March 30, 2011
It’s clear that the publishing industry is currently in a state of upheaval. Booksellers are imploding, and publishers are simply not buying on the same level they once did. What does this mean for the writer? Ultimately, less support. It means that, more than ever, the onus of marketing oneself with fall to the author. This is true whether you are self-publishing, publishing with digital presses, or NY print publishing.
So what can you, the author, do to cost-effectively promote your brand? Here are some suggestions I’ve heard:
- Write the Next Good Book: Yeah, yeah. Everyone says that, but it’s true. Ask any author on the bestselling list and I’m sure they’ll confirm that this is the best way to increase sales. When people read and love your book, they will want to read more.
- Set up a Blog Tour: There are many sites that will do this for a fee, but if you are willing to put in the time you can go it alone for free. This requires contacting several different blogs (preferably those with a decent amount of followers) and asking if they would be willing to: (1) write a honest review of your book if you provide them a copy for review; (2) do an author interview; or (3) allow you to do a guest post on their blog. I imagine most bloggers would be happy to do at least one of the three, but even if not, the worst they can do is say no.
- Get a Book Trailer: I’ve heard a lot about book trailers, with varying viewpoints. Some people don’t think they do much in the way of garnering any new sales, but at the very least you may be increasing your visibility. You can spend a lot of money on these, so beware, but some people enjoying doing it themselves. (If so, more power to you. Just the thought makes me want to shrivel up and die.)
- Offer to Teach Workshops: This is another way of getting your brand out there. You get to impart knowledge (and hey, probably learn a thing or two as well) while increasing your visibility in the writing community. Remember, writers are readers! I know I (with my reading addiction) am one of the best customers an author can have.
- Use Amazon’s Resources: Amazon has something pretty cool called Author Central. Once you have a book listed on the site (whether self, digital or NY print published) you can set up an entire author page there. You can also track your sales on the site (including where in the U.S. your books are being sold). Amazon is a huge part of the book industry; this shouldn’t be ignored.
- Research Self-Publishing Options: Self-publishing is no longer the red-headed stepchild of the industry. Well, okay…maybe it still is but opinions are changing fast. With noted authors like Barry Eisler and Connie Brockway turning to self-publishing, and many others finding success there, this may be a good tool to taking charge of your career.
What other things, in your opinion, can authors do to take charge of their career? For those of you who are published, is there anything you’ve found success with?
March 29, 2011
Update: The winner of Lara’s giveaway is Cynthia Clay. Congratulations Cynthia, you’ve won a copy of Laura’s book, Memories of Murder. I’ll shoot you an email now.
Hi everyone. I have a special treat for you today. The fabulous Lara Nance is here to present a guest post on variety in publishing. Without further do, here she is:
I have seen so many stories lately about self-publishing success and people who are interested in different forms of publishing that it made me stop and evaluate my own goals.
A few years ago, I told myself that I only wanted to be traditionally published. I thought it a worthy goal and the only way to get enough distribution to make any serious money over time.
After many, many rejections from both traditional publishers and agents, I thought that a “yes” might be nice. So, I took my current work at that point and sent it to a small press that I had heard good things about. That book was Memories of Murder, which was just released this month, and the publisher was Crescent Moon Press.
It felt so great having something published that I was proud of, and a great group of people at CMP to work with. Then they accepted another book I had written before Memories and I was on cloud nine. I felt as though I finally had a foot in the publishing business, and it felt good!
Then about two weeks later, an agent who had my latest work, a steampunk adventure, offered me representation. I was ecstatic. That was back in November of 2010. She’s submitted that novel to 6 of the big NY publishers and the word is “prepare to wait in today’s market.”
So, I read these self publishing stories and with a big “DUH” I thought, why do you have to have only one goal? Why can’t you have some books published with small presses, some works in the hopper with traditional publishers, and even experiment with self-publishing if you want to? Guess what? You can!
As long as you abide by the contracts you have with publishers and agents, anything is possible. That’s why my agent and I agree that she will rep me on the books I choose. If I want to write a sequel to a book for CMP or self publish something, that’s my decision. As far as CMP is concerned, they only have a right of first refusal to any books I write that have characters from books they’ve previously published.
Sooo, what about that regency romance I wrote three years ago and shopped around to agents with no luck? It doesn’t fit with CMP and I decided after I wrote it that regency is not my big thing and I wouldn’t want to head in that direction with my agent. So, I may publish it myself under a pen name. Who knows, I might make some money from it instead of it gathering cyber-dust on my hard-drive.
I’ve realized the best part of having different goals in publishing is that all the activity keeps me REALLY busy. And that’s good because then I don’t worry about the book that’s been with publishers in NY for six months, I barely think about it in the midst of the whirlwind of promoting my books from CMP, self-pubbing my regency, and working on my current WIP (an urban fantasy I will submit to my agent).
Sure, today’s publishing world is a little schizophrenic and unsettled, but carpe diem! Seize the Day! Use the multitude of options out there to your advantage and you might find something you never dreamed of is your ticket to success. But, please, please, understand – you have to have a good story that’s well edited in any method of publishing to be successful.
What about you? Are you considering self-publishing? Do you have a success or horror story about an alternate form of publishing you tried? Let us know! (One lucky commenter will win your choice of an e-book or print copy of Lara’s book, Memories of Murder! Winner will be announced in an update to this post on Friday.)
Author of Memories of Murder
Available at www.CrescentMoonPress.com
Lara Nance grew up and lived in many cites through the South. She started out with a career in business/marketing for twenty years and then went back to school for a masters in nursing and is currently a nurse practitioner in Virginia Beach, VA.
Having been on the fencing team in college and now living on a sailboat convinces her that she was a pirate in another life, or possibly kin to Errol Flynn… However, due to the unfortunate demise of the romantic pirates of the past, she lives out her fantasies and adventures in her stories.
From ghosts, witches, and energy vampires to steampunk adventures, she is willing to explore a variety of paranormal activities within compelling tales of danger, suspense and romance. Look for interesting true historical tidbits woven into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.
Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys reading, of course writing, a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe, and Yorkie, Rio. You can visit her on her website: www.laranance.com
Blurb for Memories of Murder:
After Maeve renounces her powers as a witch and moves to Virginia to start a new life, the last thing she expects to see is a man jump to his death the second she gets out of her car. She also doesn’t expect to fall in love with the town’s sexy sheriff, Paul, the son of one of her Alzheimer patients. Unfortunately, as their relationship intensifies, so does the energy of the malicious presence haunting the old asylum whose ruins lie beneath where Maeve works.
When a century old journal with ties to the asylum’s long forgotten cemetery surfaces, Maeve must conquer her inner demons and harness the magic she’s denied in order to stop the murders. If she doesn’t, she and Paul may be the phantom asylum killer’s next victims.
Copyright © 2011 Lara Nance
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication
“Ready?” Maeve found Paul sitting in the foyer near the Golden Acres entrance. He had changed out of his uniform into black slacks, a white Polo shirt, and a tan raw silk blazer.
“Yes, let’s go. I’m in the Range Rover over there.” Paul pointed.
The tingle of excitement had returned upon seeing him. She walked to her car, a little breathless. Hopefully they could talk about more than ghosts and evil spirits tonight. She’d shut herself off from others since the attack, filled with guilt and fear. But she was desperate to get over the closed-off feeling that lingered and to connect emotionally to others.
She followed Paul’s car past the guardhouse, down the winding road alongside the mountain, and into downtown Rolling Gap. The view over the ravine to her right took her breath away. Jagged rocks interspersed with mountain laurel and cedar trees made a spectacular combination.
Paul sped away from her, going faster and faster. She frowned. Was he showing off? If so, it wasn’t funny. It was dangerous. Two of his wheels came off the road around a turn. When the tires landed back on the pavement, the brake lights remained red, but his car went faster. Her heart nearly stopped. Something had to be wrong with his car.
She increased her speed as much as she dared and lost her breath when he skidded around another curve, almost losing control. He could be killed! Instinct took control. Raising one hand from the wheel, she strained her fingers outward. She recited the words of old, and a silvery stream of mist flew from her hand. A sheen of perspiration dotted her upper lip as she twisted her fingers, melding strands of magical gossamer together to form a web that attached to Paul’s car. She pulled back on the strands and kept the vehicle from sliding off the edge of the ravine. Her voice grew louder. She tried to direct the path of the car with the web, but only managed to slow it. The best she could manage was to force the SUV into a tree to completely halt its progress.
She skidded to a stop beside him, jumped out, and ran to his door. Clouds of dust swirled up around them. He clutched both arms around the wheel, and a small cut on his forehead oozed blood. She wrenched open the door, and he tumbled out, keeping a hand on his arm as he looked back at his car.
“Paul, get in my car. Now. We have to get out of here.”
“The brakes just gave out on my truck. But I don’t know how it stopped.”
“That’s not what happened. You have to trust me. We have to get away from this place,” she pleaded.
He hesitated a second, then slammed his door shut and pushed her toward the driver’s side. He climbed into the passenger seat.
“Go.” He barked out the order with one hand on the dash.
He groaned and touched his head. She put the car in gear and hit the accelerator. She was glad he didn’t question the need for urgency or where she was taking him. She couldn’t explain anything until they were safely inside the protective barrier the Gems had spelled around her cabin.
They were only five minutes from her place, but it felt like an eternity getting there. She flew up the dirt road and skidded to a stop at the front door. Her mind reeled over what had just occurred. There was no denying she had her powers back, and she was grateful her witch instincts had taken control. If she had paused to think, Paul would be dead. But how had the binding broken?
“Maeve, wait a minute…”
“Come on.” She frantically pulled him inside the cabin, slammed the door shut, and took a deep breath. Liadan gazed up at her.
“Damn it, Maeve, what happened?” He spun her around to face him. His fingers dug into her upper arms.
“Come in, Paul. Sit down, and I’ll try to explain.” She breathed a sigh of relief as the grip on her arms relaxed. He followed her into the living room and sat on the sofa. She ran into the bathroom for the first aid kit and her medical bag.
She knelt before him, cleaned the wound on his forehead, and put a Band-Aid on it, even though he tried to brush away her ministrations. Then she checked his eyes and neurological status. No sign of cranial injury other than the small cut. Pulse was up, but then, so was hers. He had not sustained a serious injury. She had been so afraid the vehicle was going too fast when she moved it to crash into the tree, but it appeared he hadn’t hit his head very hard.
“My brakes gave out completely, and yet somehow my vehicle stopped. I don’t understand it.”
“I know, I know. Just…”
“I’m not stupid. This is almost exactly what happened to my father today.”
“You agree?” His brows went up.
“Yes, I do. And if I’m right, the same thing caused both accidents.”
She imagined the thoughts that must be running through his head. She had to tell him everything now. If she didn’t, he would be dead in the next few days. He needed protection.
She stood up. “Want a glass of wine? This is going to be a long conversation.”
“Since I was just nearly killed, how about some whisky?” He fell back against the sofa. Liadan put her paws on his chest and licked his face.
Maeve walked into the kitchen, trying to figure out how she’d gotten her powers back. It dawned on her that the morning after the Gems had arrived, her tea was not in its regular spot on the counter. She’d assumed her mother had only been cleaning, but apparently she’d also switched the contents of the jar to non-spelled tea.
She reached into the cabinet for the tea container and looked at it, shaking her head, then laughed. Never had she been so glad for the Gems meddling in her life. She threw it in the trash and returned to the living room with glasses, red wine, and a small bottle of George Dickel, missing a few sips. “Here you go.”
He took the whiskey and tossed back a shot, then poured another glass, which he held between his hands. “So, what is it that tried to kill me and my father today?”
“You’re not going to believe me at first, but if you’ll hear me out, I think I have a pretty good case.”
He gestured with one hand for her to begin.
“Everything I’ve seen and heard, all the information in the journal, points to the presence of an evil spirit. I believe it’s the spirit of Dr. Colton Carterage.”
Paul stared at her for several moments. “You’re serious.”
“Completely.” She poured herself a glass of red wine from the freshly opened bottle and sat in the chair across from him. A tingle of energy floated in the air. She recognized a witch cat at work. She tried desperately not to laugh at Liadan working her little cat magic on him, licking his face, nuzzling his chest, pushing her paws against his arm. He couldn’t have known what was happening, but darling LiLi was removing the mists of doubt from Paul’s eyes.
Maeve explained about patients in the dementia unit seeing the ghosts of people described in the book. She told him about the white deer and why the limb had fallen. When she came to the part she dreaded most, she looked at LiLi, and the cat complied. She curled up in his lap, purring, increasing the intensity of her witchy magic to strengthen his belief.
“There’s one more thing you need to know. My mother, my aunts…and me…we’re witches.”
March 28, 2011
Have you ever read a book and fallen in love with one or more of the secondary characters? I’m sure we all have.
Just recently someone broached the topic of a possible novella featuring one of the secondary characters in my Demons of Infernum series. I have to admit I hadn’t thought about featuring him in a follow-up to the series. He was created as a sidekick character, meant solely to revolve around my heroes. But now that the topic has been brought up, a whole world of possibilities has opened to me.
It’s no surprise that readers who like your stories will fall in love with the side characters and want to read more about them. It’s a way of keeping your world alive. Just think about the rabid fans of J.R. Ward or Jeaniene Frost (me!). With that in mind, there are some things I’ve resolved to do for every secondary character who might possibly be featured in a future story:
- Find Character Likenesses
I’m a very visual person so this is a big one for me. I need to know what my character will look like before I can begin crafting his personality. In many ways it feels like the physical look of my character will affect the personality. In the past I haven’t always done it with side characters but I will now.
My character sheets contains tons of information: from the physical looks to the personality of my character, as well as their background and childhood. It’s a great way to ‘build’ the personality, and will make the process so much easier if I ever decide to feature that character in their own story.
I write romance, so this is a no-brainer for me. If my character is unmatched I will think of who their perfect partner would be (i.e. someone who will drive them absolutely insane). I already unintentionally did this for the secondary character I noted above. He’s an incubus and in my mind I always figured he’d go great with a woman who couldn’t abide promiscuity. They’ll hit a lot of obstacles on the road to their HEA.
For those of you who are writers, have you ever dreamt up a minor character with the intent of featuring them in a story at a later date? If so, did you do any special preparation for your secondary character?
March 25, 2011
Today I’m delighted to host the fabulous Julia Rachel Barrett on the site. She’s the author of several books which are available now. Let’s learn a little more:
ME: You’ve got quite an impressive list of books out right now, including a series. Can you tell us a little about the Daughters of Persephone? Do you plan any more books in this series?
JULIA: Thank you. I think of Daughters of Persephone as a futuristic space opera. The overriding theme is gender equality. At a time when life on Earth is becoming untenable, a cadre of elite researchers from across the globe comes together to begin a eugenics program called Persephone. They decide to genetically engineer a race of super females (because males are notoriously testosterone-driven), to try to help solve the world’s problems. While the Persephone project fails to save the Earth, one band of followers led by the Empress Ya makes the leap to another solar system. The series involves time travel and space travel, seriously kick-ass heroines and the men who follow them.
Because the genes were specifically engineered to be transmitted to the female line only, I left the series with a question mark. At the end of Book Four, The Red Demon, a male child is born to the reigning Empress. I plan to give this unnamed infant his own powerful story. The series is with Resplendence Publishing, but it’s also on Amazon. And each book contains two stories for $2.99! This is a great price!
ME: What was your latest release about? Where can we find it?
JULIA: Every time I think of my latest release I laugh! Pushing Her Boundaries is the story of two people stuck in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota. It was inspired by the canoe trip from hell my husband and I experienced last summer. Our guides got us lost and we ran out of food. To be honest, Pushing Her Boundaries belongs to the heroine, Maggie. It’s her story, how she learns to trust and open her heart after a series of failed relationships. You can find the book at Siren: http://www.bookstrand.com/pushing-her-boundaries
ME: What do you think your readers will appreciate most about your stories?
JULIA: I write about real people and places. Every setting means something to me – I’ve been there, lived there, camped there; attended school there. I’ve traveled a great deal and lived all over the country. If I write a conversation, it’s very likely taken from an actual conversation. I think that’s why readers like my characters. They sound real. They may have issues, but they aren’t snarky and you won’t find them spouting quips.
ME: From what I can see you write in a variety of genres. What inspired you to cross genres, and do you have a favorite? (We won’t tell. )
JULIA: I love writing in a variety of genres and I’ve been told it’s so bad for me as an author! Really. The reason is simple – I have many interests and my background is sort of insane. Plus I get bored easily. The truth is, I write what comes to me. No excuses.
A favorite? Well, I love to read romantic suspense. I’m always up for mainstream science fiction and fantasy. I think I enjoy writing SFR (science fiction romance) the most. I can really go all out and create my own world. My world…my rules. You gotta love it!
ME: What types of stories do you personally like to read and who is your favorite author?
JULIA: When it comes to romance, I’m very fond of Linda Howard. I tell everyone who will listen that her romance novels were the first I read. I love Outlander, but I’ve been quite disappointed in the sequels. I like Alexis Morgan, Angela Knight – love Jane’s Warlord. I like some of the BDB series and most of Karen Marie Monings’ sexy Highlanders, but I don’t have much interest in the Fever series. I also read ebooks written by my friends and I won’t admit to having favorites. Unfortunately, I’m not huge on historical romances, but I’ve found a few I like very much – for instance, I like Kathleen Givens and her Kilgannon series.
ME: So what’s coming up next for you?
JULIA: I’m working on a paranormal, a work I plan to self-publish because I’m doing a bit of genre mixing and I don’t think the work will fit into any specific category. It might be hard for a publisher to market. It seems like the perfect entry into the world of self-publishing. I also have a full-length work of romance-suspense half completed – it’s a complicated story about a woman who believes her twin brother has been murdered and she’s on the run, trying to protect his secrets.
You can find Julia on the following Social Media Sites:
Blurb for Pushing Her Boundaries:
Maggie is done with men. Flying to Minneapolis, she’s seated beside the type of man she always falls for. A sexy, arrogant alpha jerk.
Mace Williams irritates the woman next to him. She’s so damn sexy, he doesn’t care. When their seatmate suffers a cardiac arrest, Maggie and Mace team up to save his life, but it’s too late.
In Minneapolis, Maggie heads to a restaurant with her sister, only to find Mace waiting. Worse, she learns he’s the brother of her sister’s fiancé.
Stuck in her sister’s apartment with Mace, Maggie offers him one night of sex, anything goes. No obligations, no recriminations. Mace agrees…he wants more than Maggie’s body, he wants her heart.
Thrown into a disastrous canoe trip, they must work together to survive. Maggie must face her demons and trust Mace with her life. Mace is determined to save her, regardless of what the future brings.
Warning, this Scene is Hot, Hot, Hot and intended for mature audiences only. You must be 18+ to view!
Her breathing quickened and she pressed her wayward body against his mouth, her hands buried in his hair, moving his head, positioning him exactly where she wanted him. Turned on as hell, Mace allowed it. He pressed inward and upward with his finger, hearing her sob, feeling the tiny muscles contract, hard, as her climax began. The thought occurred to him that if he stopped right now, it would be torture for her and he almost did stop, just for the fun of it, but fuck, it would take Superman to pull his mouth away from Maggie’s warm, wet, willing pussy.
She screamed as she came, knees buckling. Mace caught her with one arm, careful to cushion her fall. He lowered her to the floor and reluctantly pulled his finger from her backside. He moved between her legs, forcing her thighs apart with his own. Mace had too many fucking clothes on, but he didn’t care. He had to get inside her. He unzipped his jeans and, shoving down his boxers, freed himself. Maggie reached for him, but he pushed her hand aside. Propping himself up on one arm, he used his own fist to guide the head of his swollen penis back and forth through her wetness. He positioned himself at the opening to her body and shoved. Her tissues were so swollen that he met with resistance and she jerked beneath him.
“Fuck, Maggie, let me in. Let me in now.”
“Too big,” she gasped. “You’re too big.”
“The hell I am. You can take me.”
“No.” She shook her head and he saw the tension in her face.
Be cool. You’re hard as a fucking club. Help her, help her relax.
Mace gritted his teeth and changed his tactics. “Shhhhhh. It’s okay, Maggie. It’s okay.” Keeping his movements slow and easy, resisting the almost overwhelming urge to muscle his way past her defenses and bury himself, he moved just the tip of his cock in and out of her. “That’s right. Just like that, baby, just like that. Everything will be all right.”
At his words, Maggie arched her back, thrusting her nipples toward his mouth. Mace realized he hadn’t tasted them yet. How had he been so remiss? He leaned down and licked the breast closest to his mouth. Her nipple beaded against his tongue, hard and swollen and sensitive as all hell, if the moan he heard her make in response was any indication. He wound his tongue around the soft pink areola and then sucked the hard little bead into his mouth. Feeling her inner muscles begin to relax, he drove deeper into her with each stroke. At last, seated in her to the very root of his erect cock, he lifted his head, tugging on her nipple as he did so, releasing it with a pop. Holding perfectly still, encased in Maggie’s heat, Mace closed his eyes and sighed with pleasure. When he opened his eyes, he found Maggie staring at his mouth. She looked hungry.
She can’t be any hungrier than I am.
Mace wanted to be gentle, but he knew gentle was not what she wanted. He allowed his lips to find hers, and he kissed her so hard their teeth clacked together. He bit her lower lip and reveled in her response. She tangled her tongue with his, sucking at him, even nipping him. Maggie thrust her hips against him now, meeting him as he pounded into her.
Fuck, I want to come. He ripped himself out of her and leaned back, putting a halt to the inevitable.
“No,” Maggie cried, and she made her disappointment known, rising to her knees, following him. She wrapped both of her hands around his erection and stroked him up and down.
“Stop,” Mace groaned. “Stop.”
Maggie kept her hands in place. “Why?”
“Because I’m not ready to come yet.”
“Good.” She removed her hands from him and knelt, her eyes locked on his cock. As he watched, she stuck out her tongue and licked him. Before he could stop her, she was on her hands and knees, lowering her mouth around the swollen head. He ran a hand over her nicely muscled back, watching the movement of her head, up and down, up and down, her mouth working him, sucking him, nibbling on the hard ridge. She slid a hand beneath his balls and squeezed gently, moving her palm farther back, circling his asshole with a finger. She slipped her fingertip inside and he jerked.
Maggie lifted her head. “Turnabout is fair play.”
“I don’t play fair,” Mace growled.
Placing both hands on her rib cage, he pulled her upright, bringing one of her nipples to his mouth, and he bit her. She shrieked and he bit her again, then turned his attention to the other peak and sucked it hard, scraping the edges of the swollen tissue with his teeth.
She clutched at his shoulders. “Yes, Mace, yes.”
Giving her nipple a last tug, he lifted his head. “I want your ass, Maggie.”
She sucked in a breath. “You want…you want to fuck me in the ass?”
Mace shook his head. “I want to step between your long legs and hold your sweet ass in my hands while I fuck you from behind. I want to watch my dick vanish into your body and reappear all wet and shiny…with you.”
He watched as she closed her eyes at his words. She sagged in his arms. One of her hands traveled to her chest, a finger caressing the nipple he’d just bitten. Her other hand slid between her legs and she rubbed her clit. “Yes,” she whispered. “Fuck me hard.”
Mace sat her down on the floor. She dropped her hands and looked up at him. “Don’t stop, woman. Keep doing what you’re doing while I get my clothes off.”
Maggie smiled then and closed her eyes. As he pulled off his boots, she lay on the floor, stretching out her long legs with those stilettos still strapped in place, placing one on each side of him. Undressing, breathing hard, Mace watched as her left hand toyed with one nipple and then the other, while the right hand circled her clit. She slid a finger lower, and he watched her circle her wet, swollen vagina. Jesus, this woman is going to kill me. He reached a hand over to her and slid his finger inside along with hers. Maggie arched her back, her muscles contracting around his finger.
“Come, Maggie. Make yourself come.”
“Is that an order?” Her voice was little more than a purr.
“Yes, it’s an order. Make yourself come while I watch.”
Julia wants to know, when you read a romance by a particular author, what keeps you coming back for more?
March 23, 2011
In the wake of Barry Eisler’s surprising revelation that he turned down a $500,000 publishing offer in order to self-publish (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/ebooks-and-self-publishing-dialog.html) came the little tidbit that Amanda Hocking is thisclose to signing a $1,000,000+ deal for a 4-book series with a traditional publisher (http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/noted-self-publisher-may-be-close-to-a-book-deal/). Some of you might wonder: what the heck is going on here?
It seems to me like all this commotion illustrates what a transitional state publishing is in right now. Here’s what we know about the industry:
- Print sales are decreasing, and are bound to continue doing so given the closing of many bookstores (Borders bk) and the alleged scaling down of available space in others (Barnes & Noble).
- Electronic sales are skyrocketing and all signs point to that trend continuing.
So what does this mean for the new or aspiring author?
In the past most authors strived to be traditionally published. Digital publishing, when it came around, was either something for the niche market or else a stop for the author on the train of hope to the NY publishers. Things are changing. With electronic sales skyrocketing and e-publishers offering authors better deals for e-books than traditional publishers (35-40% royalty vs. 25% royalty), writers are starting to wonder whether that big NY contract is all it used to be. Now, with the increasing popularity of self-publishing (70% royalty on Amazon for books $2.99+), writers are starting to wonder whether a publisher is necessary at all.
It’s my personal opinion that the enterprising author will diversify herself. It’s difficult to ignore the print market, with print books still making up approx. 70% of sales. And I don’t know about you, but I’d still like to see my book on the bookshelf of my local bookstore (provided there still is one in a few years. ) But at the same time, it doesn’t seem prudent to dig your head in the sand and pretend like the digital revolution isn’t going on right now in front of our very eyes. Writers who try to ignore that may find themselves in a world of financial pain.
With the Eisler and Hocking news, I have to wonder too: is the grass always greener? Each of these fabulous authors knows exactly what it’s like to be in the position they are in. They want to experience the other side of the equation. Pure human nature. It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out. Will Eisler stay self-published? Will Hocking find a home in the traditional publishing market?
I guess only time will tell.
Your turn to spill. What are your thoughts on the industry shake-up and the self-publishing explosion?
March 21, 2011
Admission Time: for those who haven’t already figured it out, I fall firmly on the “plotter” side of the plotter-pantser scale. I usually take a fair amount of time letting stories percolate in my head before I start writing. First I think of what the characters look like and try to find images to match them, then I create character sheets, square up my plot, and write down a general timeline of events. But every once in a while I’ll get a vague idea in my head, and I’ll just pick up my computer and start writing. I never know if those stories will amount to anything, but they sure are fun to write. (And yeah, a little stressful too; what if the story peters out and I’ve spent all this time on it for nothing?)
It’s my firm belief that any time you are feeling tired of what you’re working on, worn out, or you’ve just lost the feeling of excitement that writing can generate, it’s probably a great time to open up a blank document and just start writing. Something about doing that frees the creative flow of energy.
The series I’m currently working on, The Fallen Warriors (which at this time is planned to be a self-pubbing project) came to me by the creative process I note above. I had just finished Book 2 in my Demons of Infernum series and wanted a break before starting the third book. There’s an urban fantasy I’ve got plans for but it’s not yet ready to be written (see above note re: percolation), and my hubby had been bugging me to self-pub something. So I sat down in front of the computer and wrote the first thing that came to mind. The story started out with a dystopian feel, but I quickly realized it was an alternate world, one where angels are beings from another dimension who have been revealed to humans when the ‘veil’ separating their worlds collapses. The angels quickly take rule over the humans, who’ve been promised peace and protection in return for their fealty. Little do they know the angels have far more sinister plans in place for them(cue maniacal cackling). But the main point here is none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t gone with the flow and let the creative process take me where it wanted to.
So if you’re not feeling the magic on something you’re writing (especially if you’re a plotter), why not put that aside and try something else? Write without any specific project in mind. Who knows what you might find?
I’m curious to know if any of you have uncovered a fabulous story by simply sitting down and writing? (And I’m sure many of you majorly talented peeps have. )
March 18, 2011
Today I’m excited to host the talented J. Paulette Forshey. We’ll be talking about her new breed of biters.
ME: Your book, The Tarczal Alliance, features a race of vampiric creatures called Tarczals. Can you tell us more about them?
PAULETTE: First question everyone asks me is, how do you pronounce Tarczal? I have no idea how the word is actually pronounced, and yes, it is a real word. I pronounce it Tars-cell. My friends, the Tarczals, are a race of humans who live to be 1,000 -1,500 years old. They eat, drink, give birth and raise their young as any of us would. Their children don’t develop their feeding teeth and consume blood until after their second birthday. BTW ladies, Logan has a great tan with no lines, so that tells you they don’t have a problem with the sun. Tarczals can’t contract or carry diseases, and heal quickly. They age at the same rate as we common humans, until they reach twenty-five, then their aging process slows considerably. Tarczals age approximately one year, for every 20 of our years. They consume nourishment (blood) from live paid donors called coms. Each Tarczal feeds according to his own needs, once a day, three times a week, ect. I know I’d like to be on their payroll just for the benefits (sitting on a hunks lap while he nibbles on your neck).
ME: Who is your hero and what is he like? Did you have an actor or celebrity in mind when you dreamt him up?
PAULETTE: Logan Kincaid is a strong caring man, intelligent, handsome, loyal, with a wicked sense of humor, and a very private man. Logan didn’t start out resembling anyone at first, later; I thought a young Pierce Brosnan would be a good match. Now, I think Joe Manganiello who plays the werewolf, Alcide Herveaux, on True Blood would make a good Logan.
ME: Now tell us a little bit about your heroine. What popular actress or celebrity does she resemble (if any)?
PAULETTE: Allyson Weston has always been that ‘good girl’ the one who tries to please everyone even to the determent of her own well being. Then she found her spine. The picture of the girl on The Tarczal Alliance cover was spot on for me, don’t know who she is, but that’s Allyson.
ME: What do you think your readers will like most about your story?
PAULETTE: I hope it’s my new breed of biter, the Tarczals, next, would be the love story between lovers Logan and Allyson. Last would be the Tarczal world I created.
ME: What types of stories do you like to read and who is your favorite author?
PAULETTE: I read romance, and paranormal (vampires). Favorite author, hmmm, it would have to be a tie between Elaine Bergstrom (vampires) and Nora Roberts (romance), both have such rich characters. I wonder what a vampire story between these two would be like?
ME: You write paranormal erotic romance. What in particular drew you to this genre?
PAULETTE: Paranormal erotic romance, I love when people call it that, to me it’s just good old, man + woman = great romantic sex. I’ve always loved vampires, they’re romantic, bad boys of course by nature, tortured souls, you just want to cuddle them, kiss it, and make it all better. Then there’s the looking young and like a stud thing, the blood, the sex, and the sucking, ha!
ME: What’s next for you? Do you plan on writing any other books in this series?
PAULETTE: Yes, the next one should be finished this year (keeping fingers crossed), the working title is The Archway. It’s a paranormal time travel involving a mere 225 year old Tarczal named, Ronan ‘The Pale Wolf’ Cynewulf, living in 1345 England, and a modern day woman, Julianne Cater. She is transported back in time thanks to a coven of Machavaya (gypsy) witches. I know, it’s crazy jumping from a contemporary paranormal to a time travel paranormal, but the characters want what they want. As for a series, they’re more like connected stories, there isn’t a book one, two, ect. I’m hoping to have a total of eight books with my Tarczals, even one involving a vacation on a cruise ship.
You can find Paulette at the following Social Media Sites:
She’s also on Facebook and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA.
Logan Kincaid was trying to find the spy in his company when she walked in, – long blond hair, longer legs, and intelligent green eyes – damn, all his weaknesses rolled into one. He’d lived for 445 yrs. believing the Blood Witches and T’yhiéls of his vampiric childhood were nothing but myths until one walked into his life and all hell broke loose.
Allyson Weston needed a scholarship to continue her career, and she wanted her abusive ex out of her life. Allyson got both and more when she found out the benefactor of the scholarship’s bite was worse than his bark and her ex was found dead in her driveway.
“You disagree the painting is showy?” He turned the subject back to the painting, and with practiced ease, he returned what he surmised was a compliment from the flush blooming on her cheeks. He indulged himself by allowing his gaze to rake over her. A whine like a mosquito’s settled in his ears.
“The artist captured Kandinsky’s style completely,” she sputtered. Logan didn’t give a damn about the painting or the artist. He wondered if the large, dark purple sweater that hung mid-thigh on her was an attempt to hide her body. If that was her goal, the tight black stretch pants, and thigh-high ebony suede boots were a poor choice. Any movement pulled the sweater tight like a second skin over her compact, lithe body.
“Absolutely. He copied a style. You wouldn’t have, Ms?” She fidgeted, and the movement caused the sweater to pull snug over her breasts making them stand out like ripened fruit and accented her flat stomach. Nice. Bet that stomach quivers when a tongue is run over it. Wonder what she’d do with a tongue in her belly button? She’s probably a giggler. He licked his lips. And a squirmer. It was apparent she had no idea what she did to him. He didn’t mind. Several parts of his anatomy were already stirring in response. Her front equaled the heart-shaped derriere he’d seen earlier while she browsed the competition.
“Weston. Allyson Weston. How did you know I paint?” The tiny frown across her brow made him want to laugh. So this was the estranged wife of his latest hire, Michael Weston. During the job interview Michael had constantly moaned and bitched about his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Guess Michael didn’t grasp he’d let go of an extraordinary woman. Logan let his gaze travel down to her legs, dancer’s legs, long and well-defined. Legs any man would enjoy wrapped around him.
Smoothly, Logan reached down, slipping his hand under hers bringing both up to eye level. “You have paint under your nails.” His thumb brushed the skin of her knuckles.
Quickly, she withdrew her hand from his. Next, she folded her arms across her mid-section, lifting the orbs and tucking her hands safely under her arms.
Logan’s smile widened. “Do you have family in town?” His attention wandered back to the boots she wore. The way they encased her legs from toe to over the knee were a wonderful enticement, and his imagination flared to a deliciously wicked conclusion when she interrupted his assessment of her intriguing appendages by blurting out. “An STB.”
How fresh, honest, and naive she was. Logan bit back a chuckle. Heroes and bartenders: everyone trusted them, confiding intimate details of their lives they’d never reveal to anyone else, an interesting quirk of human nature. He arched an eyebrow in query, and she clarified. “Soon-to-be-ex-husband.”
He stopped himself before he could lick his lips. At the same time the essence of her blood rose from beneath her skin to mingle with the pungent leather of her boots. He inhaled more deeply, drawing it inside him, and swirled his tongue in his mouth to better experience the bouquet. Sweet, delicate, and exotic. Fit for the gods. He stopped his feeder teeth from slipping into place. A taste of her blood would never be enough, and an ocean too little for a man to quench his thirst. Stunned, he wondered where that thought come from, while trying to wish away the growing arousal in his groin. The whirr in his ears grew a little louder.
Whispers Publishing http://whispershome.com/
All Romance eBooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/
Fiction Wise http://www.fictionwise.com/
A companion piece to the The Tarczal Alliance is on Paulette’s website under Free Reads, titled, The Tarczal Connection. You can also find two short stories she sold to ‘Every Night Erotica’ under the name Genevieve Delacroix: Job Security and The Billiards Game. Paulette just sold a contemporary romance, Chances Taken, set in Ireland, to Whispers Publishing. (Congrats!) Keep checking her website for a release date.
Paulette would love to know what people think of her new breed of biter, The Tarczals and their world. Do you think the world is ready for some more hot vamp-like studs, lol? J
March 16, 2011
Someone posed this question to me the other day:
If digital sales will continue increasing as rapidly as they have been this past year, are we reaching a point where traditional print contracts won’t be as financially rewarding as e-published contracts or self-pubbing?
This question came about after I advised him that traditional print publishers pay a royalty of about 8% for print novels, and 25% for the corresponding e-book sales. In comparison, e-publishers pay out 30-40% royalties, and self-pubbed royalties are around 70%.
His point was, if e-book sales were around 10% of the total book sales last year but are now closer to 30% (figures we’ve heard but hey, we’ve got no statistical data to back it up), where will they be next year? Given that it takes one to two years to see a book published after signing with a print publisher, we may very well see a scenario where, by the time an author who contracts with a print publisher in 2011 releases her novel, the number of e-book sales will be greater than the number of print sales. In such a case, the author will only collect 25% of those e-book sales (as opposed to the higher 30-40% or 70% for choosing to publish with an e-pub or self-pub).
Here’s my thought on this. I think it’s still advantageous to have a print contract. The big publishers have one major draw: a huge customer base. Things are in flux right now, but e-book sales of books published with those print publishers will continue to increase, and they’ll attract people who trust the quality of their novels. On top of that, there will always be people who choose print over digital.
I think in the future we will see authors who publish across all sorts of media: traditional print publishers for mainstream/popular novels, and e-pub and/or self-pub for nontraditional works or novellas. That’s just my take on things.
Your turn to break out the crystal ball. Tell me, how do you see the future of the publishing industry? Do you think digital publishing contracts or self-pubbing will become more financially rewarding than traditional contracts? If so, do you see it happening within the next five years?
March 14, 2011
I blame today’s posting tardiness on the time change. Sigh…
Okay, I know there’s been a lot going around the web lately about this topic, especially since the news of Amanda Hocking went viral. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot so I figured I’d write a post.
The publishing landscape is rapidly changing. I mean really fast. When I first started writing with an eye toward publishing back in January 2009, there wasn’t much talk of e-books at all. Today e-book sales are estimated to make up 20-30% of book sales. That’s a pretty drastic change within the span of two years. Who knows where we’ll be in another two?
Even when I started looking into e-publishing as a viable option, I didn’t think much about self-publishing. After all, e-publishers were offering pretty decent royalty rates at 30-40%, and they have a lot of other things they can provide, namely:
- Marketing to draw readers to their website (where they’ll hopefully spot your book)
- An established customer base
- Cover Art (some e-pubs better than others)
- Editing Services
But I’ve been thinking more and more about self-publishing. After all, if you publish with Amazon you get to keep 70% of profits. That’s almost, or in some cases more, than twice what you’ll get with an e-publisher. True, that means cover art, marketing and editing is left to the author, but many of these services can be provided by freelance experts with some upfront expense. Here are some ballpark figures I picked up:
- Cover Art: $40 (for the really basic stuff) – $400+
- Editing by a Professional: $400+
Now that’s no small amount of money. It’s an investment into a venture that might not recoup the expenses. But there’s the possibility of getting much more.
So if cover art and editing can be purchased freelance, what this leaves is the established customer base an e-publisher can provide. In some cases that will be enough to make the difference between choosing an e-pub or going it alone. But for others (case in point: Hocking), self-publishing will be worth the risk.
Today I’d like to pose this question to you: How do you feel about self-publishing? Do you purchase self-published books? If you don’t, would you consider doing so if the premise of the story sounded interesting?
March 11, 2011
I’m excited to host the lovely Danica Avet on the site today. Her steamy read Succubus-in-Waiting released this week. Without further ado, let’s learn a little more:
ME: The second book in your Veil Series, Succubus-in-Waiting, released on March 8 through Siren Publishing. Tell us a bit about the series.
DANICA: The series is about the world known as the Veil and their struggle against their enemies, the Eturi. The Veil’s sole purpose is to co-exist in the human world without the humans finding them out while the Eturians want to take over. Each book reveals a bit more about the world and the Veilerian’s fight against evil. Of course, just because there’s a quiet war going on doesn’t mean the characters in this world won’t find love when they least expect it
ME: Who is your hero and what is he like? What popular actor or celebrity does he resemble (if any)?
DANICA: Connor Griffin is the temporary Alpha of his pack. He’s a serious-minded man, a scholar, who was unexpectedly thrust into the position of Alpha when his brother died to a succubus which is why he hates succubi so much. If I had to pick an actor who resembles, it would have to be Gerard Butler and not just because I have a serious crush on Gerard. He has brown hair, icy blue eyes, and a gorgeous body. *shiver*
ME: Now tell us a little bit about your heroine. What popular actress or celebrity does she resemble (if any)?
DANICA: Piper Foxgrove does not want to be a succubus and she sure as heck doesn’t want to be a weretiger either. She’s in constant battle against her true nature because she believes in true love and wants nothing more than to settle down with one man and have children. Of course, her nature as a succubus demands more, but she’ll fight it to the end. Piper has tiger striped hair and golden eyes. When I picture her, I see her as looking a bit like Mae West, all old school Hollywood starlet.
ME: What do you think your readers will like most about your story?
DANICA: I think readers will enjoy the push and pull between Piper and Connor, and the situations they find themselves in. I think they’ll also laugh at some of the antics of my secondary characters, and I hope they’ll fall in love with Piper and Connor’s story as much as I did when I wrote it.
ME: What types of stories do you like to read and who is your favorite author?
DANICA: I’m a fan of paranormal romance and historical romance. I can’t pick just one favorite author because I have so many! My heroes though, are J. R. Ward, Kresley Cole, Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas, Nalini Singh, and Julie Garwood.
ME: You write steamy love stories for Siren Publishing. What in particular drew you to this genre?
DANICA: To be honest, when I wrote this series, I had no idea they’d be considered erotic romance, LOL. To me, they were just hot paranormal romances. After some deep soul searching though, I realized that there are erotic elements to the stories, which I enjoy. The paranormal part though, was a conscious decision since I adore writing about special people with special abilities.
ME: What’s next for you? Do you plan on writing any other books in this series?
DANICA: I have a third book for the Veil coming out in April. I’m not sure if there’ll be anymore in this series though. I have another series I’m working on that involves the Greek pantheon’s brand new corporation, Olympus, Inc. and the immortals who work there and the sexy mortals who drive them crazy.
You can find Danica at the following Social Media sites:
Group blog: www.fourfoxesonehound.com
It isn’t easy holding onto your virginity in a succubus Pleasure House, but Piper Foxgrove has managed for decades. As a rare succubus/weretiger, Piper dreams of true love to the consternation of her mother. Forced to work with a bad-tempered, good-looking werewolf looking for his nephew, she’s determined to ignore his sexiness. Unfortunately, her succubus half decides he’s the key to unlocking her powers, while her recently awakened weretiger half thinks he’s perfect mate material.
Connor Griffin needs to find his nephew. The Veil can be dangerous and worry makes him take drastic measures. His brother died because of one of the “soul suckering” succubi so he doesn’t trust them. But something about Piper calls to his wolf and has him doing things he never thought he’d do: like work with a succubus, or lust after a succubus, or fall in love with a sassy, sexy succubus with tiger-striped hair.
“Are you insane?” she screeched as she ran to his side. She fell to her knees next to him, her hands moving over his body as her face creased into a frown.
Connor was perfectly fine, but allowed himself the pleasure of having her hands run over his body looking for injuries. This probably wasn’t the best time to get a boner, but the minute her hands touched his chest, he was instantly hard.
“You could’ve killed us!” she shouted down at him after she satisfied herself he was going to live.
“You landed on your feet,” he pointed out once he caught his breath. Easing himself to his feet, he noted with glee that she looked shocked.
Evidently, even though she knew she was a shifter, she didn’t utilize her abilities often. Connor wondered why that was, but didn’t give it more than a passing thought. His keen ears picked up the sound of running feet in the house.
Grabbing her hand, he yanked her across the lawn to his waiting truck. Glad his unwilling passenger was a wereanimal, he pushed himself, running as fast as he could. Piper easily kept up with him even though she tugged at her hand with increasing strength.
“You don’t have to drag me anywhere, dammit,” she cried out as they reached his pick-up. “I’ll work with you. You don’t have to friggin’ kidnap me!”
Not bothering to answer, Connor tossed her through the driver’s side door and followed her in. She got caught on the gear shift and ended up straddling it, which was fine with him. The closer she was, the easier it would be to keep her in the car.
“This is ridiculous, Connor,” she said almost pleadingly. “Let me pack a bag, and I’ll come with you on my own.”
“No time to talk,” he gritted out, shoving the key in the ignition. His truck wasn’t the fanciest thing, but it could move when needed, and he suspected he was going to need it.
Piper grunted at him and tried to lift her leg over the gearshift so she could sit completely in the passenger seat. Connor grabbed her thigh, pushing it back down so it pressed up against him. Desire zinged through him at the contact. Immediate heat infused his body from where his hand was pressed against her leg. His heart stuttered then, galloped wildly. Without conscious thought, his fingers curled into the soft skin. He heard Piper’s breath catch, then the sweet perfume of her desire scented the close confines of the truck.
“Don’t move,” he ordered, ignoring the lust. He threw the truck in drive and spun through the yard, turning back towards the road.
“If Persephone doesn’t kill you for kidnapping me, she’ll kill you for messing up her yard,” Piper said with vicious glee.
Not bothering to respond, Connor kicked the truck into gear and hightailed it down the driveway. Glancing in the rearview mirror, he saw lights pulling out from the back of the house. If Persephone came after them in the Porsche, his truck wouldn’t stand a chance of outdistancing her. At best, he could force her off the road.
“You do realize this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever had happen to me?” Piper said conversationally. “And that’s counting the time I fell and broke my leg during burlesque lessons.”
Connor snapped his head around, his mind immediately filled with visions of Piper with nothing but two huge feathers covering her naked body. “Burlesque lessons?”
“Uh huh. Mom made all of us take them. I’m not naturally graceful though, so when I went to remove my panties, I got caught up in it, fell off the stage and broke my leg. That was ridiculous, but this has it beat hands down.”
His eyes closed in supplication. Gods help him, he couldn’t catch his breath. His mind kept picturing Piper removing tiny bikini bottoms, her ample curves swaying and shimmying in time with a risqué song. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his erection was rubbing against his zipper with every bump he hit.
“Um, do you want me to drive?” she asked suddenly, her voice hesitant, her body suddenly tense.
Opening his eyes again, Connor cursed as he saw he’d driven them off the paved drive and onto the shoulder. If she hadn’t said anything, they’d have ended up in one of the sugarcane fields.
“So, this is totally weird. If you hadn’t insulted me within Mom’s hearing, she’d have invited you to spend the night,” Piper continued. Under her breath, she said, “In my room.”
He jerked the wheel again. “Stop saying things like that!” he shouted at her, his blood like molten lava.
She blinked innocently. He wasn’t fooled. The succubus was lethal with her big gold eyes and kissable lips and her stories about G-strings and bedrooms.
Feeling completely overwhelmed by his lust, Connor punched the gas, sending the truck roaring through the night. The headlights followed but began to fall farther and farther behind.
A niggling doubt crept into his mind. To his way of thinking, if Persephone had been hell-bent on catching them, she would have. Instead, the headlights disappeared completely as though the driver had given up the chase. Frowning, he stared at the road, filled with the belief that something else was going on.
Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/succubus-in-waiting
Danica has graciously volunteered to give to one lucky commenter a gorgeous tiger mask like the one shown above! She’d love to know what draws you into a story. Is it the hero and heroine’s interactions, the plot, or something else?
Update: The winner of the tiger mask is sapphyredragon! I’ll contact you privately. Thanks so much to Danica for graciously agreeing to an interview.
Next Page »