The Blade Heir

Fantasy Authors Unplugged Featuring Daniel Adorno

This is the beginning of a new feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule.

Daniel AdornoToday’s feature fantasy author is Daniel Adorno whose first epic fantasy novel, The Blade Heir, was released a few months ago and is on sale this week.

What’s the basic plot of The Blade Heir?

The Blade Heir is the story of a young man, Lucius Nostra, who is raised by elves. With his adoptive elf brother, Siegfried, at his side, Lucius embarks on a quest to forge an ancient sword and halt the return of the dragons of the North.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I have always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction novels, so I was naturally drawn to write stories of fantastical realms or futuristic worlds. Novels like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were very inspirational to me as an aspiring writer. Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy and Celtic fantasy books were also influential in my writing.

Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas come from all kinds of media including novels, movies, TV, the Bible, and history texts I’ve read. Occasionally, I’ll get an idea for a story just from creating a title that I like or digital art that really inspires me.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I’ve experienced writer’s block a few times and I usually attribute it to either lack of creative ideas or procrastination. The latter just requires me to stop making excuses and write! When it’s the former, I usually need to re-evaluate my story and find out what’s stifling the writing. Sometimes it’s just a matter of tweaking an outline or finding plot holes. Other times just taking a break from writing to read a book or take a walk, clears that writer’s block right away.

cover1seppedDo you work with an outline, or just write?

I’ve done it both ways. With The Blade Heir, I just wrote and let the words come onto the page with a very loose mental outline of how I wanted things to resolve. Just writing is a very liberating experience for writers, but it can lead to massive headaches in the editing stage, which I experienced. Having learned the pitfalls of that method, I’m going the outline route with my current project and I actually enjoy having everything planned out more than I expected. Plots and subplots are easier to manage and keeping track of where I want the story to go is also simpler.

What project are you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on a post-apocalyptic novella that could be considered Young Adult. You can read the first chapter on my Wattpad page.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism I’ve received as an author is that my writing is “written for a fifth grader.” My writing style is aimed at young adults and anyone older, not middle grade fiction, so it was not a compliment. Alternatively, the best compliment I’ve received is that my writing leaves people wanting more. It’s a wonderful compliment because I struggle with knowing whether I have what it takes to be an author or not.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Never stop writing. Even if you get negative criticism or have reservations about your writing. To write is to progress in the craft, so continue on. But also know when it’s time to let your writing out into the world, whether that’s submitting it to a publisher or publishing it yourself.

I would also recommend aspiring writers drop the “aspiring” from their titles. You’re either a writer or you’re not. Once you start believing you are a writer it will make a world of difference in how you approach your writing and the level of confidence you have in the art.

Thanks to Daniel for being first in this feature. I totally agree with the last paragraph. You can find him on the web here and his book on Amazon, Smashwords, BN, etc.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Guest Blog: 3 Ways Authors can Get Exposure for Their Recently-published Books

Today’s post comes from fellow epic fantasy writer, Daniel Adorno. He is the author of The Blade Heir which was released just a few months ago. Take it away, Daniel!

Stack of Library BooksSo you’ve spent months, maybe years, writing and editing your book so you can self-publish. The moment finally arrives when you decide to hit that Publish button and send your masterpiece off into the world, but once you’ve done that, you first thought might be similar to mine: “Now what?”

You’ve done an amazing thing by completing a novel and the accomplishment should never be understated, but as you’ll hear many veteran authors tell you, completing the book is only the first step in a really long journey. After the book is published, you’ve got to market and promote it otherwise nobody except your family and friends will ever know it’s out there swimming in the overcrowded sea of self-published works. There are no shortage of methods and strategies online for you to follow in promoting your book, but I want to focus on three simple ways you can get the word out about your book and maximize exposure.

Create a Goodreads giveaway or event

Goodreads is the social media equivalent of Facebook for readers. It’s the place to be if you’re an author because the discussion is always centered around books. You can easily connect your Facebook account to Goodreads and create a user profile from their homepage. Once you’ve done that, join their Author Program and get access to an author profile on the site. The author profile allows readers to connect with you and add your book to the site. It also gives you the option of creating a blog or syncing an existing blog to your profile, so readers can see the latest posts on your website. The best thing about Goodreads though is that you can create giveaways or events that readers can see.

Creating a giveaway involves offering up one or more physical copies of your book to readers who sign up. You add your book, set the length of time the giveaway is good for, and then Goodreads advertises it (for free!) on their Giveaways page. The benefit of giving away copies of your book is that readers will usually add it to their reading lists and this activity will be shown on their feeds for all their friends to see, so it exposes your book to a larger audience. Alternatively, the winners of the giveaway might review your book which will also increases visibility, but don’t ever expect this since it is entirely optional.

If you only have an ebook copy of your book to giveaway, don’t despair, you can still offer it to readers through an event. Creating an event is as simple as creating a giveaway. I would recommend you always create events for author signings, blog tours, etc. But you can also use the events feature to give away a free ebook. Invite everyone on your friends list who likes the genre you write in and set it up for a week or less. You can randomly choose a winners from your RSVP list and send them copies of the ebook. Whether you create a Goodreads giveaway or event, both options will significantly boost your book’s presence on the site and garner readers’ attentions. Refer to this video for more in-depth details on how to maximize engagement on Goodreads.

Businessman Speaking Through MegaphoneHost a Twitter party

Twitter is a bustling social media marketplace and one of the easiest places to create valuable connections that benefit authors. If you’ve never hosted a Twitter party before, I would recommend you at least attend a few parties before you tackle hosting. The concept is simple: you invite guests to Twitter to tweet about your book or its genre and give away prizes to attendees. Create invitations for the party at least a week in advance; use a program like Photoshop or GIMP to make a compelling graphic that can be posted on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. You’ll also need to create a unique hashtag that your partygoers can use in their tweets. For example, at my debut novel’s party I used #BladeHeirparty. Having a hashtag will allow everyone to keep track of the discussion on Twitter and it will get the attention of your guests’ followers.

During the party, try to have discussion questions written out so when there’s a lull in the conversation you can spur more tweeting with a thoughtful question or comment. Don’t try to control the tweeting too much though. The tweets will come quick and there will be lots of side discussions going on, which is a good sign that people are enjoying the party! Try to have a set time for the party to start and end (usually an hour or two will suffice) and before its over, give out prizes to a few guests. Prizes can include a free copy of your book, a gift card, or something promotional like a signed poster of your book’s cover art. There’s no expectation to have an extravagant prize like a trip to Maui, just provide prizes relevant to your book and worth coming to your party. For more info on Twitter party strategies, read this insightful article.

Bundle your ebook with BitLit

Pile of TextbooksOne of the growing trends in the music and movie industries is the act of bundling. You rarely see a new movie released on DVD that isn’t bundled with a Blu-Ray disc and a digital copy for all kinds of devices. Similarly, more music albums on physical media are being bundled with vinyl records or iTunes download codes. So why not do the same with books? One company called BitLit is doing just that by allowing readers who own physical copies of a book to download the ebook version for free or at a reduced cost. Amazon provides a similar service under the MatchBook program, but if readers buy a paperback copy of your book at an independent bookstore or directly from your website, MatchBook is useless to them. This is where BitLit comes in with their wonderful app, whereby a reader can take a picture of the book’s copyright page and receive a link to download the ebook.

Why is this beneficial for an author?

Because it’s a simple way to promote your books and provide value to readers. Imagine being at an author signing selling paperbacks and encountering attendees who admit they read exclusively on their Kindle, Nook, or iPad and don’t buy physical books anymore. You can easily persuade them to purchase a paperback by informing them of BitLit and how they can get a free ebook by owning the physical copy. I think both BitLit and MatchBook provide unseen potential for authors to give readers more options and sell more books. If you want more info on BitLit and how to participate, check out this informative post on Pubslush.

Incorporating these three simple strategies after releasing your book into the world can move your new book from an obscure position in a crowded online marketplace to a visible blip on readers’ radars.

——–

Daniel Adorno is an indie author who loves to write fantasy and sci-fi stories. He enjoys sharing writing tips and publishing advice to writers on his blog. His debut novel, The Blade Heir, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Thanks for providing today’s blog, Daniel. You can also find him on his blog and his contact information here.

What are your ideas for marketing your books? What venues have worked or not in gaining your book exposure? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment section? I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

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Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office

Stack of Library Books — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

What I’m Reading This Morning 7/4

I’m taking a bit of a break from any serious blogging today so here are a few links and thoughts about some posts I’m reading. Also, be aware of some fundraisers that are ongoing that I like. And don’t forget my own IndieGoGo fundraiser starts on 7/7 – more on that below and on the News page. I plan to write some blogs about editing and marketing over the next few days as well so follow my blog and keep coming back.

Someone posted a good link for words describing voices from MacMillan Dictionarny. These are useful to remember.

Dorothy Cora Moore discusses a plotting method used by Michael Crichton on Writers Helping Writers (Angela Ackerman). I think this is a great method and should be part of development when using Scrivener’s index cards. Maybe I’ll write about this topic soon.

Here are some helpful tips for planning a marketing campaign. I’ll need these soon myself so this is a keeper. It’s from StandOutBooks.com and written by Alexander Hemus whom I just followed on Twitter.

Allison Schiff writes on Publisher’s Weekly about Copyright for authors. This is great as I see lots of confusion from many people on this subject.

Updated with more links:

Ever wonder what the hashtags mean in FB? Thanks for the post Anurag Mishra!

Zoe Saadia shares another article based on research for her historical fiction regarding new world people groups and their cultures.

That’s all I have for now. Remember to check these fundraising campaigns I like.

Picture from The Bow of Destiny project trailer.

Picture from The Bow of Destiny project trailer.

Don’t forget, my crowdfunding campaign for The Bow of Destiny begins on IndieGoGo on 7/7. Like me on Facebook and view/share the posted campaign event. Follow me on Twitter (@ph_Solomon) to receive news and help spread the word by using #BowofDestiny when referencing my IndieGoGo updates. I plan to schedule several social media parties with possible gift-card prizes – dates to be announced. Preview the project video here or here.

Share a comment below and also consider following this blog via email for a FREE copy of The Black Bag. I’m on Facebook, Twitter (@ph_Solomon), Pinterest & Google+ (ph@phsolomon.com).