ALWAYS explore key techniques to leverage book contests

The path to leveraging book contests... a bit rocky? Established writers, find out how to find the most appropriate contests for you, and how to merchandise your successes, at the next ALWAYS meeting in Gilbert. AZ.

The path to leveraging book contests… a bit rocky? Established writers, find out how to find the most appropriate contests for you, and how to merchandise your successes, at the next ALWAYS meeting in Gilbert. AZ.

Established writer:
• Are book contests important? If so, why?
• Do you know what book contests to enter?
• How do you use a contest win to market your books?
• How much do they cost?

Phoenix-area authors will share their insights on book contests at our next ALWAYS tribe meeting.

Next gathering:
Thursday, Nov.. 12, 2015
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS typically 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!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

Are you an established writer who:
• Needs contacts to help your writing?
• Wants advice about your writing?
• Likes 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.

Established authors share best book blogging secrets – ALWAYS

Our tribe of established, Phoenix-area writers —
The Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) —
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.


TOPIC: Book Blogging

Established writer:
• Do you blog about your, or other’s, books?
• How do you come up with meaningful content?
• What makes readers actually read your posts?
• How do you build traffic on your blog?

Established Phoenix-area authors will share their creative blogging best practices at our next ALWAYS tribe meeting, at a more central location.

Though geared for enewsletters, I found this posting frequency chart from Constant Contact quite interesting. This is the type of information we will share at ALWAYS next month.

Though geared for enewsletters, I found this posting frequency chart from Constant Contact quite interesting. This is the type of information I expect we will share at ALWAYS next month.

Next gathering:
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS typically meets on the second Thursday of the month.)

Where:
Old Spaghetti Factory
1418 N. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(Just south of McDowell Road on Central Ave. Please plan extra time for downtown light rail traffic and parking.)

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!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

Are you an established writer who:
• Needs contacts to help your writing?
• Wants advice about your writing?
• Likes 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.

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?]

…………………..

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

Key book-organization tools: Secret Writers’ Society (ALWAYS)

We look a lot more vibrant than this in person! Wendy, Patricia, Ann, Mallary, Marsha, Karen, and Alana.

We look a lot more vibrant than this in person!
Wendy, Patricia, Ann, Mallary, Marsha, Karen, and Alana

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 share are not so secret, since we share them with you. 🙂


Key Book-Organization Tools

Many authors I’ve encountered in the past several weeks brought up the topic of how to organize a book. ALWAYS members shared a handful of fun and worthwhile suggestions:

1. Use a large sketch pad for writing notes; and to draw, map, or paste visual ideas that pertain to the story. You can also use it to develop a portable storyboard for your plot.

2. Write character notes or actions, important plot point, or scene ideas on colored 3×5 cards. Use a different color for characters, plot points, etc.

3. Post a visual timeline or cards or Post-It notes on a cork board in the room where you write.

4. Use software to help organize all your thoughts and ideas:

What other ideas can you share?

…………………..

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

Book shepherding moves you forward immediately

Book shepherding can lead you to a restful place and green pastures for your book. I snapped this photo of super comfy sheep on the Alexander Farm, aka the Hobbiton movie set, in New Zealand in 2008.

Book shepherding can lead you to a restful place and green pastures for your book.
I snapped this photo of super comfy sheep on the Alexander Farm, aka the Hobbiton movie set, in New Zealand in 2008.

This post falls under the realm of shameless promotion, but what I offer, I guarantee will help you as an aspiring author. Basically, I’m making accessible to you very affordably all the knowledge I gained while creating my own novels and others’—talking with hundreds of authors, publishers, designers, book consultants, and other literary experts over the period of at least 15 years. What I know can essentially eliminate your author learning curve and allow you to move forward immediately.

So, with that said, the following debuts my Book Shepherding sessions… providing the personal guidance, information, and inspiration you need to take the next step in your writing process. Whether you need a book or plot idea, advice on writing or creating your book, assistance with publishing, or generating word-of-mouth marketing, I can help you.

You can move forward confidently with customized advice from an author who’s “been there, done that” when it comes to developing books for herself and many other fiction and non-fiction authors in various genres. Your participation in the following consulting sessions will drive you immediately toward your book’s success.

Sample Edit/Critique

Review/edit feedback on three pages of your writing.                                         Free

One-On-One

As-needed consultation.
(Half an hour by phone or Skype)                                                                              $30

Access to me whenever you need advice on any aspect of your writing:

  • The writing process
  • Editing
  • Production/design
  • Self-publishing/publishing
  • Word-of-mouth marketing strategies
  • Something of your choosing

Kick-Start

One-time/initial consultation.
(1.5 hours, in-person, phone, or Skype)                                                                 $120
(Workshop attendees’ discount)                                                                                $50

We might:

  • Set initial goals to create or market your book
  • Bounce story ideas
  • Hone your plot, or discuss story structure
  • Receive feedback on your writing
  • Walk through how to use CreateSpace
  • Brainstorm book cover or
    marketing ideas
  • Set writing goals
  • Discuss your specific request

Move Forward

As-needed directional meeting.
(1.5 hours in-person, by phone or Skype)                                                            $120

We might do:

  • Any of the activities provided under the Kick-Start section above
  • A writing critique session on 3,000 words of your writing
  • A revisit of goals set in our kick-start consultation, for accountability.
  • Something you request

Build Momentum

Once-a-month directional meeting with a three-month minimum.
(1.5 hours/month in-person, by phone or Skype,
a 17% volume discount off the Kick-Start option.)                                            $100/mo.

We might do:

  • Any of the activities provided under the Move Forward section above
  • Something you request

OR

Once-a-week directional meeting with a five-week minimum.
(Half an hour/week in-person, by phone or Skype,
a 17% volume discount off the Kick-Start option.)                                               $25/wk.

We might do:

  • Any of the activities provided under the Move Forward section above
  • Something you request

Contact me to set up your intake meeting and move
that book dream closer to reality!


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan, Author and Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

P.S. Learn more about my novels on Google+.

Four upcoming marketing events reveal top author secrets

From the movie You’ve Got Mail:
Kathleen:”I love daisies…”
Joe:”You told me…”
Kathleen:”They’re so friendly. Don’t you think that daisies are the friendliest flowers?”
Joe:”I do.”
[Photo by CEVidean 2011]

So, you want to learn insider tips about book marketing…

Here are four events where I will help ideas sprout and bloom like daisies, so you can pluck and gather them into your book-marketing bouquet.

Tucson Festival of Books 2015

Want to see how books are sold in real life? Attend the huge and amazing TFOB this weekend. I’ll be touting my own book Song of the Ocarina, so come by and pick my brain about book-event marketing. Here’s where/when you can find me:

The Dreams Convention, Booth #106
[Buildin’ the Dream (writers) and Arizona Dreamin’ (readers)]

Sun., March 15, 2015
1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Tempe Public Library marketing workshops

These two interactive workshops will help you identify unique aspects of your book,  generate ideas to capitalize on those chat-worthy aspects, and to compel readers to spread the word about your writing. Each marketing-brainstorm session is limited to 15 people, so register early.

Sat., April 11, 2015
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
and
Sat., May 9, 2015 (potential, if first session sells out)
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

If you are interested in attending, please email me or comment below.

Learn more.

Desert Foothills Library
“27 Steps from Book Idea to Published”

If you are new to the idea of writing a book, or are not sure how to publish one, this two-hour workshop will accelerate your learning curve into immediate action. I’ll share book-creation best practices developed through years of interaction with hundreds of authors, editors and publishers. You will learn about each of the twenty-seven steps needed to manifest a book, from conception and design to ISBN numbers and publishing options.

Fri., June 5, 201
1 to 3 p.m.

If you are interested in attending, please email me or comment below.

Learn more.


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan, Author and Book Shepherd
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

P.S. Learn more about my novels on Google+.

Five special tactics to reach Amazon bestseller status and build your reader platform — ALWAYS

Here are some members of our illustrious tribe—Al, Ann, Karen, Martha, Laurie, Megan, Shayne—sharing a delicious lunch and stimulating conversation. Join us at our March 12 ALWAYS meeting with Deborah Brown in Phoenix to learn more about becoming an Amazon best seller, and building your author platform.

Here are some members of our illustrious tribe—Al, Ann, Karen, Martha, Laurie, Megan, Shayne—sharing a delicious lunch and stimulating conversation.
Join us at our March 12 ALWAYS meeting with Deborah Brown in Phoenix to learn more about becoming an Amazon best seller, and building your author platform.

Established writer:
• Do you know how to become a best-selling Amazon author in your category?
• Do you have an online platform for your book that helps you connect with your audience?

Deborah Brown, Peters and Brown Marketing (PetersandBrownMarketing.com), will share some tips concerning these questions at our March ALWAYS tribe meeting, at a more central location.

Next gathering:
Thursday, March 12, 2015
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS typically meets on the second Thursday of the month.)

Where:
Old Spaghetti Factory
1418 N. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(Just south of McDowell Road on Central Ave. Please plan extra time for downtown light rail traffic and parking.)

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!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

Are you an established writer who:
• Needs contacts to help your writing?
• Wants advice about your writing?
• Likes 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.

Author secrets—from world-building to a writers’ residence exchange—ALWAYS

Our November 2014 tips from established writers attending the
Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) gathering.
Read ’em and reap.

I was asked by one of the ALWAYS authors to share some world-building tips with our tribe, on the heels of publishing my new fantasy adventure Song of the Ocarina.

For a copy of my handout, visit the Files link on the ALWAYS Facebook page. Here are the high-level points from my wee presentation*:

1. Pick a unique idea or set of ideas to frame the world.
Mine centered around:

  • Noel Stone, newly Noble Fae, musician, and sometime sheep shearer. Image by John Taylor. ©2013 VUPublishing

    Noel Stone, newly Noble Fae, musician, and sometime sheep shearer. Image by John Taylor. ©2013 VUPublishing

    Noel, a 6-1/2′ tall character who came to me in a dream

  • A New Zealand-type realm influenced by the Maori culture
  • Fae names:
    • Noble Fae all natural (Lark, Glenn, B’rook)
    • Dark Fae based on burned-out rock stars (Mikk, Kert, Axyl)

2. Rules – establish logical rules for your world (especially putting limitations around magic, or developing cultural activities)

3. Rituals – structure a set of set activities in the world’s culture (greetings, birthdays, weddings/funerals, art/music, sports)

4. Power – develop a series of hierarchies (government, education, communities)

5. Place – more than setting, describe the place from a character’s perspective

* Malinda Lo’s blog provided world-building inspiration for my comments.

Additional tips from our authors:

  • Support indie authors by buying their books rather than sharing or free downloads. Your support means they can continue creating the stories you love.
  • Looking for a place to write? Check out Poets & Writerswriter’s residency exchange. I am SO excited about learning more about this!
  • The 3-Day Novel Contest. This writing challenge  has happened every Labor Day weekend since 1977. “Entrants pre-register, grit their teeth, lock their doors and try to produce a literary masterwork in 72 short hours. A panel of experienced judges reads the results and the winning novel is published.
  • To see what readers like about a genre, look at Amazon reviews about similar books.
  • Write a series rather than a one-off. Consider making the first book in the series Perma-free (permanently free ) on Amazon to allow readers to sample your writing and get hooked on the series.
  • Read Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them, by Francine Prose
  • Write more than you read about writing. Ah, the temptation!

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Create a compelling world to attach readers to your story – ALWAYS

This image of Queenstown, NZ, captures the feeling of my characters' magical world in "Song of the Ocarina." I'll talk about a starting point like this when creating a powerful fictional world, at our Nov. 13 established writers' lunch meeting – ALWAYS. @2008 ANVidean

This image of Queenstown, NZ, captures the feeling of my characters’ magical world in my “Song of the Ocarina” novel. I’ll talk about a starting point like this when creating a powerful fictional world, at our Nov. 13 established-writers’ lunch meeting – ALWAYS.
@2008 ANVidean

TOPIC: World-building in fiction.

How do you go about creating the world in which your characters move around in a novel? By request, your host Ann Videan will present ideas on this topic, having just finished creating a whole new realm for her Delfaerune Rhapsody series.

Next gathering:
Thursday Nov. 13, 2014
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!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

• Need contacts to help your writing?
• 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.

Authors share more writing secrets—ALWAYS

"sugar covers" for book publicity

We share lots of fun marketing ideas—like the book review process— at ALWAYS. One of my favorite ideas involves using the author’s skills… like this amazing “sugar cover” work by pastry chef and author L.H. Nicole.

Judith Starkson, author of Hand of Fire, shared some solid tips on working with book reviewers at our Oct. 9 gathering of the Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS). Our other members also shared valuable ideas for the benefit of writers everywhere. 🙂

A couple of top tips from Judith:

  • Build your community months, even years, before your book is published
    –  Start following select bloggers and authors in your genre
    – Participate in those communities with valuable information
    – Bloggers and reviewers’ sites typically list other blogs they like and support, so you can send your info elsewhere.
  • To earn reviews for a specific book,  start four to six months before publication. With your query, send:
    – A “killer” book blurb
    – Advance praise (testimonials) are key– Strong cover art
    – Professional materials: author photo, press release, an email service like Constant Contact or MailChimp
  • Never respond to negative reviews or leave snarky comments online, and promote others.

Other ideas you can use, from our group:

  • Choosy Bookworm advertises a book to potential reviewers. For $50 you can reach 10,000 reviewers.
  • Fiverr is a good resource for artwork of any kind at $5 per piece. These hungry artists are willing to do art for this price because they want to meet people and develop relationships. Pay five of these folk to do your book cover, a total of $25, and you get five choices.
  • To get media coverage more easily, make sure to use two meaningful quotes from experts other than yourself, in addition to covering the who, what, why, when, where and how. Find out the name and spelling of the editor of your paper’s local edition.

What additional writing tip can you share with us?

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
avidean@videanunlimited.com