3 Questions Wednesday with Darlene Franklin

Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome back multi-published author Darlene Franklin to the Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Darlene.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Darlene: I could go all Myers-Briggs and say I’m Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. Or spiritual: I’m a daughter of the king!

Great choices 🙂

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Darlene: I would like to spend several weeks in Mason County, Kentucky, where my father’s family came from. I’d learn more about myself in the process, and the possibilities for more stories than I can imagine!

Sounds like a wonderful trip.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song? 

Darlene: Blessed Assurance.

Hymns make good theme songs. We’re so glad you dropped by, Darlene.

Click to tweet: Five contemporary romances in a box set where furry felines play a part in romance. And you have a chance to win. #giveaway #romance

Readers, Darlene will give away an e-copy of Loves Comes on Kitten Paws, which includes her novella, Of Cash and Cats. 

Love Comes on Kitten Paws

Five contemporary romances where furry felines play a part in romance.

LAYERS OF THE TRUTH
As the attraction continues to grow, can Aamon keep Cady safe as they peel back the layers of lies connected to the two fires? Or will a killer bent on keeping his deadly acts secret send them both to their graves?

OF CASH AND CATS
In this retelling of the classic fairy tale, Puss ‘n’ Boots, the kitten Max Roy finds in a pair of fisherman’s boots brings him good fortune and love. But the going isn’t easy. When do-gooder Alyvia Bailey meets Max riding a bike and living in a ramshackle fishing shack, she assumes he’s one of the transients she wants to help. She’s puzzled when he refuses pay for working on her project–remodeling a center for those needing a place to stay. Two cats weave in and out as they move forward to a surprising finish and bring love on kitten paws.

KITTENS FOR KEEPS
Widowed Brandon Woodall’s daughter Olivia wants a mommy and a kitten, in that order, more than anything. Kindergarten teacher Melissa Hewitt is lonely but has given up on falling in love, so she goes to the shelter to adopt a couple of kittens. Melissa and Olivia bond over the kittens, while Brandon falls madly in love with the schoolteacher. By the time she tries to back away, it’s too late. Can Melissa resist her feelings for the man who has invaded her mind and her heart? Can Brandon resist the stunning teacher who has a big heart and a couple of kittens his daughter has fallen in love with?

PURR-SUASION
Animal lover, Zoey Pappas leaves the rat race of Seattle to move to the small town of Leavenworth, Washington to open her new pet grooming salon, Puppy Dooz. Having given up her former dream of acting, she is miffed when her cat, Sofie, is constantly pursued by a theater cat named Valentino. Especially, when his owner, Dawson, runs The Backstage Theater playhouse in town and wants Zoey to audition as his leading lady in the Jane Austen production of Persuasion. Zoey turns him down flat. Come for opening night and find out how a chivalrous cat, a rat named Sir Galahad, and handsome Captain Wentworth, all worked together to PURR-suade Zoey otherwise.

AENGUS, ABBA-DABA, AND FATE
As Kelsey tries to find out who embezzled a hefty sum of money from the animal society, she realizes the murder is related. Aengus and Kelsey discover a love of cats, Corvettes, mystery, and each other.


Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin‘s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She published her fiftieth book, Mermaid’s Song, in July 2017, and has contributed to more than thirty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears monthly in two national venues and three regional. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at http://darlenefranklinwrites.com/  

What’s the Best Way for an Indie Author to Promote Their Book?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Maybe we should start with why authors want to sell their books.

Don’t give me that blank stare. I know it seems like a given but many writers go to all the trouble to put a book together then only do a little marketing. Either they are fearful of what people will think or they lack the skills to market, or maybe they wonder if they even should laud the praises of their own work.

Authors should not skimp on marketing.

If a person goes to the trouble of completing a book and then publishing it, whether traditional or Indie, it seems they should get it in front of readers. And at least that gives people a chance to decide whether they want to read it or not.  

Now that the why is settled, let’s look at what ways are best. Here are some positive steps to take in the promotion of your work:

  • Start by building a blog or website or having one built for you. You need a landing page for your readers to find you. Yes, it’s good to create an author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and other places but make sure if a reader Googles your name, they can find you.
  • Email list. You need to have an email list of your readers and potential readers so you can reach them with news. Not spam them with constant bombardment. My favorite way to accomplish this is with my email newsletter. And people love presents so be sure to include a gift for the sign-up: a recipe, chapter of a book, short story, etc.  (You can subscribe to mine here for an example plus get a gift of ten of my favorite recipes. 😊Just look for the pop-up.)
  • Social media. There are all kinds of social media you can market your book through. I’d pick two or three and build a presence. Remember to build relationships with people and your books will sell. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as my main three. Experiement and find what works for you.
  • Speaking/book signings. You’ll want to have a few events to allow the people in your area or areas you’re visiting to meet with the author. You can arrange to speak at a church, social club, library, or school. Make sure to set up a book table and sign books. Also have something set up to show people how to order the e-book if they’d rather read on the Kindle or Nook. Book stores are great places to have a book signing since your potential readers are already there.

Here’s our own Betty Thomason Owens at a book signing.

I also have four tips to speed up marketing:

    1. Be reliable and ready. Set up a pattern in the beginning and keep your name out there. You want people to know that you’re serious.
    2. Book links. Make sure you have book links on your blog/website, all social media, your signature in emails, and any guest posting you may do. If someone is curious, you want them to have a link to click on.
    3. Everyone loves a sale. I once bought a mystery e-book for 99 cents and liked it so much that I paid regular price for the next five just to see what happened. It really works.
    4. And finally, the most important tip of all: The Golden Rule. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT) Be good to people. Sow seeds of kindness and I believe at some point you will reap a return. Build a network with other authors and promote them the way you would like to be promoted. It will bring a positive investment before it’s all over and you’re sure to make some lifelong friends.

Start today to put some of these principles in practice. Find what works best for you, then be consistent. The readers are out there and waiting for the next author to follow.

Show them where you are.


Writing Prompt: Jillian reached into the mail box and snatched the book-shaped package, clutching it tightly as she ran toward the house. She’d finally get to see…

Click to tweet: What’s the best way for an Indie author to promote their book? You might be surprised. #marketing #IndieAuthors

3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens

It’s been about a year since I last interviewed myself on 3QW, so I figure it’s about time to invite myself back. Especially, since I’ve recently released a new book.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m one of the founders of this blog. So I’ve been around for a while. I’m an elder, sort of. So, on to the questions–

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Betty: Harder than expected! Who made up these questions?

You know who came up with this one. Her initials are BTO. Surely you have three words? Aren’t you a writer?

Betty: Quiet. Encourager. Silly.

Those don’t really go together, do they? But I’ll take them. Now, second question–

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Betty: Oh, this one’s easy. No, wait. My first thought was to spend a summer in the Puget Sound and research my mother’s family. I’ve been there, briefly, but to spend weeks there, really getting to know it—that stirs my imagination. However, if I had to choose another country, I’d research the other side of the family—in Scotland. Or maybe just throw caution to the wind and head to Greece, or Italy. I have a long list, actually.

That’s okay. We’ll pass on the list. Now, here’s the one I think is most difficult:

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Betty: No Longer Slaves…no longer a slave to fear—I am a child of God, who drowned my fear in perfect love. Because of Him, I’m sure of who I am and more certain of my calling. Sometimes I start my day singing that song. I usually can’t remember anything beyond the first stanza, but it doesn’t matter, I sing it anyway.

Have you ever been a winner? You know that overwhelming sensation that everything is right with the world? Sometimes, it only lasts a minute. But one day, it will last forever. I’m no longer a slave to fear and oppression and my own lack of self-worth.

Preach it, Sister! That’s actually a good choice. I remember you when you were afraid to make eye contact with people. God’s been good to us, hasn’t He?

Betty: Yes, He has.

So, tell us a little about the book you’re giving away to one of our readers—why you wrote it, and what you hope readers will take away from the story.

Betty: It’s the final book in the Legacy series, Rebecca’s Legacy. I wrote it because I was under contract to write three books. OK, that may be why I sat down to write this novel, but almost from her birth in book one (Amelia’s Legacy), I wanted to tell Amy Juliana’s story. She had a rough start in life. Maybe that’s the reason she felt the need to work so hard to please others.

I hope and pray my readers will sense and know the heart of this story. As I wrote some of the scenes, I focused on the prodigal’s return, that overwhelming sensation of love and forgiveness. Unbelievable, sometimes, that we can be forgiven, even though we don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s the Grace of God, given freely to those who believe.

Click to Tweet: This week’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is author Betty Thomason Owens. Comment on the blog post to win a copy of her #NewRelease – #historicalromance Rebecca’s Legacy, final book in the Legacy series. U.S. addresses only, please!


Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3, Legacy Series

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress that the greatest legacy is love?

Nancy and Robert Emerson’s daughter Amy Juliana is doing her best to follow in Mom’s rebellious footsteps.

Her desperate attempt to escape Dad’s control comes at the worst possible time. A threat against their family and Sanderson Industries has Robert Emerson taking extra steps to guarantee his family’s safety. He sends Amy, an heiress and a debutante, to the country to work on a produce farm run by Aunt Rebecca. Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home, away from Dad’s protection.

Will Aunt Rebecca’s quiet strength and unconditional love be enough to still the prodigal daughter’s rebellious ways, and open her heart to the plight of others around her?

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to help keep his daughter in line. She thinks the guy is an old fuddy-duddy. By the time her ideas about him begin to change, it may be too late. When an old friend tests her loyalty, she is forced to face her past to overcome a guilty conscience. But, is she playing into the hands of the enemy?


Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

When she’s not writing, Owens is a part-time bookkeeper, who loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Betty would like to invite you to her Facebook author page, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page. And she posts weekly on her blog, Hello, Thursday Morning, found at https://bettythomasonowens.com/.

Indie Publishing: My Journey

By Gail Johnson

If you google indie publishing, you’ll find umpteen dozen sites offering advice on how to publish your book. There, you’ll also find an opinion on why, where, and when to do it. Believe me!

Warning: You can spend years obtaining endless trails of information, or you can write a book and publish that puppy. One thing is certain, you’ll have to make your own decision on what is the best technique for you.

TreasuresofHopeFrontFinalIn 2017, I published my memoir, Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past. In this article I will share a little of the process and some surprises I encountered through that experience. Note: I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert, so I’ve added links for you to discover your own path. Let’s get started.

Write

The first step is obvious. Write your story.

Editing

The second step should be obvious. We are not perfect. We will make mistakes. The more eyes you have on your story the better to catch those mistakes. Hire an editor. Apply those edits. I hired a developmental editor and a copy editor. It was one of the best decisions I made during my journey.

Formatting

Some writers hire formatters while others do their own formatting. I did a little of both. For the print book, I used a template by Book Design Templates. For my e-book, I hired a formatter. The reason for that was I ran into problems on the e-book that neither the template techs nor Amazon techs could figure out. As weeks turned into months, I chose to hire someone to do the e-book. (I would like to add, a friend used Book Design Templates for her historical novel and had no problems.) I still recommend the templates.

Covers

You can order e-book covers any time during the writing process. But a print book cover must have several elements in place before ordering. Formatting your book will give you the needed page number to determine the width of your spine. No guessing. The page number must be exact.

By now, you should have the title and an idea what you’d like the front of your book to look like. To choose your photo you can visit the following sites. You can either choose a free photo or you can buy one. The main thing is to make sure you get the rights to the photograph. The following sites were suggested to me.

Bigstockphoto.com
Depositphotos.com
Unsplash.com
Shutterstock.com
Fotolia.com
Istockphoto.com
Dreamstime.com
Peopleimages.com

Another thing you will need for your cover is a blurb. A blurb is a description of your story printed on the back of your book. Psst. I had someone to help me write mine. You will also need an author picture and bio.

The last thing to think about for your print cover is the ISBN number. Some authors buy their own while others use a free CreateSpace ISBN. Read more here.

Now you are ready to order your cover or make your own if you so choose. I’m not that creative. I hired a cover designer.

Categories and Keywords

While you wait on the cover, think about your categories and keywords you’ll use once you’ve uploaded your manuscript. Categories describe the genre while keywords are the words you think people will use when searching for your book.

For instance, my book is a memoir, but it can be, and has been, used as a devotional and a study guide. So, three out of the seven keywords were memoir, devotional, and study guide.

Publishing

This part of the journey was a surprise to me. When my covers arrived in my inbox, the e-book was a jpeg, and the print copy was a pdf. Who knew? Next, I visited my friendly neighborhood publisher, such as KDP, CreateSpace, BN, IngramSpark. Again everyone has their opinions.

As with every new project, we may feel apprehension in the doing. I did! So, let me encourage you. It isn’t as hard as you think. Once you create your account, you’ll be taken to a dashboard that will lead you through the entire process. Just follow the direction and you’ll do fine. And if you run into any problems, contact the publisher. I had no problems getting my questions answered.

After uploading a pdf of your cover and manuscript to CreateSpace, they will review, print, and snail mail you a copy of your book. You will need to proof it. If you find a problem, correct it, and reorder. They will send you another proof. When you are satisfied with the result, you are ready to share your story with the world.

So there you have some of the interesting things I learned while publishing my book. If you’re an indie, what things would you add? If you published your book, what were the surprises in your journey to publication?

Click to Tweet: “So there you have some of the interesting things I learned on my publishing journey.” @GailJohnson87 for @InspiredPrompt #indie #author

Writing Prompt: Today, make a plan and add a date to publish your book.

June and July Winners

Summer.

Sunshine. Swimming. Vacations. Hot weather. Winners.

Winners? Always at the Inspired Prompt. In fact, the months of June and July heated up with  winners. Who were they? Read on…

June

Melissa (Mimi) won a copy of Deborah Dee Harper’s upcoming release, Misjudge, or one of my Laramie books (winner’s choice!)

LelandandBecky won Jennifer Slattery’s book, Dancing in the Rain. Congrats!

Laura Shuck won a print copy of River to Redemption or choice of Ann H. Gabhart’s  other recent Revell novels. Woo hoo!

July

Ellen Fannon has offered an e-book of Other’s Peoples Children, to LelandandBecky. Yay!

Michael Ehret graciously gifted Laurel Blount  with an e-book version of Coming Home.  Way to go!

Marilyn R. won a copy of Laura V. Hilton’s latest Amish novel, Firestorm. Cheer!

Glenn Haggerty recently released Chase, the third book in the Intense Book series and the winner of this e-book is Karen Sargent.

Cara Lynn James has offered a paperback copy of Love on a Dime to Caryl Kane .

Linda Yezak has won 3 silver bookmarks that coincide with the Promises to Zion series by Traci Wooden Carlisle.

And I want to shout a big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment. We appreciate YOU!

Please continue to leave comments while you wait to see if you might be our next winner…