Thursday, October 23, 2008

I am out of the office!!!



It has been a very busy and stressful few weeks for me. I have worked diligently to bring as much helpful and insightful information as I could to my fellow author. I hope my posts have helped many of you find your way closer towards obtaining your publishing and marketing goals. And I am happy to say, it's time for a break!!! I am going to be "out of the office" until Tuesday, October 28th. I am heading to the coast--Port Isabell/S.Padre Island--for a deep sea fishin' adventure with my family.

This will be the first time my father Robert...my two brothers, Joe & Ralph...my nephew Chris...cousins Johnny Creek, Cruz and "Little" Paul...will fish together, especially a deep sea fishin' trip. Also coming with us are some very special friends...the kind of friends that are good enough to call family.... My long time friend Jeff Sneed... my fellow brother from the Marine Corps, Manny Loya...my brother Ralph's best friend Phillip...and a friend of the family who has been around as long as I have lived...Kevin Queppet.

I can't wait to get on the road tonight...and watch the sun come up to our East as we pass the Corpus Cristi area...heading southbound towards the Rio Grande Valley...

I will be sure to share some pics...and videos of this adventure when I return...

Until then...happy writing...happy reading...

~Bobby






Wednesday, October 22, 2008

GREAT post and feedback for (effectively) promoting your book online...

If you are serious about promoting your work online...take a look at (social media and technology guru) Chris Brogan's latest string (which is still going by the way...): "Promoting Your Book Online."

If you ever wondered...how do some writer's market more effectively than others? And why, if I am trying everything I can to gain exposure, does it seem like some writer's move more quickly up the ladder of success than me??? Well, fear not! You are not alone. Everyone feels that way...including me...and even those who are, well, up the ladder...

Check out Chris Brogan's post on book promotion (title URL above) and read the comments...and learn from those who have been there...and those who are still trying... Be sure to offer your feedback...because that (in the end) is how we learn...grow...and progress...towards success!!!



~Bobby Ozuna

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Marketing 101"--Turn your book cover into a 3-Dimensional image

Add a 3-dimension look to your book's cover art...

Another way to add more flare to your book's online appearance is to create a 3-dimensional "box" cover. There are various vendors who offer products to produce such a look and they retail anywhere from $24.99 to $99.99 (and up depending upon your desire to create 3-dimensional videos that accompany your books image).  You can also hire a graphic artist to produce your book's 3-dimension look for a nominal fee. Do a Google Search for graphic artists...that's a good starting point... 


*Disclaimer*

It's a great way to promote your book's cover image, but can be cost (in-effective) when considering you may only have one book cover and the cost of such applications do not justify the return for making one image for your single title. Something to think about...

The idea is to create a virtual image of your book that gives your novel a living impression online. Anyone can create a book cover in standard dimensional rates--as they are all over the Internet. But the idea of presentation--and the fact [that] you care enough about your product to go the extra mile--speaks a lot about how much you believe in your finished product.




I have compiled a quick list of vendors and applications below; some I have found along the way.  Again, they are not cheap. I have learned a lot about Adobe Creative Suite these past few years so I was able to compile the images on this blog using what I have learned at home. I think it's a great way to promote your book's cover (front and back) in a manner that sets your work apart from others...

Each of the box shot (application) vendors will require a front, back and spine image to complete. If you created your own book cover, you should have those files on hand and ready to use. You will want to use the highest resolution (quality) you can.  


Read the note below about my new graphic design SERVICE I am offering other independent authors. If you want to see your book cover turned into a 3-Dimensional image, please, continue reading...


*TruBoxShot Cover Editor 
*Insofta Cover Commander
*3D Box Shot Maker
*533 Soft Box Shot Maker

***********************************************************************
If you are interested in hiring my services...I can create replica images as the ones I posted for Proud Souls (above)--one front and one back cover image--for as little as $20USD (total). 
Feel free to contact me here: bobby@bobbyozunaonline.com. Be sure to put "3D Box Cover" in the subject line; I will get back to you as quickly as possible to discuss payment arrangements via PayPal if you wish to hire my services.
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Best of luck to you!!!


~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"




Monday, October 20, 2008

"Project PS"--NEW Amazon Review! October 20th, 2008

Reviews are very tough to come by these days....I started out strong...then...things just dwindled away...but that's just part of the game...

I want to thank Jessie O., of Goose Creek, South Carolina for her latest review of "Proud Souls" on Amazon.com. I truly appreciate you taking the time to support my efforts as an independent author!!!

I appreciate it so much when people take it upon themselves to share their thoughts, criticisms and feedback of my work with the Amazon community. I can't stress this enough--if you did NOT like the book--that's just something I have to accept. Not every book or style is good for every style of reader. So, if you did or did not like it, I want to hear about it. I think the readers out there searching for a new book deserve to hear honest feedback, whether it's good for me or not. I have nothing to hide...

So, if you've read the book...take a moment to share your thoughts with others...naturally...it would help me because it gives my work credibility.... Click here to post a review on Amazon now...

If you haven't read it and you are interested in reading the thoughts of others...click here to read more...





Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Project PS"--NEW book formats coming soon!!!--October 20th, 2008

I am pleased to announce two new book formats for Proud Souls which I will release before the end of the year!!!

The first format which will be released in November of this year is the eBook version of Proud Souls. This download will be available for under $10USD. I should have released this format long ago, but there were many "particulars" I was not comfortable with in relation to how eBooks are released. I could have chosen from many vendors, such as the (ever-coming) popular Lulu.com, but being I have maintained my independent publishing company "in line" with the corporate giants, I felt it was imperative I released my electronic version with the same options, availability and security offered by the more established book publishers.



















Proud Souls on Amazon

The second format to be released this year will be the hardcover. I am going to offer a new cover with this format. I am working on the cover changes now and once I find the right look, feel and image, this book format will be available for the standard retail (hardcover) cost of $24.99USD.

I am also busy working on the initial production stages of creating Proud Souls as an audio book/CD. Knowing how much I hate the sound of my own voice, I am debating whether to allow a guest to read the book in its entirety. Still fumbling around with ideas...

Please stay tuned for more details...

~Bobby Ozuna

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Under the spotlight at Melly's Spot"

Recently I was interviewed by the witty, incredible and super talented Melanie Anderson, author of "Racing for the Shore" (Linden Bay Romance, LLC), among several other titles. I have to say it was a very unconventional interview I believe you will find very entertaining. I mean seriously, just imagine an interview with me and the words My Little Pony???


Click the URL above (or click here) to navigate to my latest interview. Don't forget to leave a comment!!!

Click here to subscribe to my blog, "Drawing Stories...With Words" if you haven't done so already to stay current with my latest updates on "The Other Side of Glory", blogging and marketing tips and reader interviews.


~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Drawing the Story"--October 14th, 2008

You must create a past...to understand the future...

If you have ever struggled with starting a new story and somehow get caught up in the "rules" of writing...here is some information to help push you along. You are NOT alone. Every writer--I don't care who they are or what they say--struggles to create new stories. The struggle is part of the journey that makes "The End" worth it. If you don't believe me...pass a sheet of paper along to someone and give them a pen and ask them to start writing...and see what happens. Pay close attention to the blank stares on their faces and the struggle to find any word--the first word to put on paper! It's time to step over the excuses and write...

*Disclaimer*
I do not...have not...will not...care about any writing rules at this point in a story. The beginning stages to anything you write are simply free flowing creative thought...nothing set in stone...nothing that can't be altered or changed at any time... So don't ask about an outline (what's that?) or grammatical rules or rules of structure, plot or storyline. They do NOT matter when you are writing a draft. You need to learn to free yourself from all the silly nonsense teachers, writing instructors, writing books and experts have put into your little head...and simply write. Write...write...write..

Create a past and build some history for your characters...

If you want your characters to start "talking" to you and opening themselves up within the imagiation of your mind, to help you formulate a better fictional story...well, first you have to build them a past--a history of who or what they were--in order to better understand their future.

Let's pretend you have an idea for a story. Let's also pretend the story begins with a particular character--someone you like or don't like or do or do not understand. And let's go another step further and pretend you have an "idea" (no matter how vague) for what their story will be about. (You can exclude any consideration for genre by this point, because you don't know where the story is going and to limit the storyline to a particular genre, then you are limiting your ability to create an amazing story for another rule--story genre!!! Don't do it!)
Back to what I was saying. Let's take a character...make him male..or female...whatever you choose and let's say she or he is sitting in a coffee shop or sitting in their car, parked outside a movie theater or sitting in their cubicle at work. Picture the very first image you draw(write) on paper as the opening scene to a movie. The audience (your readers) see them, sitting wherever they are sitting. Now, what from their surroundings can we the audience learn by watching their movie or reading your story???
You have to ask yourself some important questions...questions you would ask if you were watching a movie--having NEVER seen a movie trailer or heard what the movie is about. What would you ask yourself? Because what you would ask yourself...is what your readers will ask of you!
*Who are they?
*Where are they from?
*What do they look like?
*Why are they there...in your opening to the story?
*What are they waiting on?
*How did they get there?
*What is they struggling with?
*What is their name?
*Do they have a family?
*Where is there family?

This is a basic approach to how I create characters that later reveal themselves to me and introduce me to their story. Here is a test...to see if anyone is listening...
...There is a man standing on the seashore...barefoot...overlooking the waves of the ocean crashing against the surf....

Who is he?

Tell me about him here on my blog....

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know"-- October 8th, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know" is my dedication to responding to as many readers and fans as possible. I believe as a writer I owe it to the fans to make myself available, whenever they want to learn more about how I came to write the stories they love. And from an independent/self-publishing standpoint, I owe it to the countless other writers out there trying to "make it" to offer insight into my success as a self-published author, whether that be in guidance, inspiration, approach or simple tips & tricks to help them succeed.

********************************************************************************

Renee V. of Euless, Texas asked the following questions:

Q:) What inspired you to write this story?
A.) The true inspiration for this story came from the quiet of the cabin--Justin's cabin and the need to share the pattern of life in which most of us--many of us--go from a place where we give up hope and travel long and hard to return to a place in time where we believe again.

My visit to Seymour and Lake Kemp in 2003 is what triggered the emotions the audience feels so heavily in the opening chapters. The solitude of the night--off the lake, on the porch swing--are the images that forced my hand to begin writing this story. My weekend in Seymour at that cabin with my friend Ralph Ponce and his family was just what I needed to bring a balance back to my soul in relation to my writing. When I returned home with my family that Sunday night I began drafting the opening pages that once upon a time were entitled "The Cabin" and later became "Proud Souls."

Being I write all my stories free-hand first, I still own the original composition book where I wrote the entire draft for this novel. It's tattered and worn out now but soon I am going to scan some pages and post them online for my audience to view. It's amazing looking back today some five(+) years later when reading my initial thoughts on this story; the opening paragraphs are almost identical to the words in the finished (opening) chapter. I think it's cool to stare at the worn out pages--the place where a character and a story began...back in the summer of 2003...


Q:) Who or what was the inspiration for your characters?
A.) That's a very good question and I honestly don't have a direct answer. Most of my characters are symbolic of the emotions we all share as individual beings. Each of them know love, hate, lust, anger, rage, happiness, joy, loss and the feeling of accomplishment--the same as each of us reading these words on my blog--and more importantly, the same as the author. But that does not mean my characters are autobiographical in any way. In relation to Proud Souls, Justin Bower is nothing like Bobby Ozuna, although; Bobby Ozuna loves a dark corner of a bar and solitary moments with a good stout drink just the same. But I am not the only person who has moments where they feel that way. I focus a tremendous amount of energy on studying people--how they move, react to verbal and physical communication and especially the power of the unspoken word. What people do when they don't speak is more powerful than any actions they take when they do. I find the human struggle fascinating and I believe we are here to suffer...living souls entrapped within decaying bodies...and that concept contradicts the very nature of our spirits. Our spirit is what gives us the youthfulness to live, by the full meaning of the word.

In relation to my heroine, Tessa Jameson, I naturally couldn't be any part of her being she is female. But that doesn't mean as a living being I haven't felt the urge to love someone greater than myself and wish for the touch of a special someone who buckles under my fingertips. Tessa James symbolizes the ideals of unrequited love--loving someone who doesn't love us in return. She holds no prejudices to the notion she may not want the person after she obtains their heart or mind. For her, the idea of someone holding her at night is enough to wipe away the years of loss and agony and loneliness. What we see on the physical realm however is her sexual prowess. And unfortunately for her, like many of us, our earnest desire to love someone is often translated in physical form--i.e. sexually--and in small places (small business, small offices, small towns) it is interpreted as being promiscuous and ultimately misunderstood. And worse, we're often judged.

The final two characters--Reverend Hillard Ray Polk and Ralph Winslow Parison--each represent the two mental mindsets by which much of the world makes its decisions--and the author (me). Reverend Polk represents man's desire to believe in something greater--a higher spiritual power--in whichever form you choose. Ralph Winslow Parison represents the secular approach, being the physical laborer. Each one may represent an aspect of me as the author, but like most of my characters I create, they ultimately represent us all. They are not me and I am not them...but then again, I am fond of saying...I confess my sins with my characters...


Q:) How hard was it to get in touch with your feminine side in order to create such detailed descriptions for Tessa?
A.) Haha, I wasn't aware [that] I had a feminine side. But I hope I am safe in assuming I did a magnificent job with her character or you (as a female reader) wouldn't have asked about her???

Oh boy, I have to be careful with this response, because this is where, if I am not careful, my name could become synonymous with the word [Romance] as opposed to simple [literary] fiction. But here's goes nothing ladies...

My official answer: It was easy to create Tessa Jameson and hard to put her on paper. If I missed the mark in relation to creating either of my male figures within the story--Justin, Polk, Parison--it would have been perfectly acceptable. If I said something that was rude or derogatory towards any of the male characters, I would have been excused by a greater percentage of readers because the assumption would have been, it's okay, he's a man...he can say those things. But as a male author, should I misinterpret the emotional and physical embodiment of the wonderful female species, it would have been like committing literary suicide. It's the type of mistake [that] if made, could be career ending for someone like me just breaking into this business.

My trick for creating such a realistic female character (both emotionally and physically)? I used the same technique I apply with EVERY character I create...find common traits that apply to the vast "majority" and focus on them. I can't get into much more detail than that without giving away too much information or sound like a pervert...but let me say this one last thing about her Renee: I spent more time drawing her character than any other in the book--and she's not the hero of the story--but it didn't bother me. I loved every minute of it... (yes, I am smiling).


Q:) Is your next book going to be like the first? And will your next book have a romance story in it or will you go in a different direction?
A.) "Proud Souls" will be nothing like "The Other Side of Glory." I believe a writer shouldn't be limited to the [type] of work they produce. Take Stephen King for example. If you read his early works you might think he was evil and his later works might lead you to believe he is a spiritual man. I think he is neither and both. He is a writer, the same as me. "The Other Side of Glory" will follow two men, Joey Allario and Mikey Alaniz as they "come of age" within a Marine Corps setting, based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. This will NOT be a war/military story in the sense it is about bullets and storming hills but rather about life and the concept of Good and Evil.


There will be two "love" stories within this next novel (I am a sucker for a good romance story anyhow) but those stories will be seem from two different perspectives. You will have a Good character who falls in love with the idea of having a nurturing woman around and opposite that story, you will have an Evil character who does more nurturing to a battered woman. This [romantic] theme is not the basis of the entire novel--just as it wasn't for "Proud Souls"--but I believe every good story should focus on the connections between man and woman and how they affect our lives, for good or for bad.

Q:) Was this meant to be a romance story?
A.) Haha...there you go again Renee. I wasn't aware "Proud Souls" was a romance story??? But if that is what you took away from the pages, then I am content to accept that because there is a subtle romanticism to my novel. It was important as an author for me to find a different way of bringing about the "lost hero." I could have used the challange of a fight from another male, the call to arms by hoards of men around him or any other cliche means to make Justin snap out of his loss and make a decision to live or die. I felt the most important physical and emotional power in this world--the type that can alter a man's way of life, for good or bad--would be the power of a woman. But in this case, not just any woman. The woman who was going to help Justin recover such a tragic loss and come to terms with his past would HAVE to be the right woman...and for me...luckily, it came in the form of the lovely woman dubbed "town whore"...Tessa Jameson.

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If you have questions you would like to present as part of this blog, send them to: bobby@bobbyozunaonline.com with the subject line of: PS: We Wanna Know.
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I want to thank Renne V. of Euless, Texas for her very thought provoking questions. In my next blog segment of "PS: We Wanna Know" I will answer the questions of another reader. So send them in!!! Don't be bashful ...

Stay tuned for more insight into how I have successfully published my own novel, "Proud Souls" along with marketing tips and tricks, and last but not least, my mental journal of writing my second novel: "The Other Side of Glory."

Oh! Don't forget to subscribe to this blog to stay current with all my content updates!!!

Thanks,

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com


Monday, October 6, 2008

NO SOUP FOR YOU!!! I mean, no more newsletter blasts...

NO SOUP FOR YOU!!! I mean, no more newsletter blasts!!!

Okay, so I stole the Soup Nazi's line...it's okay though...I'm a HUGE FAN!!!

In order to stay current with pressing technological advances for this blog, I have opted to throw out the news list/newsletter (blast) in lieu of my new blog feed. For those who don't care or understand the difference, well, here is a brief breakdown.

A newsletter blast is the traditional means for keeping readers (of blog or website content) current with "what's happening" within that particular domain. It's a manual procedure--that for me--takes too much time...time I can be spending writing new material!!!

A feed (reader/manager program) is a tool that allows content to be submitted to a group of readers automatically, each time the content for the (blog or website) is updated. So for me, each time I post a new blog, each of the people previously listed in my Newsletter database will now get the content submitted via email, directly to their inbox!

I am using FeedBurner as my host for maintaining the content and I have transferred my news list contacts to my Feedburner database. So, now you can stay current with each of my blog postings instead of waiting for me to get around to compiling a Newsletter to send once a month or every other month.

For those of you who have NOT subscribed to my blog, click the image below and you will be taken to FeedBurner's syndication page for my blog--"Drawing Stories...With Words." Once there, you can choose (if you already use a feed reader to read blog content) your own feed reader option or simply choose the option to "Get Drawing Stories With Words delivered by email..." Enter in your email address and you are done...


IF this doesn't work for whatever reason...try this link to subscribe via email...


Thank you for the support everyone!!!

~Bobby Ozuna
author of PROUD SOULS

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Project PS"--30 Minutes and we are LIVE...!!!

It's Friday night, October 3rd and I am minutes (literarlly) from my LIVE podcast interview with the host of Blog Talk Radio's--"The Odd Mind."
I have notified everyone I know...via email...via text...via MySpace post...Facebook...Book Marketing Network...Twitter...Gather...my blog and especially the good ole' word of mouth...
This will be my biggest platform for reaching the largest audience in one sitting I have had since starting my career as a writer... I have had book signings...I have been on the radio...I have been interviewd on paper...in person...I have spoken at schools...libraries...and to everyone I meet about my novel, Proud Souls. I have told myself this tonight...if I only reach one listener...and that one listener becomes a fan...and in doing so buys and reads Proud Souls...then it was enough...because I have said, if I have to win the world over...one fan at a time...I will...
I look forward to your comments...
~Bobby
PS: There is now 25 minutes to go...

FUND a School Project today!!!

"Proud Souls" on Amazon.com

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