Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Kickstarter Is Up and Running...

It has begun...

My Kickstarter is now active and ready to be visited folks.  Remember, all funds raised will be going to the editing of "The Ship" and any extra pledged monies will be going to get "The Bridge" professionally edited so I can put out a new proper 3rd edition.
I have some nice thank you gifts for those who donate, so please come check it out and/or help spread the word. I've only got 45 days to make this happen.
Naturally, I'll be making more videos and posting updates on how things are coming and possibly adding more thank you gifts as time goes by.
Thanks so much everyone...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thank You "Doctor Who"....

Today, I'm going to be setting aside progress on my writing and giving advice to praise one of my all time favorite shows that just turned 50 years old, "Doctor Who".  This show has been a part of my life since I was 3 years old at least.  How can I be so certain?  Because it was way before I entered kindergarden that I saw a creature that captured my very young imagination, a Dalek.
It is said among the Doctor Who fans you never forget your first Doctor, for me I never forgot my first villain. These oversized 'Pepper Pots' fascinated me to no end.  So every time I happened to run across them again, I was able to realize a show I'd loved had come back.  Or rather I'd found again.  Being so young I'd had no concept of time and what day of the week it would be showing again.  My first Doctor was Hartnell.  Mind you I'd also caught the Peter Cushing movies, but when I saw him in the role I thought, "I remembered the Doctor as being older with white longer hair."  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I was watching the show from the day it started.  I was still inside my mom when the show began, plus I was in America not England.  No, I'd caught some re-broadcasts that had come to America I'm guessing.  In either case, I was hooked.

However it wasn't until the early 70's that I really could keep up with things.  Once more I spotted that familiar blue police box while changing channels and out came the Doctor.  Still with white hair, but much taller and agile.  I'd discovered John Pertwee, the 3rd Doctor.
Again I was entranced and was soon introduced to the concept of regeneration and Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.  The problem with the show for me was of course it disappearing from time to time from the TV stations in New York.  I found Tom again during the Pyramids of Mars.  Then the show was gone again.
Luckily, after moving to California I found the show once more on PBS.  Tom was still doing the Doctor, but the show was being interrupted by a PBS Pledge Break.  At first I was annoyed.  I thought, "Here we go, scrounging for money for television...yadda-yadda..." But then I saw the phone banks were filled with people in costumes from the show.  It was the Sacramento Doctor Who Fan Club.  Having just moved I had no real friends and was wondering how I could meet some.  Thanks to Doctor Who, I'd just found a way.  I found out where they met and began attending meetings and quickly joined.  Not only did I make a bunch of life-long friends,  I alsoI met the woman who would become my wife Helen Henry.  Over twenty years later we're still devoted to each other and are still watching the show with all the enthusiasm we had back then.  
Soon I found myself doing costumes and working pledge breaks as one of the shows villains, "The Master".  

Sadly, I do not have any photos of myself in costume to share right here, as most of my stuff is in storage after we moved to Santa Cruz and then Marina in the last 7 years.  

In any case, the group also introduced me to conventions, which captured my imagination even further.  I made more costumes and even a replica of the Doctor's mechanical dog K-9, but with a twist.  Since I was doing the Master, I made a black and silver version which had moving ears, light up eyes, the head went up and down and it could move by itself thanks to the remote control tank I'd used for the basis of it.  It made a huge hit at the conventions and on the pledge breaks.

FYI, as soon as I can get my old VHS tapes out, I'm going to transfer all the pledge breaks I have to my computer and post them onto YouTube for all my old friends who lost their copies.

Anyway, to continue.  Doing all these fun things got my mind working in another direction as well.  Writing, I did my first Fan-Fiction piece about one the doctors showing up on the set at one of our pledge breaks and mayhem ensuing partly thanks to me being dressed up as the Master.  NOTE: The Doctor's companions make great plot tools especially if they've only heard a description of the Master, and said companion is a female warrior who's always spoiling for a fight.  Needless to say I was not the hero of the piece as much as the comedy relief.  In any case, this was my first journey into writing and I found I enjoyed it.  Over the years that followed more fan-fic's came into being and I soon joined other sci-fi fan clubs and did more 'very amateur' fan-fics for them as well.

Eventually though, my writing style matured more and I realized I had come up with so many different stories and ideas that many of them did not fit either Doctor Who or another favorite show from my childhood "Dark Shadows".  In fact, I could easily leave out established characters and create completely original ones to go along with my original storylines.  (Sorry for the repeat of the word there, but it's  the only way I can describe what happened)  

Now, several years later, I'm a published Indie Author.  My next book will be out in early 2014 as many of you are aware and eagerly awaiting.  But my origins as an author go back to Doctor Who.  That funny little man in a blue police box, and TV's first good-guy vampire Barnabas Collins in the original "Dark Shadows".  But it mostly goes to the Doctor.  So, on this day, 50 years after he first landed in an old junkyard on Foreman Lane, I want to say "Thank you, Doctor.  You made a huge difference in my life and I can't wait to see where you lead my wife and I, and all our friends, next."  


Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Kickstarting" My Book...

Okay, I know right off the bat most of you are going to be wondering, "What the hell?  I thought he had book 2 almost finished.  What's he talking about kickstarting it?"  Well, what I'm really talking about is Kickstarter.com.  For those who are not familiar with Kickstarter, here's a quick overview.  Kickstarter is a site where you can raise money for a specific art/creative project by getting people to donate to it.  Now it has to be something artsy or creative, like a comic book, cutting your own music album, an art project, or some other creative work that you need funds to help complete.  Mind you, the monies are intended to go to that project, not for you to take a vacation or go on a personal spending spree.  The object is to be able to get help to make a dream project a reality.  

In my case, I'm going to be doing Kickstarter to pay for the professional editing for "The Ship".  Originally, I was going to try and fund this myself.  Unfortunately as most of my regular readers will know this year has been a tough one in a lot of ways.  Well, earlier this week, my car died as we came off a freeway.  It turned out that the timing belt went.  But it didn't go by itself.  It damaged the water pump and the valves resulting in a bill of two grand.  There went my funds for the editing job.  So, I decided to try a Kickstarter to get the money.  

Why am I so determined to get the book edited professionally?  Simple, my first book "The Bridge" made a good splash in spite of not having professional editing done on it.  Over 1500 copies have been grabbed up and 95% of the reviews have been 4 and 5 stars.  There were however a couple of 3 star ones, by professional authors and those more familiar with the industry, who loved the story, but lamented the fact that such a good book had not been given that final polish to make it "Great".  Yes, that word was used more than once.  So I was determined that book 2 would get that extra polish and fine tuning.  

So how exactly does Kickstarter work and how does it raise money for your project?  It's pretty simple really.  First you have to have a project and a definite financial goal in mind.  You set up an account on Kickstarter and read the guidelines about what kind of projects they will allow.  Find the category yours fits in and then start working on your pitch.  Yeah, that's right, you have create pitch just as if your product was already finished and you were trying to sell it to prospective customers.  In this case, your pitching to prospective backers.  You still control the product and its design, as well as all the rights to it.  So you might be wondering, "What do the backers get out of helping you?"  That's up to you.

Here in America, we have channels on TV called PBS or Public Broadcasting Stations.  These are funded by the government and also by donations from viewers.  These stations will do what they call "Pledge Drives" where they ask the public for donations.  They will suggest different amounts of donations that also have thank you gifts for the donors depending on what amount of money they could afford.  You might get a T-shirt, a mug, a pin with the stations logo, or possibly one that is connected to a favorite show of yours they happen to play on a regular basis.  

My PBS station used to run Doctor Who.  At the time I belonged to a Doctor Who Fan Club and we'd man the phone banks during these pledge breaks, wearing costumes from the show.  I played one of the villains, while the people doing the sales pitch were dressed up as their favorite Doctor, whom I would try to harrass and usually wind up getting abused by a companion or the phone bank people.  Our pledge breaks were the most successful and used to bring in the most donations.  But it wasn't just the entertainment we offered, but the thank you gifts.  Doctor Who mugs, t-shirts, pins, books  a whole bunch of items.  Depending on the amount pledged a person might get one or several of these items altogether for really high donations.  

This is what Kickstarter is like.  Only the thank you gifts are based on your product.   You might offer your supporters free copies of your work, some signed or personalized, a t-shirt with a logo, a special handwritten thank you note along with your product.  It all depends on you and what you're creating.  

So check out Kickstarter if you're looking to fund a project and see if yours qualifies.  Just remember to really plan out your pitch and thank you gifts in advance.  Don't go off half-cocked and not have a clear plan in mind or you'll fail.  

Also, you'll have anywhere from 30-60 days to reach your goal.  Make sure the amount your aiming for is achievable in the time-frame you choose.  Because if your Kickstarter does not reach its goal, your project will not be funded at all.  Even if you got partial pledges, no money changes hands.  This is to help protect your backers.  Who wants to fund a project that may not see the light of day in the long run?  So make sure you've really planned things out.

As for my goals, I'll be aiming for about $500-$600 dollars.  I'm still making a list of my thank you gifts which so far include advance PDF and Paperback copies of the finished book, some signed and personalized, thank you notes, mention in the thank you page of the book itself, the original artwork of the cover I designed.  I'm even considering a possible guest appearance in an upcoming book.  Who knows.  

Now, I haven't finished putting my Kickstarter together so don't go wasting your time looking for it.  I'm still planning out donation levels and the thank you gifts that go with them.  Plus, I have to put together my video pitch.  Most Kickstarters have a video and those tend to be more successful at getting funded, so please keep that in mind if you're thinking of doing one for yourself.

I'll be posting the link to my Kickstarter here, as soon as it is ready to go.  

In the meantime,  check out Kickstarter at the link below.  Especially if you've had a project in mind for some time but couldn't figure out how to finance it.  Remember, look over their guidelines carefully to make sure your idea will qualify for a Kickstarter.  Also, check out some of the Kickstarter projects others have set up to get ideas of thank you gifts and how to put together your sales pitch.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Kickstarter Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/

   


Friday, November 8, 2013

Guest Blogger Keira Kroft Talks About Building Your Own Fan Base...

Okay gang, I have a special treat for you all today.  My good friend and fabulous author Keira Kroft has agreed to talk to you all about building a fan base for your writing.  

Now, a little about Keira before I unleash her on you all.  Keira carries a vet assistance degree; her love for animals is as great as her love of people. She gives a percentage of her personal book sale profits to the animal welfare league. Residing in a quiet suburb in the outskirts Chicago with her husband, she manages their comic book store fulltime, spending any spare time that she has working with her cats Scamper and Sawyer to achieve total world domination, one shared Twinkie at a time. Her passions include reading, writing, football, comic books and family. 

And now, without further ado.  Here is Keira...  remember to take notes, there may be a quiz afterwards.




Building a fan base...

If you follow a few simple steps, you can be in paradise within days. This is assuming you have written, tweaked and edited, edited and edited your work to a primo shine. But you are special and your work will be published, so don’t give away too much, a few sample chapters will suffice. However, the following advice works for someone that has only just begun, because it is never too early to acquire a fan base.

#1 Most important, get a Facebook for business, if you have one for family and friends, I suggest getting another one to meet and greet people to talk about your work. A fan page is also a nice idea.

#2 A blog, website or both is very important. Here are some helpful websites.

#3 Blogger http://www.blogger.com will sell you a domain for only 10.00 and is very versatile. I highly suggest whether you use blogger or not, to have a static website and blog.

These websites a completely free and there are more. But I have used the above free web hosts and I know they are safe and easy to snap together.

#4 A twitter account is very important. I know some people still have opinions about twitter, being a place to talk about your bowel movements and what you ate. But that is not true, it’s a very effective tool in reaching the masses.

#5 Don’t be a wallflower. Get out there, schmooze, and mingle. This never stops, enjoy the little bit of fame and fun. Most publishers do not require that you advertise for yourself. But most of them don’t mind, because every bit helps. And let’s face it most of us our are reader pimps, we want to collect as many of those as we can J

#6 Swim around, the internet is your friend. You can find many creative ways to advertise for free.

#7 Don’t be afraid, they are very few published writers that aren’t willing to give advice, so ask questions.

#8 Network with other writers, although befriending writers that write the same genre as you do is helpful, that is not a hard rule. They are multi-genre writers and there are multi-genre readers. I love a nice romance, but I also love the works of Clive Barker. 

Good luck to all of you, if you need any further help or advice, please feel free to contact me
Keirakroft66@gmail.com or I am always on Facebook

Thank you all so much for having me here today :)

Hugs, Keira Kroft,



Friday, November 1, 2013

You Have Until Midnight Tonight To Get Your Copy!

****TIME IS RUNNING OUT****

You have until midnight tonight ot get your free copy of "THE BRIDGE" through Smashwords. 

Remember: only at Smashwords can you get an e-copy for your Nook, Apple, and Sony E-readers.  Also, if you don't have an E-reader, you can also get a PDF copy for your laptop.  

Just click on the link below and type in this coupon code: TR27S to get your free copy of book #1 in the Para-Earth series.  Ghosts, psychics, a mystery that dates back to the Paleo Indians await you, along with surprise Sci-Fi twist reminiscent of the Twilight Zone. 

And don't forget to share this link with others so they can take advantage, they'll thank you.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/272613