Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Promotion and Marketing

Are you looking for a way to market and promote your book(s)?  I know I've come across many frustrated authors that aren't sure where to turn to get their book into the public eye.  This is why I created The Virtual Book Tour Cafe'.  Definitely created with Authors in mind to give their books the attention it deserves.  We started on a trial run back in April,  where I put 30 authors on tour to over 20 pit stops.  We had such a great turn out that I decided to continue on to keep helping authors learn how to promote their work.  Virtual Book Tours are a great way get your book into the public eye,  especially those that would not normally see your book or know who you are.

Here's what some of the authors that were on tour had to say:

-The Virtual Book Tour has opened up a great learning experience for me, not to mention how much fun I have been having! I love writing up blogs for the tour and being interviewed by the hosts! I loved being interviewed on Blogtalk radio with Brandi Walker. That was fun!I have received three great reviews for my book, The Forest Portal since I joined Authors Supporting Authors and The Virtual Book Tour!  ~Melody Dempsey  www.authormelodydempsey.com 

-As the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma, I have been blessed to have been a part of the Virtual Book Tour as I endeavor to fulfill her Royal Command and tell the story of her new Royal Magician of Oz. Princess Ozma also feels that the Virtual Book Tour is a most unique experience, although she does not quite understand the Internet, or even computers.~James C. Wallace II Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma http://magicianofoz.blogspot.com

-As a participating author on Brandi Drury's Virtual Book Tour the value of coverage and feedback has been indispensable. Nowhere else can an author promoting their works receive this intensity of promotional focus. Authors Supporting Authors is a developed network that permeates the blogosphere. This book tour doesn't simply get the word out about your latest writing, it gets it to the exact recipients who want it and provides you with a super-niche for promoting your book.
~Lee Libro http://literary-magic.com

So if you are looking for a way to get your book out there,  stop in and see what we are all about.  We are always OPEN.  All of our packages are budget friendly starting at $50,  and package costs go right back into your tour.  We will provide you with a press release,  a tour banner to place on your tour stops and website to let people know about your tour,  we will do giveaways of your book,  and depending on the package you choose,  you will get reviews as well.   Depending on your needs you will have choices on how your tour will run.  You're in total control.  You will have support 7 days a week as you sweep the blogosphere with author interviews,  guest blogs,  spotlight features,  reviews and giveaways,  and even a live interview on Blog Talk Radio.  We are continually learning new ways to promote your work and will add new features as we go.  You will also be introduced as a new author on tour at the Virtual Book Tour Cafe' Blog,  your entire tour will go into the calendar of events on our main site,  plus we will place your banner and book on the site with a link back to your own author website,  and it will stay there.  Compare us to other VBT organizers and see the difference.

We also offer additional services,  such as book cover design by the wonderful Debi DeSantis,  book trailer creation by myself and Ami Blackwelder,  and so much more.

So why not stop in and book your tour today?  The Virtual Book Tour Cafe'.

Get the most out of your book tour with our biggest package yet,  we've teamed with the best publicity coach around!

*NEW* Dream Big Publicity Tour - Take your book to 20 blog stops,  to include author interviews,  guest blogging and 4 Book Review Sites for reviews of your book,  a tour banner,  press release to announce your tour,  a Spotlight on the VBT Cafe' Blog,  an ad spot in From A Writer's POV Magazine,  an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway at one of your stops,  one copy of your book will go into rotation for reviews at the Review Book Swap,  PLUS you are assigned to a publicity coach where you will be provided with author contacts relevant to your book,  promotional goal suggestions,  building a community profile,  help contacting your local media and special interest groups,  aid in becoming a locally known author,  targeted promotional marketing,  help marketing your book to general online medias as well as different levels of media,  creation of unique online events,  and places outside of your tour to request interviews and author guest appearances.  This is our biggest package yet and we are proud to team with one of the best publicity coaches available.  This package will gain the most exposure for you and your book,  and right now you can get this promotional package at a discounted price of $300.00.  This will be a limited time offer and price is subject to change at any time.

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Are you interested in becoming a host for VBT's?  Drop me an email with VBT Hosting in the subject line to bkwalkerbooks@comcast.net and include your name,  blog/web address,  genre preference,  how many days a week you would be available to host and which day you prefer.

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Do you like to review books?  We are currently looking for reviewers at the Review Book Swap. This is where we all take turns reading a book,  write our review,  then send the book to the next person on the list.  It's fun,  simple,  and a great way to get some reviews.

Authors and Publishers are encouraged to submit their books for review.  If you're interested in joining in,  please stop in and sign up.  It is a brand new site so bear with us as we get off the ground,  please spread the word.  It's a great way to get some reading material.  We look forward to having you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Are You On Kindle Yet?

I have been getting a lot of emails on how to put your books on Amazon Kindle.  So I have compiled some steps to follow,  to make it easier for you to find your way.

Follow these steps:

  • Go to www.amazon.com
  • At bottom of page click on Self Publish With Us
  • Scroll down to 2nd box where it says Kindle Books and click Get Started.
  • Sign In to your account with amazon, if you don't have one it will take but a minute to create one, you will need a DTP (digital text platform) account and usually your main login info will work
  • Click on Bookshelf
  • Click Add New title then follow the links there
  • Set your price and make sure you take the 70% royalty option
 There are the steps to follow.  If you still get lost and need help,  don't hesitate to contact me at bkwalkerbooks@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you.

Congratulations on now being on Kindle!  You ROCK!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writing and More Writing with Ami Blackwelder

Writing, and More Writing…

I grew up in Florida, but at twenty-six decided to travel and teach around the world. Living overseas for eight years and teaching in countries like Korea, China, and Thailand, I fell in love with the east. How can you not?

I began writing creative stories in my Elementary years and continued with short stories and poetry into my university years; however, the novel bug did not hit me until thirty-three. Yep, I am a newbie. Yet, this has not stopped my insatiable appetite to write novels. Once wetted with my first novel, The Gate of Lake Forest, inspired in Thailand, I have not been able to stop.

There is something glorious about designing your own world and character and something delicious about spending time in that world, getting to know the place and people who live there with you -and only you, until you share the story;)

I have to admit writing is my addiction. Some people do drugs, some alcohol, and some sugar. But for me, I could not live without writing. I love the craft and like breathing, fell I would die without the opportunity to perform this craft.

I am an eclectic writer, dabbing in Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Romance, History, and even Spirituality and non-fiction. That is just the way my mind works. I am all over the place, into everything. Love to know and discover new things. Curiosity killed the cat and sometimes I feel I am close, but hopefully I will punch out all the novels in my head before that happens.

I love nature and wildlife and those themes remain strong elements to my stories. I research everything I write. Even with fiction, I want to know where and what, how and when…and researching only makes the writing and story stronger. I want my reader to feel the events as real as I do!

When I succeed, prose can sounds like poetry (and for some critics, too descriptive), but I love details. Life is in the details. I won't change my style for anyone, and you will either love the novels or hate 'em. But when the story is finished, there is no greater feeling in the world for me, then knowing my vision will be shared with someone else soon.

I am finishing my The Hunted of 2060 saga which will be five parts and then write the last novel to the Guardians of the Gate story, but then I will dive into more worlds and more characters, already swirling about in my head. Writer's block, no -I suffer from writer's flux. Too many ideas;)

I hope you enjoy my novels and check out my non-fiction books on spirituality while you are three. http://amiblackwelder.com

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Changing Words in a Story

How many of us have read a book and every other word repeats itself. This is one of my pet peeves.
As a writer it can sometimes be intimidating to try and pull words out of the air to try and say what we mean. I have a very large dictonary. I use it all the time. My Computer also has a dictionary on it as well. Use it. Make your reader learn new words. Don't be afraid to use new words that you didn't know before. Take for instance cherry red lipstick. Anyone can say that sentence - but as a writer it is up to you to do more than that. You want your reader to see, taste, feel, smell,and yes even hear the cherry red lipstick.
Instead of saying she wore cherry red lipstick say, "I couldn't take my eyes from her mouth. Her lips were made even more full, by the lucious, blood red, lips. I wanted to taste them. I knew they would taste like the tart red of cherries ripe off the tree. My mouth watered, my eyes stared and I heard nothing but her voice as it purred through those lips."
This not only does away with the bland statement- it puts the reader in front of the woman. It makes the reader go through all of the senses.
Yes, it takes time but it is well worth the time. Stand out from the herd, put people in your stories.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Writing Poetry By Patrica Neely- Dorsey, Published Poet

I have been told many times, by people in the industry that a book of poetry is a very “hard sell" and is so often seen as the step-child .
I didn’t really know what they meant until I started running up against brick walls in getting reviewers to even consider reviewing the book. So many people told me that they had “no poetry” policies in reviewing books. That was very surprising to me. Of course, I didn’t take no for a final answer and some of those same people who said that they did not review poetry eventually gave in and I received some glowing reviews from them. On top of that, self-published authors are , in many cases, given so little respect. I have been told, again, by reviewing sources that they did not do self-published books. I have been told by some venues that they didn’t have self-published authors on the roster for giving a book presentation. Of course, again, I didn’t take no as a final answer. My motto is always: If you can’t get in through the front door, go in through the window. Needless to say, some minds were changed and some policies were broken.

I always emphasize what I call Patricia’s P-Attitudes..1) Positivity- be positive, believe in yourself and your book, 2)Persistence-Be relentless. Never take “NO” as a final answer. Keep knocking. If you can’t get in through the door, go in through the window. 3)Perseverance-Never give up 4) Patience. .Hold on. Hold tight. Sometimes, the answer or outcome that you seek might take a minute ( days, weeks or months) but keep the faith. It will come.

I have found , that the real work of this business is not in the writing of the book but in the marketing and promoting. I think that for most writers, the writing is not hard because it is doing what they love to do. How does that saying go... “Do what you love to do as a vocation and you will never work a day in your life”. With a poetry book, a writer has to be extra diligent in promoting. People generally do not just decide to go into a bookstore and buy a book of poetry. It's usually not on their list when they go to select reading material.

People love to hear poetry and, perhaps , enjoy reading it when they run across it in a favorite magazine, but for them to go into a store specifically to purchase a book of poetry is rare. As a writer of a poetry book, it would be your job to help create that desire for what you offer. Help the reader to see how what you offer will enhance their lives in some way , strike an emotional cord or be of value to them. You must be able to relay some strong message or messages that the reader can really relate to. Poetry is all about that emotional draw. It must touch the reader deeply in some way. Before they can be touched , they have to open that book! your job is to find the way to lead them to what you know will be a rewarding experience.

Make lots of contacts and connections with people who do what you do or aspire to do. Ask lots of questions.. Do lots of research on the business side of it all. Join writers and book groups on the social networking sites. Shadow an author that you admire. Take note of their work (ie: how they market and promote their their book, what venues and events they attend.) Join a local writer's group for support and resources. Most importantly, believe in what you do. believe in what you uniquely have to share with the world.

A writer’s work, especially published work is like his/her child. A writer has a very personal attachment to his/her “baby” and can sometimes be very sensitive about that “baby”. I think that most writers would love to stamp a little Handle With Care message on all of their books. But, you MUST learn how to not wear your heart on your sleeve.

You must develop a tough skin to be able to handle any harsh reviews of negative feedback. .Know that everyone will not necessarily like what you write or like your style of writing but someone will absolutely love it. Appreciate and nurture your own unique style and “gift”.

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems
" a celebration of the south and things southern"
"Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Writing 101 - You've Written Your Book, Now What?

You've Written Your Book Now What?

Now that you have written the perfect book. Now what? How do you as an independent author get it in book form, get in front of the readers and market it?  Writing it was the easy part. Now comes the part where a writer becomes an author. This is the part that separates the hard core writers from those who thought they would write a book and it would sell thousands of copies simply because they wrote it. Not happening. There are as many writers and authors out there as there are ideas. The way to get noticed is to make yourself stand out of the herd. To let the masses know that you have something special. And let me tell you ­ even if you happen to be lucky enough to get a contract with a traditional publisher- you are still expected to market your book. They will not do it for you. In fact if you sign a contract for say 50,000.00- you have to sell that much in books the first year or else you have to pay it all back to the publisher.

If you think "I will just go out and get an agent." Think again. More manuscripts lay unopened on someone's in box, than get read. It is not that they may not be interested it is just they get thousands a day from hopeful writers wanting to get published by a well known publisher. Thinking they will get on the best seller list
and make a fortune.

The first thing each of you must remember "As a writer/author we don't do it to become famous, we do it for the sheer love of writing." If you can wrap yourself around that statement and understand it ­ things will be much smoother in the shark infested waters of the literary world.

That being said, there are things you can do that work. I have run the gamut in this industry. I have had to learn most of it on my own how to get read. Some things have worked and some haven't. I along with all of the other indie authors who I network with have learned how to make the internet work for us. In fact
the traditional houses now are watching us to see what we do. They have been very slow to use the net because they have distribution, we don't. But we don't have to worry about a lot of inventory.

Marketing 101

So let's take a minute and look at Marketing 101.It is called the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule was set up years ago when people went door to door. The idea was if you did cold calls to 80 doors you would get 20 sales. That principle still applies.  That is why exposure is key. Here are several things you need to do and do them
religiously. Just like your writing.

First build you a facebook page and add friends all over the place. Get set up on twitter, and myspace. Next- go to all the free websites and build pages. Link to other authors like myself who have been out there a while. IF you google my name you will see I am all over the net. I have stranger contacting me about marketing now.

The important things you want to put on these pages are your bio, your book covers, synopsis, reviews, pictures of your appearances, places to buy your book,  etc. You first have to market yourself before you market your book. You have to let people know that you have something special. That you are something special.  I have known authors who wrote very bad books, but they sold simply because they marketed themselves first. You can't market your product until you first market yourself.

Things you don't want to put on your site are pictures of your kids, pets,  vacations, husbands. The reason, this is your business. You don't want folks taking time to view all that when they need to be looking at you and your books.

Face book is different, you have latitude there- also you have latitude on myspace. But on my space you want it to be clean and sharp. The other sites like word press, blog spot, etc you want it to be strictly business. Just on my space alone I have four sites one site for each of my books plus my site with my picture and my name. I also keep them on the top friends of each site.

Keep these sites updated, yes it takes time, but believe me it is well worth it.  When someone googles your name you want it to jump out at them. You want to be so accessible that a potential reader has no excuse not to buy your book.

Do book reviews for other authors, which gets your name out there. Post them on Amazon, your sites, etc. That is another avenue to get noticed. BK Walker Books is accepting inquiries to join our review team.

You also want your book to not only be in print form you want it available in e-book ­ kindle and any other form that is out there. That is the reason I use Lulu.

My books can be down loaded in ebook form and I use Amazon Kindle for the kindle book which is growing. Two of my books are on the best seller list on Kindle.

This also gives you another avenue of royalties.

You can never do too much marketing. This is one of those times where more is better. One of the little tricks I use is I carry business cards with me all the time. I also have post cards with pictures of my books on them. When I give out my business cards I also give out the post cards.

Oh yes, never be afraid to give out a card. I gave one out at Target one time when I saw a lady looking for a good book. I don't know if she looked me up or not , but I gave her the card. You can never over market yourself.

In conclusion, let me go back and give you the steps again.

1. Know your story, that is, if you are not proficient in the subject matter research it. Know your place, again if it is not local and you are not sure of the things that are conducive to that place research it. Make it creditable.

2. When writing non- fiction always research your subject, make good notes, give credit for resources, and put them in the book, get permission for names or use fake ones. Note this in your book with an asterisk.

3. Don't try to put everything in your book from your research, and tell a story,  not a dissertation

4. You as a writer are unique- the way you write is part of your uniqueness.  There is no wrong way or write way to put a book together. It is what is comfortable to you. That is style, time, etc. You set the tone.

5. Trust someone to proof your book, trust me you will be glad you did.

6. Know that before you can market your book, you have to market yourself. So believe in who you are, what you are and what you do.

7. Network with like minds, with other authors

8. Get reviews, write reviews, get on blog talk radio, get advertising stuff- ie cards, postcards, banners.

9. Join a writers association ­ I belong to Florida Writer's Association

10. If you have never spoken in front of a crowd, now is the time to learn-

11. Understand you may never be on the bestseller list, you may never get a movie made, and you may never sell hundreds of thousands of books so write because you love it. Leave it behind for those who love you and who you love.

12. Last But Not Least- Pay it forward. When someone asks you how you did it share the information- don't be afraid to help another writer- it will come back to you three times over.

I have included some handouts including this speech for you to carry home with you so you can use it as a reference, line the cage of your bird or use it for the dog's entertainment. But aside from that- I hope you will keep it close and refer to it time and time again. I have also included my card which has my email,phone
numbers and book store on it. Feel free to contact me anytime. I am here to help.

Lastly, I want to say thank you for taking the time to come and join me here today and maybe I have given you some tools to work with, a path to travel and knowledge which will become wisdom.

Remember, as writers we are odd minded and like minded and we all have a story in us.

Thank you.

If you would like this entire workshop emailed to you,  please contact Yvonne or BK with your email address.  If you have any questions,  please leave them in the comment section. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Does Your Book Have The Right Look?

Knowing how to get just the right look and feel to fit the subject matter and distinct identity of each book is my passion.

No matter what your needs are, either an e-book cover or the entire flat, front, spine and back, having a dramatic cover could set your book apart from the thousands of others being written every day. They might not remember your name, but.....they'll remember your cover


A very large percentage of all books sold are sold on the basis of a great book cover. The cover you choose is the most important tool used to sell and market your book. It's often true that having an eye catching cover may determine where the book is located in the book store. The cover should not only be visually appealing, but also represent it's content. So whether you decide to self publish or go with a more traditional publisher, having the best cover possible to reflect the story you are telling is truly
the most important part of the writing process.

My ultimate goal is to create book covers that are different and unique... designed just for you. I have experience with all types of books including romance, science fiction, real crime, self-help and more. I have created eye-catching CD and DVD covers as well as paperback book covers and e-book cover designs.

We as Independent authors and publishers know the importance of having somewhere that your readers can hang out and not only order your books, but find out what you're up to and what's going on in our literary world. A cool website will do just that. If you enjoyed my site and would like me to design one for you, similar to what you see, let me know. (or something more your taste)

Blue Voda hosts my site.. and for a small yearly fee (around $100) they keep it up and running. You also make your own domain name and can have as many pages as you can handle. Check out my site where you will find the link. I've been using them for four years now and I'm very happy.

Debi DeSantis
Romance Author & Book Cover Designer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing 101 - Reviews


We all enjoy being praised. We all want everyone to just fall in love with our book. And sometimes we don't understand why they don't. It can be very crushing when we get that first bad review. However, if you can take that bad review and make it work for you then you are the winner. Trust me ­ it can happen. When I
got my first bad review from someone who never even read Silent Scream I posted it on my site. My book sales soared. It made the people in my network so upset they went out bought the book and wrote their own reviews on Amazon.

That aside, there have been books I read even by some well known authors who were so bad I couldn't even finish them. However, I refused to trash the author or the book. The reason is simple there might be someone out there who would enjoy it. Someone who has a different opinion. And in reality that is all a review is,
just an opinion. And that is relative. Bottom line don't take those to seriously.

Take the nicest thing in the review and post it. That really ticks off the reviewer who has written a bad review. Turn it into a good thing. Make it work for you instead of against you.

When you are ready to send your book to print ­ you will want to get some reviews to either put in the front of the book or the back of it. That is very important, especially if they are from other authors.

Review Services can be found for free at BK Walker Books.

Next topic is You've Written Your Book,  Now What?  Friday,  October 1, 2010.

Please leave your questions in the comment section. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Write True Horror by Author TG Reaper aka Thom Futrell

The night crawls in from the shrinking daylight. And the children, how the children of darkness beg you for their creation. They need you to bleed life into them. To release them from the shadows.

Perhaps horror isn’t you’re genre or you’ve never considered writing a ghastly tale. No matter. Time to challenge yourself, to try something new. You can lock the doors, but won’t keep us out. Time to explore the dark side of fiction.

The first thing to understand is that not all horror fiction is the same. There’s horror, supernatural, gothic and many sub genres. Horror is only the blanket label for dark fiction.

Fear is the main ingredient in successful horror fiction. It is what makes Stephen King’s books fly off the shelves. It is also what motivates horror writers to write. King has admitted to being afraid of the dark and of the bats that live in his attic. He uses that fear in his writing.

Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House) once wrote: “I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there…I delight in what I fear.”
Most won’t delight in their fears; actually, they push them away. Or they worry constantly. But in addition to inspiring story ideas, writing about fear is therapeutic. It helps you to take control of them. In gaining control, you can take your fiction to those dark places you didn’t want to go.

Just like any fiction story, the successful horror story must have a beginning, middle and end and must have well developed characters. Your hero’s conflict must be believable (in this case, a dark threat) and he or she must react consistently and believably.

That’s not to say that a normal person isn’t capable of murder and violence, when placed under enough stress, people may react in ways totally out of character. Your character must grow during the story; the change may be positive or negative.

Let’s move ahead to my personal favorite…the unknown.
The scariest part of knowing a beast is there, is knowing one might be there. Eyes in the shadows, voices calling from nowhere, etc. Imagine this: You’ve just walked through your house, turning off the lights. You head towards the bedroom, looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Suddenly, you hear footsteps coming up behind you. You know you’re alone, yet you hear breathing. A flash; the lights come on down the hallway. Someone or something is out there. But who or what is it? And where is it now? Thoughts run up your spine along with a familiar chill. That is the feeling you owe your readers.

There you have it, wrapped in a black box and addressed to you. Listen to the children as they call for you, begging for life. Cut open your soul, and bleed the words of life into your creations. Darkness is calling…will you answer it?
 TG Reaper

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing 101 - Editing & Proof Reading

Edits and Proof Reading

One of the main things to remember is this is your story, you can change it,  rearrange it, re-write it any way you want to. If you ask for another's opinion remember it is just that. You are still in control and not everyone who reads your work will love it.

Which brings me to another point ­ find someone you trust who knows good grammar, is articulate and is willing to read line by line to proof your work. They can do it by page or chapter or entire book. The reason for this is as writers we get so bogged down in the trenches that we miss the most simple things, like, she,
he, the and they, to and too. I have a bad habit of transposing letters. My brain runs faster than my fingers. I have gone back and re-read my work and in my mind the structure is correct the spelling is correct, however it is so wrong.

Every author has to have a killer cover. The reason being the cover is the first thing a potential reader is seeing for the first time. If a book cover catches my eye you can bet I am going to pick up that book and read the back cover or the jacket. You want to stand out above the crowd. You want to be that black sheep in a field of white ones. Don't settle for second best.

Here's a great cover designer - Check her out and all the other marketing services she offers.

Debi DeSantis
Romance Author & Book Cover Designer

Next Topic is Reviews - September 27, 2010.

Please leave your questions in the comment section. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing 101 - Writing Non-Fiction

Writing Non- Fiction

Non Fiction is different; it is more difficult on some level because you as the writer don't want to regurgitate something that has already been written. Take the time to research your story, talk to others, and find out all you can about whatever it is you are writing about. It is very important to make sure you have facts and that you can back up those facts with your research. Always put your resources in the back of the book, especially if you do direct quotes. This is very important if you quote from newspaper, other books, or other articles. You never want to get slammed for stealing someone else's work. You have to give the original speaker credit for that quote. If you are using Microsoft 2007 it has a great program that will post those resources as you put them in the book.

Find a way to write the story different from what every other writer has done.  This can be a challenge especially if several people have already written different books on the subject you are writing about. True crime is one of the hardest to write about if you are not part of that life. I was fortunate; my husband is retired
from the State Attorney's office in the 19 judicial circuit and all of our friends are in that life and with my background in criminal justice and bounty hunting I speak the language.

When you decide to write non-fiction, surround yourself with people who are proficient in that particular subject, don't be shy about picking their brain. Once you show you are serious and credible they may be more than willing to talk with you. When I first contact retired FBI Agent Roy Hazelwood, he wouldn't give me any information until he found out that I already had one book out and was serious about writing the story. Now, I count him as a very good friend.

Don't be in a hurry to write the story. It took me over a year to research and write Silent Scream. When I wrote Silent Scream there was a lot of information I didn't put in the book. The reason is simple, the book would have been too heavy to carry let alone read. Take the most important pieces and put it in your story.
But make it interesting. The object is to tell your real life story with meaning and depth without being boring with the facts. Weave those facts into the story.

If you interject your own opinion make sure that you make that statement in the book. Make sure that you put your resources at the end of your book, any newspaper articles, books, interviews, any resource where you obtained your material. This is very important.

Non- fiction is tricky in that in most cases you must have permission to use real names, it must be in writing. This protects you from the potential lawsuit.

Next Topic is Editing & Proofing,  Friday,  September 24, 2010.

Please post your questions in the comment section :).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Writing 101-Writing Fiction with Yvonne Mason

This will be the first part in Yvonne's Writing 101 series.  Part 1 - Writing Fiction.  Read and enjoy :).

  Writing Fiction

     Now that I have all of you completely confused as to why I write so many different genres let me explain, I am eclectic. In other words I am very diverse in my thinking. Because of my background and my degree my first love is crime. I love the criminal mind. However, I have to listen to the voices in my head telling
me what to write. My first book Stan's Story which has since been redone and re titled to Dream Catcher Failure was Never an Option was a labor of love so that my children and grand children would remember my brother who is challenged and born at a time when the challenged had no resources. He is a success because
of this challenge. He was not put away he was accepted and loved. Tangled Minds is based on a crime that happened in Gainesville Ga. in the 1990's and it involved a friend of my daughter. I also drew from her troubled life for the main character.

      Blood Alley is a short story about a Ga. Truck Driver who winds up becoming something he really doesn't want to be because of something he did. Brilliant Insanity is a crime novel based in Ft Pierce about a serial killer who kills because he thinks he is getting retribution. Silent Scream is a true crime about Gerard John Schaefer Florida's first serial killer. When Fates Collide my newest release was co -written with an author friend of mine who lives on the West Coast of Florida and it is a comedy. WE wrote that book by e-mail.

       By the look on your faces, I see that you all are saying in your mind, you did all this HOW???
As Ricky Ricardo said to Lucy, "Let me splain."

       In writing there is no right or wrong way as opposed to when I was in school and one had to do an outline before one even really put pen to paper. Those days are gone. Each writer has their own style their own way and their own path. Some authors I know make outlines or rough drafts, some put pen to paper and just start the story. Some, like myself take to the computer with a vengeance. There is an old adage in the industry and is "Write about what you know." In other words because of my background in criminal justice, being married to a retired investigator for the state attorney's office and being a hunter, I know about the
criminal mind. I know how they think, what they think and how they act. I know why they kill. I have studied them and their crimes for years. I have also been in the court room more times than I can count. Since that part of my life is a passion and writing is a passion they go hand in hand.

    No matter what I am writing there are several things I do first it doesn't matter if it is fiction or non- fiction. I do research, even if I am very familiar with my subject.

     The reason is simple. When your reader opens that book you want them to step into the story. You want them to believe that what they are reading is real.  You want that book to hold their attention and grab them from the first word. In today's world readers are very educated. They know more than they used to. So if
you are writing a crime novel you want to make sure that your law enforcement isn't knocking some criminal upside the head or arresting them without reading them Miranda. Readers pick up on the little things very quick. They are more educated than in years past.

  When I was writing Brilliant Insanity, I made sure that I knew about Shark attacks, and bait. The reason, well you will just have to read the book. They also picked up on the fact that my criminal met some of his victims at Archie's a very popular place in Fort Pierce. It gave more meat to the story. They could relate.

  When I wrote Silent Scream my true crime one of the things I was told over and over was the fact that some of my readers had been on the very roads the victims were taken from, they had been by the places the girls were killed. They could relate to the book. The point is as a writer you want to be credible while still
using your literary skills in weaving a spell binding story.

   Second I let those voices in my head give me the name of my main character.  Once the name is out there the story starts taking form. Then it is time to let them take over. I have found that when I try to force a story it will not come. Give in to your inner child. Allow those imaginary friends come to the surface. It is okay. We
are called Odd Minded because we think with the creative side of our brain,  which is the right side. You are among the greats if you have stories and characters which dance inside your head.

   The writer has what we call literary license; he is only limited by his own imagination. So if you want to write about a race of people on a planet which is in your head fine go for it. But remember the reader will need a bit of background before jumping into the story. The best way to do that is to give a bit of information at the front of the book, for instance, you will want to make a glossary of the language, way of life, etc. That way the reader knows how to understand the story and his characters. Remember they are reading ­ it is not
visual. Don't start your first chapter without building your story, that first chapter will make or break your reader. In fact that first sentence will either grab your reader or make them put the book down never to pick it up again.

     For instance would you continue reading if the first sentence went something like this: "He died." You might finish the paragraph just to see who died. But would it not be more of an impact if you said, "The bullet ripped through his skull as he fired his last bullet at the cop." For me that makes me want to find out who he is ­ why he was firing at a cop and what happened after that. A good writer always puts the who, what, where, when and how in their story.

   It doesn't matter if you are writing a romance, suspense, mystery, cookbook, the idea is to make that reader walk that book to the checkout counter at the library, the bookstore or the online cart. You want them to say "I gotta have it."  Then you want them to tell their friends what a great book it was so they will run out and buy it.

    If you are writing a book and it is taking place say for instance in your home town, remember folks from your home town will be reading it. They will know if you put Main Street at the end of 1 when it is really at the end of 4 street.
     If you want to write a story that takes place in a different state, country or town, take the time to research that place. Make your reader see the sites, smell the smells, hear the different sounds of the place. Make them want to visit that city, town or country. Make them understand the hardships of a third world country or a communist country. Own that place. With the technology we have in the internet there is no reason not to. You can travel all over the world and never leave the comfort of your easy chair. Once you get a lay of the land you can make it whatever you want it to be.

     In my years as both an avid reader and writer, I have found that when an author gets bogged down in detail it takes away from the story. I have read everything from Tolstoy to Shakespeare, to Poe my personal favorite, to Stephen King to Ann Rule, Ann Rice, Patterson, and others. I started reading when I was
five years old before I started school and never looked back. When I was twelve years old and in seventh grade I had to read Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" and do a report on it. From that day on I never looked back, crime became my favorite, along with Edgar Allen Poe.

    We all have our favorite author who we would like to emulate. Read everything you can by that author, or by authors who write what you are interested in writing about. This gives you an idea of what is out there, and how it  is written to grab the masses. But remember you as a writer are unique. Use that uniqueness to write your story.

    The main thing I found out is this less is more. The only book I ever read that Stephen King wrote which I really enjoyed was Pet Cemetery the reason is because he didn't describe a blade of grass to death. There is only so many ways to describe a blade of grass.

    A prime example is this: "The emerald green, pointed five inch long deep veined blade of grass swayed softly back and forth as if dancing alone in the early morning rising bright yellow sun which rose as if kissing the dew covered earth."

    As the kids would say this is way too much information.     A better way to describe this scene would be- "As the morning sun kissed the earth the emerald green grass swayed as if dancing in the early morning light."

   This sentence gives the reader just enough visual to keep their interest but yet doesn't overload the scene.
I have also found that in describing sex scenes that once again less is more.  This is especially true when you are writing a crime novel. Serial killers, predators and rapists don't use sex as their primary tool. Sex is secondary to the control and the feel of power over their victims. The stalking, abduction and the kill is the
primary factors in their actions. The sex is just something to keep their victim under their control. It is a fear factor, if you will. Women are more afraid of being raped than anything else. So that action makes the perfect tool for fear. But even with that one should not use over kill to make that scene.   The reader doesn't need a blow by blow account of what is happening to keep the flow of the story going not even if you are writing erotica.

Stay tuned for the next lesson in Writing 101 - Writing Non - Fiction.

If anyone has any questions,  please comment and we will respond :).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome to Flying Monkeys Writing & Marketing

First,  welcome and thanks for stopping in.  Here you will find writing tips,  marketing tips and ideas,  where and how to promote your work, and most of all,  friendship.  We strive,  and live by my partners motto - Paying It Forward! 

If ever you have any questions,  want to see something we haven't listed,  or need any help with anything at all,  you can email us anytime.  I will list our blog email,  plus each of our emails on this page.  Please don't ever hesitate to contact anytime.  We promise to get back to you.

So now,  let us introduce ourselves.

    My name is Yvonne Mason and I have been writing since I was a child. I have a degree in Criminal Justice and am a Bounty Hunter. I am also a motivational Speaker. However, it took over thirty years to become published. It wasn't for the lack of trying quite the contrary. I was rejected so much it wasn't even funny.
    I started working on my first book when my children were small in the early 1970's and finally it was published in 2007. How did you do it? You may ask. Well,  it was persistence, and pure stubbornness.
    I now have five books and one short story published. Of the five books two are non- fiction and the other three are fiction. My first book was non- fiction it is about my brother who is challenged. That book took me over thirty years to finish and get published. As soon as I finished the first book, I started on a fiction book
loosely based on a true crime. I had two books published by the end of 2007.
    The next endeavor was another fiction which was about a serial killer as well as a non- fiction which is a true crime. While I was researching the true crime I wrote the fiction. They both were released in 2008 back to back. In between the four books I released a short story. This year I released another fiction which is of all things a comedy.

     My name is Brandi,  some of you may know me as B.K. Walker.  I too have had a love of writing since I was a child,  always making up stories and reading them to my stuffed animals (haha,  I didn't play with dolls much).  I am now a published author of three novels,  two are dramatic romance and the other is a paranormal romance.  My very first book,  Near Suicide started out as just a journal of self help,  and then the main character screamed to be heard.   So I wrote the book,  and my latest release,  Death Upon Me is a revision of Near Suicide.  I currently work as a pediatric home care nurse,  which I love and find it very gratifying.  I am a mother to three wonderful children,  a pitbull,  dachshund,  and a goldfish.  Our cat,  which you may be wondering if you have read my books,  has recently passed away.  His ashes sit proudly on my desk and he keeps me company along with our other pitbull,  while I write.
     So with that being said,  I also run several blogs,  host a radio show on Blog Talk Radio where I do author interviews,  where we will be holding our writer's workshops,  and I organize virtual book tours as well. 

     Whatever your needs may be,  Yvonne and I are here to help you move forward.  So watch out for the flying monkeys,  Yvonne likes to send them after people so never be alarmed lol,  become a follower of our newest endeavor,  help us spread the word,  and sit back and learn what we can teach you to promote your work,  and most importantly.....Yourself!