Graphics for Beginners How-To: Guest Selina J. Eckert

Summer School Graphic 2019

Today I am excited to bring you a guest post from the author Selina J. Eckert. She is here to chat with you a little bit more about how to make your own graphics. We looked at where to find images a few posts ago, and Selina has come over to talk about some other options, as well as walk you through a very brief tutorial on how to use this Canva.com everyone keeps talking about! Without further ado… I shall turn the mic over to her!

Graphics for Beginners

How to generate your own graphics to promote your work

by

Selina J. Eckert

One of the easiest ways to generate traffic to your blog or increase visibility of work you want to promote is to provide appealing and easy-to-share graphics. However, authors starting out may have no idea where to start. Where can you get them? How do you make them?

Have no fear, intrepid author. I’m here to help. I was in your shoes not so long ago, saying things like, “I’m sorry, what did you call that site? Pixels?” And now I can pass on what I’ve learned to help you get started.

Where to Find Graphics

First, you should know that when it comes to graphics, you have options:

  1. Purchase graphics from a designer
  2. Create your own graphics

Obviously, purchasing graphics will cost you money out of pocket. However, hiring a professional will allow you to outsource if you don’t have the time or aren’t ready to create graphics on your own. This option may be most useful for events such as book launches.

Creating your own graphics will let you make new images on your schedule, as you need them. And, unlike hiring a designer, they can be free. That may be important if you need a lot of graphics or you need them regularly, such as for your blog or social media.

Purchasing Graphics

If you decide that purchasing graphics is the option you need, you may now be asking where to find a designer. There are plenty of places online where you can search out a designer, but here are my top recommendations:

Ask any authors you know who they recommend.

Look at who is advertising in the Facebook groups you participate in. Some pages have lists of people who provide services. (If you aren’t in any Facebook groups, look for some to make new connections. They can be wellsprings of support and knowledge!)

Ask on social media.

Last, try Google.

Some of my best experiences with designers, editors, or any other professionals I’ve hired have come down to recommendations from friends or fellow authors. These people already have a proven track record of good work and cooperation. But if you’re unable to find someone that way, there are plenty of other methods. Don’t be shy about asking around!

If you need graphics for a book launch, also try talking to your cover designer (who can be found via the same methods as an artist for graphics). Since they made the cover, chances are they are also experienced in making promotional graphics and may be willing to work with you.

However, before you go off purchasing the first (or cheapest) artist you find, a word to the wise: you get what you pay for. While there are some inexpensive quality artists out there, don’t be surprised if you need to spend more to find a quality or style that you love. And make sure you love what you buy. Also, when negotiating, remember that these people are artists and also need to make a living.

Creating Your Own Graphics

And now for the (potentially) free portion: how to generate your own graphics!

A quick note on “free”: You can create graphics by purchasing some stock images to work with, and I would definitely recommend this for images you will use commercially. While there are tons of free images available online, they may not have the same licenses and permissions. Make sure that the images you plan to use are licensed for their intended use. However, licensing is its own topic and won’t be covered today.

Now, let’s talk basics.

The easiest place to start for beginner authors, people with limited time, or people who don’t know graphic design is a program called Canva. Canva is a free online program that is packed full of templates for you to use as well as images and graphics. There is a paid version, and some of the images will also require purchase, but for someone just starting out, the free version works just fine!

All you have to do to get started is go to canva.com and create an account. From there, you will see a screen full of template types and example templates. You can select whichever one works for you. I often use the “Blog Banner” template for my blog posts, then social media or Instagram templates for extras like quotes or images that can be pinned to Pinterest or shared elsewhere online. They even have templates for ebook covers, though Canva may not be the best program for these.

After you select your template, you can change the name at the top to save it as a new graphic, then change whatever you’d like. By default, it gives you a blank image with the dimensions of the template, but you should see lists of premade templates to choose from along the side. Some will be paid, but you can select any of the free ones to create graphics at no cost.

Once you select your layout (premade template), you can move the objects, change colors, add images and photos, add filters, change opacity…the best way to learn it is just to play around with all the settings! You can even upload your own images (like your book cover) to use in your graphic.

After you’re happy with your graphic, you can download the image in a variety of different formats. It may recommend a format to you based on the template you choose, but I usually download them as .jpg or .png, depending where I want to post them. Once it’s downloaded, you’re free to upload it wherever it’s needed!

The other tool that is useful for those just starting out is a stock photo site. There are thousands of photos you can find for free on sites like Pexels (which is very easy to navigate), which allows you to use the images on graphics without attribution. Again, I wouldn’t use free images for things like book covers, but for blog or social media graphics, they’re incredibly helpful!

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to creating or finding graphics for your blog, social media sites, sales, or books, it may seem like an overwhelming task, but hopefully you now see you have options…and those options are easy to use. Having tools to create graphics at your disposal can improve traffic to your website or social media profiles and can even help you make sales.

Whenever you need graphics, be sure to consider what you need them for, whether they need to be licensed, and if you feel confident in your designs. If you aren’t ready to make certain graphics, don’t be afraid to hire a professional. However, when you need graphics quickly or in abundance, sites like Canva provide premade layouts that are visually appealing and easy to manipulate and are easy to combine with stock photos from sites like Pexels.

Whichever way you decide to go, I hope this post has given you a place to start and the confidence to try your hand at graphic design. It’s an incredibly handy tool to have at your disposal and one of the easiest ways to make your posts more appealing and easy to share.

Now go forth and create!


Author photo 400x400

About the Author

Selina is a biologist-by-day, writer-by-night native of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband, dog, and two cats and spends her time writing, reading, creating art, and dreaming about fictional worlds. She loves to write strong women and fantasy worlds, and she believes that stories connect us all. Besides writing and sciencing, Selina also runs an author support business, Paper Cranes, LLC, that provides editing, consulting, and mapmaking services to authors, writers, and students.

Follow Selina around the interwebs:

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

This Cursed Flame_Cover

You can find her book This Cursed Flame on Amazon and at other retailers!

Sometimes we put ourselves in the bottle… 

Six years ago, Janan was transformed into a genie by an evil djinn, ripping her away from her home, her life, and her humanity. She has been on the run from him ever since. Worlds away, high school honors student Laurelin just wants to get into the chemistry program of her dreams. 

When Laurelin discovers a crystal bottle that sucks her into the djinn realm, the girls find themselves working together to escape Janan’s creator and get Laurelin back home. But war is brewing in the djinn realm-a rebellion led by the same evil djinn they’ve been trying to escape. And he is determined to rule both the djinn and the human realms. As his creation, Janan is the one person standing in his way. 

But to stop him, Janan must learn to overcome the fears he instilled in her and embrace her own dark magic while Laurelin must accept that some things are more important than an A+. Now, they will have to trust each other, and themselves, to stop the encroaching evil. Otherwise, both the human and djinn realms will fall to the tide of death and dark magic this war will unleash.

~ jenelle

Curse Bound Release Party: Interview with an Elf

Curse Bound Blog Tour Banner

Curse Bound by J.L. Mbewe is a book I have been waiting for for over TWO YEARS, ever since I finished reading Darkened Hope. So you’d better believe I’m super excited to be a part of the release party for this final book in the Hidden Dagger trilogy! I got my copy of the book in the mail a few days ago and have been reading it far too fast… I need to slow down… but that’s the ever-present conundrum of the avid book-dragon… wanting to read a book super fast, while at the same time NOT wanting to read a book super fast. This entire trilogy is definitely on my list of Recommended Reads!

The world-building in this series is just… absolutely epic, and the characters are fantastic, and… well, keep reading, you can get a taste for all of that and this author’s incredible writing style in the interview below.

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to MY favorite character in the series, Kael. 

I finally catch up to my quarry on Moruya Island, located in the far west in the Sea of Pavinai, which means healing in Pyamor, the language of the Pauden—the giants. Although, the old dragon master assures me they will not bother us. 

The majestic famoruya trees tower above me in the early dawn. Their red bark, deeply grooved and their trunks so large a person could build a home within one. Fog rolls in from the sea, wrapping its salty, chilly fingers around the tree and dampens my face. Smoke hangs heavy in the air, clinging to the trees and land and burning my nose. I cover my mouth with a cloth, the stench almost unbearable. The makeshift pyres had burned through the night and now only smoldering embers and bones remained. A shadowy figure strides toward me, the fog parting and swirling around his legs. Kael. It can only be Kael. I recognize him immediately.

His long dark hair is pulled back from his face, but clumps have worked their way free. Dirt and blood smudge his face and hands from a recent battle, at least that is what I had gathered from Tariq. His gaze meets mine and his frown deepens, causing his scar over his left eyebrow to bulge. 

He approaches me. “Oko will be ready to leave soon, so I don’t have a lot of time.”

I nod. “I understand, I’ll try to make this quick. Can you start by telling my readers something about yourself? You are an elf, what does that mean in your world?”

Kael raises an eyebrow. “An elf is an elf. There are three kinds of elves here in Nälu. I’m an Esusamor elf from Zurial. Some call us the sea elves. The Wofsamor elves are elusive and remain hidden within their forests. And then there are the Saryhemor elves, the desert elves. Saeed, the High Guardian was one. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Although we have a number of differences that set us apart from each other, all elves have pointy ears, live longer than most other beings in Nälu, and we have the ability to sense others’ feelings, emotions, and disturbances in the air. And with those who we are close, we may project our own.”   

“That’s fascinating.” My pencil flies across the paper, trying to capture every word. “Can you also tell us something about your world? My own world is different from yours, not having dragons or magic of any kind (sadly), so my readers would like to know more about how your world differs from ours.”

Kael crosses his arms. “A world without dragons or magic? I doubt it. Perhaps your world has forgotten how to see them?” He shakes his head and glances over at the slumbering dragon, Oko. “Although, perhaps you’re better off not having dragons and such. You wouldn’t have to experience the awe and terror of facing down a dragon. They can be such a formidable foe. Thankfully, the Council of Nations have outlawed them on the mainland. Only the Kaleki—that is the merfolk—are allowed to raise and train dragons. They seem to have a special bond with them. Magic, on the other hand, is not what you think it is. Saeed would have called it a gifting, something special—and it varies per gifting—given to some to bless others. Although, the enemy has found a way to taint and corrupt them.” Kael grows quiet for a moment and stares out over the sea lapping at the shoreline. The sky lightens and the last stars begin to fade. “Dragons and magic—as you would say—give our world a sense of wild wonder yet in the wrong hands, it can cause some of the worst damage and hurt and chaos.”

I sober, my thoughts turning to where I last left these characters at the end of Darkened Hope. Perhaps that is where his thoughts have gone, as well. It seems likely, considering his answer to my previous question. I hate to ask, but… a good reporter knows when to ask a hard question. “Your quest recently suffered a rather nasty defeat, something involving a dragon. What are you and your remaining companions planning to do next?”

Kael rubs his face and groans. “Don’t remind me!” He lowers his hands and sighs. “Oko and the dragonmaster will take us to the edges of Arashel where Jathil believes will be able to obtain the horses and supplies we need for the remainder of our quest. We have one more item to retrieve before we can return to Kvazkhun, hand over the ingredients, and then head to Gwydion for a rescue mission.”

He looks so upset, I feel the need to change the subject slightly. “I hope this isn’t too presumptuous of me,” I say. “But if your world wasn’t in danger, what would you be doing right now?”

Deep sorrow flickers in the depths of his gray eyes. “I would have been preparing for my sister’s wedding in Zurial. She would have married my best friend, Teron. Ayianna’s brother, actually. And then, I don’t know. I might have accepted my position as lord in the Dzjorym Council like my father.” He shrugs. “Saeed had asked me to join the guardians, but I couldn’t leave . . . my . . . ” He clears his throat. “It doesn’t matter now, does it?” 

Oh! How I want to follow this line of questioning! But I sense that he will not speak of it, and I cannot waste what precious little time I have. “We’ve been watching your relationship with Ayianna progress over the past two books, and I’m dying to know, can you tell me how you feel about her now?”

Kael stiffens and averts his gaze, clenching his jaw. “Feel? I’m angry, trapped by these—these circumstances.” He flings his arm toward the slumbering dragon and smoldering pile of ashes and bones. He shakes his head and takes a deep breath. “My heart is bleeding out. I cannot think beyond the urgency of returning to Kvazkhun and saving her before she succumbs to the harpy curse.” He pauses and shakes his head. “I never thought I’d ever . . . but I do. I love her.”

I try to contain the ear-to-ear grin I feel. To any readers, this confession was obvious already, but it feels good to hear him say it. I can see him starting to get fidgety, and I know he wants to get going. Every moment he spends with me is a moment he isn’t heading out to rescue Ayianna. “One final question: if you could have one wish granted, what would it be and why?”

“I don’t believe in wishes.” Kael frowns and crosses his arms. “But if you insist . . . I . . . I wish . . . ” He shook his head and began pacing in front of me. “I wish none of this had happened. That I had stopped Imaran from stealing those scrolls. But then how can I? I would never have . . . ” He stops pacing and faces me. “I wish I could have stopped Desmond. We wouldn’t have had to bury a friend last night or build a pyre. Vian and Ayianna would not be on their way to Gwydion right now. The Sorceress would not have her sacrifice, nor would we have to worry about Ayianna turning into a harpy. Of course—that would mean the Sorceress would still be hunting us. But we would have had a dragon to complete the quest, and we would have had a good chance at defeating the Sorceress. Right now, our odds don’t look so good.”

I give him my most encouraging look. “Darkness must come before the dawn. I believe in you and your companions.” I clench my jaw tightly to prevent myself from telling him just how terrified I am for him and his companions, and for Ayianna and Viand. “I wish you well on the rest of your quest.”

He narrows his eyes at me for a second, almost as if he can sense the unspoken words. But then someone calls his name and his head jerks around. Jathil is beckoning.

“Go,” I urge him. “And thanks for taking a moment to speak with me!”


You can read my reviews of the first two books here:

Secrets Kept

Darkened Hope

Curse BoundKael’s worst fears have come true. Betrayal has shaken the Guardian Circle, the High Guardian is dead, and Ayianna and Prince Vian are in the hands of the Sorceress, but he and his companions must finish their quest, before they can attempt a rescue mission. Unfortunately, Desmond’s parting gift left them stranded on the western cliffs of Nälu.

Jathil, once heir to the throne of Arashel, believes her father will aid them, but first she must face the crimes of her past. When she does, she could never believe the outcome, nor the rippling effect it would have on the nations.

Meanwhile the Alliance braces for war, but division threatens to undermine their efforts. When Nerissa returns from Ganya with the dragon regiment, she discovers a bigger problem. The curse bound are waking.  

As the quest nears completion, Kael is forced to choose between his heart and duty, and neither choice bodes well with him. Either way, he will face the Sorceress and her armies sooner or later. The battle for Nälu has begun and there can be only one victor.

Purchase on Amazon

Add to Goodreads Shelf

About the Author

JL MbeweWriting as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She is currently living her second childhood with her wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and swords, among other things. Here, between reality and dreams, you will find her busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril.

Her debut novel, Secrets Kept, was nominated for the 2014 Clive Staples Award. Her second novel, Darkened Hope was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Alliance Award.

Follow Jennette around the interwebs!

Website — Facebook — Instagram— Twitter — Goodreads— Pinterest

~ jenelle

Party Tonight!

Curse Bound Book Launch Party

The Curse Bound Launch Party is TONIGHT! And you can attend from the comfort of your own home, as it is a FACEBOOK party!

You’re Invited!

RSVP HERE

My friend and fellow author, J.L. Mbewe is releasing CURSE BOUND, the third book in her Hidden Dagger trilogy, a series I have absolutely loved and have been waiting for the final chapter for nearly two years! I’m currently reading Curse Bound and had some thoughts about trying to have it finished and a review up for the party, but… I don’t want to blitz through this book, so I’m taking my time and enjoying the adventure!

I am super excited and extremely honored to have been invited to help with this book launch! Kyle Robert Shultz (author of The Beaumont and Beasley series as well as the Crockett and Crane series and fellow Silmarillion Award Host), and Lindsay A. Franklin (author of The Story Peddler and The Story Raider) and I have all been invited to the party as Special Guests. (I am in esteemed company and I feel a little like Cinderella waiting for her coach to turn back into a pumpkin…)

It’ll be a fun night. I’m looking forward to it! There will be games and prizes and giveaways and tons of fantasy-based conversation. I’ll tell that one joke I know…

Hope to see you all there!

In case you missed the link above… you can find more deets on the party HERE

~ jenelle

The Best Laid Plans – Learning From Your Mistakes: Guest Taunia Neilson

Summer School Graphic 2019

Good morning, summer learners! Today I have the pleasure of introducing Taunia Neilson, a guest blogger who has come to share her story with you. She’s got some great insights that she has learned and a few mistakes that perhaps she can help you avoid!

The Best-Laid Plans

by

Taunia Neilson

I first put my book up for sale three years ago. I had read a lot of books and blogs on how to ‘get your book seen on Amazon’ and I believed I had done my homework. My naïve ambitions turned out to lead to one of my epic failures. My book sat unseen while I slowly faced my fears and recognized I needed to learn how to cultivate and develop my nonexistent marketing skills. It has cost me money and a lot of time. More failures followed which granted me a lot of experience. 

An independent author (also known as an Indie author) is the CEO of their own business and often has a lonely road to travel. Indie authors produce their own product that is an extension of who they are with their ideas, thoughts, experiences, and feelings filling the pages. The problem: that work is read, examined and reviewed by an opinionated and vocal customer base, when you can get it seen. Some of which delight in either tearing you down or helping you grow as an author. 

At the same time, the Indie author is responsible for making the business decisions that traditional authors turn over to agents, editors, and publishers once they sign a contract. The Indie author decides on the title of the book, what kind of cover it should have, how to format that book, how to write the blurb on the back, where to advertise, should money be spent on having others do these things (expensive), and the list goes on. 

It is a lot of work, and it takes time. Not just time to do the work, but time to grow an author platform. Some have said it can take at least two years. There are two terms that every author needs to come to grips with. I have only begun to fathom what these terms represent in my business.  I have searched, paid for, and asked about information. Some of it was good, a lot of it overpriced. Yet, the best decision I have made was to join the Calliope Writing Group, headed/owned by Angie Fenimore, New York Times Bestselling Author. It is from these sources I have learned a few things.

public-speaking-3926344_6401. Author Platform – think of someone up on a podium giving a speech. They have something to tell you, an idea they want to express. As an author, your novel/book/story is an idea you want to express. Now you need to get up and tell an audience (the world) about that idea. You need to announce that you have something of worth for that audience to invest their time, money, and effort. Ways to do that are websites, blogs, social media, speaking engagements, email lists/newsletters, blog tours, etc. 

2. Branding – is how you set yourself up to be perceived. A type of public personality. It is your branding that that will entice certain people in that worldwide audience to take notice of your ideas. To look through and even purchase that book. And that branding is a very fragile thing. The simplest mistakes can destroy it.

Now before you run off screaming that you will sign a contract and let an agent and/or publisher take care of all this for you, I have some bad news. According to Angie Fenimore, you need your author platform and branding in place before an agent/publisher will even consider you. Angie has seen people with excellent manuscripts not get offers from agents/publishers if they didn’t have their author platform/branding in place. Then she has also seen authors with mediocre manuscripts get offers because they had their author platforms/branding in place. Agents and publishers want to see and know that you will work hard to market your product. 

The good news? If you start early enough, it can be easy and inexpensive. The first thing is to set yourself up on the right social media. I used to brag about how I could stay off of Facebook for days or weeks at a time. That is not good marketing practice for an author. Now I am trying out social media platforms other than Facebook. Trying out is the keyword here, I am in the learning stage. However, this is what I do know:

Figure out who your audience is. I have published one book as a young adult epic fantasy, and I am writing the second book in that series. Plus, I am also working on an idea for a pre-teen/child fantasy series.

Find out where that audience is. For example, I found out that young adults like Instagram. There is also something called Snapchat that the young adults use. Someone told me they were also on Twitter. However, after talking to some fourteen-year-olds, I found out they are getting off twitter. But Twitter has agents, publishers, other authors, etc. Plus, I am marketing my book to ‘Young Adults of All Ages’. So, I will hit Facebook where the older generation lives, and who are often the ones to buy books for their pre-teens, teens and young adults.

Work only on one or two social media platforms at a time. When you get successful on those, add another social media platform, if you feel it is necessary. For example, I am working with Instagram, Twitter, and an author page on Facebook. Since Facebook owns Instagram also, anything I post on Instagram can be posted on my author page at the same time. This saves time and energy. I am getting some interest in both apps. However, I am getting more interest when I just answer twitter feeds rather than posting my own tweets. I will not start on the Snapchat yet. I have a Pinterest account, which I am not even paying attention to for now. The present advice is: It is better to do well on one or two social media platforms than fail on five different platforms.

This is very important. Act like you are already famous. We have all seen how the masses and media like to tear down anybody they can sacrifice on a whim. Act like you are being watched because what you are doing is building your ‘brand’. For example, I am telling people I am an author involved in writing ‘Clean Reads’. This is a niche where people don’t want to see the swear words, groping, sex scenes, etc. So, if I suddenly allow posts on my social media platforms that have these posts, it can ruin how I am branding myself. On Twitter, I can just mute the person and their conversations without them knowing. I can also mute words and phrases I don’t want to see. On Instagram, I can block the person and report when it is an inappropriate posting.
It also happens the other way. There are many authors that want to have an edgy, or hot and steamy brand. A lot of posts from authors like me who constantly champion Clean Books could ruin their branding. So, watch what you are posting, and watch what feeds appear from those you follow. Learn how to block, unfollow, mute and report followers who are there just to scam you. I am having problems with widowers following me and professing their undying love. Those I refuse to let them follow me. The big take from here is your branding is what will entice people to become your buyers and audience. Figure out how you would like to ‘brand’ yourself and protect that brand.

Learn good etiquette. Fridays are famous for someone to start a thread, where people comment, usually by answering a question, and then they follow those who commented, and the favor is returned. It helps raise the person’s stats to have many people following. However, it is considered bad manners to follow just to get people to follow you and then unfollow them. Learn good etiquette. It is also part of your branding.

Next thing one needs to figure out is websites. Look into them early and they don’t have to be expensive. I have paid under $300 on Bluehost for a three-year term. That includes the WordPress app by Evanto. There are people who will sell you special ‘author’ WordPress apps just for you at only at $500. I found something for $60, no further payments or subscriptions needed. No CSS coding knowledge needed either. It just took me two weeks of experimentation to figure it out. Look at my website. See what you think.

For those of you who are worried about where to find graphics because you aren’t artists, neither am I. Frankly, I have paid for a monthly subscription to Adobe Stock and Adobe Apps. You can always terminate the monthly plan when you have earned enough assets. Then just pick the graphics you need when you need them. The standard license on most graphics, (videos and prime graphics cost more than a monthly subscription), come with the subscription and have unlimited use for online purposes. However, there are free graphics sites as well. Keep checking back. New artists are always adding more graphics. 

If you are just starting out, try Canva.com. They have a free subscription. With that subscription, you can get templates for most social media platforms. You can also work with layers which are putting photo/graphics on top of each other. And they have some great free photos/graphics you can use. I can manipulate Photoshop a little, but I now prefer Canva. In fact, I may just pay for their pro version for under $13 a month. It is less expensive with Adobe, and I get their premium photos ($10 to $100 each) for free. 

Also, consider and research what your book cover will look like. The good news here is that you don’t have to spend thousands to get it professionally done. I found ebooklaunch.com. They are professional, inexpensive and they automatically give you 100% of the copyright when you accept their work. That is why I can have my website look like my book cover. I can manipulate Photoshop enough to tear apart the original file of my book cover. In fact, I am considering using the broken star as part of my permanent branding.

Another thing to consider when you get your website, is doing a blog. It doesn’t even have to be about books or writing. Mine is about my life as a caretaker of a cerebral palsy, quadriplegic child, and disabled army veteran. The blogs turn out to be very emotional, so I am writing one about every two weeks. It is called “The Nature of the Beast,” which describes how I feel sometimes. I am sure you have hobbies other than writing. Think about how you can help others. It gives your future audience something of value, without pushing for sales. People expect something more than “I am an author, buy my book.” They want something worthwhile for free.

I have not given up on traditional publishing. A good business owner knows when to keep alternate avenues open. There are successful Indie authors that use traditional publishing for parts of their business, such as promoting their successful works in another country. Like I said, I am working on more than one series. What if my children’s fantasy series is better served with traditional publishing? What if I can do a hybrid contract? This would be where I market the eBook version and they take care of the print versions, which they can do inexpensively and make the book look more professional. What if I find out that being an Independent Author is not for me? Would I be able to negotiate a contract that would serve my interests, but take care of aspects of the business I would rather forgo? It is all part of being an author, a business person, researching and making decisions.

I have made many mistakes, and I am learning and doing things over, trying again. One thing I am doing is a ‘relaunch’ but with my new audio version. A relaunch is when an author takes their book off sale, tries new marketing techniques and relaunches. It’s like getting a new life. My first launch didn’t work well, and I had gone through some classes. Word of warning, traditional authors can’t do relaunches, they are under contract. Nor can they change the cover of their books easily. The cover I have now is my fourth.

What’s changing on the book. My back-cover blurb. It’s too long and a mediocre thing at best. What I am starting with is a short paragraph that spells out the main conflict which is: “A Young Adult Epic Fantasy about a seventeen-year-old bounty huntress caught in some unfolding prophecies she doesn’t believe in. Only she doesn’t realize that she carries a lost key to a prophecy. In order to save the innocent people of Ecalardia she has sworn to protect, she must come to believe in the prophecy, decipher it and correctly use the knowledge it contains”. I will need to expand from there to get a fantastic blurb that people will get excited about. It is all part of being an Independent Author. If you want to find out more, head on over to my website, authortaunianeilson.com and click on the join my newsletter. When you do, you will find links to the first three audio chapters of my book. The voice actor is the talented Jay Spaulding who can do multiple voices. It made me shiver when he acted out Maestro, a fire-breathing panther. Then let me know what you think.

There is so much to tell, and so much for me to still learn. The last thing I want to say is to decide if you can live without writing. If you can’t give it up, brace yourself for a lot of hard work. Plus, start your marketing early. That way you can take the time to research, experiment and even have some fun. Embrace your failures, learn from them. I have had many failures and am just learning about the ins and outs of being an author. I give a lot of the credit to Angie Fenimore, who I am blessed to have as an author coach in my life. I am still going because I believe I am paying my dues now. Learning what I need to learn. Someday those failures will turn into great successes. May you find what you are looking for. Thank you for listening to my story.


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Taunia Neilson is an author who loves to read, write fantasy/sci-fi, and be outdoors on a nice fall day. If she could, she would live in a mountain retreat surrounded by trees, wildlife, and gurgling creeks. As of right now she lives in the cities of the Wasatch Mountain Region in Utah and is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Besides dreaming up fantasy tales, her time is spent being an advocate for her disabled veteran husband and quadriplegic daughter with cerebral palsy, running errands, tutoring her husband, keeping nurses in line, and keeping herself sane. 

When she has spare time, she loves to binge read fantasies, mysteries, thrillers, Greek mythology, sci-fi, the classics and anything else that she can feel comfortable sharing with her daughter and grandchildren.

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~ jenelle