Archive for the ‘Bestselling Authors’ Category
When it comes to literary agents, Evan Marshall is the best of the best. Before launching his own agency, The Evan Marshall Agency, Evan held several senior editorial positions at Houghton Mifflin, Ariel Books, New American Library, Everest House and Dodd, Mead, where he acquired national and international bestsellers. He is the creator of the hugely successful The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing. The original book, published in 1998, has become a manual used by both aspiring and experienced authors, around the world. It is now available as How To Write A Novel-The Marshall® Plan Software, co-created with Martha Jewett. The Marshall Plan® takes the frustration out of writing and delivers successful results fast. Evan is also the author of ten traditionally published mystery novels in the Hidden Manhattan series and Jane Stuart series, called “Miss Marple lite” by Kirkus Reviews.
EM: Thank you for your kind words. Years ago I decided to specialize in fiction because I knew that’s what I do best with. I also work hard to help my authors strategize to reach their goals. Part of this strategizing includes giving them book ideas and editorial feedback, based on my years as a book editor before I became an agent.
LP: What do you think about the popularity of indie publishing? What are some of the positive and negative aspects that you’ve seen over the past couple of years?
EM: Indie publishing is an amazing and wonderful development, the answer for many authors who for whatever reason aren’t right for the traditional publishers. Positive aspects are that a book can be published in a matter of days, and also that authors can reach niche/“micro-genre” readers—the long tail—in a way that many of the traditional publishers can’t. A negative aspect is that much of the material is not well edited or edited at all.
LP: How has the role of the agent changed with respect to indie authors? If you represent an author who decides to go indie –do you continue to work with him/her – what can you do for them?
EM: A number of my authors are “hybrid.” I work with them to make sure their indie books don’t compete with their “traditional” books in terms of publication months. I also handle subsidiary rights for their indie books—translation, audio, large print, film/TV.
LP: You are the author of the hugely successful THE MARSHALL PLAN FOR NOVEL WRITING. First published in 1998. For writers who have not yet read it – how can the Marshall Plan help them in their writing?
EM: The Marshall Plan® is a structured approach to writing fiction that takes away a lot of the guesswork. It helps writers produce quality, salable fiction faster. We now offer bestselling software, based on the book, that automates the process.
LP: What do you think separates the successful selling authors from authors who sell only a handful of books a year?
EP: The most successful authors write directly to the market. They study what’s hot and write it with a fresh twist. They know when it’s time to shift genres. They are also extremely savvy at self-promotion and don’t shy away from learning new things.
LP: Do you still take on new clients and if so – what are you looking for?
EM: Yes, I am always taking on new clients, selectively. Genres I’m looking for include domestic suspense/thrillers, Amish romance, extremely explicit romance, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, and women’s fiction. Also, I often have book ideas that need authors—usually in cozy and historical mystery. Authors interest in being considered for this should have at least a few mystery or mystery-related books under their belt (indie is fine), be willing to take direction, and be unagented, of course. They should email me at email@example.com with their background and a work sample.
LP: What makes a good “in person” pitch?
EM: A good in-person pitch is a to-the-point conversation, not a memorized monologue, including a book’s genre, word length, similar-author readership, and a brief description of the plot and hook. Talk a little about any previous publishing credits and/or organization memberships. Don’t push written material on the person you’re pitching to unless it’s requested. Be ready to answer questions about your project. Don’t let the meeting drag on longer than necessary. When all has been said, simply ask, “May I email you my manuscript?”
LP: Where are the best places/conferences for a newbie to pitch?
LP: What makes a good “email query” pitch?
EM: If someone has referred you, such as an editor or another author, say this right up front. Then describe your project—genre, title, similar-author readership—and give a brief description of your story and its hook. Along with this I like to see a synopsis of the entire story and the first three chapters. Details at http://www.evanmarshallagency.com/submissions/.
LP: Bonus: What is your way to de-stress after a busy day wheeling and dealing?
EM: Reading, of course! And I also love to paint.
What it’s About:
Inspector Eli Miller’s unspoken feelings for his partner, Bex, color his whole life. When his past comes calling, will it be the push he needs to seek a future with her?
Inspector Rebecca ‘Bex’ Mulcahy has lived long enough to know that love is a street con at best, and a dangerous distraction at worst. Any feelings she has for her partner Eli definitely fall into the latter category. Will her dedication to her job keep her from finding a possible future with Eli?
Their latest case is protecting Violet Burrell, a young woman with scars on her soul stretching back to birth, who inadvertently witnesses a shockingly brutal murder at the hands of a sadist. Violet is determined to testify in court. Her strength and courage impress Eli and Bex, who will protect her at all costs.
But it is Violet’s beauty and spirit that entrances Junior Inspector Atticus Randall. Atticus is also assigned to protect Violet, and while he knows he should ignore his growing feelings for her, he just can’t stop himself from falling for the brave beauty.
Life in the Las Vegas branch of Witness Protection has never been more tangled. When the emotional landmines start a chain reaction, everyone in the blast radius is going to need a little shelter.
AR escorted Vi out to the table on the balcony to enjoy their sundaes. He liked to take his lunch out here on occasion, just when he needed to get away from his desk for a bit but didn’t want to leave the building. His dedication was paying off, since Marco had started entrusting him with more and more responsibilities, as evidenced by the woman sitting next to him now with her eyes closed in bliss. “You really never had a hot fudge sundae before?”
She shook her head, and her expression hardened. “No. Not with my mother and certainly not with the nuns.”
He pondered her ascetic life and the choices she’d made from it. It was all there in her file, but he felt like an intruder or a stalker, knowing that much about a virtual stranger to him. He’d much rather know her as a person, beyond the story of sadness and neglect. “Violet’s a pretty name.” An inane statement, but he knew he was out of his depth attempting to tackle a subject so daunting as the life of Violet Burrell.
She shrugged and flipped the end of a pigtail over her shoulder. “It is what it is. Your parents really named you Atticus? They not like you or something?”
He snorted a laugh and put the spoon back into his ice cream. “They like to read.”
“To Kill a Mockingbird, I know.” She smiled shyly. “It’s a good name. Strong, valiant.”
The heat of the summer air had nothing on him. He saw her grin, and he felt his ears burn from a blush. “So what’s the verdict?” He gestured towards her rapidly diminishing sundae.
“I think I want to eat this for the rest of my life,” she said as she dipped her spoon into the plastic cup to fish out a peanut covered in hot fudge.
“That good, huh?” He watched her close her eyes and sigh as she licked the spoon, and he had to loosen his tie. The way she was enjoying her ice cream reminded him that his wasn’t going to stay frozen forever. He dipped his spoon into the plastic cup and then brought it to his mouth.
“Damn near better than sex.”
At her words, he found himself gulping down a large mouthful of ice cream, much more than he meant to, swallowing it quickly. “Oh hell! Ice cream headache!” The sharp spike of pain that it brought was quick and excruciating, but it served its purpose driving all thoughts of pursuing that line of questioning from his mind. As the throbbing ache receded, he noticed her hand on the back of his neck, trying to help by rubbing and massaging from the base of his skull to his shoulders. So much for virtuous thoughts. Nodding to show her that he was okay now, he reached in front of her and snagged her mysterious old green book from beside her purse as she returned to her ice cream Nirvana.
“Hey, that’s not yours,” she said around a mouthful, gesturing with her spoon. But, she made no move to retrieve it from him, so he felt comfortable perusing while she continued to savor her snack.
He opened the book at the place she’d marked, reading about a gameskeeper comforting the lady of the house, in a chicken coop, that led to so much more than mere physical release in graphic and frankly gripping detail. That was definitely not what he’d expected, and the fact that she’d been reading this book all this time did things to his already heated blood that made his mouth run dry and his ears start to ring.
“So . . . ?”
Her voice, smokier than before, startled him out of the words on the page. Her purple eyes were darker than he remembered, and he found himself lost for a moment before he caught himself. “It’s ah . . . definitely colorful.” He pushed the closed book back over to sit next to her purse, her bookmark still in place.
Vi smiled self-consciously. “It’s the language. It paints this picture like a smudged old photograph, beautiful and still kind of dirty.”
And that about described the thoughts he was having at that moment. “I could definitely see that.”
Alexis D. Craig has been a writer from early childhood, discovering her calling when she wrote the Thanksgiving play for her kindergarten class in Tucson, Arizona. After moving to Indianapolis with her family in 1988, she wrote a column for her high school newspaper and two novel-length stories before graduating at age sixteen from Park Tudor School. After attending Sarah Lawrence College outside New York City, she returned home to Indiana to be closer to her family.
Alexis works for a local sheriff’s department in the communications division. She spends her free time reading and writing romance novels and investigating haunted houses.
She lives with her husband and two very excitable beagles.
The wonderful anthology LOVE AND HOPE is available today for .99 cents everywhere!
Love and Hope features three beautiful novellas about about hope, healing, and the power of love.
By USA Today bestselling authors Kayla Perrin and C. J. Carmichael with author Brenda Gayle.
Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada.
WHERE YOU CAN GET IT:
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://goo.gl/lON9wS Kindle AU http://tiny.cc/sveiey Kindle CA http://tiny.cc/fveiey Kindle UK http://tiny.cc/lweiey iBooks http://goo.gl/rjrusJ Print Amazon http://tiny.cc/tueiey ARE http://goo.gl/pz6D5v
LACHESIS PUBLISHING INC. http://goo.gl/tQgTlz
Twice and Forever by Brenda Gayle
Jill Bennett had her life planned out, and then everything changed. Soon after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack two years ago, Jill’s daughter Rachel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the very young age of 21. Widowed and scared, Jill threw herself into caring for her daughter 24/7. Now that Rachel is in remission, Jill is finding it hard to let go and give her some breathing room at home and at her new job working for a local vet named Grant Palmer. Grant has a knack for getting under Jill’s skin, especially where Rachel’s future is concerned. The last thing Jill has in mind is getting on with her own life. So why can’t she stop thinking about the handsome Dr. Palmer?
Devoted to Her Cowboy by C. J. CarmichaeL When rodeo champion Blake Timber returns home as the star attraction of the Sheep River Rodeo Days he doesn’t expect to find his nerdy high school friend Shelby Turner so beautiful and so not nerdy. He also doesn’t expect to find his grandmother, frail and wearing a headscarf. When Grams reveals she has ovarian cancer, Blake is shocked. He’s thankful that Shelby, who works in his grandmother’s flower shop, has been there for her. But he wants to take over the reins and get his beloved Grams the best care money can buy. In spite of his best efforts, his well-intentioned plans are met with stubborn resistance from both women. Adding to his frustrations is his ex-girlfriend Kelli-Jo Calhoun, who is the Sheep River Days organizer. Unhappily married and with a son, she seems hell bent on roping him into something that could put everything he cares about at risk—especially his growing feelings for Shelby.
Her Angel by Kayla Perrin Tasia Montgomery never thought she’d get “that” phone call from her mom. Stage four ovarian cancer. Tasia puts her job as a chef in a busy restaurant in Atlanta on hold, to go home to Miami to be there for her mother. When her mom passes away, Tasia is left with a huge burden of guilt, sadness, and loss. Now, she is tasked with the duty of packing everything up and selling the family home. She knows her mom didn’t want her to sell but what choice does she have? Her brother Andrew, who is living in Seattle with his wife and their baby, is as distant as can be. Just like their father, who up and left them when they were kids. But when Tasia meets Malcolm Robertson, the contractor her mom hired to renovate the house before she died, Tasia is drawn to him. Her mom treated him like a son and shared things with him that she never revealed to Tasia. Malcolm becomes a good friend to Tasia, but does she want something more with the handsome contractor? As Tasia, sorts through her mother’s belongings she makes a discovery about her mom that shocks her to her core, but will it make her see the truth of her own life or make her head back to Atlanta for good?
Marketing and promotions for authors is always changing. What works for some, doesn’t work for others and what works right now, may not work next year. Authors have to keep abreast of trends and what’s coming down the road, but at the end of the day authors need to find what works for them and for their individual needs. There are a lot of people out there who can help with that. Ryan Zee is one of those people. He specializes in author marketing campaigns. His website is called AUTHOR MARKETING at ryanzee.com Here’s what Ryan has to say about his successful campaigns and how he can help authors promote their books and boost book sales.
LACHESIS PUBLISHING: Tell us about the kinds of services that you offer for authors regarding promotions?
RYAN ZEE: We’re best known for our multi-author email list-building promotions, but we’re also going to be unveiling a number of new promotions this year — including individual author promos, sales promos, promotions to help authors grow their following on retailer and social media sites, and more to come.
Across all of our promotions, we focus on making it as simple and easy for authors to participate as possible, so that they can get back to the work of writing.
LP: Do you work with indie authors only or both indie and traditionally published authors?
RYAN ZEE: We work with everyone! For our promotions, as long as you have a book and the ability to give it away, we can work with you.
RYAN ZEE: I graduated from a small liberal arts college with an English degree, and realized fairly quickly that I wanted to work with authors. After I graduated, I created a fan Twitter account for Junot Díaz (I’d just written my Honors Thesis on his books), which became pretty popular — it actually got the attention of his publisher, and resulted in me getting to meet him in New York. The experience sort of opened my eyes to the world of author promotion.
From there, I transitioned to roles in marketing (copywriting, content management, etc.) – and after a few publishing internships (and a fair share of serendipity), I was able to start working with authors on my own. The promotions developed naturally as an outgrowth of the work I was doing with my clients.
LP: What is the most popular promo you offer?
RYAN ZEE: Our most popular promotions are our multi-author list-building giveaways – these help authors grow their personal email lists, so that they can communicate with readers directly to introduce themselves and promote their books.
We’ve distinguished ourselves from other services, in part, by requiring readers to actively select who they want to hear from (instead of forcing them to hear from every participating author), and then by thoroughly vetting our lists so that authors only receive the emails of the most interested readers.
As a result, we’re often told our list-building promotions have a higher retention rate / lower unsubscribe rate than other services out there.
LP: How many authors have used your services – any testimonials?
RYAN ZEE: We’ve worked with hundreds of authors, from indie authors just getting started to big New York Times bestsellers, and folks at just about every rung in between.
You can read some testimonials here:
“Ryan’s beautifully co-ordinated book giveaways have more than doubled my newsletter audience with readers who actually open and read the content.” ~ Patricia Rice, New York Times Bestselling Author
“Thank you so much for hosting our promotion. I am so impressed with how you handle things.” ~ Shirley Hailstock, Past President, Romance Writers of America
“The best, well-run contest I have ever participated in.” ~ Jennifer Bray-Weber, Award-Winning Author
LP: What are the costs involved?
RYAN ZEE: Costs vary by the promotion, but most are currently in the $25 – $75 range.
LP: What kinds of fiction genres do you promote?
RYAN ZEE: We promote books in virtually every genre of fiction, from romance to mysteries & thrillers, science-fiction, Christian fiction, young adult, and beyond. We also work with non-fiction authors, and are constantly adding new genres based on interest.
LP: How can an author get in touch with you to book a promotion?
RYAN ZEE: Authors can find and book promotions on my website – www.ryanzee.com
LP: What do you enjoy reading and why?
RYAN ZEE: I read pretty widely, from thrillers and sci-fi to comics and literary fiction, along with a fair number of marketing-oriented titles. I look for fiction that will transport me outside the realm of the everyday, which generally means something with a tinge of the supernatural. My favorite author, though, is Junot Díaz, whose writing is its own kind of magic.
LP: What has been your most successful promotion and how do you measure the success?
RYAN ZEE: The metrics change based on the goals of the promotion, but generally we’re looking for a high degree of reader activity – evidenced primarily by the number of readers participating and sharing on social media.
Our most successful list-building promotion generated more than 3,000 highly-targeted and vetted email subscribers for each author.
Thanks and cheers!
In:amreading, amwriting, Author Marketing Plans, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, blog post, blogging, Book Cover Designer, Book Cover Designers, Book cover promotion, book promotion and marketing, From the Editor's Desk, Getting Organized, Marketing and Promotion, Marketing your book, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Publishing industry
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.
LP: Tell us about your background and how and why you started Author Marketing Experts.
PS: I started the company because I’m an author and I wanted to give authors a company that understood them, knew the publishing industry and knew what they wanted.
Before I started AME I was in corporate America, working in marketing – but nothing as exciting as marketing authors. Then I got laid off not once but twice. Two companies I worked with shut down, I took it as a sign and started AME. I guess I am what you call an accidental entrepreneur.
PS: Our focus is on promotion, reaching potential buyers and readers. There are a lot of phases to getting a book out there, from editing to publishing, but we’re the go-to for the exposure.
LP: What can AME do for an author that they can’t do for themselves?
PS: What makes my team special is that we know what works and what doesn’t. For a lot of authors who try to tackle marketing on their own it’s a lot of trial and error. I’m not saying we can knock it out of the park 100% of the time, no company can do that, there’s a lot out of our control, but we really do know what strategies work for which types of books and which types of readers. We also have a lot of boots on the ground at any one time, pushing a book from multiple channels, no single person can make that happen on their own.
LP: Okay let’s talk about price. What are the different packages you offer and what do they cost? What can an author get for their money?
PS: First let me say our price ranges have varied somewhat through the years, to some degree they change based on what’s working in the industry, what we can offer our clients and what’s getting authors solid results over and over again. That being said, right now for the types of strategies and approaches we’re really seeing making an impact, the starting budgets are around $1500-$2000. They go up from there based on needs.
And for what they can expect, honestly we customize each campaign for the book and author, rarely are there two campaigns that are exactly alike in our recommendations, but our core strategies usually include guaranteed reviews, Amazon Search Optimization, eBook-specific promotions, and some media pitching. Our goal is to cover as many channels as possible. So we don’t encourage our clients to put all their investment in media for example.
LP: Tell us about two author success stories that AME was involved in – and walk us through what you did for them and what the results were in terms of exposure, sales etc . . .
PS: Some years back, we worked on a book called Cookin’ for Love. by Sharon Boorstin. The book was self-published and turned down by the author’s traditional publisher because he thought that the characters in the book (who were over 50) were too old. So we worked with the author to promote the heck out of the book. We pitched Boomer bloggers and we told them the *why* of why she wound up self-publishing the book, which engaged then even further and fired up her reader base. She wound up doing so well with the book, Lifetime came after her for a movie deal.
The Kennedy Detail, with the former Kennedy Secret Service seemed like a slam dunk. I mean, it’s Kennedy, right? So we had a lot of blogger pitching on this campaign – I mean a ton. But once we started pitching we found out quickly that most of the bloggers only want to talk conspiracy theories (most of them anyway, and we weren’t pitching that specific market). So instead we turned to author events – and the two former Secret Service, including Clint Hill who was the agent who threw himself onto Kennedy’s car when he was shot, toured the country. We often had standing room only crowds. At Warwick’s Books in La Jolla, we had almost 300 people trying to get into that tiny store.
In regards to sales, we don’t track those. No marketing company should because they can’t take credit, or blame, for sales on their own. Too many factors affect sales, a lot of them are established before we join the party and many we have no control over, like competition for example.
LP: You also write for the Huffington Post – how did that come about and what are some of the topics you write about?
It was offered to several us, by Arianna Huffington directly at a publishing event I was speaking at – they were looking to build their book and publishing track. I write about publishing but mostly marketing.
I try to focus on topics authors can run with the day they read the article. So easy to implement marketing strategies, strategies that are proven to drum up more sales, warnings and guidelines that can save authors a lot of headaches. People don’t have a lot of time and I respect that, so I want to be a reliable source for go-to help.
That publishing is a business – yes, it’s creative and exciting and all of that, but at the end of the day it’s a business. You’ve got to make decisions that are business minded. It’s pretty easy to let the ego guide you, I mean in terms of what might look pretty on paper, but be a bad choice for the book. An example of this might be a full page ad in the New York Times. I love NYT but book ads in newspapers tend to only do well for authors with big platforms – like James Patterson, etc.
LP: In your experience – what are some big no-nos that you see authors do online.
PS: I hate to say there are so many, but back to what I said about it being a lot of trial and error, that’s really a big part of doing it on your own. But a handful of things that we see over and over again that can make a big impact are: pricing your book too high; not creating engaging copy for your Amazon page; not having a home base, be it a basic website or just a well-run Facebook page; and not engaging with readers. The biggest mistake an author can make is just sitting back and assuming because the book is for sale, people will buy it. Nothing is that easy, and certainly not in this market, where over 4,500 books are being published every single day.
LP: What are three things that you believe every newbie or struggling author ABSOLUTELY needs to do EVERY SINGLE DAY.
PS: Reach out to fans and potential readers. This is where social media comes in handy. You may not love it, but chances are your buyer market loves it. And maybe your readers aren’t on Facebook, maybe they’re on Twitter – figure it out, know your demographics.
Don’t spin your wheels doing things that don’t matter. This is more of a don’t, but honestly it means take that time and put it into something that works. If you only get 5 visitors to your blog every month, don’t kill yourself writing blog posts. Take that time and research bloggers to pitch yourself to, or spend more time on social media you know is popular for your market, or finish that next book! Anything productive is better than something unproductive.
You don’t have to read every marketing blog or every success newsletter, but find a few that fit your style, that motivate you, and commit to not only reading them, but implementing strategies you learn about. But make sure you make it more than just busy work, this is not busy = productive. This is about making your next book release that much better!
PS: Well so this is like picking my favorite child, that’s pretty hard. Honestly, I love authors who work it. We have worked through several books with Leslie Hachtel – she is tireless and she gets it. If she isn’t writing she’s looking for a way to promote her books. Tawny Weber is another one, and Sarah Andre – all of these gals are just “out there” and pushing their books. I could go on, because we’re so lucky to work with so many authors who never let a “no” get in the way of their success. Honestly, those are my favorite authors because these days, anyone can write a book – it takes a lot more effort to get it seen and read.
In:amreading, amwriting, Author Marketing Plans, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, blog post, Book Cover Design, Book Cover Designer, Book Cover Designers, Book cover promotion, Book Covers, book promotion and marketing, Cover Design, From the Editor's Desk, Graphic Design, Graphic Designer, Lachesis Blog, Marketing and Promotion, Marketing your book, Publishing industry
Welcome to our third and final feature on the Killion Group, a dynamic full service company that specializes in brand marketing for authors from idea to execution. Today we’re chatting with Kim Killion, the founder of The Killion Group and Hot Damn Designs and a successful romance author in her own right. Kim Killion is the dynamo behind The Killion Group and her vision has helped to build the company into the powerhouse it is today.
Tell us about your background and how and why you started The Killion Group .
Out of high school, I studied near Kansas City, MO for my degrees. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Certificate in Web Design, and I’m an Adobe Certified Expert (equivalent to a Masters in Adobe).
I have nearly 27 years of design and teaching experience. For several years after college, I worked in the design depts. of some major financial companies. After starting a family, I began teaching Graphic Design in St. Louis. I really loved (still love) teaching and did so for 13 yrs.
I began writing in 1998 and in 2005, I joined the St. Louis RWA ® Chapter. About 2009-ish, some of the women in the Chapter needed some design work done. Mostly websites, as the Indie movement hadn’t taken full-hold yet. But as I did more of that side-work/design, I found a terrible lack of historical stock images. With help from local authors, I borrowed enough historical clothing and props and hired a photographer –and held a 2 day, 16 hr, photoshoot! Hot Damn Designs and Hot Damn Stock were born.
By 2011, I was busier than I could imagine and decided to stop teaching and go full-time designing. I then hired a web tech, another designer (a student actually who was the top of the graduating class), and then hired Jenn to help keep us all organized.
What services does The Killion Group offer authors?
We offer everything (every service) a publishing house offers, but we work strictly on a flat fee basis. Meaning, the author keeps all her royalties.
Here is a full list of services and our prices: http://thekilliongroupinc.com/services/
We pride ourselves on knowing what it’s like to be “that” author because both Jenn and I were where they are! We know what it feels like and want to let clients know we’re there for them to help them make the best of their book from start to finish.
That includes everything from cover to uploading the book for them if they want.
We want authors to be able to write and we can do the rest – or authors can pick and choose what they’d like help with.
You also have an amazing stock photo site – called Hot Damn Stock – tell us about that.
How it started is mostly talked about above, but I’m still very proud to have one of the largest selections of romance / genre based images. We have close to 40,000 images, in 15 different genre. www.hotdamnstock.com
We try to have a shoot every 6-8 weeks, so we are always adding new faces and costumes.
We have a big 2 day shoot coming up the first part of November! Very exited!
Your client roster includes both authors and publishers – you have more than 2,000 clients – what canThe Killion Group do for an author or publisher that can really propel them forward and boost their careers?
The list of authors who came to use as writers who KNEW they had talent but were repeatedly turned away by Houses because their genre wasn’t “trending” is beyond lengthy. A good number (about 75% of them) are now Best Selling Authors. NY Times or USA Today Best Selling. And while I fully believe the talent these women have is awesome, I’d like to think that the professional cover design and knowledge of what sells a cover and why (the technical stuff), helped them achieve their ranking.
The covers have won several awards too, so that makes them and me feel very proud.
Okay let’s talk about price. We know the old saying: You have to spend money to make money – but a lot of authors are on a limited budget – what can you offer authors who may not have the big funds for a splashy campaign?
To start with, we haven’t raised our Cover Design prices in 5 yrs. We’re still at $135 for eCover and $75 more to add a spine/back cover.
In fact, we’ve just LOWERED our formatting prices AND increased the design elements of the formatting.
We still say, write a good book and get a professional cover. That’s your best campaign.
Aside from that, we offer some Social Media work (Facebook and Twitter – designs and marketing) as well as NetGalley spots for Reviews and/or Review campaigns.
We keep our prices low and only have a 1 hr min. for our PR work.
We also offer Blurb/ Back Cover Copy writing service. Because let’s be honest, those are hard and yet are one of the first things a potential reader will see.
You’re an indie author and you write medieval romance – tell us about your style and what your favourite Kim Killion book is?
Though I do love Her One Desire ( I wanted it titled The Executioner’s Daughter) and it was my RITA® book, Highland Dragon is still my favorite.
You began as a traditionally published author with Kensington Publishing – before you transitioned to indie – what advice would you give an author who was thinking of going indie?
LOL. Well, I say if you like having control of your work, then go for it! I wasn’t unhappy with Kensington and have designed for them, so we have a good relationship still to this day.
However, my Kensington covers were nothing like what they should have been… ie: the models weren’t right for the characters. And I think all Traditionally published authors have gone through that experience.
Indie gives the author complete control of your work. And the lion’s share of the profit.
And now that I am getting my rights back to my titles, I am giving them the covers (and the titles) that I wanted.
What are three things that you believe every newbie or struggling author should do to build readership?
*Learn your writing craft. Take classes, read how-to books and join a critique group.
*Get a good cover.
*And then, be ‘real’ with your readers. Be fun and don’t always talk about Buy My Book. I still think a “grass-roots” approach is the best. Get to know your readers. Become friends. If you realize they are people who love your writing as much as you do – not a nameless/faceless person with money – I think that’s how you build a loyal readership. They become your book family. J
Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
The wonderful Betrice Small was my favorite and first romance read. She opened a whole world to me …literally!
BONUS QUESTION: Finish this statement: Red heads are awesome because . . .
They are full of fire and unstoppable when they want something!
In:amreading, amwriting, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, blog post, CHILDREN'S PARANORMAL, From the Editor's Desk, Kids paranormal, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, Supernatural, Teen supernatural, YA Fantasy, YA paranormal
C.J. Redwine is the New York Times bestselling author of YA fantasy novels, including The Shadow Queen, The Wish Granter, and the Defiance trilogy. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. Visit her website: www.cjredwine.com
Welcome C. J.!
You’re a YA fantasy author – tell us how you became a writer and how you first got published.
I’ve been writing stories since I was in the second grade. By the time I was a teenager, I was filling spiral notebooks with stories, ideas, poems, and even lists of words that I loved. Book Nerd FTW!
I graduated from college with a degree in English and my teaching credential. Even though I loved to write and wanted to be published one day, I had no real idea how to accomplish that, and I needed a career that paid the bills. I taught high school for a few years, got married, had children, and life became one non-stop loop of no-sleep-keep-the-boys-from-starting-the-apocalypse-I-don’t-know-how-to-brain-anymore. It wasn’t until I was thirty and facing a cancer diagnosis that I stopped and evaluated what I was doing. I realized that I’d been waiting for life to slow down and give me the perfect opportunity to write books, but that’s not what life does. If you want something, you have to make it happen or move on to another dream.
So I wrote my first novel, which is a monstrosity that no one will ever read. I joined writer’s groups. Went to conferences. And learned as much as I could about the craft of writing and about the publishing process. I wrote a second book, queried literary agents, and signed with my amazing agent. I expected that book would sell, but it didn’t. I wrote another book, and that book didn’t sell either. I’d been with my agent for over two years without a sale, while others sold in a matter of weeks. I kept picking my self-confidence up off the ground, dusting it off, and telling myself that I could do this.
When I wrote my next book, I turned it in to my agent, fully expecting to hear a slew of “no’s” once it went on submission to editors. Instead, my agent called me to tell me the book was going to auction with four houses bidding on it. I just cried. It was so surreal. It took months for the fact that I’d sold a series to sink in!
My book THE SHADOW QUEEN, which is a dark epic fantasy inspired by the Snow White fairy tale, hit the list at #5. I went out to dinner with my family to celebrate. 🙂
I know that you’re published with Balzer and Bray (a Harper Collins imprint) but you’ve also written a book and indie-published it – called Query: Everything You Need To Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed. Tell us about that and why you wanted to write a book about how to break into the industry?
I’ve been teaching writing workshops for years. I love to teach! And I realized there were a lot of up and coming writers who’d never be able to attend one of my workshops. So I decided to put my query workshop into book form so that anyone who needed a step by step process for how to write a query letter that gets results would have it at their fingertips.
The annual retreat is open to any writers who register. We’re currently accepting names on a wait list for next year’s retreat C. J. REDWINE’S WRITER’S SANCTUARY WRITING RETREAT). It’s a fabulous event full of workshops, critiques, time to write, and delicious home cooked food. I also travel to conferences, book festivals, writer’s events, and libraries to give workshops.
My boys are teens, and they think it’s cool that I’m a writer. Sometimes they even read my books (and then complain about how awkward it is to read a kissing scene written by your mom). My girls are in first grade and preschool, so they don’t really understand what it means to be published. But they do know that I write books, and they love to fold paper together and make their own books. 🙂
It’s very competitive out there with traditionally published authors and indie authors and authors who do both! Writing a good book is of course important – but aside from that – how can a newbie or emerging author find their own place in a sea of so many successful authors?
It’s important to figure out where your readers are and connect with them. One great way to connect is to make sure that your social media presence revolves around passions of yours that are also passions of readers who’d love your books. For example, I write fantasy. I love Grimm, Supernatural, The Flash, The Avengers etc, and I talk about those things. I’m part of the Harry Potter fandom. Of course I share other aspects of my life too, but I make sure to share the things that I know are shorthand for readers who love the same things I do. I also think networking with other authors and doing shared events or book festivals is a great way to meet new readers!
My next book is THE WISH GRANTER, a dark epic fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin in which a bastard princess must take on a dangerous fae to save her brother without losing both her brother and her soul.
What do you love to read in your downtime?
Everything! I read widely. My favorite genres at the moment are thrillers, horror, and contemporary, and of course I always adore a great fantasy. I find so much inspiration in reading outside of my genre.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Literally everywhere. I’m constantly seeing interesting things that make me ask “What if …?” or I hear a piece of music that sparks a conversation between characters or an image of a world … I carry a notebook at all times because my head is a very busy place.
I love character actors! My faves are Benedict Cumberbatch, John Noble, Tom Hiddleston, Johnny Depp, and Bill Nighy. Also I fangirl over fictional characters like nobody’s business. Batman. Loki. Iron Man. Wonder Woman. Dean Winchester. I could go on, but you get the point.
In:amreading, amwriting, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, blog post, cozy mysteries, cozy mystery, From the Editor's Desk, Lachesis Blog, romantic comedy, USA Today bestselling author
USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow writes the break-out successful BARB JACKSON MYSTERIES for the Gemma Halliday Publishing House. While Anna is a happy wife and mom, she has a deep dark secret – she’s a self-confessed lipstick junkie. Anna carries no less than 15 lipsticks in her purse at all times. You never know when you’re gonna need one!
LP: You are published with a small boutique house – Gemma Halliday Publishing and Gemma Halliday is also a bestselling author – tell us how that came about and what is it like working for a boutique house?
AS: I started my writing career writing steamy paranormal and contemporary romance but after a while I wasn’t happy with that genre. I felt out of touch with it, I guess you could say, so I decided to try my hand at cozy mystery. I wanted to stick with mysteries because that’s what I love, but I also wanted to write with humor because I love making people laugh. I’ve always been a huge fan of Gemma’s so when I heard that she had started her own publishing house, I knew that I had to submit my Barb Jackson Series to her, and I’m so glad that I did! I absolutely adore working for GHP. Gemma is amazing.
AS: I was fortunate enough to have one of my Barb Jackson Mysteries (Blondes’ Night Out) be included in a collection of summer stories alongside some of my awesome fellow GHP authors, titled Killer Beach Reads. We hit the promo hard and were blessed with a spot on the USA Today Bestseller List.
I didn’t really do anything to celebrate. Can you believe that?
LP: You write cozy mystery – tell us about your series and why you love this genre?
AS: I’ve always been a huge fan of cozy mysteries. I dipped my toes into the genre by reading books by Jana DeLeon and moved on to Gemma Halliday and many others. I love cozy mystery because it has two of the things I love most while reading. Mystery and humor!
The Barb Jackson Mysteries is a fun, light-hearted series about a petite blonde private detective, her best friends, and her wacky aunt Mona. Barb is clumsy, not very girly, and (hopefully) very relatable. I wanted people who read this series to see Barb and instantly relate to her. She has bad hair days, a coffee addiction, she’d live in her pajamas if she could, her detective boyfriend is constantly worried about what she up to next, and she’s a complete work-a-holic. Barb is near and dear to my heart and I hope reader’s lover her as much as I do.
AS: I love coffee and I’d live in my pajamas if I could. I’m a bit clumsy, but nothing like Barb. I hope most people who read about Barb find that they have something in common with her.
LP: The industry has gone through some big changes in the past few years and some authors who had been doing well with a big pub were let go, meanwhile many indie authors have really taken off – what do you think authors need to do to stay sharp and stay in this business?
AS: Just keep writing and promoting. That’s all we really can do whether we’re published with a big publisher or an indie. I’m still climbing the ladder, so I’m probably not the one to be giving advice, *big grin* but what’s worked for me is that I just keep working. I keep writing. I keep submitting, and I keep moving forward. Do I have set backs? Of course. I sit down have a good pity party, then stand up, brush myself off, and get back to work.
AS: Barb has a lot of things coming up. Illegally Blonde (Book 2 in the Barb Jackson Mysteries) releases on November 15th, 2016. In this one we’ll see Barb working hard and fast to prover her best friend’s innocents when she’s accused of killing her shifty rock star boyfriend.
In April 2017, Barb will be helping an acquaintance find out who’s killing the dancers of the Double Trouble Gentlemen’s Club, with some help from her office girl and pal Mandy, and her crazy Aunt Mona in Blonde and Fabulous (Barb Jackson Book 3). This is going to be a crazy fun one!
And later in 2017 Barb will be headed to the Bahama’s on a cruise with her hunky detective boyfriend Tyler Black in Bahama Blonde (Barb Jackson Book #4). This time, Barb discovers the slimy lounge singers dead body in an elevator and just has to stick her nose in and find the killer.
LP: What are three things that you think authors should do to promote their new releases?
AS: Word of mouth is HUGE. Always tell people about your work. Don’t beat them over the head with it, or nag them about it, but talk about it, and social media is a great tool to utilize when promoting a new book.
I, myself, always have business cards, bookmarks, ink pens, book cover postcards, and other swag items that I send out to whomever wants it and I hold a huge giveaway on my Facebook page every release day. Also, try to get a BookBub advertisement. They’re hard to land, and pricey, but if you can hook one, it’s definitely worth it.
LP: Tell us about three authors you love and why?
AS: Gemma Halliday is always first. Her stories are just so funny that I find myself thinking about them even after I’ve finished the book. The same goes for Jana DeLeon and Hannah Howell. I adore these women!
LP: You are also a self-published author and have written erotica – under the same name Anna Snow – what has been the response of your mystery readers to your foray into erotica?
I wrote erotica before stepping out of that genre and into cozy mystery and my readers have been so incredibly supportive and responsive to my books in both genres. I keep the two genres separate on my website and everyone seems to be alright with my writing both genres.
AS: As Anna’s cat Roscoe:
Anna’s insane. Seriously.
Do you know that she steals my poop from the litter box and puts it in a plastic bag in a big thing she calls the trashcan? Geez. What a whack-job. That’s my business she throwing away!
She also does this thing where she tries to sing along with someone she calls “Prince” on the box that she calls a “radio”. It’s not pretty.
And she hides these yummy cookie things she calls a “Fig Newton” in her top desk drawer, then she complains that she didn’t lose any weight this week. But she gave me a piece of the “Newton” one time. I can’t blame her for eating them. They’re stinking delicious!
LP: Thanks so much for joining us Anna!
AS: Thanks for having me here today. I had a great time!
In:50% off sale, amreading, Bestselling Authors, blog post, historical romance, Lachesis Publishing Anniversary sale, Regency Historical Paranormal, regency historical romance, Regency Romance, romance books, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels
In:Amazon bestselling author, amreading, amwriting, anthology, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, From the Editor's Desk, Highland Romance, Highlander Romance, historical romance, Independent Author, Indie Author, Medieval Romance, Scottish Romance
LP: You have a very sweet story about how you published your first book – tell us about it – it has to do with wanting to upload a book to your mom’s kindle.
ST: It’s a very long story! In a nut shell, I wanted to give my mother a kindle for her birthday. I thought it would be fun if when she turned it on for the first time, something I had written was on it. Keep in mind, I’ve been writing since childhood. I had only recently discovered Scottish Historical Fiction/Romance. I had fallen in love with Lauren Wittig and could not get the images of Scotland and men in kilts out of my mind. So I started writing Laiden’s Daughter. I was up at 3:30 every morning to write. (My husband thought I was playing Farmville.) I didn’t have an editor or a cover artist, in reality, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was writing it for my mom. I thought I could buy the kindle, get a ‘cord’ to go between the computer and the Kindle, and just give it to her. My husband discovered the book (we only had one computer at the time.) I had to come clean and tell him what I was doing. He came back to me a few days later and said there isn’t a cord, but there is this thing called Kindle Direct Publishing. You have to publish the book then buy it and then it will be on her Kindle. (It wasn’t until months later that I discovered that wasn’t the truth.) So I finished writing it, put together a really bad cover, and published it on December 9, 2011. My secret wish was that someone other than a family member would see it and buy a copy. I had really big goals of selling ten copies. In my life-time. If I could sell ten copies, I would be happy. By the second or third week of February, 2012, (two months after releasing it) it was #3 on Amazon’s top 100 best sellers list! I was selling 450 copies a day. And I still didn’t have a clue what I was doing. The rest, as they say, is history!
ST: At times it feels like a baptism by fire. But it has been the best thing I’ve ever done. It was probably a good thing I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning, lol. And no, I wouldn’t take a traditional publishing deal. I am a hybrid author now, in that I do have a publisher/distributor of my paperback books, but I’m still 100% in charge of everything from covers to editing to marketing.
LP: Generally, what are the expenses and time involved in publishing your own book? How long does it take you to get a book out?
ST: It depends on the book! It took me three weeks to write McKenna’s Honor, but it took an entire year to write Frederick’s Queen. Each book can cost any where between $1500 to $3,000 to publish a book for ebook and paperback. Another $2500-$4,000 for audio books. I have an editor, final proofer, cover artist, and other expenses.
ST: Oh, I can’t pick just one! If you mean writing style, then the list is endless. But I have two dear, sweet friends, Kathryn Le Veque and Tanya Anne Crosby, who I talk to on a daily basis. Tanya has a great sense of the business as a whole and Kathryn is great at helping me come up with tag lines for my books. In addition to being awesome authors, they’re beautiful women and I adore both of them.
LP: You’ve had a lot happen in your family this year – can you share with us – how you find time to balance life and writing through life’s ups and downs?
ST: Yes, it has been a very hectic and at times, terrifying, year. Our granddaughter was born more than 3 months early. She was a ‘micropreemie’ weighing in at a whopping 1 pound 11 1/2 ounces. She was born in early April. She is home now and doing amazing! One of the best things about being a full time indie author is that I can either set everything aside and focus on my family without having to worry about losing my job. I put everything on hold when she was born. Once she was doing well and that initial shock wore off, I would go to the NICU every day because my daughter also had a 5 year old at home to take care of. I would go to the NICU, take my laptop, and write. I dedicated Ian’s Rose, my latest book, to my granddaughter. I wrote thousands of words in that NICU, while watching her sleep in that huge incubator. I’m so blessed in that I can focus solely on what I need to and not have to worry about anything else. Now that Malea is home, thriving and growing, I’m back to writing full time. This is a seven day a week job. I rarely take a day off. I’m more apt to only take a few hours off here and there. I make time every day for my husband, I always take my children’s phone calls, and at least once a month we have a big family dinner here now. It’s not easy, but I love doing what I do.
ST: Frederick’s Queen. It took a year to write because of the subject matter. I modeled Frederick and Aggie after my uncle and aunt. Just their mannerisms and characteristics. NOTHING that happened to the fictional Aggie ever happened to my aunt! She was raised in a very loving home!
LP: You are a USA Today bestselling author – tell us how that came about and what book (or books) hit for you? How high did you hit and how did you feel?
ST: With Dreams Only Of You, the anthology I did with Kathryn Le Veque, Eva Devon, Cynthia Wright, Christi Caldwell and Eliza Knight, was my first time making the USA Today Bestsellers list! I honestly can’t remember how high we made it. It was an amazing feeling! I cried, I laughed, I squealed, and took my husband and friends out that night to celebrate!
LP: It’s very competitive out there with traditionally published authors and indie authors and authors who do both! How do YOU stand out? Aside from writing a great book.
ST: I’m a nut, so I’ve got that going for me! I think what my readers like is knowing they can reach out to me on social media and I’ll respond to them. I talk with my readers. I love doing live video sessions on Facebook and talking with them. My readers know that I adore them. My stories are always filled with mystery, intrigue, romance and bad guys that I kill off in delicious and delightful ways!
LP: What do you have coming up next?
ST: I just released Ian’s Rose on August 26. My next book in that series (The Mackintoshes and McLarens) should be out before Christmas. It is titled The Bowie Bride. Next year will be a big year for me as I plan to release a few more historical romance novels as well as one contemporary.
LP: Where is the place you would LOVE to visit purely for research purposes!
ST: SCOTLAND! Ireland, Wales, and England. But Scotland first. My husband thinks we only need a week to visit. Ha! I’ll need a week just to get through the Edinburgh Library!
LP: Thank you!!!!!
ST: You’re very welcome and Thank you!!!
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