Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do you watch TV shows with the sole intention of learning how to be a better writer?

I can say yes to most of that statement but I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said yes unconditionally. Mainly because my sole intention isn’t only to observe the show from a writer’s point of view, many times, it’s how I veg out after a busy 8 -10 hour day. I like to be entertained and not have to think about anything.

Give my overworked, mushy brain a rest. Lie back in my easy chair and be a slug.

Except most times, I start paying attention to how the characters are being portrayed, the ways they interact with each other. Their quirky little tells that they perform so the viewers know what they’re feeling. The ways they move and their actions that show me how they feel.

The dialogue on a top-rated show is also a fabulous way to learn a few pointers. How characters talk so that that their conversation flows and they don’t sound stilted or fake. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish when writing a book. It’s true, some authors have a talent for writing dialogue but most of us have to work damn hard so that it reads realistically.

It’s amazing how gifted many of the television actors are and the roles they have to play. Today, there’s a huge range of shows to choose from - everything from situation comedies to police action, throw in some fire fighters and doctors and there’s not much missing.

Lately, I’ve been making notes from some of my shows of remarks FBI agents or police officers might use in the line of duty. I write down information that could be useful for me to research for one of my books. Because I write suspense, I like to make lists of references to weapons and procedures they make but I also know they take literary license and many shows are notoriously inaccurate and so I research my notes before I actually use them. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have even known such things existed if I hadn’t have seen it on TV.

So it’s a fine way for me to learn and I’d be fool if I didn’t pay attention at least sometimes… of course that’s before the snoring starts........seriously!!

These are my favorite shows –the ones I tape so I can watch them each week. Scandal , Gray’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, Castle, The Blacklist, Quantico,  Law & Order (Special Victim’s Unit), Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Outlander & Blindspot.  
What are your favorite shows you like to watch?


Don't forget to sign up for the Authors' Billboard 

October Booktacular Giveaway. 

It's almost the end of the month and we'll be picking 13 winners soon. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Promoting your work IS a necessary evil. Funny story I have to share… #amlaughing

Have you ever gone onto a workshop expecting to learn gold nuggets and instead, you were offered old and very rusted iron pellets?

That’s what happened to me recently. 

Let me explain….

At the last conference I attended, I went to a workshop supposedly on promotions. Since it was one of the only classes on marketing at the conference, I looked forward to it immensely. After all, it’s where I am in my career – needing to learn everything I can about how to sell my books.

I’ve taught myself many things by trial and error, but then so have others. Therefore I expected that the presenter was going to share some of her golden nuggets of information that would enable me to find yet another way to reach readers.

Having looked forward to this, I moved to the front row, sat down and got my pen and notebook ready.

When the presenter started off telling us that we didn’t need to give away our bookmarks to all and sundry, or that we didn’t even need to have any kind of swag at all, instead to save our money, I was with her. It’s a choice and not for everyone.

When she said that we didn’t need to have a website or Twitter, hell she didn’t have one now did she...??  I kinda wished I could ask her how her sales were going and if she was on any of the best-seller lists. But – nah I still hung in there, beginning to wonder about where this was heading. Still, I waited optimistically.

When she bashed Facebook and every other site on the internet that helps authors get the word out to others, I’m beginning to think I should call in the paramedics cause she was sounding dangerous…. I’m thinking loonie-tunes.

Frothing inside, wanting to negate all the drivel she was spouting, thinking that some of her audience just might be taking her seriously, after all, she was quite affable and likeable, I nevertheless had to hang in there to see just exactly what would be her eventual pearls of wisdom about promoting.

Finally - hands sore from gripping the pen and notebook to stop myself from interrupting and telling her what a foolish, traditional sounding kook she was - the woman shared her secret.

Write a good book she said. Then write another. Good books sell!!

Yeah right! By now, words were clamoring to get loose – “AND WHO’S GOING TO KNOW ABOUT THESE BLASTED GOOD BOOKS TO BUY THEM,” I wanted to yell so badly.

Still, I waited. Not because I was enjoying myself, but because I was sitting right in front and I knew I’d feel terrible if I just got up and left. And truthfully, I really was curious.

Aha! Ten minutes before the end of the hour, she came up with her final suggestion. Write a blog!! I’m not kidding you – she was going to (did you get that last few words???) GOING TO, hadn’t done it yet, going to start a blog about cooking because we all like to eat, readers eat, and therefore they would see her books on the side of her blog page. Not wanting to burst her bubble about just how many blogs there were out there about food, I started to internally giggle until it was all I could do not to burst out laughing and disrupt the class.

An amusing thought took hold, hilarious… How the hell was she going to get people to come and read her blog????

Deep breath! Count to ten! Stop laughing

Once I finally calmed down, it dawned on me that the worst part of this whole regrettably wasted hour was that someone might have believed her. Newbies wanting to hear gold nuggets and not recognizing it was fool’s gold. Unfortunate souls who left there thinking – it’s really okay if I don’t put my energies into social media. I just need to do the one thing I love and that’s write.

For those of you who have no expectations for sales, sure go for it. Just write! Be happy.

But know one thing! If I haven’t taught you anything else, let me share with you this pure gold nugget. How can you expect to sell a book no one but your family and friends know about?? You need to stretch and learn. You NEED to get busy. Take your pick of the evil social media choices, that’s fine, but for heaven’s sake do your homework. Research your business and get on board.

Promoting your work is an absolutely necessary evil. So stop fooling yourself. 

Do you agree??

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New submission page & easy to fill-in form on Authors' Billboard - #Promotions #Indie

Recently, we have decided to share our beautiful newsletter with other authors who don't belong to our group at Authors Billboard. This is what made us reach that decision:

- We’re a small group with a growing newsletter list and we don’t always have enough books on sale or free to give our readers adequate choice every week. By inviting others to submit their books, it will give our subscribers a lot more selection.

-  Also, the authors who promote with us will be signed onto our newsletter and have a chance to win one of our monthly Giveaways of two $50 Amazon Gift Certificates or the special $20 gift certificate to whoever shares the most about the contest with others.

-  The Authors Billboard website is also a great place for anyone to visit. Come and see what our authors are up to and read their wonderful blog posts which are on varied subjects and fun to read. Find their beautifully presented books on our Books & Promotions page where 10 fortunate people from our Newsletter list will be given the opportunity every month to select whichever book they want as a free prize.

Remember - The authors here at the Billboard will be working hard to get the word out about each promotion. Our growing subscribers list is proving very successful and thirty authors have a long reach and plenty of connections through social media so we will do everything in our power to get your work the exposure it needs. 

Plus there are links to Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and Google that you can share right there on the newsletter to make it easy for you to get the word out to your own followers and friends about your book being on sale.

Therefore - welcome to our special place!

Come and enjoy, and take the time to sign up your book for the low price of $5.

Please sign up by Tuesday for the following Friday.

Only books priced at 99cents or free will be accepted.

There are no restrictions as far as reviews or ratings.

***Find the easy-to-fill-in submission page 

as one of the tabs on the website or go here. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Another sweet little secret to help busy authors save time. #twittimer #amwriting

As most of you who follow my blog know, I’m consistently revealing my journey as a writer to either stop you from making some of the same mistakes that have plagued me, or to pass on a nugget that has worked for me.  

Today, I’m happy to say that what I’m about to share is pure gold.

For years, I’ve been on Twitter, building up my followers little by little and can brag a bit today that I recently reached the 14k level. (Picture me chortling!!) 

Now all this time, I’ve mostly done it the hard way, tweet by tweet and very little scheduling. I did try Hootsuite for a while but it just got too convoluted for me when they added in all the other social media avenues…. or maybe I should admit that figuring it all out was taking too long and it all felt too much like work. I’m one of those busy authors who hasn’t a lot of time or energy to try slogging my way through a dense fog of instructions that don’t make a lot of sense. I want it to be easy, or at least to save me time in the end.

Then I found a site called Social Oomph and that worked for a while. I was able to schedule ordinary tweets but there was one thing missing that really bugged me. I couldn’t add any images to my tweets. And as we all know, nowadays that’s so important to getting attention.

So… I started searching again and I’m happy to tell you that I did come across a great site and it’s called Twittimer. (I wish I knew who came up with the Twitter title so I could strangle them. I get so many strange looks when I talk about my tweets and retweets to those smart twits with no computers and no stress :-)))  

Back on subject - now, the reason I like this place is because it’s easy to figure out. I had it beat within the first few minutes of stumbling onto it. Yeah – I know – I was shocked too!!!

So… after playing around on Twittimer, I decided to go the Pro route for these reasons. One – I wanted to add both my Twitter pages – Mimi Barbour Author @MimiBarbour and The Author’s Billboard @mimisgang1. And two – I wanted to set up a sheet of tweets and forget about them.  And three - $24.99 for 6 months seemed more than reasonable.

Okay - here is why you might want to use them:

1.     Publish posts at the exact moment of your choosing.
2.     Privacy of personal data.
3.     Share your photos.
4.     Archive your messages.
5.     Statistics.
6.     At the right time...everywhere.
7.     Campaign Preparation
8.     Track links with Bitly.

My personal favorite is: Bulk Uploads using a CSV. This means that I can set up a week or even a month or more of tweets for a campaign, add them all to an excel spreadsheet following a few simple rules and forget about them. See those rules:

1.     You must save the spreadsheet as a CSV only.
2.     You must delete the other sheets on the bottom of the page.
3.     Make sure your dates are changed to future dates
4.     And no duplicate tweets within a 12 hour span.

Now – the best part is just how simple it is to set up your ordinary tweet. Once you’ve filled in your account info, the box will open up that you see here.

Copy and paste the tweet inside or a blurb for Facebook and LinkedIn. It will give you the option of which Twitter stream you want it sent over or both, plus if you want it on FB and Linkedin also. (Linkedin will not allow images…………..darn!!)

See the little camera, top left, that is where you go to add in images and once you do, you can reuse that same image over and over – it even asks you.

You can also create a group so your messages can be saved to certain groups and then re-used. So cool...

What I have benefited from was the fact I can schedule posts for both my Facebook pages also and with images. That’s a big help for me each week.

Twittimer has been an absolute time saver and it’s actually fun to use. Check it out if you find you need a tool such as this.

And let me know if you’ve already found something similar or… if you try Twittimer… do you like it as much as I do?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cross Promotion at it’s very best – Earn Karma Cash!!

Recently, I learned about a place called Co-Promote which actually stands for Cross Promote. It’s a brilliant idea and so far in my experience, it works very well.

Their opening comment is: We match your message with like-minded people on Facebook and Twitter. They share it with their followers to greatly increase the number of people your message reaches. (Kinda like a share or a retweet.)

When I first joined, I was a bit suspect and so I only signed up with Twitter, although I believe you can also attach it to your Tumblr and even UTube accounts. I do intend to check out the Facebook section, but so far, I just haven’t had the time to study that portion and I’m also very careful not to push too many auto-posts there. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems more of a personal place and I guess I don’t want to inundate my friends with more business bursts than necessary.

First, set up a profile so that you have your photo showing. People will want to follow you and you should take the time to also follow others too. It builds a community you will be glad to have. It's very easy to follow others, just hover over their photos and a small box will open with the follow button right there.

When I first went to Co-Promote and stumbled around through the site, I found it to be pretty easy to navigate. There are three main areas that have clear buttons at the top of the page. Share, track and boost.

Share: as you’ve already determined is where they have the stream of posts that you can share. The posts you choose will go out over your twitter feed. You have a choice of the type of posts you’d be interested in and that makes it easy for you to share what you think your followers might enjoy.

Track: I love this part because it shows you how many people shared your boost and the numbers are quite starling – certainly gets you out there more so than just your regular Twitter retweets.

Boost: Now this is where your reward happens. After you’ve shared a certain number of posts, you collect Karma cash for others to share yours. To select the post you want shared, when you’re on the Boost page, it will show you a list of the last tweets you released and you can pick whichever one you want boosted. So cool!!

The best part of this program – IT’S FREE!! Oh yes it is!

But… if you want more coverage than the free section can give you, you do have the ability to upgrade. 

The Authors Billboard is at it again!!!

We have a fabulous Giveaway for the month 
of the Ghosties and Goblins. 

    1. $50 Amazon Gift Card for one NEW subscriber
    2. $50 Amazon Gift Card for one new OR current subscriber
    3. $20 Amazon Gift Card for the person with the most BONUS ENTRIES** (Shares on FB) 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Christmas Pets & Kisses - the holiday book you need to read this Christmas!! #mgtab

Christmas Pets & Kisses
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 6, 2015


Ring in the Christmas cheer with sixteen all-new sweet and heart-warming romances from New York Times, USA Today and National bestselling authors. Don’t miss out on this romantic collection of Christmas tails…uh, tales as adorable pets with fins, paws, feathers, and hooves bring holiday magic with the gift of true love.

Golden Christmas - Helen Scott Taylor 
Every Christmas Vicky hides so she doesn’t have to celebrate the date she lost her husband and son. She doesn’t want to see anyone but when she finds a dog’s lost ball she meets Jon, a wounded ex-soldier who’s struggling with his own problems. This brave man touches Vicky’s shattered heart and makes her realize she can’t hide forever. With his support, can she find the strength to love again?

Two Loves for Christmas - Mona Risk
Tabloid pictures of charming laywer, Josh Dutton, threaten his father's senatorial campaign. The family decides he needs a sweet 'temporary fiancée' to repair the damage. With only her German shepherd for friend, Emma struggles with problems. Attraction sizzles between Josh and Emma but no one mentions the 'fake fiancée' detail. When the truth surfaces will Josh be able to prove that his kisses were not part of a charade?

Dog-Gone Christmas - Melinda Curtis 
Widow Marnie Haywood wants Christmas hosting her in-laws to go smoothly. And it would – if her handsome neighbor and his friendly St. Bernard would stop coming over, mooching food, and stealing kisses.

His Christmas Promise - Alicia Street 
A stray dog with a penchant for giving warm and fuzzy love finds refuge with an ex-Army helicopter pilot and helps restore his bedridden grandmother's will to live. It seems like a Christmas miracle until the bachelor war vet discovers the mutt belongs to a little girl who wants him back—and a single mom who makes him rethink his freewheeling ways and maybe even believe in love.

We Wish You A Ferret Christmas - Nikki Lynn Barrett 
Widower Lance Rossiter wants nothing to do with the pet ferret who caused his daughter to be hit by a car. Widow Cara McLean is shocked by the ferret her son finds and wants to keep. When Lance and Cara meet, sparks fly and love suddenly seems possible. Can a lost and found ferret bring two fractured families together?

Christmas Lovebirds - Rachelle Ayala 
Melisa Hart has a soft spot for her brother Connor’s ex-best buddy, Rob Reed, who slept with Connor’s girlfriend. When her pet lovebird is mixed up with Rob’s, Melisa discovers he’s always cared about her. Can two little lovebirds and Christmas cheer open Melisa’s heart to giving Rob another chance?

Christmas on Cougar Mountain - Nancy Radke
Hard-working Zoey is dedicated to helping children learn, and has built her business to the neglect of having a family. When she rescues a dog on the freeway, she discovers that the escape artist brings a family with him, including a boy she would like to help, and as love grows, a man she would like to keep. But will Kellen ever trust her to help his son, much less give her his heart?

The Vet’s Christmas Pet - J.L. Campbell 
The last thing Toni wants for Christmas is more responsibility, but her daughter has other ideas. A near accident not only brings them a dog in need of a home, but Matthias Laing, who Toni would prefer to keep in the past.

Tails, Time, and St. Nick - Mary Leo
Kris Timemaker has inherited a magical clock. Using the clock's magic for anyone other than St. Nick on Christmas Eve has some grave consequences, but when his daughter's beloved Westie goes missing, and his estranged wife asks for his help, Kris has no choice but to take a chance with time and try to win back his family in the process.

Graced - Jade Kerrion 
Connor Bradley doesn’t have time for distractions, not while juggling single parenthood and his clinic on five hours of sleep a night. He most certainly doesn’t have time for Noelle, the high school flirt, who is prettier and more irresistible than he remembers. When Noelle's father’s heart attack derails Connor’s plans for his first Christmas without his wife, Noelle wants to save the day for his adorable children, but can she also find her way into Connor’s guarded heart?

Unexpected Gift - Chantel Rhondeau 
Aspiring decorator Cali Johnson moves to New York City—lonely, afraid, and far from home during the holidays. When she finds a lost cat in her apartment building, she strikes up an odd friendship with his reclusive owner, Marcus Ritz. If only she knew what he was hiding.

Minty's Kiss - P.C. Zick 
When newly divorced Molly retreats to a family cabin with Gracie, her ten-year-old daughter, she's surprised to find her childhood crush, Nick, still living in the area. Can a small kitty named Minty help Gracie accept the love developing between Nick and Molly in time for her first Christmas in the mountains of North Carolina?

The Christmas Wish - Michele Shriver
Ashley McLaughlin is struggling to move on from her husband's infidelity. Brennan wants to make amends for his transgression. Their young daughter, Hayley, has only one wish for Christmas- for her family to be together again. When Hayley suffers a head injury after a fall from her horse, will it help her get her wish? Or do the wounds from Brennan's betrayal run too deep for Ashley to forgive?

Dante’s Gift - Aubrey Wynne 
Seventy years ago, a collie mix brought two hearts together in war torn Italy. Will their story help their grandson find his own Christmas love?

Mavy’s Christmas Miracle - Sharon Coady
Anne Hurd returns to the Pocono's to help her elderly grandfather. Six years earlier Kyle Shafer disappeared from her life. She rescues a kitten, takes her to a vet who turns out to be Kyle. Kyle can’t believe Anne walked back into his life. Will he scare her away, or will she give him another chance? Kyle decides to take a chance and try for the love he gave up on.

An Impossible Rescue - Annamaria Bazzi 
Christmas is no joy for Julia who's gambling husband comes around only to ask for money. When a handsome stranger and his cute Pomeranian puppy moves in next door, Julia feels guilty for their mutual attraction.Michael's not the rescuing type, but when he spies Julia's husband haranguing her for holiday cash, anger flares and he is determined to rescue Julia from another miserable Christmas.

99¢ for a Limited Time
Get into the Christmas Spirit and Holiday Cheer with Christmas Pets & Kisses

Helen Scott Taylor
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Helen Scott Taylor, had her first book released in 2009. The Magic Knot, won the American Title contest, was a Golden Heart® finalist, and was chosen as one of Booklist's top ten romances of 2009. Since then, she has published other novels, novellas, and short stories in both the UK and USA. Her published works have been finalists in a number of contests including the Holt Medallion, the Lories, the Prism Contest, the Write Touch Award and the Maggies.

Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, recently received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. Her name has often been posted on the 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list. She's a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.

Melinda Curtis
Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today recommended, Amazon best selling author.  She writes the independently published, steamy Hollywood Rules series as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.”

Alicia Street
USA Today bestselling author Alicia Street is a Daphne du Maurier award-winner. She writes both sweet and steamier romances and sometimes collaborates with her husband, Roy. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher and is a compulsive reader of every genre. Alicia grew up with dogs and cats and could not imagine living without furry pals.

Nikki Lynn Barrett
USA Today Bestselling author Nikki Lynn Barrett
I'm an avid lover of books. I've been writing as far back as I can remember, completing my first "book" by fifth grade in one of those one subject spiral notebooks. I have a passion for music, photography, jewelry and all things creative. I live in Arizona with my husband and son, but dream of being somewhere much colder and stormier. For now, I'll have to live that life through my characters and stick it out with the summer heat.

Rachelle Ayala
Bestselling author Rachelle Ayala I love the magic of the Christmas season filled with family and the spirit of giving and helping others. From romantic suspense to sweet contemporaries, I write from my heart and love to include children and pets in my stories. My stories range from steamy to sweet, so be sure to check the reader's guide at my website.

Nancy Radke
Amazon Best-selling author, Nancy Radke, writes modern romance and suspense as well as a Western Pioneer historical series. A former special education teacher, her education background shows when she includes history in her books, or in the case of her novella for this set, reading problems. Her books are G-rated, no sex, no swearing.

J.L. Campbell
J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes romantic suspense, women's fiction, new and young adult novels. She has written thirteen books, three novellas and two short story collections. Her novels include the Island Adventure Romance series, which currently has four exciting, stand-alone stories and features feisty women and determined men. Campbell is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Website ~ Newsletter

Mary Leo
USA TODAY bestselling author Mary Leo grew up in a complicated Italain family on Chicago’s Southside where she developed the art of storytelling. She writes with ironic humor, a bit of whimsy, some serious drama, and has a longstanding love affair with the American cowboy.

Jade Kerrion
Jade Kerrion writes award-winning and occasionally best-selling science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary novels anchored on unlikely romances you will root for and happy endings you can believe in. Her favorite romance is the Double Helix love triangle between Galahad—the lab-created perfect human being; Danyael—an alpha empath and Galahad’s physical template; and Zara—the woman who can wreak more havoc with love than most people can with hate

Chantel Rhondeau
Chantel Rhondeau is hooked on romance and suspense. She thinks there’s nothing better than a great mystery, but basically an optimist, Chantel loves a book to end ‘happily ever after.’ When she isn’t writing, Chantel enjoys playing cards with her family, bowling, and snuggling with her four kitty ‘children.’

P.C. Zick
P.C. Zick began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. She's won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. Today, she writes romance and contemporary literature with her pen drawing plots filled with love, hope, and forgiveness.

Michele Shriver
Michele Shriver writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Aubrey Wynne
Award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.

Her award-winning short stories Merry Christmas, Henry (2013)  and Pete's Mighty Purty Privies (2014) won the Preditors and Editors Reader's Choice Award. Aubrey’s latest Christmas story, Dante’s Gift, is part of the boxset Christmas Pets and Kisses and will also be sold as a single title.

Sharon Coady
Sharon Coady lives in Florida with her husband, three of their daughters and five of their eleven grandchildren. She wrote two books before discovering Romance novels. She has now written a romantic suspense, a romance novella and is currently writing a Christmas novella. She has two published novels. When not working as a nurse for the Veterans Administration or writing she enjoys spending time with her family and riding behind her husband on their Harley.

Annamaria Bazzi
Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.  Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond, Virginia with her small family.