ACTRESS AND FORMER NBC PRODUCER SHARES AN INSIGHTFUL Q&A ON SUCCESSFULLY BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT AUTHOR

As a book cover designer and illustrator, I have the privilege to meet and work with countless authors and talents. One of my clients, former journalist, Ginger Marin, sat down with me, and shared some of her insights in becoming an author, her goals and of course the importance of branding.

Here are five questions I asked Ginger that I’m sure will inspire many authors out there!

  1. How (and why) did you choose your style of writing for the Adventures in Avalon?

I’m a former TV news journalist and currently an actor. Overall, my left analytical brain is fairly well balanced with my right creative brain. But I’m happy to report that as a fiction writer, I’ve successfully tipped the scales to the right. Years ago I had an idea for an animated TV show about the crazy capers of a small town police department. I even went so far as to write three episodes. But getting them into the hands of Hollywood agents and producers proved difficult so I decided to go another route and turn the tales into a book series. But a single TV episode is too short for one book and I really wanted to keep the dialogue largely intact. So, I decided I needed a vehicle to tie my crazy detective tales together. I then had the idea of creating my Ginger character, a reporter who gets stranded in a community of cartoon people. That way I could report on the community as a journalist might but fit the commentary to the realm of this fictionalized place and, by extension, also be able to comment on the absurdities of the real world, yet in a very humorous fashion. I think my detective tales then slip in nicely because their world is as nuts as ours.

  1.       What do you want to achieve with your books?

My style in “Adventures in Avalon” is a mixed genre. It’s an animated TV show in book form as far as the detective tales are concerned but it’s satire when my Ginger character speaks. I love writing in first person and for this book I loved writing very simply. I think Ginger’s voice meshes completely with the simplicity of the other characters. The subtitle of my book is “An Offbeat & Quirky Adult Bedtime Story”. If there’s one thing I want to achieve, other than success, it’s giving adults a chance to straddle the space between reality and downright silliness. I want to put smiles on people’s faces. Of course, that’s what I want to do with this book series as it develops. Beyond that, as I tackle other topics, I’d like to make people think about our world and the ramifications of our actions.

  1.       The feedback/success you’ve experienced thus far

“Adventures in Avalon” is my first solo book but I’ve been writing in one form or another since around the age of twelve. I worked at NBC News for eighteen years then moved to Los Angeles to act and write. I’m certainly not the first person to say it’s tough making it in this town. But each time I get involved in a project, acting or writing, it turns into a wonderful learning experience. Last year I helped a friend write his memoir, a much darker subject about his time as a subcontractor for the CIA. It was his project, in fact, that gave me the impetus to turn my own thoughts into published books. I have a nonfiction nearly ready for publication then it’s back to fiction. Next up is a collection of short stories for children. The feedback I’ve received for my work has been terrific. Success takes time, though. So even if it’s just one smile at a time, I’m okay with that.

  1.       Why it’s important to build yourself as a brand?

We live in a world that’s overcrowded on every level with people and things. The competition is astounding and it grows with each passing year. It takes time and effort but it’s absolutely essential to build a brand to get noticed above the fray. Decide who you are, what you want to say and then move full speed ahead.

  1.       Why will you keep doing what you’re doing with your books?

There’s a wonderful quote by artist Andy Warhol that is now my mantra. He said “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

And this is why I love my job – meeting clients like Ginger, and working with them to achieve the covers they deserve – and setting standards for branding in a very competitive market.

 Happy writing everyone!

 “Adventures in Avalon” is available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Avalon-Offbeat-Quirky-Bedtime-ebook/dp/B01HFTVELMie=UTF8&qid=1466981451&ref_=la_B00V7EDT24_1_2&s=books&sr=1-2

AdventuresInAvalon_MEDIUM

About the Author of this Article: Jeanine Henning (Twitter: @JenVinci)

Jeanine’s extensive professional background includes 17 years’ experience in cover design, children’s book illustration and publication, comic book publishing and editing, console game design, and writing. She has worked with editors, authors and artists on many continents over the span of her career, adding to her diversity and flexibility as artist and designer. Jeanine still works closely with traditional publishers on cover and book art.

For more information on Jeanine’s background and testimonials, visit her site at: www.jeaninehenning.com and author testimonials at:

https://jhillustration.wordpress.com/author-testimonials/

Click here to visit JH Illustration website now to learn more and find lots of sample covers.

 

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WHY YOU MUST TREAT YOUR EBOOK AS YOUR READER’S FIRST DATE: When considering whether to edit, or not to edit. Plus 11 Editing Tips!

The First Date

Imagine now. You’re on a first date. You want to be impressive, witty, clever and intelligent. Let’s face it, first impressions do count. Your hair is styled and you’ve shaved whatever needs to be shaved. You’re wearing your best shirt. You’re feeling sexy. You are ready. But as you look down…

… You’re not wearing any pants.

Visualize, now, how your date must react and feel? Maybe awkwardly. Definitely let down!

Now, imagine, how a reader must feel, when they buy your (unedited) book. You used a clever synopsis to lure them as a pick up line. Even paid to get a decent cover designed (if not, you should!). Your Kindle price is an attractive $5.99 and the POD is $13.99.

Charmed by your prices and allure, your reader goes out on a limb and says yes to your book. But when they start reading, what do they get? Badly edited content – like you without pants on your first date. That is very disappointing for the reader. And you know what? That reader will not easily say yes to your books again.

This may be a long analogy to reach a simple point. And that point is this: if you want to be taken seriously, now, as an independent author, the time of getting away with not editing is long over!

Say yes to Editing

Ebooks have been available for years now, and indie publishing is a thriving industry. Readers have begun to trust indie books! Many indie authors are selling books for more than the traditional $0.99.

In fact, personally, I like to buy an indie book that is over $7.99 because that says to me: the author invested in an editor and cover designer, and maybe a formatter too. That means I get a quality novel – on par with a traditionally published book – for my $7.99 or more.

When a reader buys your book, they are not just investing their money. They are also devoting their time on YOU because they have a need for escape and entertainment. They are trusting the book they purchased from you to fill that need. Now, if your book is badly edited, you are not fulfilling anyone’s needs. It only creates disappointment and annoyance.

All that said – yes – editing can be expensive. However, there is an editor for every author out there. You just have to find the right one that matches your budget and requirement. And as I have repeated many times over – an author simply cannot avoid getting a decent cover designer and editor anymore. Books ARE often bought based on cover design, and reviews ARE written about editing and bad grammar.

Here are 11 Useful Editing Tips for you as author to use

Before approaching an editor, you can make his/her work easier and your budget lighter by applying these 11 tips first before submitting your manuscript:

1.   Be consistent

Retain consistency while writing. Avoid losing track of minor plot details, character details and even time lines. Readers do notice small detail or plot mistakes.

2.   Use simple grammar

The correct use of the period and comma use is a very common mistake in dialogue writing. Also, keep your grammar simple as most authors are not grammar experts, but neither are most readers. However, readers notice and do mention it on reviews!

3.   Formatting

This is so important. Polish your book. Add formatted titles, subtitles, text font and an index (for eBooks). This is the ‘dressing up’ part of editing and presenting your book, and readers do appreciate it.

4.   Narrative arc

These are the simplest of basics that indies get wrong. A story must have a: Beginning. Middle. End. Have the end goal posts in mind when you start the book and be sure to flesh out the middle without giving away the end too soon.

5.   Tense usage

Choose a tense and stick with it. Past-to-present/present-to-past happens easily. Be aware and avoid confusing your readers as it makes reading choppy and unpleasant.

6.   Read out loud

Read your text out loud. Especially dialogue! This helps catch mistakes and sentences that don’t flow. And you can ‘hear’ your characters’ voices and tweak where needed.

7.   Proofreader(s)

It’s fine to ask family and friends. But find someone who can give you objective and constructive feedback. You will need fresh eyes after months of creating this written world of yours.

8.   And then some more feedback

Accept feedback – even if critical. By now you’re in love with your book, and will need an objective point of view to catch inconsistencies and fix plot mistakes. Don’t just fix input where you want to, really consider all the feedback that you receive.

9.   Cut out dead chunks

This is a very hard thing to do – but so vital. Read through every paragraph, and ask yourself “do I need this?” Sometimes authors go into over-explanation and over-writing. It’s not needed anymore in modern literature. If you can master the question of “do I need this?” and implement it – you are doing yourself, your editor and your reader a huge favour.

10.   Line-by-line reading

You’ve completed all 9 points above. Now, start all over again. Read the novel line-by-line. You will be surprised at how many small mistakes you catch, and how many paragraphs you can polish to flow even better.

11.   SHOW DON’T TELL

This is the golden tip of all. This tip can make a manuscript come alive and immerse a reader into a vibrant world. Show Don’t Tell is where you as author cleverly use dialogue and narrative to pull the reader into your characters’ worlds. And this is what will have readers coming back for more, again and again.

You can read a super informative article about the 11 tips above, especially Show Don’t Tell – plus so much more – here: http://bubblecow.com/editing-your-own-book-the-top-ten-book-editing-tips

To summarize, independent publishing is a serious money-making industry now. The more you invest, the more you will see returned. So dress up your book, and woo your readers into becoming devoted fans J

Thank you for reading, and happy writing!

Jeanine Henning

Twitter: @JenVinci

 

Drakiie - Jen Mascot

 

TRANSLATING 5 LIFE COACHING BELIEFS INTO WRITING TIPS FOR INDIE AUTHORS

TRANSLATING 5 LIFE COACHING BELIEFS INTO WRITING TIPS FOR INDIE AUTHORS

Independent publishing is growing, and amid harsh and often condescending criticism, independent authors are doing exceptionally well. Not only that, they are taking very large pieces of the publishing pie and scoring more and more book deals with big name publishers.

And indie publishing is growing yearly. Why? Authors are growing their successes by using editors, professional designers and industry promotions.

Indie authors are here to stay, and their books are filling up publishing sites as we speak.

And just like any other profession and industry, indies need tool sets too. There are a multitude of tips, “How To”, marketing and advertising articles and blogs out there. So it’s time we add even more tools to the indie authors’ growing set.

With my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) life coach certification, I always and continuously use this expansive and valuable training. NLP is part of my professional tool set as creator. We ALL need tools.

Borrowing from a few of the Presuppositions of NLP, we’re going to translate those teachings into creative thought tools especially just for you, the authors and creatives.

Firstly, presuppositions in NLP are defined as ‘convenient beliefs’ that assist us in structuring our realities using filters by which we make decisions and take actions. And as authors, we DO create realities when we write, right?

 

Here are 5 presupposition tools for indie authors:

1.       Be in charge of your mind, results, actions and therefore – that book you’re writing:

You are and must be in charge of your mind’s state to focus on what you want to create. You have to focus on your goals – be it by setting chapter goals, cover design or editing deadlines – in order to achieve desired results. Avoid allowing the chatter of everyday life, people and things to supposedly control your state. No one can control your state. Only you.

2.       Writers already have the resources they need to succeed in writing that novel and/or series:

There is no such thing as an “unresourceful” author, only an unfocussed author. You’re talented already. You can write. You can tell a story. You have command of the language you’re writing in. The only things that can hinder you from writing that novel exactly as you want to; is when you self-sabotage through fear, anxiety and DOUBT. Doubt sets the direction toward lack of recourse and negative state. Forget the word doubt. Control your state. Choose your beliefs. Use your tools. BE the author you know you are and believe in your own resource as storyteller.

3.       Writing and creative procedures should create wholeness:

A productive author is one that finds congruence. When you’re born to write, you have to. If you have a story inside you that you know you have to tell, do it. By telling a story and staying true to yourself as creator, you will be congruent. And this congruency will make you happy as a whole person. And happiness affects every aspect of your whole reality, and as such, creates a productive author.

4.       Feedback, and only feedback:

There is no such thing as failure as author. Only feedback. Undesired reviews, lack of 5 star ratings and lack of glowing reader responses are not failures; it’s VALUABLE feedback! Regardless of your book’s performance and results, you should consider it feedback. Learn what worked for your story and what didn’t’. Then apply these learnings in your next book. The ONLY failure, is giving up or not even trying. The rest is feedback, and feedback creates resource and experience – and possibly a bestseller!

5.       The flexible author controls the system:

You as author should continuously learn new ways of broadening your mind, imagination and professional tool sets. The more flexible you are as a person and professional, the better you’ll work the system of promotion, marketing and distribution. Step away from tunnel vision thinking. Be open to new ways of marketing your book, because if you do the same thing over and over again that doesn’t work – it will never work. Be open to try anything outside the box!

Summary tip: You have a secret weapon…

…And that is your unconscious mind. This is where your imagination lives as well as every deep seated memory, wish, desire, nightmare, emotion and thought. Your conscious mind is only responsible for 5% of your daily life. Your unconscious mind runs 95% of your daily existence. Including sleep, bodily functions, thoughts, processing of thoughts, breathing, beating heart, perceptions, more thoughts and things you are not even aware of. Imagine now…if you consciously accessed your unconscious mind, and allowed it more freedom to write and create. You are then dipping into a whole new pool of creativity. Stephen King’s stories are not that of a conscious thinker. Nor are those of Paulo Coelho or even Nicholas Sparks. These are authors who tap into recesses deeper than the conscious mind… Think and connect on that…

 

About the Author of this Article: Jeanine Henning

Jeanine’s extensive professional background includes 15 years experience in cover design, children’s book illustration and publication, comic book publishing and editing, console game design, and writing. She has worked with editors, authors and artists on many continents over the span of her career, adding to her diversity and flexibility as artist and designer. Jeanine still works closely with traditional publishers on cover and book art.

For more information on Jeanine’s background and testimonials, visit her site at: www.jeaninehenning.com

and author testimonials at: https://jhillustration.wordpress.com/author-testimonials/

Click here to visit JH Illustration website now to learn more and find lots of sample covers.

Other Articles by Jeanine Henning:

  • Bad Cover = Bad Sales (Why you need Professional Cover Art)

http://www.indieauthornews.com/2012/10/bad-cover-bad-sales-why-you-need-professional-cover-art.html

  • The Other 4 Writing Tips For Authors: Tips many may practice, but won’t admit to doing.

http://www.indieauthornews.com/2013/07/the-other-4-tips-for-authors-tips-many-may-practice-but-wont-admit-to-doing.html