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Remember the “Love is…” meme from a long time ago?

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Some Memes Never Die

 

I was browsing the Getty Images that are embeddable now, and this one stood out. It tells an interesting story, don’t you think?

Here are the questions it raised for me:
1. Did the photographer catch this au naturel? or was it posed?
2. If it was au naturel, why does the girl have those roses in her pocket? do they have thorns?
3. If it was posed, where did the brilliant inspiration to stick those roses in the pocket come from?

I remembered, too, the “Love is…” meme that the movie “Love Story” started (when Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw decided that Love is Never Having to Say You’re Sorry).

I never thought that was a true statement, mind you. But Ryan O’Neal was so cute back then, in 1970. Is it awful to confess I never watched the movie? Couldn’t possibly miss the meme, though.

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Posted in A Word by Any Defnition

Getty Images Gets Generous to Bloggers

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Thank you, Getty Images, from A Humble Blogger

I’ve been blogging for a long time now. Not consistently, because…I’m like that. Ask my family.

One of the hardest things to do is find a picture to go with a blog. I am not a photographer. Ask my family.

I’ve used Bigstock and Dreamstime, but sometimes I wonder if it makes sense to buy random photos for blogs. For book covers, ads, sure. But just to accompany my blog?

Now, I don’t have to, thanks to Getty Images.

 

If you want to find the free embeddable pictures, scroll all the way down to the bottom, under Services, and click on Embed. You’ll get taken right to the images that are available for embedding.

What I like most about this Embed feature is that it does all the work for me, and the photo gets the proper attribution. As someone who creates for a living, I get the importance of proper attribution, and ease of use.

Doesn’t this picture say it all? The cat, looking at the fish, is much like the blogger, looking at the photo on an image site, and figuring out the logistics necessary to get said photo/fish.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?

How To Make A YouTube Video in Under an Hour

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YouTube, the Intimidating Frontier

I have wanted to do a YouTube video for a long time. But I was intimidated by the idea. Would I need to wear makeup? I rarely do makeup. Could I be clever enough? Brief enough? Visual enough?

I have discarded ideas for YouTube videos as diverse as book trailers, cooking demos, and writing instruction (exactly how do you break a scene down and see how it works well…or doesn’t?). I have half-written scripts. I even did a video for a Kickstarter of mine. But never a YouTube video.

Until today. In under an hour.

The Video

Yes, Really, Under an Hour

Here’s all you need to do the same:

  1. An idea (mine was to share the “Don’t Text and Drive” promotion that was already ongoing)
  2. Graphics (our infographics, a screenshot from our contest page, easy peasy)
  3. Audio script (better to know what you’re planning to say than to sound hesitant with a live mic)
  4. Special effect audio files (car crash, creative common score)
  5. A program to edit everything into a work of beauty (we have Final Cut, but iMovie is good, too)
  6. A YouTube channel

I suppose I should confess my secret ingredient: my youngest is a videographer and he was home today. But this project truly went from soup to nuts in under an hour.

I can’t wait to decide on my next YouTube project. Hmmmm.

P.S. Please take the poll in the sidebar about whether you’ve ever texted while you drove.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?, My, How This Business Has Changed

Great Ideas Come from the Heart

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Ten authors. Thirty plus audiobooks. One contest.

Ten authors. Thirty plus audiobooks. One week. One contest.

Good Ideas, vs Great Ideas

I often think I have great ideas. Ask anyone who has known me longer than a few hours. They can tell you that I frequently start a sentence with, “I just had a great idea!”

Not that the ideas are always that great, of course. But I do love that burst of excitement that comes with an idea that seems a real winner. Having had a few great ideas that panned out in my life, I can definitely say they are fun…in the same way roller coasters are fun, even when your heart dips into your stomach and you wonder if you’ll survive the trip this time.

Telling a great idea from a good idea isn’t always easy, but the great ones tend to stick with you. If they don’t work at first, they come around and sneak up on you another way, until everything comes together and magic happens.

I can also say that my greatest ideas always come from the heart. Like this newest idea I had to promote audiobooks, which, along with 9 other authors, I’m unveiling today.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?, My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

An End is Just One Step to a New Beginning

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a picture of a sign that says Welcome The Author's World NINC 2013

What I saw when I got off the plane in Myrtle Beach!

Sometimes It’s a Book That Ends, Sometimes It’s a Conference

The 2013 NINC (Novelists Inc) conference ended October 27th. I left the beach on the 28th. That’s two weeks ago and I’m just now ready to blog about it.

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

An Audiobook Narrator Talks Accents and Character Voices

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ArielleandOscar

Recently, I had a conversation with the narrator of two Once Upon a Wedding audiobooks (The Impetuous Bride and The Next Best Bride). She’d begun with The Next Best Bride, which has a female British narrator and all British characters. I really liked her narration (as do readers, judging by the brisk sales). However, The Impetuous Bride offered much more of a challenge, because the very British Rosaline Fenster has her romantic adventure along the wagon trail to California accompanied by a runaway slave, an American child, and with a very American male in the person of Rob Lewis.

Arielle did a beautiful job. As I listened, I began to wonder: just how does an audiobook narrator keep all those character voices and accents straight? And then I quickly snapped Arielle up for The Twelfth Night Bride (where Kate, the youngest Fenster sister, follows her wayward husband to Ireland).

Arielle Lipshaw Speaks in Many Voices

You asked how I keep both accents straight during a book like this. The answer is – it’s not easy! This book is definitely the most challenging I’ve done as far as keeping character voices and accents straight. It included narration (my own voice but using a British accent), Ros (female, British), Rob (male, American, western), Gwyneth (child, American), Moses (male, American, southern), Ophelia (female, American, southern) and a bunch more! There were definitely many, many times when I found myself forgetting to switch back into a British accent after reading some of Rob’s dialogue, or started reading one of Ros’s lines as a man rather than a woman.

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed

I Never Thought I’d See You Again is available for preorder

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INeverThoughtMy Newest Story is Soon to Be Released!

I am very excited to announce that a new short story of mine, “Solomon’s Paradox” is about to see the world in the newest anthology from Novelists Inc. I Never Thought I’d See You Again.

Here’s the blurb:

I never thought I’d see you again.

What comes to your mind when you see that phrase? A reunion with a former lover? A shocking encounter with a dark face from your past? A dearly held memory come to life . . . or one you’ve tried desperately to purge from your mind?

In this extraordinary collection of original fiction, sixteen great storytellers spin the tales that filled their imaginations when considering that sentence:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan brings us the reunion of father and daughter under deadly circumstances.
USA Today bestselling author Janet Tronstad weaves a tale of lost love on a Christmas Eve during the Great Depression.
New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Day traverses realities to pull together generations.
USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Shay returns to her Hidden Cove series to tell of a father returning to his son’s life . . . and turning that life upside down.

Romance, suspense, and magic, secrets unearthed, mysteries revealed, and promises finally kept – all of this and much, much more comes to you in this unforgettable anthology that is every bit as evocative as the title that served as its inspiration.

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Posted in About a Book, Pardon My Gossip

Audiobooks — The New Frontier for Indie Authors?

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A good book makes an hour on the treadmill seem too short.

A good book makes an hour on the treadmill seem too short.

Is Listening Really Reading?

I have a confession to make: I have become an audiobook junkie.

Back in the day, when an audiobook cost $80 dollars and came with a tray of cassette tapes 20 strong, I had to be highly motivated to check one out of the library. Even when my family purchased the last Harry Potter on CD for a long car trip, it was not a lightly made purchase.

But then along came .mp3, digital media, and now I love listening to books when I’m in the car, out walking, or running on the track at the Y.

In the car, I listen to Book Radio on Satellite radio when I can (bits and pieces, but I love it anyway). On our summer trip across the country, my husband and I must have listened to ten books in various genres. Some good, some not so good. All better than most of the choices on FM radio.

I hadn’t considered turning my books into audiobooks, though. It seemed like too much work. Until Audible (an Amazon company) performed its magic and created ACX — a platform that allows authors and narrators to team up to produce and sell audiobooks.

Still, I hesitated. Were my books really good candidates for audiobooks? I dithered. Recently, I decided to stop listening to other authors talk about turning their books into audiobooks and dive into the audiobook world myself.

So far, I have one book produced and expected to be on sale in a few weeks (The Unintended Bride) and six more in various stages of production. I’ve learned a lot — especially that, yes, my books are good candidates for audiobooks.

I should know. I have to listen to each one twice. The first time I go through while reading the text, to catch any errors or omissions. The second time, to make sure any changes have made made, and no new errors crept in (producers are miracle workers, they can edit in one word change and make it sound seamless, I am more in awe of voice talent and producer editing than ever before).

I only wish I could do the same for my Salem Witch books (but I can’t, they’re controlled by Simon & Schuster).

Having conquered audiobook production (finding the right narrator, proofing, listening), I wonder what frontier is next for me. A game tie-in? An app? The sky’s the limit.

I feel lucky to have had the ACX opportunity, and I once again marvel at the powerful tools the digital evolution has put in my hands.

May I always wield them wisely.

And a question for readers everywhere — do you consider listening to audiobooks to be reading? What’s your favorite genre to listen to?

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?, My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

Why It Is a Great Time To Be An Author — Reason #1: Amazon’s Dan Slater

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I learned a lot at the recent Novelists Inc. conference. But one outstanding thing I learned was that Dan Slater of Amazon is a very smart man.

picture of Dan Slater from Amazon

I borrowed this picture from his Linked In page because it perfectly captures the face he showed us at the NINC conference — that of a man who loves what he does.

Faced with a room full of published (traditional, indie, and self) authors eager to discover the secrets behind reaching readers (aka discoverability), he dished facts, provided graphs, listened to suggestions, and explained Amazon’s policies.

And, like a cherry on top of an unusually nutritious sunday, he topped his fact-filled discussion with a friendly smile. Agents and editors may have been surprised to hear how successful so many NINC novelists have become in the indie sphere, but it was quite obvious that Dan already knew (having crunched that data and provided it to so many hungry authors over the course of several days).

We didn’t like all of the answers he gave us (we want that Pre-Order button! … not to mention the lovely red slash through our price tag when we run a sale). But we understood why, because he took the time to show us.

He also took the time to listen to us. Amazingly, this was in stark contrast to some of the other industry guests we had invited in to begin the discussion about the new partnership opportunities that are opening for all of us (foreign markets, audiobooks, print only rights, etc.).

Once again, it was obvious that Amazon’s bottom line is customer satisfaction. For many of us, that focus (currently) dovetails with our desire to give our readers the best storytelling experience possible (and to use data to change course if we don’t get it right the first time…just like Amazon).

I expect next year’s conference (theme: The Author’s World) will see many more industry guests with Dan’s friendly manner, willingness to not only answer but also ask questions, and — most importantly — a willingness to consider brainstorming new kinds of partnerships.

I can’t wait!

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

Frankenstorm and Novelists Inc Conference 2012

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Back From the Abyss

You may have noticed I’ve been absent for a while.  Or, conversely, you may have forgotten I exist at all.

As co-chair of the 2012 Novelists Inc. conference (held last week in White Plains, NY), I’ve been snowed under with last minute conference details and life has felt a bit like a hurricane for a month or so.

Ironic, eh? The conference (theme: profitable partnerships) went off spectacularly, although news of Frankenstorm managed to penetrate the conference bubble and most of our attendees hastily changed plans and managed to get out of White Plains a little more quickly than had been planned. Good thing, according to the news I’ve been following.

I’m home now, and I still have power, so I’m combing through all the fabulous information I got from the conference to figure out what I’ll be working on for the next year. I’ll share my top three insights:

  1. It has never been a better time to be a novelist.
  2. My career is in my own hands.
  3. Banding together with other authors for support is the best kind of partnership there is.

Can’t wait for next year (Myrtle Beach, SC, October 24-28 again). Our theme: The Author’s World. More deets coming soon.

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed
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