Monday, 27 June 2016

Tackling Titillating Taglines…

Tackle your Readers attention with a great Tagline!
You need to hit readers hard, blindside them with an awesome tagline in order to grab their attention. I cannot overestimate the importance of this. Your tagline, blurb and excerpt are the most important sales tools you have for your book. Choose them wisely.

Every author wants people to read their book, right? Well, they aren't going to find your book unless you put it out there and MAKE them want to read it. Throwing away your tagline and blurb is just like taking your book and throwing it off a bridge in the hopes that someone will fish it out of the ocean, find it, and think it's great. So let's go over developing a tagline that will make readers care enough to pick up your book and purchase it.

A tagline is—or should be—one of the simplest things to create. A tagline is—plain and simply—a one sentence summation of the theme of your book. Something quick and catchy. If you're moving on through publishing by attending conferences and conventions, a tagline is similar to what is called an elevator pitch. What you want to do is to catch a reader's—or an agent's or an editor's—attention with a one-sentence description.

Remember, a PITCH and a TAGLINE are two different things. A PITCH is to get someone to buy your book with the intent to publish it. A TAGLINE is to get someone anonymous, in a bookstore or online, to buy your book to READ it. So your tagline should be about your BOOK.

Here’s the tagline for the first book in my middle grade/young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:

“Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.”

Is it the best tagline ever? Nope, probably not. But it tells the reader exactly what the theme of the book is. Look at the points it covers—what it tells you about the book. What does that tagline cover?

Children. Keys. Future. Hope. Past.

That's the purpose of a tagline and how to make it work for you. Therefore—homework lesson number one. Sit down and READ your book. You may think you know what it's about, but if you're a writer like me—you don't. READ IT. As you read, jot down notes to yourself. One. Word. Notes. Hit the high points of your book. What themes, what high points do you think sell your book? No—even simpler: what tags or key words are IN your book? Because those are what will sell your book. Readers don't always know what they're looking for in something to read. Your tagline will give them clues.

A few examples of great taglines:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – It takes a graveyard to raise a child.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Remember. Survive. Run.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – Two lives are bridged – and nothing will be the same.

Do you see what all of these taglines have in common? They titillated enough readers to become bestsellers.
 
So that's your first job after your book is written. To sit down and read your book, and to pull a tagline from it. And this is where the elevator pitch and the tagline come together. In an elevator pitch, you've got maybe thirty seconds to gain the interest of an editor or an agent—just as long as it takes the elevator to get to their floor. With a reader, you have your book cover and one sentence—just one sentence—to convince them to click through and read more. You cannot afford to throw that chance away. So a tagline that's trite or vague or boring cannot be an option.

BTW – Here’s a sneak peek at the tagline for the next book in my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret set to be released on October 17th 2016:

“Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.”

Hope I've done my job and piqued your interest! What are some of your favorite taglines? Cheers and thank you for your time and attention today!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Book Tour and Guest Post: THIS NIGHT SUCKS by Elizabeth J.M. Walker...

Welcome to the Book Tour for Elizabeth J.M. Walker's new novella, This Night Sucks!

Follow the tour each day to read reviews, guest posts, and exclusive excerpts.


Book Details:

From the author of She Dreamed of Dragons

Title: This Night Sucks

Author Name: Elizabeth J.M. Walker

Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Comedy

Release Date: June 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 

Mirror World Publishing Link:  

Amazon Link: 

Link to the Tour Schedule:



About the Book:

Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires in the world. Lana and her classmates don’t really expect to meet up with any undead bloodsuckers. Vampires are a lot like other scary things that supposedly exist but you hope you’ll never come across: nudist colonies, mad cow disease, and your parents’ sex life.

What is part of Lana’s everyday reality is navigating through one last year of high school while desperately trying to be less nerdy. She still loves spaceships, fantasy novels, and cat stickers, but she also recently got her braces removed, grew boobs, and is working on the makeup thing. She never expected her crush-of-a-lifetime Pete to even notice her – let alone ask her out on a date. 

The date is going great until Pete’s ex-girlfriend Katy shows up, all bloody and pissed off. Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire. After a near death experience, Lana learns that she is changing into a vampire too.

Lana needs answers, and the only way to get them is to find the vampire who started the chain of events – and to find him before sunrise...

Fun Vampire Facts – Book Edition!

1.      One of the first recorded accounts of a vampire dates back to an ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth dating to 4,000 B.C.
2.      Over 1,000 vampire novels have been published, most within the past 25 years.
3.      The first full work of fiction about a vampire in English was John Polidori’s The Vampyre. The Vampyre was a short work of fiction published in 1819.
4.      Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, remains an enduring influence on vampire mythology and has never gone out of print.
5.      A key inspiration for Dracula was said to have been Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century Transylvanian-born prince.
6.      The character Dracula has been featured in over 200 films.
7.      Popular vampire writer Anne Rice has sold over 100 million books.
8.      Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries have been published in several countries, including: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Spain, Greece, Germany, Czech Republic, Swden, Denmark, and many more.
9.      The children’s book Bunnicula, by James and Deborah Howe, has won more than ten Children’s Choice awards, including the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and the Nene Award.
10.  The Twilight books are the only vampire related book series to have sold over 100 million copies. 

Meet the Author:


Elizabeth J. M. Walker lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has always loved books and writing. As a teen she discovered zines, which inspired her to publish her own litzine of odd fairy tales for over a decade.

She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel.

Connect with Elizabeth J.M. Walker:

Facebook: 

Amazon US: 


Publisher Website: 

Author Website: 



Monday, 13 June 2016

Author 2.0: How Writers Are Supposed To Succeed In This New Publishing Paradigm…

An Author's work is never done!
Honestly, my head hurts from thinking about what authors have to do now-a-days in this new publishing paradigm. I’ve written posts before about this topic and all the tasks writers are up against. Write, rinse, repeat has become an author’s slogan. The world wide web is crammed full of blogs, publishing services, publicists, and anything a writer needs to get their books into the hands of readers. This whole industry has changed so much in the last ten years, and I’ll wager it will keep changing. What won’t change are those who try to pass themselves off as ‘authors’ and continue to write bad books thinking they’ll get rich quick, and those who are in for the long haul, invest in themselves and write good, even great books. The proof is truly in the pages.

Apparently there are five ways authors can succeed in publishing. Bet you’re biting at the bit to know what they are, right? Okay, I’ll share, but just to let you know, I found this same information on numerous blog posts I read (when I should be writing my next book). That said, I added my own two cents based on my own experiences as an author. I believe most of this advice is just common sense, but you be the judge:

Have a strong, savvy social media presence. When I first burst into the publishing world with my debut book, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I had a year under my belt with my blog, and a Facebook account. That’s it. My then publisher (now defunct) gave their authors a basic idea on what we had to do to promote and market our books, but it truly felt like once my book was published, I was put out to sea in a life raft with one paddle and a megaphone. Since then, I’ve gotten more of a presence (Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn), and made so many social and business connections for which I’m eternally grateful. It takes a village to raise an author!

The Power is in the Pricing ($2 to $3.99). Readers love to fill their ereaders up, and giving them a great price for hours of entertainment or education is your best bet to building your audience. This is a no-brainer. Although, if a reader wants to spend $10 or more on an ebook by his or her favorite author, then they don’t break a sweat when hitting the buy button.

Pre-Orders. Again, you’re creating buzz with this sales tactic. Add a cover reveal, a Goodreads giveaway, or raving book reviews into the mix, and you may just have a bestseller on your hands. When I was first published, we never had this option, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it works with the next installment of my YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret due out October 17th, 2016. (Yes, that's me creating buzz! Wink.)

Write a Series. I’m on that gravy train! Or at least I’ve left the station. So far I’ve got two books in The Last Timekeepers time travel series out: Book #1, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and the prequel, Legend of the Timekeepers. Now with Book #2 contracted and scheduled for release, I feel I’m on my way. I’ve already started to research and outline Book #3. The master plan is to have a total of ten books with the prequel making eleven. Guess I’m in for the long haul for sure!
  
Hook Readers with a Free Installment. Part of me has a problem with this. Authors work hard, damn hard, at their craft. Somehow, a free book seems to cheapen an author’s work (but that’s for another blog post!). I do get the idea, and technically FREE is a good thing. Hell, I like free stuff. Who doesn’t? I’ve even have a free short story on my website for readers to download. Still, many authors give away their first book for free in the hopes that readers will like it enough to invest in more books written by the same author. Again, a great strategy, but I somehow think it’s akin to selling a piece of your soul. That’s just my opinion.

For another book sales strategy, here’s a comical, great post that helps authors to understand how finding readers is comparable to shopping at warehouse stores like Sam’s or Costco:


So there you have it. Five ways to try to find success as Author 2.0. Hate it or love it, publishing has become a game of misdirection and manipulation – the trick is to find a Houdini instead of a charlatan. Authors, have you found success using any or all of these strategies? Readers, do you buy books based on price point, pre-orders, an ongoing series, or do you just download free books? Would love to read your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Remembering D-Day and those who survived World War Two…

The Death of Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan
Today marks the 72nd year the allies stormed the beaches of Normandy in the name of freedom. At the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks’ character (Captain John Miller) tells Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon) to ‘earn this’ before he perishes. It was quite an emotional scene charging Ryan to carry a tremendous load in the decades that followed his life. But carry he did, and because of Captain Miller and his battalion’s sacrifice to find and save Private Ryan, generations of Ryans would flourish. I think of the depth of that sacrifice, and the letting go of what could have been. My own grandfather (deceased since 1968) was the only survivor of his battalion in World War One at Vimy Ridge. And I often wonder if he felt any guilt at being the last man standing. I certainly hope not or I wouldn’t be here now. Thank you, Grandpa.

My mother managed to survive World War Two while living in Hertfordshire, England. The war started when she was ten, and ended five years later in her mid-teens. Some of her stories have brought tears to my eyes, and her own just by remembering certain events and incidents. One such time, mom was telling me about when the Germans invaded France, and scores of British men and women raced across the English Channel to rescue as many French people as they could in whatever boats they owned. Another memory is simpler, yet so profound. Mom wanted to go to the movie theatre with her friend to see Bambi, but my grandmother told her no for some reason. The same movie theatre got bombed that day with many casualties, including my mom’s friend. Thank you, Grandma.

Many times my mother would go to school, and there would be empty seats where students once sat. Back then, there was no grief counselling, so the children would have to ‘deal with it’ as my mother would say, and move on. Bomb shelters were a part of life, but my grandmother tried to make a game of it for her three daughters to ease their fears. That horrific war certainly brought out the resilience and stamina in people, as they had to live their lives as normally as possible.

The next book in my young adult time travel series called The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret will take place during World War Two. Fittingly, it will be released October 17th, less than a month before Remembrance Day (November 11th). During my research, I learned a lot about what the people of that era endured and how they coped in such adversity. It was so humbling to read what the survivors had to do to keep moving forward with purpose, and to be as resilient as possible. I want to express my eternal gratitude to ALL the veterans of ALL the wars for keeping the peace, giving us our freedom, and making the world a safer place to live. Although evil still slithers around the globe and makes its ugly presence known from time-to-time, I truly believe that good people will always out-weigh the bad people. If you don’t agree, take it from somebody who’s been there:

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. ~ Anne Frank


This D-Day, don’t forget to thank or hug a veteran. They’ve certainly earned it.

Monday, 30 May 2016

A Glimpse into my Writing World…

I thought I’d try something completely different (cue the Monty Python music), and give my readers and followers a glimpse into my writing world by asking my ‘author’ self these five fun questions…

1.      Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?
Hmmm…unlimited resources? I honestly don’t know how to answer that because I DO have the perfect writing environment. But if I had a choice, I’d like a condo in Florida for the winter months, so I could continue to enjoy the warm weather all year round! After all, didn’t Hemingway have a place down there? Grin.

2.      Where do you actually write?
I set up a writing office in my home. Since we’re empty nesters, one of the bedrooms was a perfect fit to fill with my book shelves, books, a reading chair, L-shaped desk, computer, printer, and story board. I don’t have a great view, but I figure it helps keep me staring at my computer and pounding the keys. Wink.

3.      How did you come to write The Last Timekeepers series?
Both the idea and inspiration came to me through a dream I had around 1998. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. At that time, I was writing a paranormal romance (before there was a distinct genre) and had no intention of writing a middle-grade/young adult book like The Last Timekeepers. But this idea kept growing in my mind, and wouldn’t leave, like some mystical force pushing you from behind. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. I’ve always loved the time travel genre, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. It was a no-brainer for me.

4.      What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
Hardest part? I think starting from scratch and learning the process of actually writing a book. I’m strong at dialogue, so that part wasn’t a problem, but I lacked in novel structure and how to construct a novel. I had to learn from the ground up, so I went to night classes, joined writing workshops, read books on writing to hone my skills enough to get the first draft done. And then when the book was complete, I had to learn how to edit, revise, and redo. This part of writing a novel is an ongoing work in progress! LOL!

5.      What is your favorite late night snack?
I’m gonna say a bag of party mix—the cheesier the better! I do love my salty snacks! And thankfully, I don’t indulge that often.

The writing business can be messy and hard at times, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Giving readers a small glimpse into an author’s life can provide an avenue for engagement, life-long connections, and fans for life. Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Book Blog Tour and Guest Post: Black Lightning by K. S. Jones...


About Black Lightning:

Life moves on — no matter what...

Following his father’s puzzling disappearance and his mother’s death, ten-year-old Samuel Baker goes through the motions of living in a world turned upside down. He wears an Apache talisman, a long ago gift from his father, in hopes its promise of strength and guidance is true. But what he truly wants is the power to bring his parents back. 

Heartless Aunt Janis is elated at the prospect of becoming Samuel’s legal guardian. She is sure an orphan boy will elicit such an outpouring of public sympathy that her husband will win his Senate bid by a landslide. But when Grandpa Tate arrives, things don’t go as expected, especially when black lightning strikes!


From the award-winning author of Shadow of the Hawk

Title: Black Lightning

Author Name: K.S. Jones

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Length: Approx. 132 pages

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (www.mirrorworldpublishing.com)

Follow the Tour for Reviews, Guest Posts, Exclusive Excerpts, and Spotlight Posts:


~Black Lightning and its Apache influences~

A century ago, the word “Apache” would have conjured up images of warriors on horseback with whoops, hollers, and painted faces—worthy adversaries and fierce fighters trying to protect their families, their land, and their life-way. In my new middle-grade novel, Black Lightning, a modern-day (although rural) Chiricahua (cheer-uh-kaw-wuh) Apache family is integral to the story, adding flare to the tale with their traditional ways in a contemporary world.     

The Chiricahua are most closely associated with an area in southeastern Arizona known as the Chiricahua Mountains. Within this mountainous range is the Chiricahua National Monument, which today is part of the National Park Service. It is an amazing architectural wilderness of rock pinnacles and formations, once known to the Apache as the “Land of Standing-Up Rocks.”

Storytelling has always been important in the Apache culture, and Chiricahua children are expected to be well-versed in the oral traditions and lore. These storytelling sessions are often held for the benefit of the kids and usually take place at night. Can you imagine sitting outside under a starry night and listening to the story about a race of “supernaturals” who inhabit the nearby mountains? Or maybe hear the story of a girl who married a water monster? Or learn about a place that opened a door where no door had been before?

And sometimes, Apache men and women wear amulets, or talismans, made from wood struck by lightning, called tzi-daltai. Among other virtues, it is believed the wearer can learn things from the tzi-daltai and know the right direction when lost. Most amulets are made of wood, shaved-thin and incised with a simple human form then decorated with lines to signify lightning. Some even believe lightning talks to them, while others think the flash is the flight of the arrow thrown by the Thunder People. Talismans can be worn like necklaces or carried.

Black lightning, although not a rendering of Native American lore, has gained recent recognition in the science world with what scientists are calling “dark lightning.” And given the fact that the American Southwest has some of the most spectacular thunderstorms on earth, where better to imagine the phenomenon and its potential? To a storyteller, Native American or otherwise, the possibilities are endless and interesting!

More information related to the book BLACK LIGHTNING can be found on my Pinterest page! https://www.pinterest.com/ksjones/black-lightning-by-ks-jones/

Read an Excerpt:

Samuel stood beside his mother’s rain-speckled casket. He had cried his tears dry, so there was no point in trying to find more.

“Chin up, young man,” Aunt Janis said as her fingers nudged Samuel’s jaw upward. “Death is just part of life, and our photographer needs a good picture of you for the newspapers.”

A camera flashed, leaving Samuel’s red and swollen eyes burning as if stung by the sun instead of grief.

So many important days had come and gone without his father, but surely he would come home today, wouldn’t he? Samuel closed his eyes. He pretended his father was beside him holding his hand. They had a right to hold hands, he told himself. Not because he was ten, but because it was his mother’s funeral. Two years had passed since his father left, never to be seen again. Vanished, was the word his mother had used. Into thin air, she’d said.

“Take that silly thing off.” Aunt Janis flicked Samuel’s wood and bead necklace.

“No,” he said and shook his head. “My dad gave it to me.” It was a pinewood tile, the size of a domino shaved nickel-thin, which hung from a leather cord around his neck. Burned onto the front side of the wood was a lightning bolt. Its flipside bore the blackened imprint of a tribal dancer. It had a turquoise nugget and a shiny black hematite bead strung together on each side. His father had given the talisman to him with a promise: It will guide you and give you strength when you need it most.

Today, dressed in a black suit and starchy white shirt, Samuel wore it in hopes the promise was true.

As mourners gathered, Samuel’s friend Brian came to stand beside him. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” Samuel answered without taking his eyes off the casket.

“Is that the necklace your dad gave you? You don’t usually wear it.” Brian’s wire-rimmed glasses slid down his straight arrow nose. He pushed them back up the bridge with one finger until they encircled his eyes again. “Can I see it? I promise I’ll give it right back.”

“It’s not a necklace.” Samuel pulled the leather cord off over his head, mussing his overgrown blond hair. “It’s a talisman.” He handed it to Brian. “My dad said it would help me, but it hasn’t done anything yet. I think it was just one of his stories. It’s probably just an old piece of scrap wood with a couple rocks tied to it.”

Brian shrugged after examining the piece then he handed it back to Samuel. “I think it’s cool. You should keep wearing it anyway.”

Nodding, Samuel hung the talisman around his neck again, but this time he dropped it down beneath his shirt where it was no longer visible. It felt warm against his skin.

“Has anybody told you where you’re going to live now?” Brian asked.

“Probably with Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack.”

Brian frowned. He kicked the tip of his shoe into the muddy soil. “They live so far away. Why can’t you just stay here and live with Mrs. Abel? She doesn’t have any kids.”

Mrs. Abel was their fourth grade teacher. She had plainly stated to all who would listen that her job was to teach the proper use of the English language to children who behaved properly. A babysitter, she had said, she was not. Today, she stood in the rain with the other mourners, eyeing the ground where the hem of her long, gray dress lay caked in mud. Tufts of brown hair jutted out from under her pink plaid scarf. Even though she stood a few feet from him, she had not spoken to Samuel since his mother’s death. Few people had. Everyone had words for Aunt Janis and they talked to Uncle Jack, but no one but Brian and a few classmates had spoken to him. Maybe talking to an orphan was harder than talking to a normal kid.

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing
 http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/black-lightning-ebook

Amazon
http://amzn.to/24H7yrY

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-lightning-ks-jones/1123660287?ean=9781987976120

Quote:

“If you’ve forgotten the magic that lives in a child’s heart, this book will remind you. Black Lightning is a rare and beautiful mythic journey about one boy’s struggle with paralyzing grief and the powerful bonds that can carry a person through this world and beyond...” W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear USA TODAY and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors of People of the Thunder

Meet the Author:


Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

Visit K.S. Jones:







Monday, 16 May 2016

Audio-Book Review: DANIEL THE DRAW-ER by S.J. Henderson…


Since I’ve heard so much buzz about audio-books, I thought I’d try my hand at reviewing one, and downloaded the Kindle Audible App to my smart phone. I received a DANIEL THE DRAW-ER audio-book as a gift some time ago, and have finally gotten around to listening to it. What a surprise! Such a different experience than sitting on the couch with your feet up, flipping through a book. Relaxing, yes, but not productive. Instead, I plugged into my phone to ‘listen’ to a book, while getting my housework done. The hours flew by, and I managed to finish the book in record time! Who knew technology could help you get rid of your To-Be-Read pile so quickly? Technology rocks!
  
So what did I think?

This is 4 Star Fun for Kids! Narrated by Jay Prichard, I found that he did a great job bringing S.J. Henderson’s characters to life, and loved the way he created a multitude of unique voices. A story about love, friendship, and sharing, Henderson pushes the boundaries of a child’s imagination and mixes in the problems children have in the real world today. I believe kids will really enjoy listening to Daniel’s adventures on long car rides or bedtime or even while they’re doing household chores.

DANIEL THE DRAW-ER Blurb:

"This is no ordinary pencil,” says the cat sitting on the end of nine-year-old Daniel’s bed. "It's magic." 

Everything Daniel draws with his pencil--flying dragons, Octobears, and pizza-loving aliens from the planet Beezo--comes to life. It’s pretty awesome until the pencil draws a line between Daniel and his best (and only) friend Annie. 

Come along with Daniel and his fantastic creatures on this fun-for-the-whole-family journey as he discovers that friendship is the greatest magic of all.

Author Bio:

S. J. Henderson is the author of the children’s book DANIEL THE DRAW-ER, as well as several not-yet-published Young Adult novels.
S. J. lives in Michigan with her husband and four wild boys. When she is not writing about talking cats and magic pencils, S. J. can usually be found riding one of her family’s horses or drinking a little bit of coffee with her creamer.

Buy Links:

S. J.'s store (autographed paperbacks):  www.sjhenderson.net/store/

Connect with S.J. Henderson: