Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

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Archive for the ‘Business of Writing’ Category

Strippers and Sock Puppets

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 23, 2016

Mystery book reviewer Oline Cogdill spoke to the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America at the August meeting. Oline’s reviews have appeared nationwide as well as regularly in the Sun-Sentinel. Oline offered some useful tips for writers on repetitive elements to avoid in crime fiction.

Oline1

· Strippers as murder victims or confidential informants are overused. Also, male writers seem to have an obligatory scene with a woman in front of a mirror fantasizing herself in this role. How many women secretly long to be a stripper? Not many.

· Coffee habits can take over the story. Count how many times your sleuth meets someone for a cup of coffee, drinks the coffee, heats up a mug of coffee, or tosses the empty cup in the trash. Go lightly in this regard.

· Restaurant scenes where a conversation occurs, and then the diners get up and leave in a huff before finishing their meal, are unrealistic. At least, have them sit down and finish eating or ask for a takeout box.

· Don’t neglect the kids or the pets. Show them being cared for and not being left alone at home or in a car. If you stay away all day, remember to let the dog out when you come home or to feed the cat.

· The sleuth shouldn’t wish for a murder to relieve her boredom. She should have a personal reason for getting involved in solving the crime. The death should be treated with gravity and respect.

· Don’t have your character rush out at night or go into a dark cellar alone without telling anyone or calling for backup.

· How many times is the cell phone left at home or runs out of its charge or there’s no signal? Don’t overuse this excuse. Just as important, if the phone rings, have your character answer it. Too often the ignored phone call means doom and gloom are in the next chapter.

· Less is more regarding graphic violence. It’s better left off-scene for the most part.

· Use the word “woman” instead of “girl,” where appropriate.

· Avoid the “talking killer” who explains the entire crime to the sleuth while holding a gun to her head.

· Talking animal stories don’t have to be silly. Treat them more seriously.

· And a non-story tip: Keep your website updated. Have a short bio, a longer bio, a good headshot, and author contact info. Do not play music in the background.

Oline spoke next about ethics among reviewers. She mentioned “sock puppets,” which are false online identities some people create to praise their own books and to trash others. Respected critical reviewers give objective opinions. It’s best for new authors to avoid paid reviews.

Oline2

It was really fun hearing these clichés, some of which I’ve been guilty of using. Thanks to Oline, now we’ll all be more alert to these foibles in the future.

CLICK TO TWEET

 

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Posted in Book Reviews, Business of Writing, Reviews, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Audiobooks with ACX – Production

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 21, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Production

This is part 4 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. After you have hit the “Approve Audiobook” button, ACX will instruct you to pay your narrator, if you are paying per finished hour. The payment due is based on the finished length. Once you send the funds via the narrator’s preferred method, click on the button for “I sent xxx to my producer.”

When the producer confirms payment has been received, ACX and Audible will conduct a quality assurance review and prepare the title for retail sale. This can take up to two weeks.

Here’s an idea of how long this all takes from my timeline. My narrator was pretty fast and responded promptly to requests for changes. Hopefully, you’ll find someone just as responsive.

Posted Book Profile on April 12, 2016
First Audition Received on April 18, 2016
Received my narrator’s audition on May 2, 2016
She accepted my offer on May 3, 2016
Final Files Loaded on June 9, 2016
I approved Final Files on June 11, 2016
Production: 7 hours, 14 minutes, 24 seconds
Narrator confirmed payment
Six days later – Audiobook Release

There’s no warning when the audiobook will appear. I got an email from ACX that said: “Permed to Death (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Book 1) is now on sale at Audible, and it will be available on iTunes and Amazon within the next few days.”

Two days later, I also received my 25 free download codes that can be used for soliciting reviews.

If you have friends or relatives who have never received a book from Audible, you can send them a copy for free from your audiobook’s page on Audible. There’s a button for this purpose. This helps you save some of your codes for better use.

Now it’s time to start on your marketing plan.

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PERMED TO DEATHaudio (320x320)

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk

iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t

Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at
Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

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

Audiobooks with ACX – Reviewing Your Files

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 21, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Reviewing Your Files

This is part 3 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. After a narrator has accepted your offer, she’ll send you the first fifteen minutes to review and approve. Thereafter, each chapter is uploaded by the producer as a separate file.

Follow along with the text as you listen and look for missing or extra words, wrong pronunciations, missing lines, or words that may be spoken too low to hear. You want as exact a match as possible if you intend for your book to be Whispersync ready. This feature allows readers to switch between reading their Kindle edition and listening to the corresponding audiobook across devices without losing their place.

Permed

Note if a character’s voice seems appropriate. Should he speak in a bolder tone or a softer one? Higher pitched or lower? Is the accent right? Is there enough emotion in his voice? Can you distinguish among the characters in a scene with two or more people present? Are your character voices consistent throughout the story? Does the narrator pause at a space break? Does she have enough expression in her voice during exposition to keep the listener interested?

Next, listen to the files without looking at the written text. Close your eyes and pay attention to the story as it unfolds. Note qualities in your writing that you might tone down next time because they don’t sound right when spoken aloud.

If you have corrections for the narrator, note them in a separate file. Write down the chapter number and the exact time in the recording where the correction needs to take place. For your own sake, also indicate the page numbers in your pdf file. This makes it easier to go down the entire list at the end to make sure all of your suggested changes have been made. Here is an example of the type of errors I’d found:

Chapter 1

20:33, “You think I’m meshugeh?” You pronounce the word okay, but you read the sentence as, “You think I’m ah-meshugeh.” Please correct.

Chapter 2

8:14, Moishe should sound like Moish, not Moish-ee
p. 26/267; Monkshood should be monks-hood, and not monk-shood.
31:44, p. 34/267; you say leather black handbag. It should be black leather handbag.
Dalton’s voice could be more expressive.

Chapter 3

18:39 Should be “Don’t think me rude”, rather than “Don’t make me rude.”

Chapter 4 is good as is.

Chapter 5

19:55: See this passage toward the end. A couple of words/lines are missing that I’ve bolded here.
“Yep, that’s me.” A frown creased her forehead. She didn’t recognize the voice, nor was she sure of the caller’s gender. The caller ID showed out of area.

“I have a suggestion for you,” rasped the person on the other end of the line. “Mind your own business, unless you want your next cup of coffee to be your last.”

Click. The dial tone buzzed, while Marla stood riveted with the receiver to her ear.

Chapter 6 is good as is.

Chapter 7

11:10 Afraid he’d probe, not afraid he’d probed. We can leave it this way if the sentence makes sense to you in past tense.

Chapter 8

17:40 With deft movements, not delft movements

And so on. You get the idea? To communicate these changes to the producer, go to ACX and click on your project in production where you see the list of chapter files. Click on Request Changes in the upper right to unlock the site so the producer can do a new upload. Then send your producer a message listing each change. Keep all messages within the ACX format so they are properly documented. You can also communicate via email if you wish and send the correction file as an attachment, in addition to the ACX messages. Keep in mind that each time you want changes made, you have to click on that Request Changes button.

While you’re on this page, upload your audiobook cover that must be sized 2400 x 2400 pixels. You can look up other cover art requirements on the ACX site. Make sure your cover artist hasn’t just stretched out your ebook cover. Some modifications to fit the square format will have to be made.

Next, click on the Edit Retail Information in blue toward the top right and under the Approve button. Click here and double-check the metadata info listed.

When no further changes are needed and your narrator has uploaded the final files, click Approve Audiobook.

CLICK TO TWEET: http://ctt.ec/UfgOY

Coming Next: Audiobooks with ACX – Production

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PERMED TO DEATHaudio (320x320)

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to sample clips.

BUY NOW
Audible:
http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire!
Click Here to Enter

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at
Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Audiobooks with ACX – Auditions and Narrators

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 18, 2016

Audiobooks with ACX – Auditions and Narrators

This is Part 2 of my series on Audiobooks with ACX. Once you’ve submitted your book’s profile, you are ready to accept auditions. Here’s where it gets hairy if nobody responds. Be patient. Eventually, you’ll begin hearing from narrators, also called producers.

woman headset

Soliciting Narrators

You don’t have to sit around and wait for narrators to contact you. You can search for your own on ACX. Click on Search and then Producers for Hire. Various filters are provided that will help your selection, such as genre, gender, voice age, and style. You can also fill in the type of payment you’re willing to offer.

Narrator Voice

The narrators list their websites, so you can see how many titles in your genre they’ve done. Their producer site on ACX lists their payment preferences and offers samples for you to listen.

Narrator Filters

See which voices strike you as matching your main character. Can you distinguish between different characters in scenes with more than one person? Can you hear the narrator’s voice well, or is it too low? Too raspy? Too fast, or too high-pitched? Too faltering? When you find someone you like, click Send Message from her ACX page and invite her to submit an audition.

When you receive auditions, you can click Like, Dislike, or Maybe to organize your selections. Narrators do not see this. When you want to listen again, click on the Like link for the samples to pop up. Be very discerning. Don’t take the first person who comes along.

Payment Plans

Find out what payment plan is acceptable to the narrator you like the best. Is she willing to work for royalty share alone? Some will only do royalty share if you also pay $100 pfh on the side or split the production costs. It’s not unreasonable on the narrator’s part to want to get paid, considering the hours and money she’ll put into production. Or is she only willing to accept an up-front payment of $200+ per finished hour? What’s the difference?

ACX sets the retail price based on finished length. They pay 40% royalty on retail sales. With royalty split, you get half (20%) and the narrator gets half (20%). The contract lasts for seven years. This is a good option if you don’t have the cash to pay the cost up front or if you’re not willing to take the chance that sales will exceed your initial expense. If you do royalty share and decide to cancel this arrangement after seven years, then you lose any rights to the recording. You’ll have to start all over again.

If you pay per finished hour (pfh) for the recording or have obtained a recording from another source, then you’ll retain rights. But you need to decide on exclusive or non-exclusive distribution. In an exclusive deal, your audiobook will be downloadable from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, but you cannot offer it for sale anywhere else nor will it be available in CD format. Your royalty is higher this way than for a non-exclusive choice where it drops to 25%. With royalty share, it’s automatically an exclusive deal.

Stipends

Another option for producers is royalty share plus a stipend, in which case ACX pays the producer $100 per finished hour. Each book, upon submission to ACX, goes into a set of algorithms that take into account publication date, reviews, ratings, and your social media presence. If you’re lucky, they’ll offer you a stipend. If your book is accepted, you’ll see a green banner on your title in the ACX system.If it doesn’t qualify, and it’s been active on ACX for a while, you can take it out of production and reactivate it later. The stipend algorithms may be applied again.

Choosing a Producer

Once you’ve agreed on a method of payment, ask the narrator if she’s willing to send you several chapters at a time for you to review while the book is in production. Also ask about her availability in terms of scheduling. Does she have a block of time free for when you’ll want to get started? Do you? Be prepared to commit your time for a month or two and agree on a set of dates. Do all this before you make a formal offer.

Making an Offer

When you are in agreement with a narrator you like, go to her ACX page and click on the “Make an Offer” button. You’ll have to set deadlines for the first fifteen minutes and for the finished book. Make these reasonable, because you’ll need time to review the files. This offer expires after a certain number of days. If the narrator accepts, you’ll be asked to upload a pdf file. Then you sit back and wait to receive the first 15 minutes for review.

CLICK TO TWEET

Coming Next: Audiobooks with ACX – Reviewing Your Files

<><><>

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions. Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. Listen to Sample Clips

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio (640x640)

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

GIVEAWAYS and BARGAINS

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Join our summer celebration and enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS a Kindle Fire! Click Here to Enter

Cozy-Contest_thumb.jpg

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $2.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Save Our Cozies Readathon

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 16, 2016

Fans of cozy mysteries set up a cry of outrage when Penguin Random House/Berkeley/NAL announced the cancellation of many favorite mystery series. Over two dozen authors took the hit. At the same time, Five Star declared the end of its entire mystery line as of March 2017. Yep, that includes Yours Truly. My last book with Five Star will be Facials Can Be Fatal on Feb. 22, 2017. Like many of my writerly sisters and brothers, I will be orphaned after that release. But don’t worry; I am already in the final proofreading stages for the sequel, Hair Brained.

The Save Our Cozies Readathon was created to make others aware of the situation and to celebrate the cozy mystery genre. Prize drawings for participants! I’ve donated a signed copy of Shear Murder and two Permed to Death ebooks.

To join this 24-hour event TODAY ONLY, go here: https://saveourcoziesreadathon.wordpress.com/
Save Our Cozies Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/726103940858234/
Save Our Cozies Goodreads Group: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18072693-save-our-cozies

Readers of this lighthearted mystery genre are still out there. Other publishers are taking up the slack, picking up authors looking for new homes. Many authors are making the decision to go indie. Depending upon an individual author’s contract, he or she may not be able to self-publish or take the series to a new publisher. But no matter where an author falls on the indie versus small press versus big publisher scale, we all need your support. We need you to buy cozy mysteries, request new titles at your libraries, and review them online. Join us today at the Readathon and have fun!

Giveaways and Bargains!

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.
http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer Cozy Mystery Giveaway

Enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries PLUS a Kindle Fire! You can win my novel Permed to Death, plus books from many more of your favorite authors.
Click Here to Enter
Cozy Contest

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) ebook is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580614

 

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Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, Marketing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Audiobooks with ACX – Getting Started

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 14, 2016

The audiobook process has been a learning experience for me. I approached ACX as a complete novice, knowing absolutely nothing except what I’d gleaned from fellow authors who’d posted advice online. A special thank you to author Terry Odell, who has been my mentor for this project. So now it’s my turn to pay back what I’ve learned. The Book of Knowledge hasn’t closed yet. I’m still fumbling my way along, but maybe these posts will help when you explore a similar path. This is Part 1 of a series on this topic.

Create an Account at ACX

P1030932

Go to http://acx.com and create a free account. You can sign in with your Amazon account. Then put your book’s ISBN or ASIN number into the box and claim the title as yours.

Set Up Your Book Profile

Now you’ll need to need to create a book profile. One section serves as a description of your book.

HairRaiser

Describe what type of voice you’re looking for in a narrator. Male or Female? Age range? Mood?

NarratorVoice

The other section is about you as the author. You’ll want to make this project appealing. List your awards, series accolades, social media sites, and marketing plan.

AuthorInfo

When you’re done filling in these boxes, you need to submit a script. This includes several minutes of representative conversations from your story. The sample passages you provide can be different scenes along with notes on context and brief character sketches. It’s good to have a variety, so you can hear how the narrator does the different character voices. Then you’re almost ready to submit your project.

Script

CLICK HERE TO TWEET

Coming Next: Auditions and Narrators

<><><>

Permed to Death audiobook, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions.

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio (640x640)

Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

Audible: http://adbl.co/293g3Lk
iTunes: http://apple.co/299427t
Amazon: http://amzn.to/294EC94

<><><>

Giveaways and Bargains

July 1-18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

July 11-Aug 8
29 Days of Summer – Cozy Mystery Giveaway
Enter to win more than 40 cozy mysteries, PLUS a Kindle Fire. Click Here to Enter

July 1-31
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Use Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife.

July 28
Killer Knots original edition ebook will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY on July 28 for $1.99. Mark your calendars now. Available at most online retailers.

 

 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Business of Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 21 Comments »

Permed to Death Audiobook

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 6, 2016

Permed to Death, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series, is now available in audiobook at Audible and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions.

PERMED TO DEATHnewflat_audio

Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.

audible2    itunes   Amazon

I’ve learned a lot from doing an audiobook for the first time. I’ll be describing the experience in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, my new audiobook needs reviews, so I hope you will help spread the word. For audiobooks, reviews are especially helpful on Audible and iTunes, where you can set up free accounts. But they’re also welcome on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads.

You can listen to audiobooks on your iPhone, tablet computer, or ebook reader device. Have a long car trip or commute coming up? Listen to an audiobook. Do you routinely jog, walk, or spend time on the treadmill? Listen to an audiobook. Have trouble seeing well enough to read lately? An audiobook will fulfill your need with less effort. Want a new way to relieve stress and lower your blood pressure? Lie on the couch, close your eyes, and listen to an audiobook. Keep in mind that you can gift an audiobook to someone else. Also, if you buy the Permed to Death Kindle ebook, you can get the audiobook at a discount.

Listen to these clips from some sample scenes:

Dalton interviews Marla in their first scene together: http://a.co/bhsgokr

Marla discusses events with her mother, Anita: http://a.co/1ae3SPV

Marla discusses the situation with her best friend, Tally: http://a.co/2sNcrPt

Stan is Marla’s nasty ex-spouse in this confrontation: http://a.co/iUFPcTW

Marla overhears her colleagues arguing at her hair salon: http://a.co/1sRVXLd

Todd is the deceased woman’s son: http://a.co/gk6jwC1

Marla and Dalton share a romantic interlude: http://a.co/bxGVAgE

Or make your own clips and send me the links when you post to social media!

Giveaways!

Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) ebook is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580614

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

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CLICK TO TWEET: http://ctt.ec/YUrEk

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Excerpt, Business of Writing, New Release, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

American Library Association Convention

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 1, 2016

Last Sunday, I attended the American Library Association conference at the enormous convention hall in Orlando. For one hour, I greeted librarians and signed books at the Sisters in Crime booth. Once my stint finished, and I’d given away all 32 copies of Hanging by a Hair paperback that I’d brought, I circulated around to see what books I could collect and who I might meet. Publishers touted their books while vendors selling equipment and technology experts plied their wares to passersby. It’s a huge conference. This was only the exhibit hall, but there were classes and other events going on concurrently.

IMG_2343 P1050622 ALA Loot

ALAcon1ALAcon2ALAcon4

P1050621P1050623P1050624

My feet tired after an hour, and so we joined our kids to visit the Artegon Marketplace on International Drive. Artisan shops and artsy displays on the walls filled this indoor air-conditioned mall next to Outdoor World. Be aware that food choices are limited, and so is the shopping.

This ended our last weekend in Orlando. Back home, I got an email that my first ever audiobook had gone live. More on that next time!

 

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Posted in Appearances, Business of Writing, Conferences, Marketing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book Project Update

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on June 17, 2016

Halfway through the year, we should evaluate our status regarding the goals we’ve set for ourselves. Back in January, I listed these objectives for the year. I divided them into Writing Goals and Career Goals. Think about doing this if you’re an author. Let’s see how I’ve done in this progress report. If you’re wondering what I’ve been doing with my time, this will update you on my current projects.

finish line

Writing Goals

Finish and Submit Hair Brained, #14 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
Ongoing. I finished this story at 85,000 words and submitted it to a freelance editor. I am working on these edits. This title will be published by Orange Grove Press in 2017.

Publish Author’s Edition of Permed to Death, #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
Done and published in March.

Commence audio book process via ACX, starting with Permed to Death audiobook.
Done. This title is in production.

Revise backlist mystery titles Highlights to Heaven, Died Blonde and Dead Roots.
Ongoing. I’ve completed revisions on Highlights to Heaven and need one more read-through.

Learn how to write short fiction.
Done. I wrote “Haunted Hair Nights,” a Bad Hair Day mystery novella, which will appear in the Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Murder Anthology. Release date is Sept. 2016. I plan to issue this novella separately in a print edition, hopefully in October.


Business Goals

Enter Peril by Ponytail in writing contests.
Done.

Learn about box sets. Consider bundling books 1-3 as a special offer.
Postponed.

Hold Facebook launch parties for each backlist Author’s Edition and audiobooks.
Ongoing. Next party will be to celebrate my first audiobook release.

Plan a promo campaign for Facials Can Be Fatal (Bad Hair Day #13) to be released by Five Star in Feb. 2017.
I have put together the book trailer except for special effects and music. Waiting for cover art and ARCs.

Keep up with quarterly newsletter, blogs and social media.
Ongoing.


Extra Accomplishments

I edited and published Florida Escape by Harry I. Heller. This is my father’s account of his 1935 true-life adventures in South Florida, where he encountered dismal swamps, sneaky skunks, black panthers, isolated beaches, and hidden chests buried in sand. 

New Goals

Revise book one in a new mystery series. This book is written but needs polishing.
Learn how to put my lectures on Power Point.
Learn how to put books on sale across various vendors.

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So there you have it. Readers, what would you have me work on next? Writers, have you reassessed your goals lately?

CONTEST ALERT!

Booklovers Bench
Last 2 Days
! Enter June 1-18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.
http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Romance the Summer Contest
Enter June 7-21 to win a gemstone necklace from Effy plus a signed copy of Shear Murder, my wedding mystery. Two runners-up prizes of signed proof copies Permed to Death Author’s Edition..
http://nancyjcohen.com/contest/

 

 

 

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Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Pirates and Pirating

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on June 9, 2016

We have seafaring pirates, and we have book pirates. Let’s talk about the former type first.

Last weekend, my husband and I went to an exhibit at Plantation Historical Museum about Florida pirates. The seas off the coast of Florida have seen many shipwrecks along with pirates who’ve taken advantage of our broad coastline. I’ve a special fascination for these highwaymen of the seas as they play a role in Facials Can Be Fatal, my next full-length Bad Hair Day Mystery. This story delves into Florida history as described in my post below, Florida Escape.

After a grand introduction at the museum, the action went outside for a sword fight. Indoors were a variety of exhibits including these clever dioramas. I especially liked reading about the women pirates. Many of them disguised themselves as men and became quite famous. Today we have our modern version of seafaring pirates who steal boats instead of cargo, and they can be just as scary.

 

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From Boats to Books

Then we have pirates who steal books and offer them free to readers. I hope every download comes with hidden malware. Not a day goes by that I don’t get a notice one of my books is available online for free. I don’t bother to send takedown notices, because for every site I would shut down, two more will pop up. It’s an unstoppable plague. What readers need to know is how this hurts us. I’m not talking about my wonderful, loyal fans who follow my work. This doesn’t apply to you, and I am grateful to each and every one of you. But there’s a subculture out there that we all should be aware of since it affects us adversely.

I am not getting paid for these downloads. It robs me—and other authors—of royalties. Would you ask your doctor or financial advisor for free advice? Not really. So why should you expect authors to give away their products for free? We slave over our books for months. Our dedication takes time we could be spending with our families. Then we have certain marketing expenses. And for what? So people can steal our work and give it away without regard for an author’s rights.

I can understand if you’re on a budget. My response is to tell you to go to the library. You can get plenty of books there for free, and you can even ask your librarian to order a title you want. That counts toward an author’s sales. Or subscribe to BookBub or The Fussy Librarian and get their daily newsletter of free reads that are paid promotions by authors. Many authors offer free reads on their websites or books as giveaways. You can find plenty to read within legal means.

But don’t steal an author’s work by downloading her book from a dubious site. Or pretty soon, your favorite author will determine the negative return to her investment is going to put her out of business. Free books have their place. They help us gain new readers. But not when our work is pirated without permission. What can you do about it? Don’t support these sites. Support your authors instead! And again, my heartfelt thanks go to those readers who do value and respect our work. Hugs to you all!

Contest Alert!
Romance the Summer Contest
Enter June 7-21 to win a gemstone necklace from Effy plus a signed copy of Shear Murder, my wedding mystery. Two runners-up prizes of signed proof copies Permed to Death Author’s Edition. http://nancyjcohen.com/contest/

Booklovers Bench
Enter June 1-18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Posted in Business of Writing, Research, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 26 Comments »

 
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