28 September 2017

Blog Design

The last few weeks I’ve been working hard on getting my blog just the way I want it. I’ve been perfecting the color scheme, adding pages, choosing fonts, and designing graphics. If you usually view the blog on a mobile device, take the time and view it on a PC. The mobile view doesn’t show you everything! I am very picky, and Blogger can be limited, so I've had to compromise here and there, but I can say that I'm pretty happy with it now.  

I’ve added a FAQ page. You can check that out to get a better insight into my writing.

The next thing on my to-do list is to have a new author portrait taken. It’s time, and I hope to do that in the next few week. I also need to begin focusing on marketing. I've been reading a LOT on the subject, and that is one area I've been neglecting. This year, it's time to step up and focus. 

And . . . I'm gearing up to begin research for book four, getting ready for NaNoWriMo!

That's all for now. 

25 September 2017

Should an Indie Author Offer Free Kindle Books?

This is something I have struggled with. I have held giveaways on Goodreads for paperbacks, and I have offered my Kindle novels for free on Amazon.  Some authors keep one Kindle book free all the time in the hope that it will spark interest and build readership. There are pros and cons to this, and ultimately, it is up to the individual author to do what feels right for him or her.

Here is my personal take on it.

To make these kinds of decisions as an author, I think of myself as a reader. What works for me? I have downloaded many free Kindle books, and I have read very few. Those that I have read have usually been short stories. It gives me a taste of the author’s style very quickly, and short stories do reel me in. Novels don’t. My to-read list is long. Unfortunately, these free books are pushed to the back of the list, and I never get around to reading them. 

Why would it be any different with my books?

If a book sparks an interest in a potential reader, they can always download a sample onto their Kindle or Kindle app. If they don’t have a Kindle, they can always read the short sample offered on Amazon. So I don’t see the need to offer books for free.

There is the argument that if you offer free books, even for a day or two, it pushes the book’s ranking higher, making it more visible to other readers. This is true. It happened with A Future Spring, when I offered it for free for three days the first year it was published. However, I never got reviews or additional sales, and most likely, A Future Spring is sitting on hundreds of Kindle clouds unread. 

What was the point?

There is also a great deal of competition now. Everyone is offering free books.  The latest trend I’m seeing is, if you follow someone on Twitter, they respond by offering you a free copy of a book they’ve written. I take them up on the offer, but honestly, I have no idea when I will get to read it. So it sits on my Kindle waiting. Waiting until when? Who knows.

So, for this indie author, free Kindle books just don’t make sense. 

19 September 2017

The Big Reveal

So here is the cover for book three, Incorruptible. I think it turned out beautiful. I can't wait for publication . . .

13 September 2017

To Be a Writer You Must Be a Little Crazy

I’ve decided to join NaNoWriMo this November. For those of you who do not know what NaNoWriMo is, it is short for National Novel Writing Month, and it is a worldwide challenge for writers to write a full-length novel in 30 days.


A full-length novel in 30 days.

Crazy, right?

The challenge begins on November 1st, and the goal is to write a novel of 50,000 words by 11:59 pm on November 30th. That is crazy, and in past years, I wondered why anyone would put themselves through such a rigorous challenge. Yet, here I am about to embrace the challenge, and I’m really excited about it.

Why did I decide to do it?

First, it is perfect timing. Incorruptible will be with my editor, so I will be free to work on book four.

Second, the plot for book four is already developing, and I’m ready to get the story out.

Third, I need some discipline in my writing life, and a rigorous schedule for one month might help develop some good habits.

Fourth, the world won’t come to an end if I don’t reach the goal, but I will definitely have a good start on my next novel, no matter how many words I write in November.

Fifth, it will bring me in contact with other writers, and I’m always looking for support and tips from the writing community.

Sixth, it actually sounds like fun.

So, I am going to do it. I can use the month of October to begin my research. Novel 4 is not a contemporary novel. It will be historical fiction, so I will need to do a lot of research.

And some updates . . . the new cover for A Future Spring is being designed as I write this. I am so excited about it. I was never quite happy with the cover, so I can’t wait to see what my cover designer comes up with. 

Finally, the last draft of Incorruptible is finished. It will be off to the editor in October. The challenge I face now is to NOT touch it again until it is edited. 

08 September 2017

How Political Should An Author Get on Social Media?

I joined Twitter back in January. I find it to be a little better than Facebook. Not much, but a little. I've had very little success with social media, but I find Twitter to be the best so far. It is a great place to connect with other authors--and other like-minded people. I've learned a lot from what others have "tweeted." And I can't see ever going back to Facebook.

The main focus of this blog entry, however, is a question that has cropped up for me: how personal should you be on your professional Twitter page or in any professional outlet for that matter? It seems like a question out of left field. But today, social media is a big part of marketing. And if you want to get your service or product out there--beyond your local market--then you have to engage in some social media. Where do you draw the line? I'm speaking for myself. Where does public author Catherine start and private citizen Cathy end? Anything I've ever read about author branding says the same thing: in order to find your own brand, you must combine your personal with your professional. How does that work on social media?

I am an indie author with few followers on Twitter (179 on last count). So, it probably doesn't matter what I tweet about. No one is paying much attention, anyway. I'm not going to turn away readers with my rants about the latest political outrage. Am I?

Well, maybe. Who can really say, but I can give you my own personal thoughts.

I have found people on Twitter offering editing or proofreading services, who have turned me (a potential client) off because they have ranted about something. When I go to a professional's social media page, I expect to find information pertaining to their services, not their outrage over North Korea, DACA, or Melania Trump's latest choice in fashion. Yes, I am a conservative. But I would have the same feeling if I were exposed to rantings about Hillary Clinton and her missing emails. If you are linking your Twitter account to your professional website, I expect to find your Twitter account to be professional.

So, when is it okay to mix your politics with your professional platform?

Well, Stephen King has 3.77 million followers on Twitter. J.K. Rowling has 12.4 million followers on Twitter. Both rant about politics all the time. I guess when you've become that popular and make that much money, you can risk it. But I don't follow either one on Twitter because they don't teach me anything or even entertain me. I'm new to the author world, and I'm eager to learn. I have no interest in how much the two of them hate Donald Trump. It kind of wastes my time. I know they both hate him. I don't need to read a tweet everyday confirming that.

So, I've decided for myself to never rant about my political views on Twitter, unless it is part of my branding. I may post a picture of Melania Trump praying in front of a statue of Our Blessed Mother, and I won't stay silent on the need to defund Planned Parenthood. I brand myself a Catholic author, and both examples fall well within my author platform.

What about blogs?

I think blogs are freedom. They are open enough to rant about anything you want. I follow certain blogs, and I know what to expect when I visit them.

Anyone who reads my blog knows what they are in for.