Friday, January 28, 2011

Tips from the Black Hole

     I have learned my lesson!

     In my last post, I said that I needed to hop on the marketing train and get moving. I also said I wanted to assemble a list of e-spots to hit up and get the word out about my novel. So, I decided to kill two birds, so to speak, and assemble my list WHILE doing the items, so I could check them off as I went. Thus, I descended into the all-consuming BLACK HOLE that is e-marketing. I've spent the last two days hopping websites and blogs and also still trying to correctly format my cover for CreateSpace (that was a headache I don't even want to talk about.). I realize now how seriously I have to manage my time so as not to get sucked into the marketing hole - and so I can still set aside time to write! Because that was ridiculous. It would feel like twenty minutes of websurfing - on discussion boards and such - and I'd look at the clock and it had been two hours. Geez.

     At any rate, here is what I've found as good "first steps" to complete as soon as your story is available:
1. Announce your book in the Book Bazaar section of
2. Get added to the 'official kindle author list" on All you have to do is PM the right guy with your info and he'll add you.
3. Facebook/email/Twitter (whatever you use) ALL of your friends and family and ask them to post links and share with everyone they know, the happy news.
4. Get it up on CreateSpace. This may fall into the 'publishing' aspect, which comes before this list, but if not, do it now - because all of my friends/family that don't have a Kindle yet (they don't know what they're missing, I know.) WILL buy the paperback version and that's guaranteed sales you're missing out on.
5. Sign up for Goodreads and upgrade to an 'author' page.
6. Do Book Reviews. On Amazon, Kindleboards, Goodreads - and anywhere else you can think of, in the genre you write, and always sign your name 'Name, Author of Book Name'.
7. Get some readers who will leave reviews on your book pages. Important: If they are family/friends, they need to state that in the review. Or if they got a free copy for doing so, state that too. From what I've already learned, the serious book reviewers on Amazon get pretty pissed off if you don't do that. If you don't, they consider it false advertising at worst, and manipulative, at best.
8. Write up a press release and send it to your local paper.... This one scared me, but the worst they can do is choose to not print it. Best case scenario, they'll want to support their own 'local' and they'll run it and give you exposure. It's worked for several self-pubbing Indie's and I got the idea from their testimonies, including Terri Reid, who just guest posted on JA Konrath's blog this week. Besides, a friend once told me that if you're goal/dream doesn't make you want to throw up, it's not big enough.
9. Find blogs that post reviews or book features regularly and ask to be included. I did this with Karly Kirkpatrick's BOOKADAY, and am already on the schedule to be featured in Feb. She has over 100 followers, not including FB and Twitter, so that's pretty good exposure for one site - and it's FREE. So I'm going to find more blogs like this and try to do more of these features.
     Okay, I'm sure I'll have more to add to the list but this is a good start for now. What I'd like to post next time is a compilation of different reviewer blogs like Karly's that you can go to, to get your title featured. If anyone knows of any, let me know, so we can throw it all into one big list. Because my only consolation for spending so much time on this lately, is that the first time is my learning curve. And hopefully the research I'm doing now will result in making this process much quicker every time from now on. Hopefully. Maybe. Ideally.
     Now, it's back to what I love best: writing. And I might have to disable my internet connection for awhile to do it. Otherwise, the addiction is too strong! Oh and as for numbers:

Across the Galaxy: 4
DreamKiller: 7

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shared Ideas

     To say I've learned alot from my fellow writers/bloggers about the e-publishing process would be an understatement. It's like taking free online career classes, for which I am so thankful. Blogs like JA Konrath and the others I have listed to the side here (Gniz, Scrittore, etc) have helped me stay plugged in, so thanks guys. I'm learning something new every day.

     But the one thing I feel like we should share more of is marketing strategies. I know that one of the major ways to get the word out about my novel is to have an "online presence" as they say. And I have a list of a couple of sites I can go to and ask for a review or just join in discussions and let my name become familiar, but I think it would benefit all to share information on this subject. Because in my opinion, the first time I'm doing this should make all of the rest of the times easier. Therefore, by the time I release my second, third, and fiftieth books, I should have a working list of sites/blogs/book reviewers to contact and get the word out. It seems like it would seriously reduce my online 'homework' time if we all shared ideas on this. So- any ideas anyone?

     I'll share the idea I've already put into motion for me: Karly Kirkpatrick has a BOOKADAY program on her site. If you email her, she'll feature your book including synopsis, price, where to find it, etc on her website where she currently has over 100 followers -not including facebook and twitter. So I emailed her yesterday and she'll be featuring mine in February. She's also a self-pubbed Kindle author and is more than happy to help out the rest of us by doing this, which is much appreciated. I definitely want more ideas like this!

Also, don't want to leave this part out: My numbers are:
Across the Galaxy - 3
DreamKiller -          4

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Now Available on Amazon!

     Hello to all! I am happy to announce that my cover was completed yesterday and my novel, Across the Galaxy, is now available on Amazon for $2.99! The cover artist is Mike Anderson and he did such an amazing job. I will get a link posted soon that you can use to browse his site and/or contact him about your own cover art. His rates are VERY reasonable and he's very talented. Also, thanks to my cousin Krystle for posing as my model. She looks incredible! And very 'Alina-like'.

     Now I have to be honest and tell you that words can't even begin to describe how truly excited I am to have the book up there. I keep walking around my house and exclaiming "Ohmygosh!" at random moments. Seriously, my husband just shakes his head and chuckles. And I've definitely roller-coastered back and forth a few times already between being insanely ecstatic and utterly terrified. It's sort of exhausting so I'm trying to focus on the excitement, but when I think about someone I KNOW reading this book, it really scares me. Strangers are no problem. Go figure.

     Also- I have a new cover for DreamKiller, which should be up by the end of today or tomorrow. Its equally amazing and shot by the same cover artist. I would love to get some feedback on my covers so please let me know what you think.

     I am in the process of trying to get the novel available on Amazon's CreateSpace, where you will be able to purchase a paperback copy. Due to the price of printing it, however, it will probably be around $15. I am not making any money on that price, so I wanted everyone to know that up front. I would love to price it under $10 but Amazon requires a minimum amount to pay for the printing cost, and because my novel is slightly long (haha okay alot long- its 360 pages), they require that I charge at least $14.70 per book. So I'm not trying to rip off friends and family, and hopefully I'll find a way to discount it somehow.

     So- lot's going on and I will keep you posted about it all as it happens. For now, back to work!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


     I want to give an update on my numbers, such as they are. I published DreamKiller earlier this week on Amazon (and so far, only on Amazon). I think it went live on Monday? And so far, I've sold 4 copies. Woohoo! The thing about DreamKiller that makes me so excited to have sold 4 in the first few days is that I've done ZERO advertising. Mainly, because its a short story, not a novel, and I feel kind of weird advertising for a 5000 word short. Maybe it's just me. But for now, it was mainly to be used as my "test dummy" of publishing, just to learn how it all works.
     I know that when my novel debuts I'll be really pushing it and getting the word out there. But, for this one, I think I'm content to throw it out there and see what happens. Any thoughts on how much "advertising" I should be doing for a short story, without any other novels/stories posted?
     Also- thoughts on a cover? The one that's up there now is something I threw together - so it would have something. And with it being a short, how much should I invest in a fantastical cover, really? And also- and this is the last one, I promise - any IDEAS for a cover? Especially from those of you who've read it...

     In other news, I've been writing less and honing other skills this past week. On Monday, I donned my best paint clothes and headed over to a vacant apartment I manage and decided to try "turning it" as they say, myself. I want to learn how to do things "around the house" and this seemed like a fun way to learn. So far, I've spackled and sanded, and painted. But the more complicated things are yet to come...My friend/DIY-partner-in-crime have promised ourselves we won't call our husbands for help. So. We'll see how this goes, AND how much of the repair work is due to our own self-inflicted damage rather than the work that was needed when we got there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011



     In the spirit of my New Year's Resolution - to be PUBLISHED in 2011 - and since Across the Galaxy has a few more weeks to go (cover art, etc) before I can upload - here's a sampler to tide you over. My short story, Dreamkiller, is now available on Amazon for $0.99!!!

     I've had this short story floating around out there for submission for a few months now (online magz take a looonngg time to respond) but so far, no luck. Originally I shopped it for publication so that I would have the accolades and recognition behind my name when I queried agents for my novel. But... since I'm self-publishing my novel, I really don't care whether I can say 'I've been published in such-and-such magazine' or not. Hence, why not upload it and make it available to everyone NOW - and start earning a little change. Because to make back what a struggling online mag would've paid me, I'd only need to sell about 40 copies at $0.99 on Amazon.

     So go check me out. Just type 'dreamkiller' into the search engine and scroll down to my story. Yay, so exciting. I am officially a published author. And I couldn't be more excited. PLEASE leave me your comments/reviews here when you're done reading it, and let me know what you think. Happy Reading!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Balancing The Scales

     "If you haven't written anything today, you're not a writer."
     "A good writer reads something every day."

     I've heard both, and I agree. The problem is balance. I got the next book in a series I've been into on Tuesday (Awakened, by P.C. & Kristin Cast) so there went a whole day of writing... and then Wednesday was a personal day (our car not only broke down, but went to heaven, on the 64/264 interchange, and I started reading Vampire Blues, by Aaron Niz) and yesterday my friend brought me the next book in the Noble Dead Series (by Barb & J.C. Hendee). So I've spent the week basically reading instead of writing, and while I know being an avid reader is what brought me to write in the first place, I can't ever seem to find a balance between the two, as a daily habit.

     It's frustrating and probably more than a little bit nerdy that books are my weakness, my Achilles Heel. But I've combatted the reading "problem" with being accountable for my work. I tell whoever will listen about whatever it is I'm working on. Right now, my 7 year old tells everyone who comes over that they should really read 'Dirty Blood' because its a great story. Not that they have any idea what that is, but she'll make a great publicist one day. In the meantime, I'm at least accountable to someone...

     As for news about Across the Galaxy, I've been doing my homework on Amazon's formatting guidelines and it looks like I might need to go through and make some changes to make the manuscript work properly, or at least look good, on a Kindle. I'm hoping to upload it to my Amazon account or directly to my Kindle, if I can, and proof read it that way. The cover shoot is set for the 22nd. Woohoo!

     Can't wait to call myself a PUBLISHED author!

Monday, January 3, 2011


     Its a new year! 2011. And the big talk everywhere is all about your resolutions and what you plan to do with yourself. I am not usually big into resolutions but I've decided to go for one this year. I've decided once and for all to publish my novel, Across the Galaxy, as an ebook. I've gone back and forth with the possibility for a few months now and had basically decided to try and query it first with traditional publishing companies and agents. I've been doing that for about a month now and I've gotten a request for a partial but nothing beyond that. And to be honest, I dont think I will either. Not because my book isn't good but because that's how the industry is right now. I've never been published before and I don't have a quirky little hook to lead with that makes me stand out from the rest, as a person. And especially because of how saturated and competetive the YA market is right now... well, I can only imagine the money I'm losing NOW to wait and get published LATER.

     Then I read JA Konrath's blog, which I follow like a kool-aid drinking zealot and he wrote what he always does- some form of  "e-pubbing is where its at" kind of article. Only, this time it got to me. Really, really got to me. And something clicked and I decided to stop waiting around and sitting on my hands and be like Nike... Just Do It. So real quick- before I could change my mind, I contacted a photographer I'd met last summer about doing the cover art and worked out pricing. And I've read up on how to format everything for Amazon's site, and trying to figure out if I can format it myself or if I should pay someone, and all in all am very impatient now that the decision's been made. Is anyone else that way? You'll drag a decision out as long as possible and when you've finally made it, you can't wait to put it into action. I'm that way, as you'll see soon. Because I say the book will launch sometime in February, when really, if I can manage it- it will go up sometime before the end of the month, in the middle of the night.

     Either way, you'll be the first to know.