Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chill Out! The Author's Guide to Chilling Out!

Chill out!

This is your deep breath in... hold it, and now... let it out. There, now keep doing that.

I had some friends when I was little that used to say Chill Out all the time! Chill... it was all cool to say it so we did. But it is a good reminder to keep our heads.

What does this have to do with writing and publishing? Everything!

So many of us have our heads in an imaginary cloud, heck, we write made up stories and live in a dream world so it can be hard to get centered and grounded in reality again.

Here are some signs that you need to Chill Out!

1. Your way is the only way!
I read a post from an author who gets over a million hits on his blog every month. He was telling people that only stupid authors sell on Amazon because they are losing money and helping sell Kindles. I did a double take and read how HE says you should sell all your books and eBooks direct! Well, that works for like 4 authors in the world, but the rest of us need a store to sell our books, i.e. Amazon.

This is what I like to call OUT OF TOUCH! They think that the way they do it, is the only way and they lose touch with what is real. Many authors that sell really well can fall into this trap and forget how hard it was to build up to a good sales base. They lose touch. Other writers get angry at anyone selling as they think it should be them and in their Dream World they should be millionaires.

2. Impatience!
We all want the magic bullet, the lottery ticket. But that is not how it works. There are a lot of writers that give up because their dreams of fame and fortune are dashed as they struggle to sell their books. This leads to bitterness and they quit, not realizing that half of success is just showing up.

My Dad used to tell me that if I worked hard and was on time I would end up owning the company. I did not know how true this was until I saw that so many people can't show up on time and do not work hard. If you just work hard and show up, you will sell just because you are there! Don't believe me?

3. Overreaction! 
KDP Select! Price fixing! Big Bad Companies! Reviews! File Sharing!
Something new comes out and all the blogger's ring Chicken Little's neck so they can run around screaming THE SKY IS FALLING! Chill! A blogger says that Amazon is trying to murder little puppies and the world is out to get them or you hear that someone is saying mean things about you on Twitter. Really? Calm people, think, lets get out of our made up-world and remember: No one is out to get you. You are not that important. You really think all the big boys want to kill us all off so they can have their 10 books and burn the rest? This is where we need to stop and breathe... oh and CHILL!

4. Rule Nazi's!
Now this one is just personal, but what is with all the people running around making sure you follow every law and rule? It is like having my mom look over my shoulder to make sure that I color in the lines. Rules are meant to be broken, live a little! Oh, and this goes back to being important, I am not important enough for the CIA to go after me because I sold a book for under the price allowed by the online retailers. Try breaking a little online web rule, you might like it!

I think you get the idea.

Life is short, enjoy the ride.
Hang with people you want to be like.
Work hard, play harder.
Surprise someone with unnecessary kindness.
Admit you are wrong.

Now quit reading this crap and get out there and WORRY about something! =)


Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

eBook cover design! Guest post by Cory Clubb

Cory has done a few covers for me and is a great guy to work with. He is not scared to try new things and create new and exciting covers. I wanted to have him on to talk about covers as they are very important to selling eBooks. A cover is not just about cool art but getting the right cover for the right book...

Guest post by Cover Designer, Cory Clubb!

eBook Cover Design.

                  The old saying goes “Never judge a book by its cover”. Like most folks, you, for example, are just trying to break in. You’ve got your manuscript finished and are ready to throw it out into the world. Even better, with the explosion of eBooks, you’ve got an all access way to reach a real audience. Although that old saying has now become truer than you think. That’s what I’d like to focus on here: eBook cover design.
                  You, the self-pubbed author, someone who has never signed with a publishing house and you can barely stand to wait and unleash your story on the masses. This is your first strike against you when it comes to cover design. Slow down. It took you months, maybe even years to write that book. Why not take some time to package it nicely and have it done right. A white cover with the title and your name in black Papyrus font on the cover is not going to gain you readers. Seriously, I’ve seen this.
                  Secondly, you’re not a designer, you’re a writer. This is one of the hardest things about cover design in an eBook market. I’m not saying you couldn’t design a perfectly fine cover, I’m saying if you’re putting your name on the front, you’ve got a story to tell, not a book cover to create.  Relax and don’t worry here’s the upside. Without being signed to a publisher, you’ve got free reign for what goes on the cover design. Let the professional designer worry about making it look pretty. You’ve got a sequel to crank out!
                  With eBooks and eReaders almost becoming the norm in publishing these days, you have mere seconds to catch a browser’s eye. Your book is not sitting on a bookshelf in a store, no, your little baby is at the justice of a flick of a finger. Maybe we should change the wording to that old saying to “Never judge a book, BUY its cover”? And isn’t that almost the case? Because in our technology advanced society, we don’t have time to turn to the back cover blurb and read about the book. We want it in one snap-shot of a moment to know what that book is about. This too is working against you.
                  For eBooks it’s go big or go home. The reader has to remember three things when telling some else about a book. The title, the author’s name, and what the cover looked like. Be memorable and standout. There are numerous legal thrillers out there, try something new and exciting! Have said all that, do remember that size does matter. With smart phones and tablets, we see things at thumbnail size. Be generous with your font sizes and have your name be in a legible font that works to your advantage.
                  Cover design is not an easy thing to do, believe me. What most self-published authors have wrong is that it doesn’t matter, just get it out there, and start selling! It does matter! You want to be remembered after your reader finishes that final scene. Don’t just slap on an image and be done with it, have some fun, take some time, and be creative with your design. If you don’t know how, hire a well respected cover artist because they put as much passion into your cover as you have in those words.

A book cover needs to be unique to the story itself, inform the reader of what is going on with the plot, and the characters. It’s sort of like your elevator pitch, but instead it’s more of a tiny advertisement in that elevator and you’ve got seconds to get folks to notice it before they get off. 


Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Michael (Book 2 in the Airel saga) One day push!

MAY 17th!

Michael, book two in the Airel Saga, is live on Amazon TODAY ONLY for a discounted price!!

To promote Michael I’m hosting a contest where you can win a FREE copy of Airel and win a free Kindle Fire.

To take advantage of this awesome deal, head to Amazon and check out the eBook version of MICHAEL at its promotional price, then see below to enter the contest. Also, leave me a comment on this post. The blogger with the most comments will win the Kindle Fire! If I win, I’ll also get the chance to be part of a special giveaway in the next few months.

Praise for Michael

"Move over Twilight! Here comes Aaron Patterson!" --Joshua Graham, bestselling author of Beyond Justice and Darkroom

"I was surprised by how much I really, really liked this book. I have not jumped on the whole "fallen angel" bandwagon, just as I didn't jump on all of the vampire stories that came out after Twilight. This is not your typical fallen angel story. It is one that has left me breathlessly waiting for the next one in the series. Hurry up please!!!" --Sandra Stiles

Description of Michael

Michael did the unthinkable to save Airel from death, but now he must live with the choices he has made--both good and evil. Tortured by his past and haunted by what he believes might be his future, Michael seeks redemption--but will the past prove to be too strong? How can he break free of it and be the man he longs to be for Airel? If only he had never...

Airel. Michael's one true love. He had forced her to drink in new life only to find that old wounds and deep scars do not heal overnight. Can she truly forgive Michael, can she truly love him? And can he accept that forgiveness? Or is it all for nothing, and has he gone too far already? As the darkness of past choices closes in on them, chases them, intercepts them, coming at them from everywhere at once, how can their love possibly survive?

Aaron Patterson is the author of the best-selling WJA series, as well as two Digital Shorts: 19 and The Craigslist Killer. He was home-schooled and grew up in the west. Aaron loved to read as a small child and would often be found behind a book, reading one to three a day on average. This love drove him to want to write, but he never thought he had the talent. His wife Karissa prodded him to try it, and with this encouragement, he wrote Sweet Dreams, the first book in the WJA series, in 2008. Airel is his first teen series, and plans for more to come are already in the works. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his family, Soleil, Kale and Klayton. His daughter had an imaginary friend named She.

Chris White has an award for reading 750 books in one school year — from the 3rd grade. So yes, he’s more of a nerd than Aaron. Chris loves history, Sherlock Holmes, and anything that’s not virtual, like old motorcycles and mechanical typewriters. He also doesn’t get why we have these things called “smart phones” when all they do is make people dumber. Chris recently celebrated 10 years of marriage with his wife, April, and has two boys: Noah, age 8, and Jaden, age 3, who inspired the Great Jammy Adventure series; the OK-to-color-in picture books. Chris is working on a short story called The Marsburg Diary that will further explore the prologue to Airel, and he is finishing up his first novel, entitled K: phantasmagoria, due out in 2011. Chris has a major crush on Audrey Hepburn, who is now dead. His wife is okay with all of this.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012



Michael is book 2 in the Airel Saga, and is live TODAY on Amazon for a discounted price! We are hosting a contest where you can win a free copy of Airel and help me win a Kindle Fire!

Here is what we are trying to do. We want to get Michael into the top 10 on Amazon! To enter the contest just go to Amazon and buy the eBook copy of Michael and enter below. Also leave me a comment on this post as the blogger with the most comments will win the Kindle Fire! The winning blogger will get the Fire and be part of a special giveaway.

*Note: Make sure you buy the eBook of Michael today May 17th! We want everyone to be downloading the book all on the same day.

Thanks for entering and lets see if we can make Michael a bestseller!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Journey to Amazon Bestseller by Indie Publishing: Guest Post by Debra Burroughs

My Journey to Amazon Bestseller by Indie Publishing – by Debra Burroughs

Although I published my first book two years ago with a small press, about a year ago I plunged headlong into the dark unknown of Indie Publishing.

Well, it’s not really dark or unknown, that’s just how it felt to me – at first. My first book, CHICANA, a labor of love that took me over two years to write, did not set the world on fire as I had hoped. I had visions of going on The Oprah Show and The TODAY Show to talk about my gripping and compelling story, but the invitations never came.

After I decided to go it alone, I was determined to learn all I could about self-publishing and how I could market my books to the masses. From the day I made that decision, I voraciously devoured everything I could find on the subject.

I began by following the blog thewritersguidetoepublishing.com, which posts every day on all things indie (which was a fantastic place to start). I read J.A. Konrath’s blog on self-publishing, Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward blog, and Kristen Lamb’s WarriorWriters.wordpress.com. I joined KindleBoards.com and hung out there in the Writers’ Café, interacting with other indie authors.  

Here is a list of some of the books I read to learn about Indie Publishing:
Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success (by Carolyn McCray et al)
Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author (by Zoe Winters)
Let’s Get Digital (by David Gaughran)
The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success (by Scott Nicholson)
How To Really Sell eBooks (by Jon F. Merz, who turned me on to TweetAdder.com)

I know we all think we can write the “great American novel,” but you will find you improve with each book you write. And the more you read, the better you get, so regularly read top authors in the genres you want to write. You’ll be surprised how it will improve your writing.  

Here are some of the writing books I read to improve my writing skills:
Plot & Structure (by James Scott Bell)
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go (by Les Edgerton)
Story Engineering (by Larry Brooks)

After all of that, I have to tell you that my best marketing promotions are done on Twitter (with the help of TweetAdder) and those I have done in conjunction with the Indie Book Collective (IndieBookCollective.com), I have found, at least for me, that cross-promoting with other good authors can be very successful.

Using a combination of a Free promotion and a cross-promoting campaign, I was able to get my latest release, Three Days in Seattle, into Amazon’s Top 100 Paid for 15 days in a row last month and it has sold over 17,000 copies since its release at the end of February, 2012.

I believe that through all I have learned on this exciting indie-publishing journey, I can boil it down to three things – write a good book, have a professional and attention-grabbing cover, and market the heck out of it (which is the hardest part).

In the end, as I have been told by long-time and successful authors, the best promotion for your books is to write another great book. I am getting ready to release my fourth book this June, The Scent of Lies, and plan two more before the end of 2012.  

What has your publishing journey been like?

You can follow Debra on Facebook, Twitter@DebraBurroughsAuthor and also check out her website@http://www.debraburroughsbooks.com  

About Debra Burroughs:
Debra Burroughs grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the tumultuous 1960′s, during the time that the Civil Rights Movement was gearing up and racial tensions were mounting. Her parents moved the family to a more peaceful town in the Central Valley of California, where she became the assistant editor of her high school newspaper and even had a teen column in the city paper.

Starting college, she majored in broadcast journalism, but over time she changed her major to business. Even though she moved her focus to the business world, she never lost her love for writing. She always hoped one day to return to it.

Over the years, with a large Mexican family, she heard many stories about their history, particularly from her grandmother and mother. As she would relay these colorful and heart-wrenching family stories to her friends, many times she would hear them say, “You should really write a book about that.” So, finally, she did. CHICANA, a Memoir debuted in November, 2010. Her other books include Three days in Seattle and She had no choice.  

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.