Platforming Dabbles: The Struggle For Eyes Never Ends

Heritage Lost Book Trailer

Authors eternally seek ways to engage potential readers — the umpteenth social media account, newsletters, artwork galore, podcasts, video, etc. Some writers do well with a relatively tight platform, while others utilize quite a few avenues. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to platforming. And speaking from experience, it can be incredibly hard to find one’s people.

Two years into being a published author, I still don’t feel like I’ve found my people. With its shifting algorithms, social media feels more like a void that I’m shouting into nowadays. But I still try to plug away at it and keep my ears open for potential opportunities.

Video has been on my radar, though I dread it. I’m not the most photogenic person, and when placed in front of a camera, my brain tends to shut off, tossing aside carefully considered responses. However, I did force myself from my comfort zone with digital readings in 2020. That is the way the digital world is moving: video.

Enter FilmForth

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I was encouraged to pursue a short film for my book by a fellow vendor at Hall of Heroes Comic Con, who pointed out that it’s never been easier to do so with a cellphone. While I haven’t bolstered my courage for a short film, I did begin to browse video editors and available free stock video with the hope of doing book trailers.

This search led me to FilmForth, a video editor I still can’t believe is free. It is easy to use and allows for nitty-gritty editing. It offers many great effects and transitions, the ability to adjust and remove sound, picture-in-picture support, and so much more. The best part? By liking the software’s social media, you can remove the watermark. Heck yes!!!

Using it, I first created the Descent trailer below. The Heritage Lost trailer above was my second attempt and shows more playing around with the software. I also had to get more creative with it because the stock video was just not there. How can there be no toddler stock footage? I ended up mixing still photos, abstract videos, color clips to convey a rough overview of Heritage Lost.

The stock photos and video came from Pixabay, a fabulous resource! The Descent trailer music came from YouTube’s royalty-free library, while Heritage Lost used a royalty-free song from Pixabay (where I also found its sound effects).

FilmForth allows users to export projects in various sizes perfect for different types of social media and uses.

It is easily five stars with its price tag (free!), ease of use, and abilities. I knocked it down by half a star because it lags on projects (even small ones) with numerous layers. I would start exporting to review the video rather than use the in-software video previewer just to make sure text and sound effects were really where they should be. On the Heritage Lost video, I did experience one freeze, but it still saved in the background so I lost nothing.

All in all, if interested in video, test it out!

Descent Book Trailer

Beta readers wanted!

Descent arrives Dec. 29, 2021, but you can read it early by being a beta reader! Or you can pre-order your copy today, but clicking this link.

Beta readers are a major part of the writing process for most writers. They help catch issues with manuscript that a writer, far too close to it, might miss or not even consider. For the beta reader, they get to read a book before anyone else! It is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

With my second wave of revisions complete, I’m looking for speedy readers who can get through an approximately 148K book by the first week of November. I’ll be using the new StoryOrigin beta reader feature for Descent. Interested readers need only click the button below to request beta reader access. Haven’t read the first book, Heritage Lost? No worries! I’ve included a synopsis and character list in StoryOrigin to aid new readers to the series.

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Descent Cover Revealed and Hall of Heroes Wrap-up

Kylie Betzner and S.M. Wright at Con booth.
Kylie Betzner and I sit at our Hall of Heroes Comic Con booth on Sept. 5. The convention was a two-day event.

It was a great weekend at the Hall of Heroes Comic Con in Elkhart, IN! Fellow author Kylie Betzner and I had a fabulous time and met so many great people, including con goers and fellow vendors.

While we had one heckler who was quite adamant that we know there was no difference between sci-fi and fantasy, most people enjoyed the free book raffle in good humor, even those who love both genres and were forced to choose. After the con, we tallied the votes, and it was super close! Sci-fi ended up winning by just four votes. Since the tally was so tight, Kylie and I decided we would draw winners from both genres’ buckets rather than just the winning one.

Continue reading “Descent Cover Revealed and Hall of Heroes Wrap-up”

Meet Me At Hall of Heroes Comic Con

Hall of Heroes Comic Con 2021 promo image with tickets on sale soon.
Learn more about the comic convention at hohcomiccon.org

I’m super excited to announce I will be attending Elkhart, Indiana’s, Hall of Heroes Comic Con, Sept. 4-5. Come visit me at the Far-Flung Press booth (AA7 in Artist Alley). I look forward to meeting readers old and new alike. I will have print copies of Heritage Lost available and should have Descent‘s presale launched by the time the event arrives. There just might some sweet online deals for those who can’t attend in person!

Kylie Betzner, author photo
Kylie Betzner

Author Kylie Betzner will be joining me at the booth. Kylie is an actress, martial artist, and the author of comedic fantasy series. She is also the proud mama of two cats. A fellow Hoosier, she will have her The Six–er–Seven Kingdoms trilogy and her Arthurian parody The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. Check out Kylie’s catalog on Amazon by clicking here.

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Descent update and other life events

One tired editorial assistant!

I’m approaching the midpoint in initial Descent edits, which is massively behind where I’d envisioned I would be in April. I’ve been under a lot of stress in my professional life as I looked to transition from one career to a new one. Pair that with a nasty upper respiratory infection, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. In particular, the “is the new job going to happen or is it not going to happen” was a killer when it came to creativity and consumed so much of my mind that revisions fell to the wayside.

However, the answer to that question is yes! I’ll be stepping into the role of communications specialist for my local library system. I’m one of those people who frets about change so I’m facing this transition with both excitement and anxiety. While part of me is screaming “what have you done,” my rational self knows this is the right change for me and will result in less stress for my poor body, which decided in 2018 it couldn’t handle stress anymore.

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The Joys Of Audiobooks

A variety of audiobooks, including Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood, Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood, Peace Talks by Jim Butcher, The stationary shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Broder and Never in Finer Company by Edward G. Lengel.
Above are a just a few of my completed and future audiobook titles.

Three months into 2021, and so far, I have six read books under my belt. Juggling two jobs and edits, I’m amazed with this progress toward my twenty book goal on Goodreads, though I’m aware of the irony. When I only had one job, I was lucky to even read ten books in a year. Perhaps, it’s the lack of free time that truly makes me appreciate what time is available. Maybe it’s the carrot of my local library’s Break into 2021 Book Reading Challenge. Or perhaps, after a rough couple of years, I really need a bit of escapism. No matter why, audiobooks have been my saviors.

My love affair with audiobooks began while traveling with my brother and sister-in-law to Indy. It was a Dresden Files audiobook, and it wasn’t even at the beginning, but narrator James Marsters (yes, Spike from Buffy) had me sold. Thanks to Overdrive, I dove into the Dresden Files audiobooks from the beginning, even loading my cellphone with them for a work trip to Florida.

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Website updates, writing progress, and more

The website has received a complete overhaul along with an official domain name, smwrightauthor.com. Visitors will now be greeted by a static homepage featuring my most recent releases, updates on works in progress, and other news. Shortly, I hope to add a countdown to Descent‘s release and hopefully a new event this September (there are still moving pieces, so we will see).

Several of my site’s pages have also been updated with new information, and I anticipate The Heritage Verse sections will be growing over the next few months. The blog has migrated to its own page, but no worries, I have big plans for it.

Plans For The Blog

Making my blog more active is forever one of my goals, and here I am again in 2021, hoping to make it happen. Right now, Descent revisions are receiving the bulk of my attention in what little free time I have, but I am working on getting more posts scheduled that are broader in scope than just on writing. Some of my plans include:

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Once Upon A Time Writing Lesson: Right-Sizing Cast

Once Upon a Time is a case study for plotting out a series. It exhibits why it is important to have a game plan–no matter how rough–in place at the beginning of a creative endeavor. This helps writers avoid retreading past plot points or completely dropping the ball on others. Characters need to go hand in hand with this early plotting–their arcs, their backgrounds, etc.

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The Struggles Of Platforming As An Introvert

To start off, this post isn’t going to offer any grand solutions to platform building — I have none. This remains one of my greatest struggles as an author in addition to being a point of frustration and bursts of depression. For every step forward, no visible progress seems to occur, and now that I’m juggling so much more in my day-to-day life, time seems too limited to get anywhere. Making it worse, I’m a massive introvert.Continue reading “The Struggles Of Platforming As An Introvert”

Writing Recap: Revision Madness

After puttering out in the last couple of chapters, I overcame the rut and finally finished Descent, the follow-up to Heritage Lost. Well, finished the drafting part . . . I’m currently neck-deep in revisions. Revisions, however, have always come easiest for me. My drafts are always sparse, so revisions include more fleshing out, particularly descriptions. Like most other writers, there are intensive rewrites, too.

So far two scenes have undergone massive rewrites, and being only 82 pages in, I’m sure there are going to be several more as the story is refined and characters come into their own.

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