Romance Novel Convention 2014

After sleeping for ten hours, I’m finally awake from my four days in Vegas at the Romance Novel Convention 2014! I had a blast, met some amazing writers, cover artists, readers, cover models and learned some stuff too!

I attended a class by Anne Perry, author of the William Monk series, and wonderful speaker. Her class was supposed to focus on weaving the back story throughout the piece so as not to create a historical laundry list. Instead it grew into something more. And this afternoon, I’ll be writing out my back story and then writing the outline for a new piece! Ms. Perry just added to my to do list.

Another class that has added to my to do list was the Twitter: Dos and Don’ts presented by Cheryl Bradshaw, author of the Sloane Monroe series. I have to clean up my twitter act and really take advantage of this free marketing tool. At some point today, I’m going to come up with what I’m going to regularly tweet about and go from there – slowly and steadily.

Then there was fun for the sake of fun!

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Swoon! Fitness Guru and Model – Mike O’Hearn

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The Rone Awards

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Sharks by the pool

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Music/Light show on Fremont Street

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Love this sign

Typed The End…Part 2

Cocktail partyAllergies have slowed the work down this week and I didn’t accomplish as much on my second week, but I did accomplish some things. Here’s the wrap up:

The first thing, that I’ve done is to create a writing schedule that will take me to the end of the year. Along with that came a promise to myself that I was going to complete it. Here’s schedule and where I am:

  1. Anthology Submission to Hot Ink Press for an upcoming project called Naughty Bedtime Stories – Received an email that it was received and is under review.
  2. Holiday Short Story – The second draft is going very slowly. I’m trying a new technique and while I think it will produce a better work, it’s taking a lot longer.
  3. Second Shifter Novella – The first draft stalled on Wednesday and I haven’t gotten back to it. Must work on this this weekend.

I also know that I have to get back out there and start connecting with readers and other writers, so I have a few blog hops coming up and some writers lined up to visit the blog very soon.

Happy Reading!

How to Make a Simple Book Trailer for Cheap

I’m an indie author on a budget and there are some things, I’ll have to do for myself. I’ve learned that editing and covers are super important and I can’t skimp on those. So what I can do for myself is some advertising, formatting for e-publication and making a simple book trailer!

I have these crazy ideas sometimes, that I can do anything. Back in April of this year, I had one such idea and downloaded Microsoft Movie Maker (free). I was going to make a book trailer.

The Concept – I wanted moving video with words that acted as a tease for Déjà Vu, my contemporary interracial romance. I was feeling very artsy that weekend and wanted something more abstract than concrete.

The Videos – I used www.pond5.com for the video snippets. ($30.00)

The Music – I used www.incompetech.com for the music. (free, must credit the artist)

Putting It Together – So easy. I dropped everything into a standard template and uploaded to YouTube!

Here’s the result:

 

Now for The Beginning of Forever, I went a little more concrete. The artsy wasn’t really resonating. There are no moving videos this time. I used static photographs from www.pond5.com and www.fololia.com for a total of about $14.00. I got the music for free from www.incompetech.com.

 

I had to work a little harder this time with timing and syncing the music, but it was worth it from the smiles I have gotten from my audiences forced to watch it.

Happy Writing…Trailer Producing!

~Val

 

An Indie Author’s Marketing Plan

I’m terrible at marketing. I think it boils down to the fact that I don’t like intruding.

That being said, I still have to promote my upcoming release, The Beginning of Forever. So I’m tossing around some ideas.

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Here’s what I have:

***Paid Services***

Schedule a Blog Tour: I’ve found a tour site that I believe caters to my genre and will be contacting them shortly to set up a tour. I’ve used this method before and wasn’t very happy with the results, but the fault was my own. I didn’t do my research. When paying for a blog tour, authors should read the blogs of the participating hosts. If the majority of the blogs focus on YA and you write Erotica, then it’s not a good match. Lesson learned.

Giveaways: My first giveaway is scheduled right here on the Vallory V blog during my September Hero Worship Week. I came up with Hero Worship Week last year and it was a lot of fun so I’m incorporating a giveaway with it this year. There will be three prizes all having a connection to Amber and Kevin’s story. I’ll also do one at the end of the year.

Facebook Party: I had one of these for Cheers and it was hilarious. My family and friends participated and made me laugh so hard. And my brother was asked to model for a romance cover. Thankfully, he works for the school district and couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have dealt with him if his photo was up on Amazon.  Don’t know that I got any sales from it but awareness was definitely created. I may do this later in the year around the holidays.

YouTube: Again sales, not so sure, but awareness! I’m busily working on a video to introduce with the book’s release.

***Free Stuff***

Tweet Schedule: I’ll be tweeting from September 6th to the end of year about The Beginning of Forever. If you follow me on Twitter, know that these messages are on a loop!

Forum Posting: Same as above!

Email Signature: Once I have a live link, I’ll add the book to my email signature.

Press Release: I’m in the process of creating a press release and will send to my local newspaper as well as any digital outlets I can find such as Yahoo! and Examiner.com

Update the Blog and Facebook Page: Have to change the headers and add photos.

Ask for Help!: I’m also compiling a list of authors who have appeared on this site and asking them if I can appear on theirs to promote my new release. Eek! This is goes back to my intrusion phobia, but I’ll do it!

It’s pretty skimpy and if anyone wants to share other ideas, I’m listening!

Deja Vu and Youtube.com

BookCoverImageAmazonI’m trying all sorts of things to get the word out about my work:

Goodreads giveaway of five print copies (available in the US, GB and CA)

Upcoming Blog Hops

Guest posts hosted by some wonderful bloggers

Facebook Event – May 11, 2013 – I’ll be giving away gift bags and print copies of books. (If you don’t have your invite, please let me know I’ll send you one along!)

And I posted a trailer to YouTube!

Let me know what you think.

Really, let me know before I start promoting this thing and find out it sucks!

 

The New Year Approaches – 2013

I hope your holiday went well. Mine was spent in South Carolina with my brother and his family and we had a great time. I often complain that my three kids are too loud. However after spending a week with five excited children, there’ll be no complaining from me for a while!

Because there were the grandparents who wanted to spend time with their grandkids, I also got some time alone to write and reflect.

I enjoying writing – bringing characters to life from a snippet of an overheard conversation or song verse and creating a world for them to inhabit. I enjoy working on my craft so that someday I can become a very good (dare I say great?) writer.

I’ve come to enjoy marketing. It has lead me to some very good reads and I’ve virtually met some awesome writers! That has been so cool for me.

HMMM?

HUH?

Publishing? Lately, that has left a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t mind criticism. As I said, I want to be good at this. But I’ve seen some things that my gut tells me don’t fall into constructive criticism. And as a published writer, I can’t call people on their suspected BS even here in my own little corner of the blogosphere.

So I’m seriously considering not publishing beyond my 2013 commitments. While I complete my projects in the next four to six months, I won’t be around much. But know that you can always drop me a line at t(dot)mailhes(at)yahoo(dot)com, I’m still an avid reader and honest feedback good or bad is always appreciated about my writing!

Happy New Year ~Val

Rethinking A Night at the Wesley

After getting my Nook, I discovered the many wonderful short stories out there. I love these quick little books and I can get through about five to seven every week. They are perfect for my daily train commute. Of course, the money I used to save on gas is now spent on books. But those are the woes of a reader!

Short stories are also a way for me to introduce my writing style to new readers for less than a cup of coffee.  My latest short, previously published in the KDP program at Amazon has been reworked (just a little) and republished on Smashwords.

I have enjoyed publishing on Smashwords but wanted to try another platform. After some research, I chose the KDP program. My thinking was that Amazon would provide more exposure for the story because of the lending program, the Amazon Prime program and the email recommendations. (I often get these and they recommend my books to me! LOL!). However after three months, I just didn’t see the results compared to similar works published on Smashwords in the same timeframe.

So I’ve moved back to Smashwords and will look at the results in the next three months. Since I’m in data analysis, I love this kind of stuff!

In this short story, Connie Atkinson is on vacation and ready to embrace her inner seductress in a five-star resort in Vail. However, a late deposition and a freak snowstorm derail her plans and she is forced to spend the night at the lackluster Wesley Hotel in downtown Detroit. 
In a gloomy mood, her spirits are lifted with the offering of a salaciously named cocktail and the appearance of her former college study partner, who didn’t think of her in that way. Since her divorce, Connie is opening herself up to new possibilities and a night with Noah Cohen has just made the top of her list.

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/248604