Tag Archives: promotion

Bound (Bound Trilogy Book One) FREE for a limited time!

I know, I know. Too much promotion here these days, right?

I promise I’ll be back with something else when I have anything interesting to share with you. Right now I’m buckling down, trying to avoid wasting time on social media, and working on getting the first three books I’ll be releasing under my pen name ready for publication. There’s a lot going on here… it’s just behind the scenes.

I do have one bit of excitement to share, though! For the first time ever, Bound is free on all of its regular ebook retailers! Whether you read on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Kindle, or those smaller ones whose names I can never remember, I’m giving the ebook away.

I wish I could say I had a big strategic reason for doing this, but honestly? It was the end of winter, I was in a funk, and not much lifts my spirits like giving something away. And between this and the paperback giveaway I just wrapped up with my newsletter type people*, I’m having a pretty good time.

Besides, we’re coming up on Bound’s third anniversary as a published book. Why not invite some new people in to explore this world and get to know my beloved characters?

So if you haven’t started the series yet, check out the links at books2read.com/bound. If you have read and enjoyed these books, why not offer a recommendation to a book-loving friend? This offer is only going to be on for a few weeks, and when it’s over, I don’t know whether or when it will happen again.

Enjoy!

Bound free promo rectangle

 

*Newsletter subscribers get the VIP treatment. Giveaways, bonuses, free stuff… want to join in? Visit my site to sign up, then watch your inbox (or spam folder) for the confirmation email. Add me to your contacts so you don’t miss anything, and enjoy!

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COVER REVEAL: Beast & Beauty by Kate Sparkes

Hey! That’s me! ūüėÄ

Here’s the story. I mean, not the story… that’s coming February 23. But the story ABOUT the story.

I’ve been hard at work on my vampires since October (and before that, but that’s another story). I love them. They’re wonderful. They’re dark and delicious and bloody and sexy and fast-paced and¬†they’re TOTALLY my front-burner project right now.

But isn’t it fun to play in another sandbox sometimes, just to get a break?

Back in December, I was asked whether I’d be interested in participating in a fairy tale romance short story anthology. Word count under 8,000¬†words, due in January.

WOULD I? I love fairy tales! I love romance! And the kicker was that I could do whatever I wanted, including setting it in one of my worlds.

It would have been perfect had I been able to come up with a story I thought I could do justice to in that small word count, but I couldn’t. I mean, I could have told the story, sure. But the one I wanted to tell would have felt really sparse and rushed at that length.*

But once those ideas start bouncing around, it’s hard to set them aside. Especially when it’s Christmas, you’re supposed to be “off work,” and you’re itching to write something a little different from that Urban Fantasy you’re working on.

Or maybe that’s just me.

In any case, Beast & Beauty was born. It looks nothing like the original concept I came up with for a twist on Beauty and the Beast, but I’m totally in love with it. It’s set in Elurien several years before Into Elurien, in the midst of the monster revolution. Queen Verelle is very much alive and showing her true colours, and a timid cervid named Nava is about to get way more adventure than her heart ever desired.

beast-beauty-kindle

Can’t wait for a bit of sweet fairy tale romance, big adventure, and another visit to Elurien?

Well, I’ve got good news. This gorgeous little novella is coming on February 23, 2017… and it’s going to be absolutely FREE.

Yep, this one is a newsletter exclusive, and I’ll be sending the links out on my birthday (because hey, I like giving gifts as much as I like getting them).

Not signed up yet? Visit my website and click the newsletter tab at the top. Once you’ve confirmed your subscription (check your spam and promo folders), the gears at Mailchimp will start turning, and you’ll get two free Bound trilogy prequel stories in about 24 hours.

…and this story on the 23rd.

See you then!

*truth be told, there were two I wanted to tell. The other, a revised and expanded version of my flash fiction story “Cinder Ella” will be next, and will likely go out to my pen name’s newsletter list… when she has one.


Street Team: Great Idea, or Kind of Silly?

I’ve heard a lot about author street teams lately. The concept (for those who haven’t heard of it) involves a group of fans of an author’s work who are excited about promoting it. Those special readers hand out bookmarks, leave honest reviews, maybe request or donate library copies in their town, recommend the books to friends, or mention the titles in relevant Facebook posts. In exchange, they might get advance copies of books, paperbacks, or other swag. Maybe they become the author’s inner circle, the devoted fans who the author asks to beta read new work, or who have the author’s ear when they have questions about the stories.

And, of course, they get the author’s eternal gratitude. It’s about connection, not bribery.

Ideally, it’s a win-win situation. As an author, I wouldn’t be comfortable asking people to help out with promotions if they weren’t getting anything but warm, fuzzy feelings in return…

…but then, people do that anyway, don’t they? I know I do, when I read a book that I love. All of Bound‘s early sales came from word-of-mouth promotion. People read advance copies and reviewed on their blogs, or bought copies and recommended the book to their friends. A few people suggested it to their wine-drinking clubs book clubs, and they all bought it and read it together. And that led to enough sales that Amazon started recommending it.

It continues now. People will write and say they loved the book and are recommending it to everyone, and I just want to hug them. But I don’t. Because that would be uncomfortable for everyone.

Also, internet hugs get weird.

But I’m starting to think that a street team could be fun. I know there are people out there who are reviewing and recommending, and darn it, I want to give them stuff to make that easier. I want to send them postcards with book covers on them. I want them to be the first to know when a limited number of advance review copies are available. I want to wish them happy birthday (from their favourite character, if that’s what they want).

I want to thank them.

IMG_5663

Like… all the swag. I should get more.

 

So, how to do it?

A Facebook group seems like the obvious answer. This would be better than a page, as it would ensure that people actually see my posts (unlike my page, where posts reach very few of the people who have signed up and said they want to see them). It would allow people to interact with each other and share ideas, and I’d get to know them a little better, too, as I’ve done with a few readers through my Facebook page.

Or would it just be a time-suck? I’d love to do fun things like awarding points for achievements (sharing promo posts on Facebook and elsewhere, recommending the book or nominating it for things like readers’ choice awards, leaving reviews, etc.),¬†and then send out prizes like book charms, exclusive bookmarks, paperbacks, etc.

But that could get complicated. I mean, I can’t even use Excel to track this stuff, because I’m no good with computer… thing. And I kind of need to use my “spare” time for writing. This isn’t something I’d take time away from writing to do, but I could definitely set it up and maintain it on days like today, when the kids are home and I can’t do my “real” work.

And there’s the expense. Mailing anything bigger than a few postcards gets really expensive when it’s coming from Canada.

So my questions for all y’all:¬†

AUTHORS: Do you use a street team? How do you keep in touch with them? What do they do? Is it what you hoped it would be? How do you make it worthwhile for your readers, those wonderful people who make your professional world go ’round?

READERS: Would you be interested in something like this? Say, a closed Facebook group where you’d be the first to learn about my new books and promotions, see things like teasers and new covers, and have first dibs on advance review copies? Would you be willing to help out with occasional promos in exchange for these things, or do you prefer to recommend books¬†for no reason other than the fact that the moment seems right? If you were on a street team, what would make it fun for you? Points? Raffles? ¬†Just-for-fun, random party games a few times a month? Group chats? Constant AMA author access?

And also: What would my team be called? “You Guys” is probably taken. O.o

And P.S: I am so grateful to those of you who are already doing this stuff. Those who are sharing Bound with people, writing reviews, tweeting about books, recommending to your book clubs, clicking “helpful” on positive Amazon reviews, commenting on Facebook… the one teacher I know of who stuck a copy in her classroom… I appreciate it, and you, so much.

 

 


Trusting My Instincts (And Where They Took Me This Year)

Some people choose a word at the beginning of the year to be their theme, keep their goals on-track, and direct their work. I think that’s a fantastic idea. I might even try it for 2015.

Again.

See, I have a hard time remembering my word, which makes it somewhat ineffective. But one thing I can do right now is look back at 2014 and spot the One Thing. The lesson I learned. The progress in my personal character arc that this section of my story pulled out of me.

2014 was the year I learned to trust my instincts.

(This is going to be a writing/publishing/sales post. You’re excused if this topic bores you. No hard feelings. We’ll talk about future projects next time, which should be more exciting for most of us. WHEE, FUN!)

See, independent publishing is a wonderful thing, or at least it can be under the right circumstances. But it is a business as much as it is a creative endeavour, and it requires a LOT of decision-making.

And me? I suck at decisions.

Publishing

I find it hard to believe how much happened this year. As of early 2014 I was firmly prepared to get Bound out to the world by publishing it myself. I had considered the options and decided not to seek out an agent and publishing contract for this project. I’d booked an editor, paid my deposit, and was… actually, I was still tearing my hair out over the decision. I knew I had the right editor, I’d picked an amazing cover designer, and I felt confident that I had a solid story even if I knew it still needed work.

But¬†I had¬†doubts. I read success stories, but I read more about people who were excited to be earning coffee money from their books. This is not to say that that’s not an achievement. Reaching even one reader and giving them a story they fall in love with is the goal. To change one person, to have an impact on her… it’s mind-blowing. It’s why I do this.

But when you’re paying several thousand dollars for production costs and want to maintain the same standards on book two, you want to make that back ASAP. And there are no guarantees. None. Amazing books do poorly¬†and crap rises to the top as often as it goes the other way.

And on top of that, there are the well-meaning friends who have gone ahead with publishing their work who tell you, “Yeah, have fun with your book getting ignored. You can’t do it without an agent and a publisher. Trust me.”

It can become¬†difficult to have confidence in your plans, you know? But my instincts told me this was the way to go (emphasis on me–this is not for everyone). My gut¬†said I could do it myself, but I couldn’t go it alone. I couldn’t do my own editing and cover design. But I was starting a business, and those things were the expenses I’d have to handle if I wanted it to have a chance at success. I made the decision, and it felt right.

And yet I still hesitated.

For a real example of how uncertain I was, look no further than the fact that I didn’t officially announce Bound’s upcoming release until after I got edits back and realized that though the manuscript bled red from every page, I could handle the changes.

It’s like not really committing to a relationship until you’re walking down the aisle.

But I digress.

 

The Other Stuff

It wasn’t all about the method of publication, though that was absolutely the biggest decision I had to trust my gut on¬†in 2014.

There were the decisions I had to make about which developmental suggestions to take from my editor. All were good suggestions; not all fit my vision for the story and the direction I wanted to take the series. I stuck to my guns on one huge aspect of the love story, the end of the book, and… actually, I took almost every other suggestion, including re-working the back-story for the entire world.

And it worked. It’s not a perfect book (I don’t believe such a thing exists), but it’s the one I wanted to write.

There was the cover art, and on this I had to trust someone else’s¬†experience and instincts. I wanted something symbolic, but nothing we came up with¬†had the impact a book needs to sell. We talked about a cover with a character on it–an idea I instinctively balked at, but that turned into a cover that has gained a lot of attention from readers. Ravven knows book covers. I don’t. Even when I wasn’t 100% sure on the finished product, I trusted the part of me that said¬†to trust her.

And it worked.

There was the question of going with Amazon’s KDP Select and gaining extra promo opportunities, or distributing more widely. That’s its own post, and we’ve talked about it before. I stayed out of Select, and have only occasionally and temporarily regretted that decision. Have I missed some opportunities to promote? Yes. Has Amazon punished me for it? Absolutely not. I sell over 90% of my books there. They’ve been amazing.

So yeah, that seems to be working for me. Whew!

I had to decide whether to heavily promote Bound when it was my only book, or put that time and energy into working on the next one. I chose the latter.

No regrets there.

There were lovely e-mails from people at companies I won’t name here asking about audio rights or publication opportunities. I accepted one offer and regretfully declined discussion on another that I’d have jumped at a year ago, but that didn’t fit my plan for this series at this time.

That was a tough one. I do hope to work with those people on another project some day. But I followed my instincts again, and I feel good about my decision.

There was the pricing issue. There’s some¬†pressure to release a first novel at 99 cents to try to get more impulse purchases, or to make it free just on the off chance that people might read it if it’s in their Kindles. I struggled with this for a long time. I had invested a lot into this book, both in time and money. I had an eye-catching cover, a blurb that I thought worked, and a sample that I trusted to draw readers in. My gut told me to let¬†those things to do their job and let the sales come as they may.

There’s nothing wrong with 99 cent sales, or 99 cent releases, or perma-free first books in series. You have to do what works for you, and I’ll do occasional sales in the future. But I knew that three bucks was a hell of a deal for this book. Heck, $4.99 is a bargain. Amazon says I should price it higher, but I don’t.**

I’m doing what feels right for me when it comes to¬†pricing, price changes, and sales. I’m not dropping the price just to chase Amazon ranking. I’m gathering honest review. I’m trying to really connect with people through social media instead of spamming.

Everything is about long-term strategy, and so far, it’s working.

 

The results of trusting my instincts

How well is it working?

Ugh. I hate to talk about it, but I do find it helpful when other authors share results, so here goes.

Thanks to a combination of factors***, Bound stayed in the top 10 of several sub-category Best Seller lists all summer, and sat at #1 on two of them for quite a while. It’s still in two top 50’s, and in the top 100 of a third six months after release.

Fullscreen capture 2014-07-20 84034 AM.bmp

^Back in June. Aah, memories!

 

At its best day, it was in the top 500 overall on Amazon.com. At its lowest, it’s hovered around 10,000. I expect this to keep dropping, and that’s fine. Really. Juuuust fine.

*anxiety explosion*

As of the six month mark (Christmas Eve), it had sold over 15,000 copies in e-book.

It’s not NYT Bestseller stuff by any stretch, but not at all bad for a debut from an unknown indie author with no massive social media following, no industry connections, no money for promotion, no offering the book for free (except as advance review copies) and thus far no 99 cent sales.

I put the number here simply to add another entry to the “Yeah, this is possible” column. You hear a lot about how “the wild west land of indie publishing opportunity is over,” but it’s still possible for readers to discover your book. There is hope. Always.

Have I made mistakes and missed opportunities? Absolutely. And I will continue to make them, and miss them. But I will also continue to read as much as I can on the industry, on what people are doing that works, and what doesn’t. I find that my instincts only work if I feed them with information.

That’s why I’m posting this for you to read. I don’t care to talk about money. I hesitated to even post sales numbers. But it’s time for me to give back to the author community that has supported me, and as I’m not comfortable offering advice, I’ll share experience. I hope my experiences will help feed your instincts.

This isn’t a road map, though.

There’s no one right way to do this, and I mistrust anyone who says there is. For me, the key is being informed, staying flexible, making decisions I’m comfortable with, never taking advantage of others for my own gain, being grateful for everything, and above all maintaining my commitment to producing quality work.

Your mileage may, of course, vary.

You know what? I’m calling my word for next year. It’s going to be Flexibility.

There’s an 80% chance that this is the same word I chose last year, but that’s fine. It’s working. It means learning, it means shaking off the negative and steering for the positive. It means trying new things that might not work out, but that I also might learn from.

Next post, we’ll set some goals and talk about upcoming releases. YAY!

 

So tell me: What did you learn this year, either in your personal or professional life? Anything that might help the rest of us out?

 

**Mostly because I almost never pay more than $5 for an e-book myself, unless it’s a box set, something that I’m desperate to have, or occasionally to support author friends. I like e-books, but their limitations mean I won’t¬†pay paperback prices for them. $5 for something I’m only licensing for personal use seems reasonable to me.^

^That said, never say never. As the industry changes, so will my opinions and tactics. This is a faintly-drawn line in the sand, not a stone wall. Flexibility!

***We can talk about this in another post, if anyone cares to. I have theories. But this post is already way too long.

 


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. ūüôā

**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. ūüôā


Pleases and Thank Yous and OMG A BOOK: ROW80 goals post, round 2

So this goals post is a week late. I said last Sunday that I was putting it off because of my surgical thinger on Monday (UPDATE: everything is fine, general anaesthesia is creepy, painkillers are kind of fun but I’m off of them now). That was true, but it wasn’t all of it. I was waiting to get stuff¬†back from my editor, and I wanted to make sure his evaluation wasn’t going to be KILL IT NOW WITH FIRE AND EXTREME PREJUDICE before I made goals public.

Wouldn’t want to have to retract my goals now, would I?

Anyway…

This has the potential to be a huge round for me. I’m not going to lie, I might need you all to talk me down from an 8th-floor window ledge at least once, assuming I can find a building anywhere around here with eight floors.

Why? Because this round covers April 7 to June 26, and depending on how things go… no promises just yet… I might just have a book out by the end of this round.

LIKE A BOOK AN ACTUAL BOOK I MIGHT BE HOLDING MY WORDS IN MY HANDS IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS HOLY CARP.*

Pictured: Holy Carp.

Pictured: Holy Carp.

I got the edits back, and they’re exactly what I had hoped for. My guy is a master of the “sh*t sandwich” technique. No punches pulled on things that need improvement, but some of what he said was so encouraging that I fell asleep smiling the night I got and read the (20 page) critique. When I read the line notes, I spent equal amounts of time slapping my forehead over silly little mistakes and grinning like an idiot because he totally got what I was going for so much of the time.

I’ll do a post on this experience later, because it was so interesting.

The important thing is that he had ideas on how to fix problems I already knew existed, and came up with suggestions that are really going to push this thing up to a whole ‘nother level.

I’m both excited and pants-crappingly terrified. It’s… different.

So what are we looking at over the next few months? A THRILLING roller-coaster of me working on that in a most professional manner and handling all of my other plans and responsibilities with the grace and aplomb of Martha Stewart organizing a dinner party, obviously.

*snerk*

But seriously. Professionalism is this round’s goal. Distance. This isn’t my baby anymore. It’s a product, and if I have anything to say about it, it’ll be a damned good one. I know I’m insecure about a lot of things, but I’m absolutely confident about that.

So, the goals. Please note that these could change and things could get pushed back. But:

APRIL:

  • Edit Bound (pray for me, send happy thoughts, whatever. Please. I’m new at this.)
  • Write back-cover copy (SOMEBODY SAVE ME)
  • set up Facebook author page, change personal account name for consistency
  • hire proof-reader (anyone know someone cheap? I’m pretty well out of cash)
  • find reviewers who might be interested in YA Fantasy (again, if you know anyone, or are someone and want an ARC, see below)
  • put together front-matter and back-matter for the book, metadata, keywords, etc

MAY:

  • finish edits
  • send out newsletter with release date, cover reveal date, preview, and request for readers willing to review ARCs in exchange for a free copy (sign-ups here, if you’re DTR**)
  • Formatting (kill me now)
  • cover reveal here and on other blogs, if anyone wants to assist… *puppy dog eyes*
  • apply for ISBNs
  • submit to CreateSpace, order proof copy, correct all the things
  • Prepare for awesome-yet-smallish Facebook release party (you’re coming, right?)
  • Add to Goodreads, set up give-away
  • revisions on book 2 (we’ll call this a stretch goal)

JUNE:

  • Upload to Amazon, Smashwords
  • LAUNCH THIS THING *smashes champagne bottle on Kindle*
  • Release party
  • mood swings, morning after regret, probable IBS
  • Draft book three for JuNoWriMo if revisions on 2 are done. Otherwise, keep up with that and get to book 3 later.

 

This timeline terrifies me. I’ve been 100% sure I wanted to publish independently for almost a year, but the traditional-minded part of me is still screaming “YOU CAN’T DO IT THAT QUICKLY! SO WRONG!” I’m still amazed when I see authors post things like, “Well, finished a draft, guess I’ll release next month.”

Um… *hides under table*

Time to stop wussing out, though. This is my job now. As entrepreneurial ventures go, it’s a risky one. I just have to learn to be OK with that.

Now, before things get too crazy, I think I should take a minute to thank all of you. My WIPpeteers, my blog friends, my real-life friends who care and have encouraged me and put up with my “should-I-or-shouldn’t-I” crap, and especially those who have read my stuff… you’re all the reason I’m going ahead with this. Your love and encouragement have meant the world to me, and have given me the confidence to follow this dream. You’ve convinced me that this is a gamble that’s going to pay off (in satisfaction and experience, even if not in cash). Your advice and assistance have brought me this far. So thank you.

 

Anything else y’all think I should be doing to get ready?

Oh, and if you need to reach me privately about anything, my contact info is in the “About Me” tab.

 

*Not written like this. You’re welcome.

**Down to read.

 

 


And I Shall Draw Them In With My Stunning Good Looks…

I usually try to avoid taking “selfies” (and if selfie isn’t the most grating currently-popular word other than “twerk,” I don’t know what is). Why? For the same reason I don’t vlog.

Cameras hate me.

I know what I look like, and when I look in the mirror, I usually like what I see. I can attempt to take a picture of myself for my facebook profile, and everything looks fine until I press that button. Hair’s good, skin looks decent, nothing too gruesome.

And THEN.

Then I push the button, and my phone destroys my image like it’s not only stolen my soul, but mangled it and spit it out along with the abstract art it shoves at me, laughing.

Okay, I suppose it’s possible that I only think this because my face is asymmetrical (particularly my jaw and that one droopy eyelid), and though I’m used to seeing that in the mirror, a photo reverses these imperfections and makes me notice them. Possible, yes, but that doesn’t explain why dents and wrinkles and moronic expressions show up that weren’t there before. I still lean toward some sort of conspiracy, or a personal vendetta on the part of my phone.

I’M SORRY I DROPPED YOU, OKAY?

Ugh.

Anyway, video’s not much better. I keep a post-it note plastered over the camera on my laptop, just in case anyone can see my writing face, which I assume looks like this:

IMG_4142

It’s a public service.

All of this is to say that I did take a picture of myself yesterday after my shower.

20131203-080855.jpg

Um… there’s a slight possibility that I need a haircut. Annnnd I look a bit like Hagrid, with my full and lustrous beard. ¬†And I look like I’m terrified that the hair is eating me alive. And it’s a bit washed out.

But guys, this is the best self-photo I’ve ever taken. I’m gonna use it everywhere. Probably as my author photo for like, books and stuff. THE READERS, THEY SHALL FLOCK TO ME.

*cough*

*crickets*

Dang.

So: Are you a big fan of “selfie” culture? Do you perceive people who take a lot of them as being self-centred (full disclosure: I do think that, but I’m still jealous of people who look good in them)? Do you find selfies taken at funerals and the sites of historical tragedies as asinine as I do? Do you understand why girls think duck lips look sexy, and can you explain it to me? Are you camera shy? Do cameras do horrible things to you, or are you so photogenic that we can’t be friends anymore? Discuss!

Correction: THIS is the best selfie I ever took. But it was 2 years ago, so I don’t think I should use it for anything now.

It's a long story involving me making fun of selfies and then laughing for about 10 minutes straight. You probably had to be there.

It’s a long story involving me making fun of selfies and then laughing for about 10 minutes straight. You probably had to be there.


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