Your Unique Author Picture – Research By A. J. Alexander

Picture courtesy of: http://gregceoblog.com

 

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I have been thinking about Author Pictures lately. I know very well what I have on my Social Media accounts right now isn’t a great thing to do. One of the main reasons for these overexposed profile pictures is the fact that I don’t like it to be on pictures. And from what I heard this can be seen in the picture.

 

No matter how often I’m told the pictures look great, and I’m supposed to be pretty, I don’t believe it. This does, in fact, have a psychological root which was planted in my childhood, but I think this is another subject and doesn’t belong here.

 

Now, since one day I will undoubtedly be published I will sooner or later have to think about my author picture, and that’s why I went for another round of research.

 

One of the first interesting and informative articles I found on Huffington Post where Heather Hummel talks about the relevance of a professional author photo. She not only talks about the quality of the picture but also shows certain problems that can come up and presents the respective solutions. For example, does she mention the expression on the picture, the quality, the background and presents some final thoughts. (Read the entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-hummel/the-relevance-of-a-profes_b_4498575.html)

 

By going on with my research, I found “The Review Review.” Written by Randy Susan Meyers the article “Look Great In Your Author Photo” gives you tips and tricks on colors, clothes, and makeup and also describes what you can do to hide certain flaws and how to choose your photographer. I thought it is a great helpful post who I would recommend reading when someone needs a (new) author photo. (To read the post click here: http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/look-great-your-author-photo)

 

On the Author Media website, I found a fantastic post, written by author Thomas Umstattd. He clearly states that his article is not for the author, but for the photographer! And I think he did an amazing job. Even though being an author I learned a lot by reading his article, and I might even be able to show it to my future photographer if necessary, to show him what I need the picture for. The article is enormously useful to us ‘clients’ too! (It can be read here: http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-take-portraits-for-an-author-website/)

 

The last impressive article I found on “Book In A Box,” written by Tucker Max, Chairman & Co-Founder at Book In A Box. He shows what’s good and what’s bad and not just said, some pics are good or bad but also explains the reason in clear, simple words. He provides us with different examples and gives us great advice on what not to do and what he would recommend getting a great picture. I decided to provide you here with a small part of his article:

 

The Author Photo Rule That Rules Them All

Here’s the thing that makes author photos so hard to give advice about: There is not one “right” way to do it. Like I talked about above, the “right” way all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. But there is one overarching rule that you need to sear into your brain when it comes to author photos (or any profile photo):

Know what you want to say to what audience, and make sure you signal it properly.

This is the key to everything. The author photo for a CEO of a Fortune 500 company should be totally different from the author photo for an up-and-coming comedian. Why? Because they are signaling different things to different groups.
Generally speaking, the CEO’s author photo should signal professionalism, effectiveness, reliability, and trust. The comedian’s photo could be wacky, pensive, goofy or even serious, all depending on his comedic style and what he wanted to signal.

To read the full article go to http://bookinabox.com/blog/how-to-take-author-photo/

 

I have to say I learned a lot by reading these four articles, and I’m sure I’ll find a great photographer who helps me. But then, maybe I’ll just hide under a stone and rather provide the world with my stories than my face.

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Author James Jones
courtesy of: http://www.jamesjonesliterarysociety.org/

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A.J.’s Newsletter Trouble-2

A few days ago I posted this really embarrassing article about my newsletter and how I wish more people would subscribe – without realizing, that of three possibilities to subscribe, only two worked.

 

Of course, the one that didn’t work was the one here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest,’ where most people would have the chance to subscribe.

It took me days of cooperation with technicians and hours of work, asking back and forward and finally testing it. And now it works.

I invite new subscribers to test and see! (he he he). No, in earnest: I’m happy to see more subscribers who’d like to see my newsletter. Thank you!

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Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

A.J.’s Newsletter Trouble

This morning I posted the following blog post, happily, that finally my newsletter subscription works. It took me a long time to get this done and follow all necessary steps I was given to make it work again. Of course, I had tested subscribing and unsubscribing before publishing the article. It worked perfectly, which made me publish the article.

And as soon as the post was published I was informed that it does not work.

I’m shocked. This is embarrassing, and I’m extremely unhappy how it turned out. I just wrote an armor-clad email to MailChimp to immediately solve that problem.

I’m contrite and hope you’ll forgive me for publishing something that does not work. I’m sorry.

I’ll keep you updated on the matter.

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Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

Blogger Prompt Chain

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Today I was reading about ‘Writing Prompts.’ I think we, as writers, know what they are. I was looking for something to blog about and thought maybe I’d find a prompt that can help me.

And all of a sudden I had an idea. I thought, why not inviting other writers, share these writing prompts with them and invite them to participate in kind of a ‘story collection’ under this one banner “Blogger Prompt Chain.”

I don’t want to make it too complicated. I don’t know if it even works, but I think it might be worth a try. I’m sure, some of the invited writers and bloggers won’t have the time to participate or don’t like the idea, and the chain might meet a dead end. But I would be curious how many like it.

What do you think, are you in?

(And I’m not going to be angry about any writer or blogger who’d like to accept the challenge without invitation. Just let me know so I can read your story, please!)

 

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Rules:

1. Pick one of the five given writing prompts (picked from here)
2. Set up the Blogger Prompt Chain banner and publish your story under the banner.
3. After your story, continue the chain by forwarding an invitation to five bloggers or writers. (In case a writer doesn’t have a blog, guest posts can be offered)
4. Don’t forget to link the writers to your blog and back to the one who invited you.
5. Publish the five writing prompts and rules!

Prompts:

a) The End of The Bucket List
Write a story about a character who finds out that he or she is dying and has been knocking things off his/her bucket list and has finally reached the last item.

b) Get Out of the Car With Your Hands Up
You’re driving to your favorite city when you’re stopped by a police officer. Sure, you were going a few miles over the speed limit, so you’re not overly surprised. But you are surprised when the police officer gets to your car and screams, “Get out of your car with your hands up!” This leads to an unexpected night for you. Write this scene

c) Hiring a New Villain
Your old villain quit over creative differences, so you’ve put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.

d) At The End of The Rainbow
You and a friend have decided to try and follow a rainbow to see if the end holds a pot of gold. But when you finally reach the end, you find something much more valuable than a pot of gold—and it changes your life. Write this scene.

e) The Letter All Writers Should Write
Write a letter to a person who supported your writing career, whether that be a friend, a family member, a teacher (even one that supported you at a very young age before you knew that it would blossom into a writing career), an author you’ve never met but have been inspired by his or her writing. Do you thank them? Do you blame them? Take the letter in any direction you want.

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My choice: “The Letter All Writers Should Write”

Dear Sister,

I think it’s time you get this letter from me. I have been thinking about it for a long time, but I always feared I would forget something or be unable to express my feelings the way they should be expressed when it comes to you. And that’s why I’d like to start in our childhood.

Remember these times when we were sitting on the ground between the upstairs shower and my little bedroom in our pajamas, and you listened to the stories I told you? I know, it was a long time ago, but I still remember some of these stories, and I blush thinking about it. But I knew and know until now that you will never repeat one of them, that’s why I don’t need to worry.

A few years later, when I felt like writing, started with that one children’s story and poems you read them with interest and told me when you liked or disliked them.

It was you, years later, who recommended me to re-start writing, when I sank into depression, and it was you who encouraged me to go on and not stop until my stories were told.

Remember when I told you, that this one book I wrote ‘doesn’t feel right’? You advised me to set it aside until I’m ready to pick it up again and then decide what I’d do with it.

No matter what happened with us and where our path took us – you always were there for me, encouraging me, helping me, supporting me, advising me and no matter when I call I know you always take time.

I am very, very proud to have you as my sister and not ‘only’ a sister, but also my very best friend!
I love you!

Yours forever

AJ

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The five writers/bloggers I would like to invite to follow the ‘Blogger Prompt Chain’ are the following:

 

  1. Author Rachel Poli
  2. Author Renee Scattergood
  3. Author Joy Lennick
  4. Author Kitt Crescendo
  5. Writer Sharon K. Connell

 

Thank you for participating. 🙂

A Sick Writer

By now I guess, it’s known that I have been sick for a few weeks, being ‘blessed’ with shingles and pneumonia to the same time. I could have done the one without both, but after all, I’m afraid, I had to take it the way it got me.

Now, being in pain and feeling sick, having a fever and not finding any comfortable position, I wasn’t able to do much more than drinking, resting, sleeping, watching TV and trying to keep my cats away from climbing on me.

And here exactly is the point I start complaining…

I’m a writer. A sick writer. And I would have loved to ‘use’ the time getting some work done. Typing, blogging, scribbling, planning new stories, reading and whatever else belongs to a writer’s life, but I had no chance.

Shingles caused me that much pain that all I could do was trying to find a way to spend the days on the couch with plenty of pain killers inside of me that nearly knocked me out. There was no way I would have been able to sit behind the computer and type much.

I was unable to turn onto my stomach to write by hand on paper. And when I tried to read I started feeling dizzy enough, I was ready to vomit.

I wanted to work, develop ideas, find new characters, plots, storylines, whatever came into my mind, and nothing was possible.

But of course I’m smart, right? I got my phone next to me. And whenever I had an idea, I recorded it. What a wonderful girl I am! The idea would have been amazing, if…

… yes, there’s an ‘if’…

… if, I hadn’t been too sick to make sense.

Yes, you can laugh. I did too once I listened to my ‘notes’. I was sick enough that I couldn’t hear much more than some mumbling. And if there was a clear word or two, it didn’t make sense.

My fever was high enough to cook my brain, which means, the ideas I got are entirely useless. This is annoying and nearly make me consider getting either a secretary, a nurse – or both.

I’m almost sure I’m not the only writer ever being sick. How are you doing this? Are you able to use your time fruitfully during this forced break? If yes, how are you doing it? Thank you for your advice!

Picture courtesy of wikimedia

How To Organize A Blog Tour – Research by A. J. Alexander

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During the past years of activity on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest,’ and the inquiries to publish posts and interviews for different Blog Tours I promised myself once I find the time I would do research on ‘Blog Tours.’ What is this? And why is it so important to writers? Who does organize them and if I have to do that myself, how to do it best?

What is a Blog Tour?

Alessandra Wike writes on “PR by the book”:
The age of the internet gives authors the opportunity to connect with thousands of people. Taking advantage of these seemingly endless possibilities, blog tours provide great publicity for a new book without the hassle (or expense!) of travel. Instead of an author traveling from bookstore to bookstore and city to city, an author’s book can travel virtually from blog to blog and garner hundreds, if not thousands, of views in a short amount of time.

To read the entire blog post, click here.

 

“Reedsy,” writes:

A blog tour is very much like a traditional book tour, where the author would go from town to town to sign their books and meet new readers; except this time, you go from blog to blog. There are countless fiction and non-fiction blogs that have emerged in the past few years, all written by passionate readers who want to share their love of books with other readers. They post book reviews, launch announcements, and interviews with their favorite authors. To continue reading the article on Reedsy, click here.

 

“Bookmaster” for example gives us a hint on what it means to work on a Blog Tour by writing:

A blog book tour can be set up by a publicist, but if an author has self-published and doesn’t have a publicist, they can do the leg work themselves. The key is to find blogs that are relevant to the topic of the book that are interested in participating in the blog book tour. For example, cooking blogs would be the target if you wrote a cookbook and relationship blogs would be the target if you wrote a book that provided love advice. Depending on the topic of the book there could be an unlimited number of blogs, or there might only be a handful if the topic is extremely niche. Each book tour should include a manageable amount of blogs, as the tour requires a significant amount of time from the author. Even though it’s not an in person tour, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done. (The article can be found here)

 

Now: what interested me most is: How do I really organize a Blog Tour? Of course, there are several hints, tips, and tricks from different writers; the basic work seems more or less the same – several have apparently had super-success while others complained that their echo was insufficient.

One article that impressed me was an article, published by Penguin Random House.

For example, does the post answer important questions like:

• What are the benefits of putting your book on a blog tour?
• What types of books work best for blog tours?
• How can an author ensure his or her blog tour is a success?
• How can an author work with his or her publicist to set up an effective blog tour?

or

• What are some best practices when preparing for a blog tour?

The entire article can be read here:
http://authornews.penguinrandomhouse.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-organizing-a-blog-tour/

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By researching further into the topic, I found another impressive and informative post on Joel Friedlander’s Book Designer’s Blog. He published a guest post, 7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites, written by Greg Strandberg.

Greg informs about seven eBook Tour Sites, gives prices, information and his opinion to them. I think it’s worth checking them out. He as well links their names to their websites. (For copyright reasons I cannot do this below.)

1. YA Bound Book Tours
2. Xpresso Book Tours
3. Enchanted Book Promotions
4. Bewitching Book Tours
5. Goddess Fish Promotions
6. Sage’s Blog Tours
7. Rockstar Book Tours

If you like to read his opinion about these Sites, please check them out on his article by clicking here.

Finally, after hours and hours of research, I found an excellent post, provided by Mixtus Media on

How To Set Up A Successful Blog Tour + A FREE Guide

They not only provide us with an 11-step-guide on how to organize a Blog Tour, they as well provide us with a free Blog Tour Worksheet.

STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL READER
STEP 2: RESEARCH
STEP 3: CREATE A LIST
STEP 4: DETERMINE YOUR RESOURCES
STEP 5: FIGURE OUT YOUR TIMEFRAME
STEP 6: CONTACT BLOGGERS
STEP 7: Stay ORGANIZED
STEP 8: CONSIDER GIVEAWAYS
STEP 9: ANNOUNCE THE TOUR
STEP 10: FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE DELIVERY
STEP 11: FOLLOW UP

Each step is carefully described. To download the Worksheet, which I did, you are first subscribing to their newsletter. But I doubt that’s a problem. They do have more interesting information on their blog. (I didn’t have problems to download their worksheet, just in case your virus program is sensitive. Mine is, and it has carefully scanned the file and found nothing.)

After all the information I had found on Blog Tours I would love to hear from experienced writers how they had found it to organize their blog tours. Is it easy, is it hard? Do you mind providing us with some extra tips, tricks, and hints?

Romance, Seduction, Taste – A Sexy Male Protagonist

I’m a writer of paranormal romance, working on the sixth book in my series, currently, even though the first book still needs to be published.

Now lately I have realized that my romantic male protagonists  are very attractive – all of them. (Of course, I measure my taste here, so please don’t hold it against me).

Then I started thinking: I’m an avid reader and occasionally read the one or other steamy hot romance novella. And I never even once read a description of an unattractive protagonist. They all were described as extremely good looking, and of course, they need to be. Otherwise, the entire book would be kind of weird.

A quick example. The Twilight Series. Edward Cullen was described as beautiful, breathtaking, Angel and so on. Would this series have been only half as successful if the protagonists had been merely mediocre or even having some obvious flaws?

Now, let’s be honest, which one below here is the ‘better’ Edward Cullen?

 

Picture courtesy of: https://comicvine.gamespot.com

picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t want to be unfair here. To each her own, right? What I find attractive is not necessarily attractive to another woman.

But what all these men in books have in common is the fact that they are well groomed. It’s always refreshing to read about a man who showers. And who knows that a nose hair trimmer is not only good to foam up milk for the cappuccino. (Not to talk about the fact that a nose hair is only a nose hair as long as it’s inside the nose. When it grows out, it’s a mustache).

Men should, in fact, be trimmed. It’s every woman’s personal taste to find a man with either more or less hair attractive. Let’s see. I consider armpit hair that can be plaited not particularly sexy. But hey… if it can’t be trimmed, for whatever reason, at least the guy should use conditioner. But that’s only a detail.
Having a look at a hairy chest, who can say which one of these would I consider my protagonist?

 

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my case, it would be the right one – probably because that sexy hairline from the belly button down South would drive me crazy. But not the too much hairy chest, just the right amount. I wouldn’t be too happy caressing my man’s chest and finding dried ice cream from the last beach trip, croissant crumbs or Lego stones in there… Trim or waxing once in a while wouldn’t do any damage. At least some guys knew then what we women are going through to be beautiful for them.

Or what about a trim in the ‘Southern Region’? And I don’t mean the thighs or feet. I’m more talking about the – uhm – bell tower. I think to keep it carefully trimmed, and in order, isn’t asked too much, is it?

I mean, rainforest aside, it doesn’t need to look like a bare-nosed wombat. Just sexy and clean.

I mean, after all, I knew one man, Holy Smokes when he took his undies off I thought he was smuggling a beaver!

 

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Okay. I think I have been pretty open about my imagination of sexy protagonists. But now I’m curious. I’m sure there are characters on the evil side, the bad ones. Do we always describe them as unattractive? What are the features to ‘make’ them unattractive or the antagonist? How are you doing this in your book?
Thank you for your advice.