Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Cover reveal for an exciting new romance from @JanaRichards_



To Heal a Heart - Blurb

Garrett Saunders' world changed two years ago on a road in Afghanistan. Back home, he feels like a stranger. As he struggles to find his place in the world, he meets a horse destined for the slaughterhouse and a woman bent on rescuing the strays of the world, including him.

Blair Greyson moves to Masonville to look after her ailing grandfather and give her rescue horses a home. Right away she butts heads with a surly former Marine. Despite a rocky start, they come to an agreement: Blair will board Garrett's rescue horse and he'll help with repairs around her farm.

Garrett finds purpose working with Blair—and falls in love with her. But she's hiding a secret. Can she forgive herself and accept Garrett's love, or will she let guilt and regret continue to rule her life?

About the Author


Jana Richards  has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby. 

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.com



You can find Jana by clicking any of the following links





Sunday, March 8, 2020

Authors, Dip Your Toes in the Audiobook Ocean! PART II



Author: Tara Fox Hall
Last week I began a step by step guide for authors wanting to dip their toe into the world of audiobooks. Let’s take up where we left off!

3.    We were on the step of listening to an audio file submitted on ACX by a narrator. If you like what you hear, click accept and review the contract offer ACX generates ($ to be paid/royalty share and the dates by which recording is to be completed; be sure to provide ample months for a full-length book), then send it to the narrator. They will accept or get back to you asking for a contract revision, such as additional time needed to complete the work.

4.    If you don’t like the audio sample, you can ask for the narrator to make corrections/adjustments and resubmit or do nothing.  The audition will expire in a set time.  You can go back to step 1 and send proposals to other narrators, edit your own proposal or do nothing and wait for more auditions.  But you must contract with a narrator to go forward with your audiobook.

5.    At this step you have successfully retained a narrator to work with you on your audiobook and have agreed on a date by which the first fifteen minutes will be sent to you and a date by which the entire work will be complete. I would urge any author to be flexible on dates, as invariably things do and will come up. For example, if you have a Christmas novel you want made into an audiobook, then begin looking for a narrator the December PREVIOUS to the fall season when you are planning to release it.

6.    ACX will email you when the first 15 minutes are done, but if you have a thorough narrator, you will also get a private message from them with everything from typos to suggestions…and you may have been corresponding with them all throughout the process regarding characters or plot points. Listen to the audio file all the way through, then give the narrator feedback and/or approve.

7.    Do the same as step #6 when you get the files for the entire book. DO NOT approve something you did not listen to, under any circumstances.

8.    While you are waiting for your final chapters to arrive, take the time to create your audiobook cover. Unlike Kindle, ACX does not have a cover creator, and you as the author are responsible for the cover. However it is simple to crop an existing PDF of your Kindle or print cover to 2400x2400 pixels using whatever software that is on your computer. This may edit out your author name or the book title, but you can add back in the title and or author name to the square cover with new lettering. You can also create a different cover for your audiobook, or have someone create one for you, just realize you will need to pay for stock art and/or any fees the artist may charge.

9.    ACX will review your audiobook for any issues, from too-long pauses or aberrations. You will get an email if they approve your audiobook for sale or if there is a problem. The narrator will also be informed, but if there is any issue, work with the narrator to fix it, then resubmit the audiobook for approval.

Congratulations! You have made your first audiobook! Sit back and bask in your accomplishment or go right on to the next one!

Check out my 13 audiobooks on Audible! https://www.audible.com/author/Tara-Fox-Hall/B005YPAA4W

For codes to obtain free copies of Audiobooks for review, check out my titles on www.audiofreebies.com . You can submit a request for a code or codes right through the website! I appreciate all good reviews, if you like what you hear! J

 Links:



Click here for Tara's Blog

Click here for Tara's Facebook Page

Click here to follow Tara on Twitter



Sunday, March 1, 2020

Authors, Dip Your Toes in the #Audiobook Ocean! By Guest Blogger Tara Fox Hall (@TerrorFoxHall)


If you’re an author who has delayed making your novel, novella, or anthology into an audiobook because you were feeling daunted, you’re not alone. Most of my author friends tell me that they have not tried converting any of their works to audiobooks, citing either expense or unfamiliarity with the process. My reply to that is that self-publishing via Amazon to make a kindle or print book is a more complex process, in my opinion. As for expense, an author can spend hundreds of dollars per finished hour of a book, spend nothing, or any amount in between. Sound doable after all? Good, let’s get started!

1.    First, go to www.acx.com. This is the website where you will create your audiobook, so you must register yourself. After you are registered, look under the Projects tab and assert the title you want to make into an audiobook. Follow the prompts, including noting what you are looking for in a narrator (male/female, specific or no accent, tone, etc.), information on your book and who the main character is, and an excerpt of your book which will be the narrators audition script. Note that you want to choose a section of text that represents the majority of your book, which is different than the kind of “exciting” excerpt you might choose for a promotion. When these sections are all full, review everything, then click approve to make your proposal available to accept auditions.

2.   
While you are waiting for someone to send you an audition, peruse a sampling of the narrators that are currently available. You will find some willing to take on projects for a royalty share, and others that want to be paid in advance. Listen to several; there is a WIDE selection of narrators out there. You may think you want a specific set of traits only to listen to someone completely different and realize they are the perfect narrator for your work. Note any who you might like to work with, in case your proposal does not net you any auditions. You may need to send direct offers to narrators in that event. ACX will spell out how to do this.

3.    Listening to auditions/audio samples from a narrator is next! You will get a message via email saying that you have one of the previous audio files on ACX. Log in and listen to it. This step is crucial! Think about the narrator’s voice as they speak; are they saying each word clearly? If you were listening to them speak without knowing the story, could you follow it? Are they mispronouncing words or names? Are there any noises in the background? An audiobook is rated on not just the story being told, but also on the speaker telling the tale. It doesn’t matter how great a story is, if the person telling it is hard to understand with a heavy accent or slurred speech, odd pauses or background noises, or mispronounces words, listeners will almost always mention it in their reviews in an unfavorable way.
                                     
To be continued...


For codes to obtain free copies of Audiobooks for review, check out my titles on www.audiofreebies.com
Tara Fox Hall


Links:



Click here for Tara's Blog

Click here for Tara's Facebook Page

Click here to follow Tara on Twitter




Monday, February 24, 2020

Free Audiobooks! From Guest Blogger Tara Fox Hall (@TerrorFoxHall)



(Image by TPHeinz from Pixabay)
Yes, that’s right, FREE audiobooks!

I have been promoting my audiobooks on www.audiofreebies.com and www.audiobooksunleashed.com. Simply go to either of the websites and request the audiobook you would like to receive a code for, and a code will be generated for you.

(Image by stokpic from Pixabay)
You can request either a UK/global code or a US/United States code, and there are separate sites at Audible where you can redeem both kinds of codes. 

I have more global codes than US codes right now, so listeners in different countries please don’t be afraid to ask for several audiobooks! I can send you multiple UK/global codes, as long as you are interested in multiple books.

I’m hoping, of course, for good reviews as the final result, so please do leave a review on Amazon or Audible if you like the book. This can be as simple as a multi-star rating, if you don’t want to take the time to leave a review.

A listing of all my current audiobooks on Audible is here: https://www.audible.com/author/Tara-Fox-Hall/B005YPAA4W 
(or click on the Audible image).
Genres include paranormal romance, paranormal erotica, transgender erotica, gothic romance, non-fiction animal rescue stories, thriller/suspense/horror short story anthologies and vampire romance. Included are three short novellas from the Promise Me Series.

Thanks again!
Tara :)



Click here for Tara'sBlog

Click here forTara's Facebook Page


Click here to follow Tara on Twitter

Friday, February 7, 2020

A Valentine Special – With Love (from me to you)



I had hoped to spread the love and reduce the prices of several of my romances during Valentine's week, but found that Amazon has changed its rules slightly, making that wish difficult for me.  I therefore decided to re-release my box set of three contemporary romances for a very limited time.  This offers a great saving of almost $5 in total on the individual book prices.


With Love contains three full-length stories:






 Romance with Suspense











Contemporary Romance








All three books are available individually from Amazon - just click on the book title above the picture.  Or you can buy the box set at a huge saving by clicking:
Please note, this collection will only be available until the end of February.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Review of a #mustread Thanksgiving story from @MaryPThornburg

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Of course, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, but we know all about it from our friends across The Pond, and I'm sure many people here wish we shared this great tradition.  Perhaps the next best thing to experiencing it ourselves is reading about it, and I recently read a short story that immediately put me in the midst of celebrations with a wonderfully bizarre family.  

The story has the highly unusual title Uncle Spotted Turtle Entertains the Pilgrims and is written by Mary Patterson Thornburg, an author who has quickly risen to the top of my all-time favourite authors list.  Here is my review:

I’m totally hooked on this author, so when I saw a title I hadn’t come across before, I accepted Amazon’s invitation to “Look Inside” - and I didn’t have to read more than a dozen words before downloading it.  I read it immediately.

I love the way Thornburg wholeheartedly embraces her characters and settings, making them come alive, sounding, as they, do completely natural and utterly believable.  I’ve never even been to America, but I was there, with Jeremy, in the first and second grade, colouring in pictures of turkeys and singing about ‘wide and drifted snow’, and I was there at the family Thanksgiving feast, hating obnoxious Cousin Kevin, and loving Uncle Spotted Turtle so much, I wanted him to be part of my own family.  This excellent short story (far, far too short for my liking) painted an enormous picture in my mind of a time, place and people that could not have been made more real or more wonderful in any possible way.

I’ve raved about Mary Patterson Thornburg for long enough.  It’s about time the world sat up and took notice of her superb writing.  Start with this delightful short Thanksgiving story – very appropriate for this time of year, but well worth reading all year round - and I promise you, like me, you will be totally captivated by this supremely talented author.

From me, this highly entertaining short story could not possible earn less than 5 well-deserved stars.

The story Uncle Spotted Turtle Entertains the Pilgrims is available from Amazon (price 99c/£0.99), using these links:

and I highly recommend it wherever you are in the world this Thanksgiving - and to all our American friends                                







Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Authors, are Amazon's bots eating your words?

If you've written a book and listed it for free on Amazon, you're probably seeing vastly higher rates of download than you ever see reflected back in reviews.  You may have attributed this to laziness, or perhaps some form of digital hoarding (which for sure does exist as well).  In actuality however, something a little darker may well be taking place.

As a result of Kindle Unlimited, authors can be paid for people reading their books.  Like all well-intentioned systems, it took very little time for people to figure out how to game the system.  Someone looking to do so starts by creating a fake book.  It could be plagiarised, a convincing copy, or entirely randomly generated garbage.  They then list the book, for a price, as Amazon does very little (i.e. basically nothing) to verify that this is a legitimate book.  They do nothing to promote the book, so it will not sell.  Instead, they list it in Kindle Unlimited.  They can then either use a bot, or a number of minimally compensated people, to 'read' the book on Kindle Unlimited.  As a result, the "author" gets paid, and can even use this to launder money from stolen bank accounts or cards.  So far you're probably wondering how this involves you.  You may also be surprised that these bots (or so called clickfarms, in the case of humans) exist at all.

As it happens, and as unbelievable as it sounds, bots account for almost 40% of all traffic on the internet.  Some bots are benign too - but around half are malicious.  This means 20% of all internet activity is actually from someone's bot somewhere, trying to cause harm.  As such, while most people may have no idea that bots exist, they are a big focus for large companies such as Amazon.  As a result, Amazon soon figured out what was going on, and shut down these dishonest "authors" because they could identify what activity came from a bot and what was legitimate.  The bots would be single-minded in helping their one "author", and so it was fairly obvious they weren't legitimate.  So, the bots had to evolve.

To do this, bots would now also download free books, and read those as well as reading the fake one.  Now your legitimate free book becomes an accessory for these bots, and you get nothing back - nobody's bothered to teach literary criticism to the bots yet.  Worse still, you run the risk of Amazon thinking you're involved in this shady practice as well, and having them shut you down or pull your content.  If they do, you'll be in for a lengthy and possibly futile argument with them.

I hope this has helped demystify the big difference in ratio between downloads and engagement of your content.  Feel free to leave a comment on your experiences, or ask any questions you may have.

(This post was written by guest blogger Alexander Sofras, a professional in the field of software development with many years of industry experience).