Bubbles Bursting – the disappearing Amazon Reviews

They were great! Those first Amazon reviews.  They were from my advance copy readers – friends and family who got roped into helping with the book project. Then, like beautiful bubbles with rainbow reflections sailing skyward – they popped and disappeared.Haylee e-Trilogy add

My high tech hubby says, “You must have thanked too many people.”  Our guess is that there is an auto-program in the inner workings of Amazon that zaps out reviews from people who were mentioned in the book.

No matter….if plan “A” doesn’t work out, there’s always another.

My marketing plan for Haylee is simple. If you like it, tell  your friends.

Haylee and the Traveler's Stone trilogy

Here’s the link to book #1
Haylee Awakened Seed

It’s price .99¢

(as close to free as I could get)
(FREE in the  Kindle Lending Library)

5 Tips to find the right professional editor for your book

It’s a special occasion! Only something sumptuous and sweet will satisfy the mood and pallet.  Delicate aromas float in the air as you approach the bakery. The corners of your mouth lift up as you fill your lungs with the heavenly smells.

pastries

 

When you step-up to the display case, you see that none of the cakes or pastries have frosting or decorations.

unfrosted cake

Will they still taste good?  Surely. But will they cause an ‘oooo’ or an ‘ahhhh’ at the moment of reveal?

Many aspects of Indy publishing are appealing because it puts ultimate control of a publishing project in the author’s own hands. You get to create your own original recipe, and blend flavors and textures without a publisher or cover designer in the kitchen telling you to adjust this or that. But just because you have all the tools you need to self-publish, does that mean you should do everything?

In every sole proprietorship, the business owner is required to perform the vast majority of the work. However; the savvy business person knows that at times it’s necessary, even critical, to hire an expert.  When you are just another author in an ocean filled with Indy authors, a pertinent question becomes how to differentiate your work from all the others in the marketplace?  Professional editing is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

Here are five tips to find the right professional editor for your book.

1. Decide if you want a local or a remote editor.

To find a local editor, tap into your personal networks – ask people you know and put it out there on your facebook or google+ pages. You can contact local writers groups, high school and college English and Literary professors as well as librarians.

Initially, I wanted an editor I could meet with in person. By going through the process above, I found several but did not find the one who was the right match for my subject. Eventually, the idea of finding a local editor was discarded in favor of finding the right one – no matter where he or she lived.

2. Contact a professional editors association.

The organizations below were the most helpful in my editor search.

Editorial Freelancers Association (1,100+ members) has a sort function that simplifies identifying the editors who match your search criteria.

Bay Area Editors Forum

Book Expo America

Additional resources: Google search – ‘Writers Conferences’  for conferences in your area.

3. Choose an editor who specializes in your genre.

Haylee, like pretty much all of my artistic expressions, does not clearly fit into one specific category. It’s a blend of paranormal, Sci-fi and adventure genres with a hint of romance sprinkled in. Because the story follows the main character from ages seventeen to twenty-five, most genre guidelines place it in the Young Adult category.  However, when viewed with the other titles in that group, Haylee does not play well with the others.

Once I released the Young Adult genre idea, I began to search for editors who specialize in paranormal subject matter. It quickly became clear that this was the right way to go.

4. Understand which editorial services you want.

According to Wikipedia, copy editing, “is the work that an editor does to improve the formatting, style, and accuracy of text. Unlike general editing, copy editing might not involve changing the content of the text. Copy refers to written or typewritten text for typesetting, printing, publication, broadcast or other independent distribution.”

A line editor evaluates sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling and verb agreement. Line editing is the final piece of the manuscript production process before it is ready for publication.

5. Request sample edits.

Compose a brief editor inquiry, but include enough information about your project so that the editor can make an informed decision.

Here is the query e-mail I sent. *Note. To make evaluation easier I asked each editor to make sample edits on the same four pages of my manuscript.

Dear ———,
 I would like to inquire about your editing services.
If it looks like a project you may be interested in, please let me know the next step.
Thanks!
Lisa Redfern (Grass Valley, CA)
The Project:
Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone | 86,000 words
A new adult, paranormal, romantic, time travel, thriller.
A Five Part Novella: Awakened Seed, Need To Feed, Burden of the Powerful, The Traveler and Upholders Redemption
____________________________________________________________________________
BACK COVER COPY
_____________________________________________________________________________
How can you stop being lonely when your touch destroys everyone you love?
Something triggers an ancient pattern…
Growing up with a father who could not climb out of his grief stricken oblivion, Haylee Garrett was left to fend for herself.  The desperately lonely girl is delighted with the sudden, dramatic physical changes that come over her on her seventeenth birthday. The boy she has been dreaming about for years finally sees her.
The pattern dictates dark deeds…
But with those changes comes a sinister drive; a fierce undeniable hunger. Haylee’s victims become hollow remnants of themselves.
Until two Travelers meet…
After her personal life is turned to ruins, Haylee is unceremoniously pulled through time to San Francisco during the 1849 Gold Rush. It is here that she must find the only person who can help her…the last Traveler in their lineage.
Emis Laurent is an infamous French Seer living the bawdy life of an entertainer at the Bella Union, a brothel in heart of Portsmouth Square. Emis has no intention of following the predestined course of their ancestors.
Haylee discovers an implausible alliance with two Irish emigrants; a friendship with fifteen-year-old Edward Keener and a reluctant, unavoidable love in his older brother, Reece.
Reece is the unfortunate recipient of fallout from Emis’s wayward plan. Can he bring a sense of order back to their lives after the Traveler has come and gone?

 

Every editor I contacted responded to my e-mail query. Each of them was timely, polite and had unique talents and skills. I was not prepared to like all of them!

Once I started comparing the sample edits, one clearly stood out – Erica Ellis.
Her changes sounded like my own voice. She took the time to explain Chicago Manual of Style rules and passed along information that helped with ‘Track Changes’ in Microsoft Word. Through the process of working with her, I learned to improve my writing and was overjoyed to see professional quality that the book took on after she was finished.

Erica Ellis

Erica lives too far away to take out to lunch.
If we ever have the 
opportunity to meet,
she will get a hug and a smile from a
very happy and appreciative client!

 

In my own Indy production process, professional editing was the area where I planned invest in an expert. I think it is a critical component in taking a manuscript from DIY  – OK to a polished product that is ready for readers. It’s like adding the frosting and finishing touches to a long and challenging baking project.

Ultra Chocolatey - Chocolate Coma Cake

Ultra Chocolatey – Chocolate Coma Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your free Haylee eBook before it’s gone!

Manuscript tweaking came to and end this week as the professional editing phase of the project began.

One week to stop thinking about the smart girl with big problems on her hands. One week to focus on finishing the interior art pieces and create five novella cover designs.

Sample art pieces that will be included in the Haylee e-novellas.
Sample art pieces that will be included in the Haylee e-novellas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all book covers horiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was hard not to wonder what my editor was doing out in Minnesota, once she received the e-mail with the manuscript attached.

As the final completion of this monumental self-publishing undertaking gets closer, the free version of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone [that contains all five novellas] is approaching its removal from public view. The last day to get it is June 30!

free advance copies through June 2014
free advance copies through June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to get your free advance reading copy of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone.

 

Here is what some of the advance readers had to say.

“Haylee [is] a complicated character. She pulled [at] me to keep turning pages to see if there would be redemption.” – Kamara Garcia, dōTERRA, Independent Product Consultant

“Haylee is about a girl who is undergoing … odd transformations in young adulthood. Some of these changes are frightening and cause [her] to question who / what she is. As ‘fate’ would have it [she is transported to California during the Gold Rush and ]meets two important figures [who help] her on her journey.” – Ashley Votaw, Nevada City Organic Farmer & Herbalist

 ‘Haylee is a fantasy adventure coming of age story with a touch of romance about a girl with unexpected power trying to find her place in the world.”
After reading the third book [Haylee: Burden of the Powerful] “Ohmygoshwhatisshegoingtodo?!?!?! What happens next!?
– Megan Greene, Megan Greene Design

 

Haylee and the Travelers Stone

Haylee 200A young woman, with an unusual psychic ability suddenly becomes a Traveler.

Can you stop being lonely when your touch destroys everyone you love?

Haylee and the Travelers Stone is a new adult, paranormal, romantic, time travel, thriller. Click here to read back cover copy.

In order to accumulate Amazon reviewers prior to the publishing date (Summer 2014), FREE reading / review copies will be available through June 2014.

 

How to get Haylee onto your Kindle.

The first step is to download the file and save it on your computer in a place you’ll remember.

Click here for instructions on what to do on Amazon.com to Manage your Kindle.

Little Flower – A Home with a Heart and a Resource for Parents

According to the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, “Nevada County boasts the greatest number of charter schools per capita in California.” http://ncerc.org/nevada-county-education/

Choices are a good thing…but too many are overwhelming, especially for first-time parents trying to decide where to send their children to school. Preschool is often the place where parents sort that out.

I first met Jessica Geoffroy-Druding in 2005 when our oldest sons were in strollers.  Even then,  she and her husband Pat were in the habit of strengthening community ties by inviting interesting mixes of people to gatherings at their home.Druding Family 2007 WEB

Jessica and I would often discuss the topic of school choices at length as I had many questions. Jessica, on the other hand, was already sure that Yuba River Charter School was where her children would go because she had been educated in the Waldorf system herself. Jessica’s mother, Carolyn Geoffroy, was a Waldorf Early Childhood Educator for 30 + years.

When her second child arrived and the economy put her husband’s job into a tenuous situation, the smart and spunky mother took matters into her own hands by creating a career path out of her loving home environment – Little Flower Preschool. It didn’t  take long for word-of-mouth to spread about the sweet preschool for young children.  In it’s third year of operation, Little Flower is at full enrollment with a healthy sized waiting list.

IMG_3449web“ I finally understood why my mother did what she did,” says Jessica. “Holding a wholesome beginning for the early years is so important. “ At her Waldorf  inspired preschool they don’t rush into academics. “We focus on rhythms and routines,” Jessica comments. She also works to create opportunities for families to connect by organizing parent social evenings and bringing in community child care professionals to provide education on topics such as sleep and health.

IMG_3448-lrweb

“Just because Little Flower follows much of the Waldorf style, I don’t automatically assume that Yuba River Charter School is the right choice for all of my families. Based on their personalities, I can usually point them to the school that would be a good fit for them,” says Druding.IMG_3445web

Knowing that your child is in a safe, loving environment  while you work makes for a more mentally focused day. But also having a trusted expert that you can talk to about child rearing issues is an invaluable resource for the entire family.

Contact Information:

LF Logo black text on white web size

Jessica Geoffroy-Druding
littleflowergv@gmail.com
(530) 272-2952, Grass Valley, CA
www.littleflowerpreschool.com

IMG_5976-1

A Golden Nugget – Penney the Clown

It was an afternoon that I spent running errands with my 8 year old. Little did I expect to find gold. At the Briar Patch we saw a cute face painter working in the outdoor seating area.

In costume, Penney the Clown, breezily transforms a little boy into a lion, while chatting casually with his folks.  Once he is done, he proudly prances around the patio roaring while his brother gets a matching treatment; mom is painted with eye accents that color coordinate with both of her boys. What a fun picture they make together!

Wow…she’s very good!  And fast, I think.  As my son awaits his turn in Penney’s chair, I scan through face painting images on one of my Pintrest Boards.

I am a fan of body painters. This art form, when done well, is spectacular, delicate…and fleeting. I am thrilled to watch this woman work. Her talent is right up there with some of the best that I have seen.

collage3

Penney (or Alison Kenyon as her day-to-day self) begins to change my son from a boy into a goblin. We visit as she sponges and paints. I tell her that I admire the face painting on the technical support team at SmugMug – they appear as comic book characters on their website – she pauses briefly to respond, “Oh I did those!”

I feel as if I have discovered, yet another, gold nugget in my own back yard. This woman is an accomplished fine art body painter. She won the International Face and Body Art competition in San Francisco in 2004. Her work regularly takes her to corporate and theatrical events in the Bay Area.

She is a star – yet she hangs out in front of the Briar Patch – and this award winning artist cheerfully transforms our children into anything that they can imagine.

Next time I plan a party or event, you can bet she’ll be on the top of my list. Nevada County is such a great place to live!

big A face- web

Frequently asked questions about body painting on Alison’s Body Masterpiece website.

With such a dramatic goblin face, we had to got out and celebrate with a root beer float.

 

Psychic Web Marketing – Katrina Thompson

Born with psychic abilities, Katrina Thompson vividly remembers moments (when she was about nine) laying awake and seeing a series of kind faces…people she didn’t know. They didn’t frighten her; they were just there.  Eventually she would think, that was interesting – then she’d go to sleep.08 kat 3

Years later, as an adult, Katrina had an experience that led her to the realization that mediumship could function as a form of healing. While doing a tarot reading,  she was asked a question that the cards could not possibly answer…yet the answers came quite clearly. Following their direction Katrina, connected with a loving person in spirit who gave personal information and solace to her client.

One bereaved widow comments, “When I first lost my husband, it felt like a physical wound. Katrina helped stop the bleeding.”

Although her life and work were not devoted to using psychic abilities, Katrina always maintained close ties with the Spiritualist Community, participating in training and community giving activities. A pivotal moment in her career came when she attended her first mediumship development workshop in Canada in 2007.

With her abilities fine tuned, her children mostly all grown, and a business concept in place, Katrina set out to market her psychic development workshops and her personal psychic reading services.

Although, her husband and sons helped establish her initial online presence, with Adobe products, Katrina found it challenging to rely on them (with their own busy schedules) to keep her website updated with current information.

She has the skills to learn those programs but her time is a limiting factor. She needed a framework to work within that would allow her to ’hit the ground running’ while cultivating the relationships that would grow her business.

To accomplish this, we set up a WordPress site for Katrina. Using many of the images already created by her son, katrina 1I added artistic treatments, created a color pallet and color palletproduced a series of web videos.

kat2

After only one WordPress training session, Katrina was off and running with her own website and blog.

The fact that I can have this much power over my own website is AWESOME!”  she says  enthusiastically.

The combination of Katrina’s warm personality, good writing skills, an easy-to-use website with quality imagery and cohesive design elements is working; she has quickly gained numerous online followers. Her site has become a powerful ancillary tool in her business development activities where adding posts and information about upcoming events has become second nature. Katrina can now focus on what is really important…connecting with people and facilitating healing.

To learn more about Katrina and her mediumship services, visit her website at http://www.ultravimedium.com/

Developing an Online Brand – Toby Bear the eBook

In the spring of 2012, Lisa Boulton was designing her own line of jewelry, the mother of three grown sons, starting a new career as a health care provider … and a breast cancer survivor. At the end of that same year, she had added another accomplishment: published author.

author2imageblueweb

“When I first met with Lisa (Redfern), I had written the Toby Bear story and had created a series of pencil sketches. I loved the digital paintings of children that I’d seen in Redfern’s studio, so I thought I would ask if she’d work on the project with me,” says Boulton.

Lisa Boulton says that the Toby Bear project is her “passion” and the culmination of her life experiences: An opportunity to comfort and care for children and to help them build a strong sense of self-awareness with positive thinking techniques. Redfern too thought that the project would be a excellent vehicle to express her own amalgamation of professional skills and that it could add a new dimension (ePublishing) to her business.2013 TO Do graphic

Throughout the summer, the women worked together to execute their production schedule that involved finding models, scheduling photo shoots, creating art pieces, manuscript editing, shooting and editing their first Toby Bear web video. They also gathered data to set-up the TobyBearStories.com website and Facebook page that include resources for childrens yoga, healthy eating, meditation, care tips for cancer patients, a media kit and About the Author information.

facebook

website

blog

By June, the Toby Bear website and Facebook page had launched. The eBook, Toby Bear and the Healing Light, was published and available for sale on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Soney & Diesel in September.

Although Redfern was reluctant to enter the print book market, Boulton convinced her that a continued need for physical product-in-hand existed. So they developed the manuscript into a format for print-on-demand (also available through Amazon).

Lisa Boulton had her books in hand by Christmas time.

“I was exuberant when I received my first shipment of books.” said Boulton, “The clerk at the Nevada City Post Office saw my excitement and asked me to open the box so she could see them too (there wasn’t a line behind me). It was a fabulous moment! We were both so excited to see the whole community beautifully represented in the book,” comments the author.

To learn more about Lisa Boulton and Toby Bear and the Healing Light, visit TobyBearStories.com

Toby, Lisa & Lisa

Vintage Pet Beds – Hand Crafted in Nevada City

The Cattani’s background in gift item design, pet products, building and furniture crafting make Pet Beds a natural outgrowth of their style and ingenuity.  They have amassed a stock of headboards and chair backs that they design into special and unique pet beds. They also offer a specialty service where they craft a custom Pet Bed made out of your own furniture.

“The Pet Beds we design are about love and comfort for our pets,” says Becky Cattani.

In her career, Becky traveled extensively in the orient and designing highly successful gift items for an import company. She also spent most of a decade researching the history of a 1900’s fishing lodge in Oregon and restoring it to it’s historical splendor. Prior to 2006, the Cattani’s lived in Santa Cruz County where Becky owned a pet deli & boutique in the little village.

These experiences began her love of period furniture, antique restoration and product design.

Matt enjoys working with all kinds of people. He has a quick smile and is perpetually cheerful – even when he faces challenges. His skills in building maintenance have carried him far in life. He’s managed and maintained apartment complexes, vacation rentals and a historic hotel. His workshop would make any woodworker envious. It is a gabled building painted cheery bright red and replete with a lighthouse style light at the top that shines brightly every evening.

In 2011 the Cattanis hired me to create professional product images for brochures, upcoming festivals and for a website. During the course of our photo session, we discussed their business goals, objectives, target market issues, and technical skills. We concluded that a website, that they maintain themselves, is not practical for the Cattanis at this time. Their goal is to work with pet suppliers, interior decorators, catalog companies and to connect with people one-on-one at craft fairs to generate custom orders.

For the immediate short term, they plan to list their contact information in key online locations so that they have a web presence and focus their business building efforts through connections that  they develop at festivals. To this end, they work cooperatively with artist Monique Hanson, who specializes in animal painting, to share booth space at artisans festivals throughout northern California and Nevada.

Comments they always hear when people see their Pet Beds, “Oh! Those are so darling!”

“When we first started showing the beds, people would ask if their dogs could sit on them. We thought that would be alright…until we realized that the dogs wanted to mark their territory!”  laughs Matt.

Matt and Becky are enjoying life in Nevada County,  their continual quest for unique furniture and always, always the joy and exuberance of their furry companions.

Moondoggies / Luna Kitties
(530) 470-0347
Moon Doggies Motel
13050 Discovery Way
Nevada City, CA 95959

Small Women Owned Businesses on the Rise in Nevada County

In spite of the challenging economic environment that Nevada County has been experiencing for the last several years, I have been a witness to and a cheerleader for a number of small, women owned businesses who have been steadily developing their roots in the soil of local commerce.  My next blog posts will be profiles of their emerging businesses; their goals, marketing strategies and plans of action.

It has been energizing to work with these women and to watch their growth. I am excited to tell their stories!