Archive for the ‘bestselling author’ Category
Welcome to the first in a new series featuring authors talking about their writer and reader retreats. Many authors are now organizing their own successful events both for other authors and for fans, and we are going to tell you all about them!
First up is New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author Eden Bradley. Eden has a unique retreat coming up in June in San Francisco – called EDEN BRADLEY’S KINK RETREAT WEEKEND, an intro to the world of BDSM.
Eden writes dark, edgy erotica and erotic romance for Bantam/Delta, Harlequin Spice and HQN, Berkley Heat (as both Eden Bradley and Eve Berlin), and the former Samhain Publishing. Two of her books have been Romantic Times Top Picks, and her novel FORBIDDEN FRUIT was profiled in Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Red Hot Reads column in 2008. More recently her BDSM book THE DARK GARDEN hit the top paperback fiction charts in the UK.
Eden joins us to talk about all things erotic. Welcome Eden!
Lachesis Publishing: You’ve been writing erotica and erotic romance for many years. Tell us how you got started as an erotic author and why?
Eden Bradley: I started writing erotica in my early twenties—short stories that I never thought to publish. I’d always wanted to write erotica, but in those days there wasn’t much of a market for it. I became involved in the romance industry around 1999, and discovered some online communities that led me to the sexier books being published. Those were category romances, which my voice really isn’t suited for, but eventually e-publishers began to open and erotic romance became very popular very quickly, and I was in! I was lucky to be mentored by some amazing authors early on, like Nalini Singh, Sasha White, Shayla Black and Sylvia Day, and I’ll be forever grateful for their guidance.
EB: I hit the list with my novella INK & IRON: OBSESSION, which was in the Riding Desire Box Set. I was living with friend and author R.G. Alexander at the time and she was also in that box set. I woke up to Post-its all over the house saying things like “NYT Bestseller’s tea mug” and “NYT Bestseller’s toaster”. We did go out for a nice dinner once we stopped screaming. ; )
LP: The next feature film installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy came out in February of 2017 – in your opinion what kind of impact has Fifty Shades and E.L. James had on genre of erotica and erotic romance?
ED: It’s been HUGE! I always say EL James rebooted my career, since I’ve always written kink, and when the books were contracted by a branch of Random House, I was the only other contemporary BDSM author they had (through bantam). They re-issued my novel THE DARK GARDEN, which I wrote in 2005, and got it into Target and Walmart, which was awesome!
The FIFTY SHADES books brought kink to mainstream readers and opened up much-needed discussions about female sexual desire—there’s been a profound effect on the erotica/erotic romance industry, and on Western culture. Since I lecture on sex and BDSM, I’ve felt for a long time that these are important discussions to be had, so I’m grateful on several levels. And every time one of the films come out, we all (ER authors) get a nice boost in sales. I’m not complaining!
LP: What is your definition of erotic? And Erotic romance?
EB: In erotica, sex/sensual/sexual tension are the driving force of the story. In well-written erotica, even if it’s nothing more than a slice-of-life moment, the protagonist usually learns something about themselves, although erotica can be purely “stroke fiction”—you don’t need a happily-ever-after or even a happy-for-now ending.
In erotic romance, the sex must drive the story arc, character arc and relationship arc forward, and it must have a consistent sensual pacing, regardless of how much sex there is—or isn’t—on the page. The sex and sexual tension must serve almost as a sub-plot itself so that the sex scenes have purpose—some sort of personal or relationship discovery. And of course, since it’s a romance sub-genre, it has to end in a happily-ever-after.
LP: Tell us two of your favourite Eden Bradley books and why?
EB: Ohh, this is too hard! But if I must…I still love my first full-length BDSM novel, THE DARK GARDEN. It’s very much me, and such an important moment in my journey as an author. I managed to integrate my love for art, as well as my fascination with the psychology of kink, into that book. Actually, I believe kink is really all about psychology at the core, but this was the first book where I really got to explore that.
I’m also a bit madly in love with THE TRAINING HOUSE series, but those books are very hard-core kink, and definitely not for everyone. That’s probably why I love them so much—I just let those stories happen without censoring myself by considering what would be marketable. And readers are loving those books! It was the best writing experience I’ve ever had.
LP: A lot of what you write about has been inspired by your own real life experiences – tell us about that.
EB: I’ve been involved in kink most of my adult life—about 30 years. I’ve been to clubs all over the country, have experimented and learned a lot, have met the most amazing people. Those experiences have had an enormous effect on me as a woman, as a person, and as a writer. I’m always very much aware of how psychology comes into play in any kink scenario, and it’s something I try to bring to my books, so naturally, many elements of what I’ve experienced pop up in my work. Not all of it are kink or sex scenes. My menage book TEMPT ME TWICE is based on a real life experience with my best friend when I was 19, and there are some big emotional scenes in my books that have come from real life relationship conflicts.
LP: You’ve given many workshops at conferences on the subject of “kink” but you are working on launching a very unique experience for a small group of women called A “kink retreat” who are looking to explore this world in greater detail. Tell us about that and how can women sign up?
EB: As someone who’s been in kink for so many years, I feel a certain responsibility to help mentor other people—particularly women—into kink in a safe way, and every time one of the Fifty Shades films comes out, we get an influx of people into the kink scene, so this is an important time. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one of the clubs here is very “newbie-friendly”, so I have the opportunity not only to meet and entertain my readers (which I love—I’m a very social person and I adore my readers!), but also to educate them. I want everyone exploring the BDSM scene to do so safely, and armed with information, so if they do decide to try it, they’ll have a healthy, positive experience.
I’m in the early planning stages, but if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll see the updates. I’m capping this first trip at 20-25 people to maintain an intimate environment, so the spots will go quickly! There will be two workshops, a “pervertible” shopping trip to Japantown, a picnic, group discussion, private talks with me, and a visit to the kink club for a tour and play party, plus a toy demo. I think it’s going to be a blast! And San Francisco is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
LP: You’re a hybrid author – you are both self-published and traditionally published – why do you think that is a good way for authors to stay relevant and “out there” in this ever changing industry?
EB: I know a lot of authors have found success purely as indie authors, but since I started out traditionally published, I haven’t wanted to give that up, since most of my income comes from my New York (traditional print) publishers. For me, indie has been a way to expand my readership, keep more titles coming out, and it gives me a chance to write material my publishers wouldn’t touch, like The Training House series. Traditional publishers will only release so many books a year, and it’s really not enough these days for our readers-romance readers are voracious, and 3 books a year from me isn’t enough to hold their interest and feed their hunger for books, so I think there are advantages all the way around.
EB: They’re not all that new to me (they’re a writing duo), but anyone who likes my books/genre has to check out Sparrow Beckett!
LP: You are the proud mama of a very cute Boston terrier (yes?) named Voodoo – tell us about your pet pooch and how he got his name. LOL
EB: Thanks for asking about my furry child-lol! He really is the love of my life, and he’s such a character. I wanted a cartoon-like dog, and that’s exactly what I’ve got!
His name is a bit of a story. I got him while living with R.G. Alexander, and her dog is named Roux, which is short for Rougarou—the Cajun word for werewolf. We’re both totally in love with New Orleans, so I decided I wanted a New Orleans-themed name. I’d been looking at “tough” names, since Bostons are bred from bulldogs, and had been through names like Ace, Butch, Bullet…but being a romance author, I also loved Romeo—and he was born with a heart-shaped mark on his head. So Romeo is his middle name. But I also knew I’d call him all sorts of ridiculous stuff, like Sweetpea, and R.G. encouraged me to give him multiple middle names. Then she noticed that Voodoo Romeo Sweetpea sounded like the military call letters, and joked he should be Voodoo Romeo Foxtrot Sweetpea. We laughed for weeks! When I brought him home, I found out I could actually use that name on his registration papers, and it was too absurd to resist! So, he is officially Voodoo Romeo Foxtrot Sweetpea. : )
You can reach New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Eden Bradley via her website, on facebook and on twitter. As someone who has been involved in BDSM practice for much of her adult life, she relates in particular to her BDSM and kink stories, infusing them with her own truth about kink practice from her life experiences.
Eden has appeared regularly on Playboy Radio’s ‘Night Calls’ and the Hollywood In the Flesh readings. She loves art, shoes, tattoos, reading smutty books, chocolate and sex, of course, not necessarily in that order.
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 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:amreading, amwriting, bestselling author, blog post, contemporary romance, From the Editor's Desk, Independent Author, Indie Author, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., romance books, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, romantic suspense, USA Today bestselling author
Kimberly Kincaid is a USA Today best-selling author and a 2016 and 2015 RWA RITA® finalist and 2014 Bookseller’s Best nominee. Her latest release is out today! SKIN DEEP. When she’s not writing her contemporary romance and romantic suspense bestsellers, Kimberly is most likely cuddled up reading one of her favourite authors, or cooking up a storm in her kitchen, or downward dogging and other Yoga poses. Kimberly lives in Virginia with her awesome husband and their three awesome daughters. You can click here to subscribe to Kimberly’s Newsletter.
You’re an indie author but do you also still publish with a traditional publisher? Why did you decide to go indie? And how has that worked out for you?
I am a hybrid author—best of both worlds! I’m fortunate in that I’m able to write full time, and because of that, I usually write 4 books a year. That’s quite a load for many publishing houses, so I made the decision to both Indie publish and have a traditional contract. I have to keep to a pretty detailed schedule as a result, but it works out beautifully.
I hit the USA Today list with a really fun Christmas anthology last year. My story in that collection is titled PLAY ME (it’s now available as a stand-alone, as the anthology was a limited-time-only publication.) It’s a sexy contemporary about second chances. I was actually under the weather on the day we found out we’d made the list, so I celebrated with a nice, long nap! Not very glamourous, I know. But after I felt better, there was champagne J
You write romance and romantic suspense – what attracted you to both and what is your level of “heat” in your books?
I love the aspects of both subgenres. In my contemporary romances, I’m able to focus on my characters a bit more deeply, and in the suspense, there’s a lot of fast-paced action. I always write with emotion, though, and all of my books are fairly steamy. Romantic suspense allows me to dive into some edgier aspects. My Station Seventeen series (suspense) is a little sexier than my Cross Creek (contemporary) series, but there’s a definite intimacy level in both.
Let’s say I’m new to Kimberly Kincaid – I’ve just discovered you either through facebook or amazon or through a friend. What kind of story am I going to be getting in a Kimberly Kincaid book – and which book of yours do you recommend I read first?
I do have a handy list, broken down by series, on my website. But you’re in luck, because this year I am starting not one but two new series, so you can get in on the ground level of both! The prequel story to my Station Seventeen series is titled DEEP TROUBLE (it’s out now!), with the first full book, SKIN DEEP, coming out today – 9/20. This series revolves around a fire house, and is full of action-packed suspense and sexy characters.
For my Cross Creek series, the first book, CROSSING HEARTS, will be out on February 7, 2017. It’s up for preorder, for those folks who want to be sure not to miss a minute! That series is about three brothers who run their family farm with their father, in the foothills of the Shenandoah. If you like small town charm mixed with big time sizzle, salt-of-the-earth heroes and feisty, fun heroines, you’re in the right place with this one.
Promotion is key to every author. But you can’t always predict how well a promotion is going to work out. Tell us about one thing you do on a regular basis for each new release that has worked for you?
No matter what I do (Facebook parties, book signings, newsletter blasts), I always try to be genuine. I can’t do this job without readers! I want to make sure my interactions with them are engaging and fun.
Tell us about your latest release. And what do you have coming down the road.
I’ve got SKIN DEEP coming out today! September 20, and CROSSING HEARTS on February 7, 2017. There will be more books in each series in 2017, plus a really fun charity anthology in March 2017. I’m thrilled to be so busy!
I read that you make a mean enchilada! – tell us about that and what inspires you in the kitchen.
Oh, we are big cooks in my house! In the kitchen, it’s all about flavor and fun. My husband, kids, and I make it a team event. We do a lot of tasting and laughing as we go, and we try a lot of new things. You never know where your next favorite will come from!
If you were offered a cooking show on the Food Network –what kind of show would it be and why?
I’d want to focus on easy meals that combine comfort food and healthy living. My very favorite foods come directly from the earth. Give me a good BLT, and I am a happy camper!
Authors sit in front of their computers all day. A recipe for potential weight gain and lack of exercise. What do you do to stay healthy and energized?
I have a fitness background, so thankfully I know a lot of ways to stay active and cross-train. I do a lot of yoga, as well as making time for cardio workouts and healthy eating. It’s all part of daily routine for me. I write my workouts on my daily To Do list to remind myself that they are as much of a priority as paying bills or going to the grocery store. It’s all about balancing the chair with movement
This list is long. I adored M. O’Keefe’s BURN DOWN THE NIGHT, and Cristin Harber is adding to her Titan series with LIVE WIRE. I’m also quite addicted to Scarlett Cole’s series, which she just finished up with THE DARKEST LINK.
What do your daughters and husband think of your writing career?
They are all insanely supportive! I could not write a single word without them in my corner.
BONUS QUESTION: When you’re really stressed out – how do you blow off steam?
Usually, yoga, although I won’t say that sometimes, a good glass of wine cures a lot of ailments.
Thanks and cheers!
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!!!
In:amreading, amwriting, Art and Writing, Author Marketing Plans, Author Research and Travel, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, blogging, book reviews, From the Editor's Desk, new adult, New Adult Romance, paranormal, paranormal romance, Supernatural, Supernatural thriller, suspense, urban fantasy, Writer's Craft, YA, YA paranormal, YA Romance
Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) is an author and blogger based in Arizona. When she’s not writing, she loves to bake and spend time with her husband and three rescue dogs Coco, Trouble, and Ashy and their cat Shitty Kitty.
When did you launch Romance Junkies and what made you decide it was time to step back from running it?
I started Romance Junkies back in 2002. At that time I was a freelance web designer and aspiring romance writer. I’ve always been a big reader and in between working a day job and writing I was doing a lot of reading. I thought it would be fun to start doing book reviews with some of my friends. And since I was a web designer I decided to whip up a little website where we could post the reviews. I thought the site was going to be a small weekend project, but the first week we were open, I got a very nasty email from one of the big romance review sites. The letter had a very threatening tone and was telling us we couldn’t feature certain authors that were apparently “their authors.” I remember reading the email to my husband and afterward saying in an astonished tone, “Who knew there was a romance mafia.” I’m pretty laid back, but I don’t like bullies. I decided that day to spend all my free time working on the Romance Junkies. My goal was to try to make it as big as possible, for no other reason than to annoy the “Romance Mafia.”
After 13 years of running the site, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to spend more time working on my writing, and I wanted to try some new projects. Some new challenges.
Are you still involved in the Romance Junkies site?
Marie Harte, who writes contemporary romance for Sourcebooks publishing, is the current owner/operator. She is a good friend, and I know she is going to do a fabulous job with the site. I have stepped down from all Romance Junkies management, site decisions, and actual work, but I’ve stayed on with the site as a reviewer. I plan to do a few reviews here and there.
When you founded Romance Junkies back in 2002 what was the online world like for romance authors/novels and how has it changed since then in your opinion?
Big review sites and big blogs filled Romanceland. I remember I would hit my favorite sites and blogs each week to get news and gossip about what was going on. Over the years, social media has expanded with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now I get a lot of my Romanceland news via Twitter and Facebook. Rather than blogs run by a big group of people you see a lot more small, individually run blogs. A lot of young book reviewers are doing their reviews on YouTube.
You’re also an author – when did you start writing and why?
I started writing back in 2001. When I turned 36 years old, my husband lovingly told me, “You need to start working on that writing dream you’ve had since you were a kid, because let’s face it time is running out.” I told him I had no idea how to write a book, and he gave me one of his no-nonsense stares and told me, “Stop whining and go figure it out.” Now in his defense, he does tend to be very straightforward in the things he says. He will tell you the honest truth, whether or not you want to hear it. He is also the most supportive husband—he is one of my main critique partners and has really helped me over the years become a better writer.
I started working on that first book in 2001. It took me eight months to write that first book and five months to edit it. While writing that book, I realized how much I loved the whole writing process. Yes, it’s crazy hard, impossible some days, but so much fun. There’s nothing better than battling through and writing a book and getting to those sweet words—THE END. Nothing cooler than seeing the characters you have in your head become walking and talking entities.
What genre do you write in and why?
I started out writing romance. I have four stories that were published with one of the big epublishing houses. I’m not going to name them since my career with them ended when the house blew up with a bunch of crazy drama. Around that that time I got very sick. So sick I had to give up my day job—I was teaching computer classes and doing freelance web design. My husband, who had always helped me run Romance Junkies, took over the bulk of the work on the site. He also had to take on an extra job since I was no longer able to work. The poor boy had a sick wife at home, was working two day jobs, and was putting up features on Romance Junkies during the wee hours. I told you he’s a very supportive husband. Every year I got a little better and after two years I was able to get back to working on Romance Junkies. Though sadly I was still too sick to go back to working a regular day job.
When I was really sick, every six months I would try to write. The first two years the fatigue was so overwhelming I just couldn’t write. I didn’t have the mental clarity to get words down on paper. And then after year three of being sick I saw that author Candace Haven was offering a fast draft class. I decided to give it a try, even though I knew there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be well enough to participate. To my surprise suddenly I could get the words out. The tips I learned about fast drafting in that class really changed the way I wrote. Instead of editing as I worked, I started just banging out a fast, rough first draft. It was so freeing to allow myself to be creative and to turn off the editor in my head. Of course with no editor on duty, that meant my rough drafts were incredibly rough, and it would take me as much time to polish and edit a manuscript as it did to write it.
Before I was sick, I wrote romance, but now the stories coming out of me were much darker. Even more surprising—they were YA. Working on that first young adult book Awakening was a life saver. When your life is full of fatigue, your world becomes very small. You mourn the high energy person you used to be. You have so many limitations on the things you can do you get depressed. I took all that depression, all those dark thoughts and I poured them into my story. I spent the next two years writing the four books in the Dark Ritual series under the pen name Catrina Burgess. Those characters in the book, the Scooby gang as I call them, kept me entertained and I truly believed helped me get better. I’m still sick, and I still have a lot of limitations on the things I can do, but on a good day I can think clearly. I’m mentally 70% there, which is a huge improvement. More importantly, I’m well enough to write. I never realized how much I loved writing until I couldn’t do it anymore.
You’re published by Full Fathom Five – the publishing company launched by James Frey – who shot to fame years ago with his bestseller A Million Little Pieces – how did that come about and how is it going so far?
I’m with the infamous James Frey publishing through the Full Fathom Five Digital house. I wrote the first three books in my Dark Ritual series and posted them on Wattpad. Wattpad is a teen writing community. I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading my YA books. I was writing them to entertain myself and my teenage nieces. I was shocked when the series started to get a lot of traction on Wattpad. Before I knew it, the first three books had over 3 million reads. I was getting fan email from teens from all over the world. I decided to enter Awakening, the first book in the series into a Wattpad writing contest. To my amazement, out of 3,000 entries, Awakening was picked as one of ten winners of the Wattpad 2014 Prize. Awakening was named best suspense book. After winning the contest, I was contacted by Full Fathom Five.
I spent a good deal of time researching the new house and their management. It’s always a risk to go with a new house, but I decided to take the risk. It took six months to negotiate a contract we could both live with. Once I was on board with the house, I got to know the staff as I worked with them. And I really enjoyed working with them.
The toughest part of the whole process was the eight months of publisher edits. Since I signed in January and the first three books all came out the month of October, I was under very tough deadlines. But somehow I survived them, though I don’t remember much about last summer, it seemed to have whizzed by in a blur of edits.
I love how the series turned out. I adore the covers. And I would have happily continued working with FFF, but unfortunately the digital house this year decided to downsize. They are not taking on any new submissions. I plan to write a half-dozen books set in the same world as the Dark Rituals series, but now I’m free to do whatever I want with those books. It’s a bit scary having an orphaned series. It’s very unlikely another house will pick up the rest of the series. At the moment the plan is to self-publish the rest of the books. Nowadays when you self-publish you have to consider covers and edits. Those expenses come out of your own pocket. You cross your fingers and hope that the book sells enough to repay the money you paid out of pocket. There is no guarantee it will. There is a risk, but there is also quite a bit of freedom having full control over your book. It allows you to take more risks with the story and the characters.
Given your background at Romance Junkies – what do you think are some key things that every author should do to promote their books?
If you asked me this question three years ago, I would have had a pat answer for you. There seemed to be a roadmap that authors could follow to find success and sales. But in the last three years the publishing industry has been in a free fall. Suddenly authors who had been making a great living writing are having a hard time surviving.
I’ve given a lot of thought to why there has been such a drastic change in Romanceland in the last three years. Is it because Amazon changed its algorithms? The fact that so many indie authors are now publishing romance? Has the avalanche of free books turned readers off from buying books? Could it be that the middle class is shrinking, and people seem to be working more which leaves them less time to read and less money to spend on books? I think it’s a combination of all of the above.
So what can an Author do that will ensure she/he sells a zillion books? If I could answer that question, I would be the most popular person in Romanceland. I think it’s still important to try and get your name out. It helps to be active on social media. Book blog tours, Facebook ads, reviews—I think these things still help with book sales. But when it comes to the big sales I think it’s lightening striking—the combination of timing and luck. If you are lucky enough to have a project that hits big with Amazon rankings and somehow gets found by the readers and those readers spread the word about the book to all their friends–you get this grass roots buzz happening. The rankings and readers interest gets the blogs all talking about the book, and the big sales seem to follow. I don’t know that anyone has found a guaranteed way to make all of those things happen. If they did, I’m sure the whole of Romanceland would be talking about it.
Personally, I’m going to try a few non-writing projects see if I can raise my Author visibility. In the fall I’m going to start doing YouTube videos about paranormal topics. Hopefully, I can make the videos informative yet zany enough to entertain my teen readers.
Let’s say your book has been out there for six months, and the shine is off the apple – what are some key things that an author should do to keep their name out there?
Another good question. The answer seems to be write more books. It’s a tough time in publishing—authors are expected to write multiple books a year and, at the same time, do a ton of social media and marketing. You see many authors struggling to find time to write with all the marketing they are doing. Some authors seem to be able to juggle the two seamlessly. I’ve seen authors who are somehow on Twitter all day long interacting with their readers and yet they still find time to write. I wonder when they sleep.
What do you love reading and who are three of your favorite authors?
You have chronic fatigue syndrome – how does it affect your writing and daily routine? What are some things you do to help keep yourself balanced?
Chronic fatigue is a dreadful thing to have. Most people don’t realize how debilitating fatigue can be. There are days when I feel like I have a house sitting on my shoulders and getting up and putting a load of dishes in the dishwasher seems like an impossible task. I’ve always been a type A personality, but no amount of mental strength or willpower can fight through that much fatigue.
I found what works for me, is if I set a weekly page count. I try to write every day, but that’s not always possible. I find with the weekly page count it helps me push myself to get pages done on those days when I feel well enough to write. But there are many days during the week when I’m too sick even to sit at the laptop. Especially if I overdo it.
Last Olympics the women’s volleyball team had a mantra they used—breath, battle, believe. It’s a mantra I’ve adopted to help me get a book done. I breathe and take it easy on days I can’t work. I battle and work on the book on days I feel good. And I believe that if I keep working away the book will eventually get done.
Bonus: What are you really good at and why? (can be something silly) J
I can crochet afghans. It disturbs and amuses my friends that I can crochet. I’m someone who lives in graphic t-shirts, jeans, and vans, and I guess crocheting is something that people always think of grandmothers as doing. I’m good at it thanks to my very own grandmother who taught me how to crochet.
In:amreading, amwriting, anthology, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, blog post, contemporary romance, Dark Paranormal, From the Editor's Desk, LGBT romance, paranormal romance
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.)
LP: Most authors stick to one or two sub-genres in romance but you write in a variety – tell us what you write and why?
MH: I’m an avid reader of romance, and I like multiple genres to read. When I started writing, I wanted to write everything I liked. So confining myself to one genre would have been too limiting. It might not have helped me carve a niche, but it’s allowed me the freedom of enjoying my work, because I don’t get bored.
MH: Funny story. Back before book bundles had gotten so popular, I was in a bundle (A Taste of Decadence) in 2013 that hit the USA Today list. I was in Safeway (grocery store) with my kids at the time, and they got candy to celebrate. A year later I was in that same Safeway in a new bundle, Mastered, and my phone was going nuts. Turned out we’d hit the NY Times list! This was July 31st, 2014. Mastered was #14 on the NYT eBook List, #19 on the NYT eBook and Print Combined List, and #95 on the USA Today Bestseller List. Needless to say, my kids got their fill of sugar a second time.
MH: My first book released in 2004 through a small press publisher. So I began my career traditionally published. Back then, doing it yourself meant vanity publishing, and I refuse to pay to be published. I always kept striving to break into the big 6. But in the meantime, I wrote like crazy with multiple books coming out each year with my smaller houses that were doing really well. Then I delved into self-publishing, once platforms like Amazon, B&N, and iBooks were available.
I think the hybrid (trad and self) publishing model is the way to go. I get much more distribution and visibility through my traditional houses and more freedom and control through self-publishing. But it’s also a lot more work in self-publishing. For sure.
MH: Hmm. That’s a tough one. One author that comes to mind is Katie Ruggle. I’m a super huge fan of her romantic suspense series, Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue. The writing is tight and the plotting is fantastic.
Another favorite who comes to mind is Morgan Hawke. She hasn’t been too visible lately, but I reread her Interstellar Service & Discipline series a lot. It’s just so different from what’s out there, and it was written years ago. It’s a funky scifi, erotic, cyberpunk series, and it’s amazing. I so wish she’d write more!
LP: You took over the helm at the Romance Junkies site – tell us how that came about and why you wanted to pick up the torch so to speak.
MH: I’ve been friends with Cat, the previous owner of RJ, for years. She’d been talking about winding down, busy with family and her own writing, and I begged her not to scrap the site. When I started writing, RJ was a huge presence in the romance community. Times have changed, but I remember how much RJ had helped me with writing and with finding new reads. So I told her I’d buy it. I wasn’t sure about running a review site. It’s A TON of work, but I love books and it’s fun. So for now, I’m holding onto to it with both hands!
LP: What can Romance Junkies offer authors in terms of promotion?
MH: We are author-friendly, and our prices are low in comparison to other sites ($25 for a monthly cover spot, for example). We do anywhere from 65+ reviews a month, and we have access to everyone out there. The site has been around for 13 years. We’re growing our Facebook presence, but we have over 4000 twitter followers. We were getting 250,000 hits a month before we rebuilt our site, so we need a little time to rebuild those numbers as our SEO adapts to the new links. We do draw in readers with daily giveaways and FB posts and tweets.
Writer’s Digest has named us one of the top 101 best websites for writers several years running, to include 2016. We have a yearly writing contest, tips and resources for authors, and great rates for advertising, merging readers with authors. (See our For Authors link.)
LP: One of the things I’ve noticed is that some authors will devote most of their focus to a new release for a few weeks and then move on. What do you think are some key things that an author should do on a consistent basis in order to sell books consistently?
MH: Great question. I’ve been guilty of this myself. It depends on budget and how many books an author releases, certainly. But anymore, it’s not enough to just write a good book. You need to market your work. Sure, punch up that new release. But once the dust has settled, try new promotional efforts. A sale, a new release in the same series to bring back attention to book one. Graphics with catchy text on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a constant process to keep one’s name out there, but readers have to know about you in order to read your books.
MH: I think freebies both help and hurt. The first free book in a series? A great marketing tool to get folks interested in the series. A single title always free, when an author only has one or two books out? Not so great. By giving away their stories and making everything free, I fear authors have devalued their work. Now readers want cheap and free all the time, and it sets the idea that a writer’s time isn’t worth the money. Heck, normally, the cost of a book is equal to a cup of coffee. But readers are used to free and .99, so much that those prices don’t seem to phase anyone anymore. I don’t know. Publishing has gotten pretty scary lately.
LP: Tell us about your latest release and what you have coming down the road.
MH: My latest release came out June 7th. Test Drive is the first in the Body Shop Bad Boys series, about a group of rough mechanics working in a garage who like to get dirty on and off the job. *grin* Book two, Roadside Assistance, releases Sept 6th. Just next month! And in November, my third series for Sourcebooks releases. A Sure Thing is book one of The Donnigans–With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…
LP: Bonus: If you could possess a supernatural power/ability what would it be and why?
MH: The ability to stop time. I never seem to have enough of it!
MH: Thank you so much for having me!
LP: Thank you!!!!!
In:amreading, amwriting, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, blog post, Elizabethan Romance, historical romance, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Anniversary sale, Lachesis Publishing Inc., romance books, romance fiction, romance hero, Sneak Peek Tuesday
HAPPY NEW RELEASE DAY for the gorgeous and romantic MY HEART’S DESIRE by Patricia Grasso.
Get it on sale for only 1.99 right here during the Lachesis Publishing Anniversary Month Sale!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Find happiness with the soaring eagle in the Place of the Winds. Beware the dark sun.
Lady Blythe Devereux has always loved Roger Debrett, the Earl of Eden, Queen Elizabeth’s soaring eagle. Blythe knows with her druid’s instinct that they are meant to be together. And fate will prove her right, if only she can make Roger see the truth.
Fate deals Roger a cruel blow when he’s wrongly accused of murder. In order to secure his freedom so that he can uncover the truth, Roger is forced to marry Blythe, the beloved daughter of one of England’s most powerful and favored men, Richard Devereux, the Earl of Basildon.
With his heart hardened against love, Roger tries to see Blythe as the young girl he’d known years earlier, but her seductive beauty, warmth, and charm, entice him at every turn. And when an unseen killer stalks them through the halls of Hampton Court Palace, Roger must do more than catch a killer. He must protect his heart’s desire.
Patricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon. And the Devereux Series, a lush, lavish, and compelling series about the noble Devereux Family in Elizabethan England. (Note: this is a re-release)
Her books have won various awards including the National Readers’ Choice Award, New England Readers’ Choice Award, the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice and KISS Awards as well as the B. Dalton and Bookrack Awards for bestselling first-time author.
A native of Massachusetts, Patricia makes her home in the Boston area. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English and, for many years, used her “leisure” time to teach in a public high school.
Her website is: www.patriciagrasso.com.
Patricia Grasso‘s latest release is MY HEART’S DESIRE (a re-release in the Devereux Series). You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing for only 1.99 FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF SEPTEBER! You can also get it on amazon, BN nook, or kobo.
In:Amazon bestselling author, amreading, amwriting, Art and Writing, Author 2 Author, authors, bestselling author, blog post, blogging, contemporary romance, craft of writing, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Q and A, Q and A Tuesday, romance books, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels
J.M. Griffin is the bestselling author of the popular Vinnie Esposito Cozy Mystery Series – Today JM interviews her friend, romance author, Blanche Marriott in our new series called: Author 2 Author.
MG: I had a chance to chat with Blanche Marriott, a friend and wonderful author who has offered such heartfelt encouragement to me and others in our writing journeys, that I wanted to share her thoughts with you. Blanche writes romance with a great sense of humor, and I’ve enjoyed reading her stories. Thanks for sharing, Blanche!
Tell our audience a bit about yourself, your writing process, and how/why you became a writer.
BM: Like most writers, it begins with an idea, a story playing in your head, or voices acting out a scene. I had a story playing in my head for years until I finally decided it had to be written down. It was a great story, the best thing anyone had ever written! It would sell in an instant and I’d be instantly famous with talk shows knocking down my door for an interview. That story is now covered in dust and sits in drawer somewhere, never to see the light of day. It was AWFUL!! But that’s where the love of writing began. I knew I could do better, so I did.
BM: I’d always done writing of some sort, even as a child. Poems, short stories. It was mostly for myself. A way of expressing myself. It wasn’t until college when an English professor wrote kind words on anything I passed in. He saw potential and I think that was the first time I took any of my writing seriously. Why did I choose romance? Mostly because that’s what I enjoyed reading. I loved a happy ending.
JMG: How many books do you have published?
BM: 6 novels, 1 non-fiction satire. I’ve written 14 total.
JMG: If you could offer advice to newbie authors, what would you say?
BM: Persevere. It’s a long road, often times frustrating. But if you believe in yourself, you can do it. Don’t think that the first thing you write will sell like hotcakes like I did. It probably won’t. The craft of writing is learned over a period of time, mostly trial and error. By the time I got to my third book, I felt like I’d hit my stride and had some sort of idea what I was doing. It felt right, and it was. That was the first book I sold.
BM: Obviously, there’s something good to be said about both. Likewise, there are bad points for both. It’s much harder to get published today with traditional publishers (in my opinion) because they are only looking for the best of the best. When I sold my first book, it had been a long time coming–over 10 years. Nowadays, with the tight competition, and the fewer new authors being bought, I fear that these new authors are in for a lot of disappointment. Indie publishing can satisfy that burning desire to be published, but it can leave one with the nagging question, “Is it really good enough?”
JMG: Have you ever independently published your work? If so, what did you take away from the process? You can tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly, we won’t mind!
BM: After selling 3 books traditionally, I decided to go the indie route because the book I really wanted to publish didn’t quite strike any publisher’s fancy. It was just a little off the beaten track so it was turned down across the board. I enjoyed the freedom of indie publishing. I felt I could write what I wanted, the way I wanted. That can be a drawback, because who says what I want to write is any good? Again, we never know. But when I read the reviews, I feel vindicated.
BM: I suppose I might. They say once a writer, always a writer. I admit I still look at things with a writer’s eye: movies, TV shows, people watching. It’s second nature. Perhaps one day the bug will bite hard enough and I’ll have to bite back.
JMG: Do characters still pop up into your brain yearning to be put in a story? How do you handle it when that happens?
BM: Yes, like I said in the previous answer, things still hit me from time to time. I don’t rush to get a paper and pen anymore like I used to, but maybe it’s a matter of exercising the brain, or greasing the wheels. If I see enough awful plots out there, I might just have to write a better one.
Blanche Marriott began writing romance novels in 1991 while balancing her career as a wood products manufacturing manager. She often joined the troops in the factory, working on sanders, drills, and saws. It gave her time to “talk” to the characters in her head and figure out what they would do next. In 2001 she switched careers and now works for a CPA firm as an accounting assistant, specializing in payroll.
She has completed 14 novels while staying active in 2 writing groups, serving on the Boards of Directors several times, and a number of conference committees. But the best part was the life-long friendships she’s formed with so many writers, published and unpublished.
Her first published novel, KALEIDOSCOPE, won 2nd place in the 2003 WisRWA Write Touch Readers’ Award for published authors. Her second book, WAY OUT WEST, won the prestigious New Jersey Romance Writers’ 2003 Golden Leaf Award for Short Contemporary. WAY OUT WEST was also a finalist in the 2004 Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion Awards.
Her current novels are ONE MORE NIGHT and HIS BROTHER’S BABY. She also has a non-fiction humor book, BORN TO BITCH, chronicling life’s little annoyances.
When she’s not writing, Blanche enjoys gardening, reading, and playing with her grandkids.
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