Tonya Kappes

Tonya Kappes

Friday, September 28, 2012

More Places to Find Readers!

As an Indie author, I want to make sure that I leave no stone un-turned. I want to make sure my novels can be available in every single place they can be.

When ACX.com (Audiobook Creation Exchange) opened up for auditions for Indie author books, I knew that I wanted to do it. So I began my research.

The process was pretty simple. The first step is to join the site. Before I agreed to anything, I made sure that I watched the videos, had the contract looked over by a literary attorney (Which you don't have to do, but I'm not really good a contracts and I didn't want to get stuck in a pickle.).

After I wanted to proceed, I picked the book that I wanted to be the guinea pig for the project~SPLITSVILLE.COM.



As we all write, we all know what our characters sound like and how they look, so I chose the option to pick my narrator that I wanted (no extra cost) instead of taking auditions. I picked narrator Karen Savage because in her audition tapes she was funny, able to make several different voices, and pulled me into the clips.

There are two types of royalty shares. 1) 50/50 split for the lifetime of the audiobook or 2) pay the narrator their flat fee.

I picked the 50/50 split because I wasn't sure how this whole thing was going to work out and I didn't want to front the upfront cost if I wasn't going to be happy with the outcome.

After Karen and I signed the contract that ACX produces for you, it was a go. I uploaded SPLITSVILLE.COM and she went to work.

Per the contract, she had to send me the first fifteen minutes of audio by a date agreed upon. This allowed me to listen to her voice in the part of Olivia Davis, and make changes. I LOVED IT! And we proceeded to the end.

Within a few months, she was finished and uploaded the entire book for me to listen to. Let me tell you....it was surreal listening to my book being read aloud by a professional! I played it while driving, while walking my dogs, while working around the house....everywhere!

After I approved it on the ACX site, it went live today!

The entire process was fantastic. Karen was amazing to work with and nailed Olivia Davis to a tee! I even hired her to narrate my Magical Cure Mystery Series too!

This is just another way to reach one reader! I highly recommend it!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writing With Emotion




One of the hardest things to do when writing a story is putting the emotions that the characters are feeling into words that will convey that. We can’t just go around writing that they were happy or angry all the time. We have to put those feelings into words that describe the emotions so that the readers don’t just know what is going on, but feel it deep inside too.

“A buzzing grew in my ears as the oxygen was denied to my lungs. My heart slammed against my chest and I tried to push him away from me, but I didn’t have the strength to compete with his alcohol-induced anger. “

The passage above comes from a chapter in my book. When you read it – what does it make you feel? Can you feel the fear? Do you have a sense of how intense this moment might just be? What about this one?

“I paced the living room, tried to watch T.V., but nothing I put on could hold my attention. I walked from room to room looking out all the windows, not looking for anything, but having nothing else to do as the time dragged slowly by."

Can you feel her anxiety here? You know nothing else about the story, but does this make you wonder what she is waiting for? What could cause her to be so concerned that she can’t sit still?

One of the most important things about writing emotions is trying to put ourselves into those situations and visualize them ourselves so we can put them on paper. There is a saying that many authors adhere to, “Write what you know”. So when an author writes about a subject that they know well, they are able to reach deep down inside themselves and pull the visual emotions to the surface to be able to put them on paper.

When I wrote Whether I’ll Live or Die, I called up a lot of old emotions. Emotions that were long buried and at times very, very painful to deal with. There were times when I would write a single line or a small paragraph and have to walk away from it for a while.  As I wrote the painful lines, I lived them in my mind.

My goal for this was for those outside who knew nothing about domestic violence to see inside a dark cruel world that is all too familiar to so many people.  I wanted people to not only read a story that would entertain them, but that would educate them too.

Writing good healthy fun emotions can be tricky too. Have you ever read a book that was so passionate that you felt like you were the one being touched? That’s good writing! Ever read something that had you chuckling out loud with the characters? That’s the author putting description into their words to help you understand the characters and relate to them.

No matter what emotions authors are writing, they come from deep inside. They strive to bring out descriptions that will enhance the experience and be more than just mere words on a page.  They want you to live in the moment you are part of – want you to feel what the characters are feeling.  That’s what makes a book good!








Extras for Whether I’ll Live or Die
Included here are: Links, Back of book blurb, excerpt, author bio

Links:
Twitter: @StacySEaton

Book Blurb:
“It sounded so simple in theory; ready... aim... fire... but what actually transpired was so much more.”

Officer Nicole Nolan holds the gun steady in her hands, knowing that life will be forever altered once she pulls the trigger. Her position as a small town police officer is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is her job, her career and her life.

Amanda stands where protection does not exist. With several failed relationships behind her, Amanda turns a blind eye to the possessiveness Josh displays in order to sooth her desperate need to be loved. As the mental abuse turns violent, Amanda must deal with the denial and embarrassment of being a victim once again. With her emotional and physical health siting on the edge, she must fight to regain control of her life.

A gripping story with one final destination, but will it be life or death?



Excerpt:
Excerpt of Chapter 24 – Whether I’ll Live or Die by Stacy Eaton

It wasn’t until we were on our way home that we broached the subject of my marriage again. Angie brought up a question that had been hovering around in the back of my mind most of the day.
“What are you going to say to Josh?” she asked me quietly as we drove along the highway. I gazed out the window beside me, watching the scenery flash past quickly, reminding me of the memories that had crossed my mind the night before, a rapid succession of images that began to blur together if I didn’t blink.
“I’m not sure,” I answered the window as I continued to view the passing world outside. “I’ll figure it out when the time comes.”
Turning up the volume on the radio, Angie let it go at that. We sang to the music for the rest of the ride home. As we turned onto the street, my heart stopped when I saw his car in the driveway next to mine. “Damn,” I muttered under my breath.
“You want me to go in with you?” Angie said as she pulled over in front of the house. “I can if you want me to.”
I smiled, “No, that’s alright.” I thanked her for a great afternoon and for being there for me. I promised not to push her away again and stepped out of the car. I picked up the bag with the single item I had purchased in it and made my way to the front door.
I didn’t take my keys out as I stepped up, figuring Josh would have left the door open when he got home. I glanced back at Angie, waved, then reached for the doorknob as she pulled away.
The door swung quickly open, and I lost my balance, stumbling into the foyer. I hadn’t even recovered my balance when I felt hands push me against the wall. The door slammed shut. I cringed as the door vibrated the wall next to me.
“Where the hell have you been?” Josh yelled.
I turned so my back was to the wall. I could smell alcohol coming off of him and his eyes looked aggressive and glassy.
“I was out shopping with Angie,” I responded meekly to his question.
“Bullshit! Who were you with?” He got in my face and my knees started shaking.
“I was with Angie,” I repeated quietly.
His forearm immediately came to my throat, forcing my head back to the wall. I tried to turn my head to release the pressure, but he held me too tightly against the drywall.
“You better not be cheating on me! Who were you with?” Spit landed on my face as he shouted. A buzzing grew in my ears as the oxygen was denied to my lungs. My heart slammed against my chest and I tried to push him away from me, but didn’t have the strength to compete with his alcohol-induced anger.
“Who were you with, Amanda?” He pressed harder on my neck and I felt things moving around inside. Breathing became even more difficult.
“Angie,” I squeaked out.
Suddenly, he released my throat, punching a hole in the wall beside me. I cringed away from him as far as I could get, sucking air into my hot lungs, the sound of bees still in my ears. I didn’t move any further until he turned and walked away. My shoulders slumped, and I bit my lip to keep the tears back.
“Where have you been?” He flopped down on the sofa and put his feet out on the coffee table. Dirt fell off his boot on to the wood. My head felt foggy, I couldn’t remember what he’d just asked me.
“What?” I licked my bottom lip, tasting my own blood from biting down so hard.
His boots came back to the floor, and he stood up in a swift movement. I froze for just a second as he turned to look at me, I felt like a deer in the headlights of an approaching Mack truck. He started to move, and I decided I didn’t need to be against the wall anymore. I tried to walk towards the kitchen to get away from him.
He was too fast. He grabbed me by my long blond hair, yanking me to a stop. I reached up to try and release the tension he had on me. He yanked me back to him, and I smashed into his chest, almost knocking us both over.
“Where the hell have you been?” he screamed at me as he twisted my hair down. I fell to my knees to ease the pressure.
“We were at the mall. Josh, let go, you’re hurting me!” The pain in my head was like someone had sliced me with a knife. He twisted the long hair around his hand and yanked. I screamed and he flung me away from him. I fell to the floor and lay there, one hand touching the soft carpet under me and the other touching my head where the hair had been pulled. If I hadn’t been touching it, I would have sworn the hair had been pulled out, but the soft locks were still at my fingertips.
I not only heard the sound of his boots on the floor, but I felt the vibration of them as he got closer. My body trembled. He put one knee into my back and pushed my neck down with his hand, forcing my face into the carpet.
“You ever, and I mean ever, cheat on me, Amanda, and I will kill you. You got that? I swear to God if I ever see you with another man, I will kill him and then I will kill you,” his cold voice slithered over me. I had never heard such venom come from him. The carpet fibers dug into my cheek, my cheekbone sharing the pain with my nose. Moisture ran down my cheek as my nose began to bleed again.
“You got that?” he shouted one last time and pushed down on me with his knee and hand before standing back up.
I didn’t speak, only nodded my head slightly into the carpet.

Author Bio:

Stacy is a full-time Police Officer who enjoys crime scene investigation above all else. She also owns a business that deals with helping people get the awareness out for the causes they care most about. She is a mother of two and her husband is also in law enforcement. She is very much into photography and carries her Nikon Digital SLR with her almost everywhere, just in case. She also has two Shiloh Shepherd dogs and loves to play catch with them.

Stacy uses her experience at work to make the stories more believable, weaving bits of crime solving knowledge into her stories of fiction to make them more lifelike. She writes using a unique style that keeps you in the minds of all the important characters. Switching back and forth from mind to mind to keep the readers aware of what each character is feeling and why they do the things they do.

Her first book, My Blood Runs Blue was the start of her writing career.  It brings the world of law enforcement into the paranormal world of vampires. It is a suspenseful adult series that will keep you guessing from chapter to chapter. Book one, My Blood Runs Blue, was published April 2011 and is currently available in paperback, hardcover and e-book editions. Book two of the series, entitled Blue Blood for Life was released September 2011 and like book 1 made International Best Selling lists on Amazon very quickly.  The third book of this series is in the plot and characters development stage. She is hoping to have it completed and published in the winter of 2012.

Stacy is also currently working on several different novels. The first one is called Liveon. Using a similar writing style as her series, this book brings to life Detective Jacquelyn Liveon as she tries to protect a movie star who is being threatened. While this book is well on it’s way, it has been put to the side to make way for another book that she is working on.

Whether I’ll Live or Die was released on July 13th! This book is a fictional story about a young woman named Amanda who deals with the pain and emotional issues of Domestic Violence. You will read about how Amanda deals with the things life hands her while you follow Nicole Nolan as she grows at her new job as a police officer. This book is very emotional and intense as it deals with the all too real problems that face people in violent relationships.

Reviews:
“This book is absolutely riveting, taking you on a kaleidoscope of emotions…”
"WOW - That was Powerful! So well written I felt like I was right there."
“The story is phenomenal and beautiful in an emotion way.”
“Thank you Ms. Eaton for this excellent story of a very heartbreaking fact of life.”
“Life changing, compelling and heartbreaking are just a few of the words I would use to describe author Stacy Eaton's novel…”
“This book is raw and real.”
“…a brilliantly crafted journey that engages the reader both emotionally and psychologically.”

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marketing for the HOLIDAYS!

Boo! Gobble, gobble! Ho, ho, ho!!!

No! I have not lost my mind!! I know it is ONLY September. . .but now is the time to start thinking about marketing and scheduling marketing for the holiday season!

If you aren't~TODAY IS THE DAY TO START!!!

1) Holiday Cards

I hope you have started an opt-in newsletter on your site or blog where you have gathered your readers. You will need to put together a small letter telling them how much you appreciate them and maybe add a coupon code for a discount on one of your novels or gently ask them to gift a copy of your novel to one of their friends. Give something back to your readers!!!! 

I keep an address book with the physical address of my STREET TEAM members. Not only do I send out a few little notes each month, but I send each and everyone of them a real card for the holidays. I think it's so important to reach out to your readers and let them know how much you appreciate them.

2) On Line Holiday Party

Everyone loves a good party! Especially one where you don't have to leave the comfort of your own home or even dress up!! 

It doesn't matter what your PR personality is. You can host a fun party with virtual food, drinks, music, etc...Video tape yourself welcoming them to your party. Give away a couple holiday gifts. Nothing expensive...what about one of your writer friend's book? Or ask your writer friends to donate a book and give them away! 

3) Box Set Your Books

I'm currently in the process of boxing my Grandberry Falls series into a box set that will be out just in time for Christmas! I will be pricing them a little under the $9 that it would cost to purchase all three separately  because I want my reader to feel like they are getting a bargain. Plus it's a great gift to give!

4) Holiday Sampler

Now...this is a good one too! This year I'm putting together a group of award winning authors for a Holiday sampler! The sampler is just that (I'm NOT revealing the title yet), we have all submitted a sample of one of our novels in a combined free download with all the author's information. It's a great treat for readers to find some really great reads by sampling them first.

I will blog on this process later.

5) Specific Holiday Promotions From Major Sites

I love Kindle on the Cheap and Nook on the Cheap! They are offering a great promotional deal for authors that is pretty sweet. Check out the video:

Check out the Santa Sampler HERE 


"What happens when you put an author in charge of your advertising program? Great things, if you ask April Floyd, owner and leader of numerous Facebook reading groups and The-Cheap.net. You know April if you've ever listed your book with the Facebook group Authors on the Cheap. After two years of always giving authors shout outs for free, Ms. Floyd has expanded the site, her Facebook groups and finally caved to author pressure for an ad program where they could schedule dates for a nominal fee.

Teamed up with author Elizabeth Ann West, the new marketing director for The-Cheap.net, this autumn and winter the Piggies have something new in mind when it comes to holiday promotions: make everyone happy.

“I wasted over a hundred dollars myself last year on promotions that were my book with dozens of others, a Kindle Fire giveaway, and massive social media likes that meant nothing to the person clicking hundreds of author pages to enter the giveaway.” said Ms. West.

The Piggies are proud to announce Santa Sampler, a reading competition for their readers that will provide raw market data back to every author who signs up.

“Our readers have enjoyed our recent ebook giveaways where they read the sample and answer a trivia question.""

I thought it sounded like a great opportunity. But the point is that there are so many promotional tools out there for you to take advantage of! Use all your resources, which include your writer friends. Put your heads together and think of some GREAT PR buddy promos you can do for the holidays. It might even be to host a party together...anything...just don't let the days slip away and the holidays creep in without you looking at your marketing plan!

Do you have anything cool planned for your holiday marketing plan?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A CHARMING CURE RELEASE DAY!


Today is the day!! It's a new release for the Magical Cures Series! A Charming Cure is the second in the series and full of June Heal and all her fun!!

How did I prepare for this release?
I did exactly what has worked for me in the past.

1) Street Team

As you know I have a very active STREET TEAM. A month ago I posted a poster to my STREET TEAM with the date and time on it. Of course it started the hype of my GRATITUDE TO THEM.


2) Put an all call out to my author friends

I posted on my writer groups, goodreads, and blogs asking for donations. Why? At the release party I don't promote my book. . .directly. . .I promote all my author friends books.

I had over fifty authors donate their ebook or print book to the release party. I want to give back to my readers too! They love finding new authors and what better way to find some than by getting free books?!

If my readers like their books, I can guarantee my readers go back and buy all of the rest of the author's books. My STREET TEAM is so amazing and full of avid readers.

3) Release the book!

Why did I release the book three days before the online release party?

Simple.....to spread the buzz! The release party is all about gratitude. I ask the authors that donated to spread the word about the release and in return they get access to my 300 + STREET TEAM members on the release day!

I ask my 300+ STREET TEAM members to tweet and facebook the release so we can party at the release party instead of trying to spread the word.

4) More marketing....

I posted to all the groups that allow you to post and promo new releases on Facebook. Groups like Kindle Mystery, Cozy Mystery Cafe, Kindle Nation Daily, Cheap e-reads and many, many more!

I looked at my @ feed in Twitter and thanking everyone who tweeted the release and retweeted their tweet.
Clicked on the Facebook feed and thanked everyone who put the release in their status.

This is an ongoing marketing tool. I'm so grateful to everyone who has promoted this book. There is NOTHING better than PR BUDDIES!!

Next Friday I'm going to tell you all about the release party. It was much different than the last release party I had with the first book in The Magical Cure Series, A CHARMING CRIME.

Go ahead! If you like my blog and get something out of it....can I ask you a return favor? Will you please tweet my release and put it in your facebook status??


Tweet:
RT @tonyakappes11 #womensleuth June is back and making more #potions A CHARMING CURE http://amzn.to/NIyEud #mystery #paranormal

Facebook

Check out Tonya Kappes' new paranormal cozy mystery release A CHARMING CURE!! 
http://amzn.to/NIyEud

Friday, September 21, 2012

When to KILL A Character!




When to Kill ... A Character

During my current WIP, I've come to the conclusion that I may have to kill off one of my characters. This truth is something I have struggled with. I've poured hours into building him, researching his qualities, and now it could be that the next chapter is his last. 

Maybe you too are in the same predicament. Are you struggling with whether a character should perish? Before you hit the delete button, there are several things to consider. Here are my 5 tips:

1. Kill off a character to advance the plot. Sometimes for a story to increase in depth and complexity, someone has to die. Death requires an emotional reaction. By inputting  a "kill" or "death" scene into your story, it provides the reader with a better understanding of your surviving characters, especially your hero and heroine.
2. Kill off a character to increase elements of suspense and mystery. No mystery is complete without a dead body appearing. If your character has been well-developed, then your reader can't help but ask "who did it?" This will potentially keep the reader engaged and turning the pages in hopes of solving the mystery.
3. Kill off a character due to writing yourself in a corner. Sometimes when we write and allow the story to naturally develop, it could end up with a character going no where. Instead of trashing those 200 pages, you could kill the character off and still continue your story. This is good when it comes to a major battle scene. Let him play the hero...and go out with a bang.
4. Kill off your character because he is too unlikeable or too bland. If your character is unsalvageable, whereby editing him is still not making him 3- dimensional, and he has no purpose, then kill him off.  There is nothing worse than reading  a story with uninteresting characters. This could potentially make a reader stop reading your book. Don't give your reader a chance to become bored; instead, kill the character and bring new life to your story.
5. Merge the problem character with another character. Often, during rewrites, we notice how some characters are very alike- too much alike. In this case, take the stronger of the two and combine them into one character. Not only will it lower your character count, but it will prove less confusing for your reader.

However, disregard all of the tips above if your story needs for that character, i.e it can't progress without him in story, plot or complexity. If this is the case, then it is a good time to "almost" kill him. What would Harry Potter be if he'd died? And how great of a moment was it, when he lived?

Writing is about bringing imaginary people to life; sharing their stories and conflict. Sometimes that conflict can be all reaching and other times it circles a particular character like flies. By knowing when to rid your manuscript of characters that are weighing it down, you gain a more enjoyable read and a story that keeps the reader wanting more.

What would you add to the list? 





Tina Glasneck is the author of the suspense novel, THOU SHALL NOT, the first book in the /EKS/series. A criminal paralegal by day, she enjoys creating three-dimensional characters and coming up with new ways to kill people. She resides in central Virginia and is always looking for fodder in her everyday life.

If you would like to connect with Tina Glasneck, you can find her all over the web:
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TinaGlasneck  (username @TinaGlasneck)
Google+https://plus.google.com/100826698946722745057/posts

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I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to Digital Book Today for featuring A CHARMING CRIME! I had not idea and I'm so honored!!! Thank you!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tips For Writing a Novel


If you are anything like me, you listen to writers that you think have become successful in your definition of success. You take in every single word they say.

Over the past few years I have put my ear to the grind stone and have really tried to make my writing career just that. . .A CAREER.

The authors that I consider successful have a few tips in common, a few tips that they continue to say over and over when I hear them speak.

1) Write What You Want:

With the freedom to write the story you feel in your heart, you will be able to connect with the story, characters, and the plot.

With the wonderful world of self-publishing, we have defined our own success. We have blazed a way that has made us unique to our own worlds and words.

You have to freedom to spin the details as you want to. You have the wonderful advantage to fit your story into what ever genre you want to fit it into. That's amazing!

2) Write Every Single Day!

Butt in chair, hands on keyboard!! I don't know who came up with that statement, but it rings true every single time. There is no way you can produce a novel without the words. You can't publish a blank book, well. . .I guess you could, but they'd find you! They'd stone you! (Okay so they won't stone you, but you get the picture!)

3) Turn Off Your Inner Editor!

Give yourself permission to just write without the hassle of going back to edit your work. You have to go back and edit later, so wait! Get those words out of you head and on the paper.

If you stop to go back and edit, it ends up disrupting your flow of writing and you can't get back into the groove of things.

4) Be Inspired!

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
― Roald Dahl


Guys might roll their eyes at this, but there is something to be said about the perfect quote or image to help spark that great scene or plot point to continue with your manuscript.

For every novel I write, I keep a journal. I put the date in the front and begin to collect items, as I go along, that remind me of the idea. I let an idea/plot stew in my head for a few months before I even begin writing it. This is generally because I'm already deep in another novel.

Collecting these little tid-bits keeps me excited about the upcoming manuscript/novel, and when I am ready to sit down and start the new novel, I have all I need at my finger tips.

It might be as simple as finding a fence with an amazing background. I can plan an entire chapter around my character hanging out by that fence, along with describing the fence and background. Or even just the vivid colors are enough to spark my juices.

5) Read, Read, Read!!

I know you are so tired of hearing everyone telling you to read. Don't take it from me, take it from the MASTER!! Watch the video below!!!!




Share any tips that you may have for writers about writing and leave it in the comments! Until then. . .keep WRITING!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Find The Enthusiasm For Writing

"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Nothing was every achieved without enthusiasm." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


I'm not sure where all of you are located, but I'm in Kentucky and the weather is turning a chill in the air. Fall is coming and I LOVE IT!

. . .my writing not so much. . .

My walks have gotten longer, my outside time has gotten longer, my snuggle in my bed has gotten longer, and my writing time has gotten. . .shorter!

What happened to my mojo where I couldn't wait to get up in the morning? What happened to my characters fighting over who was going to talk to me first in the morning? WHAT HAS HAPPENED???

I might be a bestselling author and have an amazing STREET TEAM and helpful blog. . .but I too get the life sucked out of me at times, not very often, but  it does happen.

Why now? Usually this time of the year is when I curl up with my laptop, journal and pound out the words.

This made me sit back and think about my career goals and how bad I want success? Asking myself how can I maintain the passion that I've always had.

Here are a few tips I came up with:

1) Hide and Seek!

Simply stated, FIND the passion!!
I went back through my journals, I keep a journal for each novel I write, and see all the quotes, photos, ideas, and inspiration that kept me going with them.

I realized that I hadn't done that with my current WIP. I have simply just wrote, wrote, and wrote, feeding my creative mind very little. We all must eat or we waste away to nothing. AND that is NOT what I want.

2) Keep it!

WOW! Once I found the passion by going back through my journals, it was easy to slip back into the basics of why I started writing, the joy that it brought me, escaping into the world that I have created. A world that so many others have enjoyed.

This feeling made me even more passionate about writing and fall in love with it all over again. But how do you maintain it?

You have to figure out what keeps your passion for writing. For me, it's getting those inspirational quotes or amazing reviews from my book that I cut out, the readers, the creation of making up a new world and mapping it out. All of these things helps write each one of my stories.

It's all about maintaining the passion you have for writing.

There is NO way that I'm alone in how I've been feeling lately! You have to have some tips that help maintain your passion, WHAT ARE THEY?




Friday, September 14, 2012

How To Sell More Ebooks



Okay....did the title grab you?

Most of the emails I get from other writers are asking me the same thing: What do you do to sell so many books?

My answer:  there is NO guaranteed one thing that will help sell your ebook.
But there are things that will help contribute to selling your ebook.

1) Have a good cover!

No matter how much you hate the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover," well, we do! You have to have a great, professional cover. If you are making your cover and have zero graphic art background, please I beg you, invest in a cover artist OR make the cover super simple.

2) Edit, edit, edit!

Your mom, aunt, grandmother, sister, neighbor etc....love your book and helped you edit it. Do you want to sell ebooks or not? Did I hear you say yes? Then invest in a real-to-goodness editor! Take your career seriously and invest in it!

3) Format

There is nothing more annoying than a poorly formatted book. Just a year ago, most place you could upload an ebook had a different format requirement and I learned to do epub since it is a universal format, today it is much easier and most of them take a word document. BUT keep everything the same format in the doc. If you center the chapter heading, make sure you center ALL of them!

You can always hire someone to format for you.

4) Think rollercoaster

What? Yes, hands in the air!!! Unfortunately, sales fluctuate. That is something you can't control. You just have to ride it out. There are some months that I have found to expect not so many sales...like August when kids are going back to school, AND May/June when people are getting out of school and going on vacation.

Don't be discouraged. You have to remember that even though you might have to reformat your novels as the technology gets better, your ebooks are forever!

5) Number of books

I swear this is a big one if you do numbers 1-3 above!! I can proudly say that LAST MONTH, for the first time, my books made more money than my day job as a child therapist! I've been self-published for over a year and a half, in June I published my ELEVENTH book!!! I've always heard that it takes at least five novels to really start selling...it took me ELEVEN!!!

6) BE EVERYWHERE!

The KDP select thing has taken off, but I still believe that it's not a great idea to have all your eggs in one basket. Of course I would take a deal with Amazon like my friends, Jessica Park and Nancy Naigle, just did, but across the board I think you should have your books everywhere so everyone can find you.

With all six of these, I'm NOT guaranteeing you success! Still. . .if you want to have success, you have to put the time and energy into what you want successful. Being an author is NOT an over night successful career. It takes time, great writing, and chipping away at what might/might not work.

Do you have anything to add?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Using Libraries As A Marketing Tool




Marketing to Libraries
In today's Internet age, many authors are overlooking their local library as a great place for promotion. I'll be honest, you won't sell hundreds of books at a library booksigning, you may not sell any. You need to remember that promoting your books at the library isn't about immediate sales, it's about building a readership, and possibly your own personal marketing team.

Even librarians can’t know all the authors in a genre and when they meet an author who has presented a program at their library they are more likely to recommend their books to patrons. 

When you participate in a library book discussion, reading group or booksigning, you are building great word-of-mouth future sales. If patrons at the library enjoy your presentation, you can be assured your book will be checked-out. You did donate a copy or two didn't you?

Once it has been checked out, you'd be surprised how many patrons will purchase your book not only for themselves but as gifts, and very often, if you have a backlist that the library doesn't have, those patrons will purchase it and donate it to the library. This means even more readers will have access to your books. Library patrons are readers, and those readers love to talk about books, work to make sure it's your book they are talking about.

You need to think of library visits as a long term career investment. While you won't often sell too many books at your visit, you will gain readers and most importantly a librarian or two that will "sale" your book.

Patrons daily ask me for a good book. If you've visited and you write in the genre they are looking for, you can be assured I will recommend your book. After all, you took the time to visit my library, talk with my patrons and donate a book.

After that initial visit, don't be a stranger. Send the library a press release of your latest book, send promo's like bookmarks - yes we still use them. Send cookies - honestly you'd be surprised how far a box of cookies will go in marketing your book across that circulation desk.

If you haven't visited you library in a while, stop by, get a library card,  pick up or subscribe to their newsletter, friend them on Facebook and Twitter (most libraries today have a presence on social media, take advantage of it), these will tell you the type of programs they have.

Who to contact:
In most large libraries they have a public relations coordinator, in the smaller libraries you will want to contact the director.

Write an intro/contact letter or e-mail to the library.
If you visit their website, they usually list the staff. A few points to include in this letter:
·         Introduce yourself.
·         Tell about your book.
·         Give an overview of the intended audience.
·         List your availability for a visit, panel or booksiging.
·         Give your book information – publisher, ISBN, where it can be purchased, and ask if they would like a donated a copy prior to the event. This will allow patrons to check out the book before you appear.
·         Also, if you have foreign editions of your books, look at the library demographics.  Many serve non-English speaking residents and would love to receive those editions.

Author Panels
Do you know of other authors that live in your area? Contact them and the library about a possible panel of romance authors, mystery or sci-fi authors. Having several authors appear together can draw a bigger crowd, giving you and them more exposure to potential readers.

Use the Internet
Once you have a library event books, use the Internet to shout about it. Ask the library to link to your website or blog from their event announcement page and you should link back to them. Use your email list, group forums, and writer organizations to publicize the event.

No, you will not get rich speaking at the library. What you will gain are new readers, word of mouth advertising, a sales crew at the circulation desk, public speaking experience and the opportunity to support an extraordinary institution. Come on, your an author, the library was your first love.


Linda has been the Public Relations Coordinator at a public library for fifteen years. She is the Senior News Editor for Reader's Entertainment News, scriptwriter for COS Productions (booktrailers) and writes for many other print and online publications.

She is also the author of a humorous romantic comedy trilogy set in Wyoming. Her first book Baer Truth - Book One of the Three Baer's Trilogy (where a vegetarian punk rocker finds herself stranded in the middle of Wyoming beef country) was released last year to 5-star reviews. The second book in the series, Baer Necessities will be released on September 11, 2012 from Desert Breeze Publishing, and will be available on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. She is also the author of The Granite Rose, an historical set in ancient Rome.

You can find Linda online at:

Her books can be found at:



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Content Tweet VS Spam Tweet

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about spam tweeting and how people need to stop or they are bad. Regardless of your feelings, spam and content tweeting have a place in the twittersphere.

In fact, most of us are on tweet teams or Triberr to help promote each other. And most of those tweets are what we would consider spam. You do it. I do it. Do we mean to spam people? No! It is a marketing tool. A marketing tool that works GREAT!

BUT. . . you also have to have content tweets.

If you don't, you will lose follwers. Followers that actually get on twitter to find things, to connect, to find an author!

Do you know the difference between a spam tweet and content tweet?

EASY: a content tweet does NOT have a link.

Yep...you read that right. NO LINK!

"But Tonya, how are they going to find my website? How are they going to find my book?"

I know. . .I know. . .we have been so conditioned to use twitter as a middle man to get our name out there. In doing so, have you lost followers?

Content tweeting doesn't mean that you have to be there in person either, although I highly recommend that you get on twitter and physically interact with your followers.

Content tweeting should interest anyone that follows you or your core group of tweeps that interact with you.

A few examples:

Support #indieauthors Great novels at great prices
A wastebasket is the #writers best friend #amwriting #amediting
One random act of kindness is all it takes.....make today the day and #PayItForward!

OR interact with them and expect a tweeterastion (live tweet conversation):

Good morning. What are you doing today? #amwriting #indieauthor

You get the idea? Yes, you do.

You don't have to limit it to writing. You can tweet book quotes, inspiration etc....

The KEY is to interact with your followers, NOT spam them.

Like I said, spam does have a place in the twittersphere and it does work to find new readers. I have found hundreds of readers through attaching reviews to my tweets. BUT you have to interact. Just because you don't put a link in the content tweet does NOT mean you still can't promote your book.

"Wait! What? Tonya, you just said not to spam, which you meant promote your book...NOW you are confusing me!"

I'm sorry. I'm not trying to confuse here. Here is an example of what I mean....
Hanging out with June Heal, #cozymystery #psychic "A Charming Crime" #mustread #bestseller

OR

#ACHARMINGCRIME a @tonyakappes11 #mustread Fun, mystery, and humor all in one!

Remember to keep all your tweets in the 120 character guideline, g-rated, and free from political views.
Go ahead and try to make a few content tweets and see how many responses you get. I'm sure you are going to be surprised with how many true connections you make.

The more connections you make, the more THEY will promote you and your books! Go on! Try it!!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Things to Avoid When Marketing Your Book



Last week I had a very successful marketing strategy that was put together by the GREAT EIGHT. I was lucky enough to be apart of the group and what we did worked! But will it work next time?

I have an amazing STREET TEAM. I had an amazing online book release party in June. I have another one planned for September 25th that is slightly different, but will it be as successful?

My books are priced on a range from .99-2.99. Is that working?

Here's the deal, your marketing plan needs to be fluid and always changing. In my non-fiction book, The Tricked Out Toolbox~promotional and marketing tools every writer needs, has an entire section on budgeting and marketing plans along with printable worksheets so I won't go into it here. BUT I'm am going to give you some tips to avoid when marketing your book.

1) DON'T ASSUME THAT WHAT WORKED FOR ME WILL WORK FOR YOU!!

Over the past couple months I have noticed a lot of authors start a STREET TEAM, even asked me to join theirs. Which I love joining, but I don't want anyone to think that because I have one that's very active means that you will have one that is very active.

I'm very social, so having a very social STREET TEAM is easy for me. Being on line with them a few times a day is easy for me. So you need to find that uniqueness of YOU and spin it to reach that target reader.

I don't just mean the STREET TEAM. I mean everything from ads to pricing your novel. What works for JK Rowling doesn't work for me. What works for Stephen King might not work for you. You make you unique and stand out!

2) ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY. . . NO!

I've heard so many times that authors are out there giving their opinion on traditional publishing vs self publishing, why .99 is the only way to price your novels, KDP is the only way to go. . .etc. . .
These authors that have such strong opinions get a bad rap. They really do! And it doesn't help sell their novels.

I know that I won't ever read certain authors because they have voiced their opinion on this years election in the United States. I have seen authors post so many posts about who their favorite candidate is and posting some really nasty negative things. As an author, I don't believe in pushing my values on any of my readers! It completely turns me off and turns off their readers.

All in all, the writing community is very small and you can ruin your reputation in one fall swoop. Be nice. And pay it forward!

3) DON'T BE TOO PUSHY!

I'm all for making money on my books. But I'm not all for losing readers by pushing my books.
Definitely connect with readers! Connect with them when your book comes out. Yes! I want you to let them know that your book released. . .but don't do it a month later and everyday after that.

After your email blast that you have a new novel out, don't keep emailing blasting.

4) LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!!

Just like a muse, your gut tells you exactly what you should be and shouldn't be doing. It's easy to blast out at other authors or readers that upset you. OR readers that email you to let you know that there is a mistake in your book OR when a negative review is written on Amazon etc....

Let that stuff pass. Like I said, the writing community is very small. You don't want that snarky reputation like some authors have. It's a turn off to everyone!

5) SHOW DON'T TELL!!

How many times have we heard this?

Well, I don't mean in your writing, I mean in your interaction with your readers and your peers. Show them that you are a gracious author. You appreciate them. It doesn't have to be with money. You can put quotes in your twitter feed or update your Facebook status with gratitude quotes.

REMEMBER, the reader wants to get to know you! And the more they invest in YOU, they will buy your books no matter what!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tips to Promote Your Book

When I was a kid, Phil Donohue came on every morning at 9 AM. He always had on one or two guests. If it was one guest, that guest got the full hour. If he had two guests, the hours was split up into thirty minutes each.

Have you seen interviews today? Or even just the weather on your local news? Everything is under three minutes. Even interviews on the most popular shows like Ellen. She has multiple guests and games during her one hour show. Her guests only get three-four minutes until she takes a commercial break. 

Why is this? And what can we learn?

Attention spans have really decreased over the last thirty years, and our lives have gotten busier. Just think about it. If you go to look at a car, you don't want to sit there for hours as the car dealer tells you how the car was made, the history of the car, etc...

You want to know what's in it for you! Why should you buy that car?

Same thing when you release your novel or when you talk about your novel.



Most readers aren't going to say to you: "Why should I buy your novel?" "What's in it for me?"
They are going to say: "Tell me about your book."

Then. . .you vomit! You go on and on about the hero/heroine/villain or the meticulous assassination plot that took you months to research and write perfectly.

Well. . .READERS DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT! Let me repeat READERS DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT!

You need to give them something that will make them think that your book is worth their investment, their time, and how people are going to react when they tell someone that they are reading your book. 

I know! I never said the reader was fair, but these are what they are really thinking!

Every reader is looking for something different when they pick up your book. But the emotional reason is still the same. What's in it for me?

Sooo. . .how do you do this?

You are going to give them Tasty Tips. Tasty Tips is my term that I use to get my reader hooked. 

I don' tell readers what my book is about, I tell them little things to wet their mouths. 
First off my covers are appealing to my target readers. That is one of the greatest emotions in everyday life. You know it and I know it. When we see someone, we judge them before we talk to them. Right or wrong, we do it.
Same with books.

Secondly, I use my social media and STREET TEAM to post little tidbits about the plot I'm writing. Or I may do something humorous that my heroine did because my readers expect funny in my writing. Or I might just let them know fun facts about ways to kill people. . .after all I am a mystery writer. 

Did you know that you can die if you eat too much nutmeg? OR you can die from an over dose of nicotine if someone puts liquid nicotine in your shampoo bottle and you massage it into your scalp?

Thirdly, I hold reader contests for the books I'm writing now. Currently I'm working on the second Olivia Davis novel, and in the first novel, Splitsville.com, Olivia owns a breakup service. I needed some new material for reasons why people breakup with their girlfriend/boyfriend, so I went to my STREET TEAM. 

I asked them to tell me funny and ridiculous reasons why they have broken up with someone. The breakups flooded in! I never once told them the plot for the second book! But I got them interested and the buzz going about the second Olivia Davis novel. They can't wait to buy it! I appealed to two emotions: love and humor.

All in all, you don't need to SELL YOUR BOOK, you need to focus on the experience of how the reader is going to feel when they are reading your book. 

These Tasty Tips you are going to give your reader will help them invest in the emotional of the question they really want to ask, "What's in it for me."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Are YOU a Bestselling Author?

Is your book buzz worthy? Do you aspire to be a bestselling author?
Are you doing the same marketing and promoting of each book the same way? Doing the same ole things hoping that it will work with each book you put out?



Well. . .it won't!

In order to be a bestselling author you have to evaluate what works and what doesn't. You have to have a plan.

Your writing career does not afford you to keep trying things that don't work.

Let's discuss the bestseller's status. Most traditional authors turn their heads at any other bestsellers status other than the big ones like New York Times, USA Today, etc....BUT they are missing the boat on creating more buzz for their novels!

It's so important to make those Amazon and Barnes and Noble bestsellers lists. Once you make the lists, your novel gets put into those algorithms and make you more visible to the readers. Amazon will even promote you when you get high enough on the lists, which again. . .makes you more visible to your target audience. So CLAIM your bestseller status when you make one of those lists!!!

Still. . .you have to get there. Is your marketing and promoting plan doing it for you? Are YOU a bestselling author?

Now, I'm assuming that you have written a really great book. A book with an amazing cover, no editing issues, perfect formatting~NO ISSUES!

Before that book is uploaded or goes to print, you should already have your marketing plan put in place!
I'm not talking about setting up a blog tour, giving our ARCs of your novels to reviewers, making swag for your author brand. These are things that I hope you are already doing without me telling you.
I'm talking about entering major awards, do free audio podcasts for your blog site, plan reader events by using your Kindle or google plus chat. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!

A few months ago the eFestival of Words announced the finalist in all their book categories. I was pleasantly surprised when I was alerted that Carpe Bead 'em was a finalist in the women's fiction/chick-lit category. I have no idea who nominated me to thank them, so I knew if I won, I was going to have to give back even more than I already do to my readers.

My readers got so involved with voting me to the WINNER status! I looked at all the winners. ONLY 8 of the winners had over 20 reviews and 4.5 ratings. Guess what we did. . .WE THOUGHT OUTSIDE OF THE BOX!!

We wanted to offer our award winning novels at a crazy price. Not to mention that we could PR BUDDY each other. My readers would LOVE my co-winners books. We all lowered our price to .99 for two days. We came up with a graphic and blog post to help get the word out.



We dubbed ourselves the GREAT EIGHT and reached out to all our blogger friends, put together a banner, contacted Amazon, contacted all REAL heavy hitters at Ereader News Today, Kindle Fire Daily, Pixel Of Ink, Digital Book Today , Indie Ereader, as well as Amazon giving us a page to ourselves!

But we didn't stop there! We each had an award winning book and we wanted to make those bestsellers lists so we could get into more reader's hands. So....we each had a call out to all our social media groups asking for people to post a blog that we had come up with. The blog had all the links and pictures they needed. There was no work on the blog owners part! We did it for them.

We have over 100 bloggers post the blog, not to mention all the Facebook and twitter status our followers had posted.

Now....a year ago when I released Carpe Bead 'em, Ereader News Today featured my Carpe on their own. I didn't pay for a thing! The owner had written me to tell me that he had heard my book was good and he was going to help me sale a few copies. FEW COPIES???

Last year I sold over 7k copies from just Ereader News Today! It was amazing. I didn't pay for an ad or even knew who Ereader News Today was. BUT Carpe went straight to #1 on Amazon's Movers and Shakers list and stayed there for THREE DAYS!!!

Fast forward to last week when my book was lumped with the rest of the GREAT EIGHT! Only on Ereader News Today, the second time around, Carpe Bead 'em found an audience of over 1200 new readers! Before the promo, Carpe was at 30k rank, after the Ereader News Today hit Carpe ended in the ranks at #375 in the paid store. WOW WOW WOW!!

Amazing! Right?!

It wouldn't have happened if we didn't think outside the box. The entire GREAT EIGHT became bestselling authors, again, that day!

Do you think that you can think outside the box and become the bestselling author you deserve to be??