Category: Amazon.com -  L.A. Tripp
 
Today I unleash a short I've been working on for a bit. It wouldn't seem something like this would take much "work", but for me, it did. I don't write kid's books. There's a reason for that, haha! While I can talk face to face to a child, for some reason I can't write like a child. So, after much work, including editing and cover work, I'm finally releasing to the world a new piece I have.

It's called Love You, Daddy. It's about the current child support system and one families struggle with that. Coming in at 3,500 words, it's a quick read. But, it's also emotional, so I'm told. Who would have thought that a short story about a family struggling and seeing life collapse virtually to ashes, through the eyes of a seven year old, would be so emotionally powerful?

Here's the blurb.

I'm sad.

My daddy tries so hard.

I wish people would grow up and see what life is all about, like I do. I'm seven. I'm a big boy!

Help me fix this legal system thing so they don't take my daddy away from me.

I don't want your little boy or girl feeling sad or lonely like these law people make me feel.

Let's work together and fix this.

Whaddya say?

It's available on Smashwords and Amazon now, so enjoy!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/180563

http://amzn.to/NlDw6h

 
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or so they say. Are they right, or are they wrong?

Don't judge a book by it's cover. You also hear that all the time. Do you agree with it or not?

Well, unfortunately, we all do just that constantly. We judge books by their covers. We judge by the pictures we see. Our guest today has a bit to say about book covers. You just might find it interesting. Katie Jennings, take it away!

You never get a second chance to make your first impression. At least, that’s what my dad always told me, and he’s completely right! Think about your life in terms of the products and services you are exposed to on a daily basis…which ones stand out the most to you? Which ones really take off and which ones fall into the dark depths of obscurity? I’ll answer the question for you: the ones that succeed are the ones that draw in potential buyers with a clear, instant impression. In other words, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or, in our case as authors, a book cover is worth every single word you ever wrote in a novel.

Think about it. You’re perusing the aisles at Barnes and Noble, or scanning the Bestseller’s list on Amazon. What catches your eye? What appeals to you? Obviously, for every consumer the answer to that question is different. Which is why as authors we MUST know our market. We MUST know who we are trying to sell our books to.

As an example, take my book cover for Breath of Air, which is the first book in my contemporary fantasy series The Dryad Quartet. On the cover you see a girl, her face hidden so that the reader (I’m marketing to females, FYI) can easily slip into the main character, Capri’s, shoes. Much emphasis was put on her hair, so that readers can identify that Capri is the light, airy blonde in the book with a soft nature and sweet disposition (note: the bird on her shoulder is both representative of her “Snow White” qualities as well as her gift of Air). In the first chapter of Breath of Air, you learn that Capri can control birds, so having the bird on the cover was key.

Also note the castle in the background. This gives potential readers a clue as to the “type” of fantasy book Breath of Air might be. It’s clearly not set in a grungy New York alleyway or a sweltering Florida beach with palm trees. No, according to the distant image of the castle, the book will take place in a strange land, both elegant and extraordinary. It lends to the concept that Capri feels like something of a “princess” fallen into a realm she had never before imagined.

Okay, so the imagery is all very important, right? But what about when your book is shown in tiny thumbnail form in the midst of thousands upon thousands of other books? What is it that will cause readers to click on your thumbnail before someone else’s?

For me, anyway, it’s the coloring. Coloring is very important, but keep in mind that this varies drastically by genre. Is your book a thriller or horror? You should have dark colors, maybe reds and grays, and there should be plenty of contrast. Or, alternately, do a lighter version with big, bold text and contrasting images in stark black and white. Convey an emotion through the colors you use. If it’s a romance novel, the softer the colors and more dramatic the imagery (a woman with flowing hair, arching back, delicate hands, etc) the better. Readers will notice the book first by color, then by image. Think about your market and the readers you want to attract, and what colors may catch their eye.

So what about your title font? What I recommend is looking up other books in your genre, and seeing what other authors have done. Fantasy and romance books generally have loopy, calligraphy-like text. Thrillers tend to have bolder, stronger, harsher text. It is important that you get the text right. Make the extra effort and surf the free font download sites, and hunt up some new fonts to use. As long as it’s easy to read and available for commercial use, you should be good.

Lastly, I offer you my most important, crucial bit of advice, even though it will only appeal to some of you. But here it is anyway, because I honestly cannot stress this point enough: If you have a book series, make sure that each and every cover in that series is CONSISTENT with the other covers. And I’m talking style, imagery, title text placement, author name font and placement, etc. Readers should be able to easily identify that those books go together. It breaks my heart when I catch authors not following this important rule, because they are not imagining their books sitting side by side on a shelf. And that is how we must look at our work. We must think of ourselves as not just self published authors, but as good enough to be up there with the big boys, our books sitting right beside theirs. If we lose those high standards for ourselves, then the reputation for self published authors suffers.

So please, keep all of this in mind as you create your covers, and good luck!

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
 
Ever have that charitable cause that just pulls at your heart? That thing that almost gives you a reason for living? That organization that you'd work to your bones for? That only happens when something touches you deeply. So deeply, it impacts you and you'll never be the same. Some of us have experienced that while others haven't. Today, we'll hear about a cause from editor extraordinaire Laura Clark:

Late last year, I met a guy on Facebook. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. It wasn’t the beginning of some strange internet romance. It really was just a case of me finding someone who posted interesting status updates on a regular basis and deciding to friend him so I’d have something to read.

Well, this guy posted a lot of very positive and thought-provoking status updates. He got me started thinking, and feeling, things that I hadn’t in a while. One of the things I started thinking was that I wanted to use my major talent – writing—for something other than entertainment. I just wasn’t sure how.

Then one night my brother was talking about a project that the creative writing group at his college was putting together – a short book of flash fiction to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. It was then that I decided to put together a collection of short stories for a different charitable organization. I knew that my co-conspirators might have pet charities they’d like to benefit from a project like that, but from the beginning I knew that only one organization would do – MusiCares.

So what is MusiCares? The MusiCares Foundation is a non-profit that helps music industry folks in times of need. They helped a lot of people after the massive Nashville flooding back in 2010. They provide medicine and food for those in need, or help pay medical bills or rent. They also help those who want to get clean and sober.

But why MusiCares? Because they once helped the very guy I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. A guy who’d helped me pull myself out of depression and despair. A guy who helped me find my strength, my faith, and myself again. I didn’t have any way to pay him back, so I decided to pay it forward instead. I also liked the idea of helping others who might have a similar impact on other people’s lives. And so Music Speaks was born.

Music Speaks is a collection of eleven short stories, in a variety of genres, from nine independent authors. It pays tribute to music and its special kind of magic. 100% of the royalties will go directly to MusiCares to help keep that magic alive.

 If you’re interested in reading some one-line teasers from each of the story, they are available here: http://t.co/f6nLhSd1

The book is available in ebook format for $2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble. The print edition ($6.99) is coming soon via CreateSpace and Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Music-Speaks-ebook/dp/B008C88QTE/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339964647&sr=1-2&keywords=music+speaks+clark

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/172910

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/music-speaks-lb-clark/1111615979?ean=2940014693677

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
 
Ah yes, helping a fellow author. You're either in the camp of "no problem, anything for a fellow author" or "are you flipping crazy? Why should I put myself out to click a mouse and help a fellow author?!"

Which ever camp you happen to find yourself in today, would you dig down...down a little further...just a wee bit further....gotta go lower than that...c'mon, you can do it...dig as deep as you can go...and click on this awesome FREE book of hers today!

It's only for today. Tomorrow it'll be paid again. So c'mon people, let's show some compassion and click to "buy" this FREE book!

http://www.amazon.com/Everything-You-Jukebox-Heroes-ebook/dp/B0078EQ47O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340628843&sr=8-1&keywords=everything+you+are+clark

Your support is much appreciated ;)
 
As you see, in my right hand column, I've got my own books listed as well as books from several other authors. Not all of them are signed to my label, either, and I'm not an Amazon affiliate so I get absolutely nothing from most of the books in that column. But, I still hope you enjoy them and click on them to buy.

It's called marketing. And all of us indies need more of that. So, I'm sticking my neck out to do my part and then some.

With that said, I plan to start highlighting the books in this right hand column. Some days I will feature one or more books from that column, putting their synopsis in my blog post. Or, maybe what's hoped to be a synopsis on hyper-speed, hoping you'll like it more than the current one.

So, the first book I'm choosing to highlight is one of my own. In fact, my cheapest. All Jacked Up Prequel/Short Story. It is a prequel to the series and it's also a short story, coming in around 3 or 4 thousand words if I remember correctly. I've had two sentences on the synopsis for a while. I'm hoping the following illustrates the story a bit better. Let me know what you think:

Are Jack and the devil really linked? What possessed Jack to do such a horrendous thing to his father as a child? Will his father ever forgive him?
 
I remember when I first saw that sign touted by McD's. I was amazed. How could 1 million burgers be served? That's a lot of food. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of money!

Now, of course, that 1 million served is nothing.

Well, now I urge you to take a look at the million seller club on Kindle. There are a few indie authors in that. Right now, it's a big deal. For each author in the club, at least one million copies of their books, spread out over several titles, have been bought and paid for by paying customers. Mostly satisfied readers who come back for more. One million sales.

Can you imagine?

Thing is, regardless of what the naysayers say, such as Russell Blake and others (sorry if you're a fan of his), that one million sales mark will one day be no big deal. It'll be "normal" for any author that's been out for any length of time and has several titles out to hit that one million sales mark on Kindle.

I predict that, despite some saying the heyday for Kindle indies is over, it's just beginning. Sure, maybe Amazon changed it's algorithms. So what. So we have to adjust our Method Of Operation and figure out how to crack the great Amazon again. So we have to adjust our status quo once again. Such is the nature of business. Such is the nature of life.

Wouldn't it be worth that to make it into the million seller club?

I don't know. Maybe you don't have any desire to make it into the million seller club. Maybe you just want to sell to family and friends and then you'd be content. Personally, that's not enough for me. I want to make enough regular sales to have a cover artist and editor on retainer. Or at least give them enough business where they can substantially supplement their regular income by working for me. Well, the editor would have to work full time for me. That's all there is to it, lol. Then I'd have to have a lawyer on retainer to keep myself out of legal trouble, haha.

What would you do to make it into the million seller club? Would that club be worth it for you to spend that much energy and effort? Even at 35 cents a pop...multiply that by one million...do you realize that's $350,000? You can earn, cash in your pocket or electronic figures in the bank, $350,000 dollars to spend of your own free will by selling one million copies of your work at .99. Is that appealing to you?

And if you manage to sell one million copies at 2.99, that's barely over $2,000,000 when you figure that you'll make slightly over $2 per copy sold.

Personally, I'd take either of those amounts. But that's just me. And I'm greedy.
 
There's the million dollar question that you won't want to ask of Des Birch. Let's find out why...

Have you ever returned from vacation and have somebody ask you how it was? Have you ever returned from work and have someone ask how your day has been? How many times have you given a one-word answer to these questions? Often when I am relaxing, my wife Julie notices my fixed stare which she attributes to my being in ‘Storyland’. If the TV is on I might be gazing at the screen but she knows I am not watching it. Then I might stand up and head for my computer, writing for a time before returning to Julie’s ‘welcome back’ smile. How has my day been? Exciting, torrid, frightening, loving, exhausting........, but never just OK.

I work in an engineering company with murderers, rapists, drug barons etc, for my colleagues are the real people on which I base many of my characters. I live in a world over which I have complete control. Perhaps my daily work is just a fantasy and Storyland is the reality. Julie of course is the wonderful dream.

Being the wrong side of fifty, I have experienced much of life’s up’s and down’s. I also see cycles taking place in which young people experience the same challenges as we did in the struggle for the rite of passage into adulthood. I began to wonder how other species handled this, when a Storyland trance came over me and I eventually emerged with the idea for my YA book Beyond Dark Waters in which a little boy enters five different species, learning lessons from each. It was such fun to write and each day I would complete a section and read it to Julie and Elliott (an elephant, but you will have to read Different Eyes if you want to meet him). I was lucky enough to win an award for this book and it is my crowning achievement to date. I had written 110 pages of the sequel when this torrid, violent story of drug barons, torture and revenge came hammering on the inside of my skull, ready written and demanding to be put down in words. I told it that it was in a queue and that anyway I had far too much on this year, but to no avail. I’m now 70 pages into it and it seems to have calmed down a little, allowing me to study for the final part of my BSc Hon. Stories can do that!

So who am I? I am a father and a grandfather. I have a basic science degree and I have also spent a couple of interesting years in Europe teaching English. I believe in living life to the full. I currently have three novels and one book of short stories in E-format and paperback. Am I rich? Ha ha ha! I’ll never be rich; I like living too much and I need to be around real people who have problems that money can’t solve. I feel I am very lucky indeed. I have a loving family, great friends, a life full of intrigue and the ability to share that life with the world. Come and join me on Amazon and on my Facebook site.

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.

 
Alright, I've run these free promotional days on KDP Select several times now. I've also had books free through another method that would likely be considered old school now.

I've had exactly one very successful free promotional day.

The bottom line about the KDP Select free days are...the free day in and of itself is absolutely nothing more than a tool. There is no magic in it. Your book absolutely will not jump in the rankings simply because you schedule a free day.

In fact, just as you would normally promote your rear end off when your book is selling for a monetary figure, you'll also need to promote your rear off for the free promotional day or days that you schedule.

"But I thought you said you've had one very successful promo day," you ask.

Yes, you're right. And here's the difference.

Ok, for the promo day I just had, I gave away approximately 150 copies....TOTAL in the US of my book. My ranking peaked at 25 from what I saw. And, during this day, my book was tweeted by myself and a few others through out the day. It was also facebooked by myself and a few others through out the day. Plus it was promoted by Flurries for Words (or something like that), Author Marketing Club or one of their lists, and a couple of other venues. In other words, my book was promoted by a few different venues and several individuals. And that resulted in about 150 copies in the US. Yes, I had some in the UK as well, and 1 copy in each of a couple of other countries. Seriously, one copy. But, I'm focusing on the US numbers because that's normally our bread and butter.

Now, the very successful day I had, I literally had a couple of thousand downloads of my book before I even remembered that it was free that day.

What was the difference?

It kinda makes me sick to say this, because it makes me sick to admit that we authors are dependent on one or two different sites/venues to "make us" successful. But, here's the rotten truth. That one day, my book was mentioned by Ereader News Today.

This round, my book was mentioned by three or four other sites along with friends and myself pimping it all day. for a grand total of 150 copies in the US. When Ereader News Today (ENT) promoted it, it downloaded around 3,000 copies total in one day without me saying a word.

In fact, from what I've gathered, if ENT or Pixel of Ink promote your book, you can actually expect around 3,000 copies to be downloaded in one day.

When this many copies are downloaded in one day, this shoots your book up to the top or near the top of the chart in your genre. My book, All Jacked Up, stayed at the number one spot for a day or two when ENT mentioned my book.

P.S. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other venues that you can use for book promotion on your free days. In fact, I think they are doing a great thing...AND I wish they were much bigger than they are and have much more impact than they do. I hate it that the only sites with a real impact are Pixel and ENT. In fact, if you'll look at this very website of mine, I have a section on this for free books. I'm trying to build this site up to have the kind of reach that Pixel and ENT have, and hopefully help more authors get their names out there. So please, check out my page on this site as well.

Back to my original point. Here's the benefit of KDP Select. Once your free day is over, or days, your book automatically goes back to being charged for. If you go "old school" as in through Smashwords and that process to get Amazon to go free, you will have a harder time getting your book back to paid. With Select it automatically goes back to paid.

Other than that, KDP Select does absolutely nothing in and of itself for your book as far as promotional value.
 
That's right, the book that kicks off the awesome series "All Jacked Up" is free just for today. So if you could find it in your heart to do a fellow author a solid...you don't even have to spend any money....just down load a free copy of http://amzn.to/rrInyy and urge your friends to do the same!

Ok, now that that is out of the way (and I hope my numbers actually move now, lol), I'm left to consider how Amazon's algorithims and other scientific hoo-haa has changed and how that will affect my promotion and my "after-effect".

Time will tell. Of course, the more help I get today, the more I may be able to tell you a week from now ;)

Don't you love my hints? :)

Y'all have a great day now...ya hear?

(And enjoy Jack while you can!)
 
We now have 28 different titles on this website and two of those come from two awesome authors' debut novels.

I believe they have both broke new ground with their stories...but then again, I'm bias, lol.

Claire Simons with Falling From Grace and Heather Whetstine with Twilight's Last Gleaming. In fact, I'll leave you with two reviews from Twilight's Last Gleaming:

Awesome, thought provoking, it could be tomorrow’s news. Twilight's Last Gleaming by Heather Whetstine, takes you on an emotional thrill-ride as Clare, an ordinary college teenager with a passion for truth in journalism is witness to the best America has to offer and the worst it had become. As I traveled alongside Clare, her compelling story caused me to think, and then I became angry, at what I knew to be the truth. Next I wanted to jump up, raise my right hand and scream, YES. 

This Book is a must-read for any person that loves their country. Although it takes place in America, it is a wakeup call for anyone who believes in freedom. I am reluctant to give five-star ratings because I am a realist, but I truly wish I had a sixth star at my disposal for Twilight’s Last Gleaming.

Enjoy this book, as I know you will.
Douglas Nelson (PopATop).
5 Stars *****


The corruption and remake of the structure of America is not a new idea, but the author, writing from the view of a naive youth is the catalyst needed to make one continue reading. Well written, quick pace, very good flow between past and present. It was also hard hitting, depressing and frightening with the knowledge all in the book is possible. Whether or not it could all happen in such a small amount of time is a matter worth thinking about. The only part I found a little hilarious is the belief Texas would be a 'safe' place in such a scenario. If you like diaspora this is definitely a book to read.

By Ey Wade

Disclaimer: I'm the publisher for both of the above books. So yes, I make a smidgen on each sale of these two books, however, I believe these books are awesome and should be picked up and read by everyone! So please patronize these authors and help them to build their writing career. They will be eternally grateful ;)