Saturday, April 27, 2013

On Track Writing

In an earlier blog post, I discussed marketing strategies. But what do you do about staying on track for releasing your stories?

I have been bad about that. Very bad, really. Until recently. 


I have developed an excel spreadsheet that tracks my progress through my novel. For example, if I wanted to write 50,000 words in 60 days, I would need to write 833.33 words each day. I find that I work better with a daily goal that is attainable. How about you?

I have also taken this one step further and made a chart of it. So now when I enter my daily word written amount, it posts my progress and lets me know if I am ahead or behind of my target goal.

Now, some of you may have already known about this nifty idea but it didn't come to me until I realized I wasn't making as much headway as I wanted to with my work in progress. I liken this to when you sit down and put a budget down to your finances. It becomes an eye opener. And then it becomes a goal tracker. 


So what do you do to keep your writing on track? 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Golden Nugget Within the Family


Holding a piece of fragile history, I held the torn and scarred book affectionately. Written by my grandmother’s uncle and published in 1930, my pulse races as I am enraptured by the significance of what I hold in my hands.

My hands shake as I gently turn the fragile pages lined with typed words. Not computerized where if you had an error all it took was a touch of a backspace key but typed by an old fashion type writer. Hours upon hours of typing and rewrites. 

Truly a treasure.  

Here is a look at the story behind the story. 

Walter E. Taylor, my great-great uncle, penned a story titled: THE KNIGHT OF THE DIXIE WILDS. The tale is about the Texas Reconstruction after the American Civil War was over and all the challenges and changes they faced in direct regards to their lives.

Walter E. Taylor was a lawyer in Lubbock, Texas and lived through this time period. In the pictures you will see below you will see a hand written note inside the book. His Law Office and where he kept the majority of his books caught on fire and he was only able to salvage one with some damage to it. I am sure there are other books out there in America and I wonder who has it and did the story touch them? 

Interestingly enough it was published by:
Meador Publishing Company
27 Beach Street
Boston, Massachusetts

Hmmmm, and now his great-great-niece, K. Meador, has penned a story of her own about the American Civil War. Do you believe in coincidences? I don’t either. In fact, at this point I would think that God has a great sense of humor. I didn’t know this book existed until yesterday, April 19,2012, some 82 years later!



                                                                  






Thursday, April 18, 2013

Part Two: Let's Talk Research

Hiya Folks,

Me, again, here to talk about my book Journey to Freedom in a series of Blog posts. In case you missed Let's Talk: Part One click here to go read it! :) Resourceful, yes? Yes. :)

So without further ado lets get on with Let's Talk: Part Two which is all about research!  I have been asked about the research I had to do for this historical novel and can you imagine that I have actually had people say that I probably didn't have to do much research. Wow, yes that floored me too.

What are the topics that I had to research?

  1. Medicine in the 1800's
  2. Herbs used for said medicine
  3. Sanitary conditions
  4. Slavery
  5. Slave Auctions
  6. Geography
  7. Underground railroad
  8. How cabins were built
  9. How ships were utilized in the Civil War
  10. Indian lifestyles
  11. Indian torture techniques
  12. Piracy
  13. Spirituality
  14. Inter-racial relationships 

And with all of this research, I still made some mistakes in the historical genre. One of the mistakes I was able to fix in the e-book edition but I still have the error in the printed book until I sell the ones I currently have. It will be fixed in the second printing of Journey to Freedom. The mistake was aspirin used for fever when in reality it was a herbal remedy that was used during that time.

Because this book travels, I also used modern day states as a reference even though at that time many of the states weren't defined. I stretched this just to be able to keep the reader up to date of where the characters were. I had one reader who didn't like this.

How about an excerpt from Journey to Freedom?

Back at the village, Greggory was telling the chief, “White men came to my tribe. They spoke to us about relocation. Nobody wanted to go, but I realize now they weren’t given a choice. We were taken many days’ walk from the village to a white man’s town. Many of the old ones and the babies died on the trip. We were given little to drink and even less to eat. There were many other tribes there. It was like it was a huge collection area of us.

“We were taken to a big building where we were to wait ‘til morning. There we sang songs and prayed to our gods to keep us safe. The next morning, in the chaos, I escaped. I was ten years old, and I was not going to be made to move from the only area I knew. I survived for two years on my own, and then I was captured when I was found sleeping in one of the plantation owners’ barns. I was taken to the nearest town and was chained in a building with many others.

“The next morning we were given water and were made to line up. Many men came to look at us like they would if they were buying a horse. They commanded us to do various things, but I was defiant of their wishes. One man got angry and shouted, but I still did not give in. The next thing I knew, he struck me across the face. I leapt at him. A man had come up behind me with a whip while the other man was yelling at me, and when I had leapt at the man, he struck me with the whip.

“The man left, and one by one I saw the men, women, and children around me start to disappear. I heard a large crowd outside but did not understand what was going on. I heard the cries of babies, and still I was confused. And then it was my turn. I was led up on a big, wooden deck. My hands and legs were bound in chains. Then a man started talking very fast. When he stopped talking, the man that had struck my face earlier came to me, grabbing me roughly. He almost threw me down the stairs. The man took me to a wagon and tied me to the back of it. I walked while he and the others rode. I later learned that he called us slaves, and I was supposed to be his. I did his work because I had no choice. Whipping was what I received more than once for not obeying. They would not let me practice any of my Indian ceremonies. When I tried, they used the whip on me. 

“I only stayed because I was a boy; I did not know anything, but as a man, I have found escape and am determined to reach freedom.”
****

Thank you for taking the time to visit and learn a bit about the story behind Journey to Freedom. Please visit my website to see more about me and my books. 

Click here to purchase from Amazon





Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy Marketing!

What do you do for marketing? Do you have a strategy? Or is it a hit or miss kind of deal? After getting my bachelor’s degree in business and working in management where numbers matter, I don’t rely on the hit or miss strategy. I need a plan. I need a solid plan.

So for the past year I have been implementing that plan but have come to realize that I am missing some key points. After some brainstorming and talking with others in the author community – new and seasoned – I came up with a list of items useful for an author.

I will be interested to hear your comments on these so please post below.

1.)    Establish an online presence (platforms)
a.      Facebook – author fan page
b.      Twitter
c.       Linked in
d.      Goodreads
e.      Pinerest
f.        Google plus
g.      Blog
h.      Website
i.        Amazon Central page
j.        Library Thing
k.       Smashwords
l.        Red room
m.    About me
n.      Stumble Upon
o.      Amazon
p.      Barnes and Nobles
q.      And the list goes on.

2.)    Use Multiple Automated Platforms
a.      For example: when you post on linked in, it can post to twitter, which can post to your facebook page. You can also link your Amazon Central page to your blog and to twitter.
b.      Use some kind of buffering tool so you can schedule your posts where you are not spamming your followers. (buffer.com is cheap and easy to use) (another is hootsuite)

3.)    Produce a Quality Product
a.      Professional book cover
b.      Professional editing
                                                              i.      Using friends are okay but nothing beats a professional edit job – and you will have to pay for it. Put that expense in your budget. It is non-negotiable.
c.       Professional book trailers

4.)    Have a web site
a.      Web sites are a passive way of driving people to your books; however, websites make you look more professional and instead of having twenty links to give to someone you can put them all on your website. Mine is www.authorkmeador.com if you would like to take a look at it. It cost me 5$ a month to have this website. I have heard of people using word press or blogger to create their website for free.

5.)    Establish relationships through networking and actually spending time getting to know others.
a.      This is important as other authors will help you market your book as you release them. And you do so for them as well. A win-win proposition.
b.      Collaborate with other local authors to do book signings together.
c.       Attend local events that allow you to set up booths and sell books! If you do this with other authors then split the booth costs. Another win-win proposition.
d.      Attend Book Club meetings in your local area.

6.)    Learn how to write a press release
b.      Send press release to:
                                                              i.      Local newspapers
                                                            ii.      Radio station
                                                          iii.      Television stations
                                                           iv.      National author/book programs
c.       Offer to be interviewed by them by phone or by Skype. Be prepared – ask in advance what questions will be asked. Ask to read a portion of your book on air.
d.      Keep track of who and when you have been interviewed and build your author resume.

7.)    You Tube
a.      Make book trailers of your books
                                                              i.      Don’t know how? Here is a site that charges reasonable prices for book trailers http://www.ccrbookcoverdesign.com


8.)    Local newspapers
a.      Take an ad out
b.      Ask to be interviewed by smaller newspapers

9.)    Know Your Market
a.      How old are they?
b.      What gender?
c.       What age group?
d.      Are they married, single?
e.      Where do they live?
f.        How are they employed?
g.      What do they read?
h.      What else do they read?
i.        What do they watch?
j.        What do they listen to?
k.       What groups do they belong to?
l.        What do they talk about?
m.    Where do they go to pursue their interests?
n.      Who buys their books?
o.      How many books do they read in a year?
p.      Where do they get ideas of what to read next?
q.      What sways them to decide to read one book and not another?
r.       Where do they buy books?
s.       When do they buy books?
t.        What makes them decide to buy a particular book now?
u.      Do they buy collectibles from a website?
v.       Do they attend genre centered talks/seminars?
w.     Do they go to museums?

10.)                        Target your market audience.
a.      Ads on facebook
                                                              i.      Facebook gathers information and collects them into databases with information about each and every person so they have a pretty good idea of who to target.
b.      Make yourself a budget and stick to it.  With whatever form of advertising you choose.
c.       Choose people who will talk about you. J

11.)                        Write about your genre (in general on your blog)
a.      Imagine you are a public speaker at a convention – what would you say? What questions would be asked of you? That is your topics for your blog.
b.      There are all kinds of tricks to writing good articles, study up on it a bit, but they're a snap to write (400-600 words).  And you can take one article, vary it some, and publish again (it has to be different enough to be different, but much can be the same).
c.       Hint:  You must TELL people exactly what you want them to do (and articles CAN'T be sales pitches, so you have to be clever.)    You can't put your website or link on until the end, in the "About the Author" box.  In that space, DON'T put info about you.  On the article, it follows exactly as another paragraph, so say something like, "One historical fiction novel that (does whatever your article is about like: illustrates the manners of the era) is Rosemary Delores's Betsy and the Civil War.  You can learn more about this book and others at _______. 
d.      Article writing does not generate instant sales, it's a slow thing.  But once out there, the article stays virtually forever.  And if you can get links to it, better yet (I don't bother with that). 
12.)           Track your sales
a.      Figure out which month’s sales are better and why; what did you do differently that month?
b.      If you are on Amazon, KDP helps you track sales.
c.       Use Google Analytics to track your visitors to your blog and website.
d.      When doing physical author book signings, keep a sign in book for your visitors, and know the book count you brought and keep tabs on the sales.
13.)           Consider writing a short story or anthology about your full version book and offer it at a reduced cost or free. Advertise your full length novel that it is associated with at the back of the book. If the reader likes your short story/anthology then they will most likely buy your full length novel.
14.)           Some Don’ts
a.      Don’t market to bookstores who no longer buy books from authors.
b.      Don’t forget to look for media in other English-speaking countries.
c.       Don’t forget to network in your local area in addition to your internet social sites you choose.
d.      Don’t get overwhelmed by social media.

I hope these marketing ideas help with making your way in the sea of books that are out there. I know not everyone will agree with all of these ideas and that is okay too. J And if you would like to contribute to these ideas please comment below.
For quick reference:
Affordable Book covers/Book Trailers: http://www.ccrbookcoverdesign.com



Hope this helps! Happy Marketing! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Typing Trials and Texas Tractors

Hi folks,
It's me again and along with me comes an interview done by Ngaire. Click on the link below to see the full interview and an excerpt from my WIP, The Inner Chamber. Hope you had as much fun reading it as I did talking with Ngaire about my books!

Typing Trials and Texas Tractors

Part One: Let's talk beginning

Hi,

Recently, I have been asked about writing my book, Journey to Freedom. Because of this discussion, I decided to bring to you a series of discussions called 'Let's Talk". This will be several posts in the following weeks to answer questions posed to me from reader to author. I hope you will enjoy seeing how Journey to Freedom, Their Journey Begins and Transcendence has developed. If you have read my books and have questions please post in the comments and I will answer them for you.

 One of the questions I have frequently been asked is this:

What led you to write a civil war novel and how in the world did you come up with that story?

Okay, maybe that is two questions in one so even though I didn't feel I had a good answer for that particular reader, just maybe, I can reach out to you with a better one.

The American Civil War is, to me, one of the most important battles in the United States History. A turning point; a division and a joining; of selfishness and giving; harshness and survival. A defining moment for our country. A sad time as the North and South battled.

In my book, I tend to lean toward slavery being the basis of the war, however, it is not actually. Regardless, I wanted a book that would take the slaves point of view and bring it into focus. Their struggles, their prejudices, their triumphs.

I wanted to show the world -- America, in particular -- how good we have it today compared to when our country was young.

I also wanted to address race discrimination and the reality of life. I believe strongly that there were interracial relationships and even interracial marriages back in 1800's. I think these relationships were guarded closely by those who were in acceptance of them. It was very common for men and women to be killed for loving those of a different skin color. But does that ever stop anyone? I don't think so either so I wanted to incorporate that into my book.

So this is the beginning of how Journey to Freedom came about. Part Two: Let's talk research will be coming soon.

In the meantime here is the link to my book Journey to Freedom and if you have already read Journey to Freedom and have any questions please post them and I will incorporate them into a blog article. Thank you for joining to me on Let's talk..



I would love to hear your thoughts; please leave a comment :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Reality Bites

Have you ever wondered what makes you, you? Yes, I have wondered that myself but in searching I found it doesn't really matter anymore. I am the way I am and I wish I could say and truly mean that if you don't like or understand me for being the me that I am then you can put your opinion and actions where the sun don't shine.

Well, I guess I am just going to have a rambling fit here on the blog because this is me. I am the defender of those who won't stand up and defend themselves - even at the risk of cutting my own throat. I am tired of egos that are bigger than the person carrying it deserves. 

And in the case of one particular person at work, who thought he could run over, depreciate, condescend, disrespect, and basically treat my coworkers and I like a big pile of horse manure....well, mrs. righteous, mrs. goodie too shoe as I have often been called stepped up and told that certain person the why's, when's and how's of being a leader and how to behave as a leader and made sure he knew he was in no way, shape or matter leadership material. 

And I still have a job. Imagine that. 

It is the way I am. It is the way I have always been. It is the way I will always been. If you are my family, my friends, then my loyalty is yours. Sometimes sitting quietly, sometimes not, but always belonging to you. 

Which brings me to a new book release that is about to occur called Reality Bites. No kidding! And sometimes....in bad situations, good comes about. I promise you that Reality Bites is one book you don't want to miss out on. 

Reality Bites is a short anthology of twelve stories written by 12 independent authors bringing about hardships and hope. 

Look for it on Amazon as its release date is April 13, 2013. 

And remember, dear friends, stay true to YOU. 


Friday, April 5, 2013

One Year

On April 3, 2012, my first full length novel, Journey to Freedom, hit cyberspace leaving me in a state of panic, bewilderment, awe, and fear. With this first year behind me, it has been a journey to remember.

I went with traditional publishing with Journey to Freedom, and it took many months to bring this book to fruition instead of the indie route that takes much less time but with the same or even better quality. This blog isn't here to compare the pros and cons of traditional vs indie publishing. It is being written as a memoir of an achievement of a dream.

With one year under my belt - well uh-mm - keyboard, I have to say I never thought the blessings that I would receive would be as many as they are.

I have met and befriended other authors on the same journey as I from all around the world; Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, California, Spain, United Kingdom, Greece and Spain. And the best part of all of these people coming together is this: We may all write in different genres but we have come together to sift through the mud and the grub of writing, editing, publishing and marketing.

We have discussed and sometimes cussed this world of books, writing, editing, broadcasting and marketing. We have laughed, supported and encouraged one another. We have read each others books, gave interviews, wrote honest reviews, blogged and introduced others to others.

In short, we have come together as a unique and diverse team with one goal in mind: becoming a successful, published independent author in a market that is flooded with talented and some not so talented authors.

One year has also given me a chance to see how perseverance overcomes each difficulty that we encounter as authors. Authors - such a formal title when all I really see myself as is a writer. A lover of words. A lover of a story. A lover of creativity.

One year  has brought to me a customer base that I hope will come back for my second full length novel, The Inner Chamber due out later in 2013. In addition, a novella is planned for later in the year but for now that will be kept hush hush as I continue to plug along on The Inner Chamber.

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the anthology Their Journey Begins and my poetry book, Transcendence which were published in late 2012.

Thank you my friends, family and fans for making this an exciting, and adventurous first year as a published author.

Published books visit K Meador Amazon Author Central Page

Coming 2013




Coming  December 2013 - a novella that will keep you....