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

 

 

How to utilize all those indie author tools to stand out and grow your audience!

Author Tips

 

By Becky Wicks & Jeanine Henning

 

As indie authors swimming in this endless ocean of ebooks, we all know by now that we need to get smart if we want to actually sell any of our own. Here are some nifty must-haves from authors Becky Wicks and Jeanine Henning.

What Becky’s found….

TweetAdder

Most traffic to my blog and to my books comes from Twitter, and here’s where most interactions with readers, writers and social media big-wigs takes place, too. TweetAdder ($19 a month with 30 days free trial) lets me make a list of Tweets and then sends them for me at random while I scribble away. I can also search for interesting/likeminded people by keywords in their profiles (ie: ‘book blogger’, ‘reviews books’, etc). I accumulated 800 useful followers in just over a week using this tool and the number is still growing.

Author Marketing Club (for sourcing reviewers and more)

I’m so glad I discovered these guys. Paying for a Premium Membership ($105 a year) grants me access to a world of coolness, like a handy Amazon Description Generator, and an Amazon Reviewer Grabber, which scans Amazon for readers who’ve enjoyed books similar to mine, and lets me email them to see if they’d like a free copy of mine to review. Amazing! There are lots of other great tools and workshop videos to watch on AMC – it’s been well worth the membership for me.

Formatting and admin pros from ODesk

I use a great guy to format my ebooks – he does them very quickly and very well. (Tip: ask for your table of contents at the back of your book. It’s easily searchable by readers on all devices so why waste that precious ‘sample space’ at the front when it’s up on Amazon?) Another ODesker cleans up my mailing lists once I’ve made a mess of them (doh) and does other small admin tasks. I’ve tried employing people from Fiverr.com, who offered cheaper services, but I found they didn’t do a great job.

Sigil

Sigil is a free app you can download from the Internet and this has been an essential tool for me! Once I get my formatted epub back from my ODesk expert, I can use Sigil to open it back up and make any changes myself. For example, I can add a call to action to enter a Rafflecopter competition whenever I have one running, in order to gain more mailing list subscribers. I can then re-upload the file to KDP whenever I like (allow 12 hours for changes to apply). It’s very simple to use and if I get stuck, there are tutorials on YouTube.

Mailchimp and Rafflecopter

Two tools I wouldn’t be without; both of them free. I use Rafflecopter to run contests, whereby each entrant is entered (willingly) onto my mailing list. The more competitions I run, the more people I get to add. Amazon vouchers are quite alluring as prizes, as are advanced copies of my books. I use Mailchimp to keep track of my lists – one for bloggers/reviewers and one for readers. I never spam.

Canva

I discovered this by mistake but now I wouldn’t be without it. Canva lets you create (for free) a host of professional-looking memes and social media posts that you can then send out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I use it to mix images with quotes from my books. Tweets with these memes attached have a much higher click-through rate than others. (Tip: make sure you’re on a speedy WIFI connection, or this site can be a little slow).

 

What Jeanine’s found…

…is all the reasons to use cover designers, editors, and nifty tools like social media headers, email signatures and the meaning of life (kidding about the last part!) The first few tools that deserve mention are ‘smaller’ tools, but, they add in creating awareness about your books and your brand as an author.

Email Signatures

The short and sweet usefulness of these affordable marketing additions is the extra attention you generate for views to your site and book locations. It is always best to have a signature designed by a professional, but we all have budgets, and until you can rope in an artist and create a proper signature with all the bells and whistles, you can use companySIG for a quick and easy signature!

Facebook Headers

More and more authors are finally using this silent and constantly visible marketing tool. It’s often the first thing people see when they land on your Facebook page and again the opportunity to garner book and page views increases. For those on strict budgets, try Bannersnack. Alternatively, use a professional who can make sure your brand remains looking good!

Twitter Headers

For me personally Twitter is an invaluable tool! Becky’s already listed the awesome TweetAdder. This platform has connected me with clients and readers, and it keeps us connected. But I make sure I design my Twitter banners to convey the work I do, and that the banner suits my personal brand and visual look. However for those who want to try it alone, Fotor.com offers free online header creation.

Proofreading & Editing Tips for Your MS

Editors are crucial to a successful manuscript – whether you want to self-publish or submit to agents. However, your manuscript still travels quite a journey to get to that editor. Make life for yourself easier and your book better, and read these 21 proofreading tips for authors.

Cover Design

Personally I have written many an article about cover design – and this area of speciality is my stomping grounds (visit my cover design page here). The importance of a professionally designed cover for indie books is becoming more prominent as indies are gaining ground when it comes to taking sales from the bigger publishers.

A quote from this well-read article makes the importance of a proper cover clear:

“Let’s face it – if you saw the average, self-designed book sitting next to Karen Kingsbury’s latest, it would stand out, though not for the right reasons. Self-designed books rarely assure book buyers that they are anything other than, well, self-designed.” Read article here

 

Remember, time is a tool, too

Just as important as having talent, is having time. Time is what you’re going to have to spend the most of when you dip your tentative toes into the pool of indie-publishing. Spend wisely and good luck!

Becky Wicks is an ex HarperCollins author gone Indie. Book 2 of her Starstruck Series ‘Before He Was Gone’ is out August 25, 2014. Find her on Twitter @bex_wicks

Jeanine Henning is a professional cover designer and author. She is currently preparing her first trilogy while working with authors and publishers world-wide to bring books to life. Find her on Twitter @JenVinci

 

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

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF… YOU DID PUBLISH YOUR EBOOK?

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF… YOU DID PUBLISH YOUR EBOOK?

Three things might happen;

First, you’ll definitely be published. That already is a positive motivator! Second, people will read your book! An even better incentive! And thirdly-

… You may even find your way to a book deal.

For many indie authors, this seems either less or more real, depending on their experiences. We all read the articles about the now famous former indie authors who have signed book deals worth millions. In reality, there were few of these authors who have inspired thousands to publish with Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo etc. However, note I used “there were few”.

Regardless of some anti-indie propaganda and online bubble bursting, this trend is changing.

My very own client, Paul Pilkington, has just signed a fantastic 3 book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. These books feature his extraordinary mystery suspense trilogy featuring Emma Holden, and will be distributed in the UK as well as other countries. Paul will continue self publishing though, which means his already 2.2 million downloaded book prestige will just be growing.

So, why not keep publishing those eBooks?

Some now infamous books and authors have been rejected in the past:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J K Rowling (feedback was: “far too long for a children’s book”)
  • Carrie, Stephen King (feedback was: “genre doesn’t sell”)
  • The Ginger Man, JP Donleavy (feedback was: “too risque”)
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell (feedback was: “too controversial, won’t sell”)
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding (feedback was: “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy”)

And all these books were before the advent of eBook publishing. These authors kept writing, and eventually, found their success.

Now, look at eBook statistics:

US UK Online Book Sales

See how that blue block is growing in 2012 already? Indies are taking a bigger and bigger chunk of the book selling pie.

So. Maybe the question shouldn’t be “what would happen if you did publish your eBook”. I think the question is “what’s taking you so long?”

To read about how Paul got his book deal, as well as a few tips on self publishing, follow this link to the article featured on BBC online:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23682885

Happy writing everyone!

Jeanine

Image Source: BBC News & Ass. of American Publishers and Nielsen

Rejected Books Source: BBC News

THE OTHER 4 TIPS FOR AUTHORS: Tips many may practice, but won’t admit to doing.

THE OTHER 4 TIPS FOR AUTHORS: Tips many may practice, but won’t admit to doing.

The internet is overflowing with marketing and sales tips for independent authors. Some of it is daunting when you read an indie’s blog about how he or she used social media and SEO to boost sales by 4,000 to 6,000 a day. Or downloads exceeding 100 000! My client, Paul Pilkington, for whom I have had the honor of doing 5 covers so far, has a trilogy out that has now exceeded 2 MILLION downloads! In his case, his books are GOOD. His fan base built itself. But each author is unique however.

Another client, Kim Hornsby, released her book on Amazon. Sales and downloads could have been better. So we did a cover redesign, she placed her book in the KINDLE SELECT program and overnight it went to #15 in Kindle Free, #4 in Romantic Suspense and #1 in Ghosts. She had over 7,000 downloads in about 12 hours! Plus, she works VERY hard at her promotions.

So, here we’re not going to discuss ‘normal’ marketing tips for writers. There are MORE than enough out there and I am sure you need fresh thoughts rather than strategies alone. Let’s look at THE OTHER 4 TIPS for authors, tips many may practice, but won’t admit to doing 🙂

1.  Talk about your book to EVERYONE.

Even the grocer. Dog walker. Random dude or girl at gym. Guy in the beer queue behind you. Every single author client I have has told me how they sold books just by showing off a new cover design to some random person or family member, who then tell other people, who then tell more people. WOM: word of mouth. STILL one of the most powerful marketing tools. So yes – blab! Mention you’re an author to EVERYONE you meet. Drop your book’s name, and -> get the person’s email address so that you can email them the link for your book’s release, and the book after that 🙂

2.  Speaking of beer… Combine your book with product.

This happens in the big commercial world every day where brands and stars merge to sell and promote. If you have a friend who is into craft brewing, or has a beauty salon, an art gallery, or custom clothes, coffee shop or whatever the product or service may be – why not combine promotions with them? The awesome thing about independent publishing is – THERE ARE NO CONTRACTS that bind you w.r.t marketing! In return you can name their brand in your book, or promote them on your advertising pages. Whatever the deal – cross promotion is awesome. Other blogs say authors should promote authors. Great. But many then promote authors to authors. You want READERS. My author client, Dan H. Kind, his book features beer. A lot! While designing his cover – I DRANK CRAFT BEER and loved it! My one friend is a craft brewer, and guess what – he downloaded Dan’s book. Just because of beer 😉

3.  DO give your social pages swag.

Yes OK so we said no normal marketing talk. This isn’t normal marketing talk though. It’s superficial but important. Before you pay for the Facebook ad campaigns, make sure your Facebook and Twitter page headers are congruent with either you as author, or the book(s) you are promoting. Avoid using low res images or images that have NOTHING to do with your book or you. More and more authors are now paying that extra $20 to get 2 Facebook banner variants, and a Twitter header. It looks GOOD. It looks professional. It adds to your marketing campaign and cover reveal. And yes, let’s say it – it is indie swag and we love it ‘cos we can!

4.  Authors…for creative sanity:

DO get out the house when you can. Go sit in a coffee shop. A bar. A park. Somewhere where you can tap into yourself and wherever that creative gift core of yours is located. I think, we authors need to be more selfish sometimes. Yes. I said it. We need to be more selfish with our time and space. Because we are the storytellers that make people buy Kindles, download books, go into book shops and have something to keep them entertained with new worlds and characters. Too often indies put their writing time aside for ‘social’ purposes or expectations. So let this be the devil’s advocate in saying: go to your favourite coffee shop. Disappear for an hour. Or two. And WRITE! It’s your gift, and your right to write.

Thank you for reading, and happy writing!

Jeanine Henning

Twitter: @JenVinci

The Artist & Writer Disease

Dear Jen’s Personal Blog,

I have a confession to make… Today I coveted mine neighbour’s h-

WAIT! Wrong blog!

OKAY, moving swiftly along. For today’s ‘theme’, I’ve decided to ‘discuss’ a specific debilitating disease that’s been crossing my path of observation lately. The disease is called: AWLB which stands for – artists and writers with limiting beliefs. “That’s not a disease! That’s just a chick trying to be ‘creative’ and funny, and it’s so, like, FAIL!” you say… I say, it IS a disease because too many talented people suffer from it, and they’re passing it around like it’s a Sunday family fudge cake of which everyone at the table want seconds and thirds whilst sharing the same spoon with the sickest member licking the icing off with lip-smacking glee… Guess how I feel about this disease…

Recently I met the most amazing people, many of whom are artists, designers, illustrators and the like. They’re all different, unique, gifted with a touch of the obligatory “weirdness” that we creative types are labelled with. Hey, historically, the most gifted creators were all slightly touched by the mad finger that swirls the martini… See what I mean? That whole sentence was odd. Not that I’m saying I’m that gifted or even like one of the greats, but, just in case I do go down in history as one of the greats right next to Picasso or Dali or da Vinci – it would be nice to be known for that odd sentence “the mad finger that swirls the martini”…. no wait no maybe not so much… Anyway – let’s get back to the talented people who believe they suck. That’s right – they BELIEVE they suck at their talents. This might be you, reading this, right now.

You PILE the pressure on yourself, tear up your sketches, probably chew it and spit it out because ink tastes funny no matter how hard the self-destructing anger is ravaging your veins. Writers delete whole pages if not whole manuscripts in a fit of tormented self-loathing and whacking of keyboards. Cue the days and nights of; “why am I even trying? I’ll never get this right. My style is crap. My sketches are poo. I’ll never make money from this. I’m just not that talented. Check out that guy’s art – I’ll never draw like that! Check this woman’s book, I can’t write like that…”

STOP with the limiting torment people! You are gifted with a powerful LANGUAGE of the mind and the most prolific artist and writer you will ever meet: your unconscious mind. You have NO IDEA what you can do once you choose to stop attacking yourself now, and listen to words I am structuring and see what I say… You think that you are consciously drawing that character or writing that action scene. No. You’re not. All of that is coming from your unconscious mind. Did you know that your unconscious mind is in control of more than 95% of YOU. That includes your mind and body. You don’t think so do you? Well, while reading here, do you consciously remind your lungs to breathe in, and out, in, and out? No. That’s your unconscious mind doing that. Or, while you’re reading here, are you telling your bladder to not (literally) release? No. Unconscious mind again. Your unconscious mind takes in everything around you. Most of the information it captures – you’re not even aware of consciously – but it goes right into your unconscious mind where it’s sorted into all its necessary folders for later recall or use. Your essence, experiences, feelings and memories – all there. You consciously forget about these files – but the unconscious mind can retrieve what it needs in an instant.

The unconscious mind does not speak. It communicates in symbols. Pictures. Metaphors. You, as artist and writer, hold the key to literally be the ‘channel’ in art and writing for your unconscious mind to deliver treasures of thoughts, creations, interpretations, visualizations, patterns, puzzles, premises, stories, wisdom, worlds, new realities, new universes -à infinite horizons of creation

So when you tell yourself “I’m useless”, you are placing a massive wall between you, and your unconscious mind. You are closing the tap to a flood of amazing creation. Why would you do that? It seems almost… limiting, does it not? Why would you limit yourself? You do know why though, that answer will pop into your head right now, “why do you limit yourself?” Delete the negative reason to why you limit yourself, now, and override it with a positive goal.

And what’s the rush?! SO many artists have absolutely no patience with their creations… Those characters you’re writing and drawing are YOU! Did you know that? They’re little parts of you. Yes, even that disgusting monster skinning a rabbit in the nude – that’s you. The rabbit too. That came from you, didn’t it? You made that. Do you like it when people are impatient with you? No, who would? (unless you have a bizarre impatience fetish…but then you’d be part of a different ‘demographic’ of personality, and good luck with that). Yet, you’re impatient with those little parts of you that you’re creating… So should the question be “why am I impatient with myself?” Answer that… Hear if it’s really even such a valid reason, then override with a positive goal.

Choose to re-connect to your unconscious mind. Allow it to take control of your hand and draw what it wishes. Let your fingers on the keyboard be the carriers of the images and metaphors your unconscious wants to deliver. Become CONGRUENT with yourself, your talent, your unconscious mind. Draw what you feel! Visualize on paper and onscreen what is inside you (just don’t be literal people, no one needs to see what’s literally ‘inside you’ okay?).

When you draw without pretence, and write in your true voice – you’ll feel FREE. You’ll ENJOY what you’re creating. You’ll become addicted to the process again. And that’s the key to a successful artist and writer: the PROCESS. Not just the end result. Because the end result is dependent on the PROCESS – which all starts with you, tapping into your unconscious… speaking in the language of symbols, and writing the pictures of thoughts…

…K, enough from me now…

Go think and prosper!

Jen

Drakiie - Jen Mascot

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

JH Illustration

And JH Illustration is LIVE! Due to popular demand, and a boom in business, I have separated JH Illustration from my main website www.jeaninehenning.com to streamline my services. AND – to open communication with my clients, and future clients!

Indie Authors – I did it for you!

Competition is increasing by the day (literally). There’s way over 700 000 self published authors out there. The number in indie books is growing. And making sure authors find the right artist to do their book justice – is becoming more and more important. And here I am – ready to help you create a cover that will stand out!

For a full view of my artwork and profile, go here: www.jeaninehenning.com

For my own thoughts as author – with a few writing tips, go here: jeaninehenning.wordpress.com

And, DO connect with me on Twitter! I love ‘Tweeting’ authors and readers! @JenVinci

This specific service blog shall be growing, just as our publishing industry is expanding at ginormous speeds 🙂

Speak to you soon!

Jen