New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

book trailers

Creating trailers for my books has become one of those things I generally do when I finish the rough draft. They help me write the blurbs, and I enjoy playing with images. If you have an interest in such, the ones I have created are at [Rainy Day Trailers] as well as on my Rain Trueax channels at YouTube. For reasons relating more to my lack of techie skills than a desire, I have two channels there with no idea how to merge them. This is the one with the most recent videos-- My YouTube Channel.

Because of discovering filters to use on photos, for the first time I put together the video with one of the apps. I like how besides looking like a painting, it gives the images a fantasy feel-- appropriate for a paranormal book where the 'other' side intrudes on what we consider the real world...



This following link takes you to it on YouTube if the embed is too slow. Much of how well videos work is dependent on the speed of someone's server. Mine varies in how effective it is. It can help to put it on pause and let it get ahead, in short, buffer. (My granddaughter taught me that one-- as often happens with techie stuff that they get far faster than I do).


If you haven't seen the videos for the first two in the Hemstreet Witches series, they are at:
&
Although I'd been creating nature videos, I didn't know until I began bringing out books that there was such a thing as a book trailer. I don't think they help  sales. I do them as a creative adjunct, using images I've put together, which inspire me when writing. I like sharing them with readers. Some writers pay actors to act out some of their scenes. Those are fun but not in my budget. 

The music is generally purchased from [JewelBeat] where I have collected a variety of different themes. You cannot use popular music without running into copyright infringements. YouTube is strict about that. JewelBeat gives the purchaser a license. I think they also have some free if you acknowledge its their music. I prefer owning them to not wonder if someday their policy will change. This keeps it simpler and I can reuse them if a new video needs that particular song. There are other sources for music but the only other one I have is from PurplePlanet, which can be free or by license. Of course, none of that matters if you only create videos with music for personal use.

One thing I was told early on was keep book trailers short-- a minute is best. When I put together photos from trips or like the recent Roses in the Rain, I think they can go longer.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Managing Time

by Rain Trueax


obviously that's not me. It is one of my created images for inspiration on the books, 
such images often provide an idea for a scene. Can't you just see that that young woman, 
at that waterfall as she contemplates what she wants in her life! 
Contemplation is an important part of writing and life at all ages.

Besides writing, editing, and working with images, I have a few other things in my life, although less than I had at one time. When I was at the busiest in raising the kids and being involved in the community out here, I had a philosophy regarding what I would accept in the way of projects.

Enjoy or not enjoy, my firm standard was only two, outside, time consumers, at a time. There are things, you cannot manage in terms of time-- raising kids, with all the variables that go with that, is a big one. Sometimes, at the height of their years of being involved and before they drove, that could mean three trips a day, into where they went to school. At 20 miles each way, that meant I was driving 120 miles some days. Since I have not ever been fond of driving (it is a necessity), that was a lot of hours in the vehicle-- and that didn't count what I might've done for myself in another town. Those were years of not as much money; so it sometimes meant breaking down on the road and having to walk-- before the years of cellphones. Sometimes when I think back on that, like accepting a ride into town with a stranger, I really do see that life as from another lifetime.

Nowadays, I might only get to town once a week if that. It gives me lots of time for writing, doing art on the computer, reading newspapers, and some involvement in social media. I don't have the same problem with deciding what to take on from someone's request-- now it's what I might myself take on in terms of writing or marketing. As with all writers, I have to evaluate opportunities regarding writing oriented events (which I should be doing but so far have not for assorted reasons.

Shopping is another of those things I do no more than I must. When I hit a store, I buy multiples so I don't have to do it again soon. There is a small grocery store not far from the farm. It's more expensive than town, of course. It also doesn't have everything.

A big change for our home came after Ranch Boss retired and became less active away from the home. He runs a consulting business out of here. Something neither of us expected is that he now does most of the cooking. It's something I did for probably nearly 50 years of our marriage but now it's down to him as the chef. We both like that setup as he enjoys finding recipes to try-- and I enjoy sampling his creative output.

Another thing I used to do more of was being on the phone. Now, I am a receptionist for Ranch Boss, with answering, when he's gone, for his clients. For myself, I only talk to the kids and that's not often. Most of those I used to chat with have either died or gone onto other interests.

Photography and working with images is one of my time consumers. It is what I do now when I used to paint or sculpt. I enjoy using filters to alter photos to make them look like paintings. I am using one for my profile, where it had to be cropped to a square but here is the full image that the filter created.



At the moment, other than for research, I read very little. For a few months, I haven't had the time and after working on my books, my eyes don't want to read anything on an eReader, paper, or most especially not on the computer. Research is always, of course, ongoing even for contemporary books. I may take a month this summer to read some of the books on my Kindle. I keep buying those that look interesting and have accumulated a lot for any mood.

For television, I watch some news. This winter, I discovered for the first time channels that show home remodeling or buying a home on an island, lake, etc.. I find those shows relaxing, as they change a home into something special or someone finds a dream place. Finding a home is also something I did years ago, but that one could come back into my life, as living 20+ miles from town is not as easy when a person gets old.

Not sure if this has been boring, but I thought since I do write a lot about the writing process, my books, their covers, etc., I should put something up once in awhile about what my own life is about-- writing, conversations with Ranch Boss, managing cat activities, some social media (Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and a few email friends), looking for images, creating images that work for books/book trailers or blogs, writing, and that's about it.

It doesn't sound like a particularly exciting life. Other than my husband, it's a solitary life. I've sometimes worried that I've let it get too solitary, but as an introvert, it's the one I am choosing for now.

Another image I created using one of our photos and a filter. I don't know if it'll ever show up in a book trailer, but I like Navajo land, a place I only drive past for the most part but find exceptionally beautiful in the way that some places attract me for reasons I can't explain. I like the hogans and small houses tucked into redrock country. 

Whether I can use these images ever, I don't consider them time wasters but rather inspiration. Yes, I live a life in the flesh-- but in my imagination, I live many other places.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

marketing or not

by Rain Trueax

In the 5 1/2 years since I became an indie writer, what I have learned about marketing books....
 ....

la te dah de dah

ho hum

sigh

*twiddling thumbs*


 What was the subject again?


In short, I still don't know much. I know what marketing needs to do-- get your books seen by those who might enjoy reading them. And that is where what I know ends. How do you do that?

Well, there businesses who only promote books. Their prices vary but they are not free. Some of them send out lots of Tweets with the idea that will get the book readers... except how many people buy books based on tweets? I have only a thousand or so followers on Twitter (and follow about the same number-- none of which are political by the way), but have never seen a sale directly coming from my tweets about my books, nor when someone else generously (and it is generous) shared my Tweet. Would bots do better? It would take dollars to find out. I personally go to Twitter only long enough to post a photo or write a few words. In the time it has taken me to do that, twenty Tweets will have gone past. I've read you can create a Twitter Deck that means you will see more of the posts by others in the Deck... but would I be in anybody's Deck? If I had a Deck for others, would I remember to look at it? The obvious answer is maybe once a month... maybe. All I know is I don't read much of anything there and have never purchased a book based on a Tweet.

Then there are contests you can enter where if your book does well, it gets publicized. I only hear about them after somebody else has won and lets their friend list know. Do I remember the contests in time to enter for the next year? You probably already know the answer to that.

One of those contests costs almost $400 to enter. If someone has a lot of sales, that makes sense. When you don't sell that much, the money has to come from someplace. Where would that be on Social Security? The savings accounts? Not a good idea with no guarantee there'd be a return. Yet, you know what they say-- no risk, no gain... but no loss either lol. I have heard of those who've spent over a thousand dollars to get their book out and are moaning that it hasn't sold. Hitting the zeitgeist of what readers want is a combination of skill, luck, and fate maybe. I was never going to put that kind of money out-- although I do put out some as I don't think you can avoid that.

I have paid some money for promotions at Facebook and have gotten a lot of readers to my Facebook [Rain Trueax Author] page, at least temporarily. Translating that to sales-- not so much. I also don't keep that page as active as I should. I am working on that. 

One of the best places I've had for sales of my books is a site at Facebook called [Pioneer Hearts]. I am relatively sure I'd have never sold much of anything without it as it lets readers connect with books. It has had a bookstore put together by one of the supporters of the site. Evidently, Amazon is not going to continue to support it, which is definitely too bad for writers not on A lists. 

At Facebook, I've joined quite a few groups that involve different genres of books and for authors. I don't think any of them have led to a single sale. This is most of a problem for my paranormals, which since they aren't historical, can't go into Pioneer Hearts...

In the end, what I jokingly said above is true-- I still know almost nothing about how to promote my books to the readers who will potentially enjoy them. When a book does well, I am always surprised and wonder now from where did that come. When they don't, I wonder the same thing. 

Part of my problem may be that my books are romances but kind of hybrids with a lot of a novel in them. There is no ready-made fan base waiting for them, as I hear from other authors who write more what their base wants. I think writing formula books has a real plus for marketing-- except what if that's not what comes to you as a writer?

Anybody reading this far have any marketing ideas that either lead you to find the books you enjoy or that has led to steady sales for your own?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

sometimes there are no reasons


There is no explanation for why it took me over five months to write my last book. It's not that long. I knew where it was going. Liked its characters. Of course, that wasn't solid writing, but from the time I began writing 1/15/17, it took until 6/3/17 to see the end of the first rough draft. 

The only similarly long time between start and finish was Love Waits, but I wasn't writing on it the whole time. I had begun its first chapter one autumn and just didn't have a good feel for it. I stopped to write other things and came back to it the next fall where the writing flowed. 

There are many drawbacks to having actual writing be sporadic and stretch over such a long span-- not the least of which is forgetting details that lead to a horse having its name changed on just one ride. Sometimes though it's just how it is and not the fault of the book but something in the writer. I would write for a while and then stop. Some days I'd make myself write. Others, I'd accept it was how it was.

One thing that complicated it was how many elements were in the book-- things I needed to think about. My paranormals are stories of humans finding their lives intermingled with the 'other' side. It's always a situation of trying to decide what that will mean for each of the books. This one was complicated by politics playing a factor since the hero is considering running for a political office. Politics are a dicey subject to put into any book.

My goal was this would be a shorter book like the first two of the Hemstreet Witches series at around 60,000 words. It ended up 70,000+. Its editing has also been difficult because of those writing breaks where I lost continuity-- something an edit is supposed to find. I tried to catch as much of that as possible before sending it to its other editor and beta readers. I doubt I found all the mistakes.

Anyway, this is its cover and after more editing, it should be out by the end of June. Time will tell on that too. 

In terms of my life, today is the graduation of our oldest grandchild. She is off to college next year and an adventure of her own. Dramatic time, a little teary and scary, but important as a part of the cycle of life. This is from 1998. I know they can't stay babies forever. We don't want them to, but I do miss those days and the cuddles.




Thursday, June 08, 2017

Roses in the Rain

More roses just because in the editing I'm doing, this is my respite, my place to feel good. When my editing of the rough draft is finished, I will put together a little video of the roses and some music. As much as they are beautiful anyway, in the rain, they become almost mystical. These old fashioned, vintage roses are so special with their fragrance and the fact that they only bloom this once.

 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

eek!


 While writing the last chapters of my WIP, I had posted about the covers I had in mind for the paranormal romances. I thought I had that problem solved... Turns out not so much. The problem with books that bridge genres is they aren't easy to nail down for what should be on a cover. Well, not necessarily easy even when they don't, but especially difficult when they do. 

Paranormal can be a genre. Likewise, so can romance. When it's both, what do you emphasize on the cover? It's even more complicated for writers not on the A list, writers whose names alone won't sell their books. Covers are big reasons why potential readers will check out a book. 

Like a dog gnawing a bone, I just couldn't let go the possibility that I was taking the wrong path on the paranormals. So, over the Memorial Day week-end, instead of writing, I spent time finding images, trying various Dreamscope filters and creating covers with just the witches. Even then, it wasn't simple. I needed something for each that told a bit about who they were, what their gifts were.

For paranormals that are in fantasy kingdoms or where the characters are vampires, zombies, werewolves, dragons, it is a little simpler. The Hemstreet witches look like anyone else. They live a normal lifespan, have to earn a living, but they have a side life, one that is not at all normal where they have powers and see things others do not. They bridge worlds and have to find peace with both-- while staying alive. 

For just one of the books (the next one), for fun, I'm sharing a couple of the options with which I played-- none are on its cover. This time, it took a lot for the muse to get through to me.





There were more I tried that would have hero and heroine, but he didn't end up even making it on the cover-- although the model you see in the images below is how I saw him. Unfortunately, the decision to go with five women left out all the heroes.





For me, some of this is play in between writing scenes. In the end though, it was a lot of work, and I was enjoying doing covers less than usual. I get it that my covers will never suit all readers-- I just hope they reach out to a few. The work I put into them is worth it when that happens.

♥♥♥♥♥

Monday, June 05, 2017

roses

I rarely cut the roses from the garden because they last longest when they stay on the stem. The fragrance and beauty of them in every stage is such a gift in June. The tea roses are in full glory as are the old fashioned, where this is there only season to bloom. Damask and musk roses are so fragrant and will be more of the show as June goes on.