Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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What does you character sound like?

You may be saying, what is she babbling about now 🙂 It’s simple really. What voice would you put with your main character if you had the chance? Well, I had to figure that out this week and let me tell you, it was a blast!

What I’m talking about is audio books. An author recently mentioned I ought to try it out, so I did. I went to ACX.com and set up an account. It’s really easy and may I say extremely fun and exasperating too.

After you give them your general information, then the fun starts. You have to put your book information in and an excerpt that you want someone to read for an audition. Yep, you heard me right, an audition. You actually have people sending you auditions on the account. But the fun starts when you have to put in the settings you want. Here are just a few of the things asked.

1. Style of voice: This was a huge list of things like soft, loud, funny, sad, gruff, gravelly, and the list goes on. 

2. Gender: Male or female. This part was easy for me.

3. Region of Voice: In the site it has a different name but you get the idea. These included Southern, Northern American, Irish, English, Oriental, Cajun and the list goes on. This one was hard.

After you pick these out you need to tell the producer a little about the way you want it expressed. Then you put why you picked this excerpt.

Then the fun part begins. You can listen to the different styles of voice in the next screen. This is where you can change your choices which is a good thing. This was hilarious. I had to change most of the settings I’d picked. My editor would just looked at me and shake her head laughing. 

The strange part is I’ve always known what my character would sound like if she could talk. I listened to a couple of people that had general auditions and found a voice I liked. Then I’ve started receiving auditions. This is going to be hard. I’ve received some that really sound right. A couple sounded like they were in pain, so no. But it was so invigorating to hear my book being spoken by someone other than myself. 

So if you want to hear your book, go to ACX.com and try it out. They take royalty percentage or pay per hour. I went with royalty percentage. It’s a no brainer really. They distribute the finished audio book to Amazon, Itunes and a couple of other places. 

As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You.

 


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Reviews

Reviews can be fickle things. Some people pay big bucks to get reviews added to their books. Well there’s nothing wrong with that if they’re honest reviews. I’ve seen books that have several raving reviews but their sales ranking in terrible. Makes you think, was it worth the money?

I’ve searched out sites where you just send out your book to a reviewer and that’s all it costs is the book. Do you have some sites that you use? Right now I’m not in the position to really pay for reviews, but it would be nice if some of the people that have read my books would give a review. 

I’ve been receiving several reviews on the Barnes & Noble site and Kobo, but not many on Amazon. Some advice on how to get more on Amazon would be great. I’ve gone in and changed my categories on Amazon to those that don’t have thousands of books already listed. 

Are reviews that important? I think they are important to most readers. If you don’t have reviews on a book, then most people just scan right over it. I’ve noticed that some people now just give you a star rating and no comment. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but as for me, I love to hear what you liked or didn’t like. Just always be nice.

One of my books on Barnes & Noble has received several reviews. What’s funny is someone posted a nasty review and it was followed almost immediately by three really sweet reviews. Of course this reviewer has popped up on several of my books and it’s always the same. Unfortunately for that reviewer their review is not real credible as the review did not follow the book. It’s sad that some people get their kicks from downgrading us authors. Oh, well if you can live with yourself that’s up to you 🙂

Hope all is well with you and your writing. If you have comments on reviews and such, send a response. I love to hear from everyone. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Building a Platform…

For those of you that aren’t authors I’m not talking about a stage. I mentioned to my husband one day that I was trying to build my author platform and he started laughing. He asked me where I was going to put it and what was I going to say when I got up on it. I then explained to him that a author platform is the advertising, blogging, etc. you do to get your book out there. He still thought it was funny. MEN!

When I first started publishing I wasn’t very computer savvy. Of course I knew about accounting programs and such but not the intricacies of publishing, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and all that goes with it. Since then I’ve developed blogs on several sites and now I Tweet everyday. It’s funny how your life changes when you become a published author.

Here are the top ten places I’ve used to build my platform:

1: WordPress: I set up a blog and made it my very own author website. It’s so easy to do once you get into it and take the time to set it up.

2: Twitter: My Twitter account has garnered lots of interest in my writing and it’s attached to my blog so they go hand in hand.

3: LinkedIn: This site allows you to follow many people from various walks of life. My blog is attached to my LinkedIn account, so everything I blog it goes straight to this page.

4: Goodreads: For an author this is a very important aspect of building your platform. Here is where you meet established authors and Indie authors all on the same page. It’s also a good place to gather reviews.

5: Independent Author Network: This site is awesome and it’s so reasonable to set up. I have my own author page and you can put all of your sites on it. Also, other authors will tweet your page for you and they’ll tweet your tweets. It’s really helped my fan base and I really like how it works.

6: Smashwords: This is a place that I have my books for sale. They also put them through to Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, Diesel and several others. You also get an author page and you can be an affiliate.

7: KindleBoards: This one takes a little more time and reading, but it can get some interest in your books.

8: AllRomanceEbooks.com: This is a great place to sell and advertise your books. It’s all about every genre of romance. It’s easy to set up and put your books on it.

9: CreateSpace: This is where I currently have my books for print. I also have a blog on this site.

10: Amazon: I have all my books on this site. You can set up a author page and link it to your blog and Twitter Account. On Amazon you can be in several countries.

Well, these are just a few of my spots that help me. I have many more, but I didn’t want to bore you too much 🙂

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…


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To press or not to press, that’s the question…

It’s really a hard question for an author. Do you publish your work or do you go back over it several times and then decide? Sometimes I think we over analyze our writing, trying to make it perfect. To be honest it may never be perfect.

I’ve caught myself doing just this with one of my works in progress. It’s funny how we’re more critical than the worst reviewer. Any work you do needs to be read at least twice, and one of those times needs to be out loud. When you read out loud it brings about another reality. Just make sure that you get someone else to read your work. That person needs to have a open mind.

As I work on my newest work I wonder, will someone really want to read this? What’s rewarding is when I hear from people asking when my next book in one of my series is going to be published. It makes things seem a lot better, but man does it make you stressed. Ok, now you have someone ready for that book that you’ve been working hard to finish, but it’s not quite there yet. 

My question to you is this. Do you over analyze your writing? Have you not published a finished piece because you feel it’s lacking something? Well, maybe you need a second opinion. It may just be you, not the book. Try it and see what you think. One of my best selling books was held out for longer because I didn’t think it was ready, but my editor just laughed and hit send on the publish button. Good call on her part 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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This is to all the Mother’s out there. Hope you have a wonderful day today as you deserve it. My son was quick to hug me this morning and tell me thank you. Of course it brought on the tears. Then at Church our wonderful Pastor talked about Mother’s and their role in our lives. It was quite eye opening and honest. My hubby put his arm around me and squeezed my shoulder. Yep, I shed a tear or two. Bet you knew that already 🙂

It’s been a great day so far. My family met at a restaurant with a buffet and we ate until we were miserable then we went back to my mom’s to eat dessert. How you may ask? Well it’s Mother’s Day and I’m going to enjoy it. 

My son asked what I was going to do on this beautiful Mother’s Day and I told him maybe a nap and then work on one of my manuscripts. Also I’m going to admire the beautiful pot of flowers my hubby and son gave me. I picked them out, but it’s the thought that counts.

If you’re mother is still living then make sure if you don’t see her today at least call her because you wouldn’t be here without her. She wiped your nose, changed your diapers, put bandaids on your cuts and nursed you when you were sick. She deserves some respect and show of love. SO if you haven’t called her or been to visit shame on you. It only takes a moment out of your busy schedule to make a call and just say ‘Mom I love you and thank you for everything.” It’s real simple. So just do it.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY…

As always good writing and May God Bless you…


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Friday, it’s finally here…

Anyone that works during the week look forward to Friday. It’s the final day of the work week for most people. It’s the day that you usually do a little less as your mind gets ready to shut down for the weekend. 

Funny thing is as a writer your work is never done. You work when everyone else sleeps. You work in the evening, morning, lunch time, and anytime you can spare a moment. I sat last night half watching television and half working on a current work in progress. My family knows that when the laptop goes in my lap that it’s work time. My laptop stays on my desk in my office all day doing accounting and then to my lap at night. 

Friday’s are laid back in my office. I have several payrolls to complete but usually I shut down early if possible to get my son from school. It’s a special time for us. We usually get groceries then come home to either relax for a moment or I go back to the office to finish up.

So enjoy your Friday and relish the knowledge that in a couple of hours you can go home and not go back for 2 days. It’s your day, so be inspired.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Talking to your kids…

As you can tell from the title, this post is not about writing as usual. This post is about the safety of our children. As you know from my profile, I’m a mother and a children’s minister. Last night during the children’s ministry class we brought in the youth and I talked to them.

It was like a town hall meeting. We discussed how to defend yourself against abduction. It was very interesting the way the kids responded. Some responded with anger over the escalation of children abductions and others told about what they’d been told to do.

Please don’t let today go by without talking to your children about safety. Here are some things to add to the conversation. This is from things I’ve read and seen on specials about this so here goes.

1. Always stay alert about your surroundings. When playing outside in a public place always look up and see who’s around.

2. If someone approaches you that you don’t know be on alert. If you can walk away toward a group of people or to your parent. Keep an eye on the person.

3. If someone asks you to go with them somewhere and you don’t know them, or your parents don’t approve it simply say “NO!” and get to an adult immediately.

4. Don’t play alone. Always have a buddy. Most abductions happen when the child is playing in the public alone.

5. Even at Church or school be weary of people lurking in parking lots or on the outskirts of the playground that don’t belong there.

This is only a couple of the many things we need to talk with our children about. I’ve told my son this since he was old enough to walk. It’s very important. We need to empower our children.

Also make sure they know how to physically defend themselves by kicking, screaming, biting or whatever it takes to safely get away from someone. So please don’t hesitate to talk to your children.

As always, good writing and May God bless you and your children.

Remember, this is just my advice and what I’ve learned.

 


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Well it’s here – Ghost Lover is officially 1!

ImageCan you believe it? I can’t. My first published novel, “Ghost Lover” is one today. It’s hard to fathom that I’ve been publishing books for a solid year. It’s been a fantastic ride.

Ghost Lover was in the works for a long time before it was published. I used snippets from my past and creativity from my brain (that’s scary). It was a work of love and excitement. When I finished this book I was satisfied, but the satisfaction came when the first book sold and the first great review came through. 

Through my publishing I’ve met some really extraordinary people from all over the world. I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been blogging, tweeting and emailing with all of you. Some of you have become great friends and I’ll treasure those friendships for a lifetime. 

My writing has taken me to many corners of the earth and that was without leaving my little corner in Georgia. I’ve had friends ask me if I’m fulfilled with my writing and I can honestly say, YES!!! 

I had a former male companion ask me one day if I used anything from our relationship in the books. I just smiled and winked telling him I’d never tell my secrets. If he’d read the books he’d know he never showed up. I’m sure the person or people who inspired some of the characters will recognize themselves if they read it.

As for the cowboy on the front cover, no I don’t know him as some have speculated. He’s from a purchased photo at BigStock. My husband often asks about the inspiration for some of the parts of the books and then he waves both hands frantically and says “Don’t tell me and I’ll be none the wiser.” By the way he’s never read one of my books. He says he’s too afraid he’ll see himself. I assured him that most of my writing is purely fiction with only some parts from my past. Since he knows the ghosts from my past he would recognize easily where they are and who or what inspired them. I try to keep the mystery alive.

As for Ghost Lover, it’s been reborn and revised. Don’t worry, I didn’t change the story, but I did do some editing. Throughout the last year of writing and publishing I’ve listened to my readers and changed some of my styles. When I read the book again for the revision I sat with a tissue box and enjoyed every minute. It brought back the ghosts that haunt me and why I wrote this book. 

It’s available as of this morning on Amazon & Smashwords. It’ll be available on Allromanceebooks.com and Barnes & Noble in the next week. Also on Kobo, SOny, Apple and Diesel. So go check it out and let me know what you think. I’d really love to hear some feedback.

As always, Good writing and may God bless you…

P.S. Thanks for everything great friends…