The Idea Shop X CAA – Free Book Marketing Seminar

On Thursday, October 28, 2021 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST Via Zoom I will be hosting a panel called ” Book Marketing 101 with The Idea Shop.” Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop, has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. He’ll share his tips and stories about his best marketing campaigns, and explain why it’s important to let the world know that you have a unique book that they need to discover! 

Register for free here: http://canadianauthors.org/toronto/events/

The Idea Shop answers “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on Artsy Raven Eps 5 podcast

Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop has over 20 years of experience in book marketing. The Idea Shop is a one-stop shop for fresh new ideas on how to promote creative endeavors of all kinds, from books to podcasts. The Idea Shop can be heard each month on Sauga 960 AM radio.

He answers the question “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 5. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

To contact the Idea Shop on how your book can be marketed to the world, find Chris at https://theideashop.ca/

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

I will be a guest at #FIYAHCON 2021 (#BIPOC #Specfic #con) and speaking on panels about #publishing and #marketing! #diversity #diversityinpublishing

During September 16-19, 2021, FIYAHCON 2021 is happening! It’s a BIPOC speculative fiction virtual convention where writers, artists, publishers, editors, marketers and vendors meet up. There are a limited number of free tickets available, do check it out if you have time!

As a guest I will be speaking at two panels:

Different Ways of Publishing – Saturday, September 18th, 2021, Day 2 – 11:40 am EST, Track B

  • Traditional publishing is often seen as the most common way of publishing, but over time, there are other methods: self-publishing, serial publishing, hybrid publishing, etc. This panel will explore different methods of publishing because sometimes getting an agent or traditional publisher may not be possible if the book is considered “too niche” or “unmarketable”.

Strategies on Publicizing Your Book – Saturday, September 18th, 2021, Day 2 – 12:50pm EST, Track A

  • A book is a baby you need to present to the world that is already filled will millions of babies. How do you find your readers? Let’s talk about Kickstarters, PR firms, paid and free strategies you can use to publicize your books.

For these panels I am also a moderator so over the next few days I will be contacting my fellow panelists to brainstorm and to write up speaking notes for engaging panels.

Hope to see you there!


Tools to make an awesome #lowbudget #video for #socialmedia!

Recently I signed up my indie publishing company, Dark Helix Press, to be a vendor at FIYAHCON, a virtual convention centering the perspectives and celebrating the contributions of BIPOC in speculative fiction. (I’ll be speaking about publishing there too, will release details when I have them.)

At FIYAHCON the vendors are setting up a virtual table on a platform called AirMeet which I have never used before. One of the items I needed to upload was a video and I don’t have any book trailers for Dark Helix Press. In the past I made a book trailer for The Undead Sorceress which was ok, but with new tools available, making a trailer now is much faster than ever before! The concept of making a trailer is the same to make any video for social media, once you learn how to make on video, it’s a skill which can be used for lots of creative fun!

The trailer I made below took about three hours, because I was fiddling with fonts/colors/layout and made some custom graphics for the Dark Helix Press Threadless Shop merchandise because I wanted “clean cut” items that would “pop out.” I had to use a graphic editor to do that (did it quick and dirty with the free Paint.net graphic program) because video programs have limited graphics editing capabilities. Note I had $0 budget, but the video looks pretty good for zero dollars!

Steps used to make a book trailer:

  1. List out what you want to put in each “slide” which is really a short video. Pretend it’s a PowerPoint and on each slide think about what message or text you want to convey.
  2. Find videos for each slide. There are a couple of sites you can download free videos, such as Pexels, Pixabay, Mixkit, etc. We used Pixabay.
    • For one video we wanted 14 seconds, but the shot we downloaded was 10 seconds, so we extended the video time by slowing down the speed of the footage.
  3. If you are adding extra graphics to the video, you will need to clean up with a graphics editor such as Paint.net, Krita, Adobe Photoshop, etc. We used Paint.net.
  4. Pick a program to compile the videos – Canva, Filmgora, iMovie, etc. We used Canva.
  5. Upload the videos into the program, add text, music (we used the music provided in the program) and graphics.
  6. In some of the programs you can modify the layout and animate the graphics/fonts.
  7. Upload onto Youtube and publish.
    • Read carefully on the sites where you gathered graphics, videos and music. Some of the licenses ask for attribution in lieu of payment and there may be restrictions on use.

I hope this information was useful to you! After you do it once, the subsequent videos will be easier next time!

Being Inspired by ND Jones’ #African #Fantasy #Romance #Writing! @ndjonesauthor #writinglife #publishing #AfricanAmerican

For episode 22 of The Artsy Raven podcast, I interviewed ND Jones, a USA Best-selling author who has written multiple African fantasy romance series. It was really inspiring to listen to someone has achieved so much on their own and even got her whole family involved! She’s written over twelve books and even started a company which involves her daughter doing graphic design work and her son creating a RPG game based on her work.

One of the reasons why she started writing was because there was a void in the market with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, so she took on that challenge herself. Her book covers look super awesome with strong females on them and I had a good time talking to her about her projects. Although I don’t write fantasy romance, I would like to write more and complete more projects. I have problems finishing things and would like to be like ND Jones when I grow up!

ND is also giving away two e-books (she reads from one of them in the podcast) and a $10USD Amazon gift card to two winners. King Sumo link here: https://kingsumo.com/g/tw9ne1/nd-jones-e-book-and-amazon-gift-card-giveaway-august-16-28-2021-2-winners

Spotify episode link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4AcPxpL3lpVQQDnGKBXyGS

Youtube episode link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nlcJUicKFE&feature=youtu.be

The Artsy Raven August newsletter is out and we have links to over 40 free fantasy books! Check it out here.

Have a great day!

Making #3d #bookcovers for #free! How to with link…#indie #publishing #writinglife #selfpublishing #marketing

On some sites I’ve seen 3d covers of books and wondered how people did it. Well, I know I can hire someone or buy software. But being a frugal person I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money so I never tried to do this. Fast forward a few years later and I’m talking to a book marketing person who is asking me about 3d covers.

Doing a Google search I found a website which lets you render a 3d cover for free! Of course it’s not the best quality (the graphic is small in size) and for a small fee you can pay to download the better version.

You will need 3 images in hand before you start: 1) Front cover, 2) spine only and 3) back cover. You can use any graphic program to crop your print book image file into pieces and just save as separate files.

For those who want to test out 3d covers, visit Boxshot which offers a free online program for use as well as better paid options: https://boxshot.com/3d-pack/3d-book/

On this website after uploading the 3 images of your book (front, spine, back), you can move the book around until you find an angle you like and then save the 3d image.

I did a test run for the Belief cover with the free option and it looks spiffy!

Rejections…one win and author logos

Lately I’ve been querying more and have been getting lots of rejections. As usual I wonder why the heck I am a writer. We are the most depressing people we know! I won one short story contest which was fantastic and I’ve been promoting that by making a cover for it (The Blue Son), but the glory is over in ten seconds!

With this COVID stuff going around, everyone is scared and rethinking about what’s important to them. I’ve been writing a more since I’m leading a writing group for the Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto Branch and have an obligation to keep writing. I horrified a few writers by confessing that I tossed out the draft manuscript for my second vampire book (sequel to The Undead Sorceress) and am starting again from scratch. Between publishing my first book and now, I have learned a lot from my creative writing teachers, my style has changed and my ideas of plot lines for the book has been thought out more. I’m also selling/publishing more short fiction as they are easier to pitch than novels. For the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, we are working on another anthology and that will probably come out next year.

Today a friend sent me an article about author logos. It’s a pretty good read and talks about advantages of having one. Similar to any corporate logo, it will only take you so far because at the end of the day, you still need a good product (your writing). I made one as an exercise for fun and am not sure if it works or not. The logo has robots because I write a lot of sci-fi/people and the flower is for fantasy/Asianess. I write horror too, maybe I should have added some bloody drops? Or a ghost rising out of the flower? Should I add I’m a publisher too? Will have to think about this some more!

Please enjoy your time while this COVID nonsense is going on and stay safe!

Ricepaper Magazine Patreon Setup

It’s not a secret that many not-for-profits often struggle with coming up with funds to keep alive. Ricepaper Magazine is not an exception as an example of a publication that is trying out different things to gain access to public grants and private funding.

As a Senior Editor for Ricepaper, my title is quite loose since it’s a small organization. I do a lot of writing, interviewing, partnership building, event planning (LiterASIAN Toronto) and now something new I’m trying out is Patreon.

I’ve tried setting up on Patreon before and some of my friends on it have collected $0/month to a few hundred dollars total. I only know of one person who is surviving as a full time writer on Patreon and they are not rich.

Similar to Kickstarter, Patreon people pledge to give funds on a monthly or project basis in exchange for something. Since mainly artists and writers are on Patreon, the “creator” can give away music, artwork, writing, videos, magazines, etc in exchange for funding to create.

I’m working on the “about” Patreon page and looking back at the amazing magazine covers that Ricepaper has had in the past. There are days when my family and friends suggest I should quit Ricepaper to concentrate on just being a writer, but I tell them that there are few platforms for Asians in English and I believe I’m doing good by helping this ship stay afloat.

Sharing a few covers and when the Patreon page is up I’ll post news about it and hopefully garner some support!

 

What’s In a “Basket of Ridiculousness”?

Since we are doing a Trump: Utopia or Dystopia book launch at Can-Con in Ottawa this coming weekend, we put together a gift called a “Basket of Ridiculousness” as a free draw prize to attract unsuspecting and sort of innocent future readers!

To get free draw tickets, please find me or Jen Frankel and ask us nicely for a ticket at the Can-Con event:

FRI 20:00-20:50 Panel – Braaaains. Please. Sorry  Salon D (Jen Frankel)

SAT 10:00 – 13:30 Dealers Room Table –The Alternate Reality News Service

SAT 11:00-11:50 Panel – Economics of Traditional Publishing Salon E (JF Garrard)

SAT 14:00-14:50 Indie Group Launch Event with food (basket will be given away at this event)

You may think, wait, what’s in this bloody basket worth hunting down strangers for?
The basket is valued at $50 and we put everything we thought we would want into it. So if no one wins or shows up for the book launch we will divide up the goodies among ourselves! Contents include:
1) A copy of Trump: Utopia or Dystopia to laugh, cry and get angry with.
2) A set of politician masks – Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and Justin Trudeau. In time for Halloween and to re-enact scenes from the Trump book!
3) Lay’s Grilled Cheese chips – it just sounded yummy…and strange…
4) A $10 Starbucks gift card – caffeine just makes the day brighter!
5) Batman Story Cubes – making stories with yourself as Batman, just because.
6) Naughty mug – heck, we’re promoting a Trump satire book!
7) Snickers bars – to eat while watching CNN.
8) Fuzzy Peaches – it’s orange, enough said.
9) Crunch ‘n Munch popcorn – more to eat while watching CNN and Fox News.
10) SPAM – goes hand in hand with fake news.
11) Glow in the dark tie – to transport you to the Oval office.
12) Rubber Ducky Socks – we live in Canada, a tribute to our Prime Minister.
13) Dark Helix Bookmark – to keep your page in the book while you watch the destruction of the free world!
Looking forward to meeting random people in Ottawa and sharing the joy of this Trump book which has fantasy, horror and science fiction stories from writers around the world!

Can Con Planning

The next event I’m attending is Can Con in Ottawa. I’ve never been to this literary conference, but have been told it’s a great event. Since Dark Helix Press never got a chance to launch our Trump book at a Toronto convention, we’ll be launching in Ottawa instead. I’ll be speaking at two panels as well, so it’s a good chance to network with authors/publishers/readers.

For the launch it’s a group event with two other authors for a total of 3 books. We’ll be providing food and drinks since it’s a party! In addition, we’re all doing raffle draws for our books and Dark Helix will be making a “Basket of Ridiculousness” to raffle off specifically to people who will be purchasing the Trump book at the event. We figure it’s only fair to give our supporters extra presents when we can!

indie group lauch FB

Since we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we also mined the inter web for funny images to make a collage for a table display. We had wanted to illustrate that our book was fiction and satire, so we chose images of Trudeau on a unicorn, Hilary saint candles and Trump resembling a Dragonball character.

We’ll have fun anyways regardless of book sales or not as book launches don’t always guarantee sales!

DHP small cancon

collage image credits:

Hilary candle https://www.illuminidol.com/products/hillary-clinton

CANADA IS MAGICAL https://www.lookhuman.com/design/338801-canada-is-magical/tshirt

Donald Trump – And now we will ascending beyond GREAT https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1191009-donald-trump