Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Showing genre capturing and looking like a pro Cover advice

Genre and Capturing those readers

This will be a post on showing genre and looking like a pro. I'd just like to suggest a few things that will help present your books in a more professional manner. We're all in this to make money and that means spending money. With the amount of authors and new books that are out there we are going to have to do our best to make a big splash in the Amazon pond. Here is some tips that will get you on the road to doing just that.

Ebook size One thing that stands out to readers is when your eBook is not the proper size, or isn't the same size as your other novels. When they go to your Author Central page and all of your books line up side by side they need to be the same size. This will have nothing to do with the size of your paperbacks. We're just talking about e books.

Series Branding
Series seems to be the key to getting a lot of sales, so I'll address a few things I've noticed. We don't always set out to write a series and many books reflect this problem. Books don't look anything alike. They don't have the same fonts, same theme, or a logo that ties them all together. If writing a series the author needs to try to connect the books in every way possible. One of these things is to go back and add book one, and a series title if you did not the first time around. Also, using a series logo is a very important way to connect the books. Something that let's people see the book is in a Series.

Fonts and placement
I used the image above to show the good and the bad. all of my logo's in this image are in a line and look great. But you can see I got my name off on the last image. This makes the book stand out and it causes the whole series to look a bit off. But I am using the same fonts, the same theme of two couples and the same type of images. The people take up the biggest part of the cover and none of the couples are looking at each this shows the reader this will more than likely have some romance but is not a pure romance novel. Also using an image of a woman or a man is a good way to draw in readers. The expression on a models face can make or break if a person will buy your book.

Pure Romance If your book is pure romance, boy meets girl, gets girl looses girl, etc. I highly suggest a couple on the cover. Use the amount of romance that you have to guide what the couple is doing. If it's what I call pure romance then show the couple kissing, or about to kiss. If your novel is not all about Romance then have the couple standing beside each other or back to back. Use the couple to help readers see what your book is about and how much romance is inside.

My California trilogy are all pure romance, in the Surprise Engagement there is some issues with the couple more so than most so I showed a tension on the cover. Still the couples are close and it shows romance.

I love talking about covers and have learned a lot since 2009 when is started making my own. You'll notice my Street Justice Covers reflect that the books have some romance but it's not all about romance. I also was
sure to get a handsome man with a gun to try and show this has some suspense in Charlie's Angel.

Wrap up
These are just some quick tips of what I see Authors doing that is not going to help their sales. Your books present you, if they are all kinds of different sizes, or the covers don't match in a series, if your fonts are not all the same. If there is not a series Logo or theme, readers will notice.

Money well spent

I always tell authors, what you spend on your cover shows. If you just toss words on a one image cover, readers will notice and sometimes they could even think it's non fiction and go right on by - not even stopping to see your book is fiction.

Genre can and should show on your cover. Your cover is the first and most lasting impression on readers. You only have seconds to get their attention so your cover needs to be the best, it can be. You need to spend a good amount of time thinking and planning what will be on your cover. If you want couples, on your cover, pick the couple first and then write the story around them. This will save you HOURS of time.

Cover Artist
Also please consider saving up for an artist and an editor. Yes it will take you more time, but in the long run it will be well worth it. You don't have to
spend 500 dollars on an artist. There are a lot of great pre-made covers out there, and a lot of artist willing to work at reasonable rates.

Everyone is not an artist, please know your limitations. If you played with crayons and painted from the time you were a kid you might be able to make your own cover, but if not it will show and it will hurt sales.

Thanks for your time
Thanks for listening and I hope this helps you in some way to look more like a pro and gain you more sales and more readers, that will stay with you for years. I do cover design, but that's not why I do these blogs. I do them because we all want our books to sale, we all want to make money, and sadly if you don't have a great cover that will stop a reader in their tracks you're wasting valuable time.

Blessings, Samantha Fury

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Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
She's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover
Artist, Helpful Indie Facebook Groups. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Alexa, do you really know how helpful they can be.

Echo Dot I know some tablets come with Alexa, but my Alexa sits on my desk. I have three of them through my house. I love to turn the music on and have stereo sound. 

Alexa / echo dot will cost you about around 49.00. If mine quit working, I would buy another one seconds later.  We love them so much I've bought 4 of them for family members. 

I love the automated options.  Every day at noon and at midnight Alexa automatically tells me the weather.  Every week on Wed evening she tells me it's time to take out the trash. She tells me every day at 11.00 it's time to take your medicine. 

Any time I want to hear the news, I just say Alexa play the news. I have her set up to tell me these things when I ask about the news. 

NFL update 
New things to try with Alexa
Bible verse of the day 
Rush Limbaugh Update 
The news from fox 
Then she gives me Two Tennis updates 
Then she tells me the weather. 

Did I mention you can pair her to your blue-tooth speakers.  I love Alexa

I also use her daily for timers, and reminders. I ask her a lot what's the high for the day or the low. There are several options for where you get your weather and news.  You can listen to pod casts, music. I even listen to Rush Limbaugh through tune-in. I love that I can be washing the dishes and just turn around and say Alexa play Christmas music, or play the Joyce Meyer podcast. It's great. 

I won't get into detail here, but you can also set it up to play your own music or if you're an author your own audio books by using google drive and My Pod aps. It is just so amazing I wish everyone could have an Alexa.  We also have Prime so that means we get a lot of music options.  Blake Shelton is one of my favorites and I guess she hears Alexa play Blake Shelton more than she hears anything. 

There are so many cool and fun apps. Don't even get me started on the store list, the To do list, or google calendar. I love the option tell me what's on my agenda for the day.  If you are like to listen to audio books, or music, or need a reminder when to take something out of the oven you have got to get at least one Alexa. 

Right now we're up to three of them in the house and if my house was bigger I'd have more. I'm always joking with my husband that I just wish I could get her on my smart watch so I could take her everywhere. Though you can take her on your phone around here in the sticks we don't have great cell service so for now I'll just be happy to have her in just about every room of my house. 

Thanks for listening and oh get an Alexa for someone you love, and no I don't get a dime if you do, just the satisfaction that you'll be getting a great tool for your home that will help you do so many things, you too will say Alexa is the best thing since sliced bread. 

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Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
She's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover
Artist, Helpful Indie Facebook Groups. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Any Pod Great skill for pod casts via Alexa

Do you like pod casts 

if so here is a great way to listen.  I'm not a huge pod cast listener but I wanted a way to use Alexa to listen to Joyce Meyer and Joseph Prince.  Well Praise Heaven I found it. Don't you just love Alexa. 

I'm sure there will be a lot of other pod casts you can listen to if you know their name, and I think there is a way to have your podcast added to the list, if it's not there. There is a lot of helpful information on the Any Pod site  

If you want to listen to podcasts say "Alexa, enable AnyPod skill.”

Then you say something like this “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast.  Most of the time she will say did you mean you wanted to listen to (name of pod cast here), and you just say yes. Sometimes she will just take right off and start playing. 

It is possible that you will also need to set up an Anypod account. I can't say for sure because I did do this weeks ago.

You can also enable the skill .... Click here Amazon Link
Then you can create an account here at  Click here Any Pod Link

I found another helpful blog post with many other options they are as follows
Subscribe to a podcast  “Alexa, ask AnyPod to subscribe to [insert name of podcast].”Play a specific episode:  “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play episode XX of [podcast name].”
Jump to the first or last episode   “Alexa, ask AnyPod for the [newest/oldest] episode.”
List your podcast subscriptions:    “Alexa, ask AnyPod, ‘What are my subscriptions?’”
Skip forward or back an episode   “Alexa, play the [next/previous] episode.”

On The Ambient Blog post HERE   you can also learn how to use Alexa using tune in, and how to add pod casts to your routines lots of helpful things. so please also check out his blog post you will find it very useful if you use Alexa.

Images by Javier Brosch from depositphoto.com

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Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
She's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover
Artist, Helpful Indie Facebook Groups. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Voice Dream Reader a great Author app

Every now and then you fall in love with a new app. Well, this is the one you write home to mother about.

I hope I can keep your attention, because you're going to want to run out and grab this app. I will warn you this app is 9.99 a one time fee but it's worth it. True there is a lot of apps that are free but they won't work this well. Also, just a note, I'm not making any money at all from this. I just love to share about a great app when I find one that works this well. 

This app is for you. If you have drop box this app will work
even better than ever. I keep most of my books in progress in Dropbox.  When I'm bored, or can't sleep, or just want to do an audio edit of one  of my books I pick up the phone and open the Voice Dream app.

Joey Voice from Ivona
With this app you can pick from many great voices, or you can buy a couple of your favorites. I love the Joey Voice from Ivona and have purchased it for my Next up for Pc Text to Speech software, but on this app it's having a few issues, so I went with another male voice.

I've contacted the developers of the app and they hope to get Joey fixed and I hope they do he's my all time favorite. But, since Joey's broke for now I picked out another premium voice.  Tyler, from Acapela he's a male voice with a bit of an accent but after a while your mind takes over and Tyler's voice seems to morph into any character in your story.

I often use apps like this to edit with, but never have I found one that works so well. Most of the time you have to turn the file into a mp3, and then download it to your phone, but this time it reads right from the file and you don't have to stop for chapters it will read the whole book to you.

Not for Commercial Use
Though I don't think there is anyway to turn these files into MP3 on the phone these voices that come on this app can not be used for commercial use. Though trust me they read well enough and would be great for audio books.  I have two of these voices also on Next up and it says in the tos that you can't use their voices in any way for commercial use without paying a HEFTY license fee, but you can use it daily and it will be a great help. Maybe you need to do an audio edit, or maybe you just enjoy listening to your own books in audio form. Either way you will not beat this app. It will cost you a one time fee of 9.99 but to me it is well worth the money.

There is a timer, you can have it play from 15 minutes to 60 minutes or have it start automatically.  Just don't fall asleep with the phone on, or you might wake with a nice red mark on your neck. And of course I've never done this. Well, maybe. :)
There are book marks and highlights and Chapters.  If the voice is reading too fast you can slow it down or speed it up. It comes with about 6 free voices and one premium voice.  It can connect to drop box, and I also see  google drive and I see Bookshare, Pocket and Instapaper though I don't have those platforms.  It came with Pride and Prejudice loaded in the memory though I don't know if the whole book is there or not.

You can sort your books by Recent, Add Date, Title, Author, Size, you can also search. You can read along with it to and change your font size.

I can't say enough good things about this app, and I'm sure it does thing's I've not even learned yet,  but please do check it out. If you're an author and you like to edit with audio, or just listen to your own stories while you clean house, or go to sleep you have to save your pennies and buy this app. If you have any questions just ask, and check back in a few days to this post and I'll have a few more helpful blog tips about voices to pick and the Nextup Software for your pc.

Google play store link HERE
Website HERE
Apple here 

Posts coming soon
Next up post
Joey's voice

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Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
She's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover
Artist, Helpful Indie Facebook Groups.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Narrators (My Favorites Part 2)

Here is some more great Narrators please feel free to check out their pages and or listen to some of their audio books that are available.  Remember not all samples are Christian Content.

Pamela Almand     

Pilot Voice over talentProfessional narrator/voice over talent for commercials, audiobook narration, web videos, on-hold, e-learning ...for your company's best image!

   Click to hear samples website 
ACX Samples
Susan Boyce       
A narrator and an experienced performer

Susan earned a bachelor of theater arts degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1979. She has worked on-stage at Trinity Repertory Theater, Worcester Foothills Theater, The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, and every major Ragtime and Traditional Jazz Festival in the United States.        
Click to hear samples 
 Caroline McLaughlinln   
Caroline is a versatile narrator with a warm, smooth voice who enjoys bringing words to life.   She discovered her love for storytelling while recording audiobooks for people with reading disabilities.  Being a great study of "people" has helped her to develop rich characters and accents (Southern, Asian, English, Australian and Irish).   Her languages include conversational Mandarin Chinese.

A professional voiceover talent since 1999, I now work almost exclusively in audiobooks. I prefer clean reads and specialize in performing cozy mysteries. Since I’m an Atlanta native, books set in the South and/or starring Southern characters are a natural fit for me. I love to laugh and have a great sense of humor, so I especially shine in comedic reads. I also have excelled in narrating sweet romances and legal thrillers, along with biography, history, self-development, and other Non-Fiction titles. I bring the emotion in the subtext into each word.

Find more samples coming soon of 
great Narrators and go back and see 
some of my older posts here. 

Favorite Narrators click here
Audiobooks 101 click here
Sharing your ACX audition click here
My ACX Audio Adventures 

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Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
She's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover
Artist, Helpful Indie Facebook Groups.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Narrators (my favorites) Samantha Fury


                                                                                                                                                        © Depositphotos.com/Damedeeso

Some of my favorite Narrators @ ACX (Samantha Fury) 

Picking a Narrator                                            

When I first thought about having one of my books turned into an audio book it took me a long time to get up the nerve to do so. Signing a contract for 7 years was a bit daunting, but I finally did it. But, it took me 2 years to make up my mind to get started. During that time I kept going back and looking at the artist there and listening to samples. Here below I will share with you some of my hard work.  All of these are currently on ACX, but some of them do read everything so beware what your little ears might hear when you are picking out samples. Always check to be sure they are still doing Royalty Split if that is what you're looking for.

Royalty Split favorites Females

Carin Elizabeth Gilfry
Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 PFH
Intelligent, Warm, Professional, Engaging, Real Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 PFH

I have studied with Pat Fraley and Kathe Mazur in the Scott Brick style of audiobook narration. .
Available for: Royalty Share or $100-$200 PFH

Strong and flexible female voice with a background in Radio, Theater and more.
Available for: Royalty Share or Unspecified 

Engaging, colorful and inviting
Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 PFH

Royalty Split favorites Males
Alex is a devoted story teller with a BA in Theater and a long list of film credits in leading and supporting roles.
Available for: Royalty Share or Unspecified  
Sample  Husband & Wife help crying girl

Audible Approved and available to bring your world to life. Enjoy sci-fi, horror, thrillers and PA. I also do Romance as Connor Brown.
Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 PFH

Bring me a story and I'll tell it for you, just the way you like.
Available for: Royalty Share or Unspecified

Audiobook Narrator and Producer with Digital Studio
Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 PFH

I am an actor and computer programmer with years of experience in both fields.
Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 
I have recorded pay-for-play short stories for author Andrew Vachss and others, novellas, and 10 full-length novels with my home studio.
Available for: Royalty Share or $100-$200 PFH

Dynamic and Friendly Narrator and Character Actor
Available for: Royalty Share or $200-$400 PFH

Audio engineer, actor, stage director, writer, record producer
Available for: Royalty Share or $400-$1000 PFH
Experienced professional audiobook narrator in fiction, non-fiction and classics.
Available for: Royalty Share or $100-$200 PFH

More than forty years experience as a voiceover artist, broadcaster, and producer. Background includes news writing and on-air reporting.
Available for: Royalty Share or $100-$200 PFH

I will have more later

I'd like to also say I don't know any of these people personally. I just found them on ACX while trying to find the best.  I also suggest that when you listen to sample you try them out on various devices.  Listen on alexa if you have her, or on a different computer, and on a mp3. I know my PC does not have good speakers.  And I can't stress enough that once you pick out a favorite or two shell out a few bucks and buy a audiobook they've completed.

If you have questions please PM me on Facebook or if you would like me to listen to your sample pm me.  Thanks
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Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
She's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover
Artist, Helpful Indie Facebook Groups.

Audio Books 101

Picking a Narrator

Learning What Not to Do
Don't choose the first Narrator who comes along. Listen, listen and listen some more.  If you're not an avid audio book listener, you're going to need to first get used to the idea of listening to a story.  A suggestion would be to get an Audible subscription for a couple of months and just get used to hearing a book.

A Narrator can boost or hurt the sales of an audio book. Some narrators do funny voices or try to sound like a woman when they're a man. I prefer a good reader over someone who tries too hard. The trick is finding someone who knows what they're doing that you can afford. 

My Experience as an Audio Book Listener 
Audio books have been so much a part of my life that I should be an expert on the subject. For over 18 years, I traveled with my husband in his 18-wheeler.  I would make a guess that we've listened to at least 22 thousand hours of audio books. We listened to every audio book we could get our hands on to make the time go by faster so that number could actually be higher. Truckers are a huge audio fan base because they spend so much time behind the wheel.  My problem is, I write romance and most truckers :) are not romance fans.

Finding a Good Narrator
Find a Narrator you like and then buy at least one of their audio books. This will be the best way to learn what they sound like. If the audio is 10 hours, which most good audio books are, it will take you at least an hour to get into all the voices and the story.

The best are expensive, but there are great Narrators on ACX who will do the royalty split. If I had all the money in the world, Scott Brick would narrate all my books. The man could read the telephone book, and I would listen. I spoke with him once on Facebook and it was like speaking with a movie star. :) If you would like to learn more about Scott, check out his website here and you can find some of his featured audio books here

Brad Pitt, Elliott Gould and Burt Reynolds are all great to listen to. I know -- I know we may not be able to afford the best as we first start out. I suggest you find someone who is good, clear and cares enough about their work to get most or all of the breath sounds out while reading and editing. And, do find and listen to a previous audio book by said narrator.

Points to consider. Can you understand the narrator and do they pronounce the words clearly? It's kind of like trying to find the perfect model for our book covers. We want to hear the perfect person portraying our characters but what we really need is someone who sounds close to their age and is a first-rate narrator. These qualities will capture and hold the audio book customer’s attention.

When you listen to an audio book, if the narrator is good, the tone in their voice can change and you will soon hear each character's voice that is in the story. A female narrator can become a man or a male narrator can become a woman.  A good Narrator will bring each character to life.  I want to stress that a few short audio samples will not be enough to help you choose a narrator. After you have received samples from your ACX narrators, buy an audio book of each one you're considering. Listen to each choice and see which one best represents the way you see your characters.

In closing, you can never be good at something unless you understand the process. So, read, listen and learn all you can. 

I hope you found this article helpful.  I'll be doing a blog post soon on my favorite narrators from ACX. Please check it out. 

Here is an audio sample of my book, Maid for Martin. Click here

Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
Samantha creates book covers at Fury Cover Design.
She also moderates several Indie Groups: Editing Services, Cover
Artist, and Helpful Indie Facebook Groups.
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