Monday, January 27, 2014

Friend News & Fun Stuff (you can #WIN!)

Superfun announcements today!

First off, my good writer-friend Elle/Lee Strauss's book Sun & Moon (link) is LIVE!

It's a really great New Adult/Contemporary love story. I read an early draft of it, and fell in love. It's very clean--no coarse language or sex.

Sun & Moon is about a girl living in Germany, who is a struggling musician. She falls on hard times, is robbed, and is forced to make a tough decision until she meets a really great guy who helps her out. The only problem is he's hiding some issues himself...

Elle is a fantastic storyteller, and I recommend checking this one out!

Here's the scoop and your chance to WIN!

If you’re a fan of the movie Inside Llewyn Davis or ABC television’s Nashvillethe Minstrel Series is for you!

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each are complete standalone stories with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

She has a past. He has a secret.

Katja Stoltz is a risk-taking singer-songwriter hoping to make it in the indie music scene in Dresden, Germany. Micah Sturm's a brooding uptown banker on a quest.

Driven to the streets, Katja is picked up by Micah - but he doesn't want what she thinks he does.

There’s an undeniable attraction between them, a gravitational pull they both struggle to resist. Katja knows she mustn’t fall in love with this handsome enigma. There’s something dark lurking beneath the surface. He could be dangerous.

And even if her life isn’t on the line, her heart most definitely is.
 *not erotica - no explicit sex or coarse language

Get your copy today!

Here's how you can #WIN!!!

Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card, MP3s of all four songs featured on Sun & Moon, and a 12-month calendar from Dresden, Germany, featuring many of the settings found in Sun & Moon.

Dresden, Germany

Click here to enter (link)!

* * *

Free Books! Free Books!!!

We're still snowed in where I live and dealing with sub-zero temperatures and two-hour school delays...

But I'm doing my best to get back into my Mosaic notes. It's been a while since I looked at all of these, but I am so excited about the direction of this final installment of the Dragonfly series.

So what's all this about Free Books???

If you purchase the print copy of The Truth About Faking or Dragonfly on Amazon, you can get the Kindle version for FREE! It's true!

So you can get a copy for you (or a friend) and keep a copy... or gift it... or have both versions... or whatever you want!

ALL of my books are in the Kindle Matchbook Program--the others are buy the print version on Amazon, get the Kindle version for only 99 cents!

Here's the link to my Amazon Author page (link), where you can find a list of all my books in their different formats.

Thanks for being so awesome, reader-friends! Stay warm, and have a great week~

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Had a Publishing Dream...

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., day! He had a dream--I wrote a post about it here (link)!

Today, I'm thinking about something that was on my mind last week, but "life and being a mom" kind of knocked me off my schedule.

So you're getting it now. Ready?

In 2009, I had a dream of being a traditionally published author, having my books on bookstore shelves, being reviewed in Entertainment Weekly, maybe having a movie or a TV series made from one of them...

In 2011, when many of my closest, most trusted author-friends were jumping ship and heading into the world of independent publishing, I landed an agent for my book Rouge (link).

Eventually that agent secured me a basic contract with a Big Six publisher (there were still six in 2011).

Sometimes I wish I'd been brave enough to walk away from that situation in 2011, but it took me until 2012 to see what was happening in traditional publishing and to understand that if I wasn't getting a SUPERSTAR contract, I needed to high-tail it out of there. Fast.

I've been an independent/self-published author since September 2012, and my first book The Truth About Faking (link) has sold almost 50,000 copies worldwide.

That sounds like a lot. That is a lot! But I actually have independent-author friends who sell that much in a month. Some sell twice that much in a month.

So I'm kind of a mid-list independent author.

What's the point?

Two weeks ago I was flipping through my Entertainment Weekly for the week ending Jan. 16, 2014. Usually I skip over the "Books" section, but on this day I stopped to check out the Fiction Top 10 list.

Ready for the names?

#1-John Grisham
#2-James Patterson
#3-Tom Clancy
#4-Stephen King
#5-Mitch Albom
#6-Janet Evanovich....

Are you seeing my point now?

I have no intention of going on a rant about traditional publishing, But Gah! They really make it difficult sometimes. John Grisham? Tom Clancy???

As a former editor and a college grad with a Master's in mass communication, who started out focused on book publishing, I understand the business of making money.

But jeez louise, could that list demonstrate any more clearly how nothing has changed?

I have a second-degree author-friend (a friend of a friend), and a few weeks ago, she was brave enough to write a blog post about how less than broke she is as a mid-list selling author with a Big Five publisher.

She's pretty well-known. You would know her name if I put it here. But I won't. Why?

Because in less than one hour after she posted, it went viral. And in less than fifteen minutes of me reading it, it was GONE.

I don't know if her publisher muzzled her or her agent... or if she really did decide (as she said) it probably was tacky to put actual numbers online for the world to see.

You know what I think is tacky? The continued treatment of new authors with interesting stories to tell, new voices, as less than second-class citizens in favor of the same old boring lineup of guaranteed freight movers.

A few of my indie-author friends are discouraged about how hard it is to rise above the noise right now.

Some of them are returning to the traditional merry-go-round because they're tired, and it's not so easy to throw a title up there and make a million dollars any more. (Not that this little black duck ever did.) The word is out!

But this Entertainment Weekly list only demonstrated to me what I felt in my gut: Going back is just setting yourself up for the same old treatment.

Yes, I understand your exhaustion and frustration, author-friends. I feel it, too.

But rather than whopping myself over the head anymore for not being daredevil enough to jump into the indie pool when the rest of you did, I'm going to be thankful right now.

I'm thankful I got that first book deal with the Big Six publisher. Why? Because it was the same deal my second-degree friend got, and I heard in her post the heartbreak and the loss I'd be feeling over being overlooked and earning less than a paperboy for my work. I have children to feed and send to college, too.

Self-publishing is hard work.

Yes, it is. But guess what else it is? It's freedom.

I can give away copies of my books--as many as I like!--and I can decide what comes next. I often chat with my reader-friends about what they like, and if I want to promote one of my titles, I can hold a contest and/or modify my prices and/or change my covers...

You know what else?

Do self-publishing well enough, and contrary to what they were all telling us in 2011, you will end up right there beside the John Grishams, etc.--if that's what you choose to do.

Self-publishing doesn't close any doors. It only opens a whole world of new ones.

Have a super week, reader friends! Fight the power--read a new author for a change. *wink* 

Monday, January 6, 2014

So You Want the Truth? Can You Handle It?

Write more...
Get more out there...
Market more... 
Market smarter...
Indie's saturated, go back to traditional...
No, join an author group...
Author groups don't market enough...
Author groups shouldn't market...
What should author groups do?

...Hang on... where is everybody???

It's a new year, reader-friends! 

I bet all you guys are making plans, setting reading goals, maybe exercising more, possibly making resolutions...

Behind this little indie-writer's scenes, a lot of talk is going on about how publishing is changing (again!), author support groups, what we should be doing heading into the new year.

Personally, I've also been looking at what's coming next, what's working and what isn't. Many of you have asked about Mosaic, and Yes! That is up next on the agenda!

Once we get un-snowed-in and the little ladies back in school. Snow Day #2 starts tomorrow~

In other news, would you LOOK at this blog? What a mess. *smh*

That's another thing everybody's talking about--Author Websites and Branding. (They've actually been talking about that one a while... I'm still talking.)

When I started this blog in Feb. 2010, it looked almost exactly how it looks now. Okay, my photos have changed.

I started out looking like this:


Then I looked like this:

LTM avatar

Now you see me as I am up there. (I actually look like all of these pictures... Just depends on if my hair's straight.)

I was also very much a traditionalist. I was querying agents, working, and waiting... waiting... waiting... write while you wait... quietly go insane...

Until I started this blog.

And lo and behold, this amazing tribe of writer-friends formed!

We would send each other little "awards"--which were actually networking-style greeting cards. You'd get one and then you'd pass it along and tag each other and tag the person who sent it to you... and the tribe grew.

It was how we met new friends before Facebook took over.

All those little awards still line this blog as you can see... (that's what you did when you got one--put them in the sidebar.)

Then some of us started getting deals. I can't remember who hit it big first. Maybe it was Sarah Fine, maybe it was Elana Johnson, maybe it was Lydia Kang...

Somebody can remind me.

The awards started moving to separate pages under tabs on the different blogs. The different blogs started looking more professional. The ones who'd gotten those big deals started getting too busy to blog... They had to write, y'all!

Totally understandable.

Then the revolution started. Jolene went indie... Susan went indie... Elle went indie... RaShelle blew up the indie scene with Blood & Snow...

I started editing for hire and when I did, I really saw how many of our friends had left the traditional game--AND how successful they were on their own.

Some days I still feel like a Major Dummy for waiting so long to join them, but I'm catching up. The only thing I haven't done is changed this blog.

It's hard because when I come here, I'm reminded of all those days we bonded over how hard this business is. How much those rejection letters hurt. How close we were to giving up. How we didn't think we could keep going any more. How we weren't even sure if we even had what it took to be a published author any more. How we wondered why we even started doing this to begin with...

This page has so much history.

I have an "official" web page that's pretty

Go there if you want to see me all spit and polished and looking like a Real Author.

But if you want the True Story, if you want to see behind the curtain, the journey, well, you've come to the right place.

Maybe one day I'll sit down and clean this blog up a bit. Make it look like a True Author Website...

*shrugs* I don't know.

Maybe instead, I'll pull down one of those awards and try circulating it again. See if anybody's still out there. If anybody else misses those old days.

Have a great week, reader-friends! Stay warm! I'll be heading back into the cave soon~