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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Michigan Writers Groups and Organizations

As I've delved into the world of indie publishing, I've really missed having a writing community. My writing community has fluctuated over the years. I've been involved in groups, gone to a handful of conferences and tried out online writing collaboration. Lately, my writing community mostly includes podcasts, the kboards and Facebook. Especially as I prepare to publish my second book - out next week - and I 'm searching for launch strategies and other ideas to get some momentum in the Born of Shadows Series.  However, I felt compelled to research writing organizations in Michigan in the hopes of reaching out to some other writers in the non-digital world. If you too are looking to connect with other writers in Michigan - here are some organizations to get you started. Also - feel free to shoot me a message if you want to talk writing!

Michigan Writers: Based in Traverse City, they do writing events, workshops and a Chapbook.

Mid Michigan Writers: Located in West Branch, they offer bi-weekly meeting, events and more.

Rochester Writers: Located in Rochester, they offer an annual conference, events and contests.

The Detroit Writer's Guild: Located in Detroit, they do various writing events and have a variety of member benefits.

Springfed Arts Metro Detroit Writers: Located in Detroit, they offer contests, workshops, events and more.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Reader's Gift Giveaways

Check out my monthly reader's swag giveaways on my author website When you subscribe, you'll be automatically entered to win that month's funky reader gift. This month's giveaway is this rad Edgar Allen Poe Coffee Mug. Subscribers also receive a free sample of my novel Ula: Born of Shadows along with other book news. 

Click here to check out October's Giveaway

Monday, September 25, 2017

Instafreebie Ebooks and Book Funnel for Indie Authors

As I get closer to re-releasing Ula: Born of Shadows, I've been searching for ways to get a preview out to readers. There are a lot of options and I can thank most of my recent indie author education to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast (check them out here). I love the three authors who host the podcast. They're extremely down to earth and make the possibility of working as an author feel much more doable. They also don't don't spend the first twenty minutes of the show talking about their work, which I've found in other podcasts and it kind of drives me crazy. So getting back to topic, I'll just offer a brief overview of Instafreebie and Book Funnel. I'm a new user to both and don't have a lot of data yet to offer, but hopefully, I can provide updates over time.

Instafreebie: This site is dedicated to getting free books (or book previews) into the hands of readers. You can sign up for a free option on their website or paid options, which range from $20-$50 per month. You need an epub file of your manuscript, which you upload to their site, along with cover art. Then you set-up a Giveaway, which prompts the site to provide you with a link to your book. Readers can click the link and go straight to your ebook. The paid options are pretty important if you're a new author trying to build a mailing list because you can't collect subscriber information with their free option. They state that the more you share your book - by providing your link to your mailing list, on social media etc. - the more they will advertise your book to readers. I published the first eighteen chapters of Ula: Born of Shadows Book 1 on Instafreebie three days ago. I have not shared my link on any social media yet - this is my first post about it - and have two readers that have claimed the book. I'm not sure how they found it, but obviously Instafreebie has some space where books show up for readers to claim them. Find out more about Instafreebie here.

You can view my Instafreebie link for Ula here.

Book Funnel: Like Instafreebie, Book Funnel is a platform designed to give books to readers. You can post partial or complete ebooks. While Instafreebie seems more geared toward readers, Book Funnel appears to target writers. Their site gives authors the ability to upload their books and provide their readers with the option of downloading your book in epub or mobi format. They don't advertise your book. The link that you receive from Book Funnel can be private or public. They advertise their site as an ideal way to give specific people advanced reader copies or to share exclusive content with your mailing list. The cost of Book Funnel is $20 to $250 per year. For a new author, the $20 option seems perfectly fine. Although this options does not include collecting email addresses, you can integrate Mail Chimp or other subscriber platforms with the service. Find out more about Book Funnel Here.

I'm not publishing my Book Funnel link on social media; however, I will include it in my next newsletter so that you can get a feel for how the different platforms look.

Have you used Instafreebie or Book Funnel as an Indie Author? What has your experience been?

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as 
long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Cover Art for Indie Authors

When I decided to end my novel contract with my small publisher, I lost my cover art for my Born of Shadows Book Series. One of the things that I've heard repeatedly on writing podcast (and know as a reader) is how important awesome cover art is for a novel's success. The challenge of course is finding an affordable book cover artist when you're an indie author without a big budget. Initially I found a designer that allows you to choose your own cover image and then she adds the font and formatting for $150, which is a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, I realized that this cost didn't include a paperback option, which is important to me because I love having paperback copies of my published novels. I found another artist who offers a great deal for beautiful cover art when you're doing a book series and ultimately went with her. She's been great to work with - intuitive, on time and mos of all creates a beautiful cover design.

If you're looking for affordable cover art, my advice is that you reach out to the designers. Tell them what you have in mind and what your budget is. Like most things, making a connection changes the conversation. Many designers have flexible pricing and can offer less expensive custom options if that's what you need. I posted a few of the designers that I checked out - including the one who designed my cover - below.

Do you want to recommend a book cover designer? Leave their information in the notes and we'll add them to the list. Also feel free to share your own book cover art.

  • Cover Quill - Rena is the designer at Cover Quill and she created my new cover for Ula: Born of Shadows Book 1 (I love it)
  • Beetiful Book Covers - This designer offers a custom e-book option for $150.
  • The Book Cover Zone - I have not worked with this designer, but I saw some great pre-made covers on their site. 
urban fantasy series
Ula: Born of Shadows Book 1
JR Erickson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Urban Fantasy Book Giveaway

Five years ago I published my first novel Ula: Born of Shadows with a small publisher. I knew that I needed to market the book if I was going to have any success as a fiction author, but I didn't do it. Life stuff got in the way and if it sounds like an excuse, that's because it is. The truth is that at pretty much any stage of our lives, we're faced with challenges. Even during the most placid periods, we still have jobs, dishes and oil changes. There has never been a moment in my life that I couldn't make a dozen excuses for why I wasn't writing.

To make a very long story slightly less long, a couple of months ago I realized that if I didn't commit to writing in a real way then I was going to spend the rest of my life wanting to be a writer, but rarely writing. Since that day, I've written at least 1,000 words every day - many days 2,000 plus; I've cancelled my contract with my small publisher and started the journey towards self-publishing; I've contracted a freelance graphic designer to build an author website and I've taken about a thousand notes on fiction marketing. Over the next few months I plan to re-release Ula: Born of Shadows - my first novel in an urban fantasy series. The sequel Sorciere: Born of Shadows will follow shortly thereafter. They're both currently written and edited. The third book is in the works - though I have another 30,000 words to go, then will come the editor, the cover art etc. I will do my best to come here and share the journey with all of you. There's something amazing that happens when you share your story, it resonates with others and they share their stories in return.

Thanks for visiting! I am giving away three paperback copies of Ula: Born of Shadows on my Facebook Page. Visit the link below and like the post for a chance to win a copy.

Visit My Facebook Page for a Chance to Win a Free Copy of Ula: Born of Shadows. Winners will be chosen September 30th.

urban fantasy novel

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2017 Writer's Conference in Michigan

Fall is a great time to get recommitted to your writing - or to hone your craft - or network. As summer drifts away, we find ourselves more often in quiet contemplation. Add a boost to that reflective time by attending a writer's conference. Not only are conferences a great chance to meet other authors, they provide valuable -  and current - news about the world of writing and publishing. 

The Kent District Library in Comstock Park, Michigan is holding the KDL Writer's Conference: Crafting Edition on Saturday October 28th, 2017. If you're thinking about doing NaNoWriMo, this conference may offer a great jump start for writing your novel in November. 

For more information on the conference, visit the KDL website here. Pre-registration is required for the event.  

Beautiful Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore
 (The area that I call home)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Scrivener for Novel Writing

Wow - what can I say? Scrivener is awesome. Mind you, I've been writing novels in a basic word processor for years so Scrivener is like transitioning from a bicycle to a spaceship. At least that's been my experience so far. I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener a few weeks ago and it has seriously transformed my writing process. Being able to break down my novel easily into scenes, within chapters, within the entire manuscript - which is all easily seen and navigated to in a left side bar - saves a ton of time scanning back and forth through my document for previous scene information. I can't really offer a post with all of the aspects of Scrivener that are great because I'm still pretty new to the software; however, if you're writing novels and getting really bogged down in your process, consider trying out the free trial. Let me also add that I don't have any affiliation with Scrivener or benefit in any way from posting about the software. I'm just so blown away by how much it has helped organize my novels and ideas that I wanted to share. I've posed a link to the free Scrivener download below as well as a video that I watched to get acquainted with the software. I hope that you get some great results from trying it out.

Free Scrivener Download Link

Video: Top Five Reasons Scrivener is My Favorite Writing Software (this is not my video)

I don't believe in 'thinking' old. Although I've transitioned through many bodies - a baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, mid-life and older adult - my spirit is unchanged. I support my body with exercise, my mind with reading and writing, and my spirit with the knowing that I am part of the Divine source of all life. Wayne Dyer