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Indies Unlimited by Administrators - 2d ago

The holidays are around the corner, and we’ve got the deals right here! Fill that reader with free and 99 cent eBooks! We have plenty here on Thrifty Thursday.

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see one you like, click over and buy it. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book priced at 99¢ or less (that’s right, post your free eBooks here, too!), follow the instructions below and post it right in the comment section. Got more than one bargain book? Go ahead and post up to five titles but only one book and ONE link per comment please!

We will convert Amazon links to spiffy clickable book covers. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (~140 characters – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. ONE link to purchase the book (only secure retail sites – Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, or Apple/iStore)
5. Whether your book is free or 99 cents (and for how long/what dates)
6. Limit FIVE books per author.

Then let your friends and fans know your book is available here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your cheap read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles – they will be deleted without notice. Kindle Unlimited books do NOT go here. If you want to advertise a KU book, you may do so on Kindle Unlimited Fridays. Thank you.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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It’s that time again…time to choose your favorite flash fiction story of the week! It’s all up to you now – only one can win Flash Fiction Readers’ Choice Champion honors. It’s super easy – choose your favorite and cast your vote below.

Check out this week’s entries here. Make your decision, then use those share buttons at the bottom of the post to spread the word. Attention Authors: It is okay if you ask people to vote for you!

Voting polls close Thursday at 5 PM Pacific time. If the poll doesn’t close on time, any votes received after 5 pm will be removed.

REMINDER – entries over the 250 limit are disqualified.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

NOTE: Entrants whose submissions exceed the 250 word limit will be disqualified even if they win. ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. The results displayed above are unofficial until verified by administration.

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When was the last time you had fun doing book promotion? I know; not my favorite thing, either. However, that was before I discovered Lumen5.com.

Lumen5.com is a site where you can make a short book trailer video—for free. And it’s tons of fun. Ever since I found it, I’ve been having a ball making up videos for all my books. Well, not all: after all I do have 32 current titles out there. But I’ve been doing quite a few. Here’s a quick tutorial.

Go to Lumen5.com and create your free account, then click on the “Create Video” button in the upper right corner. There are three ways to start, but I chose “Copy and paste your content.” To use this, I put together a series of sentences that became the blurb of my book, Ghost Walk, and I uploaded them into the space provided. Here’s what I uploaded:

Ex-homicide cop Lacey Fitzpatrick still keeps track of the LAPD’s investigations of murder cases.

She’s shocked to read that an old cold case may have been cracked.

When she asks how the case was solved, she’s told a medium provided clues.

A medium? A ghost-buster.

Sam Firecloud is a Navajo medium who communicates with the dead.

Together, he and Lacey team up to investigate a murder…

Where no record of a crime exists.

Ghost Walk by Melissa Bowersock
Available as both as a paperback and an eBook from Amazon.

Next you’ll be prompted to choose a format: landscape, square, or vertical. In the free version, landscape is the only format available; in the paid version you may choose any of those.

Then you’ll choose a theme. Note that the style of text and the text color (base color and highlight) will be what is shown in the example. You can change this at any time, so don’t feel like you’re locked in.

Lumen5 will then assign your text in frames and suggest images to go with your text. I’ve found their suggestions aren’t usually what I want, but that’s no problem. They have a ton of stock images you can choose from, simply by searching for a subject.

On the left side of your screen, you’ll see a menu like this:

There are tabs at the top of the menu: Story, Media, Music, and Style. When you’re in the Story tab, your list of sentences will be shown in order. In the Media tab, you can select from many stock images and video clips, or upload your own images. Under Music, you can choose from a plethora of styles of music, from dark to upbeat, mellow to rock. And under the Style tab, you can change the style preference you chose at the beginning (text and color).

When you’re in Story, you can select any sentence on the left, or a frame on the right, and compose, edit, and tweak the combination of text and images. You can change the highlighted word(s) or remove highlights altogether. You can move the text around to different parts of the frame to make sure the images are presented the way you want them.

When you’re happy with all that, you can click on Music and select the best kind of music to suit your story. I haven’t listened to them all, but I had no trouble finding tracks that fit the mood of my trailer. As always, you can change that at any time.

When you’ve finished all that, click on “Preview” to watch your trailer; you can then go back and edit it some more or, if you’re happy with it, click on “Finish.”

At that point, you’ll be given the option to download your video or have Lumen5 post it on Facebook. I downloaded mine and then posted it where I wanted it. Here it is:

Ghost Walk Book Trailer - YouTube

There are several paid versions available: $49/month for the Pro version for a single user, giving you the option of square or vertical format and custom theming; $149/month for the Business version which adds higher resolution and access to Getty images as well as custom watermarks; and the $399/month Team version which allows up to 3 users.

I’m quite happy with the free version. I think it does a pretty good job for such a quick and easy process, and the customizing features give enough options for my needs. The best part is… it’s FUN. I had a ball playing around with images, music, highlighting the text. I’d encourage any author who’s shied away from complex book trailers to give it a try. I think you’ll enjoy it. Always a good thing when we’re doing book promotion, right?

(If you need some guidelines or other advice on making video trailers, check out our Video Trailer Resource Page here.)

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Our overworked administrator is getting a well-deserved break today, so we figured you all might like to take this time to exercise your writing chops.

Therefore, here’s a writing prompt for you; do as you wish – short story, flash fiction, poem, what have you. There is no deadline or word count restriction. Just write. (Comments are closed – write on your own.)

This week’s word: Galumph

Use it however you’d like: as the title, in a sentence, or as inspiration. Ready, set, write!

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Imbuzi Chèvre is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Hoopers Island Sunset
by Imbuzi Chèvre

The boy named Hoptuit was on his donkey ride for several days to cover the 120 kilometers from Nairobi to the shores of Lake Natron. The customs officer at the border crossing of Tanzania was sleeping, like usual. The boy was hungry and since the guard was sleeping and already too fat for his own good, Hoptuit swiped his bucket of ugali, the tasty cornmeal mush that did not need much chewing.

Hoptuit drove his herd ahead while he rode in majesty aboard his donkey, Bogart. Hoptuit named his donkey Bogart because of the famous American naval commander by that name who had been married to an African queen. Bogart did a good job of keeping the goat herd moving. If one of the goats got out of line, Bogart the donkey would give a punch into the head of the offending goat. That would get the goat back into line.

His destination was Hooper Island just off the shore of Lake Natron. Not many people knew about Hopper Island or the secret Hopper Island Goat Market, because it was not on any map. He would take votes to see who was the best ferry operator to get his goats across to market.

Some of his goats would be sold to make stew. Others would perform in the Famous Kisongo Goat Rodeo. Other goats would be sold to high government officials for their children to ride at birthday parties. The sun was going down as Hoptuit counted the votes.

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Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2018.

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Indies Unlimited by Administrators - 1w ago

The holidays are around the corner, and we’ve got the deals right here! Fill that reader with free and 99 cent eBooks! We have plenty here on Thrifty Thursday.

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see one you like, click over and buy it. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book priced at 99¢ or less (that’s right, post your free eBooks here, too!), follow the instructions below and post it right in the comment section. Got more than one bargain book? Go ahead and post up to five titles but only one book and ONE link per comment please!

We will convert Amazon links to spiffy clickable book covers. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (~140 characters – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. ONE link to purchase the book (only secure retail sites – Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, or Apple/iStore)
5. Whether your book is free or 99 cents (and for how long/what dates)
6. Limit FIVE books per author.

Then let your friends and fans know your book is available here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your cheap read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles – they will be deleted without notice. Kindle Unlimited books do NOT go here. If you want to advertise a KU book, you may do so on Kindle Unlimited Fridays. Thank you.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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It’s that time again…time to choose your favorite flash fiction story of the week! It’s all up to you now – only one can win Flash Fiction Readers’ Choice Champion honors. It’s super easy – choose your favorite and cast your vote below.

Check out this week’s entries here. Make your decision, then use those share buttons at the bottom of the post to spread the word. Attention Authors: It is okay if you ask people to vote for you!

Voting polls close Thursday at 5 PM Pacific time. If the poll doesn’t close on time, any votes received after 5 pm will be removed.

REMINDER – entries over the 250 limit are disqualified.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

NOTE: Entrants whose submissions exceed the 250 word limit will be disqualified even if they win. ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. The results displayed above are unofficial until verified by administration.

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Back in October, I think I put many readers in a tailspin over how I manage to run a large farm, and the joys of when things don’t go your way. This month, (on the advice of our fearless leader, Kat) I’ll tell you how I do manage to get words on “paper” when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Without further ado, let’s get to it:

1.       Be fluid. Farming for the most part isn’t a set job. One day I may be working in the fields, another, in the house making cheese. The key to making time is thinking like a chess master. You have to think four to five steps ahead of what you’re currently doing in order to find a few minutes here and there to sit down at the computer.

2.       Be mobile. I used to keep a small pad of paper up at the barn, and when a great idea or random thought hit me, I’d grab that dusty pad and jot it down. Now, I’ve joined the world of technology and my smart phone has a notes app. I may be milking a goat and writing a synopsis for a new book or maybe a few lines of poetry.

3.       Be spontaneous. This goes hand in hand with #2. When an idea hits you, write it down! If you have two or three spare minutes and you can get that thought (complete or not) into or onto some sort of media, do it. I wrote the best song lyrics while stuck in the barn riding out the remnants of a hurricane. Granted the storm cell blew over in a very short matter of time, but it gave me a few precious minutes to write when I otherwise would be doing nothing.

4.       Be flexible. I used to try and write at a certain time of the day. Well, when you have animals (some of which are occasionally sick) you find yourself providing care at all hours. My precious writing time might be taken up with doctoring a sick duck. So I’ve had to learn writing is something that gets done when I have no other chores or tasks. On the farm, everything comes before you: the animals eat before you, they get cared for before you, and they take precedence over everything you do. To some, this may sound completely ludicrous, but when you take on the responsibility of animals used for food production, their health and happiness comes before yours because they’re your paycheck.

5.       Be patient. This is a hard one, and the opposite of #3. There’ve been many times I’ve had a solid urge to write and couldn’t because something needed to get done around the farm — like stacking two cords of firewood one morning. With both hands busy carting wood, I couldn’t take time to jot anything down. That’s where your memory comes into play. I had to keep that scene in my head for close to two hours before we finished and I could go back in the house and write. It wasn’t easy, and I lost some of the fantastic dialog I’d come up with.

6.       Be steadfast, but be a rule breaker. Some folks set stringent goals for their daily writing. I tried for quite some time to write 1,000 words a day. It’s a great goal, and I accomplished a lot, but there were many days I was unable to write a single word. If you set a lofty goal and can’t keep it, don’t get upset, and don’t force yourself to be up late at night to get that word count. Sometimes I’ll take a few days away from a WIP in order to think about things. It’s perfectly okay. I won’t get writer’s block, and I won’t stop writing, I just need a break. On the contrary, I’ve found taking a few days will give me a fresh outlook and my writing seems to improve. In many cases, I’ll hammer out 2,000+ words a day for a few days after a nice break.

For many of us, writing is our lifeblood. It may never be a steady income, but it’s something we have to do. If I didn’t write, I’d probably go insane. It’s a huge part of who I am, and no matter what, I’ll try and make time to write. A few minutes here and there, and you’d be amazed what can be accomplished. So if you’re chronically busy like me, you need to think inside, outside, and all around that darned box to find those precious minutes to enjoy your craft.

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This post is going to have a bit of a split personality. Two entirely different subjects with the flimsiest connection. Consider yourself forewarned.

The inspiration for this is a blog post from Nora Roberts who many of you will recognize as one of the most successful and prolific romance authors in the world. Those who don’t know that name might still be familiar with her pen name of J.D. Robb, also extremely successful. For those who don’t want to read her full post, I’ll give a quick summary. (If you’d prefer you can go read the whole thing. Just remember to come back here afterwards.)

Another author, unnamed in Ms Robert’s post, noticed that Ms. Roberts had a book with the same title. So, she did what anyone with a hair trigger temper and a persecution complex would do. She posted on social media, accusing Ms. Roberts of stealing from her. By the time Nora heard about this, pointed out to the other author that her theory had some major holes, one of the biggest being that Nora’s book had been published first, and the other author posted her retraction, the damage was done.

As these things are prone to do, word spread, and once something starts spreading, it’s hard to stop it. An internet mob, consisting of the other author’s fans, were attacking Ms. Roberts and spreading the word around the internet. There are people who will always believe Ms. Roberts stole a title from another, lesser known author and will think this was a serious, possibly illegal act.

The first part of this split personality post, beyond telling the story of what happened, is to point out what should be obvious, but often isn’t. If you’re an author or anyone in the position where you have a high-profile internet presence … really virtually any internet presence … be careful. If you haven’t had the experience of something you’ve said or done on the internet going viral, from experience I can tell you that it’s a crazy and stressful experience. That’s assuming that you’re “in the right,” innocent of any significant wrongdoing. If you’re perceived as having done something out of line, I can only assume the experience is more intense and doesn’t have an upside. So be careful out there. The more people who follow you on social media, the easier it is to have something like this happen. But really all it takes is to have one or two high profile people comment or share the right or wrong thing about you and if it catches people’s attention, it will spread through the internet like a wildfire on the California Coast.

The second purpose of this post is to point out a few things about copyright that you should always keep in mind.

A title of a book, song, or whatever isn’t copyrighted. If I want to call my upcoming series of legal thrillers The Firm, The Client, and The Pelican Brief, nobody can stop me or do anything about it after the fact. (Whether that would be a smart thing for me to do is another question.)

The big picture or plot of your book may seem original, but it’s not. Nor is that part copyrighted. Otherwise the first person to write a book chronicling the story of when a girl met a boy, stuff happened, and they lived happily-ever-after would have a gazillion dollar lawsuit against Harlequin. The words don’t have to be exact to your work, but it has to be pretty darn close to copying a significant portion of your work before it crosses the line.

If that other story is obviously satirizing your award-winning, best-selling story, it might cross the line into what would normally be considered copyright infringement, but by virtue of parodying or satirizing, it probably still gets a pass.

We’ve had a few good posts on copyright here at IU over the years. This one where Melinda Clayton tracked down a copyright attorney is especially good. Not quite as good, but one where I have a thing for the author, is this one.

If you really have been wronged, consult an attorney and make sure.  (We have a legal resource page that might help here.) Then whatever the attorney says, don’t do anything on social media that might backfire.

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