And The Part Goes To…by Karina Gioertz

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It probably comes as no surprise at this point (you know, because I may have mentioned it before ;-) …once or twice…) that the books I write come to me more as movies. Well, actually they start out as little movie trailers that play in my head over and over again. Little scenes, bits of dialogue and hints of the plot are all neatly tied up in a sweet little brain flash that replays itself a gazillion times a day until I grab a pen and paper and make it stop.

I attribute these mind movies to the fact that I initially leaned toward writing screenplays rather than writing novels. Or perhaps it’s the other way around…who knows. Regardless, once I get to typing it’s essentially the same thing as the director calling out “ACTION”. The opening scene developes, the characters come to life and the story leads the way.

Just like any other director, I like to have an amazing cast to work with. Most of the time I know who I want for each part as I write it in, but other times it’s not so easy. When I started writing Country Girls, most of the cast was clear right from the start.

Emma Wilson was played by Jennifer Aniston. Eli’s part went to Reese Witherspoon and I was kind of undecided between Burt Reynolds and Tommy Lee Jones for Harry, but it was definitely one of the two! Evey was a little harder, but it eventually went to Amanda Seyfried. Shawn on the other hand was instant – Taye Diggs. Unfortunately, while I can picture Doc as clear as day, I can’t say for certain who he is…or if he exists beyond the realm of my imagination at all…so, that part’s still up for grabs I suppose, along with a few others.

So, there’s my cast for Country Girls. Even if Country Girls is never made into a movie, it’s a fun excercise to do as a writer…and I won’t deny that seeing my stories come to life on the big screen would be the ultimate dream come true for this writer ;-)

For those of you who have read the book, do you agree with my cast? Who would you choose if it were up to you??

A Few Of My Favorite Guys by Karina Gioertz

When it comes to writing, developing the characters is easily one of my favorite things. It’s right up there with the storyline…okay, maybe it even beats that. I like the building of relationships and figuring out the quirky details that make them who they are. I love listening to the conversations they have and imagining their thoughts and reactions to things. These characters aren’t just strangers in a book to me, they’re my imaginary friends, the voices in my head and the inhabitants of my day dreams. They are privie to the most intimate parts of me, much like I am to theirs.

Now, you might think that being a woman myself, I prefer to write women, but you’d be wrong. I like writing men. Women are fun, too, but they’re easy. I know women…I get women…Men, not so much. Which is precisely why I enjoy writing male characters as much as I do. In MY world, where I’M in charge, Men make sense to me. I can comprehend how they think and I get how they feel. I UNDERSTAND them. The fact that this is due to my molding them to be exactly who and what I want and need them to be, does not escape me.

Anyway, I thought that since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, it might be a good time to highlight some of the men in my life, so here goes ~

I specifically did not create a lead male character in Country Girls because I wanted to write a story for women about women, that did not involve some sort of romantic happily ever after. It wasn’t easy, especially once I introduced Shawn to the girls. It was all I could do to marry him off quickly to keep him from falling for Eli…and her falling for him in turn. It would have been so natural. Him being the strong and silent type (for the most part…he knows how to stand his ground when necessary) with that abundant amount of patience, while she’s self-destructive and reckless at times and in such desperate need of a safe set of arms to run into…oh right, Eli would never lean on a man like that. Oh well.

So, since I denied myself the guy in Country Girls, I made up for it in Lucky In Love by writing three! There was Gabe – funny, attractive and always flirtatious, but a tad immature. This meant that he was always up for a good time but wasn’t ready to be serious. A great quality to find in a man when you’re not looking for commitment, or too afraid of finding it…

And who wouldn’t love Jason? Handsome and kind. Confident and slightly cocky, but in an utterly adorable way. He could easily be boyfriend material…or best friend material…or both?

Last but certainly not least, there’s Noah.The player/ bad boy and my personal favorite…what can I say, I have the worst taste in men.

After Lucky, I moved on to Blood Bound…not much for romance here, but I did kinda love me some Scott…

My most recent guy is Lindsay, and while he’s way too young for me (I decided to take a stab at writing YA) he’s still at the top of my list. He’s got a dash of every one of my favorite guys in him. He’s dependable and shows up for those he cares about like Scott.  He doesn’t always go out with the classiest of gals like Noah. He’s kind and considerate like Jason. Funny like Gabe. And, he’s even got some of that charming patience that Shawn posseses…all in all, I’d say he could make one girl (or many readers) very happy someday :)

On that note ~ Happy Valentine’s Day  ♥

Writing Adventures…by Karina Gioertz

At the beginning of last year I had only just begun my journey into the world of self-publishing and being an Indie Author. Up until that point I hadn’t ever really considered myself an Author of any kind. Mostly my focus had been on writing screenplays and dreaming of the day when I would see my words come to life on the big screen. Writing an entire book, well that seemed like a rather ambitious undertaking. However, after a meek attempt at getting my scripts out there I had to face facts. While I may be a fairly decent writer I am a horrible sales person. Not only am I awkward and uncomfortable when it comes to selling myself as a writer, I also loathe doing it. Basically I would just like be able to write and then magically have people find my work…

The first book I wrote (Welcome To The Half Orphan Club) and self-published was nonfiction and it was nearly twenty years in the making. My mother had self-published her own version of the events following my father’s death shortly before, so she was there to guide me through what turned out to be an incredibly easy process. It was then that I realized, I didn’t need to go around knocking on doors I hadn’t been invited to in the first place…I could open my own doors.

It wasn’t long after, that I decided to pull out some of my scripts and turn them into novels. It took me a while at first to find my groove, but once I got started I stayed pretty busy. Now that last year has coming to an end and a new year has begun, I’ve completed four novels and am working with the fifth.

It’s been exciting watching the reviews come in and hearing from complete strangers that they enjoy my work. In a way, this year has been all about writing and having people magically find my work. Sure, I’ve had to learn my share on marketing, but it’s been more about letting people know that my books exist rather than trying to convince anyone to buy them.

Writing has always been an adventure for me. Imaginary fun that filled the empty spaces…but the adventure isn’t only on paper. It’s part of my life (which is now the life of an Author – eek!), and I for one, kinda love it ;)

 

And ACTION! by Karina Gioertz

Thinking about making a book trailer but don’t know where to start? Worry it will be too complicated or cost too much? Guess again! There are wonderfully simple and free programs out there just waiting for you to create your marketing masterpiece!

Personally, I like the site http://animoto.com/ . Not only do they offer several nice templates for free 30 second videos, they also make it super easy for you to get started and begin creating. After choosing the perfect backdrop for your video, you can select music from their extensive musical library. Next, upload your images. Using your own pictures and images is certainly easiest in terms of dealing with copyright issues, however, if you don’t have what you need there are plenty of Websites available offering free open source/public domain images. Remember to include your cover – I like to show it twice, in the opening as well as the end.

The next step is entering in any captions you would like. Generally, I try to choose two or three phrases that sum up my book blurb. Once you have it all just the way you want it, preview the video to make sure everything flows just the way you want it and that the text is on the screen long enough for viewers to read it. Don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time around, you can edit it as often as you like!

Finally, upload the video to YouTube. From there you will able to share it just about anywhere and with anyone. Now hurry up and post it on your Goodreads profile, Facebook, Twitter and website/blog 🙂

Other great sites to submit it to are-

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/submissions/
http://booktrailers.ning.com
http://www.dailymotion.com/ca-en/channels/1
http://www.previewthebook.com/index.php

From Beginning To End by Karina Gioertz

It took me nearly thirty years to perfect my writing process. I’m counting the early years, because the truth is that I’ve been writing for most of my life. I was in elementary school when I wrote my first book. It was about a cat named Daisy who roamed our neighborhood and it was a joint effort between myself and several other kids in the neighborhood, but I still count it. My next big project was in middle school when I filled two notebooks in a handwritten story about a pony named Clementine (what can I say, I LOVE animals). Along the way I also began writing poetry as well as a book dealing with the loss of my father because a friend of the family suggested it might be helpful to others to hear a child’s perspective. At the time, I didn’t get very far with it, but nearly twenty years later I was finally able to sit down and put into words everything I was left with after his passing and how I have lived with those scars ever since.

Starting in middle school and carrying on all through high school, I entered into probably hundreds of story ideas, and exited two seconds later. Back then I couldn’t figure out why I was unable to commit to these bursts of creativity that I was initially so excited about and it wasn’t until much later that I realized that my biggest problem was my lack of patience. I simply couldn’t write out my ideas fast enough, so while I was putting pen to paper my mind was running a mile a minute, replaying every detail over and over again to the point that I was bored with the whole thing and lost interest after having only handwritten a few pages.

Soon after, I abandoned the idea of writing anything of length and focused solely on poetry for several years, mostly because it was the only thing I was ever able to finish.

Then along came motherhood and suddenly I found myself sitting at home alone with a baby and no one to talk to but myself. So, I borrowed my mother’s laptop and began to write. I wrote anytime my daughter was sleeping or contentedly entertaining herself with her toys two feet away from my desk (so… mostly while she was sleeping) and before I knew it, I had finished a screenplay. It was the most thrilling feeling to have actually completed something.

It took another two years after that before I was finally ready to write a novel, but once I did, there was no stopping me and before I knew it I had written three books back to back. Sure, it took me almost three decades to get here, but I not only have tons of ideas I collected over that time period I also needed to go on that journey to learn what worked for me. And I did learn from every aspect of it. The years of jotting things down in notebooks by hand is still my starting point now. Only now, I limit it to brainstorming and move on to typing when it’s time to really get started.

It’s a mess, but it only has to make sense to me…thankfully 3 years later I can still look at those notes and know exactly what I was talking about :)

Next I move on to a script writing program I downloaded a while back. It helps with my-lack-of-patience-versus-racing-brain issue because it takes very little to put the outline of the story into words. There are designated spaces for everything from descriptions to dialogue and has nifty features like remembering characters and locations throughout the story and filling them in automatically as you write. Sure, maybe it sounds like I’m being lazy…but I say why work harder when you can work smarter?!

This is where the years of writing poetry comes into play because I developed a habit of writing regularly. Therefore, writing on a daily basis is not something to be feared. Whipping out a few hundred words, or even a thousand, once a day isn’t daunting, it’s something I’ve done a ton of times before.

Once I finish the story in script format, I usually need a little break from the story. Nothing too long, just a couple of weeks to get some distance from it so that I can return with a fresh mind to a story I already feel like I know inside and out. After the break, I am usually ready to come back and find all the little details I missed the first time around and the story truly comes to life as I add more dimensions to the characters and take the time to focus on their journey and what motivates them to go on it in the first place.

I save this task for last, because if I started here, I would be right where I was in middle school. I love the details. I mean, I really LOVE the details…but they’re time-consuming and can be extremely distracting. I could literally get lost in them and if I didn’t already have a course mapped out for myself I would probably never reach my destination.

And I have to say, reaching that destination is pretty freaking awesome!

Inspiration, Country Girls and Wildflowers by Karina Gioertz

I remember sitting in the car, driving along a back road somewhere in the outskirts of Sacramento, when the song ‘She’s Country’ by Jason Aldean began to play on the radio. Instantly I began to groove along to the beat, fully feeling my inner ‘country’ and thinking about a life long lost. A life of riding my horse at full speed and feeling the air across my face as she flies through the fields. Of driving my truck over dirt roads with the windows down, radio blaring and a full load of hay in the back. Of wearing holey jeans and dirty boots and trading make up for a permanent tan that stemmed from actual sunlight. A life in which doing manual labor was something you took pride in and getting dirty wasn’t anything you shied away from. I loved that life. There are days I wonder about the choices I made that took me away from it, so it was in that moment, sitting in that car and listening to that song, that I decided it was time to go back. And since I couldn’t literally go back, I would do it through my writing.

Almost instantly the characters came to life inside my mind. I knew immediately that the story would be centered around women. Strong women. Sisters. I could see them, hear them, knew them inside and out, without really knowing why. But I knew I wanted to find out. I was completely energized with the excitement of this new idea and it wasn’t too long before I had come up with the key points of my story and was ready to begin the journey of writing it.

‘Country Girls’ literally just flowed right out of me. I loved figuring out the intricate details of my characters and what made them the way that they were. Having already figured out the mess they would make beforehand, I enjoyed the challenge of then having to figure out how they would clean it up after. In the end, it wasn’t until the final pages that I truly got stuck. Finding a happily ever after that was not only true to the story and the characters but would also offer the readers the closure I wanted them to feel, was harder than I had anticipated. After several different drafts, I eventually found my final sentences. I felt overwhelmed as I typed out those final words and was elated knowing that I had gotten there at last.

My point is, that inspiration can come from anywhere. A song, a dream…or in the case of my most recent project ‘Blood Bound’, watching so many movies with the same different actors you begin to think you see a family resemblance between them…I know, it makes no sense, I’ll elaborate some other time 😉

Anyway, I’ve collected my share of seedlings over the years, little ideas that could turn into bigger ideas. I write them all down in various notebooks and when I’m ready I go back to them. But, my favorite ideas are those that hit you with such a force that you can’t wait to plant that seed and watch it grow, because in your mind you’re already picturing it in full bloom. That’s what ‘Country Girls’ was for me. Not a seedling, but a Wildflower that had already blossomed.

Free Book Promo Success by Karina Gioertz

After recently having two very successful Free Promotion Weekends through KDP Select I am here to fill everyone in on how it went and what I did to prepare beforehand 🙂
My goal in terms of downloads was 10,000 and I am thrilled to say that I was able to surpass that number both times (The second time, I managed to double it!!) . This meant that I not only made it into the top 100 free in the Kindle Store, but that I made it into the top 10 and maintained my position there all weekend. I also landed in the top 10 of my category (Contemporary Fiction), making it as high as #3 at one point, and stayed there until Sunday night when the promo ended.
I also experienced some unexpected bonuses, such as an increase in ‘likes’ and a new review the first day the Promo started. That was just on Amazon. When I checked Goodreads, I found that the list of people intending to read my novels had nearly tripled, plus I received several new ratings just during the days it was free.
Since then I have also seen a very noticeable spike in sales! Who wouldn’t be happy with that?!
So, want to know how I did it? I’ll tell ya 🙂
About two weeks ahead of time, I submitted my novel to these sites:
Books On The Knob https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHI3UVVZdTZkWUo3d2w3aDExbXk5MEE6MQ#gid=0
Centsible E-Reads http://www.centsibleereads.com/p/for-authors.html
Free Booksy http://www.freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions
Frugal Reader Freebie Page http://thefrugalereader.wufoo.com/forms/frugal-freebie-submissions/
Pixel Of Ink http://www.pixelofink.com/sfkb/
Free Kindle Books And Tips (They require an average user rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars for consideration) http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/for-authors/
From then on, I continued working my way down the list…
eReader News Today http://ereadernewstoday.com/ent-free-book-submissions/
Bargain eBook Hunter http://bargainebookhunter.com/feature-your-book/
Kindle Book Review http://form.jotformpro.com/form/21078469493969
Ebook Deal of the Day http://ebookdealofday.com/contact/
Book Goodies (also offer great additional services to authors!) http://bookgoodies.com/submit-your-free-kindle-days/
Digital Ink Spot http://thedigitalinkspot.blogspot.com/p/contact-us.html
FreeKindBooks http://freekindbooks.com/author-submissions/
Kindle Boards http://www.kindleboards.com/free-book-promo/
Free Kindle Fiction http://freekindlefiction.blogspot.com.au/p/tell-us-about-free-books.html
That Book Place http://www.thatbookplace.com/free-promo-submissions/
Free Book Dude (another great site offering support for Indie Authors) http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html
ebook Lister http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php
Book Basset http://www.bookbasset.com/contact/
eReader IQ http://www.ereaderiq.com/contact/
One Hundred Free Books http://onehundredfreebooks.com/contact.html
Free Books Daily http://www.freeebooksdaily.com/p/contact.html
KindleMojo http://www.kindlemojo.com/contact-info/
Indie Book Promo http://www.indiebookpromo.com/submit-to-ibp-3/
Frugal Freebies http://www.frugal-freebies.com/p/free-kindle-books.html
Cheap.net http://the-cheap.net/authors/free-promotion-opportunities/share-your-deal/
Awesome Gang http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
Best eBook Reader http://bestebookreaderlovers.com/kindle-authors-how-to-promote-your-book/
Just Kindle Books http://www.justkindlebooks.com/submit-your-book/
My Book And My Coffee http://www.mybookandmycoffee.com/2012/08/free-ebook-feature-not-so-secret-emails.html

Don’t want to commit that much time or didn’t plan ahead? Go here – Author Marketing Club http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/ and simply fill out the forms below to submit to several of the sites listed above all in one nifty place. When you’re done with that, check out the site! They offer quite a bit more than just the free listings…
On the Thursday before the promo started, I visited the Indies Unlimited site @ http://www.indiesunlimited.com/ and submitted my book for the “Freebie Friday Ramp-Up.”
Then, on the day of, I listed the novel on Snicklist, Kindleboards and World Literary Cafe, as well as several Facebook groups I’m a part of. I also sent tweets about my Free Promo to all these People ~
@kindlenews
@freeebookdeal
@IndieKindle
@WLCPromotions
@DigitalBkToday
@kindleebooks
@Kindlestuff
@KindleEbooksUK
@KindleBookKing
@KindleFreeBook
@free
@free_kindle
@FreeReadFeed
@freebookdude
@4FreeKindleBook
@FreeKindleStuff
@KindleUpdates
@ebook
@Bookyrnextread
@Kindlestuff
@KindleBookKing
@Booksontheknob
@Kindle_promo
@IndAuthorSucess
@CheapKindleDly
@KindleDaily
They say that hourly tweets during the promo are best, but who has that kind of time?! I don’t. So, I used a scheduling service like Twuffer.com and spent the days before the weekend preparing my tweets. I made sure to include hashtags like #Free #KindleFreebie and #FreeKindleBook, to name a few…you get the idea.
So, yeah…that’s pretty much it. All of the marketing was completely free and only cost me my time, which was certainly valuable since it was time I could have spent writing, but given the outcome, I think it was well worth spending 🙂
~Karina