Thursday, 28 February 2013

Organ donation awareness week - fiction ebook giveaway

It's organ donation awareness week in Australia. Running from Sunday 24 February to Sunday 3 March, I'm going to run a giveaway of my latest novel "Feedback" for a full month.

About Donate Life Week:

Donate Life Week is a week where the public can discover facts about organ donation, decide on organ donation, and discuss their wishes with their family members. The discussion part is perhaps the most overlooked part. It wasn't until I began researching for my latest novel Feedback did I realise that whatever a person's wishes are, their family needs to know so they can make an informed decision when it really matters.

Now, before you do anything! just remember that organ donation is a personal choice. I totally respect people's personal beliefs. If a person has a religious, cultural, personal, moral, or ethical oppostion to organ donation, that's fine. This post may not be for you. but I won't object if you still wish to enter the giveaway. If you don't have any objections or opinions either way on organ donation, then it won't hurt you to have a peek at the facts.  

You can check out organ donor details at the Donate Life website

Myths about organ donation:

Most religions support organ and tissue donation as generous acts that benefit people. This includes Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. If you are not sure whether your religion is supportive, speak to your religious adviser.

You're never too old to be a donor. Anyone can donate organs and tissue. People in their eighties have saved the lives of much younger people. Transplant professionals decide which organs and tissues can be used at the time of death after looking at your past medical history, the condition of your organs and their suitability.

You're never too young to be a donor. Anyone can be a donor - young and old. If you are under 16 years you can't register to be a donor, but you can discuss your wishes with your parents.

Medical staff do everything possible to save lives. Their first duty is to you and saving your life. Organ and tissue donation will only be considered after all efforts fail and you have been legally declared dead. Usually, the Australian Organ Donor Register is only checked after you have died.

There is never any charge for donating organs and tissues. Depending on the hospital, your family might be charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Your family will be responsible for your funeral expenses.

Organ donation is about helping save or improve other people's lives. Donated tissues and organs will never be used for medical research unless explicit written permission is given by your family. If any organ or tissue that has been donated is unable to be transplanted and your family are not comfortable donating to a research program, they can choose to have the organ or tissue returned to their loved one's body or respectfully disposed.

About the Feedback giveaway:

Book details:
Genre:       sci-fi/adventure
Publisher:  etopia press
Released:  october 2012
Format:      ebook, print soon to be released

Ethan, Florida and Jake are three teenagers awaiting organ donations to save their lives. When they recieve the organs of a dead spy, they are abducted for information that only the spy possesses. Under threat of torture, the dead spy's memories begin to awaken with the teenagers. Escaping with their lives is only the beginning. They also have to complete the spy's mission or millions of people will die.

Author's note:
While researching for Feedback, I learned about the life of the people and families waiting for organ donations. If anyone needs an inkling of what hope is, read about a person waiting for a second chance at life. Their stories really made me see how insignificant some of my little gripes are. There's nothing 'fun' about needing an organ transplant, however if I can raise awareness of organ donation through creative writing then I'll gladly do it. Why wouldn't I, when, as a writer of young adult, I write hopeful endings.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In Feedback, the memories of a dead spy awaken inside them. If you received the organs of a super hero and they awoke within you, what powers would you want and why?
Feel free to leave your answer in the comments box.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

D L Richardson interviews D L Richarson

I often write articles that relate to writing, and I often I tie these articles back to my books in a shameless attempt to self-promote (indie authors gotta do what we gotta do). But I rarely get to write about how I'm actually doing?

Well, thank you for asking, and I'm happy to say I'm doing splendid. And why wouldn't I be? In September 2011 my first novel The Bird With The Broken Wing was released through indie US publisher Etopia  Press. This news sent me leaping over the moon a few times. This was my dream come true. Little did I realise (or realize since my publisher is US) this was only the beginning.

The Bird With The Broken Wing came out as a standalone ebook and the first thing I learned was that ebooks are actually hard to sell. You don't just put things on Amazon and have them sell, just like you don't create a website and have people visit it, nor do you open a store and just have people travel hundreds of miles to buy something. You need to let people know that you've got something they need, and to do this you have to do a lot of marketing and promotion to encourage readers to visit these sites. Admittedly I knew this, but still, selling ebooks in an online environment is harder than I'd anticipated, especially since I am not at liberty to give them away nor would I wish to. (That's a totally separate topic which I'll take about in a later post.)

What about Amanda Hocking or E L James, I hear you ask? Amanda is self-published author and E L James was indie published, and they sold millions. Put the success of these two authors out of your mind. Like J K Rowling or Stephenie Meyer, there ARE a few exceptions and the chance that you or I will become an exception are rare and thinking like this will just deter you and me from doing all that necessary hard work. You can read an article by Amanda Hocking where she says that she doesn't compare herself to J K or Stephenie (read full article here) but when I look for a comparitive author I don't put myself in the same ball park as Amanda Hocking or E L James either. 

So anyway, in September 2011 I realised my dream but it took my publisher an entire year to get The Bird With The Broken Wing out in print. It is available as print on demand so it isn't in all the bookstores but one by one I'm getting it into store through book launches and visits to schools and writers festivals. So far the print sales have far exceeded the ebook sales which is good thing. Onwards and upwards I say. BTW - as much as people say they like e-readers, it is my opion that they don't. What they actually like is downloading free books. That's all. I've got loads of comments from readers who want the print copy of my books, and yes, while the artwork has a lot to do with that decision (covers to both of my books are superb), even if my books didn't have great covers, readers tell me that they JUST LIKE REAL BOOKS.

You can imagine how eager I am to have my second novel Feedback released into print. It was released in October 2012 in ebook and meant to be out NOW but it's not.  (Mmmm maybe if I had an agent I'd have someone to do the bad cop routine with me). But that's publishing for you. No point me jumping up and down because there is more work than there are people available to do it. Even I'm backed up with promotional work and I only have two books released! What's going to happen when I have ten or twenty, as is my goal.

Sales of Feedback have been okay, I guess;  I say guess because it takes 3 months for sales reports to come through so I won't be getting my first sales report of Feedback for another few weeks. It takes 5 months for the print sales to come through so I won't know until April how many copies of the print version of The Bird With The Broken Wing I've sold. This waiting game is often the hardest. In the meantime I just plug away at promoting my work. Oh, and I consume bucketloads of coffee, diet coke, and Red Bull/V/Mother energy drinks.

What's next on my plate? Aside from trying to overcome my addition to caffeinated beverages and trying to appease my husband who doesn't remember what the front of me looks like any more (he walks past the study and only sees my back these days), Well, my third novel is finished - I'll just have to wait and see what comes back from the queries I've sent out. Plus I have a truck load of guest posts to write, articles to submit, I've started the follow up to The Bird With The Broken Wing (I know I said it was a standalone book but SO many people want to know more about these characters and I'm happy to oblige), and I want to write a few short stories to get my name out to another group of readers. My February To Do list is hardly finished and the end of the month is rushing toward me.

Yes, it's stupid, crazy busy, but would I swap all this craziness for a normal life? Not a chance. You wanna know why, because this IS my life.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

10 things young writers should know about writing

It's taken me a while to become a published author, and it's something I've wanted for ages. I was about 21 when I really decided I wanted to be a writer. There were many times I felt like banging my head against the wall because everything I wrote got rejected. Only in hindsight do I see that getting rejected was a good thing for me as a writer. It made me focus on getting better, learning the craft, gaining more experience. I can honestly say I'm a better writer in my forties than I was in my twenties.

This post is aimed at anyone who has the desire to become a writer. I wish there was a shortcut and I wish it was as simple as WikiHow makes it out to be, but it just isn't. Formal qualifications may help, but they still don't guarantee that you'll come up with that spark of any idea any sooner.

Anyway, these are just some of the things I've learned along the way, and they go a long way to explain why I wasn't published until a few years ago.

10 things young writers should know about writing

Isn't it weird how many writers are old? That includes writers who write for teenagers. You'd think that to write for young adults you'd need to be a young adult or at least be of an age where you can remember your youth. Right? Actually, that's not the case and for a few reasons, ten of which I'll share with you and explain.

No. 1 - Build a bridge and get over it
When you write fiction, the basis of the story is to dump a character in the middle of a situation, place obstacles in front of him/her, and get the character to develop solutions to overcome these obstacles and think about how he/she will solve all the problems in the world.

When you're writing fiction, the characters must have issues to overcome and solutions to find. Yet, the reality is that the majority of young people have limited exposure to problem solving. Teenagers really only begin to sort out their own problems when they become adults, and that's only if their parents have allowed them or encouraged them through this transitioning period. This means that most teenagers don't even get the chance to make a decision, so how will they solve an imaginary issue when fiction is still based on fact? So, while a young adult writer might have fantastic ideas and a well written novel, the fundamental mission behind a novel is to problem solve, and teenagers are limited in this area. It's through no fault of their own, the law usually prohibits teenagers from making decisions, society doesn't fully trust them for a broad range of reasons, young adults are in that middle stage of life where society wants them to be responsible, but doesn't want them to be responsible at the same time. It's weird, I know.

No.2 - Mirror, mirror
So what did you learn as a baby that you'd do differently? Might seem like an odd question, but hindsight, or wisdom, is what happens when a person looks back over their life and analyzes what they'd keep the same and what they'd change. Wisdom comes from life's experience. Now, this isn't to say that teenagers don't have life experiences. Heck, these are some of the most turbulent times of a person's life and they form the foundations of who we become as an adult. Teenager troubles also form much of the backbone of many a great fiction novel whether it be young adult or adult fiction. But wisdom is also about reflection.

Wisdom is something that is bestowed upon old people for a very obvious reason. They've just about seen and done it all. Yes, the next generation will do it differently, but it is easier to reflect upon something when you look at it from afar. When you're living in the mirror it can be hard to see the reflection of the other side. And let's face it, when you're young, life is about experiencing things, not stopping to disect every little facet of it. That comes later. Though, I do recommend that you keep a diary because it may be a valuable tool when you look back on your own teenage years.

No.3 - They love me, they love me not
Writers will get rejected many, many, many times. Even as an adult, I find rejection hard to deal with. Add teenage hormones and rejection letters might provoke you into sending harsh emails or writing rants on Facebook.

Fact - Rejection is part of the publishing world. Publishers are the gatekeepers in ensuring the world reads good stuff though occasionally bad stuff gets printed and it drives a writer insane that their work gets rejected and not the rot they've just spend 15 bucks on.

Here's how I look at a rejection letter. It tells a writer that their work is not good stuff. So as a writer you should be thinking on how you can make it good stuff and not worrying about the fact that you've been rejected. Everyone gets rejected. J K Rowling. Stephen King. Every writer does! But if you take that letter as constructive critisicm and perfect your writing, then one day, when it's good stuff, it'll get published. And you never know when an opportunity will open up and present itself. Publishers are always opening and closing their doors. When it's open, you'll need to be ready to jump. Hence why you should never ever engage in rants when you get rejected. Publishers keep files on submissions. If you've written a vicious retaliatory letter, you'd pretty much need to change your name if you ever wanted to get published.

No. 4 - A writer writes
No matter how early or late you start writing, a writer writes. And publishers look for what has been published. If you write a poem, submit it. If you write a short story, submit it. If you get something published, keep a note of the publication date, where it was published, keep a copy of the story or article or whatever in a folder.

The other thing as a writer I hear often is that a person wants to be a writer. Again, a writer writes. Now, if they're talking about being a published writer, well that's another thing entirely. So if you want to be a writer, you need to be writing something every day.

It's okay to have multiple first chapters that never see the light of day. That's good practice.

No. 5 - Mad men
The publishing world may seem like a big bad world, and it probably is. There are over 75 million books listed on Library Thing. This is a mixture of non-fiction and fiction. But whoa...75 million!! And many more writers these days are heading straight to self-publication. Do I encourage this? No. Not for start out writers at least. What you publish stays published and bad material may come back to haunt you later on when you've finally honed your craft.

Learning about the publishing world is a huge task. If you immerse yourself in it, will you learn to hate it? Is it better to be naive about the publishing world so you don't give up? It's tough work getting published. If you can attend writing courses or conferences, these can be great ways to gain some exposure to the publishing world. You do need to know how it operates, but the more you know, the more you may become jaded.

I once worked in the music industry and I believe this was a catalyst in my decision to give up music. Hence why I never learned anything except what I needed to know about the publishing world.

One thing you'll need to be aware of if the submission guidelines. All publishers have them. You MUST follow these guidelines. No exception.

No. 6 - Write what you love
There are many writers that state you should write what you know. And as a teenager you might think, "Hey I'm a teenager so I can write a young adult book." Yet the key to successful writing is writing what you LOVE, not just what you know. I know about accounting and that's soooo boring.

I was always fascinated with the supernatural so it makes sense that I write paranormal novels. I need to scream from the rooftops about my work, and this is easy to do when I love what I write. Imagine if I didn't love my work. It'd come across as a meek suggestion that readers enjoy books that I don't particularly believe in. This dishonesty would come across in my writing for sure. And I'm passionate about writing great stories for young adults. I love what I write and readers and reviewers can see this.

No. 7 - To embellish or not to embellish
Now most of what I've talked about is based on fiction. But there are many forms of writing. You may not even want to embark on a creative writing career. Hard facts might be more to your liking. There are literally dozens of writing styles that you can choose from. Here are just a few:

Travel articles
Fashion articles
Good news stories
Reference books for training colleges
Articles for websites
Articles for blogs
Newspaper articles
Policies and procedures for businesses
How to manuals
Position descriptions and employment contracts
Short stories
Children's books
Young adult fiction - the genres are many
Adult fiction - the genres are endless

You get the picture. There are multiple styles of writing you can do, and there are many writers that flit between a few. I know of many writers that supplement their novel income with magazine articles. Sadly, I have tried and they require two different approaches to writing so I always give up and focus just on the novels.

No. 8 - Aint nothing gonna break my stride
A successful writing career won't come easy. It takes years to perfect your craft. It's upaid work. You have to also do your own promotion. The reward is that you'll work really hard at one thing only to then work really hard at something else. It never stops. Writing, promoting, writing, promotion. But you ask a writer if they love it, and if they answer yes, then they're a writer. Writers never give up.

By all means, take breaks, and gain some perspective or just get on with life for a while, but don't give up.

No. 9 - Get a life!
People have different interests and writers aren't exluded from this need to gather knowledge and experiences. In fact, we need these two things more than most people. How else can we write about something if we don't know about anything. Lock yourself away in a tower and you'll write anovel that won't relate to anyone.

Writers have mortgages, we want to travel, we have families, cars that don't run on air, appliances that break. We need jobs to pay for the internet to keep your blog running, postage to send the manuscripts to publishers, it costs money to attend conventions and courses. Stephen King was a full time teacher until he sold his first novel Carrie. John Marsden was also a teacher and he wrote young adult fiction because he didn't like what was in the market place.

The other reason writers need to do something else is to enhance the world of literature. Many crime writers have held a career in law enforcement or criminal psychology. If writers didn't experience real jobs, then every character would work in a book store. We need to know how the rest of the world operates.

No. 10 - You wanna write best sellers, read best sellers
This may seem self-explanatory, but some writers say to read everything, even crap, because as writers we need to be able to detect the good from the bad. Sorry, but in my view, reading crap produces crap writing. If you want to write best sellers, read best sellers. Read the classics to understand great plots and character development. The Hobbit, Lord Of The Flies, even Black Beauty is a stunning example of character and plot development. Read current best sellers to understand techniques and how the language has changed. The Hunger Games and Tomorrow, When The War Began are great examples of best sellers that are unique and have a vastly different writing style to The Hobbit for example.

Read good stuff and burn the bad. Use it prop up your table. Don't even bother to analyze it.

I hope you enjoyed these 10 things young writers should know about writing. If you have any others to add, be sure to leave a comment via the COMMENTS BOX and I'd be happy to discuss my experiences.

Please note that these are my experiences. You may have different opinions and some of thes may not apply to you. One thing writers do is take everything they learn and use what they want. That's totally okay to pick and choose what you want to take and run with.

D L Richardson

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Top science fiction blogs 2013

As an author of two YA speculative fiction novels, and with more on the way, I'm often searching for places to contact about reviews, interviews, guest posts, features, press releases etc.

During my recent search for science fiction blogs to promote my current novel Feedback, (or, in Sci Fi terms, making first contact) I came across a Top 100 list from 2009. That's an old list, although many of the blogs listed on that link are still active, and it can be annoying having to search through an old list only to find even older sites that are frozen in time.

Hey, now there's an idea for a story. Writer who investigates why SF bloggers suddenly stopped posting articles discovers the bloggers were abducted by a secret government agency because what they wrote about was coming true.

Seriously, lists come and go as no doubt this one will too. Here's a few pointers for anyone embarking on a journey into internet space:

SIGNS OF LIFE - There is no point sending anything to site that hasn't blogged in the past 3-4 months. Blogs should have signs of life i.e activity at least once a month.

FIRST CONTACT AGAIN AND AGAIN - Many of these sites list their blog rolls, which is the list of sites that that site belongs to. Some sites list up to 50 other sites that you can use in your next round of first contacts. 

MAPPING FOR FUTURE TRAVELS: Once you find sites that you like, save them to your favorites or copy them onto a blank document for later or you might not find them so easily the next time.

FORMING ALLIANCES:  Sometimes it takes getting on to a site  (via reviews you've written or comments you've made) to get on to a site (a review of your book). And every blogger loves comments because communicating with other species is why they exist in the first place.

So, here is the list I created for writers of science fiction who are looking for blogs to contact about reviews, interviews or just featuring their novels. This list in no way guarantees that you'll get a response, let alone a review. I'm simply being a good explorerer by recording the knowledge I have gathered so others might use it in their travels.

Counting down the top 20 science fiction blogs for 2013 (in no particular order)

Thanks so much to the readers on Goodreads who have alerted me to a few more Sci-Fi blogs.

22. SFSignal - I'm not sure why I didn't include this site in the original list. anyway, it's a fantastic site and they review books as long as they are not self published. Even if they don't review your book, at the very least they feature the cover on their "recieved" page.

21. Elders of Genova - a new blog, and what I love about this site is their Library. They have a library of all public domain books like all the Oz books. News flash. I did not know L Frank Baum wrote dozens of Oz books. You read these public domain books on your computer. Not sure where this site will help with promoting new works, but The Astounding Stories of Super Science 1930 is worth a visit. 

20. Wands and Worlds: a blog about science fiction for children and teens. Site has been going since 2005.

19. Big Dumb Object: a science fiction blog with rants and reviews. His site states to be honest and tell him you want him to plug your work in the first instance.

18. Revolution SF: also accepts submissions for short stories, art, and articles about science fiction.

17. Hero Complex: run by The LA times, I'm not sure how we'll go contacting these guys, might be as difficult as getting the Borg to think as individuals, but it's worth the shot. Lots of movie reviews, behind the scenes and feature articles as well. 

16. Nuketown: features reviews of books, magazines and comic books. Has a page dedicated to Hoaxes which is worthy of it's own direct link here.

15. Science Fiction World:  a site about films, books, TV. Allows press releases so if you can write a media release about your book you might get it posted here.

14. Fantasy & SciFi Loving: Also welcomes press releases about books so while you might not get a review, you might get your book featured on this site. This site is also worth checking out as there are over 50 links to other Fantasy/Sci Fi sites on the blogroll.

13. Science Fiction Musings: this blog is run by science fiction author Anne Wilkes. Make sure you follow the review guidelines. i.e don't send anything that's not sci-fi.

12. Bookgasm: a site for horror, sci fi, fantasy, mystery, thrillers, westerns, and suspense. You definitely won't find any paranormal romance on this site.

11. Charles Tan Blog: a Filipino-Chinese speculative fictin writer and editor as well as blogger

10. Biology in science fiction: for those who like something different, this site states that Science fiction isn't just about rocket ships and ray guns. Genetic engineering, cloning, evolution, strange mutations, longevity drugs, intelligence-enhancing implants, plagues from space, and odd alien ecologies

9. Lab lit: Their site doesn't deal with science fiction, but rather with lab lit - realistic fiction with scientists as central characters doing their thing.

8. Fantasy Book Critic: as well as reviews, this is another site with a massive blogroll to other sites.

7. A Dribble of Ink: run by Aidan Moher, this site has been travelling the internet since 2007 and attracts quite a few contributors

6. A Fantastical Librarian: another site with a lengthy blogroll. Site states that self published works are not accepted.

5. Bookworm Blues: a speculative fiction book review site and a decent sized blogroll to check out as well.

4. Science in my fiction: for those who write with science in mind, a good place to also check on latest science developments.

3. Sci Fi Chick: reviews of SF and fantasy books and movies/TV. Site states that self published works are not accepted.

2. SFCrowsNest: another great site that lets you post press releases as well as articles and reviews you've written.

1. For posterity's sake, here is the link to the original list if anyone is interested in finding more SF sites to check out:,d.dGY

Hey fellow travellers! If there are SF sites you think should be included in this list, just drop me a line via the comments box.

Have a safe journey into internet space.

D L Richardson is an author of several young adult fiction novels.

Feedback YA sci-fi/spy thiller
The Bird With The Broken Wing  YA fantasy

Friday, 15 February 2013

Ghosts in the system

It seems you can't do anything on the internet these days without first registering for an account which means creating a new profile, a new username, and a new password.

Today, for example, I needed to contact an online book seller to notify them that while they have listed The Bird With The Broken Wing for sale, the cover art is missing. In order to contact the book seller I had to set up a new account. Setting up another account means another username and password that's entered into my little code book. I open my book only to discover that, yikes, I'm up to my 88th password.

There's no way the brain can store the varying usernames and passwords, and every site owner knows this. Yet it's not like every site owner uses the same matrix for passwords - some must be minimum 6 characters, others minimum 8 characters, some must contain a number or a symbol or both. So every registration is unique. It's like that damned stapler conspiracy - you know the one. Manufacturers make every row of staples half an inch longer than every stapler so you always get these little bits left over. I mean, why can't they make staplers and staples the same size??

Anyway, because I can't remember 88 different passcode combinations, I do what everyone else does. I write them down. But wait a minute, I'm not supposed to write them down. What if my little code book gets stolen. Stop! Identity thief! Identity thief! Here, take my handbag; it only contains hair clips, my phone, and tissues. I can afford to lose them, but not my little code book. Thankfully, I'm not stupid enough to store the really good passcodes in this book - like bank details - just the million internet accounts I might go to once or twice.

Now I know how a spy feels when he must protect his secret code book at all costs. Otherwise who knows what sort of damage a thief might do if they stole my book.

I guess I must next do what all good spies do and convert all the text in my little book into code so that if anyone finds it, they can't decipher it without the code breaker.

I wonder if they do this just so we become ghosts in the system.

Funny photos

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Marketing novels in the virtual arena -

Recently an author who is signed with a small press publisher asked a host of other authors this question:
What do you find are the most effective marketing techniques for a digital novel?

Firstly, what is marketing? I like the definition in Norton Paley's book The Marketing Strategy Desktop Guide. It states, Marketing is a total system of interacting business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying products or services to organisations and household users in a competitive environment at a profit.

When you break the above explanation down you get these four components:

1.    Plan - The marketing plan is used to grow present markets, spot growth markets, recognise new product innovations, and stay alert to new opportunities.
Why do some books sell and not others? We need to look again at the explanation and consider perhaps the most important aspect of the definition - to deliver want-satisfying products. If customers don't want what we're selling, it may be that we need to have an intensive look at the market and see what gaps we may be able to fill instead.

2.    Price - The strategy you use to determine the price you need to sell your product for and make a profit.
Publishers set the price of the ebook and print book generally using the follow-price method and the slide-scale method. The follow-price method is just that, it looks at what similar products sell for and matches it. The slide-scale method is where the book sells for $X until all advances and marketing costs have been recouped and then the price is reduced. What is alarming in today's market is that many new authors are willingly selling their digital works at low prices or even giving their books away for free. What these authors need to remember is price wars are like fire. Norton Paley says about price wars, "Those who persist in such actions are ultimately consumed by them."
3.    Promote - advertising, networking, sales promotion, internet marketing

There are 75 million books listed on Library Thing. How is a new author without the financial backing of a major publisher supposed to cut through that much chatter? Indie authors need to be proactive with our promotion, we need to work smarter not harder, we need to become innovators. The downside of working in a giant corporation is that you lose the drive that compels you to try new things and often you're afraid to try new things in case you fail and lose your job. The upside of being an indie author is that you have nothing to lose and you're never afraid to try new things.

4.    Distribute - the channels you use to get your product into the hands of your customers

Don't confuse distribution with product. Distribution does not mean either print or ebook. Print books and digital books are the products, not the distribution method. The distribution of books is how we get our product to our intended market: direct or wholesaler, exclusive vs non-exclusive, distributor vs retailer. For indie authors, we have the benefit of being able to distribute direct to our customers, and also through retailers such as Amazon and Books-A-Million.

Over the next few weeks I'll track down some helpful tips on marketing novels in the virtual arena. Today, my guest, young adult author Brinda Berry has been kind enough to provide me some insight into a new and simple to use form of marketing in the virtual arena, a new social media tool called
Marketing novels in the virtual arena -

Brinda Berry on

Twitter and Facebook are two social media tools which allow you share news. is a free online service I use to see everything my friends are sharing in a visually pleasing newspaper format. I love it so much that I share it with my followers. In that way, I can help to promote the articles and images that my friends are talking about online.

Although I could use for both social media platforms, I use mine only for Twitter. Additionally, I only publish and promote  the news of select groups of people. I follow over two thousand people and it would be impossible to read everything they are sharing. So, I use Twitters lists to filter and see the news from a common group of people.

First, login to be creating an account using either your Twitter or Facebook login. Here are the steps to create your first paper.
1. At the top of the page, you'll see a brief menu. Click the +CREATE A PAPER.

2. Screen 1: Give it a name that is catchy and represents content. Also, you will choose the frequency that you wish to publish your paper automatically. I usually choose DAILY for this.

3. Screen 2: suggests some content for your paper. I ignore these. I choose MY ACCOUNTS at the top left on the menu. My Twitter profile shows up in the middle frame since I log in with that. Click on the > at the immediate right of your profile to expand your Twitter source and show specific things you can load into the paper.  My choices are:
a. Your Timeline
b. Your Tweets
c. Saved Searches
d. Your lists (both the ones I've created on Twitter and the ones that I subscribe to)

4. Choose one (or more). For this example, I'll choose the search called #yalitchat . This is an active chat that occurs every Wednesday night with a group of YA authors. You select it by clicking on the + sign at the right of the title.

5. Click the green DONE button.

6. Voila! You have a beautiful paper you can read and share. Others can also subscribe to your paper.

7. When you log in to your paper, you can always click the EDIT MODE button at the right top corner to make changes. Beside that button, you'll see a "gear" button where you can make changes to sources and appearance.

Have a great time publishing content in a fun format.

Brinda Berry

YA Fiction — Hang on for a Wild Ride


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Coffee chat with YA author Theresa McClinton

Welcome to
D L Richardson's

Coffee Chat with
YA author
Theresa McClinton

Theresa McClinton is the author of The Stone Guardian. She was born in California in the fall of 1985. After hopping around to several states, she finally settled in Kodiak, Alaska. Eight years later, she now lives in Ohio with her wonderful husband, three fantastic kids, and her family pet cat, Pepper. Besides being a wife and a mommy, Theresa is also a YA urban fantasy writer.
"I greatly enjoy writing in YA. It’s a growing genre, with lots of potential and plenty of room for my imagination to go wild.I spent most of my childhood on that glorious island. I have just completed my debut novel, The Stone Guardian. The following novels of the trilogy are well on their way, with great expectations."
Welcome Theresa!!!

 D L: So, coffee, how do you have it and what is your favorite time of the day to partake?

Theresa: I have a Keugir single cup coffee maker that I bought about a year ago. I haven't used anything since. Folgers, large cup setting, with natural french vanilla creamer is my favorite way to have it. I probably drink more than I should, but have tea at night. Can't do black coffee, and I drink it without sugar when I'm having something sweet. There, now you know my life's secrets. 

D L: I love your tagline: “When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.” Have you ever had a nightmare or dream that seemed so real it felt prophetic?

Theresa: Thank you. And yes. There has been just a handful of times I've woken up from a dream that impacted me with strong emotion that I found myself searching for my phone to call the person I dreamt about. Almost always there was something wrong. I'm not claiming to be physic or anything of that nature, but I do believe a person can somehow sense when someone they love is in need or danger. It happens very rarely, so when it does I pay attention. No rolling over and going back to sleep. 

D L: How many books will there be in the Stone Legacies series?

Theresa: That's a hard question. Originally it was going to be three, but now I see it as being five. That includes some novellas I intend to put out there between the "big" books for the series. It's been interesting to see the story and characters progress and develop. 

Amazon review: "There's lots of action and mystery in this book. There's lots of Mayan folklore. There's a sweet romance." L. B Diamond
D L: I see on your Facebook page that you're writing the second book and promoting the first as well as creating book trailers. What do you do for pure fun and relaxation?

Theresa: Haha. It seems all the things you listed are work. They are, but I do love to write and it is fun. OK, but other than that. Um, I love to travel. Adore it. Europe has been my favorite so far. I know, that's pretty broad. Europe is a big place. Amsterdam is really quant and lovely with it's leaning buildings and cobblestone streets. Switzerland is picturesque, and Italy--oh, Italy. How I adore that country, Euro deficit and all. The art, culture, food. Germany was surprisingly nice, and France for me was just OK. I'd love to live in Italy someday, maybe Florence.

D L: You possess ‘self-drive’ which is a necessary skill for freelance writing. Any pointers for the readers on 1) how to keep your self-drive mechanism going; and 2) how to know when it’s time to take a break.

Theresa: That's such a good question! I keep my self-drive mechanism running by loving the stories I write about. I get attached to my characters and love to bring them to life. I get excited while talking about them, and if I don't start rambling and forget what I'm doing or where I'm going after someone asks me about my book, I know I've been away from them (my characters) for too long. Love of your story I think is the most important thing in writing. If you have a passion for it, that will transfer into your writing and your readers will see that.

I step away and take a break when I get stuck, or when I find myself typing and I can't remember what I just said. Yes, it happens. Especially when you're trying to meet a word count goal. That can be tough. But I realized that if I get away from my computer and do other things, my mind works and I get little epiphanies. I can't tell you how many times my husband has watched me in silence while I rushed past him to open my computer and start typing. He's learned to stop asking me, "What's so important?"

D L: When you enjoy a coffee break, are you a cake or biscuits type or gal?

Theresa:I feel like cake is more for desert than a coffee break. I don't know why but I always picture a coffee break to be something you take in the afternoon, so I'll say biscuit. Scone, to be more precise, or coffee cake--which I guess is cake, but not really. Muffin? Oooohhh. Cobblestone from Panera. Yum.

D L: Thanks so much for this quick coffee chat. I hope you're enjoying writing the second book in the series and best of luck with the series!

Author Theresa McClinton black and white photo
For anyone in Kansas City is May, Theresa will be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City, MO, From May 1-May5, 2013. She will be participating in Club RT and the Indie Author Expo, and will have both digital and print copies of The Stone Guardian available for purchase.

Crossing realms of young adult romance."

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D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

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