Friday, January 23, 2015

Living in Bucerias


November 17's post, you may remember I shared photos of the botanical gardens of Los Arroyos Verdes where we've rented a casa for the winter. I mentioned I was putting myself on a strict schedule and spending my time in writing mode. I was so certain once I became acclimatized, a routine would present itself and I'd finally finish my current WIP. It's disheartening to realize I've turned into one of those well-meaning persons who can't get anything done past getting her nose burned.

Recently someone asked, "Do you write more from May to October in Canada or from November to April in Mexico?"

We had a heatwave in central British Columbia last summer (averaged 37C/98F) and I still produced more words during the hottest week than I have in almost 3 months here in Bucerias. Through no fault of mine, it's far too easy to wander outside with no apparent goal in mind than to smell the flowers, listen to Sunday's visiting band playing poolside, watch the surf pounding on the shores of Bay of Banderas, or feast in quaint restaurants in the most obscure places on those I-don't-want-to-cook nights



Next to the Santander Banco on Boulevard Riviera Nayarit is a small restaurant that makes the best fajitas ever. Down the road on Las Palmas, delicious gluten-free pizza at La Quinto di Francesco's on Las Palmas is best served up with a bottle of my favourite cabernet Monte Vino.

Every writer knows how lonely writing can be. Life on a quiet lake is the perfect backdrop for creating memorable characters. True. Yet, after 30 years of wanting nothing more than to write, suddenly I find myself needing the companionship of living--breathing human beings. I need good conversation. Laughter and great food. I want to hear their story and witness life through their memories.

In the next few months, I'd like to share more of life here in Bucerias. If you've visited Mexico enough, you know they are a loving, gracious people who feel the music deep in their souls. They love good food, good friends, and absolutely nothing is more important than family. What's so incredibly wonderful is how quickly they make you feel a part of theirs.

Some of the reasons why I'm so captivated by this place:





















Friday, January 16, 2015

FNN Predictions for 2015

 

Faux News Network staff and management spent most of December gathering data and trends from around the world. Using advance mathematical devices such as calculators and smart phones we analyzed the data and developed a set of productions for next year.

Here are the Faux News Network predictions for 2015:

* Congress will pass a resolution proclaiming that global warming is an act of God and can’t be thwarted. People claiming pollution is affecting the weather will be deemed ecological terrorists and treated as such.
* Oil companies, because of falling prices, will demand a federal bailout so the companies can maintain their high profitability and dividend levels. Congress will approve the bailout.
* Pope Francis will announce he is moving the Vatican from Rome to Argentina to get away from the entrenched Vatican bureaucracy.
* Abortion will only be permitted in states in the Northeast and on the west coast.
* To invigorate the depressed armaments industry, Congress will authorize the President to declare war on the non-English speaking country of his choice.
*The NFL will cut the length of football games from sixty minutes to forty minutes in order to show more commercials.
* With the growing calls for a Constitutional Amendment on term limits, Congress will pass its own term-limit bill. Under the new law, people in Congress will be limited to serving 35 years.
* The cost of buying a member of Congress will increase 15% year to year. The cost of buying a local politician will vary by state and average 6 to 11%.
* The Supreme Court will rule that religious non-profits are people also and pastors now have the right to tell their parishioners how to vote without losing the church’s non-profit status.

FNN wants to know what your predictions are. Please tell us.


Hank Quense is the author of 50 published short stories along with four novels and three collections of stories. All of these are humorous and/or satiric scifi and fantasy. In the non-fiction area, he has over a dozen articles published on fiction writing and he's the author of the Fiction Writing Guides series and the Self-publishing Guides series. Both series consist of a number of ebooks. The Fiction Writing Guides and the Self-Publishing Guides are an outgrowth of his lectures on both subjects.
Strange Worlds OnlineHank's Amazon PageHank's Blog PageSelf-publishing Guides
Hank's fiction works 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM, January 2015

It's that the first Wednesday in the new year! Which also means Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.



To start off the new year, we've all been invited to include an introduction into who we are. For those of you who don't know me, here's my brief story:

My name is Joylene Louise Butler, and I am famous (in my own mind) for having eleven grandchildren and 2 suspense novels: Dead Witness and Broken But Not Dead; the latter won IPPY silver medal in 2012. I also collaborated on a steampunk anthology published last year called Break Time. Prior to that I had no idea what steampunk was. I, my husband and our two cats Shasta and Marbles, live 6 months in Cluculz Lake in central B.C. and 6 months in Bucerias, Nayarit. Because my husband's retired, the plan was he’d cook, I'd write...(hmm)


If you'd like to join Insecure Writer's Support Group, click here.

Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.


Our hashtag is #IWSG


The awesome co-hosts for the first posting of the IWSG for 2015 are:

Chrys Fey, and 

Please stop by and thank them for their time. 



Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for free downloading. You can check out the sites here.


Ask PZM


Q. Does offering the first chapter for free work for unknown authors?

First, let’s look at this question in a known context.  Many traditional publishers include a first chapter of a different book by an author at the end of that author’s published book (both in print books and ebooks).  This makes good marketing sense because, having read the first chapter (or chapters) and having liked what we read, we as readers are probably much more likely to buy (or borrow from a library or from a monthly ebook subscription provider) that book.

Now with an unknown author, especially for a first book, there is not yet the opportunity of including that first chapter at the end of a previously published book.

Yet how much more necessary is it to give our potential readers a taste of our story as well as our writing style if we are unknown?

Assuming that giving away the first chapter for free does not affect any agreements we may have with publishers or KDP Select or the like, why not provide this opportunity?  Although we may not gain from this, it certainly is one way to get in front of potential readers.

What are some of the ways that you might give away a chapter?

1      Provide the chapter on your author website or as a download on your author website. (Here is an example from a humor book by my 90-year-old father Al Zimbler -- http://www.alzimcomedy.com/first-date/ )

         Create an ebook of just the first chapter and publish that first chapter ebook on sites where you can list the price as free.

         Post the first chapter on Wattpad for free.  (For example, see the first chapter of my women’s friendship novel MRS. LIEUTENANT -- http://www.wattpad.com/2140539-sharon-i-may-4-1970-mrs-lieutenant-a-women%27s )

     Possibly ask a self-published author who writes in the same genre to include your first chapter at the end of his or her book (with the commitment to include a chapter from one of that author’s books at the end of your book).

         Print out copies of the chapter (include the cover and in color if possible) and hand out to people.
Caution:  Make sure that all sample chapters in whatever format include the links to where people can buy the book.

Getting out the word about your sample chapter:
Here is where using social media to link to the sample chapter online can be very effective.  And you can ask friends to share the link on their social media accounts.


Q. They say to be a successful author you have to connect with your readers. How do we do that effectively without driving them away with our boring day-to-day living?
  
It is important to clarify what is meant by connecting with our readers.  In my opinion this does NOT mean always talking about our own books or our own lives.

What it does mean is sharing on social media accounts and blog posts a variety of information that may be of interest to our readers.

For example, if you are a romance author, you might want to share news of other romance authors.  Why?  Because romance readers are known for consuming many books, so why not showcase yourself as someone who recommends other good books besides your own?

At my own author blog at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com I often write about topics that are important to me, such as the portrayal of women characters in fiction as well as real-life projects that support our military troops, their families, and veterans.

I very rarely tweet or post on Facebook anything about my own life, which I agree would have little interest to the readers of my books.  Yet I am very active on social media because I share good information on several topics (which does reveal what interests me).

A word of caution:  I personally think it is good to share information only on a set of specific topics.  If the information you share is all over the map, this may be too confusing for your followers, and confusion can cause people to stop following you.  (My mantra in marketing is “Don’t make me think.”)

Q. Are there any new epic trends out there that we haven't heard of?

There are so many new trends all the time that it is very hard to keep up with these.  Because as authors we need to conserve time for writing, I would recommend that we do not worry too much about emerging trends.  If and when these trends push themselves to the fore, then we can consider adding them to our promotional toolkit.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  
Learn more about her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/phylliszimblermiller and visit her author site at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



ps. I'm a day early because we're having power outages, and I'm having blogger issues. IWSG is officially tomorrow. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

FNN Report: Clintons form exploratory committee for Chelsea’s daughter Charlotte


Charlotte Clinton Mszvinsky, born in September 2014 to her mother Chelsea Clinton, now has her own political action committee to analyze and prepare for a run for the Presidency in thirty-five years or so.
FNNs political reporter Stacy Conundrum broke this story.
One of the committees initial tasks is to organize a Senate campaign for the tyke so she can gain legislative experience. The committee will also evaluate which state will offer the best chances for success and that will be the state she will move to with her parents as soon as the data becomes clear.
The committee is anxiously awaiting her to grow old enough to attend pre-school. Then she can express her views on education with position papers and explain how she plans to change education once she is elected to public office.
Her parents have announced plans to take Charlotte to a different country at least once a year so she can gain foreign affairs experience by playing with privileged children there who may someday become powerful leaders in those countries.
Charlottes press agent told us, Charlottes parents insist the child be raise as a ordinary child not as a family member of the American elite.
The press agent also added, Remember this, anything the Bush family can do, the Clinton family can do better.


Do you have a topic youd like FNN to investigate? Send us a message and well investigate it.


Hank Quense is the author of 50 published short stories along with four novels and three collections of stories. All of these are humorous and/or satiric scifi and fantasy. In the non-fiction area, he has over a dozen articles published on fiction writing and he's the author of the Fiction Writing Guides series and the Self-publishing Guides series. Both series consist of a number of ebooks. The Fiction Writing Guides and the Self-Publishing Guides are an outgrowth of his lectures on both subjects.
Strange Worlds OnlineHank's Amazon PageHank's Blog PageSelf-publishing Guides
Hank's fiction works 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM, December 2014

It's that the first Wednesday in the month again, which means Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which. 



If you'd like to join, click here.

Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the December 3 posting of the IWSG are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for downloading. You can check out the sites here.


Ask PZM, December 2014

Q. Do you have any suggestions for bulk or sponsored book sales?

This book marketing area is a wonderful opportunity for authors although I can only share my own experiences and thoughts on this topic.

In May, 330 copies of my paperback HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE were ordered from CreateSpace.  I suspect that an elementary school ordered these books for its graduating 8th grade class as this is the ideal target audience for the book.

Then more recently 40 paperbacks copies of my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT were ordered from CreateSpace.  In this case I suspect a book club or high school class because I have book discussion questions and a high school lesson plan on www.MrsLieutenant.com


Now I have been pondering how to get more of these sales.

First question for all of us is: What are the likely groups that might be interested in buying our books in large quantities?

Here we need to think outside the box, as the saying goes.  And we need to think for both fiction and nonfiction after considering that there are two different target markets.

One potential market is the direct readers, such as book groups and schools.  The second potential market is sponsored books.

Direct readers

With the direct readers you could, for example, offer an author visit or skype call in connection to a group reading of your book.  Or if you have a children’s picture book, you might offer to do a classroom art activity around some aspect connected to the picture book. 

You can start locally by contacting high schools or community colleges in your area.  For many readers meeting an author is very exciting, so an author visit can definitely encourage group purchases.

Note that the purchases can be the ebooks instead of the physical books.  And in either case, the book discussion questions and high school lesson plan, for example, can be included in the books themselves.   (I have this material in the ebook of MRS. LIEUTENANT but not the paperback.  It would be relatively easy for me to add this same material to my paperback on CreateSpace.)

Sponsored books

In this scenario you locate companies who could benefit from the marketing goodwill of giving away your books for free to their customers or clients.  Again, these could be the physical books or the ebooks.

For example, if you have written a book about estate planning and included information on life insurance, you might approach an insurance company and ask if the company would be interested in buying copies of your book to give to their customers.  You can offer a wholesale rate that provides revenue to you and costs the company less than buying the books retail.

You could even do this if you have written a novel whose storyline concerns a major plot about insurance.  Even a cautionary tale about insurance could be of interest to an insurance company.

Note that you can license your ebook so that a company may give away as many copies as agreed upon for a set licensing fee.  This financial arrangement can be very beneficial for both parties.

And if you have more than one book, of course those books are listed at the end of the sponsored book.  In this case you’re being paid to have free advertising for your other books.

Branding opportunities

If you are a self-published author, you can also offer branding opportunities for your sponsored books.  You can, for example, add content to your book about the company sponsoring the book.  You can even add the company’s name to the cover, such as “The Ideal Insurance Company presents” [your book title].

While there might be cases in which two companies sponsoring the same book would not be a good idea (such as the only two department stores in a small town), in most cases you can offer branding opportunities to numerous companies.

Prior commitments

If your ebook is on Amazon’s KDP Select with its ebook exclusive requirement, you will need to end the KDP Select commitment before your ebook can be given away.  And although I am not a lawyer, I would say that this would be true even if you were adding sponsorship branding material to the ebook.  It’s still the same ebook, and you don’t want to get in hot water with Amazon.

The good news is that KDP Select does not require exclusivity of the physical books, so even if your ebook is on KDP Select, you can look for bulk deals for the paperback.

Finding companies interested in sponsorship opportunities

Here I don’t have any specific advice.  I personally am interested in finding high school teacher associations who might be interested in either HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL or MRS. LIEUTENANT.



(If you have any suggestions for me, you can leave these in the comments below.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to respond in the comments.  As Joylene and I have known for some time, her blogging software doesn’t allow me to leave comments.  Yet I do read all the comments each month and am very grateful for the positive responses.)

Put on your thinking cap and brainstorm the different kinds of companies who could benefit from a branded sponsorship opportunity with your nonfiction or fiction book.  Hopefully this brainstorming will produce several opportunities for you to pursue.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  She blogs on book-related topics at her author site at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and she is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller