Four MORE Great Apps for Creating Interesting Pictures

Hi, all! Jennifer here again.

I’m back again sharing some great apps I’ve been using in order to create more visually appealing pictures to post online. I particularly like using them for Instagram since I find the filter choices a bit limiting there.

And away we go!

  1. Snapseed  I used this gem when my picture came out too dark. I was able to “brush” it up and was able to see faces. Love! Plus, you can also add text to your pictures.
  2. Instasize  Oh my gosh. SO many more filter choices! Great for creating collages and videos too
  3. Touch Color  When you want to create B&W pictures with just a pop of color.
  4. Boomerang  Well, not really for pictures. More for videos. You can create short videos that loop back and forth (hence the name). But such fun!

Try them out on your phone for yourself and have fun playing around with them!

Hope you find this helpful!

Until next time!

Jennifer

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About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH.

Four Great Apps to Create More Interesting Social Media Posts

Hi, all! Jennifer here!

You can tell that people take their social media posts pretty seriously nowadays.

Even my own daughter bought herself a $600 camera and a $800 lens for…

Instagram? Now, she’ll probably deny that until her dying day, but she’s in high school, she’s not taking a photography class and she’s not in any photo clubs. And she does post some really nice pictures online.

What would you presume?

Now, me? I’m way too cheap and go right for the simple (and FREE) phone apps.  I’ve been having fun playing around with my photos using these apps so I thought I’d share my four personal favs.

  1. Over  Over is great because it has a lot of nice choices for templates. But of course, if you want to spend a little more, you can really have a great selection.
  2. Color Pop  This is one of my favs because I love B&W and I love color. Now I can do both at the same time.
  3. Let’s Draw   Pretty much what the name suggests. You can draw or write directly on any photo.
  4. Pic Collage  Really fun site where I can create colorful ads with stickers and words and pictures or just do a collage of pictures.

That’s all I’ve really had to time to experiment with, but my daughter has some more she said she’d show to me.

Can’t wait!

So…until next time, have a great week!

Jennifer

XOXO

Exciting things are coming in my next newsletter!
Have you signed up?
eepurl.com/Q6TH1Follow me on Bookbub to get new releases and special-deals alerts

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH.

Think like a Reader to Market like an Author

Hey, all!

Jennifer here.

One thing I’ve noticed around the Twitterverse and Social Media realm is what other authors are doing there. I can’t help it. I’m social. I don’t just post and leave. I linger a bit. It helps me learn as a marketer.

Let’s face it, we’re writers. We don’t have marketing degrees. (Well, most of us don’t) As a result, I see a bit of a hodgepodge of marketing tactics. Some are REALLY good. But most, I have to say, are not.

I’m still learning, myself, but I recently hit the USA Today bestseller list and have been growing my Instagram following nicely and so far, have had much better engagement with my Facebook and Twitter pages. So I’d like to share some of my observations in order to help with marketing our books as well.

  • One key factor is to THINK like a reader.  All writers are readers.  Readers/writers buy books. I’ve bought books because of Twitter. I’ve also bought or maybe checked out books I’ve seen advertised on Facebook.  Stop and PAY ATTENTION  as to WHY you buy a book and think about it. Where did you see it advertised? Who told you about it? What was so smart about the way the author told you about their book? Then mimic it.
  • Stalk your favorite author. Huh? Well, don’t technically stalk them, but pay very close attention to HOW they market. Do they post fun things on social media or is it ALL about their books? Do they do collaborations with other authors? Do they have an engaging newsletter? If so, what do you like about it? Can you do something similar? Are their social media graphics eye-catching and do they make you want to buy their books? Then do what they do, but add your own twist to make it unique and personalize it toward your brand.
  • Test your graphics and play around with them. Some authors have a knack with marketing and create sharp graphics for their books. It’s very impressive–or maybe someone else creates it for them. Whatever. In my humble opinion, simple usually works best. Think of it like picking out paint color.  One time I had picked out a beautiful rose tan that I thought would be perfect for my dining room. The painters had painted 1/4 of the wall when I walked in and yelled, “Stop!” The little sample paint color I had picked out looked pink once it was up on the wall, not the lovely tan rose I thought. (PS. I changed it to a plain tan and was very happy) Sometimes that happens with book graphics. You create something beautiful and different–and what you think will be eye-catching. But once it pops up on a feed, it ends up being hard to read and therefore missed by readers. If your post isn’t being “liked” or “seen”, it might be time to try something else.
  • Giveaway what your readers really want. If you plan on organizing a giveaway, make it worthwhile to your readers. I find most readers want paperback/hardcover books. But maybe YOUR readers want something different. Ask them in your newsletter or take a poll on your Facebook page.

Hope this gives you some things to THINK about the next time you’re scrolling through your social media feeds. Really look at what makes you ignore posts and what makes you pay attention to posts. Start thinking like a reader and market accordingly.

Good luck and happy marketing!

Jennifer

Praise for Wrong Brother, Right Match

“Wrong Brother, Right Match is basically a Hallmark Christmas Movie in book form and I love it!” – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

If you want to be swept away into a sweet read that will keep you glued to the page then this is the book for you. There was just something about this storyline that was the right amount of sweet, romance and fun that made it unputdownable.”- The Sub Club Book

Amazon:  B&N: KoboIBooks:

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About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH.

Summertime Blues

Greetings HSG Readers!

As I type this we’re still in June. Of course the post will be live the end of July, maybe by then I’ll be a bit perkier.

In childhood, summertime is filled with the month’s each kid dreams about. From lounging around the house, sleeping in, library reading programs, vacation bible school, summer camp, and also those outdoor activities I can’t remember a summer I wasn’t ready to dive in to.

At least until adulthood came. I don’t get three months off work any more. In retrospect, this makes me wonder if I should have been a teacher.

Now the summers are filled with being stuck indoors, slaving in front of the computer, and I’ll admit the whole thing has turned me a little blue.

To perk things up, I’m creating the ultimate summer playlist. This is a list of the oldies, the newbies, and those unforgettable songs you grew up jamming out to during the summer.

So far, I’ve come up with a few that get me excited. Like, John Fogerty’s Centerfield, it’s the perfect summer anthem to the All-American sport, baseball.

Bryan Adam’s has his own summer ballad, Summer of ’69, that reminds me of youthful exploits.

And of course, the musical lover that I am, can never ever leave out Grease. Summer Lovin’ is the epitome of the high school experience. Those meet ups with someone new over the summer only to cut things short and return to regular life come the fall.

What am I missing? I know there’s some new stuff, like Will Smith’s Miami or LFO’s Summer Girls. Tell me your favorite summer-themed music and help me cure these blues. 

 

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Fairies and Bogmen and Distractions…oh my!

Being a writer makes a person curious, about a lot of things. You start off doing research on one thing, like…say…fairies. Suddenly, you’re immersed in all kinds of lore, and not so lore. You’re on the yellow brick road, kids. A path to knowledge, a Quest to Learn.

Your whole life is a journey into research of all sorts. It makes you excellent at Trivial Pursuit (if people still play that) or at Trivia Crack. You know stuff that no one knows. (Except other writers.) It makes people think you’re smart. (In my neck of the states, that’s pronounced smaht. But I digress.)

Sometimes your research becomes detrimental; it consumes you and you want to delve deeper and deeper into a subject–but you know you’re only delaying the inevitable: having to work on your current manuscript. (Eww. Work!) Life is full of wonderful distractions that make it hard for you to get to work–the internet is an especially wonderful distraction.

So many memes! Oh the memes I have seen… 

 

 

And GIFS. Good Lordy!  (I’d insert some, but then I’d have to look for them and I’d get distracted. Which–really–is the point. It’s easy to get lost in the research. And the finding. Especially when there’s Sam and Dean. But once again, I digress.)

Back to the fairies….

So I looked up fairies. I found out where the lore on fairies originated:

While most of Northern Europe lay under a thick canopy of forest, bogs did not. Half earth, half water and open to the heavens, they were borderlands to the beyond. To these people, will-o’-the-wisps—flickering ghostly lights that recede when approached—weren’t the effects of swamp gas caused by rotting vegetation. They were fairies.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/europe-bog-bodies-reveal-secrets-180962770/?utm_source=onesignal

There’s enough in that article for a whole slew of stories…if I do the research.

About Cyn D. Blackburn

Cyn D. Blackburn is addicted to love. And caffeine. She lives with her husband (of 20+) years, three children, two dogs, two guinea pigs and one terribly outnumbered cat. She knows that nothing eases the difficulties of life--and falling into love--more than a little humor.

Cupid’s Cafe: The Journey Continues

Greetings friends!

Today is the launch of my new release, Painting For Keeps, a contemporary romance and matchmaking story. If you haven’t noticed Cupid and matchmaking are in the air for the month of June, as Lori and I have both have releases that are part of Afterglows Publishing Kismet Line. Want to read more about Lori’s own contemporary romance you can check out her post here.

My book is a second-chance, matchmaking romance about a recovering bulimic nutritionist who’s getting over being dumped by her cheating boyfriend and the bi-polar, brooding painter who seeks to help the only muse for his art. This is the second book in the Cupid’s Cafe series. The first book, Lori’s Exactly Like You, is available now.

A refresher, Cupid’s Cafe is a fictional, magical place set in Louisville, KY off Bardstown Rd. You can catch a more detailed post on the live research Lori, myself, and Cate, the series creator, did in preparation for this series. Each couple is granted a ‘second-chance’ at romance via Cupid, through a handwritten invitation to the cafe. The couples have always met in the past somehow and both hero and heroine have reached their limit or they don’t believe themselves capable of love due to what issues they suffer from.

Painting For Keeps

An invitation to Cupid’s Café will change your life. 

 

Agatha, Aggie, Kakos lost her boyfriend, her apartment, and now, is one brownie bite away from purging her binge when an invitation to Cupid’s Café shows up on her doorstep. Fighting bulimia and her mother’s constant verbal abuse has never been easy, but this nutritionist is determined to be stronger than her weakest link. She’ll meet a secret admirer at Cupid’s for a morale booster if nothing else.  

 

Following a break-in and the destruction of his paintings, starving artist Murphy O’Shea finds himself at wit’s end. Not only does he need to create twelve more paintings, but in the midst of another manic depressive episode, the challenge seems impossible. He’s got two months or he’ll have to cancel his first show. The Cupid’s Café invite offers him a chance to find his muse. He doesn’t expect it to be the woman he’s mirrored the past two year’s paintings on, nor does he plan on being able to offer Aggie the help she needs.  

 

Can they find a way to conquer their inner demons or will they succumb to the idea they aren’t worth a happily ever after?

 

Buy now : Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play

 

This is the second book in the Cupid’s Cafe series, a Kismet book, from After Glows Publishing. Would you be interested in writing for this series? Email me at landra (dot) graf (7) (at) gmail (dot) com.

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

  • Our LATEST Buzz!

    Cyn D. Blackburn's Wrapped Up in You releases on November 13. *** The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series were released in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous was released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, A PROPOSAL & PUMPKIN PIE is on sale for .99 through Thanksgiving.