Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Baker's Dozen of Helpful Websites for Writers, Cover Reveal

Writer on the job
Hello and welcome!

Sometimes we need a break from writing to re-charge and think. Today I listed a baker's dozen of websites to inspire you, teach you, and to just make you think about your writing. They are in no particular order and I didn't explain each one because I want you to go and find out what they have to offer. Curious? I hope so.

I also listed three groups which are helpful to romance and mystery writers. Check these out too to pick up all kinds of information.( If you want to know police procedure, then you definitely need to join the Crime Scene Writer group!)

Click on each site and group to discover what they offer. Have fun! Let me know which ones you found helpful.

A Baker's Dozen of Helpful Websites for Writers by J.Q. Rose


AbsoluteWrite  










Funds forWriters-- for freelance writers 



GROUPS



What are some of your go-to websites for inspiration or knowledge on writing? Please leave a comment below. 

COVER REVEAL!


Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing:
The Writing Process, Publishing, and Marketing

I am so excited to reveal the cover for the writing tips eBook. 

In this book, fifteen romance and mystery authors share writing tips they have gleaned from their experiences as “on-the-job” writers. The tips in the eBook are organized into the main topics of writing, publishing, and marketing. The authors also share the “light bulb moments” in their writing journey, questions they are asked most often, and the most helpful advice on writing they have received. 
The goal of sharing this information is to smooth and straighten the rocky and twisting journey for writers along the path to a rewarding career in writing. 
The one thing I discovered when I became a published author was the generosity of those who stepped up to share their experiences on their path to publishing. This eBook is a chance to pay it forward to writers who are looking for support and encouragement and lessons for success in their writing ventures.
I'm anxious to get this eBook of practical tips and advice into the hands of readers. Watch for the announcement of the release on this blog soon!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Changes in the World of Book Publishing and Marketing

Change--quote by John F. Kennedy

Change by J.Q. Rose
An article by Pastor Laurie Haller resonated with me this week. While she is not writing about the book publishing business, her points very well apply to the publishing industry. 

In her article, click here for the entire article, If You Just Stay with What You Have, Laurie compares shopping malls to churches. She cites several examples of shopping malls closing down as the anchor stores are dwindling in number. Macy’s is closing 14 stores and J.C. Penney is closing 30 stores. Radio Shack has declared bankruptcy, and we won't go there about the demise of Barnes and Noble stores. More and more of our stores and churches are shutting down because they couldn't change to meet the needs of their customers/congregations. 

Pile of print books
The publishing industry is changing too. No longer absolutely controlled by the big guys in New York, writers who never had a voice can now be heard through their writing. Short stories, poetry chapbooks, collections of stories, special interest books for only a small niche, textbooks, and more are now available to readers. A reader can be in a rural setting or a big city, but can have an e-book in his hands in minutes. And take hundreds of books with him wherever he goes.

Telling a good story hasn't changed through the ages, but marketing has. Don't miss out on the future. Authors have to do their own. Learn how to use social media, make videos, record your voice, try uploading your book to amazon, and step out from behind your book to speak and meet readers. You'll be amazed at how trying new things can re-vitalize your passion for writing.

Are you embracing this change in indie publishing, indie music, indie movies? Leave a comment to tell us how you have changed your approach to writing and marketing... or have you? Thanks, in advance, for your feedback on this article.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Deceived: A Good Lesson for Bloggers


Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!


When I began blogging, not using my J.Q. Rose pen name, but my real name, I was naive about the Internet. I thought everything I read on it was true! I bet you'v heard that tongue-in-cheek phrase--"If it's on the Internet, it's gotta be true."  Unfortunately, there are cyber snake oil sellers out there too. So beware and be alert.

Look at the scams perpetrated by those who are looking to make a quick, easy buck by duping rich old women to fall in love with them and then squeeze money out of them. How about those scam artists who portray themselves as government representatives to get private information and then steal a person's identity? And what about folks who set up shop as a kind person who wants to guide you through self-publishing your book with you, but instead charges you exorbitant fees to do so?

DECEIVED

I was fooled by a woman who portrayed herself as a romance author. At the time she contacted me, I was truly thankful she decided to be my guest and talk about her book on my new blog. To give me a chance, so to speak, to meet her readers. 

I put up her guest blog. In a few days I had 70 views, and the views kept growing. Wow! I was thrilled until one of the commenters told me this woman had plagiarized a novel. She had changed the character's names, but the story was exactly like the one by another author. 

I researched the accusation and discovered the commenter was telling me the truth! As I read on through articles about what the plagiarizer had done, I came across the comment about how she used unsuspecting bloggers to sell her books. 

I felt embarrassed and humiliated by this woman and her deceit. And yes, I felt used because I was such a rookie. I tried to contact her via email to ask about the accusation, but when she never answered I was sure she was a liar.  I immediately deleted her blog post and simmered. Come to find out this was her third time at trying this! Who knows how many more "novels" she manufactured for sure? How naive I was and trusting. To tell you the truth,  I was shocked to discover this could happen to me in my little corner of cyberspace. 

WHY TELL YOU THIS NOW?

I've never mentioned the experience on this blog, but I felt like I should today because it may help someone else to be alert and keep their eyes open to what could happen to them.

Thank you for allowing me to rant. Funny, in this season of forgiveness, I just realized I haven't ever forgiven that woman for tricking me. I guess I"ll have to work on that. Forgiving is so hard and just the opposite of what a human being wants to do. 

Have you ever been duped? How did you feel? Please leave a comment below.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

My Writing Career and Yours--Lessons Learned: Author Platform, Critique Groups, Video, Podcasting



Happy St. Patrick's Day! 
March 17


Greetings from sunny Florida!
Hope you'll be celebratin' the wearin' of the green on Tuesday! Tampa, Florida, colored the waterway downtown green for the occasion. Mayor Bob Buckhorn is an Irishman. Chicago, Illinois has dyed their river green for many years. Do you know of any other cities that do this? It's a unique way to celebrate, but I wonder if the water fowl and fish turn green too?



Let's talk. Grab your coffee/ tea and pull up a chair to the kitchen table and join me.

Four years ago in March my first e-book, Sunshine Boulevard, mystery/light horror, was published by MuseItUp Publishing. To me, signing the contract with the publisher and actually having a way for readers to read my work was the official beginning of my career as an author. Previously, I had non-fiction articles published in newspapers, magazines, and e-zines. After publishing this fictional piece, I felt I could add author to my resume because I had succeeded in releasing a story from my imagination. 

Through these four years I have learned a LOT about the business of writing. A few of my realizations are:

  • Building an author platform seems to be the first requirement and first step to becoming a successful author--along with writing a great story!
  • Building relationships with readers is important. Don't just yell buy my book, buy my book all the time.
  •  Good-old fashioned networking with people in the business helps to get your name out there. This is a mutual partnership in which we all help each other to move forward with writing and publishing careers


Lessons Learned by J.Q. Rose

Here are a few points I have learned along the way. Perhaps you can glean a few nuggets of information to help you in your determination to make writing a career.

  • Support Group--I have two mysteries published by a small press, MuseItUp Publishing. I would never have been a published author without the support and input I received from my critique group. You need someone to help you with your writing. Don't write in  a vacuum. 

  • Presentations/Speaking--I joined my critique partners in  two presentations in our local communities. The most important thing I learned at these presentations/book signings is you need a print book to sell. My mysteries (and all my books) are eBooks. I love them, but they are not a product you can sell face-to-face at a gathering. I've tried coupons, but folks don't want to deal with paying for the book, THEN go home to download it. When my first eBook was published in 2011, noone knew what the heck an eBook was. I spent my time educating people on this new reading opportunity, where to find it, and the device to read it on. Nowadays people will actually take my post card and put it with their iPad or Kindle cover to look up the book later. That is encouraging, but not a sure sale like a print book is.


  • Guest Bloggers--Guest blogging and hosting authors really does help you get your name out. D'vorah Lansky's Book Marketing Challenge workshop inspired me to get proactive in marketing, so I invited romance and mystery authors to my blog to share writing tips. I thought the series would only be in the fall, but I had such a wonderful response from authors, the event spilled into February. This spring  an eBook filled with the authors' writing tips and new material will be released. You can find out more about my experience with this challenge in my February 26 post, Your Book is Just the Beginning. Subscribe to this blog so you will be updated on the progress and release of the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing ebook filled with helpful writing tips.


  • Videos and podcasts are the buzz words nowadays. They help to build your audience and establish you as an expert/author and expose you to more readers. Videos actually do catch a surfer's attention, and the video will keep the reader at your site longer. You can teach a program or offer an interview.  I've learned to use the audacity.com program for audio and then the audio can be uploaded for a podcast program. At this time I don't have a desire to commit to offering a podcasting program. I have used Power Point to make a video presentation and played with Powtoon.com for a cartoon style presentation. I'm no expert after trying all these out, but I do plan to do more with Power Point in the future. My next big challenge to overcome is interviewing authors on Google Hangouts on Air. I will be interviewing my guest authors who want to "be guinea pigs" this spring and uploading  the Google videos to this site. I had a great time participating in a promotional video from the creative mind of Miss Mae. The official unofficial cyberspace reporter, I.B. Nosey, interviewed me about Coda to Murder. Take a peek.
Video:
Video:An I.B. Nosey Interview with J.Q. Rose

Consider learning how to make some videos for your site. There are lots of helpful Youtube videos from folks who know how to create video.  I especially enjoy watching video expert Lou Bortone. He also has courses available.

  • Book Series--After reading articles on improving book sales, the information supports the idea to use a book series to build audience and sales. It makes sense that if people like you first book, they will come back for more and tell their friends. (the best advertising you can get). Plus the more books you have to sell, the more for readers to  buy and read. I'm developing a series on vegetable gardening to try out this theory. And I'm loving it. My husband is the expert and I am the writer.
  • Finally, I discovered not to use initials for a pen name.  Yes, it's a bit late for this realization. For instance,  if you typed J. Q. Rose rather than J.Q. Rose, the search will not find my name. Nor will it find JQ Rose, because in both instances, the spacing of the letters are different from the original. Think twice if you are planning to use initials in your pen name.
Now, it's your turn to share what you have learned as you proceeded along the path to publishing? Please leave your comments or questions below. Thanks for joining me today. 

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring in Florida, Book Cover Design

Spring has sprung in Florida as evidenced by the amaryllis and azaleas blooming. No tulips, but beds of amaryllis.
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Hello and welcome. I'm feeling good today. I don't know if it's because spring is evident in Florida (and I must say hot with temps in mid-80's) or if it's because I'm finally over the flu. I didn't know how bad I felt for the last month until this week when I realized I feel so good! So miserable for awhile. If you have or had the flu this winter, we are soul mates. I guess that flu shot didn't cover what I had. Hope you are feeling well now too.

Even feeling as rotten as I did,  I put the vegetable gardening book up on amazon on Feb.15. That was the highlight of the month and so much fun to do with my hubby, Gardener Ted. 
Quick Tips on
Vegetable Gardening
Book Cover
Available at Amazon
I shared the book cover with you so you could help me make a decision. Today I'm sharing a book cover for the upcoming ebook on writing tips from romance and mystery authors.

The authors were guests on this blog from October to February, so I'm sharing their tips and new material in the ebook. They had so many helpful and creative tips, I had to put them all together in one place so more writers could see them and use them for their writing projects. I'm so excited to be able to get this advice into the hands of aspiring and experienced authors, and to introduce readers to the contributing authors and their stories.

The book covers are below. I didn't put the fifteen contributing authors on the front of the book. Amazon only allows ten names to be listed as authors when uploading the book file, so I will list them inside. Even if I listed them, the names would be unreadable in the ebook thumbnail.  

Please give me some feedback on the covers. Colors, fonts, placement of words and images. Too busy? Too stark? I'm open to hearing it all.

Thanks.



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#3

#4

Thanks for your help. 
Images on the book covers courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Multi-Colored Books from Stuart Miles portfolio
Opened Book from digitalart portfolio

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LINKS TO DESIGN A BOOK COVER:

If you are designing a book cover, here are a couple of links to help you design it.

The Book Designer--Five great fonts for book covers. There are many more helpful articles here by Joel Friedlander, the guru of book cover design.

The Cover Design Studio Article on fonts and typeface. Lots of information on design here.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Travelogue: Taking a Break at the Sponge Capital of the USA--Tarpon Springs, Florida


Hello and welcome. And shall I say hello to spring yet? I hope you are some of the fortunate folks who are warming up this week. 

Congratulations to Karen Walker! Last week was Read an eBook week sponsored by Smashwords.com. Karen won her choice of my e-books listed on the My Books-Fiction and Non-fiction page of this blog in the tab above.  Did you get to read an eBook last week? 
I started a fun paranormal mystery,  Act of Abduction, by Brainerd and Fraser, and enjoying it. Truly an escape from everyday life.



We took a break from the usual everday activities when our daughter and her family visited last week. We took them to Tarpon Springs, Florida, well-known for its sponge business and Greek culture influences. In fact according to Wikipedia, Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. The scenic waterways in the area flow into the Gulf of Mexico where sponge divers harvest sponges all along the west coast of Florida.

We walked along the docks in the historic district filled with tourist shops and Greek restaurants and bakeries. (Yes, we stopped for some of their delicious treats in the afternoon. I wish I had taken a picture of the cakes we enjoyed. They were  beautiful as well as tasty. I had the plain kok (pronounced coke) which is NOT plain. Two small sponge cakes filled with custard and frosted with chocolate icing. MMMM, yummy! Take a peek at them and get the recipe at the Taste of My Life site.)



Many fishing boats and sponging boats docked in the harbor area.
Gorgeous day to be there.

Laughed at a boat tow away zone sign. Usually a vehicle tow away zone.

An original sponge boat circa 1933

Diver with his vintage water tight diving suit. He gets in and out of it using soap and water.

Diver with our nine year old grandson and me


Diver brought up a sponge from the bottom of the springs area

Clambering on board. Diver has to add 172 pounds of gear to his weight in order to keep him on the bottom of the sea floor..

I love pelicans. Maybe even more than flamingos. They were everywhere.
Hope you enjoyed the tour. Think of Tarpon Springs when you use your sponge. There are so many kinds of sponges. It was a real education for us.

Do you use a sponge? a natural sponge from the bottom of the sea? Leave a comment below and let us know how you use it. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG: Your Aging Books, Self-publishing, Read an Ebook Week, Giveaway

Insecure Writer's Support Group
Blog Hop
Hello and welcome to  the IWSG blog hop. 

What is IWSG? Founder of IWSG and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose is "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!" You're invited to become a member of this supportive group.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month, The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page
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What do you do with your old books you have published either traditionally or indie? I am insecure on how to handle these old graying stories that I love dearly. But, after 2 or 3 years they are just sitting online at my publishers and doing absolutely nothing!! Do I get my rights back and re-pub with another publisher or self-pub?

I've thought about self pubbing. I just released a gardening e-book February 15. I used the info from my gardening blog plus other materials to make a booklet on starting a garden. I plan to release a couple more in the series.
Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening:
Starting Your Garden

Quick, clear, concise, tried and true gardening tips

After self pubbing a couple of projects, this one went like clockwork. (I know that's a cliche, but this describes it perfectly.) I was prepared this time after studying several books on Kindle formatting, as well as learning from my experience with the other two projects. 

I chose niche categories so the ebook was an immediate bestseller in 3 categories.

I had my friends ready to post a review the minute the book went live.

Clockwork.

I don't know about fiction though. So much more competition. But at least if I self pub one of my ebooks and make five sales, I'd still be ahead of what the book is doing now!

I never really thought about what would happen to my books once they were out and aging. I just worried about getting a publisher for my first book! 

What is your experience with your "old" fiction/non-fiction? Are you continuing to enjoy sales from your previous books? What is your advice on dealing with aging books? Please leave a comment.
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Readers, get FREE and discounted books at Smashwords during Read an Ebook Week.
I'm celebrating eBook Week by giving away an eBook from my list. Just leave a comment anytime this week, and I'll draw a winner from all commenters on Sunday, March 8. Check my Amazon Author page to make your choice. If I don't have your email addy, please leave it in the comment or email me with it at jqrose02 at gmail dot com. (Yes, the new e-book on Vegetable Gardening, QUICK TIPS ON VEGETABLE GARDENING: STARTING YOUR GARDEN is on the list too!)
Plus GIRLS SUCCEED: STORIES BEHIND THE CAREERS OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN is 50% OFF during this event. $2.00. 
Grab it at Smashwords 

Girls Succeed!
Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve success in their dream careers


The Reader's Guide to accompany this ebook is FREE at Smashwords.