Thursday, August 29, 2013

Prepping For A Convention


I recently went to my first convention. Author After Dark in Savannah, Ga. It was a blast. Tons of fun. But I must admit, when I first arrived, and even when I left, I was like a dear in headlights. There was so many people, so much to do, so many things I didn't think of.

All these great swag ideas I'd never though of. Authors made cell phone screen cleans, lint brushes, hand sanitizer, even tissues. So many awesome things. Some simple too. Such as having stickers made and simply placing it on the item. I left there thinking, why didn't I think of that? Well, I didn't because I had never been.

I did have pens made to give out, and a few special business cards that lead readers to a special site to get a free book.

I recommend when you go to one of these things to have a friend. Whether it's an author you chat with online and you two agree to be buddies for it, or you bring someone along, just don't do it alone. So many authors and readers, you have to break out of your shell and talk to them. A friend by your side will help. Tell them who you are and hope maybe they've heard of you. But don't get your feelings hurt if they haven't. Because going to that convention is your first step to having a face to your work.

By the time you leave that first convention, you'll be ready for the next. You'll know what to expect. You won't look like a sixth grader on the first day of school.

But the best advice I can give, is to have fun. Enjoy the new experience, take mental notes, and have fun.


Here I am at the signing. 


Signing Books! Gotta love that!


Elemental Ball. Lots of fun with Ella Jade and Jaye Shields

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#WWoW!: Creating Your Own Video Trailers Without Breaking The Bank #royaltyfree #stockphotos





It's Wednesday once again and you know what that means. Time for Tammy's Tidbits here at Writer's Words of Wisdom. Each week the four of us post some tips, insights, or  share our experiences with writing, editing, publishing and promoting. You may have already experienced these things yourself, or find something new. Either way, we would love to get your comments on our posts and perhaps you will join us each week posting some of your own experiences. It's authors helping authors at its finest. We've opened up Fridays for guest authors so if you're interested, let us know!

The following is an updated post of one I did in October 2012. I had just started making my own video trailers and now have a few more under my belt. I have to say I've learned a lot along the way and I hope the information below is helpful to you.


This week I thought I would share my experiences making video trailers for my books. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I first looked into the idea. I asked a lot of questions of one author in particular, Rose Anderson. I loved the video she did for her book Dreamscape





First question I had was "who did the video for you?" I was surprised to find out she did it herself and she said it wasn't hard. Now, if you're like me, you're not all that tech savvy and when someone says it's not hard, for me it would be a disaster. 


I was on a very tight budget. Well, I had no extra funds for a budget so I needed to figure out how to do this for myself and CHEAP! LOL  


First of all, I looked for a program that would be rather user friendly and let me set up my own movie/video using the images I had in mind.  I didn't need to look far. I already had one on my computer. Windows Movie Maker. There's currently a newer version Windows Live Movie Maker which you can download for free if you use Vista or Windows 7. What I like about this program is it will automatically format the end product to be able to upload to YouTube, Facebook or for emails. No need to get another program to convert the file. Movie Maker did it all for me with just a click of a button.



A more recent site I've become very fond of is Animoto.com. With this site, you can create fabulous video trailers. If you wish to use the free version, your clips will be very short—thirty seconds to be exact but it can be a great benefit for teasers.  

If you wish to make longer trailers, I suggest you invest the $30 for the PLUS plan. With this, you can make ten minute trailers—more than enough time for an eye catching piece. There is another package for businesses if you wish to go that route, but I stuck to the $30/year plan.

No matter which program you choose to use, it's time to put together the images and music to bring your creation to life. You can't just use any image or music you wish. There are some issues with copyright that will most likely come up so it's best to use royalty free images and music. There are many sites out there to help you with both of these.  Some sites will allow you to use their images and music FOR FREE if you give them credit for it (attribution) and in some way link back to their site. Others will allow you to use the materials without giving any credit to the artists/creators as long as you PAY a FEE.  


With my shoestring budget, I used  FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Photobucket for most of my images. I made sure with each one I was able to use the images in my video and followed the directions on the site to give the proper attribution.  For music, I really wanted to use the tunes I listened to while writing, but I didn't want to get into some fight with a record company so I found a site with great instrumentals. 

Incompetech is the brainchild of Kevin MacLeod. Not only does he have many pieces you can download for free, he will also do original scores for projects. His website has all the specifics and even shows you how to give the proper attribution for YouTube. Mr. MacLeod takes all the guesswork out of it. All you have to do is insert the title of the piece you are using. A no brainer...I loved it!


Animoto has a large selection of music you can use or you can upload your own from Incompetech. Once again, think long and hard about using copyrighted music for your videos. You may get away with it for a bit on Youtube, but if the record company objects, you could be faced with more than just a slap on the wrist.

Here's the video trailer I did for my poetry book Follow Me: Poetry from the Heart and Soul. The music is from the Incompetech site and the images I purchased in a package. Art Explosion contained over 500,000 images I could use for any project. The scenic images were perfect for this trailer.  



There are so many other ways to get images. There's Dreamstime, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, and Fotolia just to name a few. For fairly reasonable rates, you can purchase packages that include a number of images to use as you see fit. This is how many of us found the images for our self-published book covers. 

For even more music choices, you can purchase royalty free compositions on iTunes. Some video trailers also use popular music by well known artists. YouTube automatically lists the title of the song and where to purchase it when the video is uploaded. (I asked a few of my friends how they put the information below their videos and they told me it was YouTube). I'm still a bit leery using my favorite Pink song for one of my trailers. One day I may cross that bridge, but until then, I'll stick to the royalty free stuff! 

Here's the last video trailer I made using Windows Movie Maker.





Here's the first Animoto video trailer I made for us here at Writer's Words of Wisdom.




Are you ready to make your own video trailer? Go on. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? 

Until next week
~Tammy

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#Wwow - Mashup Newbie Romance Writer Advice


It's been exactly one year since I signed my first contract with Entranced Publishing. My debut novel, Time Changes Everything was then released in May 2013. Since signing in August 2012, I've signed three other novels and have two more waiting for a home. So, in honor of my one year, I've bundled up a bunch of newbie tips for newbies out there! 

Tip #1: Don’t give up! Yeah, yeah, this is completely clichĂ©d, I know. But, I almost gave up. I began writing Time Changes Everything seven years ago while on maternity leave. Then mothering got in the way and I had to put it to the side. If it weren’t for my husband giving me a little push to finish the novel last year, I wouldn’t have. So, even if you have to put your writing to the side, don’t forget to get back to it once the inspiration hits again.

Tip #2: Do your research on publishers! I’m a Harlequin girl. Since I was a teenager, I had stacks of Harlequin category romance next to my bed. After receiving a rejection from them on Time Changes Everything – I was heartbroken. What we writers need to realize is that there are more than one romance publisher out there. Actually, there are many fabulous publishers – including small presses who I’ve had the best experiences with. Check them out on Duotrope.com or google the different sites. You'll find a good match somewhere!

Tip #3: Find untraditional ways to submit your work! I love this tip, because with my first two publishers, I did not take the traditional route – sending a query and partial through email, waiting months for the news, etc. With Time Changes Everything, I saw a pitch contest on www.romanceuniviersity.com website with Entranced Publishing. So, I decided to go for it (see Tip #1). I’m so happy I did. I pitched my story and within a few weeks had contract in hand. I secured my second contract with Crimson Romance through a Twitter pitch session earlier this year. Yep. I sold my book to the editor with a 140-line pitch. Two weeks later, I had a book deal! So, again, find untraditional routes. It’s quicker, it’s fun and it’s great practice. Here’s a post I wrote about my pitching experience and places you can find to pitch your book:  

Tip #4: Know the editing tricks of the trade! I had a major newbie fail with Time Changes Everything. I’d never heard of Track Changes in word, so when I first edited my novel, I didn’t use track changes. FAIL! I had to teach myself how to use the program and I’m glad I did. It seems this is the way editors work with writers in the industry. Here’s an explanation of my experience and a simple guide to help you if you don’t know about Track Changes: http://melindadozier.blogspot.com/2012/12/road-to-publishing-major-newbie-author.html

Tip #5: You will have to kill your little darlings! When you first get your edits back, be ready to cry, shout, scream, yell, throw things – because it’s painful. Your ‘baby’ will be practically eaten alive. Opening up your edits and seeing red marks all over it is quite disarming at first. My advice is to sit down with a glass of wine, take a deep breath, open the document and read through. Then set it aside for a day – take it all in – and realize that your editor knows what he or she is doing. They’re the expert. Their goal is to sell your book, not torture you. Then when you’re ready, get to work. As Steven King said, “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Tip #6: Make your presence known! You want exposure and you want to find out all you can about the industry. Create an online presence. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest are all great places to create your brand. You can also make lifelong author friends. Both my editors have told me that a writer’s online presence is important to them. They check writer’s out before signing them. If you need to create a blog, do it NOW! And if you want to follow me, find me on Twitter www.twitter.com/melindadozier.

I hope these tips help you out. I’m by far an expert, but I am living and breathing a newbie author’s life at present. If someone can learn from me, then I’ll be satisfied. 


Melinda Dozier is a contemporary writer. Her three debut novels were released in 2013: The Boy Next Door and Time Changes Everything from Entranced Publishing, and Breaking the Rules from Crimson Romance. Her next release, Love and Other Games: Trouble With Gold will be released in October from Swoon Romance. You can find more information at her website:www.melindadozier.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

#WWoW! Feed140 Maximizes Author Efficiency.

WWoW! Here's a simple recommendation to simplify your on-line life... what more could you ask for?

Here's another suggestion of an on-line tool to try. It's an application to store a playlist of tweets that are sent out intermittently throughout my day without me needing to actually send them. BOTTOM LINE: Feed140 allows writers to maximize your Social Presence with minimal time investment. I’m telling you about it because it’s another way I save time on promoting. And less time promoting is more time writing!

Feed140 is a “social network marketing efficiency tool that delivers a constant stream of updates to your followers automatically” with minimal effort on your part.



  • You create the tweets. 
  • You set the delivery schedule. 
  • You control how frequently Feed140 publishes tweets from your playlist. 
  • You can have Feed140 deliver a certain number of tweets each day from your playlist. 
  • You can also add your RSS feed(s) to a general queue so it automatically filters those in daily as well. 
  • You can have Feed140 ‘mix in’ updates from your playlist as a percentage of the total updates from your main queue.
However you choose to use it, your promotional messages are delivered automatically while being certain you don’t overwhelm your followers. It’s great! Feed140 lets you create a series of high-quality tweets that are then delivered over time without another thought.

STEP ONE: Playlist.
Spend some time composing High-Quality, Attention-Grabbing Tweets that are Relevant. Creating solid content for your social network updates should take some thoughtful consideration. You will spend 20ish minutes each week to update your playlist of tweets. Here’s some ideas: Provide links. Display your work. Highlight your strengths. Use messages you want to reiterate consistently to your followers. Advertise your books. Promote your blog features. Distribute buy links. Promote your publisher. Link YouTube book trailers or other videos.

The tweets in your playlist can be published in sequence or mixed on shuffle play so your tweets are sprinkled about in random order.

STEP TWO: Queue.
Aside from the one playlist you are allowed with a FREE ACCOUNT, you have a queue. The queue is the direct feed into your twitter account – you fill the queue with both your PLAYLIST and RSS FEEDS.

This means you can add your RSS feeds from your blog, website or any of your Social Bookmarking Accounts (i.e. Digg, Google Reader, StumbleUpon, Tumblr). You can connect any or all of these to Feed140. Then each time you click the Digg button, star an article in Google Reader, or give a site the thumbs-up in StumbleUpon, it will automatically be added to your Feed140 queue and be delivered based on the criteria you chose for delivery. Your queue will fill up fast with interesting and entertaining content for your followers.

THIS IS PRETTY COOL. Pre-load date-specific messages with the ‘Scheduled Updates’queue. You can use the Feed140 ‘Scheduled Updates’ queue to send special promotions and book releases that are date-specific. You simply enter tweets into your queue and select the date (and even the time) you want the tweets to be delivered. Feed140 takes care of the rest. Tada! Your own personal twitter assistant.

THIS IS IMPORTANT. 
This does not take the place of other interactive tweets! Twitter is about CONNECTING, not just SELLING. I consider my Feed140 playlist my baseline – an auto-marketing program that spreads the message of my product (my books) and provides links to my store (my blog and website). Feed140 allows you to deliver a consistent base of content on your Twitter account BUT it is only one-step as it maintains your visibility to your followers even on those days you don’t have time to log in. Your playlists will never replace authentic live interaction, but their value is to provide a solid base of consistent content.
THIS IS NOT SO IMPORTANT... but I thought I should mention it… You can pay for prefabricated playlists but it really isn’t necessary. Creating enough content to keep your audience engaged might be challenging but we’re creative people – you can do it yourself. However, if you should choose to, these playlists are set in categories that give you the edge as a thought leader in a certain niche.

Use your Twitter (plus facebook coming soon) more efficiently. Give your twitter account a base with solid messages to followers with just a few minutes each week. It’s really very simple.

Keep writing!
Paloma

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keep Your Website Updated. #wwow

One of the first things I think an author needs - besides a social media presence - is a website. This is like your home on the web. It reflects you. Your work is here, maybe even a blog. This is where readers will come to learn about you and what other releases you have. So make sure you keep it up to date.

Obviously release days are busy, and getting on your site to make sure it's updated might not be top priority, but it needs to be on your to do list. Too often I visit authors sites weeks after a new release and the new book is still on the coming soon page. I'm not sure why this bothers me so much. Of course I know the book is out and no longer coming soon, but I am also very involved in the book world as an author. A reader might have just read the first book in the series, came to your website and has no idea the book released. And you could be missing out on a sale.

Be redundant on your site, but not too much. Have a blog on there? Add things in the side bar. Like links to
your specific series or genre. Do this on the main page as well, but not on every page. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and not to busy. You want to keep the readers attention, not have them search for things to where they might not return.

If you write multi-genres under one pen name like I do, make sure you have different pages for those. I write contemporary and erotic. If I have a reader who only likes my tamer pieces, I certainly don't want them to think Bound By Pleasure, my BDSM is tame and be wide-eyed disappointed.

Often times when I am doing work on my website, I travel along the bigger authors sites and see the things they've done. I must admit, I love Jill Shalvis's site. Its super cute and easy to use. So if you visit her site and mine, you might find a few similarities.

The last thing I want to hit on, is make sure everything has a place. Don't throw everyone on one page. Keep it organized and easy on the eyes.

* * * * * * 
See ya next week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#WWoW! Social Plugins to Make Your Blog POP!



This week I'd like to share with you a tool I found nearly a year ago. No, it wasn't brand new. It had been around, but I hadn't had the time to investigate it until that particular moment in time. Okay, that sounds a bit "out there." LOL!  What I meant was I had been so busy trying to get my blogs off the ground and build up a following for all three of my pen names, that I missed this little helpful tidbit.  


I thought it was time to dig out the information again. A few of my friends have inquired about how they could get more traffic to their sites.  I asked them if they had a way for their readers to share their posts easily. A few of them said they did, but only the plug ins that came already preset with their sites. Are you one of those bloggers too? Read on!

Have you visited blogs and found they have multiple buttons for you to share their post or even follow them on various social media sites? Have you wondered how they put them on their sites? Me too. 



AddThis has everything you need to be able to offer hundreds of options for your readers to share your posts and follow you. They explain step by step how to get the buttons you want at the end of each post, or on your side bar of your blog/website.  You can even choose how your buttons will appear from a variety of different graphics.

Have Blogger? WorldPress? Not a problem. AddThis asks you where you will be using the buttons and then tailors each step by step for what you need. It's quite simple.


All you have to do is sign up for an account with AddThis and choose the buttons you want. You can also set it up so you can track how your posts are being shared. 



Get Your Buttons!
Go ahead and try it on your blogs today. I switched all five of my blogs on Blogger in just minutes. Here's the link to one on Sassy Vixen Publishing so you can see what it looks like. If you look at the left sidebar here on this blog, you'll see the social plugins we've added including the orange button with the white cross. That's AddThis at work!

Until next week,
~Tammy


Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

#Wwow - Why Authors Should Use Google Plus






Last week I gave a tutorial on how to use Google Plus. This week I will focus on the WHY. 

Google Plus is another great resource/tool for authors. Each day, more and more people are signing up. Those that do use Google Plus rave about the benefits and the future potential.

What a writer can do on Google Plus to make your profile more appealing:

  • provide links to your blog, websites, public profiles, online book store
  • Share information. Write posts of interests for your fans, fellow authors, blogs you follow to establish yourself as an expert and to build up your "brand."
  • Add photos of anything author related: cover photos, conventions you attend, etc.
  • Upload videos: book trailers, author introductions


Here is what makes Google's social outlet a great resource for authors: 

1. Google Plus is part of the Search Engine Google which makes your posts public, and ultimately brings more traffic to your site. Connecting your Google profile to your blog provides more search results.Check your stats! The proof is there.

2. It's all about "CIRCLES." Adding your followers/friends into specific titled circles aids in who you send posts to, and who sees your posts. Here are some good suggestions for authors: Authors, Reviewers, Bloggers, Editors, Publishers, Family, Friends, Triberr. 



3. Use hashtags in your posts to make it search-friendly. I've used the regular hashtags we use on twitter: #amwriting, #amediting. You can also tag people in your post (similar to Facebook). 

4. Each post has a "comment" option. This is easier to follow than, say, Twitter where comments are all over the place. It is one centralized place.



5. Wanna hangout? Google Plus has a "hangout" feature. I haven't used this much, as I'm still learning, but it's the big hype on Google Plus. It's a group video feature where you can interact with a "Circle." This is ideal for writer's conferences, writer's conferences, an online event such as book discussion, giveaway party, book reading sessions, interviews. The list is endless. I'd love to hear from anyone who's experienced this. 


With all the wonderful features Google Plus offers, I think a writer must add Google Plus to their platform of social media. Take the plunge and join the network. Don't forget to follow me at: https://plus.google.com/u/1/100956716011590449582/posts


Melinda Dozier is a contemporary writer. Her three debut novels were released in 2013: The Boy Next Door and Time Changes Everything from Entranced Publishing, and Breaking the Rules from Crimson Romance. Her next release, Love and Other Games: Trouble With Gold will be released in October from Swoon Romance. You can find more information at her website:www.melindadozier.com

Monday, August 19, 2013

#WWoW! Get Alert!








Today, I want to share two different types of ALERTS. It's techy stuff but the simplest of simple. BOTH are VERY GOOD RESOURCES but for two different reasons. Read on!

First, Google Alerts.
As authors -pen name or not- we are in the public eye. And now that we're there, it's good to know what's being said about us in the cyber-world. You can subscribe for alerts from Google based on criteria you establish. They send you email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your criteria. It takes just a few minutes to enter a search query you want to monitor. Be careful not to make it too complicated. Have an alert for your name, book names or series names. EASY and WORTH IT.

Second, Author Alarms.
You can subscribe for an alarm each time one of your books becomes available. Good way for you to track its availability BUT EVEN BETTER... promote this to your readers and fans. Encourage them to sign up so they will be able to purchase your new releases right away. Then no matter how busy you get, your readers will always know when your next book is ready for them to read.

Now go on and get alert. And then get back to your writing!
Paloma
Paloma Beck is a Romance Author living a life of contradiction... she's a happily married carpooling mom writing erotic romance. It's almost naughty! Paloma writes full-time and has three series in the works with others on the fringes. Her books span both the contemporary and paranormal romance genres. She dabbles in vampires, witches, menage, spanking and bondage - all in her books, of course. 

You can read about her books and also connect with her on multiple social networking platforms. Paloma is always willing to talk about her books, answer questions and hear your thoughts on her characters.


Paloma is committed to helping new writers and demonstrates her commitment as a volunteer staff member of MFRWorg and as a contributing blogger on Writer's Words of Wisdom.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

#WWoW!: I Need A Vacation!



I originally posted this in February on my Not Enough Time in the Day blog. At that time I was feeling more than a bit overwhelmed with everything I had on my plate and had found a solution to help me stay on track. Unfortunately, I needed to remind myself once again of the advice my dear hubby told me then so I thought I'd share it with you. 

Not only do I still have all the projects going listed below, I've added more. My fledgling publishing house, Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC is leaping into the publishing ring with four releases coming out before the end of the year. I've taken over the reigns of my Now and Forever series and will put the remaining eight books out with Sassy Vixen and Lia Michaels will have a short story and a full length novel out. Stephanie Ryan is waiting patiently for her time around. I've also added a separate website, Facebook and Twitter accounts for Sassy Vixen Publishing.  

Can you see why I need a vacation now?  LOL!

~Tammy



Well, I've finally gone and done it. I don't know whether I'm coming or going nor which "me" is in control at any given time. Besides my "evil day job" as veterinarian Dr. Tammy and her weekly Furbaby Friday feature on Not Enough Time in the Day, there is poet and erotic romance author Tammy Dennings Maggy (aka The Vixen), erotic romance author Lia Michaels and mainstream fiction and sweet romance author Stephanie Ryan. Between all of us there are four adults only blogs, two all age group blogs, one review site/blog, three..oh wait, four twitter accounts, four Google + accounts with four additional fan pages each, one personal Facebook account, five Facebook Fan pages, three Triberr accounts, one Linkedin, one Pinterest, Goodreads, multiple Facebook groups, yahoo groups, Amazon author pages, and Siren Bookstrand author and book pages.



Did I mention "one" real-life, sleep deprived, barely breathing human to take care of it all AND still find time to work on the various WIPs for three pen names?

I'm not complaining about having the three pen names. I think it's necessary for what genres I wish to write in, but even with setting up all the time-saving techniques I've learned from other authors, I'm still running on empty and wearing myself down. Having had to go through some medical issues over the last few months for myself and my husband, I've found all three of us further and further behind in what "we" wanted to have done at this time.

So what is an exhausted author and veterinarian to do?  Go on VACATION!!!

Okay, let's not get too excited. My hubby came up with the brilliant idea that I have two of my alter egos go on "vacation" for a couple of weeks. During that time, they would be away from their blogs, and all social media. Basically I put them on a sabbatical while one of us gets caught up. Then at the end of the two weeks, I would get to take a break while one of them takes over. This way I could concentrate on one or two projects at a time and have something to publish within the next month.

Did I say it was a brilliant idea? When the hubster suggested it over lunch the other day I just stared at him.   There it was right there in front of me, plain as day. Send two of "me" on vacation! 


I know what many of you are thinking right now. Why bother to have multiple pen names in the first place? Didn't I make all this extra work for myself by creating these alter egos?  I already answered the first question earlier. To me it's extremely important that I keep my non-erotica/erotic romance pen names separate from the two who write the adults only stuff. The extra work comes into play because I learned last year that I wanted to have my pen name known BEFORE a book was released. It took such a long time to build up Tammy Dennings Maggy and  I wanted to give the same attention to Lia and Stephanie.  It's hard enough trying to find your fan base as a new author. If I'm known, and my names are recognized, then more sales will hopefully follow.

Hell, Lia Michaels has built up a huge following already and she has yet to officially publish a single novel. She runs a hell of a fun blog though! The House of Taboo is in demand for guest spots for the Saturday Spotlight Interview feature. Oh and don't get me started on how fast my project with three other fabulous authors has literally exploded overnight.  Four Seduced Muses is run by myself, Maya DeLeina, Nicole Morgan and May Water. All of us write the HAWT erotic romances and have weekly features that discuss anything and everything. Besides ourselves, we've opened the remaining three days of the week to guests. We've been up and running for less than four months now and we are completely booked through April...maybe May by the time this post goes live!

I'm damn proud of all of these accomplishments, but they have come at a price. It's time to circle the wagons and regroup here. I can do it all, but I have to redefine my limits. I also have to remember my "me" time and take time away from writing, blogging, tweeting, networking, reviewing, editing, and publishing. I want to be around to enjoy the success of all three of my pen names and be able to celebrate with friends, family and of course my wonderfully supportive husband, Liam.  Who knows where I would be by the end of next week if he didn't make one simple suggestion.   Here we go!



Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube

Monday, August 12, 2013

#WWoW! Running a BLOG CONTEST






Let's talk about hosting CONTESTS on your BLOG. 
A contest is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Readers love free bookish stuff (book, ebook or swag) so you are likely to draw the attention of a lot of readers. Hopefully a bunch of those readers have never read your books before and tada! you have extended your reach. You have a new follower, fan or reader. This is the premise behind a Blog Hop because they allow you to be among the many on a list that encourages readers to seek out other authors.

How do you run a contest?
Here's the basics.
  • Criteria - Consider what you want participants to do to enter. Asking them to follow your blog, follow you on twitter or like your facebook page are pretty standard. Be sure you are getting the desired outcome. Do you want to increase twitter followers? Up your numbers on your facebook page? Get more blog followers? You can also add in a trivia question or ask them to leave a comment for an extra entry to promote dialogue with participants.
  • Prizes - Choose a popular prize but also one that helps you promote yourself. Some ideas are a copy of your book, gift cards to Barnes&Noble or Amazon, gift card to your publisher's online bookstore, Starbucks gift card, and book swag.
  • Rules - Determine when your contest will begin and end, and who is eligible. If you are giving away a paperback book, will you want to ship internationally? Or is this a continental US contest only? Be sure this information is clearly displayed.
  • Management - Rafflecopter is an easy-to-use on-line tool for administering contests on your blog. I highly recommend you use it. You input your contest information and the program creates a custom html code for you to paste into your blog post. It will even randomly draw your winner (no more drawing clippings fom a hat!) and post that for you automatically. See my Contests & Winners tab to see what it looks like. And Rafflecopter is free so no worries about expense.
  • Marketing - Promote your contest EVERYWHERE you do social marketing... your facebook page (Rafflecopter will actually allow you to embed the contest on your page), twitter, Linked In, Google+, Yahoo groups, facebook groups, etc. Create a contest logo. Have it prevalent on your blog for the entire contest time.  

Now, here is an important point.
It's what you do once you get new readers to your site that is most pivotal. Your blog -even if you host guest posts and blog on other topics- should prominently display your writing as an author. Have you book covers easily visible, your buy links accessible and consider including an excerpt in the contest post.

* I always give away a copy of one of my books. In the contest post, I include either an excerpt or an out-take of the book I am giving away. Then I include a button for them to add the book to their goodreads TBR list. My books' TBR always shoot up after a contest. *

How does this help your business?
Contests bring new readers to your site and they also expand your reader base. They increase your reach as your exposure grows. For ultimate benefit, I always recommend using contest in conjunction with a Blog Hop. More on those in a future WoW post!

Keep Writing!
Paloma

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting Organized! #wwow

Today's post - getting organized! And that's what I'm currently doing--I forgot to get this post done until now, when I'm writing it.

1. To-do lists: A must. I have a neat one I bought from Target with the days of the week on it. I jot down what needs to be done on what days or even what's due on those days. Yes, computers are handy and phone apps, but sometimes it's good to go old school and write it down so it stares at you.

2. Schedule posts: If you're a blogger, and your blog has the ability to let you schedule posts, then take advantage of it. I use weebly and blogger. Unfortunately, weebly does not offer this (even though when Imy to-do list to make it go live the night before.
complete there 'How Are We Doing' surveys, I always tell them that). But I make a point to sit down on Sundays and schedule everything I can. Or on my weebly, leave it in draft and make a note on

3. Give yourself deadlines: If you want to complete the book you're writing my August 25th, then write it down. Work your hardest to do it, and turn facebook off! However, I will say, if you don't meet your deadline, don't eat a whole pint of ice cream. Just move your deadline. That's the great part of being an author. You are your own boss! Well, except when you have edits. Then make sure you get those done in time so you don't hold up your release schedule.

Those are just a few tips!

See ya next week!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#WWoW!: My Additional Two Cents on Self Publishing

So you've finally finished that manuscript you've been slaving away at for quite some time. It's as polished as you can get it, been through three or four rounds of brutal edits, and now you're ready to send it off to a publisher. Fellow WWoW author Lacey Wolfe wrote about making sure you do your research before just sending off your "baby." Her post was filled with excellent advice and it made me want to take it a step further. Instead of sending it off to a publisher, why not do it yourself?


Relax. Stop hyperventilating for just a second and let me explain.



I've published my writing now in both the traditional and Indie routes and I have to say I LOVE both of them. They are different experiences and I've learned a great deal over the last two years. I was lucky enough to send my very first erotic romance to a well-established publisher in the market. They encouraged the authors to interact with and learn from each other. As a "newbie" I really appreciated that sort of guidance. It was because of these fabulous authors, that I decided to take what they taught me and venture out on my own a bit by self-publishing my first book of poetry. 

One thing I learned a long time ago and a bit of advice that still holds true today is NEVER, EVER pay to have your book published. This does not mean not to pay to have someone design your cover art, or do professional editing. What it does mean is that you shouldn't have to give a "publisher" money up front in order for them to publish your book in print or ebook form. If you do sign a contract with these vanity presses as they are called, you could be in for a world of hurt. Not only have you paid them to put out your book, but you may see very little royalties from them at all. To top it off, some of the more unscrupulous types have you under contract for your future endeavors as well. 

Don't be so hell bent on getting your book published that you fall for this kind of trap. There are so many FREE alternatives out there. For me, I started out with Smashwords. This is an excellent way for you to get your ebook out to multiple markets at the same time. They distribute to Apple, Sony, Barnes and Noble, Amazon (although they've had some formatting issues that are still being worked out), libraries and various other outlets. 

Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, put together a complete guide to formatting your manuscript so that it will be able to go through their system. The Smashwords Style Guide is a concise and straight forward manual. You can't publish to the site without following the precise guidelines, so go ahead and download your free copy today. It's even available on Amazon.  The guide was recently updated in June 2012, so make sure you get the latest version. I got mine from Smashwords.

As I mentioned previously, Smashwords and Amazon were having some issues with their systems not being compatible or something odd. So instead of waiting for them to work that out, I chose to opt out of Smashwords sending my book to Amazon so that I could upload my book there myself. Amazon used to require the file to be in PDF format to upload to their site and they have a few other rules you'll want to follow. Now you can simply upload your book as a .doc file. 

Here's the GUIDE for them...and yes it's free too. If you choose, you can opt into the KDP program (Kindle Direct Publishing Program) where you agree to keep your book exclusively on Amazon for at least 90 days. In exchange, you can offer your book for free at specific intervals. This could be a good marketing tool for you if you choose to do it. 

I liked that idea, but didn't want to keep my book just with Amazon. If you go with Smashwords as well, you can create coupon codes to be able to offer your book at a discounted price or even for free at different times. This option has worked great for me and for many others. Some of my other author friends have enjoyed the KDP program with Amazon. The choice is yours. Pick the program that fits YOU and your writing the best and run with it!

So now that you've got the ebook publishing under your belt, how about print? Well, Smashwords doesn't offer that service and Amazon KDP program is for the ebooks, so where do you go? Amazon to the rescue here! 

They have an affiliate called Createspace. Here you can upload your book, pick the size of the paperback you wish to put out, choose your cover from their prefabricated covers, or upload your own. Once you have things the way you want them, you can order a proof to be sent to you for final approval. This is the only cost to you at this point. For my poetry book it was less than three bucks. 

Once you approve that, within a few days (usually less than 24 hours), your book will be available for purchase through Createspace and Amazon. That distribution is free. If you wish to have your book sent to some other groups such as libraries and universities, you can opt into that distribution program for less than $30. For me, this has already been paid for ten times over through the sales of the print version of my book. 


So after you've done all your research and chosen a publisher, go ahead and submit your manuscript to them for consideration. While you wait for their answer, read up on how to publish through Smashwords and Amazon. Finish up that next manuscript and publish it yourself. You too can reap the benefits of working with a traditional publisher and going the Indie route. Trust me. You'll be glad you did!

Here's another article for your consideration when doing research on Indie publishing. Five Reasons to Publish Your Ebooks On Smashwords puts it out there in black and white why you should give Smashwords a try.

I originally wrote this article in December 2012. Since that time, I've put out a second poetry book myself and within the next month will have the third book in my Now and Forever series ready to publish as well. No longer under obligation to submit the rest of the series to Siren Bookstrand, I'll be releasing The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3) myself through my own publishing house Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC.   

I've hired a cover artist and an editor for reasonable prices and will upload the book myself to Amazon, Smashwords and ARe. I've entered a new phase of my writing and publishing career now and I'm not looking back. How about you? Will you take the plunge and go the self publishing route?  Come on...what are you waiting for?


Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube