Tag Archives: Kady Cross

Indie Marketing – The Book Trailer

Hi!  J here, talking about my new favorite topic, Book Marketing.  Who knew back in 2003 when I started thinking about The Cordovan Vault that I’d need to become a marketing expert.  If I’d known, maybe I could have studied, or something.

Anyway, I’ve been doing some research into Book Trailers, that “new” must-have for all serious book launches.  By research, I mean trolling around on YouTube, laughing at the bad ones (and there are a LOT of bad ones) and ooohing and ahhhing over the good ones.  Here are a couple of examples of good ones:

Stephen King’s new book: Under The Dome

Kady Cross’s new book: Girl in the Steel Corset

J Monkeys’ new book: The Cordovan Vault

Rick Riordan’s new book: The Throne of Fire

See how I snuck mine in there?  What did you think?  I think it’s good, certainly better than a lot of others I saw out there.  There’s a terrible trailer out there for a book by a GREAT author.  And I loved the book, it was a REALLY good book, but the trailer is awful!

But, truth be told, my trailer doesn’t quite live up to my expectations.  😦  This is one of the things with being Indie Published.  Everything rests on my shoulders.  I am both Chef and Bus Boy in my little enterprise.   That can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  When it comes to choosing the title of the book and cover art, I think it’s a good thing since, for me, the title of these books is important to the story.

Dixie & Taco with Grandmother

When it comes to the artwork for my Dixie and Taco series, I couldn’t have found a better artist, and he’s doing an incredible job for a bargain price.  Isn’t that a great picture?!  Hand drawn and colored.  You should see the art in Dixie and Taco go to the Zoo (launches August 9th!  Stay Tuned.)  One page is so wonderful, I made a poster out of it for my kids’ bedroom.  And giveaways…more on that topic at a later date.


But, being Indie Published also means that everything I can’t do myself comes out of my shallow, stay-at-home-mom-who-works-harder-than-ever-before-in-her-life-for-no-paycheck pockets.   Everything, from buying print copies of the books to have for sale, to buying promotional materials, paying a cover artist, illustrator, translator (Dixie & Taco will soon be available in English/Spanish, English/Russian, English/Turkish and English/Somalian) and trailer videographer.  So far, I’ve done it all on the cheap, finding great resources online and in my community.  But sometimes, you get what you pay for.

My videographer did exactly what I asked him to do for a very reasonable price, and in fact he did it twice since I changed my mind about what I wanted after he sent me the first video.  And he did a second one at no additional fee.  Any shortcoming in the final product is certainly mine.

At any rate, today secret is: If you decide to Indie Publish, be aware that there are a lot of costs to doing so.  I’m happy with my decision to go Indie.  It was the right decision for me this year.  But it is a lot of work and if you want to make a career out of writing and publishing, you need to think about it as a business, not just a craft.


Just Write – The Approach

Hey, Vivienne here.  Last week I stole Nike’s tag line and said, “If you want to be a writer, then just do it.”  I thought I’d follow up with a little series of “Just Write” thoughts.

Today’s thought is on The Approach to writing.  I jealously listen to authors say, “the story just came to me” or “the characters just go where-ever they want and take over” or some other magical the-story-was-licked-onto-the-page-by-fluffy-kittens type of tripe.  Those kinds of things never happen for me. 

My experience in creating a story is more along the lines of what YA author Kady Cross said recently, “I vomit up the first draft.”  It’s ugly, it’s sweaty, it’s noisy and probably smells bad.  But that’s how I get through a first draft.  And I’m happy to be in such good company!

My mother once told me that she had no imagination at all (it’s not true, but she seems to think it is) and that if you put a blank page in front of her it would stay blank.  I couldn’t imagine that!  Give me a blank piece of paper and I’ll create a story, or draw a picture or fold it into an origami cup.  It won’t stay blank for long.  But notice I wrote, I’ll CREATE a story.  That’s ‘cause I’m an idea machine.  I have tons of ideas, I’ve just historically been bad at follow through.

However, like in any undertaking, it’s important to know yourself and to acknowledge the things you are good at and areas where you suck.  I have learned that without an outline, a road map of what comes next, I end up with a never-filled blank page.  I’ll be writing along happily and then I get stuck.  I don’t know what happens next; I don’t know what scene to write.  Procrastination begins. 

I might do some “research” also known as wasting time on the Internet.  True research usually has a specific purpose.  The other day I needed to describe a flapper dress, I went to Google images, looked at some vintage flapper dresses, wrote about an imaginary dress based on the images and moved on.  This research took all of fifteen minutes at most.  Procrastination “research” can take up weeks of trolling around purposelessly. 

Or I might decide to edit what I’ve got written so far – a potentially endless task.  Or worse, I might find myself on bigfishgames.com downloading free trial after free trial and playing video games.  How I love Diner Dash!

At any rate, I’ve learned that while some people get their stories from kitten spit, mine come from diligent outlining.  I harness the idea machine and write a several-pages-long outline of all the scenes that might/could/should/will happen in the story.  Then I rearrange them into a nice order and I write them.  That way, when I choke, I know what comes next.  I might even skip around and write the scenes out of order if I’m stuck on a boring bit.  I can always connect them later. 

I told you it wasn’t pretty.

Today’s Secret: Identify your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage.  No matter what “respected” authors say (don’t we all deserve some R-E-S-P-E-C-T?!) there is no wrong way to approach your craft.  Write your story however you want, but just write it.