Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Random Tips from PNWA 17

PNWA  Conference -- Part 2

I taught a class at the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association Conference, something I've been jonesing to do for years.
The class was called Survival Kit for Your Virgin Year - Tips for First-Time Authors.

Aside from having to speak in a microphone and stand at a podium (which I find terribly impersonal) it went well. OK, my new retainer thing in my mouth kept making me salivate and was distracting, and then there was that time I sneezed and it almost flew out on the stage, but I tried to rattle off as much info as possible in 90 minutes. People stayed and listened. I promised to send them my free KDP Select manual if they emailed me. Many did and I've sent it out to a bunch of new friends.

Here's the gist of what was said at the talk, for those who missed it:

You've written your book. Now what?

For self-pubbed authors...

1.       Cover-- Must catch the eye, be suitable for the genre, look professional, Kindle Cover Creator works too if you can’t spend money on a professional photo from Stock Photos, Dreamstime etc. Standards must be used to upload a photo. Professional cover creators charge from $100 and up, depending on the cost of photos. Find covers you like and email the author, or tweet message to ask who did the cover.

2.       Formatting-- Have it done professionally if you’re not sure.  Follow standards – 12 point, margins etc. At the beginning of your document, be sure to include Title page, Copyright page, Dedication, and anything else you’d like the reader to see before beginning the story. Remember Epages are free. At the end include Acknowledgements, Referral to web pages etc. Some writers put reader guides for bookclubs, some recipes, photos.

3.       Title – Must be catchy and genre appropriate, Use popular keywords in subtitle to aid in visibility, The title must be larger than your name until you have a readership. Font is important to genre.

4.       Content – Make sure you have a catchy beginning and keep the pace snappy. Imagine a contest submission for the first ten pages, then thirty etc. Use beta readers before you publish and listen to their comments, especially if several have the same criticism, Follow advice on how to write a compelling novel. Writing a good strong story without typos and problems is your best defense against fading into obscurity. Use a pro editor if you can afford one.

5.     Keywords and Categories – Amazon Keywords can make or break a novel, Make sure you have the ones that will put your book in front of readers, Learn how to request a unique category to boost sales.

6.     Promo – Free Days on Select, $0.99 Promos, Kindle Matchbook, Kindle Countdown Deals, Online ads, Some promos and sites are better than others for visibility.

FOR ALL AUTHORS--Self-Pubbed or Traditional

7.       Reviews – Must get reviews right out of the gate. Encourage friends and strangers to write you a brief review. Manage the review section of Amazon by engaging readers. (I thank every reviewer but don't comment on bad reviews!)

8.     Social Media – Pick two and do them well. Facebook has a wealth of groups you can join, use for promo, Photos! Make an Author Page and get likes, Pinterest is up and coming with a large female following, Twitter is a great way to spread the word. Follow back. Brand yourself.

9.     Friends – How to use your friends and family to get the word out without looking like a leech. Refer them to a blog on how to write you an honest review. Tell them you have a goal of 20 reviews by Month’s End. Use friends to find appropriate readers, share on Facebook, Give them a free copy to pass on.

1       Stamina – Pace yourself because you’re in this for the long run, Take short social media breaks, Keep writing, Set a 5 year plan with goals to release new books, Write short stories to promote your novels and give you a break from the full length commitment, Have short stories feed into the more expensive novels. Make them perma free, Accept the disappointments as challenges and keep going.

I have a manual on advertising and where to put money to have successful promotions on Amazon KDP Select. The booklet includes over 50 sites for free and cheap ads when you have a promotion and saves the author over 20 hours of searching for ad sites. email me for the manual and I'll send it.

Random tips

Create a great bio on Amazon's Author Central and link everything to social media
Mail Chimp for author newsletters
Don't include last names in acknowledgements or they may not be able to review
Start a group blog like this
Share readers with other similar writers- band together!
Always ask readers to sign up for your newsletter, collect readers like they are gold!
Have a pro author photo taken
I thank all reviewers bad or good to create engagement on Amazon
Ignore Goodreads reviews because their star system is brutal
Take out ads! Promo the heck out of your book like it's the best read since Harry Potter!!!

Email me for the KDP guide at kim hornsby @ yahoo .com (no spaces)

Go Get'em, Virgin!

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

PNWA 2017 Was Awesome! -Part 1

I just got home from attending the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association Conference in SeaTac this weekend and man, I'm on information overload!
I took in way too much for the size and age of my brain. It may blow up. I'm staying outside just in case things get messy if I explode.

Web page for the Conference

I was not exactly attending the con every day but was helping authors with pitches Thursday night, doing the book fair Friday night, and was officially at the Con all day Saturday beginning with an 8 AM class with beautifully eloquent Laurie McLean of FUSE Literary.

Let's start there, shall we?

Laurie McLean must've been up since 4 AM because she was so awake and spot on, and informative, it made me feel like a front row sloth on NyQuil. I managed to take some strange notes and the following is from my chicken scratch...

- Print is not necessarily on the rise, ebooks rule and are still on the rise.
-Think about marketing towards the phone generation who are getting older and do everything on the phone.
-Audio are still subsidiary rights for authors
-Do something different like alternate endings or a YA version of your thriller, keep current of what can be done for an eBook.
-Do a Goodreads Giveaway for your ebook
-Podcasting is popular now! Get a youtube channel
-Book Baby is like KDP
-Book Scanner has something to do with checking ranking (cryptic notes)
-It is possible an agent will rep an audio book only-kind of a new idea that Laurie might have invented.
-ACX - you can do a royalty flip or one time fee to the narrator
-Do Facebook Live events everywhere you go that's interesting!
-Submit your book to agents who rep book to film deals
-Don't forget merchandising rights to all things connected to your book. eg) create a line of clothes or jams, or toy swords etc
-Word Press looks like a web site but is a blog and it's free
-Follow Bestselling authors who write better than you in your genre and comment on Twitter and FB
-Laurie McLean is a wealth of info, from a tech background as well as literary and says this publishing biz is a revolution that didn't change for decades and now changes drastically every week! Keep up with the changes, author.
Being repped by FUSE must be awesome!

Next, I went to Social Media Marketing with Lisa Dawn of The Wild Rose Press
She knows a ton of stuff and was really well-spoken!

-Social Media most effective Wednesdays and weekends
-Create a community who think you're great and want to be like you
-Have your brand and tag on EVERYTHING
-Have FB cover reveal parties, rafflecopter giveaways, invite co-host authors, give them 15 minutes at the party to talk, promote, ask them to invite 200 followers, Invite people from events you attended. Time your party with your preordering release day
-Twitter parties are frenetic, be ready, create a hashtag, 7-9 Eastern time is best to grab everyone.
-Give away Amazon gift cards, have co-hosts
-Pinterest is a place to find new people you'd never have access to otherwise.
-Make boards for your books
-Pin your covers directly from Amazon, not your jpeg
-Boosting FB ads works great when you customize who will see it
-Have key words in profile to link back to your books
-Posting tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, is content management. Roundteam does auto posting so you can do all your posting one day a week.
-Twitter - Go to to clean out your twitter.
-Post bits of dialogue on Twitter.
-Make memes with Pic Monkey to sneak more info and words in first glance
-Thunderclap an event, launch or do -- one big tweet at once
-Search Engine Optimization- Use keywords for spiders to find your book
-All bios must use good keywords for the spiders to find you
-Change out your KDP 7 keywords every few weeks.

At this point I had lunch, talked a lot, needed to look at my notes about Surviving your First Year of being Published and then taught the class.
Tomorrow's blog will be about the talk I gave called How to Survive Your Virgin Year.
Stay tuned! Or sign up for my blog notification and you'll get an email when I upload blogs.

I heard such amazing stuff on all the talks and wish I'd had the opportunity to sit in more. Next year, I will. Never again will I hold off on registration for a highly recommended event just because it's in the middle of summer which is my most cherished and guarded time all year.

The conference next year is September!! Can't wait.

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes books about women in dire circumstances rescuing themselves.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Young Wild - A Band to Watch

Do you ever hear a song and it touches you deep down, somewhere so close to the heart of you that you almost cry when you hear it? This happens to me every few years and rarely has to do with the lyrics, although well-written lyrics help. Chandelier by Cia was such a song, Salisbury Hill by Peter Gabriel another.
This connection to emotion may be because I have been a musician in my life, worked as a singer in bands, wrote music, have been involved in producing music, was a studio jingle singer and appreciate all that goes in to a good song, but I don't think so.
It's more than just diggin' a great song. It's a connection to an emotion that is beyond explanation for this writer. Music has the ability to touch me so profoundly that today I'm writing a blog about one particular song--  In The Wild.

When I first gave The Young Wild--a San Diego band -- a listen years ago, I knew they had something. They are very good at what they do and getting better every year. Bryan B William is one talented musician and over the last decade has grown to being ready for national attention and beyond. William  has written stacks of music. Each time I hear a new song, I like what they are doing more and more.
So much so that I want to write a screenplay around the video for -- In the Wild.
If you click on the YouTube link above, you'll see a music video that appears to be behind the final credits of a movie. The credits roll on and on, indicating a huge film with an epic cast and crew. It's all fake.
William, not only a gorgeous guitar player, is a film maker and staged this video to look like final credits. It fooled me when I first saw it and I went on to Google my head off looking for the movie attached to this song. The mystery of what the movie is all about is enticing, along with the musicality of the track running behind the credits. Then I heard that there was no movie. (Not yet, anyhow.)
The work that went in to staging the music video of In the Wild is worth national attention beyond the fact that the song could be playing on every radio station all over the world and soaring to the top of the charts. In the Wild has mainstream appeal, a simple melody and chant that will appeal to everyone who likes to sing along to the music in their car, or while exercising. In the Wild
Their title track from their recently released EP All the Luck, is just as engaging with their signature guitar riff that makes you want to play the air guitar along with Bryan B. William.

William also made a short film series called You've Seen This Before, We Know,  about struggling as a musician in Los Angeles, marketing, playing the promo game. It's hilarious and  features a marketing team that suggests they call themselves The Baby Wild and has Bryan holding a cigarette 24/7 as part of a branding/image idea, like he's measuring how little he cares about playing the LA game.
Funny stuff. Clever and suggestive of talent and creativity.
Did Maroon 5 start out this way? I wonder.

The Young Wild plays what they call 80's alternative music and features Bryan B. William on vocals and guitar, Vanessa Nelson on vocals, Gareth Moore on bass, and Brandon Zedaker on drums. Last summer they released their debut EP - All the Luck --  featuring production by Kevin Augunas (The Lumineers)
Having opened for Blink 182 on tour, you'd think they'd be a musical household name by now but not quite.

Give them a listen, see if you agree with me on the band's potential to go places fast...

For sale or listen on iTunes

Check them out on Facebook

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes Suspense books. Kim has loads of opinions on all kinds of stuff and writes blogs so she doesn't get herself in trouble saying all this out loud. Her Bestselling Series Dream Jumper is currently being optioned for film.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Quick Tips for Writing Your First Screenplay

I just wrote my first screenplay from one of my novels and in some ways it was easier than I thought it would be. But, keep in mind that no one has told me yet they want to buy it, develop it, and make it into a major motion picture so I could be fooling myself into thinking that my screenplay is worth anything.
What made it fun is that I adapted my novel to a 100 page script. That means that I knew the story inside out, knew the characters (especially because I wrote 5 books with the same two people at the heart of each story) and I was deeply familiar with what drove the story forward.

Here's what I learned about adapting a novel to a screenplay, in point form because we are all busy people!


- Read all the books on how to write a screenplay, including Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- Read them again, make notes
- Read 10 screenplays that are similar to what you are writing
- Watch movies to see how sparse the dialogue actually is
- Without re-reading your novel, write down the ten key scenes that MUST be in the movie
- If your book doesn't begin with a scene that grabs an audience and sets the tone of the whole movie, write one.
- Buy a set of index cards and figure out 50 ish scenes for your story. Put them in order.
- Combine scenes to end with 40 ish scenes (You can do it!)
- Make sure you follow the 15 Beats that Blake Snyder suggests and hit the marks at appropriate page numbers. eg) page 5 mention the heart of the whole story
-Start scenes as late as you can, finish early.
- Feel free to move scenes around to create a better flow.
- Buy Final Draft software so you can write this thing in the proper format ($200)
- Start writing scenes. Keep it lean. Imagine the big screen.
- Avoid wrylies, slug lines must be capitalized, don't give actors direction, don't mention camera angles or music.
- Keep it around 100 pages for a spec screenplay - movie people get bored easily.
- Re-read it 20 times for typos, dialogue problems. Tighten the action lines.
- Assume the director and actors will read the book to get the gist of the story/characters
- Print it according to specifications if you're sending it out.

I'm at the point where I have read mine 20 times but I'm still finding typos. eg) knarly is spelled gnarly.
And, I'm seriously considering using a company that does script consultations seeing this is my first screenplay and my books are being optioned and the film company asked me to write the spec screenplays. (they have faith in me- yikes!)

Good luck with your screenplay and if you are a novelist, remember that you are already a writer and now you just have to edit the thing down to almost nothing, like reducing a sauce on the stove to make it less watery and more flavorful.

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist who lives in the Seattle area and writes books about women in dire circumstances rescuing themselves.