Knitted Fabrication – Stories and Ugly Holiday Sweaters, ALWAYS

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

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“Don we now our gay apparel?” The better to tell stories in,   my dear. Excuse the mixed metaphor and come share something meaningful at our Dec. ALWAYS gathering.

Established writer, do you have a favorite mini story or holiday tradition to share? Don your favorite “ugly holiday sweater” and come share with us something book related, or simply meaningful to you, over a delicious meal. What better way for writers to get into the season’s spirit?

Here’s the usual agenda:
11:30 introductions with writing tips
11:50 order lunch
11:55 writing discussion/sharing
1 p.m. pay individual bills and adjourn (to go write!)

Next gathering:
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS typically meets on the second Thursday of the month.)

Where:
Romeo’s Euro Cafe
207 N Gilbert Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 962-4224

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Going” 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

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.

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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

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

 

Today’s key book marketing tips

writers fon't only hang out in writing groups. One of their natural habitat is a coffee shop. That's why I write a blog about them. Check out BuzzBerry on my Coffee CommuniTea blog.
Writers don’t only hang out at writing groups or libraries. One of their natural habitats is a coffee shop. That’s why I write a blog about those little hot spots. Check out my latest find on my Coffee CommuniTea blog: BuzzBerry Bistro

I love hanging out with authors. They’re interesting, smart, and — at least in my circles — extremely generous with helpful ideas. Every time I go to a place where writers hang out, I learn something.

So, what fun is it to keep all that great information to myself? I want you to benefit, too. So here are three great ideas heard in the last couple of weeks:

  1. I’ve mentioned this one before, but it bears repeating. Use the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer tool to check the emotional value of your blog/e-newsletter subject lines and headlines. (The emotional connection makes them want to read your stuff.)
  2. Slip a postcard in the back of every book you put into a reader’s hand. On the card, ask for comments about the book, and leave a space for the recipient’s email. That way you can acknowledge his or her comment. Brilliant!
  3. If you have the opportunity to give something away in a raffle, why not give away a few dollars in an envelope with a link to your ebook. This allows you to buy the book for your recipient, and all you ask for in return is his or her review on Amazon. Sweet!

What book marketing tips can you share?

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

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

Fast, cheap, book postcard resource: Secret Writers’ Society (ALWAYS)

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, because we share them with you.
Here’s another one…

Ready to create a handout about your book… perhaps a business card, sticker, or postcard?  NextDayFlyers online can print them up for you quickly, and quite inexpensively.

Song of the Ocarina, Ann Videan
Front of postcard
Back
Back of postcard

Say I want the front cover of my Song of the Ocarina novel on one side of a postcard, and the back cover on the other. I can upload both easily at the site. It’s painless, too, because I already have the artwork, right? You also can create your own design to upload, or choose instead to use NextDayFlyers’ design services.

If I order 100, 5×7″, four-color, glossy postcards, I can have them delivered in two to four business days for about $55. Cool right?

What other resources can you suggest for fast, easy, inexpensive book materials?

…………………..

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

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