How to get tagged, tweeted, and most of all read!

Hawk on perch

Hawk your book in the right places!

Many authors will tell you . . . “writing isn’t the hard part.  It’s the marketing.”    As the market continues to get flooded by everyone under the sun who has had a book in their head, it becomes evermore important for a writer to create their presence, their brand, their own way on social media.   The recommendation from the pros in the book industry is to find your niche.   It will be the perfect niche that will hook your writers.

Initially, it will be easy for you to find other authors.   In following them, and they in turn following you,  your presence will expand on social media.  However, it will quickly become apparent from the frequented #hashtags out there, that gaining a following of only other authors will not sell your books.   Your numbers will go up to be sure.   But unfortunately, not your sales.  Only your mates that are fellow authors might buy your book.   For you see, other authors are trying to sell their own books.  You must find readers.   But a good start is to build your brand by promotion of fellow authors.

In building up a colleagial relationship with fellow authors, you must promote their books.   Tweet them, blog them, facebook them.   Extol your fellow author’s talents.  In turn, if they are savvy about book marketing, they will return the favor and promote yours.   One such writers conference that encourages such efforts is Lexicon.   According to the philosophy here, readers would much rather hear another author promoting a strong book, as opposed to an author screeching “Buy my book.”  As such, it is important that you promote brands that match your own caliber of writing and style.   Promoting every wanna-be writer out there, one whose material isn’t quality will water down your brand.   Preview their work, surf their blog and webpage, then if you like what you see, promote away!

Here are two examples of successful Indie marketing journeys:

The first is a pair of writers, Buck Steinke and Ken Farmer.    Both have presence on social media.   Their niche?  #historicalfiction and #militaryfiction.  As such, in developing their marketing plan, they booked themselves into events which characterized the themes of their writing.   Some of their most successful sales have been gun shows, military gatherings and cowboy events.  In these events, they dress the part in character.   Set up a display with objects related to the theme.  They visit.  Greet.  And yes, even flirt.   The results?  Sales.  Sales.  Sales out the wazoo!    One of their books, The Nations is now in the top 50 books on Amazon in historical fiction.    Wow! The Nations - a historical fiction in Amazon's top 100 - Ken Farmer and Buck Steinke

A second example is even more grassroots.    Brinda Carey is a survivor of incest and domestic abuse.   Her book tells of that story.   Brinda who initially found it hard to talk about the subject, must less write about it, found comfort in sharing her story to help other women.  As such, she speaks at women’s shelters, public health forums, groups which attempt to prevent domestic violence.  Her tweets and blogs are directed at helping other women break free of the imprisonment of domestic violence and abuse.    She provides them comfort and strength.   It is through her public speaking appearances that she has sold over 1000 ebooks in the first year of publication for her debut memoir, Don’t Cry Daddy’sHere.

Don't Cry Daddy's Here book on Amazon

A must read for anyone dealing with abuse!

Finding a niche isn’t easy.    Sometimes it is hit or miss.   From what I have learned in seeing a work of my own, Flying Solo published this year, I can already see the mistakes I made initially, that could have boosted sales.    But no need to cry over spilt milk.   A historical fiction, well written has no expiration date.    One advantage of the genre to be sure.    Take your time, do your research.   Explore and experiment with several multi-tiered layers of marketing.    Be a hawk!   But most of all, don’t give up and keep on writing!   The world is waiting to read your words.

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Wed child loved by two mothers – Nov is National Adoption Month

Giving the greatest gift – life!

The subject of adoption brings up many connotations.   It is subject for some great stories, great characters, great reads and great movies.    Adoption is the greatest gift of love – the gift of life.   Being adopted, then having children of your own, you can relate to the incredibly difficult situation a birth mother experiences.    Or being the adopting mother or father, you understand the yearning to have a child.   The wait can be daunting.

That is why, AgeView Press would like to honor all birth mothers.   They are Belles of Steel.  They are true heros!    For you see, in today’s world, when they found they were pregnant. . . they had a choice.   Did you know that at eight days of life, a primitive heart begins to beat?  That’s right, all four chambers have begun to form.   Eight days.   Not eight weeks.   Eight days from the time of conception.   The pacemaker of the heart begins to beat and it continues to beat until that soul takes its last breath.    How can you argue that is not a life?

The birth mother had a fantasy shattered.   A relationship did not come to fruition.    Poverty intervened.    Or the timing just wasn’t right.    But a higher power was in control.  That soul created had a destiny.   A destiny to be born.    Strength was instilled within a birth mother who chose to honor life.    It wasn’t an easy choice.  It would be nine months of heartache.    It almost takes an emotional displacement, to love and care for what is within – yet distance one’s self in knowing that the choice to give their child up, is one of the most painful in life.

A heart-wrenching dichotomy occurs at the birth.   For the birth mother, it is an end.   The journey complete, time to start anew.   For the adoptive parents, the journey is just beginning.   A prayer answered.   The most precious gift now received.   It is an ending and a beginning.  The alpha and the omega, but maybe in reverse.

Both the birth mother and the adoptive mother will have to have tough skins.    Both will here how could you?    How could you give away your own flesh and blood?   How can you love a child that is not your own flesh and blood.    Simple.   Love is of a higher countenance.    Bestowed on those who open their hearts.    The new life is mourned by the birth mother, yet cherished by the adoptive mother.    The baby will grow up loving the woman who gave birth and the mother that cared and raised them throughout life.

One mother is not less than the other.    They will forever be a part of the child’s existence, whether known or not known.    The birth mother will never forget.    The adoptive mother will always remember.

If you or someone you know is considering adoption, talk it through with the experts.   They will be able to provide you with all the considerations.    Also, take the time to read some stories on adoption.     Stories that will highlight both sides of the issue.    One suggestion would be the 5 star rated novel, FLYING SOLO.    Set in 1960s New Orleans, it explores all aspects of adoption, love, and loss.    Don’t take my word for it, just read the 25 reviews on Amazon.

Two mothers, the one who gave and the one who recieved.

Two mothers, the one who gave and the one who recieved.

Bless all mothers considering adoption and those receiving and adopted child for the monumental decisions you are making in your life.  Both the giving and the receiving.  To read more about this journey from the adopted child’s perspective, try WAITING IN THE WINGS.

AgeView Press is proud to announce that Belles of Steel number 7 and number 8 are none other than the women who were brave enough to provide me with life and see that I was loved, birth mother Lenore Parks Woodham, RIP and receiving mother Edmee Hymel Baird.

 

Words to be thankful for . . . Indie publishing!

Great gift? Indie pub’d books!

What a blessing and sweet ride it has been seeing books published by previously unknown, yet strong authors.   The eletronic world of today has simply changed the world for story tellers previously unable to get their message out.    Are all Indie pub books worth supporting?   The answer is a resounding NO!!    But there are some truly great voices out there, that without Indie publishing would never have been heard.

There have been many blogs out there which have highlighted both the good and the bad about Indie publishing.   Caution is the key.  Do your homework.  Test the waters.   Take a chance when holiday shopping on some Indie pub’d books.   In many cases, you will not be disappointed.

Before listing some favorites for you, here are some facts.   Did you know:

1.  there are going to be over 3 million books published in 2012?

2. there are only really six big publishers out there . . .

3.  thousands of well known authors received countless literary rejections and dejections before being published

4.  Bowker estimates that they will issue over 15,000,000 ISBN numbers in 2012

5.  the top selling book of the year, 50 Shades of Gray was indie pub’d?

6.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times she had to initially self publish. To date: 80 million sales.

This is why, at the beginning of this holiday season, we should all be thankful for the tenacious resilience of  not only Indie pub’d authors, but those authors who are going the distance in this over abundance of printed words.   Be brave, traverse the ailes of small independent book stores,  support small local businesses.   But most important of all, give the gift of words.

Examples of great Indie pub’d books:

Flying Solo Novel

Flying Solo – a 5 star page turner from AgeView Press

The Mill River Recluse – Top Selling Ebook – and Indie Pub’d

Forgotten Soldiers
Forgotten Soldiers – War story at its best – Warren Martin

Author Brinda Carey talks survival tips. Free yourself from domestic abuse!

Author Brinda Carey

Survivor and Author, Brinda Carey

Guest blog:   Flying Solo was one of my favorite reads of 2012. In this book by Jeanette Vaughan, the protagonist, Nora, came up with an ingenious and thrilling plan which worked for her.   She found a way to escape from a powerful husband and domestic abuse.  I found it fascinating that this was based on a true story. Most women could never pull off that kind of escape, yet it must be done. At the point of separation, the situation can become the most volatile as the abuser feels a loss of control and fights harder to gain it back.

So what steps should a person take to be prepared?  First of all, let me stress that in the case of an emergency, don’t delay leaving if you haven’t completed this checklist! The safety of you and any children you have is the first priority.

That said, start working on this checklist now.

  1. Determine which friends or neighbors you could tell      about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent      noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help.
  2. Talk to a friend or family member you can trust and      tell them about your fears and that you are planning a safe escape. Even      if you don’t know if and when you will leave, it is imperative to continue preparing for the day you decide you must leave.
  3. Have important phone numbers nearby for you and your children.  Numbers to have are the police, hotlines, friends, family, and the local women’s  shelter.
  4. Think about the various escape routes in your home just as you would for a fire drill.
  5. If there are any weapons in the house, find a way to get rid of them. At the very least, know where they are and attempt to      lead your abuser away from these areas during an altercation.
  6. Open a bank account or find a safe place to stash money. Perhaps one of your safe people will keep your emergency bag at      their home. Have coins or a prepaid cell or card to use. A charged cell phone will allow you to call 911 even if you do not currently have a      service plan.
  7. Make spare keys to your car, house, and any others you might need, and keep them with your emergency bag.
  8. Request replacement credit cards and bank cards. It is also a good idea to include your driver’s license. You may decide to have      them sent to a friend or family member’s home for placing in your bag.
  9. Make copies of all important papers such as:
    1. birth certificates
    2. social security cards
    3. school and medical records
    4. Car registration
    5. Welfare identification
    6.  Passports, green cards, work permits
    7.  Lease/rental agreement
    8.  Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
    9.  Insurance papers
    10.  PPO, divorce papers, custody orders
  10. Other items to have in your bag: medicines, personal hygiene items, and extra clothes.
Don't Cry Daddy's Here book on Amazon

A must read for anyone dealing with abuse!

 I hope you found this guest blog, by Author Brinda Carey helpful.   She is a survivor of abuse and sexual exploit from Arkansas.  Brinda had the strength to not only overcome the abuse, but write about it to help others.   Her books and motivational materials can be found on Amazon here.   Her blog is at www.brindacarey.com  She travels the country speaking out to women, reaching out to help them find ways to be strong and survive.   AgeView Press is proud to announce that Belle of Steel number six is Brinda Carey. 

The Next Best Thing? SOLO VIETNAM

SOLO VIETNAM an A-4 Skyhawk cats off the deck of the USS Coral Sea

Ready, set, go . . into the Vietnam war zone.

Welcome to the blog hop.   This is an event where author’s showcase their next projects.   This bloghop The Next Best Thing  was created by Gail M Baugniet and what a success it is to behold.  My books were nominated by several colleagues from the Lexicon Writer’s Group, namely Evelyn M Byrne.  You can find out about them by clicking here.    The founder of this blog hop is an Indie Writer herself.  So here we go, hopping along with the Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

1. What is the working title of your book?   SOLO VIETNAM  and it’s not the working title.  It is THE title.  Says it all about the story as the sequel to FLYING SOLO.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? So many people have asked me what happens next to the characters in FLYING SOLO.  Do Nora and Steve ever see each again?   What happened to the baby?    The book ended in a cliff hanger of sorts.  Lots of unanswered questions.   SOLO VIETNAM takes the on a bizarre journey, to the war zone of the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War.   Action, flying, intrigue, passion, and drama are all part of SOLO VIETNAM.    Find out what happens next to our aviators.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Definitely historical fiction.  It is set during the years of 1967 to 1968.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? In the movie rendition, a great lead for Nora would definitely be Natalie Portman or Selma Hayek.  But they have to be able to sing with a voice like spun sugar!    For the gorgeous male pilot, Steve could be Jude Law, Matt Damon or Leonardo DiCaprio.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Can lost love be found in a war zone?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I am definitely going Indie again with the small, quirky publishing company that published FLYING SOLO.   Their name is AgeView Press.   They are always looking to highlight fresh new writers with a voice.   I love Indie.   It is changing the world.   Forget the Big Six!  Indie rocks!!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  The first draft takes me about six months.  But it is the careful rewrites where the nuances and texture come alive.   Edit, edit, edit!!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? This is definitely not a romance for sure, this is pure drama in a classic time period.   So I would have to say,  Rampant RaiderIn Love and War,  and Flying Through Midnight.

9. Who or What inspired you to write thisbook? Definitely the men and women who served side by side in Vietnam – they are the unsung heroes whose stories need to be told this the young generation.

Unsung heros of the air

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? In my books, I take the reader there.  Sights, sounds, feelings.  They will feel like they were transported back to 1967 amidst war protestors at Haight Ashbury, midtown New Orleans, and of course the jungles, beaches, and skies of the Vietnam War.   They’ll be right there trapping on the carrier deck of the USS Coral Sea,  dodging surface to air missiles with Steve in the cockpit of his A-4 Skyhawk.   It is a page turner for sure.

And as is the custom, here are  5 great readers that you will want to follow in the blog hop:

Amy Gallagher

  JE Pendleton

Ken Farmer and Buck Steinke

TC Miller

 Mitch Haynes

 

Enjoy the blog hop as it hops along to find great writers for readers just like you!

Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

ostrich head in the sand

“Where, oh where are my royalties?”

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted Createspace customer support, who gave assurance that all sales were being accurately reported.   FLYING SOLO was now also on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select, as well as expanded distribution channels, which included Amazon affiliates in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.    Sales were being reported to the author from readers and bookclubs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The first note of apparent discrepancy came when a dear friend of the author ordered three copies of the book from Amazon in June.    These books were ordered all at the same time, from Amazon.com direct.   Yet, that cluster of three sales was never posted as such.      Another instance in early July involved the same issue.    Again, a customer ordered three copies, yet no sales were trackable through Amazon’s channels for three sales purchased on the same day.

In the meantime, the author was making public appearnances, being featured on blogs and radio, and rounding with booksignings.   During the months of June and July, no expanded distribution channel sales were posted on the royalty report, yet customers were emailing the author letting her know how much the book was being enjoyed overseas.   More than 15 five star reviews for the novel were posted on Amazon.

What should have shown as a surge of sales, as the book peaked, never appeared on the royalty reports.   The author was suspect.   She contacted Ingram directly, only to be informed that they were not supposed to reveal information to an author directly.  So, the Indie publisher, AgeView Press made the call.    Ingram showed 16 copies of the book ordered through their system total since May.   Those sales never showed on the June or July royalty report.    The author filed formal complaints with Createspace customer service, but received only canned letters in response explaining  that indeed there was an issue with reports in Expanded Distribution and it was being investigated.   Advice to the author from Createspace?  Please be patient.

By August, it was clear there were gross inaccuracies.  The 30 copies ordered from Barnes and Noble never showed up.   Few, if any, sales were listed for August.    Yet. the author had confirmation of over 4,000 copies in distribution worldwide.    The crowning blow came in September.   A plan was devised.    A friend, agreed to help with the investigation.   She ordered a copy of FLYING SOLO on September 7th, taking screen shots of her order and confirmation of payment directly from Amazon.    She printed out her receipt showing date and time of purchase.   The book arrived on September 13, to San Jose, California.   Photos were taken.   The sale was complete.    Copies of all screenshots and receipts were scanned and sent to the author.    By September 20th,  no sales were shown at all on Createspaces report.    Phoning Createspace, the author was informed that no sales were showing for Amazon for the month for that title.    It was time for outrage!     What had been suspected, had now been proven.  Not once, but twice!

Time to climb up the foodchain.  After many phonecalls and emails to Createspace, a Senior customer service “executive” phoned personally and stated he would investigate.    Talk about a wacky result.    Due to the print on demand status of Createspace books, sometimes they are one or two books ahead.   Thus even though your book was printed in one month, but sold in another, a royalty might actually show up in the prior month for that sale.   What???

No one expects to get rich off of writing a book.    Few and far between experience the Oprah Bookclub golden orbs of success.    But how are authors to trust a system, happy to take their money for assisting to create and publish a book, which does not thoroughly, detail accurate sales?    Simply outrageous.   What options does that leave the Indie publishers?     How can they possibly track the success of their marketing efforts.   Is the publishing world doomed to be controlled by the big six?     Are small bookstores and Indie presses to be overrun by powerhouse chains which offer the Indie published writer no turf?

How can the press or the author be sure those sales are accurate with no detail?   Rise up Indie authors!    Repost this story!    Tweet it, facebook it.    Make it go viral.   Print it and send it to your local newspaper and the Associated Press.   This abject fraud is outrageous and MUST STOP!

John R. Clark, Managing Editor, AgeView Press

Write a Review and Win an Amazon Gift Card $$

AgeView Press Book Review Contest

Enter Today!

At the moment, there are over 4000 copies of my debut novel, FLYING SOLO in circulation world wide.   Readers are not only from the US, but also from Canada, France, Italy, Australia, Great Britain and the UK.    AgeView Press, the Indie Press that made publication of FLYING SOLO possible is sponsoring a book review contest!   It is so easy to enter!    If you have read a copy of flying solo, just simply write a review and post it on Amazon!       That simple!   There are three categories. . . . Book Bloggers, Bookclubs and Readers.

For book bloggers, AgeView asks that you post the review to your blog and Amazon.     In return, AgeView Press will tweet you, facebook you, and market you socially.    The winning book blogger will also be featured here for a guest blog.     Prize:  $50 Amazon gift card.

For book clubs, AgeView will interview your organizer, promote you with social media, and feature  your bookclub on a post on their website and in this blog.   In addition, the bookclub winner will receive a personal appearance from the author (if within 150 miles of DFW) or via SKYPE for one of your meetings.  Additional prize:  $50 Amazon gift card.

For readers, you will receive not only your $50 Amazon gift card, but an additionl personalized signed copy of the book and other prizes.

Here is all you have to do.     Get a copy of the book to read.   You can order it here:     www.ageviewpress.com    or through Amazon .  If  bookclubs or readers order from AgeView Press, you will get 20% off.    Just type in the code DFW Meetups.     For book bloggers, request a copy of the book via the contact  link at AgeView Press. 

Your review should be at least three paragraphs.   It will judged on originality, style, and content.    Fleshing out the themes and highlighting what you enjoyed about the book and why it is a page turning Must Read are key!    Submit the review in two places.   Send one copy to info@ageviewpress.com     Post the other to Amazon here.   Encourage all your followers to “like” FLYING SOLO on the Amazon book page.   That’s it!

The judges for the contest are an independently selected team of writers and editors from the Lexicon Group.    The contest is open as of TODAY!    Absolute dealine for entries is October 31st.   Winners will be announced November 1st.    Best of luck to all.  Can’t wait to read your reviews.