Already a published author? Then, consider extending your market with audiobooks.

If you’re thinking of becoming a published author, or already won over the publishers, then consider expanding your market reach.  Make the most out of the years and months you spent pressing your fingers down onto the keyboard.  I happen to know a few people who have limited eyesight or just have problems reading those tiny fonts on our mobile devices.  I have to admit I’m addicted to listening to podcasts in the car.  I like to make the most of my time when I’m on the move.  There is another audience waiting for your book.  If you visit the large publisher sites then you see they noticed all the changes in the market.  If you have a contract, then I would suggest you speak to your agent before you consider this option.  I recently witnessed one author get their project pulled from Kickstarter because of an argument over copyright ownership.  So, do your research before considering any option.  For those wanting to research the visually challenged audience or those sitting in traffic on the highways, creating a professional audio book would be a great benefit.

Where do you go from here?  Take a look at Amazon’s audio platform for books.  ACX is a place that invites authors, agents, and publishers to upload their audiobooks onto their website and make money.  As far as I can tell, it’s the same concept as uploading your ebook onto Amazon but there are differences.  You have the option of pitching your audio book to a producer and making a deal, or you can work with a non-ACX publisher.  Working with an non-ACX publisher may give you less control of the percentage you’ll receive but it make give more life to your book.  There are also other online publishers that are willing to help promote and create your audiobook.  Many other sites that try to help authors self-publish offer free resources and advice on how to create your own audiobook without having to giver over your first-born.  When the time comes to create your audio files the only time you may want to consider handing over your money is hiring a professional sounding voice to read your book.  You can visit places like Fivver.com to find a cost-effective professional.  They may be more willing to negotiate a reasonable price for recording your book per page.  While it might be called Fivver, a 250 plus page recording is going to cost more than $5.  I know other entrepreneurs and professionals constantly find reliable people on this site but be sure to screen the person your going to hire.   I hope these resources help you during your journey as a writer.  Continue typing away!

-Mahieu

 

Resources and Links:

Amazon guide and help for audio: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A3CISEMGMV9KR5

ACX for audio publishing: http://www.acx.com/help/about-acx/200484860

Lulu Blog (how to for audiobooks): http://www.lulu.com/blog/2012/11/audiobooks/

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Dear Little Lucy – The Quiet Cricket

Dear Little Lucy,

I don’t know if you can help me but lately the music has gone quiet in my world.  I’m a cricket and I’m supposed to hum songs into the night.  Rain or shine I play my songs.  Lately, when I look up at the stars I can’t find my inspiration.  I thought a cat with knack for writing would be able to help me.  I used to find joy in playing my songs.  I used to play whether anyone was listening or not.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  Am I going through a mid-cricket crisis?

Sincerely,

The Quiet Cricket

 

Dear Quiet Cricket,

I admit I haven’t met many crickets but I think I can help.  All creative people tend to have bursts of creativity followed by time for recovery.  I see it happen with the humans in our studio.  They make, make, make and then sleep for a few days.  I think our brains just need a rest once in a while.  If you feel lack of inspiration, then think back to why you started playing in the first place.  If you still get nothing, then watch old Disney movies.  I think there’s one about a cricket.  Take time to look around you and open your eyes.  Hop onto a new blade of grass or into another garden and just listen.  Enjoy the quiet.  Recovery and quiet can keep us from becoming mechanical robots.  Practicing over and over again mechanically is far from inspirational, just as writing without feeling can create a flat piece.  Both be done by a computer program.  Stop and listen to the sounds of nature.  They can be quieter than you.  Ask yourself what sounds a blade of grass makes or how the stars would sound if they talked to you.  Think of the notes they make.  They can be like poetry if you listen hard.  Remember, it’s okay to question yourself once in a while and take time to relax.  I know said something about a robot but if all else fails keep playing even it feels mechanical.  You’re bound to reach another high note again.  This is a normal process we all go through.

 

Sincerely,

Little Lucy

Thank you Cosplayers!

Image

Thank you Cosplayers!  Some of my new creations sold at our last show!  Talk about experimenting with different media.  I went from literary works to clay miniature sculptures last month.  It was a challenge to sculpt using a needle and toothpicks for creations the size of a quarter.

Take a look at my other new creations online:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/MahieuStudios

Current News in the writer’s market – a bookless bookstore just opened in San Antonio, Texas

Hello Everybody –

I recently came across an article in the news about a new book store that opened on September 14th, in San Antonio, Texas and had to share.  It’s good to stay informed of all the changes taking place in the market for writers, and this is one big change for those thinking about publishing.  The future look of our beloved book stores may not carry any books in the future.  Yes, you read it correctly.  This book store, Biblio Tech, only carries ebooks for purchase. They took the concept of Amazon and created a retail end store.  How many of us would have guessed the market would end up in this direction?  Will this be the future Barnes and Noble?  We go to a store to get the same old feeling of entering an real store only to purchase a download?  This might be great news for those in the ebook market.  It’s something to consider for those still publishing in traditional format.  Keep this store in mind – this may give new life to those of you already published.  You can recreate your print version in ebook form.  It may end up in the download library of this new store.   You can decide how you feel about idea by reading the article yourself (click on the link below).  Let me know how you feel about this change by leaving a comment or if you have any other market changing news to the writing world.

-Mahieu

Biblio Tech store link: http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/08/technology/innovation/bibliotech-ebook-library/index.html

Another artists and writers retreat: La Muse in France

 

Another artists and writers retreat:  La Muse

Looking to get away with a group of writers and artists?  I think I will make this a Friday topic for those sitting at their work desk.   Here is another place everybody may agree upon for a working vacation.  I found this place online when I was searching for a place to get away and finish some of my new work.  I’m already thinking of the winter blahs before the first snowfall in the upper Midwest.  I was looking for locations that would inspire my creative mind when I came across La Muse in the river valley of France.  They are open all year and this place is definitely an upgrade from a hostel.  It also looks like groups wanting to do a workshop can barter by applying to do a fellowship during their stay.  La Muse looks like a place with a better view that is tailored to inspire artists, writers and musicians.  Not only are you surrounded by like-minded people, you are in the French countryside.  Need I say more!  However, keep in mind this is meant for a place that takes in those seriously committed to their work.  There is an application process (http://lamuseinn.com/how-to-apply/) where you describe what you want to accomplish in 250 words, submit a resume, and you need to provide a 1 page sample of your work.  This process just proves that they are encouraging you to finish your next novel or painting.  So, the next time you plan out your vacations or create your wish list take a look at the places that will help you achieve your goal.  You can go on vacation and get work done at the same time.

-Mahieu

 

Dear Little Lucy – Ugly Duckling

Dear Little Lucy,

I am writing to you because I’ve heard all those fairy tale stories and I just can’t agree.  I think some of the stories we teach our children give them false hope.  Friends and family tried to cheer me up when I was a child with their optimism, but I was always a fan of that Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.  Some people were just meant to be grumpy.  So stop trying to slip in the prozac into our day.   Just look at the greeting card lady Maxine.   She made a good living just being herself.  I say – “Give me my cup of coffee and F–in’ leave me be the rest of the day!”  Sometimes we need a touch of the black turtle neck and dark sunglasses to remind us that everything doesn’t always turn up peachy.  Just try to pluck my feather’s miss fairy princess!  I can’t for the day when little miss sunshine shows waits on me in the old folks home and has to empty my bed pan.  That’s right – just try to follow the Dr’s orders then.  Welcome to the dark side deary!  Good thing old thing I’m getting into my senior years.  It’s considered normal after retirement.

Sincerely,

One Ugly Duckling

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Ugly Duckling,

After this many cat lives I would have actually agree with you in some way.  We all have our own personalities to deal with on a daily basis.  Other the other hand – some of us animals need to turn our internal struggles inward.  Yes, medication does not solve everything at this moment or the world would be healed.  However, for those of us on it – please don’t throw it away.  Remember the last zoo break out?  Not a pretty scene my friends.  Please follow your doctor’s instructions.  Back to the point, during our domestic or wild lives I think we need to return to our instincts.  Mr. Ugly Duckling, you had the same point as the other story.  I think the point is that you are just fine the way you are.  There’s no need to sit through hours of therapy just to figure this out.  Sometimes my inner sassy feels the same way.  If you come across a wild animal or someone like Mr. Ugly Duckling, leave them the F— alone if that’s what they want.  Afterall, my column is for advice giving not meddling.  There’s no need to be ashamed of putting on a dark turtle neck and sunglasses now and then as long as no harm is done.

Sincerely,

Little Lucy

©2013 Mahieu Studios "Dear Little Lucy" column

©2013 Mahieu Studios “Dear Little Lucy” column

Comic Book Week – exploring options in changing publishing world

Hello everybody! Since this is the week of MCBA’s FALLCON I had to write a piece that comic book artists and writers are discussing at their shows and conventions. I recently attended a convention for anime, manga, sci-fi, and comic book lovers and I picked up a few more tips. I panel discussion I listened to was about creating an online comic with Fes Works, someone who helps offer resources for storytelling at webcastbeacon.com. This was of interest because I’m a writer and artist who enjoys the comic world. I wanted to see if there similarities from other workshops and classes I attended in the past.

Here is what I learned from Fes Works, contributor of Webcastbeacon.com:
1. If you’re going to post your work online commit to your site and update frequently. WordPress was mentioned for getting a free domain. They also mentioned other inexpensive sites such as godaddy.

I had to agree with this point because writers need to make commitment to their writing or it will never be published. Also, literary agents from other workshops told us authors in the audience that they do check out your social media and blogs. They want to see an established and active site. This was also the first thing I was told by other published authors. They were told to create a blog for their work by their publishers. In other words committing to regular postings will help you connect to the writing community and those who would read your work.

2. The next point was important. I know we all dream of quitting our day jobs and landing on the bestseller’s list but let’s take it one step at a time. The panelist told comic creators to forget about the merchandising part of the business and focus on content. I took this as – get down to business and create something. It’s good to have dreams but you still need to have something to present to an agent or publisher. I know hearing this from other professionals changed my way of thinking. Instead of worrying over book inventory or numbers the advice shifted my focus. This small change took the pressure off myself and it increased the number of pieces I’m able to finish.

3. This one is obvious. This was a panel discussion with someone who was established and built their own following by producing the online comic with fesworks.com. The comic book world is experiencing the same changes as the traditional book publishing world. Groups and individuals are starting to publish digital ebooks or online publications. I never thought I would see a traditional paper comic book go digital but good old Amazon did it again. They have ebook publishing and now they have a comic book creator. I’m not choosing sides but it’s something to consider since many people you know own tablets. Digital will never be the same as our paperbacks but it doesn’t look like it’s going away. In fact, the number of users does and will increase each year.

As authors and artists we need to keep our research hats on. Think of the changes as new options for you to get your work published. Think of how far and much the printing industry has changed. New inventions will continue to affect our world but keep writing. Don’t think about the million dollar contracts a few of us get. Fine tune your craft and get in touch with your audience. Connect with other creative minds and listen to their voice of experience. One last note, if you’re a writer who can see the scenes or lines playing out as you write you might want to considering teaming up with an illustrator. You might make a great team. One can come up with the lines and the other can draw out the visual for audience.

I hope this helps you on your creative journey!

-Mahieu

Children’s Book Resources For Kindle

If you’re considering writing a children’s book, then remember to include quality illustrations. Today, a large part of the market includes tablets and ignoring this group may cut off part of your audience. For those who self publish, don’t come up short when it comes to your formatting and visuals. Why spend months and years sweating over every line of your novel only to cheat yourself on a quality cover or illustrations? When it comes to tablet owners or those with short attention spans your book may be judged by it’s cover. This is key for children genres. I witnessed it first hand at book readings and events. They all want to look at the pictures and then hear the story. The visuals also help engage your audience. I use my illustrations to ask if they understand the story or if they can explain what it’s about. This way I know if they connecting to plot. Make your work stand out with quality of writing and artwork. I know I pause when I see an interesting book cover online. I know some of the publishers have a friend/foe view with online giants but here is one example of a popular illustrated children’s book publisher online http://www.fatmoonbooks.com. Their children’s books have tons of positive reviews on Amazon and they give formatting help with the Kindle KDP for ebooks.

– Mahieu

Link to ebook for kindle reference:
http://www.fatmoonbooks.com