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  • S.K. Holder
  • December 28, 2017 07:57:13 PM
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A Little About Us

Author blog about the author's writing experiences, self-publishing tips and advice, sci-fi fantasy novel excerpts, non-fiction articles, poetry and other excerpts from her non-fictional works.

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Novel Writing: Words to Avoid

Words to avoid like the plague! As a writer, there are so many words that I’ve been told to avoid, it’s no wonder that I can get any writing done without pausing mid-flow to ask myself, is this on the list of words to avoid? And then there’s the nagging ‘habitual word usage’, whereby you... The post Novel Writing: Words to Avoid appeared first on S.K....

Words to avoid like the plague!

As a writer, there are so many words that I’ve been told to avoid, it’s no wonder that I can get any writing done without pausing mid-flow to ask myself, is this on the list of words to avoid?

And then there’s the nagging ‘habitual word usage’, whereby you take one word or phrase and ‘beat the reader over the head’ with it.

I’m a fan of the word ‘but’ I believe it’s a great transitional word.  However, I use it frugally as it is on the list of  ‘words to avoid’.

I once read a book, where an author used the word ‘but’ several times on every page.  I don’t understand why the editor didn’t pick this up. The word  screamed from every page. After counting the word ten times on one of them, I was all ‘but-ted out’ and couldn’t bear to reading anymore.

Here’s a list of words that I’m told I should avoid when writing but don’t:

  • Really
  • Actually
  • But
  • Was
  • Very
  • Just
  • So
  • Finally
  • Then
  • Feel (I love this word!)
  • Almost
  • Nearly
  • Suddenly
  • As (How can you not use this?)

and the list goes on…

Others words to avoid – Why can’t I tell?

You should also avoid all adverbs because they break the “show don’t tell” rule.

Here’s an example:

“I get where you’re going – not,” she said sarcastically.

If you’ve ever had your work professionally critiqued, you know this is one of the first things an editor will pick up on. I once had my work critiqued by a traditionally published author. She found one adverb in the excerpt I had sent her and wrote a side note explaining the “show don’t tell” rule. I already knew about the rule and kept my one  adverb regardless as I thought it worked well in the sentence.

I think it depends on the literary agent or publisher because I’ve read many debut novels in which the authors have splattered their pages with adverbs and they’ve gone on to become extremely successful.

The post Novel Writing: Words to Avoid appeared first on S.K. HOLDER.


Book promotion websites

There are plenty of book promotion websites on which you can advertise your free eBook and Kindle countdown deal. Some of these will amass no sales or downloads, some will only make a dent, others will make you a sizeable profit. The majority of promotional websites will ask you to pay a fee. These fees... The post Book promotion websites appeared first on S.K....

There are plenty of book promotion websites on which you can advertise your free eBook and Kindle countdown deal. Some of these will amass no sales or downloads, some will only make a dent, others will make you a sizeable profit. The majority of promotional websites will ask you to pay a fee. These fees can add up and there’s no guarantee you’ll recuperate the costs by making a tidy profit.

If your budget is small, I wouldn’t advise that you spend hours, or days, submitting to every promo website. Submit to the free book promotion websites first or find a website that will charge you one fee to submit to a list of selected websites in one go. I should point out that some of these websites will require a certain number of good reviews before they will promote it. Some will ask you for the name or the company who professionally edited your book.

The best days to run book promotions are Sundays and Mondays.

Small promotion websites versus the big boys

I once submitted my free Kindle promotion to almost every free and low cost book promotion website I could find online; the costs mounted up, the downloads – not so much. When I changed tactic and submitted to a couple of the pricier book promotion websites, along with a few Fiverr deals, I had downloads in the thousands, turned a profit, and experienced steady sales for several months thereafter.*

Big boys

These are the promo sites that can net you over a thousand downloads as oppose to a few hundred.

BookBub

There is a waiting time and a sizeable fee. They don’t always say yes, but if they do, you can climb up the Amazon rank list pretty quickly.

A word of caution: they will want to know if your book deal is flexible. Therefore, I would approach them first before scheduling any promos on any other sites.

eReaderNews

You can expect a couple of thousand downloads for popular genres. My paranormal fiction did well in this promo. I would also recommend Book Gorilla

Here, you can find a list of  book promotion websites.

*At present, I’m unable to list every book promotion website I have used. It’s also difficult to establish which of these websites nets you the most downloads if you’re signed up to several at once. You also need to consider that some genres are more popular than others.

Free giveaways for physical copies

If you want to promote your novel and gain reviews, you may want to consider giving your book away for free.

Don’t go crazy giving away physical copies of your book as you’ll want to keep costs down.

Run a contest on your own website and offer a couple of signed copies of your book as a prize. If the contest winners enjoy your book, they may post a review and spread the word about it to their friends and family as well as on social media.

There are plenty of book blogging sites which will help promote your book on their website, if you offer it as a giveaway. Ensure that you run your giveaway on websites relevant to your book, so that it finds its way to the right reader.

Goodreads allows you to run contests for your book giveaways. Signed copies always go down well.

Amazon has a similar feature. You can run promotional giveaways on their website for the physical books you have on sale.

You should also consider giving free copies to schools (if suitable) or donating a few copies to your local library.

The post Book promotion websites appeared first on S.K. HOLDER.


Self-Publishing: Marketing Your Book on Amazon

About marketing your Book on Amazon Writers often ask what are the best methods for marketing your book on Amazon? Some self-published authors have phenomenal success with book marketing while others yield few results. There are two reasons why you need to market your book on Amazon: to drive books sales and to build your... The post Self-Publishing: Marketing Your Book on Amazon appeared first on S.K....

About marketing your Book on Amazon

Writers often ask what are the best methods for marketing your book on Amazon? Some self-published authors have phenomenal success with book marketing while others yield few results. There are two reasons why you need to market your book on Amazon: to drive books sales and to build your author platform.

Marketing your book on Amazon for free

  • Promote the book on your website.
  • Share news about your book on social media.
  • Get reviews. You can ask readers to review your eBook by adding a link in the last page.
  • Don’t overprice or undervalue your books. No 0.99 eBooks!
  • Choose the correct keywords to ensure that your book will appear in the best and right categories. It is important to note that placing your book in the wrong category can result in negative reviews.
  • Allow lending of your Kindle book
  • Enroll in Kindle Select. You won’t be able to publish your eBook on any other platform during your four month enrollment period, but your publication will get more visibility on Amazon.
  • You can do a Kindle countdown deal or a limited free book promotion.
  • Set up a Facebook page for each book you publish.
  • Create an author page on Amazon Central. Note: there is also an Amazon Central for the UK and one for Germany.
  • You can advertise your book on forums.
  • Use podcasts to build your author platform.

Marketing your book on Amazon with paid advertising

  • Publish a book trailer on YouTube.
  • Give away free printed copies.
  • Use book advertising websites.
  • Use local newspapers to advertise your book.
  • Use a PR company.
  • There are over 100 websites where you can promote your Kindle countdown deal. Try Bookbub, and Book Gorilla.
  • You can market your book on the Goodreads website. Setting up a Goodreads campaign is straightforward and costs $10 minimum.
  • Run an Amazon Ad campaign.
  • Publish a press release.

The post Self-Publishing: Marketing Your Book on Amazon appeared first on S.K. HOLDER.


James Patterson Masterclass Review

James Patterson On Writing masterclass Curious to discover what I was doing wrong or what I could do to improve my writing, I decided to embark on the James Patterson Masterclass. I’m not going to give away the content of the lessons because it wouldn’t be fair for those who paid up – like myself.... The post James Patterson Masterclass Review appeared first on S.K....

James Patterson On Writing masterclass

Curious to discover what I was doing wrong or what I could do to improve my writing, I decided to embark on the James Patterson Masterclass.

I’m not going to give away the content of the lessons because it wouldn’t be fair for those who paid up – like myself.

The videos are recorded in such a way that you feel that Mr Patterson is talking directly to you and not to the camera.

The writing masterclass is broken up into 22 video tutorials which include course material in the form of downloadable PDF workbooks. Also included, are case studies of the author’s own work. There is also a student community for Q & A, feedback and discussions. Mr Patterson also provides feedback on some student assignments – so don’t think he “checked out” after he made the videos.

It’s common knowledge that if you’re writing thrillers, you need to get your facts straight and that means doing a lot of research.

The bestselling author gave some really sage writing advice: in order to keep churning out those manuscripts, you have to enjoy writing.

Some people take up writing simply to make money, but this is about writing fiction. You have to keep writing beyond the rejections. Don’t second guess yourself, and try to guess the market and write what you think others will want to read.

What you won’t get…

For budding indie authors out there, this course has nothing to do with self-publishing! This is about how to write well – well enough to land an agent.  Don’t expect marketing, editing and typing tips.  Also, Mr Patterson does not go into the process of submissions, in terms of what to write in your query letter, etc.

What you will get…

The course will motivate you and give you the extra boost you need to keep going. Mr Patterson received his fair share of rejection letters just like everybody else.

Once you’ve paid your fee, you have the course for life. I still log in to read comments from other writers and Mr Patterson himself.

My conclusion: I think the James Patterson masterclass is worth the money and the time.

The post James Patterson Masterclass Review appeared first on S.K. HOLDER.


How to Promote Your Book on Your Website

Set up your website to promote your book Your own website is the best way to promote your book. It allows you to build an audience – providing you get the right traffic. To achieve this, you’ll need to add lots of relevant and unique content, and also inject the right keywords and descriptions. Your... The post How to Promote Your Book on Your Website appeared first on S.K....

Set up your website to promote your book

Your own website is the best way to promote your book. It allows you to build an audience – providing you get the right traffic. To achieve this, you’ll need to add lots of relevant and unique content, and also inject the right keywords and descriptions. Your author website could benefit from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You can also set up a mailing list on your website.

What you should be including on your author website:

  • An email sign up
  • A blog
  • A news page with the latest press releases about your books, events you’re attending
  • A content page
  • A category page about each of your books
  • An image links section, where you can upload your book covers and link them to where the reader can buy them
  • Your author bio
  • Social media buttons so your readers can connect with you on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.Social media icons
  • Social Share buttons, so that you and your readers can share your content across social media.
  • Consider having a separate website to promote a book series.

If you’re not a renowned writer, and you write crime thriller novels, you want to add these keywords or variations of them in your descriptions and page titles. You can pay someone to do your SEO, or you can figure out how to do this yourself from books and online tutorial videos found on YouTube and other relevant SEO and marketing websites.

To effectively promote your book from your website, run free giveaways and competitions and invite readers to review your books. You should include excerpts of your book. You can also publish your book trailer and a press release about your upcoming publication.

I use WordPress, which I installed myself through a self-hosting account. However, this requires some technical knowledge. If you’re not tech savvy and you don’t have the money to spend on a website, set up a Gmail account and create a website using Blogger. It’s easy to use. You can add your theme and unique domain name.

Another good alternative is Wix.

The post How to Promote Your Book on Your Website appeared first on S.K. HOLDER.


The Once Man – A Short Ghost Story for Adults

I wrote The Once Man as part of my assignment for the Curtis Brown novel writing course. The Once Man: A Short Ghost Story I drive down the narrow country road flanked by lofty trees. The road is clear up ahead. I wind down the car window and breathe the damp air. My skin tingles.... The post The Once Man – A Short Ghost Story for Adults appeared first on S.K....

I wrote The Once Man as part of my assignment for the Curtis Brown novel writing course.

The Once Man: A Short Ghost Story

I drive down the narrow country road flanked by lofty trees. The road is clear up ahead. I wind down the car window and breathe the damp air. My skin tingles. I feel a chill on my neck. I slam on the brakes, put the car in reverse and drive back the way I came.

I don’t know why I turn back even after all these years. I haven’t driven a mile up the road when I glimpse his ghost-grey eyes watching me. I thump on the brakes. I jumped out of the car.

I charge up to the Once Man standing by a crooked tree. A bunch of withered flowers lie at his feet. He has on a moth-eaten maroon-coloured jumper and black jeans. ‘Why are you always watching me!’ I yell. ‘What do you want from me?’

The Once Man doesn’t answer.

I’ve seen him before, lingering by the gate of the Old Rectory Shack. The place had been vacant for almost a year before he moved in.

He didn’t see me standing in the field across from him. I cowered in the blackberry bushes. My boots caked in cow dung. He was pipe thin. His dark, shaggy hair hid his ears. I could tell by the way he moved he was young. Young and sickly. A mottled rash covered his skin. I thought about knocking on the door and introducing myself, but then it occurred to me that it was too soon. He’d need time to settle in first.

A week went by, then two. I continued to see him, standing outside the cottage staring at the window ledge or at the patchy grass. He wasn’t inspecting anything. He was brooding. Lost in his own thoughts. The longer I left it, the more curious I became. Until one evening, without giving it much thought, I crossed the road and knocked on his door.

A curtain twitched. A light came on in the hall. The door creaked open. I had planned to introduce myself in that cheery breezy manner one does when greeting neighbours for the first time. His hostility put me off. He held the top of the door securing it at a forty-degree angle. His jaw tightened. His eyes became slits.

I offered him my hand. ‘Jan-janette Tomlinson.’ I pointed across the road. ‘I live just across the way. I thought I’d introduce myself. What’s your name?’ I remember thinking, I should have brought something: a casserole, a bottle of wine, a fatted calf. If I was going to play the nosy neighbour, I might as well be a generous one.

There was a long bout of silence, before he eventually spoke.

‘Lucian,’ he said, in a French accent.

I nodded. No surname worth mentioning then. ‘If you need anything, you can always knock. My door’s always open.’

Another bout of unbearable silence followed.

‘Thank you.’ He then bowed his head and slammed the door.

For several seconds, I stood there like a weed that had taken root, then I crossed over road and went about my own business. It was obvious that he wanted to keep himself to himself.

How odd that he should be here now? On this desolate road.

‘Hey watch it!’ I cry. I leap out of the way before his torch strikes me.

The Once Man has changed since I last saw him. He has grown a short beard. His mottled rash has disappeared and he has lost an inch or two of his shaggy locks. I can see his He turned his back on me.

I prod his shoulder. My hand goes straight through him.

‘I was the last person you saw before you died, aren’t I?’ I say.

I look past him to the rusted car wreckage mangled in a thicket of branches and bramble.

I remember the fog on the road. I had lost control of the car. I had careered into the tree to avoid hitting him. I was thrown from the car, down the muddy bank and into the river. I was swallowed by the rapids a long time ago.

The Once Man never forgets. So why do I?

I return to my car, sitting in the middle of the road. I turn on the ignition, crank up the gears and grip the steering wheel.

I drive down the narrow country road flanked by lofty trees. The road is clear up ahead. I wind down the car window and breathe the damp air. My skin tingles. I feel a chill on my neck. I slam on the brakes, put the car in reverse and drive back the way I came…

The post The Once Man – A Short Ghost Story for Adults appeared first on S.K. HOLDER.


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