Tech Talk with Ron Estrada

During the month of August, we’ll be posting interviews during our popular Saturday segment, Tech Talk. We’ll speak with editors, photographers, and other people who help writers become the best they can be in their chosen field. 

This is our last segment and we’re ending on a high-tech note. Author Ron Estrada shares with us how he uses Periscope to make his video blogs. Watch as he gives us a writing update using Periscope.

Ron Estrada is the author of Young Adult novels NOW I KNEW YOU and ANGEL ‘N ME, the first two books in his Cherry Hill series. He is also co-host of the Teen Writers Publish! podcast, teaching teens, young and old, how to write, publish, and market their novels. He’s a regular contributor to the Novel Rocket and My Book Therapy websites, as well as a regular columnist for Women2Women Michigan, a print magazine for which he is the only male columnist.

Tech Talk with Brian Knack

home-office-336377__180During the month of August, we’ll be posting interviews during our popular Saturday segment, Tech Talk. We’ll speak with editors, photographers, and other people who help writers become the best they can be in their chosen field. 

Stay tuned each Saturday for a new interview!

Today, we’re talking with Brian Knack about self-publishing. Brian recently launched Authorpreneur University  to help other authors successfully realize their publishing dreams. I’ll let him tell you about it:

Why did you start helping authors?

They asked me. When I started self-publishing, I had to learn everything for myself. I’d look online and read and watch whatever resource I could find. About 4 years ago, a friend asked me about writing a book. I told him what I knew and he asked me to help him publish one. I helped him through the process and within a few months, he self-published his first book.

Since then I have helped several other people self-publish their books and have recently started Authorpreneur University separate from my personal author blog, to get the word out and help as many as I possibly can.

You said, “My mission is to help you take your idea and turn it into a business, a book or both, and to be successful at it.”–How do you accomplish that?,

Most authors think that once they publish, that’s it. It’s not. Your book is a business and like every other business, you need a business plan before you do anything else. One thing I’m stressing is for authors to see their books as a business and start to create a business plan before they publish. Part of that business plan is understanding your target market and knowing who they are. It’s a little more in-depth than just saying people who read.

The second thing I am stressing is building a following (a platform) with an author blog before you publish. This way, once you have your business plan fleshed out and your book is ready to launch, you have a large list of people who are already willing to buy it. Not only does this help your pocket book but it will also help your book move up the Amazon list and help your confidence.

I also know that there are authors who still want that traditional publishing deal. With that in mind, I have written a number of blog posts on helping authors find, approach and land a literary agent. It’s not as in-depth as I’d like and I plan on doing more in this area.

I notice you blog. What topics do your blog posts cover?

Well, I have recently separated my personal author blog BrianKnack.com from Authorpreneur University. There were just too many things I wanted to talk about personally (Faith, Family, Politics, Love, Relationships and whatever else comes to mind) that can tend to be controversial. I thought it best to create a separate business site.

On Authorpreneur University, I try to stick to 4 main topics; Publishing, Writing, Marketing and Platform Building. Starting early next year I’ll be posting regularly once or twice a month. There will also be a podcast to go along with the blog post. Everything I talk about will fit into one of those 4 main topics.

Share three pieces of wisdom with a new author.

There is no such thing as writers block. It’s nothing more than an excuse not to write. Just write even if it’s merely random thoughts… WRITE! Some of my best stuff has come from a slew of weird gibberish.

DO NOT OBSESS OVER OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS. They are merely their opinions based on their personal preferences. Critics don’t matter and neither do publishers or editors. The only opinions that matter are yours and those of your readers. That’s it.

If you want to sell books build real, genuine relationships with your readers. Be you and connect with them as you, not so and so the “Published Author.”

Where can we contact you?

The easiest way to contact me is through my e-mail (brian@brianknack.com) or by the contact form on my blog.

You can also find me on Twitter – @brianlknack, on my Facebook page at Brian Knack and on Goodreads

Brian’s Bio:

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I was born and raised in a small Hamlet in upstate NY called White Sulphur Springs. I was raised by my paternal grandparents from 18 months on and grew up on a dairy farm. My wife and I recently moved into a beautiful house in Simpsonville, SC.

I am the author of I’m Born Again, Now What? A New Believer’s Guide to Walking with Christ [Paperback] & [Kindle Edition], W.A.R. Devotional and Study Guide and most recently, the sci-fi adventure, Destiny – Book 1 of The Legacy Series [Kindle Edition]. I have been blogging since 2010.

I offer Cover Design, Formatting and Book Video Trailer Services through Authorpreneur University.

Readers – Purchase a service from Brian and mention you saw this interview on Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! and he will give you a 25% discount.

Tech Talk with Fay Lamb and Precarious Yates

home-office-336377__180Throughout the month of August, we’ll be posting interviews during our popular Saturday segment, Tech Talk. We’ll speak with editors, photographers, and other people who help writers become the best they can be in their chosen field. 

Stay tuned each Saturday for a new interview!

Today we’ll speak with two editors who help author’s manuscripts look their best. Welcome, Fay Lamb and Precarious Yates!

As authors, we need to present our best work to publishers and readers alike. Editors help us do that.

Welcome to the Writing Prompts Blog. First question. Do you have a specialty in the editing work you do?

Fay: Yes, you won’t normally find me editing non-fiction. When I write non-fiction, I do it in the same way that I speak, and I write it in regard to only one subject: writing fiction. I feel that an editor must have an expertise in what they edit, and to edit something without a knowledge of the structure or the element that goes into that type of writing does a disservice to a client.

As far as fiction, I’ll edit most genres. However, historical fiction authors might find me a bit tedious, especially Biblical fiction. I’m a little picky about the finer details.

Precarious: I specialize in editing speculative fiction, although I’ve edited many a romance story. I edit both grammar and content, as well as provide story coaching when requested. Another of my specialties is my effort to help an author find and preserve his or her unique voice.

How do you go about an edit? Read it first, then edit. Or read and edit together?

Faye: I generally read and edit at the same time if the author is one that has presented a clean manuscript and if the story is not a complex one. On occasion, following that first read and edit, I’ll change the track changes to “final” so that my edits will appear incorporated into the manuscript. I’ll then read it again for areas that I might have missed. I do this especially for complex story lines or if I have found a few inconsistencies in a plot line. The clean document helps me to find any areas I may have missed. After the second read-through, I show the original markup and send the manuscript on its merry way.

Precarious: I do a bit of both. For line editing, I note grammar and plot line anomalies during the first reading, as well as suggestions for rhythm and cadence.  I see all this much clearer during the first read-through.

After I read through the story the first time, I have a clearer understanding of where the author wants to take the story. Once I know where the story is going, I can give clear advice about how to repair any faulty or weak plot points.

What are the components of a strong story?

Fay: I believe there are seven key elements to fiction. How an author uses those elements brings about the author’s voice, but all seven of these elements are key to strong storytelling: plot, pacing (to include genre-specific and bringing back story into the present without jettisoning a reader into the past), conflict, character (I include description under character because I believe it is the character’s job to provide description and not the author), showing (no telling), point of view (the deeper the better), and dialogue.

Precarious:

  • The hero has to be decisive – not necessarily opinionated, but not floundering.
  • The plot needs to pull the reader along, where the reader is desperate to know what happens next.
  • The prose needs to both paint pictures in the reader’s mind and dance through the reader’s mind.
  • The character needs to dredge up as much of my sympathies as possible.

Share three words of wisdom to help every writer.

Fay: Develop your craft.

Precarious: Don’t. Stop. Writing!! Find a trustworthy editor who likes the genre you write in. Trust your instincts about your story.

Where can we contact you?

Fay: You can find me at my personal Facebook page, my Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. I’m also active on Twitter. Then there are my blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads. If you are interested in either my freelance editing or coaching, please feel free to contact me at fay@faylamb.com.

Precarious: Right now, the best way to contact me is through Facebook, either my author page: www.facebook.com/precariousyates Or through my personal page: www.facebook.com/shulammite33

I try very hard to have a quick turnaround time for manuscripts. Anything under 80k words I can often return within a week, especially if it’s for a proof read.

Thanks so much for hosting me today! Blessings!


 Fay LambFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt,A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies, and the newest adventure The Love Boat Bachelor. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
 Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind.

pennybird-5783 (2)Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their one mastiff and four Pyrenees dogs, three sheep and nine chickens. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms and reading. She holds a masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Tech Talk – Start Writing Like a True Scrivener

by P. H. Solomon

Introduction

Thanks to the Writing Prompts Crew for hosting me today – it’s a gracious opportunity. I’m honored that they thought of me to write about Scrivener today as part of their ongoing series regarding the tech side of writing. On that note, let’s get started…


 

WPTI Scrivener An artist’s work area can seem rather messy with paint, brushes, and other tools lying in seemingly haphazard order. There are finished projects, at least one painting in progress and several waiting in the wings nearby the easel. But if an artist doesn’t keep track of important tools and ideas then time and creative energy can be lost.

Writing is much the same way. There are various project ideas waiting to be written. There are notes lying around to do research, corrections for scenes or any other writing tasks. It can get overwhelming to an author. This is where Scrivener is most helpful. The software is an outstanding organizational tool that engenders an author’s creativity such that less time is spent sifting through disorganized projects. As a result, you can spend more time doing what you love – writing. Think of it as a virtual studio.

How Scrivener Helps

So what are several ways Scrivener improves your writing? For me it helps in the following ways (these are based on my blog post: 8 Ways Scrivener Aids My Writing):

  1. WPTI-Scr-1I’m better organized from the beginning of projects.
  2. I can easily make changes to structure.
  3. I can turn out short projects at a faster rate.
  4. I can use different media to assist my efforts.
  5. Since I’m more organized and faster with short projects I have more time for longer projects.
  6. In relation to number 5, I don’t waste time staring at a blank screen since all the preliminaries are out of the way.
  7. In relation to number 2, I can edit more effectively which is a plus for a novel.
  8. It’s my multi-function tool. As I’ve written in earlier posts, the software is so flexible I can use it for any type of work that I’m doing as a writer.

Where To Start

WPTI-Scr-2For many people Scrivener is a new way of developing their content whether it is fiction or non-fiction, short or long projects. So here are some ways to approach using Scrivener:

  • Take time to work through the tutorial. You won’t remember everything but it helps get you started.
  • Learn to use project templates which are extremely helpful based on the nature of your content.
  • Learn to use document templates which are even more helpful. These templates are internal to your project and allow you replicate documents easily by embedding common formatting and content.
  • Take time to format your projects and documents well to avoid lots of frustration later.

Conclusion

There are numerous ways to use Scrivener and I readily admit that I continue to learn about using it. But I’m committed to gaining proficiency so I can be a better writer. Fortunately, Scrivener has a lot of great help tools from the manual to forums. Also there are numerous blogs where people share their knowledge and resources. You can access some of my own posts via Archer’s Aim. Also try joining the Facebook group for Scrivener users. Never tried Scrivener before? You can download it for a free trial – the tutorial loads by default.


 

About P. H. Solomon

  1. PH SolomonP. H. Solomon is a fantasy fiction author who lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a computer whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. He is currently finishing the first book of a fantasy series, The Bow of Destiny and hopes to see it in print soon.

 

His blog/website features articles about Scrivener, writing and fantasy. You can connect with him via any of his links below:

Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads  Website

Pinterest  Google +

VIP Member, Rave Reviews Book Club

New email followers to his website can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of his book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Bow Destiny WPTI

Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

Tech Talk with Kimberly Rae

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Today’s Tech Talk addresses the issue of self-publishing. Have you considered self-publishing, but freeze up in total terror before taking the first step? Kimberly Rae might have an answer for you.

Kimberly, I’m so glad you’re here to help our readers find out more about self-publishing. First, please share three things about yourself with our readers.

Kimberly:

(1)   I’ve been to twenty countries–got to see Mt. Everest, raft the Nile River, and eat cow brains!

(2)   My first romantic suspense series on international human trafficking led to a human trafficking training ministry.

(3)   I had to leave the mission field due to Addison’s Disease.

Wow! You’ve definitely lived an interesting life. Why did you decide to pursue a career in the field of publishing?

Kimberly: I’ve been writing since childhood. When I was 10, my parents gave me a kid’s typewriter for Christmas. I used to pluck away writing my own little Nancy Drew stories. Then I’d tape them all together. I’ve been writing ever since, but never thought that’s what I’d be doing “for real.” I am so blessed!Deb Norton Angels Cover2cropped

After my husband and I learned enough to produce my own series of books, authors we knew started asking us for help. Some of them had spent thousands on subsidy publishing that had left them without much say in their cover artwork, book pricing, marketing etc. We praised Amazon’s Print-On-Demand option but many of them did not want to have to do the formatting and design themselves. That’s how we got started creating books for other authors and we’ve been doing it ever since.

I wouldn’t know myself where to start. So tell me, why do people find it so hard to professionally self-publish?

Kimberly: I think people are hindered from self-publishing for several reasons:

  1. The old stigma that self-publishing means your book isn’t good enough for traditional publishing. Fortunately, that stigma is changing drastically thanks to Print-On-Demand publishing and the huge popularity of e-books.
  2. The cost. Self-publishing used to mean spending several thousand dollars–money most authors would not be able to recover with sales. Now, thanks to Print-On-Demand, authors are able to create paperbacks and e-books with little cost.
  3. The design. Most authors are not artists as well, and a book cover that screams “homemade” is a big deterrent.
  4. The learning curve. To produce a book yourself means learning about formatting for the paperback, creating a cover, and HTML coding for the e-book. A lot of authors don’t want to spend that much time doing something that’s not writing.

Stolen Woman front coverSelf-publishing seems to be changing daily. What makes a self-published book attract attention to the viewer?

Kimberly: A great cover. People say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do. If I’m looking at books on Amazon, I will click off a cover that looks homemade before even considering the book. If the cover is sloppy, people assume the writing will be as well.

What makes a cover look great? I wrote a whole article on that once. You can check it out here:

http://kimberlyraewriting.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-to-not-look-self-published.html

That is so true. I won’t purchase a book by someone I don’t know if the cover is unattractive.What are the advantages of hiring someone to help, compared to do-it-yourself templates or services?

Kimberly: Do-it-yourself templates can often end up looking like you did them yourself. Again, for an author who doesn’t want to put a lot of time and effort into learning to be a designer, hiring someone is a great way to get your book out on the market and let you continue to focus on your writing.

Another advantage of hiring someone is the personal attention to you and your book, as opposed to, say, using a POD company that already has hundreds of clients in their system.

We writers do need our time to write. What other computer or book services do you provide for your clients?

We have a full sheet of options where authors can choose services such as:Katherine Ann Following Amy Cover

Making their Createspace and Kindle accounts.

Creating a paperback with Print-On-Demand.

Creating an e-book with Kindle.

Creating a cover using their ideas, one they can be proud of.

Library of Congress number

Etc.

Our author’s books are their own. They never have to get permission from us to use anything about their book to market or promote or even use in other books. I have friends who can’t use their own cover image without red tape and I feel that is wrong. It’s your book. It should belong to you.

We also walk our authors through the process of how to use the accounts, order books, do free days on Kindle, etc. Our publishing program is very small and we like it that way. That’s why we don’t have a website and work only through personal requests or referrals. Our authors get our personal attention and we like making books they are proud to present to the world.

I love the fact that you give the authors personal attention! Anything else you’d like to say regarding your field?

Kimberly: Whether you want to do it yourself of hire someone, I would definitely recommend Print-On-Demand over subsidy publishing. With POD, you get to make the choices about your cover, your interior, and your pricing. If you want to make changes down the road, you can for free (with subsidy, you often have to order hundreds of books up front, and if you find a typo, you’re stuck with it). Also, you have the freedom to market with the Kindle free day option, and you can use your cover art anywhere without copyright issues. I’ve been very happy with Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle programs and highly recommend them to other authors.

Happy book making!

Thanks for dropping by, Kimberly! If you’d like Kimberly to help you publish your book, she is offering a 10% discount to any author who mentions hearing about them through the Writing Prompts blog.

Author of 20 books, Kimberly Rae has been published over 300 times and has work in 5 languages. Her series of suspense novels on international human trafficking and missions (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future), all self-published, are all Amazon bestsellers. She also has a series of non-fiction books on living joyfully despite chronic illness. Rae lives at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two young children. Find out more or contact Kimberly at www.kimberlyrae.com.

I Am Beautiful Cover new design 4 2014 (1)

2015 Price Chart

How NARROW WAY DESIGN can get your book into your hands for less:

Interior Book Formatting:
This is putting your manuscript into the correct format to make a book with Createspace: 215.00 
Book Cover:
Depending on your preference and budget, here are the cover options:
1. Cover fully created, but using your photos and design–this is if you have the idea and pictures, but we make a full cover using them 325.00
2. Cover from scratch–this is if you have nothing and we work with you to create a cover you can be proud of. 435.00
Kindle:
Formatting and uploading your book for a Kindle e-book  185.00

OTHER STARTUP COSTS:
Interior Photos:
If you have photos to go inside your book, cost is $2 per photo for paperback.
$1 per photo for Kindle book

Createspace Account:
You can create your own account, or we can, including your Amazon book’s page info, keywords, and category. (You will need to put in your desired payment info, but we’ll walk you through that.)
$50.00

KDP Account for Kindle:
Again, you can do this through your personal Amazon account, or we can create your KDP account either using your current Amazon signup information, or a separate account using new signup info.
$25.00

Library of Congress number for your book:

Not necessary but looks more credible and is useful if you want to market your book to libraries. $35.00