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Posts tagged ‘publishing’

On Napster, the Creative Class, and the Future of FREE…

April 29, 2015

brookeburgess

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(Note: listen to this featured chapter sample first and then, if you smell what we’re cooking, read on for the related transmedia insights)

Dear Friends, Fans, and Feline-aficionados,

I was catching up on eps of Silicon Valley the other day. I love the show. My tech and venture capital pals assure me that the portrayal is pretty much an accurate one. And, as I watched the latest, I was reminded of something I used to ponder often.  Specifically, when the douchey, monied bro’ below spouted the following:

‘I put Radio…on the Internet.’

Yes. That happened. And not just on the show.

Napster changed everything. But was it for the ‘better’? I can’t help but feel some days that they were singlehandedly responsible for planting the grotesque, rarely-before-thought perception in the minds of a generation of consumers — that they hand-birthed the reality where music (and, by association, nearly ALL creative output) should be free.

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READY? AIM! BRAIN BULLETS FIRED!

March 9, 2015

brookeburgess

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Got a story to share with the world?

Join the freakin’ club.

Stats show that over 15 million ISBNs (book registry #’s) were created last year alone. That’s up from the LOW 6-figures just five years ago. The market is officially flooded, my friends. Tsunami’ed, even.

And with that knowledge comes the demoralizing realization that the lion’s share of folks will NOT be willing to take an impulse deep-dive into uncharted waters. That’s why we like sequels. And reboots. And re-tellings. Because people’s most valuable commodity is time, so they’d much rather play it safe and invest this precious resource in what they know.  

It’s like buying stock. In Apple.  Even if you think the new watch is bullshit. At least it’s familiar bullshit.

$10K+??? Totally reasonable...like Scientology.

$10K+??? Totally realistic…like Scientology levels of reasonable

So then…how can the little guy (ie: the independent author) chip away at well-established and deeply-entrenched mindshare (in this case, Big 5-published IPs)? What can we do to turn the tide as Amazon ‘free days’ go flaccid, cheap eBooks glut the market, and mainstream media channels — newspapers, review blogs, and core book sites — crinkle their collective noses at anything beyond their immediate (ahem…payola’ed) gaze?

A BAG FULL OF BRAIN-BULLETS

Enter the ‘meme’.

Coolcat Maw

If you’ve written a cool story, chances are that it’s chock full of interesting ideas. Pithy observations. Humorous tangents. Snappy dialogue. The whole damn gamut. And if these snippets are crisp enough, while still maintaining the core brand message with a complementary image?

Then they are primed for your arsenal.

With a Google Image search and a virtual armoury of free (and idiot-proof) text generators, you’ll soon have an album full of unique promos for your book, blog post, screenplay, comic, or marketing blurb. And this ‘ammunition’ can be fired at so many willing targets. Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. G+. Reddit. Imgur. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Hell, you could even throw Yahoo a bone.

It’s as if media dashboards like HootSuite were made for this — to scattershot your creative brain bullets far and wide, scoring as many flesh wounds and critical hits as you can with daily firings.

Because the rules have changed, writerly friends.

The language of the Web has evolved to favour the visual.

And as indie authors..?

We’d be fools not to learn how to speak it.

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2014: Lessons Learned and Wishes Granted

December 28, 2014

brookeburgess

(by Brooke Burgess)

Dearest Friends,

I hope your Holy-days find each of you in the midst of loved ones — feasting on all things homemade, gravy-soaked, and likely carbicidal — and looking back fondly on another cycle of us all whirling together around the Sun.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who downshifts into more reflective, contemplative gears upon December’s end. Seems to be par for the cultural course, right? One of the few rituals we all still embrace on some level.  And for me? The past 12 months have been unlike any other chunk of calendar to pass in…well…pretty much ever.

WARNING:  this will be long post. Like, TLDR-cubed kinda long.  And it may seem a smidgen mid-lifey.

But if you hang in there ’til the end?  If you tough it out, you may just find some diamonds in the dross.

Worse comes to absolute worst, there are some pretty pictures.

Alright.  Are you ready…?

TIME MACHINE GO!!!

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A BOOK IS BORN! Now it’s YOUR turn…

September 23, 2014

brookeburgess

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(By Brooke Burgess)

So…it seems that a book has been written.

Awesome. Strike one off the bucket list. :D

But this is only the beginning – just the first in a five-volume children’s contemporary fantasy/mystery/adventure epic – and I need your help to keep this particular ball of cat-loving string rolling.

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I’m about to start Book 2 in earnest (title to be revealed early 2015). The plot’s been in stone for some time now, the chapters are outlined, and the prologue is already written*!

But Book 1 in The Shadowland SagaThe Cat’s Mawneeds to leave its firm paw-print in the literary world in order to get more young readers, scary mystery lovers, and feline fanatics clamouring for what comes next.

Here’s what you can do to put some catnip in this old kitty’s bowl:

  • BUY IT: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500971650 the print version — complete with the new cover embedded above, more than 20 original illustrations, and an exclusive BOOK 2 sneak-peek – is available now in Amazon’s North American shops, and will be up in European ones early October. Expect the Kindle, iBooks, and other E-versions before Hallowe’en — I’ll be sure to list them all here!.
  • REVIEW IT: if you really, really want to help Billy and his feline friends? Then write a gushing, heartfelt, and passionate review! You don’t have to buy the book if you can’t afford it. If you make a good case and promise a timely review on multiple sites? Then I will send you a PDF version of the final. That’s right — just commit to posting some kind words on AMAZON, Goodreads, your blog or Tumblr, on Pinterest or on Facebook…heck, even with graffiti. Word of mouth is the single BEST way for people to discover things, and you were all the FIRST to experience this story.
  • REQUEST IT: Ask your local bookstore, library, or specialty shop to carry The Cat’s Maw. It will appear on major distributor lists (Ingrams, etc) soon, and that’s how the literary gatekeepers find what to buy. The more you ask for it (ANYWHERE in the world), the faster folks can experience the story the way it was meant to experienced…curled up under a thick blanket with a cup of cocoa on a blustery autumn night.
  • FAN IT: Want to take things a step further? Then get involved! Why not make a fan page if you’re inspired? Or create some original artwork? Or do your own audiobook recording! Wanna hold readings at your school or library, screen the trailer, and have discussion groups? Go for it! Try to solve the mysteries of The Shadowland together…and maybe you’ll be rewarded for your efforts when a contest or two arrives to test you in the future.

And please, please, PLEASE — don’t be shy. If you have ANY questions or comments, feel free to get in touch — that’s what the magic of the Interwebs is for!

FYI: I’ll be following up soon with a beefy article featuring many of the things I discovered were part of the process after the book was written. It’s boggling. Speaking with other self-published authors, I was both surprised and a little dismayed by how unprepared most writers were when it came to having a savvy marketing, promotional, and press strategy in place for their books by the time launch week came around. So maybe, just maybe, you can learn from our mistakes ;-)

More soon from the Shadowland, dear friends — thanks in advance for anything you can do to help.

With continued warmth and respect,

BB

ON WRITING: 7 TIPS FROM THE ROOKIE TRENCHES

September 1, 2014

brookeburgess

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(by Brooke Burgess)

Thanks in great part to your pom-pom waving and flashflood of generosity, my first children’s fiction novel — The Cat’s Maw — is complete. It’s in the final stage of layout approvals, and I’m taking care to tweak for optimal print and eBook display whilst squashing any lingering typo bugs. (If you’re a reviewer, and simply can’t wait until the galleys are ready, then feel free to ping me for a ‘99.5% final’ PDF.)

As a debuting indie author every day is a school day, so I’m passing on seven of the tastiest morsels of knowledge gleaned thus far (some bits most certainly culled from the Journals of Duh).

At the very least, you won’t be in utter darkness after your stab at NaNoWriMo this November :D

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DIGITAL NOMAD, YO (You can write anywhere)

It’s a brave new world, my friends.

You don’t need a penthouse office. You don’t a need a big-screen, quantum-powered desktop. You don’t a suburban castle with moat filled with craft brew and a 2.3 car garage.

You…can…write…anywhere.

I’m all about ‘setting’ when it comes to getting into the scribing mood, so I needed somewhere special – and specifically feline – to tackle the first volume in The Shadowland Saga. And since ancient Egypt was a little outside the budget, a remote corner of Southeast Asia proved the next best base of operations. $500/month for a bungalow, a scooter, and three tasty squares a day?  Sign me up, slappy.

But this wasn’t just any old fiscally responsible nook — this was a remote jungle island teeming with CATS – a tiny Muslim fishing community with no natural predators (even the cobras fear kitty here!) and a respect for all things fierce and four-footed.

May I say it again:  have WIFI, will travel…and you can too!

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GIVING AWAY THE COW (Free reads = free advertising)

In April of this year, I began teasing chapters from an early edit of the book on WATTPAD – considered the social network for writers and readers of all ages. Billing the tale as the opening shot in a ‘contemporary fantasy-adventure epic’, I posted the first 6 chapters and crossed my fingers for a response…

Two months later, I was asked to feature the story in its entirety. In less that 8 weeks, the response has been astounding: chapter reads have topped 140K, along with a tsunami of ‘Likes’, shares, reading-list adds, and passionate comments and questions from an engaged and faithful audience.

Am I worried that posting content for free will dilute book sales come November?  Not so much, considering that this exercise has helped to build great early buzz between readers of my genre. Not to mention the fact that the official eBook and print versions will have exclusive content that’ll get the hardcore faithful twitching like a dignified kitty after catnip tea. ;)

It really is a brilliant time for aspiring authors to chart a course and steer their own damn ships.

Enter the Shadowlands...

COMING SOON (Book Trailers are a thing)

It’s seems illogical – how can you cut a promo with audio and compelling visuals for a work that’s meant to exist solely in a reader’s mind? Still, in recent years, it seems that book trailers have progressed from a rarity to the norm in mainstream publishing. The goal is to sell the feeling of the story in a bite-sized chunk of AV goodness to a literary audience.

The Cat’s Maw is a dark feline fairytale with fantasy, mystery, and adventure elements for brave young readers – think ‘middle grade’ (9-12yrs) — and for all you creepy kids at heart.

I think we pulled it off, don’t you?

 

This 90sec piece features the haunting narration of Michael Dobson (Transformers, Batman: Black and White, Broken Saints), a chilling score by Tobias Tinker (Broken Saints, I Am Legend shorts, Hellboy 2 shorts), and original art by Sara Machajewski, Welkyna, David Cameron Sloan and more.

It was conceived and designed to set stage for the mysterious saga to come by teasing a major piece of its mythology puzzle — trust me, once you’ve read Book I, you’ll see exactly how potent this bit of promo is.  :-)

 

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‘SHADOWLAND’ FUNDRAISER and FAQ!!!

June 2, 2014

brookeburgess

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(by Brooke Burgess)

Q: What’s this all ABOUT?

Like the video says – I’m seeking support for my 5-book middle grade (8-12yrs) contemporary children’s fantasy series: The Shadowland Saga.

Q: What’s the quick and dirty way to donate?

PAYPAL or INTERAC e-PAYMENT (for Canucks) to my mail:

bb@brookeburgess.com

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Q: Why not a formal KICKSTARTER/Indiegogo?

Scope. The stats show that the formal crowd-funding campaigns that tend to be the most successful are related to tech, games, film/TV, and content with established brands (I’m looking at you, Reading Rainbow).  This is just a bunch of books – and the funding goal ain’t that high – so I wanted to keep the focus on close friends, industry peers, and hardcore fans of my previous work with this more personal approach.

Now…if the series takes off, and there’s a rabid audience eager to fund the launch of a full blown transmedia experience of the narrative world?  Then you’ll see Shadowland on Kickstarter in a big way. Count on it.

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