Captivating Opening Contest 2022

 

It is nowadays generally accepted (particularly in the ebook market) that the most important component of a novel is its opening – an author needs to get the reader immersed and on board from the get-go or they will quickly move on to the next (free) preview available on book sites such as Amazon KDP. And this was the case even before the advent of electric publishing. In bookstores, many readers will open the book and read the first few paragraphs before either opting to buy or putting it back on the shelf.


The 2015 - 2017 contests we staged revealed a good mix of exciting new and established authors, and so our editor Stef McDaid, who, as always, will be judging this contest, is looking forward to reading this year's entries. Previous entrants can submit their entries, new or old, again.

Stef will select two winners from the entries, and award one winner a grand prize, comprising a 10-day INTENSIVE book promotion package,  kindly sponsored by TweetYourBooks.com which comprises 50 Tweets per day to a network of over a MILLION (value $278).

The other winner will be awarded a 40-day SUPASAVE book promotion comprising 10 tweets per day (currently only $69) ~ click HERE for more details and info on TweetYourBook's latest deals, which currently start at just $10.

WriteIntoPrint is also awarding the grand prize winner a comprehensive "Editor's Choice" article on WriteIntoPrint.com, which attracts thousands of readers per week. In addition to this, your book cover and link to your sales page (or website) will be added to our sidebar for twelve months (usu. $297) and the other winner will also be included in our exclusive Bookstore – for at least a year.


The book must be on Amazon Kindle to qualify.

The entry process is simple: In the comments field below, post the Book Title and Author name of your novel, or one you wish to nominate, and Stef will read the opening on Amazon's LOOK INSIDE preview feature. Also supply your Twitter username, if you have one. Previous entrants may apply. Just one book per author, please (Stef will only read the first one listed.) All genres are eligible.

There is no point in multiple posting, or even nominating an author already entered, because the object is to get Stef to read the opening (this is not a vote-oriented contest). Closing date for submissions is September 30th 2022, the winners to be announced (here and on Twitter) in October and the winning author's article to be featured on WriteIntoPrint.com from November onwards. The  prizes sponsored by TweetYourBooks can be used at any time within 12 months. For nominated entries, the prizes and adjudication are subject to the author's approval, of course.

Keep it simple in the comments field: just state the Book Title, Author Name, Twittername – Stef will ignore any blurb, including on Amazon, and will get straight to reading the opening in Amazon's preview.

DO NOT PASTE THE AMAZON LINK INTO THE COMMENTS OR WE WILL DELETE THE ENTRY

No correspondence will be entered into, so no daft questions, please...and please don't post your email in our comments field unless you love being spammed by third parties. Stef will either contact the winner direct via Twitter or email, or invite the winner to contact us via our email address when the winner is announced by @TweetYourBooks and @WriteIntoPrint.

Good Luck!

Please consider tweeting this competition, and following us on Twitter!

TO PLACE YOUR ENTRY: CLICK HERE TO OPEN COMMENTS FORM
(and then scroll down the page until you reach the "Enter Comment" field)

ONE TIME OFFER ~ 12-month promoted BOOKSTORE listing: $39!


— One Time Offer —
Our editor Stef is staging a Flash Sale
to raise funds for a book-related developmental venture:

A 12-month Listing in WriteIntoPrint.com’s
Exclusive Bookstore
for just $39! (usually $125)
This offer will remain open throughout 2022!
CLICK HERE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE BOOKSTORE

This offer is by kind courtesy of our sponsors TweetYourBooks.com, who also tweet out a link to the Bookstore on a daily basis, all year long, to their network of over 1 million followers!
In the booking form below, all we need from you is your email address, and the URL (web-page link) of where it is advertised (Amazon KDP publishing is the most popular) you can either upload the front cover image yourself, or we can get the front cover image from the book's sale page.
Don’t worry if you are not experienced at filling in forms or are having problems with it, just email Stef here: info@writeintoprint.com and he will deal with it personally via email.






How To Sell Your Book


In order to identify just what sells a book, it is helpful to focus on the concept of order; by looking at the sequential order of actions that result in a reader purchasing a book we get a feel for the mechanics, and their importance. This brief ‘point of entry’ explanation intends to inform/remind the author of the process.



Book Cover:
This is the first thing that a potential reader will see. This is the first hurdle. Paradigm author, Russell Blake, sums this up perfectly:

“… A cover is a visual identification of your product’s genre, and should be as eye catching as possible, and consistent with other bestsellers in your space. It also needs to be professional. Gone are the days where you could screw around with photoshop and hope for a win. That’s so 2012. Don’t kid yourself – the market has never been more competitive, and if you hamstring your product with an amateurish or clunky cover, you’re going to suck exhaust.
The cover is also extremely important in your ads, as in Amazon ads it’s basically got to sell the reader sufficiently so they’ll click on the ad to see the product page. The worse the cover, the fewer conversions from impressions to clicks. That simple. …”

Sales Page Blurb:
Okay, so your cover has led the reader to your sales page. The next thing to do is arouse the reader’s interest and appetite; you will likely still be jetlagged after the whole writing and editing process, only to find that setting up a book sales page is quite involved – but you must dig deeper into your creative skills and give potential buyers something succinct or snappy that arouses further interest, rather than just throw out something scrappy for them to gnaw on.

“…Your product description ain’t what you think it is. It’s not a synopsis of the story, or a way to introduce characters or story arcs — So what is it? — It’s ad copy, plain and simple. Words that will convince the reader that they need to buy the book. The fewer words used to achieve that, the better the copy.
An awesome blurb will sell more books, and can be measured in ad effectiveness, specifically in cost per click related to conversion into a sale. The better the blurb, the more clicks will convert into a purchase. The worse the blurb, the less they will convert. …”

Opening Chapter:
So the readers like the cover, and even if they have not read the blurb, most readers will then go on to peruse at least a few paragraphs of the opening of the book (as they also do in bookshops). The ‘Look Inside’ feature is very popular, and this gives you the opportunity to grab the reader’s interest and confidence with a well-formatted, immersing opening – if you clear this hurdle you are almost home.
As a retired developmental editor, my experience is that most book openings require at least a small amount of TLC. If I were an author nowadays, I’d certainly enlist a developmental editor to spruce up my opening chapter (even without an entire synopsis) or at the very least get a few writer friends to give me a bit of tough love, and suggest where to tighten it. The good thing is that, nowadays, editors often give a free sample edit on request, so you get their input and the option to employ them further.
As for the formatting, if you are not proficient in this art it can take long hours to learn the foibles and produce an ebook, with no guarantee it will be fully functional or a professional-looking job once uploaded. If you earn more than $5 per hour it makes sense to pay circa $50 for epub and Kindle formatting combined, and around the same for paperback interior design.
But if you are keen to learn the art there is no reason to be put off doing it yourself, providing you expect a few glitches along the way.
The ebook revolution has made it easy to upload a newly formatted book file to replace any existing versions you have up for sale that are not up to scratch or require new edits (I get quite a lot of back-number projects, and so can confirm its popularity).

Getting the ball rolling:
We are not there yet because the ball you are rolling will now roll into an insanely huge ball-pit, chock full of all the other hopeful balls vying for the readers’ attention. And tomorrow, a substantial load of new balls will cascade into this abyss. So sustained visibility is what you need to strive for, armed with your cover, your blurb, and the link to your sales page.
Author platforms can be useful, of course, but even a platform of 50,000 Twitter followers and/or 2,000 other social media friends will not provide that much traction (social media is also a vast ball-pit with millions of competing posts per hour rolling in).
Virtual Book Tours can be good for launches. Twitter Author Promotion services can be effective for introductory and sustained campaigns (but they need to have many hundreds of thousands of followers, and send out many tweets for clients per day to make a dent in the ever-expanding social media ball-pit).

Visibility. Visibility. Visibility. Once you get noticed you are already halfway there – if the other elements are neatly in place.


Thank you for reading this article. If you wish to use our book formatting services to create new books (or modify existing books) please visit our dedicated page:
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Our service provides quality Kindle (mobi), ePub, and KDP-print paperback interior design at affordable rates, and also provides many free extras.

And when you want to promote your current or new books, why not use the number one affordable, premium Tweeting Service, which reaches a network of over 1.35 MILLION readers. Visit TweetYourBooks.com to find out more and see their latest offers and giveaways.


The Worst Man on Mars ~ a Sci Fi comedy novel




The Worst Man on Mars by Mark Roman & Corben Duke


Winner of our Captivating Opening Contest, The Worst Man on Mars, had me in stitches (the nice kind) when I followed its madcap journey to “insanity and beyond.”

Fans of Douglas Adams, Tom Sharpe, Monty Python, and Taylor Swift (I expect) will relish experiencing the inevitable train-wreck-in-progress as it unfolds - in glorious, Yorkshire, Tek-no-color™


The Blurb:

“Funny and silly and wicked by turns.”

Hero. Legend. Role model. He is none of those.

Blunt Yorkshireman and reality TV show winner, Flint Dugdale, has used his large frame and ‘persuasive personality’ to take charge of Britain’s first mission to Mars. Little does he know there’s life on the Red Planet. And it might not be pleased to see him.



The Authors:

Corben Duke:

Born in a Yorkshire cave after his mother became stuck during a pot-holing holiday, Corben Duke was left behind and raised by bats. Later he became a shack-dweller on Doom Beach, Bernard Island in the Outer Hebrides where he now lives with his wife Mrs. Duke and his two dogs, Crusher and Mr Fluffy.
Three years ago he found scientist Mark Roman wandering along his beach collecting and cataloguing brightly colored pebbles. In return for a cup of hot seaweed tea, Mark gave him a copy of a fascinating book he had written speculating about the various rocks that might be found on Mars. Before burning it on the campfire for extra warmth (it’s cold on Bernard Island) he thought he’d better read it, and boy, was he glad he did. It reminded him of the story his great grandfather used to tell him about when he was a rocket scientist after WWII. Gramps claimed that a colleague had made a discovery enabling him to make the trip to Mars long before it became fashionable.
As a young man Corben thought Grandpa Helmut was as crazy as a coconut which, in fact, he was. But Mark Roman’s book got him thinking about that old yarn and he decided to contact him with the idea of co-writing a story inspired by his great grandfather’s claim and Mark’s rock obsession. The Worst Man on Mars is that story.

Mark Roman:

Mark Roman has, in fact, never been to the Outer Hebrides, and never written a book about Martian rocks. Nor, indeed, has he ever met Corben Duke. He is a respectable (well, fairly respectable) scientist living in London with his wife and two teenage children.
His first contact with Corben was when a raving, rambling e-mail plopped into his inbox. A polite response was rapidly followed by an even more off-beat message.
Quickly realizing the man to be delusional, and quite possibly dangerous, Mark started deleting the e-mails unread. But this was not a socially responsible way of dealing with the issue.
Taking note of the creative potential in the ramblings, he reasoned that maybe a solution to the problem might be a course of occupational therapy; to harness Corben’s random mental outpourings and channel them into the writing of a science fiction comedy and the drawing of its map and 70 chapter illustrations. The result was The Worst Man on Mars.
It is too early to say whether the therapy has achieved its desired effect, for the raving e-mails continue...


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Thank you for reading this article. If you wish to use our book formatting services to create new books (or modify existing books) please visit our dedicated page:
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Our service provides quality Kindle (mobi), ePub, and KDP-print paperback interior design at affordable rates, and also provides many free extras.

And when you want to promote your current or new books, why not use the number one affordable, premium Tweeting Service, which reaches a network of over 1.35 MILLION readers. Visit TweetYourBooks.com to find out more and see their latest offers and giveaways.

Captivating Authors: Skye MacKinnon

 
Grand Winner of our hotly-contested Captivating Opening Contest, with the fabulous novel Winter Princess, Skye MacKinnon, has just released her latest Scottish gem:  

 
Skye MacKinnon is an International Bestselling author who has a slight obsession with Scotland, bunnies and dried mango. And when she says slight... her friends are trying to find ways to trick her into not having a book set in Scotland.
You'll often find Skye bribing herself into writing words using cake and tea, but whatever works, right?
Whether it's set in space (Scottish space, obviously), fantasy worlds (Scottish fantasy worlds, obviously), or Scotland, Skye's tales are full of magic, romance and adventure. Oh and unicorns. There's a few demons too.



Welcome to the blog, Skye — what genre do you consider your books to be?
I hate describing myself, so to help, my good friend and co-author Laura Greenwood wrote me a bio recently: “Skye MacKinnon is an International Bestselling author with a slight obsession with Scotland, bunnies and dried mango. And when she says slight... her friends are trying to find ways to trick her into not having a book set in Scotland. You’ll often find Skye bribing herself into writing words using cake and tea, but whatever works, right? Whether it’s set in space (Scottish space, obviously), fantasy worlds (Scottish fantasy worlds, obviously), or Scotland, Skye’s tales are full of magic, romance and adventure. Oh and unicorns. There’s a few demons too.”
I write mostly reverse harem, where one woman has several love interests and doesn’t have to choose. Think love triangle but without the angst and decision. My reverse harem books are all sorts of genres though: most are paranormal romance (for example my bestselling Daughter of Winter Series), but I also have fantasy (Ruined Heart Series), sci-fi (the Mars Diaries) and post-apocalyptic (The Drowning Series). As you can see, I don’t like to choose, just like my female characters.

Tell me about your recent release, Polar Fates. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Polar Fates is the second book in The Drowning series. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland and tells the story of Isla, a young woman who meets and falls in love with four bear shifters. In the first book, it was all about them getting to know each other, but in Polar Fates, there’s a bit more mystery, mythology and magic.
I came up with the idea for the setting when walking home from work and listening to a podcast about climate change and the effect it could have on Scotland. So then I did some research and suddenly I had a world I could have my story set in. That the characters turned out to be bear shifters just happened somehow, it wasn’t planned. But most of the times I don’t plan much and the stories just develop by themselves.

What interested you in delving into this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I read my first reverse harem book about two years ago (Charcoal Tears by Jane Washington) and have read little else since then. I believe love comes in all shapes and forms, and why does it always have to be two people? It’s much more interesting as an author to have more than two main characters. It gives me the chance to get into their heads, explore their dynamics, have them interact in different ways. It’s a very fluid genre that is still evolving. When I started reading it, they were predominantly one woman with several men, but slowly, there are RHs with more than one woman emerging (like my own Ruined Heart Series). RHs can be fantasy or contemporary, they can have vampires or zombies, they can be set on Earth or on Mars. That’s the beauty of this genre - why choose!

What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did quite a bit of research on how the rising of the sea levels would change the world’s coast lines and climate, specifically in terms of Scotland. There are some great simulators online which show you how the world could look in the future.
But then there’s also been some other stranger research topics like the properties of bear milk…

Describe your typical working day. When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Until two weeks ago, I was working full time and mainly wrote during lunch breaks and evenings, as well as the entire weekend. But now I’ve reduced my hours at work, so I have two extra days a week to write. I’m still getting used to that, but usually I prefer to write in the afternoon for several hours in one go, but if that isn’t possible, then a few half-hour sprints throughout the day.
I write every day, at least 500 words, but on a good day it can be around 5,000 words.
I have a favourite cafe around the corner where I like to go. They all know me there by now and recently, the waitress even gave me some free hot chocolate because I started crying while writing a really sad scene.

Any new books in the making?
My next release is in two weeks so that’s what most of my time is being spent on. The book is called Into the Mists and is the second book in the Seven Wardens series that I co-write with the amazing Laura Greenwood. The series is a reverse harem full of Scottish mythology and legends and it’s great fun to write. Laura and I don’t really talk about what’s going to happen, we just go with the flow. That means that we usually destroy each other’s plot point, but we’ve noticed how well this method works for us and the readers seem to love the series as much as we do.
I’m also doing another co-writing project with Bea Paige, which is a retelling of Dante’s Inferno. It will be published in the Realms and Rebels box set in the summer.
And finally, I’m working on Winter Queen, the third novel in my Daughter of Winter series. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t other projects I’m writing on in the background, but those are secret for now...
This year is going to be really exciting though!

Where do your ideas and inspiration come from?
I wish I knew! I have new ideas all the time, sometimes just out of nowhere, sometimes because of what I see on the news, or films, or just random images I find online. I have far too many ideas and far too little time to write them all down.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding the time. I have so many ideas and projects I’m working on, but there’s always so much else to do. But now that I’m working part-time, I’m hoping to have a lot more time for writing.

What do you think of using book trailers – do you think they are effective?
I’ve made a few book trailers, but I don’t know if they’ve been effective. I don’t have one for my latest release, but for the first book in the series:


What’s the best thing about being an author?
Being able to share stories with others and not keep them all penned up in my head. Basically, letting the voices in my head out into the open 😉

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living on a Scottish islands with lots of bunnies and cats, maybe a child or two, and my very own library. And of course having lots of books published and read by a lot of lovely readers.

How long have you been writing for?
I’ve always written stories, even before I could properly write (I used to replace words I didn’t know how to spell with drawings). But I became more serious about it when I was sixteen and a friend entered one of my short stories into a competition. It won and got published, and I got the bug. I managed to get about a dozen short stories published in various anthologies, while starting to write a longer novel on the side. I wanted to become a writer but people kept telling me that wasn’t a “proper job”, so when I finished school, I studied Journalism and worked as a freelance science journalist for a while. With a stressful job that required a lot of creativity, I no longer had the energy to write prose in the evenings, so my writing took a backseat for a while... until spring last year, when I changed jobs and suddenly had the time and energy once again.

Do you have any writing advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t think you need to follow convention. I tried plotting and planning my novel and got frustrated whenever I didn’t manage to stick to my outline. Then someone asked, “Why don’t you just write without a plan?” and I tried that and ever since, I no longer take years to write a book but months or weeks. I just let it flow and let the characters make their own decision. If the book turns out to be totally different than expected, who cares as long as it’s a good story?

Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I try not to read them but usually I do. I never respond to them, unless I’m tagged in one on Facebook and then I usually say something “thanks for reading my book”. Sometimes the bad ones can be really helpful feedback that I like to take on board. If it’s just something like “I hated this book”, I try to ignore it. But if I ever get depressed by bad reviews, I look up some of my favourite books and look at their bad reviews – it shows how even those authors get them.

What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
The editing and all the other non-writing aspects that need to be done to get the book ready. Luckily I have an amazing formatter who makes them look pretty, so at least that bit is being taken care of.

Can you give us your social media links, tours etc. and details of any works-in-progress?

Here are some of my social media links and my website:
Twitter: @skye_mackinnon

I’ll be at a signing in Belfast in March: titanicsigning18.eventbrite.co.uk and in Edinburgh in May: edinburghauthorsigningevents.co.uk

My next releases are Into the Mists on the 16th March, and Hidden on 16th April.

Thank you so much, Skye, and keep writing...!

Readers: find out why Skye’s fabulous entry Winter Princess, was the outright winner in our hotly-contested Captivating Opening competition:


 One sassy demi-goddess. Four hot Guardians. And a few evil people.

As a demi-goddess, Wyn has always stood out from the human crowd. And now, on her 22nd birthday, her magic finally surfaces with a bang. A Big bang. She’ll need the help of not one, but four (sexy) Guardians to control her destructive powers. If only they weren't so distracting...
Her mother, the Winter Queen, waits for Wyn in the Realms of Gods, but there are enemies who will try and prevent her from ever reaching the Realms, even if that means going to war.
Will Wyn be able to survive the journey? And if she does, can she resist falling for her Guardians?
GET IT HERE

Thank you for reading this article. If you wish to use our book formatting services to create new books (or modify existing books) please visit our dedicated page:
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Our service provides quality Kindle (mobi), ePub, and KDP-print paperback interior design at affordable rates, and also provides many free extras.

And when you want to promote your current or new books, why not use the number one affordable, premium Tweeting Service, which reaches a network of over 1.35 MILLION readers. Visit TweetYourBooks.com to find out more and see their latest offers and giveaways.