Friday, May 27, 2016

Marketing Skills - A Must Have

I know, I know - you just want to write and not deal with marketing. I feel your pain. But there are some positives to marketing your own book. The number one reason would be to interact with your readers. Building relationships are key to getting your books out there. 

I mean, don't you want to see your novels out in the mainstream? If the answer is yes, then you need to get to know your readers. Believe me, I am just as guilty of not working on this stuff every day, but I don't think you have to.

Recently I was sick with pneumonia and then some other issues took precedent in my life and I wasn't following through on things I needed to do with marketing. But we all get sick and things come up so simply go on your fan page and tell your readers. It's not that complicated.  Most will forgive you and besides, no one likes to be bombarded with to much social media marketing anyway. Give yourself a break and catch up when you're ready.

Now once you're back at it, you can do some catching up. Write a blog post, contact those who offered to put you on their blog as a guest, write a newsletter. And if you have them, send out an ad.

Time is on your side, it just means it will take a little slower to get the word out about your novels. That's completely up to you. I know authors that are on it all the time and usually benefit from their hard work pretty quickly, but if life has you down, it will take you a little longer.

That's okay!

So work yourself back into the mainstream and take it one step at a time. You will get it caught up and feel much better that you did!

What are some of the things you do you open communication with your readers?

Until next week, don't forget if you would like to read my first book for FREE then go to this link and download it. Free Fable 

Once you've enjoyed Fable you can read Lore. It is online now for your reading pleasure and it's a big book so it should keep you busy for a while!

Love, Lisa

Monday, May 23, 2016

Lore Is Here!

It's done! Lore is finally published on Amazon! What's so unusual about that? Well, all the road blocks I have dealt with along the way. 

Yes, I am so grateful that this feat has finally been accomplished, but believe me, it was a long, tough journey. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for sympathy, only amazed that it's done.

There is nothing easy about self-publishing, but it is worth it in the end. I did have some learning curves - learning to write by myself instead of with my sister - several setbacks with critiques, such as deaths in families, vacations, weather constraints and the like. Also a total rewrite and a new beta reader who went through the book with me page by page, and then the dreaded issues with formatting the book for paperback and ebook. (Thank God for my sister!)

See, when it comes to understanding all this stuff, such as marketing, getting around the different sites, formatting, ect... I'm lost. Sure, I can write the book, and even though it might take me a while to get it right, or where I like it to be, I can do that. It's all the other stuff that gets me stymied. I've even been working with my daughter on some of the marketing and she's as lost as I am.

I am taking a class, but the information assumes I understand what he's talking about - I don't in a lot of cases. The easy stuff like rewriting my book descriptions I got that, it's the facebook ads, landing pages, and tracking. I have no clue.

So I'm back in that learning curve again. I'm even trying to figure out how to do a launch party on line. There's so much to learn, and along the way I have to write the next book. Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it.

There needs to be a course that goes through it all step-by-step. You know, marketing baby steps for the computer software illiterate. Now that course could make a lot of money because I know I'm not the only one who doesn't understand how to do all this stuff.

But in the meantime, bear with me. I will have a launch party on my Fanpage and I will learn to make the ads. Until then, Lore is on Amazon for those who would like to download the book. And I would sincerely appreciate anyone who reads it to leave me a review. It really helps author's ranking and get my book out there more.

Here's the link to Lore and I hope you enjoy it! Lore book 2 of The Lorn Prophecy

Until next week, enjoy Lore and let me know if you liked it!

Love, Lisa

Friday, May 13, 2016

If I Didn't Laugh ...

Well, I have to say, my life sure is interesting, to say the least. Truly, If I didn't laugh half the time, I would shed tears. But just when I thought it couldn't get any crazier, I am abruptly woken from a nap from a loud crash in the living room.

Now my first reaction was someone's trying to break in - which scared me to death. I threw on my pants, I'm sure whoever it was did not want to see me in my underwear - there's somethings you just can't unsee - and I began to slowly walk toward the sounds.

Another crash happened and I stuck my head around the corner to see ... no one?! I was like "what is going on"?! 

Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted the culprit. A squirrel. And not just any squirrel, he must have weighed at least 3 lbs (which is pretty big for a squirrel) and he was up on the side of the wall yelling at me with his chirps, twitters, and I'm not sure what other word would describe the sounds coming from him - but he was mad big-time!  

I ran to the front door to see if he would be willing to escape my house, but he wasn't having it. He stared me down and continued his yelling. I ran to the other side of the room to my cell phone and hurriedly unplugged it to call my husband Rick. Just as I clicked on his number the squirrel dashed back into this hole up near the ceiling. I guess the hole leads to the sofits outside.

Now, don't judge me.

Those of you that know me personally know that I hate this crappy cabin we've been forced to rent since the rent in Denver metro is outrageous now. It's a 1948 rock cabin with cement walls, except for the living room which is wood walls like a log cabin - well kinda. And since moving here I have done nothing but freeze half the time. Plus I've gotten sick twice, and I never get sick. Trust me, it's like living in the arctic when it's snowing up here.

So, needless to say, yes there are holes big enough for a squirrel ( or very large rat) to fit through. After the chaos died down, Rick told me to spray the hole with bug spray. He said they hate that smell. It must have worked because he didn't come back in.

Once my husband got home he found some steel fencing and covered up the hole. We thought the problem was solved - that is until Tuesday afternoon.

Here is was, lying on the couch, sick with a high fever, (from living at 8200 feet in the middle of a canyon) watching TV. All of a sudden my cable goes out. The very first thought that crossed my mind was - that squirrel is paying us back. He chewed up the wire.

When I said that to Rick he thought I was losing it. There's no way since the wires didn't go into the sofits. So I call Xfinity. Guess what?! The guy tells me our house is the only one out. Could we have critters around here that could have chewed through a cable?

I had to laugh!

Sure enough when they installed the cable the guy ran the wire right underneath the hole outside where the squirrel was coming in. Yup - paybacks.

Also explains why it's so cold in this place. So those who had convinced me how great it was for a writer to live in a house like this and get to have all this quiet, alone time to write my manuscripts, I have this to say - NOT!

Even though it is true, try to find the positives in your not so great situations, and believe me I work on it everyday, it is tough to be all smiles and joyful when you're living in a house like we do. 

It's pretty interesting though that the one reprieve I've had is a squirrel breaking in and cursing me because he freaked himself out knocking over my stuff. 

Life sure is funny...

Until next week, I'm very excited to say the proof came back for Lore and I am ready to order books! The electronic book should be ready soon for those who prefer to download. And again, if you would like to read Fable for free just follow this link: 

I promise if you click on the link nothing will bite you or jump out at you. You'll simply get to read a fantasy fiction book that will hopefully take you away from all those stresses for a little while. 

Take care, Lisa

Friday, April 29, 2016

Writers: It's Okay To Time Out

Writing is a lonely profession. Which can become a stressful profession if you're not careful. Learning to take time for yourself can mean all the difference in the world for your physical and mental health. 

As writers we tend to be more sensitive and withdrawn - like most artists. Our minds are continuously thinking about our books - or book-brain as I so lovingly like to call it. Yes, writing can be put in the same category as artists. Instead of painting on a canvas, we paint with words. We are creators of stories and should be proud that we are giving the world what it has craved since the beginning of time.

But now, instead of orally, we write them down - with the exception of a good campfire ghost story. And we put our fables out to the public hoping others will enjoy them also. However, it's not enough that we write the stories and upload them to Amazon. Now we have to market them and in this very competitive profession, it's a monotonous situation. 

I thought I would give you some tips for those times when you are stressed from lack of sales, or tons of critique red marks strewn across your chapter. Or maybe it's the ongoing list of to-do's each day. Whatever is overwhelming you, you need to turn your attention to taking care of you. Because after all, you come first.

I'm sure you've heard suggestions like take a hot bath, or a walk, but there are some other things you can to to give yourself a break. I hope you try some of these and, if you feel inclined, let me know if they helped you.

First off - Your physical health

Depending on where you live, taking a walk can really help you unwind. If it's a nice, warm day, getting out in Gods' country and breathing in the fresh air can go along way with your mental, as well as your physical, health. 

But if you're like me and are dealing with perpetual snow this spring, then yoga can really do the trick. Even if it's only 5 to 10 minutes, it will make you feel better. If you can do this each day, or every other, try to build on the length of time for better results. 

Another good one is going to the gym. The only thing I don't like about the gym is the fact it's usually busy. So what I do instead is go to water exercise. Water therapy is wonderful. Not only are you in warm water and can soak your cares away, but if you go when there are no classes you can do your own exercise regimen and still take the time to relax. And, not to mention, it's low impact on your body.

Hot tubs, or even better, hot springs, are great also. I know not everyone lives in a state with hot springs available, but a hot tub will work too. Also massage. I love a good massage! Or acupuncture.  

One more thing - your diet. I know I am really bad about this, especially because I am home alone and it's a comfort thing. If you can talk yourself into not eating a lot of junk, but instead once a week prepare a big container of salad and one of fruit, maybe you will choose to eat that instead. If it is cold out, I tend to not want a salad, but a good veggie soup with crackers are a great substitute. Watch the caffeine too. We tend to suck on coffee or pop all day and that will push our stress levels higher. A good suggestion here is make yourself drink water along with your coffee. And use good water, not sink water.

Your mental health

Life is full of stress. Taking care of loved ones - cleaning the house - never-ending errands - paying bills - taxes - marketing your books - setting up conferences - paying for said conferences - and the list goes on. Now add writing to the mix, and you are in overload.

I think one of the things is realizing you don't have to feel guilty to enjoy one of life's pleasures. You work hard, even if you are at home writing. And add to that a job, is killer. You deserve to treat yourself.

But buying yourself an outfit, or stopping to get a latte, aren't the only things to help you breathe. 

Take a nap when you can. Sleep is a wonderful way to relax. Go to a movie. Visit a friend and go to lunch. Go away for a weekend, especially where there's water or mountains. Learn how to meditate. Take a class. Build a jigsaw puzzle. Confide in your closest friend. Let people treat you once in a while. Go to a party. Play with your kids, or if it's grandkids now, play with them. 

Get out - enjoy - life's too short to be continuously stressing about your books. The writing, and marketing will still be there when you get back, but you will feel better and be ready to tackle it once again. 

Being a writer myself I know how it usually is. And we should learn to love ourselves enough to walk away when we need to and take time out for everything else in our lives that is precious to us.

I hope this little reminder helps you to refocus for a while. What do you do to break up the monotony? Leave me a comment, I'm always open to hear suggestions myself.

Until next time, have a great weekend and don't worry, Lore is almost ready for you to purchase. I'm just waiting on the proof right now.

   Love, Lisa 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Your Book Description

The description you publish, along with your book on Amazon, can make the difference as to whether or not people want to purchase it. It truly can make you or break you when it comes to sales. I've learned this the hard way, but thankfully my marketing guru has shown me the error of my ways.

It isn't easy writing an insightful, action packed description in a few paragraphs, trust me. I worked on changing my old description for weeks - even to the point of tears - but I think I finally got it right, or at least close to right. 

Of course when you have 15 people all giving you their opinion can drive you crazy, but it did push me to keep working on it until I got it right. Even to the point of calling my sister and asking her to look at it. She made a few last minute suggestions and I went with it. So, just this morning I replaced it on Amazon and it is already on my sales page.

In the ever changing world of marketing, it's good to study up on what works and what doesn't. I was told from the very beginning the three things customers look at before deciding to buy your book - the cover - the blurb - and the first page. When it comes to your ebook no one will be reading the back of the book, so the description posted on Amazon becomes the blurb. And is key to building interest.

When writing, or rewriting your blurb - or description - hooks and action words are key. And don't make it too long, or giveaway the whole book. Entice peoples' curiosity. I'll post my latest description for Fable on here and you can see the major changes suggested by my marketing teacher. If you have any questions leave them in the comment box and I will be glad to answer them. Oh, and let me know if you like the description. If it makes you want to read the book.

An ancient discovery. A perilous journey. A born legend.

Stevie Barrett has no idea she is the key to an ancient prophecy—one that endangers her world. Right before her graduation, men with glowing eyes attack her mom. A strange being watches her in shadow. An archaic people haunt her in waking visions. When she unknowingly heals a stranger with a touch, it is the final crack in her reality.

Driven to save her sanity, Stevie plunges into her own investigation. As the bizarre events mount, a formidable Warrior - Colton - enters her life. Despite his dark and fearsome exterior, Stevie is inexplicably drawn to him. Her practical side knows she should not trust him, yet he proves his worth. His warning that she is being hunted solidifies her fears. With the enemy at their heels, she and Colton race to locate a relic - the key to the prophecy. As the quest unfolds, it alters everything Stevie believes, about herself and about the life she thought she knew.

Fable is the first installment in a series of new adult fantasy fiction. If you like urban fantasy mixed with epic folklore, archaic new worlds, and a brave heroine who discovers her future is not what she expected, then you’ll love Lisa Fender’s imaginative take on a society wielded by Gods.

Buy Fable – Book 1 of The Lorn Prophecy and journey through the portal today!

This should at least give you an idea of how a proper description should look. Take care everyone and have a fantastic day! And if you want to read Fable after seeing this, it is free to download on my website landing page. djenworld

See you all next Friday!

Love, Lisa

Friday, April 15, 2016

Oh The Fun Never Ends

Yes, onto another project - one that I have to learn how to do. Oh, the fun never ends for us self-published authors. 

True, for me it's all a challenge, and I can get extremely frustrated, but I'm willing to learn. My latest learning curve - designing banners, bookmarks, ads, and the like. Thank goodness I asked my marketing guru what site to go on to do this. He told me Canva. It was actually pretty simple, but I've only done one banner so far. Now onto two more banners and bookmarks. 

I think the part I don't like is it's time consuming. I could be writing, but I have no other choice if I want to have nice banners for Comic Con this year. The one thing that is really good is you can design these for free on Canva. And we all like Free - right?!

So I thought a little post to help you out with marketing. You can never get enough help in this business. 

Now what is the next step? Vista print, that's what. They will walk you through downloading your pieces of art onto their site and help you to make sure it's want you want. No it's not free, but extremely reasonable. Or, depending on what you're looking for, they have tons of their own designs you can use.

And lastly, Vista print has all the stands, or whatever you need to have that professional look when you're all ready to go to that all important conference, or book signing. 

See, I told you there is no such thing as self-publishing for free. The costs add up. Between paying for your copyright with the Library of Congress, to making banners for behind your table, it never ends.

Is it worth it? I think it is. The name of the game is exposure - and you definitely can never have enough of that. So just plan on saving some money for all these unexpected occurrences. If you truly want to shine, you have to get out there and you have to be ready. 

Business cards, book marks, and swag you can afford, are of the up-most importance in this fast, competitive business.

Until next week, don't forget you can download Fable for free at my website. Djenworld

Any hints or ideas you want to share with me? I would love to know! Just leave me a comment and we will talk about it.

Love, Lisa

Friday, April 8, 2016

Comma Placement With And or But

I was all set to write a post about commas and the words "And" and "But" when I decided to ask a few editors I know their take on it, one of them answered differently than the other two. My question: When starting a sentence with And or But, do you place a comma directly after.

Now I know when writing a sentence and "But" is in the middle, you place a comma before "But". However, I was taught when starting a sentence with one of these you normally do not need a comma. 

When I am critiquing I try to give the correct marks and since this comes up a lot, it has now been questioned. I want to make sure I am doing right by the manuscripts I am critiquing. 

Since I've found that the creative writing skills are much more lax here in the states, and I am one of those writers who likes my work clean, tight, and a comfortable read, I tend to be a stickler for the rules. Sometimes I do use commas that, even though are correct placement, can be overboard for the lax rules of today. Because of this, I decided to look it up in Google. I am going to post the link where I found my answer and let you decide what you think. Starting a sentence with And or But

For me, I will do it as I've been taught by my editors. And they were the two who said you do not use a comma when starting a sentence with "And" or "But". Plus, I'm sure one of my Beta-readers will agree - the less commas for me the better. <grin>

Which way were you taught? Do you implement your punctuation based on what you've been taught in school, even if your editor corrects it, or do you change your ways.

So, I'll leave it up to you - yes on the comma - or no. I will still mark those either way.

Have a great weekend all! If you get a minute leave me a comment. I would love to hear what you think about this dilemma. 

Love, Lisa