Free writers’ workshops equal “magic elixir” to induce better writing

In one day, you can “magically” gain a wide spectrum of knowledge about writing more vibrantly in any genre.

Twelve local, multi-published authors will discuss everything from managing writer’s block and crafting romance to writing Native American characters and managing outrageous marketing. (That latter topic, I’m thrilled to say, will be covered by “yours truly.”) I will also contribute to the keynote panel discussion at the end of the day: “Communities, Conferences and Critique Groups.”

Where and when can you find all this “magic elixir?”

The Desert Rose Chapter of the Romance Writers of America sponsors its…

11th annual Free Writers’ Workshops
Scottsdale Civic Center Library
Sat. Nov. 5, 2016
10:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Learn a bunch, rub elbows with authors, buy books, and have fun with us!

Have questions? Contact Valen Cox at valencox3@gmail.com.

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“You cannot miss this!” your future book screams.

write on flier

Write on! Ann Narcisian Videan, Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
P.S. Learn more about my novels on Google+.

Need a beta reader? Here’s a proven resource from Oz.

Beta readers are especially valuable for for indie authors, as they provide input on story line, content, and characters—often during a book’s drafting process. My brilliant author friend Karen Mueller Bryson shared information about such a service: Hot Tree Editing. Founders of the ten-year-old Queensland, Australia-based firm pride themselves on “approachable, friendly and cost-effective editing service.”

Critique image

A beta reader will provide comments like these (in red) from a critique partner on my Beat of the Pakiri manuscript-in-progress.

 

Hot Tree offers a relatively inexpensive pre-edit beta reading, for approximately $35 per avid, BA-degreed, and experienced reader. You’ll receive an annotated script and a Hot Tree Editing beta report covering character and plot development, discrepancies, and overall readability.

They charge for other literary services, too, like proofreading and line and content edits, but offer their “post-edit beta reading service for FREE, alongside a line and content edit.” The beta readers’ payment includes the read of your manuscript, your gratitude, and some small recognition.

The service is available upon request only, so plan extra time in your schedule to take advantage of it. Learn more by contacting Hot Tree email.

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Indie publishing • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Three events to pique writing interests

Writers, looking for some support to hone your skills? These three affordable April events offer a wide variety of book-related information, and an opportunity to rub elbows with a slew of excellent local authors. I’m involved, too, and would love to see you at all three.

PAWWVCC Speaker MKG Ann Videan FPOSTPONED TO SAT., May 7, 2016

Phoenix Area Writers Workshops at Vesuvius Conference Center (PAWWVCC)

In my workshop #1 of four, “27 Steps from Book Idea to Published,” I will cover every single item you need to know about creating a book. Perfect for new authors of fiction/nonfiction, with either traditional or self-publishing goals.

9 a.m.-3 p.m
Vesuvius Conference Center
4806 S. 40th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85040
#PAWWVCC

 

SAT., APRIL 16, 2016

Tempe Book Festival
“A Celebration of Books”

I’ll be exhibiting at this local author book fair with a sign on my table that says, “Ask me anything about writing.” Come pick my brain! As a Book Shepherd, I have written/self-published two of my own novels, and assisted hundreds of other authors with everything from writing and editing, to independent publishing and word-of-mouth marketing.

10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Tempe Public Library
3500 S. Rural Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85282

write on flier
SAT., APRIL 30, 2016

Write On! Workshop
Scottsdale Society of Women Writers

I will join a handful of other SSWW authors at this free all-day workshop in Scottsdale. This workshop, #2 in my series of four covers “12 Editing Tips to Wow and Publisher.” I will share with you how to avoid the 12 things I change the most when editing other authors’ manuscripts. Fix these few things, and you’ll hand a potential publisher a manuscript with vibrant writing that connects your reader emotionally to the story.

10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Scottsdale Civic Center Library
3839 N Drinkwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

 

Solid reasons behind rapid publishing, a la Hugh Howey and Liliana Hart

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Traditionally-published author Kevin Hearne—whose books line my bookshelf in this snapshot—reached NY Times Bestseller status within a year by launching the first three books in his Iron Druid Chronicles series over three months. Coincidence or strategic?

Would you like to know how wildly successful self-publisher Hugh Howey earned 1,200 reader reviews on Amazon? He danced as a reward for milestone numbers of reviews. Really. Check out the video.

Howey, known for Wool, sold more than two million copies of his dystopian “Silo Series” worldwide. He’s writing his Beacon 23 series of short stories in stand-alone story arcs, which he relates to a season of TV with each episode telling a story. He’s quoted in The Writer Files blog as saying, “People are eating them up at 99 cents each.”

This process for his short stories may have a foundation in his belief in the Liliana Hart method of marketing a book series. The best-selling author of mystery and romance uses a process that boils down to writing five books before releasing one of them a month. Howey’s The Wayfinder blog post describes why he thinks she may be genius.

He also points to another author’s take on the Liliana method, in which Rosalind James uses Kindle Select and Kindle Countdown marketing programs as the focus of her “Rolling Countdown” book launch campaign. A very interesting read.

Have Howey and Hart  found the “silver bullet” of successful self-publishing? What do you think?

P.S. Learn more about how Howey achieved his writing success on The Writer’s Dig blog.

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Indie publishing • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

 

A proven technique to garner Amazon book reviews

Saguaro cactus, @2010 ANVidean

Are your readers a bit “prickly” about writing a review for your book? Choosy Bookworm might be a solution for you.

My author clients often express frustration about how hard it is to obtain book reviews from readers. They ask, they cajole, they beg. I guess a lot of readers are either intimidated by the process, don’t know what to say, or just can’t find the time.

Luckily, one of our savvy ALWAYS tribe members—author Karen Mueller Bryson of Short On Time Books—recently shared an inexpensive answer to this problem. She pointed us to a site called Choosy Bookworm, where readers sign up for free ebooks in exchange for an Amazon review. Here’s the process:

  1. Choosy Bookworm advertises your published or pre-release eBook to their readers via their Web site and enewsletter.
  2. Interested readers  sign up to receive your free eBook.
  3. You send the eBook as a MOBI or PDF; or you gift per Amazon.
  4. Readers will read your book and post a review on Amazon or GoodReads.

You can find all the details at Choosy Bookworm promotion, but here are some highlights:

  • Your book must be priced at $3.99 or lower.
  • You pay anywhere from nothing to $70, depending on the level of visibility you want.
  • Submit your ebook on a Saturday, at least one week before you want it featured on the Choosy Bookworm site.

That’s pretty much it, and Karen swears by it… Sound like it’s worth a try, right?

What other proven techniques have you used to secure book reviews? Please share.

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

My Mom, a Mary Poppins doppleganger, inspires increased book sales using a unique personal trait

A word-of-mouth marketing example from the lens of Ann Narcisian Videan
to inspire your book “village.”
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A vintage Rocky Mountain Post article about my mom, who entertained at parties as Mary Poppins. Do you have a unique trait you can leverage to market yourself or your book?

I’m counting on this post to inspire you to find your own special talents, traits, experiences, or even your looks—like my mother did—to entice your audience to talk about you. Find something unique that also pertains to your book and, víola!, instant word-of-mouth book book marketing.

I hear you thinking, “What?!”

Think for a second. Say you looked like Mary Poppins, and wrote a book about professional organizing. You could relate the movie theme to your book marketing. “Spit, spot!” Organizing made easy! Everyone  who wants a magically clean room/home can relate to the scene of the Banks’ children putting away their toys while their nanny sings, right? A unique, fun, emotional mental image. Exactly the techniques to compel readers into talking about you.

Or, maybe you’re a musician. How can you use that to tie into your books? I wrote a “soundtrack” to complement my first book, Rhythms & Muse. That became a Wow! moment for my readers. My next chat-worthy project will use my art skills. I’m creating customized faerie doors and short stories, as well as a faerie door coloring book, to complement my book Song of the Ocarina. (It’s book 1 in my Delfaerune Rhapsody series about New Zealand Fae who use Earth energy and music to make magic.)

Think now, what about you or your book would inspire someone to say, “Wow, that’s cool!” or to write a newspaper article about you? I encourage you to put some thought into this and come up with something outrageous to drive word-of-mouth marketing.

What do you do, or what’s in your book, that would entice readers to talk about you?

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

How to entice readers to support your book creation

Creating books can be overwhelming and expensive but, luckily, help is available! Authors can ask readers, or other interested folk, to help support the book’s creation… and pay it forward… through crowd funding campaigns like those available on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Buddy The Soldier Bear... created from the illustrations as the book's mascot

Buddy The Soldier Bear… created from the illustrations as the book’s mascot

Here’s an example of a live — through Sept. 18, 2015 — crowd funding campaign for a very worthwhile book. Buddy The Soldier Bear is a children’s book authored by a soldier’s mom and illustrated by a soldier.

If the campaign succeeds, author Marie Joy Monroe will be able to create her books and plush Buddy mascots, and donate them to public libraries, schools, and military support groups. Plus, a portion of any sales profits will go to Central AZ3 Blue Star Moms, and other nonprofit organizations who help soldiers.

You can see all the important elements of a crowd-funding campaign on Marie’s Indiegogo site:

  • A video introducing the book
  • A written story explaining the need
  • A listing of donation levels and associated perks
  • A call to action

Have you done a crowd funding campaign? What worked? What didn’t? What advice would you give to other authors considering this route?

P.S.  While you’re checking out Buddy’s live campaign, think about donating to it, or at least forwarding the information to families or those in your networks associated with the military. You would support an excellent cause, and have some fun, to boot!
[Just so you know, I’m not affiliated with the creation of Marie’s book, but I love her idea, and think her cause is very important. Why wouldn’t you want to support it, too?]

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Established authors’ secrets for creating creative book covers – ALWAYS

The Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) —
a tribe of established, Phoenix-area writers —
gathers once a month for lunch and a chat about writing. It’s rather like a Secret Writer’s Society, except our tips are not so secret, since we share them with you.


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TOPIC:
Established authors, when it comes to book covers…
• Do you know what elements will catch a reader’s eye?
• Do you know some low-cost avenues for artwork?
• Do you know what to avoid in the design?
Let’s gather over a delicious lunch and share ideas.
If you can’t attend, can you leave a book-cover tip in the comments below?

Next gathering:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS meets on the second Thursday of the month.)

Where:
Romeo’s Euro Café
(downtown GIlbert, AZ)
207 N. Gilbert Rd. #105
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
(480) 962-4224

Back-up location:
Joe’s BBQ
301 N. Gilbert Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 503-3805

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Join” link on our Facebook Event page
or
• Contacting Ann Videan, avidean@videanunlimited.com

If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!
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ABOUT ALWAYS

• Need contacts to help your writing work?
• Want advice about your writing?
• Like to hang with other cool writers?

If so, our tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.

Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

AutoCrit editing software, to use or not to use?

The Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) —
a tribe of established, Phoenix-area writers — gather once a month for lunch and a chat about writing. It’s rather like a Secret Writer’s Society, except the tips we discuss are not so secret, because we share them with you.
Here’s another one…

One of our members highly recommended using an affordable editing software she purchased, which she swore helped her become a better writer.

So, I visited the AutoCrit.com site and took advantage of its sample analysis, using the first chapter of my Beat of the Pakiri manuscript, which will be the second novel in my Delfaerune Rhapsody fantasy series. As a professional editor, I must admit, I found myself a bit skeptical going in… but, the analysis truly impressed me.

It felt a bit like magic to immediately see what words I use too many times, how many instances of passive voice it found, and how I stacked up against published fiction in my genre. Here’s a sampling of my report.

Partial AutoCrit analysis of my Beat of the Pakiri manuscript.

Partial AutoCrit analysis of my Beat of the Pakiri manuscript.

Not bad. 🙂

On the surface, it seems such software might put an editor like me out of business, but I think it may actually help me become a better one. Besides, in the AutoCrit video, they recommend you still use a human editor, who can catch nuances undecipherable by the software. Hooray, AutoCrit!

I say… use it. You can try a free 14-day trial, or pay for a monthly membership ranging from $5 to $12, depending on how much you want to use the software.

I also found this 2012 AutoCrit review from another blogger who loved AutoCrit. Some of the info may be a bit dated, but his very thorough example will walk you through all the benefits.

What editing software have you used? What do you like about it?

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com