Saturday, March 22, 2014

10 Sites That Every Author Should Know About!

This list was inspired by a few author friends. So I hope you all enjoy it and find it useful!
First, I'll start off by listing the places that you need to catalog your books.
Shelfari is great because not only can you catalog your book, but you can build up the value of sharing your book there by adding fun quotes from your book and facts about your characters. There is also a place to add related tags. Readers can edit your book's listing on Shelfari and add reviews as well as quotes or tags that they think are relevant.
This is probably one of the most important sites you will catalog your book on.
There is also a nice little forum where you can exchange writing advice, swap reviews, and hang out with authors.
Shelfari is fun because it's interactive in a sense, allowing the reader to add things they feel are important.
Goodreads is the other "most important site" to list your book on. You can list your book, add information about it, write a good description (just like the others), but you can also add your book to relevant lists. If there isn't a list that your book fits into, you can always create one.
Like Shelfari, Goodreads also has a forum where you can hang out with authors, exchange writing advice, and swap reviews. Goodreads' forums seem to be a little more active than Shelfari.
Jacketflap is a great little place to list you book, because alongside your description, it also lists places your book is sold as well as the reviews you have received there. You can also add links to any site that has reviewed your books.
You can also share book trailers, readings, and interviews in the video section.
Like the others, you can share the title and description of your book. But on bookdaily, you can also share a first chapter excerpt of your book. This is great, because it gives readers the chance to get hooked.
Bookdaily has a paid option (you don't have to us it), to promote your book to 50,000 readers for about $47 USD. This could be a deal, but I have never tried it so cannot vouch for it. If anyone has tried it and found it useful, please let me know in the comments!
I can't say a whole lot about this one, because I need to investigate it some more. But it is a place to add your book, title, description, and some tags. It appears that you can add your books to lists on the site as well. It's worth at least listing your book on the site!
You've heard the old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Get ready to ignore that advice, because the whole point of Wise Gray Owl. You are shown a selection of books and pick the ones you are interested in based on the cover. It's that simple! So go add your book.
One of the first books I saw when I entered the site was Our Poems For Kids by my friend, Melinda Kinsman
Second, places where you can lend your book out.
Book Lending is a virtual library, which I discovered the way I discover most great things, completely on accident. Booklending is essentially a virtual library where you can "check out" Kindle books. The way this works is pretty simple.
1. List books you own on Amazon so that others can borrow them.
2. Search for a book you want. If somebody owns it they can then "Loan" it to you.
3. You can keep the book for 14 days. Then is returned to its owner automatically.
The other virtual library,
This "virtual library" has the same concept as Booklending, although there is a limit to how many books you can check out before you have to upgrade to a pro account.
Why add your book to a virtual library? A few reasons.
1. It's an easy way to share with someone who might be interested in reviewing it.
2. Just like a real library, it's a great way for new potential readers to check out your work. If they love it, they may just want to keep it for more than 14 days!
3. Having your book in any kind of library increases your exposure and the possibility of new readers!
Last, but not least, book trailers!
This might be obvious to some of you, but probably not to all of you. Raise your hand if you didn't even think of creating a book trailer before I mentioned it. You should definitely consider creating (or hiring someone to create) a book trailer for your book.
It gives you exposure to a new audience (the video viewing audience which makes up a large part of the internet) and gives your fans an easy way to share your work with their friends without having to pitch it themselves, though fans are often better at that than the author!
Youtube is a good first place to upload your book trailer because of it's versatility. You can then easily share the trailer on many other sites (Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, etc)
Book Trailer Central,
This is a site that is dedicated to book trailers. So far it's pretty simple and mainly about book trailers, sharing and watching them. I believe in the future they may have book trailers compete against each other. (Feel free to correct me if I'm thinking of the wrong site.)
And that's all I have to share for now. Those are some great links to get you started! Even if you're not a new author, you're sure to find at least one or two of them handy. So go check them out. And let me know if there are any useful, important, or in your opinion, completely necessary sites for authors to be on!
Till next time,

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Inspiration Behind My Art Style


    To be perfectly honest with you, when I started out at the beginning of the long, winding road of becoming an author, I had no intention of illustrating my own books. None. I honestly did not believe I was good enough. And I think every artist is doubtful of there own work at some point in time. You just have to keep pressing forward.

Well, when it all came down to it, I ended up illustrating my own book because one of my own biggest influence's suggested it. My mom told me that I should illustrate my own books. At first I was still hesitant. Not because I didn't want to. But because of that little voice in the back of my mind.

That one that enjoys my grimace whenever it gets the chance to whisper, "You're just not quite good enough!"

But good enough by whose standards? I shared my illustrations with my circle who approved. And it was decided. I illustrated Destiny And Faith Go To Twincentric Academy myself.

Some people think the book's illustrations are great. Some don't think much of them at all. They are not "beautifully painted" or "masterfully created". They were simply sketched in a sketchbook. But why?
Some of my favorite reads as a kid included what I like to call "primitive" style sketches. I would stare at them for hours before trying to copy them. If these people could "sketch in books", why couldn't I?
Once of my major influences toward Destiny and Faith's style was, believe it or not, Ramona Quimby.

Louis Darling's illustrations of Ramona and her friends and family were rough and comical, exactly as I believed a chapter book illustration should be! And despite the fact that it is not a style many people would call a masterpiece, it fit Beverly Cleary's characters perfectly!

And isn't that the point of illustrating a book? To capture the character? Their personality, their essence, their humor, their overall being.

I think so.

One of the things I loved about Louis Darling's illustrations and the illustrations that I found inside many chapter books for kids was the fact that they looked like they had been sketched into the book.

Illustrators like Darling, who dared to sketch in their own unique style, are what truly inspired my artwork!

So if you are thinking about doing something, and you just keep hearing that little nagging voice in the back of your head, "You're just not good enough!" Ignore that voice! Go out and try it!

You just might find that you're better than you think!