Posts Tagged With: how-to

How to get reviews

No, this is not my hand.

If any of you have seen my book reviews list, you know it’s enormous. I really love books! I like different themes from many genres.

How do you get a reviewer to review? How do you get me to say “yes” to review your book?

  1. Have a well-written synopsis: If your synopsis sounds boring, full of errors, or really wordy, I will assume the book is too. I’m not going to test out the preview unless I have time and I’m feeling indecisive. (This is rare.)
  2. Stick to the point: This is why I replaced my email information with a form. Often it was a challenge to even find the synopsis with all the extra information. When I ask for a synopsis, I really just want to know about the book. I usually skim over any other information included, even if it’s raves from other authors or book awards. Your book should be able to stand on its own. Also, while I feel for you if you are writing about your painful childhood and reading and reviewing your book will make you feel validated, I can’t choose books based on that. I write honest reviews and that kind of pressure will scare me away.
  3. I’m an author too: If you have a book and I have a book, and we review each other, then both of us have a review! Great deal, huh. (Hint: if someone is exchanging reviews with me, I give them preferential treatment. I’m not ashamed to admit that.)
  4. That’s really it. Seriously, I choose books based on the synopsis.

How to get a “no”:

  1. Hide your synopsis: If your synopsis is hidden in the middle of a 10-paragraph sell, I may not say yes.
  2. Synopsis is too short: If you leave out vital information, I doubt your talent. If your Science Fiction book’s synopsis gives no indication that it is Science Fiction, that’s a problem. If the highlight of your book is too short for me to determine if I might like it, I will pass.
  3. Synopsis is too long: All that information is important, but I will read the book if it interests me. You don’t have to tell me the whole story. If you do, I may feel like I’ve already read the book.
  4. I feel bullied into reading: “Please help me” stories don’t help. If I feel emotionally pressured, I suspect your talent doesn’t stand on its own and I definitely wouldn’t risk disappointing you with a bad review. So I won’t write one.
  5. You inform me of how honored I am to receive your illustrious book: This is a request and I’m offering you a chance at a free service. You don’t have to lick my boots, but don’t pretend that I’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity.
  6. Write the wrong book: Sometimes (most of the time) I say no because the plot of the book doesn’t interest me. It may be an awesome book, but it’s not my thing. No offence.

I write requests to other reviewers to read my books based on these little points. I believe in the Golden Rule and I don’t feel bad when I get a “no”. I just strive to write better books!

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Author Blog-in: Compulsively Writing Fiction

Compulsively Writing Fiction

Compulsively Writing  Fiction:

My experiences in Self-publishing in 2011

by Kate Policani

This is a FREE ebook


On Kobo

For Nook

I began my self-publishing journey in 2011, writing my first novel and working through the processes of publishing myself on CreateSpace and other publishers. This free ebook is the compilation of my experiences and discoveries from my blog. I have reorganized them and added some clarification to make a comprehensive view of and instruction for self publishing in this, the rise of the digital book movement.
This book is crafted to help all of you new self-publishers to live your dream and publish your book!

Another free ebook coming soon: Compulsively Writing More Fiction: My Continued Self-publishing Adventures in 2012

Categories: Author Blog-in | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Self-publishing : What an author should and shouldn’t do

Self-publishing : What an author should and shouldn’t do.

Categories: Examiner | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Make a Video Trailer II: Video Clips

My first video trailer was made with photos and no video clips. You can find the steps I used here:

This time I wanted to use mostly video clips rather than a series of still pictures. Once I had the right clips, filmed by myself and my dad with our cameras, it was almost the same as using pictures! Here is how I did it:

  • I used Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker again, which you can get for for FREE. It’s part of Windows Live Essentials:
  • It was still disgustingly easy to use and dummy-friendly. Like with photos, you just plunk everything in there with the “Add Videos and Photos” button. You can add effects and text just like with photos, and everything right there. You can export it in multiple file formats.
  • It took a little more creativity coming up with scenes I could capture on film. Photo is only limited to what I could find online. Video is harder. You can find royalty-free video online too, but that seemed expensive to me. I didn’t even look because I found ways to take my own video with help from Dad. I used family and friends and local places or places in my home. I bought, scavenged, or borrowed props to use on film. One trick was to take closer shots with the videos. Instead of showing the whole room, I just showed a close-up of the subject with limited background.
  • Windows Live Movie Maker has lots of special controls just for video. I had to pay attention to the volume of each clip and I adjusted the length of the clip using the controls (they highlight as soon as you click on a loaded video clip in the top tabs.) Some videos were louder than others and some had inappropriate sounds I had to avoid by starting after them or ending before. Here is a photo:
  • For music, I emailed my dad, the composer with a Masters in music again. (You should do that too. It’s really easy and cheap.) But if your dad isn’t a composer, you can contact . You can sample some of his work here: Some of this music is not available for use, legally, so don’t steal it unless you want to get sued by Electronic Arts or somebody like that.
  • If you need free music immediately, you impatient thing, go to this beautiful site: I particularly liked their link, and found a song there in case Dad didn’t have anything. (But he did. Neener.) WARNING: there is a lot of kooky stuff on musopen. Don’t worry, though, your music isn’t one of the kooky ones, user of musopen who is reading this post. It’s all those other people’s music that is kooky.
  • Music controls are like the sound controls (see picture) and are pretty flexible and easy to understand. You can time your music to coincide with the video action.

To show you how you can get different effects with the same clips using the video and music controls, here is my trailer spoof:

Categories: My Books, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How Not to Publish a Novel Yourself

(The Lustre is set to release Thursday!!! Please get back to me by Wednesday, you last-minute-ers, if you want to get in on the Launch Party action!)

I can’t say that I know exactly how TO publish a novel but I definitely know some things you shouldn’t do:

  1. Don’t write your novel/short story/poetry collection, edit it, release it and THEN publicize (blogging, online communities, networking). Do publicize as soon as you decide you are going to finish it and publish. If you are psychic or have been given a peek into the future and find you might want to publish someday, start promoting right away. Even if you are planning on going the “traditional publishing route”, you should publicize. You will have to do it anyway.
  2. Don’t write one book and expect it to take off on its own and make you rich within months. That would be a Holy Miracle. Do expect to make chump change for quite a while unless you know more than me. Legend has it that authors used to make it big by self-publishing back in “the day” before everyone realized how easy it was. It isn’t that way now. Sorry.
  3. Don’t expect that you are professional enough to produce quality work as an editor for your own work unless you are an editor, and even then, don’t. Also, don’t expect your Uncle Joe is either unless he is certified or has worked in that capacity for years. Do have lots of people read your book to make sure other people understand what you are saying. Do hire/employ a professional editor if you want a quality work.
  4. Don’t try to follow every bit of marketing advice you see online. It won’t all work for you and it isn’t all right for what you are promoting. Do follow the advice that works for you and focus on that so that you have time to write.
  5. Don’t try to avoid other authors and push them aside thinking they are your competition. Other writers are your biggest audience and resource. Do treat them as you would like to be treated.
  6. Don’t think that self-publishing will be the easier route. It is just a different kind of work. Do expect to learn a lot and do a ton of work.
Categories: Self-Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Wah! Where is the Tag Surfer?

WordPress! Why did you move my Tag Surfer without telling me? It’s confusing now and hard to find. I didn’t give up, though! Everyone I followed today, I found you with lots of confusion and clicking.

Now, to find your tags, I tried to go to Readomattic. That has an option to click “Tags” and I was hopeful. Then I had to click the link and  go to the home page (which I could have done by typing it in or clicking the W on the tippy-top left side of the page.

SO! To find your tags, no surfing available anymore, go to the WordPress home page and click the “Topics” tab. You only get one little tag, now and not the plethora we used to enjoy. You can pick from their “tag cloud” or type it in the “Search Topics” box.

Is this how it is going to be now? Who knows? WordPress seems to me to be in a constant flux since I started in April, so this might not be it. The OCD in me will find out your little tricks! You can’t fool me!

***Update! I also discovered the tab in the WordPress Home Page called “Read Blogs” where you can find your old tags, the blogs you have followed, find people you know, and browse through WordPress’ recommendations for your viewing enjoyment. It isn’t as cut and dried as before, but it works.

Categories: Tag Surfing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Did I Get That Book On The Shelf?

How did I get my book on that bookstore shelf?

First, I had to identify where my book might be purchased. Third Place Books was ideal because I already knew that they consigned used books. I had done it before through them, so I knew they were all set up to put books on their shelves that weren’t ordered from a proprietary catalog.

  • Places like Barnes and Noble and big chains probably do not take books that are not on their special program. You can, however, look to see if they have an ebook publishing site!
  • Places that are tiny and have limited shelf-space will only sell the type of books you see on their shelves. If they are selling mostly classics or a certain type of book that isn’t like yours, don’t bother. Example: I looked at the independent bookstores at Pike Place Market and they all were tiny and sold mostly easy sellers and a few novelty books. Didn’t even try those.
  • Your best bet is at places that have a variety of books and are not affiliated with a larger parent company. Stores that advertise consigning your used books are ideal. My next endeavor will be Half Price Books because they also consign used books and that is a good indicator they may be receptive to consigning new books. The only reason we may not work out together is my second point.

Second, I had to count the cost of selling your book through a third party. (hehe) If you buy your own books at $5.26 apiece and pay $4.77 shipping and $1.50 in tax, then selling 3 books will cost you $22.05. If your reseller takes 40% of that and sells your book at $9.99 then you make $17.82 back and that means you are paying $4.23 to have your book available on the shelves.

This is actually my rundown of the three books on that shelf right now, and  it’s worth it to me right now. This was an experiment and it was partially successful. I’ll only lose $4.23 if my books all sell, and nothing if they don’t. My plight is not hopeless because there is a “Pro Plan” program through Createspace (where I obtain my print books) that I can pay an extra $39 to upgrade with a $5 annual renewal. Then I would pay only $9.30 for the books, making my cost $15.57(ish) instead and I’d make a $2.25 profit selling them. It’s worth it to leave it right now because I’m not sure my books will sell and the extra $44 for the Pro Plan is only worth it if I can manage to sell more than 22 books this year. Not so sure about that.

There are also other places I can publish my book that would charge me less. But it has to sell. I actually reversed the second and the third steps because I didn’t know how much Third Place would sell them for when I submitted, but it was worth it to pay extra to have them in the store. I had the books already, saved for just such an occasion, so I didn’t have to order them, just drive them over after I dropped the kids off at school.

Third, I had to contact the right people. There was a specific person who was in charge of the Indie Author Consignment program at Third Place. That person wasn’t the first or second person I contacted though. I called up the store and got a name and email of the person to contact. This person forwarded my email to the correct person, who gave me all the terms and such. Then I had to bring in a book to her for her to inspect, which I would not get back afterward.  That was intimidating, but this is the beginning, right? But there my book sits, ON THE SHELF!!!!! YAAAAAYYYY!
Now, I have to wait and scheme. Mwahahaha! Actually I also have to pester everyone I know about my book for sale so that they will know that I have one and where to get it. If the books don’t sell in six months, they are returned to me in shame, never to grace the shelves again (I think).
Remember, a published book is FOREVER. It may go in and out of print, but it is yours and you can sell it, and your children can sell it, and generations thereafter for as long as it isn’t public domain. Oooooh! Coooool!
That is how I did it! I bet you can do that too if you want. Go on!
Categories: Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog with insightful instructions on How To Review

Ross Lampert gives us a detailed and intelligent process for how he reviews a book. It gets to the heart of why we read. As I’ve pointed out before, reading is necessary for writing, and if you can better analyze your reading then you can better craft your writing!

The instructions are written in series, so I’ve linked to Ross’ page in the blog (multiple authors).

Thanks for the cool tools, Ross! I gave them a new page in One Note for future reference.

Categories: Resources, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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