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Sunday, July 15, 2012

10 Tools for Writers



#1 Something to Write With

For years, I used laptops of various sizes. As I aged, I realized that my eyes needed an extra-large screen. And so I switched from laptops to an Apple desktop with a 26 inch screen...I agonized over this purchase for a long time because it was an expensive investment. But, after I crashed three PC's in one year before I switched to this computer two years ago...it was well worth it.


#2 Something to Write On

This summer it was so hot in my office, that I moved my bedroom and writing space downstairs to the walk-out basement where it was at least ten degrees cooler. I bought this 'desk' at our local thrift store for $35 on their 30%-off sale day. Of course, I now love it more than the $200 desk in my office, that I bought at Habitat for Humanity, our other thrift store in town. (I'm big on thrift stores).

Which is simply to prove, that you don't need fancy office furniture, just a good sturdy table.



#3 Space to Write

When I moved into our walk-out basement for the summer, I positioned my table and chair and computer in a space that would afford me a nice view of the mountains from the windows in front of me. 

However, this space is exactly 5 X 6 feet, wedged between a post on the right and a wall on the left. And I love it just as much as my office upstairs. Because this is our basement, it doesn't get a lot of traffic, so I have the solitude that I need to write. The point is, you don't need an 'office', but you do need quiet. And a space to call your own. 


#4 Expand Your Horizons

Read. Read. Read. I am a huge fan of our local library. I go there at least once a week to check out books. I read fiction across genres, so that I can learn from other authors. I also read non-fiction, particularly books on marketing, because as an indie-author, I'm in charge of everything!



#5 Grounding

The two things I could not live without are my Bible and my journals. I need to read the Bible for inspiration and encouragement.  This year I am working my way through the Daily Walk Bible.

I write in my journal to have a place to flesh out new goals, express my deepest feelings, and vent. I am a huge fan of Morning Pages (Julia Cameron's idea of writing three pages freehand first thing in the morning).






#6 Building Your Community

Whether you choose Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or any other social platform,  you need to reach out to other authors and readers to develop a community of support, marketing, and social outlet. 

Through these online resources I have met and learned from several other authors and experts in how to reach new readers. Best of all, for new authors, is that many of these resources, in the form of newsletters, are absolutely free.



#7 Inspiration

Reading is a great way to find inspiration. Yet, I have not found a comparable outlet to enjoying the beauty of nature. Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or in the woods, try to find time each week to get out and find visual beauty and inspiration outside your usual 'office' environment. This will do wonders to give your mind a fresh perspective and will help you to see your story from a new angle.




# 8 Exercise

Find something that will get you outside or into a gym and away from sitting at your desk all day. Yes, you need to work consistently at your writing. But for the sake of your health and your wellbeing, you need physical exercise to keep not only your body in shape, but also, your mind. For me, that means taking the dogs to our local off-leash dog park for a mile or two walk.



http://www.wmich.edu/registrar/calendars/

#9 Consistency

The absolutely best way to improve as a writer (going hand in hand with read. read. read.) is to write. write. write. I will wager that rather than twenty pages in one day, once a month.....one page a day for twenty consecutive days will lead to greater growth as a writer. Think of a toddler learning to walk...they master the mechanics through repetition. The same goes for writing or any other art form.

If you want to write your novel, don't wait for Nanowrimo to crank out 50,000 words in a month. Make time to write starting now, even if it's just a page a day.





#10 Encouragement

Find your group of friends or family who will encourage and inspire you to keep moving forward each day. Writing and publishing is sometimes made up of such small incremental steps that it's hard to measure your progress. That's when you need friends and family who will pay you on the back and let you know that you're on your way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mrs. Tuesday's Book Tour




For the next six weeks I will be on a blog tour for Mrs. Tuesday's Departure, hosted by Pandora Poikilos of Orangeberry Virtual Book Tours. Pandora is an absolute profession and a pleasure to work with, so I know this month will be exciting. We kicked it off this past weekend with two days of KDP Freebies and had a terrific response.

Now we're going to slow things down a bit and take a tour of some friendly blogs and give away a lot of books. If you'd like to join us, please take a look at the schedule below, click on a link, and visit one of our new friends.

Looking forward to seeing you there!



Connect with Suzanne Anderson on
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!
8th May - She's being featured at Peace from Pieces
(Book Feature)
9th May - She's having a Twitter Blast with Pandora Poikilos

10th May - She's being featured at Writers & Authors 
(A World Without Books)
11th May - She's having a Twitter View with Pandora Poikilos
12th May - She's being featured at Rachel Cotterill Book Reviews
(Book Review)
13th May - She's being featured at Mommy Adventures
(Guest Post)

14th May  - She's having a Twitter Blast with Pandora Poikilos
15th May- She's having a Twitter View with Pandora Poikilos

16th May - She's being featured at Another Author
(Guest Post & Author Interview)
17th May - She's being featured at Book Lovers Paradise
(Guest Post)

18th May - She's being featured at Mommy Adventures
(Book Review)
19th May  - She's having a Twitter Blast with Pandora Poikilos

20th May - She's being featured at Books Are Magic
(Guest Post & Book Feature & Author Interview)
21st May - She's being featured at We Fancy Books 
(Book Feature)

22nd May - She's having a Twitter Blast with Pandora Poikilos
23rd May - She's having a Twitter View with Pandora Poikilos

24th May - She's being featured at Mommy's Reading Too
(Guest Post, Author Interview & Book Review)
25th May - She's being featured at John Zunski's blog
(Guest Post)

26th May - She's being featured at Book Spark
(Guest Post)
27th May - She's being featured at Cora Parks' blog
(Guest Post)

28th May - She's being featured at Smartypants Teacher
(Author Interview)
29th May - She's being featured at Libby's Book Blog
(Book Review)

30th May- She's being featured at Dee's White
(Guest Post)
31st May - She's having a Twitter View with Pandora Poikilos

1st June - She's being featured at Super Single Mom & Her Kids
(Guest Post, Author Interview & Book Review)
2nd June - She's having a Twitter Blast with We Fancy Books

3rd June - She's being featured at Gimme the Scoop Reviews
(Guest Post & Book Feature)
4th June - She's being featured at Heather Huffman's blog
(Guest Post)

5th June- She's having a Twitter View with Pandora Poikilos
6th June - She's being featured at Pandora Poikilos' site

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mrs. Tuesday, Today at The Divining Wand




Today at The Divining Wand, where Larramie works her magic for authors and readers alike, she's featuring Mrs. Tuesday's Departure. In her article, she discusses why I chose to re-launch Mrs. Tuesday and re-introduces the book to new readers.

I hope you'll stop by to read her wonderful article. I believe it's the best presentation of Mrs. Tuesday that I've read!

Thank you, Larramie!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Reviews and Book Giveaways!


Book Reviews and Book Giveaways!


Today Mrs. Tuesday is being reviewed over at Little Sprout Growing with the fabulous blogger, Elise! Please click over and check out her review and her beautiful blog.

In honor of Mrs. Tuesday remaining in the Top Ten in Religious Historical Fiction, I'd like to give away ebook versions of Mrs. Tuesday. All you have to do is click over to my author page, like and leave a comment. That's it!

Thank you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Create a Book Trailer







When I decided that I wanted to create a book trailer for the re-launch of Mrs. Tuesday's Departure, I began with a google search of 'how to' articles. They were wonderfully informative and led me to finding the music and video footage that I imagined would provide a compelling visual story to describe my novel.

All I needed to do was upload it into imovies. Right?

Turns out, the only thing I've ever been able to get into imovies is a video of my brother John singing 'Happy Birthday' to me during a snow storm in March. Three. years. ago.

Luckily, I quickly remembered that my friend Mariellen Romer had recently left a prominent career in business to pursue her passion for film making. While I had no illusions that my little project would provide an adequate challenge, I wanted to ask if I could hire her to create the book trailer.

She quickly (and amazingly) agreed. Then just as quickly introduced me to her partner, Ed Shoemaker. Together they comprise: Three Moon Bay, with the very appropriate slogan: Telling Stories Through Film.

After one phone call and many, many, many emails, they took my sketchy description and came up with the evocative and hauntingly beautiful book trailer you see above.

What I want to accomplish in my own 'How to...' post is to let Mariellen and Ed tell you, in their own words, how work with a filmmaker to create your own book trailer...how to get your vision across, while letting the filmmaker use their talents to create the best final product.

 Here's our conversation....

Q: When I came to you with my need for a book trailer for my novel, I'd already picked out my music and some newsreel footage that I wanted to use. Is that usual or helpful for a client to have that much of a formed vision for their video? Or do you want more creative latitude to choose the music and images yourself?
  
E: I think that it is very helpful to have a client that has a vision of what they would like to see. I think that it is far more difficult to work with someone who has no vision.

There were lots creative decisions that we made using the content that you provided us so I don't feel that we lacked any latitude when creating your book trailer. For example, in the footage you provided us there was the image of a very young child in a stroller being rolled along that in some respects looked very much like the footage we did incorporate of people fleeing with their children. One of the reasons I did not include that particular footage because the image was for me, just too powerful. It was emotionally overwhelming and I think it would have been a distraction in telling the story ofyour book. Maybe it's because I am a dad but this image will haunt me forever…

There were certainly other things that I would have liked to do. I really would have enjoyed doing an interview with you so that people could understand what motivates you to write and what compelled you to write this particular story. These, to me, are incredibly interesting questions…
M: We find that clients with a vision who are committed to a result  - a response of some sort in the viewer – are more helpful to work with than one with no ideas at all. But there’s plenty of latitude for creativity even where someone has already identified images or music. Clients who are willing to collaborate closely but are also open to alternative possibilities is our ideal. You certainly fit that bill, Suzanne.  


  
Q: One of the most astonishing aspects of working with you both is that the finished product is exactly what I'd envisioned without me ever expressing it directly to either of you. I guess another way of asking is: how do you create a video for a book that you've never read? How do you come up with the theme or concept for the video?

E: In creating this book trailer for you, you came to us with some fairly compelling content. That content along with the information that you did provide us about your book really informed us on how we might proceed. We also, with your help, did some research to determine what others had done in the book trailer space and started from there.

It was an interesting challenge in that I wanted the viewer to follow the story about your book on the right hand side of the screen without paying too close attention to the compelling visuals on the left side of the screen that were helping to tell the story.

If people haven't seen the book trailer yet there are a number of places that you can see it: http://vimeo.com/36143035 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGVxjllFho

 M: Stories also carry universal themes that audiences tap into subconsciously – escaping from danger, the death of a close family member, hope against despair, the fear of going mad or the heartbreak of impossible choices. We used the content to tap into those themes and draw the audience into the experience.  

Q: Can you give us a peek into the video making process?

E: Creating this book trailer was little unusual in that we didn’t actually go out and film anything! It was a little unusual too in that we were working from material that had already been pretty tightly edited challenging us to get the "perfect" shots out of the material so we could tell the story of your book. But if we were to break the film making process down into the steps that we generally take it would be something like:

·        We try to discover the story that our client wants to tell
·        We try and film and photograph people, places and things that are germane and help tell that story
·        We gather and create elements, like music and graphics, that support the story and the film
·        We edit all of those pieces together
·        We try and test what we have produced as we go along to gauge peoples reaction and make sure what we have done is having the desired response
·        We refine what we have done until it works

Q: When we worked on the book trailer for Mrs. Tuesday's Departure, Mariellen was in England, I was in Colorado, and Ed was in Washington. All of our communication was via email, and yet it all worked. How do you two manage to work across continents?

E: The magic of the internet is how we span the distance! We use e-mail to communicate but we also use web based video conferencing (Windows Live Messenger in our case), VoIP for low cost phone calls (Vonage) and sites like Vimeo to share the film as it went from rough concept to finished product. As for the time zone difference, we just don't get all of the sleep that we should!

Q: If an author wants to engage you to create a book trailer video, how much time do you need to create video from first contact to finished product? 

E:  I hate to say this but, it depends. Things like access to content and other projects we have in the pipeline influence how long it might take to produce a book trailer. But if you want to know what our experience might suggest I would say between one and four weeks, depending

With all that being said for us it's still more about, did I get the story right, when someone watches something we've produced, than how much time did it take to produce it. It may take a little time to get it right.

Q: Now please tell us a little about yourselves....how did you come to video/film making? And what do you enjoy most or least about working with new clients?

E: I think that you can sum up, "how did you come to film making", by saying that it is about the passion for storytelling. Our tools and canvas may be a little different than say, a sculpture's tools, but I think that the same things drive us to do what we do.

I think that we enjoy working with new people because it's a new story for us to discover and tell…

 M: We enjoy working with new people because it's a new story for us to discover and tell. On the other hand, with longer term clients we find we can develop some of their stories in new ways as we get to know them more, which is also great fun. As they get more comfortable they are often willing to try new things which keeps things fresh for everyone.    




Q: And finally, if an author is interested in working with you, how can they get in touch with you?

E: The quickest way is to get in touch with us is to send us an e-mail at edward@threemoonbay.com or mariellen@threemoonbay.com. And if people would like to see some of our other work they can go to: http://vimeo.com/threemoonbay/videos


There  you go......if you need a reference from an author who has worked with Mariellen and Ed, email me. I highly recommend these two. They were a pleasure to work with, they're incredible perfectionists, wonderfully patient, and always insightful and creative. In the end, they created a mini-film that perfectly captures my vision of Mrs. Tuesday's Departure and which I hope will capture future readers' imaginations. What could be better than that?

Monday, February 13, 2012

How to Re-Launch Your Novel


How to Re-Launch Your Novel




I first published Mrs. Tuesday's Departure as an ebook on Amazon's Kindle a little over a year ago. It went well. But as the year went on, I felt that the book was not as good as it could have been. Which inspired me to take advantage of an ebook's fluidity, to make some changes and plan it re-launch.

This post will give you an overview of the myriad events involved in this process. Later I'll delve into some of these areas in greater depth to provide you with more information, so you may be inspired.

Changing the Story...

Mrs. Tuesday's Departure, in its original form, was quite a bit different from the book I published in some important ways: 

First it was written in the First Person Point of View, which gave it a much more intimate feel, which as it turns out, was the right POV for a story about a family experiencing the most terrifying moments of war.

Second, it was actually set in Budapest, Hungary during World War Two, not in the fictional other-world it was thinly disguised as.

And finally, it had a spiritual element that explored a particular element of religious faith that has always perplexed me....the challenge of believing in something we cannot see.

With that in mind, a few months ago, I resurrected the original manuscript and set to work dusting it off and making a few changes, hopefully clearing up things that in reviews of the first Mrs. Tuesday release had caused consternation for some readers.


Changing the Cover...

Then I decided to re-design the cover of the book. And with your help I finally decided on the cover you see at the top of this post. By the way, thank you for your invaluable input. It really did make a difference.

To create this cover I used the 'Cover Creator' on CreateSpace.com, which was part of the process of creating the new paperback version of Mrs. Tuesday which will also be launching in the next week or so....more on that later. 


Formatting the Different Book Files...

I wanted to make sure my ebook read like a professionally produced book, and not something I tossed online from a Word file (which is pretty much what my first book looked like). So I hired Lani Rich Davis from Storywonk.com to handle the formatting of the different file formats for Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, as well as the paperback version for CreateSpace.

Lani and I had a wonderful time and quickly developed a terrific working relationship, made possible by her incredible patience when I went through my book cover melt down, which lasted about two weeks.

And the beautiful interior that she created for the paperback version of Mrs. Tuesday is truly special.

We'll discuss why it's important to work with a formatter, or how you can tackle this project yourself in an upcoming post.


Creating a Book Trailer....

Then I began to think about marketing the new book and decided that what I'd really love is to have a book trailer that would provide a quick visual story of the new Mrs. Tuesday.

I read a few posts online and was inspired to try it myself. I got as far as finding music and video images. And then stopped when I realized that I had no idea of how to operate 'imovie' and even less desire to learn how.

Then I remembered that my friend Mariellen, had recently embarked upon a new career in video and film making. I contacted her to find out if she would have an interest in creating a book trailer. 

Thankfully she said yes....and I was able to work with her and Ed, her partner atThreeMoonBay.com to create the video you see below. 

I highly recommend Mariellen and Ed, for their incredible attention to detail, their desire to exceed the goals of their clients, and in my case, for their infinite patience in working with a client who stares off into space and then asks, 'but,what if?' about one hundred times.

The good news is that they are wonderfully patient and produce beautiful work. Check out their website for more videos and stay tuned for another post, in the coming week, about their process of working with clients.

In the meantime, enjoy the video...and if you haven't read the book, please download a copy or order a paperback from Createspace.






This is just the beginning.....stay tuned!