Sticker Mule: “Merch” Made Easy

 

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Okay, it has no sticker, but it is a mule!  You’ll find Sticker Mule and much more info at the link provided.

Authors—or anyone marketing—are you looking for an awesome place to buy affordable printed “merch” for your books or products? You know… marketing merchandise, like stickers, buttons, labels, magnets, packaging, and such? Maybe something imprinted with the cover of your book?

Sticker Mule is your answer.

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Haley’s upcoming book release.

One of my author friends, Haley Rose, uses them with relish to raise awareness for her darling, educational children’s picture books.

Direct from Sticker Mule’s website, here’s what they’re about: “We relentlessly focus on making it fast and easy to order custom products. Order in seconds and get your products in days. Free proofs, free artwork help, free shipping, and fast turnaround are why people love us.”


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

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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.

…………………..

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

Eight top writing and vocabulary secrets from established authors – ALWAYS

At our Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) gathering this week, five established writers shared their top writing secrets and vocabulary words for this month. Now you can benefit from them, too!

  1. Find font symbols
  2. Write every day
  3. Find speaking opportunities
  4. Create an em-dash
  5. Association for mystery writer
  6. Product placement in books
  7. Vocabulary suggestions
  8. A.Word.A.Day link
Visualize Your Vocabulary, Shayne Gardner
Visualize Your Vocabulary, Shayne Gardner

1. Shayne Gardner — who just published Visualize Your Vocabulary: Turn Any SAT Word into a Picture and Remember It Forever (Volume 1) with illustrations by Kris Hagen — provided a tip about finding special font symbols on a computer.

According to Microsoft Word’s help function, “You can use the Symbol dialog box to insert symbols, such as ¼ and ©, or special characters, such as an em dash (—) or ellipsis (…) that are not on your keyboard, as well as Unicode characters.” Here’s how.

Emma Dilemma series, Patricia Hermes
Emma Dilemma series, Patricia Hermes

2. Patricia Hemes, a multi-published author of the Emma Dilemma series among others, suggested simply that if you want to be a writer, you need to set time to write every day.

3. She also asked about speaking opportunities in the Phoenix area, and we suggested she contact the National Speakers Association headquartered in Tempe, Ariz.

4. Laurie Fagen, co-author in SoWest: Crime Time, a  Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter Anthology (Volume 5), led us to a discussion about dashes. We differentiated these, and shared how to create them in Microsoft Word:

  • Hyphen (-), used to connect words
  •  En-dash (–), for connection ranges or dates
  • Em-dash (—), what most people call simply a “dash,” signifying a break in a thought or longer pause or interruption in dialogue
SoWest: Crime Time anthology, Laurie Fagen
SoWest: Crime Time anthology, Laurie Fagen

5. By the way, Laurie is the current president of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths. This association for mystery writers meets the third Wednesday of the month at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in downtown Scottsdale, Ariz.

6. Ann Videan (that’s me), author of Rhythms & Music women’s novel and soundtrack, and The Delfaerune Rhapsody series, suggested authors look into product placement in your books to develop additional revenue streams. She explained that this simply involves mentioning brand names in your story and approaching the company about supporting the book for its publicity value to them. She recommended this HowStuffWorks article to learn more.

Song of the Ocarina, Ann Videan
Song of the Ocarina, Ann Videan (book 1 of the Delfaerune Rhapsody series)

7. Our topic, vocabulary, helped unveiled several new fun words or phrases we can can all incorporate into our writing.

  • brilliant: popular in the United Kingdom, meaning cool, great, or an outstanding performance, concept, or product
  • mind the gap: a  phrase to warn passengers to be careful while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform.
  • go to the loo: an informal, more polite way of saying you’re headed to the bathroom, or going to the toilet

(From these first three, can you tell Laurie just returned from a trip to Europe?)

  • kerfuffle: disturbance or fuss
  • ostentatious: fancy, showing off wealth of knowledge to gain attention
  • ambitious: desiring to be successful, famous, or powerful; not easily done or achieved
  • grawlixes: typographical symbols standing for profanities, appearing in dialogue balloons in place of actual dialogue
  • ar·sy–var·sy: backside forward, head over heels, topsy-turvy
  • interrobang: a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection
  • histrionic: over-the-top melodramatic or theatrical
  • opprobrious: expressing scorn or criticism
  • disconcert: unsettle, disturb the composure of

(These last three are Shayne’s favorites from his new vocab book. Weren’t we lucky to have him attend today and share such cool words?)

8. For an introduction to a new word every day, complete with pronunciations, Laurie suggested subscribing to Wordsmith.org’s A.Word.A.Day.

Care to add your own tips or favorite words?

…………………..

#8 Writing Tip: Why authors should research the rules, then ignore them

You could follow every rule. Or, you could generate a little anarchy in your writing. Angel or “V,” which will you choose?
[My son portrays “V for Vendetta” with an unphased, visiting Halloween angel. @2007 ANVidean]
So many writing resources. So many how-to books. So many style manuals. As a writer, you could spend an entire life reading and studying, intimidating yourself so with everyone else’s ideas and rules that you never actually sit down to write anything from your heart.

One overarching fact crystalized in my head over years of writing/editing millions of words in business content and numerous novels — sometimes the best way to communicate an idea involves blasting away the rules and conventions with a creative blow torch. Creative license makes writing fresh… and, well… yours.

Don’t get me wrong, it is important to research and read when you’re a writer. You need to know the rules—at least the basics, so you can keep your audience intrigued. But, you also need to know when to bend or ignore those rules to best serve your own writing voice. (More on this in my #9 Writing Tip, coming soon.)

So, where to start? Here are a few of my favorite resources for learning writing basics:

For business:

For authors:

  • My favorite book for character development: Goal Motivation Conflict, Debra Dixon
  • My favorite book for plot development: The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler
  • My favorite book on writing. Yes, it’s called On Writing, and it’s by Stephen King (of all people)
  • Books in the genre you’re writing. I’ve been studying Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, and other young-adult novels.
  • Books not in your genre. What cool writing techniques, words, or ideas, can you glean from other authors and stories? New ideas formulate “outside the box.”

There you have it. A couple of great starting places. Now, go forth and create your  masterpiece… I’m eager to read it in your very own voice.

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

P.S.  What writing resources are your favorites? Please comment below.

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