Moo Your Novel

I have thought about ways to spread the cheer about Moonlit Valley, my first novel (you may visit the Novels tab on this blog for more information on the book).  I thought about Moo mini cards, and found this to be a great idea.  Today, I ordered a few.  They are very affordable.  It is an awesome way to promote your business as well as your books.  For me, I ended up doing a combo business and book promo mini card.

Moo mini cards are half the size of a traditional business card, and you can print on both sides or download your images.  In my case, I downloaded images of my business logo and images of my book.  The best about it is that you can have up to 100 different images in the back of the card (in one order).  The front will be your business or book info, and you can choose for the back one or as many images you want, up to 100.  If you have many novels, you can use part of the cover to place in the back of the card.  Each time you hand out a card, a different image (or message if you choose) will be on the back.  You can also do all of them with one image only, if you desire.  I love the opportunity to be able to do many things with these mini cards.  You can also create text cards, and for example, use lines from your book.  There are many possibilities, depending on how creative you want to be.  I can’t wait to get mine.

In addition, I discovered that Moo has a new service called an NFC card.  This is as awesome as it can get.  Techies will love it for sure.  These are business cards that have a small chip inside and when you hand it to someone the person can touch it to a smart phone, the card will send a message that has been pre-programmed by you, and the phone will execute it.  For example this could be download music, or your portfolio, or pics, or a link to your website …  Imagine directing customers to your book link via your business card; isn’t that awesome?

Well, for now, I will be happy to get my glossy moo cards with all the images selections that I created.  As soon as I get them in the mail, I will post some pics so you can see how beautiful and smart these mini cards are.

Check it out if you think this is a good idea – http://www.moo.com/share/qg6j89

Smashing my Words and Other Vicissitudes

I decided to offer Moonlit Valley via Smashwords because it offers a wide distribution option for electronic books.  In a way, it was like killing many birds with one stone (ouch).  It offers the ePub format (nook, apple,kobo…) and others like the Sony reader, Palm, pdf, rtf, and of course plain text, as well as library lending.  This seems the perfect all-in-one, one-stop-shopping deal.  For someone like me, who gets easily overwhelmed by too many sites to keep track of, and too many profiles, joining Smashwords was a plus.  There is only one thing I did not like – the look of the end product of an electronic book.  Unlike Amazon Kindle, it is a bit messy and limited on what you can do with font type and font size.  Your chapters might end anywhere in the page, and the worst is that when you are trying to fix it, your book is out there available to the public – there is no in-between or prelude to the publishing button.  I was so worried that I could not get Moonlit Valley as spiffy as in the Amazon Kindle, that I became frustrated.  However, I hadn’t finish fixing my file when I already had three downloads for a sample of the novel – I guess a good thing.  How I dealt with this feeling?  It was easy.  I searched for the books of famous and best-selling authors, then looked at their file – they were having the same issues and troubles with how the novel looked.  Then,  I guessed that there was no way getting around that – Smashwords electronic books will never look as perfect as Amazon Kindle, but at least will offer readers who use the e-formats mentioned above the opportunity to find my books, and sample them.

I find that offering Moonlit Valley through Amazon in paperback and kindle format, as well as offering it through Smashwords in various e-formats covers pretty much everything (check the Novels tab in this blog).  So I am sticking with this way of doing things.  I advice that you  create profiles in Amazon USA, UK, France, EU, and that you do it in the main language (use goggle translator) as well as follow-up with an English description underneath (just in case).  Making use of the forums on Amazon/CS from time to time is a good idea as well. One thing I wish I could do is to manage all the Amazon stuff from one Hub, meaning the CS, Kindle, and Author Central – it would save much back and forth.

As far as social networking goes, I love Facebook because it offers so much, and although I don’t love twitter’s format that much, I am trying to get used to it.  To me, FB is more geared to follow-up in conversation, while Twitter feels like a bunch of birds chirping at the same time, with little or no interaction between them.  I will give it some time. One word of advice to new authors trying to get into social media, “it is not that easy to transfer all your people from your personal FB account into your Author Page – most of them will not click to join the new page, but they are more than happy to interact with you through your personal FB account.  So my advice is that if you are like me, who cannot bother with too many profiles and accounts (hence why I condensed two blogs into this one and this one will serve as my author blog as well), the best thing is to start your FB or Twitter accounts with your author name – it will be much easier in the long run.  I made that mistake, so now I share on both. I guess if you are using a pen name, then you have to keep multiples of everything, and to me that translates into nightmare.

For me, keeping it simple works best, despite all the advice out there saying that you  have to be in every format/platform available.  For me, doing that would be contra productive because I would end up tired, overwhelmed, and dreading the whole thing, and with no desire to write, which is the main purpose – writing novels.  For me this is what works:  Amazon +Kindle + Author Central + Smashwords + Facebook + Twitter + WordPress = A happy writer.

In the end, we want to be happy writers and enjoy the process.  Too much of anything gets in the way, that is how I feel.

MOONLIT VALLEY

MOONLIT VALLEY

I am adding this link as I think it is important news about the battle between Amazon and bookstores – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/20/drm-lawsuit-independent-bookstores-amazon_n_2727519.html

Seagull Latest Gossip

Ok, I could not resist doing this to these adorable seagulls.  I took the picture at the Keyport, NJ waterfront.  It looks like the are gossiping about something quite juicy, so of course I had to imagine it.  Click on the picture to make it larger 🙂

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Look at What the Asteroid Brought – a Piece of the Moon

I am just kidding; however, I am extremely happy to announce that Moonlit Valley is available through Amazon (US, UK, EU) in paperback or e-book (Kindle or PDF).  It will also be available via extended distribution through the Ingram, Baker & Taylor catalog, in about 6-8 weeks, meaning that you will be able to order it at your favorite bookstore.  I will be celebrating tonight, of course.  Here is the link to Moonlit Valley

You can also find it here – Moonlit Valley, and through Smashwords here for all of you who have ereaders in the ePub format (nook, apple, kobo…), Sony, palm, and other electronic formats.

This is a picture of the cover,

MOONLIT VALLEY

MOONLIT VALLEY

And the back cover,

back cover Moonlit valley

And a spread picture (because I’m so excited),

moonlit valley spread

Here is a bit about it,

Moonlit Valley

Rose Carrigan never imagined what awaited her when she left her New Jersey hometown to live in an old farmhouse located in a small southern town called Moonlit Valley.   After a series of mysterious clues and unfortunate events, once more, her world turns upside down. This time, the man who she loves, Jeremy Sandbeck, her irresistible and seductive husband, is the one responsible. When she discovers his identity, she must decide between love and destiny, defying the surreal world that she has discovered.  Jeremy struggles with love, and what he
thinks is his true supernatural and divine duty.

I hope you like it.  I will keep you updated.

Novel Update Brought to You by a Turtle

Slow as a turtle; this is how I describe the process.  Well, so far I have worked in getting Moonlit Valley ready to publish, and in the meantime, I have been working on small changes and tidying up of Ramblings of the Spirit.  I started writing The Book of Sharon, and can’t wait to have all these pieces that may seem apart now, fall together in harmony.  Self publishing is tons of work, that I can tell you.

I came across this beautiful song and immediately thought of Moonlit Valley – it fits the story perfectly, so I wanted to share it with you.  It is “No Sound But the Wind” by the Editors.  It is an awesome song.  I love their songs.  Here is a video that I found in YouTube from theseboredkids, who did a great job with it.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  In the meantime, I will go back to work 🙂

Thinking About Book Marketing for Introverts

For the purpose of this post, let me start by defining an introvert as someone who enjoys solitude, quiet environments, and working by himself/herself as opposed to someone who enjoys live and upbeat/crazy environments and group work, as well as the spotlight.  You may be an introvert and love to socialize, and not necessarily consider yourself a shy person.  For example, you may prefer the coziness of a small book club to an auditorium full of people, discussing the same topic, and you may prefer one on one interaction to group action.

These days, even if you are an introvert writer, you will be faced with making choices when it comes to selecting how you will market your book.  Technology and the internet opened the doors to many good authors allowing them to share their work – doors that once were slammed in their faces by traditional publishing.  In a world where viral can happen to anyone, introvert authors may find themselves in the spotlight, without even wanting it.  With it comes the interviews, the shows, podcasts, invitations, speaking engagements … and so on.  What is an introvert author to do?  Well, he/she may go with the flow (even if it becomes too much), or he/she may become selective and do things according to a level of “self-preservation” and comfort.

If you are on the “quiet side” don’t let the noise of the “new way of doing things” prevent you from following your dream.  When it comes to marketing your book, you don’t have to do what everyone does.  The purpose of marketing something is just to put the word out there so people know it is available and can make an informed decision whether to purchase it or not (in the case of a product) or to contribute to it or not ( in the case of charity or money-raising events).  You can tailor the marketing to the activities that you enjoy doing, and take advantage of social networking and technology to do them more efficiently.  For example, lets say that there is no way that you will have your face plastered via your YouTube channel to reach readers, because the thought of it makes you sick; however, you love blogging and you love forums, and this is a way by which you can achieve the same marketing results.  You may not want to go on a book tour(s), but you have no trouble with doing one on one interviews, or small group readings.

Those were just examples on how to tailor marketing to the activities that you enjoy, thus eliminating the dislike factor and making the process enjoyable.  People prefer a genuine you than a “stiff/scared forced to do this” you.  When I watch informative videos on YouTube, I go for the ones that show me a down to earth person who seems genuine and seems to be enjoying what he/she is doing.  I stay away from the clips in which a stiff person is trying to sell me something and making a fake effort so it doesn’t come across that way.  My point is, being genuine at what you do, even if it is only one activity, will turn better results than doing tons of activities that you don’t enjoy just because that is what the “experts” say you should do to sell more books, have more traffic, and gain readers.

If you don’t like the spotlight, you can always dim the lights to your level of comfort.  You never know, maybe the activities that you enjoy will lead you to activities that you didn’t know you enjoy.  When marketing your book, do the things that you love to spread the good news and be genuine, generous, and thankful about it.  The guts to live your dream takes many times, just showing up to what matters in life – to what matters to you, and not adopting a one size fits all approach.

The Top 10 Endangered Places – SELC’s List

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge (Photo credit: Ethan.K)

Just a quick post on the recently released list from SELC – Southern Environmental Law Center, which of course targets the South; however, three out of 10 relate to Virginia,

  • the VA and Tennessee mountains (coal mining)
  • Charlottesville, VA (proposed Route 29 Bypass)
  • Southside, VA (mining)

Here is the article’s link where you can find pictures as well as detailed information on each one of the 10 issues (click each picture).

Top 10 endangered places 2013

New Writers – Beware of Writing Sites

I am writing this post for all new writers who are thinking about joining writing sites.  When I started writing online, I wasn’t sure of what venue to choose so I selected a few popular sites to write for them, thinking that this would be beneficial for my writing career.  Unfortunately, I started to notice that one of those sites – called Triond, started allowing very bad writing – mostly from people who wanted to make a quick buck and didn’t care about writing garbage and ill edited articles.  The staff let those articles go through, without editing them.  Some of these articles were actually unreadable – just picture a string of keywords with no meaning to them.  Fearing that associating with that site would hurt my career, I contacted them and asked that my content be removed and my account canceled/closed.  My account was closed, and at that time, it seemed that my articles were blocked and they did not show as published.  This happened more than two years ago.

Today, while reviewing some links on this blog, I came across old content that had a link to one of those articles.  I clicked on it and to my surprise, the article did show up published.  I kept clicking on some of the old links and most of them were showing active.  Not only that, but there were all kinds of ads running on them, making Triond money.  I am disgusted.  Immediately, I clicked the contact link and wrote to them asking that my content be removed or blocked.  Lets see what happens.  I hope I get a response this time.

In the meantime, my face and work is plastered on that site, along with all the craziness and bad writing going on.  There are very good writers on that site too, not all  is bad writing, but a huge percentage is bad written content, and that is the only reason I wanted to disassociate my name from it.  I never had a problem with the site otherwise; I just did not agree with their practice of bad editing and letting anything go through to publishing.

Let my experience serve you as a measure to choose a writing site very wisely and carefully, to avoid situations like this one.  I hope that Triond listens and blocks all of my content, which they are not authorized to publish anymore.

Update on Uranium Mining Proposal in Virginia

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time have read some posts about the proposed uranium mining in Virginia, where I will be moving soon to start a farmette.  Well I have been very concerned about this for many reasons – health, Virginia unsuitable climate for mining, a possible scenario for great contamination, and other issues, including our proximity to the proposed site, at only a few miles.

Well, today I am sharing the good news and that is – THE PROPOSAL WAS DEFEATED!  At least for now, but this is great news.  Here is where you can read about it – Uranium Mining Proposal Suffers Major Defeat/Keep the Ban.  I am extremely happy about this, and I am thanking again all of you who voted to keep the ban in uranium mining in Virginia.  I will keep you informed on the latest developments.  If you want to read more on this important issue that affects other states such as North Carolina, since its supply of water comes from Virginia, in part, you can visit the Keep the Ban website.

Writing Candy – Sifting the Husks

Let me start by saying that the path to a writing career requires a certain amount of study and learning, and tons of practice.  I say a certain amount because, writing should be your  primary focus.  Learning and reading other authors will teach you a great deal; however, it is by writing and rewriting that you will learn.  I wish I knew this when I started on this journey, it would have save me some precious time, but no ones knows it all.  With this in mind, from time to time, I try to share with you any blogs or sites that I think would have saved me much time, if I had known of them earlier.  This is in the hopes of saving you some time so you can embrace your writing.  Although everyone learns in different ways and pace, I can tell you that in my case I had to sift between much hay and debris to get to the grain.  For me the learning process was exhausting at times.  This is the reason I get so excited when I come across a blog or website that gives me the feeling of “Wow, I wish I had found you sooner.”  Here are a few that will certainly teach you or inform you in the right direction.

I don’t know how long these sites have been around but I recognize that these are professionals in their craft, and reading them early in your writing journey will help a great deal.  I hope that you enjoy these sites, as much as I do.