Saturday, July 11, 2015

Eyes: The Perfect Hook

Here's another topic I thoroughly enjoy talking about. Eyes.
The mystery and depth in a set of eyes is as different and profound from one person to the next...

There is something to be said about that moment when your eyes lock with someone out of the blue.
The focus is deep. You can feel time slowly grinding to a halt. The air, thick and electric. For that long, heart-pounding moment, your gaze connects you both with a burst of adrenaline and passion that leaves you begging to know more about the other individual. Then, as soon as it engages you, its over. But until the next glance, your heart stirs a hurricane of endless indulgences...

Those of you who have felt the intense draw of the perfect set of eyes have no doubt been left with intense feelings of lust or desire for a complete stranger. What is it, then, that causes such a powerful hook into our state of eros?

It is possibly a fundamental mix of excitement and draw to the element of light. In its most basic state, humans have, since birth been drawn to light. It conveys purity, strength and life. Presenting things that shimmer also indicate a sense of purity and intrigue.

Earthly examples of this can be the notion one feels when they get a shiny diamond ring, or step into a glistening sports car, or even gaze out at the light reflected across a calm lake in the sun.

But to see that shimmer deep in the eyes of a human are much more meaningful! The human possession of light in their gaze can make for a very intense draw to the gazer's curiosity. Imagine being pulled into a deep gaze by the shining pupils deep within that mysterious man or woman's warm, perfect eyes. Pupils deep within a ring of crystal clear hues, just begging to take your hand, inviting you to discover their most private thoughts and feelings.

This is the magic within sight. Beauty runs deep in those beheld, but also in those wise who behold depth and curiosity. I loved writing about the depth of a lover's eyes, and the window within to the soul. It is there that the heart breeds warmth and passion, and only those who know exactly where to look, can find it.
Not in the material. Not the verbal. Not the graphic. But in the heart, and when connected through the eyes, both hearts can find true love.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Journey of Writing from Idea to Print Parts 9&10

9. Once Your Book is Live, its Time to Promote
By A. W. Clarke

It is all fine and dandy to admire your book sitting there online for sale. But don’t be fooled by assuming that the general public is aware of your book’s existence. You have to let them know that it exists and how to buy it.
            You have to promote your book!

            I started off with word of mouth. I let all my friends know that I wrote and published a book. I believe that often, your most valued friends will be so excited about your accomplishment, that they may inquire about where to buy it. That’s when you can tell them where to go online and purchase the book. Now, if you desire to just get the word out, you can purchase a few copies at your author price (usually less than the sale price), and tell your friends that they can buy the book online, or you can get them a copy at your price. Some friends will hand over the cash just to get their hands on your book faster and cheaper than online. It’s worth noting at this point, that you likely won’t strike it rich in the first weeks, so it’s not a big deal if you take a cut in profits by getting a few people a copy at your discounted price.

At this point, what you want to do is get it out there! Make people know about you, and your book!
Another trick I have employed is using Facebook as a promotional tool. I created a Facebook account and added friends of mine and occasionally posted the link to my book in the timeline so it appears for all to see. I wouldn’t suggest posting it every day as it might become more of a burden than a benefit. But every once in a while, throw up a catch phrase with a link to the book. I’ve also set up a Twitter account and done the same type of promotion through Twitter. Admittedly, I find Twitter promotion a lot of work, as it seems less personal. I see Twitter as large lobby full of people talking to anyone and everyone. But if you market your identity and get people to like you, then they will be interested in what you have to say, or sell!

One more trick I’ve tried is publishing the first few chapters of my book online through a blog site and linking it to my Twitter feed and Facebook. It is my hope that if timed right, a timed release of each chapter will create a following and stir interest in one’s book. Then, when the time is right, suggest that people buy your book to find out what happens next.
There are so many ways of promoting one’s work. Authors can even apply for interview time on the radio, create commercials on Youtube, or make new author appearances at their local bookstore to meet with potential readers.

The bottom line is, after you have created your book, you must put effort into promoting it. I used to believe that the big wig publishers could do all the promotion for you. But it has come to my knowledge that many publishing companies request that new authors already have a following to help promote their book to the world. I say, in that regard, give it a good shot yourself, and use any or all of the promotional tools above to get the word out. Even if you have to give a few books or ebook copies away, once the word gets around, the demand will grow. Create the demand, and you will become the supply!



10. Don’t Stop Now, Write Your Next Book
By A. W. Clarke

While wrapping up my book, I had ideas from time to time about a new story. Here I am a first time writer and I already have plans for a second book! It’s a great idea to jot down ideas on paper or on a voice recorder when you have them so that you might be able to begin new literary works in the future. After all, why stop at one book, when you have the talents and ideas to share new stories with the world!

            So after uploading my romance novel, I tried to stay in the frame of mind where I set aside a bit of time to continue writing, be it small ideas or several pages. I gathered any ideas I had for a new story and put together a broad timeline for my next book. By putting together these new ideas into a timeline, I now have a rough draft for another novel.

            To be honest, I did not create my first novel in this fashion-of following a rough timeline. But I did find that creating this new story “skeleton”, it not only urges me to continue writing my book, but also divides up the whole story into smaller manageable chunks. Splitting a larger goal into smaller ones makes achieving the goal less daunting, especially if you plan to put together something several hundred pages in length.

            So in conclusion, I urge any new writer to set a final goal, divided into smaller goals along the way. You may wish to make a check list for your literary project. Oh, and tell people what you are doing (not what you eventually intend to do). This way, the pressure is gently on you to be driven to accomplish your goals.

Writing that book and being published is easier than ever. See it as a bridge you plan to cross towards the reward at the end. The bridge exists, providing the path to the tangible end result. Once you tell someone you are going to cross that bridge, they will expect you to do it. Finally, all left that is required, is your desire to cross! Do it step by step and don’t rush. As long as you keep moving forward, at whatever speed, you will reach the end!


            Just picture yourself holding that book in your hands and smiling! It worked for me, and it can work for you too. Now stare down that bridge, and start walkin’!

Feel free to leave a comment or email me with some of your own questions and experiences in the book writing realm.
For more of my articles, just click on the tabs at the sides of my site page at awclarkenovels.com


Saturday, July 4, 2015

My Journey of Writing From Idea to Print Parts 7&8

7. Using a site like Lulu.com was a Saviour
By A. W. Clarke

After creating an account on lulu.com, I walked through the step by step procedure to get the book uploaded for sale as a print book. The site can also prepare your book as an ebook. After uploading the PDF, the online converter must change it into a specific file type so the company’s printer will print it properly. Once you download its converted file, which takes a few moments, you preview all the pages and make sure it looks correct.
After the manuscript is deemed ok by you, you can go on to design the cover using their software. You can upload your own pictures or use stock photos from other websites for a fee. The site then creates a downloadable version of your book’s cover. Check it out to ensure that it looks perfect.
Then you set things like the selling price, genre, and book description for when it goes on sale on lulu.com. Lulu also sells your books through amazon.com and the apple ibookstore, which is good for circulation and distribution. I found lulu.com very helpful to make the entire process relatively easy, especially for a first time writer. I mean, hey, it’s enough work to create your story. Getting it published shouldn’t be daunting enough to kill your goal of being a published author.
Within minutes of completing the upload of my material and setting the descriptors and pricing, I was given the option of purchasing an original master copy. Seeing my book available on the lulu.com market was very thrilling, and so I eagerly ordered my master copy.




8. Touchdown: Proofing your Master Copy
By A. W. Clarke

Less than a week after placing my order, I received my master copy in the mail- paperback number one, hot off the press!
It was the happiest moment of the whole experience to hold in my hands for the first time, the first every print copy of my book!
I hurriedly read through the book, noting any final corrections that had to be made. Admittedly I found a few spelling mistakes that eluded my prior edits, and so I made the corrections and uploaded the revision to my book on lulu, replacing the original version. To be sure that everything was perfect, I ordered the new print copy, and after it came in the mail, I rechecked it and found it ready to go!

There you have it!

Now I did decide to take it one step further, and adjust the original manuscript to be formatted for an ebook. Lulu requires that you create a new entity for your ebook which is different than your print book. The only thing I found difficult about this was formatting my Word file so that it would wind up as an epub file. I used online tutorials to figure this out as well as a lot of trial and error. You can download an epub file reader for free for your computer from various websites, and after formatting and uploading your file to lulu.com for epub conversion, you can download and preview the converted file on your computer or e-reader. This is very important so that the book flows properly when read on an e-reader. Once the file is converted properly and the cover image sent and accepted, you can set the price and descriptor the same as your print book. I decided to price the ebook version much lower than the print book, in an attempt to entice more people to download and read the book immediately.

You don’t have to purchase the ebook once it is ready. Just download your free copy and preview it on your e-reader or epub reader. If all looks good, you are ready to go!

Tune in tomorrow for the final part of my article on The Writing Journey!

A.W. Clarke

Friday, July 3, 2015

My Journey of Writing From Idea to Print: Parts 5&6

5. Turning a Short Story into a Big Deal
By A. W. Clarke

I had an idea. I had a genre. I knew how to get it out to people. And I knew I had to desire to do it all.
Now I just had to start.

My romantic novel was originally intended to be a short story of about twenty pages in length. I typed away on my computer a little each day, finding pockets of time here and there.

One thing I had to overcome was finding the time to write.

At the time I was working two jobs to support my family. Being so busy each day, it was hard to plan a time to dedicate a few hours to writing. So what I did instead was keep in the back of my mind that I had to write something as soon as I had the chance, even if it was just one page of ideas or storyline.
 It turned out that I wasn’t able to write every day, but when I found myself with some free time, often an hour or two at night or between shifts, I would sit at the computer in a quiet place and close my eyes. 
This was my engine for writing. For me, I was able to write when I pictured the detail in each scene from start to finish. One of my secrets is to pretend you are directing a scene through a camera and you purposely play it back in slow motion. By slowing down each scene, you can “look around” and picture each detail, like the colour in a woman’s hair as it glistens in the sun, or the appearance of anguish chiselled across the face of a distressed character.

During these quiet times, I was able to picture various scenes and type them down. Some writers compile and write out their work neatly in an organized fashion. Others just jot down the basic points, then polish them up later when they edit. 
Create your own story in a way that works for you. One thing I found for me is that it was not helpful for me to create a timeline for my story. I kind of winged it as I went, letting each day of writing take the story on its own twists and turns. But other writers find a timeline essential to balance out the workload for the story. Again, write in a way that works for you.
After numerous sessions at the computer, my story was finished! I had produced a twenty one page short story of romance and passion. Little did I know that I was not going to stop there!

Enter my essential friend- the beta reader!

After looking over my story, I have to say I was quite proud of myself. I had produced a meaningful shorty story out of thin air! Now all I needed was a reader or two to make sure it all made sense.
I had a couple of people who were close to me read it over and they both found the story enjoyable. I felt like a million bucks. But, one of them mentioned something to me the next day that didn’t sit well with me at first.
“Why not add more to your story?”
I admit, when I heard those words, I thought somehow that I had failed. What was this reader looking for? But after thinking about it, the request made sense. I had looked up at a bookshelf in my room full of novels, each one obviously way thicker than an average magazine. “Damn,” I thought, “That’s a lot of work.”
At this point, I felt the little voice return once again. “How long did my story have to be?” I knew I was a newbie to the art of writing. I seriously doubted I could pump out a Stephen King novel by next Friday. But one day shortly after that thought, I flipped through my manuscript of twenty-odd pages and thought to myself.
Twenty one pages. I wrote twenty one pages. I’ve never done anything like this before, and just by being motivated, I wrote over twenty pages!

I knew it! I had to keep going. My friend suggested that I could add another story or two to this one…maybe make it a three part novel with a roller coaster ride and some cliff hangers. So I closed my eyes one night before bed and contemplated it all.
I already knew how to write a love story. I knew how to make it dramatic, which is what these readers want. I suppose, with more time, I could simply keep going, and add more beautiful and exciting things to the story. Continue the roller coaster of emotion my main character experiences.

I could make this short story a big deal.
And so I continued to write.



6. Formatting: One of my Biggest Hurdles
By A. W. Clarke

It was now my goal to take my mere 21 page short story and expand it into a roller coaster ride trilogy. By adhering to my technique of finding pockets of time to get anything typed down, I slowly pieced together an emotional storyline which took my dynamic character on a more meaningful journey. I would say that in about four months of writing here and there, my story was finished!

But it wouldn’t end there. Once again, I had my beta readers on it, assessing the flow and grammar of the manuscript. Quite a few changes had to be made throughout the edit, and I had to read it over numerous times- admittedly far more than I thought. But in the end, I would absolutely agree that it is vital to edit and re-edit your story. Every time you read through it, you might find something else worth changing or correcting. Sometimes you may find it necessary to take away a portion, or expand another point of your story, for sake of character development etc…

Once I was content with the final edit, it was time to make it tangible! From here I could have sent a copy of my manuscript to literary agents or publishers along with a request letter asking for their consideration in getting me promoted. But I decided to go at it myself. My philosophy has always been that I try to do as many things as I can myself without bothering people for favours. At times, it builds my confidence and skill set. Other times, I just get stressed out and crumble only to ask the favour. It’s all good!

I had decided to use an online publishing service, namely lulu.com. I downloaded one of their templates for the book size I desired and it had useful information like where to put the title page and copyright page, and how to structure the text throughout the book.
Formatting did pose some issues. For a newbie writer, getting the body of the story to follow the right indents, line spaces etc… was a bit daunting. I would format my work according to these guidelines on Microsoft Word, then convert it into a PDF file. When doing this, it is kind of like doing a dry run on a performance. You then flip through the PDF to see what the book might look like. 
Pay attention to headers and footers (where the text falls at the tops and bottoms of each page). You have to adjust where each chapter starts down the page. These little appearance issues were one of the hardest things to figure out. I had to convert my Word file to PDF many times and preview it until the final product looked just right. 

Remember, don’t settle for messy work. No one would buy a poorly built new car. Everything must fit together cleanly and correctly in order to look professional!

Now I was ready to upload my document to lulu.

Tune in tomorrow for parts 7 & 8 of my Journey of Writing.

A. W. Clarke

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Journey of Writing, From Idea to Print: Parts 3&4


3. How I Chose My Genre
By A. W. Clarke

So here I am all psyched up about writing a book, when all of these discouraging thoughts come into my mind. What will I write about? How long should the book be? However would a publishing company accept a newbie author? Where will I find the time?

Right about here, is where most people with an idea give up. But I’ll tell you, if you give up at this point, or any point in your goals, you will definitely realize an opportunity lost and failed. So, you can either accept that you will not find success at something, or simply set a goal and try. I cannot stress that last part enough.
Set a goal and try.

You can also set a series of goals and try your best to reach each one. Just one at a time. Don’t even think about the magnitude of it all. Just focus on reaching one goal at a time. Better yet, write a simple list of those goals on a piece of paper and tape it to a place you see every day, like the bathroom mirror. Every time you look in the mirror, get inspired to better yourself. One way to do that is to accomplish a small part of the next goal on the list. I guarantee you that you will start to feel amazed by the drive you will discover in yourself. After all, unless you start to cross off each line in that list, it will just stay there and never get fulfilled. Let that small list be your source of passion.

 Here’s another effective way to find and continue motivation. Tell someone what you are doing.Don’t tell someone you are “thinking” of writing a book. Tell them you “are” writing a book. If you are already a somewhat driven person, then knowing that you already told someone you will be producing something will keep your motivational engine running, lightly pressing the back of your mind to work a little on your goal each time you get a chance.

So, what will I write about?
Truth be told, I am a very technical person. I do enjoy music and the arts. But being a tradesperson, most of what I know in my day to day life is buried in the sciences. I had actually thought about writing a history book once, almost ten years ago. I even started typing out a framework for the book. But it was quickly shelved, as I thought it would be too hard to create. Then, of course, work got in the way. I had no plans to quit my job in order to take a chance at writing. The bills still had to get paid, the family supported.

So, I suppose that I’d need something striking to get me started with this literary goal I had established. The passion was there to start, but what would keep me going? It would have to be something I really enjoyed thinking about. Perhaps it was something that had always intrigued me. Maybe something of fantasy, where I could make it all up on my own, with less technical research and no boundaries. It took a while to figure out. Then, one day it came to me. 
Romance.

I might be a techie by day. But the other side of me enjoys a heartfelt movie moment as much as the next person. I’d like to think that through my years, I have learned a lot about love, relationships, and emotion through not only my own experiences, but by those of others. I’ve been blessed with good friends who have leaned on me at one time or another, wanting an ear to listen to their stories of love come and gone. All of these stories held in them the core of some story I could produce. 

I considered a novel of a romantic nature for two reasons. First, I’ve always found intense beauty in those moments where our emotional strings are tugged at hard in some love story. These moments of raw emotion are very powerful, and can be related to by almost anyone. This would make it easy for me to reach a sizeable audience. I could write about romance. 
The second reason why I chose this genre was because with fiction, the sky’s the limit. I imagined it would be easier to produce something entirely out of my head, with no limitations to real world entities. My writings could wander out as far as I'd like, and be as distorted or unearthly as I desired. Then as I edit it through, my story would fall somewhere between pure fiction and tangible reality. This would make writing much easier for me than writing about a more technical, non-fiction genre.

So a romance novel it was. Now I had chosen my genre. But it still felt a bit daunting. I mean, being good with my hands, it felt new to leave that and conjure thoughts about the heart and mind. But that in itself was enough of a catalyst, as I decided it would make the final goal more rewarding. The idea of creating something I was not entirely familiar with-and have it be any good at all- fuelled my drive to succeed even more!

Maybe I was starting to be a bit audacious.
Though that wasn’t my usual style, it felt like good fuel to the spark. So I kept going!




4. Where Would I Turn to Get Published?
By A. W. Clarke

With a genre in mind, and a courageous regard to succeed at something I never would have considered twenty years ago, I reassured myself that this was definitely going to happen!
But before I got too ahead of myself, that pesky voice returned.

Who was going to publish me, the little fish in the big, big pond?

Remember my analogy about looking in the mirror with that goal list taped nearby? I was staring at the answer every morning.
It was me! I had heard from many writers about how their manuscripts were rejected by various publishing companies. Even Stephen King was rejected many times before he found success with a publishing company. 
Enter our saviour...The internet age! I realized that through internet resources, I had the ability to publish my creation and make it available to an audience.
The answer to publication came to me as I hadn’t even written much of my book yet. But I had recalled my strongest skill that I learned back in school…the skill of resourcefulness. There were in fact so many resources available to the average person now more than even twenty years ago. I could take to the library and read up on self-publication and promotion- and I did! I spoke to friends who were first time writers and others who wrote for newspapers or magazines. I was surprised at the information I could find through word of mouth. But for me, the most promising solution to publication was found online. I had been told of an online self-publishing company called lulu.com. There are others, like Smashwords, Amazon KDP, etc… 

I chose lulu.com because it was created by a Canadian entrepreneur who lived in the same city where I worked. It also appeared easy to use, but that being said, I’m sure I would find other sites easy to use with enough practice. The point is, I picked a vehicle for which to piece together a solution to part of my final goal, and decided to stick with it!
This print-on-demand site allows the writer to upload his or her manuscript, convert it to the desired format for publication, preview it, and then make it available for circulation and purchase.

Voila! Most of the solutions to my needs of being published were found on one website. That being said, the process was fairly easy, but not without its hang ups. When needed, I checked online for tutorials to find solutions to the odd time I was stuck uploading, converting, or changing a setting for my book. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves in this journey.

What is important at this stage of the game is stating that I was able to find another solution to the puzzle that represented the smaller goals that make up my one final goal: to successfully write a book and publish it!


As long as you are moving forward, it’s a good sign. Baby steps. Baby steps! 


Tune in tomorrow, for parts 5&6 of my journey of writing....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Journey of Writing From Idea to Print: Parts 1 and 2

Here are Parts 1 and 2 of my article on the journey of writing my book. Enjoy!



1. Welcome to My Story, and Your Success
By A. W. Clarke

Hello readers. My name is A. W. Clarke. Like many of you, I started with nothing more than an idea and the desire to be a successful published author. I can tell you two things that are for certain. One, if you have the desire and drive to succeed, you are already on your way to your goals. Second, having a plan and following it diligently will get your there. 

The world’s wheels will not stop for anyone with low ambition who thinks everything will happen to them at some random moment. So don’t say “I was thinking of” But rather, say to yourself, “I will”, and you will find completion of any goal you set your mind to.

With that said, over the course of three years, I went from having an idea for a book to achieving my goal of having my book published and available to the world for readers to enjoy. Therefore, I can say that I have accomplished my goal of being a successfully published author. I have sold enough copies of my book to reaffirm my desire to share my own thoughts with other people through words. 

I tell you, there is no greater reward than hearing your readers tell you that they've had a positive connection with YOUR creation. Now, since having seen my goal reached, I’d like to share this literary journey with others, since it is often the inspiration of others that can fuel our passion to accomplish what we desire.


I will share with you eight aspects of my writing journey. I hope it can be of inspiration to you as you contemplate success in the literary field. Remember, everyone starts with a simple idea. From there, all you need is to set goals along the way, and fuel the passion to reach each of those goals until the end. Never give up!


2. Where I Discovered My Interest in Literary Work
By A. W. Clarke


It's not often that stories begin with an oddball background, but I’ve decided to start in just that manner. I never ever thought of being a writer. There, I said it. It’s true. But what is also true, is that no one knows their true destiny in life at any age. 

So with that, I’ll share with you that I left school and entered a trade. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, and took pride in looking at the final product of any job. Whether I’ve repaired machines or built furniture from simple ideas in my head, the joy of persevering until the job was finished was the driving factor behind each day’s work.

Fast forward to 2011. I had an acquaintance over and was chatting about the usual meanderings of life, when we came to talk about hobbies and interests. Being a tech geek, I mentioned everything I took interest in from cars to electronics and every machine in between. My friend had been in the service industry for years, but did mention the completion of a novel as part of a hobby. 

Wow! I had never met a real live author before! For some reason-perhaps my unquenchable desire to learn new things, I was hooked!

Without sounding arrogant, I had boldly whispered to myself that night, “Damn it, if you can do it, I can do it.”

Now I had in me the passion and drive to begin. This is where all goals start for everyone. All I needed was an idea. As I continued to hear about my friend’s explanation of the journey of writing, it was apparent to me that this was a feasible way to share any ideas I had with those willing to hear about them. That’s when I remembered my time in school.

To me, school was as not only a place to learn new ideas and develop skills, but it was also the place where students learn how to learn. This is a very important concept. In a nutshell, what we learn in school is a form of resourcefulness. 

People aren’t expected to memorize and regurgitate math formulas or descriptive essays every day of their career. More important than that, school taught me that it was up to me to find ways to figure out how to get from point A to B, either financially, socially, or throughout my career. 

Indeed we all do this many times in our lives, from familiarizing ourselves with a new computer program to understanding how to reload a paper towel dispenser. If we don’t know, we ask. If we cannot ask, we watch, or research or try until we succeed. Also, in doing so, we often reach our goals as long as we keep trying, and don’t give up.

So with my friend’s inspiration, I set out to successfully write a book. I was excited. Who knows where this would lead! All I wanted to do at the end of it all, was to do what I had done many times before in my day to day career.

I wanted to hold in my hands a product of my work, and smile. 


Tune in tomorrow, for parts 3 and 4 of my article Journey of Writing, From Idea to Print.

A. W. Clarke

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