Developing your Image

jackie stitched

As an author, your online presence brings your readers into your world. The images and verbiage you choose will either create a deeper interest or a divide that will be difficult to mend. This article is for those who have had some works printed and have already started to bring a voice to social media outlets. It will help you to focus on ways to create a stronger bond with your audience.

Great you have created a few books and some online interest in what it is your producing, but what do you do in the meantime to keep them glued into your creative life?  You make sure that they feel like they matter to you. How do you do that? By giving them clues into your author lifestyle.

How do you create? Where do you create? Why do you create? Why should they care?

You’re a writer do what writers do best WRITE! Create a blog about writing… not necessarily. There are many blogs on how to write content, or how to create a full manuscript, and honestly, we don’t really need another one.  What I mean by write is to invite the curious into your life.  Write about what you like, what you feel compelled to care about, what your motivations are, how you like to relax, who you are interested in, & even daily little life events. How can you decide what to write about and when?

Many times writers are persuaded by their passions. They feel strongly about a particular method, a genre, ideology, strength, weakness, a dream, a deep desire to write that will not quit till they complete the task. These are the things you write about on your blog. Things that matter to you. They don’t always have to be about the genre you write, but they do have to have substance to keep your audience engaged.

What is it that you want your audience to know about you? How can you bring your life into your writing career without compromising your personal life?  Once you start building your blog around the suggested ideas, your audience will begin to interact with you, and they will lead you towards what they would like to know about you. You simply need to open the dialogue get people talking about you. It is though important to keep your private life private. Create a blog that is author content only. This way you can still maintain contact with your family and or close friends with whom you have a more intimate relationship with.  Do NOT cross the two ever. Once you start to mix the two groups, you will loose your private identity.

Now here is substance for you:

How often do you come into the mind-space of your audience and/or potential reader?

When you have captured their view what feelings do you invoke in them?

Does that feeling make them want to know more?

The above questions surround one main idea, and that is RELATIONSHIP.

How relatable are you? Do you evoke someone who wants to include others? Or do you push them to the side as you create? If you want them to be 100% invested in you and buy what you create then you need to be invested in them too.

Some of the potential readers you will come across are writers too. You will have a light bond to them already simply because you are both creatives. They will relate to you through writing style, through genre choice, through common postings, through groups, and sometimes simply because of gender.

Does it matter initially how the common bonding happens? No, but will it keep them interested solely on this first reasoning? Probably not. Think about this new found person as you would a potential friend.  Communicate with them ask them what brought them to your page. Recognize them for the fact that they decided to engage in your content.

You will want to write on a regular basis perhaps in the beginning devote 10-15 mins a day with something new. If you find that you have walked into an idea that is just something that fascinates you, then write longer, but make sure that you write with the idea of engaging your potential reader.

Did you recently finish a book written by a favorite author? Hear something on radio that struck a cord? Hear a conversation at the coffee house that made you do a double-take? See something on the drive into work, or on an errand? Had something locally happen in your neighboorhood that you think would make a good story line?  If the idea is touching or poignant in any manner, then write. These are all ideas to help you create your online presence and engage your potential readers.

Also, there are not really simply ways of posting videos online just short few mins to talk about something you find interesting, or just to simply say hello. As you get comfortable with creating the videos, you will also start to find your niche and find lots of ways to engage your audience.  For example, Facebook has Facebook live I will post a link for you to learn now to use this very simple Facebook live  f0rmat.

ONTO SOCIAL MEDIA

You want your username to be your name for your author works. If you want something more cutesy or daring you can make another account for that. Remember you are representing YOU. Make sure you keep it that way when your talking about your writer works.  Make sure also for all your author related venues you keep things with your name. (i.e. @DonStover, DonStover.com, facebook.com/donstover, twitter.com/donstover etc.) If your exact name is not available, try something like @DonStoverauth.

Your profile picture is a huge big deal make sure it is YOU. Not something sorta like you, not a filtered funny photo, but YOU. If you do not take yourself serious as a professional author then why should anyone else? This photo should be used across the board so that people who see you in one venue will start to recognize you in others. Make sure this photo also reflects who you are as a creative. It does not have to be a professional picture, but it does have to have a quality look to it. It may not be a selfie. Get someone I don’t care if it is a total stranger to take your photo as long as it conveys a great image on film.

Tell me what you Think, Feel, and Hear! Entertain Me.

~Jackie Chin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class tomorrow! Independent and Dependent Clauses

One thing that I love about Stitched Smile Publications is how much we’re already setting ourselves apart. We offer Stitched Smile University: writing, editing, and publishing classes provided exclusively to authors and staff. I am excited to be teaching my first grammar class on Sunday the 10th on independent and dependent clauses! Here is a peek at what will be covered.

 

Most sentences are comprised of two parts: independent and dependent clauses. A clause must have a subject and a verb but does not necessarily have to be a complete thought. If it is missing a subject or a verb, it is just a phrase.

Independent clauses are the easy part; they can stand alone as a sentence.

John ate ribs.

Dependent clauses have a subject and a verb but don’t form a complete thought.

Until he was interrupted…

They depend on independent clauses to help them form a complete sentence. They often contain dependent markers, usually subordinating conjunctions, such as “since,” “unless,” “until,” “if,” “because,” “even though,” or “wherever.”

John still stood since the shot missed him.

Even though “the shot missed him” can stand alone, the addition of “since” makes the second clause dependent, and without that word, the sentence doesn’t make sense.

Connecting a dependent clause to an independent clause or vice versa is simple; use a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, so, nor, for, yet) or an independent marker, such as “also,” “however,” “therefore,” or “furthermore.”

He turned toward the noise and dropped the rib.

Be careful with independent markers; if you use one to connect two independent clauses, you need a semicolon before the independent marker. Likewise, with coordinating conjunctions, you need a comma before the conjunction when joining two independent clauses.

Fresh meat had appeared; furthermore, it seemed to be frozen in fear.

Sometimes, you can connect a dependent clause with a comma. This is most commonly done with introductory clauses, a type of dependent clause.

When he was finished, John licked his lips.

Another type of dependent clause is a relative clause, which is an adjective clause that begins with a relative adverb (when, where, why) or relative pronoun (that, which, who, whom), has a verb, and functions as an adjective. Relative clauses function relative to the main subject of the sentence.

John was the last one that we saw moving.

This sentence uses a relative pronoun, “that,” to refer to what John is: a zombie. If he was a human, I would have written “who.” The verb is “saw.” The main subject of this sentence, John, determines the meaning of the relative clause. The whole relative clause is “that we saw moving.” It describes John from the perspective of “we” and further clarifies that there were more people like John but that none of them are moving anymore.

Independent and dependent clauses can be joined to form complex, compound, and even more complicated sentences. The possibilities are endless.

So You Have Been Stitched Now What?

Have you ensured your Amazon book page has a great book description, amazing cover and your book is competitively priced and has plenty of reviews?

Your answer:

Have you looked up similar books to yours on Amazon and noted their Amazon categories and possible keywords? If yes, please input categories & keywords.

Your answer:

Have you placed a back page in all book versions with a request for reviews and a link to the book on Amazon and a mention of other books you have available and a link?

Your answer:

Have you identified prizes to offer readers who sign up for your email list?

Your answer:

Have you imagined a series of blog posts you could write related to the book and started writing them? If yes, please write the subjects you will be covering.

Your answer:

Have you identified people who can share or post your blog posts https://stitchedsmilepublications.wordpress.com/ and asked them will they do so?

Your answer:

Have you identified book advertising sites such as https://twitter.com/ReadersGazette  &  http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites to advertise your book?

Your answer:

Have you identified controversial, emotional or helpful themes from your book for use in posts, graphics or Tweets https://twitter.com

Your answer:

Have you created animated GIFs for Twitter https://imgflip.com/images-to-gif  and a book trailer http://www.booktrailersforreaders.com/How+to+make+a+book+trailer? (Michael Freeman and Lisa Vasquez can also be a huge help in this department.

Your answer:

Have you sent out review copies far and wide?

Your answer:

Have you reviewed a book at the Stitched Smile Publications Facebook Review group and submitted your book for reviewing?

See: (Work In Progress)

Your answer:

Have you checked your website and blog and Facebook page and Twitter profile and any other sites you are on to ensure they are up to date?

Your answer

Have you added any new social site you might need?

Your answer

Have you created a list building page with an incentive to build your email list?

Your answer

Have you created a Nouncy http://nouncy.com/ or Thunderclap https://www.thunderclap.it/ campaign to get group promotions and have you promoted it?

Your answer:

Have you sought endorsements from anyone prominent?

Your answer:

Have you prepared a press release https://www.standoutbooks.com/book-press-release-template/ and sent it out to media contacts and newswire services?

Your answer:

Have you had a live book party and enjoyed your moment?

Your answer:

Have you put the first few pages of your book on your site and created a Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/upload audio recording?

Your answer:

Have you created #tags http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/creating-twitter-hashtag-7-steps and used them?

Your answer:

Have you a SmartUrl http://authorbookpromotion.blogspot.com/2014/03/using-smarturl-to-promote-your-book.html for tracking hits to your Amazon book page?

Your answer:

Have you posted about your book to Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/sign_up?connect_prompt=true  & LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/ or Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ , as appropriate?

Your answer:

Have you written anything provocative about your book?

Your answer:

Have you set up Google Alerts https://plus.google.com/  about your book’s themes and are you adding comments to posts about them?

Your answer:

Have you personally thanked ALL your supporters?

How to Build an Email List for Authors

What is list building?

You offer something of value for free in exchange for an email address. You can set up auto-responders which are automatic emails that go out directing the person to more useful information.

This is permission marketing. You have given something to the person and in exchange asked permission to send them more useful information.

List building is NOT list-buying. It’s the growth of your own list over time in exchange for something of value.

What is the point of having a list?

If you have people’s email addresses, and you are a trusted provider of useful information,  people will open and read your emails. This means you can use the email list to market your books (if the list has been set up for that purpose).

Imagine how powerful it is to have a list of 10,000 people and to send an email saying “My book is available now. Click here to buy”. This is the basis of all the Amazon bestseller campaigns which generally use other people’s lists. If you build one yourself, you have a much more targeted list, and you are a trusted provider to those people. Remember, if people know, like, and trust you,  they are more likely to buy your book.

How do you build a quality list? 

You need to have something to give away for free that is:

  • Valuable and useful to people
  • Related to your product/book

Once you have that, you set up an email signup box like the one designed by Mail Chimp People enter their email and then get the free product.

It is very important to use a reputable service that:

  • manages this all for you automatically and is scalable (yes, you could have 50,000+ subscribers within a few years!)
  • lets people to unsubscribe easily (mandated by anti-spam laws)
  • enables you to send out broadcasts when you like as well as setting up auto-responders
  • enables you to manage and download your list
  • allows you to set up multiple lists from one account

What free giveaway can you do?

As authors, we are uniquely placed to offer some great free giveaways as we produce quality information relatively easily. It is also very important that you giveaway something that is related to what you are selling. There’s no point in giving away an e-book on finance if you want to sell romantic fiction on your blog.

Here are some ideas for your free giveaway:

  • First 3 chapters of your book, or a short story, or the first novella in a series of 3
  • Top 10 tips for <insert your niche here> e.g. Top 10 tips for creating authentic characters / Top 10 tips for writing horror
  • Audio of you reading your work or talking about the subject you are writing about

The most important thing to remember:

You want to be a valuable resource to people, either for information or entertainment. You do not want to be seen as a spammer. So give away great information, offer quality on a regular basis for free, and people will be happy to buy from you when you have something they are interested in. Don’t send unrelated offers. Don’t abuse the list or they will unsubscribe. It’s all about respect.

If you are interested in housing your creative horror works with a publishing house that puts the author first contact us TODAY! Stitched Smile Publications

 

Fun Editor Name Puns

In talking with Donelle this morning, I realized a small theme of punny business names among some editors. Mine, for example, is By the Shore Editing. A good friend in the business is Monique Happy, who has her Happy Editorial Services. And my personal favorite from SSP’s Assistant Editor: Donelle Pardee Whiting’s Pardee Time Editing.

Rock on, ladies.

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents: Bram Stoker Nominees 2015

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents: A Night with a few of the 2015 Bram Stoker Award Nominees
2-26-16 Starting at 8 pm EST
Your not gonna want to miss this set your clocks, and mark your calender’s
1. 8:-9 pm EST
JG Faherty for “The Cure” (Samhain Publishing)
IN: Superior Achievement in a Novel
http://tinyurl.com/z277x3g
2.9-10 pm EST
Patrick Freivald for “Black Tide” (JournalStone Publishing)
IN: Superior Achievement in a Novel
http://tinyurl.com/gptl2k4
3.10-11 pm EST
Mercedes Murdock Yardley for “Little Dead Red ” (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
IN: Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
http://tinyurl.com/grtvejd
4. 11-12 pm EST
Nicole Cushing for “Mr. Suicide” (Word Horde)
IN: Superior Achievement in a First Novel
http://tinyurl.com/z5fcv5
&
Nicole Cushing for “The Mirrors” (Cycatrix Press)
IN: Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
http://tinyurl.com/znsyrxk
5. 12-1 am EST
John M. Mcllveen for “Hannahwhere” (Crossroad Press)
IN: Superior Achievement in a First Novel
http://tinyurl.com/hcdhknf
Listen Live on YOUTUBE: http://tinyurl.com/lgmnndo
or
Live on Google+: http://tinyurl.com/zt2hcof
To be continued…
Type a message…

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents Authors On FIRE

Some great press for Stitched Smile Publications and its Founder/CEO Lisa Vasquez

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents 2-12-16
The Business Of Being An Author

8:00-9:00 pm EST Author Ed Cardillo
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/hf3rsxr

9:00-10 pm EST Author & CEO Lisa Vasquez
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/zhhzfdj
CEO Page: http://www.stitchedsmilepublications.com/

10:00-11 pm EST Author Nick Cole
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/hhlwq3y

11:00-12 am EST Author Deno Sandz
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/h2qng9o

12-1 am EST Author Forbes West
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/hn8begs

LISTEN LIVE or on DEMAND
Zombiepalooza Radio LIVE http://tinyurl.com/lgmnndoProfile_Picture

Romance in Horror

As someone who works mostly in horror, I often scoff at least a little when someone mentions romance since it usually brings to mind dusty volumes that use too many words to describe just about every body part, yet there are several love stories I would be delighted to spend a night with. In the cute, sad, gross, but a little funny February 2016 edition of The Brown Bag Stories by A.J. Brown, I found myself thinking of a few of them and how not every love story is necessarily in a romance book. I would recommend any one of the following to anyone who would listen, and I hope that more people come to enjoy them as well.

The first to come to mind is Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love by Mercedes M. Yardley. It is a love story of atomic proportions. Even if you’ve read this book before, I highly recommend reading it again. For me, the first time was a wonderful if chilling read. Reading it a second time was a magical experience and like watching beloved friends or children grow, and it is something I’m very glad I did. It will be republished soon by Crystal Lake Publishing.

If alternate universe steampunk LGBT romance adventures are more your speed, A Sweet and Steamy Series by Nikki Woolfolk fits the bill. Certainly the most romance-esque out of this list, the two out so far are The Winter Triangle and The Men of Summerly. They are beautiful adventures about dynamic, fleshed-out characters from many different backgrounds, like deaf astronomy professors and gay orphaned glassmakers. These charming novellas appeal to all five senses, and the foods featured in each book have corresponding recipes at the ends. And Nikki Woolfolk is a talented chocolatier. More on her website.

This one has an ambiguous ending but one that I find satisfying: “Reflection” by Daniel D. Darkfield. The hints at an unrequited love are subtle, but the fascination between the main character, Antonella, and her portrait subject transfers to the reader before she ever sets up her canvas. Full of more mystery than intrigue, “Reflection” is perfect for someone who wants to get away from the romance hype.

No happy endings for you? Read Michel Robertson‘s “In the Name of Science,” currently available in his collection Zombies, Vampires, Aliens, and Oddities: A Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction. With only the fragments of a romance that maybe never was and another that could never be, it features a horrifying and pretty unique origin story of a creature that’s been used and reused, and it’s one my partner and I still talk about sometimes after first reading it years ago.

No matter what your plans are for the weekend–mine are to take my little sister shopping–you’re sure to find some story with just the right level of romance for you whether it be all romance or no romance or anything in between.

Putting Your Best Face Forward

12669191_10208529163207659_937273983_oWhy is it important to put your best face forward as an author?

The image you choose will follow you for a long while. Making sure it is done properly to signify you as an author/genre specific will help you relate to your potential audience.

Things to be aware of that distract from a great author shot:

  • Desks cluttered with knick-knacks, stacks of paper, file folders
  • Busy, boldly-patterned clothing
  • Wrinkled sheets hung up as a backdrop
  • Bad lighting, harsh flash
  • Standing head-on, shoulders back, against a plain white wall, unless you’re going for a mug shot look
  • Improper background settings.

What should you do to prepare for a great quality author shoot?

Wear something you love. This is really important for anyone having a portrait done. You may think it is less-so for authors, as generally, pictures of authors in books tend to be headshots, and so who cares what you wear, right? Wrong. Having your photo taken is a somewhat unnatural and potentially daunting situation, often involving posing. Most people (including me!) don’t like getting it done. Anything you can do to make yourself feel more relaxed and at home (especially if you’re out on location with others around) is great. If you feel relaxed and good in what you’re wearing, it will show on your face. I also always recommend people bring a couple of clothing options, so we can have a play and see what works best – and if you’re working with me, stay away from busy patterns in clothing, they just distract from your face.

  1. Take multiple outfits with you so you have options.
  2. Plan for multiple locations, or backgrounds.
  3. Pay for the session rather than per photograph. It’s more up front, but better in the long term.
  4. Make sure that you negotiate the right to reproduce the photos so you don’t need to keep coming back to get permission every time you have a new book. Studios that cater to actors are used to this.
  5. Wear make-up. Yes, you too, gentlemen. It doesn’t have to be visible makeup, but it will help your features pop. In person, the animation of your face is enough, but a photograph is a static image.

Work somewhere with the photographer that has some special significance for what you like to write about – for example, if your books feature famous landmarks, discuss incorporating recognizable features into the background of your headshot. You do not want an overly busy background, but it is still nice to get a suggestion of place in any shot – it makes it instantly more interesting. In addition to the interest in your shot, it will get you in the mood for being photographed as an author, and remind you of why you are doing the shoot! I suggest chatting with the photographer about possible locations, and seeing what suggestions they have in response to information you give them about your work.

Once you have the photos

  1. Narrow it down to no more than a dozen that you like.
  2. Get second opinions before you make your choice.
  3. Ask your editor, agent, and the marketing department at your publisher for their opinion. This is a selling tool, remember.
  4.  Look at your photos and ask yourself, “Would I want to read a book written by this person?”

So you see there are multiple steps when working to place your best face forward in the author world.  The staff at Stitched Smile Publications will not only create the best looking book for you, but will also walk you through what it takes to put your best face forward.

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Pull (Client Building)

The Art of the Pull

Social media, when it first came to be, was the place to push a creatives work. Get it to the masses quickly, and efficiently. However, as with all things, the approach to new clients changes with the times. Sites like Facebook are taking the ability to get information regarding our works away to the point where they are forcing creatives to pay in order to get their message out. If you have tried this technique you know it is a waste of time and money.

So what is a creative to do?

It’s all in the approach.  From the very first minute you or your works are seen by a potential fan or buyer there must be an air of approach-ability.

Does your cover art have curb appeal?

Do you have an inviting creative photo of yourself?

Do you conduct interviews or are you being interviewed?

Do you have experience being on a panel of experts in your creative field?

Are you engaging your fan on social media/website within your creative field?

Are you in multiple venues to get the best coverage and reach for your creative work?

When you are engaging with your social media base its important to not just say, “Buy my book!”  One of the quickest ways to be ignored and/or deleted is to sound desperate.  One of the ways you can become more engaged in your potential base is to find sites that are interesting to you, move the work around that you have just created, and allow for conversations.

Yes, that very thing that many have forgotten how to do. Some things to think on:

Is your work thematic?

Does it have a strong genre base, and sites where potential buyers are already engaging?

Talk about things that are important to you as the creative.

Have you found something that makes creating easier for you?

Are there techniques which you have come across? Did you find it to be useful to others?

Being supportive of others creative works also shows that you are confident in your own work.

Do you know people who have their own radio show, blog site, book club, coffee house or business that may be Indie friendly?

Do you have business cards, or a virtual card where those with smart phones can simply click on it and find your internet presence?

When you are out and about do you seek out opportunities to chat with those who show an interest in things you like, too?

All of the above are potential openings to talk about what you love to do without sounding pushy. When you start to build a comfortable presence either on-line or in public settings you then open more doors to show them how you create. This is the Art of the Pull instead of the push.

You’re an entrepreneur. You have a brand to build, and works to sell.  No matter if you go at it alone in the publishing industry, or if you choose a publishing house, you still need to make sure you have the very best online presence. This is your chance to share how much you love to create and why you believe what you have produced is worth attention.

Stitched Smile Publications knows its difficult to get the message out, alone.  We are part of a new movement to aid each one of our authors to become the very best creative possible.  We will assess where you are currently, provide a great media plan, and amp up your accessibility to potential fans and buyers.