Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Create Images for Social Media

Happy Spring Day to you! 

I'm having a lot of fun with making graphics for social media and my blogs. Studies show readers will stay longer on a site if there is an image connected to the article. Facebook and Google+ are heavy on images. Video is even more attractive, but that's for a later post!

Here are some samples of the graphics I have made using the following sites. 


Quote by John F. Kennedy

Spring quote by Robin Williams
The two images above were made with Quotes Cover. I like this site because you can download your background photo to use for your graphic.  These are actually tulips from my yard. I also prefer it because you can place an asterisk in front of the word and the font will be different from the rest.  See how it is in the Kennedy quote above. Law o Life and Certain stand out in the lines. They have lots of fonts for you to use.


Image made with Quozio.

Has this happened to you? LOL

Quozio is a quick one to use. They have plenty of quotes to choose from, or you can use ones you found elsewhere. They have a large choice of backgrounds and fonts, so you just click the one you want and the image is done. 


Facebook cover designed in Canva.com
I used Canva for this Facebook cover (no image in the bottom left corner because that is where your profile photo is featured.) Just click on the shape you need for social media, poster, presentation, etc. It takes more designing on your part for this. They do give you a lot of layouts and free photos. If the photo is not free, they only charge $1. for each photo. I'm not comfortable using this site because I haven't experimented with it too much yet. So many people rave about it, but maybe they have more design experience behind them. I'll keep playing with it.

I design my book covers with an old favorite software program I have used for years, The Print Shop 22. I tried to learn Photoshop, but it was so much more complicated, so I went back to Print Shop. I figured out a lot of eBook covers for Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Then I pulled up picmonkey and copied the jpeg design saved in my book cover file to the shape for the Kindle cover--1600 x 2400 pixels. Soooooooo easy and it's the preferred size cover for Kindle Direct Publishing. Picmonkey has a lot to offer for designers so I am digging around in it too.

I bet many of you have experience with some of these sites. What do you think about them? Can you suggest other sites you use for designing your graphics?
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Time's a wastin'. Time to plant your garden. This eBook will help!
Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening available now on amazon


Quick Tips for Vegetable Gardening: Starting Your Garden is jam-packed with helpful tips written by authors who have years of experience growing their own vegetable gardens, producing plants in commercial greenhouses, and owning and operating a garden center. Get helpful advice for growing vegetables in a garden plot, container, raised bed, or vertical gardening. Learn how to get ready for gardening, how to plan a garden for four seasons of eating enjoyment, how to start seeds, and more.
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Camping Plans, Your Mobile Friendly Website

Our daughter and family's camper..New last year.
Hey there! The weather s warming up and I'm getting the camping bug. We got our camper (fifth wheel) out of storage last week. Now to find a Michigan State Park campground with availability! Yes, the campgrounds fill up quickly. So take this as a reminder, if you are planning a camping trip, get your reservations in now to be sure you'll have a site!

IS YOUR SITE MOBILE READY?


Mobile devices are the most popular way to access the Internet
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com by adamr
Have you heard all the buzz about making sure your website is mobile ready? Do you realize almost 80% of visits on the Internet are made from a mobile device? 

To avoid having your visitors deal with the text being too small, the links too tiny, and scrolling sideways to see all the content, you need to optimize your site for viewing on a mobile phone.You can check if your site is mobile responsive with a mobile friendly test from Google on their webmaster tools pageJust copy the URL of the site you wish to check into the box on the page, and you will receive an answer immediately.
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Hope you're having a marvelous start to the beginning of this week. My DH and I are installing a laminate floor in our kitchen--together. He gave me some time off so I am writing this blog post on the fly. Can't wait to see the floor all done, but getting there may cause a few aches and pains. I'm sure it will be so worth it.
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Enjoy the springy weather!! J.Q.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
J.Q. Rose blog http://www.jqrose.com/
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page http://tinyurl.com/aeuv4m4



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Money or Recognition as a Writer, Shhhh--New Book Release

As a writer, do you want money or recognition?
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com byFeelart
Good Thursday to you! (Okay, if you are reading this on a different day, sub that day for Thursday, We are flexible here.)

Money or Recognition? by J.Q. Rose
I read an article last night on the On the Premises website. The post was in their writing tips section and of course I had to check it out since Thursdays were dedicated to guest authors sharing their writing tips on this blog from October-February.

Rather than a tip, it was more of a thought-provoking piece on what writers want when they decide on a career in writing. The blog post author (he/she never credited herself in penning this article) wrote, "Publishing an on-line magazine with the goal to make published stories available indefinitely has brought an interesting philosophical battle to my attention. There can be a struggle between the desire to make money from your work and the desire to have your work witnessed, appreciated, and/or recognized by others." Find the essay titled Two Kinds of Writers in the Writing Tips section and check out their contests. No fee to enter.

Did you decide to become a writer because you're interested in making lots of money by writing fiction? 
OR
Did you decide to become a writer to be famous and appreciated through your writing? Do you want to develop memorable characters who will leave a lasting message on our society for years to come e.g. Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I must remind you that this is a philosophical discussion because I imagine if you become recognized (think Stephen King or J.K. Rowling) for your effort, you will be richly compensated. In this world of technology your books will available as digital files in cyberspace for infinity, so you could be famous now and into the future.

The article's author asks, "What’s more important to you, money or recognition?"

How would you answer that? Please leave a comment below to join in the discussion.
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This article was a timely one for me, because today is no ordinary Thursday. I am bursting to tell you, but I don't want to "let the cat out of the bag" and blow the whole surprise. Well, maybe it isn't a surprise so much, as news.

I'm sitting on my hands so-to-speak, trying not to say anything. Zipped my lips shut. But then again, this news adds to this discussion of fame or fortune in a different way.

I am going to explode though if I just don't just come out and say it!
Ta-dah!!! The Writing Tips book is published on Amazon and ready for you! 
Squeeeeeeeeeeee.. Dancin' around the chair. Breathless.

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing
Available NOW at Amazon.com

There! My original plan was to have a quiet launch on Amazon, gather all those fifteen authors who contributed to the book, and really have a blow-out book launch all at once. But---
I've had so much feedback from the authors who are ready to shout about the book, I decided to go with that program too.

If you would like a free PDF copy of the 40 page book, please contact me at jqrose02 at gmail dot com. Hopefully you'll be able to leave a review and recommend it to your friends.

So you're wondering why does this book launch have anything to do with the philosophical discussion on fame or fortune as a writer? 

For awhile now I have been questioning if the world really needs anymore mysteries, fantasies, horror stories in this already mixed up world of terror and unimaginable crimes. As I see that I have more years behind me than ahead of me, I want to offer, in my writing, information that will help society. I think this writing tips book will definitely offer eye-opening tips to new writers. In our gardening book, released in February, my DH, Gardener Ted, and I shared lots of valuable quick tips for new vegetable gardeners. And it feels good!
Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening
Available at Amazon.com

It feels even better when I know I'll be donating the royalties from the writing tips book to public libraries and royalties from the gardening book to local food banks.

I'm not saying there is no place for good escape reading to help get us through some of these worrisome times. In fact, as a writer, you know those stories just wind through your brain and you have to get them out on the page. But I'm not looking for fame or fortune when writing fiction. I am looking to get a message out to the world through characters and settings, etc. to bring awareness, start discussions, and to find solutions to problems in our society, as well as entertain readers with a great story. When it's all said, in order to get my message out, I have to become recognized. 

How do you view your writing career? Take a few minutes to leave a comment, please. We'd love to enjoy a rich discussion from all sides. Thanks!

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Travelogue: Signs of Spring from South to North

Lilies blooming in our Florida yard mid-April 2015
Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. Yes, we are back home in beautiful Michigan. The countryside is just waking up to spring. We arrived to sunny skies and warm temperatures (about 70 degrees F/21 C). Of course we won't mention the rain, cool temps, and  snowflurries forecast for mid-week. We are delighted with this rare treat.


The Snowbirds-Author J.Q. Rose and hubby, Gardener Ted
We had an uneventful 1300 mile trip from Florida to the North country. And that's the way we like it!


Our route home from Florida to Michigan
Find lots of maps at mapofusa.net


We left lush, green Florida landscapes and colorful flowers and the beaches teeming with sun-loving visitors. We knew we'd pass through spring in its various stages as we drove north. Take a peek at the signs of spring we spotted on our journey home. 

Please remember these photos were shot "on the way" north. Yes, through the windshield of our 70 mph speeding pick-up truck. You may have to squint to focus in on some of them!

We had to say good-bye to our Florida neighbors and their beautiful geraniums. 

Nickajack Lake picnic area near Jasper, Tennessee.
The park has a lovely campground.
Can you imagine how busy this place must be in the summer? 

I bet there are a LOT of fish in this lake.

On this trip we discovered the annual National Cornbread Festival 
which is held in South Pittsburgh, TN, just a few miles from Nickajack Lake.
The Lodge Cast Iron factory is located in this small town.
This company is world-renowned for their quality cast iron cookware.
Hey, if you have no plans this weekend, April 25-26,
you can attend the cornbread festival!! 

You can see we are in leafless country,
but with buds showing on the trees and green grass growing.

Yes, we endured traffic congestion in some of the cities we passed through.

And lots of construction!! The orange barrels kind of ruined the scenic areas!

Redbud trees, a sure sign of spring in Tennessee.

This flowering tree graced out motel room in Indiana.
Gorgeous yellow forsythia were also blooming.

The farmers are getting ready to plant, definite signs of spring in Indiana.

At last, we are near home. All the fruit orchards are nothing but branches and trunks.
No signs of life.

Notice the sparse green grass and no leaves on the trees. But spring will come.

The promise of spring is alive and well in our yard.
The hyacinths are growing and the tulips are budding.

Daffodils are a welcoming sight. They just make my heart happy with their bright yellow blossoms. Pure spring joy.
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So how far are you into spring? Flowers, leaves or no leaves, or are you in the part of the world just entering fall? What IS your favorite season of the year?

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Snowbird Spring Migration, Winter Projects

“Migrating Geese At Night” by Vlado

courtesy of freedigital photos.net
Migrating north this week because my husband and I are snowbirds. We are packing and moving back north for the summer. 

I'd like to make a case for changing the name of snowbirds to sunbirds. We follow the sun...summers in Michigan and winters in Florida. I believe snowbirds fly away from snow, but, hey, Florida has no snow to fly away from! 

Escaping to Florida reminds me of summer camp when I was a kid. I had fun and more freedom at camp. In winter, I have fun and freedom in Florida. No responsibilities to organizations or family (whom I truly love and miss during the winters), and complete freedom to write and wonder.

Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening:
Starting Your Garden
This winter I feel very pleased with myself. Unfortunately I didn't get much done on my WIP concerning a murder in the funeral home. On the other hand, my dear hubby, Gardener Ted, and I published a gardening book on amazon. It was so good to share this writing experience with him. And he is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to vegetable gardening. Yes, I'll keep you updated on ours this gardening season.





By the time we get home, I hope to have news about the release of my writing tips book--a compilation of writing tips from fifteen talented authors. This project was a joy to work on, getting to know so many great authors who generously shared their writing tips and advice. 
Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing
Coming Soon!

I finally settled on a book cover. This one garnered the most votes and the best comments.

So that was my winter. How about you? Any writing projects? Great books you enjoyed this winter? 
Leave a comment below and let us know about your activities...well, the ones you can share in public anyway!!

I'll be offline for awhile this week, but will return next Monday!!

Have a wonderful week!





Thursday, April 9, 2015

World Building with Urban Fantasy Author Kyla Phillips, Giveaway



Can you write a description of the world pictured here?
Hello and Welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!
I am thrilled to introduce you to author Kyla Phillips .  Her book will be released in May by MuseItUp Publishing.  Kyla's urban fantasy, Agent of Light, marks her debut as a published author.  She is celebrating by offering a free eBook to a lucky commenter. The winner will be chosen after 9 pm EDT Sunday evening.

Congratulations on your new release, Kyla! What an exciting time for you. We're so happy to share this special occasion with you.

You had to build a believable fantasy world in Agent of Light. Do you have some tips on how you did that?

Yes, J.Q. Thank you.

Building a Complex Supernatural World by Kyla Phillips

Working on my newest novel, Agent of Light, I knew I wanted to build this complex supernatural world to fit my crazy characters in, which led me to thinking about the rules of world building. With my everyday life being so hectic, any rules of writing I would even have a chance of following have to be simple. So when building a new world I keep four things in mind.
World building is all about developing, and sticking to, a set of rules that govern a fictional world. Whether that be a far off planet in a far flung future and supernatural world in the present. Either way to make your characters extraordinary powers/technology etc, something worth reading the reader has to be able to relate.
1.      Everything starts with an idea.
Agent of Light follows of team of bounty hunters that track down the worst criminals in the supernatural world. Well who hunts down supernaturals? Other, more powerful supernaturals of course. But what kind?  For my character Donovan, I thought about what kind of man he was. Strong, mercurial, raw.  To me that screamed shapeshifter which by their very nature are ever changing.
2.      Background.
The second thing I have to think about is what does Don being a shapeshifter add to the story, besides the obvious otherworldly element. That meant digging into what is a shifter. To me they thrive in a pack. Okay so Don was in a pack now he’s in a new one. Does he have the same position? Promoted? Demoted? Does the way he did things in the past create tension in his new pack? Now Don’s background as a shifter adds all these new dimensions to him as a part of the team.
3.      Limits.
Characters have to have limits otherwise why write a whole book. For example, Don transforms into megalithic beast, kills all the bad guys. The end. Not a very good story. Instead, Don is limited by what he can shift into. At one point he wants to shift into a polar bear but because he had never seen one he couldn’t. It doesn’t end there. He was affected by the moon, his powers wax and wane in a predictable cycle. He’s still flesh and blood so he has to replace the energy expended by eating a lot after a good fight. It’s the little, practical details that make the fantastic plausible.
4.      The surrounding world.
I always keep in mind what affect my character’s power has on the world around them. In the case of Agent of Light, everything is out in the open. Because the ordinary and the supernatural live together, there are rules in place to protect humans from the others. That  also means something that might have seemed spectacular under other circumstances is rather mundane. A man shifts into dog in the middle of a park and nobody bats an eye. So the drama has to be elevated to even cause a stir. Couple shift into dogs in the middle of the park and have at each other, they’re spelled by cop and carted off to jail for indecent exposure and lewd behavior. 

Keeping those four things in mind makes it easy to turn the fantastical into the plausible.
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Thanks so much for sharing those four foundations for building a world! Check out Kyla's first book in the series, Council of Light: Agent of Light.

Urban Fantasy--Agent of Light by Kyla Phillips
Back of the book:
Vayne is a light elemental and bounty hunter for the supernatural world. Her partners—Giovanni, a capricious fallen angel; and Donovan, a shape shifter with anger control issues—work with her during their rehabilitation. During the coldest winter Cincinnati has ever seen, the threesome run into a case where temporary and violent insanity strikes powerful elementals seemingly at random. Vayne soon finds herself the victim instead of the hunter, and working on the wrong side of the conflict. How can Don and Gio pull her back from the brink? How will she reveal the perpetrator and bring him before the chopping block?

Pre-order now and save at
Amazon
MuseItUp Publishing: 
The eBook will be available at all major online sellers May 5.

About Kyla Phillips:
Kyla became a SciFi/Fantasy addict at age three watching Doctor Who on late nights up with her mom. She discovered her love of reading and writing in the third grade reading Robert A. Heinlein and Piers Anthony and trying to create stories like her heroes. 
K
Currently she lives in Ohio with her grandmother and her dog, Mya – named after a SciFi character. She is inspired by the musing of her fellow writers in the Entropy writing group and hanging out at Barberton Public Library.
Connect with Kyla Phillips Online at
Facebook
Do you enjoy escaping into SciFi/Fantasy worlds? Do you have tips for world building in stories you write? Please share with us in a comment below. Leave a comment to win the drawing for an ecopy of Kyla's brand new book coming in May!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Marketing Your Book with the KDP Free Promotion, Book Trailers for Non-fiction Books, This Week

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog! 
I bet you had a blessed Easter and/or Passover. Now spring is officially here! 
Many folks' thoughts turn to vegetable gardening this time of year. My DH, Gardener Ted, and I joined forces to offer information in our guide, Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening: Starting Your Garden, to help them get inspired and to offer practical advice on gardening. 


Vegetables from J.Q. Rose and Gardener Ted's garden
I had a blast putting all the articles together and working with my hubby on the final product. I uploaded the file to Amazon on February 15, 2015. The eBook hit the Amazon bestseller lists the next day!  I was thrilled. But after the first rush, sales fell off. 

I decided to try the KDP promotion of offering the eBook for free. I don't have the second book in the series available yet, but I decided to use part of my 5 days of free promotion at this time since 'tis the season to start a garden. 

I was blown away with the response to the three day "sale." I gave away over 1100 eBooks and reached #1 in crafts/hobbies and seasonal categories of Amazon's free kindle eBooks. 

I decided to use the free promotion for several reasons:
  • Create buzz to earn real sales after the promotion
  • To gauge the interest in vegetable gardening
  • To garner reviews for the book
I chose the dates because in Michael Thomas eBook, Crush It on the Kindle: A Guide to Publishing and Maximizing Sales, advised offering the free promotion at the end of the month. He explained "The biggest jump came from people borrowing my book at the beginning of the month, which increased its sales rank, which increased its visibility, which increased its actual sales and profits." I figured if he achieved great results when giving it away for just one day, I'd offer it for three days to include the end of the month and the beginning. Perhaps this was erroneous thinking on my part. (Just like the assumption that if fertilizer is good for a plant, give it more than the directions say, and it will grow faster. No, don't do that,)

I'm sure I made an error when selecting the days for the give away because by making the promo 3 days, I bumped up into Good Friday, Passover, and Easter weekend. When the give-away ended on Thursday, April 2, the next day to actually purchase the book was Friday and the beginning of the weekend. As I write this blog on Monday morning, I have not sold one eBook. So the "buzz" didn't translate into actual sales. 

Do I have hope this week will see sales? You bet I do because the royalties are going to support local food pantries in my area. Have I missed the optimal time to sell a book on Starting Your Garden? Not in Michigan! It's still snowing there and in many northern states. I also rationalize, people always have that desire to get their hands dirty. Gardening is not just a few weeks in the spring.

Another tidbit for you to tuck away in your marketing tool box--I notified several websites who feature FREE eBooks so I could rely on not only Amazon's promotion, but also those sites. Shelley Hitz Places to Submit Your Free KDP Select Promotion PDF made it easy to find and enter the eBook info. The link to the PDF is in her eBook, Marketing Your Book on Amazon: 21 Things You Can Easily Do for Free to Get Exposure and Sales.
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Besides the give-away as a marketing tool, I decided to make a book trailer for the eBook. I worked on it and got it ready, then it dawned on me that book trailers are usually for fictional books. Have you ever seen a book trailer for a non-fiction book?? Hmmm....well, after all that time I spent on this video, I'm going to be brave and share it with you below even if non-fiction trailers are not done! 

VIDEO: Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening: Starting Your Garden

Book Trailer for  Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening
Have you tried using the KDP Select Free Promotion in your marketing efforts? Is it in your marketing plan? What do you think of book trailers for non-fiction books? Please leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you.

This Week:

Thursday, April 9--Author Kyla Phillips is my guest. She suggests four points when world-building in your stories. Come back for this helpful information and to discover her new urban fantasy, Agent of Light, releasing in May.

Be sure to get notices of new posts on the J.Q. Rose blog by submitting your email in the box in the right side bar. I promise, NO SPAM!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group: Police Procedure, FREE eBook


IWSG Blog Hop
Hello and welcome to  the IWSG blog hop. 
What is IWSG? Founder of the Insecure Writers Support Group 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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Caution: Remember today is April Fool's Day. Don't get caught!
FREE eBook today and tomorrow
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Today is no April Fool's prank when I tell you our eBook on gardening is free today!! Yeah, really, go check it out. Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening: Starting Your Garden is FREE today AND tomorrow. Go get it at Amazon 
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No joking around, today my writing insecurity is police procedure. I write mysteries, but I have no experience in law enforcement, so I have to depend on my own "investigation" into how a crime is committed and how police actually gather evidence, find suspects, and how they handle the aspects of bringing a criminal to justice. 

I am insecure about my lack of knowledge in this department because in Coda to Murder a reviewer called me out on getting a procedure wrong--notifying the family of the murder of their loved one. I know it is a book of fiction, but when readers see a fact or procedure is incorrect, it colors their perception of the whole story. 

In writing my first two mysteries, I relied on my neighbor who is a city policeman and the Crime Scene Writer Group. (My neighbor did not get the procedure wrong. I didn't even ask him about the procedure.) Now well into my third mystery, I realize I am lacking in information on the witness protection program and drug trafficking. 

Where do you find resources for getting the police investigations and procedures correct? Please leave a comment below. Thanks so much.