Tag: Serpents Underfoot

Have You Ever Thought About Doing a Book Trailer?

How do you market your books?

If you are a self-published author, you are often on your own when it comes to marketing your work. There are many avenues to explore including review blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email lists, etc. In fact, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming!

In my opinion, social media marketing is great for getting exposure. You can build a support network of other writers (#writingcommunity), gain ideas about target markets for your books, and promotes specials or giveaways. You may even sell a few books.

But I have come to a conclusion that people who spend a lot of time on social media outlets, are probably not book lovers or voracious readers. If they were, they’d be reading, and not Tweeting. So, I decided to try something new!

I decided to try creating a book trailer.

Videos do seem to be another great way to grab a possible reader’s attention and interest, gain exposure, and maybe even sell a book or two. Videos are easy to share and can certainly be used with social media. But, they can also be used on your website, uploaded to YouTube, emailed, shared on blogs, etc.

Conspiracy. Terrorism. One SEAL stands between freedom and nuclear annihilation.

I started trying to do this myself, but quickly found out that there is a good bit to it. Access to appropriate royalty-free footage, editing software, having a script or storyboard, and a good soundtrack are all important and too much to learn all at once. Therefore, I enlisted the help of a video editor on Fiverr.com to help me get started. It turned out to be a lot of fun. You can view the results above, of course.

As part of this process, I did learn the importance of having a script and storyboarding your video to get your ideas in laid out and conceptualized before you go looking for royalty-free video footage, etc. I am also looking into getting some better video editing software. I think this would be fun to do yourself, but then, you also have to consider time and investment.

So, for my next project, a “coming soon” book trailer for my sequel to Serpents Underfoot, I will certainly still get some help from the experts on Fiverr.com, but who knows what the future may hold!

One thing is clear. Writing a book is only part of the battle, and in fact, may be the easiest part. Getting your book out there and getting exposure, building a reader base, driving sales, all while continuing to write additional books can be quite a challenge. Hopefully, somewhere down the line, the work pays off. You have to truly believe that the investment of all your time and hard work will pay off in order to keep chugging away and eventually be successful.

Just don’t stop trying!

There is some sage wisdom from some old martial artist that seems appropriate here. The founder of Isshin-ryu Karate, Tatuso Shimabuku, used to say it, but I am pretty sure it didn’t originate with him. The saying goes:

If you fall down seven times, get up eight!

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My version of that is “I am to stubborn to know when I am beat, so I just keep going!” But, isn’t that the secret to success?

Stay tuned for future book video trailers. And for other blog posts and book reviews, click here!

Calvin Edney: 101st Airborne Veteran / Artist

You just never know who you are going to meet!

It is often interesting to me how we take other people we meet for granted, not bothering to listen to or learn about one another. I recently met a man named Calvin who I discovered, served in the 101st Airborne Division. This turned into a conversation, because I too, served with the 101st. But, by that time it had been transformed into the 101st Air Assault Division. Of course, Calvin is about 85 and I am 59. So, we served during different eras.

And as a side note, I recently learned that at least some units of the 101st have gone back to being Airborne.

Veteran and artist!

During the course of our discussions, it came out that I had published my first novel, titled Serpents Underfoot, a short time back, and that I am now working on its sequel, Montagnard. Of course, he wanted a signed hard-cover copy of Serpents Underfoot which I provided.

An artist utilizing vibrant colors and sharp contrast!

calvin edney
Young Dogwood at Grove Park by Calvin Edney

I then learned that, Calvin too was also an artist … a painter. And that he’d been painting for about 30 years. I learned that Vincent Van Gogh was one of his favorite painters and you can see that influence in the work he does. He is also was a fan of Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor focusing on the American west, and a favorite of mine.

calvin edney
Fight for the waterhole by Frederic Remington

Calvin Edney has been a soldier, a grocer, a bookstore owner, a vegetable store owner, a butcher, and now … a painter. He was active in several Asheville galleries in previous years, but now mostly paints in his apartment relying on memories of scenes which stuck in his mind and are created on the canvas. Calvin has sold a good number of his paintings, including one to a former Ingles CEO. He also hosts exhibits at his apartment home.

December 7th Show

Saturday, December 7, 2019
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tree Top Apartments
Asheville, NC

This is Calvin’s home. Over 140 originals hang on his walls. For more information, click here!

If you are going to be in the Asheville area on December 7th, you should stop by and meet this 101st Airborne Veteran and amazing painter. I think you will enjoy the paintings and the conversation, as well as the wine, cheese, and crackers he serves during the show.

I will start saving up my pennies, so I can afford one of his paintings some time soon.

Early Morning Cat Fu

Our early morning constitutional …

cat fu

Sophie and I take a walk every morning to start our day. It was a beautifully crisp fall morning and we were enjoying our walk. Urgent matters behind us, we were headed back toward the hacienda, when suddenly a rather large yellow feral cat stepped out of the brush and faced us down. Both Sophie and the cat spotted each other at precisely the same time. The cat froze, it’s tail twitching in an irritated manner, but it did not move. Sophie froze as well, and so began an epic stare-down! Neither Sophie nor the cat would move. Just an occasional twitch of the cat’s tail while Sophie remained coiled like a spring … ready to leap.

It was like the story of the two old masters

I used to tell kids in my children’s karate classes a story about two old Okinawan karate masters where were manipulated into a challenge match. They met on the beach at sunrise, and faced each other as the villagers gathered to see the epic fight. Shifting into their ready stances, each fixed a powerful gaze on the other and waited.

I watched as the cat stood its ground, staring at Sophie with its own ‘powerful gaze.” Sophie stared right back, not blinking and immovable. Neither were willing to give ground or surrender to the other’s “chi.”

In the story of the two old masters, after an hour of watching the masters face each other unflinchingly, the villagers, some what disappointed, deemed the challenge match a tie … and everyone went home.

In the case of Sophie and the cat, after several minutes, I called it a tie and we all went home.

cat fu
I didn’t get a picture of the cat, so this will have to do …

Lessons learned …

Each of the old masters understood that the first one to attack, would die. That is why there is “no first strike in karate.” You cannot move without creating an opening. All the other combatant has to do is be patient and skilled enough to take advantage of that opening.

In the case of Sophie and the cat, I think the cat, obviously being the older and wiser of the two, decided it was too fine a morning for a spat, and nonchalantly sauntered back off into the underbrush.

Sophie, on the other hand, seemed very proud of herself, having just saved her master from the evil ninja cat that leapt out from the dark woods to wreak destruction and vengeance on the entire universe!

It was definitely an interesting start to a new day!

If you have time, please take a minute and check out Serpents Underfoot and Adirondack Bear Tales on Amazon.com.

The Montagnards: The Green Berets’ Secret Vietnam Warriors.

montagnard
The Montagnards: The Green Berets’ Secret Vietnam Warriors symposium is Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.

Back in 2015, the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum hosted a panel discussion of the Green Berets’ Use of Montagnard Tribesmen During the War in Vietnam

I have been to Patriot Point several times and always enjoy touring the aircraft carrier. the USS Yorktown, and seeing the many naval aircraft on her deck, as well as the destroyer, the USS Laffey (which has an absolutely heroic history), and the submarine, the USS Clamagore (which I understand is destined to be sunk as an artificial reef).

I have done a great deal of research into the Montagnard people for both Serpents Underfoot and it’s “sequel in progress,” Montagnard. I am sorry I missed this symposium. It would have been interesting and helpful.

While really a short description of the symposium, there is also a good bit of information about the Montagnard people. Anyone interested in reading the article can click this link!

Poll: Montagnard Book Cover

First Cover Design for Montagnard

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot

Here is the first attempt at a cover design for Montagnard, the action-packed sequel to Serpents Underfoot. It was created for me by a freelancer on Fiverr.com

I am working very hard to make this second novel a lot better than my first (which from the reviews … wasn’t that bad).

But I did learn a great deal from my first book, and those lessons learned promise to make this second release just that much better.

That should also include the cover! So, please let me know what you think!

montagnard

How to Create an Audiobook

Sell your audio book on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.

One way to do this is through ACX, and this is the vehicle I am using to create an audio version of Serpents Underfoot, which will be released at the end of this month.

audiobooks

ACX makes this easy to do and puts you in charge.

audiobooks


Here is an outline of the first 6 steps of the 10 step process for authors on ACX

Step 1: Confirm

Confirm you own thee audio rights for your book by checking your print book contract. If you own the audio rights, then for purposes of ACX, you are the legal Rights Holder.

Step 2: Create your Profile

Create your Title Profile by describing your book and the type of narrator best suited for it. You’ll then post a 1-2 page excerpt from your book to serve as the Audition Script for any potential narrators.

Step 3: Find your ideal producer

Listen to the auditions you receive. You can also listen to sample narrations and invite a handful of producers to audition for your book.

I took three scenes from different sections of my book totaling about 2 1/2 pages and uploaded it. I received 10 or 12 auditions from narrators to read Serpents Underfoot.

A few did not even read my sample, instead sending me links to other books they had read. I discarded them immediately. I wanted to hear my work being read in their voice.

A couple of others sent lists of their accomplishments and highlighted their experience, but again, I wanted to hear my work being read, so I discarded them as well.

Step 4: Review Auditions

This left about 6 or 7 who actually read my sample, and I carefully listened to the auditions they provided. It was a tough decision because several were really darn good.

Step 5: Make a Deal

Finally, I settled on Doug Greene. I checked and Doug had done about a dozen previous projects in various genres.

Doug had the voice “authoritative or military” sounding voice I was looking and really seemed to enjoy reading the sample I had provided.

We came to an agreement on schedule, payment, etc.

Doug is doing a great job and I am very pleased with his work.

Step 6: Get Started

Doug recorded and upload the a 15 minute test read of the audiobook, which I listened to and approved, providing my feedback. Of course, when your sample is approved, the producer will record the full project.

How you complete the project is decided by you. Doug is uploading each chapter as he completes it. This was actually Doug’s suggestion. This way, I can listen to each completed chapter to see if any edits are needed.

So far, there has been very little editing that needed to be done. And, I must say it is pretty exciting to see (and hear) this project unfolding.

I like this method, especially since this was my first time doing doing an audiobook.

You could certainly also just have the producer complete the entire audiobook, and review it all at once.

The Remaining Steps Will Soon Follow!

The remaining 4 steps are

Step 7: Approve the Final Product

Step 8: Distribute

Step 9: Promote

Step 10: Earn Royalties

I will follow up with an additional post outlining these last 4 steps once I have completed them.

For now, I will just say that ACX makes this process easy and while there is certainly an investment in both time and money, it looks like the process should allow for a good ROI if you have a good product and stick to the program. We shall see shortly!

Serpents Underfoot is currently out in Kindle, paperback and hardcover. I am excited to announce that it will, very soon, be available as an audiobook through iTunes, Audible, and Amazon as well!

Click here for other interesting blog posts!

Buy This Book – you won’t be disappointed!

It takes work, but success will come!

Wow! Sales of Serpents Underfoot are growing. I knew enough to know that writing and publishing my own books would be hard work, and that any reward would be slow in coming. I mean … I am not exactly Tom Clancy!!

Also, there is a pretty long learning curve. How do I use Twitter or Instagram to market my books? How about Facebook, other book reviewers, book signings, etc.? And then, there is the mystery of Amazon Ads! It has taken time and work, but I am beginning to see the rewards.

I won’t lie. While the income certainly helps, for me the biggest reward and kick is simply knowing that someone read my work and got real enjoyment out of it. That makes being a writer really worth while for me!

More great new reviews for Serpents Underfoot

Newest Amazon Review

books by dc gilbert

Buy this book – you won’t be disappointed

A multi-generational story of perseverance, intelligence and craftiness, you will most likely find yourself rooting for Ajax and saying to yourself about the bad guys, “Uh oh – they shouldn’t have done that. Now I’m waiting for the sequel …”

Sharon Fowler

Thank you, Sharon Fowler, for the awesome 5 STAR REVIEW! Click here to read the entire review on Amazon!

The Prairies Book Review

I also recently received an excellent review from The Prairies Book Review. Tina S. at Prairies Review writes:

Full of Navy Seal action, the book will enthrall fans of action thrillers…

The book has it all—authentic detail, breathless action, vividly drawn settings, and an exhilarating plot. Action thrillers fans will be rewarded. Readers will wait eagerly for JD and Ajax to come together for another treacherous adventure.

Tina S.

Thank you, Tina, for the awesome review! Click here to read the entire review at The Prairies Book Review!

The sequel is coming!

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot, titled “Montagnard,” should be released at the end of this year or early next year. Serpents Underfoot was my first novel and it is doing amazingly well. But, I also learned a lot writing this first novel, so I promise that Montagnard will be even better!

However, you will want to read Serpents Underfoot before you read Montagnard, so I’d think about getting your copy pretty soon! It is available in Kindle format as well as paperback and hardcover.