Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Author Katherine Petentler and book Polarbe’s Hibernation


Comments in blocks [ ] are my own rather than ( ) citations.


Author Katherine Petentler is eagerly awaiting her debut book, slated to be released through her website  and Kindle on December 5, 2014! Polarbe’s Hibernation, a children’s fiction book, is currently available for pre-order, so if you’d like to receive this fun and magical children’s book before Christmas, get it pre-ordered! The first 100 people to pre-order the hardcopy will get copies signed by author and illustrator!

Katherine is a full-time writer and stay at home mom of one daughter and a beautiful little dog. Polarbe’s Hibernation was inspired by a dream Katherine had after watching Madagascar 3 with her daughter. It’s a story about a polar bear cub who is afraid of the dark, and a tale about friendship and bravery, and how we sometimes actually create the things we are afraid of!

She wishes that her book will help children feel safe in opening up to their parents about their fear of the dark (or fears in general), and that kids might be able to discover the truth behind what’s scary to them. She also hopes it will encourage kids to admit when they’re scared, that it’s okay to say that something is scaring you, and that it will help kids discover the strength within to be brave!

Katherine and her illustrator currently have a few more works in progress. She’s also writing a novel for NaNoWriMo, some fairy tales, and a series based on Greek Mythology. You can find her at her website, on Bookbzz, Twitter , @kapetentler like her Facebook page: , and visit her Amazon author page at .

[Congratulations on your new release Katherine! I know how it feels when you finally go live!]


**Disclaimer: this is not an endorsement of the book in question as I haven’t read it, so I can’t vouch for its contents.**

Book Trailers

I've noticed quite a bit since my Twitter experience just began that a lot of authors are using book trailers. The idea, I imagine, stemmed from the traditional movie trailers used to showcase movies in theaters and television. It works for movies, why not for books?

With this in mind, I employed the help of my 19 year old daughter (also my illustrator for two of my books) and we came up with a plan. First of all, I decided that I most definately did NOT want to sit in front of a camera and try to talk about my books. After all, I've just recovered from cancer. My hair is only about seven inches long. I lost all my bottom teeth to cancer, and so cannot wear my top denture until I can afford to get a bottom one. My skin is dry and flaky in places.

My daughter had used PowerPoint to make slideshows frequently for school projects. PowerPoint came with my brand, spanking-new Microsoft Office 365 that I purchased to publish with (and that I'm still learning to use!), so we started messing around with tiles and trying to be creative. There were different animations for slide transitions, even animations for text lines. Each transition is adjustable to duration and timing. We spent several hours over the course of a few days working on this.

The end result was, in my humble opinion, so well-done that I plan to run them on the laptop during my upcoming book signing at my local Hastings bookstore. I also managed to get them uploaded to YouTube (I got a lunch of junk food from McDonald's while borrowing their high-speed wifi signal!) so that I can link to them. Today I added them to the 'link' list at the top right of my blog pages. I'd appreciate any comments on them if you'd care to watch them. Since most of my "interneting' is done through my phone, I can watch them, but often my signal strength is poor and I'm not sure I'm seeing the video at the proper speed.

Will it make a difference in sales? Only time will tell. But I'll tell you this: I intend to do the same for my two upcoming novels (due out next year) well BEFORE my release date. Possibly this will increase interest. So, it's just another lesson I'm trying to learn in the WWM: the Wide World of Marketing!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Author Mistral Dawn and book Taken by the Huntsman

Featured Author Blog Post-Mistral Dawn and Book Taken By The Huntsman


Mistral is a 30-something year old independent author who is currently living in the SE United States with her cats. When she isn’t writing, she works in a hospital and with a cat rescue group. She says, “Please, spay and neuter your pets,” which I whole-heartedly agree with! She’s also attending graduate school, so the fact that she’s published a book with everything else in her busy life is amazing!

She says the inspiration for her book, Taken by the Huntsman (a fantasy/romance) came to her in a dream after a quite spirited debate with a friend over politics, the “nature of consent”, and other volatile issues. The book was released in September of 2014, and is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Google play. She classifies it as 18+ for mature subject matter.

Taken by the Huntsman introduces the nature of consent as well as other questions about right and wrong. She doesn’t intend to browbeat the reader, but instead make them thing about and question their own views. She wants the reader to have that “Hmmm” moment after reading her book.

The cover art was illustrated by Erin Dameron-Hill. Taken by the Huntsman is a romantic fantasy. “Discarded and ignored by those around her for most of her life, Cassie is a lonely human woman struggling to find her place in the world and meaning in her life. Cadeyrn is the Erlking, the leader of the Wild Hunt, a hundreds of thousands of years old Fae who has always known his purpose. He has spent his entire long existence tracking the criminals of Fairie and punishing them for their crimes.

“While hunting for the murderer of a child who has escaped to Earth Cadeyrn comes across Cassie and realizes that she is the one that the great mother goddess has designated as his soul mate. He kidnaps her and takes her to his fortress in Fairie to protect her from his many enemies. He knows she will be angry and that he’ll have to work to earn her trust, but he finds his task to be even more challenging that he had thought it would be due to Cassie’s difficulty in opening her heart. Will Caderyn be able to convince Cassie that the bond between them is real and earn her love?” ∞∞ Quoted from listing on Amazon.

Taken by the Huntsman is currently rated at 4.8* at Amazon. One reviewer says: “Can’t wait to see what comes next from Mistral Dawn! I loved how this story utilized mythological creatures… …to create a romance story that keeps the reader… …wanting more.” Lalo writes: “This story reminded me of fairy tales I read as a child, except the love scenes are…pretty hot. The story is beautiful.”

“A lively, inventive story. Adult enough for the erotic moments to be engaging but still with a touch of whimsical magic…” says Robert Clevidence.

And yes, if this is interesting to you, she’s already writing the sequel to Taken by the Huntsman which she hopes will eventually become a series! So keep in touch and find out what she might come up with next! This will be the story of Uaine, the Fairie’s Summer Court prince, and Veronica who is a human petty thief and con artist. These characters are united by a magical bond created by Fairie’s great mother goddess. The first chapter is posted on her Facebook page.

Mistral can be found on Twitter at and on Facebook at Her author page at Amazon is . She’s also at:
Microserpt: http://bit.ly1w2Hsxp
Easychairbookshop: http://it.ly1o8cNjw
Pinterest: .


You can find Taken by the Huntsman on:
Amazon UK:
Barnes and Noble
Google Play: .


**Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of any of the subject material, as I have not read the book, and cannot vouch for its contents.**

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Author: Gabriel Agbo and book Power of Midnight Prayer

Pastor Gabriel Agbo is a journalist, newspaper columnist, and Christian author living in Nigeria, on the continent of Africa. He has published 8 books in the genre of non-fiction, religion and spirituality, and continues to write. He’s an independently published author and his books are available through Amazon and iTunes.

His latest book, Power of Midnight Prayer, came out in 2012 and is currently rated 5*****. He describes it as “will certainly be one of the most comprehensive and most powerful books written on spiritual warfare.” His inspiration for the book comes from his life experience as well as testimonials, confessions, and a “careful study of the word of God.”

The premise of the book says that there is incredible power in prayers done between the hours of 11:00pm and 3:00am. It also covers other “explosive topics like wrestling with God, binding and loosing, smashing the gates, open doors, whole armor of God, gates of heaven and gates of hell.” There are 333 pages and 21 chapters to this book.

Amazon reviewers are saying: “Phenomenal. I have studied about the importance of midnight prayer and have actually prayed at midnight with absolute results to answered prayers…” by Britt. Kevin states, “Excellent and really enlightening. I’ve really enjoyed this book as it lays out biblically the reasons to pray in the midnight hour. Rev. Agbo takes the time to outline the relationship of persistent midnight prayer and spiritual warfare very simply and yet powerfully.”

Other books by Gabriel include Breaking Generational Curses-Claiming Your Freedom, War Against Occultism, Witchcraft, and False Religion, Double Honour and Double Honour Volume 2, and Breaking Generational Curses Volume 2. All of these are currently available at Amazon.

To find Power of Midnight Prayer on Amazon: . And to find it on iTunes: . While you’re there, check out his other books as well! And keep checking back to find out if he’s written more! You can also check out his website:


**Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of any of the subject material, as I have not read these books, and I cannot vouch for their contents.**

Author Blog Interview Exchange

Short post today, mostly to introduce something that I think will help give indie authors more exposure! I propose a blog interview exchange. I'll interview an author for my blog, with links to their book and any social media they might like, if they'll do the same. When I post their interview, I'll share it with all my social media, as well as email them a link to my post that they can share wherever they'd like. Hopefully, once this gets going, it will help other indie authors get more exposure (and me as well, when they reciprocate).

The new second page on my blog has the list of questions, as well as a link to email directly to me. It should be easy enough to copy and paste the questions into an email, and fill in the answers. If anyone is interested in being interviewed, please let me know! This is a good way that we can all help each other, and it shouldn't take but a few moments of our time!
 Something I forgot to mention! ***Your email address will be absolutely sacred to me!!*** I won't sell it or otherwise give it to anyone besides myself. If you'd like me to contact you periodically when I have new releases out, I can do that if you give permission. Otherwise, you'll only receive the email with my blog post link.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

E-Book Formatting

There's a huge difference between formatting a manuscript for a print book, and doing so for an e-reader platform. Though I don't claim to be an expert on this matter, I'd like to share some insights. Most of this I learned from the Kindle book Smashwords' Style Guide by Mark Coker, which you can find for free in the Kindle store. It was a really big help and easy to use, even including screen shots of particular important points. Keep in mind, however, this style guide talks about Microsoft Word no later than 2007, so if you're using a newer version, some features may be different.

So, first things first. Turn off ALL autoformatting features in your word processor. It will only cause you headaches down the line (and possibly show up on some devices with wildly different font styles or sizes that you couldn't see in your original manuscript on the screen). There's even a method to clear any existing formatting which can be particularly helpful. See the style guide and you'll see what I mean.
 Next, you need to remove any page breaks you may have inserted. In a print version, you need these to show where a new chapter (or page if you're OCD about it) will begin. Using these can reduce frustration when uploading for print at places like CreateSpace. But in an e-book, you don't need to have so much empty space, as it will sometimes show up as a blank page or two. You really only need a line or two to separate the end of the last chapter from the beginning of the next.

You'll also want to eliminate the tabs at the beginning of new paragraphs, and embed this in your formatting instead. The style guide goes step-by-step through this process, so that you'll automatically have a "first line indent" any time you hit the return key. If, for some reason, you don't want the next line to have an indent, you can hit enter and shift together; you'll get a line return but no indentation. To help you see these, turn on the hide/show formatting tab (looks like the symbol for a paragraph, a backwards P with a line through it). This will show you paragraph returns, bullets, and tabs (a horizontal arrow going from left to right--->).
 Finally, you'll want to hyperlink to your chapters from a table of contents, EVEN for a fiction story. This allows the reader to bounce back and forth just like they might in a paper book. Smashwords' style guide says NOT to use an automatic table of contents, as this doesn't turn out well with their conversion software. Instead, Mr. Coker walks you through doing it yourself, and it's really not so hard.

A few other things to keep in mind. Some font styles and types don't translate well through the wide spectrum of e-reader platforms. What might look awesome on a Nook looks terrible on Kindle (or vice versa). So stick with the more common styles like NewTimesRoman or Courier. And your font size shoukd be around 10 or 12pt; it doesn't matter much since the reader can adjust the font size on their device. Also, symbols don't tend to translate well. © might turn out being just a box on some devices! So spell out 'copyright' instead, it means the same thing. The adage "keep it simple, stupid" really does apply!

Thanks to Mark Coker for writing such a wonderful guide, one that's easy even for computer "dummies" like me to understand! The screenshots help a bunch! And thank you, Smashwords, for providing a wonderful service for indie authors! You'll always be my FIRST publisher! Check out Smashwords here if you're interested in publishing with them.

Promotional Sites

I've spent a lot of time the past couple of days looking in to several different indie author promotion pages, and I'd like to share some of these with others out there.

The first one I posted on about a week or so ago is the Wise Grey Owl site. Now this one is based in the UK, so it would be most beneficial to authors who have books available to customers in that area. Listing books is free, though they do accept donations and paid ads.

I'm now a member at OurAwesomeGang, thanks to a tweet of theirs I saw on Twitter. They are a free promotional site as well, and they also provide an author interview platform and lists of other free sites. They're on Facebook as well, with two groups to choose from. They also give away promotional ad spaces.

Today I posted on Readers Gazette website, another I found on Twitter. It's free to list books, plus they have a special place for book bargains, you can create quizzes from your listings, puzzle games that you can create for your website, and you can link your blog to it. They also send out newsletters, and have a Facebook page as well. You can also upload works in progress and get feedback. They don't accept any erotica.
 And last, but not least, is the Masquerade Crew with their tweet exchange. Simply tweet another author's post from their site, copy the tweet URL, fill out a very simple form, and get tweeted in return. I think the ratio is 1:5; one tweet nets you five over all their Twitter accounts. They have paid tweets as well, so if you're doing the tweet exchange, don't expect the return tweets immediately (in other words, don't try it the day before a special price promotion on your book), but they will eventually get to them.

There were other sites listed at OurAwesomeGang, and I hope to check into them some more and maybe post a follow up to this one. Hopefully, this might help some other "starving authors" out there. After all, the old adage "you have to spend money to make money" is just as true for selling books as for anything else! But many of us don't have the extra money to spend when we first start out. So sites like this are very welcome in our world!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Social Networking Manners

Is there such a thing? Well if not, there should be! For example, before I published, I had a private Facebook page to keep in touch with family and friends. And my sister-in-law created a leukemia page when I was sick: a single place where I (or she and my husband when I wasn't able) could place a single update post and reach pretty much everyone I wanted to. But of course we all know how to conduct ourselves on our 'personal' pages!

After I published, I decided I needed to market in as many different social media places as I could manage, as a way of reaching out to a wider audience. My first step was the creation of a public Facebook fan page, moving on to Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. By far, my biggest growth to date has been on Twitter, so most of this post will be referring to that social outlet, but the tips on manners are good no matter what you're using.

At first, I'd intended Twitter to be used exclusively to advertise. Of course, I've now found some friends there that I might not have found otherwise. But I've definately learned one thing that rings true: quid pro quo. When someone follows us on Twitter, a large percentage of us will feel obligated to follow back. These are the people you want in your following, not accounts you can 'buy' which are often bots or bogus accounts. Often the same can be found with retweets. So you see quid pro quo. In other words, if you see me tweet another author's book, it could mean a couple things. Either I thought someone in my following would benefit/enjoy it, or that author has at some point in time helped me with a retweet. Same goes when I find new authors with Facebook pages. I'll like their page and ask them to like mine in return. The same could be true of blogs as well.

And beyond following or retweeting for others who may have done so for you, don't forget to engage with your following. Though at this point in my professional life, I can't afford to pay someone to tweet for me, I do utilize the app Justunfollow that allows me to send a thank you message to people who follow me when I'm busy or asleep (among other features). I have several different automated DM messages preprogrammed. If the same person repeatedly retweets for you, thank them and try to engage them in a real conversation. Same goes for any who might comment on your Facebook page or blog. They took the time to write TO YOU; extend them the same courtesy, even if all you have to say is thanks! And if you notice someone retweets for the first time for you, try to send them a quick thank you tweet or tell them you appreciate the help. Everyone likes to know they're appreciated. And if you have another author (or person in whatever business you're in) who helps you regularly, ask if you can do something to help them. 9 times out of 10, they'll likely say no, but you made the effort and that's positive feedback.

So, keep in mind that social media, though an excellent means of advertising, isn't just a one-way street. Put yourself in another's shoes for a moment. We've probably all seen someone who tweets/posts the same thing (or two) repeatedly. After a while, we've pretty well memorized their post so our eyes will just skip over it whenever we see their name. Being that person will likely bring in a big fat zero for sales. Being a presence that's known to actually INTERACT with others will, if nothing else, make people take an extra moment to see what you're saying. And that interaction could potentially add to your sales!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Day of Rest?

Indie authors really can't take a 'day of rest'. Any day that we don't spend at least some time marketing our books can hurt us. Since we don't have the marketing budgets of big publishing houses, we have to make due with what we have available.

But we have to learn how to balance our full time job as writers with our full time job as marketing director. Sometimes we get so tied up with marketing that we forget to write! So maybe we need to set up specific schedules to do these two jobs, sparate from each other. Use the calendar on your computer or phone to set up reminders. Of course, if you are writing and the creative juices are really flowing, it's not a good idea to stop right then. So, allow yourself another 15 minutes to get to the end of what you're currently working on.

Sales of my books are less than I was expecting at this point in time. I was starting to get a little disappointed. But in talking to other authors, I realize that sales are low all across the board. In fact, one author's advice from her publisher was golden: "Don't worry about sales for the time being, just do what you love and keep writing!" Thank you,  Rachel Stiber!