Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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    Hanging by a Hair, a Bad Hair Day Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen

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Florida homeowners’ association meeting plants seeds for murder

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 17, 2014

Nancy J. Cohen:

Here is a great review of Hanging By A Hair, just in time for tomorrow’s release date!

Originally posted on Phil Jason's Web Site:

Hanging by a Hair , by Nancy J. Cohen. Five Star Publishing. 288 pages. $25.95.

Fans of Ms. Cohen’s “Bad Hair Day” mystery series will be totally satisfied with this latest outing in which, aside from the main story line, readers enjoy the delightful maturation of Marla as she adjusts to her recent marriage to Detective Dalton Vail. Readers have waited to see these characters coupled and tested, and now the test is underway. What happens when Dalton brings his work home to curious, often headstrong Marla – who is used to acting on her own ideas about how a mystery should be investigated?  HangingByAHairFront

She has a very good track record, too.

The couple has recently set up housekeeping in a new Broward County community. It’s one of those typical South Florida communities cursed with a rule-bound president of the homeowners’ association and a bunch of nosey residents. Things…

View original 342 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Characters Too Weird To Be True

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 15, 2014

Characters Too Weird To Be True by Nancy J. Cohen

“Florida is a giant bug light for crazy people.” ~Phyllis Smallman, Sleuthfest 2014

It’s no surprise to any author living in Florida that some of the craziest stories we can write are actually inspired by true events in our sunshine state. Join us in exploring a different side of Florida than the travel bureau promotes with our first Blog Hop sponsored by Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Read on, click the links below to read another member’s view of crazy Florida, comment, share your favorite stories, and enter the contest to win a Kindle Paperwhite.

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Florida has its share of wacky characters. Every Sunday, I buy a newspaper and read through it with a pair of scissors in hand. Inevitably, there’s some article about an interesting resident or an issue that intrigues me. I cut out these articles and file them. Whenever I’m searching for a secret to give a suspect, I’ll glance through these clippings. That’s how I found a cool character who was a funeral director by day and a Samoan fire knife dancer at night. I tracked down the guy, interviewed him at his funeral home and based a character on him in Hair Raiser.

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There’s no lack of strange people living in Florida. Criminals move down for the good weather same as other citizens. But most of the interesting characters in the news appear less in the spotlight. It might be a housewife running a prostitution ring, a non-profit administrator embezzling money, or a local teacher found with child porn files on his computer. These are secrets worth considering, because they’ll make the characters in my books seems suspicious. And Florida does have its share of wackos where truth is stranger than fiction.

Another character I used in a book was inspired by a reader at a talk I gave. She’d owned a clothing boutique and mentioned a guy who came in and wanted to try on women’s clothes. This idea was perfect for Murder by Manicure who now has a transvestite in the story. So you never know where inspiration will strike.

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For Hanging By A Hair, #11 in the Bad Hair Day mysteries, neighborhood communities played a role in story development. Who hasn’t had trouble with their homeowners’ association? Marla’s husband has a disagreement with their HOA president who is later found dead. Our state’s Native American heritage comes into play in this story with a suspect who is a tribal shaman.

clip_image006  Hanging By A Hair

Florida has a rich history, a diverse ecosystem, and a hotbed of issues. All we have to do is read the newspaper for ideas. Thus I’ve dealt with citrus canker, illegal immigrant labor, exotic bird smuggling, child drowning prevention, melanoma detection, and a host of other matters that affect Floridians. Although these issues can be serious, my stories contain humor, a satisfying ending, and a lesson learned. And what have I learned? We never lack for material in sunny South Florida.

Amazon Hardcover: http://www.amazon.com/Hanging-Hair-Nancy-J-Cohen/dp/1432828142 
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Hanging-Hair-Bad-Day-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00JJ2XVUQ/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hanging-by-a-hair-nancy-j-cohen/1116603785

Nancy J. Cohen has written over twenty romance and mystery novels. She wishes she could style hair like her hairdresser sleuth, Marla Shore, but can usually be found reading instead.

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Blog Commenters can win an ebook copy of either Shear Murder or Writing the Cozy Mystery (your choice). Winner will be announced on April 23. Leave a comment, and your name will automatically be entered. And don’t miss our Grand Prize contest below!

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Click on the link below to Win a KINDLE PAPERWHITE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kindle Paperwhite

No purchase is necessary. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. By submitting your entry, you agree to be entered into the participating authors’ email newsletter list. Your information will not be shared with anyone else, and you may unsubscribe at any time. Winner will be notified by email. Authors are not responsible for transmission failures, computer glitches or lost, late, damaged or returned email. Winner agrees for their name to be used in conjunction with the contest on FMWA and authors’ social media sites. U.S. Residents only due to postage constraints.

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Visit our other FMWA Authors and win more prizes:

Victoria Allman, Gator Bites, http://www.victoriaallman.com/blog
Miriam Auerbach, Bonkers in Boca, http://www.miriamauerbach.com/bonkers-in-boca
Gregg E. Brickman, Crazy South Florida—How it got to be home, http://www.GreggEBrickman.com/blog.html
Diane Capri, Fishnado!, http://www.dianecapri.com/blog
Joan Cochran, The Million Dollar Squatter: Crazy in the Land of  Coconuts and Bagels, http://www.joanlipinskycochran.com/blog.htm?post=952677
Nancy J. Cohen, Characters Too Weird to Be True, http://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com
JD Daniels, He Did What? http://www.live-from-jd.com
Joy Wallace Dickinson, In Florida, It’s Great to Be a Cracker, http://www.FindingJoyinFlorida.com
Dallas Gorham, http://www.DallasGorham.com
Linda Gordon Hengerer, Crazy Treasure on the Treasure Coast, http://footballfoodandfiction.blogspot.com/
Victoria Landis, Eavesdropping 101, http://www.victorialandis.com
Sandy Parks, Keep your eyes to the Florida skies, http://www.sandyparks.wordpress.com
Neil Plakcy, Moscow on the Intracoastal, http://www.mahubooks.blogspot.com/
Johnny Ray, Utilizing Google Plus Air to Facilitate Author Interviews, http://www.sirjohn.us
Joanna Campbell Slan, Honey, You’ll Never Guess What Rolled Up in the Surf, http://www.joannaslan.blogspot.com

 

Posted in Fiction Writing, Florida Musings, The Writing Life, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , | 40 Comments »

Changing Seasons in Florida

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 11, 2014

Florida’s Change of Seasons by Nancy J. Cohen

How can you tell it’s Spring in Florida? Bougainvillea burst forth in vibrant colors. Coconuts ripen on the trees. The last cold fronts of the year sweep down from the north. Then suddenly, the humidity rises and winter is over.

Flowers ElDorado Bromeliads

Yes, we have changing seasons in Florida. You have to live here to notice the subtle changes.

Trees do shed their leaves, but only certain varieties and at different times of the year. Vegetables grow in winter, not summer. Ducks and birds visit in the winter, escaping the arctic temperatures up north.

P1010484 (800x600) bird

The most distinctive changes are the wet and dry seasons. From November to May, we experience low humidity and temperate climate. Sometimes it can drop into the 40’s in South Florida, but that’s as cold as it gets. Winds bring cold fronts and chilly air down from the north.

Sunny skies, temperatures in the seventies, and cool mornings bring tourists to our coasts. Orange trees produce fruit during the winter while farmers grow tomatoes, squash, eggplants, and more. Alligators sun themselves so if you’re a gator watcher, you have a better chance in the winter to spy the creatures than the summer when water levels rise.

But everything changes in May. The humidity returns along with the heat. And then the winds change again, bringing stormy skies from the Caribbean and the Gulf northward into Florida. June to November is our hurricane season, and afternoon thunderstorms are frequent. You learn to bring an umbrella because you never know when a quick tempest will sweep by. This is the season when our lychee tree bears fruit and our banana plants thrive on the extra rainwater. Flooding is a hazard as the canal systems get overwhelmed and the groundwater table rises.

anvil2 roof

Regardless of which way the wind blows, you can play outside nearly any day in Florida or luxuriate in air-conditioned comfort. You can see flowers bloom year round and watch palm fronds sway in a balmy breeze. If we give up snow and ice or daffodils and dogwoods for this privilege, it’s worth the sacrifice. Florida has its own change of seasons that must be appreciated accordingly.

azaleas lake   FLLbeach

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Nancy is the author of 20 romance and mystery novels. She writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series and the paranormal Drift Lords series and is a HOLT Medallion winner. Many of her stories are centered in Florida. http://nancyjcohen.com

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for an ebook copy of Keeper of the Rings.

What do you like best about Florida?

 

Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 18 Comments »

Jambalaya

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 10, 2014

The original inspiration for this recipe came from a cooking class I’d attended in New Orleans. Over the years, I’ve modified the recipe, preferring easy ingredients and preparation. So here is the Lazy Cook’s Jambalaya.

The Lazy Cook’s Jambalaya

2 Tbsp. oil
9 oz. package Perdue Short Cuts Original Roasted Chicken Breast
2-11 oz. packages Hebrew National reduced-fat beef franks
2-8 oz. containers fresh diced onions
2-8 oz. containers Trinity Mix (chopped fresh green pepper, celery, onions)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 bunch green onions, chopped
8 oz. diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cut up the chicken and hot dogs into bite-sized pieces. Set aside in different bowls. Assemble the other ingredients.

Jambalaya2   Jambalaya3

In a soup pot, sauté the franks in oil for flavor and then remove to bowl.

Jambalaya4
Next add diced onions, Trinity Mix, basil and garlic to pot and sauté until tender.

Jambalaya5

Return franks to pot along with chicken, tomatoes and green onions. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed.

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Mix in parsley and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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Add a fancy garnish if you wish. Serve with a side salad.

Posted in Food, That's Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

New Release, Contests, More

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 4, 2014

April is a super busy month for me, so I won’t be able to write many regular blog posts. It’s my release month for Hanging By A Hair (April 18). As a result, I have a blog tour, online launch party, various appearances, contests, and all this while doing a final reading of Peril by Ponytail before turning it in to my editor. At the end of this month, I leave for the Malice Domestic conference in Maryland. So please bear with me during all these announcements and SAVE THESE DATES!

Blog Hop

April 15, Tuesday, Blog Hop sponsored by Florida Chapter of MWA. You can start with my topic, “Characters Too Weird To Be True” and follow along from there. Enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite and other prizes! So come back here on April 15 for this special event. http://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com

Online Launch Party

April 18, Friday, Online Launch Party 10:00 am – 8:00 pm with Nancy J. Cohen and Maggie Toussaint. Giveaways all day! Join now: https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

Personal Appearance

April 19, Saturday, 11:30 am, “Writing the Cozy Mystery” including 4 Giant Steps to Self-Publishing with Nancy J. Cohen, Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, Doubletree by Hilton, 100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, 33441. Reservations Required, http://mwaflorida.org/

Blog Tour

April 18-May 20, Go here to get my complete schedule: http://nancyjcohen.com/appearances

Contests

Fresh Fiction Contest April 1-30

Enter to win a Hanging By A Hair T-shirt & door hanger, plus a signed print copy of Shear Murder at http://freshfiction.com/contest.php?id=6389

Booklover’s Bench Contest April 4-18

Booklover’s Bench, April 4-18, Win a $25 gift card or 1/6 books, including an ebook copy of Writing the Cozy Mystery, http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Blog Hop

Enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite April 15-22 in FMWA’s first Blog Hop. Begin here on April 15: http://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com

Media Coverage

Fabulous Florida Writers: http://www.fabulousfloridawriters.blogspot.com/2014/04/nancy-cohen-hair-raising-whodunits.html
Interview in The Big Thrill: http://www.thebigthrill.org/2014/03/hanging-by-a-hair-by-nancy-j-cohen/

SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER for quarterly updates on new releases, cover reveals, contests, recipes, and more. Go to http://nancyjcohen.com and fill in the box in the Left Sidebar.

Have a Great Day!

 

 

Posted in Appearances, Author Interviews, Contest, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Marketing and Selling Your Books

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 31, 2014

Marketing and Selling Your Books with Sophia Knightly

At a recent meeting of the Florida Romance Writers, Inc., USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Sophia Knightly shared her promotional strategies. A two-time Maggie award finalist and a P&E Readers’ Poll finalist, she is traditionally published by St. Martin’s Press, Kensington, and Samhain Publishing. Her popular indie published Tropical Heat Series books have consistently been on Amazon bestseller lists and sold over 100,000 copies.

Sophia Knightly

Sophia started off by mentioning 7 book promotion strategies:

1. Image and Promotional Strategies
2. Website and Social Media
3. Conferences and Book Signings
4. Promotion and Advertising
5. Collaborative Initiatives
6. Publishing Sales Infrastructure
7. Measuring and Tracking Performance

Start by defining and creating your brand. Consider your style and marketing image. Personalize your message as much as possible. Toot your horn in your signature line and create a tagline for your brand.

Packaging the image includes your book covers, series branding, bundled box sets, stock photos. Label your work a “short novella” if it is one so readers know what to expect. Sophia recommends Gilded Heart Designs and Kim Killion as designers. For herself, she uses Pikasa for graphic design.

You’ll want to put out a newsletter featuring your author news, events, contests, and appearances.

A street team can be helpful in creating buzz, cheerleading, and reviews. Send ARCs to your team with a deadline for reviews. In return, you can provide swag and online parties. Sophia currently has 33 people in her team. She takes members off after six months if they don’t participate. She’ll show team members her new covers, ask them questions on a message board, and provide swag and a welcome package that may include T-shirts, postcards, bookmarks, trading cards, magnets, and Emery boards. She holds reader contests and gives appreciation gifts of chocolates or a gift basket at special events where she appears in person.

Build your story and themes. For example, if there’s a dog in your story, put a picture of the dog online and feature him in your Facebook posts. Create a holiday message from the dog. Sophia did a Facebook page for her dog character “Romeo”, but you could use any other secondary character as long as you do steady posts.

Attend industry conferences, hold contests, and do signings. Sign up for Autography with iPad and Authorgraph on Kindle.

“The more books you put out there, the more you’ll sell.” Check out the Author Network and Indie Romance Ink which have lots of resources.

Embed your book blurb for the sequel in the back of a book. Use vendor specific links and a newsletter sign-up link in your back material.

Promotion and Advertising Sites

Check out paid ad sites such as Book Bub , E-reader News Today, Kindle Books and Tips, Kindle Book Blast, and Book Gorilla.

Do Facebook sponsored posts for five dollars a day when you want to announce a new release, have an online party, or get people to sign up for your newsletter.

Collaborative Initiatives

Sophia reached the USA Today bestseller list when she combined her two Tropical Heat Series books, Wild for You and Sold on You in a boxed set and reduced the price to $0.99 for a limited time sale.

She made the New York Times bestseller list through a collaborative effort with 6 other authors in the Lucky 7 Bad Boys Boxed Set. Lucky 7 Bad Boys Boxed Set has been on the USA Today bestseller list for three consecutive weeks since publication in early March.

Pricing

Price according to the word count. Run sales often and bundle books in a series. Offer occasional freebies or make things Permafree. Have a loss leader pricing, like the first book in a series for $2.99, while subsequent titles are $3.99. You can drop the price on sale to $.99 for a limited time like 1 to 2 weeks. Sophia will offer a box set for $3.99 and then she’ll put it on sale for $.99.

Be current on models and trends. Go back further on royalty-free sites to find images, or the same image might be used too often by other authors.

Website and Social Media

Facebook will tell you which posts are doing better. Use visual images with Facebook and Pinterest. Put up photos of fun stuff to connect with readers. If a post doesn’t have an image, less people will read it. Like your own post. The more Likes, the more people who will see it.

Use Twitter, HootSuite, Goodreads, Instagram, and do giveaways. Offer short videos. Put a video in your newsletter inviting people to your Facebook party. Interview members of your lifeboat team on video and invite people to enter your group contest.

Have a contest on Facebook giving away e-books, fun stuff that women love, and gift cards. Network by joining book groups on Facebook. Twitter is better in the morning, late afternoon, or after dinner. Have your buy links everywhere. Have a tab on your Facebook author page for your mailing list sign-up.

A lot of readers are on Wattpad. It’s a free site where you can put up the first few chapters of your book including buy links.

“Write more books. Release them often.” She believes you should have a product out every three months. It’s the number one way to sell more books and build a large readership.

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Follow Sophia Online:

Website: http://www.sophiaknightly.net/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sophia-Knightly/e/B00663POSI/

 

 

Posted in Business of Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Social Media Tips

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 28, 2014

Humanizing the Web with Marc Ensign

Marc Ensign

At a recent meeting of the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, nationally acclaimed social media expert Marc Ensign advised us to be a Dick and follow the Ten Virtues when it comes to social media. He described his neighbor named Dick who welcomed him into the neighborhood and was always looking after Marc’s interests, sharing his resources and time very generously. From studying Dick’s manner, Marc decided this approach could work on social media as well. His philosophy is akin to Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You. Be kind, generous, and giving, and you’ll help to save the Internet. Here are his Ten Virtues, subject to my interpretation and the accuracy of my notes:

Be Engaged with other people. Listen intently to your connections. Build relationships. Market the people around you. Listen to them and comment on their sites. Like aspiring authors’ posts and websites. Help others get their message out. Connect and give people what they want.

Be Valuable by helping other authors who want to get published. Mentor them, tell them how you did it, and offer tips. Add value to your relationships. Make it about “let me help you” and not about selling.

Be First to offer help before you’re asked. “Let me give something to you first.”

Be Welcoming by putting people at ease, sharing ideas, introducing new options. Welcome everyone even if they disagree with you. Talk about it with them. Make it a conversation. Be open to hearing what people have to say.

Be Humble. Your purpose should be bigger than yourself as an author, than being on the bestseller list or having a high Amazon rating.

Be Authentic. Be true to yourself in all that you do.

Be Generous by helping people and giving information away. People will see you as a resource. On your website, offer free articles and other resources. Your philosophy should be “Let me give to you” rather than “Let me give to you and see what I’ll get from it.”

Be Transparent to appear more human. Talk about what problems you’re having in your writing. Like, “Here’s what I’m doing with this character. Why isn’t it working?” or, “Why isn’t this book selling?” Let people into your life and into the scary stuff of your career.

Be Perceptive by being aware of what’s going on in other people’s lives. Follow up on people’s blog posts by returning later and inquiring about an earlier issue.

Be Awesome. Reach out through your blogs, comments, and sharing. How can you be awesome for someone else?

It’s all about caring, giving, and sharing yourself without being concerned about what you’ll get in return.

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Marc Ensign has been featured in/on CNN, the Huffington Post, Inc 500, Forbes, New York Post, PR Daily, Jezebel, and ProBlogger.

Website: http://www.marcensign.com
Twitter: @MarcEnsign
http://Googleplus.marcensign.com
http://Facebook.marcensign.com
http://Linkedin.marcensign.com

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Technology, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Teamwork for Cross-Promotion

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 27, 2014

Teaming up for Cross Promotion with Nancy J. Cohen, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Erin Mitchell and moderated by Maggie Toussaint

This is my last recap of panels from SleuthFest 2104. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Cross Promotion

Erin says cross-promotion works best when there’s something in it for everyone. When you have an audience, you have something to bring to the table. Readers are a good resource. Ask them questions and engage them directly. Know where you can find them. The purpose is to build your brand. Write some valued content and distribute it into various venues.

I discussed my lifeboat team, Booklover’s Bench. We’re a team of seven multi-published authors who have a website together where we offer monthly contests, behind-the-scenes glimpses of our working life, excerpts, profiles, and more. We cross-promote by offering prizes for each other’s contests in some cases as well. Measurable results include increased numbers of names for our mailing lists, added Likes to our Facebook author pages, more followers on Twitter, additional Likes on our Amazon author pages, and having our books placed on Goodreads TBR lists.

I’m also a regular blogger on The Kill Zone, a blogging site with 11 mystery/thriller authors where we offer writing instruction, publishing advice, and marketing tips along with our musings on The Writing Life.

Libby cautions that you should be careful and must really like the work of people in your group. Some may be more invested than others. Personalities are important. She belongs to a group of suspense writers, both hybrid and traditionally published authors who’ve moved on to self-publishing. They have done a round robin story together, two anthologies, and a how-to write crime fiction work. They’ve tweeted and shared posts on FB for each other. One advantage of a sizable group is that they can negotiate terms with online book retailers.

Her group invested money to hire a website designer who also maintains their site. They also paid for a cover designer on the anthologies. Their income helps counter expenses. They have rules for dissolution in their LLC’s operating agreement or for dissolving the LLC in the future. This helps members take their commitment seriously.

Libby recommends the following blogs:

The Passive Voice

Digital Book World

Joe Konrath

Kris Writes

The Dames of Dialogue

Indie Chicks

Nancy J. Cohen and Maggie Toussaint

Maggie and Nancy from Booklover’s Bench.

This concludes my SleuthFest report. I hope you have enjoyed these summaries and will consider attending in person next year! Keep watch for details at http://mwaflorida.org/

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Laura Lippman

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 26, 2014

Lunch with Laura Lippman at SleuthFest

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Laura Lippman

Bestselling Author Laura Lippman discussed what it means to be a professional writer. Publishing has changed in terms of e-books, self-published writers and hybrid authors. “The conversation has become so charged and so vitriolic. I’ve yet to see any reliable numbers on either side.” The argument for traditional publishing is couched in money and control.

No one argues that self-publishing will lead to better books. This avenue can produce as good a book as traditional publishing. But where is the true masterpiece in self-publishing? “Show me a masterpiece that could only have come” from a self-published work.

Find someone you can trust to tell your dreams about publishing. What are you prepared to do to get there? Professionalism is taking your work seriously, and being respectful of other people’s time and expertise.

Laura calls indie publishing “a less precise euphemism” for self-publishing. The key is in doing the work and reaching a reasoned decision to self-publish but not for instant gratification. Is the work ready? Be a ruthless critic of your own work. The goal has to be to write the best book you can. Your words are your legacy. Make them precise. Make them good.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ACX and Kobo

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 24, 2014

Audio Books on ACX with Terry Odell and Neil Plakcy and moderated by Julie Compton

ACX Panel with Terry Odell and Neil Plackcy

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Note: Terry has many of the steps for creating an audiobook on her blog at Terry’s Place

Nowhere to Hide, an audiobook romantic suspense by Terry Odell

Why Audio?

Sales of audio books are growing in double digits. There’s extra money involved. You can reach another audience. And it’s not hard to do.

Why ACX?

ACX stands for the Audiobook Creation Exchange. It’s owned by Amazon, and it connects narrators, producers, authors, and the marketplace. It’s not hard to learn and has good customer service. They have a lot of narrators, and you don’t need a cash outlay. http://www.acx.com/

Getting Started

Enter your book in the blank box to find it on Amazon, who will fill in the description. Categorize your book. You’ll be presented with three choices. You have an audio book and you want to sell it. You wish to narrate your own story. Or you want to hire a narrator. For a producer, keep in mind the quality of equipment and if they fix glitches.

How do you pick a narrator?

Gender: Male, female, or either
Age: Child, Tween, Teen, YA, Adult, Middle Aged, or Elderly
Language: English, French, German, Spanish
Accents: Choose from a list
Narrative styles: Upbeat, sexy, frightened, etc. This should reflect the tone of the book.

Pitch your book

Market to the producer by mentioning your mailing list numbers, awards, reviews, and other accolades.

Let the narrator know what type of book it is (i.e. humorous mystery) and what types of characters are involved including special accents (i.e. Yiddish words or Spanish phrases).

The sample script is 5000 characters limit, but it does not have to be consecutive text.

Ask the narrator what kind of promotion they’ll do for your book.

Can you tell the difference with this narrator between the character speaking and thinking?

How about dialogue with “he said” and “she said?” If there are two female characters, can you tell which one is speaking? Are puns pronounced correctly?

Royalties

You can pay the narrator up front and keep all the royalties, or do a 40% split. If you do the split royalties, the audiobook will be sold on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes only. But there’s no cash outlay and the narrator is more likely to help in the marketing. That is, if you can find a narrator willing to invest their time in your project. Paying up front is more expensive, but you can sell your audio elsewhere and you have control over it.

Stipends

ACX may pay narrators a stipend to do your narration. This attracts more narrators, but you have to sell yourself when applying for this option. So consider the application form a “pitch” session and mention your readership and marketing basis.

Covers

These must be 2400 x 2400 square. You cannot resize your ebook, so ask your cover designer to provide a cover in this size.

What's in a Name by Terry Odell

Full Narration

Don’t have the narrator read your front or back material. They’ll upload the first 15 minutes to your dashboard for you to check the pacing, accuracy, etc. Have them upload chapters as they go so you can listen to the file. You may want to tell them to drop the “he said” or “she said” if they feel it isn’t necessary.

If you want a copy on CD, consider that the book takes about 10 hours or so to narrate, and so you’ll need a number of CDs for one work.

The file comes as a download. People listen to it on their mobile devices or on their cell phone.

Reviews

Reviews will show up on the audiobook’s Amazon page.

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Kobo Writing Life with Christine Munroe and moderated by Christine Kling

Kobo SleuthFest

Kobo has a blog, podcast, and social media sites. Check out Kobo Writing Life . They have a bestseller list on the blog with 30 titles. Kobo also has author collectives like the “Jewel” historical romances. They have a daily deal on the main page which may include boxed sets. Kobo Next is indie picks for new releases. You can also ask to be included in the First Free in Series.

If a book is to $2.99 here, then it’s $2.88 in Canada/Europe. Books priced at $1.99 are doing poorly. Customers like $.99 or $2.99. You can raise the price for full-length books up to $8.99.

You should link to Kobo on your website and other places online. Marketing opportunities include Book Bub, Story Finds, and Indie Bound.

For metadata, you’ll want to add the imprint or publisher name and the series title.

Indie bookstores earn a percentage of sales selling Kobo e-book readers and titles.

 

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