You Say I Can’t Use Adverbs?

New authors are taught lots of rules. One of the most notorious—and most resisted—is NOT to use adverbs in our writing.

There are actually some situations where an adverb might be the best choice. When writing a back cover blurb or anything else that has limited space, adverbs may be preferred.

But, when they are used as a crutch instead of choosing a more specific phrase or showing emotion, they should be avoided.

Most adverbs end in -ly. Loudly, sadly, angrily. You get the picture.

Or, do you?

How about showing balled fists and clenched teeth, rather than using those -ly words?

Remember: a good book is like a movie shown with word pictures.

Painting WORD Pictures

En-route to the FICTION section in my local Barnes & Noble Bookstore, the cover of one of the children’s books displayed on a table caught my attention. The art work was breathtaking. I picked it up and flipped through page after page of mesmerizing illustrations. 

In my humble opinion, it is often the Illustrator (and not the author) that should be credited for the success of some of many of these so-called picture books.

I am not a Children’s Author. However, I have read many such books to my kindergartners over the years. And I realized as I stood in the bookstore that one of the things I liked most (and the students responded to) was the VISUAL.

But, writing FICTION, as I do, requires the ability to  paint the VISUAL of my stories with rich vocabulary… to use language to give readers that other dimension necessary for limitless enjoyment.

So when they browse the pages of my books, they too will be mesmerized with the VISUAL that only an author’s words can paint.

Go Ahead and Say It

We authors are all about words, aren’t we? Saying things in just the right way to elicit emotional responses from our readers… creating perfect visual pictures… producing tension and suspense…

The things we fail to say accurately can be just as important in producing that next Bestseller.

They are often little things. The season, the weather, time of day. Perhaps a current event (911 for example), a famous place (Grand Canyon), even an address (1900 Pennsylvania Ave.)

The exact moment is crucial in a book I just started to write. In this thriller, if I fail to leave out a detail that is important to the plot, readers are likely to let me know about it. And I certainly want them to have the best reading experience I can provide.

Keeping our facts straight is important. The best way I have found is dedicating a spiral notebook to each story. I allow six to eight pages per character. On them I list physical characteristics, occupation, emotional ties, personality traits, age, and so on. I refer to it often so I don’t alter important facts.

I have tried charts and pictures, but found they can take up too much wall space. Clutter makes me nervous. I just don’t write well when my space is in disarray. The important thing is not the method you use to keep track of details as much as that you do use something to help you avoid these common pitfalls. 

Remaining 2020 Online Conferences/Workshops

 

Covid-19 is changing the way that we have done things. One of the biggest changes is in group gatherings.

Yesterday, I attended my first online writer’s conference. Usually held in person in Arizona, the Desert Sleuth’s Conference was full of information. It was also free. I couldn’t pass up that deal.

They did a good job of everything, from their selection of presenters, topics, advertising, and making their audience feel included and valued.

For the foreseeable future, virtual meetings may be the way to go. So, I compiled this list of remaining conferences you might like to “attend”online this year. (I am sure if you research a bit on your own, you will be able to add to this list).

AGENT ONE-ON-ONE BOOTCAMP: September 22-25. How to Craft Query Letters & Other Submission Materials That Get Noticed Boot Camp.

AUTHOR ADVANTAGE LIVE:   9/24-26

Writing Day Workshops: 

Boston Mass. on 10/3

Philadelphia, PA  on 11/14-15

Washington, D.C. on 12/5

 

SELF PUBLISHING ADVICE CONFERENCE 10/17

JANE FRIEDMAN CLASSES:

Oct. 7: Blogging Strategies That Work in 2020 

Oct. 25: The Foundations of Getting Published 

She has many more affordable online courses available for

  individual study.

WRITERS’ DIGEST ON DEMAND WEBINARS (Sign up and choose your date). These are offered on many topics, including How to Write Short Stories, Writing the Historical Novel, How to Attract an Agent, and many more.

GOTHAM WRITERS’ WORKSHOP: Based in New York, see their online catalog for a listing of workshops and classes.

Sponsored Product Ads

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Amazon offers four basic ways to advertise products. However, KDP account holders are limited to using just one of them: Sponsored Product Ads.

These ads appear in search results on product pages. They are cost-per-click ads .

After signing in to your KDP Bookshelf, click on Promote and Advertise next to your book’s title. 

You will be given step-by-step directions to write a short “ad” and select how much you are willing to pay each time a prospective buyer clicks on your ad. (Note: This is not per sale. It is per click.)

You will also need to set a max budget for your ad. Once your budget is used, your ad will not show. 

You can renew or rewrite your ad as often as you want.

Bundle Up!

 

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Readers love a good series. They like your characters and want to read more. 

So, you decide to write a series of books with those same characters, setting, and so on.

Amazon says it is smart business to bundle your series because it creates “multiple entry points through which readers can discover your books.” In fact, there are many readers that look, specifically, for a series to read.

So, let’s continue our series for Indie Book Promotions by learning how to link our Kindle Book Series on Amazon:

  1. Create a name for your series. Each book must have exactly the same series name.
  2. On your KDP Bookshelf, edit each book description to link them. After you Login, click the ellipsis button next to the Promote and Advertise button by the title of the first book in your series.
  3. Select edit eBook details and look for SERIES.
  4. Add the series name in the first box, and its number (1,2,3,etc.) in the second box.
  5. Scroll down and click on Save and Continue. Click Publish Your Kindle e-Book.
  6. On the next page, use the same directions for your second book.

Now, the final step: notify Amazon that you have made a series.

Click Help at the top right of the screen. Then, press CONTACT US. Select Product Page. Click on Kindle Series Bundles.

Fill out the contact form, including each book’s ASIN and series name. Then, SEND MESSAGE.

If you write a new book and wish to add it to the series later, use the same form again.

Things to Note:

  1. Your books will still be listed separately on Amazon, too, so the reader can elect to order a single book or or scroll down and order the entire bundle.
  2. HOWEVER, you can’t discount your bundle. So, let’s say you have three, five-dollar books in your bundle. The bundle will cost $15.00 The reader doesn’t save money.
  3. You cannot write a specific description for your series. The description will be the description of the first book in the series. 
  4. Your bundle will only be available on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, and amazon.co.jp.
  5. Above all, remember bundling is only for the Kindle. Not for paperback.

Hopefully, some of these will change, soon!!!

 

Promote Your Book

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Back to our research on book promotions for Indie Authors:

The article I mentioned in my past blog recommended three companies: Books Butterfly, Kindle Nation Daily, and Bargain Booksy.

I went to each of these sites. I scouted around for different promotions, cost, layouts, ease of use, and overall appeal for readers.

Of the three, I found that only https://www.Bargainbooksy.com ticked off all of my boxes.

The other two were unappealing, expensive, and didn’t offer what I wanted for my specific genre. Feel free to visit those websites and check them out. 

I read the general information on Bargain Booksy as well as followed links they supplied for examples, additional information, and customer reviews.

First of all, their site is attractive and fairly straightforward. They supply a handy chart of genres and the cost of advertising for each genre. 

They claim over 305,000 registered users. They also say that a Bargain Booksy feature will help drive sales of your e-book, find a new audience of readers, generate reviews, and improve your book rank on retail sites.

With a paid promotion, your book will be in their daily email of Kindle readers who have expressed an interest in your genre.

They will link your book on Bargainbooksy.com with Kindle, Kobo, Apple, and Nook.

Your promotion will feature your book’s front cover and a short description.

You must price your book between .99 and $5.00 for the length of your promotion. (There are articles that explain how to do this.)

Your book will be in a daily newsletter to over 294K combined subscribers of all genres AND a customized email to readers of your specific genre. [Each with book cover, purchase links, description, and price.]

Additionally, your book will be featured on the Bargain Booksy website and their Facebook Page, which claims 20K followers.

Note: There is a Deal of the Day Premium feature which has different pricing, but it is only for these four genres: Romance, Mystery, Fantasy, and Science Fiction. See their site for details. 

Audiobooks can be promoted on their sister site,  https://ReadingStacks.com 

Choppy Sentences Get More Results

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You can drive more search results to your book when you rewrite the descriptions of your books on Amazon.

Use short, choppy sentences. Leave lots of white space. I have re-written the description for my very first book, Runaways, The Long Journey Home:

No Mama. An abusive father. A dog for a best friend.

Ten-year-old Jake runs away from his remote Appalachian home in the dead of winter.

He and Hound, face freezing temperatures and near starvation as they travel through mountainous terrain.

And, they narrowly escape Father as he tracks them with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

Then, when Jake hears about God’s unconditional love for him, he is confronted with the biggest decision of his life:

Will he keep running…

Or face his father?

Hit the USA Today’s Bestseller’s List

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Learn how, along with me:

I’d like to share what I have read so far. (Book Bub has lengthy articles on this. I have condensed it for this blog, but feel free to go on their site for the “expanded” version).

They suggest a concept called PROMO STACKING, which is “running multiple marketing campaigns within a short timeframe to maximize the volume of sales within a bestseller list’s reporting period.”

Here’s my outline from reading on BOOK BUB:

  1. Promo stack during the preorder period.

            a) One month before a book release run a Book Bub Preorder alert. (More about this is to come.)

-or-b) Discount the book during the preorder period, promote on author’s blog, do giveaways, do a Book Bub Ad campaign. (Yes, we’ll learn about these, too).

2) Discount a previous book, along with making the new release only .99 or 1.99. Run a Book Bub Ad campaign.

Put ads on Books Butterfly, Kindle Nation Daily, and Bargain Booksy. Blog. Do an Organic Twitter campaign. (Again, I will be learning about these and passing the information along to you in the coming weeks).

3) Bundle previous books into a Boxed set at a discounted price. Write new back matter for the boxed set. Run Amazon Marketing ads and Facebook Ads.

It’s okay if you aren’t familiar with one or more of these.

Each week, read my blog. I will be researching them, individually, for you…

and learning right along with you!

Catch the Writing Bug

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It is almost time for school to start for the current year.

I remember from third grade on getting the same assignment each year on the first day of school: write two pages about your summer vacation. 

I could have written it in a couple of sentences. 

Our family did the same thing every summer: a week’s visit to our grandparents, one week attending vacation Bible School, and the remaining days playing with friends in the neighborhood.

Year after year, it was the same old thing. Finally, in seventh grade, I complained to my teacher. 

She patiently explained that she was not so much interested in what we actually did. Her purpose in the assignment was to assess our writing skills.

She suggested I embellish a little…add some excitement. Even make up stuff.

Really?

I attacked the assignment with renewed vigor. Soon, my pages were filled with the vacation of all vacations. The setting: Acapulco. The characters: surfers I hung out with on the beaches. And, then I added a bit of romance and intrigue and—

That’s right. The two pages were filled all too quickly.

That’s when I realized that writing could be FUN and EXCITING.

Thanks to Mrs. Snyder, I found myself looking forward to the start of each school year—and the predictable writing assignment.

I had caught the “writing bug.” A plethora of possibilities had opened up for me.

And I haven’t exhausted them yet.

 

Care to share a writing story with us?