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Writing Advice

How blog tours influence book reviews

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Are you a writer? You are? Great. I’m sure you know that as a writer, especially a new one, you’ll need reviews. Reviews drive sales, and give your book(s) credibility. But, when you’re first starting out, reviews are like the Holy Grail. Very difficult to find. But getting reviews doesn’t have to be a pain. Here are some tips to follow, and in no time you’ll be racking up those precious reviews.

1)Sign up for a book blog tour: These are great and there’s one for every budget. You pay to have your book reviewed by various book blogs. This is a great way to get some exposure around the net and the people who follow those blogs can sample your work.

2)Goodreads:A lot of people don’t use take advantage of Goodreads.com. There are tons of booklovers out there just dying to read/review a free book. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

3)Friends:Yes. Your friends can help you out too. Make sure they like to read first before asking them.

So there you have it. Three great tips. And you don’t have to spend a fortune either.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing and sales & marketing. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox.

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Announcements Werewolves Young Adult

2nd promotional poster released for upcoming YA novel Guns And Dogs

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Here’s another promotional poster for my upcoming YA novel Guns And Dogs. Hope everyone likes it as much as I do.

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Writing Advice

Keys to a successful book launch

Make sure your cover is simple, and adds a touch of mystery to your book.
Make sure your cover is simple, and adds a touch of mystery to your book.

With Independent Publishing in full swing it seems that anyone that can use a word processor is writing a book. This crowds the market yes, but if you follow these three critical tips, you increase your chances of getting recognized amongst a smorgasbord of new releases.

Invest in an appealing Book Cover: I see so many ridiculous covers out there that it amazes me how folks invest their brainpower and time to write a book and yet skimp out on the cover. Amateurish covers make you look…that’s right, amateurish. Fix this by securing the services of a good graphic designer. There are tons out there who can work wonders for your book. And most have very affordable prices. A good cover gets someone to take a closer look at your work.

Construct a good title: Make up a catchy phrase and work with it. Avoid titles that give away the book or make it unappealing. For example instead of having The Farmer’s Daughter wore Red you could simply have The Farmer’s Daughter. What’s so special about the Farmer’s daughter? Questions like this will draw readers to glance at your blurb.

Editing: Make sure the book is beta-read and edited by at least one decent editor. No cutting corners on this one folks!

Write an appealing blurb: You must hook the potential reader or they’ll simply move on to another book. Keep it under 250 words. Make sure you explain the gist of your story without dropping spoilers. Raise the stakes in your blurb and leave your potential reader wanting more, or better yet, buy your book and take it home.

Notify public: Be sure to give your book a chance at success. Advertising its release after it’s out is too late. Generally give it 3-6 months before it’s released to let the world know about your creation.

So there you are new scribes. Now all you have to do is write that great story.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and novellas. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing, and sales & marketing, or just plain nonsense. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will be grateful and dance on his hands if you do.

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Writing Advice

Avoid these common errors for better writing

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Are you a writer? Good. Then you’ll want to read this.

Now let me ask you another question: do you write for personal gain? Or for the love of it?

Make sure you think carefully before answering.

The truth is, these days I see writers out there all upset about their sales and trying to write what will “Sell”. Alright, so you want to make money from writing. Nothing wrong with that, but you may be hurting yourself and your writing by adopting this attitude. Why?

Keep reading.

In order to be creative, you must be at your best, and trust me, you’re not going give your muse a chance to boost you to a level that will bring out the best in your work if you’re constantly worried about the competition. Instead, you’ll be comparing yourself to other writers 24-7 and setting yourself up for massive creative trauma.

These are the four artistic rules you must follow-especially if you’re a struggling writer.

1) Never check your amazon sales rankings on a regular basis. It puts too much unnecessary pressure on you and that can kill creativity.

2) Never chase the market. Some folks are successful doing this, but avoid it at all costs, last thing you want to do is write a book you think will be “hot” and have it flounder. Write what you know, what the universe meant you to write, and what your muse is guiding you towards.

3) Never bad-mouth other writers. It makes you look weak and unprofessional. Just because another writer sells more than you doesn’t mean his/her books and/or writing is better than yours. Perhaps they’re just better marketers who’ve been at this game longer than you? Or maybe they’ve hit the fickle literary wheel of chance at the right time. So you want to rake in the bucks? Forget what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself and your writing. Take notes on the market but never obsess over it because the way it’s set up to reward undeserving books doesn’t make sense in the first place. Remember, fame and money can come and go, but in the end they’re just ego-boosters.

4) Never ask other successful writers for “help”. Why? It makes you look desperate, and trust me nobody likes a literary leech. Besides, do you think someone you barely know is going to help you? They might. But you may end up getting a really bad return for it. Do you really want to put your writing future in someone else’s hands? Guide your own destiny, it’s that simple. Besides, being desperate stains your reputation, and when you’re trying to make a name for yourself this is the last thing you want. In a world of cheats and short-cut takers, take the high road and struggle like a true artists before breaking out. It’s the knocks you accumulate along the way that build you up into something greater than you once were. Suck it up and prepare yourself for the long haul.

So there you have it. Always enjoy what you write, and never turn it into a race against others in the business. If you must compete with someone, compete with yourself by always striving to improve your craft, that’s one race you’ll never lose.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and novellas. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs 4-5 times a week about writing, self-publishing, and sales & marketing, or just plain nonsense. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will be grateful and dance on his hands if you do.

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Writing Advice

How to build your brand

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I want to talk about branding. This article is aimed at all you new writers out there just getting started in the independent publishing ranks.

Many will spend months or years getting a book ready, but that’s just half the battle, you need to go about getting some reviews. Build some buzz and get the word out before putting your book up for sale. The key to marketing your book is to get your product out there so people know what it’s about.

Make sure you take advantage of Amazon.com’s pre-order option on KDP. After you do this keep amassing as many reviews as you can. Go on blog tours and get the bloggers to put the word out. The money invested in blog tours is invaluable to creating excitement for your new book.

But most of all, the way to build your brand is through patience. The publishing field is crowded, and just because your book isn’t a hit today, doesn’t mean it wont be a hit tomorrow, or next week, or next month. You get the picture. Publishing is fickle, and patience must be your watchword to avoid getting down when you should be upbeat and relaxed about embarking on your new enterprise.

I wish you happiness, health and lots of sales in 2015.

T.A. Uner

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and novellas. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing, and sales & marketing, or just plain nonsense. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will be grateful and dance on his hands if you do.

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Writing Advice

How to get more book reviews

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How does an obscure independent writer get book reviews? This is a touchy question that is often met with confusion. The old Catch-22 comes into play: you need more reviews to build your platform, yet being obscure it’s difficult to get reviews.

Let’s explore some options:

1) Purchasing reviews: I don’t encourage it because it’s unethical and expensive. And if you by chance decide to take a chance you’re reputation may take a hit if word gets out. Not a good option.

2) Amazon promotions: I had high hopes for this, but I haven’t yet reaped the reward of giving away books for reviews. Maybe out of 500 books given out I’ve gotten 2-3 reviews. Again, not a winning solution.

3) Giveaways: This could work. It does for some. Others, not so much. But you could do it on an experimental basis. It’s worked somewhat from my experiences.

4)Goodreads: I’ve actually had great success here. Have I gotten a review from every free books I’ve given away. No, but over 75% of the folks I’ve asked have helped and I’ve built up a lot of reviews because of them. Which leads me to the next option.

5) Building relationships with people: This is the only guaranteed way to get tons of reviews. Sure it takes time, but it’s worth it. You have to connect with people, both in the real world and online, and when you sincerely put in the time and show people you care about them, then you’ve found your way.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs 4-5 times a week about writing, self-publishing, and sales & marketing. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will dance on his hands if you do.

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Writing Advice

Secrets of Best-Selling Books: Part II

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In my last blog post we left off with building life-like characters that readers will relate with. So, what makes a character real?

So many things. You have to start with someone who has both an inner and an exterior struggle. Readers relate with normal people with real problems. If you make your hero/heroine perfect, then you’ll be cheating your reader of a realistic experience. And also a chance at seeing a fictional character’s growth as a human.

Realistic experience? Growth? But isn’t this fiction?

True. But readers want to connect with a real person. How can they connect with someone who’s perfect? Give your protagonists & antagonists real problems: insecurity, physical weakness, etc. and watch how they gain legitimacy in your fiction and in your reader’s mind. But make sure you don’t go overboard. No reader wants to read about a total wimp.

The best way to build realistic characters is through your past experiences. I look back and have a wealth of experiences, good and bad. And trust me you’ll get a lot of good material from the bad experiences, why? Because life itself is a struggle. And the bad experiences reinforce that universal truth.

The last thing to remember about building special characters is to make them likeable. In all my stories I try and make both the protagonists and antagonists likeable. How? Easy. Give them goals and have them fight like hell to accomplish them. No reader wants to invest their time reading about cardboard-cutout people who are as exciting as pond scum.

So there you have it. Characters that people will love to read about. If you focus on this aspect of fiction, sooner or later you’ll be writing books that are not only sellable, but profitable.

What are some fictional characters that stand out in your mind? What made them so special? And why do you think you remember them still?

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Writing Advice

Secrets of Best-Selling Books: Part I

 

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People write and ask me what’s the secret to writing a best-selling book? Being a daily hot topic, I decided to dedicate a series of Blog posts for this subject. Part I begins today. Ready? Here goes.

For Part I, we’ll focus on Genre Fiction, and how to connect with readers to boost your audience. These days the bestselling books tend to lean toward Young Adult, New Adult, Romance and M/M genres. But do you have to write in one of these genres to get the most sales? Not necessarily. I write Fantasy, Historical and Science Fiction. Sometimes, I even combine the three but I do it in a seamless way so I don’t spread myself to thin and write myself into a corner. The key to writing a potential bestseller is to focus your subject matter to one genre, if you spread yourself too thin, you risk alienating readers, and that’s a proverbial “no-no”.

People ask me why I decided to write my Leopard King Saga and place the series in Ancient Rome. “How is Rome relevant today?” They ask. Good question!

It’s easy really. If you write genre fiction and decide to plot stories away from contemporary settings, you owe it to yourself, and more importantly to the reading public, to produce fiction that ties-in to today’s world.

My Flagship series, the Leopard King Saga, takes place in First Century Rome, but do you know how much of Ancient Rome remains with us today? The U.S. in indebted to the Romans, who were way ahead of their time. The list of accomplishments are extensive, but lets take a look at the most obvious.

American society, which serves as a beacon of freedom for the western world originated from the great ancients, beginning with the Greeks and Romans. Our Political system, the senate being one, is modeled after the ancient Roman system. So is the architecture of many buildings that house our lawmakers and civil servants.

Technology. Modern road design, public sanitation and indoor plumbing were all developed by Romans. Means for water transport and building techniques like concrete aqueducts are Roman inventions. So there you are.

Now lets turn to another topic. The next way to connect Genre Fiction with readers, is with the people who inhabit your stories. Characters. So I took Ancient Rome and packaged it up with REAL people that readers can relate to. How? Simple. By using my life experiences, good and bad, and making my characters live and breath on paper. It may sound cliché, but readers want to connect with characters, plot may be king, but characters are a close second. My characters are so real I find myself thinking about them, like I would my friends and loved ones, those are the types of people you want inhabiting your stories.

For Part II of this series, well get into characters on a deeper level and how to make them stand out in genre fiction.

Please visit my website http://www.leopardkingsaga and sign up for my free blog updates, and never miss a single post.

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Writing Advice

Consider this mindset for lasting success

Wow! How fast a year goes. Right? Last year about this time I was trying to get my Author platform together before launching LeopardKingSaga.com. I was a newbie then, but through the past year I’ve been able to amass enough information to become a useful resource. Self-Publishing has been an exciting journey for me, but regardless of your profession, be it writer or business person, the universal tips I’m about to share should prove helpful to help eliminate time-wasting mistakes and get your business, or dream, off and running.

Tip#1: Have a plan. Make sure you have a strong foundation of knowledge of what you’re trying to sell before you go to market. My strong points were storytelling, history & effective communication (I have a BA degree in History and Speech Communications) and self-help strategies amassed from my time working 15 years for Fortune 50 retail companies. Have the qualifications before you go to market.

Tip# 2: Build a strong Base of Operations. Nobody is going to listen to you if you don’t have a platform. What’s a platform? A series of websites and helpful portals where people can access your wealth of knowledge and make you a legitimate voice for the product or services you’re marketing.

Tip#3 Have Patience. Things don’t take off right away. Yes I know there are some people who start up their businesses or write their first book and it becomes a mega block-buster, but success like that is rare. The truth is, lasting success takes time. Until you become established(and after) keep your mind focused on offering quality services. And do it like you mean it! Let patience be your ally.

Be sure to come back often where I share news about my site and how it can help you achieve your goals.

I would like to wrap this article up by saying, no matter what you choose to do, make sure you enjoy what you do(I know it’s cliché but that’s the truth) and provide a service that’s not only fun to bring to market, but something that will give others entertainment and value. Something that will stay with them for a long time, possibly forever, and help make them a better person. This is what I set out to do when I became a fiction writer. To create stories that resonate.

Also don’t forget to visit LeopardKingSaga.com on July 17, 2014. That’s tomorrow! I’ll be giving away a special gift to celebrate the first anniversary of my website and flagship portal LeopardKingSaga.com; yes it may be our birthday but you’ll be getting the gift. What’s the free gift? You’ll just stop by to find out!