Monday Blog: 5 Things Every Self-Published Author Needs

Books2018
20 of the Woolaston Entertainment books, by June Parris and myself

 

Hello, everyone. Here we are: the final Monday Blog for January. This week’s topic: things I think every self-published author should have. No, I’m not naming random things, here. These are things that have been a great help to me, and I wanted to share them with my fellow writers.

  1. A Website: Good Lord, if you don’t have a website, what are you doing? Sure, you may not know much about building a website, but you can always enlist the skills of others to do this for you. I created my site through Go Daddy, on my own. Plus, Go Daddy offers tech support, and has a range of templates to choose from. Like I always say, if I can do it, anyone Your website should contain info about your books, where they can be purchased, and how readers can get in contact with you. There are plenty of online sources with tips on how to set up your website, and you’re more than welcome to use mine as an example. If you decide to use Go Daddy, I suggest taking advantage of their SEO option (search engine optimization). 
  1. A Catalogue: The best way for you to get your name out there, is by giving your readers a list of books to choose from. Show your readers your true writing ability. This can be a single series of books, or several individual books. I have 4 series, and 1 individual book (which I will most likely write a sequel to). In all, I have published 19 books. Search for Nicole Woolaston on Amazon or Goodreads and take a look.
  1. Facebook Page: Yes, many of us use Snap Chat, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. I’m on all of that crap, and yes, it’s tiring. But Facebook is where it’s at. Why? Two words: Ad Space. Facebook is a wonderful (and free) way to connect with a large audience. Friends can like your posts and share them, then other people will share them, and so on. As for ad space, while it may not be free, it is DIRT CHEAP. Example: I made Our Lady of Righteous Rage: Extended and Uncensored free for Kindle for 3 days. I ran an ad on Facebook (spending only $3; I could have spent a little more and reached more people). Six people downloaded my book. Over 100 saw the ad, 12 people clicked on it. Either way, I gained 6 new readers and exposure for my book.
  1. PayPal: I’m recommending this for 3 reasons. 1) It’s a safe and effective way to collect payment from book sales, should you choose to sell them on your website. 2) You can use PayPal to pay for ad space on Facebook. 3) You can use PayPal to pay for extras for your website, if you happen to use Go Daddy.
  1. Fiverr: I’ll give you a minute to let this last one marinate. Ready? Good. If you need someone to help you build your website, create an effective Facebook ad, edit your book, design a cover, etc, there are plenty of people on Fiverr who can do those things for you, starting at $5. Also, it’s a great way to earn funds to support your Facebook ads and pay for your website. I write book reviews via Fiverr, starting at $5 per review, and the money I’ve earned since August 2017 has paid for all of my Facebook ad space, and my website. Think about it.

 

Keep a few things in mind:

Everything will not be free. Many things will be, but not everything.

Sometimes, you will need to spend money in order to make money. I’m not suggesting you break the bank, but $3-$10 for some ad space, or $5 for a book review to boost readership and sales, isn’t asking a lot.

You have to be willing to try. Fear held me back for a long time, until I let go of my fear, and jumped. You have to be willing to take risks.

Decide if you just want to write books, or if you actually want to sell them. If you just want to get your name in print, then kudos! But, if you want to sell some books, you’re going to have to put some work in, beyond typing a manuscript.

See you next week…

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Monday Blog: Learning From Failure

Nicole_WEBooksMarch2017
Some of my books were published through Xlibris, others with Create Space

 

Happy Monday, everyone! This week, I wanted to discuss the importance of failure. Yes, failure is important. When things don’t go the way you want them to, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve had several failures in my life, and I’m grateful for each one, because I learned a valuable lesson from them.

I’ve worked at jobs I couldn’t stand. I’ve been to college, but didn’t graduate. I’ve worked with publishers who either ripped me off, or simply folded. Something wonderful has come out of each of these events. For example:

The Event                                Negatives                                           Positives

Working at Walgreen’s         long hours, crazy schedules            $ for publishing,

                                                   limited free time                              learned to manage business

                                                                                                                learned customer service

 

Working at B&N                    not much $                                         learned book releases                                                                                                                          discount on books

                                                                                                               internet access

 

Going to Art Institute             $$student loan                              intro’d to work of Patti Smith,

                                                                                                             Rimbaud, Diane Arbus

                                                                                                             learned Photo Shop

                                                                                                             learned how to use color

                                                                                                             learned to design website

 

Working with Xlibris              $$$ for marketing                          learned about publishing

                                                   $$$ for publishing                           learned about marketing

                                                                                                               my work in print

 

 

In every case, the positives far outweighed the negatives. Take all of the negative things in your life, whether it’s your job, or school, or even a relationship, and pull as many useful things as you can from them. I may not have finished at the Art Institute (they closed their TriBeCa location because the Government sued them, BTW), but I did learn to use Photo Shop, I learned how to use a variety of color schemes, and how to design a website. Working with Xlibris may have been costly, but I was able to get my work in print for the first time. So, I took a negative, and turned it into a positive. I hope you can do the same.

Until next week…

Monday Blog: Corrections

Author Page
My Amazon Author Page

 

If you’ve ever self-published a book via Amazon’s Create Space, or KDP, chances are, you have an Amazon Author Page. I have one, and it’s pretty nice. However, if you have one, it doesn’t hurt to check it out once and a while. Make sure all of the information on your page is correct and up to date. I recently checked mine, and I received a bit of a shock. Some of my books had been incorrectly linked together, and the summary for one book was listed under another book. This can really hurt you as an author, in terms of sales. Readers may choose your book based on the wrong information, or not choose your book at all. I was about to run a promotion for one of my books when I noticed the errors. Thankfully, I made some corrections through KDP for the eBooks, and I notified Amazon about the other mistakes. Within 72 hours, everything was fixed.

This past weekend, if you followed me on Twitter, Instagram or checked the Woolaston Entertainment FB page, you may have seen Our Lady of Righteous Rage: Extended and Uncensored was available for free. This campaign ran for three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). My next promotion will take place in February, for Valentine and Valentine 2: The Patron Saint.

Until next week!

Monday Blog: The Early Days of Woolaston Entertainment

WE Plush Dolls
L-R: Amy, David, Dee, Neon Angel (from “Enos”) and Degenerate R

 

From 1994 to around 2005, there was more to Woolaston Entertainment than just books. There are comics and artwork now, but back then, my focus was spread more evenly. Watching a ton of magic-girl anime created the comic/series Enos, which later created Degenerate R. Plus, I drew other comics and a produced a few calendars to compliment the books I was working on. I didn’t have the money to have posters printed, so everything was drawn by hand. In fact, I even created a few plush dolls. Of course, I continued to write. I hand-wrote a ton of books, and every other year or so, I wrote a compendium, or a detailed account of all things W.E..

8th Dimension We Dont Talk
comic from “The 8th Dimension”, 1995
Enos_OriginComic_Inside
scene from original “Enos” comic, 1996

 

Comics

The comics eventually fell by the wayside, when the books took over. In the beginning, there was The 8th Dimension, my tribute to Gary Larson’s The Far Side. These were single-scene, black and white sketches (poorly drawn, I might add), which I created in 1995. Next, came my sci-fi series, Enos, which features some of the characters you may know from Our Lady of Righteous Rage. Enos concerned two races of aliens in a battle for a power known as the Neon White Flame: the power that was used to create the universe and the planets and was given to one race of aliens by Heaven itself. I completed the first comic book in 1995, and drew a few single comics over the following years, but ultimately wrote a series of books instead. There were also three other comics: Mike & Vanessa, Sarconi and Seybrook, which were featured in a 1999 calendar.

 

50 handwritten books
50 of my hand-written books

 

Hand Written Books

If you ever need proof, that the time you spent creating and drawing and being a bit of a nerd, can be useful, here it is! I started writing books for myself when I was in first grade, and I continued all the way until 2010. The only reason I stopped, is because I had finally published something (Fortune’s Wing). But all of that creative energy was not wasted. Nineteen published books and counting, with sales, positive reviews and a book signing, are proof of that. Fortune’s Wing, Valentine and Our Lady, all began as books I wrote within the pages of composition notebooks and journals. Like all of my hand written books, they had covers, spine labels, and summaries on the back.

 

Writing Goals

I’d like to go back to all of those old books and polish them, and publish them, one at a time. Some will need more work than others, but I believe it’s going to be a fun challenge. Someday, maybe I’ll publish a few comics, too!

 

Until next week…

http://www.woolastonentertainment.com

Monday Blog: Woolaston Entertainment Turns 23!

23rd Bday Collage 23

 

At long last, December has arrived. December is one of my favorite months, because of several reasons: Christmas, snow, time off from work, my birthday…and most importantly, Woolaston Entertainment’s birthday! This year, Woolent is turning 23. Yes…23. There are a few milestones that took place this year, but, before I get to them, let’s go back to the beginning…

 

vv1994
Vanessa Vance, W/E/’s first character

 

Summer, 1994

I started watching Sailor Moon on UPN, in Hampton, Va. I made sketches of the characters I had been visualizing for months. The first one to come to life on paper, was a black cat named Vanessa. From there, I began writing furiously and drawing during every spare moment I could find. I started drawing comics and writing my own books. Little did I know, 23 years later, all of that creativity would pay off. Watching anime and reading mangas, writing books and drawing comics, would lead to a series of paintings, learning to play the guitar, and publishing 19 books. No matter how far Woolaston Entertainment goes or how old it gets, I always attribute everything to Summer 1994, when everything got started.

Milestones

W.E. may have been born in 1994, but things REALLY kicked off in 2009, with Fortune’s Wing. But let’s go through the years, as I can remember them:

1994: W.E. is born!

1997: Enos, W.E.’s first series/comic is created

1999: first short story publication in Polaris Literary Art Magazine

2000: my artwork is published in Polaris Literary Art Magazine

2002: Fortune’s Wing is written

2005: my first attempt at teaching myself to play guitar (a failure which later inspires creation of Our Lady)

2009: Fortune’s Wing is published

2010: Valentine is published

2011: Fortune’s Wing: Second Flight is published; first 2 W.E. books featured at A.L.A. convention in Washington, DC

2012: W.E. becomes an adult and turns 18!

2013: I publish Valentine on Jukepop Serials

2014: W.E. turns 20!

2015: I discover Create Space and republish a few titles; 6 W.E. books are published, including Our Lady of Righteous Rage, W.E. books sold at Brooklyn Expo, interview with Self Publisher’s Showcase, here: http://selfpublishersshowcase.com/interview-nicole-e-woolaston-author-of-our-lady-of-righteous-rage/

2016: First book signing at Barnes and Noble, 2 W.E. books available via Hampton and Norfolk public libraries (this may have occurred in 2015, but this is when I can remember discovering this for myself!)

2017: Jon and Olivia comic featured in Bear Facts newspaper, published 19th book, The Witch of Fulton Lane, 2 W.E. books available via Queens Public Library, W.E.’s website becomes self-sustaining

 

WOFL_FinalCover
The Witch of Fulton Lane

 

The Witch of Fulton Lane

My first paranormal book is finally available for sale! You can purchase a copy from Create Space’s website, or Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1979849943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511630272&sr=8-1&keywords=witch+of+fulton+lane It’s currently in the form of a paperback. I will release the ebook within a month or so. This is the first W.E. book outside of the current four series I previously published, so I hope you enjoy it!

The Monday Blog entries for this month will all be related to W.E.’s 23rd birthday. So, here’s to 23 years of writing and creating!

punc·tu·a·tion and gram·mar

Let me begin by saying, I don’t have a Masters in English Literature or Creative Writing. I have never labeled myself an “expert” when it comes to writing, however, I know the difference between good grammar, and poor grammar. I’m also capable of identifying the misuse of punctuation. I’ve been reading the work of other writers lately–mostly self-published authors like myself—and I’ve come across a few things I feel I need to point out. I’m not going to name any names or books, but if you catch yourself doing any of the things I mention here, you may want to go back and do a bit of editing. 

Dialogue

Dialogue should be enclosed with quotation marks, like this: “It’s not a problem,” she said. You shouldn’t use an apostrophe, ex: ‘It’s not a problem’ she said. Also, you shouldn’t use parentheses , ex: (It’s not a problem) she said.  And please, don’t use double parentheses, either! Ex: ((It’s not a problem)) she said. 

I’m mentioning these, because I actually came across all of these problems in books I have recently read. 

There, Their, They’re…

Using the wrong word, or using a word in the wrong tense can be a problem. As a writer, I always keep certain tools handy: a dictionary, a thesaurus, and Google. I have come to appreciate all three, especially the speech function for Google. If I’m not entirely sure how to spell a word, or which tense to use it in, I can always read the sentence out loud, and let Google help me. Plus, I’m still a fan of the old fashioned method of flipping through the pages of a dictionary or thesaurus. 

 

I’m not trying to pick on anyone, but as a writer, the misuse of punctuation and grammar, are two things I take very seriously. I’m a self-published author, so I have to be very mindful of the writing I publish. I don’t have an editor to help me catch my mistakes; I have to do it all on my own. Whenever I read a piece of writing that was self-published, and contains several errors such as the ones mentioned above, it adds to the belief that “self published books are not real books”. There are many people who are against self-publishing, because pretty much ANYONE can publish a book now. The quality of these books can be incredible, but there are books which are seriously lacking the attention to editing every book needs. If you see any of the things I mentioned in your writing, please go back and fix it. If you have allowed someone else to help you edit your work and it still contains these kinds of mistakes, it may be time to look for another editor. edit

Expand Your Readership With The Public Library!

SELF-e_Logo_Web

 

I wanted to share some info with my fellow indie authors. Self-e, is a terrific program, which helps authors connect with new readers, by making their books available through the public library. I have had success with this system, and two of my titles are currently available as ebooks through the Queens Public Library, in New York. So, if you’re an indie author, and you have published an ebook, you may want to consider using this program. Here is a direct link to their website: https://selfe.librariescreate.com/self-e/

FYI: you will need to fill out a short form, which includes agreeing to their terms and conditions, entering your name, email, state and name of your local library, and uploading a copy of your ebook (ex, PDF), and info about the book (ISBN, etc). Best of luck to everyone!