Guest Post from Author Brinda Berry: Lights, Camera, Action!

Being an author today means more than writing. Unless you are in the same league as J.K. Rowling, you’ll be engaged in marketing your work. Readers today love social media and enjoy YouTube and other video platforms.  It’s natural that book trailers would be a popular form of marketing.

Some authors are fortunate enough to have the resources to spend thousands of dollars on a cinema-style book trailer. I love watching trailers and am amazed at the creativity of authors. Many authors are making their own.

Take Maggie Stievater. She’s the author of several bestseller YA books. She did her own trailer for the The Scorpio Races in stop-action animation. This author probably has the resources to hire it done, but she is a creative genius. I’ve seen the book trailers from her other books. They are all amazing. You can find The Scorpio Races on YouTube at

When I saw Stievatoer’s first trailers done this way, I balked. This woman can really draw and paint. Geez! I can barely survive playing Pictionary. Admittedly, her trailers are unique. I went a more traditional route to create my trailer, and I think it tells my story nicely.

So, here are the steps to making a book trailer:

  1. Make a storyboard for yourself with notecards. I prefer less than 20 frames (one notecard representing one frame). This video may run approximately a minute.
  2. I like to limit the text on a frame. Use your blurb to give your ideas. You are NOT placing your entire blurb in this trailer. Sometimes, even one word will suffice to set the mood. Additionally, you may find the frame only needs to hold an image.
  3. Select your computer software you’ll be using. I used an online service called Animoto. It’s easy to use and has a free version.  Some people use Windows Movie Maker. There are more complicated programs which can be used, but I don’t recommend investing that kind of time in this project.
  4. Use a service to purchase images for your trailer. I used . My purchased photos were $2.99 each. I also snapped some photos myself.
  5. Create the frames, upload photos according to your storyboard, add text, and then match some music to it. I like Animoto because they have a library of authorized music to use, so you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement. The timing can be adjusted to the beat of the song you select. Save it.
  6. Test it before you export. That means you are creating an MP4 file instead of an Animoto file.
  7. Upload to a service like YouTube.
  8. Share with all your friends!

I love Amy’s book trailer for Drive Back the Darkness. Please check mine out and see what you think.  My book released in print this month, and I’m celebrating!

Social Media links:




Buy Links for Paperback and Ebook:


B & N

The Book Depository (Paperback only)

The Waiting Booth book trailer:

Thank you VERY much!

The next step on the road to publication.

First of all, we didn’t get four inches of snow, but we did get some! Check it out!

Now, on to today’s post!

I know many of my regular readers have been walking with me along the road to publication. Now it’s time to move on to the next step: submission! (Yikes!)

So far, I wrote my manuscript, rewrote it multiple times, and then I queried agents. In August, I signed with Michele Rubin, of Writers House. Then I worked with her to do another, massive revision. Yesterday  I talked to her on the phone, and she loved it! She said she thinks the book is ready to go out!

So what happens next? I will, of course keep you all updated! Here is our plan for now:

1. We will start sending the book out the week after next, not this coming week, because of the Frankfurt Book Fair. If you want to check the fair out, you can find more info here. A lot of editors and publishers are there, so were going to wait for them to get back in the office.

2. While we wait, I have to write an author bio, assemble a few comparable titles, and write a page and a half, pithy description of my book, for Michele’s eyes only.

3. Then, the week after next, we will start sending it out. Michele plans to start with six big publishers. She expects that it will take anywhere from a week or two to several months to hear back from them. during that time I will… wait. 🙂

4. Well, not just wait. We’re going to be talking over ideas for my next book, but I’mm not sure how far I’m going to get on it before the baby comes. We have a C-section scheduled for the 18th of December. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes early though.

So that’s the plan! I also plan to go to the store and buy about 5 bottles of Tums! I can’t imagine anything more nerve-wracking then waiting to hear back from all these big publishers. It seems much worse than waiting for agents. Does anybody have any advice for getting through the next couple of weeks? I sure could use it!

Social networking for writers.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s very important for writers to have a platform, especially when you’re trying to attract publishers or agents. So build up your following on your blog, and your Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook accounts! Try to interact with people as much as you can. (I know, I’m kind of a hypocrite as I haven’t been responding to comments… But if you ask me something on Facebook or Twitter, I do try to respond!)

If anyone wants to do an exchange, follow me on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll follow you back! I’ve pasted all my links below. Hope to see you soon!

Also, check out my interview on Aimee Duffy’s blog today. Not only is she my friend and critique partner, but she also is a great romance author! Her first book is coming out next month! I might be biased, but I think it’s a fun, sexy read! I’ll have an interview with her next month, so stay tuned!

Twitter: @theliterarymom

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Amazon here.

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Barnes and Noble here.



Marketing for authors: a necessary evil?

Before I forget,there was a new interview with me posted today. If you want to check it out you can find it here. Now, on to today’s post!

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day and I mentioned I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I’ve been working toward the release of my YA fantasy, Drive Back the Darkness, for a long time. I’ve done revision after revision, copy-editing, proofing, etc. I’ve hired a marketing company to arrange a blog tour. I’ve done interviews and sent email after email asking random people if they wanted to review my book. On top of that, I signed with an agent and have been working on massive revisions on my next book (an unrelated contemporary YA novel.

My mom said, “Of course you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You’re a creative person, and you haven’t been able to create anything new for months. You’ve been working so much towards the business side of being a writer that you haven’t actually gotten to be a writer.” (Okay, that might not be a direct quote, but it was something along those lines.)

The question is, is marketing and everything else that goes along with publishing a book, part of being a writer? Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes. In our world today, the realty is that publishers don’t have a huge marketing budget for every book that comes out. They don’t even have a mediocre budget for most books that come out. The sad truth is, the author has to do much, or all of it, herself. But honestly? It’s not work I even remotely enjoy. I would much rather be creating a story.

There has to be a fine balance between the work you do to promote a book and creating a new one. I, myself, have just about reached the end of my rope in regards to the non-creative aspects of writing. I’m going to have to finish it all up and then get to work on my next story. I can only stand so much business, facts, and schmoozing before it really starts to get to me.

What about you guys? Do you feel the way I do? Does anyone else have a hard time wearing both your creative hat and your business hat? How do you integrate the two?

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Amazon here.

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Barnes and Noble here.

I’m a published author!

Yup, that’s right! My young adult fantasy, Drive Back the Darkness, is finally out! You can find it on Amazon here.  You can find it on Barnes and Noble here.

There’s also an interview with me up here. Feel free to check it out!

If you want to win a copy of Drive Back the Darkness, there is still time! I’ve decided to extend the contest until next Thursday, the 21st.  If you’d like to win a digital copy of my book for you kindle or E-reader, please use the “contact me” form to send me your name and email address, along with a message that says something like “contest entry”. If you don’t want to use the form, you can also email me at theliterarymom @ (remove the spaces!). Just make sure you put contest entry in the subject line, or I might not open it! All entries must be received by September 21st, 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.  I’ll announce the winner either Friday the 22nd or Monday the 25th.

Also, If you haven’t friended me on Facebook yet, my name on there is Amy M. Newman, and my icon is the red and orange cover of my book!

It’s been a long and sometimes bumpy road. It still doesn’t seem real. I still have so much work to do marketing this book and working on revisions for the next that it’s hard for me to stop and enjoy the moment! A large part of me feels like I need to just keep pushing forward. I think a big reason for that feeling is due to the fact that I know I have a limited time before my next son arrives and renders me a sleep-deprived zombie!

Anyone have any ideas on ways to celebrate?

Excerpt of my YA novel, Drive Back the Darkness, and a publishing crisis!

Well, everybody, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, you get to read an excerpt of my novel! The bad news is there was some unforseen problems with my manuscript on the publishing end that resulted in a huge amount of work for me. In short, I have about 7 hours of work to do before tomorrow morning and I can’t find a babysitter anywhere… Any one want to help me out? 🙂

Anyway, long story short, if I can’t manage to pull this off, my book won’t be published Friday. I had a good cry to get rid of my stress and frustration and now I’m off to work. Enjoy the excerpt and stay tuned. I’ll let you know if I pulled it off early tomorrow morning!

Excerpt from Drive Back the Darkness:



Two weeks ago


Something was wrong. The tingle at the base of Ellie’s spine told her so, long before she heard the sound of footsteps on the cement behind her. The bright fall sunshine crackled with danger. Something was very, very wrong.

Ellie’s hands began to shake. She wrapped them around the straps of her backpack and walked a little faster. Her home was only a few blocks away. She could make it a few blocks, couldn’t she?

There. Another footstep. Whoever was behind her had sped up too. Ellie took a deep breath and glanced over her shoulder. The woman behind Ellie smiled. Ellie’s arms went limp, and her backpack thudded to the sidewalk. For a brief second, her blood froze in her veins. Then, she ran.

The air around her seemed to thicken, holding her back. She pushed through it, desperate to get away from the monster behind her. She ran as fast as she could, blind to everything around her. If Ellie didn’t get away, she knew she was dead. She could hear the woman running behind her, the light footfalls on the cement, the rustle of her black leather coat. The woman was toying with her, like a cat with a mouse.

There. There was her house. Her heart thudded fast and thick, struggling against waves of hot, sticky panic. Ellie’s legs trembled underneath her, and her stomach pitched. She had to make it. She put on one last burst of speed, jumped the three porch steps, and hammered on the door.

Ellie’s mom pulled open the door. “Goodness, Ellie! Did you lose your key?” 

Ellie pushed her inside, kicked the door shut, and turned the dead bolt. She stared at the woman on the other side of the glass. She was still smiling. And every one of her teeth was as sharp and pointed as a dagger.


Chapter One


Today was like every other day of Ellie’s life except for two things: one, it was her sixteenth birthday, and two, she was being stalked. Ellie gnawed on a thumbnail, the sharp, rusty flavor of blood filling her mouth. She had never been a nail biter, but she was now. It seemed to help the constant panic fluttering in her chest. She glanced at the window, a shiver snaking down her back. She knew the woman was out there, waiting.

“Eleanora Lyons.” Mr. Smith, Ellie’s history teacher, called her name. Ellie slid out of her desk, her too-pale legs flashing like sticks of chalk under her swirly skirt, a fact that would have bothered her two weeks ago. Now, it no longer seemed important. She took her test from him, not even bothering to cover the big red A+ with her fingers, like she would have before.

“Freak,” Chris, the quarterback of the football team, fake coughed the words.

Ellie sighed and then glanced at his paper, which had a D inked across the top.

She sat down in her seat, almost too tired to deal with him. Almost. “At least I’m a freak that can manage to remember basic facts.”

Chris frowned and flexed his big, beefy fingers. “Watch yourself, nerd-girl. You don’t want to tick me off.”

Ellie ignored him. She used to wonder why they picked on her, running all the possible reasons through her mind. Maybe it was because she ruined the grade curve, or maybe it was because her skin was so pale you could see her veins through it, when the other girls were all shades of gold. Maybe it was because she had a monster following her like a puppy dog. Somehow, Ellie couldn’t bring herself to care anymore.

The bell shrilled through the room. She shot to her feet and then crashed to the floor, courtesy of the backpack strap that had wound itself around her leg. Apparently, panic made her a bit of a klutz. Laughter echoed behind her as she stumbled to her locker, stuffed a bunch of books into her bag, and then sprinted down the hall. She had to make it outside while there was still a crowd of kids milling around.

The sunshine dazzled her eyes, and she blinked frantically, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She didn’t see the woman, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t there.

As she started the jog toward home, dead, dry leaves rustled under her feet sounding like creepy voices whispering at her.

“Come on, Ellie, get a grip,” she muttered. She took a deep breath, crouched down, and pretended to check the strap on her sandal. She glanced behind her. The woman let Ellie see her for just a second, before disappearing. A shiver prickled her skin, and she began to run.


Enter to win a copy of my YA fantasy novel, Drive Back the Darkness!

Three days to go until the big book release, everybody! To celebrate, I’m going to do a giveaway of my book! If you’d like to win a free digital copy of my book, please use the “contact me” form to send me your name and email address, along with a message that says something like “contest entry”. If you don’t want to use the form, you can also email me at theliterarymom @ (remove the spaces!). Just make sure you put contest entry in the subject line, or I might not open it! All entries must be received by September 13th, 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.  I’ll announce the winner either Friday the 14th or Monday the 17th.

If you want to see if you’d be interested in my book, click the Drive Back the Darkness tab at the top of the page. It will take you to the cover and the back cover blurb!

The publication day for my first novel is set!

My novel, Drive Back the Darkness (a YA fantasy) will be published by Etopia Press on September 14th! I can hardly believe it!

The editing process was kind of grueling, but I’m almost done. We went through three rounds of edits and now my book is at copy editing. Once that’s done, I’ll get a chance to review it one more time before it goes to “proofing” (to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what that is!).  And even more exciting, sometime in the next two weeks I’ll be revealing my cover art!

On that note, if anyone wants to do interviews, author and/or book spotlights, etc. please get in touch! I even have a few e-book copies I can give away if you wish to review it (although not an unlimitated amount!). If you think you might be interested in a YA fantasy that’s being described as Cassandra Claire meets Lord of the Rings, and you have a e-book reader, let me know. I’ll see what I can do!

I also will be revealing some important agent-related news sometime this week. 😉 Stay tuned!

Signing contracts and editing up a storm!

Sorry I’ve been MIA these past few days. I had a ton of work to do, but guess what? My YA novel went to copy-editing last night! I finally finished the three rounds of revisions! I’ll get to go over my book one more time before it goes to proofing. Then it’s done!

I should be getting my cover art sometime in the next two weeks. I can hardly wait to unveil it! And the book itself is tentatively scheduled to come out in September, but we’ll see. Make sure you check out The Literary Mom then, because I’ll be having tons of giveaways and contests for the few months after it comes out!           

I know you saw the title and you’re thinking, “She said she was signing contracts! What contracts? Is she seriously not going to talk about it?” Rest assured, I AM going to talk about it!

I signed with a literary agent last week! I’m just waiting to have the hard copy of the contract in my hand before I announce it. I super excited and it’s testing every ounce of my strength not to tell you now who I signed with! I will say that it is truly my dream agency, the one I’ve wanted to work with since I started writing and figured out what a literary agent was.

My agent seems wonderful. We had a very long talk on the phone and it seems like we really click. She has great ideas about my work and wants to help guide and shape my career, which is exactly what I was looking for. I’m so excited!

On an unrelated note, I need some advice guys. I’m thinking of shelling out the money to change the domain name of this blog from The Literary Mom at WordPress to my author name, Amy M. Newman. What do you think? Have any of you done that? Is it worth it? I just can’t decide…

I got an offer of representation from a literary agent!

I can hardly believe it! It feels like a dream. My very first offer! I’m so excited! I couldn’t wait to tell you all! More details to come, so stay tuned!

P.S. For all of you who have parts of your novel on your blog, TAKE THEM DOWN! One of the clauses in the contract makes you swear that your fiction is not published anywhere else, including by yourself on a blog!