Branding

It’s my turn again over at Story Empire. I’m taking on the subject of author branding. Come talk to me. Maybe you have a tip to share yourself.

Story Empire

Craig here again. It’s a challenge to write these tips and tricks every time, because so many of the items are debatable. I hate to take a hard line stance, but I do for the sake of the comments that trickle in during the week. The topic today is branding.

Not that kind of branding. The kind where authors promote products. As you appear across cyberspace, what kind of recognizable materials do you use so the masses will recognize you? Chances are, you’ll have a blog, the popular social media accounts, and possibly a newsletter. What kind of branding do you use to tell people this is some of your work?

You will also make guest appearances on blogs, maybe blog talk radio, the occasional video of some kind. While these post are all different, your branding is what sews them all together as you – the author.

My first…

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Back to work tomorrow

Okay, so I admit to being responsible for my own attitude. Last week was shitty, and I can either walk in with a bad attitude, or find a way to get over it. It won't be easy, but I hope I'm capable of getting on with things.

I finished all my promotional posts, but they need a little time to ferment before I send them out. They're all pretty minimal right now and maybe a little more will occur to me. I also finished up this week's Lisa Burton Radio and got it scheduled.

Then a friend suggested a guest post, and I roughed something out but it's still in the works. I also managed reading a half dozen chapters of a new book.

Beyond that, I did my errands and spent a few hours running around town. I'm calling it a good day, even though there was no new fiction involved.

Ennis Fine Furniture is having a warehouse auction that I'd really like to attend. It's on a week night after work, and doesn't fit into either of our schedules. This is mostly about commuting, but we're going to have to give it a pass. My wife has never been to an auction, and it might be interesting. (Twenty miles home, twenty miles back, twenty miles home again. Her alarm goes off at 2:30, mine at 4:00, and we just started Daylight Savings Time… no.)

Thursday is critique group, but there are only two of us now. That won't take very long, and it's near the office.

I have company coming next weekend, so I'm in good shape to slack off a little. It's probably good to step back from Yak Guy, even though I can see the finish line. When I can pick it up, I'll be in a good place to work on it.

Hope you guys had a good Monday.

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What Is Scrivener?

PH Solomon is telling us all about Scrivener today. Stop by the Story Empire blog and ask him your questions.

Story Empire

What is Scrivener? It’s a good question. Maybe you’ve heard other writers talk about but you’re not exactly sure what it does or if it’s for you. Very simply, Scrivener is a software product from Literature and Latte designed as a highly flexible writing development tool. It has 3 main parts to help you develop and write a project.

First there is the corkboard which allows you to create the beginnings of your writing project with some folder or documents. Here, you can essentially do some white-boarding and play around with your main ideas and get your basic plot, scenes and chapters in a sensible order.

Next, for those who like it ( and for those who don’t but need to do it lightly) there’s the outliner. You can use this to work on your more detailed ideas for the project. You can do as much or as little outlining as…

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Partial project day

Today was dedicated to finishing tasks. Some were started, some weren't, and I didn't get all the way through the list.

I need five posts for a promo I'm going to be doing. I still have two left to write, and those that exist need a little something too. Watch this space, and you may find some great deals on my books in the next couple of weeks. I blog about bulldogs, and movies, writing, and all kinds of things, but occasionally I need to mention that I have books to sell. “Hey, I have books to sell.”

The good news is that I don't return to the paycheck job until Tuesday. I have one more day to work on them.

I intended to do some reading today, but failed completely. We went to one of our favorite places last night, then I stayed up late playing video games with my son. Somehow, I forgot to plug in my iPad. No juice = no reading. I used what little juice remained to pay bills today, so I can scratch that off the list.

I dedicated my analog time to working on a critique. My crit group is on life support after several years. We're down to two members remaining, but we're meeting next week anyway. Part of the discussion will be about how to get new members. I don't know too many writers in the Boise area, but I'd really like to keep this going. I get different values from critique and beta readers. I want both.

While recharging, I found a movie. I said yesterday that Skull Island left me a little flat. Today, on cable, I watched Bridge of Spies, with Tom Hanks. This movie gave me more than I expected, and I would watch it again. I knew the story, but seeing it dramatized was well worth it. Great movie.

Tomorrow, I have to get my truck sniff tested. It's an absurd local regulation, but I have to do it. I may check my meds and try getting them refilled while I'm out. I need to write two more promo posts, and I'm going to read come hell or high water.

Next weekend brings the return of company, so no writing. I'm at a point in Yak Guy where I need to decide how much wandering around in the wilderness is acceptable. Too much will bore readers. I could work this toward the end, but it might wind up being a 70K word novel. In this modern era, maybe that is preferable. It's definitely preferable to boring readers with too much star gazing.

Talk to me here. Did you get a different vibe from Skull Island? Have you seen Bridge of Spies? Do you know any Boise area fiction authors who would like to join a critique group? Are you interested in some great book deals in the first week of April? How do you feel about novels on the short side of word count? How in the heck do you guys find time for your reading?

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What, shall we talk about?

I've been kind of quiet here lately. We had an awesome guest on Lisa's radio show, and I reblogged some things, but I have been notably absent. The fact is, I'm in kind of a mood. (The image should explain it.)

I had a brutal week at work. Oh wait, that should be spelled BRUTAL!!! With three exclamation points. It's one of those weeks that make you doubt your entire life since birth. Most of my followers are writers, so you might understand the desire to do meaningful work. A younger man might try something more satisfying, like pumping out septic tanks or working at a slaughterhouse. It's harder in your late fifties to jump ship.

I need to accept the rote tasks as my job, do as many of those as possible, and retire. Anything more meaningful tends to make me buy in and give it my all. My all isn't what's needed, or wanted, anymore.

We had a partial date night last night, and went to see Kong Skull Island. To be honest, it left me a little bit flat. I confess it may be my overall mood, so take this with the appropriate grain of salt. Kong was much more of a man in a monkey suit than he's ever been since 1933. He walks upright and occasionally thumps his chest to remind us he's a gorilla.

Skull Island doesn't have any dinosaurs, excepting the skull of one triceratops. There are a bunch of bone headed reptile things that crawl around on two arms, but no legs. Even so, it's an action film, and there is plenty of that.

What got me the most is the complete absence of the romantic element. I don't mean the relationship between the ape and the girl here, but there wasn't any of that either. I mean that Kong is a tragic character. He's supposed to scare you, then break your heart. The furthest this film got is telling us his whole family is dead. I still don't like the whole telling vs showing bit, but if there was ever an example this is it.

As far as writing goes, there isn't going to be any. I'm behind on other projects, and need to dedicate time to them. This includes some prewritten posts for others, and some reading obligations. I made a tiny little dent in that today, but that's it. I got the shtick out for a Lisa Burton Radio, and wrote one post that still needs some work.

The rest of the day was filled in by a repairman, and my grandkids. Between those bookends, my son and I played some more of our video game. That may be the best part of the week. The reading part might be satisfying too, but that can't happen until tomorrow at best.

Tonight, Old What's Her Face and I are going to try another partial date night. Enough partials adds up to a whole one eventually.

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Galactic Cruise Lines, on Lisa Burton Radio

Hold on to your hats everyone. You've found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show in the universe that interviews the characters from the books you love. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me in the studio today is Henri, the Executive Chef on Galactic Cruise Lines' ship the SS Malpais.

What you can't see, is that Henri is an Alturan. He's nearly seven feet tall, and is a cephalopod type lifeform. I'm talking tentacles all over the place, and three eye-stalks. We've been enjoying a cup of Alturan tea before the broadcast, and he's really an interesting person. “Welcome to the show, Henri.”

“Hello, Lisa. It’s good to be here. I hope you enjoyed the Bascula tea I brought. It can cause hallucinations in some species, but not Alturans. I hope it doesn’t affect you adversely.”

“Oh, don't worry about that. I don't think robot girls can get hallucinations. Now, my bio says that one of your best friends is in security for the cruise line, and that he's an Elf. I find that fascinating. How did you two meet?”

“Baudwin Llewellyn isn’t just in security, he’s Galactic Cruise Lines Chief Sleuthhound. He’s a top notch investigator. We’ve been friends for years. I’m not sure I can even remember exactly where we met. I think some friends introduced us when we were all hanging out at a suit fighting match.”

“That sounds fascinating, Henri. What's a suit fighting competition, and do you hold those on the ship too?”

“We haven’t yet hosted a suit fighting competition on the Malpais, but I may suggest that to Kat when I get back to the ship. Suit fighting features two competitors remotely controlling robots that fight each other. It used to be popular mostly with young men in the robotics community, but recently Retired General Marta Aymar, the wife of Prince Lucien of the Ventos Prime elves, made it to the league finals. Since then, the sport has become much more popular and has attracted a lot of young female fans and participants.”

“That's terrible. Those poor robots. You did get the memo that say's I'm a robot didn't you?”

“I don't believe those robots are sentient like you. They are merely remote controlled equipment.”

“Alright, back to the interview. My bio says you met in the Elf Marines, an organization similar to the French Foreign Legion. Are you sure you don't remember?”

“As I said, Chief Llewellyn and I have been friends a long time. Did you have questions about what it’s like to be a chef on a cruise ship?”

“Sorry, Henri. Let me make it up to you with this Nutribar. I picked up the anchovy flavor, I hope it's alright.”

“Thanks Lisa. We Alturans love our nutribars. This is delicious.”

“There, all better. Well if it wasn't the Elf Marines, maybe you met Chief Llewellyn at Zed23, during your spy days.”

“Zed23. Right. Do I look like James Bond to you? I’m a chef not a spy, definitely not a spy. I’m famous for my wombat stew and triple chocolate cake. Those are two of the most popular dishes on the Malpais.”

“That's part of what makes you so interesting. With all your diverse background, you still had the time to work up a five star recipe for wombat stew. I'd think wombats are hard to come by in space.”

“Not really. I can use either Mathusian or Malturan wombats in my stew. I’m not sure which is better. I’m happy to use either. Well truth be told I’m happy cooking. It doesn’t matter what or where.”

“Every boy needs a hobby, and it looks like you found a way to make yours pay the bills. Here, have another Nutribar and tell us about the murders that occurred aboard the Malpais.”

“It is dreadful to think about, isn’t it? Sometimes people die on the ship just because their time has come, but if it was murder then that’s a whole different level of awful. I’m not aware of any incidents like that on the Malpais.”

“You might find this interesting, but I reached out to Baldwin Llewelyn and Ren Listripan, both deeply involved in cruise line security, and they don't seem to know anything about murders on the Malpais either. Somehow, these passengers turned up dead, but that seems to be the only available fact.”

“The Malpais has been hosting these competition cruises this year. They’ve been great fun. We had a ballroom dance one, an acapella singing one, and my favorite the baking competition. We’ve had some excitement during the competitions, but everyone has enjoyed them. Of course, not everyone agrees on who should win in any competition. I certainly had my favorites during the baking, but you know what they say, one species’ dessert is another’s poison.”

“When I spoke with Baudwin Llewellyn he mentioned that you’re cooking all the food for his upcoming wedding. He’s marrying the Malpais’ associate cruise director Kat Mitchell, right?”

“That's right, Lisa. I’m very excited. Both Baudwin and Kat are dear friends and I’m glad to play a role in their bonding.”

“I’ve heard that there will be royalty at the wedding.”

“General Royce Aymar of the EMEF is going to be Baudwin’s best elf for the ceremony and his wife is Queen Losira. It should be a wonderful celebration.”

“It's been an honor having you here, Henri. Let's have another cup of that wonderful tea, and maybe another Nutribar. Any last thoughts for our listeners?”

“Being a chef on a Galactic Cruise Lines ship is exciting. I’ve made good friends on the ship and I enjoy cooking for so many different species.”

“Henri is a recurring character in Jo Carey’s Galactic Cruise Lines series.

“Don't forget to click those sharing links on your way out. I know Henri will appreciate it, and you will too when your character appears on a future Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Galactic Cruise Lines – This series is basically the Love Boat in space. Set on a galactic cruise line spaceship, this series will follow assistant cruise director Kat Mitchell and other crew members, like Alturan Chef Henri, as they travel the League of Planetary Systems on themed cruises where murder is afoot (or a tentacle, or a paw…) Cruises feature various competitions in the style of Earth reality shows circa 2005.
Category: Space Cozy Mystery

Jo Carey writes faced-paced, character-driven stories in a variety of genres from medical thrillers to space operas and cozy mysteries. Her novels are action-packed tales that often feature strong female leads surrounded by plenty of hunky male heroes. Jo's stories always include healthy doses of humor and romance.

Quote from Jo: “I write what I like to read–stories with happy endings and appealing heroes and heroines.”

Some of Jo's books are set in the League of Planetary Systems, a universe created by Frank and Jo Carey as the setting for many of their books. Each Book in the League can be read as a standalone novel, but if you'd like to read all of the LPS books in order you can find the sequence at

 

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An Amazonian-Sized Problem

What do you think about Amazon’s review policies. Staci started the conversation over at Story Empire this morning.

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Happy Wednesday.

reviewsI wrote a post on my own blog recently about Amazon and reviews. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here.  That post was the inspiration for this one.

There are nine categories on the Amazon Community Guidelines page that dictate the rules for reviewing books (or anything else, I suppose). Some are just common sense. Others pose some problems.

For example, one of the categories is Eligibility. You must have spent $50 on Amazon before you are allowed to review a product.

  • What about people who don’t have an account or have just opened one? (And before you laugh at the absurdity of that statement, you should know I know people who have family members buy things for them on Amazon because they don’t want to enter credit card information online.)
  • What about teenagers who read the YA books their…

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