Leverage Every Book Event’s Booth Impact

Our established Phoenix-area ALWAYS authors met in Sept. 2022 to discuss how to make the most of book booth exposure. Here are valuable tips gleaned from the discussion, including additional marketing advice.

Ann Narcisian Videan’s booth at Phoenix Comicon in 2018 offering other objects for sale (faerie doors), an opportunity to contribute to a charity book, and a progressive story on the easel.

Proven tips for attracting readers to your booth

•           Pre-publicize your booth and why people should come by. When you let readers know before the festival, you increase your chance of traffic and sales, especially if you offer them something they can only receive by coming to the booth.

•           Stand beside or in front of the table instead of behind it, when possible.

•           Entice passersby to step up to you by commenting on their clothing, asking a question, or offering an interesting activity:

–          “What do you like to read?” (Then refer to authors in that genre near you, and ask them to do the same.)

–          IDEA: Our group is going to try handing out other author’s postcards (with booth number printed in a stick-on dot ) to readers looking for a specific genre.

•           Offer an interesting activity, even for adults: a progressive story to which they can add writing or art, non-messy food tasting, trivia questions, etc. 

•           Giveaways:

–          For kids: stickers or buttons for them to wear; candy; coloring pages

•           Sell other items, colored pencils, trinkets, swag (screen cleaner with your book cover imprinted on it, pop sockets, or other useful items)

Other brilliance

•           Support a charity by giving away your book for a donation, which will be directed to the charity. Or give part of your proceeds to a charity.

•           Supermarket table: Some indie authors are setting up tables in supermarkets

•           Connect readers with your book via online communities:

–          Sign up on the Book Movement site, where you give books away for reviews from book clubs

–          Get your book in front of 600,000 readers via The Fussy Librarian site

–          Post your writing at Booksie.comproviding tools for writers to publish their work and connect with readers from across the world.

•           Make purchasing your book easy: Have a info readily available for quick online, PaypalVenmo, or Zellepayments. Have a Square, for credit card swiping. You can obtain one for free or inexpensively and will pay 3% or less in credit card fees to use one.

Wisdom

•           After you set a book up and have a few reviews that are good, only read your five-star reviews. You can’t please everyone, and you need not suffer from low reviews.

•           Don’t use bookmarks, which often are thrown away. Hand out postcards on demand only, or a Top 10 list, a recipe, food lists, trivia, or other book-content-related handouts.

•           Keep accurate sales numbers. They can help you get into bookstores and all major distributors.

•           Hire an actor to read your most emotional chapter and post the video online.

•           Purchase a $5 ad on Amazon or FB, and look at the search term used by those responding. If they searched for the title of the book, rather than general search terms, they likely saw your ad.

Recommended Arizona book expos, fairs, and other events

•           Desert Foothills Book Festival, second annual currently in planning phase.

–          Images Arizona interviewed several participating authors in 2022 and covered them in the magazine.

•           Payson Book Festival, in Payson, AZ, in planning for July 2023

•           Thumb Butte Book Fest, in Prescott, AZ (Nov. 4, 2022? I couldn’t verify online.)

………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian VideanBook Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Find me elsewhere online.

Author Newsletter/Social Media Topics to Entice Readers

At the 8/11/22, Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) gathering, our established authors brainstormed an inspired list of topics for author newsletters and social media posts.

Photo by Michael Burrows on Pexels.com

If you have any to add, please comment below!

Compelling topic ideas to entice readers to follow you and your books:

  • Record milestones both for you personally, and for your books
  • Share resources, like writing sites online, Wikimedia Commons for free photos, or Canva’s design tools +
  • Interview your character
  • Share recipes
  • Post book excerpts
  • Give tips/Top 10 lists on your book theme, or based on research +
  • Create trivia questions
  • Reveal your character or cover, perhaps a part at a time to make several posts
  • Connect your book to timely events/ideas: holidays, history, national day celebrations +
  • Show your process behind the scenes: successes and foibles, storyboarding +
  • Share puns
  • Give away swag items based on the book: sticker, bookplate, character art +
  • Further describe your fictional world: qualities of magical gemstones, cultural details about clothing, religion, etc.
  • Announce merchandising items: character art on cups, posters, actual jewelry described in the book +
  • Create memes based on character quotes with an image (like the ones on Brainy Quote)
  • Contrast fantasy vs. reality
  • Describe book genres and subcategories
  • Ask “What are you reading?” and other questions readers can respond to
  • Ask for reader feedback on artwork and titles
  • Discuss themes
  • Reveal timing of releases
  • Create how-to videos re: something in your book
  • Explain how to write a review

Practical ideas for creating your posts:

  • Plan and schedule posts once a week or month
  • Always ask questions to involve readers
  • Create original photos and art in square format so it can be used on any social media platform

What else, authors?

………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian VideanBook Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Find me elsewhere online.

Book Publishing Costs: Solve the Mystery

This relatively short and very informative IngramSpark article provides excellent detail about what to expect in book publishing, along with fee ranges for various services.

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-self-publish-a-book

I happily discovered, too, my expertise and fee structure as a book shepherd aligns quite nicely with industry standards. Great to know in this world where pricing for book-related services can be all over the map!

Read it and reap.

………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian VideanBook Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Find me elsewhere online.

SAVVY AUTHORS LEVERAGE ISBNs AND LCCNs

I, Ezra Katz, CC BY-SA 3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s start with definitions, shall we?

An International Standard Book Number ( ISBN), per isbn-international.org, is “a product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and other supply chain participants for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control purposes. The ISBN identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition and format.”

A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), says the Library of Congress, is “a unique identification number the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress or from commercial suppliers.”

But where do I obtain an ISBN?

Quick answer: Your print-on-demand publisher (e.g. KDP/Amazon, etc.) or through Bowker’s MyIdentifiers.com, depending on what you want to do…

Anyone who uses the free ISBN from KDP wants to only sell books and buy author copies through KDP/Amazon. It allows you to be in Amazon’s expanded distribution system, which puts you in the computer system of Barnes & Noble and other select bookstores and libraries. Not on the shelves, but in their systems in case readers want to order your book .

Anyone who purchases their own ISBNs through Bowker typically wants to:

• Buy books locally (faster, with more quality control). These days, it’s taking weeks to get printed books through KDP. I’ve always been personally satisfied with KDP printing, but some of my authors have had issues.

• Sell ebooks on other e-reader platforms like Smashwords, Apple Books, Kobo…

• Publish through IngramSpark (IS) to have their books listed in their distribution catalog. This is a pretty good reason to get an ISBN specific to IS.

Bowker ISBNs cost $125 for one and $295 for ten. Since every format of a books needs a uniques ISBN, I always suggest buying the package.

[Side note: I’ve done both KDP and Bowker ISBNs in the past, but am leaning toward definitely buying a Bowker ISBN to use with IS in the future.]

And how about that LCCN?

Formerly called a Preassigned Control Number (PCN), the LCCN allows your book to be purchased by and/or donated to a library, because the Library of Congress (LOC) can easily catalog it.

It takes less than five days to obtain a LCCN, often the next-day. You first need to set up an account at the LOC, then fill out an application for a single book’s LCCN.

My thought is, why not? It can only help, and doesn’t cost anything or take much effort to secure. 

………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan, Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Find me elsewhere online.

Deep Point-of-View/Active Verbiage Writing Example

From Ann Videan’s “Fathoming Deep Point of View” workshop for the Society of Southwestern Authors. Sept. 26, 2021. Full workshop slide set available at https://www.slideshare.net/avidean/edit_my_uploads

Where in the world is Ann Videan?

Here are links to find Ann online…

 Videan Unlimited Web site  (You are here! This will take you to my home page.)

Amazon Author Page (Author Central) 

LinkedIn page 

Facebook page 

Twitter: WordsMusicTribe

SlideShare: seminar presentations

Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) Facebook group

Everything you ALWAYS wanted to know about book cover creation

At the March 11, 2021, Zoom gathering of the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS), our established authors shared a roundtable discussion about creating compelling book covers. I want to share with you some highlights from our discussion.

Thank you Humayun Ahmed. “A photo collage of book covers.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humayun_Ahmed

Absolutes:

  • Use large, readable type, especially for the title and author name. The words must be visible and stand out in thumbnail size, which is how most readers will first see your book.
  • Make sure the cover art/photo fits your genre. Just a visit to a section of a bookstore or Amazon page with your genre will give you the idea of what to strive for.
  • One strong image attracts the eye more than several small ones.
  • Use colors that mimic the mood of your book contents.
  • If you use a photo of your characters on the cover, they must match the characters descriptions in the book.
  • Here is a blog I found from “Creative Indie” Derek Murphy describing eight traditional publishers’ cover design tips.

Ideas:

  • Use author/creative writing professor Deborah Chester’s “Story Question” as starting point for your back-cover book blurb. These two sentences cover all the main points in your story: 
    WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS*, *YOUR PROTAGONIST* *PURSUES A GOAL*. But will he succeed when *ANTAGONIST PROVIDES OPPOSITION*?
  • End your blurb with one word having to do with death, enlightenment, or love.
  • You can update your covers any time you want. You might even try testing a “split” cover, giving readers two options, to see which image sells the book better.

Logistics and resources:

If you have ideas or resources to share, please include them in the comments below.

………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan, Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Find me elsewhere online.

A secret tool to create a catchy book blurb

First, a few points about book blurbs:

  • You have only a few seconds to intrigue a reader when they look at the back of your book. If you give them a lengthy synopsis (a plot-point by plot-point description), you can easily lose them in the detail. Synopses are for agents, editors, and publishers who want to know each step of the storyline, including the ending. A synopsis is an informative piece.
  • Blurbs need to be relatively short—just a couple of paragraphs, if possible—hitting the compelling highlights of the characters’ and the story’s arcs, but not giving away the ending. It serves as a teaser to interest readers enough to open the book to learn more, or to buy it. A book blurb is a marketing piece.
  • “Real estate” on the back of a book is valuable. It needs to include compelling words to entice readers to look inside and buy. That includes the blurb, testimonials, perhaps a tagline, maybe some author info/photo; not to mention the business and purchasing items like the publishing info and barcode. A long blurb takes up too much space to allow easy readability of the other detail on the back cover.
  • Authors almost always use the book blurb on their Amazon book page listing, too. Readers don’t spend a lot of time checking out a book online. Here’s how it goes…
    • If a reader likes the thumbnail, they click to see the details.
    • If they like the cover, up-close, they scroll down to the description.
    • If the description is too long, or doesn’t have an immediate hook, they leave your page and start searching for something else and you’ve lost them.
    • If the description grabs them quickly, they scroll back up to the “Look Inside” feature to learn more.
    • If they like what they see inside, they buy.
    • Readers holding a physical book follow the same process (obviously, without all the clicking and scrolling). 🙂

So, with all of that said, a short and punchy blurb works best. Hook the reader with compelling highlights without telling them everything that happens in the story. What you need instead of a short synopsis with too much detail, is a quick hook to entice a reader to want to know more about the story… an enticing marketing blurb.

And now my secret for writing the best blurbs ever…
Deborah Chester’s/Jim Butcher’s STORY QUESTION

WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS*, *YOUR PROTAGONIST* *PURSUES A GOAL*. But will he succeed when *ANTAGONIST PROVIDES OPPOSITION*?

This is a two-sentence description which can serve as the perfect foundation for your book blurb. Of course, you’ll probably want to embellish with some details within and around the story question, but it will start you off in fine shape.

When I read the first book in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, it hit me as so powerful I had to go figure out his process for great storytelling. The Story Question is one of the tools I discovered he uses, taught to him by his mentor, Deborah Chester.

Maybe using color coding for some of the phrases, below, will help you see how this works?

When something happensyour protagonist pursues a goal. But, will they succeed when the antagonist provides opposition?

The story question gives you the main points in your book:

  • Inciting incident
  • Main good character
  • The story’s overall goal
  • Villain/opposing character
  • The conflict

Example: Harry Potter, book 1

When he finds out he’s a wizardHarry Potter moves to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn about magic and his mysterious past. But, will he succeed when the dark Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents, returns to retrieve an immortality stone so he can destroy the young student?

An imaginary nonfiction inspirational book example:

Growing up in a cloud of fear and self-doubtSusan goes on a spiritual quest to find herselfFloundering to develop self-worth while unemployed and in the midst of a divorce with her unfaithful husband, will she be able to use her mind and will to overcome the hardships and forge a path to joy and fulfillment? Or will spirit intervene?

………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan, Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish • Word-of-mouth strategy

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Find me elsewhere online.

Three top writing tips to captivate a reader

While reviewing a blog I ran across at the Self-Publishing School site, I realized their points covered some of the main techniques I teach in my writing workshops to overcome these issues. Study the few tips below, and you’ll be amazed at how your words jump off the page!

  • Avoid passive voice, use active voice instead
    • Passive voice often uses inactive verbs followed by words ending in “-ed”
      or “-ing”
      • Passive voice = is cheering, are praying, have binged
      • Active voice = cheer, prays, binged
    • In active voice, you start your sentences with the subject and use an active verb to describe what the subject does. 
  • Don’t use weak verbs, use active verbs instead
    • Inactive/”to be” verbs = is, was, has, have, be, been
    • Active verbs create a mental picture: cheers, pray, binged, stumble, stared
  • Why use emotion explaining, when you can simply show physical reactions? 
    • Climb into a character’s skin and experience what they taste, feel, hear, smell, and do.
    • Beauty is in the details… describe how someone’s hands shake and lips quiver when they tremble in “fear.”

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan, Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Publish • Word-of-mouth strategy

P.S. Learn more about my novels on my Amazon Author Central page.

Coffee CommuniTea: The Buzzed Goat, Phoenix, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
The Buzzed Goat Coffee

img_7984.jpeg

The Buzzed Goat graces a little strip mall at Ray Road/E. Ranch Circle Drive in Awatukee.

Buzzed Goat int1Perks (what I really like!)

  • Super-friendly baristas.
  • The neighborhood feel to the place.
  • Their “food” truck which brings delicious drinks to the masses.

 

 

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The goatherd masterminds! Tony and Gabe

Share a Cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)

Owner Gabe started serving coffee in a food truck with his friend Tony. They didn’t give up on the mobile aspect of the Goat, but soon realized they wanted a place for people to hang around and be neighborly. What they developed is a comfortable, unique, welcoming place to chat, play, and enjoy a coffee or tea. I love the black and white checkered table tiles, and the green leafy wall, don’t you?

 

Buzzed Goat.Ann and Drew

Drew and I graduated the same year from Coeur d’Alene High in Idaho and, years later, recognized each other at a book store in Chandler. Since he teaches English and film studies, we obviously still have a lot in common.

Besides the place being recommended by a long-time friend of mine, who’s a regular, one of the main attractions to me was the name. Really, why…? Well, Gabe directed me to the Web site for this description:

“Why The Buzzed Goat? 

Coffee’s origination story, roughly translated, dating back as far as 900 AD. Goat herders noticed when their goats ate a certain shrub they would dance with energy and walk with a pep in their step; they were buzzed! The curious herders tried many attempts to make this magical plant palatable but were unsuccessful. They eventually went to the nearby monks who learned to steep the beans, and coffee was born.

Our story, much like their discovery, stems from curiosity and a quest for something special.  The Buzzed Goat is a high energy coffee bar dedicated to bringing quality drinks and conversation together.”

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

They offer a light, yet delicious, offering of classic and cold brew coffees, plus some blended drinks. How about a mint-chip white tea frappe, anyone?

I spied a few baked goods on the counter and in a cooler to tempt your tastebuds, as well.

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)IMG_7988

The entire back room is a play room with oversized and active games like Jenga, Connect Four, and cornhole. Its walls showcase local artwork. Gabe says they have plans to redo the room as a speakeasy, so we’ll wait to see what transpires…

The Grind (what I would change)

Not much at all. I love the feeling of the place, mostly because of the owners and baristas.

The Grounds (location)

4302 E. Ray Road, #106
Phoenix, AZ 85044
(480) 706-7411

Tea Times (hours)

M–F: 6am  –  5pm
Sa–Su: 7am  –  5pm

Yelp rating:

4.5 stars from 53 reviews

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so I found it natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!