Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Best Writers Conference in the Southwest Valley


Several sessions only have a few spots left!

Sessions are filling up fast!


Southwest Valley Writers Conference
November 7, 2015
Avondale City Hall
Benefits Friends of Avondale Library and Recreation
Register now before your workshop is full!

Workshop Update: 
  • SOLD OUT Character Alchemization – Make them Live and Breathe - Connie Flynn
  • ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT Writing a Contemporary novel - Betty Webb 
  • The Business of Writing - Kris Tualla
  • Becoming a Content Marketing Writer - Drew Eastmead 
  • Expand Your Research – Expand Your Writing - Rita Ackerman
  • Writing is a Team Sport - from Editors to Critique Groups, how to compile the right players to help you succeed- Jacob Shaver, Lori Beasley Bradley & Cody Wagner

Registration Options: 

  • Full-Day includes:  two – 3 hour workshops, lunch and the Keynote speaker.
  • Half-Day includes: one – 3 hour workshop only (choose either morning or afternoon).
    Lunch & the Keynote speaker may be added for an additional $10.
  • Price:  Half-Day $50    |    Full-Day $95 * Best Deal

REGISTER NOW!


For questions contact: Stacey Lindsay or visit
www.swvwc.org
Thank you to Virginia G. Piper Foundation & Changing Hands Book store for their support of the conference.
Copyright © 2015 Avondale Writers Conference, All rights reserved.

To Connie Flynn Site





New Release
 



 

Friday, October 23, 2015

FREE! NaNoWriMo PreChallenge Get-Ready Writing Workshops

A Full Day of FREE Writing Workshops 

National Novel Writing Month begins November 1. Are you up for the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. That's 1,666 words each day. Well, it takes a little preparation and this free day of workshops covers the major elements of novel writing. 

 
When? 
October 24, 2015. Yes, that IS tomorrow

Where?
Red Mountain Library
635 N. Power Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85202

What?
Five laps of Workshops, an author panel and a book signing

Cost?  
FREE! FREE! FREE! And so is signing up for NaNoWriMo
Pre-registration is not required.





The Agenda
10:30-10:45       Welcome and Introduction
10:45-11:00       NaNoWriMo introduction by Shari Mickle
11:00-11:45       Lap 1 - Brainstorming by Randy Lindsay
                                            - 5 minute break -
11:50-12:35       Lap 2 - Plotting by Brock Booher
12:35-1:15                        Lunch Break
1:15-2:00           Lap 3 - Characterization- by Connie Flynn
2:00-2:45           Lap 4 - World Building by Angela Morrison
2:45-3:30           Lap 5 - Romance by Laura L. Walker and Marilee Jackson
                                           - 15 minute break -
3:45-4:15          Book Signing
4:30-5:00          Author Panel

 


To Connie Flynn Site

Monday, October 12, 2015

Introducing the Secrets Collection.


40 TONS OF TROUBLE finally back in print


 One of my most 

popular books 


Welcome to the first novel in the Secrets Collection, a series of six of my previously published novels. They will be reissued between four to six weeks apart and share one major theme. The characters harbor scrupulously guarded secrets which prove this axiom: Nothing Kills Love Faster Than Secrets.

The first release has my heroine, Cat DeAngelo, trucking down the highway and desperately trying to save her family's  business. She has a secret that she keeps even from herself. When it is complicated by the appearance of Ricky Steel and his quirky dog, LeClerc, then made more so by family intrigue and sinister rivals for her trucking line, love and happiness seem to be slipping between her fingers. Together she and Ricky fight these threats but it isn't easy when secrets wear you down and your home is 40 TONS OF TROUBLE.

The official launch date for 40 Tons is Monday, Columbus Day. What better day to introduce a woman who rolls on down the road than the holiday for a man who roamed the world and found America.

If you've already read this book, I'd sure appreciate a quick honest review. As you may know, books don't get off the ground very well until they have ten to twelve reviews. The reviews don't have to be long or even flattering, just your opinion, and I would very much appreciate your contribution.

40 TONS will be only 99c for a limited time. It is my hope that you'll find it such delightful, easy reading you'll be compelled to read the ones that will follow. Look for SHENANIGANS in mid-November.


CONNIE FLYNN BOOKS







To Connie Flynn Site

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Southwest Valley Writers Conference -- Grab That Early Signup Discount!

This inclusive conference is gearing up to be one of the best in the Valley and I urge you to attend not just because I'm speaking but because you may recognize some other familiar names among the list of speaker, plus the topics are so varied you'll take away a ton of information.

Scroll down for more information or
REGISTER HERE

Learn to create better characters!

Last week for early registration discounts.  Sign up today!  Deadline is September 30th


November 7, 2015
Avondale City Hall
Benefits Friends of Avondale Library and Recreation

Six incredible 3-hour workshops & Keynote Speaker Tom Leveen all in one day!

NEW!  - We are thrilled to announce a special poetry performance at lunch by Wintana Yohannes, Jahnez Wong, and Daniela Acosta of Speak EZ Poetry.  
Featured workshop speaker:

Connie FlynnConnie Flynn
Connie Flynn wrote her first short story in the fourth grade for a wonderful teacher named Mr. Ryan who encouraged her vivid imagination and strong storytelling skills. She has taught creative writing and founded an online novel writing school but writing itself is her true love. Now busy with her next novel, she knows how lucky she is to have found out what she wants to be when she grows up.

Workshop: Character Alchemization – Make Them Live and Breathe
Characters are people and people are complex. The trick of believable characters is to simplify them by discovering what they want most of all and why and building from there. A character wants a good job for obvious reasons- they want the rewards of comfort and respect. But what if the job is lost? What deeper, hidden from the world and self, reward have they lost? Was it the fear of disappointing a loved one, of losing ones own self-respect, or being deserted by a partner? What will this person do to restore the shattered self-image that this kind of loss brings on. The catalyst can be anything, small or large, but if it shakes the characters own faith in who they are . . . well, now you have a story.

This workshop will concentrate on pulling these needs and anxieties from your character and through those you will find out who they are and what your story is really about.

Other workshops include:
  • Don’t miss these great workshop topics:
  • Keynote / Lunch: What No One Else Will Tell You About Publishing - Tom Leveen
  • Writing the Contemporary Novel - Betty Webb
  • Becoming a Content Marketing Writer - Drew Eastmead 
  • The Business of Writing - Kris Tualla
  • Expand Your Research – Expand Your Writing - Rita Ackerman
  • Writing is a Team Sport - from Editors to Critique Groups, how to compile the right players to help you succeed- Jacob Shaver, Lori Beasley Bradley & Cody Wagner

Registration Options: 

  • Full-Day includes:  two – 3 hour workshops, lunch and the Keynote speaker.
  • Half-Day includes: one – 3 hour workshop only (choose either morning or afternoon).
    Lunch & the Keynote speaker may be added for an additional $10.
  • Early Registration price:    Half-Day $40    |    Full-Day $85 (*best deal)
  • Late Registration Increases:   Half-Day $50    |    Full-Day $95
Early registration ends September 30th
Late registration begins October 1st

REGISTER NOW!

For questions contact: Stacey Lindsay or visit
www.swvwc.org
Thank you to Virginia G. Piper Foundation & Changing Hands Book store for their support of the conference.
Copyright © 2015 Avondale Writers Conference, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences



 
To Connie Flynn Books Website







Monday, September 14, 2015

Crowdfunding 11 – The Campaign is Complete

 Part 2: Do’s and Don’ts

 


•    Do study whatever you can find about the various platforms. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the best established. I can’t say much about Kickstarter’s platform and how they support their campaigners except that your campaign must be vetted before you launch, and they only offer the fixed payment method which only pays if you meet your contribution goal, which I think is standard for most platforms.

•    Do browse through the platforms and see which one you click with.

•    Do talk to anyone who’s done crowdfunding. I only found two and they weren’t too willing to share but as more and more people are doing crowdfunding it should get easier.

•    Do start talking up your campaign several months before you go live. Recruit friends and family to talk up your campaign and spread the word. This isn’t quite as easy as it seems given that today’s complex world is so full of other demands and some will be uncomfortable with the process. So the more the merrier but do make sure the campaign isn’t the only thing you talk about. Keep in mind that you’re asking for people’s good will and you don’t want to abuse it.

•    Don’t set your funding goal too high. Not only will you lose the end-game momentum that occurs when you’re almost at the goal, you’ll lose the In-Demand bonus that Indiegogo offers when you hit your goal. This allows you to keep the campaign open and accept new contributions.

•    Don’t expect many contributions from friends of friends or people you don’t know. PR campaigns might help and I'm getting to that.

•    Do spend a lot of time writing and polishing your pitch (called ‘story’ inside Indiegogo). Keep your tone light, a little sassy or even snarky depending on what kind of book you write. This is what draws people into your campaign and if they smile they’re more likely to leave a contribution behind.

•    Do line up a press release distribution service before you launch the campaign. This is where I fell down. For some reason I can no longer identify I thought press releases wouldn’t be helpful for crowdfunding, at least not for a small campaign like mine.

    Once your campaign activates, distribution services will be soliciting you through the Indiegogo comment function. The solicitation always comes with a disclaimer from Indiegogo warning you to be cautious about who you do business with. I checked out some of them, many with price tags into four figures, then picked up a small service on Fiverr, which turned out to be the big mistake I’ve already talked about. By that time it was actually too late to invest in major PR but if I had I would have chosen Krowdster (@krowdster). They have huge social media presence and their pricing is more than reasonable.  

Near the end I hired Green Inbox (@greeninbox ) mostly because their pitch didn’t sound so hyped. They used the message function in Facebook and generated a healthy jump in my contributions. I used them again in LinkedIn without good results but I think that was more because I’m not very active in LinkedIn than because of the service. I’ll use them again for book launches.

 I recommend these two companies, but keep in mind that my experience with them doesn't very deep and there are a lot more services out there. I’m sure many of them are good. Unfortunately, too many of them like to hype about the huge fees they’ll generate for you while charging you fees that are higher than your campaign goal and delivering questionable results. So be cautious and don’t ever, ever use Fiverr (by the way, I did get my refund after filing a dispute through PayPal).

•    Don’t be blindsided by platform hosting fees and do shop around. Fees vary from company to company and they can change while you’re setting up. In my case, Indiegogo actually lowered their fee and I think Kickstarter did too.

Indiegogo and Kickstarter have a flat 5% fee plus bank charges.  The third most popular platform, GoFundMe, which is geared toward humanitarian or wish fulfillment campaigns, charges 7% plus bank charges. My bank fee, through Paypal,  was 5%, which I think is a little high but it is a highly trusted, versatile, venue.

•    Don’t worry that they’re taking too much. Once you’ve researched the services you’re provided from these platforms, you may find yourself thinking you’re lucky they don’t charge more. What you do get is almost priceless — there is no buy-in charge to use the campaign and you’re given guidance and tools to help you succeed.
  • Do budget your perks. Take care not to promise more than you can afford or forget to include all expenses when you price the perks. The perks aren’t mandatory but they provide an edge of excitement and a feeling of fair exchange for your contributors. And I doubt you’ll fare well without them since they’ve become the standard.
•    Do stay on top of perk fulfillment. If you’ve signed in for a flexible campaign, I advise you to mail out your perks as they pop up. Saving them to the end is almost like wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, I misread something in the Indiegogo material that made me think it was standard practice to deliver them after the campaign closed. I suppose this could make sense, since the money isn’t delivered until the campaign is over so if you have a lot of expensive perks it might put a strain on the budget.

But many of the platforms offer only fixed campaigns and waiting until the campaign closes is absolutely necessary since the fixed campaign doesn’t pay out unless the goal is achieved. You can imagine what a nightmare pre-delivered perks could be.

•    Do have fun.  Get together with friends and brainstorm ideas for perks. Make a pitch video and drive your relatives crazy while you work to get it right. Have at least one goofy perk. They draw in visitors which helps raise your campaign visibility.

•    Don’t take it too seriously. There’s a good chance that you won’t make your goal, especially if you ignore the advice about making it too high (hey, it’s okay—I ignored it too—after all one person’s high is another person’s chump change).

There’s probably more to share but I’m kind of ready to move onto other projects – like getting my books converted. The one question I’m sure to be asked is: ‘would I do it again?’

Yeah, I would, in fact I will. But not anytime soon. It’s a lot to ask of your family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances that they jump in to support a project that only benefits you and that they might not even fully understand. I’m blessed to have a network of people who were willing to do that for me.

And, I’m determined not to test their good will. What I am determined to do is this. If you decide to do a campaign, email me and I’ll contribute. It may just be a ‘toe dipper’ amount, depending on how my books are doing, but I will. What goes around, comes around.


Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

Week #7 Realities of Launch Week 
Week #8-9 Elbow-grease Time
Week #10  What I Took Away 



  



To Connie Flynn Site

Friday, September 11, 2015

Crowdfunding 10 – The Campaign is Complete

Deadline is Upon Us
Part 1 – What I Took Away
My Deepest Thanks
 to My Wonderful
Campaign Contributors

Eve Paludan
Mikaela Quinn
Karen Walker
Mike Flynn
Connie Walker Gray
Laurie Fagen
Denise Domning
Kim Richards
Bryan Flynn
Daniel Zollo
Linda Style
Rick Walker
Ellie VandenBrink
Holly Thompson
Cathy McDavid 
Alicia Flynn 
Brandon Flynn
Bob Bleything 
Isabella Maldonado
Nikki Kimbel
Rosemary Sneeringer
Bob Gustafson
Sylvia Wright
Kathy Marks
Brittany Flynn
Sandy Yang
Cheyenne McCray
Merle McCann
Jennifer Drogell

Thomas
Annette Francine
LegsOhara 
donnahatch29  
Minu Jose
Phil Barnes
Luca Pandolfi
Martin Weber
Jack Johnson   
Micheal Koepisch
Adam Libonati  

Alec Hillbo
Roni Olson
+Anonymous (12)
I did not reach my 4K goal, but I did generate enough funds to get my older books reissued. Since I elected to use the flexible funding option the money is mine, but is earmarked for purposes that I put forward in my campaign. In this case I’m doing exactly what I said I’d do if I didn’t succeed – I’m using the funds to prepare my earlier books for reissue. I haven’t, however, broken out into sobs. I learned so much that feeling sad wasn’t an option.

What did I learn?
First off, that crowdfunding is a LOT of work. Next I learned that no matter how extensive I thought my research on running a successful campaign was, there was plenty more I still didn’t know. Third, and most important, I learned that the social media community is filled with encouraging and generous people.

I’m going to start with how much work it was, which is probably the most boring part, but what you most need to know.

Here is what it takes to launch and run a campaign
  •  Choose your crowdfunding platform
  • Come up with intriguing perks (what’s that? A giveaway that a contributor can request for a given contribution. Not all contributors request one)
  • Fill the site with content, easier said than done
  • Comb your family and friends for early supporters
  • Write press releases, tweets, and Facebook posts
  • Come up with updates for your contributors every 3-5 days
  • Write thank you notes for all contributions
  • Scour your mind for ways to generate more traffic as the excitement of the launch winds down
  • Implement some of those ideas.
  • Purchase a press kit campaign on Fiverr. It arrives two days late and is ungrammatical. Launch a dispute and remind myself to tell everyone not to use Fiverr because they don’t guarantee that their vendors live up to their promises.
  • Hire an email promoter – Green Inbox – highly pleased with the result and will use them again for book publicity.
  • Campaign nears end and contributions slow down. The gap is too large to generate motivation to contribute so I turn my energy toward perk fulfillment.
  • The deadline arrives and I send wrap-up thank you notes to all my contributors

What I would have done differently.
First off, more research. Trouble is this is something you always learn in hindsight. These are the actions I would have changed.
  • I would have set my campaign goal lower. This would have required changing my purpose for the campaign which was to buy bigtime advertising since 2K is not enough to pay for serious ads. However,  it would have made it easier to use the deadline to generate last minute contributions, whereas the gap in my actual campaign was so large no one could believe we could close it.  
  • I would have researched online press releases and how to find relevant media. Back  in the day when everything was done by snail mail or direct email I did considerable PR but I underestimated the value of it in crowdfunding, partly I suppose because I doubted that strangers would contribute to my campaign. I’m still not sure I’m a believer but I have learned that the highly successful campaigns get that way because they ignite interest in the larger community by using press releases.
  • I wouldn’t have ordered 250 foam fingers touting a runaway bestseller. Talk about optimism.
  • I underestimated the time and attention crowdfunding takes, otherwise I would have scheduled a shorter campaign.
Am I am glad I did the campaign? Absolutely, yes – no question about it. While the contributions I received were substantial enough to let me prep my backlist books, my biggest takeaway was character growth. I had to gird my loins (or some such, you don’t have to be a guy to do this) and get a steely spine to ask for money.
In installment four of this blog series I wrote that it was going to be hard for me.
And it was hard. Indiegogo has thought ahead on this quirk of human nature to come up with euphemisms for the words money and giving. Givers are called contributors, receivers are called campaigners, and money itself is called contributions.

There is, of course, a cultural reason for this. The subject of money is fairly well shrouded in mystery. We don’t tell others what we earn or ask them about their income. Nor do we like to ask for or be asked for money. Wealthy people often feel like others only want their money (there’s some truth in that). Poor people tend to think everyone wants to take their last dollar (also somewhat true). Even more crippling. the poor are often reluctant to ask for what they’re due. While these attitudes might be easing as new generations come forward, I think the flotsam that floats around money is a subconscious issue for most people who consider crowdfunding, one that keeps them from sending personal emails which are reputedly the most effective way to get contributions.

I know it was true for me and most of my reluctance came from fear that people would disapprove of my choice. A few did, but not many. One writer warned me that the entire writing community would get up in arms and I’d lose all my readers. Never happened. Another writer asked why I didn’t fund their advertising. I told them to let me know when they set up their campaign and I’d be happy to contribute. In truth, only a few expressed disappointment in me but they didn’t unfriend me and my Twitter following even increased. Most people cheered me on.

And therein is the character growth. I’m thicker-skinned these days and a whole lot less cynical. Just taking the step to launching the campaign boosted my confidence in ways I can’t quite explain and didn’t expect. All I do know is that I have no regrets and am willing to help others who are interested. If you're one of them, check back on Monday for part 2 of this post where I’ll talk about the do’s and don’ts of crowdfunding.


Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

Week #7 Realities of Launch Week 
Week #8-9 Elbow-grease Time
Week #11  Do's and Don'ts


 To Connie Flynn Site

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: MISPLACED by S.L. HULEN

Misplaced A Rich, Complex Tale From a Talented Debut Author

S.L. Hulen recreates an enthralling world in the opening chapters of MISPLACED and right from the start tugs at readers hearts. When the groomed sands of Egypt suddenly change to the seedy El Paso/Mexico border, the bright and highly educated Princess Khara finds herself swept to modern America leaving her no time to mourn the assassination of her beloved father.

She would have had little chance of surviving the ruthless Mexican coyotes if not for the intervention of resourceful immigration's attorney Victoria Barron. As Victoria becomes more and more embroiled in Khara's incredible stories about crossing the boundaries of time and protecting priceless Egyptian artifacts, they are chased by greedy antiquities dealers who will stop at nothing to get those items.

The story takes on a more mystical tone as Khara struggles to replace the complex religion from which she'd been torn, and ends at the base of a jagged stone obelisk on a barren mountaintop. The ensuing confrontation between the women and their pursuers leads to a startling resolution.

MISPLACED is an engrossing story, especially for fans of Egyptian history and I recommend it to everyone. I loved it!


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
S.L. HULEN ON FACEBOOK


View all my reviews
To Connie Flynn Site

Monday, August 24, 2015

Crowdfunding Week 8 & 9 - Elbow-GreaseTime

My Deepest Thanks
 to My Wonderful
Campaign Contributors

Eve Paludan
Mikaela Quinn
Karen Walker
Mike Flynn
Connie Walker Gray
Laurie Fagen
Denise Domning
Kim Richards
Bryan Flynn
Daniel Zollo
Linda Style
Rick Walker
Ellie VandenBrink
Holly Thompson
Cathy McDavid 
Alicia Flynn 
Brandon Flynn
Bob Bleything 
Isabella Maldonado
Nikki Kimbel
Rosemary Sneeringer
Bob Gustafson
Sylvia Wright
Kathy Marks
Brittany Flynn
Sandy Yang
Cheyenne McCray
Merle McCann
Jennifer Drogell

Thomas
Annette Francine
LegsOhara 
donnahatch29  
Minu Jose
Phil Barnes
Luca Pandolfi
Martin Weber
Jack Johnson   
Micheal Koepisch
Adam Libonati 
+Anonymous (10)
Successful crowdfunding takes a lot of work and is very full of ups and downs. Not that I hadn’t been warned or that I failed to take the warnings seriously, but they simply weren’t loud or often enough.

Somewhere around day twenty the slump I’ve mentioned hit our campaign. Part of it was a slowdown in contributions, the other was distractions in our daily lives.

I had agreed to teach a class for an online writing school and to launch a Twitter team to generate registrations for my Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths writing conference. So as day twenty came and went I found myself swamped. I set down the blogs and missed two weeks. I didn’t tweak my funding campaign nearly enough, and I frequently chickened out on sending emails to long-lost friends.

This last slacking off ended up as a serendipity. Not only did it spur me to hire an outside company to send messages, it generated a heartwarming response from people I’d lost touch with years ago. Some of my former students told me how much I contributed to their lives and how happy they were to help. This, from Facebook folks, who have been so hounded to buy this and buy that.

This week I did the same thing with LinkedIn. Now in all fairness I haven’t stayed as in touch with LinkedIn as with Facebook. But so far this group has been unresponsive, and I’ve even had a few harsh rejections which didn’t happen with Facebook. However, I’m still glowing from the results of my Facebook mailing and by how many of my peers were more than generous.

Now here on my thirtieth day I’m running as fast as I can. Can I get closer to my original goal? At this stage it’s unlikely since so far I’ve generated twelve hundred and seventy-five dollars against a goal of four thousand. Still, the amount contributed will pay for most of my book conversions and possibly let me upgrade some software, so I’m farther ahead than I was when I launched.

Moreover, I am wildly grateful to everyone who supported me. The failure to reach the goal was frankly due to my ignorance. I had researched, yes, but hadn’t known I’d just scratched the surface. For instance, I hadn’t realized the impact of press releases – or even that I needed them at all.

There are ten days left. In the event of a miracle, I will do another post next Monday.

If not, I will do a wrapup when the campaign closes on September 3. I’ll share what I learned in hopes that the next crowdfunding writer will do a whole lot better than I have.


Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

Week #7 Realities of Launch Week 
 
To Connie Flynn Site

Monday, August 3, 2015

Crowdfunding 7 — The Realities of Launch Week & The 400 Club


The week started with a flurry of contributors and encouraging comments on my Indigogo crowdfunding site.  I was overwhelmed and humbled by their generosity. To have people step forward to help someone else reach an otherwise unreachable goal sent my belief in the goodness of human nature soaring. My thanks to every one of these contributors is boundless.

Campaign Contributors

Eve Paludan
Mikaela Quinn
Karen Walker
Mike Flynn
Connie Walker Gray
Laurie Fagen
Denise Domning
Kim Richards
Bryan Flynn
Daniel Zollo
Linda Style
Rick Walker
Ellie VandenBrink
Holly Thompson
Cathy McDavid 
Alicia Flynn 
Brandon Flynn
Bob Bleything
+Anonymous (5)
During this first week I tweaked the Indiegogo site, added pictures of possible interest to the gallery and continued to email potential interested contributors. As the week went on, contributions narrowed. According to Indiegogo this was to be expected but of course, being human, I had decided it wouldn’t happen to me. That led to a bigtime moment of RDD, a phrase I learned from Kristen Lamb, which means Reality Deficit Disorder. Of course activity will slow down – the shiny object moment is over.

At this stage Indiegogo suggests campaigners investigate doing press releases. They discouraged it for the launch unless you already have a press presence, reasoning that you want contribution traction on your site to give the press and bloggers something to write about. I’m looking into a service that hooks me up with media outlets that work with crowdfunding.

One thing that is growing clear is that I won’t be able to carry through on my resolution not to ask for money. Gentle hints in my tweets, newsletters, blogs and emails have been pretty much overlooked. I’ve changed my focus to a perk I named The Four Hundred Club. The early premise of crowdfunding was that large numbers of people made small contributions (thus the word ‘crowd’) so I decided to go ‘old school.’

3 Million Books in the Kindle Library 
My campaign goal is four thousand dollars. I will be spending most of it on advertising and having my reverted Harlequin backlist prepped for publication. Four thousand is a pretty good chunk of change except when it comes to advertising, but if members of The 400 Club come together as hoped and contribute a mere ten dollars per person we will fully fund the Create a Runaway Bestseller campaign and KNOW WHEN TO RUN will end up with the advertising it deserves. I invite you to join. Not only will you get a nifty certificate, you’ll get the finger and an eBook copy of KNOW WHEN TO RUN

I’ll be working very hard on this campaign because it’s already gone beyond  just being about me. If I don’t reach my funding goal, I’ll be disappointed, no question about it. But what bothers me more is that I’ll disappoint those people who kicked off this campaign with their time and money.

$10 x 400 = Funded Campaign
Am I sorry I got into this? Well, developing and guiding the campaign is a lot of work. But there are still more than thirty days left and who knows what’s ahead. So, no, I’m not sorry and I’ll leave that question for another week. Is this something you should undertake? Again, too early to tell, but if you’re thinking about it, I strongly advice you to do your homework. Check out the other crowdfunding platforms and the various crowdfunding support sites. Read, read, read on what works and doesn’t work. And be forewarned that crowdfunding is not a free ride.
Buy Now! 

At the point I’m not sure what I’ll report next week. I have no idea what will happen. That’s part of what makes this process exciting. In the interest of being open and honest, I must confess that I've found most of this great fun and I expect the fun to continue. If you have questions about possibly doing your own crowdfunding campaign please use the comments function to ask because other visitors will probably also be interested. If you prefer to stay private, then just scroll down and click to my website, the email address is in the footer.




Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last



To Connie Flynn Site

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Crowdfunding-6 - Launch Week at Last

Thirty-Seven Days Left

Saturday was a soft launch, called that because only team members and first supporters actually knew about it. It was when the campaign link first went live. We spent the day working out promotional strategies and I once more went through the pages, checking for typos, spelling errors, and unclear narrative.

Campaign Contributors

Eve Paludan
Mikaela Quinn
Karen Walker
Mike Flynn
Connie Walker Gray
Laurie Fagen
Kim Richards
Bryan Flynn
Daniel Zollo
Linda Style
Rick Walker
Cathy McDavid
+Anonymous (5)
.
If you've read earlier posts you might have seen my plea for a videographer. I was looking for a beginner who wanted some practice but as a friend of mine told me, they probably preferred working on their own stuff. Other candidates wanted several hundred bucks for their efforts. Come on, I wanted to say, my campaign goal is just four thousand dollars, why would I spend hundreds on the video when the Indiegogo experts say professional quality is not needed to have the desired effect.

I suppose we'll find out. As things went, my incredibly patient son became my cameraman and he spent quite a big chunk of time helping me nail down my message, which is about how I became a writer and my reason for launching a crowdfunding campaign.

I spent Sunday morning struggling to get my pitch out of my mouth and to people's ears without stumbling over every other word. While I'm no stranger to public speaking, the idea that every word would be frozen in the digital universe scared the hell out of me. 

After thirteen takes, we got a take that works. Yes, I stumbled over words but I was told that it makes me more human. And so far nobody's emailed to ask, "what were you thinking, posting that video?" However, one can never underestimate the muting power of good manners.

So on to the exciting news. Yesterday was the first day in business and by the end of today I am overjoyed to announce that the campaign already has ten contributors and is nine percent funded. After being open for business only two days.

Hell, yeah, I'm excited.

I expected the majority of contributions to go to the 400 Club, so they could get the finger. The premise behind the club is that if 400 people contribute $10 each, my campaign goal of $4000 will be reached. Maybe that was more for my benefit because small bites like that don't seem so impossible.

Today I've been using Facebook, Twitter and the power of my campaign team to bring traffic to the campaign. If it's not too much trouble, I'd be delighted if you shared this blog with your Facebook friends. I also invite you to visit the campaign site if just from curiosity. But a warning—if you visit and take time to read my story, you could find the prospect of toppling Goliath one book at a time too seductive to resist. :-)

Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

To Connie Flynn Site

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Crowdfunding 5, Pre-Launch Week- Remembering to Exhale

What if Nobody Comes?

Paper bag anybody? I've spent the last couple days curating my mailing list, tweaking the copy for my giveaway perks, contacting people who promised to help promote and vacillating between high excitement and total panic.

Last week I worked on the emails I'd be sending potential contributors and writing the remainder of my perk copy. As I was telling people what they would get from the perks I offered, I realized I was no longer anxious about asking for money because I'd decided not to ask. Does this mean I don't want contributions? Oh hell no, I'll be delighted with every dollar contributors decide to bestow, but I would prefer you shop the perks and make up your own mind, while I continue striving to come up with new and delightful perks (Yes?)

Why? Because my job as a campaigner is to offer an entertaining campaign and interesting perks like, for instance, the foam finger with the campaign slogan printed across the palm. I also have a goal that many readers can get behind and a general rising curiosity about the crowdfunding process. I hope you'll be among them when the countdown begins, stopping by to see what crowdfunding is all about.

For me right now it comes down to forty days. Forty days to reach my fundraising goal. Forty days to push KNOW WHEN TO RUN to bestselling status. It really is time to exhale. I have reason to feel confident, but . . .

. . . will it be enough? I don't know, I just don't know. Paper bag anybody?

Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last


To Connie Flynn Site

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Crowdfunding Week 4 . . . Show Me the Money

AM I A FOOL?

This is the week I was supposed to start asking for money… I spent a full day writing a template for an email that my family and very close friends would send (for me) to their other family members and close friends – the ones I hadn't already asked. The deal here is to reach as wide an audience as you can. Like Twitter, it works on quantity more than quality.

But there has to be a certain kind of goodwill going on. If you walk up to someone on the street and asked them for ten dollars – well, that is begging. If however, you persuade them to go to your Indigogo campaign page and get the nifty foam finger for a mere ten dollars, while at the same time offering pricier more elaborate perks – well, that isn't begging, it's fundraising. Marketing. Bait and switch. Right? Can't get more twenty-first century than that. So, you might wonder, did I follow my own advice? Do I have perks that will make people want to shop in my particular Indigogo cube, as it were? Did I write a snappy, appealing pitch? Was I entertaining enough? Was I sincere enough?

Truth is, I have no idea. 

400 Club Perk - We give you the finger!

The campaign will begin with a soft launch on July 25. Two days later, will come the pushy launch. Where I've been advised to blast family and friends and even acquaintances with appeals to visit my Indigogo campaign site and leave some cash to help me reach my goal and also to draw attention to KNOW WHEN TO RUN and send it soaring up the bestseller ranks.

Will they come? Will the book rise? Only when I launch will I begin to have those answers. I still have a few more perks – several, actually – that need more beguiling copy from me. Am I up to the challenge? Only my potential contributors can tell me for sure.

Which is why this audience might just be the ones to ask. If you knew someone who was doing a campaign like this (oh wait, you do) and that person was pushing a romantic suspense entitled KNOW WHEN TO RUN, and had a heroine named Ky who has amnesia and was given a little pink derringer when she awoke from her coma . . . .  Well, would you find a replica of that little pink derringer appealing, especially if it came with some swag and a copy of the book?

Or how about having my next book dedicated to you. What if a character was named after you? What if you collaborated with me on writing a short story and got full credit? Are these perks interesting to somebody browsing a crowdfunding campaign?

Feedback so Appreciated

I  would really appreciate feedback on my questions. While I was to some degree venting because I'm reaching the scary part, it would help me to know what others think, Because here I am. I've written the first email and this following week I'll get to the rest. Next week I reach the point where I can no longer indulge in avoidance. Cheer me on, please. It will keep me from panicking.




Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last

To Connie Flynn Site

Monday, July 6, 2015

Crowdfunding Week 3 - Starting to Pull it Together

You Gotta Give a Little to Get a Lot 

The reason I’m I'm titling this blog "Pulling it Together is because we'll be doing just that over the next few weeks before the July 25 launch.   This is just the beginning. And it’s the fun part. 

As I've sought out devices to attract contributors to my Indiegogo campaign page, I’ve added a new little twist to my slogans. 

To remind you, the campaign title is:  Help Create a Runaway Bestseller 
My tagline is: Toppling Goliath One Book at a Time
 
Then I was shopping for perks and came across  six inch foam fingers. This gave rise to our slogan:


Help create a runaway bestseller and we’ll give you the finger

As promised, here it is.  THE FINGER

Now this isn't the actual giveaway finger. They're on order right now. They'll have a big #1 inside the finger, and the campaign logo will go on the palm

So why am I talking about Runaway Bestsellers, Toppling Goliath, and giving people the finger?

Because it made me realize you have to give a little to get a lot. I became determined to carefully craft my campaign pitch and, more importantly, to give serious thought when selecting my perks (a token gift or a discount on a purchase).  


The biggest author mistake I saw when reviewing other Indiegogo campaigns was they only offered copies of their books.

The spread between the successful author/campaigner and the unsuccessful was pretty obvious. The ones that have made their goals or are close, put together pitches with humor, humility, and authenticity. They added value to their giveaway books, even a lollipop can do if it somehow relates to the campaign.  


The next mistake was staggering up the contribution amoun for perks that didn't increase in value. The third was a lack of attention to the campaign pitch. 

Crowdfunding isn’t Lawrence Welk land. People who browse crowdfunding sites are seeking a product that engages them.  This isn’t always easy for people in the creative fields  – writers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, actors – who don’t have pricy products to sell. Their success is based on the perception of their audience. For them, snappy writing, catchy videos, and clever perks are a necessity.

So this explains the little six inch foam finger. Plunk it on the finger of your choice, stow it on top of a soda bottle, wave it around. Give a virtual one to anybody you like.

What I’ve gleaned from scrolling through dozens of campaigns is that you have to set aside thoughts of how much money you’ll generate and put your attention on who would want to read your book(s) and dream up perks that might make them smile and craft a chit-chatty pitch that will amuse and engage them. And charm them into helping you reach your goal.

There’s more to know on this subject, of course, but next week I’ll be blogging about the crowdfunding element that sends many wannabees hiding under the bed: Asking for Money.
 
When you log off this blog, you might want to take a look at some of the campaigns that Indigogo is running . In particular, check out the ‘writing’ category. Also, browse all the instructional material they offer their campaigners. They’re a very impressive company. Indiegogo.


To make sure you don't miss a week, subscribe to email delivery using the link on the right hand sidebar.
Week #1 Considering Crowdfunding?
Week #2 Getting Started With Indiegogo
Week #3 Pulling it Together
Week #4 Show Me the Money
Week #5 What if No One Comes
Week #6 Launch Week at Last



To Connie Flynn Site