As an Indie author, I’m constantly looking to find new ways to market my books. One thing that had bugged me for a long time is that we, Indies, are at a disadvantage when it comes to new releases. We do all we can to let our readers know that we wrote another book, which will be released soon, but we don’t have contact with all of our readers, right? In fact, Amazon is discouraging us to have ANY contact with our readers or else they would take down all reviews placed by people who “know” the author. I think that’s ridiculous, but who am I to judge?
The best way to alert readers about your upcoming release is to place it on pre-order—an option that’s not extended to Indies.
Well, that’s not true. I recently came across something that few Indie authors know—how to place your new book on pre-order months before the release.
Here is how:
- First, you need to know that AA program works well if you’ve NOT published your book yet through CreateSpace.
- Second, you must have your ISBN for your book. Now, here, I was a little confused because many people told me that I had to buy my own ISBN. Not true. CreateSpace (CS) provides a free ISBN. So first you go to your CS account and create your book. Conduct all the steps to approve your book. That’s where you stop because now you have your free ISBN. DO NOT approve your files.
- Once you have your ISBN, you have to set up an Amazon Advantage (AA) account. https://advantage.amazon.com This will qualify you as a vendor. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated; if I could do it, you can too. Just follow the simple steps that will guide you from A to Z. I used my name, email, and address in all required fields. When they ask you for your banking information, if you live outside the USA, simply mark the payments made to Don’t worry about the ridiculous $15 charge they mention because you’ll only use AA for marketing purposes before release.
- Now you have your account so go ahead and sign in.
- At the top of the page, click on the ‘Items’ tab and a pull-down-menu will appear.
- Click on ‘Add an Item’.
- You’ll be asked to enter your product (book, music-pop, music classical, DVD, VHS). Pick Book Option.
- Enter your ISBN, then continue with the steps as prompted.
- After you have completed all the steps, you’ll want to upload the image of your book. Note that your pre-order must be live on Amazon before you can add images to it. Go to “Items>Upload images” on the AA menu and upload your book’s cover. The image must meet stringent specifications, but most importantly, the file must be named accordingly (Main). Amazon will then verify your image and in 1–2 days, your pre-order page will be updated.
- 1-3 days before the release date you should approve your book (in your CS Control Panel after being satisfied with your proof copy) so that it gets published.
- This is the last in the series of steps. Request (through your Amazon Advantage Control Panel by opening a support ticket) that AA stops fulfilling your orders. Tell them that CreateSpace.
Good luck with your book and happy selling.
Check out my new book – Resilience – that is up for pre-order.
As I’ve mentioned before, writing a book is an art. It takes more than telling a story; more than writing words on paper; even more than the back-breaking work you have to put in it from start to finish.
In this article, I’ll talk about POV—point of view. What is a point of view and why is it important to your story.
Point of view in literature is a window through which the reader sees, hears, feels and smells the story. Setting the POV is entirely up to the author.
There are three types of POVs, but only two of them are regularly used .
- First-person POV—the author narrates the story with the pronoun I or We. In other words, the reader can only hear, see, feel, and smell what I or We can hear, see, feel, and smell.
Example: Ica Iova’s, Unsung Victims. The story is seen exclusively through Johanna’s eyes. The reader only gets to see, hear, feel, and smell what Johanna sees, hears, feels, or smells.
~ I felt pleased and troubled in the same breath. My own image—aged image—gazed back at me from the mirror. Maybe not so much aged as soul-tired. Heartbroken. Blond wisps spilling out from a loose ponytail and a pair of sluggish blue eyes crafted the image of a worn-out figure. ~ Johanna’s POV ~
- Second-person POV—the author speaks directly to the reader. This POV is relatively uncommon. However, some authors have employed it efficiently.
Example: Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. The author speaks directly to the reader.
~You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveller. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, “No, I don’t want to watch TV!” Raise your voice—they won’t hear you otherwise…~ Italo Calvino ~
- Third-person POV—the author narrates the story through a third-person’s eyes. Here, the author may choose a third-person omniscient POV, where the thoughts and senses of every character are open to the reader, or third-person limited, where only one character’s mind and senses are accessible by the reader.
Example: Ica Iova’s, Boundaries. More than one character’s POV is open to the reader. The following example is one scene containing two POVs separated by a paragraph break.
~ To her dismay, through all that darkness, she thought she saw the gleaming light of determination intensifying in his eyes. She realized that this was it. He had used every tool in his considerable arsenal to seduce her. And she’d be damned if she didn’t let him have it his way. ~ Gabriela’s POV ~
~ He could probably pull together more rational reasons, but the two years they’d been apart, had made him recognize what was important in life, and it wasn’t defending stupid criminals. ~ Landon’s POV ~
Writing from multiple points of views is my favorite because I can switch back and forth between characters—I can allow each character to express their thoughts and emotions.
However, writing from more than one POV can be tricky and distracting to the reader. The author must be very careful to keep the story focused. Each character must wait for their turn to have the podium so they don’t clutter and confuse the plotline, pacing, and ultimately the reader.
Yes, you can write stories in all three types of POVs, as long as you remember these two simple rules: a) write in the POV that makes you comfortable; b) if you write in third-person omniscient POV, insert breaks between POVs—either paragraph breaks or chapter breaks.
I’m very excited to reveal the cover of my new novel, Resilience—sequel to Unsung Victims. The book will be released on Jan.29, 2016 and will be soon available to preorder.
Olivia covered her eyes with both hands to block the brightness around her but unsuccessful she winced and closed her eyes quickly. She tried again, this time she opened her eyes gradually allowing them to adjust to the light. It worked. She looked around taking in her surroundings. An entirely white room. Top to bottom. There appeared to be no doors or windows.
Where was she? A hospital?
How did she get here? she wondered, trying to shake the foggy feeling in her head. Confused, she looked around again grabbing at frail fibers of specifics from her mind about her prior whereabouts.
Nothing. A blank, invisible veil wrapped around her brain making her feel strange.
Then she discovered the source of the brightness. A glare. It shimmered from above. Soothing. Magnificent. She had never seen anything like it so her mind found nothing to compare it with. For a moment she thought she saw human forms floating in the light. Translucent but definitely there. The light, it seemed, radiated from them. They spoke softly, mere whispers, like a mother. Were they beckoning her to join them? Then without warning they faded away and took the light with them.
Olivia blinked repeatedly to adjust to the new light… or lack of light. The house, her house, felt quite dark and still, and something seemed different about her senses. At first she couldn’t pinpoint it. Then…
My vision; what’s wrong with my vision?
She could see above as well as below all at the same time. Her vision seemed to be at three hundred and sixty degrees.
This is disturbing.
Was she dreaming? That was it. It was just a dream. She should wake up now. She could not tell if it was day or night. Closing her eyes, she willed
herself to wake up. She opened her eyes. Nope. Still the same hazy state. Was this real? It couldn’t be.
The name popped into her mind and an unexplained fear churned deep inside her. Almost instantaneously, she found herself standing beside Brayden’s crib. He slept peacefully.
She blew a sigh of relief.
She reached to tuck Brayden in, but her hands went straight through. Startled, she took a quick step back. It didn’t feel like a step; it felt more as if she floated through the air. She looked down. Her feet dangled above the ground. She did float through the air.
“What is happening to me?” she asked the stillness around her. Her words sounded hollow. What was going on? This had to be a dream, but why couldn’t she wake up? Maybe the dream wasn’t over yet. That had to be it. Okay. Okay, she would play along a little while longer.
No. It didn’t make any sense. She glided down in the rocking chair beside Brayden’s crib and tried to still her thoughts long enough to make some sense of the situation. She shivered, suddenly feeling chilled.
Pipes clanked somewhere below followed by footsteps and doggy toenails clicking on the hardwood floor. More clanking morphed into muffled voices from downstairs. Instantly, Olivia found herself looking at a multitude of people, most of them dressed in police uniforms. They went in and out of the house as if that was the most natural thing to do. Flash bulbs made lightning strikes in the setting sun. Two people—a woman and a man—both dressed in plain clothes, talked to some uniformed officers while pointing, measuring, and comparing notes.
Olivia’s parents sat on the sofa in the living room. Her mother cried uncontrollably and her father had his arm around her, comforting her while he fought back his own tears.
Outside, uniformed officers swarmed in all directions. A coroner’s van parked in front of the house stood out from the rest of the police vehicles. Olivia spotted Brandon. He sat on the curb with his legs swinging, facing traffic. Holding his face in his hands, his body shook as he sobbed. Dark red splotches covered his white shirt. The same dark red substance coated his hands and face.
Why was everyone crying?
Another lightning strike drew Olivia’s attention toward the garage. She drifted in that direction and froze. A lifeless body, which looked a lot like her, lay down in a pool of blood. Detective Libby kneeled down beside the body and looked at something, in particular, then shook her head.
“It looks like she’s been dead for hours,” she said.
Olivia looked at the body in disbelief. It was her body. She was dead?
Sheer terror shook her. Even more confused, she hovered trying to compute the events leading to this moment. Still in a haze, flashbacks began to rush through her mind. She remembered her fight with Brandon… her plan to leave him in the morning. Then the scratch on her arm… Instinctively she looked at her arm. Yep, it was still there. She had walked into the garage… the intense burning sensation in the back of her head. She remembered thinking of Brayden. Begging for help… and a voice instructing her to relax. The stream of blood running down on the cement floor as her life slowly drained from her body. She remembered fading away, knowing she would never see her son again. She never got to say goodbye. Just before she had taken her final breath, her heart sunk for Brayden, for herself. She wouldn’t be there to teach him things, guide him, and see him graduating or getting married. Then everything had gone black. She was actually dead. The finding shook her as shock replaced the confusion. A sense of betrayal began to stir somewhere deep inside her soul as a burning rage hissed through like a deadly poison.
“I am dead. He’s killed me. The son-of-a-bitch has finally killed me. Damn you!” she roared.
Suddenly, she stopped her rumble. This wasn’t right. If she was dead, why was she still here? Wasn’t she supposed to move on? To heaven or something?
“Am I a ghost?” The question hung in the air like a dark shadow. She examined herself trying to find something that would prove or disprove her theory. She was still dressed in the same clothes from the night before… as was the body lying on the ground of her garage. She wasn’t glowing or translucent; she had no halo above her head. She looked normal. Well… if she did not take into account that her voice sounded hollow; or that she glided instead of walking; or that she went through doors and walls as if she were taking a walk in the park.
“Dammit! I am a ghost; nothing more than a spirit without a body.” That bit of knowledge was the first thing that somehow seemed to make sense. She swirled a few times, assessing the situation then she stopped. “He has to pay for what he’s done,” she decided calmly. Then instantly, her calm morphed into anger and resentment again. “I will make him pay!” she shrieked as she flew into a rage. Spinning around the room and around the house she knocked things down in her path.
“Close that door. The draft is messing up the evidence,” detective Libby yelled at no one in particular.
Olivia’s flight continued out the door until she reached Brandon and clutching on to her anger she beat the air with her hands into a frenzy trying to hit Brandon.
“You, son-of-a-bitch! Damn you! Damn you!” she screeched endlessly until she couldn’t anymore.
Exhausted and frustrated, she slouched beside him on the pavement. “Why? How could you do this to me? I loved you. Why couldn’t you just divorce me?” She wanted to cry, but tears didn’t come. Only an excruciating, soul-gripping pain.
Shoulders slumped, she glided back in the house. Her parents came into view again. Her mother sat on the floor still crying violently. It didn’t sound like she paused long enough to breathe. Her father had kneeled down beside her, one arm wrapped around her and the other caressing her hair in an apparent attempt to calm her.
Olivia felt her parents’ pain and wanted to somehow make it go away. Unwillingly, she perceived inside her mother’s soul and felt everything her mother felt. Torment. That was what Dana felt. A pain more agonizing than anything Olivia had ever experienced, came in waves and seared through her like a branding iron. Her mind conceding to the torment, unable to bring a thought to completion. Her only desire was to curl into a tiny, invisible ball while the pain burned and radiated.
Debbie came in the room holding Brayden in one arm and caressing the back of his head with the other, his tiny legs wrapped around her waist. Olivia approached and gently touched her son’s face. Brayden smiled as if knowing his mother was there.
“Why does Debbie’s advice make so much more sense after I screwed up?” Olivia wondered, remembering countless times when Debbie told her she deserved better.
Olivia floated back outside. This was an entirely new experience for her, one to which she knew she must become accustomed. No one seemed able to see or hear her. Instantly, she knew. She had to tell the world that her husband had killed her. That was her reason for being here. She had heard that before. Not that she believed in ghosts at that time. Now she wished she had.
“Help! Please, someone, help me!”
For a split second, she stood somewhere on a highway, waving for help. A bus driver seemed to spot her. He would stop. But… no. He just swerved around her and disappeared from her view. Then she was back at her house in her bedroom where it was quiet. Olivia stilled her thoughts. Though the events seemed crystal clear, she had to focus on finding a way to make her presence known. She had never believed in ghosts, but she had always loved movies about the paranormal. In the movies, the spirit could communicate. But that was Hollywood. This was real life… or death.
“Gah! Just kill me now,” she sneered in frustration. “Oh, wait. Somebody did. Never mind, false call,” she growled looking toward the heavens.
There were a lot of things she needed to work on in her new existence, besides making her presence known. Things like traveling. She could no longer tell time, but she knew she moved too much, too fast because she became easily disoriented.
Thinking of something allowed her to go to the source of the question. It quickly became one of Olivia’s favorite pastimes, much like dessert was a favorite at mealtime. Apparently, she just needed to learn how best to utilize her ghostly senses but a dark pressure-like sensation fogged her attempts. Something she could not describe, almost similar to how there are no words to describe colors to a blind man. Perhaps pain? Perhaps regrets for a life unlived?
Are you ready for some Halloween fun with me, Award Winning Indie Author Ica Iova? Join Lisa and Linda for their debut show on BlogTalkRadio Oct 29 @ 10pm CST where they will be talking all things paranormal. They will also have open lines so you can share your scary stories with them. http://goo.gl/3LsxhO
And, yes, I will be there to share with you my stories about the unexplained.
Have a Spooktacular Halloween with Lisa, Linda, and Ica
I killed one of my characters in Resilience. Here is a little unedited teaser.
RESILIENCE – coming soon.
Johanna squinted against the light. Shit. She had forgotten to close her blinds again and the morning sun flooded her small bedroom. She hated this place. Her bedroom in her parents’ basement was much better. But since Louis had moved the children to another school without her consent, instead of fighting with him and placing the kids in the middle of their disagreements, she chose to move closer to their new school.
The banging on the door restarted, adding to her annoyance. Johanna rolled over and glanced at the electronic clock on her nightstand. 6:01 a.m. Who the hell is up at this hour? She hated mornings and she hated people. She hated people who could do mornings.
Rolling out of bed she mumbled some swearwords directed at whomever stood on the other side of her door. “This better be important,” she groaned as another pound on the door seemed to shake the wall.
“I’m coming! No need to break the damn door,” she shouted while walking the short distance to the door, still in her pajama.
She opened the door and her eyes landed on a fist ready to knock again. The fist belonged to a bulky man whom Johanna recognized instantly. Ted Lewinsky, Louis’ partner. Was Louis okay? For a moment she wondered if she asked aloud.
“Johanna White?” The tone sounded practiced. Distant. Surely he knew who she was so why was he asking her name as if he had never seen her before.
“Yes, Ted, that’s me,” she said letting a bit of sarcasm flow in her tone.
When she and Louis were together, Ted had joined her and Louis for dinner several times. After she and Louis separated, Ted acted polite but cold toward Johanna. As if to make it clear to her that he was on Louis’ side. She wasn’t shocked. Everyone was on Louis’ side because everyone knew Louis by the façade he presented to the world. But now, for Ted to pretend he didn’t know her, that was just rude and she opened her mouth to give him a piece of her mind.
Ted pulled one side of his jacket to show his badge. “Detective Ted Lewinsky. Ma’am, you are under arrest for—”
The rest of his words were lost under Johanna’s squeal. “I know who you are.” Then as if just registering Ted’s words, Johanna lowered her voice. “What did you say?”
“Put your hands behind your back. You’re under arrest for the murder of Louis White. You have the right to remain…”
Ted’s words trailed off and morphed into Johanna’s muddled thoughts. Louis was murdered? How? When? A day ago his lawyer told the court that he had gone undercover. Yeah, that was always dangerous but why would they blame her?
“For the thousand time,” Johanna shouted, “I had nothing to do with Louis’ death. How many times can I tell you the same thing?”
Ted’s eyes remained on her face. “Until you actually tell me the truth.”
“Are you crazy or deaf? I didn’t kill Louis?”
“Well, some people seem to disagree.”
Johanna blinked in surprise at his remarks. So in his eyes she was guilty as charged and he was the judge, jury, and executioner. Why the hell look for the real killer when he had made an arrest and now he could go back to his waiting box of doughnuts. “Oh, let me guess. Karol.”
Ted remained unyielding. “Are you going to deny that you threatened to kill Louis? Because there are a few witnesses who will testify that you did.”
She had threatened Louis. In a public place. But that was because she was mad at him for letting Aidan suffer. She didn’t really mean it. Dammit! She and her big mouth. How was she going to get out of this? Motive.
“What motive would I have to kill Louis?” she blurted.
Ted shook his head. “Fighting for custody for four long years, I think that’s plenty of motive there; don’t you think?”
Johanna gritted her teeth. This didn’t look good. The more she looked at it, the more she realized how deep in trouble she was.
“Louis was the one dragging me to court.”
“I know. He thought you’re a pretty unstable parent.”
Okay, that’s enough. Johanna rose and slammed a fist on the table separating her from Ted. “Louis lied!” she screamed. “The judge is just beginning to see through his lies.”
“That must have angered you.”
She slowly sat back in her seat and lowered her voice. “Frustration. That’s what I felt when he and I crossed paths. He has killed every other feeling I had toward him. In the beginning I was angry with him, but I slowly realized that I had no control over what he does.”
Ted nodded. “Control…”
Johanna raised her eyes and studied him for a moment. This man was not here to help her. He was here to bury her. What was she doing sharing her feelings with him. “You’re not even going to look for another suspect, are you?”
He raised an eyebrow. “I already have a suspect.”
She nodded. “I think we’re done her. I want my lawyer now,” she said matter-of-factly.
Ted picked up the folder in front of him and slammed it on the table. “Fine. Have it your way,” he said then he walked away.
“Ted…” Johanna called after him. He stopped but didn’t turned around. “If I were you, I’d investigate this with an open mind. I didn’t do this, Ted.” Her voice sounded somewhere between wishing and begging.
Ted nodded once but didn’t reply and walked out of the room.
Initially, Boundaries was a romantic Sci-Fi novelette (only about 17000 words,) titled Crossing Boundaries. I wrote it and forgot about it. It sat in my drawer for about a year, but Gabriela, Landon, and Jack kept nagging, telling me that the story wasn’t finished.
Needless to say that the trio disturbed me from watching funny cat videos and interacting with my Facebook friends. But I finally gave into their demands and once I started writing it, the words just kept flowing. I felt as if I was in the scenes with my characters.
I finished writing it in 2014. Also in 2014, Boundaries was a finalist at World’s Best Story.
I immediately fell in love with Landon. He is definitely my favorite character in the book. The perfect gentleman. The man every woman dreams of.
Gabriela is a little “undecided”, but she really cracked me up more than once. I love her sense of humor and her feistiness.
Bianca is Gabriela’s best friend and she is funny and terribly sarcastic. While she is a secondary character, she complements well the two main characters – Gabriela and Landon.
Jack comes in the picture only vaguely in the beginning, but he sure creates a lot of problems for everyone. He turns out to be one twist in the story that no one expects.
I had a lot of fun writing it, and found myself laughing at their jokes and almost try to comfort them when they were sad or frustrated.
Visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/Ica-Iova/e/B00EN8ZH2G/ for this book as well as my other books.