Vanessa Kings’ Books is back!!!

Hello everyone!

I’m happy to announce that, after about a month of not being able to post, or review any books on my blog, now I’m back and ready to start showing you some great books.

First of all, thank you for staying during this silent time, it won’t happen too often (I hope). I’ve been working on a new project and I can’t wait to tell you about it, but since I don’t want to jinx it, I will keep my mouth shut and my finger away from the keyboard, until is finished.

During, this month, besides working, I’ve joined a reading marathon on Facebook and I’m really enjoying it. I never participated in a book club or marathon before, and it’s really fun to discuss and share the book experience with other, including the author.

If you want to join the marathon, we are currently reading the second book of the series, but you can catch up quickly, since you won’t be able to put the first book down once your start 🙂

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Link to book 1

Marathon Leg 1

Link to book 2

Marathon leg 2

I will be posting my review for Breeder soon, so stay tuned!

More good news:

Our Springtime giveaway is live! More than 40 authors and bloggers are offering books, jewelry and gift cards as individual prizes, and the best of it? $180 PayPal grand prize!!! Entries are free, so start clicking…

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Also, remember the Virtual Book Fair that we held in February? I won two amazing books that I will be posting soon, and you won’t want to miss them, they are absolutely great reads!

 

I’m very excited to post my first spotlights and review for this new phase and I hope you enjoy them.

Don´t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to receive the latest news and reviews!

See you soon!

Guest Post: Judging a Book by its Cover

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Judging a Book by its Cover

by Alex Martin

As in every industry, when we look at the yearly information about self-publishing, there is always good news and bad news.

In several surveys applied across Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, the Smashwords online store, Oyster, Scribd, and Kobo, a few common trends are evident.

Bad news first?

Many authors quit after their first book. The why was not included, but an educated guess would lead to think that low sales and results that are below expectations would play a large role in making writers abandon their dreams, or at the least put them on an indefinite hold.

On the bright side, there is much good news to consider.

As of 2015 onwards, self-published books are representing more than 30% of e-book sales and authors are earning nearly 40% of total earnings. This is a clear indication that the market is still solid and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. This is all in spite of the data that also indicates that authors in general are earning less, but many are making a very healthy yearly profit. As an example, if you look up Mark Dawson, you will see that he is earning around $450.000 yearly as a self-published author.

Now, for a few points to consider, as we haven’t touched the topic related to the title of this article yet.

As a self-published author, you have several tools at your disposal to capture a reader’s attention. You can do a small test first, placing yourself in the position of a potential buyer. Let’s say you go to Amazon and type in a book genre, for example “romance”. As the list of related books appear, what is the first thing that you see?

That’s right, the book’s cover. And then if it captures your attention, the book’s title and only then will you probably click on it to read what it’s about.

With the romance genre example above, as you browse down the list, you will also probably notice how many of these covers have a man’s muscular torso on it, with the title written in some fancy cursive font. Now ask yourself, if you have a self-published romance book and you want customers to buy it, what makes it stand out from all the other covers with muscular torsos?

On the other hand, if the cover is not attractive, readers will also think that they will find the same quality inside the book, thus reducing drastically your chances of them buying your book.

This said, even if you are on a low budget, which you perhaps prefer to spend more on marketing your book, there are many very low cost options for good semi-professional book covers:

  • Canva

Canva is a free design tool that you can use both online or download as an app with which you can create great cover designs. It includes all the tools for text formatting, as well as a few free images that you can use. There are also paid images available at $1 each.

  • Public domain photos

If you do an internet search on public domain photos, you will find several sites that have a large database of photos and other types of images that are free to use. Just make sure that it specifies that it is free for commercial use. After choosing, all you need to do is perhaps add some photoshop filter and place the book’s title and author name, which you can do yourself with some basic design skills, or hire someone for as low as $5 to do it for you.

  • Low Cost Royalty Free Photos

There are also several sites offering royalty free images (no license attached), starting at $1 upwards.

  • Low Cost Designer

If you want to avoid all the hassle, you can go straight to a designer to have a cover made for you. Make sure, however, that you have a specific idea of what you want for your cover first, as any changes you may want to make once you receive the finished design may imply further costs.

With all these options, there are many ways of making your cover stand out among the rest. So, each time you take a break from writing, think of what type of cover you want for your book. A cover that would make you buy it without hesitation if you saw it.

 

ABOUT THE(1)

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Born 16275 days ago, books, music and film have always been an inspiration and an escape, fueling a desire to be a part of such noble professions. This is the beginning of the journey.

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Book Self-Publishing Services: Publish Your Manuscript Like A Professional.

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Agora Books offers its many book self-publishing services as a partner in facilitating your book production, marketing and distribution.

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Project “The diary of Amanda” on Pubslush

The “Stories of the Fairy of my Dreams” project started on February of 2013 when I decided to translate and publish one of my favorite stories.

Soon I realized that it had a lot of potential to become a full length book, not just a short story, so I added other stories that I wrote years ago, and created the “Dreams” that are shown as the chapters of the first book.

When I decided to add Melanie, the main character to become the glue of all these dreams, I noticed how complex the Kingdom of Astebeth was, and how many other stories could have place in there.
What at first was meant to be a short story, was becoming a trilogy.

My main purpose by writing this series of books is to bring the fantasy back, the old-fashioned fairy tale kind of fantasy that I read when I was a child.
I want children to be engaged on healthy fantasy stories, to work with their imagination and to be exited about opening a book because they know how many adventures they will find inside.

The first book of the trilogy was released on December of 2014 and is available to buy on Amazon, B&N and Indie Bound.

I am happy to see that people seem to like it, the ones that read it and wrote a review agree that it is a great book for children and teens, and they all said it reminded them of the books they read when they were young.

However, I found extremely difficult to promote the book and to reach my audience: Children.

With a constantly growing market, it is hard to get an indie book to be seen, and, even if people found it, the fact that is written by a new independent author, make them think twice before clicking the buying button.

I will not give up on my mission of bringing the fantasy back to our children, even if it takes more time and effort than I expected, I will make sure that the old fashioned fantasy literature is back in every child’s bookshelf.


If you want to support this project, please visit the following link:

https://pubslush.com/project/4761

Check out the rewards for every donation level.

Every help is very much appreciated

I BELIEVE IN FAIRY TALES

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Today I read an article that basically said we are unable to be happy due to all the unreal ideas that fairy tales put in our mind when we are kids, and that when we realize that our life won’t be perfect as they told us, we will be depressed and blame ourselves.

I thought about posting a comment on that article, but I also thought that it would create an unnecessary discussion, with someone that probably will not understand me.

I write and read fairy tales since I can remember, and first of all, fairy tales are not just about a princess finding her prince charming and living happily ever after.

Fairy tales are about magic, new and undiscovered worlds, dragons, knights, goblins, and fairies! Yes, there is usually a love story in the middle of all that chaos and treasure hunting, but fairy tales are about fantasy, otherwise they should be called Princesses-searching-for-love tales.

When I read a fairy tale it makes my mind fly away, I leave reality behind and I search and explore next to the characters of the books, I learn new powers and spells, I fight the enemy and rescue my friends from witches. I learn new languages and meet creatures that I didn’t know they existed.

If we wouldn’t believe in fairy tales we wouldn’t have any innocence left.

Saying that we are unable to be happy because we read fairy tales is so far from reality. I think that I would be a lot less happy if I wouldn’t have a place to go when I need to disconnect from the real world. That place are my books, and what a better place than a magical land?

We don’t idealize a romantic life because of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, every girl (and boy) in the world wants to find that perfect person for them. If fairy tales wouldn’t exist, we would still have romantic movies and books, without a princess. What would we do then? Tell people to not watch those movies because a billionaire would never fall for the maid?

Crazy and romantic love stories happen. Probably without 12 dwarves involved, but they happen, they happen to normal people everyday, everywhere.

I will continue reading fairy tales until I can no longer see the words, and I will encourage my son and my future children to do it too. Because fantasy is what makes the world a beautiful place to live despite everything.

NEVER TRUST YOUR EDITOR

NEVER

What? Yes. Never trust your editor.

When you are an indie author, there are a few things that you have to do by yourself, or, and this is the ideal, hire someone to do it for you.

You need to focus on your writing, you don’t have a deadline, so if you keep surfing around, gathering information and waiting for inspiration to kick in, you will never finish your book.

You need to re-read what you just wrote. Several times. Look for typos, repeated words, and read it aloud, to make sure “it sounds right”.

Find a beta-reader or a professional proof-reader. This task can be done by a friend, a member of your book club, or you can pay for it. Never trust your spell-checker, that is not enough.

You need a professional editor, or two. They will make sure your book is perfectly written, they will fix the typos, the grammar and the punctuation. They will even suggest to change a few words that don’t match with the context and will send you a new file “ready to publish”.

Wrong.

Editors are human beings too (I believe), and they make mistakes too. You should never get a copy of your book and publish it blindly. And even if they didn’t make any mistakes, you may not agree with all the changes made and decide to go back to the way it was written at your own risk.

I have read several indie books in the last couple of weeks, and every single one of them had typos and grammatical errors. I am not an English professor (not even close), I am not an editor, and I do make mistakes when I write, many mistakes. The ideas just come too fast into my mind to stop to check the grammar, but that is why you need to do all the things I mentioned before.

Your book is your baby, is your work, is the way people will get to know what is inside of your mind. Then why show it to the world when it is not ready?

Some indie authors may think that hiring a professional editor is a waste of money. “I will wait to see if I sell anything, before investing my money on this book”. Well, if people read it and it looks like they bought the first draft of a very nice story, they will leave you a negative review. They will tell everyone that your book is not well edited and that it was hard to get into the story because of all the grammatical errors distracting them. And we all know that bad reviews means no sales.

There are several websites where you can find affordable and professional services for authors, edition, covers, illustrations, everything you need. You just need to look for what works for you and assign a small budget to make your book ready to publish.