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    Benefits of a Virtual Book Tour

    Virtual-Book-Tour

    Book Tour. Two words that every author, big or small, has heard in one form or another. 

    When you think of doing a book tour your mind might immediately flash to the way they were doing (and is currently doing) for some time which is a publisher getting their client media spotlight for their book. Authors could look forward to appearing on different news outlets, whether that’s on television or in print or personal tours where authors would appear in brick and mortar stores to promote their work. Authors all over the world want to get their books in the hands of many to enjoy and with the turn of the century and the boom of the internet book tours of the past have changed into the wave of the future. 

    Virtual Book Tour, what is it? Well, a virtual book tour is a book tour done online. Authors will submit their work for review on various blogs hosted by writers who either love to read, love to post to their blog or both.  There are various stops along the book tour where different bloggers will showcase the pros and cons of the book or just give their overall opinion. Outside of just the book review, potential readers of a writer’s blog is also given the opportunity to know the writer through Q&A’s, and insight into who the author is. 

    As a book blogger myself (Read my book reviews here) for the Virtual Book Tour group, Book Bear and as the author of Illusion of the Heart I have an understanding of both worlds. In today’s society, the internet is everything. No matter the genre, readers and writer’s alike look to the internet to get their voices heard. Those voices may be via a blog post or a three hundred page book but both sides ultimately want the same things. 

    For anyone on the fence, whether they should or shouldn’t invest in doing a virtual book tour, here are some benefits of doing one:

    1.  You can reach thousands of new readers a day. 

    Each blogger has their share of follows, whether it’s on their blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc… That’s a lot of new faces that otherwise might not have heard of your book. Doing the virtual book tour gives you exposure in places you might not have otherwise had on your own. 

     2. Three words: Word of Mouth

    This is one of the most popular ways to get yourself noticed. If one person loves your work they will spread it and even if they didn’t like it, their opinion can be valuable to someone who wants to “see for themselves”. In either case you are cast in the light of viewers for your work. 

    3. Reviews, Reviews, and more Reviews.

    Those who do the book tour can also give you reviews for your work on various sites from Amazon, Apple, etc…

     4. You can do and watch the tour from home

    Best part ever! Okay, not the best part but it is important. You can monitor it all from where ever you like. You can talk with your reviewers and interact with various people.

    So what do you think? Would you ever do a virtual book tour? Have you done one previously? Let me know. 

    Looking to drop a book tour for my novel, Illusions of the Heart. When it gets started I’ll share it, of course. 

    Promotion

    Currently, I have a promotion for my book starting Saturday December 19th through December 23rd for $0.99 on Amazon so check it out for the holidays!

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    Amazon Books Bookstore

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    Barnes and Noble move over.

    A new bookstore is about to sprout up from the ground and take over all of book-dom. Okay, that’s not a word but go with it.

    Amazon, the biggest retail giant. Known for selling everything including the kitchen sink has decided to open brick and mortar stores. Okay, store, there is only one store so far, in the University Village area of Seattle, but I’m sure if it does well it won’t be long before we see stores popping up across the fifty states. 

    According to Amazon, this store will not be your traditional book store. The complete opposite. They are going to be a station to push their products and introduce readers to authors who have shown continued success on the Amazon website.  In addition to books, the Amazon store will offer a place for customers to try out Amazon devices such as Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet gadgets. This is similar to what is done in Apple and Barnes & Noble stores currently. 

    Amazon will use data from its web site like customer ratings, sales totals, and Goodread popularity ratings to decide which books to stock. Knowing this, it is important to always provide reviews to authors whose books are currently on the website. It could make the difference between an author remaining on the website or moving into the hands of others in their store. 

    As a long time Amazon fan I am happy to see them moving forward and making a staple in an area that is new to them, physically. Amazon has been a place buy books but for the first time you can actually walk into a store for them and pick up your book personally. 

    The big question I have on my mind is will this last? Amazon’s store is going up against Barnes & Noble.

    Barnes & Noble is dangerous, in a good way. How many people remember the book store Borders? I used to go to this store faithfully. I loved this store. Yes, it was a book store just like Barnes & Noble but if I had to choose between the two that’s where I was. It went up against Barnes & Noble and fell apart. Barnes & Noble crushed it until it evaporated into thin air.

    Is that what will happen to Amazon? Hard to say. Many people are moving toward digital devices but there are people who love to get a hard copy of a book. They love it and that will never change. Barnes & Noble doesn’t look like it’s going  anywhere. Amazon is treading into uncharted territory. They have a large following but how large as it relates to books? Will people want to drive to a store to purchase a book that they can easily buy online and get in two days with Prime Shipping? It’s kind of strange. I have never ordered a book online for Barnes and Noble and enjoyed going into the store and getting that fresh book smell. Amazon has always been the place to go when you don’t feel like getting out of your pajamas but still want to buy a book. Now they are switching the game up.

    I will definitely be paying attention to this one to see how Amazon does. I’d like to see a store pop up in two of my favorite spots, New York City and California so I can check it out. 

    Readers and Authors alike welcome Amazon to the brick and mortar world. All eyes are on you. Show us what you can do. 

     

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    Genre v.s. Word Count

     

    Nanowrimo has one goal. Reach 50,000 words in a month. According to the website, 50,000 words is not called a novella but a ‘lengthy work of fiction‘. Anyone who has participated or are familiar with the website knows this and work hard to produce 50,000 words within the time-frame. 

    But one thing I’ve always asked myself is what is the right word count for a story? Any story?  A novella, which Nanowrimo is not about, is short. 50,000 words fits right at home at this number but what about other works? Longer works? 

    When I attended the Los Angeles Writer’s Conference last month I met a fellow writer and we talked about anything and everything pertaining to writing. One thing we discussed was word count. When I told him my romance/erotic novel was over 100K words, ( 104,950 to be exact) his first response was “Isn’t that too long for a novel?” I didn’t know what to say so I just replied honestly: “I don’t think so.” Yes, that response was lame but it was all I could come up with at that time. 

    Since then I have looked in the right amount of words a person should have for their stories and I found so many different numbers on different sites. Two websites that I spent time looking for the answer is writers digest and literary rejection. There are other sites but I focused on these two.

    According to Writer’s Digest, Adult Novels (Commercial and Literary), the word count should be between 80,000 and 89,999. Speaking broadly, you can go  from 71,000 to 109,000. Adult Novels are classified as: literary, mainstream, women’s, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller and horror. 

    Writer’s Digest also included the following chart: 

    80,000 – 89,999:       Totally cool
    90,000 – 99,999:       Generally safe
    70,000 – 79,999:       Might be too short; probably all right
    100,000 – 109,999:    Might be too long; probably all right
    Below 70,000:           Too short
    110,000 or above       Too long

    Now, Lit Rejections also has a thing or two to say about word count. Their website breaks it down a little different then Writer’s Digest, by genre, but provides around the same word count. For my genre, Lit Rejections says the word count should be between 70,000 to 100,000. Their maximum number puts my novel above the scope of being too long by 4,950 words. 

    So which one is right? Well, both of them. How is that possible?  What I’ve learned is editors know the range of genre’s. They’d have to but at the same time they do allow some wiggle room on the word count. There are some books that are allows to sneak in above or below as long as the content is there. There are many books out on the market that surpass the word count, they actually smash the word count. Some of those books, according to Lit Rejection, are:

    1. Gone with the Wind: 418,053 words
       
    2. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: 308,931 words
       
    3. Memoirs of a Geisha: 186,418 words

    If these editors didn’t take a chance on these books then we would never have them on our bookshelves today.  And let’s not forget:

    What’s the moral of the story? Word count is important but it shouldn’t be taken so seriously that it completely defines your novel. You shouldn’t panic over how many words you did or did not write. Just write. 

    If you’d like to read more about word count from the articles I mentioned then click below:

    Writer’s Digest

    LitRejections

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    Nanowrimo 50K in 24 Hours

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    The impossible (for some) was attained yesterday, Day One of NanoWrimo. I set a goal to write the entire word count in 24 hours. That’s 50,000 words!

    I started at midnight and wrote well past time shifting backwards (extra sleep baby, yeah!). I went to bed, setting my alarm and was back up with the sun to switch the venue up. My home is nice to write in but I tend to get a lot more done when I’m at my favorite spot. Starbucks. Okay, it’s not original and I really should switch it up since there are other places but it’s convenient. 

    Getting my tea and baked good I ate then hit the keys. Typing away. I tried to keep everyone up to date with Twitter posts on my progress. I must say though, that this round of writing went a lot smoother then my first time last year. 

    Perhaps it was because of my planning. Or maybe it was because I  knew where I wanted my characters to go. I have no idea but I have to say as I was writing it I was getting excited. I tried to keep my inner editor silent with hot tea and it worked to some degree. I was able to truly get into the story. An erotic romance is hot enough but when you add betrayal and fighting you’re left sitting there like “…what the heck is going on.” In a good way of course. 

    Heading home I went right back to bed. I made sure to balance my time between getting sleep when my body wanted it, drinking tea and coffee when my body wanted it and eating. I tried not to eat anything heavy as doing so would put me right back in bed. Once I was up, I was up and right back in front of the computer. 

    Three hours before midnight hit and the day would officially be over I not only hit 50,000 words but I surpassed it. 

    Just like last year, my book is not complete. I went to the Nanowrimo forum and posted my accomplishment and say some other’s had also made it well past the 50,000 word goal. Some with completed books. 

    Since my book is nowhere near complete I have given myself another word count goal: 90,000 words. 

    Last year I ended my book around 100,000 words after edits and changes. I know you’re supposed to cut when editing but adding was also a point I made during last year’s novel. No idea how this time will be but I’m excited to get there.

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    So, to everyone who met the 1,667 goal, 50,000 goal and everything in between I raise a glass and toast your accomplishment. Let’s keep writing. Let’s keep creating. Let’s keep moving forward. 

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    Nanowrimo Kickoff 2015

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    Yesterday I made the 40 plus minute drive (due in part to traffic) from Los Angeles  —-> Pasadena to attend the 2015 Kickoff Session for the Los Angeles chapter of Nanowrimo. Once there,  we went into meet mode. 

    All seats were taken, and by that I mean there were so many people there that the seats allocated to us for use were taken.

    We started by participating in a Scavenger Hunt as only Wrimos can give. This wasn’t your normal hunt. This one asked questions such as:

    1. Find someone who can name 3 Noir movies
    2. Find someone who is participating in Nanowrimo for the first time
    3. Find someone who know and can explain the plot bunnies
    4. Find someone who used the traveling shovel in their novel
    5. Find someone who is writing a murder mystery
    6. Find someone who ate smores during  Camp Nanowrimo

     

    Etc Etc. 

    In the beginning a few people remained seated, enjoying the tasty food and delicious beverages but soon it was nothing but ‘Excuse me’s’ as everyone started walking around trying to fill up their sheets. It was interesting to get some of those questions answered. I for one can honestly say I could not explain real insight into plot bunnies or knew what the shovel was about but when I met people who knew they explained it to me.

    From there I was able to secure a few wrimo user names so we can chat on the Nanowrimo website. 

    There were awesome prizes and great handouts to obtain as well. 

    It was amazing to meet so many different writers who are writing different stories. A few shared their story and we all prepared for the week ahead. As my first wrimo meet up I must say it was great. There is a midnight kick off on Saturday as time turns (not talking about daylight savings but that’s coming too) into the start of one of the most carpel tunnel months ever. 

    Have you ever attended a Nanowrimo Kickoff in a different region? How did that one go? Let me know. 

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    #Nanowrimo Q & A

    Last November was one of the best months of the year. Why? Because I got a chance to do NaNoWriMo for the first time. This gave me the opportunity to:

    • Meet other writers
    • Write a novel that can/would be published the following year
    • Realize that 50,000 words in 30 days is possible 

    I have seen a few questions float around the web and other platform asking questions on Nanowrimo and although I believe the best place for answers is the actual website (www.nanowrimo.org) I wanted to post some Q & A’s here as NaNoWriMo is almost here. 

     

    Q1: Can I start writing my novel before November 1st?

    A:  Absolutely Not. I’ve seen this question more than once and I get it. You’re excited about doing your first novel or you want to get a few words down so you can make it to 50K at the end of November. As understandable as this is, you have to remember that the goal here is to see if you are able to write within a time frame. Starting before that time doesn’t do anything for you as far as giving you that sweet sweet satisfaction of being able to juggle your everyday life with your everyday passion. 

     

    Q2: What can I write about? 

    A: Do you like fantasy? Romance? Young Adult (YA)? History? Memoirs? Fanfiction? Poetry? Everything? Well, write what you like. I myself love Romance and YA and although for NaNo I have choosen to write romance I still might dabble into YA. Only one has to reach 50K unless I want to push through and do two novels at once.

     

    Q3: Should I create an outline or no? 

    A: Another question that has crossed different platforms. This is considered plotter vs pantsing. Plotting is where you do an outline, draw scenes, basically have every bit (or just about) of your story planned from that first sword fight, first kiss, first argument etc. You know what’s going to happen because you planned it that way. Pantsing is the opposite. You fly by the seat of your pants. You may have an idea of your story but you want to just sit at the computer and let the creative juices flow. Whatever happens, happens. I can’t say which one is better because we all have our own way of doing things. Just find whatever fits you. 

     

    Q4: 50K words a month? That’s impossible

    A: I will answer this question with a question. Why is it impossible? You may say because 50,000 (yes, I wanted to add the zeros this time.) is too many words but if you break it down it really is 1,667 words a day. I get it. You have a hectic day. Work. School. Children. It’s hard to find time to write but to be honest, that’s not true either. You can find time to write at any time. At work, jot down on a post it note. Out with kids or others, use your cell phone to quickly add a word or two. Remember, a word here and there can eventually lead you toward your goal. 

     

    Q5: When is being too prepared too much?  

    A: I’ve seen this question once or twice and quite honestly as a plotter I am always over prepared but that just comes with being a plotter. To me, you can never be too prepared. You want to at least have a general idea of the genre you want to write, perhaps you can see what the character looks like in your mind but you don’t have a name for them yet or maybe you can see the end of the story but not so much the beginning. All of that is okay. As long as you know something about your upcoming work then that’s what matters, at least to me. 

    Have any questions you’d like to ask or like any of the ones I gave above? Let me know. Everything above is my own opinion and is in no way the words of Nanowrimo. Agree. Disagree. Be indifferent. Either way we all have one thing in common and that’s our love of national novel writing month. 

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    NanoWriMo – Getting Ready

    Today I logged into the NanoWriMo website and it felt like I was just there one year ago. I can’t believe a year has past since the last time I was on the website. Last year was my first year and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t explore the site as much as I should have and when I did anything I said was always pages and pages from when the post originally began.

    This year, the NanoWriMo boards are just starting to fill up so taking time to view every post so far I’ve looked at the areas of interest.

    Nano Artisans – This is one of the busiest areas throughout NanoWriMo’s forum. There are so many talented men and women here that it will make your mind spin. Looking for a cover? Looking for a calendar to keep you on track? Looking for sketches of your characters? This is the place to be. I had a cover made for my story last year. It wasn’t the one I used as my final product as my agent took care of that for me but it helped me really see my book for what it was, a book, not just me aiming for 50K words.

    Beyond 50K – This is an area that people aim for on day one. Day One! Last year as a newb I was surprised. I mean, the goal was to reach 50K words in 30 days but there were people who already planned to do it all in one day. I couldn’t believe it to be possible but people did it and it made me want to try it. I have actually decided that I will go for that goal on day one. Not sure if I will do it but I will come close. That’s a promise.

    Sections for almost every genre: Love to write mystery? Erotica your passion? Romance the key? They have a section for all of them. Talk to people who share the same love for you. I will spend time in these areas more to get to know different writers.

    There are a lot more to see, more then I can list here. I suggest that everyone travel over to the NanoWriMo website at www.nanowrimo.org and see what all the fun is about.

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