Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Trailers

Jennifer learned about book trailers...

I attended my local chapter’s writer’s conference this past weekend and I learned a lot. One of the best workshops I attended was on making book trailers.

I’ve seen authors promote their books with trailers, but I never knew how to do it, or even if I wanted to do it. So I went to this workshop, hoping to learn more about it. And I did!

The author, Susan Ann Wells, taught us how to make a book trailer using PowerPoint, which is pretty much on everyone’s computer. The most effective ones seem to use a few lines of text about the hero, heroine and the premise of the book. There are plenty of free images and music on the web. The workshop was only 45 minutes, so we zoomed through what to do, but she was really smart. She took her notes, self published a how-to book, and also sold it for $5 at the book fair. So now I have her notes, and her more detailed book for use later.

What she showed us looked pretty easy, and I think I might try it as soon as I have some time—probably not until December at this rate.

I’ll be sure to show you my results!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Doing NaNoWriMo

Ana muses about participating in NaNoWriMo.

I registered for NaNoWriMo this weekend. Partly on a dare, partly because I know I respond to pressure.

I tried the writing challenge several years ago, before I had formed many close friendships with dedicated writers. I fell way short of the 50,000 word goal. I may fall short again, but this November I will have people to answer to and daily exhortations of encouragement. 1667 words per day is the daily average.

I have the story outline and character profiles developed.  I have a new laptop  I can take to work and on the road. (I have four craft shows to do on weekends in November.) I need to send my internal editor off on a slow boat for Indonesian takeout. I need to get up early and swear off playing Hayday.

I will do my best, though I do need sleep. It will be fun to try.

Are you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Galley a Go Go

Debra is one step closer to finishing the final stretch of things to do on One Great Night.

Over the weekend I received the galley files for One Great Night from my editor. I was a little surprised, because I thought I'd be seeing the project in pre-galley format first, but I guess we skipped that step. Now's the time for looking at minute mistakes: misspellings, grammatical errors, misplaced punctuation, etc. Essentially line edits. It's not the time for changing anything about the story or even rephrasing lines or substituting words.

It's exciting and scary all at the same time. It's exciting because a galley is almost the last step before getting a release date. (I'm still waiting on a cover, too.) It's a bit scary because the time for tweaking and changing has passed. The story won't be changing...even in a small way...at this point. It is what it is.

Because of that, I approach this step of editing in a different way. Instead of reading from the beginning to the end, I read from the end to the beginning. I start with the last page. This way, my mind is not wrapped up in the story, and those pesky errors I mentioned tend to stand out more. Another way to do it is to read all of the odd pages and then all of the evens. Anything that breaks the flow of narrative.

I think no matter what the stage, everyone has their own system for editing. I've been to lots of sectionals and heard lots of presentations on it, but it really all comes down to finding what works for you. Writing is a very personal thing. Even in the editing stage.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's in a Title?

Paula considers the importance of novel titles.

I’ve been trying to decide on the title of my ‘work in progress’ – and that has led me on to thoughts about titles, and about what appeals to me or, perhaps more significantly, what doesn’t.

Personally, I never look twice at titles with certain words in them – werewolf, zombie, vampire (sorry, Debra!), ghost, devil, and haunting, for example. The paranormal genre simply doesn’t appeal to me at all.

I’m not a fan of regency novels, and titles containing duke, lord, viscount, or earl tend to put me off, as do the female versions of these titles. Rogues, rakes, pirates, and highwaymen don’t interest me either.

With modern romances, I tend to go for stories about ‘ordinary’ people, so I don’t even pick up titles with words like billionaire, tycoon, playboy, sheikh, or prince (or princess) etc. I’m not keen on an emphasis on the hero’s nationality either (e.g. The Italian’s Bride or The Greek’s Proposal), so Italian playboys and Greek billionaires are doubly off-putting! And don’t even get me started on ‘marriages of convenience’ or secret babies!

So what do I like? If a book’s title attracts my interest, maybe with a title like ‘Home for Christmas’ or ‘A Second Chance at Forever’, I might glance at the front cover but far more important to me is the back cover blurb. That’s the ultimate deal maker or breaker for me.

I’m not claiming my own titles are perfect, of course – but at least none of them contain any of the words that put me off from buying a book!

Are there any book titles that put you off? Or specially attract you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Getting Ready For A Conference

Jennifer's attending a conference...

I’m attending my yearly NJRW conference this coming weekend. New Jersey Romance Writers of America offers a conference with workshops on writing, publishing, technology, social media, pitching, etc. They have editor and agent appointments, networking and guest speakers. It’s a way to meet other romance writers, to learn, and to possibly pitch your story.

I’m not pitching this year. My manuscript isn’t quite ready—the stupid first chapter is killing me—and I don’t need the added stress. What I am doing is planning to attend some workshops and network with a lot of other writers, many of whom I follow on Twitter or am friends with on Facebook or in real life (imagine that!).

I expect to come back with lots of great advice and hopefully, some inspiration. I’ll let you know!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Review to Make Me Smile

Debra received a nice review for Family Secrets.

It's been a long time since I've had an 'official' review for any of my books. I've had some great (and not so great) reviews from readers, but I had nothing from one of those official review sites on my last book, This Feels Like Home. Therefore, it was a nice surprise to find a link from The Romance Reviews in my in-box the other day for Family Secrets.

I'll give you a few of the good snippets, and if you want to read the entire review...click HERE.

In FAMILY SECRETS, Debra St. John has created a well-paced, absorbing tale of divided family loyalties and moving forward in the face of adversity to grasp a second chance at happiness.

...a story that is sure to garner a mix of emotional responses in the reader.

Kudos to Debra St. John for weaving passion and family drama into a thought provoking and satisfying romantic read.

Now this review arrived just a bit late to include on my MIS for the brag page of my new book, but I'm hoping that since the next step is the pre-galley, I'll still be able to sneak this one in. It also reminds me that I really should do a Google and Yahoo! search of my titles linked to my name to see if I've missed any reviews that have been posted out there.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!