June Contest: Picture Perfect Writing Challenge

Hello, everyone! I’m ready to announce the June contest! We had a great response to last month’s contest, and boy, you guys did not make it easy. 😀 Wonderful job! I’m hoping we’ll be able to do that one again in the future. Special thanks to everyone who participated! Now to announce the winners:

Picture 1 – The Old Man

M3L6H!

Picture 2 – Reflection Girl

Myliana by Bianca C.!

Picture 3 – Little Sunset Girl

Camille by Writinganyone!

All of them were super close, guys! Great job! And for those of you who won, I’ll be stopping by your blogs and giving you a winners button (and a virtual slice of celebratory cake). I’ll also be giving all participants their scores. Thanks to all of our contestants for participating! Check out the other posts: Aubrey, Willowy Whisper, Writefury, and Sprinklesquink. You guys all did amazing!

Now, on to the next contest!

June2015Contest

In the Picture Perfect Writing Challenge, contestants will write a story of less than 1,000 words based off of one of three pictures. Winners will be judged on creativity, plot, characters, and use of the picture. Any inappropriate entries will be disqualified.

I’ve got some cool pictures, so let’s get started!

The Pictures

Picture 1

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 3

The Rules

1. Maximum amount of entries is one per picture.

2. To submit, post your short story, with the contest button (above) and your chosen picture, and put a link to your submission in the comments below, OR, if you do not have a blog, you can submit your piece through the contact form on the Talk To The Writer page. (If you post your submission, tag it with “Picture Perfect Writing Challenge” and “The World of the Writer”.)

3. The deadline is June 30th, 2015!!!

Are you planning on participating? What do you think of the pictures? I hope to see your entry this month!

Got an idea for a contest? Submit it using the Talk to the Writer page.

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May Contest: Character Creation Contest

WELL.

Yesterday was the deadline for the Super-Duper Fan Fiction Crossover Challenge 2… and I completely forgot to remind everyone this month.

Whoops.

But instead of doing yet another one, or lengthening that contest, I decided to try something different, and came up with a very intriguing idea.

CharacterCreationContest1

In the Character Creation Contest, contestants will create a character based off of one of three pictures. There will be one winner for each picture. Winners will be judged on (a) creativity, (b) how intriguing the character is, and (c) how well developed the character is. Bonus points if you write a short story (

The Pictures

elderly-man

Picture 1

girl-reflection

Picture 2

little-girl

Picture 3

The Rules

1. Maximum amount of characters is one per picture. You can do one for each picture, but not three for one picture.

2. This is about creativity! Think outside the box.

3. To submit, post a description, interview, or short piece with your character on your blog, with the contest button (above) and your chosen picture, and put a link to your submission in the comments below, OR, if you do not have a blog, you can submit your piece through the contact form on the Talk To The Writer page.

4. The deadline is May 31st, 2015!!!

Hopefully I will remember to remind everyone! I can’t wait to see what you come up with, so go get started! Got any questions? Ask below! Also, please vote on this poll, too:

Writing, Marketing, And Other Wonderful Things

I mentioned in when I did the 777 Writing Challenge that I would tell you more about my work-in-editing soon. And I believe this is a wonderful time to do that.

But, first, some updates on Paralyzed Dreams!

I want to thank everyone who has reviewed the book! Every review helps, and the more reviews, the more the word gets out. All of you are amazing! 😀 If you’ve written a review in one place (Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, etc.), it’s super easy to put it on other sites, too! Special thanks to everyone who has done that, too. (That means you, writefury and Kathy @ Kathy’s Cottage Books!) If you haven’t reviewed, it only takes a minute to write down a few thoughts, and a couple more to be detailed. Even just rating on Amazon or Goodreads helps. 🙂

And Paralyzed Dreams is now listed on the Homeschooled Authors blog. Go check it out, along with the other homeschooled authors!

If you haven’t already, tell your friends about the book, too. And if you’re interested in an author interview, let me know! I’d definitely be interested.

Oh, and if you have an Instagram, Pintrest, or other social media account… Here are some quotes from the book you can share!

jeremyquote2 copy

jeremyquote3

JeremyQuote1

Now that we’ve got that over with, let’s get on to even more fun stuff.

I finished the first book in my new series! It’s in the editing stage now (which I’m procrastinating, of course). I may have mentioned it before, but now it’s time to officially announce the title of the series. Now. Right here.

Drumroll, please.

WISHEQuintet1

The world of Lerali is at the brink of war, and its fate rests in the hands of five teenagers, the group called WISHE. Their task? To find a long-lost portal before it’s too late.

Sound interesting? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re interested in helping to promote my books and join my street team* (Got any cool street team name ideas? Share!), head on over to my contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

And don’t forget that the Super-Duper Fan Fiction Crossover Challenge (the Second) is open for submissions! The deadline is May 1st, which may seem far away, but it’s not… so get started now! (Tell me that it’s not far away the next time I’m moaning about Avengers: Age of Ultron…) I can’t wait to see you guys’ stories! Need ideas? Check here.

I believe that’s all, folks! Got any questions? Got ideas for street names? Like the quotes? Curious to learn more about anything? Comment below! I’d love to hear what you have to say!

*A street team is a group of devoted fans who help promote an authors’ work, through book reviews, social media, and just telling others about the book. In exchange they get exclusive content, bonus fun, and, sometimes, ARCs. Worth it? I’d say so.

Thank You All So Much!

Thanks so much, everyone! All of you are absolutely amazing!

ParalyzedDreamsVirtualBookTour4

I just want to give everyone a hug!!! *virtual group hug* But since that’s the best I can do, here’s a shoutout for everyone who participated!

Erinkenobi2893 posted a character interview with Pam!

Two excerpts from Paralyzed Dreams were posted, one on Lights and Shadows and the other on aspiringwriter22!

So many amazing book reviews! Thank you all! Check them out on A Glimpse of Starlight, Sarah Plain & Average, Kathy’s Cottage Books, and Writefury.

Ness Kingsley at of words and books hosted me for an author interview!

And, finally, on my sister’s amazing blog, Mandie’s World, I revealed who I based Jeremy off of, along with showing off some of his encouraging quotes from the book!

You all were so awesome! I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by all of your encouragement and support! Go check out their posts, both for the book tour and their other ones, and follow them! I’m pretty sure you’ll find something you like.

If you wrote a review, or if you’ve read it and you’re planning on reviewing, make sure to let me know so I can read and comment! And if you’d like, please post your reviews on Amazon, too! Every little bit counts. And *cough* once I get ten reviews on Amazon I’ll be posting an extra Avengers Isle post…

And I leave you with a quote…

paralyzeddreamsendquote

Writing About Writing: Cover Design – Part One

Hi, everyone!

So after my big news post on Monday, I’ve had several people mention that they’d like to hear more about the self-publishing process. I’ve noticed that there’s a scarcity of blog posts out there about self-publishing… the details, at least. One of the things I’ve recently been looking for – and haven’t found – are posts on creating professional-looking covers. And since that’s my favorite part, that’s where I’ve decided to start. 😉 This first post will focus on general tips, and the next one will provide a sort of process to help you design a professional cover.

First, decide whether you should design your cover yourself or hire a professional cover designer. There are actually some fairly inexpensive cover designers out there, and there are also places where you can buy a pre-made book cover. If you don’t have a lot of time and patience, this might be a better idea. Also, if you don’t have access to a photo manipulation program (Photoshop is what I use), getting a cover designer might be the better choice. (I believe there are also online programs you can use, but I can’t be sure). There are tutorials out there for creating covers in Word, but all the ones I’ve tried… *cough* I’m sticking with Photoshop. Just keep in mind that there are alternatives to making your own cover.

Your cover is the first thing readers will see, whether it’s in print format or ebook. Your cover needs to pique readers’ interest, while still being important to your story. If you’re writing a historical romance, your cover shouldn’t look like it’s for a zombie book or a murder mystery. That’s why the pictures you choose are so important, along with the fonts.

Before I go any further, I need to point out some things about copyrights. *sigh* If you use pictures from Google images, then there’s a high chance that you’ll be infringing on someone’s copyright. You have to make sure that you have the rights to both images and fonts. You have several choices. You can either buy your own images (and fonts) from websites that sell royalty free images (like iStock and Shutterstock). Make sure that you’re buying a commercial license for the picture, not just a non-commercial license. You can also use the stock fonts on your computer and pictures you take yourself. The fonts that come on your computer are usually unprofessional and easily recognizable… don’t use Papyrus, please. Honestly, the most over used font. 😀 If you’re a good photographer, or if you know a good photographer, doing your own photo shoot is the best idea. Finally, there’s a huge selection of free for commercial use fonts and images. You may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, but there are plenty of options. Always, always, always check the license on fonts and images before using them. If the creator/photographer does not specifically say that you can use it for commercial use, ask them. It’s always best to be safe. And let people know when you use their fonts/images. If they’re offering them for free, the least you can do is let them see what you’re using their creations for. Best advice? Unless stated otherwise, always assume that content is copyrighted.

If you made it through that paragraph, you deserve a reward. 😉 So here are some of the sites I use for photo and font finding. Pixabay is great. When you click on an image, the profile tells you whether it can be used for commercial use and if you need to give credit to the photographer. There’s also Unsplash. If you subscribe, they’ll send you ten pictures every ten days that are free for commercial use. They also have a new search feature, too.

For fonts, I use dafont.com and Font Squirrel. Both sites have fonts that are for non-commercial use only and commercial-use. Font Squirrel has a page for each font where you can see the license. On dafont.com, things are a little less clear cut. Just make sure to check with the creator, and read all read-me documents included with the font.

Now that we’ve got all of that stuff out of the way, here’s the best way to figure out what picture to put on your cover. First, make a list of all items and people that are important in your story… as in “cover worthy” important. Don’t choose something or someone that is important for a plot twist. You want your reader to be drawn in by the cover, but you really don’t want to give too much away. That’s why the cover is one of the most important aspects of self-publishing. Of any book, for that matter.

One last bit of advice before I end this post. Study other covers in your genre. You want yours to stand out, but you don’t want it to be too drastically different. Ashlee Willis has an awesome cover for her book The Word Changers.

And those are my tips for helping you design your covers. Hope you don’t mind how long this post was! 😀 Got a cover you’ve made that you would like opinions on? Post the link in the comments below! I can guarantee that at least one person will check it out. *cough*me*cough* I’d love to see them!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and that it’ll help you with designing your cover. Questions? Comments? Anything you want to see in future posts about self-publishing? Comment below!

Thanks to all of you, Paralyzed Dreams has gotten up to #37 in its category! Read it? I’d love to hear what you think! Haven’t? Go ahead! 😀 Stay tuned for updates on the upcoming Paralyzed Dreams virtual book tour!

The World Of The Writer’s First Award

Thanks so much to Aul at Montairyus  for nominating this blog for the Liebster Award! The rules are: Present 11 facts about yourself. Answer 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you. Create your own 11 questions and present these to … Continue reading

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