Truth

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The WORLD of AUDIOBOOKS - IT IS TIME!

I threw my hat onto the mat in the lovely world of audiobooks. I thought how hard can it possibly be to read a book while recording it and then share it with the world?

I have listened to a few audiobooks in my life and some of them were just down right awful. Why? Because of the narrator and their story telling ability or lack of. They spoke in a dull monotone and when dialogue took place it sounded like the professor on Ferris Buellor.

I am character at heart so I thought, hey, I can do this. Well, I had no idea how difficult it truly was going to be. It took several weekends at the studio at Highland Pictures to start off and each time I could feel my voice and attention diminishing as the hours of the day progressed. All I can say is drink lots of water for those traveling into this new realm for their book.

The hardest part of the entire process was getting the character voices down. I literally had to come up with a dozen different voices and I really wanted to bring the essence of The Orb of Truth out through the voices. I worked with Adrian Collins, the producer at Highland Pictures, to get several of the voices with enhancements to the vocals which truly brings the book to life. When you listen to it you will know what I'm talking about...WOW!

I brought in a special guest for the female voices (as I clearly would not be able to pull that one off) and this just brought a new element to storytelling. Manna Ko blew me away. She flew in special just for this and surprised me when I picked her up at the hotel and she greeted me in full costume of the beloved character named Raina...the Sheldeen Mystic Elf. (see pics below) Manna is Raina!


I also had another guest come along for a small but important part. Tom Modifica, Jr is my step-son and he plays the voice of a special character that I wanted to introduce everyone to in the sequel, The Dragon God. The character is a gnome named Trillius and should be a fan favorite so we added in a special introduction to this character at the very end for the coming soon segment. Tom also played a character in The Orb as I was having difficulty with a voice and having him on the set was great so we recorded that section while he was there and it turned out beautiful.



I truly believe The Orb of Truth is something special in the way of audiobooks and Adrian Collins, Producer at Highland Pictures, did an incredible job. Thank you Adrian!


Special thanks to Manna Ko for her insight, her love, and her amazing support on this crazy adventure of mine. Thank you!

The Orb of Truth audiobook at Audible.com

The Orb of Truth audiobook at AMAZON 

The Orb of Truth audiobook disc set at my website 

 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buying Book Reviews

Authors are buying book reviews these days and unfortunately it is doing much more damage to them than they thought. Why? Because eventually the truth comes out about your book.

The goal for authors is to get readers to review their work and give an honest review with hopes of it being a positive one. It is a funny business, cause so many of us like to read reviews and base our purchases off of what others say but at the same time we don't leave reviews ourselves. So, with that said, we find Indie Authors struggling to get people to read their work.

There are tons of reviewers and bloggers out there that will do it, but there are thousands of books being launched almost daily and the demand is way too high for them all. What does this mean for the author then? It means they have to cross their fingers and throw out a lot of books to catch a few reviews.

Let me break it down for you. I sent out 100 books to reviewers who said they would review my book. Only 10 actually gave a review. That is only a 10% return. OUCH! Books cost money so if my book cost $5 per book then I just forked out $500 for 10 reviews. Wait, it also cost money to mail these books out. On average books can be mailed out media mail for approximately $3.50, so that is another $350 in mailing costs for a grand total of $850 for ten reviews. WAIT! It took me many, many, many hours to find and track all of these potential reviewers, send out emails, correspondence back and forth, getting permission to mail them a book, and so on. Our time is valuable as an author, all of us can attest to that.

Authors don't have time to navigate the intricacies of the internet and blogging/reviewing world. We want to write books. Authors are not all marketers or people who want to deal with social media. We want to write books.

So, as a frustrated author myself in getting reviews and all the time it takes to make it happen, I decided to launch LRP Book Reviews. It is a service for authors to get dedicated reviewers for their book. Here is how it works:
1. Authors purchase one of 3 packages (5, 10, or 15 reviews)
2. I line up known reviewers (not rookies) to BUY this authors EBOOK (only ebook format currently) and then read the book (that's right, we BUY authors ebooks...each reviewer makes a purchase)
3. All reviewers are anonymous so they have the freedom of giving an honest review without being pressured or bought by the author. They send LRPBR their review and we forward it to the author for their approval.
4. Author approves or declines that review (he does this for each review). If it is approved then we have the reviewer post on Amazon and Goodreads. If it is declined then it is discarded and not posted anywhere.
5. Our review team is paid $10 for their review plus they are reimbursed for the ebook purchase.

LRPBR is not a "Buy a book review" business. WE have integrity behind what we are doing and keep our reviewers anonymous from the authors. Authors are paying for the service which in the long run will save them tons of money and their valued time based off of the example I gave above. (my personal experience)

Now, our reviewers are instructed to give good feedback and not general statements. We want our authors to be edified and encouraged. If the review is a negative review we still expect the same thing. The author should receive input on how they can improve their craft to become a better writer. If the author declines to have the review posted we don't post those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads because we are not in the business of bringing Authors down but lifting them up with good solid critique. We want to see the author succeed in their career.

Check out LRP Book Reviews
http://www.lrpbookreviews.com/

If you are an author then contact us to help you get those much needed reviews.
If you are a reader then contact us to become part of our reviewing team.

blessings,
Brae Wyckoff
LRP Book Reviews Website Link

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Power of Editing

I find it interesting on how many books Indie authors are publishing without having it properly edited. It is the one single thing necessary besides actually writing the book that needs to be done before releasing it to the world.

I thought it would be cool to give you an example of my writing before it was edited so you can see what a difference an editor truly makes. Now, it is also imperative you find the right editor...interview them, look at their work, request to see something they can do for you. I would highly suggest not having your family edit your work even if they are an English major. I guess the only exception would be that this was their profession.

Here is the opening scene for my first book, The Orb of Truth, before it was edited:

          A cool breeze weaved through the patrons of Gathford, bringing with it a mixture of smells from horse manure, cooked meat, foreign spices, and dirt.   The sun was at mid-day with sparse clouds surrounding.  It was a small trading town nestled within a grove of pine trees.  Three dirt roads connected the community where weary travelers could find rest and supplies to continue their journey.  Every day the main street would fill with vendors showing their wares while customers searched for what they needed.  

Here is the same scene, but NOW edited:

           A cool breeze weaved through the dirt street, bringing with it a mixture of smells from manure, spices, cooked meats, and dust to the many patrons of the Gathford market. Sparse clouds and the mid-day sun warmed the small trading town. Nestled at the edge of a pine forest, three dirt roads connected the community where weary travelers could find rest and supplies to continue on their journey.  







It is tighter, cleaner, and flows stronger than the original version I had. It might seem minor but when you are presenting your work you want to put the best out there. Even the greats hire editors. No one is above the editing law and if you think you are then be prepared to hear from the fans...they are our true testers when it comes to our writing, but don't be discouraged with negative reviews even when you have your work professionally edited because even the greats have bad reviews. You can't please everyone.

Good luck and happy editor finding! (Editors, please leave your contact information in the comments)


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Branding Yourself is Important

I started branding my book, The Orb of Truth, three years ago. It is never too soon to start getting the word out. I am sure all my friends and family were sick of me saying it is coming soon but when it arrived everyone cheered for the success of it because they felt included...and I wanted everyone to be proud of being involved with the success.

A friend of mine in the movie making business told me, "It is lonely at the top." This one sentence couldn't be truer in the Hollywood scope of things, but I believe in people and invite others to join me as "we" continue to rise by just doing the things we love. I love to write and work hard to be able to do this full-time.

People do judge a book by its cover and that means they will judge you by how you act, speak, look, and present yourself in person and social media. That is just how things roll and instead of trying to change that model which so many have tried, you might as well embrace it. I make sure to keep things real and not be phony but instead have a genuine heart to help others, promote others, and see others succeed.

I have done this by sharing my insights into the publishing world, insights on how I process my writing techniques, starting my own radio show called Broadcast Muse where I interview authors and celebrities and interesting people from around the world, helping others figure out their callings in life, and ultimately pulling the gold out of others for them to see with their own eyes that they matter and that they can be someone great.

Never give up, never lose sight of your dreams, but most importantly find your identity and build upon it!
The Orb of Truth (click on this link)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel - Not so much


I went to the movies today on Father's Day in high hopes of an epic movie and walked out completely disappointed.

The opening went on too long to give us back story that really never did anything for the movie in the long run.

Many times the new director wanted to change things about Superman that did not play well with enthusiasts such as myself. Clark Kent at the Daily never happened...cat and mouse between Lois and Superman never happened...and more.

There were glimmers of the Superman I loved and then tons of scenes that fell a part. If you like Man of Steel then more power to you. I was rolling my eyes once the bad guys showed up on earth. Superman was more like a toy being tossed around the planet and through every building around him. There was a part where they finally fight in space but only to destroy a random satellite orbiting and then the wreckage plummeted to the planet to cause more havoc.

Some particular lines fell way short...Superman's father said, "You can save them all." Well, that was a little bended truth when the next sequences were thousands of people dieing when building after building in Metropolis (which looked a lot like NY) were completed demolished. This was followed up by a single person who managed to survive by dodging buildings say, "He saved us." Really? Most of the people of earth were shots of them looking up into the sky for Superman flying here and there. None of them appeared to look at the chaos around them or the people who were NOT saved.

My wife and I had one favorite line and that came from General Zod (bad guys): "This can only end one way. I'm going to die or you are going to die." Jill and I looked at each other in the theater and snickered. "Isn't that two ways?" LOL.

Anyhoo, it was quite silly in a lot of parts. Lois Lane miraculously gets to the Grand Central Station through rubble and mayhem in seconds to witness the final battle.  (so many things like this happened but this one stood out to me)

Sorry Superman fans but this one fell way short of my expectations and I had some good friends of mine vouch for this thing. They owe me money!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Character Interviews

What the heck is a character interview? 

I asked myself this question when I was asked by a blogger what I wanted. I had the choice of being interviewed myself as the author, which I am used to, having a spotlight of my book, where they place the cover and book synopsis and my bio, and then finally the choice of having one of my characters within my book interviewed.

I had no idea that this sort of thing happens within the blogging world. To be honest, I had no idea how it would work and it kind of made me nervous.

What kind of questions would they ask?
Did this blogger read my book and would they ask questions that reveal too much?
What would my character actually say?
Would anyone care about what my character had to say and would it bring them closer to buying the book?

All of these questions scrolled through my mind. Well, I have undergone a month long blog tour in April (thanks to Aileen Aroma, my PR Manager, and my friend Cheree Crump). The tour consists of every thing mentioned above and more. Interviews with me (multiple questions from all angles of my life and my writing process), spotlights of my book, excerpts from The Orb where I share snippets of the story, guest posts where I write out a full blog, like I'm doing now, and then the character interviews.

I have to say that I enjoy the character interviews the best hands down. They are so different and really capture the heart of the character and their personality. It is so fascinating to get inside the head of these fictional persona's as they truly take on a life of there own, so much so, that I actually start believing they are real.

In this tour, we had three interviews.
The first was with the main hero of the book and his name is Bridazak. He is a Halfling or Hobbit, and something in my book that I coin as an Ordakian.
Anyway, here is the link to his interview...

Bridazak Character Interview


The 2nd interview is with a lovable dwarf named Dulgin...well, he actually is quite irritated with most things but you will have to read his interview for yourself to understand what I mean.
I enjoyed how Dulgin ended the interview with this classic dwarven line.
Dulgin: "Kawnesh di lengo ki belko vekoosh . May your light shine bright and blind your enemies."
Here is the link to his interview...

Dulgin Character Interview 


The final interview is my favorite. It is with two characters named Lester and Ross. They are not humans, nor elves, nor dwarves, and definitely not ordakian, but instead are animated thieves tools that talk. They help thieves get through any locked contraption, but at a price...the price being that they talk a lot. They are the comedy relief within The Orb of Truth...without further ado, please enjoy Lester and Ross.

Lester and Ross Character Interview

Would love to hear back from you about the characters so please leave a comment...
And please join my Official Fan Club on Facebook...
JOIN the FAN CLUB 
 



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do Book Reviews Matter?

It depends on who you ask when you pose the question, "Do book reviews matter?"

An author would clearly say, "YES!"
A reader most often just wants a good book to read and then they move on to the next book they have waiting in the wings.
A shopper usually takes a look at reviews which helps them make an informed buying decision.

Let's be honest. All of us want to look at reviews but we don't give any reviews ourselves unless the company we purchased from completely screws us over or when there is some angelic chorus singing Hallelujah in our minds after reading and we are compelled to leave a glowing review.

After writing my first book, The Orb of Truth, I have come to realize how important a review is. I now make every effort to leave some positive feedback for the ones who have labored day and night to come up with a compelling story and then go through the tough process of getting it published.

When you get a moment, take a minute to leave a positive review for the books you love. The books that are not good then by all means move on to the next or send a private message to the author to give them some constructive feedback so they can improve upon their craft.

Here a couple reviews that I have received:

5-Star Review
"Readers of Tolkien, Feist, Lewis, Eddings, etc. will find this at first familiar, like bumping into a friend, and then realize quite quickly that it is entertainingly unique. The world of The Orb of Truth is full of the themes we love as fantasy readers, but chases after deeper pursuits than first seem apparent. At times filled with blunt, bold, page-turning action, the interludes are filled with solid story telling at a graceful pace that more than brush up against core spiritual themes. Without spoiling the ending, an adroitly-timed twist in this book may leave you in tears, as it did me. Well-worth the read, the book will transport you into lost woods and glowing magical mountainscapes painted clearly in the reader's mind, and the well-paced, epic struggle that begins to unfold will certainly leave you as it did me... wanting to jump back on Amazon and order any other volumes in this series. Anticipating the forthcoming installments is likely to keep me busy for as long as the author takes to lovingly tell us the rest of the story."

 5-Star Review
"I would never have picked this book for myself if not for reccomendations of others. I love fantasy and books with adventure and have read many. However, I have never read one quite like this. Throughout the book i am reminded of The Lord of the Rings and The Dungeons and Dragons game and the book The Oath by Frank Peretti. However even with all these infuences it still has it's own unique story line as it weaves in a religious element without being preachy. Adventure found me on every page and i found myself not wanting to put it down even when i was getting to sleepy to read the words. I can't wait to read more about these characters in the next book and see what new adventures they take me on." 

4-Star Review
"I don't normally read fantasy; J.R.R. Tolkien rather spoiled me to everything else, and I'm not big on wizards, dragons, and magic in general. That said, "The Orb of Truth" is like reading an arm wrestling match between Tolkien and Wyckoff, and C.S. Lewis wins. For those with scriptural background, much is recognizable, and makes for an intriguing tug between fantasy and theology, with all of the implications leading to a predictable but gratifying outcome. I like Wyckoff's weaving of fiction with timeless truths, his bringing of spiritual battle to a visceral, physical level, his new twists on stock characters and plot, but what made the book entertaining for me was the character interplay: the journey together, like "The Fellowship of the Ring," is at least as important as the outcome. That, perhaps, is one of the greatest truths from "The Orb of Truth." Looking forward to reading the next book, and sharing the first with my high school lit. classes."