Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

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

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    Facials Can Be Fatal

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

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    Haunted Hair Nights

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    Permed to Death

    Bad Hair Day Mystery #1

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Archive for the ‘Self-Publishing’ Category

RWA17 Workshop Recap – iBooks

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 18, 2017

Amy Atwell from Author E.M.S. gave this workshop at #RWA17. Note that iBooks is in 51 countries and it’s the number two online book retailer in the U.S. Keep in mind that iBooks is the default reading app on all Apple devices. How can you get your book there if you are indie publishing? You could go through a third-party aggregate such as Pronoun, D2D, or Smashwords. Or you can set up your own publisher dashboard with iTunes Connect. Customers buy your book via the iTunes or iBooks app. For uploading books, you need iTunes Producer and a Mac computer. You can hire a formatter who does these uploads or go through one of the aggregates if you don’t own an Apple computer. Once your book is uploaded directly, you can go into your dashboard from any device. If you are doing the upload (or your formatter is doing it for you), you will need an ISBN number for your ebook. If you move a book later from an aggregator to direct upload, you’ll lose rankings and reviews.

Ereader Device

Disclaimer: These notes are subject to my interpretation. Any errors are mine.

Reasons for failure to Upload may be because your epub file isn’t properly validated. Your coding may not match Apple’s requirements. If you’re using epub3 format, it may need versioning info. For Versioning, you add data on what’s new, such as an excerpt or a bonus scene. Readers who have bought your book will be alerted that a new version is available.

Other reasons for error messages might be that your image is too big; you’ve added links to other retailers; you have improper use of iBooks branding; you’ve mentioned a sale or discount in the book’s description; or you haven’t filled in the right primary category.

You can put a sale start and end date. You can do preorders up to a year in advance.

To attract readers, try offering a sneak preview for iBooks fans only. Make use of the free download codes per title. Ask readers if they want to be notified of new releases or sales of your iBooks titles.

Send a request for your series to be linked once you have at least 3 consecutive titles available.

Useful tools include iTunes Link Maker, the Affiliate program, banners and widgets with links to your affiliate code.

Also note that when you do tweets about your books, use #iBooks instead of #iTunes.

For more tips on iBooks, see my previous blog on iBooks Tips for Writers.

GIVEAWAY

Booklover’s Bench Giveaway, Aug. 1 – 18
LAST DAY! Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

Don’t want to miss more chances to win? Sign up for my Newsletter for my latest book news, giveaways, bonus content, and events. Free book sampler for new subscribers.

 

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Posted in Business of Writing, Marketing, Self-Publishing, Technology, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

RWA17 Workshop Recap – Attracting Readers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 14, 2017

At the #RWA17 conference, I attended several sessions that told us how to attract more readers. See my post on building Mailing Lists below if you’ve missed that one. Again, these conference notes are subject to my interpretation. So let’s look at some of the suggestions.

Reader

Respond to readers by replying to their emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. Mention their name in your response. Tag them if you want to catch their attention. You want to turn “cold” leads into customers, then fans, then friends, and finally into ambassadors.

Use social media tools to get your message across several platforms. Check out https://meetedgar.com/ for managing social media posts. It allows you to schedule posts across several sites. For limited time posts, you can set expiration dates. Another site is https://www.socialjukebox.com/. This allows you to set automated tweets and also link to Facebook and LinkedIn. I use this one and it’s a great time-saver. Resharing your evergreen content keeps your social profiles active and gives your posts more exposure.

Post regularly and vary the content of your posts. Do #ThrowbackThursday (old photos) and #TGIFriday (plans for weekend). Always include hashtags on your tweets and Instagram posts.

Involve your readers. Bring them into the creative process. Ask for opinions on cover art or book titles. Ask which secondary character they’d like to see in your next book.

Video is popular on social media and so are photos. Try Facebook live video or adding photos to a post. It will have a higher organic reach. Boost your posts. Share to a page or group. Link your Instagram posts to show up on Facebook and Twitter. Establish your brand on Pinterest.

Upselling counts in the book market. Offer new mailing list subscribers a freebie then say that for only $X, they can get the next book. Utilize drip mailing campaigns to this purpose. At each step, you’re offering something new.

Maximize your social media channels. Facebook ads were discussed along with other ways to get newsletter signups using widgets and links to your opt-in form. Use pinned tweets when you want to advertise a new release or giveaway. Invite interactors to Like your page. Participate in Goodreads and join special interest groups on the different sites.

Pricing and Sales. Indie authors can run sales campaigns on more expensive books at other platforms like iBooks. Ninety-nine cents may be better than free in a campaign because you’ll rank in the sales charts, and readers are more likely to read a book they paid for than a freebie. Although, I have to say I’ve found new authors from free books offered on BookBub and at The Fussy Librarian. Then I’ve gone on to buy their entire series. Sales of your backlist titles can carry over to your frontlist (new) titles.

Cutting Edge Technologies like apps and Facebook Messenger ads could become more important. Offer a free book or chapters via Messenger as part of a drip campaign. Build your Messenger subscribers, but your newsletter mailing list should still come first.

Use Multiple Points of Entry. Offer readers full-length novels, short stories, novellas, spinoffs, mini-series within a series, sample chapters.

Diversify your Book Formats with ebooks, print, and audio. Do box sets with your own series. If you do a group promo with other authors, make sure the story you offer relates to your series.

Cross-Promote with other Authors using the sites mentioned in my Mailing List post or with your own “lifeboat” team. Newsletter swaps are becoming more popular. You mention each other’s new releases or sales in your respective newsletters.

Do what you can, and don’t stress over the guilt that you’re a slacker compared to others who are doing a gazillion more promotional activities than you are. Recognize your limits but strive to learn something new. Set business goals each year along with your writing objectives. Do one new thing at a time. Then it won’t seem so overwhelming.

What other techniques would you suggest to gain readers? As readers, how do you find new authors to read?

For my conference photos, Go Here. https://www.facebook.com/NancyJCohenAuthor

CLICK TO TWEET

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GIVEAWAYS

Crime Fiction Giveaway, Aug. 7 – 14 LAST DAY!
Enter Here to win 40 crime fiction novels and a Kindle Fire. My revised Author’s Edition of Highlights to Heaven ebook is included.

Booklover’s Bench Giveaway, Aug. 1 – 18
Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.

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Sign up for my Newsletter for my latest book news, giveaways, bonus content, and events. Free book sampler for new subscribers.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Year-End Review

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 28, 2016

Year-End Review of Writing Goals

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to review what you’ve accomplished as a writer and what goals you’ll carry forward to the following year. Aside from my personal goals of eating healthier, exercising more, and spending time with family, I set career goals. These are further divided into creative and business objectives. So let’s see how I’ve done.

Goals

WRITING GOALS

· Finish Hair Brained, #14 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries – IN PROGRESS.

· Publish Permed to Death revised Author’s Edition (Bad Hair Day #1) – DONE.

· Commence audiobook process via ACX, starting with Permed to Death – DONE.

· Revise backlist mystery titles Highlights to Heaven, Died Blonde and Dead Roots – INCOMPLETE. I’ve finished Highlights to Heaven, and it’s set for release in January. The others will carry over into the new year.

BUSINESS GOALS

· Enter Peril by Ponytail in writing contests – DONE. This title won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. 

· Consider bundling books 1-3 in the Bad Hair Day series as a box set for the holidays – NOT DONE. This goal has been set aside until all nine of my original titles from Kensington are available in revised Author’s Editions.

· Hold launch parties for each reissued backlist title and for the audiobooks – DONE.

· Plan promo campaign for Facials Can Be Fatal to be released Feb. 22, 2017 – IN PROGRESS. I’ve scheduled my blog tour, sent ARCs to reviewers, done the book trailer, and held a Goodreads giveaway. There’s more to do.

· Engage with readers via newsletter, blogs and social media sites – ONGOING.

· Learn how to put my lectures on Power Point – DONE. I am proud of this one. I try to learn something new each year, and this was it.

Extra Accomplishments

I edited and published Florida Escape by Harry I. Heller. This is my father’s account of his 1935 journey to Florida and the adventures he experienced during the state’s simpler days. Excerpts from Florida Escape are used in Facials Can Be Fatal, so now the true historic tale is available to readers in ebook format.

I wrote Haunted Hair Nights, a Bad Hair Day mystery novella. This was published first in the Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime anthology and later as a standalone edition in print and digital formats.

So even though 2016 didn’t see any releases from Five Star, I published the following:

March 4, 2016: Permed to Death Author’s Edition
June 7, 2016: Florida Escape by Harry I. Heller
June 27, 2016: Permed to Death Audiobook
Aug. 29, 2016: Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime
Oct. 13, 2016: Haunted Hair Nights
Nov. 7, 2016: Hair Raiser Audiobook

I’d say that’s pretty good, wouldn’t you? CLICK TO TWEET

Resource: https://thewritelife.com/year-end-review-for-your-writing/

Did you accomplish all you’d set out to do this year?

 

 

 

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Posted in Business of Writing, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 2 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 »

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 »

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 »

Five Stages of Writing

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 31, 2016

Writing a book these days has five stages. It used to be that you wrote the book, polished your work, and submitted it to a publisher. Then you were done, except for edits, proofreading your ARCs, and some promotion. Now you have many more choices in the publishing arena. Many of us face the challenges of Discovery, Writing, Revision, Production, and Marketing.

Stage One: Discovery

Discovery is the process by which you discover your story. Bits and pieces of character and plot swirl around in your subconscious. Consider it creative energy at play rather than feeling guilty that you’re not being productive. This is the break you need before starting the next novel. It’s necessary to refill your creative well and to gather ideas. Doing a collage, watching movies, listening to music, working on a hobby, walking outdoors, or reading for pleasure are some of the ways you can stimulate your creativity. Search for relevant articles to your story and match photos to your characters on the royalty-free image sites. Explore related issues that interest you or look through your files for inspiration. Often this prep time can take weeks, or it can take a month or two. Be sure to factor this in when you set deadlines.

idea

Stage Two: Writing

When these ideas coalesce in your head and your characters begin to talk to you, you’re ready to begin writing. This is when I write my synopsis. The outline acts a writing guideline, so I always know where I’m going even if I don’t know how to get there. This still allows for the element of surprise. The plot may change as the story develops. If so, I’ll revise the synopsis later. I may also keep a chapter-by-chapter outline, after I’ve written the chapter. It gives a quick summary of what’s happened, who has said what and to whom, and what day of the week it is. I used to do this on a poster-size plotting chart but now do it online.

Set yourself daily and weekly writing goals. I have to do a minimum of 5 pages a day or 25 pages per week. Don’t stop to revise your work. Keep going straight through to the end. Once the book is written, you can fix it. Just get those words down on paper during the storytelling phase.

writer

Stage Three: Revisions

When you finish the first draft, put your book aside to gain some distance from it. You’ll want to have a fresh outlook when you start line edits. Use this interval to jot notes for your sequel, do some preliminary research for the next book, plan your promo campaign, write reader discussion questions, create a book trailer, or determine blog topics for your virtual tour.

When you find yourself eager to tackle the story again, get ready for the heavy revisions. Once you begin, keep going, or you’ll lose your sense of continuity. Allow a month or two for this process. Let’s say you have a 300 page book. Plan to edit at least 10 pages a day for one month. This might not seem like much, but you are examining the text word-by-word and rereading it until it’s perfect. Then voilà, you’ll be done in a month. Put the book aside for another couple of weeks. Then turn to it again. This time, look for repetitions and inconsistencies. Here are some items to address.

At some point, you’ll be too close to the material to see straight or too sick of the project to work on it again. Then the book is ready to submit, whether to a freelance editor or to a publishing house. You’ll have a chance to fix things later when you get your edits back and put the work through a last round of proofreading.

editing

Stage Four: Production

If you have a traditional publisher, this is when you wait for the cover art and the ARCs. You don’t have much say in the book’s production, other than filling out an art sheet if your publisher requires one. However, if you are indie publishing, now is when you’ll add front and back materials to your manuscript. You’ll need to hire a cover artist. Decide if you’ll hire a formatter, do it yourself, or go through one of the third-party aggregates. Convert your work into the appropriate format and upload it to vendors. Read more about this phase here.

Kindle Paperwhite

Stage Five: Marketing

It isn’t enough to write a book. You have to throw yourself onto the self-promotional train and embrace technology. As you write your novel, keep in mind the potential marketing tie-ins. Is there a swag item that relates to the story? A blog topic related to your research? Make decisions about doing a virtual tour, a book launch party, an advertising campaign. Book ads ahead of time and solicit endorsements. If you have a trad or small press publisher, they can help you. But you’ll still be doing many of these activities yourself. Reinforce your brand with everything you do. Update your website and be active on social media. Give yourself an allotted time period, like two weeks, just to plan your promotional campaign. And while you’re in this phase, you can begin Stage One for the next book all over again. Go here for a Book Promotion Countdown Checklist

Proofs

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Each stage is valuable, and you should take the time you need. Be sure to assess your activity later on to see what worked and what didn’t. Then put your Butt in Chair and Hands on Keyboard and get cracking on the next book. Now here’s a question for you. Which of these phases consumes the most amount of your time?

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Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life, Writing Craft, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , | 27 Comments »

 
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