Monday, October 29, 2012

Monstrous Monday Blogfest

Today is the Monstrous Monday Blogfest, hosted by Tim Brannan.

My favorite monster actually ties in very well with my blog’s theme, because it’s the result of one author’s attention to detail, world building, and quality writing.

My favorite monster is Cthulhu, along with all of the other creations from the mind of author H. P. Lovecraft.

Back in the 20’s and 30’s, Lovecraft wrote over a hundred short stories and a few novelettes. He was the master world builder, creating new realms in our world, the Dreamlands, and in our past and future. Most were tied together by a common thread - the Mythos. This was a major undertaking, especially during Lovecraft’s time. But between the worlds, the Mythos, the unique monsters, and vivid imagery, the author created stories that were creepy and frightening on a whole new level.

Lovecraft’s books have inspired others for decades. August Derleth has continued Lovecraft’s work, producing more tales of terror and compiling the master’s works into numerous volumes. A RPG game was created, Call of Cthulhu. (Yes, I was the Keeper when we played.) Countless bad movies have been made and Lovecraft’s work has inspired artists. Cthulhu appears on t-shirts and slippers - even as stuffed toys. (I have one of those, too!)

My thanks to the master of horror for creating the Mythos and Cthulhu!

Visit others participating in this blogfest:

What is your favorite monster?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Industry News, Beyond the Book, and Friday Inspirational Photo

Industry News:

Brian Jud posted 30 Ways to Get Free Advertising for books.

Pin Pads at 63 Barnes and Noble stores were hacked, prompting the company to stop using Pin Pads in all 700 of its stores. Online and Nook purchases were not affected. Read full article at Publishers Weekly.

From my upcoming How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now - Beyond the Book:

You should also think beyond the initial manuscript. That one book could contain countless possibilities. Publishers are always looking at other options, as evidenced by the rights they wish to keep in the contract, and you should be, too. (Especially if you self-publish.)

• Foreign rights: Your book translated into another language.
• Audio books: Downloadable MP3 files or CD recordings of a professional reading your book.
• Book clubs: Book of the Month and similar clubs that offer books to members. Often this entails the creation of a smaller, hardback version of the book, which is sent for consideration six months or more before its release. Book clubs don’t return books — a big plus for you and/or your publisher.
• Magazine excerpts: Short excerpts of your book.
• Movie or TV rights: Your book becomes a studio release, TV movie, or TV series.
• Book series: Your book develops into a series and spawns sequels.
• Additional material: Your book is sold in a bundle with a CD, activity kit, toy, etc.
• Aftermarket merchandise: Your book has become a franchise, resulting in the sale of related items.

And your Friday inspirational photo:

Go for a ride!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blog Widgets and Marketing Materials for Authors

Blog Widgets

Most of us use standard widgets for our blog - widgets for following, blogrolls, archives, Twitter, etc.

But if you’re looking for some really unique widgets, visit Mashable’s 50 Great Widgets for Your Blog.

To give you a sample:
LinkedInABox – show off your LinkedIn profile. Perfect for personal blogs.
WikiSeek – search Wikipedia with this simple widget.
Now Playing – if you got to share your current playlist contents with the world, Sigamp will do the trick. Works with most popular music players, including Foobar, Winamp, iTunes and others.
3Jam – lets your visitors send messages to your mobile phone, without them knowing your phone number.
iBegin Weather Widget – Display weather information in your sidebar. Just like with Price of Gas, works great with travel-related blogs.

You can also visit sites such as Widgetbox and custom create your own widgets.

Any fun widgets outside of the standards you’d recommend?

Marketing Materials

Even though most of our promotions are online now, there are still tangible items that can help us promote our books:

Bookmarks - essential for any author

Business cards - also essential - you are a professional now

Postcards - mail to libraries, bookstores, target lists, fan clubs

Brochures - highlight your book titles, your speaking topics, etc.

Sell sheets & flyers - for the media, bookstores, and libraries

Press kit - your website should have a ‘media room,’ but it’s a good idea to have a physical press kit just in case

List of emails & addresses - can’t send out news of your next book without these

Posters & display items - for physical appearances

Giveaway items - pens, mugs, totes, etc.

Additional materials sold with your book - packaged with a CDRom, stuffed toy, etc.

Any other promotional materials you’d recommend?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Publishing Industry News and Friday Inspirational Photo

News around the industry…

From the The New York Times:

“The Harper imprint of HarperCollins Publishers said on Tuesday that it was creating a new list of books, called Infinitum Nihil, that will publish titles reflecting Mr. Depp’s eclectic tastes and interests.”

(Yes, that is THE Johnny Depp.)

According to The Next Web:

“Haynes Publishing is launching its first range of eBooks, and interestingly is bypassing the ‘traditional’ means of selling them such as Amazon and Kobo, opting to sell them independently through its own website…
“Now, the company will be coming into the 21st century with a range of titles published in the open eBook standard ePub format, and will see the books landing on iPads, Sony e-readers, Android and other compatible devices.”

And from Publishers Weekly:

“Pop culture fans jammed the aisles of the Javits Center for all four days of the New York Comic Con, held this past weekend. Attendance was estimated as 116,000 by show runner and ReedPop v-p Lance Fensterman, making it the second largest comics and pop culture show in North America.”

And your Friday inspirational photo:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight.

I actually noticed this book the other day on Ciara’s site and thought the cover was gorgeous.

Wish The Awakening

a YA dark fantasy

by Laura Eno

Most residents of Pine Hill shy away from seventeen-year-old Lelah without knowing why. It’s the Djinn magic surging through her blood. She lives in a world where wishes are really curses, dark power meant to twist and deceive in unimaginable ways.

When a fit of temper exposes Lelah for what she really is, she must flee to a sanctuary only whispered about, before her family is exposed and enslaved by their ancient enemy. What she discovers is a treacherous path filled with power, lies, and betrayal – a path that’s destined to ensnare her and destroy a civilization.

Laura, I look forward to reading your book!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Character Sheets

Character sheets are very handy to use when planning a story. They help establish a foundation on which to build. Since I occasionally do characterization sessions for schools and groups, I thought I’d share the points I cover when designing a character.

1 - Name and gender

2 - Background:
  • Race or culture
  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Upbringing - how they were raised, positive or negative?
  • Siblings
  • Parents & other relatives
  • Economic status

3 - Personality:
  • Type - Choleric (oldest, leader, worker, persuasive, extroverted, unemotional), Phlegmatic (middle, peaceful, friendly, indecisive, introverted, unemotional), Sanguine (youngest, playful, unorganized, talkative, extroverted, emotional), or Melancholy (only, perfect, artistic, sensitive, introverted, emotional).
  • Strengths - what are they good at?
  • Weaknesses - impulses, issues, etc.
  • Interests
  • Goals - this can be what propels the story.

4 - Physical attributes:
  • Build
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Eye/hair color
  • Intelligence

5 - Misc.:
  • Birthday
  • Friends
  • Spouse/GF/BF
  • Children
  • Other - any other details not covered above.

Anything else you add when designing your characters?

And if anyone would like a copy of my characterization sheet, just email me!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Industry News, The Flipside of Good Comments, and Inspirational Photo

Some industry news…

Nook Tablet pre-orders are sky high. The device will not only be available from Barnes & Noble, but from WalMart and Target, too. Barnes & Noble also continues to dominate the print bookshelf retail space.
Read full article at Publishers Weekly

Amazon launched a new feature this week - author rankings.
Read full article at Publishers Weekly

The Flipside of Good Comments

Bloggers live for comments. We love receiving and giving them. They can be encouraging, thoughtful, and a sign of real friendship. A good comment lets the other person know he or she matters.

Sometimes comments are for all the wrong reasons though. Have you ever received a comment from these types of people?

The Spammer - the same, generic comment left on many blogs or someone commenting just to leave a link. (I’m sure most of us have been zapped about boycotting American women!)

The Clueless - comments that have nothing to do with the blog post.

The Greedy - leaves quick comments just to get return comments. (This also applies to those who follow just to get a return follow.)

The Suck-up - buttering up someone for selfish gain. The comment is obviously not genuine and may ooze sickly sweetness.

The Slammer - bashes others or even the blog owner. Comments are negative and sometimes laced with superiority.

The Fighter - leaves instigating comments just to stir up trouble.

Can you think of any others?

And your inspirational photo for the day…

“I hope to grow up to be Cthulhu one day!”

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sad Day in Roller Coaster History: The End of Son of Beast

A little something different today.

I am a die-hard roller coaster fan. About 14-15 years ago, my husband took me to Busch Gardens, just to see how I would handle riding a big coaster. It scared me to death even as I fell in love with the thrill. Hundreds of coasters later, I still enjoy it.

That is why the following news saddened me:

On October 4, destruction began on this record breaking coaster at King's Island:

From the Dayton Daily News:

“When the Son of Beast opened it 2000, it was promoted as a “sequel” to the park’s most famous ride — the Beast. When it opened, the ride set world records as the tallest wooden roller coaster at 218 feet and fastest wooden coaster with top speeds of 78 miles per hour. The roller coaster also contained a mammoth 118-foot loop, a rarity for a wooden roller coaster.”
Wikipedia Photo

After several reported injuries, the ride was closed late 2006 and reopened in 2007 minus the loop. After more injuries, it was closed again in 2009 for the final time. (Only one incident was blamed on the design by the Department of Agriculture.)

Wikipedia Photo

I was fortunate enough to ride this coaster the summer of 2005 and before the loop was removed. Like any twisting wood coaster, it was rough, but far less rough than The Beast itself. I remember the loop, as it was a surreal feeling to enter a loop on a wooden coaster. I enjoyed it and road Son of Beast several times.

Now it is gone. And all I have is this t-shirt:

Any ride or park from your memory now wiped from existance?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I’m working on final edits and revisions on my next book, which will hopefully be out next February. It offers an in-depth overview of publishing and promoting, based on two three-hour seminars I offer, with tons of tips and hundreds of website links.

While this book has been years in the making, I know it will face some tough competition. Dozens of excellent publishing and promoting books already exist on the market. Since I can’t hope to compete with authors such as Dan Poynter or John Kremer, I’ve decided to focus on my target niche audience:

Those who’ve attended either or both of my seminars. It will cover the material in far greater depth than those two sessions. (And no one has to resort to speed note taking to keep up with me!)

Writers trying to decide which publishing path to take and where to begin.

Writers and authors looking for more promotional ideas and opportunities.

Since most books focus on either publishing or promoting, I hope that combining both aspects in one book will give me a slight advantage, too.

So my insecurity today is hoping that I will find enough of those people!

And, I finally have the working cover art to show you!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Healthy Eating For Writers

Michael Di Gesu invited me to do a guest post today on eating healthy. We writers tend to spend a lot of time with butts in chairs. That’s great for our writing, but not so great for our health. Besides the lack of exercise, we often end up snacking and eating junk, especially when “in the zone.” For a list of healthy alternatives and ways to balance our eating habits, visit Michael’s site.