#Dancing for #Book Votes!

Sharing is caring!  That’s why I shared my books with my dance friends.

In an effort to expand my social network reach, I created this video and posted it on all my social media sites with various overlapping book and dance hashtags.

My book, The Curse of the Winklevoss Twins, is “Hot & Trending” on Kindle Scout right now and for the past week.  I’m hoping to keep that momentum going!  22 more days!

Vote: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/24VKXYPLERGLP

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The Proper #Setting for a #MagicalRealism #Book

What is magical realism?

Magical realism takes place in a world like the one we know, but there is one thing that makes it unreal. Perhaps there are lurking vampires, or the main character is cursed, or you can buy magic spells from the store on the corner. The trick with magical realism is the reader has to believe the world really does exist.  The master of magical realism herself, JK Rowling, made us all have hope that our letter for Hogwarts would one day come in the mail.  We believed wizards existed in our world. (believed in the past tense? Some of us still believe).

A World for Your Book Within the Existing World

Writing magical realism might sound easy since most of the decisions about the world are already decided, but I think its the opposite.  Similar to using real people in a fictional story (as I wrote about in my last post), there is a ton of fact-checking that needs to be completed in order to convince your readers the world within our world is real.

Question #1: Where do you build your world?

The proper setting is tough. How many times did you read about Harry taking the Hogwarts Express and wonder where the final location really was? Or read about Percy Jackson heading out to Montauk toward Camp Halfblood and try to picture it in your head?

Vita Post Mortem Academy

When writing my magical realism novel, The Light of Supremazia, my editor and I went back and forth on the school’s location. The world around Vita Post Mortem Academy was exactly like the one we know today, except there needed to be a remote section of the woods, North of San Francisco, where a creepy institution run by spirits was located. We had a discussion about whether redwood trees grew in the area and if it was anywhere near Bodie, a real life ghost town. In the end, we realized that if you couldn’t see spirits, you wouldn’t notice much more than a massive institution surrounded by an endless necropolis.

Can you picture this edifice as your high school?

Vita Post Mortem Academy:

Vita

To see more pictures of The Light of Supremazia’s setting, check out the (after)life lessons pinterest page.

Is the #setting for #magicalrealism more difficult 2 #write than building a new world? @alanasiegel thinks so (Click to tweet)

Author @alanasiegel thinks #MagicalRealism #writing needs serious fact-checking. What do you think? (Click to tweet)

Vote author @alanasiegel for #TheLightOfSupremazia #KindleScout campaign here #amwriting (Click to tweet) #YALit

Launch on #KindleScout and a #CoverReveal

Beginning My Kindle Scout Journey

For over two years, I have been writing, scheming, and plotting my next book series. I am ready to announce the first book:

The Light of Supremazia, book #1 in the (after)life lessons series

The process was therapeutic. I worked through Juliandra Winklevoss’s highs and lows in a spirit-seeing world and at the same time built my own life in San Francisco, a magical wedding, two finance designations, and other small but meaningful achievements.

Writing this book has been an enjoyment and a distraction. It focused my attention on Vita Post Mortem Academy when I needed an escape. It gave me satisfaction when I spent months editing and then reread chapter one and felt the chills. It gave me a challenge when the plot didn’t align, but it also patted me on the back when a detail worked out just right.

I love this book for everything’s it’s given me, and I can’t wait to finally share it with others. I hope you can feel the love and passion I poured into it.

How Kindle Scout Works

For my new series, I am attempting something different. Perhaps it is because I live in the technology center of the universe, or maybe because I like to try difficult things, but either way, I decided to post my book on the Amazon crowdsourcing site, Kindle Scout.

On this page, readers are the scouts for the next great book. The Light of Supremazia will be posted on the site for 30 days for readers to vote as their favorite book. If it receives enough votes, Amazon will publish my book through their publishing house. So please, please vote!

Vote here: The Light of Supremazia Kindle Scout Page

Varying Opinions on Kindle Scout

As an author hoping to find hordes of adoring readers, I had to weigh the pros and cons of launching a campaign on Kindle Scout.  I found articles that berated Amazon for stealing the souls of authors by taking too large a percentage of sales and others that noted self-promotion is difficult and at least a Kindle Scout campaign gets your name out there.

I’m willing to give it a try. Writing is one of my favorite hobbies, but it’s not my day job. What do I have to lose? Plus, I’ve been through a book launch before. I’ve attempted to catch an agent’s attention, and I’ve self-published years and years of passionate writing. I’m willing to give this a shot. Here’s a few links to other’s opinions:

Amazon’s crowdsourced publishing program, Kindle Scout, is now open for voting

Amazon’s crowdsourced ‘Kindle Scout’ program picks first 10 digital books for publication

Cover Reveal for The Light of Supremazia

I would also like to officially reveal my creepy and stunning cover, designed by Kristin Centrella. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kristin.

afterLIFE Lessons Book 1 - The Light of Supremazia

The blogosphere is chock full of kind and helpful authors and readers. I stumbled upon The Book Wars a few months back. It is an entertaining blog for heavy readers with book reviews and all your favorite top ten lists. One of my favorite themes they discuss is cover design. With everything at our fingertips, snap judgments occur more often than ever. Their posts forced me to be thoughtful when working with Kristin on a cover design. Here are some of the things we talked about as important aspects the cover art for my book:

  • Viewable in small format
  • Eye catching
  • Includes pop art
  • Fewer, bolder colors
  • Portrays the book
Some other useful sites:

Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Covers

The Visual Factor: Judging a Book by Its Cover?

Finally, Marketing Blurb for my New Book:

Think it’s difficult to get into Harvard University? Try Vita Post Mortem Academy, a prestigious high school where John F. Kennedy teaches a class called American Ghosts stories, Albert Einstein grades science tests, and history’s most brilliant minds make up the rest of the teaching staff. Not a problem for Jules Winklevoss, one of the few who can see spirits.

Getting into school was a cakewalk, but Jules learns not all spirits are engaging and inspiring teachers. Fourteen years ago, Jules’s family thwarted an evil spirit’s rise to power. Now, the evil spirit wants revenge on all Winklevoss’s, beginning with Jules. As if evil spirit problems aren’t enough, add best friend drama, unattainable boy crushes, and homework to the mix, and needless to say, high school is going to be dreadful. Jules is determined to protect her family and keep herself alive, even if that means delving into the world of the dead.

NOW VOTE HERE!!! https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1PMYID5KFXEY5

Author @alanasiegel believes #KindleScout , a #crowdsourcing site for #books , will be a success, do you? (Click to tweet)

What are the important aspects of #CoverArt for a #book ? See what author @alanasiegel thinks here (Click to tweet)

Do you like #author @alanasiegel ‘s concept for her #book The Light of Supremazia? Vote on #KindleScout here (Click to tweet)

Want to learn how to create these twitter size bites? Check out @Ava_Jae ‘s blog here Click here

Writing a #Plot Summary and a #Marketing Blurb

I recently attended a webinar by @JordanRosenfeld about writing a plot summary for a manuscript through Writer’s Digest. What I liked about her presentation was the notion that a plot is formulaic. She suggested using a three act setup. Being more math-minded, it was something I understood. I liken it to being a baker versus a cook. I am much better at following an exact recipe for lemon poppy muffins rather than a pan with some fancy sauce and adding a pinch of salt and a handful of basil.

Case in point – My husband emailed me the article with a picture of J.K. Rowling’s hand-drawn spreadsheets to map out her plots with the subject line “this is something you would do.” He knows me well. I had already started a google spreadsheet mapping out my book.

JK-Rowlings-Phoenix-Plot-Outline

I have a good sense of pacing, but I like the way she mapped it out. I used a similar setup, stolen from Elizabeth Sims, to note the flow of the classic hero’s adventure. It worked well.

Writing a marketing blurb was a piece of cake after that.  (Pun intended!)  I simply used the section designated as “Act 1.” Feel free to let me know what you think.

Think it’s difficult to be accepted into Harvard? Imagine attending Vita Post Mortem Academy, where the spirit of John F. Kennedy teaches social studies and the spirit of Albert Einstein gives physics lectures. There’s no hope getting in if you can’t see spirits.

Jules believes in spirits. She doesn’t analyze their existence on a regular basis. She just accepts it as fact. Living in New York City, where anything is possible, how could she not believe in spirits? However, the summer before ninth grade, when her best friend, Johnny, dies, she finds herself yearning to see his spirit.

Johnny was prone to brushes with death due to mysterious accidents, but the ominous light and the girl who gave him a final shove on to the subway tracks puts doubt in Jules mind that his end was a freak incident.

The strange events are jarring, but the foundation of everything Jules knows is shaken when she finds out she’s adopted, and she’s forced to attend a special school in California run by the spirit of the biological grandmother she never met. Needless to say, high school is going to be overwhelming.

tumblr_mh1l22Ru1D1r6b8aao1_500

To see more pics for this book, go to: https://www.pinterest.com/alanasiegel/afterlife-lessons/

Cold Hands, Warm Heart and #Beta #Reader #Questionnaire

COLD FEET, WARM HEART

My inspiration today is my goofy interpretation:

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Not fair to complain when the northeast is in the dregs of winter, but I moved to California for the weather, right?

Still, it pays to remember not showing one’s feelings does not signify lack of feeling.

BETA READER QUESTIONNAIRE

Today, I sent 21 of my beta readers for my next young adult, fantasy series about a girl who can see spirits the following questionnaire. I hope they are not afraid to be honest. I’m counting down the days until my editor sends her comments, and I can dig into rewrites!

A. Did the story hold your interest from the beginning?
B. Was there enough conflict, tension, and intrigue to keep your interest?
C. Was the ending satisfying? Believable?
D. Did the setting interest you, and did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?
E. Could you relate to the main character? Did you feel her pain or excitement?
F. Were the other characters believable, interesting, distinct, and likeable?
G. Did the dialogue keep your interest and sound natural to you?

Check out the helpful blog posts I retweeted on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#%21/AlanaSiegel