For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.
Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.
After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.
Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.
It’s the first book in an exciting, and romantic new series called the Auriano Curse. You will love this book as much as I do. Beautifully written and full of steamy romance, adventure, and of course a hero and heroine who are perfectly matched, MOON DARK has recently won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.
What It’s About:
Lady Sabrina Dunfield is desperate. Widowed and destitute, she must rely on the dubious benevolence of her secretive uncle, an art collector living in Venice. Determined to make her way and provide for her young son, Sabrina is forced to take on clandestine and dangerous errands for her tyrannical relative. But when a mysterious shadow man saves her from an assassin’s blade, she knows she must do everything in her power to keep her son safe.
Alessandro D’Este, Prince of Auriano, is cursed. Doomed to live a life half in shadow, he is determined to free himself and his family from the evil that stalks them. When Alessandro saves the English woman’s life, he is captivated by her beauty and shocked at her ability to touch him in his shadowy form.
When Sabrina meets Alessandro in his human form, heady attraction sparks between them. She has no idea he is her shadowy savior, and she wonders what her life might be like with this charismatic man. Alessandro has never met a woman who affects him this way. Although life has taught him to trust only family, Sabrina might be the key that could deliver him from the diabolical darkness.
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.
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.
LP: What services does AME offer?
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.
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!
LP: Bonus Question: Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
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.
Following the light can’t be that hard, right? So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone?
However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning unto a liability.
If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light.
Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.
I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off.
I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.
Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.
But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.
Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.
And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?
I didn’t want to go. But Mom was using the whole sleepover as a way to get me to be around Hillary, whom she thought would be such a good example for me. But I couldn’t tell my mother the truth – I hated Hillary. Yes, we’d once been close, but it wasn’t as if we were BFFs anymore. No, Hillary made sure of that when I was stupid enough to trust her with my secret. A secret that was better left hidden. No one believed the dead could talk to you.
According to my last counselor, the only way that could happen is through serious Steven Spielberg special effects.
When I admitted to seeing one of my dead friends, he didn’t freak. No, he did something worse. He ended up suggesting to my parents that I needed to see a doctor – for serious psychological help. I mean, only crazy people see the dead.
And, I hate to say this, but the anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants don’t keep them away. Sometimes I wished the drug cocktail could just erase them. It sure would make my life a lot easier.
Sighing, I decided to go with pink roses. What girl didn’t like pink?
A sudden coldness permeated the garage. Jeez did Dad forget to close the back door again?
I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
I dropped my black Sharpie.
Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger.
A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper.
The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!
I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I‘d spent my summers.
Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time.
I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the ―other‖ side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn‘t know what to do.
“Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke.
She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled. “Careful…danger….”
Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl.
“Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?”
Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi- transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they‘d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff.
Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about.
I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn‘t deal with this. Not now.
The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison.
I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she‘d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless.
“Allison, what‘s it like to be…?”
The wind howled drowning out her answer. And just as quickly, Allison left. I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape.
What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.
Laurie Parishis a Customer Centric Champion at Hootsuite. What does that mean? She offers support and guidance to customers who use the Hootsuite social media platform and she helps them get better results for their own businesses through the products that Hootsuite offers.
What is Hootsuite? Hootsuite is a social relationship platform that empowers users to execute social media strategies across their organizations. Hootsuite‘s vision is to revolutionize communications; their mission is to empower our customers to transform messages into meaningful relationships.
Lachesis: Tell us about your background and how you came to Hootsuite?
Laurie Parish:My background is in selling and supporting the printing process. I studied journalism after high school but fell in love with the way books are created instead. I went from setting type to selling million dollar software and hardware systems to printers.
When print started to wane I began to look for new places to move my career. Being at Hootsuite is exciting and new. Today’s marketeers are embracing social media for not only increasing brand awareness but to decrease risk in their organizational activities.
Lachesis: Hootsuite has been around a long time – but for people who don’t know exactly what it is – tell us what Hootsuite offers.
Laurie Parish: I suppose it seems like a long time. Hootsuite was established in 2008 (yesterday for me) when our CEO Ryan Holmes was trying to manage all of his social networks and finding it too big a task. We now have 15 million users worldwide! Our vision is to help organizations and individuals create meaningful relationships from their social presence. I call it PR in your PJs. We offer a way to not only organize your social networks but to understand who is engaging with you via those channels. We provide tools and metrics that encourage collaboration within marketing teams. And most importantly we are one of the only social platforms to provide free education and training on social media.
Lachesis: Ten years ago – an author could post something on his/her facebook page or twitter once a day and that would have been enough to sell books – but that is no longer the case – how can Hootsuite help authors build their audiences online – in an effective way – so that they have plenty of time to write?
Laurie Parish:First of all let me say we are completely mobile. We even have a Chrome extension that let’s you post right from an interesting URL. Posting to all of your social networks from your mobile device with one click saves so much time because you can do it from wherever you are. Once you’ve published then you can sit back and monitor your Hootsuite dashboard streams to see the impact in real time. Monitoring your streams lets you find your main influencers/markets so you can target messaging directly to them in future posts. Every writer should take time to build their personal brand and then manage it. It’s not always about promotion, it’s also about thought leadership. Hootsuite has ways to help you curate content and show off that leadership to your audience. Be proactive, be creative, be passionate.
Lachesis: Tell us about some of the clients in the arts/creative field that Hootsuite has and how Hootsuite has helped them improve their social media outreach?
Lachesis:Okay let’s talk about price. What does it cost for Hootsuite – and is it affordable for indie authors who are on a budget?
Laurie Parish: One of the main reasons for our success is our Freemium version. Yes, that’s right . . . getting started with us is absolutely free. That’s how I was introduced to Hootsuite. No credit card mambo either. Next tier is the Pro version which is about $10./mo. Then we move on to the larger scale plans for enterprise and small to medium sized businesses. But the best bang for no money is our Hootsuite Academy. Learn everything you need to know about social FOR FREE. Find that here: Hootsuite Education Courses
Lachesis:I know you’re an avid reader too – what are two amazing books you’ve read recently?
Laurie Parish: Right now I’m reading Ian Brown’s 60. It’s an incredibly interesting look at the Globe’s columnist life in his 60th year. Men think about really odd things. That’s all I’ll say.
Lachesis:What are your favourite kinds of posts that you enjoy reading or seeing on social media?
Laurie Parish: I follow the Bangor Police on Facebook. Those posts are so funny and insightful that I never miss one. TC (the writer) is doing much for making Maine cops part of the community that they live and work in.
Lachesis:You are on social media a lot – but tell us what are some pet peeves you have about what you see on social media?
Laurie Parish: Can I just say that I’m so over the “# of way to do this or that” posts? I see that as a headline and I move on. Also, if a company or brand that I follow never posts about anything other than themselves I get very very bored. I hate boring.
Lachesis: BONUS QUESTION: I know you’re a baker extraordinaire and you also have a home-based bakery business – what is the most popular item that people order from you and what is YOUR favourite sweet indulgence? J
Laurie Parish: Scones. I make loads and loads of scones. Pumpkin spice, blueberry, raspberry, apple, chocolate chip… you name it. My not so secret passion is pie. My favourite thing to do is drive out into the country in search of home baked pie. Pie is one of the hardest baked goods to get right. My grandmother was a pastry chef so I’m spoiled.
There are things that a publisher can do for an author. And there are things that an author needs to do for him/herself.
If you sign on with a publisher and expect to hit a bestseller list right away, it can happen, but chances are it won’t. But if you want to make a living as an author, sell consistently, and be able to pay your bills and sock some money away – you need to start doing what successful authors do.
So what distinguishes authors who make a good living from authors who are not getting sales?
Here are some observations I have compiled over the years of interviewing successful authors, talking to marketing professionals and in working with LeeAnn Lessard, Publisher of Lachesis Publishing. She knows her stuff. 🙂
1. Successful authors have a PLAN and if something in their plan isn’t working they change their plan. How do they change it? (keep reading).
2. Successful authors research ways that they can promote their books. They talk to other authors who are successful. They look into different blogs, review sites, online advertising, newsletter promotions, increasing their newsletter subscribers, etc . . . If something doesn’t work they go onto the next item on their list. They look for different approaches. The point is they SEEK OUT and FIND OUT what other successful authors are doing.
3. Successful authors write every day but they also DO BUSINESS every day. A successful author knows that he or she is not just a creative artist – he or she is running a business. If you are an author – and you want to make a living at this you need to understand this. YOU ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS. And when you run a business you are either selling a product or a service. If you are selling a product you have to understand that merely telling people about your product is not going to convince them to buy it. You can’t just throw up a post on your facebook wall and say “hey, here’s my book” or “hey, my book is on sale”. You have to SELL THE EXPERIENCE of YOUR book. You know those Super Bowl ads that everyone loves? They are cinematic experiences that elicit a particular emotion from the audience. Successful authors understand what that means. They understand that they have a unique brand that appeals to a particular audience and what they need to do is to FIND that audience and REACH OUT to them in a meaningful and appealing way. If you don’t know what the means – there are a lot of books and professionals that explain it very well. Again – seek and you shall find.
4. If a successful author doesn’t have the time to do all of this marketing stuff – they HIRE someone with the skills and know-how who does. Yes. Successful authors know that you have to spend money to make money. Either that or you have to have someone IN YOUR LIFE like a spouse or son/daughter who is your partner and who works on your behalf to do all the promotion and marketing that you need.
5. Successful authors are always connecting with readers on social media and through their newsletters – sharing their lives – sharing their humour – sharing their creativity. And in return – reaching out to their fans and readers and listening to them and reading what THEY have to say. In other words – they INTERACT. They don’t simply post “buy my book” posts – they interact with people. This is common sense right? You’d be surprised how many authors don’t know this.
6. Successful authors know that they can’t put all of their eggs in one basket and if they want to build momentum they either publish with more than one publisher or they self-publish as well in order to get more books out. It’s true you can’t just put out one book every two years and then sit back and let the money roll in. Unless you have a sweet publishing deal with a big pub. And even then you still have to produce your next book. Most successful authors who write full time and make a living at it – publish several books a year.
7. Successful authors understand what marketing and promotion means. If they don’t they research it.
8. Everyone has a right to complain if they fall off the horse and something doesn’t go their way. But successful authors get right back on. They are highly motivated people who move forward in their quest for success.
9. Successful authors don’t work in spurts. They don’t do things here and there. They don’t “putter”. They don’t send an email a few weeks ago or last month. They work consistently and diligently EVERY DAY not JUST on their writing but on their BUSINESS. Even if they have a full time job and kids and a dog to take care of and all they can manage is 1 hour a day. They make good use of that hour.
10. Successful authors know that it takes time to become successful. It’s not for fly-by-nighters. It’s for people who put in the time, effort, and the day-to-day drudgery of running a business. That’s what successful authors do.
Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.