“This podcast is guaranteed”



door-to-doorSalesmanMy email inbox is getting crowded with a lot of surefire offers lately.

So many people offer online courses to help me learn marketing so I can sell more books. Here are some examples from my inbox.

  • Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers
  • Bryan Cohen Selling for Authors
  • Joanna Penn, the Creative Penn—three courses, including “How to Make a Living with your Writing”
  • Juliet Dillon Clark of the Winsome Media Group has a number of courses and packages on “building your author platform” and using that to increase sales, and on how to launch a new book
  • Mark Dawson has Advertising for Authors courses as well as shorter tutorials and lots of videos.

These are just some of the online courses targeted specifically at marketing for self-published authors. They join a huge list of similar online programs:

  • Ray Edwards offers the Copywriting Academy, a series of online seminars on writing effective advertising—not just for writers, but for any business.
  • Rebecca Dickson, once a professional editor with a spicy vocabulary (she edited a book of mine, Army of Worn Soles), has the Entrepreneur Incubator program
  • Wilco de Kreij teaches e-commerce
  • The most recent to my inbox is Joei Chan’s branding blog and courses.

They may have different names and slightly different foci, but they have a lot in common, too. They claim to have found a formula for increasing book sales. The blog posts contain a tip that I usually know, but mostly they’re long ads for the courses, webinars, videos, books or other materials that make the same promises: more book sales for independent authors.

There are often videos, some free, some behind pay walls. The free videos and free webinars, however, are usually more drawn-out ads for the courses. What’s most annoying about them is that they always promise a free, bonus, sure-fire tip, one thing you can do to boost your sales, or your email subscriptions or whatever, if you watch the whole thing to the end. Some have disabled the fast-forward function (I hate it when TV shows do that in their on-demand versions.) And most of the time, when I do watch till the end, it’s not worth the wait.

The course is the whole point of all this stuff. It’s presented like a university-level program with several hours of video, whiteboard animations, info-graphics and support materials like workbooks in .pdf format. There are often downloadable videos, too, to help you remember some of the information (I guess).

What’s wrong with that? you ask

I suppose these must work, because more people seem to be doing them all the time, and the people already doing them seem keep publishing their teaser videos.

They remind me of late-night infomercials, with some sketchy guy or overenthusiastic woman hawking a product that, even with good lighting and photography, looks too flimsy to last more than day if used for whatever the hawker tell us to use it for.

Or like a timeshare salesperson, with a sales pitch that promises you a free TV or car just for listening. And goes on and on and on…

They’re expensive, too

But the worst part is the cost. Joanna Penn’s Self-Publishing Success course is one of the most reasonable, at under $300. And for the time and materials, and if it actually delivers results, it might be worth it.

Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers is even more expensive, at about $80 a month for a year. Ryan Deiss’s Digital Marketer courses are just under $1000. Others don’t tell you how much they cost until you already agree to give them your email address.

Do they work?

The marketers tell us they do. And they all provide testimonials.

But I signed up for one—I won’t say which—and soon dropped it, because I already knew most of the content: write a good book, know your audience, stay focused; use email to engage readers, make sure you have a full “author’s platform,” meaning a blog, website and a presence on just about every social medium.

I’m in a quandary. I’d like to know the secrets to selling books, but I just don’t see anything from these courses that convinces me that the authors know, either.

What do you think?

What’s your experience, if any, with online courses or programs that guarantee you the ability to sell to strangers? Leave a comment.

Dogs, travel and Kindle Worlds: An interview with author Emily Kimelman



Emily-author-photo
The newest Kindle World, the Sydney Rye Universe, launched with new titles from seven authors, including me. This week I thought it would be great to give readers more insight into it through the creator of Sydney Rye, Blue, Mulberry and Bobby Maxim: Emily Kimelman.

Emily Kimelman was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of a correspondent for the Philadelphia Enquirer. Her family moved to Texas within weeks of her birth, and then two years later to Moscow, from which come her earliest memories. She studied the history of forensic science at New York University. She published her first mystery novel featuring Sydney Rye and Blue, Unleashed in 2011. The seventh novel in the series is Shadow Harvest, and it came out in August 2015.

Late that year, Amazon contacted Emily about launching a Sydney Rye Kindle World, a project that allows writers to contribute works to established series. I was honoured when Emily asked me if I would be one of the first to write for the Sydney Rye Universe, and I jumped at the chance to write my second novella featuring Van Freeman and Earl LeBrun from Jet: Stealth. It’s called The Wife Line, and you can read a sample on this blog and another on Emily’s.

Emily corresponded to me for this interview from upstate New York, where she lives with her family and her dog, Kinsey.

When did you first get the idea for Sydney Rye and Blue? Why did you decide on a human-canine team of crime-fighters?

I was working as a dog walker on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and it was the weirdest job because I had access to all these people’s apartments but we’d never met. As a voracious mystery reader, I recognized this as a great set-up for an amateur detective. Since I love dogs (it’s hard to be a professional walker if you’re not super into them :)) I figured I needed a dog side kick for my detective. At the time I had a giant wolf-dog named Nova who had one brown eye and one blue. He became the model for Blue.

Is the Joy Humboldt character based on you or someone else you know?

Joy Humbolt is a lot like me when I was younger. She is braver and tougher but we are a lot alike. My mother leaves me messages when reading my books like: “Don’t you go down in that tunnel. What are you crazy!”

Do you have a dog? What kind?

I have a Spanish Water Dog named Kinsey, after Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone. She is adorable and bad to the bone as any good dog should be.

Where do your characters come from? Do you base them on specific people you know? Or are they created fresh in your mind?

It’s a mix. Sometimes characters pop into my mind fully formed and start running around messing stuff up. Other times I’ll meet someone who has a way about them that feels exciting or entertaining. My husband always warns people that they might end up in one of my books.

Some characters seem as if you created their personalities to fit critical roles to drive the plots forward, like Dan and Merle. Do you know any people like that?

Merl is based off a guy who was a regular at a bar I worked at in New York. The regular looks like Merl, talks like him, dresses like him and even had three Doberman Pinschers. However, their back stories are totally different. As far as I know, that guy wasn’t into vigilantism at all, never took heroin, nor spent time in the army. He just liked Dobermans and dressing like he was in training. When I started writing Death in the
Dark
 I didn’t have an outline and when Merl showed up, I was like, “Oh, that makes sense.”

I don’t know anyone like Dan. I don’t do outlines so I was just writing along when he showed up and from the first moment I met him I knew he was going to be very important. I liked him and he kind of felt like home to me, even though I didn’t base him off anyone. Writing is funny that way.

We know that Sydney hates Bobby Maxim, but as the books progress, he gets more and more complex. How do you feel about him?

I’m as surprised by the growth in their relationship as anyone. I didn’t see it coming. Bobby Maxim is slippery — I can’t ever seem to get a bead on him. I respect the hell out of him but I don’t trust him, not fully. However, I don’t think he’d do anything to hurt Sydney. I think he really loves her. I think she’s the only woman who has ever told him no. And he likes it.

You travel a lot, and so does Sydney. Do you enjoy writing about your own travels through Sydney’s eyes?

Yes, I love it. I love hearing her take on the places that we go.

When did you first get involved with Kindle Worlds?

When Toby Neal was offered a Kindle World for her Lei Crime Series, she asked me to be a launch author. I had heard of the KW program but never taken the time to look into it. I loved writing in her world … and not just because I took it as an excuse to fly to Maui, though that was a huge bonus. But writing in another author’s world is freeing somehow. I also loved how communal the process was. Working with a group of authors in the same world is really fun.

Your second Kindle World was, I believe, Russell Blake’s Jet. Tell me about your decision to incorporate Sydney Rye and Blue into Jet’s universe.

Toby told me she was writing for Jet and I was intrigued. Then Sean Fitzgerald, the acquisition editor for KW, called me up and asked me to write in it, explaining that I could use Sydney without loosing any rights. I had the seventh Sydney Rye novel coming out a week after the world launched, so I thought it would be a fun way to get my fans excited for Shadow Harvest.

Your own Kindle World, the Sydney Rye Universe, has just launched with seven titles from seven different authors. You invited specific authors to join. How did you select them?

I made a huge list of every author I knew and liked. Then I picked out the ones I most wanted in the launch. I based it on how professional I thought they were in terms of deadlines, if I’d read their work and liked it, and if I thought my fans would be into their other work. I wanted to keep the launch small enough that my readers could buy them all without becoming overwhelmed. I have lots more authors I want to invite to write in my world and I’m hoping by spacing out the launches it will give fans time to read them all!

The different books span quite a range. Most incorporate the authors’ previously-created characters. Mine, The Wife Line, includes Van and LeBrun from my Jet Kindle World novella. How do you feel about that? 

I wanted lots of different styles. That’s part of the fun for me as the world creator. I can never write a Sydney Rye story where she interacts with a ghost, or Van and LeBrun, or Lei (Toby’s character). It’s SO MUCH fun to read these other takes on my characters.SRKWbadge3

Will you write any more in other Kindle Worlds, such as Toby Neal’s Lei Crime world, or the Jet world?

I’m planning on another story for Toby’s world this year. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do something with Jet, but I’m thinking about it.

When will the next Sydney Rye and Blue novel by Emily Kimelman come out?

I’m working on Sydney Rye #8 now. I’m hoping to have it out by early summer but am not making any promises at this moment. I have a six-month-old daughter who likes a lot of attention, and I like giving it to her 🙂 So I’m enjoying her babyhood because I know it will be gone in the blink of an eye. Whereas Blue and Sydney will be with me forever.

Thank you so much, Emily.

Emily Kimelman is the author of seven Sydney Rye novels, six KISS stories, a Jet Kindle World novella and a Lei Crime Kindle World novella. She is also a member of BestSelling Reads.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @ejkimelman.

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: Rough Road by Toby Neal



Day 4 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

The new Sydney Rye Kindle World launches today—Thursday, March 17. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project.

Today’s installment is from the author who introduced me to the Kindle Worlds concept, the bestseller Toby Neal. With Rough Road, Toby takes Lei Texeira, who will later become a Hawaii police officer, detective and FBI Special Agent, into the world of Sydney Rye and Blue.

RoughRoadCover

Chapter 2

The area around the dirt road was sandy soil, dotted with the round balls of desert sage and tumbleweeds, an occasional barrel cactus or saguaro adding an extra hazard as Lei ran.

Lei had one advantage—she ran a lot. Terror gave her extra speed and she tore through the sagebrush and sand, leaping over a small barrel cactus in her path like a hurdler, never looking back to see if they were catching up to her. Lei’s only advantage was speed, and she couldn’t waste it.

Lei could hear them behind her: panting breath, crunching brush, the occasional curse. She focused on the ground directly ahead of her, thankful that she’d worn her usual outfit of athletic shorts, tank shirt, and a pair of running shoes in spite of Amy’s teasing to get into something cuter.

The sounds of pursuit grew fainter. She was leaving them behind, and it was a good thing too, because she was reaching the limits of her endurance. She hurtled up the long swell of a brush-covered sand dune, breath searing through overworked lungs.

She reached the top and turned, slowing her steps. Her shoes sank in loose, deep sand as she paused, leaning over to rest her hands on her knees and look back.

The two men were already returning to the car. Fernando looked right at her as he opened the door of the truck. He reached in and pulled Amy up by her hair. Looking right at Lei, he flourished his huge Buck knife against her friend’s neck. Lei gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.

He was trying to make her return, by holding Amy hostage.

If Lei went back, he’d just have two girls to torture. If Lei found help, one of them at least might survive. But was she just justifying leaving Amy there to suffer? Lei’s mouth was chalky with the horror of her dilemma.

She took too long to decide.

Slower on his feet, Joao finally reached the vehicle. She saw the men exchange angry words, and Joao got in. Fernando waved the knife toward Lei again, and then unceremoniously shoved Amy into the middle of the seat and climbed in, too, slamming the door. The truck fired up and drove away, churning dust over the red Mustang still fishtailing in its wake.

“Oh my God.” Leis knees buckled and she sat abruptly. She was in the middle of nowhere, in the desert, without water or a cell phone. She hung her head for a moment, getting her breath and her bearings, shaking with delayed shock. “Poor Amy. Oh my God. I have to help her.” She stood up and hiked the few more feet to the top of the dune.
From that vantage point, Lei could see back to the road, an empty line through the desert that led toward the mountains. Those hills were arid and shadowed with shades of mauve, blue and dusty green as afternoon waned. In the other direction, the ocean gleamed in the distance, cool and taunting, behind a bank of dunes.

Might as well head that way. Where there was a beach, there was the possibility of people, and she was afraid to return to that rough, empty road.

What is Rough Road about?

Some bad road trips are still meant to be taken.

Twenty-one year old Lei Texeira and her friend Amy set off on a road trip for Cabo San Lucas, looking for fun in the sun—but a wrong turn leads to danger south of the border. Lei meets Sydney and Blue in the desert, learns the ways of vigilante justice, and a friendship is born. Merl, Sydney’s badass trainer, teaches Lei the sweet rewards of taking a risk and learning to let go. In this prequel to Blood Orchids, (Book One in the Lei Crime Series), Lei makes discoveries that will shape her life and future forever.

Rough Road falls right after Book Two in the Sydney Rye series, Death In the Dark (and thus a year or two before my Sydney Rye book, The Wife Line).

Rough Road is action-packed, sexy, and impossible to put down. Lei and Sydney working together are so good! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Toby will decide to write another.”—Emily Kimelman, author of the Sydney Rye Series

About the author

TobyAndMe3Best-selling author Toby Neal was raised on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where she lives today after “stretches of exile” to pursue education. A mental health therapist, Toby credits that career with adding depth to the characters in the Lei Crime Series. She is a member of BestSelling Reads.

Visit her

 

What are Kindle Worlds?

Sydney Rye Kindle World WeekKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

How to find funds for your novel: Guest post by Roger Eschbacher



Finding the funds to cover editing, design and production of a book is a challenge every independent author must work out. This week, the award-winning Roger Eschbacher describes his solution.

This post originally appeared on the old Scott’s Written Words blog.

As just about any “indie” author will admit one of the biggest knocks against our tribe is that often self-published books are rife with errors (punctuation, grammar, typos, continuity problems, etc.). We know how jarring it can be to run across a typo in a traditionally published book, so imagine how distracting it can be to be poked in the eye by dozens of them.

Why does this happen? To be blunt, it’s because the author didn’t have the book properly edited. And by “properly,” I mean professionally. No matter how good at catching errors you think you might be, you’ll never get them all. No matter how good you might think your beta reader/proofreader friends are at finding embarrassing mistakes in your text or story, there are always more hiding in your manuscript. Always.

I can verify this through my own experience. I can’t tell you how many “final” reads I did on Dragonfriend, my 2013 self-published MG fantasy novel. I’d go through it, find and fix a bunch of errors, only to go back to the beginning for one last look and find even more. I realized I needed professional help. I needed a paid editor with a trained eye to go through my manuscript and find the mistakes that would embarrass me if they ever made it out of my computer and into the wild.

What does any of this have to do with finding funds for my novel?

Well…having come to the realization that I was in over my head as far as editing goes, I started looking around for someone to help me out. Guess what? Editors can be expensive! My manuscript was in the 75,000-word range, and quotes for an edit on a book that size ran from the upper hundreds to the low thousands on the sites I checked. Google “editing, novel, proofreading” yourself and be prepared for your jaw to drop to the floor. This is not a knock against the editors, by the way; what they do is very time- and labor-intensive (= expensive).

So what was I going to do? I knew I had to get my book properly edited, but I also knew I wasn’t exactly dripping with cash. I was frozen in place until I could scrape together enough funds for a professional editor. Frozen, that is, until I ran across Kickstarter.

How Kickstarter works

Kickstarter.com is a site that exists solely for raising funds for “the arts.” Based on the artist/patron model of old, Kickstarter provides a platform where you can raise money from friends, family, and total strangers without having to beg in person. You simply set up an account and direct people to it with a “Hey, if you’re interested in backing my book project…” Amazingly, to me anyway, a lot of folks were willing to pitch in and help me out.

If you head over to the site, you’ll find that everyone from filmmakers to graphic artists to greeting card makers have a project going on. Oh, and authors too.

Here’s how it works. You sign up for an account, then pitch your project to the Kickstarter folks. My “project” was to raise enough money to have my book professionally edited and pay for its setup (cover design, proof copies, Createspace Pro Plan, etc.). Frankly, I think this step is included to make sure that only “creatives” get in the door. They’re very specific about not accepting charity or non-arty business projects. This site is about raising funds for projects with artistic content.

Thankfully, my project was approved and I set about trying to determine the amount of funding I would need. Having priced out the costs listed above (I picked an editor quote somewhere in the middle of the pack) and factoring in Kickstarter’s five percent account fee, I determined I’d need about $2,100.00 to properly prepare Dragonfriend for publication. Kickstarter recommends that you research your costs and pick a sum that is very close to the amount of funds you will actually need. They say that an appropriately priced project is more likely to succeed, and I think that makes sense.

Next, you determine how long you want the project to go. The allowable range is between 30 and 90 days. Kickstarter recommends 30 days, advising that if a project is going to be funded, it’ll usually happen within that period of time. I wish I had listened to them. I chose 45 days, only to have my project achieve full funding at around day 25. You have to wait for the project to play itself out before Kickstarter releases the funds, so I found myself cooling my heels for the balance of time left in the project. Another reason not to inflate your request is that if you don’t reach your funding goal within the allotted time, the project fails and no one (yourself or Kickstarter) gets any money. The backers who pledged prior to fail won’t be charged either, which is good, but you obviously don’t want to fail. In short, determine a reasonable goal and don’t be greedy!

Next, you create your backer “rewards,” attaching fun things like bookmarks, signed copies, and future character naming rights to various donation price points. They encourage you to be inventive, so in addition to those traditional rewards, I added stuff like writing a “fake” unmasking scene from the Scooby Doo series I write on. The backer became the villain and was able to pick the name of their evil alter-ego in a customized script. Sure it’s silly, but three backers ended up receiving scenes thanks to some very generous donations.

Then you press the “launch project” button and get the word out that you’re trying to raise money for a worthy project—asking folks to become true patrons of the arts. I ended up raising $2,205.00, which I promptly put into play by hiring an editor. I chose Iguana Proofreading and opted for their complete package of a manuscript critique and proofreading.

I have nothing but good things to say about my Kickstarter experience. It provided the funds I needed to launch my book. Without it, I’d probably still be going through the manuscript and finding error after error after error…

What about you? Do you have any experience with Kickstarter or tips on hiring a pro editor? Please share them in the comments.

c114e-undrastormur2bcoverA native of St. Louis, Missouri, Roger Eschbacher lives in Los Angeles, California, where he’s worked as a writer/actor for over 30 years. These days he works primarily as a TV animation writer. He has written for shows you’ve heard of like SCOOBY DOO: MYSTERY INCORPORATED, WABBIT, and LITTLEST PET SHOP and a few you haven’t. Along the way he managed to get nominated for an Emmy. He’s the author of the middle-grade fantasy adventure novel Dragonfriend (winner of a 2012 BRAG Medallion) and its sequel Giantkiller. Roger’s most recent work is UNDRASTORMUR: A Viking Tale of Troublesome Trolls, a novelette available on Amazon. He’s also written two children’s picture books, “Road Trip”, and “Nonsense! He Yelled,” both for Penguin. 

For a list of all of , please visit Roger’s LinkedIn profile page.

Visit Roger’s

Writers who love writing: Claude Bouchard and Mohana Rajakumar let it all out



DG EMPL / Creative Commons

Writing is a job, or a vocation or maybe an addiction that requires you to do a lot of things besides writing. Then there are those of us who seem to find a lot of other things to do (hold on while I straighten that picture on the wall) before we can get around to writing.

In this installment of Written Words, thriller author Claude Bouchard from Montreal and Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar from Qatar offer their very different perspectives on the art and craft of being a writer.

Which element of fiction is most important to you as a writer?

Claude Bouchard: If I’m limited to a single choice, the plot is most important as you can’t really have a story without, uh, a story. However, characterization and setting(s) are required elements as well in order to give the story life and dimension. Details are also important in terms of accuracy although I don’t tend toward minutiae. To varying degrees, action is dependent on the genre and, in my case, is also a relevant aspect in my writing. Sex, not as much since I write crime thrillers.

Mohana Rajakumar: I tend to write character driven stories and learned the hard way that what happens in the story is as important as to whom it is happening. I’ve started outlining before writing to help me stay on track.

Because all my books have a cultural element, getting the little details right, such as words, clothing, food, etc. is also really important.

What part of writing do you spend the most time on: research, writing, editing, making coffee or cleaning your work space?

Claude Bouchard: In my case, research, writing and editing are all ongoing activities throughout my writing process so they get equal billing. Coffee is a couple of cups in the morning, the machine having been set on timer the night before. As for cleaning my work space, I may have missed the memo regarding that one.

rajakumar-mohana-webMohana Rajakumar: Editing! I can write a manuscript in 30 days but I need seven months to revise it (or more!).

Which of these do you enjoy most?

Claude Bouchard: The pure writing part of my process is what I enjoy the most, especially when I’m on a roll.

Mohana Rajakumar: I love writing a good scene. Nothing can beat the feeling of having created a world others want to enter.

What do you wish you had to do less?

Claude Bouchard: Although I generally like doing research, it would be nice if I sometimes knew everything and could simply spew it out.

Mohana Rajakumar: I wish I could write flawless prose that never needed a proof reader.

What part of writing or publishing do you think you could help other writers with?

Claude Bouchard: Having written and published fourteen works to date, I’ve had a number of writers ask for help or advice in a variety of areas and, to my knowledge, assisted them to their satisfaction.

Mohana Rajakumar: I could help other writers with story structure.

Which of your books or other works are you personally happiest with? Why?

Claude Bouchard: I love all my books and don’t you be telling them anything different. However, I am rather pleased with Nasty in Nice, the novella I wrote for the JET Kindle World. Melding Russell Blake’s characters with mine was a blast, the plot is solid, the action rocks and I put it all together in record time.

Mohana Rajakumar: I do love the new crime series that I started with The Migrant Report because it was a completely new genre for me.

Thank you, Claude and Mohana!

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer.  She has since published eight e-books, including a momoir for first-time mothers, Mommy But Still Me; a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life, the day-to-day dynamics between housemaids and their employers. Her latest book is The Migrant Report.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at www.mohadoha.com or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.

Claude Bouchard wrote his first novel, Vigilante, in 1995, and two more by 1997, but did not publish them until 2009. Since then, he has also written a stand-alone novel, Asylum, and eight more thrillers in the Vigilante series including his latest release, Sins in the Sun. Two of his novels were included in the pair of blockbuster Killer Thriller anthologies, the second of which made the USA Today Bestsellers list in March 2014. Claude has also penned Something’s Cooking, a faux-erotica parody and cookbook under the pseudonyms Réal E. Hotte and Dasha Sugah. His most recent work, released July 28, 2015, is Nasty in Nice, his contribution to Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World.

Eight of his eleven books in the Vigilante Series have been #1 bestsellers in the Vigilante Justice category on Amazon while the remaining three came close in the #2 and #3 slots. Nasty in Nice made #3 on the Kindle World Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Bestseller List and sat comfortably at #1 for several days as a Hot New Release. Almost 600,000 copies of his books have been distributed to date.

Claude lives in Montreal, Canada with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eye of Krystalle and Midnight, two black females of the feline persuasion.

 

Claude’s other interests include reading, playing guitar, painting, cooking, traveling and planning to exercise.

 

His website, claudebouchardbooks.com, has often been described as comparable to DisneyLand without the rides.

Do you have limited writing time but big goals?



TypingA guest post by Autumn Birt

Are you a writer? If so, are you meeting your writing goals?

Writing is a passion, one usually cobbled together from stolen moments and highs of inspiration. But if you get the writing bug and you get it bad, finding enough time is often a source of frustration.

Why write more?

Because fans like to read more. That is my number one answer. I’m a reader as well as a writer. I’ve fallen in love with a series that I’ve stayed with for three years and am now anxiously awaiting the last book — which should come out in two years. That is a whole lot of anxious waiting! And let’s not talk about another story I love that currently exists as short stories spread across several e-zines and books. I have meticulously copied all of them to one spot. I am her number one fan. She has plans to write a book … someday. I want to cry.

So yeah, keeping fans from becoming the frustrated and then jaded reader I am today is definitely a goal. When I was a teenager, a new book a year was acceptable. It still is, even though that was quite a while ago and long before ebooks. Now, a new book every six months is considered a professional target. More often is great. Fans want to be filled with anticipation, not angst.

And professional is the other reason to write and release more books, great books. Because let’s face it, if you have any hope of making a decent income from writing, one where you can potentially scale back that full time job to write, you either need to write and release more or have a really good retirement plan lined up. I’m not a teenager anymore, but I don’t want to wait that long to write full time!

So I committed myself to writing more and writing better because I not only love it, but want to make it a career. With a lot of trial and error, I developed seven key techniques and five writing tools that worked. How well? I wrote four-and-a-half books in a year and they are the best I’ve written so far.Writing Time

To be clear, I’m not talking about typing faster. Who cares how fast you typed a page if you end up deleting it? Meeting a writing goal of producing more novels in a year means creating a great story faster. And there are tips, tricks, and tools to do that. It is a paradigm shift to believe writing more in a limited time is achievable.

It is possible. I’m proof. But I want to be more than proof. I want to help other writers do the same thing. Seriously!

Writing time is a limited resource. Use it well.

I’m serious about teaching this to other authors. So serious that I’m launching a pilot class to not only teach the seven techniques and those five customizable tools, but also to work one-on-one with the students to make sure those same tactics work for them. Everyone is different and in a different situation. I want everyone to be successful.

Since this is a trial course with lots of coaching, enrolment is very limited. If you are interested in learning more please use the contact form below to get in touch with me. I’d love to talk to you!

About Autumn

author picAutumn is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war — not all in the same series, though. She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy will be released in full in 2015 and will be quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, she is working on a new epic fantasy trilogy, Games of Fire, set in the same world as The Rise of the Fifth Order.

If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release the first book in 2015, too.

She is a member of Independent Authors International and the Guild of Dreams.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at  or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer.

Quick Note

If the contact form isn’t showing up, please just provide my email: autumn.birt@gmail.com

Also, let me know when the post is live and where so I can stop by to answer any questions and share. Thanks again!

 

Guest blogger: Martin Crosbie, author of My Temporary Life



This guest post from Martin Crosbie originally ran on my Blogger blog in 2012, and it’s well worth reading again.

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Martin’s excellent self-published book, My Temporary Life, achieved a great deal of attention in the major media for hitting number 1 on Amazon. Here, Martin explains how he did it. This topic became the basis of a subsequent book from Martin, How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle: An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook.

Martin also interviewed me about my first novel. That interview is on his blog—but read Martin’s tale of hitting number one first.

Pirates, karma, and my unlikely rise to #1

In early February 2012, two months after publishing it, I enrolled my first ebook in KDP Select. Did much happen because of it?

Yeppers, in three weeks I experienced more personal accomplishments than I ever could have imagined. First of all, My Temporary Life became available as a free download in an Amazon promotion. The idea is that folks download it for free and with the momentum that builds, when it becomes a paid download, it sells. Well—IT WORKED! It became the most downloaded ebook in North America for one day, in March 2012.

My Temporary Life built up momentum like a rocket taking off. There was nothing gradual about it at all. By the second day, it was second overall in free downloads. On the third day, well you know what happened, because you heard me. Yep, doesn’t matter where you were, you probably heard me. We hit #1 overall.

So, then, “paid” day happened. It changed over at midnight on Sunday and paid sales slowly started to trickle in. The next morning I expected to see 15 or 20 sales. We had over 200. Over 200 folks pulled out their credit cards and took a chance on my self-published book, which over 120 publishers and agents had turned down. (Oh, did I forget to mention that part?)

Sales continued all day, and the days after. We peaked in the overall rankings at #9, but it didn’t stop there. An independent website emailed to tell us that we were the #7 most downloaded independent ebook of the week; we did a bunch of online interviews, emails and reviews stacked up like crazy, the momentum was deafening.

We hit 60,000 downloads, 51,500 of which were free. There were so many requests for information that we issued a press release. Yep, we issued a press release talking about the book that I wrote in the spare bedroom of my house. A Dallas, Texas television station ran the story. They were interested in the fact that over 120 agents and publishers rejected “My Temporary Life,” yet all these folks were downloading it. We were on the Movers and Shakers list. We were one of the top 10 self-published ebooks on Amazon. We were #2 in Romance/Suspense. We were #2 in Mystery/Thriller. And more 5-star reviews came in every day.

At dinner one night, Jacquie and I sat and read the newest reviews. Two of them made us cry. It’s an amazing experience to read about how your work can touch another person. The sales figures really are amazing, but the almost overwhelming part is that you have an opportunity to touch so many people.

Helping things along

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Now, while all this momentum was happening, it was also getting a little help: I was spreading the word. You see, although I do trust in Amazon, I was helping it along. I was posting interviews, sales figures, anything I could. I was on Amazon discussion boards, Kindleboards, KDP’s Community site, Facebook, Twitter, even Craigslist! All I wanted to do was tell people about my book. And, in doing all of this, not a lot of other things were happening, including writing. And, you see, there are a couple of things that I have to do in my life to function. One of them is sleeping, and the other is writing. I was sleeping a little bit-four or five hours a night, but not writing at all. That was the first problem. The second problem was the pirates.

My Temporary Life showed up on a piracy site. Someone had taken my work, changed some things, and was giving it away. So, we quickly sent a letter to them, and the owners of the site were kind enough to take it down right away. I remember years ago, sitting in front of my computer and playing with Napster, and I felt karma kicking me solidly on my rear end.

The next thing that happened was we started receiving a lot of emails from other authors asking me what I’d done, or more specifically what I did differently. There are two things that I can definitely recommend. One is Bob Mayer and Jen Talty’s The Shelfless Book. This is it: https://whodareswinspublishing.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=164

The book is actually the contents of their course that I took just before my epbublishing adventure began.

My other recommendation is to do everything you can think of to spread the word. I can tell you that it truly does make a difference when you have a Facebook event or tweet it, or come up with some other novel and original way to reach readers.

Currently, over 90,000 people have downloaded My Temporary Life. Our sales have tapered off a little bit lately, but we are still high in the rankings and we have over 80 five-star reviews now, too, and, oh yes, the sequel has been published. My Name Is Hardly is out. So, thank you everybody for Facebooking, and Tweeting, and emailing your friends. Every time you’ve told someone about my book it made a huge difference, and the book that over 120 agents and, oh never mind, that doesn’t matter now, the word is out there, and people are enjoying the book. Thank you all, it’s truly appreciated!

Martin’s interview of me is on his blog, here.

My Temporary Life is excellent. I recommend it. You can find it on Amazon, of course.