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

KevinHearneBookshelf.gif

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

 

Reveals behind the music: Imagine Dragons

Axyl Thorne illustration

My character, Axyl Thorne, is a famous rock star  in the Fae realm of Delfaerune… easily as famous as Imagine Dragons in our human world. 😀 Art by Stacy Lefevre

While conducting research on some of my favorite bands, I found out some fascinating trivia about the musicians behind the music, and thought you might get a kick out of it, too.

Let’s start with Imagine Dragons, a four-member alternative/pop/indie rock band based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Did you know…

  • Three of the four members in the band share the first name “Daniel:”
    • Dan Reynolds (lead singer)
    • Daniel Wayne Sermon (guitar)
    • Daniel Platzman (drums)
    • Ben McKee (bass)
  • Reynolds, child #7 in a family with 9 children, earned Eagle Scout status. He also stands 6’4″ tall.
  • Sermon is one of five children.
  • All the members of the band except Reynolds, attended the Berklee School of Music in California.
  • Platzman received his degree in film scoring, and has received the Vic Firth Award for Outstanding Musicianship and the Michael Rendish Award in Film Scoring.
  • Two of the Dans—Reynolds and Sermon—are Mormon, and married, girls. Sorry.
  • Reynolds’ wife Aja Volkman is an American musician, best known as the front woman for the indie rock band Nico Vega.
  • Sermon married ballerina/writer/photographer Alexandra Hill.
  • McKee was arrested on the Las Vegas Strip for public nudity. He later stated in a Billboard interview, “There were some bad choices being made. Vegas is a crazy place.”

What other trivia do you know about Imagine Dragons?

 

 

 

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

Secret orange-roll powers revealed

Thanksgiving tradition... spend all day Wednesday making orange rolls, and spend all day Thursday eating as many as you can.

Thanksgiving tradition… spend all day Wednesday making orange rolls, and spend all day Thursday eating as many as you can.

If food could embody a superpower, these rolls would be Magneto, using culinary entrapment to lure friends and family from all points of the universe to your table.

As it is, not too many people appear to know about the super secret powers of these rolls. Their popularity may wane because preparing and baking them requires at least six hours. I’m telling you, though… Worth. The. Wait.

Everyone who tastes these raves and raves, and then raves some more. Sweet, tangy, light and soft… they melt in your mouth. Ahhh! It’s one of the main reasons I look forward to Thanksgiving every year, since it’s the only time we make them.

Ready to be drawn into our secret world of deliciousness?

You’re welcome.

Orange Rolls

Ann Videan, via Madge Narcisian, via Dee Alnutt

1 c. milk
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 cakes yeast
5c. flour

Scald milk, pour over shortening & sugar. Cool.
Add eggs, yeast, flour, salt, and mix well.
Let rise about 3 hrs.

1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
rind from 1 orange, grated (we like more, but not too much more )

Prepare butter and set aside.
Mix together sugar and orange zest.
Roll dough flat into a rectangle and spread on butter, then sugar mixture.
Roll up like a jelly roll. Cut to about 1.5″ wide.
Place in buttered muffin tins.

Let rise 1 hr.

Bake 375˚ just until light brown (less than 10 min.).

 

So, I’ve shared. Now, tell us about your most super-powered recipe… Pretty please, with sugar and orange zest on top?

 

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?

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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

Book plotting made easy — ALWAYS

Do you know the direction your story will take? Learn plotting techniques from other established writers at our May 14 ALWAYS author gathering over lunch in downtown Gilbert, AZ.

Do you know the direction your story will take? Learn plotting techniques from other established writers at our May 14 ALWAYS author gathering over lunch in downtown Gilbert, AZ.

 

Established writer, gather with us to talk plotting at the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) tribe meeting  on May 14, 2015, in Gilbert, Ariz.


 

TOPIC:
Let’s share our secrets about plotting stories. Bring an outline, book, or recap of your favorite plot development techniques to share with the group.

Next gathering:
Thursday, May 14, 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!
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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.

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+.

B’rook Tūrehu: Final Reveal (#3)

The bratty wild child character in Song og the Ocarina by Ann Narciian Videan

Here she is! B’rook Tūrehu, as envisioned by Stacy Lefevre.

Delfaerune Rhapsody series’
bratty wild child
B’rook Tūrehu,
full character profile.

Age: 17

Stature: 6’2” tall

Race:
Noble Fae, a tall, wingless, magical people sometimes called the “Goodies” by their unscrupulous Dark Fae “cousins.”

Residence:
B’rook lives on a plane parallel to Queenstown, New Zealand, in the Fae land of Delfaerune. There, in Queens’tyn, the animals talk, extinct and mythical creatures thrive, and sentient foliage lends magical glamour to the Noble Fae.

Family:
Daughter of the Magister of Karakia (good magic) Knyt Tūrehu and Magistra of Music Fern Tūrehu, and sister to Lark Tūrehu (the heroine).

Job:
She’s been a captive of the Dark Fae for three years but, in better times, she spent her time as a student.

Strengths: Harassing her older sister, and tempting famous rocker Axyl Thorne.

Flaw: Her infatuation with Axyl, and the Dark Fae.

Quirk: Her penchant for human rock music and fashion. Also, she and Lark are the only two Noble Fae with silver-white hair.

Animal familiar(s): At some point, probably in book two, she’ll acquire a gremlin named “Vexi.”

Love interest: Axyl Thorne, Delfaerune’s famous rock star.

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Learn more about B’rook in the Delfaerune Rhapsody series—my new-adult, fantasy-adventure trilogy-in-progress. Her story begins in Song of the Ocarina, the first book in the series, due out soon.

Watch in the coming days for more character information about the trilogy. Also, watch Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Back to Reveal #1             Back to Reveal #2             To Mikk Stone Final Reveal
To Noel Stone Final Reveal      To Lark Tūrehu Final Reveal

Axyl Thorne: Reveal #2

Axyl.1.hands

Axyl Thorne image by Stacy Lefevre

Reveal #2: Axyl Thorne, famous Fae rock star

Another peek at Axyl Thorne, famous Fae rock star. He’s 28 years old, at 6’10” his height matches his ego, but he does have a soft spot for rock ballads, and a certain Noble Fae chick, who just might be the daughter of a kidnapped Delfaerune magister. Oh, and did I mention his best buddy, our antagonist, is Mikk Stone?

Axyl’s artful hands hold a secret, and silent, skill beyond guitar riffs and picking… but I’m not telling you what. I guess you’ll just have to read about it in Song of the Ocarina, the first book in my pending new-adult fantasy adventures — the Delfaerune Rhapsody series.

Watch for more character image reveals of Axyl here in my blog, and also in my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.

See Axyl reveal #1.

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

27 publishing secrets shared, to help you create your book

Song of the Ocarina novel cover, Ann Narcisian Videan

This is my new cover spread. Can you picture yourself revealing yours soon?

At this moment, I am forty pages from finishing the final edit of my second novel, Song of the Ocarina: the first book in a new-adult fantasy adventure series. Once I format it and upload it to Amazon’s CreateSpace I will have a self-published print-on-demand book. Woo hoo!

Would you like to know how to get to this point with your book?

My first foray into self-publishing happened in in 2011 with the self-publishing of my first women’s fiction novel Rhythms & Muse. Since then, I’ve helped dozens of other authors write, edit, self-publish and market their books. During all the years in this work, I’ve interviewed and worked with a wide array of literary experts who shared their secrets when it comes to book creation. Now, I’m sharing all those secrets with you in a series of three workshops at the Tempe Public Library.

The topics we’ll cover include: book creation steps, editing, and marketing.

* Sept. 6: “27 Steps from Idea to Published”
People new to the idea of writing a book, or who aren’t sure how to get a written book published will learn how to navigate the process.

* Sept. 13: “11 Editing Tips to Wow a Publisher”
Learn the key editing techniques to polish your book to impress publishers.

* Sept. 20: “Market Outside the Books: Outrageous Ideas to Entice Readers to Talk You Up”
Have you already written your book? I will share unique book marketing ideas to spark buzz by leveraging your book’s compelling content.

Each Saturday workshop runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I hope to see you there!

Learn more at the Tempe Public Library site.

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