Facebook Cover Videos

I know this post is late, but I was up until 3 am working on my exciting new project.  It took extra cups of coffee to get my brain-fog cleared up enough so I could write this post. LOL

Well, I did it. I decided to make a Facebook Page cover video.  Why did I decide to make a cover video for my Facebook Author page?  I have no idea other than the crazy idea popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. LOL

Now, I’m not saying I haven’t made other little videos such as book trailers, and YouTube videos.  I just wasn’t sure how to make one good enough to put on my Facebook Author Page.   I’ve seen a handful of them on those pages run by those crazed business entrepreneurs.  You know the ones I’m talking about; those flashy, modern, and eye-catching videos that blaze across their Facebook Page.

Not sure if that style fits my strange personality, I decided just to jump in and see with develops.  First thing I did was head straight over to Google and find information on how to make a Facebook Cover Video.  Of course, I found several apps that could help me make the perfect cover video (those were their words, not mine) however, there was a problem. NONE of them were completely free to use.  Each had some sort of strings attached to use their video making app.

Not the type to surrender at the first hurdle, I pressed onward. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… I have Movie Maker on my computer!  After hitting a few keys on my trusty laptop, I had found a couple of articles explaining how I could make my AWESOME and FUN cover video for my Facebook Page. Life was good again!! LOL

Then the real work began… what did I want the cover video to say?  Sheez, I knew there would be a catch to this project.  Did I want a serious, all business cover video?  Or, did I want one that was a bit quirky… just like me?  Refusing to be anything other than myself, I knew how I would make my cover video.  It would be fun and with my crazy personality.  Yep, it would be just like me.

I’ve never been one to take myself too seriously.  Heck, I’m the first one to laugh at myself.  I know I’m a bit off and I don’t care if people like or dislike me.  I’m just me.  Nothing more, nothing less.  So, after a good, strong adult beverage my quest to create the PERFECT Facebook Page Cover Video commenced.  After finding what I believed was the perfect music that has my crazy attitude and putting together some fun images, my video was ready to share with the world.

I’m glad I decided to make a cover video for my Author page.  Heck, I may even use it on other social media I use. teehee

I invite you to go check out my cover video, and while you’re there if you don’t mind would you give my page a like?  Be sure the volume is on at the bottom lefthand corner of the video screen.

Linda L Barton Facebook Author Page

Surviving the dreaded 1-Star review

Book reviews.  Just the mention can make a writer break out into a sweat.  Will the readers love my book, or will they hate it?  Getting a positive review fills your heart with joy, and yes, pride.  It lets you know all the long and lonely hours of plugging away on your computer have paid off.  Your faith in yourself as a writer is vindicated.  All the naysayers for your foolish idea of writing a book are silenced.  Life is good.  You are now ready to begin writing your second book… and then the unthinkable happens.

44037-29419Nothing can cause a writer to question their storytelling skills quicker than a negative review.  When I received my first 1-Star review and then several more, I was convinced my career as a writer was over.  I fell into a deep depression and refused to write anything again.  I mean, why should I?  I believed I could tell a good story by my positive reviews, but now I’m told my writing is crap.  How can the same story be seen so differently?

When I was about to give up, my husband told me to go to Amazon and read the negative reviews left for some famous authors.  I remember thinking, famous authors surely don’t get the nasty 1-Star reviews like I did.  Heck, they’re famous.  People love their work. That’s why they’re famous, right?  Boy, was I wrong.

After reading some mean and downright nasty 1-Star reviews left for such greats as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and others, I came to realize that you just cannot please everyone.  I also realized to use those bad reviews as a growing tool and a way to improve my writing.  I had several on my debut book that tore me up over editing issues.  Yes, I take the blame for that.  I did a stupid thing at the time I published the book on Amazon.  But others complained about certain things in the story itself.  I took their complaints and tried to use them to improve my future writing.

So, basically, my advice to the new writer is not to panic when, not if, but when you get a negative review.  Don’t think your career as a writer is over.  Use it as a growing tool and realize even the greats get their fair share of them.

Being a writer is a growing experience.  Your skills grow every time you put your words on paper or your computer.  Also, you will find over time that your belief in yourself will grow.  You’ll be more willing to take chances, and you’ll soon realize you were meant to be a writer.

read-and-review-the-last-krystallos (1)_InPixioSo, are reviews important?  You, dang right, they are.  Now, I’m not saying they’re important to feed our egos.  No, they’re important to help get our books seen by more readers.  You see, once your book hits 50 reviews on Amazon, they will start promoting it to their readers.  Now, I’m not saying it has to be 50 good reviews.  I’m saying a total of 50 reviews of a combination of any star rating. So, don’t worry about a handful of bad reviews hurting you with readers.  In fact, I’ve had readers tell me how they don’t trust a book that has nothing but 5-Star reviews.  They say the reviews are probably just by family and friends of the author.  I’ve even had readers tell me they decided to download my debut book because they wanted to see if it was as bad as some reviewers stated.  I guess if that works, then good for me. LOL

Getting readers to leave a review is difficult, but when they do, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.  Thank your readers, and then do your best to provide them with more books for them to enjoy.

I hope this post helps clear any questions about how to handle a bad review.  So, get busy writing your next EXCITING book!

Writing heals your Soul

As a writer, I’ve had fun developing exciting characters for my books.  In my Next Move, You’re Dead trilogy, I had fun with Erebus, the diabolical villain who toys with people’s lives.  I’ve had fun writing about dragons, vigilantes, and paranormal entities.  However, the one story that was difficult for me to write was Hellfire’s Judgment.  So often as writers, we are able to separate ourselves from our stories.  But every once and a while we have a story that strikes a little too close to home.  Hellfire’s Judgment is that story for me.

When I first published this book, it was a short story.  I wanted to tell the story of a girl who is brutally raped and the rapist get’s away with his crime because of his powerful family.  While it was a decent short story, the readers let me know they wanted more.  I really didn’t want to dive back into it, but I figured if the readers wanted more I should give them what they wanted.

You are probably wondering why I was so reluctant to go deeper into this story.  It’s because I would be forced to revisit my own painful memories of being a rape survivor.  While I was not a child when I was violated, I still remember the feeling of helplessness and anger.  It was those feelings I knew I would have to relive when making Hellfire’s Judgment into a full-length novel.

So, I opened my word doc and started typing.  It was an overwhelming experience for me With each click on my keyboard the words seemed to flow from somewhere deep inside of me.  I cried as Sherry had to face her attacker in court.  I cried as her family faced the threats from those tied to the attackers powerful family.  However, with each word, I felt my own pain and anger steadily losing its grip on my soul.

By the time I had written the last paragraph, that dark stain on my soul, though not completely erased, was no longer controlling my emotions.  I felt empowered and free.  The image of the man who had attacked me was no longer haunting me in my dreams.

I’ve always read how we should write of things we know.  I just never realized how by doing so, it can also heal a pain we have shoved down deep inside of us.

I was thrilled when after I released the full-length version of Hellfire’s Judgment as seeing the reaction from the readers.  It always makes you feel good as a writer when you’re able to bring the reader into the story and let them feel your pain.  If you think Hellfire’s Judgment would be a book you’d like to read, you can find it on Amazon.

Here is a book trailer video I made for Hellfire’s Judgment

Halloween is Coming

ghosts-572038_640With the start of Fall, our thoughts switch from playing in the sun to cooler days and, of course, Halloween.  At Deadly Reads Radio, we’re planning a special Halloween show where guests share their experiences with things that go bump-in-the-night. I know most of us have scary stories of unexplained encounters with beings or creatures that are not supposed to exist. Stories that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention as your skin tingles, and your body trembles with fear.

So, in the spirit of Halloween, we are inviting those of you who would like to share their story with us and our listeners. If you do not want to be on the show, you can submit your story in writing and if time allows, we will read it on the show. We would really like to have someone who is a paranormal investigator join us, as well.

We will be recording the show on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 pm CST. Then it will be uploaded to our YouTube channel by the following Monday.  If you are interested in being a guest and sharing your scary story with us, contact our Coordinating Director Lisa Vandiver at deadlyreadsradio@deadlyreads.com and she’ll get you set up with the call-in number.

 

 

 

 

Let the Weekend Begin!

cup-2618679_640It’s Saturday morning and nothing beats starting the day with a hot cup of coffee while relaxing in my favorite chair.  I would normally be getting ready for a day of writing, while my husband watches NASCAR. But, not today.  I think I’ll just enjoy the day and spend some quality me time.  I have been so busy lately.  Sometimes, it’s just good for the soul to relax and reconnect with life. I hope you have a marvelous morning and do what brings you joy. Take care, and enjoy your weekend.

 

 

Advice for First-time Authors

You’ve worked for months, or maybe even years to finish your first book. As you stare at the words you just typed on the last page, a frightening thought enters your mind…now what? I remember that feeling. I remember the excitement I felt to finish writing my first book, but I also remember the fear of not knowing what I would need to get my masterpiece published.

Many of us dream of being a famous author.  We wonder what it would be like to have people reading the words we struggled to put on the pages.  We’ve come to love the characters in our story as they came to life in our minds, and we’ve enjoyed taking them on their journey.  However, the time has come to let them go and give them to the world.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to find a good editor.  While you may believe our book is perfect, an editor can give you a good healthy dose of reality.  Surviving your first edit is a growing experience.  Nothing makes you realize you don’t have a firm grasp on the English language quicker than to receive your manuscript back from the editor with those dreaded editing tags with suggestions for you to consider changing in your book.

When I saw the right-side of my document filled with those tags, I nearly closed the file and walked away from my computer.  Surely, someone with that many suggestions could NEVER be a professional writer.  Apparently, I didn’t have the firm grasp on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and reading flow I thought I had.

The important lesson I learned that day was writing is not only a creative endeavor but is one of learning and tossing aside all those bad habits we’ve all picked up over the years on social media.

So, you’ve survived the editing process and now it’s time to make that important decision… do I shop my book around to traditional publishers or do you take the Indie Published route.  That’s an important decision.  However, since I chose the Indie Published route that is where my knowledge is, so let’s get started.

I’m sure most of you have bought an ebook from one of the many distributors such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes just to name a few. Well, in order for those books to look good on your e-reader they must be properly formatted.  You ask, what is formatting?  Formatting is preparing your document for publishing as an ebook.  There are several technical things done during the formatting process such as preparing a working Table of Contents with links to each chapter, setting each page to fit properly on whatever device is used, and there are other features that can be added to give your book that ‘special look’ we all want.

Of course, while our book is being formatted, we need to decide on a book cover.  The book cover is more important than most of us realize.  You see, the cover gives that first impression a potential reader will have about your book.  Does the cover image catch their attention? Does it give them a feeling about your story?  Will it look good as a thumbnail? If you can answer YES to those questions then you have chosen a good cover. When I published my first book, I had no idea how to create a book cover.  After talking to other authors and doing some research, I found a cover designer to make the perfect cover for my book.  However, over time, I decided to learn how to make my own. It was a long learning process but well worth it to me.  If you want to see my covers go to the My Books page.

Now, you’re ready to publish.

ebook_logosThere are several distributors to choose from.  Of course, Amazon is the big guy on the block.  Amazon, by far, corners the market on ebook sales, but Barnes & Noble and iTunes are also popular sites for readers to find their next favorite book. I know as a first-time author it can be overwhelming, but it’s really pretty easy.  First, always offer your book on Amazon.  Next, I would recommend putting it on Smashwords.  For those of you who have never heard of Smashwords, it will get your book on several of the popular outlets thus saving you the time and headache of managing different accounts. Pricing your book is also something important to consider.  According to most retailers, $2.99 seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ price for a full-length novel and 99 cents seems to be popular for short stories or novellas.  I have my full-length books priced at $2.99, but I offer my novellas for FREE.  Some may not agree with this practice, but I consider them to be advertising for my writing.  You may not want to do this at first, but over time, I find it a valuable thing to offer readers who don’t know who I am.

If you decide you want to have your book in paperback, Amazon has a wonderful service called Createspace.  I use it because it’s easy to get my books set up for paperback, and if I don’t want to worry about creating an extra cover for print you can use their cover creator using your ebook cover image. However, you will need to have your book formatted for print because your ebook copy will not work. Yeah, I know, more work.

I do want to warn you about the Smashwords Meatgrinder.  It’s not as scary as it sounds.  Since Smashwords converts your book to work on several different devices, it’s a little picky on how your book needs to be formatted.  They do offer instructions, but if you don’t want to deal with it, be sure you have someone format your book who knows how to get a book through the dreaded Meatgrinder. LOL

So, you’ve done it. You are now a published author.  Take some time to enjoy the feeling. Pour yourself a drink, and relish the feeling.  However, once the celebration is done…the real work begins… marketing. YIKES!  I’ll leave that for another post.

If you want help getting your book ready to publish, I can help for a reasonable price. 

Deadly Reads Author Services

I hope this post has answered any of those nagging questions on how to get your book out to the reading public.  I wish you much success, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Now, get started on your second book.

 

 

 

Are Fairies Real?

I must admit that I love a good fantasy as much as the next person.  I enjoy escaping into a mystical world with endless possibilities and heroes of all types.  However, as a writer, I’ve only written one fantasy, The Dragon’s Blood Key, which grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I had written the entire story… and in two short weeks.  That’s right.  From the moment I sat up in my bed with the characters screaming in my mind, until I sent it off to the editor it was only two weeks.  I have never written a full-length novel that quickly and I haven’t since.

So, you ask, “Why this post?”  No, I’m not going to promote The Dragon’s Blood Key; I want to talk about all those mythical creatures we’ve all come to love.

I’m currently working on another fantasy.  Unfortunately, this one hasn’t possessed me like The Dragon’s Blood Key did but I will say I am enjoying the journey as the story comes to life.  When I was doing the research for this book I came to realize how many cultures have told stories of strange creatures living among us.  Some are evil, while others are good and only want to help us. 

Malora Danning cover for blogWhen the idea for this new book popped into my mind, I had thought it would just be a stand-alone book;, however, with all the exciting legends I’ve found about mystical creatures, I believe this will end up being a series of several exciting adventures for our hero, Malora Danning.   You see, Malora is an Aos Sí, of an ancient and powerful people who once controlled Ireland known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. (“People of the Goddess Danu”)  They were known to be tall, fair-skinned, with red hair, light eyes, and of great beauty. But like any great people after their banishment, over time they became mere objects of children’s stories; the fairy people of Irish folklore said to live beneath the hills. 

During my research, I found several interesting stories of amazing beings and creatures that I plan to use in this series.  Here is a blog post that has an AWESOME list.  She is a wealth of information and worth a follow.

A Writer’s List of Mythical Creatures and Beings!

When I read her list of mystical creatures and beings, I knew I could have some fun bringing them to life in my series.  Here are a few of the ones that seem to stand out to me.

Brownies are from England and Scotland, these are little people who are loyal to human households and will sometimes help out with the chores. You don’t want to make them mad, though. Harry Potter fans, take note: a dobbie or dobie is a kind of brownie, and an angry brownie can turn into a boggart.  This character will always be a fun character to put in a fantasy.

Firebird is described as a large bird with majestic plumage that glows brightly emitting red, orange, and yellow light, like a bonfire that is just past the turbulent flame. The feathers do not cease glowing if removed, and one feather can light a large room if not concealed. I can have a lot of fun with this fascinating creature.  It is beautiful but dangerous showing no sign of friendliness.

Kitsune is Japanese for fox. In some Japanese tales, foxes have magical powers and can shapeshift into women. The more tails a kitsune has, the older and more powerful she is.  I already have an idea of how to introduce this character to Malora.

Selkies (also spelled silkies, sylkies, selchies, Scots:selkie fowk) are mythological creatures found in Irish, Scottish, Faroese, and Icelandic folklore. Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. I had never heard of these, but I think they’d make a great addition to the story.

Valkyries

Valkyries  Their name means Choosers of the Slain.  Valkyries show up at battles to decide who will die. Then they escort the souls of the chosen back to Valhalla, where everyone has a good time.  I must admit they are one of my favorites, as I’m sure they are one of yours, too.  I mean, heck, how cool is it to have such powers?  I can see these exciting beings meeting Malora. LOL

There are far too many interesting creatures and beings to list here, but I’m sure you can see that I’ll have fun bringing them alive in my series, Malora Danning. I wish to give a shout out to blogger, Bryn Donovan for all her wonderful information.

So, I asked at the beginning of the post, Are Fairies Real?  I think so, and I choose to believe our world is full of creatures and beings who live beyond our perception.  Doesn’t that make things more interesting?

 

 

 

 

 

Another FUN show on Deadly Reads Radio

downloadI was thrilled to have Screenwriter/Author Doug Richardson return to Deadly Reads Radio.

Doug Richardson is an American Screenwriter and Novelist who specializes in Action Movies and Thrillers. You can learn more about Doug by visiting his website. 

Doug returned to talk with us about his latest installment of Lucky Dey Thriller series, now available at Amazon.  As always, we shared lots of laughs while we caught up with him.

You can listen to our show with Doug and other great guests on our YouTube Channel.

 

 

Important Shows on Deadly Reads Radio

Many of you know I also have a YouTube channel called Deadly Reads Radio.  On our shows, we talk with those in the Publishing and Entertainment industries about their projects and careers.  However, we, at Deadly Reads are also proud supporters of Essure Awareness.  

I’m sure many of you have never heard of the Essure Birth Control Device, and many of you who have were told it was a safe procedure with no dangerous side-effects.  My daughter-in-law was one of those women.  However, all the promises of a carefree form of birth control ended in tragedy for her. Failing health, intense pain, and other issues are what Essure gave her.

After meeting several women on the Essure Problems Facebook page, I decided it was time to alert women of this not only dangerous but DEADLY device.  Below is our first show in a series, where women who are suffering from Essure called in and shared their stories.  This is an important series for women to educate themselves before allowing Essure to be put inside their bodies.  Please listen to their words, and then share it with every woman you know.  We must prevent women from falling prey to a sales pitch that is not only a lie but may cost them their health or even their lives.