Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous - utopYA Con Friday Night Event and Saturday Signing

Happy Friday, everyone! Wow, what a busy couple of days it's been, huh? I totally missed my post yesterday. BOO! But today's will make up for it, I promise. *grin* As always, on Friday, you get some amazing information about utopYA Con 2015. This week it's from Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous. Our dear Ashley has a BIG giveaway of Saturday signing space! I know you're all excited, so let's get going!

From Book Junkie:

Alright, ladies and gentleman! Every time I get to put together one of my official posts, with more information about the conference (which is only EIGHTY-THREE DAYS from now!) I get more and more excited about this year's events! And today, I get to share with you some REALLY exciting information!

First up is an awesome, exclusive opportunity for 225 utopYA attendees...

See the rest here!

Yeah, you know you want to read more of THAT! What are you waiting for? Oh, right! You wanna know how to win.

Well, you have to collect all four parts of the entry phrase then enter them in the Rafflecopter form. But you have to visit all the bloggers' official posts to get the pieces.

Here they are (in order):
Jo Michaels Blog - C. J. Redwine interview
A Book Vacation - Victoria Faye Whit & Ware interview
Paisley Reader - How to create a Google pre-order form
Book Junkie - Special Friday night event and Saturday signing

Now, what are you waiting for? Getcher booty movin'!

Did you enter to win?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

utopYA 2015 Experience - Write Your own Future

writeyourfutureHave you got a story in your heart simply bursting to be told? Or characters in your head who never stop whispering their secrets? Maybe you're a devoted reader who wants to tell the world about your favorite books. No matter your goals, UtopYA will envelop you with open arms as well as inspire you beyond belief! The book conference brings female writers of contemporary and supernatural YA and NA fiction together with their fans. Book lovers from far and wide, including authors and readers as far away as the UK, Scotland, and South Africa. This year’s expected attendance of 700-1,000 will be its highest ever.

Those who are interested in a thriving book community will enjoy panels and camaraderie. Readers will not only meet some of their favorite authors (and even do karaoke with them!), but they'll attend educational panels to learn about honing their craft. Whether it's writing or editing a book, designing covers, developing marketing strategies, blogging - they've got a panel for that and more!

Keynote speakers Denise Grover Swank, Lauren Miller and Kim Holden will kick off each day followed by educational panels, games, screenings and more. These panels contain expert advice to aspiring authors and book bloggers, plus open discussion for audience participation. Over 100 exhibitors will showcase their work and meet readers; a B&N and indie bookstore are also on site. In addition to the cosplay karaoke on Friday night, the highly anticipated UtopYA Awards will take place Saturday evening, where nominees are honored thanks to their peers and fans. We'll get dressed up and dance the night away as we fangirl over our favorite book boyfriends ;)

In addition, there is a book signing on Saturday that is open to the public - all UtopYA asks is a book donation or $5 to their charity, Book 'Em. In return, you'll meet bestselling authors, plus a chance to discover plenty of new ones! More than a few women have called this event a life-changing experience! The event is already at 75% capacity, so get your tickets here or hurry over for more information at

Want to know who will be there? Here’s a PARTIAL list of authors, experts, models, and vendors who are ready to meet YOU:

Denise Grover Swank • Kim Holden • Lauren Miller • Marissa Meyer • Myra McEntire • Tammara Webber • Rebecca Donovan • Amy A. Bartol • Jessica Sorensen • Ella James • Cameo Renae • Elizabeth Kirke • Amanda Jones • T.A. Kunz • Chelsea Fine • Whit & Ware • Mae I Design • Indie-Visible • Teal Haviland • Kristie Cook • Clean Teen Publishing • CHBB • Timid Monster • Tia Bach and Indie Books Gone Wild • The Paisley Reader • Delphina Henley • Shana Benedict • Book Junkie Not So Anonymous • Michele Madow • Courtney Stevens • C.J. Redwine • #NALitChat • Chanda Hahn • RK Ryals • A.M. Hargrove • B.J. Sheldon • Cambria Hebert • Tessi Conquest • Nathan Weller • Kendra Malcolm • Madison Daniel • Mindy Ruiz • Bryna Butler • Curiosity Quills • P.K. Hrezo • Rysa Walker • Mary Ting • Bella Roccaforte • Raine Thomas • The Rebel Writers • Michele G. Miller • Raye Wagner • Heather Hildenbrand • S.M. Boyce • Rebecca Yarros • Rachel Harris • Tammy Blackwell • Plot Ninja • Helene Dunbar • Lila Felix • Lizzy Ford • A.G. Henley • Toni Lesatz • Nikki Jefford • Katie McGarry • Stormy Smith • Amy Miles • Rick Miles • Jon Miller • Misty Provencher • Kallie Ross • Stacie Wilson • Morgan Wylie and so many more.

Check the web site for full list of authors, exhibitors, panelists and more!

Now if that didn't get you all abuzz, I don't know what will! Get your tickets!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

YouTube for Bloggers and Authors

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm gonna talk a little bit about You Tube and how bloggers and authors can use it to their advantage. Ready? Grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

You Tube. I bet most of you have watched a video or two hundreds of videos from this little channel, either via your Facebook feed or by browsing for something you were interested in, right?

Well, I invite you today to expand your horizons and look beyond browsing and watching; let's go into making.

If you've never made a video, you're not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people just like you in the world who either don't have time or have no idea how to get started. So, first, I'm gonna walk you through a quick lesson on creating and uploading that video, then we'll get to how you can use the platform to your advantage (what you might consider recording to share).

You'll (possibly) need the following equipment:
  • Something to record yourself with (this can be an iPhone, iPad, computer camera, or other camera that captures video)
  • A video editing tool (on Windows, you have Movie Maker - FREE, and I'm not sure about Mac, but I believe they come with something similar)
  • An image editing tool (Paint will do fine)
  • A noise cancelling microphone or headset (if you plan to only speak)
  • This link for music (if you want to add some beats - these are FREE for YouTube use)
Now that you have those things, we're ready to create an awesome video. Here are the steps:
  1. Create a script (this is what you want to say once you're on camera) so you aren't stumbling all over the place
  2. Set up your recording device on a stable surface so there isn't a ton of camera shake (if you're only doing audio, this is where you strap on your headset or affix your freestanding mic to something)
  3. Get your screen grabs (if you're doing a walk-through to show someone how to do something, you'll want to go step-by-step through the screens - Use Ctrl+PrtScr then open Paint and use Ctrl+V to paste the shot in - be sure to save them with labels like Screenshot1_tutorial1, Screenshot2_tutorial1, etc...) You can skip this step if you plan to record yourself talking.
  4. Get to recording. Lay down all audio and video tracks now
  5. Open Movie Maker and create an intro section (it's pretty self-explanatory), then drop in the other images you plan to use and set their run times.
  6. Add your audio where you want it and tweak the video where necessary. Be sure and save your project often in case of a crash.
  7. Render it (again, it kinda walks you through it), and save to your hard drive.
  8. Go create a YouTube Channel.
  9. Upload your video, add tags, and click publish.
You're done!

I bet you're thinking: That's awesome, Jo, but what the hell do I have to record that people will give two craps about?

Everyone has a skill, and most people know something they can share with or teach others. If all else fails, read a portion of your novel so people can have a taste of it, or do a book review. You can also create a cool book trailer. Once you graduate from Movie Maker, you can get into more technical editors that might cost a little money, but produce studio grade results. But cut your teeth on something easy to use first.

Here are a couple of little videos I did with Movie Maker:

So, you can see the possibilities are there. Crafts, books, technology, marketing, allathat and more!

What are you waiting for? Get going!

Do you have a YouTube channel? Share the link!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Author Interview - Inger Iversen

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! My guest today will knock your socks off. She's the one and only Inger Iversen! I'm super thrilled to have this lovely utopYAn for a visit. You can meet Inger at the con, but you have to get your tickets. It's not too late! UtopYA has been expanded to a four day con this year, with a full Saturday signing. Dates are June 17-21, 2015. Get your tickets here. You don't wanna be the only one left out of the party, do you? Anyway, grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

Jo: Welcome to the blog, Inger! I’m so excited to have you here and have so much to ask you! Here’s hoping we don’t get too lengthy! You ready?

Inger: I am super ready!

Jo: Awesome. Let’s get this party started! So, I know you must have music on while you’re writing (kudos to you for being able to do that, first of all), and I have to know: What does it do for your creativity? How do you think it’s shaped your books?

Inger: When I first started writing I noticed there would be times when my creativity would lag or I just wasn’t in the mood to write a scene that really needed to be written. When I was writing Few Are Angels there was a scene between Kale and Ella that needed them to connect on a more emotional level, but I was just NOT in the mood to write a romantic scene (totally PG-13). So, I put up the laptop and threw on some headphones. I listened to Lili Hayden’s Come Here. It is super romantic and BOOM the emotions and creativity I needed was there in spades! And from then on out I used music as a muse.

Jo: Great track! I can see music as a mood setter/muse. That's a great story, and hopefully it'll help someone if they're stuck. Thanks for sharing! I know you do a lot with audiobooks. Would you mind sharing a little? What avenue did you use, what are some of the struggles you’ve faced with narrators, and do you market the audiobooks differently than the e-books or paperbacks?

Inger: This is a great question and it seems a lot of authors are now curious about it! I used ACX or Audiobook Creation Exchange. ACX is an Amazon platform used to create Audiobooks for iTunes, Amazon and Audible. The first step is making sure you have the audio rights and then you add your information to the site. On ACX you are trying to snag a producer to narrative your novel into audio. That being said, there are a few struggles I faced while working to get my novel turned into an audiobook. Here were my main two issues.

1. Cost. You can pay two ways: PFH (you pay a set amount per finished hour) or royalty share (split your earnings). All of the narrators that I fell in love with had high PFH. One told me her starting rate was $375 and my book was 8 hours long. That would have cost me $3,000!! So, it took me a while to find a narrator that I was happy with that would agree to share royalties with me.

2. Time. It takes about 60 to 90 days with some narrators and it seemed all the narrators I hired needed between 60 and 70, that wasn’t too bad. However, if took the narrators of Few Are Angels nearly seven months due to issues with her equipment.

Jo: Wow. That's amazing information. $375 PFH? Holy... *recovers* Talk about an investment, huh? So, you do a TON of author events each year. Where will you be over the next twelve months? How have those events helped you in your career? Is there one you love more than the others? Why?

Inger: I do seem to attend a lot of events! I really enjoy them. I honestly think that attending events helped my career. They are helpful even if you don’t sell out of books. As an author it is important to interact with your fans as well as other authors. Doing so helps you feel good about the indie community and helps keep you motivated to read and write more. And YES UtopYa is and will always be my favorite event. UtopYa is the first event I ever attended and I learned so much. I met authors who have become my best friends online and offline. The event changed my career for the better after I attended a few of the classes, too. Meeting Cameo Renae, Christy Foster, and Dan and Rachel from Timid Monster was amazing. All because of this event I had a trailer created and made lifelong friendships.

Jo: I agree 100%. I so wish I'd seen you last year, but there were so many people there, it was hard to meet everyone you wanted to. I'm hunting you down this year. *grin* You’re a voracious reader in addition to being a writer. Do you write in the same genres you read in? Which author do you feel has impacted your career in the biggest way? Why?

Inger: I don’t get to read nearly as much as I used to and that’s a shame. Oddly enough, I write New Adult Romances, but I don’t read New Adult stuff that often. I read a lot of contemporary romance and I hold true to my paranormal romance. I will never in this lifetime or the next tired of reading about vampires!

Jo: I know the feeling. Paranormal, eh? Great genre! Time for rapid fire questions! Cats or dogs?

Inger: Cats!

Jo: Pink or Blue?

Inger: Blue!

Jo: JFK or Reagan?

Inger: JFK

Jo: Now I’m gonna ask the time travel question! Because utopYA 2015’s theme is time travel, I’ve been asking folks random questions focused on that. Here we go: If you could go backward in time and talk to your younger self (without them knowing who you are), what would you say, and what impact do you think it would have on the way your life is now?

Inger: Wow, great question. I would tell myself to stop second-guessing my choices and never live with regrets of things you cannot change. I’ve spent a good portion on my life regretting time not spent with family I’ve lost or second-guessing every choice I make.

Jo: Thanks for the compliment! Wonderful advice for many. I heard you were looking for an author assistant/publicist not too long ago. Did you ever find one? What all do you need them to do? Basically, I’m trying to show folks what all an Indie author has to do besides write and why we need assistants haha!

Inger: No, I never found one. I don’t know if people understand the amount of work that goes into writing, publishing, and then promoting a book all while working fulltime or raising kids. I think a good assistant would be an active leader on the author’s street team, willing to post in groups, help host release parties. It doesn’t seem like much, but authors could produce more books if they weren’t constantly online gathering new readers. I know we have to be online promoting ourselves, but it is a lot of work to juggle. A little help never hurt anyone!

Jo: I don't think readers know, and I wonder if they'll ever care. Most don't seem to realize we aren't J. K. Rowling and don't make billions off our books to support our writing full time. haha! I noticed a little disclaimer on your Goodreads page concerning librarians and changes to your novels. I gotta know what prompted that and if the note has done any good.

Inger: Ugh! I don’t understand Goodreads. I can’t become a librarian because I am an author, but I constantly have to change incorrect information on there about my books. Luckily, I have Stephanie who is a librarian who updates and adds my books to the site. I haven’t checked Goodreads lately, but last time I checked my release date was right and the synopsis wasn’t wrong. I’ve had that happen twice now.

Jo: Oh my. Well, I'm hoping they worked out the kinks in the system. Librarians rock! *grin* What are you working on right now, and when can we expect to see it hit the market?

Inger: Right now I am writing the last book in the Few Are Angels series and that is due out June 17th. After I finish that I start working on a short for Hot Ink Press. The story for HIP is a short that follows Teal and Trent’s from my newest release, Inevitable. I am also working with Dan from Timid Monster and Regina Wamba from Mae I Design on a little project for Incarcerated! I can’t wait to see what we all come up with.

Jo: EEP! So it's a utopYA release, eh? That's so exciting! I can't wait to see what you all come up with either. How cool! Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Inger: Hmm… I think I want to send a shout out to my awesome readers. Thanks for being so supportive. You guys rock. :D

Jo: Fans are lifeblood! Great exit, Inger! That’s all the space we have for today. Thanks for visiting with me! You rock! I can’t wait to meet you at utopYA in June!

Now, it’s time to tell you all about the featured book of the week!

Title: Incarcerated
Author: Inger Iversen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length (print): 342 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle 2.99

Synopsis: One of the few white kids in a rural Kentucky town, Logan Whyte always kept to his own kind out of self-preservation. He never considered himself racist, but that didn’t stop him from falling in with the wrong crowd—who celebrated hate as much as he fought it—or from ending up in prison for eight years on an armed robbery charge.

A successful, educated black woman, Katie Andreassen was tired of being accused of betraying her own race. Her lonely isolation, coupled with her grief over losing her mother, inspire her to create a new pen pal program at Capshaw State Penitentiary, where her father is a warden.

The program brings the unlikely pair together, but Logan and Katie soon find themselves forced to overcome past fears and prejudices. Their friendship doesn’t come easily … threatened by a crooked lawyer with a grudge and a best friend who betrays her promise to help.

When faced with a world that forces them apart, Logan and Katie must show everyone else what they have discovered: that love is, in fact, colorblind.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Iversen a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews (plus some)?

Pinterest: kris10inger
Google +: Inger Iversen
Facebook: Inger Iversen
Twitter: @KRIS10INGER
Goodreads: Inger Iversen
Amazon Author Page: Inger Iversen

If you have any questions, pop them into the comments below. My lovely guest will be around to answer and/or respond!

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Paisley Reader - utopYA Con 2015 Walkthrough on Creating a Pre-order Form

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, as with every Friday, I'm bringing you a snippet from one of the utopYA Con 2015 blogger's posts. It's Maria over at The Paisley Reader. Grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

Don't forget to go get part three of the phrase you'll need to enter the giveaway for Saturday signing space at utopYA con!

Hey Authors, this one’s for you!

A big question you might have before going to utopYA is, “how many books should I bring,” and let me tell you, it is an important question to answer. Take too many, and you’ll have to ship some back home. Take too few, and you’ll sell out quickly, leaving you sitting at a table with no books.

So how can you begin to know how many books you should take to utopYA?


By creating a pre-order form, you’ll know how many books to bring for definite sales. You can also have people prepay via PayPal...

Why are you still here? Get going! Learn how to create a beautiful pre-order form, and collect the third piece of that phrase so you can enter next Friday!

As you can see, the lineup changed due to circumstances beyond our control, but Maria's post is a must read!

What do you think? Did you check it out? Find it helpful?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Beta Readers - When, How, and Why

Happy Thursday, everyone! Guess what? Tomorrow is Friday! Woot! One more day until the weekend and kicking your shoes off for some relaxation time. Hope that made you smile. Today, I'm discussing beta readers per a request by my featured author next week, Inger Iverson. Oh, yeah, you're gonna love her to pieces. Yes, you do have to wait until Monday. Enough rambling by me! Grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Whazza Be-ta Reed-er?

Well, to put it simply, a beta reader is someone who reads your novel and sends you feedback about characterization, plot, and structure. They'll tell you what they liked, what they didn't like, and point out any holes in your storytelling.

A good beta reader will take your great novel and make it an awesome one.

A fantastic beta reader (these people are usually paid) will make inline comments, guide you on structure, give you tips on where they feel you can draw out more emotion, and make sure they can nail the plotline by the end of the book. This kind of beta reader will make your great novel into a bestseller.

I know many authors that use more than one beta reader. Those writers feel they need more than one opinion. It's a preference thing.

How do you find a beta reader?

This question comes up more than I can mention. One of the biggest problems plaguing the Indie author community right now is theft. Sadly, it's often someone who's volunteered to be a beta reader that steals. When speaking with a few of my author friends during our coffee meeting, one of them mentioned she had a friend that send a novel to a beta reader. That person uploaded the work to Amazon and sold it as their own. That author was screwed.


So, it's really best to use people you know (and I don't mean randomly via Facebook interactions, but in real life) or trust (this level of trust usually includes a contract - with or without pay).

If you aren't passing your novel off to friends or family, USE A FLIPPING CONTRACT! Protect yourself, please! I can't stress that enough. Even if the contract is for zero dollars, sign it; that may be the only proof you have of ownership if your novel gets stolen. 

Why you should use a beta reader.

Like I mentioned above, they can point out weak parts in your storytelling. Yes, you're too close to the story by the time it's written, and you're likely to think things are properly communicated when they might not be.

When someone says, "I got ABC from that." but you meant XYZ, you'll understand.

When do you need a beta reader?

You should seek out betas once your novel has been through at least two edits by your own hand, before it goes to an editor for pricing. Why? Because your word count could change dramatically between points A and B, based off feedback from your beta readers. You may change a character's name, or you could delete or add entire scenes out of necessity.

As an editor, I can say I hate when I've done a round one edit and the author adds five chapters because of beta feedback. Not only does it screw the pooch on my price (based on grade and word count), but I then have a whole section (or sections) needing a round one level edit. Round one is different from round two because the first time through takes more time nit-picking sentence structure and grammar. On a round two check, there should be minor changes to pan through. Make sense?

Can your editor be your beta reader?

YES. However, your editor should beta read and offer fixes before round one of editing begins. They should also work it into your editing contract (with dates). Usually, an editor will charge you for this service.

I've been through this exact scenario. I had an author with a book that read like a draft, and beta read it with a lower score for editing. That person still got the two rounds of edits and the proofread, but there were no major additions once we'd been through the beta read.

Not every editor offers that service. Be sure you ask if you feel it's something you may want to do.

Above all else, be sure you trust the person you're sending your novel to. At the very least, use a contract if you're not sure. CYOA - always.

Do you love your betas? Where did you find them?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BookBub and Favorite Authors

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm gonna talk about something I got in my e-mail yesterday that might just flip the way BookBub does things on its head. If you're ready, grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Are you a subscriber to BookBub? If not, why is that?

It's been said that one BookBub ad can launch you from zero to hero overnight. But they're picky about the authors/genres that get featured. I know authors who've taken this route, and they say it changed their career.

Now, it seems as though there's yet another way to get "in" if you haven't already.

I'll get to that in a moment; first, I'm gonna tell you what BookBub is if you haven't heard of it.

If you like free and discounted books that have great Amazon reviews and an author with a strong backlist of titles, BookBub delivers that to your inbox once a day.

Readers can find e-books like Prey by Michael Crichton (I've read this and it's an awesome book), for just $0.99 rather than the $9.99 it usually costs, without having to hunt those deals down or make guesses, with a free subscription. This is one of the deals I saw on the site today. You tell BookBub your favorite genres, and they tailor your e-mail to your tastes.

Authors can be included in the daily e-mail for a fee, after they submit the book and get approval by the BookBub team.

Here's the link to sign up as a reader: Join BookBub.

A team of folks at BookBub research every book submitted to see if it'll be an excellent fit for their reader base. If yes, they notify the author and the book is included in the ad. If no, they decline the offer and move to the next title on the list.

But what if an author has a huge fan following on the site? Don't you think that might just influence those folks doing the choosing one way or the other?

Now, you can follow your favorite authors on BookBub. There's a simple search and follow system (I sought out a number of Indies to see if they were on the list, and I found them with relative ease).

You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

If you're considering a BookBub ad, you might want to cinch the deal by having your fans (who are subscribers to the daily list) go add you as a favorite author. Why? Well...

Say I have a novel that's usually $3.99 on Amazon, and I want to discount it to $0.99 for three days. I've published twenty books to date and most have at least ten reviews above three stars. But another author who has the exact same deal and backlist stats also submits a book to be included in the ad.

How do the folks doing the picking make a decision between the two?

If I have two hundred people who've added me to a favorite author list, and the other submitter has only fifty, which author do you think will win that tossup?


So, it may behoove you to ask people to add you to their BookBub favorite authors list. Now. Before the site is flooded by others doing the same.

Here's an easy, step-by-step list to share on your own blog or social media that can help you guide your readers to listing you as a favorite author (feel free to share this snippet, and shoot a link back to this post for your author friends):
  • Sign up for BookBub here
  • Decide your preferences
  • Go here and add your favorite authors
  • Click save

Did you add your favorite authors yet?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!