For Authors Archives - Tianna Holley | Tianna Holley

Writer’s Tip: Use Your Phone to Make Book Promo Pics

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in For Authors | 0 comments

Every author needs a supply of promotional pictures to use in social media, and although I’m horrible with Photoshop and graphic designing, I’ve learned a few tricks when it comes to using basic pictures I’ve taken on my phone.

First, filters are a MUST! There are many free apps and websites you can choose from. I have a variety of apps on my iPhone but have only used a few of them, as I haven’t had the time to sit down and play with all of them.

Instagram was once my favorite for filters, but I’ve recently decided to distance myself from that app. I was too spread out across social media and burning out. I now usually use a filter from my photo software on my laptop, Photobucket, or an app on my phone.

The second thing you should remember is to take pictures of your books in a variety of places. I love my Kindle for this, as I can be reading from it at the pool or beach, and I’ll stop and take a random picture of one of my books to use later. At this time, I need to take one with a mountain in the background. Maybe I’ll pack my Kindle for my next hiking or backpacking adventure.

The picture below was taken while in St. Lucia. I was on the beach doing some reading, and I randomly started taking pictures of one of my book covers. My Kindle Paperwhite is only black and white, but with the filter I chose, it looks like there’s some color in the cover. Using my phone, I simply took a few pictures, chose one, cropped it, and added a filter. It’s now in my stack of pics to use with Twitter posts and other social media.
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Here’s a picture I took one morning while at Kiawah Island. Although it’s been cropped, it’s free of a filter.
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Now here’s that same picture with two different filters from Photobucket:
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See the difference?
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Here’s a picture I made using the Framatic app on my phone. I love how it shows that I’m stocked and ready for book signings, along with all three of my books and the beautiful inside format–all in one picture.
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Each of these pictures was easy to make–using the right apps. If you haven’t already, take a few pictures of your books and play around with some filters. Then send me a tweet. I’d love to see them!

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Getting to Know Your Side Characters – A Writer’s Guide

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in For Authors | 0 comments

Oh, the joys of adding a new character into your story. Sometimes I’m on a roll with my typing, and when it comes to adding in a side character, I don’t want to stop. I just want to keep on writing and get the job done. However, that always ends in disaster, and I have to go back and rewrite the scene. You see, it’s not just about what a character has to do in your story. Does he or she do it begrudgingly? Why is this person doing what they are doing? And, most importantly, what is the personality of this character? That will decide if there is a smile, how the person smiles, and gives the smallest of details. Without those details, it’s a dull and dreary story. To bring life to your writing, you have to give life to each character.

I added a lot of new characters into my last novel, and unlike scenery, describing the way they look is not enough. I admit that I struggled greatly with the personality of one of the main characters I threw in. In the beginning, I hated writing out his scenes, and I grew to dislike him. In the end, I got it down, and he plays an important role in the story. Some even say he made that story.

At the end of that novel, I added in more characters, but I was quite tired the night I was typing out the beginning scenes. After a while, I asked myself, “Where is this conversation going?” Because I had not truly thought out the details of the new people, I was just writing. It was dull, and it wasn’t going anywhere. One might consider it rambling.

That’s when I had to step away from the keyboard and think things through. I had to consider the future of each new character, their past, their personalities–everything. I had to truly create–not just add characters into the story.

Yet, here I am again. Last night I started typing out a scene with new characters, and although I had done research on ships and aquatic life to get the images in my head, I had not put a lot of thought into the captain and his crew. I began typing out the scene, but once again, I found myself stuck when it came to the conversation.

Today I had to step away from my laptop. During my cleaning and workout, I imagined each and every character. Where did they grow up? Why are they doing what they are doing? And so much more. I imagined whether it was a forced smile, an easy smile, or was there even a smile. Although their past will not be written into the story, those details will show up in each person. I need to know these things as their creator. It gives the visual, and it leads the conversations.

My advice to aspiring writers is that you need to know your characters–not just the main ones. You need to know them all. Befriend them. Listen to them. And only then will you be able to paint them into words.

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Should You Use a Pen Name?

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in For Authors | 2 comments

Although this was not a question I struggled with, I have found that many aspiring authors don’t know whether they should use a pen name.  I’ve also seen authors change their names after starting their writing careers.  There are group discussions where I’ve read that some authors think pen names are overrated and not a necessity.  So, here are my thoughts on whether you should use a pen name or not.

First, Google your name and see what comes up.  Then go to Goodreads, Amazon, and other social media sites and do a search on your name.  I also want you to see if you can use your name for a website or if it is already taken.  When you become an author, you will be marketing your name, and if it is common and already found all over the place online, it will be more difficult for your readers to find you.

Next, you need to decide whether your name is easy to remember and easy to spell.  Since most marketing is now done online, you want people to be able to remember you if someone mentions your name in a conversation.  They will also need to be able to go home and search for you online.  I love unique names.  However, there’s no benefit to you if people can’t spell your name.

The next question you need to ask yourself is what kind of writing you will be doing.  Almost all the erotica writers I know use a pen name, and if they also write in another genre, they use another pen name for that.  They keep their erotica names strictly to that genre.  Not all of them do this, but most of the ones I know do.

When deciding upon a pen name, you need to remember that you will be signing this name often and quickly in front of people.  From experience, I know this can take some getting used to, and it’s easy to get confused while you’re trying to talk and sign a new name at the same time.  Therefore, you need to make sure it comes easy for you to sign.  Practice writing it out a few times to see how comfortable it is.

As for me, there was no question on whether I would use a pen name or not.  When I Google my real name, thousands of sites pop up.  It is very common.  Although Tianna Holley is similar to my real name, the small change I made makes it easy to find me online.  When you type in my pen name, I show up.  I’m not competing with hundreds or thousands of others on the web.

I have learned that signing under my pen name can be somewhat problematic at times.  In fact, there’s a story behind the first time I signed in public.  It was completely unplanned, and I was caught off guard.  I had just received the first shipment of books and went to the post office to mail out some of the signed copies.  The woman behind the counter noticed the extra book I had accidently brought in, and she asked about it.  Then she pulled out money and plopped it on the counter and began to spell out her name for a signed copy.  As I happily complied, much attention was brought to me, and everyone soon started talking about me being an author.  It did not help that I was in my workout clothing and no makeup.  I was trying to hold a conversation with the people, spell the woman’s name behind the counter (which was unique), and sign a new name.  Although I consider my handwriting to be messy, my handwriting under pressure is even messier, and I felt horrible at the scribbling I had done to that woman’s book.  I tell you this to let you know it takes a little getting used to sign a new name, and you will have to do it under pressure at times.

Since the change to my name is very subtle, I also have another small problem to deal with.  When I have spent a weekend at a book signing, I find that it is hard for me to remember to sign my real name for a while after that.  I will sign my pen name on school documents and such.  I’ve had teachers ask me which is my real name.  I send letters to them on notes I’ve bought with my author name and web site at the bottom, yet I sign my real name beneath my message.

There is a benefit to having a pen name.  It would seem strange for me to market myself.  It’s much easier for me to become Tianna Holley when I need to sell myself in front of others and online.  Although I’m still talking about myself, it makes it better to do it under another name.

I hope this helps and forgive me if you find any faults in today’s post.  I’m typing this out fast, as I have a child that has to be at a doctor’s appointment shortly.  When I get back, I will do a better check, but I did not want to miss today’s post on this topic.  If you have any questions or comments, I do welcome them.

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Skype Training for Aspiring Authors

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in For Authors, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you an aspiring author with a work in progress?  Since becoming a published author, I have met many people filled with questions about publishing, writing, and marketing.  After many hours of research, classes and a conference, I am ready to share my knowledge with others.  Do I know everything  to know about being an author?  Of course not!  However, I wish that someone had given me all the information I now have a year before the release of Unexpected Metamorphosis.  A lot of my timing was off, and I had to learn a lot from trial and error.  I can save you some of the mistakes I’ve made. Having a book published is not all about writing.  There’s a lot of hard work and many hours that have to be spent in doing other things. I love to write, and I love to talk at speaking engagements.  Answering questions and helping other aspiring authors is somewhat a passion of mine.  The idea of using Skype to do an hour training session came to me one night, and I’m willing to test it out.  For $20 paid via PayPal, I will sit down and go over the following:

  • Self-publishing vs. traditional
  • ISBNs
  • Building a platform/social media (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon Author Page, Shellfari, Google+, etc.)
  • How to use all of Goodreads as an author
  • Giveaways (Goodreads, Rafflecopter, and Flash)
  • Website
  • What to expect at conferences and book signings
  • Networking
  • Marketing
  • And most importantly, when to begin doing these things.  Timing is key and should begin way in advance of publication.

Be sure to have plenty of paper and pens handy, and the best part is you can ask me questions.  The  call is private and personal. If this is something you are interested in, please click on the contact button in the top menu.  I look forward to meeting you. 124a82eb8127eac2f6243bac2d8b2ccd

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