Tag Archives: Books

Social Media Takeovers: An Unknown Phenomenon

Yesterday, Halloween 2017, I took part in the Dark Fantasy Books takeover and had a ball. ‘What’s a takeover?’ you may ask. That’s exactly the problem; most people don’t know what it is, let alone that they can participate. I’ll try and remedy this situation and hopefully help authors and readers alike. A win-win situation!

What is a Takeover?

According to the Collins English Dictionary, a takeover is the act of taking control of a country, political party, or movement by force. The takeover I’m talking about is less aggressive as it is a virtual party where various people take the reins and host the party for a limited time, usually half an hour. I have only done Facebook takeovers (two in total; I’m still a noob), but you can have them on any type of social media.

There should be guidelines to a takeover and the person organizing it usually lets all participants know what is expected. See it as a real party. First, you introduce yourself in a post. You talk a bit about where you’re from and what you do. Then you promote whatever you’re promoting in a couple of posts, including samples and links to your product. You usually end with a post on how people can contact you for more information.

Sounds like a boring sales talk? Wrong! Laced through this information are quizzes, games, funny anecdotes, unknown insights, and samples! People have to post funny GIFs, answer questions about topics of the takeover, and there are usually jokes. The crazier the questions, the crazier the answers, the more fun to be had!

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Gain for Readers

Takeovers are so lucrative for readers! I was, again, amazed that all participants in the takeover were only authors. Apart from being lots of fun with quizzes and games, there are lots of free books up for grabs. Most authors give away prequels for free and the prizes are usually their books. Next to this, you get to know the author. You get a connection with them and this makes reading their books so much more interesting.

So you get a fab time and free books. What more could you ask for?

Gain for Authors

When you do a book takeover, you usually do it with a group of authors that write in your genre. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded spirits, read samples of their work, and make new friends. It is amazing how small the world becomes in this virtual reality. Best of all, your work gets seen by more people who hopefully will share your work, spread the word about your book, and possibly write a review.

Promotion

I guess the key to a successful takeover is promotion. If you don’t promote the takeover well in advance, nobody will know about it and nobody will show up. You can use all social media available to spread the word. Do it clear and do it loud! The more attendees, the merrier 🙂

If you are a reader and you know an author, participate in a takeovers when they advertise one. Like I said, it’s a win-win situation!

Header image by Luiz Hanfilaque from Unsplash, edited by Jacky Dahlhaus

Party photo by Anthony DELANOIX from Unsplash.

Just in case you missed the invitation…

Visit Dark Fantasy Books (on Facebook) tomorrow to have some fun with us 🙂

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Twisted50 Vol.1 & Twisted’s Evil Little Sister

It’s almost Halloween and you may have been invited to a Halloween party. Not sure what to bring the host as a gift? Why not a creepy one?

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Twisted50 is a compilation of 50 contemporary horror stories.

‘A great mix of truly twisted stories to suit all horror tastes, from the psychological frighteners to the stomach-churning gore fests. Each tale brings a modern spin on horror, each author leaves their own unique imprint in your mind. It’s hard to pick a favorite as there are so many great ones to choose from.’

Mark Renshaw

Or, if you’re invited to your sister’s party, why not give Twisted’s Evil Little Sister?

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‘This second anthology from Twisted50 again showcases more wonderful writing from different writers. The range of stories – style, subject matter, and tone – is excellent; there are ‘tales of the unexpected’ moments; moments which pack an emotional punch; horror presented as something personal; there are stomach-churning moments and moments of dread. And so it goes on… In a busy world, these stories provide a quick ‘reading fix’. You’ll find, with the range of stories, there is something exhilarating, dreadful, unexpected and absorbing to tickle your horror fancy.’

M. Thomas

Both books are available here.

 

How to begin writing a novel

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the local Writers Club again. One of our new members wants to start a book but doesn’t know where to begin. When I  myself decided to write, I just started. The first scene I wrote happened in the middle of the story (which I only discovered later), but this doesn’t work for everyone (and I wouldn’t suggest it either). Fortunately, I recently read about the snowflake method and could recommend it.

The Snowflake Method of Writing

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With this method, you start with one sentence which depicts the core of your story. In the next step, you expand that one sentence into a paragraph, outlining what happens in your story. Setup, major disasters, resolution. Next, you do this for each of your characters. If you don’t have a development for your characters during your story, your readers will find your characters flat and can’t connect with them which you don’t want. It also will give you more to write about as the direction of development for each character won’t always go along the same line, pace, direction. The fourth step is to expand each sentence into a whole paragraph. Next, you will be expanding what you’ve got even further. Once you’ve got the basic storyline, make a chart of the scenes. Each scene will have to depict a development. If there is no development in a scene (good turns bad, ideas change, emotions change), delete it as it is just page filler. You now put in more and more details, until you have a full story. An article in which it is explained in more detail can be found here.

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This is how I sort of began my third book, Killing A Vampire. I know the characters in it, I know what is going to happen, and how it’s going to end (I must admit this took me a while to figure out), but I didn’t know what was going to happen in between the major plot twists. I used Scrivener’s corkboard and note cards to layout the chapters/scenes.

I actually used the word count as a basis. Both my other books are about 72K words, so I wanted my third book to be at least this size. They both have about 60 chapters, so I created 60 note cards. It also meant that each chapter/note card needed to be about 1200 words. Then I started filling in on each card what would happen in that chapter. Sometimes I write more words, sometimes I write less. The good thing about Scrivener is that you can move the cards around as you please. Overal I want to stick to the 1200 words, so readers can read the short chapters while they have a little time to read and not have to cut off their reading while something major is happening.

It’s perhaps not as creative as some ‘on the fly’ writers write, but I’ve been thinking for a long time about this story and, even though I know in advance where the story is going, the how is still created only once I sit down and write. I just don’t have to think about the why and where anymore, which I feel is like a weight off my shoulders.

If you have a different way of starting a novel, let me know. I’m all ears 🙂

PS: Talking about ears, my hearing aids are working fine again after the swimming pool disaster last Monday!

 

Everything You Expect From A Vampire Book!

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I just found out I have another review for Raising A Vampire! This time the reviewer is from closer to home (Aberdeenshire). Boris must have seen my add on a local Facebook page 🙂 . Here’s what he said:

4.0 out of 5 stars Bloodsucking, romance and betrayal

“Set a few years after the first book, Kate and Charlie’s daughter Sue is now 8 years old but looks twice that age. Sue’s true nature is revealed when she defends her mother from an attack. Soon they find themselves held prisoner in a facility especially designed for suckers. There’s bloodsucking, romance and betrayal: in short everything you would expect from a vampire book.”

Glad you enjoyed it, Boris, and thank you so much for the review!

Fingers crossed!

I just provisionally signed the rights away for two of my stories, ‘Vampires Anonymous’ and ‘Rumour has it…,’ to #Create50! They will have the rights to publish for two years should they pick my story/stories from the one hundred and eighty-two shortlisted entries as one of the fifty winners for inclusion in their anthology, Twisted50 Vol.2. They have so many stories to chose from, they may even include them in a Vol.3. So fingers crossed!

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Writer’s Corner update 26/10/16

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet lately. It was partly because of my shoulder playing up, partly because I was working hard to get a decent copy of my first novel on Amazon. The work is done now and it’s available for FREE for 5 whole days as of the 27th of October! Get it while it’s hot and download your copy soon!

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US copy of Living Like A Vampire (Suckers Book 1)

UK copy of Living Like A Vampire (Suckers Book 1)

AU copy of Living Like A Vampire (Suckers Book 1)

 

 

In the mean time, check out my Writer’s Corner update 26/10/16!

This week’s articles are about horror, haunted houses and what a little white lie may lead to.

Focus on Filming focusses on cinema’s scariest haunted houses and the stories behind them.

Health Herald helps keeps you ‘unscared’ with an article on how not to overthink things. And while you’re trying to keep your mind from worrying, why not learn to play an instrument. It’s appears to do good for your brain in the long run.

New books to read!

I always want to help other writers and hence keep getting/buying their books. I have very little time to read at the moment, but I hope to be able to read more once my re-writes are done and the pressure is off.

In the mean time I thought I’d let you know what books I have acquired this last week, you might be interested in them too! Obviously I bought them in the UK, but you can always switch to the Amazon.com website to get them there. Here goes:

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Chasing the Dream: A Sports Thriller  by J.D. Dudycha  – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01J52NN5C (£0.99)

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Altered Life: The exciting debut of the gripping Sam Dyke detective thriller series (Sam Dyke Investigations Book 1)  by Keith Dixon  – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00361ENWG (free kindle edition)

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Language in the blood: Book 1  by Angela lockwood et al.  – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EMEN1P6 (free kindle edition)

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Red Sun Rises Box Set  by Victoria Kinnaird – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LMH5SFG (£1.50)
Please note: Prices noted are as when I bought them, they may have changed.