Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

Why Readers and Authors Should Use Goodreads Listopia

If you’ve used the site called Goodreads but haven’t used its feature known as Listopia, you’re missing a fun and easy way to find exactly the books you’d like to read. And if you’re an author, you should make sure your books appear on Listopia lists where new readers can find them.

Joining Goodreads.com is free, so do it if you haven’t already.

Once you’re on the Goodreads Home page, go to “Browse” in the menu and drop down to “Lists.” You’ll see a page similar to this one, with featured and popular lists. In the upper right hand corner, you can search for names of lists. I always search for “Teen” and “YA.”

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Farther down the page, you can search for a tag that a list-maker may have placed on the list when it was created. Search keywords associated with books you enjoy, such as a particular sport or art.

Be as broad or as specific in your searches as you like. When you find a list that interests you, peruse the books, which will be listed according to the number of votes they’ve received from readers.

Here’s a list that 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status is on, “Best Books for Christian teenage girls and young women.” It is currently 23rd on the list, with 7 votes. And look at what good company it’s in!

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Goodreads no longer allows authors to add their books to lists or to vote on their own books. But authors can create lists when they see the need for one, as I did for the list “YA novels with a hearing impaired teen character.” (At that time, I was allowed to add 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status to it myself.) I made some of the readers I know enjoyed the novel aware of this particular list, hoping they would vote for my book. A few did.

When you go to any single book’s Goodreads page, such as for 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, scroll down through its reviews until you see “Lists with this book.” This is the example from that novel. As you see beneath those two lists, you can find “More lists with this book…”

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If you like a book, you will find books similar to it by looking at its lists.

When you find a list that contains books you’d like to read and some you’ve read, other readers will appreciate your voting on the ones you’ve enjoyed. Votes help other readers decide which books to read next.

Authors will appreciate those votes, too.

Do you use Goodreads Listopia lists? In which way and how often?

 

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A Giveaway and a Never-Before SALE Worldwide

10 Steps to Girlfriend Status FRONT COVER  FIRST TIME FOR THIS BOOK! On Monday, February 20th (President’s Day), look for 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status in the Kindle version at the special price of only 99 cents in the U.S., £0.99 in U.K, $1.29 in Australia, and $1.30 in Canada! Just go to the book’s Amazon listing on February 20th for your country. Check the Amazon sites for other countries not mentioned, if you happen to live elsewhere. This book may be listed and on sale there, too (English version only).

 

6-dates-to-disaster-fc-5x8  PLUS! Now through April 16th, enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of 6 Dates to Disaster on Goodreads.com. If you are not a member of Goodreads, membership is free. There you will find lots of giveaways for books you may be planning to read anyway, as well as books you haven’t heard of yet. See what others like yourself are reading and enjoying (or not)! Enter for 6 Dates to Disaster here! This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only, but be sure to tell your friends in the U.S. Thanks!

 

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Release Day! First Scene Preview: 6 Dates to Disaster

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My publisher featured 6 Dates to Disaster today on the Write Integrity Press blog with the first scene for your convenience. I hope you enjoy reading it!

This is the third book of the Bird Face series, and Jennifer is back in Wendy’s life, although not shown in the first scene. The story addresses honesty and how dishonesty can damage a teen’s relationships and future.

Be sure to check out all three of the books so far in the series on my Amazon author page! (The original Bird Face book, which is out-of-print, is still listed there, too. That story became 8 Notes to a Nobody.)

Thank you for reading.

Cynthia

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Teens! Here’s an Art Contest for You

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Teen artists ages 11 to 18! Enter this contest to win a copy of my new novel, 6 Dates to Disaster (Bird Face series book three). Visit my website www.cynthiattoney.com, subscribe to my newsletter there, and email me (see Contact, under About Me tab on the website) a sketch of your fave character(s) in a scene from one of my first two books.

In the email, tell me which book and which chapter you got your idea from. Contest ends at midnight CST, January 1, 2017. Winner will be notified by 1/31/17 at the email address you use to subscribe to my newsletter. Winner must provide a valid U.S. or Canadian mailing address in a return email.

I can’t wait to see what you draw!

Cynthia

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Cover Reveal! Book three of the Bird Face series

Coordinates well with the previous two, don’t you think? If the image appears pixilated, it also does to me. I’ve requested a higher-resolution image from my publisher. All part of the process of getting a new book ready for publication! The anticipated release date is December 6.

6-dates-to-disaster-fc  10 Steps to Girlfriend Status FC tiny  8-notes-to-a-nobody-fc-tiny

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A Special Summer Read at a Special Price!

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For girls 11 to 14—well, women of all ages!

Don’t miss it this time!

Cynthia

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Creating My First Book Trailer

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When it comes to marketing my books, I’m not typically a procrastinator. But until a week ago, I did not have a single book trailer video for any of my three published books (including the one out of print).

I’d written some copy for one.

I’d thought about the tone I wanted.

I’d searched for images.

I’d talked to my husband about producing one together.

I even had a YouTube channel set up and waiting.

But still, no trailer.

What lit a fire under me to move forward was the offer of a fellow author to post our author group’s video trailers on Instagram.

Excited by that prospect, I inquired from other authors which program they used. (Is program the correct word? I’m not sure.) I also researched a bit online.

I soon learned that many used Animoto or Vimeo to produce their own videos. However, my husband and I have Macs, and iMovies was already available to us.

We selected a pre-fab theme from among many free themes with built-in music. We weren’t quite happy with our first try, because not enough time was built in for the text frames unless we used only a handful of words. And the built-in background and text color made it harder to read. My husband could find no way to change the colors.

After I cut back on the text somewhat and my husband figured out how to add a second or so to those frames without the music ending too soon, we were pleased.

Until you produce your own book trailer video, you can’t imagine the planning and coordination it involves. We learned a lot that we’ll apply to our next production–a trailer for book two.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s my trailer for 8 Notes to a Nobody. I hope you enjoy it.

Do you have an experience to share about producing a book trailer ?

 

 

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Celebrate Your Success and Enter to Win an E-book

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Image courtesy of Morguefile.com free photos

In the early months of the new year, good things have happened to me as an author.

The second book of the Bird Face series, 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, is a semi-finalist in a book contest and a finalist in another. A Florida book fair company has acquired copies of both books of the series to sell to schools. I have sorted out some of the problems with my third manuscript and gotten back to writing it.

And I’m celebrating!

Don’t you think the small steps accomplished on any entrepreneurial journey should be celebrated? If you do, I invite you to celebrate yours–with me.

To expand the positive atmosphere I’m breathing, I’m offering a chance for a commenter on this blog post to win an electronic copy of either 8 Notes to a Nobody or 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status.

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All you need to do to enter for a chance to win:

  1. Share in the comments about an accomplishment in your particular endeavor (writing or other) that you celebrated or want to celebrate, and how (in a wholesome way–remember that young teens also read this blog).
  2. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter at cynthiattoney.com.

The names of all approved commenters who subscribe to the newsletter will be placed in a hat, and a winning name will be drawn. The prize will be a mobi file of your choice of either of my books, to be read on a Kindle or other device where you have a Kindle app.

After the end of March, I’ll notify the winner at the email address used to subscribe to the newsletter.

So, how about your entrepreneurial successes–in writing (prose, poetry, fiction, nonfiction) or an  altogether different endeavor? Was your poem or short story accepted for publication? Did you open a new online business? Sell your first painting? I’d love to hear about it.

Let’s celebrate those successes together!

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Mattie, Teen Reader

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Mattie at home with her dog, Bessie

If you’ve read 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, you’ll recognize the name “Mattie” as one of the characters. This is where I got the name!

Meet Mattie, a young lady around 15 years old, who was the first reader to contact me back when the original Bird Face was published. She wrote the sweetest letter and raised my spirits as an author when I needed it most. So naturally I wanted to name a character after her. 🙂

Although the real Mattie is not all that similar to my fictional character Mattie, she is amazing and worth writing about! She kindly agreed to allow me to interview her.

Cynthia: Welcome to the blog, Mattie. Tell us a little about yourself—what combination of personality, interests, and abilities makes Mattie who Mattie is?

Mattie: I’m a creative, quirky girl, who loves to read, write, and paint. I also spend a lot of time performing. I enjoy acting because I get to pretend to be someone else. It reminds me of when I was little, and I would run around screaming, “I’m a FAIRY!”

Cynthia: You’re very talented! I can understand how you would relate to the characters in my books. You have a combination of their talents.

Which kinds of books do you like to read, and would you like to write a book similar to any of those someday?

Mattie: I like to read books that have a little mystery and romance. Books about actors are also very interesting to me, since they help me improve my craft. If I ever write a book in the future, it will probably be about life experiences I’ve had and how God has helped me get through them.

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Cynthia: Terrific. The good thing for writers is that we can turn our experiences–good or bad–into a book.  And we can honor our friends by naming characters after them.

Do you have a lot of friends you hang out with or one or two close ones?

Mattie: I have a few close friends.

Cynthia: What makes a good friend for you?

Mattie: A person who loves to laugh always makes a great friend for me! It is so fun to joke around with my close friends. Especially when we get it on video, and we can laugh about it again later.

Cynthia: I wish my friends and I had been able to record ourselves!

What is the best thing about friendship with a boy? What is the worst?

Mattie: Hanging out with a guy is fun because we can play a sport or a video game which I wouldn’t normally do with my girly friends. However, the worst thing about having guy friends is that they are harder to relate to.

Cynthia: Yeah, having at least one guy friend is great for getting a male perspective on a situation, seeing the world through his eyes, but for some things you need your gal pals.

Because you have both male and female friends, I must ask you: which character in the series do you like the most?

Mattie: My favorite character is Sam. He would be a great friend to have because he knows just what to say or do when someone is upset. He is very caring.

Cynthia: Aww. Sam is one of my favorites too, even though he and Wendy have a couple of arguments, or at least misunderstandings.

Have you ever had a bad argument with the person who was your best friend, and what was it about?

Mattie: One time, I was aggravated with my best friend, and I made fun of her most hated flaw. She was super offended, and she wouldn’t talk to me for the whole day. Fortunately, she forgave me for saying something so inconsiderate, and we are still besties!

Cynthia: Wow, you two are good friends. I always feel bad if I make a comment to someone I like and she gets that hurt look on her face. Sometimes I’m kinda like Wendy was in the first book, lacking in social skills.

In your opinion, what is your best quality or social skill? Which quality or skill would you like to develop?

Mattie: My best quality is that I’m not afraid to be myself. I am comfortable in my own skin. I would like to develop the skill of small talk. When I am first meeting someone, it can be hard for me to make conversation since I hardly know them.

Cynthia: It’s great that you’re comfortable being yourself. Some teens don’t feel that way.

If you worry, what do you worry about the most? What kind of action do you take to solve the problem or get your mind off worrying about it?

Mattie: I usually worry about silly things like what I’m going to wear to an event or how I’m going to decorate my room. I will read, do some homework, or watch T.V. to clear my head.

Cynthia: Are you public, private, religious or home-school educated? What is the worst thing about school? What is the best thing?

Mattie: I go to a public school. About 50% of the stuff I learn in school will probably go to waste. I doubt I’ll remember the elements of the Periodic Table by the time I’m 30. I still like school because I get to see my friends all the time, and I eat yummy pizza for lunch everyday!

Cynthia: Thanks for visiting, Mattie. I hope this semester of the school year goes as well as the first!

If you enjoyed meeting Mattie as much as I did and would like to see her in action, she’d love for you to follow her Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC94_Sy-pS_Rct9ZNEMyOM4Q

 

 

 

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Seeking My Niche

This post was first published on The Scriblerians blog, October 6, 2015.

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Image courtesy of Morguefile free photos

I have one of those in my house—a niche. It’s carved out of the wall at the end of a short hallway. Not much fits there, but I placed a tall pottery vase that is flattened from front to back so it nestles in the space just right.

And boy, is it showcased.

Isn’t that what we authors are supposed to do? Find a niche for our work? An audience where it’s showcased rather than one of many similar, cluttered objects where none stand out.

I suppose those are extreme examples, but books can’t yell for attention like humans can. How do I find the audience(s) where my novels might catch fire, so to speak?

I’m thinking out loud now. Thanks for sticking with me.

My YA novels in the Bird Face series use humor and hope to address serious issues facing teens today. Each novel addresses at least a few. It’s the way I like to write stories, with my protagonist facing multiple issues and crises that are intertwined.

So, how do I find a niche for those books?

Right now, I’m looking for teens with particular challenges or areas in teens’ lives where certain types of stories or characters are lacking. Stories featuring a teen that is hearing-impaired are hard to find, for example. So are those with Catholic teen characters.

I wrote my first book because I care about kids who are shy or bullied. It’s fiction that contains elements of Christian faith, and the half-Cajun Wendy naturally became Catholic because all the Cajuns I knew were Catholic.

I wrote my deaf teen character Sam in my second book because I care about hearing-impaired teens. A good friend in my twenties taught at a school for the deaf, and she shared her experiences.  I grew up not understanding much about the hearing-impaired children I met, but I later worked around hearing-impaired adults, who referred to themselves as deaf and who became my friends.

Like an ethnic group, both hearing-impaired and Catholic teens like to see characters similar to themselves occasionally depicted in the fiction they read.

I’ve decided to try target-marketing to both Catholic teens and hearing-impaired teens (as I continue to market to all teens, Christian and non-Christian). I know, I’ve selected two niches, but I’m still figuring this out.

Anyway, that’s my plan for today.

Are you an author struggling to find your niche? As a reader, are you attracted to specific religious aspects of story or social issues in story lines?

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