I Didn’t Feel Like Blogging Today So Here’s a Picture of an Astronaut Riding a Robotic Unicorn in Space

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It’s Monday . . . and I was planning on writing a really fun blog post . . . but I’m just not feeling it today, so here’s a picture of an astronaut riding a robotic unicorn in space. Please enjoy.

Please stay tuned for blog posts of content Wednesday and Friday this week. I promise, I’ll get off my lazy bum and hash out something worth reading. Until then, have a wonderful week!

 

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Are Local Author Events Worth Doing? Reflections from Friday’s Read Local Library Book Fair

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My booth set-up.

On Friday, May 1st, as part of First Friday’s in downtown Kokomo Indiana, the Kokomo Howard County Public Library (KHCPL) hosted a book fair featuring local authors from Howard and neighboring counties. Nearly 30 authors participated on that day, including me and my friend Teri Robison, author of The Secrets of Heavenly. 

I had low expectations going into this event considering the library has hosted similar events in the past with little success. The media coverage was sparse to say the least. My own feature in the Kokomo Tribune had run several months ago, and all of the articles the week of the event focused more on Saturday’s speaker rather than on Friday’s authors. With that in mind, I only brought about 30 books and half of my table decorations.

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Even mom showed up to offer her support!

However, once the event got underway, and once I sold a couple copies of my book, my expectations quickly rose. In less than three hours, I met with over 15 potential new readers and sold about a dozen copies of my book, which is cash in my pocket. Several of those readers recognized me from cosplay conventions. Several others were excited to hear about my book and future projects. It’s safe to say, I’ve made a few new fans who I can’t wait to see again at future events. Not only that, but I had a great time interacting with everyone who stopped by my booth. When the night was over, I was reluctant to pack up and leave.

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Working the buddy system

So, do I think local author events are worthwhile?

Yes!

Not only do they provide opportunities to sell your books, but they are also a great way to meet the local readers, encourage literacy in your community, and practice talking about your book. You’ve got nothing to lose but a couple of bucks and a few hours of your time, which are well spent.


Here are some ways to make the most out of any author event:

  • Bring lots of books. Better to have too many than not enough.
  • Hand out bookmarks and business cards with your websites.
  • Showcase your blog or social media site as part of the display.
  • Decorate your table with bright colors and fun items.
  • Include one conversation piece as part of your display.
  • Include a sign-up sheet for your newsletter.
  • Bring change in a money box.
  • Dress to impress.
  • Arrive early and stay late.
  • Smile and engage your audience.
  • Talk about your book.
  • Share your sense of humor.
  • Mark your prices lower than Amazon so readers get a deal.
  • Direct them to Amazon reviews while you chat.
  • Did I say smile?
  • Bring a buddy. Work the buddy system.

Anyway, I hope you find that advice helpful. Most of those tips were shared to me by Author M. T. McGuire, who I greatly admire. She’s the one who told me about the “conversation piece,” which by the way, really works! Mine is a stuffed rabbit from Monty Python. Fans of the movie hurried to my booth to play with the rabbit and learn more about my book.

And of course, thanks again to everyone who showed their support on Friday! Happy Monday!

It’s Friday! Celebrate with the Harry Potter Friday Parody by The Hillywood Show®

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It’s Friday, Friday! I’m so glad it’s Friday! Fun, fun, fun, fun! Ready for the weekend! And what better way to celebrate than with a parody of Rebecca Black’s ever-so-popular yet ever-so-annoying hit song Friday. Here’s a parody every Muggle, Squib, Mud-Blood, Witch, and Wizard will enjoy! HARRY POTTER FRIDAY PARODY by The Hillywood Show®.



If you enjoyed that video, please check out their YouTube channel here. I recently discovered this creative sister duo and can’t get enough of their parodies. The Lord of the Rings LET IT GO PARODY is my favorite by far. Hope you enjoyed it! Have a fun Friday and an awesome weekend!

Life Needs More Velociraptor Riding a Shark While Firing a Machine Gun and Holding a Lit Stick of Dynamite Kind of Moments

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Yawn. It’s Monday again, and the start of yet another work week. I’m sitting at my desk feeling uninspired and somewhat morose despite copious amounts of coffee. All of the excitement surrounding my book release has all but dissipated, resulting in a no-sales week. And with all the snow, I couldn’t even get my nephew out this weekend to do anything fun. And now it’s back to the grind. Sigh.

And I’m sitting here at my desk, bored as I’ll get out, thinking, life needs more velociraptor riding a shark while firing a machine gun and holding a lit stick of dynamite kind of moments to keep things interesting.

Don’t you agree?

It’s hard to stay inspired when nothing truly inspirational ever happens. Those brief excursions only fuel us for a little while, leaving us craving more diversion from the daily routine. Too much redundancy is bad for the creative mind, which demands stimulation in order to achieve great works of art.

So, what’s to be done? Well, for starters, don’t except the shark to come crashing through your office window. You’re going to have to go out there and make your own velociraptor-shark moments.

So grab your shark, your machine gun, and your lit stick of dynamite and get out of the house. Go to a local event, register for a contest, take up a new hobby, or ride that shark around your local Walmart–whatever it takes to add a little spice to your work week. I, for one, will be calling my local radio stations and coffee shops this week to see about marketing opportunities for my book. I’ll also be out shopping for St. Patty’s Day decorations since I’m hosting a party this year. If I’m still not amused, I’ll get on the Indiana Comic Con site to psyche myself up for the event. Maybe I should see if any midget wrestlers or Chippendales dancers are coming to Kokomo anytime soon. Whatever I do, it just needs to be at least half as exciting as a velociraptor riding a shark with weapons in both hands.

Hope your week is more exciting than mine. See you again on Wednesday!

I’m Coming out . . . as a Closeted Writer, I Mean

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Nobody can know . . . not even you

Have you ever kept a secret from your family and friends? I mean a deep dark secret that was likely to tear your whole family apart and turn everyone you loved against you? Neither have I. And yet, for years I kept my writing hidden from those who would probably have provided me a great deal of support. Why would I do that?

Well, for one, there’s the stigma that aspiring authors face, and don’t tell me it doesn’t still exist. Just last week, I contacted my local library to inquire on potential author events, and they sneered at me–yes, sneered at me! A librarian sneered at a local author. Sneered at a literary contemporary! But it’s not like this was the first time my dreams were snubbed. When I was younger, anytime I’d divulge my dreams to trusted adults, they’d often criticize my “unrealistic” dreams and encouraged me to pursue a more “realistic” career path. Even my own peers, who wanted to be movie stars, laughed at me. Seriously, there is not enough love for wannabe writers.

Then there was the fear of failure. I, myself, am okay with the possibility that my writing career may never take off, but I don’t want my friends and family to perceive me as a failure. So I thought to publish in secret and only inform them of my achievement if, and only if, it became a best seller. That way, I could only be viewed as a success. Now I realize publishing the book alone is a great achievement and its own form of success. My family should be proud of that.

More importantly, I realize it doesn’t matter what others think. I want to be a published author. I want to write for a living. And if I fail, no big deal. At least I tried. And let others view it as they will. Their opinions do not effect me whatsoever.

So with those thoughts in mind, I made my decision last week to come out as a writer to my family and friends. Sing it, Diana Ross!

To my surprise, my family has been extremely supportive of my writing. My brother (an extreme workaholic) took the entire day off to attend my book launch party and his wife is running an article in the paper she works for. My mom, who is one of those negative realists, expressed tremendous pride for what I’ve done and encouraged me to keep at it. Friends I haven’t heard from in ages came out of the woodwork to purchase a copy of my book and share it on social media. To say I am overwhelmed by their support, is an understatement.

And of course, I have received more than enough support from my friends here on WordPress. Too many to name, in fact, but you know who you are, and please know I am grateful to you.

Anyway, sorry for the fluff post, but I had to come out with it. I promise Wednesday’s will be of higher content.

As always, thank you for stopping by. You’re always welcome back:)

Want an Advanced Copy of My Debut Novel? Here’s How!

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Want to read m book? You know you want to?

Happy Friday everyone! I know we’re all still a little hung over from the holidays, but I wanted to send out a request for early readers. My debut novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other, is being released on January 30th! About a month away! As this is my first novel, and I’ve learned that honest reviews are extremely important in helping a book succeed, I’d really like to have some reviews posted during the first week of February. Interested in helping me out?

Obviously, this is a win-win for both of us. If you’re serious about reading the book and posting an honest review, you get a free advanced review copy of the book. All I ask is that you try to read the entire book, not just the first chapter or so, and leave a review within a week of the release date.

And I ask that you be honest. I know many of you are my friends, but I don’t expect you–nay, want you to falsify a 5 star review. If my writing sucks, so be it . . . though I doubt you’ll think it does;) Please be objective in your review. Any praise for the novel is welcome, of course, and anything you didn’t like should be noted as well. Reviews are for the readers, not the author, so just tell them what you think. It’ll only help me in the long run.

Some word of caution before you agree to help me: This is an Arthurian parody, meaning it pokes fun at King Arthur and his realm. Book contains original characters and is littered with modern references. It’s not historically accurate, nor does it try to be. There is some mild language sprinkled here and there and a few sexual references, but otherwise it’s mostly clean. The novel is geared toward 16-35 year old men or women who love comedy and medieval stuff. If you like Monty Python, Game of Thrones, LOTR, Gerald Morris, and Terry Pratchett, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

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!

Who the Heck Are We Writing for Anyway?

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The secrets of good writing have been debated again and again and again by writers throughout the blogosphere. One writer says “never use adjectives” and another writer says “adjectives aplenty.” Some writers say “show, never tell” while others argue that both, when used moderately, are fine. But “good writing” according to other writers might be the wrong target to aim for. After all, are other writers going to be reading your book? Maybe yes. Maybe no. So would it really benefit you to write your novel for them?

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Who the heck are you writing for?

You’re not writing this book for yourself, or so says a large handful of so-called experts in the field. So don’t write the kind of story you would want to read–that is, unless you plan on being the only person who reads it besides your sister. **cough, cough**

So who the heck are you writing this novel for anyway? The answer is painfully clear–readers! Duh! You, know readers? People who pick up books for fun. Insert one of my favorite strips of dialogue from You’ve Got Mail:

Nelson Fox: Perfect. Keep those West-Side liberal nuts, psudo-intellectuals . . .

Joe Fox: Readers, Dad. They’re called readrs.

Nelson Fox: Don’t do that, son. Don’t romanticize them.

Seriously, don’t romanticize them!

Next question, how do you know what readers want?

There is no simple answer to this question, because the answer varies from person to person. Factors such as gender, age, social status, etc., will also influence what a reader likes or doesn’t like.

Keep in mind, you’re not writing for one particular reader. That would be just as self-defeating as writing for yourself. Try to write a novel that appeals to a broad–yet specific–type of reader.

Find out who you’re target audience is and aim to write a novel they will enjoy. If you don’t know what they want in a book, find out. Hunt them out on reader blogs or in small groups. Create polls, questionnaires, conduct interviews, whatever you need to do to find out what it is they enjoy.

Or just get on Goodreads and/or Amazon and read the reviews. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of readers on there who are nothing shy of brutally honest when it comes to why they did or did not like a book.

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Learn from the success and failings of others.

Consider paying attention to those who are successful and not successful in your particular genre. Knowing what works as well as what doesn’t work is crucial to your success.

Anther thing to keep in mind, If you write YA urban fiction, the critiques of an adult Christian fiction book are not going to be helpful to you. Just saying.

In general, all readers enjoy good writing–writing that is clear, energetic, and free of errors. Most importantly, readers enjoy writing that makes things happen clearly and vividly in their minds. It goes beyond grammatically correct, well-structured sentences, to an overall experience. Give readers that and they will love your books!

Hope you enjoyed my insight. Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment below. I always enjoy your feedback.