Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Making the Most of Your Book Launch

Today's topic comes courtesy of Rick Starkey, who happens to have a middle grade book coming out next month, so his question is quite timely. Rick wants to know what mistakes a debut author should avoid and what are some tips for success.

Let's start with the mistakes because those are easier to identify. 
  • Don't claim your book is better than *Insert Best-Selling Title Here.*  Nothing makes a reader or buyer cringe more than someone who thinks they are better than everyone else and, therefore, wrote the best book ever. 
  • Don't talk about nothing but your book.  Spamming people is guaranteed to make people tune you out, unfriend you on FB, unfollow you on other sites, and not buy your book.
  • Don't badmouth other authors.  Again, this goes with the first tip. Putting other people down does NOT build you up. It brings your own reputation down. Don't do it.
  • Don't sit there doing nothing and expect readers to magically come to you.  Marketing is tough, but we have to do it or readers will never find our work.
Okay, let's move on to things you should do, and notice I didn't say things that will ensure your book's success. The reason for that is because really nothing will ensure the book's success. What works well for one author may not work at all for another author, so there is no real answer to what will make your book sell. What you need to do is make sure you are putting yourself and your book before readers in the best possible light. After that, you're kind of hoping for the best. So how do you do that?
  • Let readers know you have a book out.  Readers can't buy what they don't know exists. On release day, tell the world your story is now an actual book.
  • Post genuine content and make an effort to connect with readers.  Again, it can't all be about your book. Talk about other things too. Let people see you're a real person.
  • Offer bonus incentives for people who review your book.  Everyone loves free stuff. So offering bonus scenes, deleted scenes, signed copies, SWAG, etc. for people who review the book is great. Now, you may have to hold an exclusive giveaway if the items you're offering cost money because you don't want to spend your lifesavings. ;)
  • Support other authors.  In the midst of sharing the news about your book, promote the works of others. Writers need to stick together.
  • Utilize Joint Promo.  This is similar to the last one, but a little different. Banding together with a bunch of other authors means you can offer big rewards to readers and also drastically increase your online reach. Think of this. If you get together with 9 other authors and all pitch in $10, you have a $100 prize to giveaway. That will attract a lot more people than doing a $10 giveaway on your own. Also, you now have the audiences of 10 authors seeing your book. That's great exposure.
  • Let readers try before they buy.  One of my favorite features on Amazon is the Look Inside feature, because I want to read page one to see if I like the author's voice before I buy. So jump on Wattpad (and your website) and post a few pages of your book to let people test it out. Then create some teaser images to post all over social media. Why go through the effort to do this if Amazon let's readers Look Inside? Simple. If readers don't see your book on Amazon, they'll never use that feature to try out your writing. But posting a teaser on your social media accounts might just draw them in and get them to read more.
Okay, I could keep going but this post would get really long. I think that's a good start. If you have any tips you'd like to share, please leave them in the comments so we can all learn from each other.


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Mishmash 2/8/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Blues Bones Cover Reveal  I couldn't be more excited to share the cover of Blues Bones by Rick Starkey because this is the first book I offered on as an acquisitions editor for Leap Books, Seek. It's an AMAZING story, and the cover is just as awesome. Check it out and preorder the book here for a special discounted price. The book releases March 7th.
  2. Into the Fire's New Cover  Into the Fire's new cover has been revealed as well. This book has been heavily edited AND new content has been added. I'm really happy with the end result and think readers will be too. For now, check out my gorgeous cover designed by Deranged Doctor. And thank you to everyone who participated in the social media cover reveal this weekend.
     
    Preorder it here.
  3. Editing  More client edits and edits for Leap this week. :)
  4. The S-word  No, I don't mean spring, though I wish I did. I'd like snow if it was warm and melted within a few hours. ;) We're getting two storms this week and I'm not thrilled.
  5. Drafting  Because my editing schedule is crazy, I got an idea for another adult romantic suspense. Of course! So I'm literary jotting down snippets of dialogue and scenes while cooking, lying in bed at night, and any other time when I can spare a few minutes.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Into the Fire Cover Reveal!

You know when you see a book cover and it brings tears to your eyes because it's just so perfect? Well, that's how I felt when Limitless Publishing sent me the cover of Into the Fire. Deranged Doctor blew me away. I mean this is Cara. Right down to the freaky red streaks she has in her hair and her sapphire eyes. And that Phoenix emblem! Oh wait…you haven't seen it yet! ;)

Okay, check out the GORGEOUS new cover!




In one month’s time, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die and be reborn from her own ashes…

Her life of secrecy has never been easy. She’s watched her younger brother, Jeremy, burn and rise again in a coming-of-age process called rebirth. And just like her brother, when her time comes, she won’t remember anything from her first life other than she’s a Phoenix—a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical Phoenix bird.

The last thing she needs to worry about is falling for the new guy in town—Logan Schmidt.

Cara is drawn to Logan in a way she can’t explain, but she’s not exactly complaining. Everything is perfect…except it’s not. Once she’s reborn, she’ll forget Logan. And to make things worse, a Phoenix Hunter is on the loose, and Cara’s involvement with Logan is bringing out her Phoenix qualities—the very qualities that will draw the Hunter right to her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Afraid of hurting Logan, Cara breaks it off for good. But her attraction to him runs deeper than a typical high school crush. She wants him—needs him. And if he proves willing to stay by her side, their love might destroy them both.


Can Cara hide from the Phoenix Hunters long enough to survive her rebirth? And if so, will it mean a new beginning with Logan—or the beginning of the end?


So, what do you think? I can't tell you how much time I've spent staring at this cover. The book is now up on Goodreads, so you can add it to your shelf here. Want the book to arrive on your Kindle on release day? Preorder it here NOW.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Into the Fire Street Team Revealed!



Applications have been carefully reviewed and the official Into the Fire street team has been selected. Before I share the list of people who made the team, let me just say that this experience was very surreal for me. I was amazed at how many people submitted applications and how excited people were at the prospect of being selected. I want to thank everyone who applied, and know that even if you weren't selected (because we committed to only taking 20 people to keep the group small—and I still took one extra because narrowing down this list was SO hard!), you made my day and have my gratitude for wanting to help me promote this series.

Okay, without further ado, here is the official Into the Fire street team!

Keren Hughes ~ Gothic Angel Book Reviews
Jennifer Helms ~ @JenBibiHelms 
Shieka Doctor ~ Doctor's Notes
Stephanie Belden ~ @smbmar 
Veray Carter ~ @pinkladyroses 
Michelle Willms ~ Michelle Willm's Blog
Janera Holt ~ Booknut101: Once Upon a Time
FSMeurinne ~ Book Enticer
Rachel Andrews ~ Rachel's Book Reviews
Elizabeth Thiele ~ Crazii Bitches Blog
Maghon Thomas ~ Happy Tails and Tales
Jessica Porter ~ Crossroad Reviews
Denise Cayetano ~ I Am Shelfless
Beth Consugar ~ @eaconsugar
Stephanie Faris ~ Stephanie Faris
Kat Romeo ~ Living in a Fictional Reality
G. Donald Cribbs ~ G. Donald Cribbs Books
Kristen Chandler ~ Shelf_Life
Rachel Gunter ~ Bookish Wonderland
Ashley Kemp ~ Mama Reads
Brie Chelton ~ @Chapter_Break

Some of these amazing people have supported my other books and some are completely new to me, but they are all equally incredible for wanting to be part of this series. I thank them all immensely.

First up for promo of Into the Fire is the cover reveal happening this Saturday through Monday. And guys, it's so GORGEOUS!!!!! I can't wait for you to see it. So, that means my usual Friday Feature post will actually be on Saturday so I can share the cover. Be sure to stop back on Saturday. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Mishmash 2/1/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  January was a crazy editing month for me. If I told you how many books I edited and proofed, you'd probably think I discovered the secret to utilizing all 24 hours in each day. I'm still not sure how I did it. February isn't quite as packed, but it's still booked.
  2. Into the Fire Special Dates  February 6th is my cover reveal for Into the Fire. February 16th is release day. AND February 22 begins my blog tour. I see massive amounts of hazelnut coffee and dark chocolate in my future. ;)
  3. Reading  I've been combining reading time with exercise time, which really helps. I have to run on a treadmill thanks to my sciatica, so I read my Kindle while running. I've also gotten used to the Kindle reading to me on the highest speed, which makes me fly through books.
  4. Revising  Last week I managed to revise two of my own books in addition to editing. I feel really good about getting to work on some of my own projects in addition to all the editing I'm doing for clients and Leap Books.
  5. Monroe County Book Expo  I signed up for the Monroe County Book Expo on April 16th. I'll be there with ALL my Kelly Hashway titles and Ashelyn Drake titles. I'm hoping to have copies of the entire Into the Fire trilogy too, but the last book (Up In Flames) releases just days before, so we'll see.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Feature: The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow (Review)



Fear Not the Unexpected.  


Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom. 


As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past. 


Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a strange picture of a red-haired lady are the first in a series of clues that takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure. 

For the first time ever, I'm bringing in someone to help me review this book. My eight-year-old daughter, Ayla, and I read this book together, so I figured it only made sense to review it together too. So here are our thoughts on The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow.

We loved the mystery right from the start with the old newspaper article. The Begonia House really came alive for us. Ayla loved how the noises from the house and the woman who made an appearance in Fairday's room were really creepy. It really made her want to know what was going to happen next, so much so that we read the book in just three days. Without giving away spoilers, we'll just say that we really enjoyed how the setting came to life, adding to the mystery and excitement of the story. Ayla also would like a pair of those magical ruby sneakers. ;) Overall, this is a fast-paced mystery with just enough creepiness to draw readers in and hold their attention to the very last page. It's also a great story about friendship, both old and new.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Handling Conflicting Feedback

Today's Writer Wednesday topic comes from Mirka Breen. She wants to know how you approach contradictory feedback on your WIP.

If you're getting feedback on your work, you're doing the right thing as far as taking measures to improve your manuscript. But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Getting contradictory feedback from beta readers, agents, or even editors can throw you for a loop. If this happens, there are two things you should do.

First, remember that reading is subjective. If the feedback is about something that could be personal preference, then there is likely no need to fix it. If one reader doesn't like a character quirk or the way a character handled a situation, then that's reader preference, not necessarily something you did wrong as the author. Similarly, if a reader hates that you ended with a cliffhanger, that's personal preference again. I happen to love cliffhangers. ;) So basically this kind of feedback is preparing you for future reviews and how different readers will have different reactions to your book. There's nothing wrong with that.

The second thing you should do is look at the feedback and decide if you agree or not. It's YOUR book. Let me repeat that. It's YOUR book. You know the world and the characters best. If you feel you did what is best for your book and only one person questioned it, you're fine. Now, if you reflect on that feedback and think there's a possibility that reader is right, then you should try making adjustments and seeing if those adjustments improve the story. They just might.

So really, you have to decide what feedback you listen to and what feedback you chalk up to personal opinion.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.