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

She took her secret dream and made it come true! Q and A with SUZAN TISDALE USA Today bestselling author. #amreading #romance

SUZAN TISDALEUSA Bestselling author Suzan Tisdale is a mom, grandma and wife to a handsome carpenter. She lives in the mid-west and keeps busy by writing bestselling Highlander romances!

Welcome Suzan!

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.

dd5462_00c4b5b54d7b4f688d4e8774a532ab0cST: 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!

dd5462_c6a10c86ee1f44078bf9e6a9f888ad6fLP: You are a self-published author – tell us how that journey has been. Would you ever publish with a publishing house?

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.

61OZAMqJwuL51DY1aYHtyLLP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

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.

dd5462_b2d341cfc8dd4c2face653e9bb3995d5-mv2_d_1600_2400_s_2LP: What is your favourite Suzan Tisdale book and why?

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?

51XdTbHv+8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_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? 

dd5462_c407d605a7314b8382e197d77a80535bST: 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!!!

Connect with Suzan Tisdale via her website, on facebook, and on twitter  @SuzanTisdale and amazon.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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

FROM ROMANCE JUNKIE TO FULL TIME AUTHOR: Q and A with Catrina Burgess #amreading #romance #blogger #reviewer

Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)
Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)

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.

Welcome Cat!

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?

awakeningI 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.

possessionWhen 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.

fff-logo-clear copy10014760_659073720820922_1636794537_o1-e1415204780483You’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.

Revenant2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700-683x1024I 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.

Legion3-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700-683x1024So 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?

spiders-bite517UL7sjo-LI love Jennifer Estep’s spider series. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is on my “auto-buy” list. I just discovered Calia Read, and I love the books in her new series–Unravel and Unhinge.

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.

imgres-1Last 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.

Thank you!!!!!

Connect with Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) via her website and via facebook, goodreadswattpad, and via her blog

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

amreading, amwriting, Author Marketing Plans, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, blog tours, blogging, From the Editor's Desk, Getting Organized, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., Marketing and Promotion, Marketing your book, New York Times bestselling author, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Publishing industry, self-published authors, Self-publishing, setting goals, So You want to be a bestselling ?, So you want to be a bestselling author?, Social Media, Street Teams

The Three Cs of Promoting Your Books by Joanna D’Angelo #amwriting #bestseller

clip-art-snoopy-921342Something I’ve noticed over the years is the difference between successful authors and authors who sell only a handful of books a year. If you want to get an idea of how you’re selling – check your ranking on amazon and barnes and noble. But shouldn’t your publisher be doing all the work of selling your book? Nope. There isn’t a publisher IN EXISTENCE big or small who does that. Your publisher has to promote many different titles a month (both older and new releases). Whereas YOU just have to worry about YOUR books. Your publisher has to worry about many different authors. Whereas YOU just have to worry about YOURSELF. If you are consistently in the 1 million or higher ranking, you need to re-evaluate what you are doing (or not doing) to sell books. Here are a few key qualities that I have seen that successful authors have in common. I call them THE THREE Cs: COMMITMENT, CONSISTENCY, CLEVERNESS.

tumblr_miy082ZuYC1s0s30po1_1280COMMITMENT: Successful authors are committed, not only to their writing craft but to promoting their work. After they release a new title, they don’t just forget about it and move on to the next book. No way. They have a plan in place to promote that book. That plan – should be in place well BEFORE your book comes out. One year before. One year? But won’t people get tired of hearing about your book a year in advance of it coming out? You’re not LITERALLY talking about your book every single day. USE COMMON SENSE. You are BUILDING your identity on facebook so that when your book DOES come out, you will have lots of friends and followers who know you and (hopefully) like you. People that you have made a CONNECTION with.

Let’s say you plan on promoting your book on facebook. Terrific! BUT, now here’s the hard part: What is your commitment going to be? How often should you post? What should you post about? How can you engage your friends and followers? If you don’t have enough friends and followers, how can you get more? As an author, you have to be asking yourself these questions WELL IN ADVANCE and you have to answer them. Ask other authors. Read books or articles on social networking. Figure out what you want to say and say it. READ. OBSERVE. RESEARCH.

But isn’t that a lot of work? Sure it is. But if you want to sell books, then you have to do it. Or, hire someone who knows how to do it.

But isn’t this just common sense? Of course it is. But if you already know this then why aren’t you doing it? The answer is because YOU ARE NOT COMMITTED.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.15.36 PMCONSISTENCY: The most successful authors are the authors who are consistent. They post on a regular basis  – not just once or twice a month. They ALWAYS have something to share. Some authors talk about their relationships, kids, even their health issues. While others like to share silly stuff about their pets or funny things they find online. The key is to share consistently but don’t bombard your followers with the same BUY MY BOOK post every day. Be creative. Have fun. Share who you truly are. But do it on a regular basis. Why? Because the key word in social networking is the word SOCIAL. It means “taking part”. Engaging with other people. Being sociable. Not hiding in an ivory tower.

A lot of authors have “regular” features on their facebook pages. What does that have to do with selling books you might ask? Well, social networking isn’t just “HEY MY BOOK IS ON SALE”. It’s about ENGAGING, COMMENTING, and SHARING. And you have to do it on a REGULAR BASIS. Some authors have a Question of the Week, Hunk of the Week, Cute Critter of the Week, Funny Video of the Week . . . You get the point right? Other authors run monthly contests where they give away a free signed copy of their book or some nifty “swag” that they got at various conferences. OR they go out and buy something really cool that has a connection to their book/series and they run a contest that way. How do you promote your contest? Some authors purchase sponsored ads on facebook. Or they ask their fellow author friends if they can share the post. They share the contest info on facebook group pages – spreading it out and posting on various groups every few hours, every. single. day. Some cross-promote on other blogs and on twitter to get the word out. The point is to SET UP A PLAN and STICK TO IT. If the plan isn’t getting you sales then re-evaluate every few weeks to see how you can improve/change that.

snoopy-profileCLEVERNESS: It’s hard to be clever. But the most successful authors are just that. They come up with fun and creative ways to engage their readers and they always keep it fresh. Whether it’s running contests, or posting fun content, or setting up newsletters that reward subscribers with free, original content, or making funny videos that go viral, or coming up with a fun way of branding themselves, or working with other authors on unique cross promotional contests or giveaways – they put their creativity to work – not just in their writing – but in selling. Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and think outside your box. Be a little daring. Take a chance on doing something different. Approach some other authors about setting up a YouTube channel and make regular videos that you can post online. Have fun and keep trying even if you flop the first few times. Just keep thinking and doing. Eventually you will hit your creative stride and come up with something that works really well for you. The point is – don’t just sit back and expect others to do it for you. Do it yourself. Motivate yourself. And if you find it overwhelming to go it alone – then team up with other authors and go for it. You have nothing to lose, and so very much to gain.

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Amazon bestselling author, amreading, amwriting, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, contemporary romance, Cowboy Romances, cozy mysteries, cozy mystery, craft of writing, Getting Published, historical romance, Independent Author, Indie Author, Murder Mystery, mystery

From successful journalist to bestselling author: Q&A with Patricia McLinn #amreading #amwriting

USA Today Bestselling author Patricia McLinn
USA Today Bestselling author Patricia McLinn

Patricia McLinn is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 books that include mystery, romance, and westerns She began her novel writing career with Silhouette Books (Harlequin) and was nominated for and won several writing awards, but her career really took off when she decided to go indie. She made the decision to go indie well before the explosion of indie publishing began. 

Before becoming a full time author, Patricia was an editor at the Washington Post for 23 years and a journalist for several years before that. She has a degree in English Composition and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University . A truly impressive resume.

LP: You began as a traditionally published author and now you self-publish exclusively. Tell us how that came about?

Patricia McLinn's first published book with Silhouette  in 1990. Was also a RITA Award Finalist.
Patricia McLinn’s first published book with Silhouette in 1990 – was a RITA Award Finalist.

PM: My traditional career was so up and down that it would be banned as unsafe if it were a carnival ride. With one publisher I had about 32 editors for 25 books – hard to get any continuity or rhythm going. Some of those editors said I was “pushing the envelope.” Huh? What envelope? Where? I never got that.

I became increasingly frustrated with editorial limitations and poor decisions on scheduling, titles, marketing. I did encounter some outstanding editors. Frequently their hands were tied by the hierarchy. The upshot for me and many authors was having our careers ill-served.

Well before there was anything to do with them, I was getting rights back to my previously published books. No matter what, I figured I’d be happier with the rights in my hands.

In 2006 I remember thinking ebooks were going to pop sometime, some way. No idea when or how, but I was on the lookout. By 2008 I had ebooks available online, expanding to the major retailers in 2011.

An unexpected and marvelous benefit of going indie is that writing is a lot more fun now. Writing and publishing are very different activities. My experience in traditional publishing was that they actively conflicted. As an indie author, they do not conflict. They bolster each other.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

Too bad the TV show Castle has come to an end.
Too bad the TV show CASTLE has come to an end.

PM: When the traditional publishing model works the way we all dream it might – think of it as the Richard Castle model from the TV show Castle – it’s marvelous. Brand name authors become an asset that publishing houses tend with some care. It’s different for mid-list or most entry-level authors. I was just listening to a Joanna Penn podcast with Jane Friedman in which they said contracts traditional publishers are offering first-time authors are worse than ever.

The exception is if you have a blockbuster book, everyone agrees it’s a blockbuster book, multiple publishers are willing to pay an advance commensurate with a blockbuster, the publisher you pick follows through on its promises, and all the marketing efforts work so that, in fact, your book becomes a blockbuster.

Patricia McLinn's CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING series is a bestselling mystery series about a news reporter sleuth.
Patricia McLinn’s CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING is a bestselling mystery series about a news reporter sleuth.

Traditional publishing can reach a broader audience — the folks who read one or two books a year – while indie authors’ audience are devoted readers.

PM: Now, for the pros and cons of self-publishing.

Pro:  Nobody tells you what to write. Some indies might say the market tells you what to write, but that’s only if you listen. 😉 I’m to a stage where I write what I like to read, then try to find readers who enjoy that, too. I do not tailor my writing to trends. Writing is too consuming and too difficult to do if you’re not, first, enjoying it yourself.

Pro: You’re in charge. You decide when your book will come out, what it will look like, how it will be marketed.

Con: You’re in charge of implementing all those decisions. It’s a lot of work.

Pro: You can change things that aren’t working and you can do it quickly. Cover redesign? Tweaking something that always bugged you? Altering the book description? Price change? All that and so much more you can consider, decide on, implement, and then view the results in less time than it takes for a traditionally published author to hear back about whether his/her editor took his/her request to any of — much less all of — the meetings required to decide on a change.

Con: You’re in charge of implementing all those changes. It’s a lot of work.

Pro: You set your schedule. When it comes to “hurry up and wait” traditional publishing puts the military to shame.

Patricia McLinn's WYOMING WILDFLOWERS is a bestselling romance series
Patricia McLinn’s WYOMING WILDFLOWERS is a bestselling romance series

Pro: You get paid in 60 days.

Pro: You’ll never fire yourself.

Con: You have a boss who’s a b**ch. 😉

LP: Ball-park figure. How much MONEY do you spend on each self-published book and what are the expenses involved in publishing your own book?

PM: Book cover — $200-900 (largely depending on cost of photos.) Formatting — $100-150. Editing/Proofing — $100-600. Marketing — $0 to the national debt.

I have a couple advantages. I was an editor with the Washington Post for 23 years and a journalist longer. I’m an experienced editor. However, nobody catches everything, especially not in their own work, which is why I always have a proofer.

Wyoming Wildflowers Boxed Set
Wyoming Wildflowers Boxed SetThe second advantage is that from having been published for twenty-six years, I have author buddies I can call and brainstorm with for story issues. In essence, they are my developmental editors. And I repay in kind.

The second advantage is that from having been published for twenty-six years, I have author buddies I can call and brainstorm with for story issues. In essence, they are my developmental editors. And I repay in kind.

LP:  Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .) Do you think it’s enough or not enough? Why?

PM: Oh, boy, I get to use my favorite answer – it depends.

When I’m deep in writing mode I try not to do much of that because it engages a different part of my brain/personality that is not conducive to writing. When I’m writing I don’t want to think about audience reach or ROI or strategy or any of that. I want my head so thoroughly in the fictional world that I’m astonished to walk outside and discover it’s not the season I’m writing about. (Which is why the neighbors think I’m that strange woman who wears winter coats to walk the dog when it’s 76 degrees out.)

Patricia's up coming release - you can pre-order on her site:
Patricia’s upcoming release – you can pre-order on her site:

Other times I will spend all day on various aspects of marking and promotion. That’s on top of the time my executive assistant Kay devotes to these areas, along with help from a team of great folks helping with individual aspects. It’s been wonderful to be able to delegate some of this, to free up my writing brain.

Enough? Nah. Because there’s always something else I see out there that I could have done. Another strategy or outlet to try. The possibilities are never ending.

But that’s okay, because all those strategies, all those possibilities are in service of finding the right reader-author match.

LP: You have many series on the go. Including the bestselling CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING SERIES. Why do you write series books? Tell us about your series. And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

PM: I love the interconnectedness of the communities in the series I’ve written. I love how a character learns a lesson in Book 1 and shares it with another character in Book 4. I love how the characters continue to grow past the end of their book. In romances, I don’t believe the ends of my books are Happily Ever After. Instead, they’re Happy Beginnings. What the characters learn and how they change brings the hero and heroine to the point where they can have a Happy Beginning.

Patricia McLinn has put a lot of effort into creating visual and welcoming website for her fans.
Patricia McLinn has put a lot of effort into creating a visual and welcoming website for her fans.

In CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING each book has a mystery that’s completed by the end of the book. But the story of Elizabeth Margaret Danniher, her friends, and her stray dog Shadow develops over a number of books.

Elizabeth faces multiple crossroads in her life. Her marriage ended, her successful career was pulled out from under her, she’s plunked down in Wyoming, and trying to figure out what’s going on. Between solving murder mysteries, she is also solving the mystery of her life.

For me, writing a series lets me explore that great question “What happens next?”

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.28.55 AM

LP: What social media networking sites do you use? Which one(s) work best for you and why?

PM: Mostly Facebook and Twitter. Some on Pinterest. I am looking at Instagram … mostly so I can inflict photos of my dog and garden on the wider world <eg>. The conversational threads are great on Facebook. Twitter appeals to my newspaper background. I wrote headlines for a lot of years, so 140 characters feels comfortable.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.24.32 AM

LP: You’ve hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list. What are 3 KEY THINGS THAT an author needs to do whether they are indie or traditionally published?

PM: Enjoy what you’re writing. Both because it comes through to the reader and because it will allow you to keep writing though a long career.

Fulfill your pledge to the reader. From the first paragraphs, you promise the reader a certain kind of read. Heck, before the reader starts Chapter One, s/he has an idea of what kind of reading experience this book is going to give him/her – from the packaging, the description, the title, your previous books.

Respect the reader. Those envelopes I kept being accused of pushing? Well, a lot of them had to do with this point. Readers do not need to be told the same thing 47 times, to have limited vocabulary, to have references constrained to current pop culture. Reading has always been a great education — as well as a great enjoyment – for me because authors didn’t undersell my ability to pick up new information from context or look something up.

LP: What is the most important thing you do when you release a new title?

PM: Inform the loyal, wonderful folks on my readers list via my newsletter. I try to give them any news first, along with deals, behind-the-scenes, and consumer tips. That’s the most important external thing. The most important internal thing is a lot of self-talk about one of the wonders of ebooks being that a book’s life is long and this is only the first day. Lots and lots of days to come when a good match can be made between the reader looking for my kind of read and my books.

Kathleen Eagle's latest release is Private Treaty
Kathleen Eagle’s latest release is PRIVATE TREATY

LP: WHO are 3 authors that YOU look up to and admire and why?

PM: Limiting this to three is cruel. I’ll go for diversity in these three.

John McPhee in non-fiction. Because he can get me interested in topics I don’t care about beforehand (oranges, geology) and sustain my interest.

Georgette HeyerBecause her books seldom hit just one note – all-angst-all-the-time or over-the-top comedy. Instead, they have moments of humor, of seriousness, of confusion, of clarity – just like life. I especially like this in her murder mysteries.

Kathleen Eagle: Because she never stops respecting the reader.

LP: When readers message you – which series or book comes up most often as a fan favourite and why?

PM: Interesting question. It made me realize that people have contacted me about every one of my books/series.

I see reading as interactive. Readers don’t passively accept a story from the author. They bring so much of themselves to each book they read. A reader’s life experience or where they are at the moment will affect how they react to a book.

Okay, but you asked “most often.” Probably a tie between:

The Wyoming Wildflowers series, saying they feel so connected to the characters that they feel like family

The Caught Dead in Wyoming series, saying they love the realism of the characters and that the mystery has some humor, while still respecting the seriousness of the crime.

(Boy, this was hard, because there are devoted readers of the other series I feel like I’m leaving out.)

LP: Bonus: Dogs or cats and why?

PM: Dogs. Because there’s so much communication with them. Because they pick up on your moods and care. Because they’re inside pets who don’t use a litter box inside 😉 Though, realistically, it’s probably because my family had dogs all along, so that’s what I know better.

Patricia's dog Kalli no doubt is the best writing companion ever. :)
Patricia’s dog Kalli is no doubt the best writing companion ever. 🙂

Thank you!

You can connect with Patricia McLinn via her website, on facebook and on twitter and pinterest.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page

amreading, amwriting, authors, BDSM Romance, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, contemporary fantasy, Dark Paranormal, Erotic Paranormal Romance, erotic romance, paranormal romance

Erotic Romance Superstar Author: Q and A with Kathy Kulig #amwriting #amreading

Bestselling author, Kathy Kulig
Bestselling author, Kathy Kulig

Kathy Kulig is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author of erotic romance whose works include paranormal, contemporary, BDSM and suspense. Her books are passionate and emotionally-charged, sometimes with a little added humor, but there’s always a steamy romance and a happy ending.

Kathy Kulig speaking at a book festival
Kathy Kulig speaking at a book festival

She’s been featured or quoted in the Chicago Tribune, Writer’s Digest, Romantic Times Magazine, USA Today HEA, Florida Weekly, Bustle Magazine, The Examiner, and several radio shows. She has spoken at national and local conferences, writer’s groups and libraries. She teaches workshops on various writing related topics at conferences, writers groups and online.

51D2ohOgXdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Kathy has published in both fiction and non-fiction. More than three dozen of her articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers and various on-line venues. Her recent non-fiction book Write to Success, co-authored with seven other authors, has hit bestseller rankings in its category.

Besides her career in writing, she has worked as a cytotechnologist, research scientist, dive master and stringer for a newspaper.

41mX+OjZrpL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_LP: You are a bestselling author of erotic paranormal romance. Tell us about your writing – how did you get into the erotic genre?

Kathy Kulig:  I’ve always written on the steamy side in both paranormal and contemporary romance. In 2004, an author/editor who was a member of our writer’s group was putting together an anthology of erotic novellas. I pitched a story to her and she said to send it to her. I hadn’t even written it yet! So I wrote like the wind and made the deadline. She accepted it. And that story became my first published work of fiction to a small print press. It’s out of print now.

LP: Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey came out erotica has really taken off – or rather it has become more “mainstream” and attracted a lot more readers – as an author of erotic romance – who’s been writing for years – what do you make of this phenom?

Kathy Kulig: I think it’s great that Fifty Shades of Grey opened up the genre to readers who may not have otherwise tried it out. Although there are many talented authors who had already been publishing erotic fiction for decades, the Fifty Shades books struck a chord with a demographic of readers who are now reading these authors. That’s a win-win.

Kathy Kulig pushes the envelope
Kathy Kulig pushes the envelope

LP: What do you love about writing erotic romance? And in your case – paranormal erotic romance.

Kathy Kulig: I love the depth of edginess and emotion found in erotic romance, and the ability to explore a variety of kink and alternative relationships. These stories can add another element of hotness to the conflict and relationship among the characters not always seen in sweeter romances. I’ve been a long-time fan of the paranormal. I started reading them at a young age—ghosts, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, alternative universes, ESP and more. Add in a heroine you can root for and a sexy hero you can swoon over and what’s not to love?

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published. What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

Kathy Kulig: I learned a lot while working with a traditional publisher and editor, art department, etc. It’s a great way to learn about the business, and my editors have helped me become a better writer. The downside is you don’t always have a say about book titles, covers or release schedule. And you must work within a contract. It’s important authors know what they’re signing. If they don’t understand the clauses in contracts, hire an expert. Publishers put out a lot of their own money so they must protect their investment too. The pros of indie publishing are writing what you want with full control of your publishing business including titles, series, covers, editing and release schedule. But cost is all out of pocket.

411NtB-hSGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_LP: You have a science background – tell us about that and how does it influence or inspire your writing?

Kathy Kulig: Yes, science has influenced my writing. Some of my characters have scientific careers. Some stories have scientific backgrounds. While researching a vampire book that has not yet been published, I visited an IVF lab. Quite impressive! I had to don a full isolation suit which took several stages to put on. Similar to the hazmat suit worn in the movie Outbreak. I also used a microscope that floats on liquid nitrogen and practiced artificially joining egg and sperm. (Sheep’s eggs). In my book a lab does research on a captured vampire. The heroine helps him escape.

LP: What is the most effective thing you do or have done on the marketing/promotion front that has worked for you in terms of building readership?

51pDQSjLeQL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Kathy Kulig: I was fortunate enough to be invited in a multi-authored erotic box set titled Spice Box in 2014. My romantic suspense book RED TAPE was included in the set. We did an enormous amount of promotion, ads, FB parties, contests, blog tours, newsletters mailings, etc. We also had a number of headline authors with huge fan bases. The group worked hard together and we sold over 56,000 copies in one week, hit the NY Times at #6 and USA Today at #13.

Kathy's Home (Kathy with her DH)
Kathy’s Home (Kathy with her DH)

LP: You live in a 100 year old Victorian home, which sounds absolutely lovely. And your bio on your website mentions that your garage is constructed from rejected gravestones? WOW! Tell us about that.

Kathy Kulig: Old houses come with lots of charm and

The spooky garage
The spooky garage

renovations. I love this old place. Hubby and I have spent the last 15 years remodeling it and it still needs lots of care. We live near an old cemetery. Some Civil War vets are buried there. And yes, the garage was built in the 1930s or 40s out of reject tombstones, or the extra pieces of stones not used. There are a few that have letters carved or holes drilled for where the headstone would’ve gone. It makes for a sturdy structure.

LP: You’re a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbie authors or authors who haven’t “broken through” should do to boost their career?

Kathy Kulig: Don’t do what I did. LOL. I jumped around in various subgenres because editors and agents said they were looking for a particular genre, then they weren’t interested in a certain genre so I wrote something different. Besides that, I didn’t know where my strength was. I enjoyed reading and writing different things. If you’re starting out, stick to one thing, make a series of several books, at least 4, 5, 6 or more. Another thing is learn your craft and keep learning no matter how many books you have. I learned that from a NY Times author who published over 100 books and still takes writing classes. I recommend a screenwriting course. Many local colleges offer them. I took one at a local community college and it was a huge help with plotting. And the last thing would be persistence. Don’t get discouraged when you feel everyone is more successful than you. Run your own race, set your own goals and don’t give up.

515CRpEFXHL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_LP: Tell us about an up-and-coming author YOU like and why?

Kathy Kulig: I met Rose C. Carole at a writer’s conference. Her first book just came out. Catering to His Needs. It’s an erotic and fun read. She knows how to write BDSM with heart. Rose is an excellent writer and has been writing for a long time. She’s also a really nice person. I can highly recommend her book and future ones. (Contact Rose C. Carole via her website or on facebook).

LP: Out of all of your 20 plus books – which book(s) seems to resonate the most with your readers and why?

desertofthedamned Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00049]Kathy Kulig: That’s a tough one. I’ve probably had more reviews on my shapeshifter book, Desert of the Damned, but my most enthusiastic comments are probably for His Lost Mate. They love the mix of romance and the supernatural and many want to visit the sultry rain forest and ancient ruins. They also enjoy the steamy sex scenes and suspense.

51FpB6ogLtL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_LP: What can we look forward to from Kathy Kulig? What do you have coming up?

Kathy Kulig: I have a number of projects I’m working on. I’ll be releasing a three-book series within a couple months and would like to continue on with other books in that series. I’m also half way finished with the third book in my romantic suspense FLC Case Files series. I have other projects in mind too.

LP: Bonus Question: Define a sexy woman? Define a sexy man?

Kathy Kulig: Love this question! I think a sexy woman is one who’s confident and adventurous, has a strong sense of who she is and what she wants. She doesn’t have to be beautiful or have the perfect body, but she feels beautiful inside and out. Because of that men find her attractive and charismatic. A sexy man has that certain sparkle in his eyes. Charismatic, confident, and strong, but not arrogant. He’s dependable and takes care of himself and those he loves. Hot bod helps, but I know men who have plenty of flaws who are sexy as hell, as well as hunky guys who are jerks with way too many red flags.

Thanks so much for having me as your guest!

Thank you Kathy!

Connect with Kathy Kulig via her website, facebook, pinterest, amazon, and twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page

 

Amazon bestselling author, amreading, amwriting, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, Erotic Historical Romance, From the Editor's Desk, Getting Published, Good Books, historical romance, Independent Author, Indie Author, Lachesis Blog, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Publishers and editors, Publishing industry, Q and A Bestselling Authors, Regency Erotic Romance, regency historical romance, Regency Romance, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels

Goodbye Traditional Publishing. Hello Self-publishing. Q and A with USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels

USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels
USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels

Jess Michaels is a USA Today Bestselling Author who began writing full-time in 1999 after her supportive husband encouraged her to follow her dream. She sold her first book in 2003 and since then has published 50 books (and counting). After many years of working with both big and small publishers, Jess is on her own . . . and loving it!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing?

JM: In 2011 I did a bit of self-publishing, but coming from traditional for so long, I just wasn’t sure what I was doing. So I went back to trad after the year for another couple. In 2015, I went back to indie publishing fully and will never go back. As for why, my experiences with traditional publishing were often incredibly frustrating. In the end, no one else will care as much about me or my success than I do. And I got tired of beating my head against the wall trying to get someone else to care or put any of that supposed “big publisher muscle” behind me.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Are you happy to continue doing both or would you rather do one over the other?

As an indie author, Jess Michaels works with a professional photographer to get just the right look for her covers.
As an indie author, Jess Michaels works with a professional photographer to get just the right look for her covers.

JM: The advantages of indie publishing for me are being in control of the process, being able to change my plans on the fly, getting to publish more often and not having to answer to anyone else. The disadvantages are that it’s a lot of work. LOL I probably work 80+ hours a week AND I have a full time assistant. But I’m putting that time in for ME. So it doesn’t hurt quite as much. As for the other, let me re-stress: I will NEVER go back to trad. There is not enough money in the universe.

LP: You write erotic historical romance as Jess Michaels and you’ve also written paranormal fiction under the pen name Jesse Petersen. What drew you to both genres?

JM: I actually only write as Jess Michaels. I haven’t written as Jesse Petersen for a few years now and haven’t written as Jenna Petersen (my other pen name) for almost 5. I’ve always written very, very sexy historical romance so writing erotic historical made a lot of sense. I love the Regency period, I love my fans, I love my books. I have 13 ideas in my head for the next three years of books. So I guess that genre is just my passion.

LP: How do you “put bums in seats”? When it comes to getting your name out there and selling books?

The Wicked Woodleys Series: Forbidden (Book 1)
The Wicked Woodleys Series: Forbidden (Book 1)

JM: I’ve been published for over ten years, so I have a really good solid fanbase. But I’m always working to grow that through various social media promotions and also through just writing books. Books sell books. So it’s just continuing to get that work done over and over and exposing more audiences to them.

LP: You’ve published several series including THE WICKED WOODLEYS AND THE PLEASURE WARS, Why do you write series books? Tell us about your various series, and what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

JM: Romance novelists have always known the power of the series. I think I’ve ever only written two or three standalone books out of nearly 60 published. Now in my historical romances, I’m writing family series. So I don’t write one couple, multiple books, but maybe four friends or three brothers or things like that. Doing that helps the readers be more invested. They fall in love with a family rather than just one book and it drives them to buy the next one. It’s all about building desire.

Mistress Matchmaker Series: An Introduction to Pleasure (fan favourite)
Mistress Matchmaker Series: An Introduction to Pleasure (fan favourite)

LP: When you’re chatting with fans and readers, which book(s) come up again and again as fan favourites and why?

The Notorious Flynns Series: The Other Duke
The Notorious Flynns Series: The Other Duke

JM: An Introduction to Pleasure comes up a lot, which was the first book in my Mistress Matchmaker series. People really love The Other Duke, too which was the first book in The Notorious Flynns series and my first in my return to indie, so that’s very cool!

LP: You’re a USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbies or authors who haven’t broken through yet should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

JM: I actually hit the USAToday with my third indie title of 2015 which was amazing! It’s been a goal for a long time and to do it on my own terms was joyful. As for key things: 1. Write. Write a lot. Write a lot of books. Edit. Never release a product that isn’t fully ready. But mostly write. WRITE WRITE WRITE. 2. Pick a genre and stick to it for a while. I see a lot of new authors jumping and that’s fine, except it makes it hard to catch an audience. So if you’re trying to find an audience to keep coming back, to build a base, pick something and stick to it for a while. At least 4-5 books. 3. Don’t expect overnight success. The idea of it is nice, sure, but long term success is more lucrative and satisfying. But it takes work to get there. So be ready to work.

Lords of Time Series: The Spare and the Heir
Lords of Time Series: The Spare and the Heir

LP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

JM: My friend Jenn LeBlanc is becoming one of my favorite indie authors. She writes historical romance with interesting characters who are way out of the traditional box. It’s awesome to see someone build a career in a wheelhouse that traditional publishers would turn their nose up at.

LP: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you were starting out?

JM: To write. 🙂 Honestly, it’s the best thing you can do to learn to write and to find success in a longer term scale. Having a huge backlist helps feed my front and vice versa. It helps contribute to financial success.

LP: What do you have coming up next?

JM: The last book in my Wicked Woodleys series, SEDUCED will be out May 17. You can pre-order exclusively from iBooks right now, with the rest of the pre-orders going up in early May.

Jess Michaels' feline friend
Jess Michaels’ feline bestie

LP: Bonus: cats or dogs and why?

JM: Cats! We have a beautiful cat that is my lovely, sweet angel. I adore her and I hate that she’s getting older (her partner passed away in November)

Thanks Jess for joining us today!

You can find out more about Jess Michaels’ books on her website, and you can like her page on facebook, and pinterest. You can also follow Jess on twitter and her author page on amazon.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

amreading, amwriting, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, contemporary romance, Cowboy Romances, From the Editor's Desk, Independent Author, Indie Author, Lachesis Blog, Marketing and Promotion, Navy Seals romances, New York Times bestselling author, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Q and A Bestselling Authors, Q and A with Bestselling Authors, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, self-published authors, Self-publishing, setting goals, So you want to be a bestselling author?, Social Media, suspense, USA Today bestselling author, western

Hot Cowboys and Sexy Navy Seals: Q&A with New York Times bestselling author Cat Johnson

61YDuWoxhYL._UX250_Cat Johnson not only has hit the New York Times bestseller list – she is a at Top 10 NYT bestseller! She is also a USA Today Bestselling author and the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review. Her contemporary romances focus on cowboys and Navy Seals. Cat’s books are so popular that Amazon invited her to create her own world on kindle. More on that later.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.55.37 AMAn “out of the box” thinker when it comes to marketing, Cat has sponsored bull riding cowboys and promoted her books using bologna?!? Check it out on her website.

Cat is known as a hybrid author – that is she is both self-published and traditionally published. She joins us today to talk about her remarkable publishing career and some fun stuff too!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.00.57 AMCJ: I had some backlist books I’d gotten rights back to when the small press I’d been with sold. This was about the time that KDP and Smashwords (which distributes to Barnes & Noble and iBooks) had opened to authors to self publish. So I uploaded a few backlist books but didn’t pay much attention to them. They were shorter romantic comedy stories I’d written years before, and they’d already been out with a publisher, so I figured any sales I made was money I didn’t have before and I basically ignored those stories. I was too busy writing new cowboy and military romance for my publisher . . . until I’d read an article about how much money Selena Kitt was earning self publishing erotic romance. That’s when I decided it would be worth writing something new to self publish and see what it could do. That was Educating Ansley, a cowboy ménage. I very quietly uploaded it in May of 2011 and that 40K word story sold 6,000 copies in the first 6 weeks at $2.99. After that I was hooked.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.02.44 AMCJ: Control is a huge pro self publishing offers that traditional does not. I can be quick on my feet. I can make changes on a moment’s notice. I can write a story this week and have it in readers’ hands next week, rather than 2 years from now after the genre is flooded and the reader interest has cooled. I have the freedom to change my price to take advantage of a special event or promotion at Kobo or iBooks. I can tweak my metadata to see if something else works better than what I’m doing. Today’s publishing landscape is changing at the speed of light. Publishers (and that includes self published authors) have to be ready, willing and able to change just as quickly. The problem is the systems in place at most big publishers are not set up to do that.

But there are cons to self publishing as well. Self publishing at my level still does not have the legitimacy or the distribution that I can get with a traditional publisher. There are still people who equate quality with big publishing. And it is still easier to get stocked on shelves in stores or in libraries or for a booksigning with a trad pub book.

LP: What are the expenses involved in publishing your own book? How long does it take you to get a book out?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.03.57 AMCJ: The costs and the time are both minimal. I am a control freak, so I do everything I can myself. My USA Today bestselling Hot SEALs series covers are done by me in Photoshop where I can play for hours to get my vision for the cover just right. By my manipulating and combining stock art photos, my covers can cost a few dollars rather than hundreds. I format the files and upload them myself to each vendor, which means there is no additional cost other than my time. I have a couple of trusted people who beta read and then proof read for me and can usually turn the book around in a few days so the time from when I finish writing to release is usually less than 2 weeks.

LP: You have your very own KINDLE WORLD on Amazon for your Hot SEALS series. Tell us about how that came about and what it entails.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.06.54 AMCJ: About 2 years ago, Amazon began expanding its Kindle Worlds program to include romance worlds. Bella Andre’s world was one of them and I was approached by Amazon to write a story within her world. The relationship I built with the KW team throughout that experience, and the level of my sales, prompted them to offer me my own world. I couldn’t license Amazon my traditionally published series without worrying about being in violation of my contract but my SEALs are self published. The Hot SEALs KindleWorld launched in August of 2015 and was a huge success. It’s basically fan fiction of my Hot SEALs series that is for sale. Anyone can write in the world, readers or authors, as long as they follow the guidelines outlined. They can write new characters into my world, or if they have an existing series, they can write their own characters doing things alongside mine. It’s a lot of fun for my readers who want more Hot SEALs stories. It’s nice for the authors too, since we all band together to help promote the world. Those interested in writing a story can check out the world guidelines at catjohnson.net/kindleworlds and those who want to read the stories can shop the titles at catjohnson.net/shopkindleworlds.

LP: Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .)

CJ: This is my fault, because I will choose promo and marketing over writing every day, but it’s probably 10% writing and 90% everything else, which includes keeping abreast of changes in the market, posting and reading on social media, handling email, newsletters, blogging and creating graphics. I try not to feel guilty about that ratio being so skewed because all that other stuff is important too. But I do need to learn to focus better and prioritize the writing.

LP: You’ve published several bestselling series including RED HOT AND BLUE, STUDS IN SPURS and OKLAHOMA NIGHTS. Why do you write series books? Tell us about your series. And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.11.11 AMCJ: Series are not only fun for authors to write but they are huge sellers. And I am NOT talking serials where there is basically a cliffhanger at the end of each installment and you have to get the next book. I’m talking about a connected series that shares a world, where there is an HEA or at least a HFN at the end, and the story is complete.

All of my series stories can standalone but readers love to read them all because it’s fun to catch up with the hero and heroine from the past books. Or to see the hero’s best friend you’ve come to know and love get his happy ending in the next book. Once I get to know the characters and the setting I like continuing with them, and series allow that. Red Hot & Blue and the Hot SEALs series are military romance. The Studs in Spurs, Oklahoma Nights and Midnight Cowboys series are about modern day cowboys. Visitors can find all my series listed at my site at CatJohnson.net, along with other fun stuff like quote graphics and recipes.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.13.52 AMLP: You’re a Top 10 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbie authors should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

CJ: 1-Write the next book! 2-And then write the next one after that. 3-And then release those books, steadily and predictably, promoted in advance so the readers know what to expect from you and when. Then do it all over again. Rare is the author who can make a living, or a career, on one or two or even three books. I’ve found the best way to sell the last book is to release the next one. Breakouts and anomalies aside, a career in publishing is a living thing. You don’t keep feeding it, it’s gonna waste away and eventually die.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.16.09 AMLP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

CJ: I love Cristin Harber. Our genre and writing voices are very similar and I love how she approaches the business with a combined analytical savvy and creative enthusiasm that is rare.

LP: Bonus Round: Between your COWBOYS and SEALS: 


Who would take a gal out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and who would make her dinner at home?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.19.10 AMCJ: My SEALs would take me out (they eat bad food so often, they’d want something nice from a restaurant) while my cowboys would definitely cook . . . probably steaks they raised themselves on the ranch.

LP: Who would pick up his lady’s dirty tissues from the floor when she’s sick in bed and who would give her a back rub instead?

CJ: SEALs fear no germs! And I’m thinking they’re neat freaks, at least judging by the way they clean their weapons. Cowboys are very hands on. They’d be using all that hand strength they’ve built fixing fences and such for a nice back rub.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.20.53 AMLP: Who would seduce his lady with sweet words whispered in her ear and who would seduce with a sexy growl?

CJ: Cowboys are sweet talkers with their darlin’ and baby girl and even a well placed ma’am. SEALs aren’t going to waste time with words. A growl will do.

LP: Who would bake a birthday cake for his lady’s birthday and who would surprise her in his birthday suit?

Cat Johnson at one of her many book signings
Cat Johnson at one of her many book signings

CJ: I think SEALs can be overachievers at times, and I think going the extra mile to bake their lady a cake might be just the thing he’d do to show his prowess in all things. A cowboy would get right down to the business of delivering his gift—him. Naked.

LP: Thank you!

CJ: Thank you for inviting me!

Connect with Cat Johnson via her website, on facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram.

 

Amazon bestselling author, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, blog tours, blogging, contemporary romance, Getting Published, Independent Author, Indie Author, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis Blog, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, USA Today bestselling author

From Self-Published to Star: Q and A with USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone

USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone
USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone

We are starting a new series of Q and As at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog featuring self-published and hybrid published authors. First up is USA Today bestselling author NANA MALONE.

You began as a self-published author and now you self-publish AND traditionally publish. Tell us how that came about?

18624965NM: Funny story really. I was actually originally published first by the Wild Rose Press back in the day for Game Set Match. Then I saw my first royalty check and immediately went Indie. Lol. But a little over a year ago, Harlequin Kimani saw one of my titles doing well on the Amazon multicultural charts. They called me and asked me to write for them. I never intended to be with a publisher again, but it was an interesting proposition so why not? Especially with an advance.

What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

NM: Control. Lol. On both ends. Some people don’t want to have to think about the covers and the blurb and all of it. So for those people, traditional publishing is a good option. But if you like control, then it is not a good idea because you normally don’t get a say unless you are already a HUGE seller. Oh . . . and money honey. Hands down, unless you are blazing and one of the lucky minority, you will almost always earn more on the Indie side. Just by way of the way advances work. If you don’t out-earn your advance, you will never earn royalties. And given how little authors earn per book. This is REALLY hard to do.

Ball-park figure. How much TIME do you spend on each self-published book versus traditionally published book?

Nana Malone is a smart and savvy author who has has built a strong and positive reader following.
Nana Malone is a smart and savvy author who has has built a strong and positive reader following.

NM: HAHAHAHHAHAH. I only do novellas for Harlequin. So they get about 10% of my time because I earn my money from my self published books.

Ball-park figure. How much MONEY do you spend on each self-published book versus traditionally published book?

NM: Well, I spend 0% of money on my traditionally published books. I do all the free marketing in the world, but my philosophy is that money flows to the author from the publisher. So I don’t spend money on those releases. I will have my Advance reader group do reviews, but I won’t pay for a blog tour. My publisher should do that. I will do social media, hit up my mailing list etc etc, but I will shell out no money. None. For those of us who have a little trouble with math, I spend 100 percent on my self published books.

514p6yWkN4L._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_You have many series on the go. Some of which are ONGOING. Why do you write series books? And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

NM: Because people love to revisit old couples that they love. It’s why people go to see sequels. They don’t want the fun to end. Oh, and because Bella Andre told me to. Well, not me, me, but she was on a panel at RWA and said friends don’t let friends write stand alone books. Readers want a familiar world. They want things that are a twist on the familiar. In my case, each book visits a new character in the world, a best friend, a sibling, a cousin, the neighbor down the street. But the world is the same. As an author It gives you potential ongoing revenue stream for years to come. Not to mention you can do the first book free in series or boxed sets, or if you want to get fun and funky 3rd book free in the series and force readers who are really anal to go and buy the precious books. You’ve got built in marketing for days.

What social media networking sites do you use? Which one(s) work best for you and why?

NM: Facebook and Twitter. I keep it simple. Matter of fact, I spend my time writing, not kicking it on social media. I go on for a set amount of time each day. Usually fifteen minutes in the morning and in the evening, then I get off. In that time, you can update a status, like some friends statuses, share some great books, then get off. I will say, I hired an assistant to help manage some of that to manage my group and my author page. There just isn’t enough time to do it all. Do what you like to do and do not feel like you have to do it all.

Nana Malone publishes fun and endearing videos for fans and readers.
Nana Malone publishes fun and endearing videos for fans and readers.

You produce YouTube videos – why? And what kind of feedback do you get on them?

NM: Well, I think with video, people can see your personality. So when you do them, you need to be “on”. If you are not an on kind of person, don’t try to fake it. Video is not a medium for you. Your fans will be able to tell. As for feedback, here’s the thing . . . you will get more views on Facebook than you will on Youtube. Unless you have some kind of niche that people are looking for on Youtube. At least that has been my experience. I do post my FB videos up there though. Just in case.

You’ve hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list. What are 3 KEY THINGS THAT an author needs to do to REALLY SELL BOOKS?

NM: Write a good book. Like really good. Like the best book you can that is hooky. Have it professionally edited. Like for real. Even when you think it’s good, do another round. Get a Bookbub. I’m kidding a little, but the keyword is Newsletter. That is all bookbub is. It’s not voodoo magic. No rain dances here. An aggressively built newsletter. No reason why each person can’t have one of their own. As an author, it is your responsibility to have a direct line to your end customer. And those of you who are like “Oh, I want to grow my list organically . . .” I’m giving you a look right now. Just because you offer someone an opportunity to read your book by getting a free one, doesn’t’ mean they aren’t good subscribers. Put them on a list. Offer them a sale book. See who opens. Offer them a full priced book, see who opens. The openers, you move to a good list. It’s not rocket science. And those people liked what they read and want to buy your books.

NanaMalone_LondonBound_800pxWhat is the most EFFECTIVE thing you do to market and promote your books and why?

NM: Newsletter. In June 2015 I had 1280 people on my list. On January 19th 2016, the day of my last release, I had 11,098. I made it my goal and I aggressively built my list. FB ads, offering reader magnets in my books. I went after my readers and low and behold, lots of people want my books . . . at full price no less.

Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .) Do you think it’s enough or not enough? Why?

NM: About 2 hours a day. I work during the day and in the evening I do most of my marketing. Planning for releases, setting up paid ads etc.

What are 3 KEY THINGS, in your opinion, EVERY AUTHOR should do when they RELEASE A NEW TITLE?

NM: Hit your mailing list. Do a Facebook ad. (Yes, they work. There are a million courses that will show you how. Don’t boost. Learn about FB power editor, it is your friend. Get reviews. Not from your family. But bloggers, fans, Goodreads reviewers. Reviews are crucial.

static1.squarespace-1WHO are 3 authors that YOU look up to and admire and why.

NM: Bella Andre, Minx Malone, Marie Force. Beside them just being killer sellers and they write books I love to read consistently, but they are super savvy about the market and what readers want. Smart, smart women.

When readers message you – which series or book comes up most often as a fan favourite and why?

NM: The Stilettos girls. But I still get lots of love for Love Match. And with more Donovans out they’re starting to get a lot of love too. I think the thing is, each book is branded specifically and people like what they like. But my author branding (Romancing the sass) runs through them all. And I write women that readers can relate too. No matter the age or race, everyone tells me they have a friend like x character or y character reminds them of themselves. I write characters I would hang out with.

static1.squarespace-3What is your favourite guilty pleasure treat that you indulge in when writing and why?

NM: No treats till I’m done. I’m sort of insane about my goals. I can read a new book, have chocolate, sleep, play, drinks with the girls, date night with hubby— when I’m freaking done. I don’t play if the book isn’t done, what am I doing binge watching The Flash for? That’s hours I could be writing.

Thank you Nana Malone for joining us today!

You can connect with USA Today bestselling author Nana Malone on facebook, twitter, @NanaMalone, and YouTube. You can watch all of her fun videos on her facebook author page. You can sign up for Nana’s newsletter by clicking on this link. Check out Nana’s latest video on her facebook author page for her latest release, Love in Plain Sight (book 4 in the Donovan Brother’s series).

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

 

Amazon bestselling author, amwriting, Art and Writing, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, contemporary romance, cozy mysteries, cozy mystery, craft of writing, historical romance, Independent Author, Indie Author, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., New York Times bestselling author, paranormal, paranormal romance, RWA Conference, So You want to be a bestselling ?, So you want to be a bestselling author?, USA Today bestselling author, Writer's Craft, writing inspiration

My friend the superstar author: Q and A with bestseller Annette Blair by Jeanine Duval Spikes

Friends forever: From left (Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval (JD) Spikes
Friends forever: From left (Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval (JD) Spikes

I sat down with one of my best friends and fellow author Annette Blair, a multi-award winning and New York Times bestseller, to talk about her writing journey.

Here’s what she had to say:

JD: To start, Annette, tell us who inspired you early on in your career and why?

Rita Award (Annual Awards) of the Romance Writers of America)
Rita Award (Annual Awards) of the Romance Writers of America)

AB: I’d have to say, early on, Nancy Bulk who wrote as Dee Holmes, a Harlequin  Silhouette author. We met at a local writers group, became friendly and she took me under her wing. I admired not only her writing, but her work ethic and her  determination. I was seated in the audience at RWA National (Romance Writers of America) when she won their Rita Award and I cried, it was so inspiring. She was the first author I knew to win such a big award.

Unforgettable+RogueJD:   That must have been very exciting. You, yourself, have now won many awards for your writing. My favorite book of yours has always been Unforgettable Rogue, with the fascinating hero Bryceson Wakefield. I love how you gave the Beauty and the Beast theme that Annette Blair twist, too. Do you have a favorite Annette Blair book?

5140WlcTjfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_AB: Actually, Unforgettable Rogue is one of my favorites, too. And Thee I Love, rereleased as Jacob’s Return, an Amish historical and one of the three books that comprised my first sale. I loved trips to Amish country to research and Jacob and Rachel’s struggles hold a special place in my heart.

JD: You had a fan send you a touching note about that book, didn’t you?

AB: Yes! A European fan wrote to say that reading Jacob’s Return, taught her God would forgive anything. That was sweet, and a testament to the power of words, I think.

JD:  When did you realize that you were truly a successful author? That you’d “made it” so to speak?

9780425198810AB: When I started writing for Berkeley, now Penguin Random House. That was the first. The Kitchen Witch really took me into another realm. The second first was when I hit the New York Times with one of my cozy mysterieCloaked emal lgs. That was the culmination of a dream.

JD: OMG, yes! Hitting the NYT was as exciting for your friends as it was for you. So  tell me, what advice can you give authors who are just starting out, or who haven’t broken through in terms of sales or hitting bestseller lists, to reach their dream?

AB:  Two pieces of advice that are the best, in my opinion, are write the best book you can and Never Give Up. Tenacity sometimes appears to be underappreciated but  it’s truly what helps you to succeed.

JD: Very good advice, Annette. Speaking of the best, what qualities do you feel make a romance novel a true “keeper” – a beloved book that you will read over and over again?

Beautiful Emotional Book.
Beautiful Emotional Book.

AB: Emotional connection. If your emotions are engaged, you can become those  characters. You enter their world and lose the real world around you.

JD:  I agree. I’ve always said the mark of a keeper for me is when I feel I’ve lived the    story. I’ve inhabited that world and know these people by the time I reach the end.

I’m sure many readers have Annette Blair books on their keeper shelves. What’s one of the coolest things a fan has ever done for you?

AB:  One reader crocheted a table mat that she’d woven Annette Blair into. That was pretty impressive.

JD: Nice! No easy task, either. Can we tell your fans about your latest release?

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.47.08 AMAB: Of course (we laugh). I’ve recently released Three Days on a Train, a romance novella about lost love that finds its way home. They met as youngsters, two different sides of the tracks, neither impressed with the other, but by high school  theirs was a passion for the ages. Her disapproving father interferes, causing each to think they were the abandoned one. Thirteen years later their friends trick them  into three days on a train.

JD:  Sounds intriguing. What do you have in the works for novels?

AB:  My current project is Everlasting, a contemporary romance. The hero and heroine meet when a building collapses and they are trapped. Fate planned for him to live and her to die, but he turns the table, giving her his escape route that can only hold one. In heaven, he becomes her guardian angel, a reward that quickly becomes a punishment for him when he falls in love with her. Noticing his poor attention to his other charges, his angel friend pushes him back to earth for a chance at everlasting love.

JD:  That is a great story. As friends, we often bounce ideas and questions off each other. You have many author friends dear to you. Why is this type of community so important to an author?

AB:  A fellow writer will understand you like no other. Writers get writers, even better than the people who love them, They get those writer idiosyncrasies and understand the issues that can throw you off track – or keep you on. Ours is a solitary art and having people you can reach out to within that world is priceless.

JD:  Very true. Now, you are considered a hybrid author since you are published both traditionally and independently. You’ve since chosen to exclusively self-publish. How did you find that transition?

Lachesis Publishing Anthology
Lachesis Publishing Anthology

AB:  I didn’t find it difficult at all. While I still have published work with Lachesis and Penguin Random House, and those experiences were good experiences, I’m very happy with self-publishing. I enjoy the control I have over my work now.

JD:  That’s a good point. Can you tell us what’s changed for you in terms of marketing and promotional work?

AB:  I now have daily marketing responsibilities, so much so that I’ve had to hire help, so it’s time-consuming, but it’s rewarding.

JD:  For you, what have been some pros and cons of self-publishing?

AB: PROS: I have total control of my work, from back cover blurbs and marketing to  covers. Covers were a huge incentive for me. CONS: Foreign sales and audio sales can get complicated. It’s a learning curve, but again, to me it’s worth it.

images-2JD:  Before you go, I have one last question. It’s tricky, because we know you love snacks, but what go-to treat do you like to indulge in when you’re writing.

AB:   I do love snacks. Now you said treat, so I’m going to go with Cape Cod Chips.

JD:   Great choice! They’re so crunchy good. Thank you for sitting with me and chatting, Annette. As always, it’s been fun and informative.

Secret-Journals-Posession-1400x2100-500x724J.D. Spikes is the author of the YA paranormal The Possession and co-author of  Sisters of Spirit Anthology You can purchase The Possession at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe.

Annette Blair a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her novella, “Moving Pictures” is featured in the lyrical romance anthology the Sisters of Spirit  published by Lachesis Publishing.

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Connect with Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.