A Month of Ghostly Loved Ones: Hamlet

It’s October! Wouldn’t it be fun to troll the internet for ghostly loved ones doing their best by the people they left behind, whether they are children, lovers, and the like? I think so. Only because that was the theme for Haunting Miss Trentwood, and there were a lot of influences for that book.

This week I’m talking about my favorite movie version of Hamlet, starring David Tennant of Doctor Who delicious nerd-boy amazingness.

( If you click the image in  this post it will take you directly to the PBS online video showing the entire performance. )

Plot Summary from Cliff’s Notes

William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet follows the young prince Hamlet home to Denmark to attend his father’s funeral. Hamlet is shocked to find his mother already remarried to his Uncle Claudius, the dead king’s brother. And Hamlet is even more surprised when his father’s ghost appears and declares that he was murdered. Exact dates are unknown, but scholars agree that Shakespeare published Hamlet between 1601 and 1603. Many believe that Hamlet is the best of Shakespeare’s work, and the perfect play.

Why you need to watch this movie

So why do I love this version? Mainly because I feel like Tennant does a fantastic job of making me feel like Hamlet has kind of really lost his mind after seeing his father’s ghost. He starts out quiet and rather boring, actually, especially for those of us who obsess about Tennant after his stint on Doctor Who. I mean, really. He says the lines well enough, but without enthusiasm. Without personality.

And then WHAM-O.

Manic David Tennant at his finest, spouting Shakespeare like milk from a bottle, jumping around the stage, exclaiming, pulling at his hair, driving everybody nuts and yet being so adorable at the same time. It’s his interpretation of Hamlet that is different yet similar to his interpretation of The Doctor… so much energy, too difficult to contain, no way to direct it, so desperate for resolution.

Watch it and let me know your thoughts. There are so many versions of Hamlet out there… do you have a favorite?

Promotions

By the way, the newly released behind-the-scenes chapter called The Seance from Haunting Miss Trentwood is free on Kindle Oct 29 – 31. It’s a pretty funny chapter that lets us see a bit of the time between when Mary sees her father crawl from his grave and when Hartwell arrives at her front door looking for a blackmailer. She hires someone to perform a seance and send her father back to heaven, and the results are… well, you have to read it.

And! The love-story-not-love-story Mad Maxine is also free! A story about a woman who never thought she would fall in love, and when she does, what happens when illness mars the relationship. Same dates. Enjoy!

Please leave reviews, it would be so appreciated.

Best,

Belinda

Two Thousand Words

Dear Reader,

I wrote two thousand words last week. Pretty pumped about that. It’s for the Catching the Rose rewrite. I also wrote out a preliminary outline for the new book which has yet to have a real title. The working title is Secondhand Sister.

It pays to sleep all the time from being super sick. Yeah? Yeah? Not really, but at least I got some writing done.

I dropped the prices of my novels to $1.99 in celebration of eBook week. You have until the end of Friday to get your 50% discount code RAE50: Haunting Miss Trentwood and Catching the Rose.

That’s a deal if I ever heard of one. I decided to make the change across all my distributors, so that includes Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Smashwords. We’ll see what this does with sales.

How are the other ROW80 writers doing? We’re winding down on the last month and our numbers are dwindling…

Best,

Belinda

Goodies Galore

Dear Reader,

Man, that illness took me out last week! I’m still sleeping an inordinate amount of time, so I’m keeping this blog post short.

I had a guest post at Indie Horror last week where I talked about how Mr. Trentwood, my ghostly father in Haunting Miss Trentwood surprised me time and again… even though I created him! Check it out, it was fun talking about how my character got away from me in the best way possible.

Happy eBook week! Starting March 6, get a 50% discount for Catching the Rose and Haunting Miss Trentwood with coupon code RAE50; and 100% off Mad Maxine with coupon code RE100 at Smashwords!

Also, Stacey Wallace Benefiel is discounting her books, so you should scoop those up as well. She’s tons of fun to read, and I know, because I read her Day of Sacrifice short and really enjoyed it.

That’s really all the writing I had energy for… my apologies. Enjoy your discounted books!

Best,

Belinda

Using “Free” as a Marketing Tool

Dear Reader,

This guest post is brought to you by fantasy author Lindsay Buroker. You can visit her e-publishing blog for more information on internet marketing, search engine optimization, and online advertising, as it relates to marketing one’s books. She’s a new author, but she’s been making a living online for nearly a decade now.

Can Giving Away a Free Ebook Help Sell Your Other Work?

Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, you’re most likely on your own for marketing. It’s hard getting noticed in the beginning, too. I’m a new ebook author myself, so I know all about it!

I’ve seen some debate when it comes to giving free ebooks away. Is it a way to create interest and possibly sell your other works? Or is it a waste of time?

Numerous people argue, surprisingly vehemently, that folks who hurry to grab freebies aren’t interested in paying for anything–ever. (And they probably still go to their parents’ houses to have mom handle the laundry, too!). I’ve seen fewer folks tote the benefits of giving away a free ebook, but I decided to try for myself. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and it might help.

As I write this, it’s been about two weeks since I released a fantasy short story as a free ebook at Smashwords and Feedbooks. It’s had more than a thousand downloads.

I chose to use the same main characters as were starring in the novel I had coming out a few days later (one I charge for). At the end of the free ebook, I included an excerpt from that story. I also included a link to the novel’s page at Smashwords with a not-so-subtle hint that readers who enjoyed the free adventure might like to purchase the longer piece.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that this flooded my inbox with oh-my-gosh-someone-bought-your-book notifications, but I believe it is what led to my first few sales at Smashwords. I’ve heard authors say they sell twenty books at Amazon for every one at Smashwords (since it’s a much smaller marketplace). I’m well above that ratio right now,  even though I’ve worked harder at promoting my Amazon link. I’m positive my free ebook is what’s been responsible for those Smashwords sales.

It’s early in the process, too, and I’m assuming folks will continue to discover the freebie in the months and years to come. I’m hoping it can continue to be a marketing tool for me. (Especially when Smashwords, which doubles as a distributor, gets it out to Barnes & Noble and other retail sites that accept free ebooks but don’t let you upload them directly.) 

If you think you’d like to try releasing a free ebook of your own, here are a few suggestions:

Make your free ebook Book 1 in a series or try using the same characters that star in your other works

I don’t have enough novels written yet to release a free “Book 1” as the entry point into a multi-ebook series, or I’d definitely try that. Smashwords fantasy author Brian S. Pratt made well over $100,000 from his ebooks last year, and he gave the first one away free while charging for the rest. I don’t know if his first novel ends in a cliffhanger or not, but it sounds like a good way to get people to go on and buy more in the series!

Since I couldn’t do that, I used a short story I had sitting on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust. It’s a fun little fantasy adventure that stands alone, but I also hope it leaves readers wondering about the characters. How did such an unlikely pair get together? Why are they wanted by the law? Etc, etc. etc. These questions are of course answered in the novel.

I suspect putting out a free ebook that’s unrelated to your other titles would be the least likely to help with sales, but I’d be happy to be proven incorrect.

Upload your ebook in a number of places

Once you’ve chosen your freebie, it’s time to get it out there to the world. The great thing about free ebooks is there are numerous websites that accept them. As I mentioned, I started with Feedbooks and Smashwords, but others I’m checking out are Fictionwise, Scribd, and the Bit Torrent network. (If you have any others you’d recommend, please mention them in the comments.)

Make sure to let readers know where to buy your non-free ebooks!

Most e-readers let you click on links in the ebook itself, so don’t be shy about including a link to your author page and/or a sales page for a related book. The whole point here is to market your other work, so be sure to tuck in those details. You may want to try including an excerpt as well.

What do you guys think? Is a free ebook a good marketing tool?

Midwinter Giveaway Hop

Dear Reader,

We have another giveaway! It’s the holidays and there’s nothing better than free stuff.

This giveaway is super easy. Leave a comment on this post to enter the contest to receive a free digital copy of my first book, Catching the Rose. I am giving away three copies. I hope if you win you will agree to review it, but that’s totally up to you.

That isn’t all, though! Everyone who comments saying they agree to review my short story “Mad Maxine” will win a free digital copy of the story.

So really, you have nothing to lose! Comment and you will win something.

This giveaway will run from December 21 – 22, but I’m accepting submissions from December 20 – 22.

Want to see what other blogs are offering? Check out the participating blogs at the bottom of the giveaway hop page.

Happy holidays!

Belinda

Indie Methodology

Dear Reader,

Let’s talk about the indie methodology. That is, the method in which an author decides to indie publish. This is largely inspired by Kait Nolan’s recent post about Kickstarter (I’ll admit, my heckles were raised), but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

I realize I am taking a very different path along my indie publishing journey. Let me break down the “traditional indie method” for you, as I understand it.

Author wants to self-publish. Author has little-to-no money, and no followers. Author decides they need to cut corners in self-publishing. How? By releasing to eBook first (or only). Maybe hire an editor. Maybe hire a cover artist. Use free services like Amazon DTP, Smashwords, PubIt. Send out coupons and giveaways to attract readers. Solicit reviews. Attract followers through social networking. Earn money from purchases. Save up to maybe release a print book, set up a micropress, etc. Or not.

This works for many indie publishers like Kait Nolan, Zoe Winters, Susan Bischoff, Amanda Hocking, etc.

It doesn’t work for me. Why? Because I published in high school and made a profit even though I used a vanity service. I continued to write for the next seven years, but put schooling first and didn’t publish.

Now I’m back. I’ve been at this for three concentrated months, and I decided to use Kickstarter to build up venture capital because I intend to indie publish a little differently.

Author wants to self-publish. Author has little-to-no money, and a number of followers. Author has a print book out, and short stories on Scribd. Author wants a micro-press and to dual-release the eBook and print versions. Author needs venture capital. Author applies to Kickstarter to reach new readers, gain support and excitement for new book. Buy ISBNs. Design cover and interior layout. Register micro-press. Use services like Amazon DTP, Smashwords, PubIt, CreateSpace. Send out coupons and giveaways to attract readers. Solicit reviews. Attract followers through social networking. Earn money from purchases.

The process is very similar. But the reason why I’m talking about this is because there was a lot of questions, even negativity, about authors using Kickstarter, as if they were trying to cheat the system. As if they’re clinging to the traditional method of getting an advance and then receiving royalties, etc.

Independent, as I understand it, means to go your own way. Do your own thing. March to the beat of your own drummer. Who cares if I’m using Kickstarter to raise money? Who cares if I decide to go print and eBook, rather than just eBook? As long as I follow through with my promises, it should be all gravy.

I admire and respect Kait, Zoe, Amanda, and Susan. I love what they’re doing for the indie publisher reputation. I’m taking my own spin on the indie publisher’s path, though, because that’s what an independent thinker does.

What am I trying to say? I guess all I’m trying to say is that if you’re deciding to go indie, read up on it. Learn who the big names are, and study how they are doing it. Make note of the methods that will work for you in your situation, and throw the other methods away. The indie world is too small for negativity about how you’re doing things if you’re producing quality work.

All the best,

Belinda

P.S. We made the Kickstarter goal! Huzzah! We’re still accepting pre-orders for Haunting Miss Trentwood through Thursday Oct 14.

Worderella Re-releases an Old Book

Dear Reader,

You might wonder why I’m publishing a second edition of my first book while in the middle of writing my second book. You wouldn’t be alone in wondering this. My mother has asked why I bother in looking to the past when I’m also planning for the future.

It’s a good question, and one I thought I’d answer here at Worderella Writes. You see, Catching the Rose was my learning book. When I say that I mean this was the book I wrote in which I learned how to:

  1. write a novel.
  2. edit a novel.
  3. ensure my book was the only one with that particular title.
  4. look for a reputable vanity/subsidy publisher.
  5. deal with a vanity publisher.
  6. make a cover sketch so my cover designer would know what I’m looking for.
  7. twiddle my thumbs while I waited for the proof to arrive.
  8. scream with excitement as I held my book in my hands.
  9. gain local buzz for writing a 384 page novel as a high school student.
  10. set up a professional writing website.
  11. set up a professional writing blog.
  12. compare my cover to other covers in the genre.
  13. recognize my back cover copy was sadly lacking.
  14. recognize my marketing plan sucked, because I didn’t have one.
  15. accept compliments and criticisms with the same smile.
  16. swallow my pride.

I learned a great many more things, but there’s no need to list them all. The point is, I love Catching the Rose, and a great number of my readers do as well. Almost seven years later, I’m still hearing about how a friend of a friend of a friend of my mother picked up my book, and liked it so much that they asked my mother when my next one was coming out.

If you’ve ever had this happen to you, you know the quiet joy that spreads within your chest, blossoms in your heart, and makes your eyes shine.

So I’m releasing a second edition of this book, giving it a real chance this time because it deserves it. I know so much more now about the book industry, though I have a lot more to learn. I know how to do page layout and cover design; I did both for this second edition. I removed a number of my glaring rookie mistakes, such as

  1. spelling out accents (“Why how dayah you, Mistah Williams, foah speakin’ to me in such a mannah!”)
  2. allowing widows and orphans to mess up the visual harmony of the typographical page.
  3. adverbs run rampant.

I didn’t catch everything, but like I said, I’m still learning. Catching the Rose is my baby. I spent six years writing it during the developmental stage of life. I poured in all of my teenage confusion and angst, edited out the worst of it, and made an entertaining and engaging read for women of all ages. And a few men, too.

Even as I was re-doing the page layout last night, I caught myself reading passages and chuckling at the characters, or wondering what was going to happen next. Isn’t that odd? I mean, I wrote the book. Shouldn’t I know what’s going to happen?

I do, because I did write the book. But for me, it’s always been about the journey. I’m that jerk who reads the end of the book before I read the entire thing, because I don’t want to read it if I won’t like the ending. That doesn’t mean I only like happy endings, because I don’t. I like well-written endings. And a well-written bittersweet ending is clutch.

So I’m re-releasing Catching the Rose because:

  1. It was, and still is, my learning book.
  2. As per #1, I’m learning how to truly self-publish so when I self-publish Haunting Miss Trentwood, I’ll have worked out the kinks.
  3. I love this book.
  4. I love the characters, and I love their issues.
  5. My readers ask me, years after reading the book, what happened to Veronica and Brad.
  6. While formatting the pages, I got lost in my own story.
  7. I am a writer, and I must write.
  8. I am a storyteller, and I must tell this story.

So what do you think? Am I being dumb? Am I being greedy? Or something else entirely?

Worderella Releases a Book Trailer

Dear Reader,

I’ve made a book trailer for Catching the Rose, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting. But oh so fun, if you know what you’re doing. I downloaded CamStudio to screen capture what I was doing, but for some reason, it didn’t take properly.

Which really annoys me, because I was looking forward to watching a time lapse of the three hours it took me to do the actual work, after hours of looking for the perfect images/music.

Anyway, I’m going to try to do it again. I’m going to replicate the process, and capture my actions on screen so you can see what goes into a book trailer. Or, at least a book trailer of my making.

In the meantime, enjoy my trailer, and let me know what you think about it. There are some sixty of you following this blog, and I’m getting a bit lonely!

Worderella Tries Online Marketing

Dear Reader,

I’ve spent most of this week adjusting to all the responsibilities of my new job, as well as calming down a bit with this whole self-publishing thing. I’m the sort of person who sets her mind on something and will work until she collapses to achieve her goal.

But that isn’t healthy, smart, or sustainable if you’re seriously planning on going into a new business venture, which is what I consider this self-publishing journey. I am determined to become a micro-business owner, which I contend is different from a small business owner.

#amwriting

And, I’ve been writing. After I complained about how I hadn’t written in two weeks, I am now on a four day streak of writing at least 750 words a day. Go me! It turns out that once I get past 600 words, I get into the flow of things and my characters stop being characters and start being people.

Online marketing as an author

I felt so good about finishing chapter twelve of Haunting Miss Trentwood tonight that I thought I’d dabble in some marketing.I’ve uploaded the first section of my book, Catching the Rose, on Scribd. I’ve also uploaded an essay I wrote about how English accents are undeniably hot to American women, and my theory why. All tongue-in-cheek, of course.

I’m maintaining a spreadsheet so I know exactly what I’ve spent, where I’ve marketed, what I’ve uploaded, etc. I’m sharing this spreadsheet because I believe in iteration. I’m certain there are many of you who are better marketers than me. You’ve been at it longer, or it’s closer to your day job responsibilities, or you’re just not as shy as I am from the get-go.

Paying it forward

I’m also collecting useful links with my Delicious bookmarks. It’s a small list right now. With your help, we could make an awesome collection of links for authors trying to self-publish, market, etc. Whenever you see something I should link, send me a tweet or leave a comment.

And now, it’s time for Miss Worderella to go to sleep.

A Micropress, a Vlog Campaign, a Contest

It’s been a busy week in Worderella World. I haven’t done much writing because I’ve been busy setting up my micropress, which I finally named Bright Bird Press. I like it; it feels good. I set up the website the other night with WordPress and threw up a fairly nice theme to hold me over until I have time to design one or find something better.

Vlog Campaign

I’m also starting a mini-vlog campaign series a la The Vlog Brothers, Meggin Cabot, and Zoe Winters. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, but with grad school taking up so much time, I didn’t have the resources. Now I have the resources, and I feel like a total copycat because Zoe released her videos a week ago. She made the great point that we’ll have different topics and styles, so I shouldn’t feel like a copycat, but I do anyway.

This weekend I’m going to make my first one-minute video, so look forward to that. It should be pretty fun. I’m having one of my friends help me out with the script and stuff because when I try to be funny, I’m so very not funny, and when I say whatever pops into my head, I’m hilarious, apparently.

An experiment

I tried out a free press release website to announce the re-branding/second edition of my first book, Catching the Rose. If you’d like to win a free copy, comment on this entry about who you are and why you’re following my blog in particular.

I will pick two winners to receive a coupon code to receive Catching the Rose for free. Everyone else who comments will receive a coupon code to receive the book for a dollar, if you so choose. So make sure you submit a valid email address!

So this weekend will be dedicated to working on the video, as well as writing the next couple of chapters to make up for the lack of writing this week. I’m pretty excited. Things are definitely ramping up.