Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Creative Writing Workshops For Kids Kickoff 2010 in the Greater Houston Area

Monday, December 28, 2009

"The Indie Author Show"--Mon, Dec 28th, 2009


Two Texas Teens co-author and release new children's book: Mr. Teddy Loses His Bowtie!


Join me LIVE tonight, Monday, December 28th, 2009 for a very special segment of The Indie Author Show on blogtalkradio network! Tongiht's guests are two young Texas teenagers who co-authored a children's book entitled: "Mr. Teddy Loses His Bowtie."

Mr. Teddy Loses His Bowtie, The Indie Author Show

These young ladies deserve to be honored for their efforts and you can show your support by listening LIVE tonight @ 7PM CST via the homepage for The Indie Author Show here: http://blogtalkradio.com/theindieauthor.

IF you miss the live streaming broadcast, you can catch the archive tonight after 9PM CST from Bobby's homepage @ OzunaPub.

Be sure to create a username/password with blogtalkradio and join us in our LIVE chat-room tonight, where you can pose questions for me and my guests, Lindsey and Caroline. You can also email your questions for me and my guest here.

To show your support for these two young ladies and their literary endeavors, stop by Amazon.com today to purchase your copy of Mr. Teddy Loses His Bowtie. You can purchase your copy here.


...supporting the independent arts as the voice of the independent author...

~Bobby Ozuna

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Drawing the Story"-- December 27th, 2009

FREE CLASSES!
Learn how to write better and more "realistic" fiction!!!



"PROUD SOULS"--An In Depth Look At the Hero and the Writer's Journey!



If you want to learn how to write better fiction, then you are going to want to catch the new series of videos where Bobby Ozuna breaks down the mythological and story-writing principles of Joseph Campbell (The Hero With A Thousand Faces) and Christopher Vogler (The Writer's Journey). Using his own novel--Proud Souls--as the test medium, you will learn writing tricks, tactics and approaches for creating "real" fictional characters, storylines and plot, using Proud Souls as the test medium.


These videos/podcasts are free to anyone and will be available for download soon. Watch the introductory video below with author and host to "The Indie Author Show"--Bobby Ozuna!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"The Writer's Torment"--December 16th, 2009

"Why Indie Authors Don't Sell Books"

The main reason why indie authors don't sell a substantial amount of books has little to do with their writing ability but rather their inability to think like entrepreneurs and sell their products--books, their business and themselves--as an entire package. To set a goal to simply "publish" a book will only lead to disappointment later when in fact, you should set your goal to "sell" books with "publishing" being nothing more than a step towards accomplishing and obtaining the overall prize.

If you truly believe your passion or gift of words would benefit the world, then you must discover ways to market and sale your art, for how else can the world discover you to then become inspired?

...supporting the independent arts...

~Bobby Ozuna
Host, The Indie Author Show on blogtalkradio network
the voice of the independent author

Monday, December 14, 2009

"The Indie Author Show"--Monday December 14th, 2009

Today is the last day of my mini-vacation to The Big Apple and because of that, I have no guest scheduled for (tonight) Monday December 14th, 2009. 


We are back on the air, LIVE, next week!!!


~Bobby Ozuna

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"The Story Behind the Story"--an Author Interviewed: Mary Jo Nickum

Introducing author Mary Jo Nickum...

"The Story Behind the Story, an Author Interviewed" Q & A session is my new measure to help the world of independent authors and publishers. If you have released your own book and are looking for ways to promote your efforts, your book and your soul as the creator of your work, contact me HERE to book your online interview on this blog. Author Mary Jo Nickum

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

Q. Let's start by introducing yourself.
My name is Mary Nickum. I was born in Indiana and grew up on a small farm in northern Wisconsin. “Mom’s Story, A Child Learns About MS” is my first book for children. I’ve had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 30 years.


Q. What genre is Mom’s Story? Who is your ideal audience?
Mom’s Story is a nonfiction chapter book. It is designed for 8 to 11 year olds. But, the ideal audience also includes the entire family of the MS patient, relatives and friends.


Q. In 150 words or less, what’s your book about?
Mom’s Story; A Child Learns About MS tells the story of a young girl who sees her mother with some frightening health problems and learns she has MS but she will not die from it. This book is a compassionate, accessible and easy to understand account of symptoms, search for help, diagnosis and adaptation to this heart-wrenching disease. Amy fears the worst, which is common when one is confronted by the unknown. Her best friend, Kayla, doesn’t quite understand why Amy is so worried. Amy’s older sister, Kelly is concerned and does her best to help, while older brother, Tony, tries to deny the whole situation. Information is the key to allaying much of her fear along with understanding from parents, adult friends and her older sister.


Q: Apart from being an author, who are you in relation to your gifts?
I am first and foremost a reader. I decorate my house with books rather than having just one room, a library, for my books. They’re all over, all around. It follows then, I suppose, that I am a professional librarian and I was an undergraduate English education major in college.


Q: Of all the stories you could have written…why did you choose to write this particular book?
This was my first foray into writing for children. I took the advice of several pieces that I’d read about writing for children, Kathleen Kudlinski, especially. They all say, “Write what you know.” Well, I’ll tell you, having had MS for 30 years, I know about MS. So, I thought, aha! a book for children whose parent and the whole family, is starting down that strange, unknown path. As I began to write, I realized the story had been in my head and waiting to be put into words for years.


Q: How much of your personal psyche, your struggle and your insecurities are hidden within the characters of this particular story? (Please elaborate)
A lot and I’m not sure it’s very well hidden. I think there’s a little bit of me in all of the characters. Mom realizes there’s something wrong but doesn’t want to worry everyone. Dad is trying to be brave and be the pillar of the family. Kelly is caring and nursing. Tony is in denial, a common situation. And, Amy is just scared and is having a hard time getting anyone to comfort her and console her, tell her everything is going to be ok. The first three chapters are right out of my own life as is the trip to the ER. That’s biographical. The rest isn’t. I didn’t get an answer so soon. It was 10 years between my trip to the ER with an “eye problem” and my MS diagnosis.


Q. Apart from writing stories, in which direction do you see your career heading and what will you bring to the literary world outside producing new stories.
I will continue writing and editing. I currently write magazine articles and edit a magazine in the world of aquaculture, fish culture. My main mission, and this includes my children’s writing, is Science for the Public. I will continue to try to make science reader-friendly. I also enjoy working with writers’ critique groups. I currently lead two. One is completely children’s the other is all genres.


Q. What writer influenced you the most?
That’s tough. I’ve been influenced by many. In my children’s writing, I think Kathleen Kudlinski, author of several biographies including Helen Keller and Mother Therese of the Women of our Time Series©, was the most influential. Other authors are Tony Hillerman, Margaret Atwood and Karen Armstrong.


Q. What has been your greatest inner struggle to overcome with relation to your literary career?
Taking criticism, which I think, is true of many writers. I’ve struggled to overcome it and, I think, mostly conquered it, if the criticism is constructive. Each piece of writing is a part of me. Poorly constructed criticism is just as painful as if someone were criticizing my child for the way he’s dressed.


Q. What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?
“Mary had a unique ability to make complicated scientific subjects understandable to people, especially young children.”



Mom's Story by Mary Jo Nickum
Q. Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
I have a website, www.marynickum.com and three blogs, two on blogspot, www.mnickum.blogspot.com and one on Wordpress, www.mjnickumwordpress.com. I have two facebook pages and I have a page on Jacketflap, www.jacketflap.com/mjnickum, a social network of children’s writers. Mom’s Story is available on my website, at www.chaletpublishers.com, Amazon and kindle, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/6679.


...supporting the independent arts...


~Bobby Ozuna

"Bobby's Book"--December 9th, 2009

"Bobby's Book"--December 9th, 2009

Ryan Shaw Bobby's Book The Indie Author Show Ryan Shaw Illustrations


To incorporate a personal touch to my show, The Indie Author Show, I have decided to allow each guest to personally sign a journal with their name, city/state and a personal greeting to me, then ship it out in the mail to my next guest. I felt this would be a great treat to receive down the road one day--a way of shaking hands with each guest who can't meet with me face-to-face. I am calling this little segment (and experiment): Bobby's Book.

On November 30th I interviewed an amazing illustrator for hire by the name of Ryan Shaw of Ryan Shaw Illustrations. He has posted a wonderful testimonial on his blog and of course, shared a picture with Bobby's Book as it traveled to Houston, Texas.

Click HERE to read Ryan's blog entry and check out his amazing art. To listen to an archived broadcast of my interview with Mr. Shaw on November 30th, click HERE. To contact Ryan Shaw to illustrate your next book project, contact him via email HERE.



...supporting the independent arts...

~Bobby Ozuna
Book Marketing Consultant
Co-Founder, READ3Zero Literacy Foundation for Kids
Host, The Indie Author Show

Monday, December 7, 2009

Operation eBook Drop Ed Patterson

Operation eBook Drop, Ed Patterson, The Indie Author Show
On tonight's edition of the voice of the independent author--The Indie Author Show--I featured author Ed Patterson and discussed a movement that started between reader and author, that has now gone international, all in efforts of support Coalition Troops stationed abroad: "Operation eBook Drop!"








Here are some links for further information on Operation eBook Drop:


For information on joining (authors, deployed troops or their families):
http://blog.smashwords.com/2009/09/smashwords-supports-operation-ebook.html

For information on Operation eBook Drop authors:
http://tinyurl.com/ygk8u5o

For the Operation eBook Drop Kindleboards forum:
http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,13352.0.html

And come join the Operation eBook Drop Fan club at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Operation-EBook-Drop/172002003420

***

Be sure to visit Ed Patterson's homepage @ DanCaster.com.

To email Ed Patterson directly, click HERE.

...supporting the independent arts...

~Bobby Ozuna


Cook Children's Medical Center and You Can Make a Difference!


Calling ALL Santa's Little Helpers!!!



In the spirit of giving this holiday season I felt inclined to share a project my children and I will be working on, that you too can participate within to help make this holiday season a little brighter for children who won't be spending Christmas at home. I contacted Cook's Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth to find their "submission guidelines" for Christmas cards and gifts. If you are looking for some fun projects to work on with your kids that truly emphasizes the spirit of giving, join me in furnishing cards, gifts and clothes to the children of Cook's Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.


Guidelines for cards are posted below and the link to the guidelines for clothing or toys is posted at the bottom of this article.



Guidelines for Handmade Cards


Thank you so much for your interest in making cards or small gifts for the patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center.  Below are guidelines to assist your group in a successful project!

©       Generally, cards may not contain religious messages.  If this is an important part of your message, these cards will be forwarded to pastoral care to screen and distribute.
©       The best type messages are those that provide encouragement or recognition.  For example…

o   “We’re thinking about you today.”
o   “Have a happy day.”
o   “Happy Holidays”
o   “You are special”

Cards are generally distributed by placing them on the patients’ meal trays as a fun surprise.  This means there is no control over which child gets which card so messages like “get well soon” may not be appropriate for all families.  This sounds strange to many people since this is a hospital, but for a family that just received bad news, this might not be the best message!


©       Many of the patients here are on restricted diets, so candy and gum may not be included in the cards or pictures. If candy is included this will generally be removed from the card and shared with the volunteers who donate their time to work with the children.
©       Groups are amazingly creative in the gifts they make.  Cards, pictures, word puzzles, and table decorations are a few of the items that have been enjoyed by the patients.
©       We want to keep YOUR children safe, so please ask kids to refrain from including last names, phone numbers, addresses or other personal information.
©       If you have questions about this project, please contact the Child Life department at 682-885-4241

Cards can be dropped off at the Information Desk or mailed to Cook Children’s Medical Center, Child Life Department, 801 7th Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76104

***

Click here to view the guidelines on Cook Children's Medical Center Website


Sunday, December 6, 2009

"The Writer's Torment" --Dec. 6th, 2009

"The Truth Within Fiction"



"One of the most difficult aspects of being an author of fiction is first having to explore the depths of your own soul and psyche in order to create real characters that are believable beyond doubt despite being fantasy, folklore or myth. Once you have dared to journey the corridors of your own soul you then have to discover ways to mask the fact that so much of yourself, so much of your very existence, lies naked and exposed in written text on every page and apparent within every character you conjure from within the figment of your imagination."



~Bobby Ozuna
Dec 6th, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Press Release: Operation eBook Drop Supports US Troops

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Marketing 101:--"Just What's In A Brand?" Part 3/6

This third installment of my article series "Just What's in a Brand?" deals with your business--or for practical purposes, your book publishing business--and it's ability to present a marketable product. We will also discuss a different perspective of viewing just what those "products" actually are. Let's talk marketability.

 



If I said the word marketing and then listed some random words, such as: soda, car & shoe, it would be relatively easy to guess what words or businesses came to your mind when you heard me say them. For soda, you might have considered Coke or Pepsi. For car you may have thought of Ford or Chevy and lastly, for shoe, the odds are pretty good you thought of Nike or at the very least, the Nike swoosh symbol. This is what's called Top-Of-Mind marketing and branding. Top-of-Mind, being, the very first word(s) or business models that comes to your mind when a list of words are mentioned. When a business is working to focus its attention on a certain customer base or "corner of the market" it is imperative they understand just who their customers are and work within their niche to build an effective marketing plan to target that audience.

As an example, I work for Texas based children's author (Melissa M. Williams/Iggy the Iguana) but my own work of fiction (Proud Souls) would never be considered for marketing to the same audience. Why? Well, (if it wasn't obvious) my material is written for adults NOT children. I don't even tell children much about my book, apart from saying, I'm a writer too! It sounds like a relatively simple thing to do, but if at the end of the day, the name of the game is sales, then why would I spend my time (or waste my time depending upon how you measure the quality and cost of your time) talking about, sharing or trying to sale a product to a consumer base that won't purchase my product(s)?

This installment deals with marketability or your ability to market a product effectively to a particular customer base. Take these points into consideration and these suggestions as you work (and rework and rewrite) to develop your marketing strategy.


1.) Know your customers:
If you write for children, then you need to be in front of children. You need to create a product that doesn't always fit WHAT YOU THINK is the best product for a child (or children) but what they like. Get out there and ask them. Meet with kids, conduct author visits, and school presentations and ask them what they think of your product. They are after all your entire customer base. If your book is niche, or based on events or circumstances for adults, then find the people who will identify with it the most, and get their perspective. You can offer books for free, to generate a buzz, get some reviews, offer free readings, etc. 

2. ) Appeal to your audience
You don't want to create a cover that is too adult for children anymore than you want to create a cover that is too childish for adults. Look at other books in your genre and get a feel for cover styles. If you aren't sure, ask yourself the next time  you are in a bookstore. If I read this genre and I walk down that genre's aisle, what books pop out and grab my attention? Is it a bold title on the spine? Is it an image? Is it dark? Light? The cover design should correlate with your book's theme, that after all is an old trick of playwriters from ages ago.

3.)  Streamline your visual aids
When you think of shoe, you most likely think of Nike. When you think of Nike, you most likely think of the swoosh sign. This isn't a coincidence but targeted, planned and effective results of good marketing. If you have a profile picture, it should be the SAME one you use on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and your website. If you have a cover design image on the Internet, it should be the same as well, everywhere. Your business logo on your blog or website should match what's on your book cover, etc. The idea is to brand one cover design, with one business logo and one author profile picture. That way, when someone sees you on Twitter they may recognize you from Facebook. If they find you posting comments on a book blog, they will recognize you from MySpace, etc. Your job is to make sure people know what you look like, what you wrote, and what your book cover looks like...without thinking twice!

4.) Learn to be convincing--and believe it!
Does one shoe make you run faster than another? Does one energy drink truly make you a better athlete? Does one laptop or personal computer help you work any better than the other? No, no and no...but...the sales and marketing staff at each of these organizations will work to make you believe otherwise. That is the power of a good marketing campaign. If your book deals with overcoming loss (non-fiction) and you have been through devastating loss and rejuvination, then YOU ARE THE EXPERT! You after all, have written a book about the subject! Get out there on blogs, guest blogs, radio shows, Facebook, MySpace, support groups, etc. and remind the people how YOUR information and knowlegde helped save your life...and how it can save theirs too! Period.


5.) Become the expert
I can't stress this point enough. I read once that if you work at anything (consistently) for five years, you become the subject matter expert. Trust me, it may seem like you're not at times and because of a lack of sales, you may not feel like the expert, but you are! The little things you learned and forgot you learned along the way are the very things someone else is looking for. Why not be the one who feeds them continuous content to help them get where you are? By posting articles, podcasts, interviews, etc., on a continuous (continous) basis, you are allowing people a chance to trust you and with that trust and learning, will come sales--if you have a product--and what better product to sum up your knowledge than a book?

6.) If I like you--I will like your product
Someone told me once that we write because it is our gift and we work hard at it so the world will fall in love with our work. We blog--or utilize any social networking website--so people will fall in love with us. If you want to sale books you must believe in them. If you want to sale books you must be your books biggest and greatest advocate and NOT sit around waiting on someone else to love it or promote it or believe in it more than you! If you want to sale books, then you have to learn to be personable enough that people LIKE you enough to give your art (your work, your product) a chance. Remember who you were when you were just starting out...how much you loved talking about your book...without query letters, sales pitches, guidelines, etc...? That person could inspire the world without any formal effort. Don't let the formalities destroy the beauty in your heart...to share with the world what is in your soul.


***
To learn from industry experts to better serve your ability to publish, market and sale your independently released titles, join Bobby Ozuna LIVE every Monday night @ 7PM CST on blogtalkradio's THE INDIE AUTHOR SHOW!


Subscribe to this blog to learn more!


We'd love to hear your comments and your success stories!


...supporting the independent arts...


~Bobby Ozuna

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Operation eBook Drop: Indie Authors at their Best



Every now and then, something catches me by surprise. That’s how it was when I was promoting a free book on an Amazon Discussion thread on the first Saturday in September. I was reading the thread and following the posts of a soldier in Iraq who was helping another poster through the perils of downloading eBooks through a router to their Kindle. He knew how, because he couldn’t get books through whispernet, Amazon.com’s wifi kindle delivery system. On impulse, I entered the fray and offered this soldier (Joe Terry) all thirteen of my published works for free, if he wanted them. Just email me. He did and I learned just how important reading is to our troops. I should have known, as I’m an Army veteran (1966-67). I recall the lonely hours away from home and overseas (I was stationed in Germany). What a Kindle or any reading device could have done for me then, I couldn’t begin to tell you.

Operation eBook Drop started serendipitously from that simple gift. The troop told me that there was a need and I created a separate Amazon thread to ask if any other deployed troops had Kindles and wanted my books. There were a few nibbles. I then I created a quick survey of Indie authors that hung out at Kindleboards.com, the web’s most devoted Kindle readers discussion site. The survey was positive, but soon I had twenty authors wanting to donate their books — then thirty — then . . . well, the word went out like lightning across the Internet. Within a week I had an email from Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords.com. Smashwords is a premier on-line eBook distributor, converting Indie books into various eBook formats. Smashwords is also global. Mark Coker decided to back the project, opening up his author network to opt-in if they wanted. This also facilitated the delivery of eBooks, because the actual file would not be sent, but a link to the page on Smashwords and a 100%-Off Discount code. The long of the short of it, after a month we had over 60 authors participating and the troops were lining up also.

Operation eBook Drop is an unstructured beast, and that is the key to its success. There’s no central site, communication blog or layers of organization. It simply replicates my interaction with Joe Terry. I maintain a list of troops and authors. When a new author opts in, I email them the troop list and they are responsible for sending the links and code(s), their own welcome email letter and, in turn, they receive feedback directly from the troops. The troops get what they love most — a library of reading opportunity in a shower of emails. I didn’t want to hog the good feelings and I’m glad I didn’t. Each author takes up the communication gauntlet. They blog, post on websites, networks, discussion groups and even go into print. They volunteer ideas, contact other authors and military points and organizations and even created our logo and now two logos as we have a liaison in the UK.

The program is only twelve weeks old and we have 288 participating authors, 7 publishing site in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and over 70 Troop points of light, including families preparing Kindles for their sons and daughters. We have a submarine (yes, we’ve adopted a submarine), the eBook Marine Special Forces program, troops in Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, Japan, Kuwait, Djibouti, Gitmo and at sea (including the Nimitz). I’m astounded and more than a bit surprised by the success, but why should I be? Independent authors brim with generosity. They know struggle and make their own decisions when it comes to their books and whom they give them to. They are in control. Personally, I’m in awe of them and urge readers to support them by buying their books. It’s my estimate that the Indie authors of Operation eBook Drop have made available 20,160 copies of eBooks to the troops on the program (and that’s a low estimate as some of our authors have multiple titles and offer them all). The troops choose what they want to read and use the coupons as they see fit, downloading the eBooks and porting them into their eReading device.

As for the troops — what can I say? Their sacrifice for our freedom is a better gift than any book I could write. However, because of that freedom, I can author my books as they assure my freedom of speech, as well as the very air I breath. It’s a small donation to fill in their hours away from home and, perhaps in those hours I can provoke a smile or a tear or an escape. Small price to pay for heroism. I salute these brave men and women and hope that no one ever forgets their contribution and sacrifice.

Here are some links for further information on Operation eBook Drop:


For information on joining (authors, deployed troops or their families):
http://blog.smashwords.com/2009/09/smashwords-supports-operation-ebook.html

For information on Operation eBook Drop authors:
http://tinyurl.com/ygk8u5o

For the Operation eBook Drop Kindleboards forum:
http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,13352.0.html

And come join the Operation eBook Drop Fan club at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Operation-EBook-Drop/172002003420



Edward C. Patterson
Edwpat@att.net
http://www.dancaster.com/

FUND a School Project today!!!

"Proud Souls" on Amazon.com

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