Posts Tagged ‘contemporary romance author’
In:amreading, amwriting, anthology, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, blog post, contemporary romance, Dark Paranormal, From the Editor's Desk, LGBT romance, paranormal romance
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.)
LP: Most authors stick to one or two sub-genres in romance but you write in a variety – tell us what you write and why?
MH: I’m an avid reader of romance, and I like multiple genres to read. When I started writing, I wanted to write everything I liked. So confining myself to one genre would have been too limiting. It might not have helped me carve a niche, but it’s allowed me the freedom of enjoying my work, because I don’t get bored.
MH: Funny story. Back before book bundles had gotten so popular, I was in a bundle (A Taste of Decadence) in 2013 that hit the USA Today list. I was in Safeway (grocery store) with my kids at the time, and they got candy to celebrate. A year later I was in that same Safeway in a new bundle, Mastered, and my phone was going nuts. Turned out we’d hit the NY Times list! This was July 31st, 2014. Mastered was #14 on the NYT eBook List, #19 on the NYT eBook and Print Combined List, and #95 on the USA Today Bestseller List. Needless to say, my kids got their fill of sugar a second time.
MH: My first book released in 2004 through a small press publisher. So I began my career traditionally published. Back then, doing it yourself meant vanity publishing, and I refuse to pay to be published. I always kept striving to break into the big 6. But in the meantime, I wrote like crazy with multiple books coming out each year with my smaller houses that were doing really well. Then I delved into self-publishing, once platforms like Amazon, B&N, and iBooks were available.
I think the hybrid (trad and self) publishing model is the way to go. I get much more distribution and visibility through my traditional houses and more freedom and control through self-publishing. But it’s also a lot more work in self-publishing. For sure.
MH: Hmm. That’s a tough one. One author that comes to mind is Katie Ruggle. I’m a super huge fan of her romantic suspense series, Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue. The writing is tight and the plotting is fantastic.
Another favorite who comes to mind is Morgan Hawke. She hasn’t been too visible lately, but I reread her Interstellar Service & Discipline series a lot. It’s just so different from what’s out there, and it was written years ago. It’s a funky scifi, erotic, cyberpunk series, and it’s amazing. I so wish she’d write more!
LP: You took over the helm at the Romance Junkies site – tell us how that came about and why you wanted to pick up the torch so to speak.
MH: I’ve been friends with Cat, the previous owner of RJ, for years. She’d been talking about winding down, busy with family and her own writing, and I begged her not to scrap the site. When I started writing, RJ was a huge presence in the romance community. Times have changed, but I remember how much RJ had helped me with writing and with finding new reads. So I told her I’d buy it. I wasn’t sure about running a review site. It’s A TON of work, but I love books and it’s fun. So for now, I’m holding onto to it with both hands!
LP: What can Romance Junkies offer authors in terms of promotion?
MH: We are author-friendly, and our prices are low in comparison to other sites ($25 for a monthly cover spot, for example). We do anywhere from 65+ reviews a month, and we have access to everyone out there. The site has been around for 13 years. We’re growing our Facebook presence, but we have over 4000 twitter followers. We were getting 250,000 hits a month before we rebuilt our site, so we need a little time to rebuild those numbers as our SEO adapts to the new links. We do draw in readers with daily giveaways and FB posts and tweets.
Writer’s Digest has named us one of the top 101 best websites for writers several years running, to include 2016. We have a yearly writing contest, tips and resources for authors, and great rates for advertising, merging readers with authors. (See our For Authors link.)
LP: One of the things I’ve noticed is that some authors will devote most of their focus to a new release for a few weeks and then move on. What do you think are some key things that an author should do on a consistent basis in order to sell books consistently?
MH: Great question. I’ve been guilty of this myself. It depends on budget and how many books an author releases, certainly. But anymore, it’s not enough to just write a good book. You need to market your work. Sure, punch up that new release. But once the dust has settled, try new promotional efforts. A sale, a new release in the same series to bring back attention to book one. Graphics with catchy text on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a constant process to keep one’s name out there, but readers have to know about you in order to read your books.
MH: I think freebies both help and hurt. The first free book in a series? A great marketing tool to get folks interested in the series. A single title always free, when an author only has one or two books out? Not so great. By giving away their stories and making everything free, I fear authors have devalued their work. Now readers want cheap and free all the time, and it sets the idea that a writer’s time isn’t worth the money. Heck, normally, the cost of a book is equal to a cup of coffee. But readers are used to free and .99, so much that those prices don’t seem to phase anyone anymore. I don’t know. Publishing has gotten pretty scary lately.
LP: Tell us about your latest release and what you have coming down the road.
MH: My latest release came out June 7th. Test Drive is the first in the Body Shop Bad Boys series, about a group of rough mechanics working in a garage who like to get dirty on and off the job. *grin* Book two, Roadside Assistance, releases Sept 6th. Just next month! And in November, my third series for Sourcebooks releases. A Sure Thing is book one of The Donnigans–With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…
LP: Bonus: If you could possess a supernatural power/ability what would it be and why?
MH: The ability to stop time. I never seem to have enough of it!
MH: Thank you so much for having me!
LP: Thank you!!!!!
In:Amazon bestselling author, amreading, amwriting, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, contemporary romance, erotic romance, erotica, From the Editor's Desk, Independent Author, Indie Author, Lachesis Blog, New York Times bestselling author, Publishing industry, Q and A Bestselling Authors, romance fiction, romance novels, self-published authors
Cathryn Fox is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes sexy contemporary romance, erotica, and hot paranormal romance. New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster describes Cathryn’s books as, “sizzling, irresistible and wonderful”. USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean calls Cathryn, “The next Queen of Steamy Romance.” #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author Sylvia Day says, “A Cathryn Fox book is a must-read great escape!”
You are traditionally published and you self-publish as well. Tell us how that came about and why you decided to self-publish.
CF: When self-publishing busted wide open back in 2011, I had just finished writing a novella and was about to send it to my publisher. It was a short story, and I thought it might be a good book to use to dip my toes into the self-publishing pool. That book was a huge hit and I was hooked. I loved having control over covers, edits, and maintaining all my publishing rights.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
CF: My first impulse is to say marketing, to introduce your books to new readers, but I’m not so sure that is true anymore. Authors now have to do much more marketing even with their traditionally published books. Like I mentioned, with self-publishing, you have control over all aspects of your book, including prices, which can help secure some great promo spots. I think one of the cons for me, is getting my books into the bookstores. For this reason, I continue to publish traditionally.
Ball-park figure. How much TIME do you spend on each self-published book versus traditionally published book?
CF: Good question. If I look at what I have coming out this year, 8 books are with publishers, and two will be self-published. I do however have 20 self-published books out there. Some are new material, and some are books I’ve received rights back from.
Ball-park figure. How much MONEY do you spend on each self-published book versus traditionally published book?
CF: As for promo, I do spend more on self-published books. I’m not very technical so I used to pay for formatting and that could run anywhere from $50-100. I recently purchased Vellum for $200 and can now format my own books. I pay for quality covers and they can run anywhere from $50-200. My good friend and critique partner, Jan Meredith, is now doing covers and she gives me a better deal. I also pay for editing. A novella runs around $150. I pay for blog tours, and facebook blasts, and I have an assistant who does graphics, and teasers for me. But she does those for my traditionally published books as well.
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?
CF: I love writing series, and the setting becomes a character to me. It gives me the chance to really develop characters, and readers love visiting these characters in other books. I think a series can also really develop a readership, as the reader wants to keep coming back to visit the town, the people they’ve grown to love.
You recently unveiled a very clever marketing/swag selection of t-shirts and mugs. The tag is “Oh for ___ Sakes.” And it features a picture of a fox rather than “that” word. How did this come about – and how do you UTILIZE these very clever promotional items? Do you find they have made a difference in terms of buzz?
CF: My old logo was a red shoe. It was tired and needed a facelift. I started doing more with the name FOX, and using just the FOX logo on my swag. But I wanted something a little more fun. When I started with the “Oh for (FOX) Sakes”, it really took off and created a buzz. I had people emailing me asking how they could buy or win the swag. It was really fun. I’ve created mugs, t-shirts, pens, and bags using my new logo. (These will be available at the ROMANCING THE CAPITAL convention in Ottawa in May. http://orc.evelanglais.com) My husband tells me I’m basically swearing at everyone. LOL. But it’s fun and playful, like my books.
You’ve hit the both the NYT and USA Today list. Did you hit with traditionally published books or self-published books? Which books did you hit with?
CF: Self published books in a boxed set. The books were, Wrapped Up, Torn Between Two Brothers, Yours to Take, Holiday Spirit and Hands on with the CEO.
What are 3 KEY THINGS THAT an author needs to do to when releasing a NEW TITLE?
CF: I have a list I keep. A new release procedure of sorts. Once I have everything ready to go, I like to do a cover reveal, reserve space on blogs, post teasers, and secure paid promo. On release day, I send my newsletter out, host a facebook party, tweet, and utilize other social media. I also visit blogs promoting you to respond to comments. Sorry that was more than three.
What is the most EFFECTIVE thing you do that has proven successful in your career?
CF: Write a good book and fill your boat with people who are helping you row, not drilling holes into the bottom when you’re not looking.
Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion, social media, newsletter, advertising etc . . . A lot of authors don’t like to work this side of the “biz” – what do you think about it?
CF: I think it’s a necessary evil. My time is split equally, I think. I do my best writing in the morning, and after I hit a set word count, I turn my attention to the ‘biz’ side of things. I visit blogs, write posts, answer interview questions, hang out with my street team at Foxy Fiction. If anyone is interested in joining, just put a request in here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FOXYFICTION/ It’s a really supportive group of readers who get special prizes from me, because in turn they do so much, like beta read, promo etc.
CF: I’ve always loved Lori Foster. She is so supportive of other authors. I also love Lauren Hawkeye, she is smart, an awesome writer and so supportive. Sylvia Day is amazing, as well. She is a fellow Allure author, (We also did a few books together) and it’s been fun to watch her career take off. She’s a hard worker and deserves every bit of her success.
When readers talk to you or write to you about their favourite books which book or books do they mention most often as a “fan favourite” and why?
CF: Every time I receive fan mail it floors me. It truly does. I appreciate my readers so much and to know that a book has touched them . . . well, there’s nothing quite like it. I receive most emails from the book YOURS TO TAKE. They wanted MORE. I recently wrote the next two in the series, YOURS TO TEACH and YOURS TO KEEP. They are in a boxed set now for a huge discounted price!
What is your favourite guilty pleasure treat that you indulge in when writing and why?
CF: Hmmm, this question gave me pause. I never really thought about it before. I
actually don’t think I have a guilty pleasure when writing. Wow, how boring am I!! LOL. I must go find a guilty pleasure RIGHT NOW! Suggestions are welcome.
Thanks for joining us today Cathryn!
CF: Thanks you so much for having me on your blog today!
Click here to sign up for Cathryn’s newsletter: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c1f8n1
Today we chat once more with romance (new adult) author Lori Lapekes.
Lori is the author of a new adult contemporary romance called For A Short Time.
Why are you a writer?
I’m not sure; I’ve been writing stories since I was a little kid. Maybe it’s because I can control what happens to people when I make situations up, and cannot control much of anything in real life. Not that my childhood was awful, it was pretty great, actually. And as the oldest of three sisters, I was “the boss” of them and pulled some pretty kooky stunts. Like telling them if they jumped off the storage-building roof, they’d grow wings if they’d been good enough that day. (The building’s low side was only about 6 feet high thankfully!)
What are three things that you do that are important to your career as a writer (aside from actually writing the book)?
Write down and remember my dreams…many ideas come from my off-the-wall dreams. Study people, especially strangers, pay attention to them. I got an idea for a main character once from watching a big guy in a flannel shirt at an estate auction. I just loved his smile and all around essence. Finally, just have hope. Hope in life, friends, dreams and faith. They all work into my stories.
Be on a best-selling list.. and I have, even if it was only “For a Short Time,” after an Amazon promotion. (“For a Short Time” is the name of my Lachesis book!) Write, and publish, at least 10 books in my life. I’ll be up to 5 soon.
What is your favourite first line ever from a novel?
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
Yes, I am a Lord of The Rings nerd. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but these books are my favorites and I cry every time I finish the series.
What is your go-to power energy snack when writing?
I just love cashews. If they are covered in chocolate, all the better!
What was a book that made you go “aha!” and why? (fiction or non fiction)
“Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. I couldn’t read it for many years, even as an adult, because it seemed over my head. Finally, somehow, I picked it up again one day about 20 years ago and it all made sense. I love the way Lewis makes analogies of good and evil and it all comes to life. Like when asked why Jesus doesn’t come sooner if the world is so screwed up, Lewis said something like, “Do you know what will actually be happening when he does return? The world ends. No more chances. The writer of the play comes on the stage.” Or he said something very similar.
How do you cope with bad or nasty reviews?
If they make sense, I do learn from them. When they don’t, like a bad review from someone to a sequel who didn’t read the first book, I sort of pout for a while. Think it’s unfair. Then eat a big piece of chocolate cake.
What do you listen to when you write?
Nothing. The house is quiet as can be. Maybe the dog is licking her foot in the background, or a cat shakes its head and I hear a collar jingle, but mostly I’m alone when I write, and in the zone.
Cats or dogs?
Both!! I was always just a cat person until I got married many years ago and he came with a German shepherd. Then I grew to love that breed especially for the strength, intelligence and loyalty of the breed. My dog of 13 years passed away in March, and I was devastated. I got another dog a few days ago, and although she isn’t a German shepherd, (she is a border collie,) she is still very smart and loyal and a better fit for me at this stage of life me thinks.
In:authors, blog post, contemporary romance, From the Editor's Desk, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, paranormal romance, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, reader appreciation, romance fiction, So You want to be a bestselling ?, So you want to be a bestselling author?, Street Teams
So how do you get a bunch of readers to help you promote and sell your books? By starting your own Street Team! Street Teams have become a dynamic and important way for authors to connect with fans and build readership. Street Teams are able to reach out to potential readers to help boost sales of new releases and help generate sales for older releases as well. And they are lots of fun! Bestselling authors Ashlyn Chase, Michelle Pillow and Zoe York all have their own Street Teams. They join us today for a special Q and A:
How did you start your Street Team?
Ashlyn Chase: I put out a call on my facebook fan page as well as my yahoo fan group. My original intention was to have 50 members, one in each state. Well, I have 50 members and about 45 states represented. A few states have 2 members. I just couldn’t find a fan in the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, or New Mexico.
Michelle Pillow: I think of it more as a reader group rather than a street team because first and foremost they are my readers. I started it because I wanted a place where my readers could gather and ask/answer questions, as well as get access to my latest news and coverart, and help spread the word on social media.
Zoe York: I’m a big believer in the maxim, “build it and they will come”, so I started a so-called “street team” on Facebook soon after I published my first book, long before I had any fans. It’s grown passively from there. One of my favourite things to tell new authors is that for six months, my FB reader group only had six people in it: me, my critique partner, my sister, two early fans from Goodreads, and my Uncle Matt.
What is your Street Team called?
Ashlyn Chase: Ashlyn Chase Champions
Michelle Pillow: The Pillow Fighters
Zoe York: The Wardham Ambassadors, after my first series.
What do you do for your Street Team?
Ashlyn Chase: I send them physical promos to hand out and books to review (if they’re willing.) I hold a contest during promo heavy months on the 15th of that month for a $15 gift card. I also send each member a holiday card and gift each year.
Michelle Pillow: I host exclusive contests. Sometimes they get access to the ARC of a book that has yet to release.
Zoe York: I give them sneak peeks into upcoming books, often sharing excerpts as I write and exclusive inspiration pictures. I also give them first dibs on Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of my upcoming releases.
What does your Street Team do for you?
Ashlyn Chase: I ask for tweets, facebook and other social media shares when I have something new to promote. Some members review my books and post those reviews on their blogs or review sites. They all hand out my promos and talk up my books.
Michelle Pillow: They spread the word about my books on social media. They can answer questions for other readers regarding series orders, or about something I posted that another reader might have missed. They also like to give me feedback about which stories they want me working on. But, most of all, their enthusiasm and support is what makes my job awesome.
Zoe York: The ones who get review copies are great about leaving honest reviews on release day, and the whole group is an amazing cheerleading support as I write.
What are the pros of having a Street Team?
Ashlyn Chase: Besides the (hopefully) increased sales, I like knowing my die-hard fans. I give them a little more personal glimpse into my life and career and let them know me a little better too. Some of us have become dear friends.
Michelle Pillow: Exposure to your author brand.
Zoe York: Direct access to my best readers – I can poll them for future book ideas, run giveaways, and share review copies, all in one place.
What are the cons to having a Street Team?
Ashlyn Chase: Other than the cost of postage, I can’t think of much. I guess there are risks, although I haven’t experienced any (that I know of.) There’s always the chance of piracy with any advanced review copy, or being taken advantage of in other ways. But I can’t imagine why anyone would join a street team if they didn’t want to help the author.
Michelle Pillow: The time involved. If you have an active group, it’s a lot of catching up on posts if you are gone for a day.
Zoe York: I worry about over-eager marketing pushes, but so far that’s a hypothetical con. It seems like all of my Wardham Ambassadors get the chill vibe I project and keep the action at the review level.
What was your most successful Street Team event or promotion?
Ashlyn Chase: It’s hard to say. One of my street teamers has a regular booth at a swap meet and her local Comicon and offers my promos to thousands of attendees.
Michelle Pillow: Driving reviews to vendor sites.
Zoe York: I did a giveaway within the group in November that was a big hit—they got an entry for every review they left. I gave away paperbacks and mini swag packs, which they loved, and I got a bunch of new reviews from the people who’d fallen behind on their review posting. I’ll definitely do that again in the spring.
How much time out of your day does it take to manage your Street Team?
Ashlyn Chase: Very little “management” happens in my life. LOL During release months I post to our secret facebook group, asking for social media shares. I have the whole 50 in a group email list and send out news of a galley for them to review or new promos just in. I don’t assume everyone has time to do everything, so the biggest part of my ‘management’ is keeping track of who wants to do what at any given time.
Michelle Pillow: An active group is a good thing. It also is a time consuming thing. I peek in all day long if I can. I also have a couple of moderators in there to help and who can give me a heads up if I miss anything.
Zoe York: Not much at all, because it’s more of a reader group, so it’s no different than responding to emails or liking posts on my FB page. It’s part of my Facebook routine. I don’t have to create any content for the group, either – I share bits when it occurs to me, not at a regular interval.
How has your Street Team impacted your sales?
Ashlyn Chase: It’s really hard to say. I wish I knew.
Michelle Pillow: Any time you have people out there talking positively about your books and spreading the word, it’s a good thing. Mine is still new, but so far the reader group has been great for exposure
Zoe York: Hard to say . . . their biggest impact has really been the moral support they give me when I’m writing. They cheer me on and motivate me to put in a full day’s work to get the book to them faster.
For an author, just getting started – what advice can you give her/him about starting a Street Team?
Ashlyn Chase: I’d say decide on the number of members you can handle and start small. At some point you may lose one or two who become too busy, but you’ll gain ten times more every time you put out the call for new members. Say you have ‘openings’. I keep a waiting list when I put out the call and get more volunteers than I have openings.
Michelle Pillow: Know going in that there can be a lot of administrative work. Facebook groups can be very active, and that’s a good thing. However, when you’re on deadline it can also be a very hard thing to keep up with. Think about asking a few dedicated readers that you trust to act like moderators. Or hire a Virtual Assistant.
Zoe York: Create the placeholder group right away. Your very first reader might be a superfan. Or you might be like me and wait six months until it starts to grow. But no one is going to judge you for having a quiet group! No one will even notice. So set it up, and be ready for that first superfan. They’ll probably bring a few friends.
Ashlyn Chase is a best selling author who writes funny and sexy, light paranormal romances and erotic romances.
Michelle Pillow is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of futuristic shape shifter romances and dark paranormal romances
Zoe York is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author who writes sexy, small town, contemporary romances
Today we reveal more about contemporary romance (new adult) author Lori Lapekes.
Lori is the author of a new adult contemporary romance called For A Short Time.
What was your favourite book as a child and why?
Oddly, Bambi! It was an intense YA for its time, nothing like the movie cartoon. It was one of the most emotional, touching and poignant novels I’ve ever read. There is even a brilliant 3 page chapter about two frightened leaves talking about what happens when they fall, as they are the last left one the tree, and no other leaf ever comes back to tell.
Who was your favourite teacher growing up and why?
Miss Johnson, in high school. She believed in my writing and let me use a whole semester to finish a novel for my senior grade in creative writing.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Why?
Since I was about 9 or 10 years old and wrote and illustrated handmade books and plays for my sisters and neighbors.
Who in the writing/publishing world do you admire and why?
You small publishers!! You give so many authors like me a chance to “get out there,” when the “biggies” only look for biggies.
Tell us about your daily writing routine – what do you typically do every day?
It varies tremendously. I work a very intense deadline-oriented day job that often leaves me beat…(I’m writing this on my break now) and leaves little time for creativity. I have to really focus after hours to create new works from m scratch. Lately I find myself updating and polishing earlier works that have a lot of potential, or writing short stories.
What is your favourite snack or guilty pleasure food that you (may or many not 😉 indulge in when writing?
Hmmm, chocolate, always…especially silky European milk chocolate. I’m one of the few in the world, it seems, that is not a fan of dark chocolate! Gasp!
What does “writing voice” mean to you? Describe your own writing voice.
I have a constant conversation going in my mind with myself, like now, telling me what to say. The voice is pushier than my own personality, so I have to filter it! But it is me…just a little more intense.
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years in your writing career?
Freedom from a demanding day job would be awesome, or being able to enjoy working part time to supplement my writing would be a dream.
Tis the season to be jolly. What is your favourite thing to do over the holidays?
Lately, I’m getting more introspective and can get melancholy too much holiday madness. My favorite thing to do is to absorb the closeness and connection of spending time with friends and family, as life is fleeting. One of my favorite song lyrics is from Rush: Summer’s going fast, nights growing colder; children growing up, old friends growing older. Time Stand Still.
Ha! Neither! If it doesn’t have a chocolate chip in it, it’s off my radar….!
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