For today's Tuesday Tools I'm going to point you in the direction of the Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
First, you don't have to buy the book.
Second, consider getting on the email list for weekly tips on grammar if you struggle, like me, with grammar and punctuation.
Third, consider taking the tests that they provide to get better at--grammar and punctuation.
When I first found this site I was searching for the difference between effect vs. affect. I was impressed by the explanation, saw she had online tests to grade your skill and a weekly newsletter to help you get better for G&P. I signed up immediately and the newsletter has been immensely helpful.
Word of mention--you might notice the author of the book has since passed on. The site however is maintained by her loyal students. I think if you have people dedicated like that, the person is worth a look see.
ACTION ITEM: click the banner to go to the site. Buy the book, sign up for the newsletter or take a free test!
After going to the Writer's Life Conference in Provo, Utah I came home with copious notes!
Every conference I like to come home with one thing. I came away with a few on this one and in the marketing department I came away with wattpad.
I almost feel this is a Tuesday Tools or a publishing platform post, (where I post about tools you can use as an author) but I'm looking at wattpad as part of creative fun marketing. One of the presenters, Jenni James, is a clean writer for children, teens and adults so I'm thinking what I thought about wattpad years ago--not for a romance fiction author that drives steamy up to the line of acceptable. Which is half my writers.
However, the writer sitting next to me said there is stuff for adults on wattpad so I've decided I might give it a go! If you are unfamiliar with wattpad here is what they say about themselves:
Wattpad is a place to discover and share stories: a social platform that connects people through words. It is a community that spans borders, interests, languages. With Wattpad, anyone can read or write on any device: phone, tablet, or computer.
Find Any Story, Write Any Story. With thousands of stories added each day, there’s always something you want to read. Want a story about a daughter smuggling her zombie mother to safety? We have that. Want a story about a time-traveling frog with super powers? We don’t have that, and we’d be happy to see you write it.
Free Reading, not eReading. Wattpad stories are free. Whether you’re online or off, use the devices you already own to carry an entire library wherever you go.
Stories Made Social. Join the conversation about the stories you read: message the writer and interact with other people who love the story as much as you.
Live Story Updates Get notified the moment your favorite writer shares a new chapter.
ACTION ITEM: Sign up and put your stories up on wattpad! (Only for the brave! This may not be for you!)
I've been searching for book translation companies and I finally settled on Bablecube. So far we've put up 3 books and we've gotten translators within the week signing up to translate "Forever and 365 Days" in Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Italian so far.
Offers come in, we review them and sign the contract. From what I understand the publisher gets 30%, the translator gets 50% and Babelcube gets 20% of the royalties. So it's free to start for the most part but I need to provide the manuscript (of course), and the covers for both Amazon standard ebook and CreateSpace dimensions for print.
There customer service responds within 24 hours. If you're looking for your books to be translated but don't have the money for translators and don't know where to put the books up afterward, I think Bablecube is a company to check out! <-- that would be an ACTION ITEM.
Have you ever heard of posting your book promotion or launch party in the classifieds of a newspaper? That was old school. Now, you can post your events on Craigslist.
I wish I'd thought about this, but I can't say I did. Instead I'm directing you to another website called Indies Unlimitied.
There he explains how to do a craigslist event--though for me it was a bit different than his step-by-step instructions. Me--I throw you into the mix and say "Good luck!"
I'm trying it for my author's event at the Mystic Journey Bookstore signing of "Forever and 365 Days".
ACTION ITEM: If you're in the SoCal area, come join us!!
Apparently, I've been blog bashing. I didn't mean to bash, I didn't think I was bashing. But apparently, my big mouth...or rather my big keyboard, did not portray a company in the light they deserve.
Let's return back at the middle of April to Tuesday Tools: YouHeartBooks. I explained why I was resistant to try a new platform because of past experiences I've had--not with experiences I've had with YouHeartBooks, but with other sites.
So I'd like to amend, for the record, that I was not trying to portray YouHeartBooks.com as a bad company. I am however, going to try their service because of Daniel's response to my blog! YouHeartBooks deserves that because I realize, like the Chihuahua, I was rude and didn't think about the implied meaning.
My thoughtless act made me take a look at the post again and once I went over it, I realized people might associate horrible things with a company I haven't even done business with. Despite the "Troll" in "Troll River Publications" it's not my intention to BE one. Thankfully, Daniel knows that and we're all good now.
ACTION ITEM: Sign up to YouHeartBooks.com and go HERE and see Daniel's powerful defense of his wonderful company in reply to my post. Also, please realize that I had no intention of placing the bad connotations to his company. Once he presented his case, I feel confident in his company and plan to try them out!
Sean Platt explains how to use Scrivener for Story Beats in this 10 minute video. Story beats are what Sean calls a detailed story outline. You can get in-depth organization with Scrivener and can use it for so many types of novels that the $40 price tag (for me) was a no-brainer. I've been working with Scrivener for a year and am so happy with it that I don't consider other writing programs--even though I'm a Microsoft Word wizard.
In this video you can get a glimpse of the power and detail Scrivener puts in your keyboard. Not only do you get to see the way a writer outlines his stories, but how he uses one of the most powerful tools in the writer-verse ever created. (Okay, yes I'm bias, can't you tell?) But it's a good video made by one of my favorite authors.
ACTION ITEM: Watch the video!
Holy macaroni, batman! I might have actually done something right this week! WOOT!
Last week I told you about Tuesday Tools: PickFu ~ well, the wonderful, talented, Google-fu adept John Li has so graciously given me the opportunity to spread the word about PickFu and with his super powers of *discount* I am able to give you the super secret code: TROLLRIVER for a 20% off a single poll. The coupon's good for 1 year from May, 2014 so if it's May 2015--It's too late to use the coupon.
I recently got a chance to use PickFu on my latest and greatest cover for Dr. Vampyre! Check out my poll HERE! You can see the awesome explanations everyone gave about my cover and why they chose it.
When I did my poll it was 2 in the morning and in about 10 minutes I had answers rolling in. I went to bed and in the morning the poll had finished and I got my answers!! I also did my own poll I did through my own email list with my beta-readers (300 people) and the outcome was the same with much the same answers. Wow! Awesome stuff! PickFu does polls right! I'm a fan for life!
ACTION ITEM: Use this coupon when doing instant market feedback poll!
My lazy side is debating if I should just give you a list of Book Blog Tour Companies to go explore, but, I might first want to explain what a book blog tour is, does and does not do for you as an author.
ATOMR explains best what a Book Blog Tour is..."a virtual tour to help an author promote their book without traveling."
The Book Publicity Blog goes into depth as to how a BBT works, but I'll give you the elevator pitch: BBT's are a group of book enthusiasts that blog about your book.
A good BBT will guide you as to what to expect, and half the time, you should expect to work, pay or both.
So that's what a BBT is, let's read about what a BBT does:
- schedule hosts of blogs
- distribute to those hosts
- mediate between author and blog host
Sounds easy, right! Well, scheduling your book tour is like herding cats. So many things can go wrong. Many BBT's do it for the love of books. If you don't believe me, search "book blogs" contact those people, get them to agree to host a guest post on a certain day and make sure you give them what they need and followup with them.
What a BBT does not do for you:
- Guarantee sales
- Guarantee your book will become a NY best seller
ACTION ITEM: There are some great companies out there that really do it for the love of books. Prices range wildly--like from $5 - $700 so make sure you read about everything they give you. Most are very thoughough and give you a check list and instructions as to what to do. Granted you have to know what a guest post is, what an excerpt is and it helps if you are prepared for interview questions to answer, but otherwise, they walk you through their system. The first one is overwhelming, but once you've done it once, it's just the time in writing the posts!
Thunderclap is a crowdsource for social media. When you create a Thunderclap and reach your goal of 100, 250 or 500 people, Thunderclap sends out the same tweet from all those participants at the same time. Same tweet, all at the same time.
It's like a huge wave of social media tsunami going everywhere--an explosion of your message across the internetwebs! I honestly think the website tells it better than me so I'm going to share it...
If a tweet falls in the forest... Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.
You don't need a huge following for a successful Thunderclap. A user with 200 Facebook friends could amplify her message better than someone with 3,000 friends. It all depends on your cause's voice and shareability—and how much your friends are engaged. Thunderclap has already reached millions of people. Check out some of the successful projects on our homepage!
The tipping point The beauty of Thunderclap is that it sets the goalposts: one message, one number, one date. It's a common threshold you and your supporters work toward together. It's a tangible way to measure awareness.
So, it's something like this for social media...
Actually, I think this is a better explanation...
ACTION ITEM: Go to Thunderclap and support a message or create your own!
I have to admit, I like the word PickFu! But I should back up and explain that PickFu is an instant market feedback poll.
For those still scratching their heads on that explanation... PickFu asks YOUR questions to random people for feedback.
Let's say you have two, three or nine titles of your book and you want to pick the best one. You believe a poll would be good so you ask Google about "Polls". That's where PickFu comes in. For $20 you can ask a question to random people and they will tell you which one and why. So if you're having trouble choosing...go to Pickfu and get some results!
Now, I can't understate how important it is to get feedback and not to guess. Twenty smackers might be a lot of money for you. I get it, but this whole exercise is to poll people to give your book the best possible chance of selling. At the very least, (ACTION ITEM) poll your email list, your readers, whoever. Do some research, even if you only go to Lulu's Titlescorer (which is free but you better know your English REALLY well).
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
Books on Kindle