Tag Archives: Bound

Bound Nominated in Books & Benches’ Cover Contest!

Hey, everyone!

Here’s something cool: Books & Benches has selected Bound as a nominee in their cover art contest this month! Pretty amazing, right?

If you have a second to check out the nominees and vote, I’d certainly appreciate it. Books & Benches works on the honour system, which makes things super easy for you–no registration, no awkwardness, no follow-up. You just vote!

It is one vote per person, though, and multiple votes from any one address will invalidate all of them. Just a heads up in case anyone was tempted to enter more than one. 🙂

Here’s the link! There are some gorgeous covers there, but I think the work Ravven did on Bound really stands out.

Thanks so much in advance for your time! I don’t usually enter my books or covers in contests (I didn’t even know Bound was nominated until last month’s winner told me), but it sure would be fun to see this cover win something.

Kate Sparkes, Bound

UPDATE: It won!

Thank you to everyone who voted, and of course to the very talented Ravven (who gets all of the credit here)


Sworn Cover Reveal

Yes, the day has FINALLY arrived! I’ve had this cover (created, like the first two, by the incredibly talented Ravven) since early this past summer, but wanted to save the big reveal for a time closer to the release date.

And we now have a release date. *whee, party!*

And so much exciting stuff going on, including a SALE! Yep, to celebrate this cover reveal day, the Bound ebook is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks! I don’t do this often, so if you know someone who’s been waiting for a sale to grab the book and start the series, today would be a great day to let them know about this little treat. 🙂

Visit my website here for the links.

But enough about that.

We’re here about a new book. An exciting book. A massive, twisting, thrilling, heart-pounding conclusion that some of you have been waiting rather impatiently for.

And it’s coming on Friday, January 29, 2016.

Are you ready?

Not every fairy tale ends with “happily ever after.”

The plan was simple: Find Ulric, the lost king of Tyrea, then return him to Luid to reclaim his throne from the tyrant who stole it. But though Aren, Rowan, and Nox accomplished the first part of their task, the rest is proving to be more complicated than any of them imagined.

Severn won’t give up his throne without a fight. Worse, it seems Ulric did not fare as well during his years in captivity as he’s led everyone to believe—and Rowan may not have escaped unscathed, either.

If Nox doesn’t find a cure for the king’s mysterious ailment, Aren will be forced to challenge Severn for the crown. It’s a battle Aren has little hope of winning. And if he does, it will cost him the love and the freedom he’s fought so hard to gain.

sworn_full
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Bound A-Z: Q is for Queen

Hmm. This is awkward.

I had the loveliest image I wanted to share for this topic, relating to future events in the trilogy, but I can’t find the original source to credit them. Since I don’t want to be Stealy McThievypants, we’ll have to do something else.

*shuffles through files* Queen, queen, queen…

We haven’t really heard much from them in the Bound trilogy, have we? We know Severn’s mother is the queen of Tyrea, and that Ulric hardly ever spoke to her again after Severn’s little stunt regarding Aren’s mother. We know she has no magic. Aren explained to Rowan in Bound that Sorcerers and Sorceresses can’t have children together, and the king certainly wanted strong potential heirs. The queen of Tyrea has a strong influence over her son (or she did, once), but she hasn’t showed up on the page.

I do have a little something in the works, though. A prequel novella that takes place a few decades (or a little more) before the start of Bound, and this one set in Belleisle and Tyrea. This one won’t be going up for sale when it’s finished, but will go out to newsletter subscribers as a special bonus to say thanks for supporting my work.*

So just because we’re talking about queens today, and because it’s been so long since I got to participate in WIPpet Wednesdays, here’s a thin slice of description from the rough draft of that novella.

 

A broad pile of ornate fabric and curly brown hair swept into view, an astonishingly corseted lump of woman escorted by a white-haired young man. Jewels twinkled in her hair, crowning a face that was somehow round and pinched all at once, as though a generously endowed and once-beautiful lady had caught the middle part of her face in a slamming door. The rich brocade of her many-layered skirts brushed against the floor with every tiny step she took.

 

It’s not much, I know. Can’t spoil things, though, and I think you guys are going to like this one.

Well, if you like romance and danger and forbidden love and origin stories (sort of) and seeing established characters when they were younger and very different from how we’re used to seeing them.

It’s been a bit of a shock, actually.

So there you have her, the current queen of Tyrea.

Next week: R. Hmm. If only I had a character or two whose name started with R…

*sign-ups are free here, and new subscribers get a free download of The Binding, the existing prequel short story.


Bound A-Z: J is for “Jumpin’ Jehosephat”

Okay, so that title is a lie. No character in the Bound trilogy has ever said “Jumpin’ Jehosephat,” and I guarantee they never will. What we really want to talk about today is cussin’, but that doesn’t start with J.

I probably don’t need to put a disclaimer here, right?

Every author has to make decisions regarding swearing: How much is appropriate, whether it will sound silly if characters in life-threatening situations don’t swear in order to keep a “clean” rating (see the aforementioned Jehosephat). For some of us it’s not a tough decision, at least until our grandparents and people from church start reading our books.

*cough*

Others have to do a bit more soul-searching.

On top of that, some genres offer additional restrictions or opportunities. Writing middle-grade fiction? Yeah, we all know first-graders who drop f-bombs like Samuel L. Jackson (if with considerably less flair), but it’s not considered appropriate to include that kid as a character in a MG book, even as the bully. Historical fiction writers will have to take into account the historical accuracy of slurs and swears. This might sound restrictive, but judging by the insults Shakespeare’s characters tossed out, I’m guessing the research there could be rather interesting.

And Fantasy and Sci-Fi allow us a range of possibilities. This article from Book Riot has a great run-down of the options authors choose. There’s the vaguely-dirty-sounding substitution, the straight-up swear, religious curses based on the world the story is set in, and more.

Anyone who’s read Bound and Torn knows I let my characters swear when it seems appropriate for the situation. As my editor said in his comments on Torn*, “You gave more shits this time, and it worked.” He thought it felt realistic for characters to swear when everything is… well, when the shit hits the fan, so to speak, to not pussy-foot around to keep things universally palatable.

Why use our curses rather than making something fantastical up? Because everything else is translated, too. My characters don’t speak English in their world. If the words “cup,” “hunting,” “dragon,” and “love” are translated, I also translate the swearing when it works. It’s what works for me as a writer, though I do look forward to writing about species that use less-conventional oaths in the future. That should be fun. And there are cases where the world impacts choice of curses. “Gods” instead of “God” for a character who believes in more than one. “Harpy” instead of “bitch,” because that’s really the more vile insult in that world. It’s all about conveying meaning, not going for shock value.

Do some readers hate swearing? Yes.

Do some readers hate “clean reads” that seem awkwardly contrived to avoid realistic language and references to sex?

*raises hand*

It’s all personal taste, and you can’t please everyone. I’ll write what feels right for my stories and characters, as I expect other writers do with theirs. I do think swearing can be over-used to the point where it becomes irritating, or the reader becomes numb to it. I love creative curses, as long as I don’t have to spend too much time figuring them out. But used properly, a well-placed cuss can add a flash of depth or colour to a serious scene, or a bit of humour to another.

“Bad words” are one of many tools available to a writer, no different from metaphors and adverbs and varied sentence length. Just like anything else, we can choose to use them, to over-use them, or to not use them at all to create mood in a scene, establish character, or add impact to a moment in a story.

They just happen to occasionally be a lot more fun than most tools. 🙂

Fun Bonus Fact: The first draft of Sworn included what I (quite modestly) considered the most perfect f-bomb ever. It came from an unexpected character, and in context no other word would have delivered the same impact or meaning. It was absolutely perfect. I was certain my alpha readers or editor would tell me to cut it, but I had to have it just for my own satisfaction. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the story changed, things shifted around, and that moment was no longer essential to the story, so the Big Bad F-Bomb got cut.

This is what they mean when they say “kill your darlings.” Even when something pleases you as a writer, sometimes it has to go for the good of the story as a whole.

*Paraphrased, I can’t find my notes. Okay, that’s a lie. I haven’t had coffee, I’m lazy, and searching through those notes seems like a poor use of time I could be spending on getting the next book ready for edits.


Paperback Giveaway!

Hey, guys!

Just a quick note today, and one some of you might be interested in.

Paperback copies of Torn are finally here! Formatting issues are all cleared up, and they look fantastic. Drool-worthy, even. A little distracting, actually.

*stares at front cover*

Ahem.

Anyway, to celebrate, and to say thanks to readers, I’m doing a signed paperback giveaway for newsletter subscribers! All you’ll have to do is watch for the rafflecopter link in the next newsletter (coming Thursday) and click through to enter. The winner will be chosen at random, and given the option of which book (or Bound audiobook) they want. Open internationally. The only requirement will be that you get the newsletter.

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Not signed up yet? No worries, there’s still time! Follow this link and enter your name and e-mail address. I don’t send out newsletters very often, just when there’s something exciting going on like a cover reveal, release news, giveaways, new project sneak peeks, and other fun stuff.

Good luck to everyone who enters!


FIERCE Novel Bundle available NOW!

Over a million words from sixteen best-selling Fantasy authors, including the legendary Mercedes Lackey…

…for 99 cents.

I know. It’s crazy. Insane. Bonkers, even. But the Fierce box set is available now, and for a limited time at this fantastic price!

FIERCE, Sixteen Authors Of Fantasy

Already grabbed your copy? Want to help an author (or sixteen) out? If you’ve reviewed Bound in the past and have a minute to copy and paste your review onto the Amazon page for Fierce, it will be a big help for the set. You don’t have to have read the rest of the stories, though I hope you will enjoy them–I know I can’t wait to dive in! Reviews help the set’s visibility on Amazon, and will help with advertising through other venues.

This is a pretty please with a cherry on top. 🙂

BIG thanks to everyone who pre-ordered!

Here are the details, in case anyone missed them when I first announced the set:

WORKS INCLUDED:

Mercedes Lackey – Moving Targets
Stuck watching over four Herald trainees on circuit, Elyn is at her wits’ end–and that’s before a town asks for help with a ghostly infestation.

Michael G. Manning – The Blacksmith’s Son
A journey to discover the secrets of his past reveals a magical heritage and embroils Mordecai in a deadly battle for the future of mankind.

K.F. Breene – Chosen
Prophecy has foretold that when war threatens the world, the Chosen will appear to help the Shadow Warriors reclaim their stolen freedom and lead them out of the Land of Mist.

Morgan Rice – A Quest of Heroes
Thorgin, an outsider and a dreamer, fights to become a warrior in an epic quest that finds him at the center of a maelstrom of royal plots and counterplots that threaten him and everyone he loves.

Michael James Ploof – Whill of Agora
When Whill learns the truth of his lineage, he sets out to face his father’s murderer, but what he learns along the way will change his life–and the realm–forever.

Daniel Arenson – Requiem’s Song
Weredragons, men call them. Monsters. Cursed ones. People who can turn into beastly reptiles. Together they will forge a nation.

Kate Sparkes – Bound
When a young woman accidentally saves the life of an enemy Sorcerer, she finds herself drawn into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever imagined.

David Adams – The Pariahs
Two sellswords–a half-elf and a half-orc–find their war over before it even begins. But trouble is stirring on the home front, conflict which threatens more than just their lives.

Amy Raby – The Fire Seer
Taya must use her fire visions to investigate a series of murders, but the Coalition of Mages has partnered her with her old nemesis, the man who used to bully her when they were young.

C. Greenwood – Magic of Thieves
In a province where magic is forbidden, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival–concealment.

David Dalglish – The Weight of Blood
When half-bloods Harruq and Qurrah Tun pledged their lives to a death prophet, they only sought escape from their squalid beginnings. Instead, they become his greatest disciples, charged with leading his army of undead.

K.J. Colt – Bear Heart
In the savage lands of Ruxdor, young Klawdia must fight the champions of four rival clans to defend her future as the first female chieftain.

Shae Ford – Poison
A bandit girl is taken from her home and thrust into a complex world of lords and ladies, where she learns that she must kill to survive.

Endi Webb – The Maskmaker’s Apprentice
Masks of legend. Masks of power. Those who dare to wear them trifle with the old powers and risk ruin and mayhem. But a young apprentice maskmaker cannot contain his curiosity, and accidentally unleashes a deadly terror upon an unsuspecting world.

Michael Wallace – The Dark Citadel
A slave boy and a young queen lead an alliance of spies, servants, and merchants to stave off the encroaching armies of a dark wizard.

Terah Edun – Blades of Magic
As an unstoppable war breaks out, a young girl enlists in the military to unravel the secrets surrounding her father’s execution.

Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks


Wednesday’s Writing Stuff

Exciting title, no? It’s been kind of a crazy week, I’m a little off-kilter, and that’s actually the best I can do.

Quick update:

  • Torn is off for copy edits and proofreading, which means I have a few weeks to freak out get back into revisions on book three, which needs some adjustments after Torn‘s big edits (and just because I’ve come up with a few ways to give the story a more satisfying conclusion).
  • We had the cover reveal for Torn on Monday. Big thanks again to everyone who helped out by sharing or posting the reveal on your blogs! It made it a great party.
  • torn_full

    So pretty!

  • Pre-orders are up, too. It feels like this is really the point of no return, but I… *looks over shoulder, whispers* I feel good about the timing on this. Still releasing in March (31st), but leaving time in case things go wrong.
  • And Bound is on sale for 99 cents this week, in case anyone missed THAT on Monday, as well.

 

WIPpet Wednesday

I guess we only have a few weeks left when I can call Torn a work in progress.

Holy carp.

As always, potential spoilers ahead. I’m trying not to give away twists or surprises (or the main plot), but if you’ve read Bound, you might guess who’s being described here.

And be happy. I can’t be held responsible for that.

2 paragraphs from chapter 25 for 2/25, from the mysterious 3rd character’s POV. She’s just met some strangers, and isn’t feeling particularly warm toward them.

I guess you’ll meet her when we do the prologue reveal in a few weeks… 😀

One look at him told me I had better not let my guard down. It would be far too easy to be overcome by his obvious charm. Skin the same color as the woman’s, eyes like the depths of a lake on a summer day, black hair that he brushed back from his face in a gesture that was somehow bashful and self-confident at the same time. His smile revealed the hint of a shallow dimple at the corner of his mouth. I glanced lower, taking in the challenge. Broad shoulders, a muscular body obvious even under layers of clothing. Big hands with long fingers gripped the reins in an awkward hold.

I’d always had a weakness for beauty. We saw so little of it in Cressia.

Hmm…

For more WIPpet Wednesday, click here. The WIPpeteers (including our host, KL Schwengel) post snippets of works in progress every Wednesday, and it’s always fun to see what they’re up to. The only rule is that the snippet has to relate in some way to the calendar date. If you think that sounds like a good time, jump in on your own blog! We don’t bite.

Hard.

 

 


Want Bound for Free? Read On.

When I look at this blog’s stats, I see search engine terms that bring people here. Sometimes they’re amusing. Sometimes they’re confusing, like the person who tried eight different search terms trying to figure out how to put notes for chapter one of their book into a notebook.

Sorry I wasn’t more helpful with that.

Sometimes they’re people wondering when they next book in the Bound trilogy is out, which is super cool. Still aiming for late winter/early spring (Northern hemisphere), guys.

A lot of the time, they’re people looking for free copies of Bound. They’re looking for BOUND KATE SPARKES (or SPARKS) FREE, BOUND TRILOGY FREE, yadda yadda.

Now, I have no problem with that. I’m glad there’s interest. Ecstatic, actually. And a lot of authors do offer their books for free from time to time. I get the feeling that a lot of these people are looking for pirated/file-shared PDF files, though. That’s less of a good feeling.

I’m not talking to those people, though, and that’s a totally different topic.

No, this post is for the people who have heard good things about Bound but don’t have five dollars to spend on the e-book. I totally get that. I often wait for books to go on sale when they’re $4.99 or above, and almost never spend more than about $6 on an e-book, myself. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re cool. High fives, frugal buddies!

I’m going to tell you a secret. There are ways to get it for less.

If you want a bought-and-paid-for copy at a lower price (bless you), you could wait for a sale. It’s going to happen some time.

The best way to be alerted of that is to sign up for my newsletter here. I don’t spam, only send messages when something of interest is afoot, and share information on sales and events like cover reveals there before I do anywhere else.

Following on Twitter (@kate_sparkes) or Facebook are also options, but there’s a better chance you’ll miss announcements that way. Facebook reach is low. Tweets are fleeting. *sigh*

(The other cool thing about the newsletter is that that’s where I’m going to be making the first offer for advance review copies of Torn. Depending on how many I decide to pass out and how much interest there is, that might be the only place to get them. Seriously, sign up!)

Or… there’s another option.

Have you guys heard of the Books Machine?

It’s an interesting concept, and one I’m still figuring out. Authors list their books, and readers browse or search for specific books, then request review copies.

Free review copies.

What does that mean? Well, in this case, you send a message to the author through the site stating why you’d like to receive a copy of the book, and the author accepts or rejects the requests. I haven’t rejected a request yet, but if you send me one saying “I hate Fantasy and love is stupid,” I might just say no. The other reason a request might be rejected is if an author is giving out a set number of copies a month, and that’s already been exceeded.

But mostly, authors like reviews, and it’s worth it to us to share our work through the site. Because…

You have a job, too. You get the book free, direct from the author. In my case, I’ll send you a mobi file via e-mail or direct to your Kindle, since for some reason I can’t gift through Amazon.ca.  In exchange, you agree to read it within a certain time frame and leave an honest review on Amazon*.

Not necessarily a glowing review. You’re not obligated to leave ALL TEH STARZ.

But you as a reader do agree to leave a review, and in a timely fashion.

After you do that, you let The Books Machine know what a keener you are, and the author rates your performance. Again, NOT based on how well-written the review is, or how many stars you gave. It’s based entirely on whether you fulfilled your side of the deal within the specified time frame. If you do that, you get a better reputation on the site, and will be more likely to have other authors accept your requests.

Cool, right? Seems like it to me, anyway. Not everyone is in a position to read quickly and review, but if you’re doing that anyway, this might be something to look into. It works a bit like Read4Review groups on Goodreads, but with one big group.

I’ve only had three requests through the program so far, so no comment or assessment on whether it’s worth it for authors to sign up (we’ll look at that another day). But it seems like an interesting deal for readers. I thought about requesting Unicorn Western through there, but realized I couldn’t guarantee I’d get through it in time.

Curses.

To recap:

WAYS TO GET MY BOOKS CHEAP OR FREE:

-Wait for a sale

-sign up for the newsletter to be informed of said sales (or if you want a chance to get the next book free and in advance of publication, and who doesn’t want that?)

-check out the Books Machine. Bound comes up in their search (click “Books” at the top), but there’s lots more there that’s worth checking out.

 

There you go. You’re welcome, search engines.

 

*Yes, you have to review on Amazon, but you’re also free to review elsewhere. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read using the Kindle app on a computer, phone, or tablet. Or you might find an author willing to send an ePub file. *ahem*


Bound Featured on TeamNerd Reviews!

So a few days ago I got a DM on Twitter from Bridget, who said she was from TeamNerd Reviews and that they were going to feature Bound on Thursday.

Cool!

She asked for a teaser to post with the information.

No problem.

Er… okay, a little bit of a problem. I’ve come to realize that almost every really juicy bit of this book contains SPOILERS. Big ones, small ones, itty-bitty ones, but always something.

But I did my best, I sent a few over, and she picked a good, reasonably-non-spoilery one to post. TeamNerd Reviews is a super fun blog where they not only review books but also feature authors, offer teasers, and discuss TV shows they love. Check them out!

Here’s the link to today’s post

Thanks, Bridget and Annabell!


The Things I Did Wrong

Here’s another post that’s mostly of interest to fellow writers. Several people have asked me about how I launched the book, how I get reviews, how it got noticed by Amazon… often my response is a blank stare, but here’s what I did. Hope it helps! Just remember that you have to do what’s right for YOUR book.

 

There’s a lot of advice out there for self-publishers. I’m not going to add to it. I don’t have enough experience to advise anyone on anything, though I’m happy to point you to resources that have helped me (see end of this post).

Actually… according to the advice I’ve read, I’m doing a lot of things wrong. That’s not to say it hasn’t worked out for me. Bound has had a decent run at the top of a few sub-category best-seller lists, and has sold more e-books in its first few months than I projected for its first few years (Don’t be too impressed– I’m a conservative estimator). But according to a lot of people*, I did all of this wrong:

  • I didn’t launch the book at free or 99 cents.
  • I didn’t go exclusive with Amazon’s KDP Select. Because of that, my book is not available through Kindle Lending Library or Kindle Universe.
  • I invested a not-small chunk of change in editing my first book, before I knew I had an audience and before I knew I could make the money back.
  • I released at the beginning of the summer sales slump.
  • I didn’t pay for a blog tour, get into the big e-mail newsletters, spam Twitter, do follow-backs to gain followers on Twitter or Facebook, or pay for any advertising outside of a $6 Fussy Librarian spot (which didn’t seem to do anything, but hey. $6 for exposure, right?)
  • I didn’t have several books ready to go all at once.
  • I didn’t contact a lot of book bloggers.

That’s… that’s a lot of stuff I did wrong. Okay, maybe not wrong, but it went against a lot of advice. I followed my gut on these things, and I know that I’m lucky it’s paid off so far. That’s why I’m not saying “DO THIS, DO IT NOW.” Your Mileage May Vary is a HUGE thing. But if you’re curious…

Here’s what I did instead:

  • I started with an intro sale price of $2.99 to thank friends, family, and blog readers who were already supporting me, and also to make it easier for readers to take a chance on an unknown author. This lasted two months, and then the price went up to $4.99. Both prices are great value. That’s not to say I’ll never do a low-price promotion in the future, but I’m glad I started out at 70% royalties with Amazon. The $2.99 price point paid for the next book.
  • I uploaded to Amazon through KDP, and to Kobo, B&N, and iBooks through Draft2Digital (because the Smashwords meatgrinder was intimidating, and D2D is super simple). Sales at the other stores are 1/50 to 1/100 of what they are at Amazon (yes, combined). There have been times when I considered going exclusive, but I know it takes time to gain traction at those other places. And Amazon has been amazing. They have not penalized my book in any way for being non-exclusive. They just want to make money, and even if my sales are a drop in the proverbial bucket for them, they’ve been good to me so far. Select is a fantastic tool, and can be really helpful for gaining visibility, so it’s the preference for many authors when a book first comes out. I just want to point out that it’s not an absolute necessity if you’re as uncomfortable with exclusivity as I am.
  • see here for more on the editing experience. It was amazing, and I have no regrets.
  • I have no idea how the book would have done if I’d waited to release in the autumn, or at Christmas. Maybe it would have done better. Maybe a lot worse. Maybe it would have been competing with bigger releases, or maybe there would have been more people buying when it was topping those little lists, and I would have made more sales. I’m not experienced enough to say. But I’m not complaining about how things have gone, and I hope I gave some people an enjoyable summer read.
  • As to the e-mail lists, they probably would have helped if I’d released at 99 cents, but above that I don’t know that subscribers pay much attention. Keeping this one in the arsenal for later, as I do think they’re a great way to get the word out about sales/promos. And blog tours… well, I didn’t have an official one, but I’ve had some amazing, kind, and helpful fellow writers offer to host me for interviews, and I think that helped get the word out. I am so grateful to everyone who has done that, or who helped out with the cover reveal and release announcements. You’re the best. Also, acquaintances/friends/blog followers who read the book early on and went out of your way to share it with friends… you’re superstars. /end sappiness
  • Oh, and those Twitter follow-backs, yadda yadda… I still don’t see the point of having 10,000 followers if no one is actually interested in what you have to say, and only follwed you to inflate their own numbers. I do try to follow people who follow me on Twitter, but if you’re only posting #promo #promo #buymybook, I’m not going to stick around to keep you as a follower. Sorry. (But hey, if you tweet real, original thoughts, make me think or laugh, or reply to my stuff in a non-promo way, I’ll stick around through whatever occasional promos you put out there. Well done. Let’s be friends!)
  • Book two is coming out sooner than it probably would with a big publisher (8-9 months after book one, probably), but I can’t put out a book every two months like some people can. Is that going to hurt me? Will readers forget about the series before book two comes out, or stop caring? Maybe. Time will tell. But I hope my most passionate readers will get the word out again when the time comes. And they say not to promote your first book because you don’t want to hit it big when you don’t have more to sell to new fans. Well… I didn’t promote, but things have gone pretty well, and I have nothing in the back to offer people right now. We’ll see what happens.
  • I do wish I’d contacted more bloggers for reviews, but I’m shy. I’m also polite, and won’t send form letters or mass e-mails, so researching and writing requests/offers is time-consuming. But I should do it. Book bloggers/reviewers are amazing people who put their personal time and effort into adding value to the reading community, and I want to get to know more of them.

So there it is. I didn’t do it all wrong, of course. I did some things right:

  • I used keywords to get the book into relevant sub-categories on Amazon so that it would come up on Best Sellers and Hot New Release lists sooner than it would in the big ones.
  • I put a (polite, no-pressure) note in the back of the book saying how important reviews and recommendations are to a new book/author, and asked those who loved the book to share it.
  • I sent out Advance Reading/Review Copies (ARCs). Not as many as most people do, I think, but they went out, and most people followed through with reviews.
  • I wrote the story I wanted to read, not the one I thought the market wanted. Actually… this would be considered wrong by some, but it was the right thing for me. And I made it a good book with the help of incredible beta readers and a good editor. It’s not a perfect book. There is no perfect book. But it’s the one I set out to write, and it delivers good value to readers, and that knowledge helps me shrug off bad reviews from people who find it’s not their cup of tea.
  • I paid for good cover art from an artist who knows what looks good and what sells. I listened to her advice when it went against my personal preferences, and it worked out beautifully. She let me help (cover model selection, font choice out of a few she liked), but I let her lead based on the book info I’d sent. I really need to to a post on that some day. There are beautiful, high-quality pre-made covers out there, but none of them fit my book. This does, and I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said they gave Bound a chance because of the cover.
  • I ripped my hair out for two weeks over writing a blurb (sales copy) that seems to be fairly effective, and I made sure the Amazon sample was both good AND representative of the entire book.

If you’re looking for indie publishing resources, I’ll list a few of the ones that helped me below**. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope this has been helpful for someone. Just remember: I am not qualified to give advice. This is just what worked for me. I’m not an expert. A book does not a career make, yadda yadda. ‘kay? Good.

*Yes, according to some people I did these things right, too. Conflicting advice is conflicting. It’s just a fun way to frame the discussion of something people keep asking about. 🙂

**Please note that though none of these authors pay me for promotion, I am using Amazon affiliate links and receive an itty-bitty bit of money if you buy through them. Well… I will if I set it up right.  It costs you nothing extra, but does help me out. 🙂


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