Author Interview: Tony Gavin – Author of The Kill Shot

 

Introduction:

Guess I’m sort of on an interview kick. Got a ton of other articles to write, but it’s nice to talk to real people sometimes too. Today, we get to meet Tony Gavin, author of The Kill Shot. I’ve not yet experienced this book but I’m looking forward to reviewing the audio. Welcome, Tony.

 

What do you do for fun?

Until a recent spinal injury robbed me of the pleasure, I enjoyed competition shooting, horse riding and archaeology. Since then, writing has become the prime pleasure in my life. I still accompany my wife (A professional archaeologist) on archaeological digs and adventures and have travelled extensively around the world with her over our 35 years together.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Without a doubt I would not be writing today if it were not for the inspiration received during a chance encounter with Jenna Miller of ‘Ravenna old and new west vestures’ fame. She was my riding partner and wrangler on a dood ranching vacation and she just oozed western spirit and enthusiasm.

About your writing:

What other writers/people do you consider inspirational? If they’re authors, what about their work captures your interest?

I enjoy books by Ken Farmer as well the late Max Brand and Louis L’Amour. They bring the wild west to life in a way that I can only aspire to achieve.

What got you into writing?

My writing began only five years ago with a script for an independent movie production company. Born out of necessity (Keeping down the cost of the short) I wrote the script myself after studying and learning the required skills online. The experience was successful and more importantly enjoyable. Therefore almost immediately I re-wrote that story as a full length book. From there I have progressed to producing number of books, e-books, audiobooks, digital braille books, stage plays and screen plays. All with varying degrees of success.

What is your writing process?

For me the hardest decision is which project to complete next. I still work full time so my time for writing is limited, which is not the case with my ideas. There must be 15 to 20 outlines for various scripts and books just waiting in line. I tend to rotate between the different writing disciplines unless a deadline is looming near.

When do you consider a work complete?

I tend to finish a project and then set it aside for a month or two and come back to it. It’s surprising how many faults that are found when you do this.

About your book:

Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?

In “The Kill Shot” in particular, what is little known and appreciated is the amount of research that has gone into the book. The characters in the book are mostly real people. Camillus Fly the famous photographer of the time for example. Even the lesser throw away characters such as Louis Souc the check in clerc, Gus Westcamp the porter and Mary Tack a housekeeper were all real people working in the Occidental Hotel in 1883. I use them in a fictitious manner of course but I like to imagine that their lives were as exciting as I make them.

What gave you the idea for this book?

I noticed the vast number of photographs of dead people taken back in the 1800’s and researched the reason for this macabre subject. A photographic record was a less stinky means of proving a bounty hunters kills to the authorities to collect a reward than delivering a rotting corpse in person. Hence the title “The Kill Shot.”

How long did the book take to write?

Off and on, just over a year.

Who designed the cover?

I went for a different design for the audiobook cover from that on the paperback just to set them apart. It was created by a good friend of mine, Gavin Rymill.

 

About Other Books:

Do you write in other genres?

Yes. I use the pseudonym Pastor Pat Lalor for the “Godly Law” series of Christian based books for younger people.

 

Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.

The Dictionary of the American West by Win Blevins has been invaluable to me for finding words and phrases used in the 1880’s.

 

Random:

What’s one thing very few people know about you?

I was born in England, UK.

What are you non-writing hobbies or interests?

In addition to the hobbies listed above I am a follower of Cowboy Mounted Shooting. The fastest growing equine sport in the USA right now.

(Me: Sounds like fun.)

Conclusion:

Thanks for joining us today, Tony. Please tell the readers how to get in touch with you.

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/MicroMovieStudios/

https://www.facebook.com/PastorPatLalor/

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible

Audiobook Readers’ Edge Update

What is Audiobook Edge for Readers?

·         A short, vetted list of clean indie audiobooks I recommend every month. I’ll try to give you a clear rating system in terms of curses, adult content, and the like. The first Sunday to be precise. By “clean” I mean the book has minimal curse words and adult content. (There will also be Matchmaker, which has some stuff I will not post to the main list – email me to get on that list.)

What do you get?

·         Free audiobooks. (The author emails of those willing to share audible gift codes or directly gift you the book you’ve select.)
·         News of any audiobook price drops, giveaways, and cool contests put on by the lovely authors on the list.

What’s the “catch”?

I run by the principle: “If you like it, then you shoulda put a review on it.” (And if you don’t like it, let the author know privately.)

These authors and their narrators have put hours upon hours into creating an entertaining or informative show for you. Listening and enjoying their hard work is one step, but it costs you about five minutes of your time to thank them with a review. It also helps other readers find and enjoy things you love.

Details:

By “vetted” I mean I’ve either read the book or know the author and the quality of their work personally. (I will be gathering a small team of audiobook readers I trust to make such decisions, but right now, it’s just me.) My reading tastes tend very strongly toward mystery, thriller, and science fiction with a smidgen of fantasy and a few other genres. Therefore, you can expect the list to lean heavily toward these genres. Also, I write (and therefore tend to read) squeaky clean stuff. I’m not saying there won’t be curse words here and there as it fits the story, but these will be the works you wouldn’t mind if your grandmother caught you reading it.

I’m just the middleman here as it were. I’ll show you thing I’ve enjoyed or am excited to try out. It’s up to you to contact the authors who are kind enough to offer some free codes.

Reviews:

Eventually, I’ll be posting the lists to my wordpress blog. After they’re up and running, I’ll send you a link to the recent post(s) at the bottom of the weekly newsletter.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, please sign up below. As a bonus, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of 5 ebook, audiobook, and paperback bundles of any of my applicable works. (Clarification: It has to be a title that has an audiobook, ebook, and paperback version.)

Update as of 8/12/17: I also have a matchmaker list of things rejected from the normal list due to excessive curses, too many adult scenes or gory descriptions.

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)

Ready to get your Audiobook Edge?

Join up here.

 

If 1-2 free books ain’t enough, check out Audible’s paid programs.

The first two books are free through the link below.

*Bonus: I also have free codes for all my audiobooks and if you join Audiobook Edge and email me the title of one of my books you’d like to review, I will send you a code to purchase it. See my Amazon page for a list of my books. (Eligible titles: Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, Varick’s Quest, The Collins Case, The Kiverson Case, The Dark Side of Science, Awakening.)

*Double Bonus: If you buy one of my books as your very first Audible.com account purchase (needs to be a paid account), I’ll give you a $10 gift card/code to Amazon.com (please note, you have to be able to buy from the US site.) Also, this is only doable because of Audible’s bounty program, you’ll need to prove the purchase and wait until the bounty clears on my end.

Audible

Prime Student

Free Kindle Reading App

Top 5 Reasons to Consider Author Reach for your Email Server

Tired of seeing a flat line on your sales page?

Introduction:

Several people on a few different Facebook groups have asked about Author Reach. So, I figured I’d tell ya a but about my experiences with them. I’ve been on Author Reach through beta, but only really started using it regularly within the last month or so.

What is Author Reach?

It’s an email marketing system that sort of combines ideas of Bookfunnel with Mailchimp/mailerlite. You can upload books you want to use as a reader magnet and create a lead generation page that automatically puts the subscriber onto whichever list you wish that subscriber to go to.

Top 5 Reasons to Join Author Reach:

  • 1 several different styles of lead generation pages
  • 2 connect with other authors in a similar genre
  • 3 top-notch customer service
  • 4 risk-free first month – First month is $1 and subsequent months are$19 for lists under 1K
  • 5 connect with new subscribers
  • Bonus – I can almost guarantee you’ll pick up some subscribers just by having AR run one of your books by their list of subscribers. (I can’t guarantee they’ll do this for you, but I got about 800 subscribers from them that way.)

Pretty Lead Generation Pages:

You can create pretty nice lead generation pages with one of their easy-to-use templates. I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of lead generation pages you can make, but ideally, you’d probably want one for each of the type of list you create.

Connect with other authors:

Facebook groups are awesome, but having a system in place that will let you connect with authors who write in the same genre or a similar genre should be amazing too. Why? Because not everybody sees every post that goes live to a particular Facebook group. It gets buried under 25 other threads if you’re not on at the right time.

These are additional connections you wouldn’t make otherwise.

Excellent Customer Service:

Part of the company model must be to connect with each author personally. I don’t think your signup’s even complete until you have a conversation with one of the people from Author Reach. I had a problem with one of my lead generation pages, emailed customer service, and got it sorted within a few hours. As the company grows, I’m not sure they’ll be able to keep the standards quite that high, but I’ve been very impressed with the personal touch.

Risk-free $1 month-long trial:

If you’re looking to grow, this is a great starting place. Check it out for a month and see if it’s for you.

Other Pricing Comments:

If you have a very large list, Mailerlite’s got the best prices, hands-down. There’s no way most companies out there could compete with that. However, there’s nothing saying you can’t use both. Set up an Author Reach account and use it and the many beneficial features to funnel people through a filter then make Mailerlite your massive list.

Connect with new subscribers:

Success is going to vary. That’s an unwritten rule in this business. Newsletter swaps, giveaways, and paid promos work for a while, but you need to mix it up from time to time anyway. We’ve all heard that email lists are where it’s at, but this is a company trying to help you do that right.

Comparison to Mailchimp/Mailerlite:

First of all, I love Mailerlite. Mailchimp has its uses too, but they’re on the pricey side once you go above 2K subscribers. (Mailchimp’s customer service is hit or miss on efficiency. The company’s just too big to really care about the little guys/gals.) Haven’t tried Mailerlite’s customer service – guess that says something too – that I haven’t needed it.

Email Creation: Probably easiest and prettiest on Mailerlite, but you can upload a template you like working with into Author Reach. Or if you’re really in a bind, you can ask and they might be able to do it for you. I’ve made nice emails on Mailchimp too, but they’re not quite as easy or intuitive as Mailerlite.

Price: Mailerlite – cheap, Author Reach – medium, Mailchimp – free or super expensive

For any of these, it comes down to how many subscribers you have, so you should be highly motivated to keep only people who are actually engaged with you.

Learning Curve:

Author reach has probably one of the higher learning curves because it’s not just about the email side. It’s about the growth side. Mailerlite and Mailchimp aren’t going to be much help in terms of grow your mailing list. If used properly, AR has that potential. That said, the system is a little intimidating and takes a lot of getting used to. It’s not as flashy or polished as Mailerlite or the mail monkeys. They’re getting better all the time, but you’ve got to be willing to really poke around and play with things.

What they’re working on at Author Reach …

Author Connect – the more official and automated way of getting in touch with authors who write in similar/compatible genres. As far as I know, this is still coming soon. Although it’s hard to pin down a time with anything, I’d say they’ll have this functional in a few month’s time. Meanwhile, they are connecting authors informally because they actually take the time to get to know the people who sign up with them.

Soap box moment: This matters a lot. We’re in a business where you need to get to know the people on your mailing list, so working with a company that does the same is vital.

More templates for lead generation pages – I believe there are about 4 right now, but there should be more soon.

Drag and drop email creator – Pretty sure they’re still a few months out from this, but it’s in the works.

Conclusion:

If you have a relatively small list or are looking to move it beyond the 1K mark, you’re at a stellar place to join Author Reach. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes. (devyaschildren@gmail.com)

 

Sincerely,

 

Julie C. Gilbert

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited – Keep that Kindle Happy. 30 FREE trial

Since most authors are book addicts …

Coming Soon … Lei Crime Kindle World: Echoes by Scott Bury

Introduction:

May 12, 2017 will be quite the exciting day for those who love the Lei Crime Kindle World. A grand total of 11-ish new titles will launch that day. Join us for a Facebook Party too. It runs 3-11 PM EST on Friday, May 12, 2017. You’re cordially invited to come hang with us, chat, win prizes, and check out the sweet books releasing that day.

Echoes (Excerpt From Chapter 1): Out of the Past

Dylan nodded slowly and took a deep breath. “Cole’s wanted by the police. They say he shot two cops.”

“I know.”

“You know?”

“I’m a cop. FBI. Did you think the Oahu Field Office wouldn’t get notified about the shooting of two officers on the same island? And, of course, I recognized the name.”

“You knew? And you’re not doing anything about it?”

“I was pretty shocked, Dylan. I couldn’t imagine little Cole getting into any kind of trouble, let alone shooting anyone. But I read the reports. Although he hasn’t been convicted yet, he has a pretty long record for possession of drugs and association with criminals. He’s supposed to be a pretty big supplier of marijuana, ecstasy and other drugs on Oahu. And he apparently has been trying to move in on the heroin trade.”

She leaned in. “I’ve been following the case daily. You’re right. He’s gone dark. There’s an all-island alert for him, but no sightings since he burned down a house he was dealing from outside Hamika and shot two officers to escape.” Only then did she realize her hand was on Dylan’s knee.

He glanced down and smiled, but the smile vanished. “Can you help him?”

Vanessa withdrew her hand and looked at the ground. “Dylan, if he really shot two cops, he’s going to have to take responsibility for it.”

“You mean, he’s going to have to die for it?”

“No. Luckily, neither cop was killed. One’s still in hospital, the other’s out. Lucky for Cole, too. But he’s going to have to stand trial, and if he’s guilty, he’s going to have to serve time.”

Dylan snorted. “You know the cops in Hamika. They’ll never let him live long enough to get to trial. If they find him, he’s dead.”

He turned toward her and took her hand between his. He looked into her green eyes, and Vanessa suddenly felt like she was 17 again, like that night, the last time she had seen him until now, looking into Dylan’s eyes as dark and rich as chocolate. Her throat felt dry. She used sipping her iced coffee as an excuse to tear her eyes away.

The thinking part of her brain reminded her then that fifteen years had passed since that night, that special, so very important night.

She calculated. There were no urgent cases on her plate right now. She could tell Waxman, the Special Agent in Charge of the Honolulu Field Office, that she needed to take some personal time. The Bureau owed her more than a week.

“All right, Dylan. I’ll help you, but it can’t be in any official capacity. So far, Cole’s case belongs to the Honolulu Police Department, specifically the Hamika detachment. I can take time off to help find Cole and convince him to turn himself in.” She touched his shoulder to stop his protest. “That’s all I can do, Dylan. And I’ll be acting in my own capacity, which means I won’t be able to use any Bureau files, networks or other resources. It will be personal.”

Dylan looked into her eyes again, but she was ready for him this time. He wasn’t going to wear her down today. After a beat, he nodded. “Okay. That will do.”

“And Dylan? You’re going to tell me about that night fifteen years ago. The truth. That’s the deal.”

Dylan sighed, not breaking eye contact. “That night. The truth. Deal.”

About Echoes:

“I am hopelessly in love with a memory. An echo from another time, another place.” — Michel Foucault

In 1999, the Kahuna was The Man on Oahu’s west coast. The coolest guy at the wildest parties, with the coolest posse, the best weed and the most beautiful girlfriend.

Then he disappeared.

Fifteen years later, that girlfriend is no longer a high school senior. She is FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm, and she sees through every lie the Kahuna spins when he shows up again to beg her help.

How can she say no when the Kahuna wants her help not for himself, but to protect his little brother. Young Cole ‘Aukai is ready to set fire to the whole Oahu illegal drug trade—for revenge.

Echoes is Scott Bury’s fourth Lei Crime Kindle World title, joining:

About the author:

Scott Bury can’t stay in one category.

After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. He has written children’s fiction, mysteries, historical magic realism, action thrillers, memoirs and erotic romance.

In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author’s cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of author’s professional association BestSelling Reads.

You can find more about Scott Bury, and contact him through his website, http://www.writtenword.ca, his blog, Written Words, and on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

 

 

Taking the Small Wins, Yet Experimenting for Bigger and Better

Indie Author Survival Kit:

  1. Write book
  2. Publish book
  3. Promote book
  4. Repeat until … ???

Define Your Goals (Yet be Realistic):

What do you want most out of this?

Do you want to be rich and famous? (Probably the wrong line of business.)

Do you want to share stories with perfect strangers and make some money while doing it? (You’re in the right place.)

Do you want to build a small business that can be a second source of income?

(Still figuring that one out, but I’m slowly getting there. Will keep you posted once I finally learn the ins and outs of making that happen.)

Enjoy the Small Wins:

Example small wins: a good review, a spike in sales, a new relationship formed with a reader.

When you’re just starting out or you’re not particularly good at marketing (me), enjoy the small wins. I’m slowly taking baby steps to make this more of a real thing, but for now, I’m building relationships, meeting people where I can, networking, and trying to absorb the life lessons writing/publishing can teach us.

But I’m just not good at promoting myself…

You’re going to have to be. It might not be comfortable, but if you want people to read your stuff, they need to be able to find it. This is as much a pep talk to myself as to you. Be open to new ideas. Experiment with various advertising opportunities. I’ve yet to get a Bookbub feature, but I’ve also been doing all my marketing wrong for years. Once I fix those fundamental flaws, prove I can get some sales, then I’ll try again. But just casting stuff into a void isn’t working.

Oh, and Keep Writing:

Do this because you love it. You’ve been gifted with the ability to take words and weave them into fantastic tales. Hone the craft. Get better. If you enjoy it, the process won’t seem like work. Keep coming back to the “why do I write” idea. It’s fun. It’s satisfying. It’s fulfilling. If none of those words are ringing a bell, this probably isn’t the thing for you. Keep writing new stories. Even if the old ones are doing great, have new stuff to get out there. Series are all the rage today, but you don’t have to do a series. There are literally thousands of tales to be told and every story has some elements of other ones. Fairy tale retellings are even a thing. Put your own twist on something.

I’m assuming fiction, but there’s plenty of reasons to write nonfiction too. Odds are good that you have some skill or talent or knowledge that would benefit others. Share it. You’re not in this alone. Reach out to other indie authors and get connected.

I write science fiction, YA, mystery/thriller, Christian mystery, fantasy, and poetry. If any of that stuff appeals to you, feel free to reach out to me one of the ways below. I’d be happy to give you my two cents on a matter. If you write in different genres, look around. Find an author you love and reach out to them. If they’re indie, they will likely get back to you. Most indie authors I know are very active on social media. Best of luck.

Thanks for reading!

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

If you want to see more from the Indie e-Con, go here.

If you want to win a free Kindle Paperwhite, enter the giveaway.

Love Science Fiction or Mystery?

AD, HFC KC

Choose your adventure!
Get Ashlynn’s Dreams or The Kiverson Case absolutely free.

Email and Links:

Devyaschildren @ gmail.com

Author Website

Facebook Page

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Adventures in Other Authors’ Worlds

Introduction:

I know we’re all focused on building our own stories and keeping that going, but you might want to consider writing for Kindle Worlds. Here, Amazon has created a place for you to get paid to write fanfiction. Fanfiction gets a bad rap, but in Kindle Worlds it’s a little more structured. You have to abide by the rules set forth in whichever world you are writing for.

I’ve joined two KWs: The Lei Crime Series and The Sydney Rye Series. Lei Crime is mystery/thriller and Sydney Rye is more vigilante thriller.

5 Key Benefits to Writing in Kindle Worlds?

  1. You’re starting with a ready-made audience. Amazon has specifically chosen popular series to offer kindle worlds to. You often have a plethora of cool side characters to explore. This is especially true for the Lei Crime Series as Toby Neal has gone out of her way to make deep side characters with lots of room for exploration.
  1. Try new things – this is pretty much a risk-free way to try a genre you may not have done yet. At the time, I’d not done any traditional type mystery/thrillers. The first Kindle World story I wrote was Never Again, which was a prequel to the Lei Crime series. It explores the question why one of the characters chose to become a cop.
  1. Interact with other authors – Networking is super important. You never know who you’re going to meet and what the long-term benefits will be of that relationship. As a part of both KWs, I’ve met a lot of great people. I’ve even gotten to meet one of them, even though she lives in Canada and I live in the US. It’s not exactly a mentoring system in all cases. The worlds differ in how involved the original author wants to be.
  1. Power of the collective – The Lei Crime series in particular is very purposeful about launches. You can publish at any time, but joining a launch will likely get you better sales results. I’ve had months where the sales are triple what they normally are just because of the collective advertising and social media presence of a launch.
  1. It’s a heck of a lot of fun. – At the end of the day, you’ve got to enter this because you love what you do. Some of the worlds, like the Sydney Rye one will allow you to integrate characters you’ve already written. The Lei Crime series is under and older contract that does not allow this, but in Fatal Interest (Sydney Rye KW) I was able to bring in Nadia, who is also featured in the Devya’s Children series.

“Writing for KWs is easy and fun. The “heavy lifting” of character and world building is done, and with the addition of a little imagination, the writing feels like play and flows easily. I enjoy the creativity that gets unleashed by not having to build everything myself.” ~ Toby Neal (Author of Lei Crime Series)

“I like how there’s at least a possibility you can get some new eyes on the backlist (on the off chance readers of the KW world’s original author likes your work enough to check out your other books). 🙂 And I feel like Amazon gives their KW books a nice boost during release day / month, which is always welcome.” ~Marian Tee (NYT Bestselling author, The Marriage Dare, a KW novella)

“I love writing for KW LeiCrime because it brings happy memories of living there and I enjoy working with great writers such as Toby Neal.” ~J.L. Oakley (Author of //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=juliecgilbe05-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00VQWUE5C&asins=B00VQWUE5C&linkId=b781e041307cf743263459a8ddaff64d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank”>Saddle Road, Lei Crime Kindle World Series)

How do you get involved?

Technically speaking, all you have to do is write a book that follows the guidelines of the world you want to join. Here’s the link to the main Kindle Worlds page. Odds are good that every genre is represented.

The first thing to do is get familiar with the world you want to join. If you’re already a fan of something, that’s great you can skip that step. But this is a hugely important step. Make sure you understand the world. Next, choose a character to write about. I started the Lei Crime Series intending to do a Defining Moments series featuring many different characters in each subsequent book, but once I wrote the second one, I stuck it out with FBI Agent Marcella Scott. I rebranded that series to focus just on her and called it The Shadow Council Series.

It might help to get involved in some of the FB groups for authors interested in a particular Kindle World. I know both the Lei Crime and Sydney Rye series have FB groups. They’re private but if you’re interested, you can always apply and the admins will let you in if you’re serious.

BTW, if you grab one of the free books below then let me know you came from this e-conference, I will enter you into a contest to win a copy of any of my Kindle World titles, 2 Shadow Council pencils, and a postcard pack.

Conclusion:

Kindle Worlds are an excellent publishing option, but you have to follow very specific guidelines for each world. You need to read those rules closely for each world because they will differ. That said, it’s a fun and profitable way to gain more exposure for your existing works.

Thanks for reading!

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

If you want to see more from the Indie e-Con, go here.

If you want to win a free Kindle Paperwhite, enter the giveaway.

Love Science Fiction or Mystery?

AD, HFC KC

Choose your adventure!
Get Ashlynn’s Dreams or The Kiverson Case absolutely free.

Email and Links:

Devyaschildren @ gmail.com

Author Website

Facebook Page

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Writing Awesome Book Descriptions

Book Descriptions – Definition and Importance

The book description’s the first impression most people are going to get of your writing. You want to do this part right! It needs to entice them to read the book without telling everything.

Common Pitfalls of Writing Blurbs:

Telling too much: You want to get the reader to buy the book, not tell them the whole story. There’s a time and a place for this, but in general, you want to keep some salient points secret.

Rambling: This might be a personal preference thing. I don’t like long book descriptions. They run the risk of rambling. Telling too much and rambling may sound like the same thing, but I define the first in terms of giving away plot points and the second as unnecessarily defining stuff that should be obvious.

Naming too many people: You have a very finite amount of space; don’t waste it by telling us everybody’s name.

My Method:

I’m sure there are whole books on the art of writing a catchy book description. Depending on the genre, this might not work. I mainly write science fiction, fantasy, and mystery/thriller. I’ve done a few romance ones for friends, but other than that, my experience is pretty limited to the three genres listed above.

Tagline: I’m partial to taglines. These are one-liners that sum up a key aspect or theme of the book. They should be short yet catchy.

Introduce the Main Character(s) (Character): Who is the reader going to meet? What do they do? Why do we care? You don’t need to answer all of these questions in the blurb, but you should be able to capture the essence of your MC in the first little bit.

A second paragraph about MC is usually necessary for romance as there are two main characters to introduce.

Throw the Monkey Wrench at the MC (Conflict): What’s wrong?  Something must not be going right for this person or there wouldn’t be a story to tell. I usually use this as a transition to an additional paragraph or as a lead in to the wrap-up question or statement.

Wrap-up question/statement (Stakes): What’s going on that the reader should pick up the book to find out if the MC is safe/ accomplishes his or her goal? If you want to get a little cute and it fits the tone of your story, tie the wrap-up line to the title somehow.

Example 1: Violence in Vegas (A Lei Crime Kindle World novella)
Violence in Vegas final
Tagline: Sin City holds some dark secrets …

Paragraph 1 (Heroine and her friend): But Marcella Scott’s in town to help Angela Melkin-Pierce with a small case of sabotage. Somebody’s been slashing guests’ tires and ransacking rooms at The Grand Game Hotel. With the guest list including the Reno Birdwatcher’s Society and the Paradise Quilting Club, the suspect list is very thin. The only intriguing option is Gatton Technologies, headed by eccentric billionaire, Jeffrey Gatton. When he decides to host a masquerade party at the hotel, Marcella goes undercover.

Monkey Wrench Thrown at Heroine (Conflict/Problem): The air of elegance quickly turns to terror when masked men kidnap Gatton and Angela.

Wrap-up and tie to title (Stakes): Marcella’s going to need all of her wits—and a borrowed handgun or two—if she wants to survive the violence in Vegas.

Slight Variations: If you have a main villain and your leading guy/gal, you might want to spend a paragraph on each of them.

Example 2: Ie. Money Makes it Deadlier (A Lei Crime Kindle World Novella)
SC 1 MMID
Tagline: Money can buy many things, but can it purchase a permanent solution to divorce?

Paragraph 1 (Villain): Martin Cantrell would like to know the answer to that question. He has money, respect, and power, but he also has a monthly alimony payment that’s making him miserable. When a friend offers to deal with the “ex” problem for a fee, he can hardly say no. Time is of the essence. The life insurance policy on his ex-wife expires in less than two months.

Paragraph 2 (Heroine): Unaware of the plans set in motion, Special Agent Marcella Scott goes about her business as usual, only now, she finally has an excuse to dress up on the job. She’s been asked to go undercover to check out some banks. One of the branches just happens to be managed by Martin Cantrell’s ex-wife.

Monkey Wrench thrown at Heroine/Wrap-up: What’s an agent to do when a perfectly peaceful morning turns into a hostage-taking standoff?

Example 3: The Dark Side of Science (Prequel to Devya’s Children Series; Science fiction)
Dark Side of Sci kindle cover
Tagline: The mind can hold powerful secrets.

Intro MC: When Dr. Jessica Paladon worked for her friend, Dr. Dean Devya, she helped create Nadia, one of the world’s few Minders. Tough circumstances drove her away from that life, and to protect the secrets, she willingly took a drug that induced amnesia.

But now she needs those memories.

Monkey Wrench (Conflict): Two children—her children—Nadia and Varick are competing in a winners-take-all, losers-might-die competition for the biggest secret government contract out there. They’re fighting for the right to exist.

Wrap-up (Stakes): If Jessie can’t remember, how will she help them survive?

Example Book Blurbs I Helped Write:

Please note that most of these are mystery/thrillers. I have very limited experience with romance ones as well, but the general points still apply.

A Snake in Paradise by Eden Baylee

Out of Her League by Shawn McGuire

Kapu by Dave Schoonover

Born to Love by Amy Shojai

Palm Trees and Snowflakes by Scott Bury

Conclusion:

Book descriptions are probably one of the most dreaded necessary parts of writing a book. But they can be fun. This is your chance to shine. Play with the words and make them work for you. If you hop on my mailing list and get to know some of my works, you should be able to implement this method just fine. At that point, if you want me to take a look at your book description and offer some suggestions, I’d be happy to do so. (Disclaimer: Time permitting. I have a day job that I need to keep up with too.)

Thanks for reading!

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

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People, Places, and Things to Fill Your Fictional World

How do you create a fictional world?

If you write speculative fiction of any sort, odds are good you’ll be creating a world. Science fiction and fantasy are especially prone to unique, author created worlds. If you have no idea where to start, try reading some of the masters. J.R.R. Tolkien and Brandon Sanderson immediately pop to mind as some of the greats. Once you’re ready to jump in, begin by thinking about what kind of world you want to make. This will largely be shaped by the plot you’re planning, the characters you’re creating, and the genre you stick the story in. Everything’s connected, so what comes first? In my experience, the answer is in the names. For simplicity, I’ll be discussing people, places, and things from Redeemer Chronicles 1: Awakening. (Cover change in the works for that series).

What’s in a name?

Your world will be more authentic if you have a system that makes sense. I have a personal preference for names that are simple and pronounceable. Some names pop right to mind and others take me hours. I’m not only talking about people, but also places and objects in your world. Awakening’s set in a fantasy world called Aeris, but I don’t actually name the world until the second book because it’s not really relevant to the first story. In the sequel, I talk about more Darkland creatures than just zombies and Denkari. It took me about two hours to come up with something that fit evil creatures with six legs.

Planet Names Tangent: Names have feelings and they evoke feelings. In a different series, I named the scifi planet Reshner. It got its name from one of the ancient languages featured in that universe because it means “restful place.” For that one, I wanted something isolated, strong, yet supple. For Aeris, I wanted something that is reminiscent of earth yet otherworldly, something soft, and something pretty.

People (and their titles):

Good guys and bad guys usually define themselves pretty clearly by their actions. Their names may come to have special meaning later, but at the start, they should tell the reader simple information such as race and gender. Here are some of the people from Awakening: Victoria Saveron, Katrina Polani, Tellen, Jackson Castaloni, Marcus Polani, Huntsman Daniel Saveron, Alec Castaloni, Markesh McArn, Sara Andari, Huntmaster Oren, Huntsman Shadow, The Lady, and Supreme Huntmaster Jordan Lekros. From that list, can you tell who’s related to whom? Can you tell approximate rank for some of the people? One of these is an immortal, can you tell which? Does a character have a nickname? Depending on who’s talking to the character, they may or may not. Katrina refers to Victoria Saveron as Vic. The Lady refers to her as Victoria. Here’s a picture of her courtesy of my friend. If you want to see the whole sketch, you’ve got to be on my mailing list.

First, let me tell you a bit about the three main people types. There’s the Arkonai, the Saroth, and the Bereft. The Arkonai and Saroth both have access to magic, but the Bereft do not. Arkonai are ruled by the Arkonai Hunting Guild, which is overseen by the High Council and the Supreme Huntmaster. Those with access to the Gift (magic) tend to become Guardians, Healers, and Seekers. The Saroth are ruled by the Tariku League and tend to become Destroyers, Minders, Shapeshifters, and Conjurers. The Bereft cannot access magical Gifts through conventional means, though they can still use certain scrolls prepared by Minders or Conjurers.

The Arkonai sometimes have last names and sometimes do not. They mostly speak with a vaguely British accent. The Saroth tend to have Italian names. The Bereft often speak with an Irish accent.

The Magic System Tangent: As I described the people types, you probably picked up on the seven magic schools: Healers, Seekers, Guardians, Minders, Destroyers, Shapeshifters, Conjurers. Although the titles have stereotypical meanings, not everything is what it seems. As with all Gifts, it’s the application of such that determines where the person falls on the good/evil scale.

Golden rule for magic systems: it has to make sense. One of the most freeing things about scifi and fantasy as genres is that you can do just about anything, but it has to make sense. This holds true for everything. For example, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series has an awesome magic system that is based on metals. (Okay, so maybe I just think it’s wonderful because I’m a chemistry geek.)

Places:

Cities, regions, and villages are probably going to have different names. These names are going to be responsible for defining the character of the place. Don’t forget to fill your world with mountains, rivers, forests, and lakes as well. The Northlands are run by the Arkonai, they have city names like Bastion, Cardeth, Urdik, Resilience, and Aridel. Caramore is run by the Saroth. Some of their cities are called Dominance, Jorash, and Outreach. The Bereft mostly live in villages such as Coldhaven, Bright Hope, Coolwater Creek, and Serene Hills. There are other general places such as the Ashlands and the Badlands.

Nature should also be represented in your world if applicable. If you’re doing a futuristic science fiction about how we destroyed all the natural forests, well, then maybe you have something like preserves or domes. Awakening takes place is a middle ages of sorts. The forests are slowly being developed but only by individuals not corporations with machines. Victoria Saveron and her friends start out in the Karnok Mountains and travel to Coldhaven.

Balance the Things in Your World:

Choose objects that fit the world and avoid things that would be out of place. That sounds simplistic, but it’s actually very important. You want to mix familiar with the unfamiliar so people can follow what it is. For example, I mention blueberries and baydonberries. Blueberries exist in our world, baydonberries do not, but they’re described as being mostly the same except that they have little white flecks in the fleshy part and have wonderful “cleansing” abilities (ie. they make you puke, etc). My characters carry around waterbags instead of canteens. They fight with daggers and bows and arrows, but also lightning.

Many objects will be small details to flesh out the world, but a few will be absolutely critical to what you do. Here, a familiar object: bracers take on special meaning. Vic wears magical bracers because she would turn into a zombie if she didn’t.

Creatures: Once again, you want a balance of familiar and unfamiliar. This story started on a dare, so it has zombies in it. I’m typically not a zombie fan, but here, they fit the world. It’s a beautiful, wholesome place struggling with corruption from the Darklands. There are rabbits and deer and squirrels in the forests, but there are also Denkari, rogue spirit warriors with the power to kill in a dozen different ways. Travel by horse is common. Shapeshifters can take on the form of dogs, birds, wolves, snakes, bears, panthers, and dragons, so naturally, these creatures too have a place in this world.

Conclusion:

When creating a world, strive to make it relatable yet unique. Fill it with people your readers will want to get to know. I’m sure to take a lot of care with the main character’s name. Do the same for the people, places, and things that make up the world this person inhabits.

Thanks for reading!

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If you want to win a free Kindle Paperwhite, enter the giveaway.

Love Science Fiction or Mystery?

Choose your adventure!
Get Ashlynn’s Dreams or The Kiverson Case absolutely free.

Email and Links:

Devyaschildren @ gmail.com

Author Website

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How to Get a Narrator You Love

Introduction:

You’ve worked really hard to get your book ready to good, and now you want to take the next step. There’s something highly gratifying about hearing a talented actor/actress bring the words to life. A few people have the time, talent, and recording devices necessary for doing this themselves. I admire these people, but I’m definitely not one of them. This article is directed to the majority of people who need to search up a narrator. Also, I don’t know much about the traditional publishing world of audiobook creation. I’m going to be speaking about using Audiobook Creation Exchange.

I’ve talked to several authors in various Facebook groups who wonder things like:

  • How do I get a great narrator?
  • How long should I wait once I get a few auditions?

So, how do you find and hire a narrator you’ll love?

The first time I sort of got lucky. The first or second person who posted an audition fit my idea of the character voices perfectly. In hindsight, I might have found somebody even more fitting if I’d gone through the process I’m going to describe below, but I still enjoy the work done with Kristin Condon.

Here’s how I did got the perfect narrator the other 3 times:

  1. I selected the characteristics I was looking for on ACX’s search section. First major choice is male/female. Other things you should consider is budget (more on that later),  style, and accents.
  2. I listened to random samples from people who matched my search parameters. More on pricing later, but I would probably go with people who are in the price bracket above what you think you can afford.
  3. Once I had a list of 10-15ish people I really loved, I wrote a general letter then adapted it for each person. I sent these narrators an invitation to audition for my book. Generally, if you contact 15 people, most will get back to you, a few will be too busy or not interested because of the price you’re offering, but the others will thank you for the invite and post an audition in about a week’s time.
  4. Set a timeframe like 1-2 weeks for when you’ll close auditions. Once everybody who promised an audition comes through, listen to the auditions carefully and choose your favorite.
  5. Privately message everybody as you get auditions to keep them updated on the status of their audition. If you don’t intend to hire somebody, thank them for taking the time to audition and let them know that. Be up front and honest. These people are auditioning for a lot of projects because it’s a tough way to make a living.
  6. Offer a contract to your top choice, but don’t burn bridges with your second and third choice because your top choice might not accept the contract.

Pricing Notes:

Some people have a large budget to put behind the audiobook venture. Others are popular enough to attract a stipend from ACX which will definitely increase the number of auditions you receive. But for the rest of us price is going to be an issue.

Reality – It can easily take about 4-6 (or even more) hours of work to get a finished hour of audiobook ready to go. The narrator needs to read the story, prep the voices, record the chapters, edit, and then re-edit to fix up any mistakes. Keep that in mind moving forward.

Royalty Share: This is the best deal for authors because you’re not taking any of the financial risk. You’re narrator creates the book for you, you approve it, and then once it’s on sale you split any royalties with the narrator.

If you can only do RS, that’s fine, but keep in mind this will likely limit you to those who are just starting out or doing it as a hobby. Most of the people with experience will stick to pfh because of the tremendous amount of work it will take to create the audiobook.

I prefer to put $50 pfh on the table, that’s the lowest paid per finished hour you can use. Most of the really talented people have $100-200 pfh. I privately let people know that I fully intend to give them a private bonus once the project goes live. ACX’s messaging system is pretty clunky but you can get their email addresses and discuss the project privately.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email: devyaschildren @ gmail.com

 

Introducing Audiobook Authors/Narrators Edge

What is Audiobook Edge?

·         A feature in my targeted email list for thriller, mystery, and spec fic audiobook fans. (I’m going to limit the slots to b/t 3 and 10 per letter, so you should get high visibility.) I will occasionally branch out to other clean works that aren’t in those categories, but the genres listed are the focus. Will also post ebook links, but focus is audiobooks.
·         A chance to use some of those audible book codes burning a hole in your pocket.
·         A chance to connect with other authors who write similar works to you.
·         A chance to get your book some visibility and gain some new fans.
·         Eventually, we can band together and run a FB party or something to better connect with the readers.

Update as of 8/12/17 – AE will come out the first Sunday of every month. I’d originally planned for once a week, but the amount of books I have and the time constraints involved in setting this up means something’s gotta give.

What’s the “catch”?
You will need to either gift me your book or give me an audible code to hear your book. (Don’t send it quite yet, please.) You will also need to share this page with your readers because collective bargaining power is sort of the idea behind this. One last thing, since the vetting team is me, myself, I, and a handful of trusted friends), please be patient with that process. I will try to keep you updated but I can only listen so fast. I can guarantee that if I personally enjoy your work, you will get reviews at both Amazon and audible.

You’ll have a better shot of making the list and getting fans if you offer up a few free codes. I will be strongly encouraging the readers to review things they like, but I can’t guarantee you’re a) going to get results or b) going to get results that you like.

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)