Monday, February 28, 2011

Review/Interview at Mystic Thoughts

A review for Across the Galaxy (my first!!) and interview have been posted here: http://mysticthoughts-xc.blogspot.com/2011/02/who-is-heather-hildennbrand.html#more

So excited by the feedback she gave. Leave her a note to tell her thanks, and add her to your list of reviewers.

Who says you can't accomplish anything with 2 sick kids at home on your couch?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Updated Reviewer List

So, awhile back I posted a list of reviewer sites to contact, about that newly published e-book of yours. And since then, I've been refining it and most importantly, trying to figure out which ones are useful and active. Hence, the updated list:

http://www.rambles.net/

http://www.theindiespotlight.com 

http://syriasays.com

http://spaldings-racket.blogspot.com/

http://blkosiner.blogspot.com/p/review-policy.html

tlrreviews.com

Bookbarista.com

http://redhousebooks.blogspot.com/

http://mysticthoughts-xc.blogspot.com/


These 2 are a list of where to find links for more reviewer sites:
 http://www.simon-royle.com/indie-reviewers (master list of indie reviewers)

Some of these do reviews, some features, and some both, so check them out before submitting to know what it is they offer. I know the list is shorter but it's also more personal since I've now used all of these sites and have someone reading my book or in process of posting a feature for me at most of them right now. So, I know they work, and they are all big supporters of indie authors. As I find more, I'll add them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hey Jude & the monster

I know I've blogged about it before, the ups and downs of the writing process. Especially the downward spiraling that happens in the middle of a story. But, to recap:
In every story I've written, I hit this place (and don't even see it coming until it's too late) where I feel like the story sucks, the scene I'm struggling with sucks, and well, pretty much, everything sucks. Which I know is not true because in general, I feel that my life most definitely does not suck. So, I know its the evil editor monster taking over my psyche. And the feeling only lasts a couple of days and then I wake up feeling back on top, ready to tackle that struggling scene and just KNOWING that the story I'm writing is, in fact, really good, and really special, and definitely worth writing.

I'm recapping all that because I just came back out of the funk of the downward spiral. Now, it doesn't help that I'm battling a cold (round 2 actually, I was sick a week ago, got better for like 2 days and then sick again. AARRGHH!) And I'm just hoping someone out there knows what I'm talking about and isn't thinking 'this chic is totally crazy' - because that's a whole other blog post. (Titled: "The multiple personalities required of being a writer")

And I was over at Kait Nolan's blog earlier and she posted a song/video that is sort of the muse to her character so I thought I'd do the same. I've had this song stuck in my head for DAYS because I heard it and it struck me as exactly Wes (the hottie from Dirty Blood, coming in March). It's also from the soundtrack Across the Universe, a Beatles inspired musical. It's an awesome movie, so if you haven't seen it, leave your house right now and get it, or open a new browser window and log on to Netflix, now. It's that good!




Monday, February 21, 2011

A blog where I don't say much of anything

     See, I forewarned you in the title that this post isn't filled with any real, heavy information so don't get mad if you get to the bottom and think 'well, what was the point of that?' because you were told...

     There really isn't much going on here that is worth reporting but I'm going to ramble anyway. I'm still sitting at about one copy a day for sales but I'm not unhappy with it, actually. I know that I'm a 'nobody' as far as the publishing world - or even e-publishing world- goes. (Yeah, I felt like I should specify since it seems like those are 2 different arenas these days.) Anyway, I know it's going to take time to catch on and get my name out there, etc. and I'm still pretty  new at all this, so I'm being patient. I'm really getting antsy to finish Dirty Blood though just because I know it's better work and a great story. So, I can't wait to get it out there for everyone to enjoy. Speaking of, the cover shoot is March 6th and I'm hoping to have the writing done by then, too, and then finish the editing after that. I haven't set a release date yet but it will be sometime in March, which is exciting. I'll keep you posted. I'm also putting together a plan to do a couple of book giveaways for it, right around launch time. I'll be partnering with a couple other blogs/sites to do it, so stay tuned. The synopsis.description is coming soon (maybe even this week) so that you can get an idea what it's about.

     Which reminds me, I should update you on my to-do list that seemed so endless when I posted about it last week. I'm happy to report, I got ALOT done! Angeline probably wants me to tell you all: I am officially a part of the Twitter phenomenon now. You can connect with me @HeatherHildenbr. And I'm starting to pay attention to my FaceBook Author page so check me out there and friend request me. I want to do a book page that you can 'like' me at, but I'm going to wait a bit on that and focus on finishing Dirty Blood first. And, last but not least, my cover for Across the Galaxy's paperback edition on CreateSpace was FINALLY approved and they mailed out the proof copy last week so it should be here anytime!!!! Dang, that was a headache!! That cover must've been rejected no less than 12 times before it was approved (probably twice that, if you count how many times my husband fooled with it, too). So it's quite satisfying to know I finally figured it out. So, now what happens is this: when the proof copy gets here, I'll have to look it over, read through it, whatever, and then if it's good 2 go, click 'approve' on my CreateSpace account and they'll launch it for sale. If there's a problem, I will need to make changes, upload the new files, and repeat the proof process again. So, let's hope there are no problems! Oh and I paid the $39 for the premium author account and it lowered my sale price to under $10. Before that, it was telling me the min. price point was like $14 or something so that was definitely worth it. I think the sale price is going to be about 9.99 but I will let you know for sure when I announce that it's available.
     So, on my list for this week: work on Dirty Blood, write the blurb/description for Dirty Blood... and check the mail like a kid on Christmas!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'Bad News Borders' and my ongoing to-do list

     Well, Borders made it official. They filed for bankruptcy. If you've been following the news, you saw this coming but still, it was kind of like a WOW moment. And then I had to just sit back, prop my feet up, and take a long gulp of JA Konrath's kool-aid. Because it's a pretty big hint I've made the right choice for me, by e-publishing. And if any indie author still wasn't sure if they'd made the right choice, they are now.Read about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/16/borders-files-for-bankruptcy_n_823889.html

     As for my raging to do list, here's an update. I am on TWITTER! Got it up and running yesterday and you can msg me @Heatherhildenbr. (My whole name won't fit, oh well.) So that's exciting. And I'm really trying to work on getting my FaceBook Author page filled with all the info I want to have. I've uploaded my covers there and have provided links to Amazon, so you can find my work.

     I also rewrote my product description for Across the Galaxy today. I like it better for a couple of reasons. One- it's shorter. I had three mini-paragraphs going before and I think it was just too long and gave too much information. This one is shorter but still has all the info you need to get interested but not too much. Two- It leaves you hanging a little more as to the main plot line/big picture which is a better way to sell books. BTW, I found a great post that helped me write a better book description on Karen McQuestion's blog here: http://mcquestionablemusings.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-method-for-writing-book-description.html

Here's the new description, being uploaded to Amazon as we speak - let me know what you think:

ACROSS THE GALAXY


Orphaned as a young girl, Alina Leone has spent the last few years in dusty Arizona, being raised by her guardian, Peter, and wishing for a friendship that isn’t filled with lies and deception about exactly what she really is. Just before she can begin senior year she meets someone from her past – a talking wolf from another galaxy who won’t stop calling her ‘Empress’ - and in a single moment, her future is changed forever. She becomes a fugitive, on the run from the Shadows, the same monsters who killed her parents, and flees to the safety of the planet Bardawulf for refuge. But not everyone in this magically protected fortress is what they seem.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The time my love for lists came back to bite me... oh yeah, that's now.

     I have alot of things floating around in my head that I need to get done this week. I mean - ALOT. I keep meaning to make a 'to-do' list and just haven't which is funny because normally I would've made a master list and then broken it down into categories and posted it where I can easily access it to check things off. Yeah, I like lists. But I haven't. I think because I'm afraid in this case, I won't get to check off nearly as many things as I'd like. And I hate not being able to check things off. So instead of sitting in my house making my list quietly, I'm here writing a blog, which is definitely working against me in the 'time management' arena.

     So how about we kill two birds and I'll just post the list here. Yeah, so then if I don't get something done, EVERYONE will know. Maybe that'll motivate me. haha. First and foremost is to WRITE. Of course. But also I need to take a look at my synopsis and see where it's all going just to remind myself and keep on track. I've been thinking about that lately, too. I'm constantly analyzing the way I do things, so I can try and streamline the process and learn how to write faster but still write better at the same time. I think the trick is in the synopsis. If I wrote a VERY detailed one before hand, I could probably write 'smoother' without getting stuck. The problem is that I like to change things as I go, from what I originally planned. I'll get a better idea and run with that and then it would probably change alot of future things, too, so I'm not sure if that would work. But I might try it on the next book. Anyway, that's off topic.

     Back to the list. Next, I NEED to get on Twitter (or Angeline is going to get me - not sure how but she does critique my rough drafts so I want to stay on her good side) and then I have to learn how to use Twitter which will probably take like 3 days or something. And the other thing I feel I need to do is revisit my book descriptions. I feel like they could be better - especially Across the Galaxy. I feel like maybe that could help with sales (I mean, it can't hurt) since the cover is AWESOME, and the description is the only other tool I have for first impressions. Besides, I wrote that description when I was still a very new writer (I mean, I still am but not as much I guess) so I could probably do a better job now. I plan to try and tweak it. Also, I need to talk to my cover artist about some things. One, a head shot that I can post on my site and also maybe a web banner - I'm jealous of Angeline's and a couple other's I saw. =)

     Oh and top priority - get this damn paperback cover approved on CreateSpace. I want to beat my head against a wall over that one! It's taken me weeks to figure this thing out and just when I think I finally did- I get an email this morning saying my spine is 'off center'. WTH??!! How much more can I center it?? I've already used the 'center' button.... I don't really know what I'm going to do with that. I read somewhere on Susan Bischoff or Kait Nolan's sites - can't remember which - that they have a really hard time with CreateSpace approving their covers, too and eventually in the process they have to call CS and get them to manually approve it. Maybe I'll try that. I'll let you know how it goes. Cross your fingers because I am OVER this paperback cover! If it wasn't going to make me money, I'd have scrapped the whole thing days ago. But money motivates me, even when I want to slap somebody, so I'll do it.

     I think that's the major list. There might be some little things but those are the priorities. I do still want to try and do some other marketing things. Visit message boards, etc, yadda yadda, but I need to focus on these things right now. Oh and i wanted to say thanks to everyone who reads my blogs. I checked my stats this morning and I got over 200 pages views last month. Thanks guys =) If you're feeling supportive, find my author page on FaceBook and friend request me there, too. I just got it functioning last night. (That's one thing off the to-do list).

     Oh and sales are still sitting at Across the Galaxy -4 (or 5 if you count Amazon UK) and DreamKiller -5 but I know that it's going to start slow and build steady and I'm okay with that.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sales Update

Well, it looks like my little corner of the Kindle world has dramatically slowed. My numbers so far for February are as follows:
Across the Galaxy : 2
DreamKiller :          4

Now, did I want to report such crappy numbers? No. I'd rather not say it out loud, but I promised to be honest and tell it like it was, so I'm sucking it up and throwing it out there for you. I do expect numbers to rise as I get reviews/features posted by other sites but the main thing I'm focusing on right now is getting the next book out. I will hopefully have it ready by March 15th and plan to step my game wayyy up int he promoting area after that one. The story line is pretty cool/original and the writing is inevitably better than Across the Galaxy. Not that ATG is bad, but I'm a realist, and it was my very first novel. AND I know the more I write, the better I'll get. I can already see it when I look back at first drafts for ATG compared to Dirty Blood.

Speaking of Dirty Blood, I'm painting my dining room this week. And the color I've picked looks like blood. It's so much fun, and very inspiring. The 'back burner' project I have going is about fairies and the green that I'll be doing in my living room reminds me of fairies somehow. So maybe this painting/writing crossover will help the muse.

Also- I started reading Amanda Hocking's Switched last night. Only a few chapters in and not far enough to see where it's going yet but I like it so far and will probably post a review here about it. Honestly though the main reason for reading it is research. In leadership training, you learn that you become like the 5 people you hang around with most (I've done ALOT of leadership training) and that you have to align yourself with people who've already achieved the goals you have set for yourself. And it IS true. If you were around completely negative people 24/7 and all they did was complain about life and tell you how much your writing sucks, do you think you'd still be writing? And if you did manage to still write (probably keeping it a secret) you damn sure wouldnt have the confidence to publish it when you were done. Think about it.

So, to that end, I am reading her books - not to copy of course, but to learn her style and therefore my craft a little better. After all, she is definitely already where I want to be. And I fully plan on getting there which means I can only allow myself to learn from the best. (And if you're wondering if that means her talent surpasses all others, of course not. but if I want to make money I define the best as the 'bestseller' and in my target audience, that's her.) Plus, I love that I can consider reading a good book "research" or "homework". LOL. I love my job!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Amanda Hocking's latest blog post gave me the idea to check out this site. You copy and paste some of your writing to see which famous author you write like. Sounded fun but not sure how I feel about my answer. I mean, I loved reading 'Just So Stories' when I was a kid- I'm pretty sure I still have a copy upstairs somewhere but still, an odd answer.


I write like
Rudyard Kipling
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Extra, Extra, Read all About it!

Alright, finally! Here it is. A list of reviewer sites to hit up for that just published e-book of yours. I'm sure I'll be adding more as I go and maybe even deleting some as I vet each one, myself. I'd wanted to do that BEFORE I posted the list, but it's going to take awhile for that, and I wanted to play nice and share, like my momma taught me. So here's the list and any notes I found on the site so far. For this to work, and the list to be up-to-date, you guys let me know if you find out any helpful tips about any of the sites listed or any new sites. So, without further ado...

Reviewer Sites- check out the type of stuff they review FIRST and make sure its your genre. Then check out the contact info and find out what form of book they want. If they prefer paperbacks and you dont have one, that could change things, so do your homework!

http://www.litandlife.blogspot.com/
http://www.podpeep.blogspot.com/
http://thenewpodlerreviews.blogspot.com/  -this site seems pretty swamped and may be closed to reviews but they had alot of other blogs bookmarked on their page that looked worth checking out too.
http://www.myshelf.com/
http://www.rambles.net/
http://thescattering.wordpress.com    - I think I heard somewhere that this site only reviews Sf and Fantasy. Check it out first.
The links below are sites that FEATURE your book. This is different than a review because they aren't offering to read it, just post a picture and synopsis, which to me is just as good, if not better, because you dont have to wait for them to read it and get back to you. You can get it posted quicker and if they have alot' of followers/hits on their sites, its still high volume exposure.

Also- for more reviewer sites, try these sites. 
http://www.simon-royle.com/indie-reviewers     - master list of indie reviewers
http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/book-reviewer-list.html   - Kindle specific reviewers are listed here.

      

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Multiple Personalities, Numbers, and a Reminder from our Sensei

     For those of you waiting, I am still working on the compiled list of reviewer-ish sites that you can use to promote your book. It's going to be a pretty nice list, so give me a little longer. It'll be worth the wait!

     I wanted to update you on what I've been doing. Happily, writing again! Whew. After all last week(end) getting sucked into msg boards and e-marketing, I'm finally back to what I should be doing. And I'm really excited that I've got a rough draft ready for beta readers for chapters 1-5 of Dirty Blood. Woohoo! I also started a new project over the weekend, working title: Fairy Godmother.

     The main reason I started it was because I needed a breather from Dirty Blood. I swear, a job qualification of a writer is multiple personalities. And don't worry. If you don't already have them, they'll develop as you write! Anyway, my "editor" personality had gotten ahold of me; snuck up on me really. Usually I see him coming (yes its a him, is that weird?) and knock him over the head with a heavy object when he starts getting obnoxious. I mean, I can't totally get rid of him because I do - grudgingly - need him sometimes. But this time, I was blindsided and before I knew it, I was buying into what he was saying. Which was: this story sucks, its not even worth revising, who would want to read this crap? etc.

     Has this every happened to any of you? Usually its a cycle I go through a few times in the process of writing a story. When I'm in this part of the cycle, no new ideas flow and it depresses me to work on the project. Then I finally cycle back out into the confident (possibly a little egotistical) cycle and everything's great, including the story and where it's going, and ideas pour into me so fast I get light headed. Needless to say, that's where I am now. Whew. Thank goodness. Nobody at my house really likes me when the editor takes over.  *insert evil laugh here*

     And I checked my final numbers for January this morning and we are tied!
Across the Galaxy 9
DreamKiller          9

*Sidebar: These numbers are Amazon only. Still haven't sold any from B&N. Also- I uploaded DreamKiller via Smashwords to see how they worked and it's still not even live (it's been almost a week). Anyone have any words of wisdom about smashwords? Are they any good?

Woohoo! Keep in mind, the novel didnt go live until Jan 23rd so that's only about 8 days of sales. I dont know about you, but I'm pretty happy with that for my first 8 days of being published. And I know as I do more marketing, those numbers will only get better. But I also know that most importantly (according to our 'sensei' Joe Konrath) I NEED to get another book out there. ASAP. So... back to work.