Monday, October 16, 2017
Saturday, September 9, 2017
The book opens in the late 1980s. Carl and his brother down beer after beer at a favorite pub, trying to piece together their family’s chaotic past. The stakes are high—someone is about to return after a 20-year absence, threatening to re-ignite the family conflict. As the brothers’ painful recollections of their past become more traumatic, Carl drifts back in time to the era he tried for so many years to forget.
The story is realistic, poignant, and at times very funny. Stephens shines a timely spotlight on the then-unquestioned power of the Church, while taking the reader back to the ’60s era of rock & roll, Catholic schools, social upheaval, and boyhood pranks.
Phil Stephens: Longer than I'm willing to admit.
Phil Stephens: I wanted a title that conveyed the subject matter of the book and grabbed the reader.
Phil Stephens: Most all of it.
Phil Stephens: Yes, if my first novel takes off.
Phil Stephens: It is one of the few things I have a talent for.
Phil Stephens: I did.
Phil Stephens: Finding the time to do it.
Phil Stephens: First of all START the book and then FINISH it. Don't give up.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
The evil words smolder in her mind, the contents of the letter delivered to Hank Reardon:
By the time you get this letter, it will be too late. We'll already have her.
Here are the steps you must not take:
Lin Wilder: Both.
IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?
Lin Wilder: In pondering why I write, I realized that the blurred lines between good and evil intrigue me. Each of us is a combination of both and our choices mostly determine just how good or evil is our life. However, there are extraordinary circumstances which can have such a profound impact that the goodness is all but extinguished.
Lin Wilder: Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath. Dragovik comes up with a way to decimate the population of the world. And justifies his decision with extensive reliance on people who have predicted that the population will outgrow the earth’s ability to sustain them- ergo the British minister who predicted the end through famine: Malthus. I added the Revisited because there are many who are convinced of a massive biologic extinction by the end of this century. And added The Cup of Wrath to add an apocalyptic dimension to the story.
Lin Wilder: After many years of allegiance to most ‘isms’ known to man, I became a Roman Catholic. It changed everything. My writing is grounded in the notion that our lives are battlegrounds. My main character Dr. Lindsey McCall and her husband Rich are Catholic. They believe that the choices they make on a daily basis can profoundly impact our world. There are allusions to religious visions and priests in this and in every book which can provoke readers to wonder. Fully understanding that my view is counter cultural, I hope readers come away with some questions, curiousity about themselves, their world and God.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?
Sunday, February 12, 2017
IAN: Please tell us about Sleep Sweet.
Sleep Sweet is a multi-award winning children’s bedtime book, that has been adapted with Augmented Reality technology to bring viewers a complete multi-sensory experience. It is being used as a therapy tool for calming anxiety and helping to distract young patients in children’s hospitals across the country.
Viewed alone, the book is full of sweeping and fairytale like illustrations with repetitive almost suggested-mediation style text. But paired with a mobile device and a $0.99 app from Spellbound, viewers hear narration, interact with characters, enjoy ambience noises like running water and crickets and hear a beautiful acoustic guitar melody composed specifically for this book. The end result is magical, and I love getting feedback from hospitals about how it helps the kids get through a difficult process or just plan relax.
IAN: Is Sleep Sweet published in print, e-book or both?
Yes! Sleep sweet is both printed and available in an e-book version, but I prefer the paper. To me it has more snuggle-into-the-covers appeal. Both the digital and the printed version of the book will work with the app.
IAN: Tell us about the Spellbound App and how it enhances the reading experience.
The Spellbound app uses the mobile device’s camera to recognize the illustration, then the 3D scene appears hovering over the existing page on the device. Users can touch the animals on the screen for reactions, have the book read out-loud or just listen to the original score- a gentle, lullaby looping classical guitar solo that is sure to please any age.
The Spellbound app was just named on the Top Ten Trends in Reading and Book Apps for Children (Publishing Perspectives, Feb 2, 2017: Publishing Perspectives / Article by Porter Anderson) list and Made Nexus Magazine’s 5 Mind Blowing Augmented Reality Apps article (Jan 31st, 2017, https://nexusconsultancy.co.uk/blog/5-mind-blowing-augmented-reality-apps/?utm_content=buffer17d0b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer )
IAN: Where can we go to buy Sleep Sweet?
On Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com for direct sales or through me at www.SleepSweet3D.com for signed copies. I would also like to offer the Independent Author Network a discount for checking out my interview - go to createspace.com and enter in the coupon code JEZMRCF5 for a 15% discount on Sleep Sweet!
IAN: Which writers/books inspired you when writing Sleep Sweet?
I’ve always loved the classic bedtime tales like Goodnight Moon and The Busy Spider. While I enjoy all forms of children’s literature, I loved the idea of a book particularly designed for bed time. Something that could cary the reader far away to dream land. The illustration work is more painterly than those titles, more dreamlike and fluid. It is kind of a hybrid of my own fine art style and digital illustration.
IAN: When writing Sleep Sweet did anything stand out as particularly challenging?
I think creating a succession of events leading from wide awake to fast asleep in the limited time frame of a picture book was the most challenging. The illustrations feature her getting more and more tired, finally falling asleep. It was difficult judging based on reading it aloud, how that would translate when reading it to a child. Too fast and they miss the point and don’t have the time to get relaxed, too long and you’ve become boring to the adult reading it. It was an interesting balancing act.
IAN: How did you come up with the story of Sleep Sweet?
Sleep Sweet is both a ritual my daughter and I share at bed time as well as all the stories I’ve told her about my life and where I want to take her some day. Many of the illustrations are from my own trips to Africa, Panama, Alaska and across the US. The book is a guided meditation, a dream journal and a vision board all at once.
IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fortunately I developed my art circles of friends and cohorts early on and through social media, they have been expanded and brought with me anywhere I find myself. With such an awesome global support network already in place that were used to seeing my work and giving great advice, it was an easy transition to begin showing them my illustration work for the children’s books and then the full books themselves. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve never met, but through creativity and the bond of offering up yourself for review - and of course the marvel of digital relationships - I’m grateful to be well-loved and supported.
IAN: What are your ambitions for your writing career? Full time? Part time?
Because I am both an author and illustrator/artist I would love to do both part time, essentially creating a full time creative career. Currently I am working on several YA novels as well as a line of coloring books, but I’m also juggling fine art exhibits so I already stay quite busy with both :)
IAN: When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been interested in short story and poetry, but when my daughter was born, I began creating stories based on our adventures, using her as a model. In the last four years since she was born, I’ve put out ten children’s books, all having something or other to do with our home, her development or silly things we share that other parents can relate to.
IAN: What do you like to do when not writing?
I’m really into hiking and camping, traveling and exploring the natural world. I find most of my inspiration in ancient cultures and the timelessness of the planet so when I have downtime I work to refill that inspirational well and fantasize about my upcoming projects.
IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress?
Because every project has its own ebb and flow, I tend to juggle many at a time. I really invite other authors and artists to connect with me, my contact info is:
Niume : http://bit.ly/2e4r9PK
Saturday, December 24, 2016
How to Leverage Kindle Unlimited for Marketing Your Books
By Amy Harrop
Whether you're an experienced author already racking up sales and new readership, or you're just dipping your toes into the vast waters of the self-publishing industry, the thought of making your books available through Kindle Unlimited (KU) has no doubt crossed your mind.
The real questions is, should you or shouldn't you?
Is there a clear advantage for you, the author, in using this service? Because let's be honest, your main goals are to gain exposure for your work and make a living while doing it.
With this in mind, let's discuss how you can market your books effectively by leveraging the Kindle Unlimited platform, along with the pros and cons of using KU vs a wider distribution strategy.
What is Kindle Unlimited?
If you don't already know, Kindle Unlimited is a subscription-based service offered by Amazon that allows readers (Prime and otherwise) to access their entire inventory of KU books for one low monthly fee.
At under $10 a month, it's easy to see why Kindle Unlimited has gained a reputation as the "Netflix" of books!
But, wait a minute... $10 a month for unlimited access to all of their books!? If you're wondering who makes money with this arrangement other than Amazon, you'd be in good company.
Authors the world over have been scratching their heads and tip-toeing around signing up for Kindle Unlimited because they're not sure about its long-term benefits or potential drawbacks.
The Pros and Cons of Using KU vs. Using Wider Distribution
There are several pros and cons that go along with using KU vs. wider distribution options, or doing the exact opposite.
- It enhances the reach of your books - Amazon has at least fifty percent market share in the US and UK when it comes to digital book sales. That's VERY significant. Their best-selling Kindle e-readers, tablets and apps, as well as Amazon's amazing ecommerce platform and knack for turning browsers into buyers are what drive this phenomenon. And it's increasing every year.
The bottom line? Having your books featured on Amazon increases the likelihood that they will be found and read by a lot of people.
- You gain access to Amazon's ecommerce tools - Amazon's team is masterful at getting consumers to buy, and it's no different when they market digital books.
Through their KU program, you gain access to unique promotional tools like their Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotion, which both help to boost your readership and launch your new titles to success.
- You earn royalties for ever page read - Unlike traditional books sales where a customer buys your book and you get a one-off payment, with KU authors are paid a small royalty for every page read from each book.
Yes, you probably won't make millions, but every penny does add up.
- Exclusivity of your book title with KU - You read right. If you decide to promote a book using Kindle Unlimited, you cannot promote that title anywhere else.
You're title is bound to Amazon's KU for 90 day spans, after which, you have the option to renew your contract.
- Potentially low earnings - Unless you're in the top percentile of book publishers in the Kindle Unlimited program, you shouldn't expect to get hefty royalty checks.
The vast majority of self-published authors find that the potential for earnings per book are much higher on other platforms when compared to KU.
There seems to be more to love about the program than there is to hate it.
But is it wise to put all of your eggs in one basket and have titles exclusive to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited? Is there a point to even signing up if the chance of earning significant royalties are slim?
The Answer: Yes and No, depending on your marketing strategy.
How to Use KU to Sell More Books
We already mentioned that Amazon has the lion's share of the digital book market, but something that you may not know is that their KY customers are no ordinary readers.
The average person who signs up for a subscription service like Kindle Unlimited is best described using one word: Voracious!
Think about it.
Who else would sign up for an unlimited supply of books each and every month? Someone who can't get enough of the written word and who has the potential to turn into a very loyal reader, if given a good reason!
Marketing experts the world over have used the "free offer" angle to hook new users into their products and services for decades. Some examples are, free samples given away at wholesale clubs, free trials of software and free content given away to get new subscribers for email lists.
It's so surprise that this strategy works amazingly well for selling eBooks too, especially if you're newer to the game and haven't made a name for yourself among readers.
If you view Kindle Unlimited as a springboard for launching your self-publishing career it can be a real asset. The key is not to make all of your books available there, but only a few of your absolute best.
And why your best work?
Because, if a reader comes across one of your books you want them to be so excited, spellbound and addicted that they have no choice but to go out and buy additional titles if they want more. How's that for encouragement?
Even a single exceptionally written and presented book offered on the KU platform has the ability to move you from completely unknown to prominent among your target audience, literally overnight.
But what if you're an established self-publisher who already has a significant following?
If you're already well-known and enjoying lucrative digital books sales, Kindle Unlimited may not be an essential aspect to growing your readership (although it can't hurt).
On the other hand, by not publishing at least one title on the platform, you may be missing out on significant marketing potential (don't worry, you can always use a pen name).
Lindsay Buroker, one author earning a full-time income for her work, attributes anywhere from 85-90% of her income to utilizing the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Kindle Unlimited platforms. In contrast, her other book titles spread across seven alternative platforms collectively bring in the remaining 10-15%.
In her case, the math is undeniable.
But the only way to know how it would work for you is to choose some titles, register for your own Amazon KU account and see what happens.
The Perils of Avoiding Wider Distribution
No matter how you feel about Amazon, the fact is that they are one of the major book distributors worldwide. While it may be a grave mistake to leave them out of your plans for marketing and distributing self-published titles, total exclusivity could be equally troublesome.
While it can be very effective, as with most things, there is one caveat to using Kindle Unlimited exclusively for marketing your brand.
While Amazon does have the majority of readers, you are missing out on the millions of readers on other platforms such as Apple's iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and more.
For that reason alone, it is never recommended to use any single distribution and promotion strategy. Instead, focus on using KU to promote some of your best books to gain the exposure and new readership that only Amazon can offer and put the rest of your books up for sale on any platform and in any format that will produce sales and profits for your work.
While Kindle Unlimited isn't a good fit for every author, it is worth investigating as part of a multi-strategy book marketing plan.
Check out my blog for more publishing tips. Amy Harrop Blog