we still have a long way to go. If the storm of sexual assaults and harassment allegations have shown us anything, it's taught us that we still live in a world where some men think it's okay to ask women for sexual favors in exchange for a career boost or even just to keep the job they currently have. That's why I felt the need to write this post for Movie Pilot. It's vastly different from what I usually talk about there (television, movies, and fun stuff), but I thought it needed to be said. Because the women that are under attack or have been attacked are victims, and they deserve a voice even if they can't speak for themselves.
Click here to read the full article.
Book videos don't have to be two or three minutes. You can say a lot in just a few seconds, especially if you use the right words and images.
Last month, I told you the things you shouldn't do. This month, we're going to focus on what you need to get started and where to find those things, most of which are free or low-cost.
You will need high quality images. One of the best places for free images is Pixabay.com. There is not attribution required, and you can use them commercially. If you want to spend some money, though, Deposit Photos has fabulous images as does Fotolia. But, focusing on free, you can find some at www.stockfreeimages.com and http://www.freeimages.co.uk/ (although this one does require credit).
You will need an editing program. Windows Movie Maker works fine, and most video editors allow a thirty-day trial so I would encourage you to download one, give it a try for a month and see if you like it. You can always delete it and try another one. I use Corel Video Studio Pro and Cyberlink PowerDirector. There is also Adobe Premiere, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate, and more. You can find the top ten list by PC Magazine here.
Of course, you'll also need music and/or sound effects. Maybe you even want to use voice over. One of the best places to find voice over artists is www.fiverr.com. You can listen to samples, and, if your text is short enough, may get what you need for only $5.00 (plus Fiverr's small fee).
For free music (although you should still attribute it to the artist), try Incompetech or Purple Planet Music.
Now that you know where to start looking, take some time to go through the images and the music. You want to choose carefully to create the best video possible.
I'll be back soon to go over some of the logistics behind creating a video.
Book videos are expensive, but they are also beneficial. They can help spread the word about your book in a way a tweet or a Facebook post can't because today's society is visual. Millions of viewers watch videos every day, and you increase the chances that people will learn about your book with a high-quality video.
Before you begin putting your first video together, there are some things you should know and some things to avoid. That's what this first post is about. We'll get into the actual creation in upcoming posts.
1. Don't use red text on a black background. It looks amateurish, and it's difficult to read. It's best to avoid colored text unless your book is a children's book or is about humor. Stick to black and white which is much more professional.
2. You don't need an expensive video editor to create a high quality video. Windows Movie Maker or iMovie will work just fine.
3. There are free video editors online that will allow you to make a video; however, most of them will brand your videos with their logo unless you pay for the removal of the branding.
4. You can still make a great video even without video clips. Images work fine if you use them properly.
5. You cannot use songs from your favorite artist in a video that is going to be used to promote your book. That is copyright infringement and can get you in a lot of trouble.
6. You cannot use clips from movies, television shows, or plays in your video. I have seen some videos that have used scenes from popular television shows, and although the videos are quite good, it is also copyright infringement. And both the video creator and the author can be sued. Before you ask, yes, I've seen the music videos, too, that fans put together to celebrate their favorite onscreen couples. The difference is they are not creating the videos for profit. Your book video is to help sell your book, and you cannot imply celebrity endorsement or use a celebrity's image, likeness, or clips of their work to promote your book.
7. There is such a thing as too much detail. Using the entire book description in the body of your video is, most likely, too much information. A video should be all about the visual aspect, not the reading aspect.
8. You can create a book video for little to no money, but if you do have some to spend, you can make an even better one.
Next week, I'll go over what you need to get started and where you can find what you need. Until then, why not go to Youtube and take a look at the different book videos to get an idea of what you do and don't like?
I mentioned on the front page of my site that I'm working on a contemporary romance novel (among others), and since I'm a few chapters in, I thought I'd share a quick peek. I hope you'll let me know what you think!
Chapter One (Part 1)
More lights flashed in her eyes, exploding around her in a blur of white that nearly blinded her. Sierra held her hand up in an attempt to shield the next onslaught, but the paparazzi was relentless. They trailed her until she reached security and were unable to follow.
Finally time to rest. To forget about the privacy she’d traded for a life pretending to be someone else.
The flight attendant greeted her with a broad smile, escorting her to her seat in first class while gushing over Sierra’s latest movie and pelting her with questions.
How was it working with Logan Morrison?
Was he really that handsome in person?
What her best part about playing Marie Antoinette, and was she interested in returning for the sequel?
Sierra was too exhausted to tell the perky attendant that there could be no sequel without Marie’s head. She sank down into the plush seat and propped her feet up on the rest.
From across the aisle, the whispers began, two elderly women who’d noticed her. Their voices grew louder as they attempted to convince each other to ask for Sierra’s autograph.
Ordinarily, Sierra would smile and graciously grant their wish, but tonight, she couldn’t fake what she wasn’t feeling. Instead, she pulled her eye mask down and lowered her seat, clearly letting everyone know she wasn’t interested in conversation.
The hum beside her dissipated, and she welcomed the roar of the engines as the plane began its journey down the runway. Minutes later, the tires bounced as they left the asphalt, and the ascent toward Sierra’s vacation began.
Two long weeks in the mountains, surrounded by nothing but wilderness, peace and quiet, and no cameras. Just five more hours, and she’d be in heaven.
The aboard-flight solitude lasted an hour before someone tapped Sierra on the shoulder. “Ms. Patton?”
Sierra lifted the edge of her mask to peer at the owner of the squeaky voice interrupting her attempt to sleep. A little girl with a blonde ponytail and braces grinned back at her.
“C-could I take a picture with you?” She held out her phone while an anxious-looking woman hovered in the background, clearly ready to protect her daughter.
With an inward sigh, Sierra peeled off her mask and fluffed her hair. “Absolutely. What’s your name, honey?”
“Arabella, but everyone calls me Bella. You’re my favorite actress. Was that really you singing in The Lion’s Heart? My brother said it wasn’t, but I think it was.” Without asking, Arabella crawled up into Sierra’s lap and took a cheek to cheek selfie with her phone.
After setting her on her feet, Sierra thanked her for her kind words. “And yes, that was really me.”
Arabella’s eyes widened. “You’re so pretty, and you can sing, too. I’m going to be an actress one day. I already have an agent and everything. I was on a cereal commercial. Have you seen it?”
Before Sierra could answer, the captain interrupted in a solemn voice. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re having some technical difficulties, and to be on the safe side, we’re being rerouted to the nearest airport. Don’t worry. We’ll get on the ground safely and have you back on your way in no time.”
Arabella’s mother hustled her back to her seat, and Sierra straightened hers, making sure her seatbelt was fastened. She spent most of her life traveling, and this wasn’t the first reroute she’d experienced, but the older ladies beside her clutched their arm rests with one hand and made the Sign of the Cross with the other.
“I’m sure it’s going to be fine,” Sierra tried to reassure them.
Both women turned as one to look at her with identical faces. “You think so?” They spoke as one.
“I’m sure. This has happened several times to me while traveling. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but everything always works out.” Watching as their frowns eased away, Sierra offered to sign their napkins, and they immediately lit up, segueing from trepidation to animation.
The plane took a sharp dip, and everyone gasped. Sierra’s stomach pitched, and she casually looked out the window so as not to alarm the twins across from her.
It looked like the aircraft was coming in at a sharp angle. A flight attendant scurried past her, and Sierra’s uneasiness grew. While it was true she’d experienced minor technical issues onboard a plane, this was the first time the attendants seemed concerned.
A sharp bank to the left resulted in screams emanating from behind the first-class curtain. The captain tried to reassure everyone once again, but no one was listening. He spoke louder, letting everyone know this could be a bumpy landing, and the pandemonium increased.
The words “crash position” caused a cacophony of wails and prayers as the oxygen masks dropped from overhead. Sierra dug her nails into the palms of her hands and bent low.
Maybe this was how it would end for her. She guessed going out on top wouldn’t be a bad thing, but there was still so much she wanted to do. Of course, everyone felt that way. She doubted one person behind her or beside her wanted these to be the last moments of their lives.
And she certainly wasn’t special because she rode in limousines and vacationed in exotic locations. At a time like this, money and fame didn’t matter.
The plane pitched and bumped again, and from the corner of her eye, Sierra could see lights out the window. They were close to the runway, and while a part of her wanted to be relieved, another part, the one that always served her well in dangerous situations, warned her that the worst was yet to come.
I usually keep two or three books handy so I can choose whichever one I feel like reading each evening. Right now, I'm reading two non-fiction and one fiction.
I picked this book up when I visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky last month. It's an engrossing look at how racism is against everything the Bible teaches. And it offers scientific and historical proof that we are all of one blood. I'm only into Chapter Two, but it's an engrossing book.
A truly unique book, this offers ways to help you achieve your dreams and goals in business. It really is a creative business planner, taking you through the steps to build the business you've being dreaming about.
I've actually read through this book once, but I didn't feel like I got everything the first time around so I'm giving it another read-through, focusing more on the chapters that are more beneficial to me and what I need. But it's definitely worth a read to all of you entrepreneurs.
I'm only into Chapter Two of this book, but I love it. What a way with words Rachel Aaron has. Julius has to be one of the funniest protagonists I've ever read!
Though it's billed as urban fantasy, I think anyone that enjoys reading about dragons will like this book. This is book one, and there are several more books in the Heartstrikers series so I'm looking forward to reading them all.
So here's my reading list this month. What's yours?
If you're a subscriber to Funds for Writers, you already know that Hope gives heartfelt advice to writers and seeks out the best talent to offer creative tips and ways to improve both your writing and your wallet. This compilation pulls from the articles written over the years, offering non-subscribers an inside look at some of the absolute best wisdom while reminding subscribers why Funds for Writers is a necessary read each week.
What Hope offers is more than just a pat on the back for writers. It's information that writers need if they want to make it in this business. Do yourself a favor and buy the book and subscribe to Funds for Writers. Your career is worth the price.
It's hard to believe we're at the midway point for 2017! I'm looking back over my goals for the year to see how many I've achieved and where I've slipped. I'm counting my blessings even while a few foul balls have come my way. (We all have some of those!) Overall, it's been a good six months. Take a look!
This is a completed manuscript that I haven't sent out yet. Thought I'd share the first part of Chapter One with you
Chapter One (Part 1)
"A tornado warning is now in effect for Charleston County, Berkeley County, and parts of Dorchester County. At approximately 6:45 p.m...."
Nicole switched off the television and gathered her purse and coat from the top of her desk in the back room of her antique shop. She didn’t want to be alone here during a storm. It didn’t feel safe. Few places did. A twenty minute drive would take her home with its tall wrought-iron gates and solid brick structure.
Her cell phone rang. Probably Katya calling to check on her. Her best friend for the past eight years, the woman knew close to everything about her, including the phobias that rendered her semi-functional.
"Hi, Kat. I'm heading out now."
"It doesn't look too bad on this side of town. Want to come hang out there?" Happily married with two small children, Kat had opened her doors more than once to Nicole when one of her fears had kicked in.
"No, I think it'll pass." As she clicked the lock into place securing her antique shop, a chill ran down her spin. A sense of deja vu passed over her.
A severe storm had taken away her security nine years ago, giving her best friend's boyfriend the distraction he'd needed to get close to her. To trap her inside the small office building which held her law practice. And…
"Are you sure?" Worry coated Kat's voice. "Jim doesn't mind. He's draped over the sofa watching baseball. An occasional curse word gets thrown in when the satellite fades out from the wind."
"I thought you said it wasn't bad over there." Nicole made it to her car in record time, the swish of the palm trees rubbing her nerves. She climbed behind the wheel of her comfortable sedan with every bell and whistle she could get for security purposes and punched the ignition button. The doors locked automatically.
"I said it didn't look too bad, and I wasn't lying. A burst of wind every now and then isn't bad." Kat huffed out a breath. "Come on over. I've got stroganoff ready, and the little ones will be in bed within the hour. We could have a glass of wine, chat, and try to tune out Jim's salty language together."
Nicole smiled at the picture her friend painted. She did love spending time with Kat's family. They'd become her own, providing her that familial tie she didn't have through any blood relatives. Caving in, she turned her car in the opposite direction of home. "Okay, but once the storm dies down, I need to get home. I have to be at the shop early tomorrow to get ready for Saturday's sale."
"Sounds like a plan. I'll set out another plate."
Her hands white-knuckling the steering wheel, Nicole said goodbye to her friend and focused on the road. Overhead, the sky had darkened to an ominous gray with streaks of green. Palms slickened with sweat, she tried to remain focused on the road, to ignore the warning signs.
Heart thundering in her chest, she pressed the accelerator and, using her thumb, turned on the radio, expecting the soothing sounds of classical music. Instead, an ominous voice shared the unwelcome news that a funnel cloud had been spotted near Kat's neighborhood.
Panic threatening to choke her, Nicole punched another button to direct dial Kat from her car's Bluetooth. "Kat, a funnel cloud's just been spotted right around the corner from you."
"I know. The warning just interrupted the baseball game. We're taking precautions. Maybe it's best if you do go home and batten down the hatches. I'll call you as soon as this passes." Kat paused before adding in a firm tone. "And it will pass."
With her friend's reassurances ringing in her ears, Nicole took the first exit to backtrack toward home, her body shaking with each mile.
By the time she reached her house, tears coursed down her cheeks, and her hands shook so badly she could barely press the button on the garage opener.
"Get a hold of yourself, Nicole. Nothing is going to happen. You're safe."
The self-talk helped a little, but it was only when she was inside and had bolted all the locks in place that she managed to draw a deep breath. But she couldn't stop herself from turning on the TV to watch the path of the storm.
Storms paralyzed her. And years of therapy hadn't eased any of the crushing anxiety that overwhelmed her with each weather warning.
Hours later, after the storm had moved on, Nicole she pushed herself up off the couch and stumbled down the hallway to her bedroom, one hand covering the scar that bisected her abdominal cavity. Though the night had fallen quiet, she wouldn’t sleep. The bad weather could return, and she had to stay on guard even though her attacker had died nine years ago.
So I wrote a post last year, sharing 9 things about me. A lot can happen in a year so I wanted to share 9 more things you don't know about me, probably because they happened last year or I just haven't shared them yet.
A really great friend of mine, who is also an author, prompted me last week to submit one of my books to Kindle Scout. I have been waiting to decide what to do with Outliving Her Past for a couple of months, and when she emailed me, I took it as a sign and entered!
The nomination period runs for thirty days and will end on May 12th, which, incidentally, is the day before my birthday! This is the kind of present I would love!
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!