thanks. I'm okay with that.  Now I just self publish. 

As I see it, we are not at odds with each other.  You have your job to do, I have mine.  It's a pretty tall order to become a writer, editor, and marketer, all over night!  Most of us make our own covers, and videos.  Pretty miraculous when you think about it.  You have many people working on specific parts of the process.  We have only ourselves, or if we're lucky, a friend or family member to help.

Just admit it publishers, we are doin' a hell of a job.  We don't need you.


 
Picture
This fun little short story has been entered into a contest on WattPad.  The synopsis is as follows:

Miram's Uncle is in the service of the Union of States, most of his job is secret. Miram longs to follow her uncle on one of his adventures. See what happens when they go in search of a Mummy! (Each chapter will be a new adventure!)

It's only 5 pages at this point, but the story is complete.  Too short to sell at this point, I entered it in the contest to see how the idea would be accepted.  I have done it in the Steam Punk Genre. Ultimately, I intend to flesh it out and make every new chapter a complete and new adventure. 

It has well over 500 reads and a few very encouraging comments, but only 28 votes.  I think it's fairly well written.  I don't believe that because it's only 5 pages it's not being voted on, others in the contest are only one page.  I think the content is interesting...so I tried to figure out what is holding it back.

I think in all honesty the truest answer would be apathy.  We are all afflicted.   I try to support my fellow authors as much as I can and I believe those are the ones that came through for me and voted.  Granted I am not huge presence on WattPad.  That may be the problem, I don't have the networking going for me there.  The fact remains, I Tweeted the heck out of it and got over 500 reads, and of those readers only 28 finished the job and voted.  It's a bit discouraging, but I believe in the story and my writing ability.

I entered another contest recently on a blog, just for fun, and it was going well until I found out you could take away votes as well as give them.  I had encouraged others to join in and the same thing happened to them.   Pretty silly... 

So I come back to my original question, To Contest, or Not to Contest ?  Does everything boil down to a popularity contest?  Is it worth the trouble to enter?  If the judging entity is likely to be impartial, and not associated with votes from a social site I might try again.  If any one else has had this experience, I would say to them, believe in yourself and your story.  I will go on to finish this story and publish it.  Whether it sells or not, is another story...but I will have satisfied what I set out to do.

In the mean time, this is the link, and if you'd like to vote I would greatly appreciate it.
(http://www.wattpad.com/5547423-the-air-ship-the-time-jump-and-the-mummy )


 
Picture
So, you have spent months, in some cases years, actually writing your novel.  You know you will have to edit it, that's a given. If you have friends or family to help, it certainly makes the job easier.  You realize the real work is just beginning. 

For the Indie author, it's a daunting task  to self publish.  Most of us know this going in.  Big name publishing houses have many people to do the job that we try to do on our own.   Self publishing is so much more than just the tedious formatting for various platforms.

Even before the book is finished is the time you should start thinking about marketing.  I usually start on the cover first.   In an effort to keep costs to a minimum, I try to find photos or pictures that are free to use, with or without giving credit to anyone.   I like to try and make a composite of several pictures/photos so it reflects a hint of what's inside.  It takes time to get it positioned correctly and look good.  Then of course, you add the text, the title and your name.  The rule of thumb with all of this is that it should be able to be viewed as a thumbnail.   Care in choosing the fonts to use is important as well. You need it to grab interest long before the book is available.  I happen to have a program that makes my job a little easier for putting this all together. (PhotoShop 7)

Writing a good blurb is almost as important as the book itself.  Take time to do it well.  You want to be able to spark interest without giving too much away.  There is a difference between a synopsis and a blurb.   It seems that there for a while everyone was using questions in their blurbs.  I was never a fan of this.  I think telling enough of the story to have the reader ask their own questions is better.  If it's a mystery, be mysterious, if it's a romance, inspire love, it just that simple.  Don't give details, but say enough to hold interest, one or two lines usually doesn't cut it.

More people are becoming techy and I am seeing a lot of videos cropping up.  Like a movie trailer, it helps the reader visualize what the writer is trying to accomplish.  Finding the right content is  the laborious part.  For the writer with no budget, free photos are the best to use.   You can use part or all of your blurb to describe what the viewer is seeing. The last component is the music.  You have to be very careful about copy right infringement.  With this trend in video making, there have been several artists who have allowed authors to use their music for free as long as they get credit in the video.  This is a win-win situation because they are getting exposure as well.  A great simple program that is free to make your own video is Microsoft Movie Maker, I have tried several and this one has a lot of options to use.

With these tools you are ready to do interviews, posts, articles, etc.   Its time consuming, yes, but hopefully by the time your book is ready to upload to the site of your choice, you will have readers waiting for it. 

Indie authors are a brave bunch in the seas of thousands of books to be read.  I admire the ones who take the time to put out a great product that stands up to any of the ones coming from the publishing houses.