Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Facebook Events - do they work? More importantly, do you like them?




Do you get invitations to join these popular Facebook events? Do you accept them? I never have until I was forced to be involved. You see - I was one of the authors in a box collection presenting the party. We were all given hour spots that we were expected to host.


I dreaded it but, as you know, majority rules in these situations. The other girls knew what I hadn't understood.


That these crazy events are a heck of a lot of fun!


Unfortunately, my first experience was a nerve-wracking nightmare. I had no idea how to organize myself, how to pin a post or how to refresh a page. These are three very important steps you must understand if you want to have a successful party that you can enjoy.


Organizing is easy:

In a word document, compose the blurb you want to pin, so when it’s your turn to take the reins, all you need to do is copy and paste. In this write-up, make sure to welcome everyone. Tell them about the collection you’re advertising and then explain what it is you want them to do in order to win your prize. I usually ask for newsletter sign-ups but others want likes on their Facebook page or follows on Twitter, etc. Then ask them a question. For those who leave a comment, let them know what you’re giving away – a photo of the prize or book cover is needed here to catch the eye.






Pin the post:

See the photo above where the little arrow is clicked to open this box? It says “Pin to top” right? You click there. If it asks you to unpin the earlier post, say yes. Easy-shmeasy!


Refresh the page:

Again, this is simple if you know what it means. All I do is copy the url at the top of the page and then paste it in the same place or even just highlight it and hit enter. That will bring up the same page, which is what you want. You will have to scroll to where your slot is and most likely, you’ll have find where it says comments under the blurb and click on that or where see where it says other comments and that should open up all of the stream once again.


Hint: When I reply to comments, I always use # with the person’s name I’m answering. So they know I’m talking to them and I can see who I’ve answered and who I might have missed.


It’s true that this can get really hectic but golly is it fun! You’ll get to meet a lot of new Facebook friends who will then go to “like” your page and many will want to friend you also. Then there’s the ones who go to sign up on your newsletter, which a nice little bonus.


All in all, it’s a great way to spend an hour.


Mimi Barbour’s contacts:







***



Thursday, March 26, 2015

A blog too! Is there no end to an author's duties? #blogging @mimi'sgang1


Now we're at #7



A Blogger – not every person wants to blog and that’s just fine. I understand that you must sometimes feel as though you haven’t a minute to spare. After all, once you've gotten your words written every day, the thought of dragging more out of your brain can be overwhelming. I know and I sympathize.


But when I first began my journey in this career and happy to soak up any advice others were willing to share, I listened to a smart, successful author who told me this: Write a blog and make sure to put out posts every few days. You’ll be surprised at how much that practice will benefit you in the end. Plus, it’s a good way to gain followers, make friends and the perfect place to advertise your work.”


Turned out to be the truth and I still thank the good Lord that I took her advice.


For me, although it’s time-consuming, it’s helped tremendously with my writing. Because of blogging, I can write faster, smoother, my mind wraps itself around issues I want to talk about a lot quicker than it used to and I put that down to the constant training.


You know, when I started, I really worried I’d run out of material. Nah! Ain't ever gonna happen! There’s more information gathered in my poor aching brain than I would have imagined. Sharing it works for me and, I hope, for the readers.


The topic I chose - Facts and fiction about becoming an author! - was near and dear to my heart. I wanted to help others who had the same dreams of success. Some have already experienced parts of the journey and still others are now following the well-trodden path and finding it filled with many of the same pitfalls I encountered along my way. Therefore, if my blogging about the issues I came up against will stop others from making the same errors in judgement, then I’m a happy blogger.


And… I do understand that not everyone wants to write about the same subject. And why should you? Choose a theme that lights you up. Make sure you’re at least somewhat knowledgeable so there’s not a huge amount of research.


Don’t be fooled. Remember, that a lot of blog readers are just ordinary folks who enjoy learning something new and being entertained. And… there’re a whole lot of them.


In fact, I checked Wikipedia and this is the stats: On 20 February 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million WordPress blogs in existence worldwide. According to critics and other bloggers, Blogger is the most popular blogging service used today, however Blogger does not offer public statistics. Technorati has 1.3 million blogs as of February 22, 201.


Now, it only stands to reason that if those blogs are surviving, it’s because there are people who are interested and following them.


Another motivation for me to keep up my blog is because, since I joined Triberr, I have a huge number of people who view my posts. Many have become friends who support me. Some are just strangers checking out specific stories, being drawn in by the titles. No matter! Gotta tell you - I love them and I love my blog.






*Please follow me on my newsletter so I can keep in touch with you. I really do only write approximately once a month and I've been told by many that they like my newsy letters. Guess it’s because I feel like I’m writing to friends!

*****


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Making a cover is easy – I’m creative – yeah right!!




**My newest cover designed by Steven Novak from Novak Illustrations
This book will be released in the May 2015 box collection - Summer Fire!


Cover designer is #6 in the list of careers many Indie authors take on when publishing their work.


In this instance, unless you are a genius with a design background, I truly believe you should hire a professional.


Let’s face it, their vision of colors, styles and understanding what works in today’s market is a whole different profession than that of a wordsmith. (don’t-cha just love that phrase??)


Okay - I know many of you slap a cover together and do it fairly well. I guess, for me, it’s like going out in public with my hair kinda fixed, my makeup kinda okay and dressed kinda nice. But I could look a whole lot better – eye-catching, stunning…. you know what I mean.


Plain and simple - it takes a different set of skills. And just because we know that we can do it ourselves, doesn't mean we should. I've seen a lot of mediocre covers and I have no doubt that the sales are reflective of that problem.


In fact, I personally know a lot of authors who did settle for less than perfection and have since redone covers and seen a rise in their sales.


I also know that when books were being sold off of shelves in bookstores and other outlets, many times what grabbed my attention long enough to have me reaching for the book was my first view of its outside.


And don’t be fooled by e-books and the internet marketing platforms. Readers still look at covers and what they see can most certainly draw them to check further into the book’s description.



And... hopefully click on that magic ‘buy’ button. 


***Please follow me on my newsletter so I can keep in touch with you.
I really do only write once a month or so and I've been told by many that they like my newsy letters. Guess it’s because I feel like I’m writing  to friends!


*****

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Never let anyone tell you that all an Indie Author does is write! #amwriting






Moving on to #5

A formatter – again you can hire someone. At the beginning I did so and it jumped up and bit me in the ass. It’s much better to learn how and keep control of all your work.

I can only speak from my own experience about the formatting issue. And I will tell you that if I knew then, (when I first started) what I know now, (famous last words) I would have done things very differently. I would never have hired a professional.

Instead, I’d have found a top-notch program that works as well as a professional and done it myself. Which is what I ended up doing last summer for most of my books...  approximately 20 of them. And let me tell you – it was a lot of work and worth every minute I grumbled my way through it.

The thing is, when you first begin this writer’s journey, there is so much to learn that one gets overwhelmed. A person believes that they can’t do it all. That they need to pay a professional to do this stuff for them. As far as the cover art and the editing, I totally agree. But when it comes to the formatting, nowadays, it’s not that difficult.

Trust me… It kind of like the old saying – if I can do it – any dummy can.... truly!!

Early last year, after one of our local RWA meetings, I was having some wine with a few of the other authors in the group and sniveling about how my formatter had dropped the ball yet again and was keeping me waiting until the very last minute for my formatted manuscripts. One of the ladies became interested and mentioned a program called Pressbook. She explained that it was a template kind of deal where one followed the instructions, copy and pasted the manuscript into a form, added in the Book Information such as the ISBN, the copywrite, etc and it was simple. Once you chose the appearance from a number of styles they have there for you to peruse, you click on export. Within a few seconds, for the low cost of $20, you’ll get the prettiest little pdf, epub and mobi files you ever did see.

Thankfully, there were a lot of how-to videos to watch that made this possible for me to learn quickly. With very little skill, taking approximately an hour or two for a book (depending on the length), I was able to accomplish what I had paid mega bucks to have done in the past. And… all I had gotten for my money and the years I’d stuck it out was a mobi format – nothing else.

So… find yourself something similar. I know a lot of people use Scrivener, others use Microsoft Word and still others use Adobe InDesign. For me, I never had any real experience with any of these. Once my formatter had begun to drop the ball, was hard to get a hold of, taking way too long with the work and wanting to charge me extra for the epub files, (you see - I’d decided to begin spreading my work around the other venues) it was time to do something different. And I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did make the change.

For me, Pressbook has been terrific. I can store all my manuscripts in the site and access them any time I want to and from any computer. This is huge!!! Therefore, all my book files are altogether and safe. Whenever I want to update the “Also Author of…” page - no problem. I make the changes in the new book I’m formatting, and then when I have time, I go into the other books and copy and paste the new page and press the export button. Seconds later, I have the files and can go and upload them wherever they need to go – Amazon, Kobo, Apple, etc. I don’t have to go and beg anyone to do this work for me and then have to pay them.

An added benefit I love about Pressbook is that you can also pay another $80 and have that file made into a paperback pdf. That’s so cool!! (BTW – they often have sales with up to 35% off so I nab a discount for one of my paperbacks every time and get to save a lot of money that way.)

Okay - Just a small note to end this debate… if in fact you really can’t handle doing the formatting yourself, then please do find a good formatter, one that doesn't charge too much and has a good turnaround time – and REALLY good references. Because, let’s face it, no matter who does the work, it has to be done. Your product has to be perfect to compete against others who know better than to publish amateurishly formatted material.

I hope I gave you lots to think about...


You hate me now, don’t ya??

**From now on, I've decided I need to follow my own advice. I tell everyone how important it is to make friends and get exposure so the readers will recognize you and want to follow you down your path as an author. So therefore, from now on, I’ll be making a concerted effort to invite those who read my blogs to please follow me on my newsletter also.

I really do only write once a month or so and I've been told by many that they like my newsy letters. Guess it’s because I feel like I’m writing a letter to friends rather than a business blurb about my books.


**************

Friday, March 13, 2015

Luck of the Irish - e-book sale!! Don't miss it!! #Amazon #Free #99cents





It's our monthly Pinterest Party

Put on for you from the authors

of

The Author’s BillBoard.

We have loads of great bargains!

Everything from Children's Books,

to Romantic Suspense and

Western Love stories to Contemporary Romance.

We've even thrown in a few paranormal favorites

for you to enjoy.

We've lowered the prices and in some cases

made our books #FREE!

So what are you waiting for?

Come to our: Luck of the Irish Sale

and find GRRRReat deals.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lucky Leprechaun Reader Appreciation Celebration!! #eNovAaw


You are invited! To

eNoval Author's

Lucky Leprechaun Reader

Appreciation Celebration



eNovel Authors at Work members are hosting a huge FACEBOOK PARTY in honor of  our readers, reviewers, fans and bloggers. We appreciate you so much, because we cannot trod a successful path to indie authorship without you. We want to say Thank You! And we are!




We have some wonderful and unique Flash Prizes. A handmade collar by the natives in Chiriqui Provence in Panama. A lovely scarf one of our authors picked up on her travels, plus others, but the authors are keeping mum about them so I can’t share here. Grand prize is a Kindle. A $25 Gift Card. $10 Gift cards. And books galore. Fifty of them. That’s right. ebooks, and if you live in the USA, paperbacks of our best and most popular novels. Some of us have codes for FREE downloads for our Audible books. We are sharing those. Some of us are sharing those right this minute as a little Lagniappe. Because we are excited and can’t wait for the party to begin!




**Personally, I will be hosting on March 11th 5:30 - 6:00Pm EDT / 2:30 - 3:00 PT

And on March 12th from 6:00 - 6:30 EDT / 3:00 - 3:30 PT. I'll be giving away $10 Amazon Gift Certificates and copies of the Vegas Series for lucky commenters. Please come and visit with me and the others who want to say thank you for all your wonderful support. XO







March 11 ~ 13, 2015 4:00 pm ~ 10:00 pm EDT




March 11 ~ 13, 2015 4:00 pm ~ 10:00 pm EDT





Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Editors – who needs them! They cost serious money… #amwriting




4.       Editor – this you can and should hire someone to do for you. But if you write badly, it will cost you wayyy too much. Therefore, you must learn to edit yourself first. (See blog post Jan 8th, What have I gotten myself into?)



I hope you understood what I meant by this comment. Because a huge error a number of Indie authors have made in the past and are probably still making is insufficient editing. I have been a culprit myself way back in the beginning and the reviews from the readers who caught me still sting. Not because they’re untrue—but because they are.


Before I explain, I want you to know, that anyone who thinks their work is “good enough” and they don’t need a professional editor is a fool. Not only are they gambling with their reputation, they’re taking a chance on losing a discerning reader who could be a potential fan and most important of all, they’re passing up the opportunity to learn from an expert.


Now that we've gotten that straight, let’s go back to my comment. When I said that you must learn to edit yourself first, it’s exactly what I meant and with the emphasis on the word “first”.  In our long list, this is the next occupation you have to take on in this career as an author.


If you’re one of those writers who like to zip through the first draft and not stop to make any corrections, then your work is obviously in sore need of a keen eye and lots of revision. This is where you come in. By the time you’ve finished the book and go back, you should be reading the beginning with fairly fresh eyes that can see the obvious mistakes easily.


Therefore, it’s up to you, the author, to revise the book to a level as clean as you can make it. Sometimes that means two, three and even four passes through the work to pick up all the corrections necessary. If that’s the case, do it!


In the long run, it will save you time later on during the editing stage. It can keep down the charges because some editors base their fees on how long it takes them on the corrections. And… the cleaner that manuscript is when you send it away, the better the chance you’ll end up with an almost flawless product.  


I say almost because I have two wonderful editors, a fantastic proof-reader and my own three passes through the material and there’s still times when someone I consider an angel will point out mistakes we've all missed.



***I would ask a favor from you, please. If you have a minute, would you sign up for my newsletter? I send them approximately once a month, I don’t promote as much as share my news and I consider them letters to friends more than a business blurb. Also… be assured that I would never pass on your information.


Hugs, Mimi  


 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cover reveal & Facebook Party for Summer Fire - Love when it's hot!




SUMMER FIRE!


You’re all invited to join the authors for the PREORDER / COVER REVEAL EVENT on Facebook on Tuesday, March 3rd. Noon – 10:30pm Eastern.
. I will be hosting a spot from 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET and giving away paperback copies of my latest release Special Agent Finnegan so please join me.


It’s a party!!! Contests, prizes, and chat with the authors.
DESCRIPTION:
21 ALL NEW Contemporary Romance stories by New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors.
99c for a LIMITED TIME ONLY!
What do your favorite authors fantasize about when they think about summer heat?
Love when it’s hot? So do we. Especially when we’re writing about gritty alphas, angsty bad boys, sizzling attraction, and unrequited passion. Turn the fan to oscillate and join us for this steamy, groundbreaking bundle of summer tales that are hot! Hot! 
HOT!!

Gennita Low
Stacey Mosteller
R.J. Lewis
L. Wilder
Victoria Danann
Kym Grosso
Cat Miller
Mimi Barbour
Clarissa Wild
Teresa Gabelman
Linda Barlow
Helen Scott Taylor
Victoria James
Mona Risk
Patrice Wilton
Joan Reeves
Danielle Jamie
Terri Marie
Lorhainne Eckhart
Brandy L. Rivers
Nicole Blanchard

P.S. Just so you know, my new story called “BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY” is not hot, although, it does have scads of emotion and romance to make it enjoyable. Also… it’s never been published and won’t be released until this book goes live.

LINKS for pre-order for Summer Fire: