How to Write a Bestseller and Feel Good While Doing It

Focus on what you want in your life, not on what you don't want.

Focus on what you want in your life, not on what you don’t want.

Act as if it has already happened. Focus only on the end result. For example, “I have written and published the first in a series of island-based mysteries, and I feel (insert emotion here, such as elated, powerful, satisfied, ‘on my way’). Repeat this practice often, feel imbued by its exhilaration, surf the blue-green waves of happiness and send any dark-eyed doubts packing.

Be not bashful – gleefully share the news with your loved ones and tell everyone you know of what you have begun to create.

Thoughts become things. Visualize the book gracing your mother’s proud coffee table, seeing its YouTube trailer go viral, or pitching the debut novel everyone is talking about on your favorite talk show.

As the saying goes, “It is not enough to stare up the ladder, one must take the first step,” so map out a game plan of action steps to bring your goal(s) to fruition and do them. Carry a symbolic reminder such as a crystal in your purse or wallet, tape notes on your bathroom mirror or photos of what will be, and BELIEVE it can happen.

You create your own universe as you go along.~Winston Churchill

Always Walking Toward the Setting Sun

One of many fine original photos that will appear in Double Take

One of many fine original photos that will appear in Double Take

One of my favorite bloggers wrote that Adventure = Risk plus Purpose, and suggests as many have, that if something scares the beejesus out of us, then “it” is something we should probably be doing. That leads me to wonder, is the way we live our lives mirrored in our style(s) of writing, or never the twain shall meet, or sometimes yes, sometimes, no? Do we crawl snake-belly up under the barbed-wire fences hemming in the confines, and thus the safety of our minds, or do we do the Star Trek thing and go beyond to worlds we have never explored, visited or perhaps even imagined? Is the sky the limit, or are there no limits to the Universe? Do we feel more secure beginning our writing journey with an outline of our story, however sketchily drawn – an end in sight, or do we rely on our characters, fictional or real, to guide us where they want to take the reader. Or is that all literary hogwash and do writers write what and how they want to write, and do they alone deserve the credit for astonishing some readers, disappointing some others and wrestling with the unrest that visits like Scrooge’s ghosts in the thick of night, creaking the boards and causing the author to wonder what if, should I or maybe even, I don’t give a damn if they like it – my writing is my therapy and if it is published, that’s just frosting on the cake? Please weigh in with your comments and visit again soon. R.R. Harris author of Double Take, soon to be published on Amazon

Bad Covers = Bad Sales or Why it is very important to Hire a Professional Cover Designer

                                                                                                                                        

LoveSin_SmallLilith's Secret_SMALL

While writing your novel, you are a creator. A wordsmith. An artist. But, as soon as that novel’s finished, you’re about to take the next step in publishing business. Yes, you’re becoming not just an author, but an entrepreneur. You are creating a product that has to contend with literally thousands of other products.

Our guest blogger today is Jeanine Henning, whose extensive professional background includes 15 years experience in cover design, children’s book illustration and publication, comic book publishing and editing, as well as console game design and writing. Her work with editors, authors and artists on many continents has added to her diversity and flexibility as artist and designer. In addition to her Indie Author clients, Henning continues to work closely with traditional publishers on cover and book art.

Recently Jeanine published her 1st Kindle book on Amazon – Nhakira “Chosen” – 4 more books are soon to follow!

Can you, as author, afford for your product – your work of art – to be any less than visible or desirable? No.

What is one of the key selling points of any product? The packaging.

What is a book’s packaging? The cover.

So, what’s the purpose of a cover? Many writers will say: “To get customers to pick up the book, or click on the download button.” This is true. BUT, if the customer is to pick up or click and read the book’s summary, and realize that the cover and story have nothing to do with one another, then back goes book to shelf, or, the next eBook is clicked on. You lose a sale.

Yes, the cover must entice the customer. But the full purpose of a book’s cover is to:

  1. Get the customer to notice the book;
  2. Pick up or click on the book;
  3. Buy the book;
  4. Read the book;
  5. Talk about the book;
  6. Repeat for next customer.

If your name is “Stephen King”, then that book can have a blank cover with his name, and it will sell. But until you reach such status, your name is not yet known, so your book’s title and cover art alone carries the day.

So where do you start? You start by pretending you’re telling someone why they should buy your book. Point out the book’s strengths, its genre, its core, what it’s about and what makes it tick. These elements are your unique selling points, and should be conveyed through your title and cover art. And the ultimate purpose is to precipitate an emotional response from your customer. And the outcome? A sale. This is exactly why a professional designer is needed.

Starting to re-realize the importance of your book’s cover? You should. Because it’s not just about a pretty cover anymore, is it?

A good cover will reinforce the customer’s initial attraction. We also do this by adding blurbs – which will tell the customer; “Yes, you have made a good choice, and this blurb rewards your decision, as the book is THAT good.” Every detail on a cover must be thought out and planned. Even the placement of the title and writer’s name is extremely important. Again, this is exactly why a professional designer is needed.

Look at your current book’s cover. And if you don’t yet have one, then think about book packages that work for you. Are all the elements of the cover presenting accurately, attractively and powerfully the appeal of the book?

So, in designing your product’s package, or, framing your work of art, realize the importance of your book’s cover. You must not just want a pretty cover – your book deserves a professionally designed package that will represent you, your story and product congruently.

And YES, you can get an exclusively designed cover by an industry professional for your book:

 JH ILLUSTRATION & COVER DESIGN offers:

  • Cover design for any genre including mystery & suspense, thrillers, horror, fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, young adult, non-fiction and poetry.
  • Illustration and digital painting for exclusive and one-of-a-kind special covers.
  • Young Adult Fantasy & Fiction cover design and interior art.
  • Children’s book illustration and cover design.
  • Graphic novel cover design.
  • Different file formats and sizes of covers to assist authors with their marketing strategies.

And perhaps most important of all, Henning, still believes in “the personal touch” when working with clients, and creating covers that represent the true story of the book

Visit http://jhillustration.wordpress.com/ to view book cover samples and illustrations.

And for more information on Jeanine’s background, testimonials and main art gallery, visit her site at: http://www.jeaninehenning.com

Connect with Jeanine on Twitter: @JenVinci

Thanks for stopping by. Please consider Indie Author Counsel for your Copy Editing, Manuscript Critiquing and Proofreading needs. We offer professional service with a quick turnaround at reasonable prices!

R. R. Harris, Editor and Author of Mystery Thriller, Double Take

info@IndieAuthorCounsel.com

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

SIX SUPER INGREDIENTS TO PUBLISHING SUCCESS

Into your literary cauldron, throw locally-grown talent (raw, fresh or seasoned in with the right dash of character traits and a generous dollop of opportunity, stir in a finely diced cast of characters or a paste of must-know, how-to. Cook over a carefully tended, dancing flame of desire until it’s “ready” and you’ve got a stew that may be the Brunswick or Irish Stew of books or…

1) TALENT

“Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

 

2) RESPONSIBILITY

“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art.” ~ William Faulkner

 

3) PERSONAL EVOLUTION

“The truly wise know that what is behind them could just as easily be in front of them. What successful people possess in abundance is the ability not only to survive adversity but to be transformed by it.” ~ Jeff Herman

 

4) PLANNING

Once I planned to write a poem entirely about the things in my pocket, but I found it would be too long and the age of epics is past.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

 

5) SHOWING UP

“Many writing books advise writers to figure out their most productive time of the day and to set out to write during that time or times. Experts also say to find the place you are most comfortable when writing and match time and place. Great. It does work for some. Not all.

“I do have a place where I write. It’s my local coffee shop. I write at different times during the day: morning, afternoon, evening. So, I do the conventional writing with time and place matched.

“But. Yes, there’s a ‘But.’ Many of my poems, and a short story recently, have been written in bed at two in the morning. I spring out of bed sometimes to write down an idea, or a rough draft of a poem or story. I keep a notepad with a pen resting on it near my bed. No coffee, no table, no laptop, and very little light.

“Some of the poems I’m most proud of have been written on the subway, in parks, in stairwells, and on my bed. No specific time, no specific place.

“Be flexible. Set your time and place, have no time and place, just write.

Show Up: read, re-read, write, re-write, submit, publish, and do it all over again.”  ~ published by Blackcoffeepoet.com

 

6) PASSION & INNER ALCHEMY

“The fire of one’s art burns all the impurities from the vessel that contains it.” James Lee Burke

 

(Adapted from Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents: http://amzn.to/L1px0G)

 

Happy Writing!
Roger Harris, editor and consultant

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

 

 

Novel in a Month – Day Two, Character Sketches

Today, let’s talk about character building. We will start with identifying the main characters, and color in their personalities, challenges and individual attributes.

Before you proceed any further, you will need to decide whether you are following an outline or not. It will help if you have both primary and secondary characters. Too many may turn your work into a Shakespearean play and you may lose the reader by page eight.

Introduce characters into your story plan by listing their name and role in the story. Think ahead to ways you will let the reader inside their heads by showing their fears, vanities, quirks, flaws, hobbies, even secrets that can help mold your story.

“I am going to write about people with faults, with nasty tempers, men and women of all classes and conditions, with love and hate and fears and gripes against each other. People I can believe in because I know and understand them.” Leigh Brackett

Maybe the kill-without-a conscience mob assassin has a soft spot for kids because when he was four, his own father’s blood crimson-stained his just-finished sand castle at a family beach outing. Now he has an unwritten rule never to hurt a parent in front of their child.

In The Chakra Diaries, Rebecca is the main character but she introduces and is enveloped by a cast of sub-primary characters who are participants in her Chakra Healing workshop.

All of the characters in The Chakra Diaries need to build a strong Root Chakra foundation before they move on to achieve what they want in life. Yet, Estrella, a young woman from Long Island, especially experiences the frightening feelings of isolation and abandonment by those who profess to love her. In response, she grows a thick outer shell literally by gaining weight to physically push others further away and emotionally by trusting no one and fearing everything. Every minute of every waking day and, often in her dreams, she searches for the safe haven within herself that she never found growing up.

Blond hair and anorexia were passed down like the family jewels to my sisters, but not to me, the brown-haired blob… My carbon-copy mom and sisters all followed the Atkins Diet, exclaiming with drooling delight over blue cheese bacon burgers (buns aside – too many carbs). I had to supplement family meals with goodies I hid in a stash under my bed to keep my ethnicity – the zaftig curves, remnants of old-country Europe and appropriate only for my grandmothers… My father refused to accept my collect call, screaming, “Star made her bed with the bus boy, let her lie in it.”

Julie is the poster girl for an unbalanced fourth or Heart Chakra, a noxious cocktail of anger, depression, grief, despair, jealousy and sadness that is neither shaken nor stirred. She so desperately needs to learn forgiveness in the course of healing her chakras, and to free her life from the suffocating restraints of negativity. Her tainted soul lies bruised and sore, cast away from the mainstream of life and out-of-reach of her body’s innate healing energy.

A sense of peace washed over me as I imagined the cool, dark, soothing embrace of the ocean’s depths. Depths where this earthly pain could not exist… The doctor said the cancer had spread way beyond the lump on my thigh. Far beyond the scope of simple surgery or mainstream chemo… It’s probably a blessing that Mark confessed to sleeping with Rebecca.

Thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to join me in trying to write your NOVEL IN A MONTH, click here:

http://www.novelinamonth.com/?afl=90058

Becca Chopra

www.TheChakras.org

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

Novel in a Month – Day One

Whether you are writing a self-help work, like I am with Balance your Life or fiction, as my colleague R. R. Harris is penning with Double Take, it pays dividends to be organized.

“An outline is crucial and saves so much time. It tells you where the story is going.” John Grisham

So, we begin at the beginning.

TITLE: Give your work a name, or something that can reference your project.

GENRE: Be flexible as this may change as the plotline and characters and your thoughts morph and develop. List all of the genres that your story might fit into.

POINT of VIEW: Will it change from scene to scene or will the main character narrate in first person throughout? An author friend of mine said that when she began her autobiographical “coming of age” novel that her original intention was to have the first-person voice change as her character grew and matured. However as she drove further and further into the hinterlands of her work, she realized how maintaining that direction complicated her writing and de-railed it from flowing freely from her consciousness. For example, she would have to ensure that her teenager was not speaking with the voice of a worldly and wise, middle-aged maven or vice versa.

Some authors choose voice from scene to scene by weighing what character stands the most to lose. Although unless skillfully written, this approach can leave a reader wondering what is going on and especially, who is talking.

WHO wants, WHAT do they want, WHY do they want it and What/who stands in your character’s way? Not sure where to begin?

“What if X happened? That’s how you start.” Tom Clancy

“Don’t wait to be struck by an idea. If you are a writer, sit down and damn well decide to have an idea. That’s the way to get an idea.” Andy Rooney

SETTING: Can make a story gel into a dish fit for the Queen or alternatively turn it into cold tasteless soup that even hungry flies shun. Of course, there are endless possibilities. You can create memorable characters as at home in the book’s setting as a well worn slipper, but who enliven it and blaze brightly at the slightest provocation. Perhaps others triumph despite all odds or seemingly invincible villains meet their match in a unforeseen avalanche of choices that could not have been forecast.

“Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.” John Updike

HOOK/SPARK: Yeah, the night was dark and stormy and she came to the door with nothing on but the radio, but then what? What will I write in the second paragraph and on page 87 that will keep my reader into the book? Will the last sip of my book be as satisfying as the first, or even more so?

As an author I must constantly ask – have I set-up conflict, created suspense and action and left the reader panting for more? Am I solving a problem the reader has, conveying knowledge or fulfilling a need?

“I want the reader to turn the page without thinking that she is turning the page. It must flow seamlessly.” Janet Evanovich

DON’T QUIT: “Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

Proofreading 102

WATCH OUT FOR THESE COMMON WRITING ERRORS!

These are are the 5 most misused words by writers, according to Ezine.com. Strengthen your writing skills and maintain your credibility by ensuring these errors never see the light of day in your work.

Its vs. It’s

its – Associated with a thing previously mentioned or in reference to an animal without prior knowledge of the animal’s gender.

Incorrect: That monkey will never be a ballet dancer; it’s posture is horrendous.
Correct: That monkey will never be a ballet dancer; its posture is horrendous.

it’s – Contraction of it is or it has.

Incorrect: John bikes to work. Its his favorite part of the day.
Correct: John bikes to work. It’s his favorite part of the day.

Lose vs. Loose

lose – To be deprived of or cease to have; to cause someone to fail to gain or retain something.

Incorrect: Loose weight in 5 weeks or loose your chance to go to the beach!
Correct: Lose weight in 5 weeks or lose your chance to go to the beach!

loose – Not firmly or tightly fixed in place; to release or set free.

Incorrect: The dog’s collar was lose, so Bob tightened it before the dog got lose.
Correct: The dog’s collar was loose, so Bob tightened it before the dog got loose.

Your vs. You’re

your – Possessive form of you (typically used before a noun).

Incorrect: You’re article writing skills have improved!
Correct: Your article writing skills have improved!

you’re – Contraction of you are.

Incorrect: Your an article writing master!
Correct: You’re an article writing master!

Their vs. They’re vs. There

their – Possessive adjective indicating a particular noun belongs to them.

Incorrect: There keys are in the ignition.
Correct: Their keys are in the ignition.

they’re – Contraction of they are.

Incorrect: Where are they? Their at the shop.
Correct: Where are they? They’re at the shop.

there – Reference to the existence of something; a place or position.

Incorrect: Their is a reason why the pie is gone. John ate the last slice over they’re.
Correct: There is a reason why the pie is gone. John ate the last slice over there.

To vs. Too

to – In the direction of or at; used with the base form of a verb to show the verb is in the infinitive.

Incorrect: Susan goes too the store too buy vegetables.
Correct: Susan goes to the store to buy vegetables.

too – Very, as well, also.

Incorrect: Bill drives to fast on his motorcycle to.
Correct: Bill drives too fast on his motorcycle too.

HERE’S TO GREAT WRITING!
R. R. Harris

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

Proofreading 101

I have got to loose eight pounds before bikini season, Sarah thought as she guiltily enjoyed an afternoon chocolate bar. Of course, even more would be grate as my clothes might be too lose. But, even if I don’t, its my party and I will cry if I want too. They’re are always tricks like vertical stripes and dresses that don’t tie at the waste.

“No one can make you feel inferior without you’re permission.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

So, how many errors did you find in the above two paragraphs?  Several of them may be all too obvious and stick out like a proverbial sore thumb – underlined in every color of the rainbow by spelling, grammar and punctuation checkers, yet absolutely no product is foolproof. The Proofreader function on this blog missed two of them! As such overlooked mistakes can be a shot to the heart of your labor of love, you absolutely must avoid them.

That is where a professional proofreading service like Indie Author Counsel can come to the rescue. Although your budget may be small, we know that you want your work to look and sound as good as professionally published books and eBook versions such as Kindle. So, do not make the mistake of relying just on your eyes or those of your neighbor or partner. We will check your formatting, spelling, grammar and punctuation, plus offer suggestions on word usage and sentence structure as warranted.

Our staff has many years of writing, editing and proofreading experience in a wide range of genres from nonfiction, white papers and self-help books to creative writing efforts such as poems, mysteries, juvenile, science fiction, fantasy and romance. We will perform these services affordably with quick turnaround.

As a value-added bonus, will post two reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and  Becca’s Chopra’s Book Blog  to kickstart the sales of your work.

Thanks for visiting. Please tell your friends and colleagues about us and sign up for our updates as we begin our journey to writing a NOVEL IN A MONTH.

Happy writing,

R. R. Harris

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com