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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Expo Tips

I know a great many of you like to attend Expos and book fairs, not just to enjoy the event itself, but also to promote your own work. It's something I'd certainly love to get the opportunity to do if they had that kind of thing, way over here in Greece, it is...all I can do is stare across the ocean in envy, stick my bottom lip out, and sulk.

Anyway, for those of you who are able to enjoy the luxury of an Expo or two, I came across an excellent little article on the Writers Network, that you might find useful. It was written by a guy called, Ron Knight, who made some excellent suggestions as to what we could all do to make our work stand out that little bit more, and especially if you actually get to attend these events.
Here it is...see what you think.
I just attended a book fair in Venice, Florida that had 56 authors selling their books. Here are some things I noticed:
1~ About 20% of the authors were sitting. The problem with that is it makes the author look like they aren’t passionate about sharing their story. Of those 20%, only half stood up when I spoke to them. This is a big mistake if you want to sell books.
TIP: It can be exhausting, but you must stand and greet each potential reader. You only have a few seconds to make an impression.
2~ Only 2 authors stood in front of their table, rather than behind the table. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that I spent a few extra minutes listening to those 2 authors pitch their books.
TIP: Standing to the front/left or front/right of the table shows confidence in what you’re doing and you will engage in more conversations.
3~ Only 50% of the authors had either a bookmark, or business card with their contact information. Of those, 20% had cheap looking bookmarks or business cards that they obviously copied off their printer and cut out.
TIP: Most people will collect bookmarks and decide later on which books to purchase. This is essential for every author to have. Of those that had bookmarks or business cards, only 20% provided an email address. For some reason authors aren’t including their email addresses, but I’m not sure why.
TIP: You never know who will be stopping at your table. It’s important to have all of your contact information provided on a professional bookmark, or business card, which includes all of your links AND your email address.
4~ Only 2 authors provided an extra activity to do at their table.
TIP: If you provide some sort of simple game where you can win a free prize, this will build a crowd around your table and keep people near you longer.
5~ Only 1 author gave away a free pencil. (On that pencil was their book title and website.)
TIP: If you give away a pencil, or some sort of small prize, it will be a promotion that lasts even longer than a bookmark.
6~ Only 10% of authors pitched me on their books in less than 25 words.
TIP: The most difficult thing for authors to do is pitch their novel in one sentence, but it’s critical to have that pitch ready. Perhaps you can pitch your book the same as the film industry pitches a new movie. “My book is like Die Hard on a bus!” Or, “My book is Blade Runner meets Field of Dreams.”
7~ ZERO authors gave away an excerpt of their book.
TIP: Even if you sat down behind your table, didn’t give away bookmarks or business cards, didn’t provide an extra activity or handout free items, or didn’t pitch your book, there is one slam dunk way to get anyone excited about your story…give them an example.
Professional Excerpt Tips:
8~ On the top left corner provide a black and white photo of your book cover, or some sort of image that relates to your book.
9~ Provide the first chapter of your book, or whatever fits on a 9×11 sheet. On the back, (Or if you have room on the bottom front page) provide your links and email address.
Your story is amazing, so people will purchase your book before leaving the event, or purchase your book using one of your links. There’s no better pitch than your writing.
Bonus: Spend a little extra money and printout another sheet that provides 10 tips that benefit your target readers. Staple that tip-sheet to your excerpt.
For example, if you write teen books, provide 10 tips on how to survive high school. If you write inspirational books, provide 10 tips on starting off the day with a positive attitude.
10~ Zero authors sold something other than their book.
TIP: The book fair was outside in Venice, Florida. If an author sold waters for a dollar, they would have made a killing. Also, authors should sell wristbands for a buck that have the title of their book, or a catchy phrase based on their story.
Your book is the gateway to all kinds of success, but it starts with YOU…
Ron Knight
I don't know about you, but I found some of Ron's advice intriguing. I've done small publicity events here in Greece...and I don't know if it was the informality of the affair that helped...but thankfully, I naturally did some of what he suggested. I stood round on the other side of the desk. I socialized. Had a little competition, had cards and flyers made, etc.
But other aspects?
Having a one sentence blurb prepared? Fantastic!
Having excerpts of your book - or even a print out of your 1st chapter? Canny idea!
Other little gimmicks with the title or the emblem of your book?
Look at this.
My regular readers will know what these two symbols represent. Imagine if I had then transposed - as he suggested - onto wristbands, magnets, pens etc. Simple and effective.
I think I'm going to start doing this...and tell you how it goes. :)
That's all for now. I hope YOU found something within this item that might prove useful.
Until the next time, have a great day...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poetry Acceptance

Hello again,
I'm proud to announce the latest release from Shoe Music Press,
Penny Ante Feud 14 - The Fires of the Earth / The Dying Word.
Penny Ante Feud is a quality press who only accept one - just one - submission from each of the applicants who strive to encapsulate their thoughts and emotions in a way that describes this most desperate and perfect act.
I am delighted to say, my submission, Virtual Reality, will be part of this thought provoking collection.
If you've never read poetry before...try this.
You won't look back :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kiss of the Succubus - Prize Giveaway Winners.

Well, my Buy the Book Tour is over, and so is the period for entering the grand giveaway for the great prize pack below.
In all, there were just under a thousand entries. A couple of hundred on Rafflecopter, and, the rest by way of messages to my FB page.
(That's why I've been a little slow in announcing the winners - it took a long time to separate the entrants from all the other messages).
Thank you so much to all those who were kind enough to enter and make this event so special.
My wife, Annette, acted as the adjudicator, and I'm pleased to announce that the
1st place winner of all of the items shown above
 (Which include signed copies of Rage of Augustus AND Kiss of the Succubus)
Lori Franklin Hopkins
Congratulations Lori, a message is on its way today to arrange your prize pack.
and recipients of an eBook version of either Rage of Augustus, or Kiss of the Succubus,
(Your Choice)
Joseph Hawkshaw
Alice Robertson Clary
Very well done to Joseph and Alice. Likewise, a message is on its way to you to make arrangements to collect your eBooks.
To those of you who missed out this time, don't worry.
Another giveaway will be running later in the year in conjunction with the release of
Fallen Angels - Book 3 of the Guardian Series
For lovers of the Cambion Journals...don't worry, the third instalment of this dark tale,
Embrace of the Incubus
isn't too far away.
Thank you to everyone - again - who made this event so special.
Have a great day - Andy

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Thank You

Well, we've reached the end of my week with Buy the Book Tours, and what a week it's been.
Do you remember some of the stops?
 Here's a review of the sites who kindly promoted Kiss of the Succubus:
"Thank you" to everyone who helped the week go so well. Your support was much appreciated.

And of course, A special "Thank You" goes to Buy the Book Tours, for arranging such a fine schedule.
Remember, the Grand Prize Giveaway runs until Monday morning (23rd), so seize the opportunity to grab a last minute chance to be a Winner.
1st Prize is a signed copy of Kiss of the Succubus, along with all the goodies shown in the picture above.
There will also be two runners-up prizes of an ebook version of either Rage of Augustus (Book 1 of the Cambion Journals) or Kiss of the Succubus (Book 2)

You can enter by sending me a personal FB message, or, by clicking on the Rafflecopter option below.
Don't miss out now.
Have a great day everyone,

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kiss of the Succubus Bookmark Tour

Final Day
Well, the final day of my journey with Buy the Book Tours has arrived.
I hope you've enjoyed what we've done during the week, and found the posts both informative and stimulating.
Today, we're stopping by at:
Christine's Words
where we'll not only be enjoying a spotlight session, but also looking into the value of a good routine. Something that was brought home to me again only recently.
Details of the Grand Prize Draw are also contained on the links, and as you can see, there's only a few days left to enter.
Along with a signed copy of Kiss of the Succubus, one lucky winner will get all this!
Wouldn't it be great if that lucky winner was YOU?
Have a most excellent day.

Andy :) 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bookmark Tour - Friday

Kiss of the Succubus
Hello again everyone.
Well, Friday is upon us, and my Bookmark Tour through
Buy the Book Tours shows no sign of slowing down.
To all those who have supported the tour so far...Thank you so much. Your efforts have been much appreciated. And to all you readers who have stopped by to join in...Thank you too!
As you know, yesterday I had a couple of spotlights with 3 Partners In Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy too! Along with Paranormal Dimensions.
Today, on my penultimate day, I'm with:
I look forward to seeing you there :)

And don't forget...
YOU could be a winner of the grand prize giveaway.
Details in the link above.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kiss of the Succubus - Bookmark Tour

Hi there everyone and welcome to day 5 of my Bookmark tour with
Buy the Book Tours.
Yesterday, I had a fantastic time with Authors Café & Paranormal Realms, where we had a review of Kiss of the Succubus itself, and discussed the importance of adding the spice of reality to the paranormal tales we write.
Today, we'll be stopping by for a spotlight with:
I look forward to seeing you there, and hope you'll take advantage of the great giveaway prize pack that goes with the tour.
(And yes - it also contains a copy of Kiss of the Succubus)
You can't win unless you enter.
Details are included on the blogs.

Take care now :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bookmark Tour - Wednesday

Hi everyone.
Thanks for stopping by again. As you know, yesterday, I had a stopover with Romance Me.
Today, there are two more blogs for your enjoyment:
where we'll have a combination of spotlight section plus a review of Kiss of the Succubus, from Authors Café, together with a guest post over at Paranormal Realms, addressing the very real need to make the paranormal worlds we create more "realistic".
Although you can see the review of Kiss of the Succubus by following the above link, I hope you don't mind, I thought I'd post it here.

What a ride - Action, Adventure, Betrayal and Romance - Andrew Weston does it again in Kiss of the Succubus {Book #2 of his Cambion Journals series}! 

This book is an excellent example of world-building gone right. Mr. Weston seamlessly weaves reality with fantasy to produce the kind of "can't put this book down," fast-paced, original story. If you do have to reluctantly step away from it, the storyline stays in your head, circling through your mind, making you feel as if you've left the characters' lives suspended in time until you can pick the book up again. And his characters are vivid and realistic - They pull you into the book right from the first page. 

I do not post spoilers in my reviews, but prefer to give my impressions of the book as an avid and widely-read reader. Needless to say, I enjoyed this book immensely and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read original fantasy.

I'm giving Kiss of the Succubus a 5 Cup Review!

**I purchased Kiss of the Succubus myself in order to review it.**
"Thank you" to the Café Review for such a lovely response.
Id love to see what see what you think, so please stop by, and don't forget...
There's a fantastic giveaway to take part in.
Look out for details as to how you can join, and who knows...
Perhaps YOU will be the grand prize winner?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Today's Stop

Hello again everyone, and welcome back to the Bookmark Tour for Kiss of the Succubus arranged through
Buy the Book Tours
As you know, yesterday we were with Nancy Jardine and M.J. Schiller where I took part in an interview, and revealed more about the creative process behind the Cambion Series itself.
Today, I have a spotlight with:
Stop by and take a look at the blurb.

Hopefully, you'll like what you see and want to find out more.
Until the next time...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Buy the Book Tour

Hello again everyone,
If you remember, this week sees me enjoying a Bookmark Tour to promote the release of
Kiss of the Succubus
the second novel in the Cambion Series.
Yesterday, we were with Amberkatzed Book Blog, and Melissa Keir, Romance author.
Today, you'll find me at:
(In the Spotlight)
where I'll be taking part in an interview and revealing more about the creative process to the Cambion Journals and in particular, the risk I took in adopting a rather unusual approach to POV.
(You'll see)
Details of a great giveaway prize pack are included within the blogs.
Until tomorrow....Have a great day! :)

Buy the Book Tour

Remember, this week sees me taking part in a Bookmark Tour to celebrate the release of the latest novel in the Cambion Series:
Kiss of the Succubus.
Yesterday, I paid a visit to:
where I will be revealing more about my publishing journey, and also giving you a peek behind the creative process for the character of Augustus Thorne.
(There is a fantastic giveaway prize)
Details as to how YOU could be a winner are included in the links above.
I look forward to seeing you there.
...and most importantly - enjoy...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Improving You Craft

I don't know about you, but I'm always on the lookout for articles and blogs that contain advice as to how I can refine my skills as a writer. I've been under contract from the beginning of 2012, but I still feel like an infant on shaky legs who needs the security of a baby stroller.

So what do I do as I wade through the many sites offering help? Because as you'll come to appreciate, there are a lot of them out there.
The first thing I'd say is, Don't get put off by the volume. The wealth of information they contain can be turned to your advantage.
Do what I do. Skim.
All of us are different, so the help we need - or even want - will vary from person to person.
However, there are some "Bread & Butter" points that must be heeded, especially when those tips are repeated again and again.

Here are some of the *** what I feel to be *** most often repeated slogans you'll see. Therefore, we need to take note of them.

1. Be active, not passive.
One of the most common manifestations of bad writing is overuse of the passive voice. The passive voice makes the object of an action into the subject of the sentence with verb forms like, "X had been attacked by Y." instead of simply putting, "Y attacked X."
Now, using the passive voice isn't always bad. Sometimes there's no other way you can make a clear statement. But wherever you can, follow the rule of activity.
Be honest, what do you feel more comfy reading?
"The blog had been written by Andrew while he was at home." OR, "Andrew wrote the blog while at home."

2. Use strong words.
What do I mean? Good writing is precise. Evocative and thought provoking. Finding the right verb or adjective can turn a coma inducing sentence into a one where the reader catches their breath, and remembers it for years. Look for words that are specific, and try not to repeat the same word over and over, unless you're trying to build a rhythm with it.
But be careful, especially when it comes to dialogue.
Bad writing can be filled with 'he commented." or "she responded." A well placed "he sputtered." or "she gasped." can work wonders, but most of the time, a simple he/she "said" will do. Sometimes, this might feel awkward, but changing things up unnecessarily can make it harder for your reader to get into the back & forth flow of a conversation or exchange.
Remember, when writing dialogue, you want your reader to hear the characters voices, not your own.

3. Cut the chaff.
(Something I had to work hard on when I started out.)
Good writing is simple, clear, and direct. You don't get points for saying in 50 words, what you could have said in 30. Good writing is about using the right words, not filling up the page. It might feel satisfying to pack a whole load of ideas into a single sentence, but the chances are it'll just make it harder to read.
I can relate to this, especially with my Guardian Series that contains many references to technical and scientific jargon. Originally, I tried to convey too much information in the hope it would make things clearer. It didn't. My attempts just brought things to a grinding halt. Thankfully, I have a great editor who isn't afraid to wield the literary knife. With her help I learned - and am still learning - if the phrase doesn't add anything valuable...cut it!

Personal note: For all you newly contracted writers out there...take heed.
WORK WITH YOUR EDITOR. They know what they're doing, so trust them. In my case, I've improved a great deal in regards to this personal area of weakness. But it's something I still have to watch carefully. When I've finished my 1st draft, I can still cut up to 3,000 to 4,000 words from a 100K manuscript. Pretty good, eh? I think so too, until my editor (Demon Barber) gets her hands on it, and trims off a further 'X' amount. (Bah humbug!)

4. Show don't tell.
Instead of just sitting your readers down for a long exposition regarding a character's background or a plot point's significance, try to let the reader discover the same ideas through words, feelings and actions. Now, I understand there are times when things will be a little dry. Imitating a press release, for example, captures the mood of what you see in newspapers. But, when it comes to your actual dialogue, applying the advice of this masterly piece of advice is a crucial factor in improving your craft.

5. Break the Rules.
Isn't this a contradiction? No. The best writers don't just follow the rules, they know when and how to break them. If you know being naughty will improve your piece, grow a spine and don't be afraid. Do some research, apply what you learn, and take the plunge. Just ensure your standards are clear elsewhere, so that readers understand what you've done, and appreciate it.

Personal note: I was brave enough to actually do this with the Cambion Journals series. Stay tuned to my blogs next week where I explain the process I adopted to create this series...especially in relation to POV application. It was a huge gamble, but, my homework paid off.
(Look out for the "Buy the Book Tour" starting June 16th where the process is made clear,).

6. Edit...edit...edit.
Don't believe your eyes. EDIT. Even when you've gone over your draft umpteen times. EDIT. Check your manuscript. Check it again. Then do it some more. Editing is one of the most essential parts of writing. Don't rush it. Don't cram it. Don't leave it to someone else. Keep doing it over and over until your brain hurts.
You'll be glad you did.
TIP: Some friends of mine use a Google reader to verbalize their manuscripts. Me? I drive my wife crazy by reading out loud the actual words I've written. (She goes nuts when I use silly accents. I don't do it to wind her up, I use them as a concentration aid.) And that's important. Read what's there...NOT what your brain automatically wants to fill in. I've caught so many mind/finger slips this way, that I've made it part of my process. (Despite the danger to my life)

Anyway. That's it. Nothing fancy, and certainly nothing that's new. This is sage advice. Bread and butter pointers that every writer needs to apply to ensure their craft does what it needs to do...
I hope you find something here you like.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Stuck for ideas?

No matter how much you love writing, there will always be days when you need inspiration. In fact, I would argue that inspiration isn’t just a desirable thing; it’s an integral part of the writing process.

Every writer needs to find inspiration in order to produce fresh ideas. And sometimes, they can come from the unlikeliest sources.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite ways of finding inspiration — some of them obvious, some of them less so. If you haven’t used a few of these sources, give them a go.

  1. Blogs. This is one of my favorites, of course. There are dozens of great blogs on writing and every topic under the sun. I like to read about what works for others. Now and again, I discover something totally new, and it inspires me to action!
  2. Books. I’ve confessed this aspect before. I read authors I love, and then poach good ideas from them. I analyze their writing. Their way of thinking. How they develop things. Then I’ll apply it in my own way to help keep the ideas flowing. Sometimes, I’ll try a genre I don’t normally enjoy, just to branch out into something different. You might find something that works for you.
  3. Magazines. Good magazines aren’t always filled with great writing, but you can usually find one good piece of either fiction or non-fiction. Entertaining for its writing style, its voice, its rhythm and ability to pull you along to the end.  
  4. Movies. Sometimes, while watching a movie, a character will say something so interesting that I’ll say, “That would make a great blog post!” or “I have to write that in my writing journal!” Sometimes screenwriters can write beautiful dialog. Other times I get inspired by the incredible camera work, or the way a face or the landscape captured on film. I even get ideas from blending movie themes together.
  5. Music. Along the same lines, it can be inspiring to listen to great music. I can’t listen to music while I write, but I do have it playing in the background while I research. Allow the tone and mood of what you’re listening to, to lift you up and move you.
  6. Quotes. I don’t know why, but when I see a great quote, they sometimes help inspire me. I like to go to various quote sites to find ideas to spark my imagination. Try it, you’ll be surprised.
  7. Dreams. I have a real knack for this. I’m also fortunate, in that I can remember and take control of many of my dreams. However, I only do that from time to time, as its usually best just to let my unconscious creativity manifest. So, I make it a practice to keep a dream journal by my bedside to write down what I remember. Not because I think it’ll tell me something about myself or my future or past, but because dreams don’t have boundaries. They completely disregard for the rules of reality, and have an otherworldy sense I want to capture, especially in my fantasy and paranormal works.
  8. Writing journal. I highly recommend this for any writer. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or something you write in every day. Just a plain notebook will do. Write down thoughts and quotes. Snippets and ideas. Phrases or dialog and plot ideas for new characters.
  9. Poetry. How can poetry inspire prose? Through its beauty and flow and style and use of rhythm and play on words. Through its use of language and music. Some of my best short stories started as poems.
  10. People watching. This is an interesting activity for any writer. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. They’ll amuse you, inspire you, disappoint and fascinate you. There’s nothing more inspiring than humanity.

So there you go. Just 10 little ideas I’ve found inspiring. Hopefully, you’ll find something there to motivate you whenever you’re stuck for an idea and have a blank page to fill.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Enter to Win

Don't forget.
There are only fourteen days left to enter this amazing giveaway.
All the items you see in the above picture are up for grabs to one lucky winner, along with a signed copy of the latest book in the Cambion Journals series
Kiss of the Succubus
To enter - send me a personal message of facebook
Enter the Rafflecopter below.
Happy reading :)