Erin Ritch

Author, Mom, Founder of No Wyverns Publishing

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Tag: independent publishing (page 2 of 2)

Things I Love….Canva.com

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Social media is a big part of being a writer now-a-days – especially if you’re an indie publisher.

By incorporating images or graphics into your posts, it creates a “visual stop” for readers casually scrolling through Facebook or Twitter feeds. And every time someone stops to read your post, it could lead to a visit to your website, where you have a chance to introduce them to your writing.

I typically utilize my own photos or images that I find online which are allowed under Creative Commons. I always have some sort of image connected to each blog post, at this point it just feels weird not to. But due to my extreme lack of knowledge in design, I haven’t been able to include any graphics with my posts…until now.

A fellow writer introduced me to a design website called Canva. It. Is. Awesome. Right from the beginning, the site starts you off with a basic template in the correct dimensions for your desired social media account – ie, certain dimensions are better for Twitter vs. Facebook posts, etc. (Ever seen those images on Twitter that are cut off weird? Oh yeah, a few of them have been from me.)

Canva is very user friendly – they have free templates you can build off or some paid templates available for one dollar. Additionally, there is a plethora of free images, icons, lines, and most of all…text designs. I spent hours experimenting with different text designs while creating several graphics for my currently running Kindle Countdown deal on “Memories Wait Alone.” And I didn’t have to spend that long…I was just having a blast doing it. Here’s what I came up with:

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Keep in mind the only media I supplied was the image of the book cover of “Memories Wait Alone.”

All other images, text blocks, bursts, and the grid of an E-reader were provided free by Canva. I scheduled these graphics to post three times a day on Twitter during this promotion and have had great success with “retweets” and new followers on my account.

I decided to also update my cover pages on both my Twitter account (graphic above) and my Facebook “Author’s Page” – took me less than 20 minutes each as I worked completely off one of the free templates built specifically for cover pages. Finished graphics can be downloaded as a JPEG or immediately posted to social media. Easy. Easy. Easy. I love it.

I will definitely continue to use Canva, I really recommend it for any artists out there trying to create eye-catching graphics for their social media. And did I mention, free? Have fun!

 

“Myth” Cover Art Concepts

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Recently I’ve been gathering together images that capture the style I’d like for the cover artwork for Myth. Here’s a few examples above! (Have I mentioned it’s a Fantasy novel?)

The Quinn Family Adventures: The Mayan Ruins – now in print!

Cover design by the Talented Mr. Nicholas Ritch

Cover design by the Talented Mr. Nicholas Ritch

 

It has been a long road of lengthy edits (I believe I was on proof 4 when I was finally able to approve it) but The Quinn Family Adventures: The Mayan Ruins is now available in print! This book has been available as an E-book for a few months but the print version proved a bit of a challenge. We had some formatting hiccups which led to very small errors in the copy, such as random extra spaces inserting between text and quotation marks. This was so unbelievably obnoxious to me, its very possible that no one would have ever seen it for all of time, but I would forever know they were there.

What some people see: “Hello, my name is Erin Ritch. “

What I see: “Hello, my name is Erin Ritch.                    “

I’m excited to have another completed book ready to go! Onto the next!

 

March in like a Lion – Self vs Independent

Behold - the Middle of Nowhere, CA.

Behold…the Middle of Nowhere, CA.

 

Wow – it’s March!

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been gone for a bit. While I was out of town in California with my family, I had some time to ponder a few things. Well, more than a few things, but specifically my views on “self” publishing.

(*SNORE* right? Well, yes, these are the things us writer-over-analyzer-types think about!)

I’ve been training myself to drop the word “self” and call myself an independent publisher. I write it, I design it (or, for my next book, hire a designer), I publish it, I promote it, I sell it. And in the future, I may coach other authors how to do the same. I realized it was my own insecurities that have driven me to jump and introduce myself as a “self” published author. As though my books needed explaining or didn’t carry the same amount of weight as if they had been published the traditional route. I thought that publishing my book by myself (a story that was rejected time and time again by agents and publishers) was some sort of cop out. You have to think these thoughts before you can get over them.

The thing is, what is known as the “traditional route” of publishing is changing course. It’s evolved so much in even just the last five years. Writers no longer have to invest ten grand for a print run of their books or wait months for a response from an editor or agent. Because instead of waiting on that response, we have the freedom to get our work out there and elicit one. And move onto the next project and the next and the next, being the creatives we should be. I am discovering a new confidence in my writing and new avenues for my stories everyday – which I truly believe stems from the creative freedom I get to keep because I am independent.

 

Memories Wait Alone in bookstores!

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(Can you spot the “Memories Wait Alone” poster?)

 

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Ta da!

 

I’m very excited that print copies of Memories Wait Alone are making their way into bookstores now. The last remaining parts of my promotional materials for the book arrived last week. I hope the poster will attract interest and I consider the bookmarks a great advertising tool. This is a picture of the storefront from the wonderful Thurston Book Exchange in Springfield, Oregon. The owner has been a pleasure to work with – it has been a great experience to partner with gracious professionals in this industry. More to come!

“Memories Wait Alone” promotional materials

I’ve been working hard this week on coming up with a promotional design I can use for my Historical Fiction book Memories Wait Alone. I’ve put this as a top priority as I know I need to allow time for printing/shipping and I’m a standstill until I receive these.

My plan was to use a version of the cover design so a potential customer could locate the book itself (if the promotional materials have done their job and piqued their interest…). After much discussion and several revisions, here’s a look at the final poster design. Instead of a tagline, I went for descriptive words of the main character himself, Cecil Sherbowe. Each word represents an important part of his character. The black and white photo and the word “Aristocrat” sets the time period of the novel. I wanted to put some sort of link to my social media or how to contact me, so my website address is located at the bottom left.
MWA final poster

 

I think bookmarks are a great advertising tool (who doesn’t want to grab a free bookmark!?) but finding a cost effective printer took some research. We finally found a great deal on Overnightprints.com that allowed the order to make sense. I invested in 500 bookmarks but I believe it will be worth it. Here are the front/back designs for the bookmark.

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bookmark side 1 for blog

 

I think its fantastic that these tools are in our hands and – if you do your research – pretty darn affordable. More power to the author!

New year, new purse and new writing goals

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New year = new purse.

First off…Happy New Year!!

Secondly, I have to admit I tend to buy a lot of purses – it’s my thing. Especially if it’s to commemorate some sort of event, like a birthday or Christmas or the start of a new year. (Yes, I have considered this is just an excuse.) Photo evidence above of my new year’s purse. Isn’t it grand? *huge grin*

2016 is already special to me, as I have made some changes in my life that will make more time available for my family and writing. I’ve already taken full advantage of it and learned of some great new tools for getting my work out there. I thought I would outline some of them here for other independently published authors.

  • Bottom line = other authors are awesome. We are not competition, we are one big supportive family and we are everywhere. There is so much information online available, sit down, dive in, but pace yourself. Sign up for the newsletter from your local writer’s organization. Check for groups on Facebook and join in on the conversation. I’ve already connected with several authors in my area and learned of a book fair this summer.
  • If your book is available on Amazon, make sure you fill out the author profile to its full extent. Same goes for Goodreads. They will allow you to link to your Twitter (which hopefully you have set up) and your own personal blog (which hopefully you also have setup). All great ways to keep your social media connected!
  • One of my goals for 2016 is to build up my reader reviews on my Amazon listings. One way to do this is to pitch your book to a book reviewer who will review your book in exchange for a copy of your book. I am learning there is a huge community of book reviewers out there and I find that awesome! Works for everyone! Book Blogger Directory has numerous listings of book reviewers and by going to their respective site, you can learn of their interests and requirements. Worried about potential negative reviews? Several sites I found advised they would not post any review that was below 3 out of 5 stars, as they only wanted positive reviews on their site. Again…works for everyone!
  • Go grassroots. Independently owned bookstores will usually have a “local author section.” Approach the owner professionally and inquire if they carry books on consignment. Typically the split will be 60/40, so make sure you set a retail that will bring you some profit. It may not be as much profit as you would make with an online sale, but it’s still getting your work and name out there! One owner offered to let me bring in promotional material such as a poster, bookmarks, business cards, etc. Yet again…works for everyone!
  • I love short fiction, especially flash fiction. The more content I can pump out, the more my name is out there. Try to find a balance between submitting great content to potential publishers and keeping great content on your own personal blog/website. My first published short fiction “Harmsway” came out on 365tomorrows in November. They also blasted it on their Facebook page and Twitter account. All that means more exposure to new readers!

This is just a start. I have had this blog for a year now and I have to admit it was one of the best things I have done for my platform. I was worried it would draw time away from my “real” writing but instead I found it drove me on even more. Small ideas were no longer a waste – put it on the blog!

Look for more content and updates from me in the future. It’s full speed ahead from here on out and I couldn’t be more ready.

Cheers!