Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Trailers: Boost or Bust? by Diana Green

Opinions on book trailers vary. Some people tell you they're a waste of time, while others say they are "a must" for savvy authors. In my opinion, the success of book trailers depends on the quality of their design and also on the specific audience. Some people just aren't interested in watching them.

Many others, (myself included), love the combination of images, music, and text. The final product can draw viewers in, intriguing them with a multimedia experience of the story. Some authors have found that people who watch their trailer are more likely to buy the book vs those who have only read the blurb. It hooks them in a way cover copy can’t, especially those individuals who are more visual and auditory in their focus.
So, how do you go about making a good book trailer?

Between one and two minutes is usually the best length. That's long enough to catch the reader's interest, but not long enough to bore them. Pacing matters. If the text and images fly by too fast, the audience won't be able to take them in. On the other hand, having things move too slowly can make the production drag.
These decisions will depend partly on the kind of a story you're showcasing. Is it suspenseful, sweet, dramatic, or adrenaline-pumping? Pace your trailer accordingly. Also, pick music that fits the theme and setting. Be wary of soundtracks with lyrics. They can work, but often the words are distracting and compete with the text of your trailer.

You must own the rights (or have permission to use) any music or images in your trailer. There are many excellent resources for finding both. Royalty free stock image sites and royalty free music sites offer a tremendous variety, and they are a lot of fun to explore. Here are some links which you might find helpful. I-stock photos, deposit photos, big-stock photos, 300 monks music, pond 5 music.

Finally, make sure your text is clearly readable, and be sure to include information about where the book can be purchased. I generally place my website address at the end, so it will be the last thing viewers see. Hopefully that means it sticks in their minds.

You may be wondering how to put all this into action. Animoto is a fantastic tool for trailer creation. Thirty second videos are free, or you can pay $30 for an entire year of making longer videos. The process is simple and user-friendly, ending with a professional quality product. You can also use video editing software that may be on your computer.

Book trailers are a great addition to your website. They can also be distributed through You Tube, Facebook, and various book promotion sites, or provide links to them from blog posts. Here are three sample book trailers, all created with Animoto, showing what a variety of styles can be achieved.  SAMPLE TRAILER ONE, SAMPLE TRAILER TWO, and SAMPLE TRAILER THREE.

A world of possibilities opens up with book trailers. It's a unique way to get readers excited about your books, and (even better) it's fun. If you haven't tried it yet...jump in. The water is fine!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Diana Green is a new author to The Wild Rose Press. Her fairy rose novel, Dragon Wife, will release August 15th. For more information about the Dragon Clan Trilogy and Diana’s other books, please visit

Friday, May 23, 2014

Got A Stiff Upper Lip? Try Humor by Ashantay Peters

Do you like reading humor? I do. I enjoy reading and writing humor, especially when the dialogue is witty and quick.  To me, humor is the social lubrication that allows people to coexist. Well, humor along with flirting, which is a skill that rarely appears anywhere outside the big screen or really great books. 

Unfortunately, comedic writers are not always given their due, because, well, many people think writing funny is simple. Plus, there are so many types of humor ranging from dry wit to slap stick. One person’s “funny” is another’s “not so much.”

What readers who don’t appreciate humor may not understand is that comedic writing does not differ much from drama. As with all writing, humor draws on the author’s experiences. Humor can reveal, mask, or define a character’s emotional response to conflict.

For example, sometimes I’m unsure about a character’s motivation until I grasp their comedic response to a situation.  Is my heroine telling jokes to cover her nerves at standing beside a really hot guy? Or is she flirty, confident in her sexuality?  Now I must dig deeper, because comedy has its roots in misfortune.  Shall I embarrass my heroine or show her getting over herself and growing through her fear? Fight or flight becomes laugh or leave.

Writing humor well means exposing a character’s vulnerability in a way that makes them look strong rather than weak.  That’s also true for protagonists and secondary characters.  Humor is finding the common bond that ties women (or men) together through similar or shared experiences.  The connection often has its roots in disaster, but the character’s—and (hopefully) reader’s--reaction is funny rather than reflective. 

Though, let’s face it, you often have to reflect on something before seeing the light side. Kind of like learning how to laugh at your mistakes instead of letting small errors—like finding spinach on your teeth after your blind date takes you home early--negatively influence you throughout your lifetime. Besides, if your date couldn’t tactfully tell you to check the mirror, how will he approach more difficult topics later on? I rest my case.

In the process of writing, the humorist faces conflict, reflects on it and blows raspberries in response. Reading humor allows readers the same journey, but with a smile on our face. And a heck of a lot less work!

Remember the Greek’s masks for drama and comedy? The idea is that both are flip sides of the same coin-human experience. You can choose to move through life wearing the drama face or the comedy face. Neither is better than the other; both have advantages and are appropriate at different times.

Me? I reach for a comedy every chance I get. Laughing uses less muscle power and leaves no frown lines. And a smile is the ultimate in social lubrication, saying so much without words.  So give humor a try.  All you’ve got to lose is your stiff upper lip! 

Ashantay Peters loves escaping into a well-written book. Her reading addiction also has her perusing magazines, newspapers, Internet articles and even food labels. The last is usually feebly excused as an attempt to maintain health, however. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina, a happy transplant from the much colder (and flatter) midwest.

Death Rub Coming Soon!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Writing a Good Synopsis By Nicola Martinez

Originally Published in the Wild Rose Press Greenhouse

Writing a Good Synopsis By Nicola Martinez

Writing a good short synopsis is often more difficult that writing a long, or chapter-by-chapter synopsis, so I thought it might be helpful to some, if we went over the elements of a good synopsis, as well as a brief “outline” of how to write one.


1. CONFLICT: The number one thing that must be conveyed in a synopsis--whether the synopsis is one to two pages, or a chapter by chapter--is CONFLICT. A story isn’t good without conflict, and so you must show the editor that you have woven a story rife with conflict.

2. SETTING: The editor needs to know the time and place of the novel. Be sure to include the significance of the setting, if it’s important to the story. Is there are reason you set your novel in 1850s California or could you have told the same story if you’d set it in 1850’s Louisiana?

3. MOTIVATION: Next, you must show your characters’ motivations. These are the things that shore up the conflict, and they must be believable. If your hero is a recluse and your heroine is reporter trying to get the scoop on the hero, then that sounds like great conflict BUT the reason your hero is a recluse must be believable. He can’t be a recluse solely because that is a great opposite to the reporter getting the story. And your reporter heroine can’t be dogging the hero for a story just because a reporter is a great opposite to a reclusive hero—She’s got to want the story for some fantastic reason that makes the reader want to find out what happens. Perhaps she thinks the hero is a murderer and has become reclusive just to save himself from jail, and so she vows to uncover him—to make the motivation stronger, maybe she’s related to the deceased. Then her motivation for exposing him is even greater than “just a prize- winning story.” Whatever your character’s motivations are for doing whatever it is he or she is doing in the story have to be believable. Which brings us to our next element which is

4. LOGICAL PROGRESSION: Make sure that you present your climaxes and crises in the order they appear in the manuscript. This helps show that you have a firm hold on the story and that your story weaving will build from start to conclusion, rather than being choppy and confusing. You don’t want the editor to think that you plug in a scene or conflict just when you think of it along the way—as in “BTW, the reason I’m writing this now is because this happened earlier and I forgot to tell you.” Logical progression also means showing the growth and change of character. Your broken hero can’t suddenly be fixed at the end without showing the means by which he got fixed. It’s not enough to say, “my hero doesn’t know how to love, but by the end of the story, he learns how.” You have to show what experiences are in the book that teach him how to love. And these don’t have to be bulleted points; they just have to be clearly outlined.

5. RESOLUTION: Just as you have to show the logical growth and change in the characters, you also have to convey a satisfying and believable resolution to the conflicts you’ve created. How does the recluse get over his need to separate himself?  How does the reporter come to realize that she’s tagged the wrong man solely because of her desire for vengeance? What events happen in the book that help the issues resolve?

6. FORMATTING: Once you have all your content in mind, it’s time to format and write. Your synopsis should be double spaced, with a header that clearly defines title- Synopsis in one upper corner, your name and page number (if more than one page) in the other upper corner. 1 to 1 ½ inch margins all the way around

Once you have all these things in your mind, you’ll be able to weave a provocative synopsis. “But, how do I do that?” you ask. Well, let me give you an easy formula which should help you hammer out a one to two page synopsis in no time, but first, let me say that there is no one way to write a synopsis, no magic formula. In that way it’s a lot like writing your story. The synopsis has to convey your own writing style, and so it has to be unique.

That said, I’ve found a type of formula to keep in mind so that all the necessary elements are included. If you’re writing a romance, keep in mind four words: hero, heroine, conflict, resolution. If you’re writing something like suspense, you’ll want to adjust that to: Hero, Villain, Conflict, Resolution. Or maybe Hero, Victim, Conflict, Resolution. It will depend on where your strongest characters and plot drivers are.

So: In the opening, introduce the hero (or heroine) being sure to include his motivations and emotions. Next, introduce the heroine and her motivations. After you’ve done that, introduce the conflict that is between them. It is important to note that oftentimes the conflict will be (and maybe, even should be) woven into the introductions of the hero and heroine. The conflict being more separated from these introductions usually comes in a mystery/suspense novel because the conflicts are oftentimes more external than in a romance—the murder or other crime which initially throws the hero and heroine together—but in that type of novel there are usually more internal conflicts as well, and these will be introduced while showing the hero’s and heroine’s motivations. Even in a straight romance, however, you may introduce internal conflict while talking about the hero, and then the heroine, but then, also have a paragraph which delves into some external conflicts that are included.

Lastly, describe the Conflict resolution. How does everything wrap up to reach the logical end of the story.
It may sound a little daunting, but just remember, you write a synopsis the same way you would tell your friends and family about your book: “It’s about this guy named Joe who [insert motivations here]” And then he meets this girl who [insert motivations here], but they can’t get together because {insert conflict here}but [this happens and that happens {plot progressions}] and so at the end [insert resolution]

Nicola Martinez is an award-winning author who has been writing and studying romance for decades. Nicola was a magazine and newspaper editor.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to The Wild Rose Press

It's a beautiful day in the Garden.

Today we turn 8.  Wow, even typing that seems impressive.  During the years, we've seen so many small presses come and go. We've grown and adapted. And to still be standing is an accomplishment. The fact that we are flourishing and are considered one of the most established secure publishing houses in our arena is a proud fact.

There are authors who have been with us since the day we first opened to submissions. We've been lucky and it's a testament to the Garden that there are editors with us now who were with us when RJ and I had only the seeds of a new "kinder and gentler" publishing house. We had a team even when the company was simply a thought or a “what if” idea. Now here we are in 2014 celebrating 8 years!  

Best Publisher of the year Award for 6 of those years, numerous Eppies and other awards. We have a reputation for excellence in publishing, solid communication and customer service and we are still a kinder and gentler publishing experience.  Nowhere else will you get the type of hands-on attention and commitment than here in the Garden and that’s something we are incredibly proud of.

So much has changed in 8 years. And we know that the publishing world continues to change. But some things will never change. Our unwavering commitment to you, our readers and our authors. We wouldn't be celebrating 8 incredible years if you hadn’t believed in us. We should all be proud today of what we have accomplished.

I hope you will find some time today to celebrate with us in our chat room.
You can find the chat link on our website 

We will be celebrating all day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern.  Door prizes will be given out every hour. Meet a new editor or staff member every hour!

And follow us on Twitter! Watch for tweets on prizes, digital downloads and Wild Rose Press Gift Certificates.

It's our party, yours, mine, readers, authors, editors and those who are just discovering the wonderful place we call the Garden. The Wild Rose Press   

Thank you for blooming and growing every day with us.

Rhonda, RJ,  and the entire staff at The WildRosePress