Saturday Snippet – Catherine Culpepper

The following is a rough draft of my current work-in-progress, The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal. Catherine Culpepper is nineteen years old, and her rich father, Lord Thomas Culpepper the baron of Thoresway, has just died. For two decades, he had been living in London with his mistress and had left everything to the mistress in his will, but Catherine’s mother had the will suppressed. This scene takes place at the probate hearing at Westminster.  Thanks to her mother, Margaretta, and her uncle Alex, Catherine inherited nearly everything.

We’ll make due with a painting of Catherine until I can get a proper book cover made. 🙂

LadyCatherine

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When the proceedings ended in Catherine’s favor, Margaretta and Alex attempted to whisk Catherine from the courtroom, but they were met at the door by a crowd of enthusiastic well-wishers and more than a few gentlemen of questionable intentions. Catherine had just inherited more wealth than she could ever dream of. Not only was she now the sole owner of Leeds Castle, she also held manors and lands in Sussex and Essex, and was one-sixth owner of the proprietorship of the Virginia Colony. The crowd’s din grew as they attempted to get closer to the wealthy heiress. Pushing and shoving toward her, people reached out to touch her, to take her hand, to gain her attention and her favor. When the family emerged from Westminster, Alex hailed their coach, but when he turned back for Margaretta and Catherine, they had been separated from him by a sea of bodies. Margaretta reached for her daughter’s hand to pull her through the crowd, but their fingers were inches away from each other’s as Catherine was pushed back by the crowd, away from the protection of her mother and their waiting carriage.

“Catherine!” Margaretta called.

Catherine heard her mother’s call but couldn’t see her over the heads of the people surrounding her. She attempted to turn, but a growing throng of people blocked her way. Someone was standing on the hem of her gown, stifling her movement, lest she rip her skirts. Her mother called for her a second time. Her heart began pounding as she heard the panic in her mother’s voice and suddenly realized she might be in a dangerous situation. The crowd was growing riotous, pulling at Catherine’s clothing and her hair. Her honey-colored curls fell to her shoulders as her hairpin was snatched from her head, taking with it a handful of hair. She cried out for her mother, for her uncle, for anyone to save her from the melee. It was then that she felt a strong arm around her waist and another under the back of her legs.

“I’ve got you,” he whispered in her ear.

She was scooped into the arms of a savior. She buried her face into his shoulder as he pushed his way through the crowd toward the waiting carriage. When she was gently placed onto the seat in the carriage, she smoothed her hair from her face and lifted her eyes to look at her uncle. But her savior wasn’t Uncle Alex.

Before her stood a striking man whose brown eyes bore into her own, his dark curls falling over his brow, his full lips begging to be touched. Their eyes locked as if time stood still. He then nodded to her and quickly closed the carriage door, disappearing into the crowd.

Uncle Alex yelled for the driver to make haste, and the carriage sped away from the scene, the wheels bouncing on the rough cobblestone street.

 

New Release and a FREE Book!

Culpepper4The fourth book in the Culpepper Saga – Culpepper’s Rebellion – is here!!!! You can pick it up at Amazon by clicking HERE. If you haven’t yet read any of the Culpepper Saga, you can pick up the first book – I, John Culpepper – for FREE through November 4th by clicking HERE. The four books are the continuing story of the life of John Culpepper, the patriarch of the modern-day American Culpeppers, from his birth in 1606 in England to the end of his life in 1680 in Colonial Virginia. Check out the book blurbs below.

Culpepper_1I, John Culpepper

John Culpepper was born into a privileged childhood, surrounded by abundant wealth, vast land holdings, and stately English manors. As he grew, he was expected to follow family tradition—attend law school and serve in Parliament, following which he would retire to a quiet life as a country gentleman.

John, however, had different desires. He longed to captain a mighty ship, to hear the snap of the sails, to taste the salty spray on his lips. To follow his dreams, John would have to risk being disinherited by his unyielding father. He would have to defy family convention. He would ultimately be forced to choose between the woman he loved and his mistress—the sea.

The Merchant ebookJohn Culpepper the Merchant

For hundreds of years, the Culpepper family backed the monarchy, but when King Charles disbanded Parliament, married a Catholic princess, and appointed an archbishop who was a Catholic supporter, the royalist Culpeppers found themselves at odds with their friends and neighbors.

Years earlier, against his family’s wishes, John had purchased a merchant ship, sailed to Virginia, and spent most of his time there. While on American soil, he received word of the uprisings that followed the king’s actions.

When civil war began, John feared for the safety of his family in England. He was horrified when the king was captured, convicted of high treason, and beheaded. Would John’s family be next? The only way to rescue them would be with his ship, under the cloak of darkness. Would he succeed, or would they all be caught and tried as traitors?

JC Esquire (1)John Culpepper, Esquire

John Culpepper was a prominent figure in colonial Virginia, a merchant in Jamestown for two decades and a resident since the disastrous civil war that shook England to its core. The Culpepper family, decimated by the war, had known great defeat, but none as heartbreaking as the tragic event that abruptly left John in the position of family patriarch.

He struggled with this newly acquired role, marrying off his nieces to eligible colonialists, sending some of the boys back to England, purchasing a ship for his sons against their mother’s wishes.

Upon the collapse of the English Commonwealth, members of John’s family escorted the exiled prince back to London to be crowned as King Charles II. Would the Culpepper family finally reclaim the power and prestige it had once possessed? And how would John hold his family together on two continents?

Culpepper4Culpepper’s Rebellion

John Culpepper thought he had done right by his family when he married off his niece to his childhood friend, Sir William Berkeley, the governor of Virginia. When his cousin Nathaniel Bacon appeared and began an uprising against Berkeley, John was caught in the middle. He did everything in his power to advise his friend, protect his niece, and honor the crown.

He was unaware that during Bacon’s rebellion, his own son was planning a rebellion in Carolina. John had spent most of his life defying his father and the status quo, but when his son was arrested and charged with treason, he was forced to examine every idea he held about his life and his past. The legal training John had rebelled against in his youth would now be the only thing standing between his son’s life and death.

 

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Where does your book belong?

Incognito-silhouette-150x150So, what’s the deal with the genres Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense??

Most readers don’t know the difference, but if you’re trying to place your book in the best genre to find the perfect readership, a writer should know the difference. The difference depends on if the reader knows what’s going on in advance and which character is telling the story. There is also some vague talk in the industry about pacing playing a role. Some say a thriller moves at a faster pace and a suspense novel moves at a slower pace.

Mystery – A mystery is a story where the reader finds out what’s going on at the same time as the character. Sherlock Holmes knows he has dead bodies piling up but doesn’t know who the murderer is. The reader can decipher the clues as the Sherlock uncovers them.

Thriller – In a thriller, the reader already knows whodunit and is merely along for the ride. If a story is about Jack the Ripper, the reader already knows what is going to happen and who is responsible, and in the story, the reader lives in the moment with either Jack or the one chasing him. If the story is told from the victim’s point of view, it could be categorized as Suspense (see below) because they know something is going to happen, but don’t know what it is. (One can usually recognize suspense by the ominous music in the background. LOL).

Suspense – The reader knows something is going to happen and perhaps knows who will do the deed, but something is unknown. Either the character doesn’t know it’s coming, or the reader doesn’t know the specifics of what, when, who, or how and is turning pages to find out. The reader may witness a person setting a bomb with a timer, but the characters don’t know they’re about to get blown to smithereens in ten minutes. In the above example about Jack, the reader will know Jack is heading toward the victim, but the victim is oblivious, or the victim will know someone is chasing them, but they don’t know who it is.

So, Jack’s story can be a Thriller or Suspense? Yes.

Often the categories will overlap. If there are scenes of suspense where the victim doesn’t know what’s coming, it could be categorized as Thriller/Suspense. If Sherlock’s story revealed the killer to the reader in the beginning and Sherlock was simply chasing him, it could be Mystery/Thriller. Generally, if the work falls into more than one of the above categories, a writer should narrow it down to two. A work of Mystery/Thriller/Suspense will only get lost in the shuffle. Narrow it down as much as you can.

small_moving_boxesBottom line – Don’t fret too much about genre. If it’s a good story, readers will find it and buy it. It doesn’t matter what box the bookstore wants to put it in.

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Audiobooks = press play

TESTING 1,2,3…AUDIOBOOKS
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The first thing you need to look at when considering making an audiobook are the numbers. The Audio Publishers Association reported $800 million in audiobook sales in 2011. The number grew to $1 billion in 2012 and $1.2 billion in 2013. Yes, that’s billion, with a B. Goodereader.com said the audiobook industry was worth over $2 billion in 2014. I haven’t seen any numbers for 2015 yet, but there should be a little bit in there for you.
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Now that I have your attention, let’s create an audiobook. The process of creating an audiobook is completely painless at ACX. This post isn’t a commercial for ACX, but I’ve used them a couple times now, and they are author-friendly. ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is the company that links authors with narrators and distributes to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.
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Your first step in creating an audiobook is to create an account at ACX.com, and then you can listen to some narrators by gender, accent, and style.
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downloadHIRE A NARRATOR
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Once you’re ready to go, you need to hire a narrator. You can narrate yourself, but it you don’t have recording equipment and lots of practice in front of a mic or lots of money to spend in a recording studio, it is a million times easier and faster to hire a professional.
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To find the perfect narrator, just upload a section of your book to ACX and invite auditions. Of course, you can email the actors you listened to when you first signed on. Make sure your uploaded section contains some dialog and maybe some drama in it. You want to hear the range of the narrator. Be ready to move forward quickly because you’ll get auditions almost immediately. Send each narrator a note of thanks for taking the time to audition your sample – whether you hire them or not. It takes a lot of time to record, master, and upload your sample, and they’re doing it for FREE.
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Once you choose a narrator, you then offer them a deal.
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6a00d8341bf73153ef0105359fa532970c-800wi“SO, HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST ME?”
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Narrators charge anywhere from $100 to $300 per finished hour. This is called a “pay-for-production” deal. Example: If you’re book is 50k words, that’s about 6 hours finished, so the finished cost will be between $600 and $1800. Some narrators opt to do a 50/50 “royalty-share” instead. That’s 50% of your royalties for 10 years with no money up front.
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Take a moment and do the math so you know how many audiobooks you need to sell to break even. ACX sets your price by the length, and the above 6-hour book example would sell for roughly $19.95. The longer the book, the higher the selling price. The shorter, the lower. Read further to find out your share. The range of Audible pricing is 1-3 hours $7-10, 3-5 hours $10-20, 5-10 hours $15-25, 10-20 hours $20-30. Here’s another fun fact: If your book is purchased by a new Audible member as their first download, you get a $50 bounty. That’s fun!
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distributionDISTRIBUTION
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ACX will offer you two distribution options. 1) 40% royalties for an exclusive distribution deal. This is a seven-year contract and you are not allowed to sell the audiobooks yourself to anyone at any time through any avenue in any format (digital, CD, audio tape) during that time. OR 2) 25% royalties for an non-exclusive deal, and you can sell them anywhere you want. ACX distributes to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, so I don’t know where else you’d want to sell them, unless you want to have them pressed and sell them out of your trunk. But keep in mind, according to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobooks that were downloaded through a website instead of bought on CD in 2009 were 29%, 36% in 2010, and 46% in 2011, and growing, so there may not be any good reason to press your audiobook.
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If your narrator costs $250 per finished hour and your book is 6 hours long, it will cost you $1500 for a pay-for-production deal. If you go with exclusive distribution and are making 40% of the $19.95 sale price, you would need to sell a couple hundred copies to break even. One note here: Audible members which are a huge chunk of your sales pay about half price, so your royalty income and break even number would need to be adjusted for those sales. You’d need to sell about 400 copies to only Audible members to break even. A majority of buyers on Audible are members.
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If you choose the “royalty share” option with your narrator, you would NOT need to pay the $1500 up front, but you would split the royalties 50/50 and only make $4 per copy sold for the next 10 years, and $2 for an Audible member sale.
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So, figure out how long your book will be (roughly 8500 words per finished hour) and how many copies you need to sell before you step up to the plate and ask for auditions and negotiate fees.
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Once you decide on your narrator, make a price/payment deal with them, and choose your ACX distribution option, you’ll need to upload your entire book and give the narrator some deadlines. There will be two deadlines: one for your narrator to upload the first 15 minutes for you to approve and one for the whole project to be completed. If your narrator isn’t too busy, they can have the first 15 minutes to you within a few days and the book completed within a month. They will upload each chapter to ACX as it is recorded, so you can listen to each chapter as it is uploaded and send a message to correct anything you’d like corrected. Be specific about the pronunciation of any strange names or titles up front in the process to avoid later corrections. My book Okatibbee Creek is pronounced Oh-kuh-TIB-bee. That makes it easier.
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When the recording is finished and all chapters are uploaded, you’ll need to approve the recording. Your narrator will then send you a bill if you opted for the pay-for-production deal. If you opted for the royalty-share deal, this step will be omitted. Once you pay your narrator, he/she will let ACX know your audiobook is approved for sale.
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ACX will then take 2-3 weeks to get your audiobook live on the sites. So, the whole process should take about eight weeks. If you opt for a pay-for-production deal, save your pennies first. Do not make the narrator wait to get paid.
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Note
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The size of your cover needs to be adjusted for an audiobook to a square CD shape. You cannot use your ebook cover. Here’s the original ebook cover for Okatibbee Creek and the resized audiobook cover. The needed dimensions can be found on the ACX website.
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okatibbee creek cover front JPEG
okatibbee audio
Note 2
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I don’t know if they always do it, but Audible sent me 25 free download codes to give away. For the above example 6-hour book, that’s $500 worth of freebies, so while you’re waiting for your project to be completed, think of some creative ways to market and give those copies away. Some authors swear by audiobook sales. Give it a shot!
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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

4 Ways to Create a Catchy Blog Title

catchy titles-resized-600The first thing that catches someone’s eye in the blogosphere is a snappy title. Writing the title for your blog shouldn’t be an exercise in wittiness. It should tell people what they will find if they click.

4 Ways to Create a Catchy Blog Title

  • Your title should tell the reader exactly what to expect. What did you expect when you opened this blog? Yep, 4 ways to create a catchy blog title. The name says it all. A bad example of a title is “Fiction 101.” Yuck, boring, not enough information. A good title is “3 Ways to Make your Fiction Come to Life.” If you’re a fiction writer, wouldn’t you like to read that blog? Do you know why? Because it offers a service, an insight, some expertise.
  • How about numbers? Try this: “8 Haunted Places in Detroit” or “5 Ways to Get Your Husband off the Couch.” People like numbers!
  • Rock the adjectives! “Catchy Blog Titles” is better than “Blog Titles.” Try adjectives people are attracted to: Free, Fun, Incredible, Effortless, Secret.
  • Try something outlandish. I like mixing opposites or writing something one would never, ever actually do. “Fuzzy Bunnies are Smug,” “The Graceful Klutz,” “Shampoo your Lion’s Mane in 20 Minutes Without Getting Bitten.”

Recapping:

1. Say exactly what your blog is about.

2. Try a number.

3. Add an adjective.

4. Try something crazy.

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Creating a Live Twitter Event

images (1)

Ever consider doing a live Twitter chat? It’s a great way for your fans to connect with you. If you don’t yet have fans, it’s a great way to get some!

If you have a large following, you can probably do a one-hour Twitter chat all by yourself. Most of us are not so lucky and need to enlist the help of our author friends.

SETTING IT UP

Ask four or five author friends to join you.

Choose a day that is not a holiday or a sporting event day.

Choose an hour to do the chat. When promoting, always include the time zone (example: 4-5pm Eastern).

Choose an appropriate hashtag for the event. Hint: If including the live chat with a book tour, perhaps use the name of your book. If you’re considering doing a monthly or weekly chat, use something that you’ll be chatting about. If your monthly topic is about you and your friends who are all indie authors, maybe something like #indieswrite would work. Make it short and specifically on topic.

Choose a name for your chat. “Indies Go Global” “You Too Can Write” “Thrillers for Chickens” “Cute Boys who Write” Your choice!

Now, go to Tweetchat.com and register your time, day, name, and hashtag. It sometimes takes them two weeks to register your chat and put it on their calendar, so plan in advance. If you’re doing a recurring chat, they will put that on the calendar also.

Tweetchat.com is a live Twitter feed that only shows the hashtag you are following at that moment. You won’t have to wade through a million posts to follow the conversation. Tweetchat also automatically includes your hashtag in your comments, so you don’t have to remember to do so with each comment.

images (2)PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Keep in mind, Twitter only allows 140-character comments, so you should plan your comments in advance.

Pre-write a welcome to your guests in Word, so you can simply copy and paste.

Offer your author friends a chance to introduce themselves, their genres, their titles. Even if the chat is about your book, guests still like to see that you have a lot of cool author friends. Ask each other questions about books or writing process. You can also plan these in advance.

At the end of the chat, offer your author friends a chance to post where guests can find more information about them.

The most important part is: Plan specific questions for you and your author friends. Email them to your author friends and give them ample time to create 140-character answers. After everyone answers a question at the chat, discuss the topic among yourselves. Your guests will start chiming in. Leave your answers open-ended. “Don’t you think a hatchet is scarier than an ax?”

Include your guests in the conversation.

Don’t be afraid to re-tweet comments. This will bring in other guests from Twitter who didn’t know the event was happening. If everyone tweets enough, you may even “trend” on the front page of Twitter and attract an even larger audience. Cool!

If none of your guests enter the conversation, that’s okay. They’re still watching, so keep it lively for them.

twitbirdPROMOTING

Promote the event on Twitter, your blog, your website, Facebook, everywhere.

Create an event on Facebook and invite all your friends. (On the left side of your Facebook newsfeed is a button that says “Create Event.” Use it. On the top of the pop-up box, you can change the event from Private to Public. )

Tell people the day, time (with time zone), hashtag, and topic. Invite them to join you on Tweetchat.com. Create a link. Don’t make them go looking for it. Explain that Tweetchat is a live Twitter feed that only includes the hashtag you’re currently following.

If you’re using the chat as part of a book tour, do the chat toward the end of the tour. That gives you plenty of time to promote that hashtag at every stop!

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

What Type of Editing do I Need?

Types of Editing

pencil-1979pxWhat Type of Editing Do I Need?

If you’re an author, you’ve undoubtedly heard someone along the way say something about getting an editor. You may have a sneaking suspicion that your work could probably use a little polishing. Are there paragraphs that just don’t feel right? Parts of the story line that feel rushed or too slow? Did you get a C in high-school English? Yes, you need an editor. Depending on your writing experience, you can use one or all four edits on your book, and those edits can be done by one person or four different people. Stephen King has an editor, you should too.

So, what are the different kinds of editing available and which do you need? Here’s a breakdown of editor services.

Developmental Editing

When you are stuck anywhere in a story, whether you are at the initial stages of creating an outline, or you are at the end of writing the rough draft, but the pieces aren’t lining up, you need a developmental edit. A developmental editor will review the whole story for you and tell you where there are holes in your plot, where your characters aren’t developed, where you’ve left story lines dangling with no conclusions. They will make suggestions on where and how to fix your story. In short, a developmental editor will help you develop your story.

Substantive Editing

When you are finished with your manuscript, you may consider a substantive edit. An editor will help you put your story into its final form. They may change points of view, look for inconsistencies in your character’s behavior, rearrange your paragraphs, and rework your dialog. You want your story and your characters to be believable. This is the outcome of a good substantive edit.

Copyediting

Once you’ve completed your “final” manuscript, you want to have an editor do a copyedit. A copy editor will read each sentence and fix grammar, punctuation, spelling, and voice. If you give them enough latitude, they will rework tangled sentences and paragraphs. They will also check your captions and footnotes for accuracy against your text. You may get the work back with ideas to improve or delete parts of your work. Your book should be close to finished after this step.

Proofreading

Proofreading is the final step in editing. When you a sure your work is finished, a proofreader will go over your manuscript one sentence, one word, one comma at a time and make sure it is all correct. If you have photos or charts, they will also review those. They will correct any errors overlooked in the copyedit. They will also check all elements of design, including headers, font styles, and page numbers.

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Rocking Your “About” Page

vintage-hand-about-meSo, you’ve started a blog. Good for you!

What did you write on your “About” page? A lot of people write a simple bio, then walk away and never touch it again.

Yikes! Don’t do that!

Your “About” page is the most important post on your blog.

It tells a reader who you are and what you’re about, and most of all, WHY THEY SHOULD READ YOUR BLOG. Most people will check out your “About” page before they get two or three blogs into your site, because your “About” page lets them know instantly if they’d like to find out more about you and if they’d like to spend more time on your blog. Think of it as an introduction to a new friend at a party. Do you simply say “Hi” and walk away? No, of course not. You chit chat. You let your new friend know a bit about yourself. In your introductory conversation, they will find out if you have anything in common, if you’re an expert on a topic they find interesting, and if you will grow to be friends. This is the goal of your “About” page.

3 ways to make a better “About” page!

  • Add a photo! Nothing connects people more than being able to put a face to a name.
  • Write your “About” page as if you’re writing a blog post. Make it interesting, funny, or serious, however you normally write on your blog. If there’s one thing that bores everyone to death, it’s “I was born in Little Rock and I have two dogs.” Snoozer! That does not tell us why we should read your blog and does not entice us to come back again later.
  • Update your “About” page periodically. If you have a new picture taken, put it on there. If you have recently moved to Uganda, tell us all the wonderful things you’re going to post about Uganda. Got a new giraffe? We want to know!

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Release Day for John Culpepper, Esquire!!

JC Esquire (1)Today is the release day for my new book, John Culpepper, Esquire!  It is the third in the Culpepper Saga, but is also a stand-alone story. The saga is the life story of the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers and my 10th great-grandfather.

The first book, I, John Culpepper, (on sale for $0.99 through 7/28) tells the story of John’s childhood in England, growing up with a wretched father whom he didn’t see eye to eye with. John always wanted to sail a ship but his father demanded he go to law school or face being disowned.

The second book, John Culpepper the Merchant, continues the tale as John tries to run his merchant business and raise his family while his homeland descends into a bloody and deadly civil war. By the end of the war, John’s ship is the only rescue for his family, now considered traitors.

In this third book, John finally gets his family to safety in Virginia, but their new start isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here’s the synopsis:

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John Culpepper was a prominent figure in colonial Virginia, a merchant in Jamestown for two decades and a resident since the disastrous civil war that shook England to its core. The Culpepper family, decimated by the war, had known great defeat, but none as heartbreaking as the tragic event that abruptly left John in the position of family patriarch.

He struggled with this newly acquired role, marrying off his nieces to eligible colonialists, sending some of the boys back to England, purchasing a ship for his sons against their mother’s wishes.

Upon the collapse of the English Commonwealth, members of John’s family escorted the exiled prince back to London to be crowned as King Charles II. Would the Culpepper family finally reclaim the power and prestige it had once possessed? And how would John hold his family together on two continents?

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The fourth book in the series, Culpepper’s Rebellion, will take John down a horrible and desperate road, where the law training he despised so much in his youth becomes the only thing standing between his youngest son’s life and death. It will be released in late October 2015.

There will also be a subsequent Culpepper book that is not part of the saga, but will refer back to the characters. The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal will be released in early 2016.

The Merchant ebookLadyCatherineJC Esquire (1)

culpepper saga-001Thomas_Fairfax 5th baron of cameron, catherine culpeppers husbandCulpepper4Culpepper_1

Starting an Author Blog

i-blog-therefore-i-am (cartoon by brajeshwar.com)

So, you’ve spent months or even years writing and perfecting your book and you’ve put it out there for all the world to see. Now the real work begins! You need to find your audience.

One part of finding an audience, what we love to call “building a platform,” is becoming an expert in your field and attracting readers. One way you do that is to create a blog to support your work.

Do you need a blog? Yes. When should you begin? Yesterday.

REASONS TO HAVE A BLOG

  • You’ll network with 1) other writers, 2) other people interested in your topic, 3) potential book buyers, 4) and believe it or not, you may actually cultivate some great friendships. I’ve never met a blogger who didn’t have a few very dear friends they met while blogging.
  • You can link your blog to your Twitter and Facebook to instantly notify people when you’ve posted a blog. That makes one less Tweet and one less Facebook post you have to make!
  • If you’re a non-fiction writer, you can’t afford to NOT have a blog. You have to establish your credibility for anyone to take you seriously and buy your book. For fiction authors, you need to find readers interested in your topic.

WHERE SHOULD YOU BLOG?

You can set up a free blog account here at WordPress.com or at Blogger.com. Typically, WordPress is used by bloggers in America and Blogger is used by the Brits, but there are no rules, so choose the one you like best. There is also WordPress.org which has more options available for your page, but requires you to own your own domain name (more on that below). If you plan on growing ridiculously big, WordPress.org may be a better choice for you. Here’s a free step-by-step tutorial at About.com on how to set up a WordPress.com blog.

imagesNOW, STRUT YOUR STUFF!

1. Decide on your content. You can always go left and post about the neighbor’s dog, but you need to mainly focus on one subject. Many writers blog about writing, and those sites are a dime-a-dozen, so pick something you’re passionate about. History? Spaceships? Hot Romances? Whatever it is, you’ll attract many people who are also passionate about it too. And, I HAVE seen blogs written by dogs – quite entertaining posts over at Wiley’s Wisdom.

2. Choose a name. Hmmm. You’ll have to give this one some thought. “John Doe Author”? Sure, that’ll work, but you may be able to come up with something better if you give it some thought. You can use the free name provided by the blog site, such as JohnDoe.wordpress.com or you can purchase a domain name such as JohnDoe.com. Domain names will cost you a yearly fee and often look like websites, but if you have both a website AND a blog, you can double your audience, then again, you must maintain both. Websites tend to be more static, whereas blogs change almost daily.

3. Now, the most important thing about blogging is to post blogs on a regular schedule, so plan your blogging schedule right now. Once per week is okay to start, but you’ll eventually want to increase your postings. One blog per day is great! You can try different topics on different days like Manic Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Sunday Snippets. Personally, I change my schedule as I feel the need. I currently do books I’m reading on Mondays, ancestors on Thursdays, and snippets and characters from my books on Saturdays, but in August, I’m not doing books anymore, I’m concentrating on these “Wednesday Writer’s Corner” blogs. You can always write blogs ahead of time and save them as drafts, then you can post them at a later date. You’ll see that option (on wordpress) on the writing page. You can either “publish now” or “schedule for later.”

4. To make your blog look more inviting, limit your posts to less than 1000 words. 500-700 is perfect. Add a few photos, make your headings in bold, and leave lots of white space. Most people scan, not read, while on the Internet, so give them what they want. Let them scan the photos, the bold headings, and decide if they want to stay and read the post.

5. Now go make friends. Search the site for topics you’re interested in and also ones you’re blogging about. Like posts, follow other bloggers. Bloggers are a friendly bunch and will most often follow you back. Search for a monthly blog challenge and try it. Other people doing the same challenge will drop by and often like your page – another good way to make friends.

If you create a blog here on WordPress, let me know and I’ll be happy to follow you! 🙂

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.