Archive for the 'Writer Promotion' Category
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Author Cathy Yardley has an excellent post about Selling Books (without being an asshat). She says nobody wants to badger readers — but “if we want to sell books, what else can we do?” Right? Read the rest of her article here.
I have to say, from my own observations, that my twitter stream is full of “buy me” type posts. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of editing, and now I’ve started working on a new book. Not terribly interesting to read or tweet about. When that happens I like to retweet a couple of posts that I’ve found interesting for some reason or another. Some days it is hard to find a decent post to RT amongst all the white noise of “like me”, “buy me”, “RT me” or “do—” (insert relevant item in the blank area).
On days like this, I shake my head, give up and get back to my current WIP. If anything, I seem to be doing less and less when it comes to promotion and focusing on my next book instead. I thought my sales might drop away because of the lack of promotion, but in truth, my royalties seem to be better than ever. Who knew?
I’m not saying writers shouldn’t do promotion, but maybe think a little harder before you add to the white noise online. Seek to entertain rather than demand attention, and I think you might have a better shot at getting your book noticed.
What do you think?
Sunday, March 31st, 2013
My sneak peek today comes from my recent release Biding His Thyme, book four in my Fancy Free series.
Sorrel Thyme peered through the scratchy bushes, desperately trying to ignore the sand flies making a meal of her bare arms. This had to be one of the world’s most uncomfortable ways to score a job interview. The man and woman she was spying on started to kiss—a passionate, no-holds-barred kind of kiss. Horrified, she watched hands steal beneath clothes, gulped as said hands squeezed and caressed.
The amount of flesh on view grew alarmingly, and she squirmed, heat whooshing through her body to explode in her face. Talk about embarrassing. She wasn’t sure what to do, where to look. Alice and James Bates, the owners of the Fancy Free condom company, didn’t have a mere picnic on their minds. Oh, no. They were busy tearing off each other’s clothes, right in front of her.
Aghast, she squeezed her eyes shut, her skin crawling from exposure to the bugs. It was the only way to explain the edgy sensation blooming inside her, prickling across her skin, irritating her breasts.
The sharp evergreen scent of the totara and manuka trees wafted to her, refreshing and aromatic. Her stomach let out a feisty rumble of complaint, and she jerked in panic. The bushes concealing her rustled, and her eyes flew open. She froze, horror filling her at the thought of discovery.
Alice and James continued their amorous activities. Sorrel’s breath eased out. She caught a flash of pale breast. At least they were too far away to hear her stomach clamoring for food. Placated by the thought, she eased her weight into a more comfortable position. The bush played a musical tune against her robe, a branch cracking beneath her right foot.
“What was that?” Alice asked, her voice carrying across the clearing.
A Peeping Tom—not the best situation to find yourself in! Grab a copy of Biding His Thyme to learn what happens next.
To read more sneak peeks, check out the Sneak Peek Sunday link.
Friday, March 15th, 2013
Biding His Thyme, book four in my Fancy Free series, is out later today at Ellora’s Cave. My heroine is called Sorrel Thyme, and she lives in a cult. The rest of the people who live in the cult call Sorrel “Bitter” since that is the literal meaning of her name. Sorrel hates it, and I’m pretty sure if her mother was still around, the rest of the Children of Nature inhabitants wouldn’t be quite as mean. Sorrel just ignores the nickname, although it hurts being called Bitter instead of Sorrel.
Naming characters in a book takes almost as much time as naming a child in real life. I scan my baby naming book and try out several names before deciding on the perfect one. There are many pitfalls when it comes to picking a name. Check out my article on Naming Characters, which explains some of them.
When it came to Sorrel Thyme, I deliberately picked a name that would get her teased. Her surname also connects nicely with her occupation. She works with herbs and flowers making beauty products and a special potion called the Dream Cream. Her name and nickname become part of her characterization.
How do/did you go about picking names for your children/characters? Did you find it stressful? (I sure find picking names stressful!)
Born in the Children of Nature cult, Sorrel “Bitter” Thyme is destined to spend the rest of her life there, but not if she has her way. She’s perfected the dream cream that enhances orgasmic pleasure in those who use it. Now she must approach Fancy Free management with her invention while making sure the cult leader doesn’t learn of her idea and steal Sorrel’s chance of escape.
Jake Ramsey, a Special Air Services soldier on sick leave, agrees to go undercover in the cult to help local police close a case against the leader. Sorrel is his inside contact, a woman who is constantly ridiculed by the other cult members.
The partnership works well and kisses meant to cement their cover take on new possibilities. Jake uncovers secrets, and their loving heats up, passion coalescing into more than friendship. Then Sorrel is tossed into danger. What began as a favor is now deadly serious—-a game Jake must win to keep Sorrel safe.
Purchase from Ellora’s Cave
Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
Wayne wants Jen. Sebastian wants Wayne. Jen doesn’t want any man since her boyfriend ditched her by text minutes before her leaving party. It’s going to take a lot of laughter, fun and hot seduction before the three can decide exactly what they want and how to get it.
Feeling the Buzz, the third story in my Fancy Free series is out tomorrow (21 Sep) at Ellora’s Cave.
For those of you who are not familiar with my series, Fancy Free is a company owned by Alice and James Bates. The main sales of the company come from condoms, but in successive books Christmas is Coming and Feeling the Buzz, the company has branched out into sex toys.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll repeat it for newer visitors. The idea for Fancy Free came from an airline travel magazine.
My husband and I were flying home from San Francisco aboard an Air New Zealand flight. I was browsing the in-flight magazine and an article about new products caught my attention. One of the items was a vibrating condom, and immediately my mind seized the idea and the possibilities. “Oh, look at this,” I said to my husband in a loud voice. “Let’s buy one. What a great idea for a story,” I added. My husband shushed me when I attempted further discussion because people were looking, so I went into daydream mode, and by the time we landed in Auckland, I had a plot mapped out about a heroine who inherits a condom factory.
The second book seemed to flow on automatically from the first. I thought if a company employed inventors, then the inventors would embrace lots of different designs. Enter condom and sex toy inventor Gaby Montgomery and her two male room mates. Gaby’s work life spills over to her personal life and romance ensues. Of course there were quite a few problems between the start of Christmas is Coming and the satisfying conclusion. (BTW – no puns are intended!)
With Feeling the Buzz, I was following an online discussion between several authors when the subject of remote controlled vibrators came up. Immediately my mind spun in a different direction since I’d recently looked at universal remotes – the one size controls everything sort of remote. I started to wonder what would happen if a woman wore a remote controlled vibrator to a social function. What if a person other than her date had a remote control in their possession?
The idea for Feeling the Buzz was born.
Jen Alexander is intent on fulfilling a promise to her mother. She’s heading back to school to finish her education, but a remote controlled vibrator shoves her on a detour.
For her ex-boss Wayne Garrett, the night of Jen’s party is a revelation. Now he’s seen her sexy side, he plans on seduction big time—a private party for three. But worried his feelings for Wayne could spoil their friendship, his business partner Sebastian Lang refuses to play.
Wayne wants Jen. Sebastian wants Wayne. Jen doesn’t want any man since her boyfriend ditched her by text minutes before the party. It’s going to take a lot of laughter, fun and hot seduction before the three can decide exactly what they want and how to get it.
Remember, this is out on 21 Sep from Ellora’s Cave!
And here’s a quick excerpt from Fancy Free, the book that started the series:
“Is something wrong?” James asked in a husky voice.
“I’m fine. No problem.” She barely halted the telltale shiver of bliss at the sound of his voice. As one, everyone turned to stare at her and that heightened her awareness of the wretched man. This was ridiculous. How could an almost virgin run a condom company? She had no experience to draw on. She could hardly count her one time at university as experience. The heat in her cheeks intensified even farther when she sneaked a look at the photo on top of the folder. Half expecting a voice to shout, “Off with her head,” she swallowed and wondered if they’d notice if she ran from the room. Oh dear. Her gaze wandered to the photo again without waiting for her brain to give permission.
The condom was a delicate violet color and had tiny raised dots all over the surface. It looked like an alien creature with chicken pox. There were certainly alien appendages attached. Hard to say what that round bit did. Dragging her gaze from the photo, she turned her attention to James’ run down of the product and the current state of play. Tests. Trials. Okay. She supposed that made sense. They had to know if they worked properly.
But how did they conduct the tests?
Her mind went into overdrive as she visualized a typical condom trial. A man and woman naked on a huge bed while a man dressed in a white coat stood with a clipboard, snapping out pertinent questions and ticking off the questions in his survey. How did the latex feel? Did it fit to the penis correctly? Was it too thick? Too thin? Was it big enough to catch semen? Did it stand up to vigorous thrusts? Is there significant loss of sensation?
A tight band constricted Alice’s chest, affecting her breathing. Her bra felt way too tight. She furtively tugged at the underwire of her bra while a wave of heat engulfed her body. She squirmed about on her chair, warmth growing in her nether regions because of her sexual thoughts. Alice bit into her bottom lip. Questions. She had them, but nerves and uncertainty made her hesitate. A sharp inhalation did nothing to steady her. This was stupid. She had a vested interest in this condom company and had every right to ask questions. “Um, how do you conduct trials?”
Do you like learning about the ideas behind an author’s book? Just curious because I thought I might invite visiting authors to share how they came up with their story idea. What do you think?
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Lone Wolf is now available from Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and of course from Samhain Publishing.
When you fall out of step, that’s when everything falls into place.
R.J. Blake begins a new session tutoring young werewolves in the old ways—before the introduction of the shift-suppressing drugs that allow their kind to live secretly among humans. He expects nothing out of the ordinary. Until sexy, smart, aggravating-as-hell Corey Wilson arrives. Older than the others, son of a powerful Los Angeles pack leader, Corey is an instant temptation he cannot afford.
The last thing Corey wants is three months stuck in the Yellowstone wilderness, followed by the stifling life his father has all mapped out for him. One glimpse of R.J., though, sparks a determination to seduce the older man before he leaves. Yet as R.J. guides him through the sometimes terrifying process of rediscovering his heritage, a deepening respect calls to his artistic soul and fuels a burst of creativity.
When their time comes to an end, Corey senses hesitation behind R.J.’s insistence that theirs was simply a summer fling. Inspiring him to take a leap of faith with consequences neither of them saw coming. A dangerous plot that reaches from the heart of their love to the highest office in the land…
This book contains a young werewolf intent on seduction, an older werewolf determined to resist said seduction, werewolf politics and brutality, a little spilled blood, and hot, naked manlove in the great outdoors.
Purchase from Amazon or Book Depository
During the weekend hubby and I went to a party. The star attraction of the day was a lamb cooked on a spit. Hubby picked up the lamb from the meat place and it rode home, strapped in his passenger seat. He said it was the worst company and had no conversational skills. Ha-ha, right?
Anyway, they started cooking at seven in the morning, after stuffing it with rosemary and thyme, and dinner was served just after two. I think everyone enjoyed eating the lamb. I stuck to the salads since I’m a vegetarian.
This made me start thinking about my favorite picnic or barbeque foods. I don’t think you can go wrong with sandwiches for a picnic. I’m a fan of all types of sandwiches or a savory pie. When it comes to barbeques I like vegetable kebabs, maybe marinated in a little something first.
If you were packing for a picnic or organizing a barbecue what would be your first addition to the menu?
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Like many writers, I enjoy taking online courses to educate myself about the various aspects of writing. Last month I learned about designing websites using Joomla!, which I hadn’t heard of before, and this month I’m increasing my knowledge of WordPress. Both types have their advantages, but I’m still leaning toward WordPress because I’m more familiar with the system—familiar enough to be dangerous.
My current website is a WordPress one, and I notice a lot of writers have this type of website. What I like about it is that I can add content with only a basic knowledge of code. For those of you who are thinking about new websites or blogs, do check out these two systems. Both websites have loads of tutorials and forums to ask questions.
Just out of interest – are there any author websites that you really like and return to on a regular basis? I’d like names plus reasons why you find these particular sites attractive. Is it the colors or the content or something else?
I recently downloaded SmartEdit, which is currently free. It’s a little like AutoCrit, and brings up instances of clichés, overused words, repeated phrases, adverbs etc. in a manuscript. Like most editing programs, a writer shouldn’t take the results as gospel, but this can be a useful tool to have in an editing arsenal. I’ve used Autocrit before and liked this one better because the results can be saved to a file. It’s worth checking out and having a play.
There seems to be a ghostly theme going on in my life recently. In a coincidence, or not, my current audio book I’m listening to, picked at random, is Divine Freaks by Fiona Dunbar, which features a 13 year-old who starts seeing ghosts during her biology class—a freaky man about to apply his scalpel to a white rat. Just an aside, she freaked out, and I would have too!
I have books one and two in Stacey Kennedy’s Frostbite series. I’ve almost finished Supernaturally Kissed about Tess who sees ghosts. A good book BTW, and I hope to write a review soon.
Last week my husband and I were walking Bella before hubby left for work. We both heard the harsh pant of a dog behind us—the sort of sound a dog makes when it’s pulling on its lead—and turned around, expecting to see a person with a big dog.
There was nothing there.
A few houses before we reached ours we saw Casper, a neighboring dog, run outside. He ran right in front of a SUV and the driver couldn’t avoid him. It was horrid, since we witnessed everything. Poor Casper didn’t survive.
I said to hubby when we went inside that the dog we’d heard had come to get Casper. Honestly, it was the freakiest thing. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Have you had any ghostly experiences?
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
I was listening to the radio the other day, and the announcer interviewed a woman about Vitamin D. I found it fascinating because vitamin D isn’t something I think about every day. Like many people, I try to eat a balanced diet, one that contains all the vital elements of protein, carbohydrate and vitamins, so my ears perked up.
So, what is vitamin D?
It’s a vitamin the body manufactures when we’re out in the sunshine, and if we have a shortage, we can get rickets (crooked limbs and knock knees) or our bones can become brittle. There are also a few foods that contain vitamin D—oily fish like salmon, milk and milk products and eggs.
The woman was saying that because the sun cancer message is getting through, people in New Zealand and Australia aren’t going outside as much and therefore aren’t getting enough vitamin D. There is also a large portion of the population who spend most of their time indoors for work or by preference. Her solution was for legislation to make manufacturers add Vitamin D to certain food products. Evidently this has been successful in countries like Canada, which have long winter months with no sunshine.
On a personal note, I prefer to go with natural food without additives. I remember my home economics teacher telling us years ago to make sure our meals were colorful, with lots of different vegetables, and I’ve subscribed to that advice ever since.
So the moral of this story is that we all need to get outside in the sun for a daily walk, but we need to take care not to get sunburnt. It’s a delicate balancing act, but we need our Vitamin D for good health. I go outside every day. If I don’t I get cabin fever and become very grumpy. It’s obviously my body demanding vitamin D!
And on another topic completely, is anyone else experiencing problems with Facebook? People keep adding me to their groups, and no matter what I try, I keep getting messages from groups I haven’t accepted join requests from. I’m not a fan of Facebook anyhow, because they keep shifting the goal posts, but this is driving me nuts.
Do you go outside every day? Did you know about vitamin D? Does Facebook drive you to distraction?
Monday, June 11th, 2012
This is a photo of me cycling back to camp after visiting a crocodile farm. Hard work in the heat!
Savvy Authors did a spotlight on me and asked some great questions. Read the full interview here at Savvy Authors.
A few days ago I received a lovely email from an elderly gentleman who told me how he’d seen Ellora’s Cave mentioned on the Howard Stern show, and he’d gone off to check out their books. He chose to read Fancy Free, and he wrote to tell me how much he’d enjoyed it. He made my day with his lovely note.
This made me start thinking about the books I’ve read recently. I’ve read some really good ones, like Divergence by Veronica Roth and the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. Books that have left a real impression on me and made me think about my own writing. I thought of how my fan letter made my day, and I came to a decision. Authors work so hard on their books. If I enjoy a book in the future, I’m going to take the time to show my appreciation in some small way.
So how will I do this?
Here are a few ways you can help out one of your favorite writers:
1. Send them an email and tell them you enjoyed their story. Most authors have a contact address at their websites.
2. Tweet them and tell them you enjoyed their book.
3. Tell your friends about the great book you’ve just read.
4. Tell the author on their Facebook page.
5. Write a review at your favorite online store – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Publisher website.
6. Mention the book on your blog.
7. Create a Pinterest board of your favorite books and maybe some of the elements that fit with the stories.
8. Subscribe to their author newsletter so you won’t miss their next release!
What do you do after reading a book you’ve really enjoyed? Do you contact the author or spread the word in some way?
Monday, June 4th, 2012
This is a photo of me after a day of trekking in the Annapurna region of Nepal. As you can see the boots are off, and I’m sitting on my bed, exhausted after a day of walking up hill and down. This little fellow belonged to the owners of the accommodation and wanted to be in the photo. The kids we met were always so cute!
And now on to today’s topic. During my recent travels through the blogging world, I’ve noticed a lot of authors and readers talking about free books. It seems everyone is getting in on the act and giving away their books in an effort to boost sales. At present there are offers of free ebooks in every direction I turn. A glut of free books!
The thing is, why would a reader pay for a book if they can have their choice of free books?
When I first purchased my iPad, I downloaded mega free books, and I haven’t had time to read many of them. They sit on my iPad, unloved. Poor things! These days I’m very picky about which books I download for free, almost as picky as I am when it comes to buying a new book. I have that luxury because there are so many available, and I’ve been wondering if all these free books are actually hurting and devaluing the books that readers must pay for.
I think that free only works if an author has a large backlist or if the book being given away for free is the first in a series. From what I hear one of my books will be given away for free in July, so it will be interesting to see how this impacts on my sales.
What do you think about free books? Do you “buy” a lot of them? Do you actually read them? Has a free book encouraged you to buy a second book from the author? Any other comments?
Friday, May 4th, 2012
On the day we visited Nuku’alofa in Tonga it was pouring with rain. I took this photo of a hibiscus flower during our exploration of the town.
I have some awesome links to share with you today.
Maria Zannini has a wonderful post about confidence and insecurities. She offers some strategies to improve confidence.
For those of you who are entering the world of self-publishing Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware has a post about Vetting an Independent Editor. She mentions things to look for and when to exercise caution.
Author Jen Blood is visiting Janice Hardy’s blog and talks about 5 Ways to Build Suspense Like a Master.
And finally, Brenda Novak’s annual Online auction has started. All the funds raised go to Diabetes Research. Check out the items for booklovers and authors available here.
Now I’d like you to put on your reader hats. When it comes to promo items—all the things like bookmarks, trading cards, buttons, excerpt booklets and other nifty things available at conferences and book signings—which ones do you actually keep and use? Which ones do you like?
And my next question—if you have an e-book reader, do you still collect author autographs or promo items? Are you aware of Kindlegraph?