Archives for the month of: June, 2013

I get to do my second favorite thing today as a Hispanic books author – a school visit!

My favorite thing is writing the YA books. I’m well into Diego’s third fantasy dragons book right now, and it’s getting to the point of the next big battle. Diego and Magnifico will lead the Sol Dragones against the Spanish conquistadors in the year 1519 in a fight to save Diego’s people in our time – awesome!

I get to tell the students at Rincon all about it, and talk to them about why I decided to write fantasy, show some cool powerpoints, and maybe sign and sell some of the best new fantasy novels around.

I get pumped up when I talk to students. They make me feel like I’m someone I hope to be someday – a very successful author. The next Jeff Kinney, maybe?

Onward!

Okay, after many calls, you’ve finally scheduled your first school visit. This is exciting, be proud of yourself!

I’ve been doing author talks, readings, and writing camps for eight years. I’ve learned a few things, so I’ll share them with you.

Be ready for anything. You have to adapt to any possible situation or screw up. I’ve visited hundreds of schools, and I can think of three that are always prepared for my arrival. Everything is ready, all I have to do is show up, plug in, and go. At the other extreme, I’ve arrived at schools where the multipurpose room is locked, the guy with the key is nowhere to be found, and the students are already lining up for the fantasy fiction novels presentation. Ouch. Talk about being a duck!

Your projector breaks, your powerpoint gets corrupted, there’s too much light in the room, you find out you have 17 minutes to do your perfect 50 minute presentation. Expect it all to happen and you’ll be fine, and don’t ever show anxiety. Remember, you’re a duck, serene on the surface and paddling like hell underneath.

Here’s a checklist for you:

1. Run through your fantasy dragons presentation the night before. Include your A/V equipment. Better to find a glitch before you get to the school.

2. Find the school the day before your scheduled visit. There’s nothing worse than getting lost with only five minutes to go before you’re supposed to start.

3. Arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time. If it’s your first YA books talk, make it 60 minutes. Give yourself plenty of time to get set up, run through everything, and relax. You want to be at your best when the flag goes up.

4. If you think you’re early, go to the school anyway. I learned that one the hard way – more than once. I thought I had 40 minutes to spare, and when I arrived, I was 30 minutes late. Better to be early.

5. Kids are kids. They’re going to love you, but they’re still going to fidget, talk, joke, try to look cool, and everything else kids do. I just stop talking and stand still when they start to get a little rowdy. They get the message.

6. Be exceptionally nice to everyone you meet at the school. I mean syrupy sweet. You are representing yourself as an author of the best new fantasy novels around, and whether or not you get invited back will depend largely on the overall impression you make. From the receptionist to the principal, pour it on. They’ll love you!

7. Send a personally written thank you card to the librarian or teacher who set up the visit. If they handled book sales for you and you sold a bunch of books, buy him or her a $10 Starbucks gift card. Trust me, even with just a thank you note, you’ll shine brighter than the sun.

There are other things I’m forgetting, I’m sure, but these are a good start. Remember that school librarians are the most overworked and underpaid professionals in the world. When you cold call them hoping to schedule a young adults fiction talk, bend whatever way they want – if they say they can’t talk right now, thank them very much and tell them you’ll call another time.

Good luck – be persistent – presenting to kids is the second best part of being an author.

Onward!

Okay, your a YA books author.

Cool, you have a fantasy fiction novels website.

Now just kick back and wait for all the people to visit and buy your adventure books.

Doesn’t really work that way. Fortunately, with a bit of work, and the right people showing you what to do, you can optimize your new book series website so when people search for certain words or phrases, your site will pop up on the first Google page, even with million of hits.

First and most important – do a little something to your website every day. Google loves fresh content.

Second – hire someone to do a keyword analysis for your site. This is pretty inexpensive and well worth the money. You’ll end up with roughly thirty words or phrases you can use EVERY time you write fantasy in anything; a newsletter, a Blog, a Facebook entry, anything. That way, those words and phrases will be attributed to your website, and thus, traffic will be steered your way.

I’ve even used keyword phrases in this Blog entry. See if you can find them.

Third – go into the source code of your website and make certain the title meta tag, page meta tag, and page description all contain your keywords and phrases.

I Blog every day, or I try real hard to do so. I can clearly see the increase and decrease in website hits when I’m actively Blogging and when I’m not.

It works, and if you want your website to work for you as a promotion tool, make the time to do these things.

Onward!

Next Thursday I’m jumping on a jet and flying to Colorado. I’ll be there for a long weekend of book store appearances, summer writing camps, and talking with fans about the best fantasy fiction series around!

I’ll be staying with my nephew and his wife and kids. Can’t wait – it’ll be my first trip to see them since they moved there. We’re going to eat great food and then work off the CALs by hiking in Breckenridge – awesome!

Can’t wait to read from Diego’s fantasy dragon stories, and Conor’s fantasy fiction novels – the kids are going to flip!

I’ll have something in my newsletter about it when I get back. Until then…

Onward!

I’m almost 200 pages into Diego’s third book. I have no subtitle yet, because that’s the latest contest for students. They get to pick the subtitle for this fantasy dragon novel.

Check it out here – http://www.diegosdragon.com/cooladventurebookscontests.html

The story in this book is really coming alive. That’s the greatest thing about making the decision to write fantasy, for me anyway. When I’m into the story, writing it, ideas just start flooding my mind. Story lines, plot twists, characters becoming important, characters dying or being reborn, and any type of mysticism I can introduce.

Having this journey of writing good books for young adults is such an important part of my life. In a way I’m writing for myself, because I want my own dragon, I want my own 3000 pound flying cougar, I want everything that’s in my YA books to happen to me.

When I write, I see everything happening, like a movie in my head. Diego’s third book is turning into such an incredible movie – it’s awesome!

Onward!

ImageWow!

We’re growing up!

Crying Cougar Press is producing its first hardcover fantasy fiction novel. Diego’s Dragon: Spirits of the Sun, will be available in hardcover by July 15, 2013.

School librarians have always asked for hardcovers, because the students get a little rough on paperbacks. I didn’t want to do it due to the cost factor (retail price $23.99 for a 186 page book), but I can sell them to schools for $15, and offer a bulk buying discount.

Can’t wait to see what it looks like. If it’s attractive, I’ll pay the setup fee for another great Hispanic book, Dragons of the Dark Rift.

Onward!

ImageHello to the wonderful students at Rincon Middle School!

I just traded emails with your writers’ camp organizer. We’ve firmed everything up. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and showing you a great time!

I’m writing Diego’s third book right now. It’s going to be a an incredible fantasy dragon novel. YA books and Hispanic books are so much fun to write! As I get into the story, more is revealed in my mind, and soon a great adventure book takes shape. I just love to write fantasy, because there are no rules to hold me back. In fact, I’m going to read parts of some fantasy fiction novels to you, and you’ll be able to buy some of the best new fantasy novels around!

I’ll see you next week, and I’ll tell you a very special story about a visit I made to Rincon Middle School about four or five years ago.

See you soon!

Onward!

One just never stops trying to improve.

I’m re-writing Conor and the Crossworlds, Book One: Breaking the Barrier this summer.

Kids have always loved this adventure book. They don’t care about anything except reading one a good book for young adults. Purugama, Conor’s friend and mentor, is quite a compelling character. After all, he is a 3000 pound, flying, talking, magical cougar. I believe he’s the most loved of all my creations. Kids of all ages comment about how much they like him.

It is the first book I ever wrote, however. It’s full of, well, tons of errors I’d never allow in my latest books. So I’m going through the manuscript word by word and making it a much stronger read (hopefully).

The new version should be out by the end of summer. As with any fantasy fiction novel, I’m excited about a new release. I love Conor and all the amazing characters in the Crossworlds. I believe writing his story is why I was given life. I hope one day to make it the best fantasy fiction series around.

Onward!

Hey all you aspiring writers out there!

If you’ve written a YA book or you have great ideas and want to start writing one, I can help you with copy editing. I’ll do a chapter for free. If you like my work we can discuss a fee for the rest of your new book series.

Don’t let your fantasy fiction novel sit in your computer forever. It costs nothing to publish an e-book. You can make your fantasy dragons story available, as long as it’s solid and polished. Good copy editing will make your adventure books stronger, more powerful, and much more fun to read.

Email kevin@cryingcougarpress.com for more information.

Onward!

Hey all you students at Rincon Middle School and Stonecrest Elementary schools. Diego and Conor will being stopping by this summer with their YA books and Hispanic books author, Kevin Gerard! We’ll watch some cool adventure books flicks, talk about how to write fantasy, he’ll read some fantasy fiction novels to you, and you’ll be able to buy some of the best new fantasy novels around!

In June we’ll be at Rincon Middle, and in July we’ll stop by Stonecrest Elementary. We can’t wait to see all of you, and our author has a very special story to tell the students at Rincon Middle school.

See you soon!