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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Asking successful indie authors: HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE YOUR WRITING SUCCESS?

The internet is covered with articles on every possible topic regarding independent publishing. This includes ‘author tools’, ‘marketing tools’ – in fact any kind of tool! We have apps, programs and excellent websites that expertly promote authors and their books (like www.indieauthornews.com).

Authors can now choose their preferred services for cover design, formatting, editing and publication platforms. Indie publishing is an exciting and thriving industry and it will keep growing.

And with all the available tools and articles, I thought it interesting – and different – to ask a few of my clients “how do you achieve your writing success?” and to then share their answers in this article. I’ve been working with these authors and their books’ covers for quite some time now, and have witnessed their growth (and sales) with excitement, and yes, pride!

There is definitely inspiration – and a lesson or two – to be learnt from their contributions and careers so far!

HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE YOUR WRITING SUCCESS?

Becky Wicks

I drink a lot of coffee, which keep my eyeballs wide and my brain ticking with randomness, almost all of which then gets typed by fervent fingers! Seriously though, achieving success is all about discipline, ignoring any negativity that threatens to stop me in my tracks and just working damn hard! Most indie writers will tell you that publishing a book is half about the writing and half about the marketing now. When I was promoting my first romance ‘Before He Was Famous’ I’d spend about 16 hours a day staring into my laptop, wondering how the hell I was going to sell anything without HarperCollins behind me (they published my three travel memoirs but with novels I decided to go solo).

It was a lot of work to make a million connections, to reach out to bloggers and reviewers, to learn different programs and also to learn from my mistakes! Success comes after a whole bunch of mistakes I think – but you just have to keep on going. I feel like I’ve achieved more success with my newest book, ‘The Day Of The Wave’ because it’s based on a real-life event – the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. I had to do so much research to get my facts straight and to ensure I did not only do my characters justice, but the actual survivors and all those who perished too. To know people like it (so far the reviews are good!) means so much because it means I am slowly but surely mastering my craft and learning what works as I go. What more can we do but keep scribbling, keep learning and keep on drinking coffee?!

http://www.amazon.com/Becky-Wicks/e/B008LY688A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1438017933&sr=1-1

Brock Deskins

I think achieving writing success requires, or at least begins, with two things: the ability to dream up a story and the ability to convey that story in writing. The first is mostly instinctual. Dreamers aren’t made, they are born. I was born a bit introverted, and as such, I often found myself alone with just my thoughts and imagination. I exercised this imagination constantly, like a hard core weightlifter, only with my crazy brain instead of muscles.

The ability to convey your imagination into writing is part technical and part instinctual. I think writing fiction is a lot like writing music. You have to be able to hear it in your head and detect discordance. Some writers have chosen to become authors and worked toward that end by getting a literary degree. I learned how to wing it.

As a soldier, one of my sergeants would come to me and tell me to give a class on something. I would say something to the effect of: “I have no idea how to do that.” He or she would respond (the good ones anyway): “There’s a stack of field manuals. You have four days to become a subject matter expert.” This is where I learned how to look up anything I don’t know, and when it came to writing and grammar, that intellectual void was vast.

Ultimately, I was able to write some stories that many people have enjoyed, and entertaining a reader is how I define success—that and being able to pay my bills.

http://www.amazon.com/Brock-Deskins/e/B005M6VQ1O/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1438017908&sr=1-1

Kim Hornsby

Writing Success to me is finishing a book, having an actual story that came from your imagination, whether you publish it, whether it becomes a bestseller, or whether you make any money from the book. Lots of people say they want to write a book, but does everyone go ahead and start it? Or finish it? To anyone who completes a book, that’s success to me.

In my writing career I’ve written four full-length novels and a number of novellas. My first novel ‘The Dream Jumper’s Promise’ has been downloaded over 60,000 times and when I published the novel, I hoped that a hundred people would read it. That book has 256 reviews on Amazon so I know for sure that they read my book. 93% gave it a 4 and 5 star review.

For me, the success of my career has been a combination of writing every day, doing writing workshops, taking my career seriously as an Independent Author, writing true to my heart (not writing what’s necessarily popular to cash in on a trend, but what I want to write,) and trying to improve my product.

One of the most important aspects to Indie Authorship is to never give up, keep writing, and improving. There is no one there to support you if you publish your own work so you need to be your own cheerleader, but don’t give up improving if this is what you love. It might be a cliché but it’s a great cliché.

www.amazon.com/B00AFJ8BJS

 

 

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

WHY YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL COVER ART: Bad Cover = Bad Sales

While you’re writing your novel, you are a creator. A wordsmith. An artist. But, as soon as that novel’s finished, you’re about to take the next step in publishing business. Yes, you’re becoming not just an author, but an entrepreneur. You are creating a product that has to contend with literally thousands of other products.

Can you, as author, afford for your product – your work of art – to be any less than visible or desirable? No.

     What is one of the key selling points of any product? The packaging.

     What is a book’s packaging? The cover.

So, what’s the purpose of a cover? Many writers will say: “To get customers to pick up the book, or click on the download button.” This is true. BUT, if the customer is to pick up or click and read the book’s summary, and realize that the cover and story have nothing to do with one another, then back goes book to shelf, or, the next ebook is clicked on. You lose a sale.

Yes, the cover must entice the customer. But the full purpose of a book’s cover is to:

  1. Get the customer to notice the book;
  2. Pick up or click on the book;
  3. Buy the book;
  4. Read the book;
  5. Talk about the book;
  6. Repeat for next customer.

If your name is “Stephen King”, then that book can have a blank cover with his name, and it will sell. But until you reach such status, your name is not yet known, so your book’s title and cover art alone carries the day.

So where do you start? You start by pretending you’re telling someone why they should buy your book. Point out the book’s strengths, its genre, its core, what it’s about and what makes it tick. These elements are your unique selling points, and should be conveyed through your title and cover art. And the ultimate purpose is to precipitate an emotional response from your customer. And the outcome? A sale. This is exactly why a professional designer is needed.

Starting to re-realize the importance of your book’s cover? You should. Because it’s not just about a pretty cover anymore, is it?

A good cover will reinforce the customer’s initial attraction. We also do this by adding blurbs – which will tell the customer; “Yes, you have made a good choice, and this blurb rewards your decision, as the book is THAT good.” Every detail on a cover must be thought out and planned. Even the placement of the title and writer’s name is extremely important. Again, this is exactly why a professional designer is needed.

Look at your current book’s cover. And if you don’t yet have one, then think about book packages that work for you. Are all the elements of the cover presenting accurately, attractively and powerfully the appeal of the book?

So, in designing your product’s package, or, framing your work of art, realize the importance of your book’s cover. You must not just want a pretty cover – your book deserves a professionally designed package that will represent you, your story and product congruently.

And YES, you can get an exclusively designed cover by an industry professional for your book:

JH ILLUSTRATION & COVER DESIGN

https://jhillustration.wordpress.com/

This Blog post appears on www.indieauthornews.com