Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LIVE Interview, September 6th at 9PM Eastern

JournalJabber has invited me to do a LIVE interview on September 6th at 9PM Eastern.


For those not in the know, this show is hosted by three ladies (Amy, Cassie, and Cambria) who love good books and love to have a good time talking about them.  This should be big FUN.  You never know what they will talk about next or what questions they may ask!

I know this will be on the Tuesday following the Memorial Day weekend, but I NEED you all there.  I promise that we will have some laughs.

See you then!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Tremendously Fun Interview

Check out an interview with Tom Crayder, the star of The Reluctant , at Indie Supporter .

Jenn, the owner of this unique blog, asked him some GREAT questions and we had some fun with the answers.  Answering as Tom was really a challenge for me.  I kept writing things and then saying to myself, "You can't say that."  Finally, I realized that I wasn't saying it.  Tom was the interviewee, and HE needed to answer the questions.

What came out of it was a really fun, and funny (I hope), interview with a book's main character.   

Thank you, Jenn, for coming up with this very different way to do an interview.  I had a blast!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

When to Start Marketing OR Should I Look for an Agent/Publisher

To market or not to market, that is the question.

My plan was always to start marketing the series after the second book was ready for public consumption.  Since I am over half way to completing book two, it's time to rethink that plan.  I'm not saying I am going to throw the plan out the window, but the time is approaching when I'll need to get serious about marketing to garner some sales.


I need to start looking for a publisher or agent.  That brings in a whole new set of problems (I could have said challenges, but let's be honest, challenges are problems).  Do I want to start getting rejection letter after rejection letter hoping that someone, at some point, will see the potential in the books/series?

See, that's the rub when you get down to it.  Self publishing is easy from the rejection perspective.  If you write a bad book, it'll just sit there largely unnoticed.  Even if reviewers don't like it, no one has to know because their reviews will sit there along with the unnoticed book.  Those bad reviews would hurt personally, but an author could always pass off those bad reviewers as uninformed amateurs.

I've been fortunate because all of my reviews thus far have been somewhere between good and excellent.  However, getting rejections from people "in the industry" would somehow seem official.

Harkening back ('harkening', only a real writer would use that, right?) to my youth and baseball playing days, I was pretty good.  I thought I was better than that until, in my late teens, a "real" coach took me aside and explained to me that coaching was a rewarding way to continue to enjoy the sport.  In other words, from an expert, my ball playing days were over.  I didn't believe him until several other "real coaches" showed their agreement by sending me home before lunch.

My brain tells me that rejection really isn't that bad.  Heck, in my non-writing profession, rejection is part of the game.  Clients say "no", bids get sent back, and negotiations fall apart in the last hour.  Plus, I was single for a few years and not every woman said, "Yes!"

Writing, though, that's different.  Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is.  The dream of writing books that people want to read ranks right up there with playing baseball for a living.  Do I really want someone who knows the game to tell me that my fastball/character development skill isn't good enough for the next level?

You don't know whether or not you are good enough until you try but, after all is said and done, the radar gun doesn't lie.  You've got it or you don' you really want to find out for sure one way or the other?

What say my fellow authors/reviewers?  How do you deal with these things?


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's "Man Week" !!!

It's "Man Week" over at the Unlocked Diary and that, of course, means that I was invited to do an interview.  Because I'm so manly.  No, really.  Stop laughing.

In the interview we answer questions like: Why do men annoy women?  Do men really 'read' Playboy?  And what the hell is 'chartreuse'?

Drop by and say hello!  Learn what lurks in the minds of men.  WIN A COPY of "The Reluctant".


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Winner: CAMBRIA (Omnibus Post)

Yes, Cambria Herbert has won a spot in my next book, "The Willing".  We had a third party (thanks Katy!) pick the winning number and now Cambria and I will work on fleshing out what kind of character she wants to be.  This is going to be a hoot!

In other news:

Reviews continue to come in and I am still pleased with them.

Amazon:  10 reviews and 4.5 stars.

Smashowrds: 9 reviews and 4.44 stars.

GoodReads:  9 ratings, 8 with reviews (what's up with that?) and 4.44 stars.

Barnes and Noble: 4 reviews and 5 stars.

Some of these reviews have come from people who do not normally read the genre, which is very gratifying.

I recently did a guest blog on Gathering Leaves Reviews .  Drop by and say, "Hi!"

There was an EXCELLENT review of "The Reluctant" on Kiki and Jules Review Blog .  I am tempted to ask them if I can use part of the review for my book blurb.

From the Indolent Reader (love the title lol):  Indolent Reader

I am sure I missed a featured review somewhere so, please, remind me if you come across one that I neglected.


I will be the guest author on "Journal Jabber", an Internet radio show hosted by Journal Stone , on September 6th at 9PM Eastern.  More details as the date approaches. 

There are also two other upcoming events, a feature during "Man Week" and a character interview with Tom Crayder.  I had a HUGE amount of fun with both of these events and will announce them as they happen over the coming week (or two).


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Reviewer’s Top Three for Indie Authors

Today I would like to welcome Cassie McCown as my very first guest blogger!  Cassie is a book reviewer with her own blog and is a co-host on Journal Jabber, an Internet radio show that can be heard live every Tuesday at 9PM Eastern (more on that little gem in another post).

This is my very first guest blog post, so I’m really excited and kind of speechless. HA! 
After doing a couple projects for JournalStone Publishing, I was inspired to start up my own review blog, Gathering Leaves.  Within a month, I had over fifty books on my review list, and now that number has climbed to almost one hundred!  Naturally, I have taken on quite a few (actually the majority) indie endeavors.  There are tons of pros and cons to indie self-publishing, and many of these aspects bleed over into the review world.
First Impressions:  You want to have a great cover for your book, no matter what the subject matter might be.  The title needs to stand out and the whole package needs to be visually appealing.  Visually appealing does not equal busy.  Actually, I prefer simplicity.  If you can’t get a good graphic, opt for a nice photograph.  For instance, if your book is about aliens, you don’t have to have cheesy drawings of space ships and laser beams and E.T. and bean burritos and red wagons and…you get the idea.  Perhaps a simple scene with a planet and some stars, even a nice satellite photo would work.  Be careful the colors you use.  Colors conjure emotions.  If your book is exciting and lively, brighter colors make more sense.  If it’s romantic, reds, pinks, purples are all appropriate.  Greens and blues are soothing.  The cover isn’t something you want to ignore because, even with electronic books, sometimes that is really what attracts or detracts potential readers.  (Yes, I have both bought and passed up a book based solely on the cover!)
Trim the Fat:  It is extremely important that you hire an editor if at all possible.  I am not rollin’ in the dough myself, and I know for a struggling up-and-coming author a professional editor might not be in the budget.  But, if there are so many errors and inconsistencies in your book the reader cannot even follow, you definitely won’t ever be a literary millionaire!  If you can’t afford an editor, at least try to get several people (as unbiased as possible) to run through everything for you very carefully.  Perhaps you might even check with local colleges to find students that might do a bit of proofing and editing for free or a minimal fee.  At the very least, try to learn as much as possible about grammar and mechanics.  Always take a step away from your work and proof it multiple times with as fresh an eye as possible.  Always… 
Put on your Big Girl Panties:  There’s no doubt you have put your heart and soul into your writing.  It is your baby, and as a mother, I know how protective we are of those that we have nurtured and loved.  There’s just a few things any author has to realize and remember.  First, if you have done everything you possibly can to make your story perfect, you are already ahead of the game.  Second, not everyone is going to love what you write.  Maybe you write murder mystery.  A chick lit lover is probably not going to rave about forensic science and criminal justice.  In a perfect world, every reviewer would be able to put their personal preferences aside and give useful criticism based solely on the quality of the work at hand.  That, too, is not always going to be the case.  Sometimes your writing might get blasted for no apparent reason; sometimes a reader will pull it apart word by word and put you in tears. 
As with anything in life, you really have to learn when to pick and choose your battles.  Learn to take the bad with the good and use any criticism you receive to help you improve.  For goodness sakes, do not act unprofessionally toward readers and reviewers.  It is simply no good, and it gives a very bad impression of ALL indie authors.  It may be okay to ask for further explanation, but if you just can’t speak kindly, tell it to the dog…
That’s about it folks!  Readers just want a book to entertain, make us think, make us feel, transport us to another time and place…  In the end, you really just have to tell your story the best way you know how and let your work speak for itself.

Cassie McCown
Gathering Leaves

Thanks Cassie!  One of the things we indie authors want to do most is please the readers and reviewer.  We REALLY appreciate the work reviewers like you do!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

CONTEST! Win a role in "The Willing"

Would you like to have a role in my next book?

On august 14th, I will randomly pick a winner.  To enter, just hit the “Follow” button on the top left of this page.

I will work with you on doing something fun with this walk-on role.  The cameo appearance in the book can be either male or female.  Either can be good or evil and either can live or die a creative death.  The choice will be yours! 

I MIGHT be able to use your screen name somehow depending on what it is.  I can use your real first name or some nickname we agree upon.

Of course, a no-charge copy of “The Willing” will be yours when it is published.

Just hit that follow button!


Monday, August 1, 2011


Recently, a well known author, and one whom I once counted as a favorite, said that he paid no attention to reviews on sites like Amazon (I guess that would also mean places like Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Good Reads, Kindle Boards, etc..).  This was just the latest affront to his readers in my eyes.

When I heard what he said, my reaction was, “How dare he?”  Those are the people who spent their money and took their time to read his books.  He may not have to agree with every review, but to dismiss reader’s reviews in favor of “literary critics”, who are beholden to large publishing companies for future reviews, is just ludicrous.  At least to me.

An author should never dismiss his or her fans.  Never.  He or she does not have to take every review to heart, but that fan took the time to not only read the book but to post a review.  The author should be grateful.

On the other hand, there is me and (I am guessing) almost every other indie author out there.  We go to the other extreme.  We live for each sale and for each review.  That’s where the title of this post comes into play.

I confess; I am a review-a-holic.  I read every single review.  I check for new reader reviews every day.  I read them and analyze them.  If the reader sends me an email, I respond.

Of course, I also long for that “literary critic” to come along and review my work.  With trepidation I do pine for such recognition.  Still, the fan opinions are the most important in my mind and if I ever sell enough books to make writing my one and only profession, I hope I still see reader reviews in the same light. 

Another confession; I hate the beginning of a new month.  Today is August 1st and when I go to check Amazon sales, I won’t see any.  No one new will be reading my book and I’ll freak out just a little inside.  Will anyone EVER buy my book again?  I have already passed the “average indie book” figures in sales.  Is it over?

The angel sitting on my right shoulder will whisper to me and remind me that I haven’t even really started trying to market the book yet and that I’ve only solicited a few reviews.  The angel will be kind and remind me of how good those reviews have been so far.  My angel is a good guy but he disappears sometimes.

The demon (and he is, where do you think I got some of those ideas in the first book?) sitting on my left shoulder will laugh triumphantly and remind me that I’m not a “real author”.  He’ll remind me of everything I could have done better in the first book.  Then, he will tell me to just stop wasting my time with this writing stuff and go back to simply reading what others do better than I ever could.   He will point out to me that the author I criticized above is still a better writer than I could ever hope to be.  The demon is a tremendous bastard and follows me everywhere.

Further on that confession; I check sales every day.  Sometimes more than once because places like Amazon and Smashwords take time to update the statistics and I might have checked too soon.  I have already seen that two new people have downloaded sample chapters but will they buy the book?  Is the demon right?  If they do buy the book, will they post reviews?  Will those reviews be additional good reviews or will they start an avalanche of negative ratings that drag down my scores?  OCD much there, Split-Baby?

So those are my confessions for the day.  I criticize authors who are better/more successful than I and sales/reviews keep the demon at bay.

I would love to tell you that I am so confident that I don’t care about reviews or sales, but that would be a lie.

I don’t know if anyone actually reads this blog but I ask you, fellow indie and wannabe authors: do you care about reviews and sales?  Do you have a demon and an angel occupying shoulder space? 

Confess I say! lol