10 Things Indie Authors Should Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

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In advance, happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I know not everyone here on WordPress celebrates manifest destiny and the destruction of a native people, but all the same, have a good one!

For most of us, Thanksgiving is about food, family, and giving thanks for everything we have. At least that’s what it means to me. And this year I’m grateful for many things, most of all getting to spend another holiday with my mother and being a published author.

I know I complain about the trials and tribulations of being indie author in today’s over-saturated and ever-volatile market, but there are many things that indie authors should be grateful for this thanksgiving. Here are ten:

1. A Variety of Alternatives to Traditional Publishing

2. Word of Mouth (AKA, Free Marketing) 

3. Positive Reviews

4. Any Reviews

5. The Internet

6. Local Bookstores and Libraries 

7. Librarians

8. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages  

9. Friends, family, and cats

10. Readers

Is there anything I forgot? What are you grateful for? Please share in the comments below and I’ll see you on Black Friday!

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A Recap on October’s Author Events And Why I Think Authors Should Put Themselves Out There

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October was a busy month for me as an author. Not only did I release my latest title, The Wizard’s Gambit, but I also participated in several author events as well.

On October 17th, I hosted an online book launch party to celebrate with long-distant friends the release of my new book. During the party, I served virtual cake and drinks while sharing information about my new book.

The following week, I hosted a physical book launch party for family, friends, and fans at Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery in Kokomo. Almost twenty people showed up, I believe, several more than I expected. I actually ran out of room at the table and had to request more chairs!

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Dr. Who endorses this produce or service.

For those who were unable to attend the book launch party on Friday, they were invited to stop by my booth during Saturday’s comic convention. The event was held at our local community event center. Nearly 1,500 people walked through the doors that day. A small portion of them stopped by my booth and purchased a signed copy of my book. I made more than enough to cover my booth fees and any related expenses. Plus, I got lots of people to sign up for my newsletter. My book found itself into the hands of new readers as well as returning fans, who told me how much they enjoyed my first novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. One fan, a high school student, informed me that she’d used my debut novel for a book report on comedic fiction. I was thrilled. Of all the events, this was probably the most successful, and I think it has a lot to do with the event I participated in the week before.

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Go geek or go home!

The week before Kokomo-Con, my sister and I were invited by one of our area school’s librarians to speak to her “geek group” about cosplay and Kokomo-Con. For many of these students, Kokomo-Con would be there first convention and cosplay event. So we created a fun powerpoint with information, photos, and advice for new cosplayers and presented it to the students after school during their club meeting. We talked about our own cosplay experience, the ups and downs, and offered some advice to new cosplayers and congoers. My sister even wore her new walking centaur costume. Of course I squeezed in some shameless self-promotion during the presentation.

The students loved us, and I saw many of them at my booth the following Saturday, eager to show off their costumes and learn more about my writing. I’m happy to say, I’ve been invited back to speak on writing/publishing/freelancing to her aspiring artists and writers. I can’t wait!

From my personal experience, I’d say author events are worth doing for one simple reason: to connect with readers. Writing is a solitary job and reading is a lonely activity. Put the reader and writer together and you get more than just a lonely reader and an invisible author, you get a connection.

Author events give authors a chance to engage readers in person, to see the reactions on their faces while describing their book. Readers get a chance to share their thoughts on the author’s work and to ask questions regarding the writing process. This interaction enhances the reader’s experience later on and inspires the author to keep writing. Plus, readers are more likely to purchase a book from someone they’ve actually met. Studies show that . . . somewhere. Just take my word for it.

For those of you who are planning on hosting an author’s event, I offer some simple advice:

  • Relax. Focus on having fun, not making sales.
  • Pump yourself up. Tell yourself this is going to be fun.
  • Lower your expectations. Face it, unless you’re Stephen King or George R. R. Martin, not that many people are going to care about your book, at least not right away.
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation or bring a friend along to lessen the embarrassment.
  • Drink a martini beforehand. Or take a Xanax.
  • Practice talking about your book BEFORE the event.
  • Offer free bookmarks and/or candy to lure people to your booth.
  • Smile and engage potential readers. Be social.
  • Decorate your booth with a tablecloth and eye-catching items to draw people’s attentions. Make sure your books are visible.
  • Provide incentives, like a giveaway, to encourage people to visit your booth and/or sign up for your newsletter.
  • Offer the book or books at a discounted price to entice them to purchase the book now rather than later.
  • Offer to sign books purchased in person.
  • Stay positive. Even if you want to die.

Authors, put yourselves out there. Schedule an event at your local library. Host a read-in at the popular coffee shop. Face down your fears so you can connect!

The Wizard’s Gambit Cover Reveal! Ta-dah!

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After weeks of blood, sweat, vomit, and tears, it’s time to reveal the cover of my next book, Wizard’s Gambit, a comedic fantasy, to be released this October!

Drum roll please! Tah-dah!

The Wizards Gambit ebook coverI know what you’re thinking: it’s sooooo shiny! It’s beyond epic! It’s fabulous!

In case you can’t tell, I’m loving my cover courtesy of the talented Ida Jansson with Amygdala Design. She’s also my formatter, and if you think the exterior of my book is sexy, wait until you see what she did with the interior;

Now that the book is almost done, I’d like to make a request for early readers. From publishing my first novel, I learned that honest reviews are extremely important in helping a book succeed, I’d really like to have some reviews posted shortly after its release. Interested? Here’s the blurb:

Wizard White Beard had a plan, but destiny had something else in mind . . .

After 1,001 years of hostilities among the six—er—seven kingdoms, Wizard White Beard proposes a non-violent alternative to war—a scavenger hunt—to determine the fate of all! The rules are clear: no weapons and no bloodshed. Just clean, honest competition. Simple enough, if only the contestants would follow them. With the fate of the world at stake, it’s up to Mongrel, an orphan with an unconventional upbringing, to intercede. Joined by a hodgepodge group of misfits, including a gentle giant, a magically challenged elf, a feisty female dwarf, and a reluctant wizard’s apprentice, Mongrel just might stand a chance of winning—if he can survive!

A hilarious tale of magic, mayhem, and misadventure that turns the classic fantasy universe on its head. A must-read for anyone who enjoys comedic fantasy.

“Middle Earth meets Rudolph’s The Island of Misfit Toys.”

-Random Reviewer

Still interested? Send me an e-mail at kyliebetzner@gmail.com and include the words “Advanced Review Copy” in the regarding lines. In advance, I thank you for your support!

And please stay tuned for more information about the book as the release date approaches!

Tank Yu–er–Thank You!

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With opening night fast approaching and with all of the excitement surrounding my upcoming book launch, I have NOT forgotten all of those who have supported me during this time. As busy as writers often are, we sometimes forget to celebrate the people who helped us achieve our dream. Well, NOT today!

I just want to pause a moment in the midst of my preparations to say THANK YOU to everyone on WordPress who has offered their feedback and support. I especially want to thank those who critiqued my blurb. You helped me out, tremendously!

As always, I appreciate your comments, favorites, and shares. If my book does good at all, it will be because of the continued support of my friends here on WordPress. So in advance, thank you for your support!

Anyway, since I can’t mail you cards, here’s a fun little video. Just my little way of saying thank you (or “tank yu” in minion).

Again, thank you and have a wonderful week! Stay tuned for more information about my upcoming release as it becomes available!

My Blurb Needs Help. Please Help!

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Happy Hump Day, everyone! I wish I could say mine was going good, but it’s been one of those days. Maybe you can help me out with at least one of my problems:)

Below is a very very very … very rough draft of the blurb to my upcoming release. It’s the first in a comedic fantasy series about an outcast named Mongrel who is trying to unite the various kingdoms. Any advise would be helpful … even grammatical advises. Thank you in advance!

Blurb: After 1,001 years of war and hostilities among the six—er—seven kingdoms, Wizard White Beard proposes an alternative to war—a scavenger hunt! The winner determines the fate of all. The rules are clear: no weapons, no bloodshed, just clean, honest competition. Simple enough, but when contestants refuse to follow them, it’s up to Mongrel, an orphan with an unconventional upbringing, to bring about real peace. With the help of a hodgepodge group of outcasts including a gentle ogre, a magically-challenged elf, a feisty young dwarf appropriately named for her weapon of choice, and a wizard’s apprentice, who doesn’t even want to be a wizard, Mongrel just might stand a chance of winning the competition—that is, if he can survive!

A hilarious tale of magic, mayhem, and outrageous situations, BLANK offers a fresh spin on the classic fantasy universe while subverting everyone’s favorite fantasy tropes along the way.

Please leave any thoughts for feedback in the comments below. Thank you very much!

So You Want to Make Money Writing Books? Excuse Me While I Laugh

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I imagine if you’re reading this post, you’re probably a writer (published or aspiring) who’s interested in knowing whether or not your dreams of becoming rich from your writing are possible. Excuse me while I laugh. Oh, wait. You’re serious? Let me laugh even harder.

Everyone knows that writing books is not profitable. According to statistics (I did not make up) only 30% of books published actually make a profit. The other 70% are lucky to even break even. (sadly, I can attest to that). So, knowing this information, why do we (authors, I mean) keep writing?

The obvious answer is we’re all a little crazy. Don’t bother trying to deny it. Haha! But insanity aside, every writer has their own reason for pursuing publishing. Whether it’s to fulfill a lifelong dream or to impress mom, all reasons are legit–unless you want to make a profit. Haha!

There’s a stigma in the writing community, especially among non-traditionally published authors, that authors who want to make a profit (even a little one) are selfish, unrealistic, and in it for the wrong reasons.

In defense of these authors, I would argue that the cost of production alone justifies wanting to make a profit. I, for one, cannot justify PAYING to publish when I have a mortgage and car payment solely under my name. And heaven forbid an independent author produce anything of lesser quality than a traditionally published worked. Well, editors, formatters, and cover artists don’t work for free. Time’s not cheap, either.

So, I do sympathize with authors who want to make a profit, even a little one. We just want to recoup enough earnings to keep doing what we love. Like an automotive technician or a teacher–you know, people allowed to make an earning doing what they love to do.

We’re not all in it to get rich, but wanting to make money doing what you love doesn’t make you a bad person or a heartless writer. It makes you a responsible person … who probably has bills to pay. Haha!

Now, get back to writing. And please excuse me while I laugh.

Crazy Costume Creations … and I Wonder Why I’m Behind on my WIP

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By mid-October, not only do I plan on releasing my next book, but I’m also playing the part of a unicorn in Ole Olsen’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’ll also be hosting a booth at this year’s Kokomo-Con. Yikes! With all of this coming up at once, it’s no wonder I’m behind on my WIP!

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She’ll be the centaur of attention at the play;)

So how are the costumes coming? Surprisingly, my sister is way ahead of me on her centaur costume than I am on my unicorn costume. She’s already got the frame built and the legs attached. I’ve …. ordered a wig and a pair of fluffy wrist-cuffs. I’ve got several dresses in mind, but I can’t decide which one I like best. Don’t even ask me if I’ve started work on the horn. Most of what I’ve been doing is searching online to get ideas. I have tons of images saved on my computer, but it’s time for the real work to begin.

If you want to see a video of my sister’s costume so far, click on the link to her facebook page. It’s going to be awesome!

The work in progress, is just that. LOL. Actually, it’s in the final editing stages. I’ve only got two or three chapters still in the hands of editors. I just can’t start formatting until I get the final edits done, which is stressing me out. Also, I don’t have a cover artist picked out yet, so if anyone knows someone who does awesome fantasy novel covers, refer them to me. I’m currently seeking cover artist to commission for this project.

Well, wish me luck … and time–I need lots and lots of time! Also, wish me good health, because I’ve been sicker than a dog for the last two weeks, and I’m over it!

Happy hump day, everyone!