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1. Monday Mishmash: 11/24/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I'm working on copy edits for The Darkness Within and then editing for clients this week.
  2. Thanksgiving  I'll be heading to my grandfather's apartment complex for Thanksgiving. It's always good to see him, so I don't even mind the two-hour drive.
  3. November's been a tough month  I've had a rough November. Most recently a friend passed away, but my luck went south before that too. I'm ready to move on to December and hopefully put the bad parts of November behind me.
  4. School Visits  I have two school visits (three presentations) next Monday, December 1st, so I'm getting set for those this week.
  5. Signing The Monster Within at Moravian Book Shop on Saturday  I'm heading back to Moravian Book Shop with Jennifer Murgia for the final stop on my book tour for The Monster Within. It's been a great tour, and I'm sad to see it end. I'll be there from 1-3pm, so if you're in the Bethlehem area, I'd love to see you.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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2. Preparing for Release Month by Kate Brauning

Today we welcome Kate Brauning to the blog to share a different type of craft article -- the rewards of doing the craft well.  Publication!  But with publication comes its own stress, and Kate is in a great position to tell us how to handle it as not only did her first novel, How We Fall, release this month, but she's also an editor with Entangled Publishing, guiding many other writers through their first release month and beyond.

Preparing for Release Month by Kate Brauning

Release month is almost always a hectic, stressful time for authors. As an editor, I’ve seen my clients go through it, and my first novel just released on the 11th, so I’m going through it myself! Especially with all the different opportunities and strategies available to authors now, it’s easy to get bogged down, worry about what you aren’t doing, stress over what you are doing, and lose the excitement of it altogether.

One thing seasoned authors kept telling me was that this one is special because it’s the first. Enjoy it.
Do something for yourself. Celebrate in market-smart ways, but also celebrate in personal, zero-stress ways.

One of the things I did to personally celebrate my release week was to go on a weekend writing retreat with my critique partners. It was so, so much fun, and a great stress relief. I planned as if my release day was 3 days earlier than it was, so 95% of what I needed to do, I already had done. I took very little work on the retreat with me. Also, it was tremendously good stress relief to not think about the launch and get back to actually writing that next book. And of course, my critique partners are the ones who have been through this with me, and getting to celebrate with them was so meaningful and just plain fun.

Aside from celebrating for yourself, authors can do a few simple things to prepare for a book release that will make that week and month a little less stressful.

image credit: thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com

Marketing:

Get started on major marketing elements as soon as possible. As soon as you have a book deal/decide to self-publish, (or even before) you can get started on these things:

1. Author photos. Many authors have a friend take a photo, but there’s a big difference between a snapshot and a professional headshot. If you know someone talented, that’s great and definitely take the less expensive route. But first, look at the author photos of major authors in your genre and aim for that kind of result. Author photos are a significant piece of your marketing, and a great photo helps you look like a professional, and it might end up on your book jacket. It can take several months to line up a photographer, schedule the session, and get your edited photos back, so do this ASAP. I was interviewed by my own photographer, Jenni O Photography, where I discussed what I looked for in my author photos, so check that out if you’re interested.

2. Author website. Every author needs a website, even if you don’t blog. A site where readers can see your book and read a bit about you is definitely something you need as an author. You can design it yourself, but if you don’t have experience and talent there, hire someone. Friends who will cut you a deal can work out well, but again, look at the sites of authors in your genre who are doing well. See what’s possible for professional, clean layouts and informative, interesting content. Decide what kind of site you want, and then hire someone who can do that. Your website is another major piece of marketing, so to me, it’s worth spending a little money to have a quality website. Design, revisions, and launching the site can take a long time, too, so get started right away.

3. Street team. Many authors assemble a street team from fans, friends, book bloggers, and fellow authors. Not everyone wants a street team, and it’s important to be grateful, courteous, and reasonable with your team members, but they can be a huge help. Many authors have street team members get the word out through book blasts, reviews, and social media, and they can help word about your book break out of your own circle of friends and fellow writers. Start building that street team immediately—you can start this as soon as you have a book deal. Keep in mind street team members need to be able to reach people you can’t, so look beyond friends and family members, though they can certainly be enthusiastic supporters, too. It’s also great to let your team earn some value for their work. I sent each of mine a welcome package with swag and an ARC, and prizes along the way. It has definitely paid off.

4. Think about your dedication and acknowledgements. A lot of writers take a long time to get these done because they mean so much to the author. These don’t have to wait until your editor asks for them, and waiting to do them until then can make edits even more hectic, so you can definitely start them early. At the very least, you can start a list of who you need to thank and what you need to thank them for—don’t lose track of those early beta readers. And keep in mind there are a lot of people behind the scenes at your publishing house who are working hard for your book. It’s not a bad idea to email to ask who has been working on it, so you can specifically thank people besides your editor and publicist.

5. Conferences. Talk to your editor and publicist (or figure out for yourself) what the plan is for appearances and conferences leading up to and after your book release. Early-bird pricing and promotional opportunities are a great reason to get started on this early, and if you know you have a conference during a certain week, it can be something you plan your other launch preparations around. That way you don’t have to cross conference days off an already-full schedule. Conferences, even just for the connections, are wonderful marketing. I’ve never been to a conference that hasn’t paid off well for my investment.

6. Launch Party. There are so many options here! An in-person party, an online Facebook or Twitter party, a bookstore signing as your party, etc. As far as I know, those are the three main models, and they all have pros and cons. Online parties can be impersonal, and I’ve seen a lot of online parties that are poorly attended, even though hundreds or even thousands of people were invited. Authors work hard on their launch parties to make them have fabulous content, but it is really hard to engage a crowd online for a long period of time. They tend to drop by, learn a bit about you and your book, play a game, and then move on. And that’s great if that’s how you want to reach your readers. In-person & bookstore launch parties can have the same drawbacks—a small crowd, and difficulty reaching new readers. They can also be expensive, depending on what you do, and they are limited to people within traveling distance. Of course, there are pros to both—reaching fans who can’t travel to you and lower costs for online parties, and more personal connections with in-person parties, etc. I did a blend of both, and hosted 9 other authors at a livestreamed book party, so readers could ask questions, see, hear, and interact with all 10 of us. The combined draw meant we had a large audience, and we discussed everything from publishing paths to movie adaptations. Can you blend models to limit cons? Release vlogs during an online party, for example, or host other authors to draw on combined platforms.

image credit: http://jasouders.blogspot.com

Launch Month:

Prepare for launch month events ahead of time. There are so many things authors can do: book blasts, blog tours, book giveaways, book hunts, library appearances, book signings, etc. Debut authors are often encouraged to say yes to much of it, but that can lead to stress and burn-out, and it can take a toll on that next book you need to be writing. So here’s how to keep it manageable:

1. My advice is immediately start researching the opportunities and identifying your goals.

  • What’s possible? Realistically—what will you have time and money for? Can you re-prioritize to change any of that? What are your boundaries?
  • What sounds fun? Ideas you’re enthusiastic about will feel like less work than ones you’re already dreading, and they’re more likely to get done.
  • What meets your specific goals for your book release? Some authors want the launch to build their platform, some want to push for ranking high on Amazon or bestseller lists, and some want a stress-free way to celebrate with friends and family.

See what’s out there before you settle on anything, and think creatively. Talk to other authors about what worked for them. Do you want a book trailer? Can you do something high concept for your launch party?

2. When you do decide what you’d like to do, and when someone comes to you with an opportunity, calculate the time and financial investment, and choose wisely where you’re putting your hours and money. Keep in mind it will almost always cost more and take more time than you’re figuring. Chose the things that sound fun to you, because they will automatically be less stressful and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate on them! Also, choose the opportunities that reach a wide audience or allow for deeper connections with readers.

3. Order swag/promotional items ASAP. Calculate amounts you’ll need, and as soon as you have the information and images you’ll need for on any paper products (like postcards, bookmarks, and business cards), order them. Printing and shipping can take a while, and rush shipping costs can be expensive. This is something that can be done early and stored safely until you need them. My personal advice is to not spend a ton of money on swag. Thick, professional business cards and bookmarks that won’t crease are a great idea. (As soon as it creases or crumples, people tend to throw it out. Moo.com does fabulous, high-quality work.) Swag can be expensive, especially considering how much authors make per book sold, so keep that in mind when you’re laying out your budget—calculate what you make per book, and balance that against the value the swag will provide. Some of it depends on the book, of course, but I went with nice business cards, postcards, and book pins. I haven’t found myself needing anything else so far, though I might do a mix of postcards and bookmarks next time.

4. Don’t leave preparing for a few weeks before release. Treat it a bit like wedding planning. Make a to-do list for each event you’re doing for your launch, right down to items to purchase and announcements to make, and figure out which items can be done ahead of time. Schedule them into a certain day or week on your calendar. For example, if you’re doing a blog tour, start writing the posts three months in advance. One or two a week means you don’t have to scramble and you can keep your schedule balanced. You can even write your release day post early and have it saved as a draft to make changes to as the event gets closer. If you’re doing a book blast/blitz, you can write that material far in advance, too.

Stress Management:


This whole post is about stress management, really, but there are a few specific things you can do to help keep balanced and to enjoy your book release instead of dreading it.

1. Schedule R&R. And I actually mean plan it into your day. An hour for reading, an evening or two a week where you catch up on that show you love, time with your family and friends. You aren’t a machine, and if you act like one, you’ll break down. The most efficient, productive thing you can do during busy, demanding times is take care of your brain and your body. So rest well, eat well, and take that R&R. I’m not kidding. If I push myself hard a few days in a row with a stressful project, it takes me several days to feel like I’m functioning at 100% again. And don’t forget to schedule R&R for after your release—staying balanced will help reduce those nerves.

2. Disconnect. If you don’t need to be on Twitter or your email, close them. As it gets closer to my release date, I feel more and more bombarded by stats, reviews, emails, and questions. It’s overwhelming. Closing up email and social media frees up my concentration and lowers my stress levels. It can be tempting to stalk relatively meaningless rankings and count reviews, but don’t do it. Let yourself look once in a while if you have to, but several times a day or even once a day is usually both a time drain and a cause of stress.

3. Keep writing. One of the best things you can do for your book is to write another one. A new book is great marketing for the old book. Writing also lets us invest somewhere else, and helps us see that not everything hangs on this one book. And it can be fun and inspiring to keep working on a new project, and it can take our minds off everything about release day. Writers write, so keep writing!

About the Author:


Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She’s now an editor at Entangled Publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she'd want to read. Visit her online at www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning, and order How We Fall from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound.









About the Book:

Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

Barnes & Noble  | Amazon  | IndieBound | Goodreads

0 Comments on Preparing for Release Month by Kate Brauning as of 11/21/2014 8:12:00 AM
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3. Writer Wednesday: Author Events

It's no secret I've been doing a lot of author events this fall. I had a book tour for The Monster Within, which wraps up on the 29th with a signing at Moravian Book Shop, and I have two school visits planned for December 1. While I was at an event last month, a fellow writer asked me if I thought doing events was worth it. My answer was absolutely.

Do events promise to sell more books? Not necessarily. Yes, I was fortunate enough to sell well at my events, but let's be honest. Some events wind up being disappointing. But here's the upside. Events are about exposure. If your signing was mentioned in the paper, you've gotten exposure you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. If your author appearance is at a school, there's a huge audience you might not have reached before. I know some authors only book big events that guarantee lots of people and lots of potential sales. Me? I book big events, small events, and even non-selling events. Why? Because it's not always about the in-the-moment sale. Sure, it's great to sell out of the stock the bookstore ordered. Or to have a school district order class sets of your book. But there's more to it than that.

One thing we can't lose sight of after our book is out in the world is that while sales are great, so are connections. In fact, they are more important. Finding a librarian who books you for a school event and then asks if you'd be willing to come back and speak again is priceless. Think of all the students and teachers you'll reach. Booking an event where you can't sell but you can share your love of writing with others is great because there's no pressure AND people are more willing to listen to you if they know they won't have the awkward experience of having to say "not today" to purchasing a signed copy. And what I've found is that those people will then go home and look you up.

So, are author events worth it? Absolutely! For so many different reasons.

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4. Monday Mishmash 11/17/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Horrible Internet Connection  My internet has only been working when it feels like it, so getting online has been sporadic at best. If you are waiting to hear from me, I apologize. I'm trying to get this fixed today, but you know how that goes with phone companies. If I'm delayed in responding to comments or commenting on your blog, you know why.
  2. January Feature on Megan McDade's Blog  The very awesome Megan McDade is going to feature me on her blog in January and is asking people to comment on her post right now with questions you'd like me to answer. So I'd love it if you dropped by Megan's blog to leave me a question. You can find her blog here.
  3. Editing  I finished a revision on my latest Ashelyn Drake manuscript, so I'm back in editing mode and working on client edits this week.
  4. Remodeling  We finally finished painting the addition we put on the house. The countertop people are coming Tuesday (after canceling on us last week). Next up is flooring upstairs. We're getting close!
  5. Catching Up on My Reading  I'm all caught up on reading the books I promised to review. Yay! Most recently, I finished An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston and Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich. Both were amazing!
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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5. Monday Mishmash: 11/10/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:

1. The Attic of Sand and Secrets by Medeia Sharif  I'm reading this right now!
THE ATTIC OF SAND AND SECRETS 
by Medeia Sharif

Vendor links will be updated on Medeia’s site.

Middle Grade Historical and Fantasy, Featherweight Press, November 2014

Lily, a learning disabled girl, attempts to unravel the mystery of her abducted mother using supernatural clues from an ancient stranger, even when it means posing a danger to herself.

Learning-disabled Lily desires to prove herself, although her mind freezes when presented with big problems - such as her mother's abduction. With a French father and Egyptian mother, Lily worries that her mother hid her ethnicity from her French in-laws. However, there's something deeper going on. Lily finds a way into an attic that's normally locked and encounters a mysterious, moonlit Egyptian night world. There she finds Khadijah, an ancient stranger who guides her to finding clues about her mother's whereabouts. Lily becomes a sleuth in both the real world and magical desert, endangering herself as she gets closer to the kidnapper.

Find Medeia – Multi-published YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Revisions  This week I'm revising one of my manuscripts I put aside for a while. It's always fun to go back and read a first draft I've stepped away from.

3. Some Fine Day by Kat Ross  Kat Ross has a new release and a giveaway for you.
What if everything you've been taught is a lie?

Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist knows that when the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.

She knows that the only species to thrive there is the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.

Most of all, she knows there's no place where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.

Turns out Jansin was wrong. On all counts…


Enter here to win a Kindle Paperwhite pre-loaded with Some Fine Day, plus other awesome YA audiobook giveaways!

4.  Reading/Reviewing  I'm reading a bunch of books that I need to review. It's nice to have to find time to read. Usually reading gets pushed aside for other things, but when I promise to review, I can't do that. ;)

5. Promo  My crazy month of events every week (some weeks more than one event) is over, but I do still have a signing set up for this month and two school visits coming up. This week I'll be trying to book another signing for the holidays.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. Monday Mishmash 11/3/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:

1. Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston  Congrats to Meradeth on the release of her newest book! It's on my Kindle right now!

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever. 



Check it out on Amazon: Barnes and Noble: Evernight TeenGoodreads.

    2. Riven and Prodigal Double Cover Reveal  The very awesome Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley have two gorgeous new covers to reveal. Check out Riven and Prodigal in the Lost Imperials Series.



    Release Date: May 5, 2015
    Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

    What should be a routine mission leaves Ethan with a serious problem. He’s fractured—a break between mind and body that leaves him at the mercy of his Rifter abilities, which are quickly tearing him apart. He will have to trust the only person who might know how to fix him, a mysterious Rifter named Stewart Stills, who seems to have a special connection with the time stream.

    Forced to face his dark past and a decision he may never forgive himself for, he will be trained unlike any of the others, to become a true guardian for time. If he accepts, it will mean leaving everyone he loves behind. If he refuses, time itself could unravel. After a glimpse of the dark future awaiting them all, he will have to choose between destiny and desire. Will he rise up and take his place as a defender of the natural order, or will he watch as all of time burns at the hands of the girl he loves?

    Welcome to the time war.



    Release Date: May 5, 2015
    Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

    Stein has been with the Hollows for as long as she can remember. Taken as a child, she has no memories of her past—and that’s always been fine by her. Until the day she stumbles across a hidden journal containing the devastating truth about her paternity. Now everything she thought she knew—and everyone she thought she could trust—has changed. The truth about who she is and where she came from is a secret so deep, it will rock the Hollows and the Tesla Institute alike.

    During a test to verify her bloodlines, Stein makes a terrible discovery. She is carrying a rare genetic mutation that is slowly killing her. Unsure who to turn to and running out of time, she has no choice but to turn to Tesla—her most hated enemy—for help. But can she trust the man who she’s been fighting against her whole life, or will she end up another piece in his deadly game of cat and mouse with the people who betrayed her so long ago?

    3. Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich  I couldn't be happier for my agent! Her upcoming release looks amazing. Check it out.

    http://www.sarahnegovetich.com/p/author.html

    Releasing December 4th, 2014
    Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.
    A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.
    But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.
    Pre-order Available now at Amazon, B&N, Kobo &; iTunes
    4. Editing  November is packed with client edits for me. That means no NaNoWriMo yet again. I've never actually participated though I have unofficially joined the fun in the past. Still, I finished a draft in October so I'm okay with missing out. Good luck to all who are fast drafting this month.

    5.  Into the Fire Challenge Winner Announced!  On November 1st, I announced the winner of the #IntotheFireChallenge. Congrats to Sherry Alexander! She will appear as a phoenix in the third and final book in the Birth of the Phoenix series.

    6.  Promo Like a Mad Woman!  I've had a lot of author events lately, and while I'm busy and I got sick, I'm having a blast. Here are some recent photos from my events.
    Family Reading Festival in the Fairlane Village Mall in Pottsville, PA

    Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA with Cyn Balog, Kristi Cook, Molly Cochran, and Jennifer Murgia

    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

    *My FREE monthly newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up, you can do so here.*

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    7. Writer Wednesday: Finding Your Audience

    We've all heard that half the battle—or maybe more—in selling books is finding your audience. But how do you do that? It's something that I've struggled with, so I thought I'd share my story with you. 

    When Touch of Death was originally submitted to editors, it was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me. Now, I should have immediately realized my audience off of that pitch, but I was new to the industry and I admit it went right over my head. Now, nearly two years later, I realized that I have a huge audience I never reached out to. Fans of The Walking Dead!

    So this Sunday, I'm hosting a Twitter Viewing Party during this week's episode of The Walking Dead.

    In addition to the viewing party, my P.A. made this for me, and I love it because it's Daryl and my book! ;)


    I've also been on a book tour for The Monster Within and I've been bringing my bookmarks for the Touch of Death series. After I talk to people about The Monster Within, I mention Touch of Death. But my first question is always "Are you a fan of The Walking Dead?" All but one person I asked answered yes to that question, and the one person who didn't said she wasn't but the woman with her was. It's the perfect way for me to introduce my series and hand out bookmarks. So that's the pitch I'm sticking with for this series.

    Will this connection to The Walking Dead help sales? I guess I'll find out, but I certainly can't see how it could hurt.

    So it may have taken me a while to stumble on this idea, but I found my audience. How have you found your audience?

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    8. Curse of the Granville Fortune Release Day Scavenger Hunt!


    Let the hunt begin!

    Curse of the Granville Fortune officially releases into the world today! This middle grade fantasy adventure involves a race to a treasure, so there's a scavenger hunt to celebrate.

    But first, check out the cover and blurb:



    Find the fortune, break the curse!

    The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer.

    To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.

    Order it on Amazon or B&N.

    Now for the scavenger hunt. Below is a list of bloggers helping out with the hunt. Visit each of their pages and collect a letter that is "hidden" in their post in either a different color or a larger font size. See what I did there? Hmm, is that the first letter clue? ;) If you go through the list in order, the word will spell itself out for you. If you don't go in order, you'll have to unscramble the word. Either way is fine and totally up to you. Then enter the word on the rafflecopter form for bonus entries. You don't have to find the word to enter the giveaway, but the word will earn you the most entries.

    What's up for grabs?

    SWAG from ALL of my books!

    Yes, that's right. There's a drawstring bag, coins, buttons, a mood ring, a heart bracelet, a flame pendant, trading cards, a key, and bookmarks! All this loot could be yours!

    Here are the stops for the scavenger hunt (in order):

    Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    9. Writer Wednesday: Marketing the Second Book in a Series

    A couple weeks back, I was asked (in the comments) how to promote the second book in a series, so that's what I'm going to talk about today. First, I don't claim to be an expert at all. I'm just sharing my experiences and hoping they'll help you. So, here we go.

    Promoting a sequel or second book in a series is tricky because you want to get word out about the new book, but you also want to draw new readers into the series, which actually means promoting book one. You should definitely post about book two, though. Post the cover reveal, post teasers, post links to reviews, but always continue to promote book one. Your current fans won't need much encouragement to buy book two if they loved book one. A simple "it's release day" post will prompt them to run out and get book two. You need to keep trying to broaden your reach and find new readers for the series.

    Even though the entire Touch of Death series is out, I continue to promote book one. My publicist even made this image for me:
    Notice it's book one on the image. That's not to say you can't use images with both covers or all of them if it's a series. Go right ahead, but make sure it's clear which book begins the series because new readers will need to know that.

    Over the summer, Stalked by Death, which is the second book in the Touch of Death series, was the Kindle Daily Deal. It became a #1 Best Seller in Greek Mythology on Amazon. What also happened was Touch of Death becoming #3 in the same category. Why? New readers bought book one when book two went on sale.

    So, when you promote book two, don't forget to promote book one. You want to be loyal to your existing fans and continue to let them know about your new releases, but you also want to reach new readers and draw them in to the start of the series.

    Do you have tips for promoting a second book in a series? Please share in the comments.

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    10. Monday Mishmash 10/13/14


    Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

    Here's what's on my mind today:
    1. #IntotheFireChallenge Extended!  I've decided to extend the #IntotheFireChallenge until Halloweeen. That means you have until midnight on Halloween to post a review of Into the Fire on Amazon for a chance to become a Phoenix in the third and final book. Get your review up!
    2. Monster Madness Blog Hop  Vicki Leigh and I are hosting a fun Monster blog hop on Halloween. We'll be talking about our favorite monsters, and of course there will be a giveaway. Want to join the fun? Sign up below and we'll send you all you need for your Halloween post, plus some fun questions for you to answer on your blog. 
    3. Loading...
    4. Signing The Monster Within at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA on Saturday.  As part of the Three Witches Tour, I'll be signing The Monster Within with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran from 1-3pm.
    5. Vitamins and Death Cover Reveal  Check out the cover of Medeia Sharif's upcoming YA, Vitamins and Death. This book will release December 10th through Prizm Books.
       
      Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.

      Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed her life.

      Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.
    6. The Walking Dead  Who watched the season premier last night? Oh, and my PA made this for me and I love it. Touch of Death was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me.
    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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    11. Comic: "First Things First"

    Writers and illustrators: don't get so caught up in promotion and marketing that you forget to CREATE.

    0 Comments on Comic: "First Things First" as of 10/6/2014 2:25:00 PM
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    12. Monday Mishmash: 10/6/14


    Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

    Here's what's on my mind today:
    1. Into the Fire is a Cybils Awards Nominee!  So, I found out Into the Fire was nominated for the Cybils in the YA Speculative Fiction Category. Yeah, I'm a little excited. :) See the nominees here.
    2. Curse of the Granville Fortune Blog Tour  I can't believe the release of Curse of the Granville Fortune (MG fantasy) is just around the corner. The 21st will be here soon, so I'm finalizing my blog tour posts this week.
    3. Another Book Drafted  Last week I finished drafting a new book and I'm sort of in love with it.
    4. My Husband's Birthday  It's my husband's birthday today!
    5. FREE Monthly Newsletter  My FREE monthly newsletter may have gone out yesterday, a day early. I may have accidentally only set the time to post instead of the day to post. ;) Didn't get one? Stay on top of my giveaways, book news, and writing tips by signing up for my newsletter here.
    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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    13. Promo Friday: To Blog Or Not To Blog

    I've been blogging for twelve years. As far as I'm concerned, there is no question as to whether or not I'm going to blog. I do have doubts as to whether new writers should start blogging now, though.

    When I started, I found six children's literature blogs on-line. Now, between review sites and children's/YA authors, I'm guessing there are thousands. Just look at the litbloggers who have registered with Kidlitosphere Central. And the writer bloggers who have registered with it. Oh, and here are some more bloggers with Kidlitosphere Central. And how many children's lit blogs of all kinds are out there who haven't heard of Kidlitosphere Central? Yet we're all competing with one another for readers.

    The number of blogs has escalated. The number of readers, not so much. Many blogs that have been around a while have seen a decrease in activity. Blogging is like publishing. You hear about bloggers with readership that skyrocketed in just a few months. But then there are all the others.

    Kirsten Cappy of Curious City, which does "theme-based marketing for children’s authors, illustrators, and publishers,"  is well-known in New England, if not the country. She is definitely a fan of blogging for writers. In her blog post, SCBWI Whisper Pines, she answers questions from participants in last winter's Whispering Pines Retreat. Over and over again, she says things like, "Gosh, my answer is always to blog" and "I hate to sound like a broken record, but I guess if you have very limited time and have to focus on one thing, it would be blogging deeper."

    Actually, she's kind of encouraging, making points that a blog post has the potential of reaching more people than a public appearance and is out there waiting for people to find it while an appearance is done and over. I don't know how often that happens, but right this minute I'm kind of pumped up.
     

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    14. The strange things children’s writers do – Lari Don

    Yesterday, I helped dress a dragon in a car park.

    The dragonmobile, at Pirniehall Primary in Edinburgh

    But it’s not the strangest thing I’ve done as a children’s writer.

    I've recce'd a castle, going in undercover as a tourist, to discover the best way to steal their most famous artefact.

    I've interviewed a vet about how to heal a fairy’s dislocated wing, and a boat builder about how to fit a centaur on a rowing boat.

    I've lost half a dozen journalists in a maze. (I guided them out again eventually. Most of them.)

    I've told Celtic legends on an iron age hillfort, fairytales in an inner city woodland, and Viking myths in a cave.

    And all of these things have been an integral part of my job as a children’s writer. Because writing is not just sitting at a keyboard and tapping out chapters.

    The research (chatting to vets about fairy injuries and sneaking about castles) is often as much fun as the writing. And the promotion (dragon dressing and outdoor storytelling) is almost as important as the sitting at my desk imagining.

    I suspect that as a children’s writer, you have to be just as imaginative in your research methods and your promotion ideas as you do in your cliffhangers and your characterisations.

    But I can’t take credit for the dragon in the carpark. I did create a shiny friendly blue dragon, as one of the main characters in my Fabled Beast series. However, I had moved onto creating other characters in other stories, when my publishers decided to give the Fabled Beasts Chronicles new covers, and announced that they were going to promote the covers with a dragonflight tour.


    Then the very talented marketing executive at Floris Books designed a dragon costume for her own car. And she’ll be spending most of the next fortnight driving me round beautiful bits of Scotland and the north of England (yesterday Edinburgh, today Perth, then Aberdeenshire and Penrith, as we get more confident and stretch our wings!) in a car which we dress up as a dragon in the carpark of various primary schools, then invite the children out to ooh and aah at our shiny blue dragon and her shimmering flames, before I go inside to chat with the pupils about cliff-hangers and quests.

    So, this week, I’ve already learnt how to put a dragon’s jaws on at speed. And I’ve discovered that if the engine hasn’t cooled down yet, those flames coming down from the bonnet are actually warm!
    Very brave Forthview Primary pupils sitting on dragon's flames!

    So, yes, I do strange things. But I have fun! And I hope that my enjoyment comes across in my books, and in my author events.

    I don’t think the adventures I create would be nearly as interesting without the odd conversations I have while I’m researching them, or the weird things I do to promote them.

    So – what do you think? Should I just be sensible and stay indoors writing? Or is a little bit of weird now and then an effective way to make books, reading and writing more exciting for children?
     

    Lari Don is the award-winning author of 22 books for all ages, including a teen thriller, fantasy novels for 8 – 12s, picture books, retellings of traditional tales and novellas for reluctant readers. 

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    15. 5 Steps To Find Your Book’s Ideal Audience

    There’s nothing quite like seeing a book with your name on it. The beautiful cover, the weight of it in your hands, the pages of your creativity bundled into a package for readers to enjoy. It sits o the shelf–maybe a physical one, perhaps a virtual one–but it is there, mingling with other books, rubbing spines with both fresh and established voices alike.

    And there it will sit, waiting to be noticed..among not hundreds, not thousands, but a virtual tsunami of books that grows larger each day. Sure, family and friends will buy your book, and perhaps some of your supporters and connections online, too. But unless you do something, it will eventually fade into obscurity, never having the chance to break out and be discovered by the exact people looking to read a book just like yours.

    The number one failing of authors (provided they have a well edited, quality book) is an inability to connect with their exact audience.

    AudienceTraditionally published or self-published, in this competitive market, authors must actively find readers or risk their book dying on the shelf. Many fiction authors try hard, but often miss the mark as far as targeting an audience (promoting too narrowly for example, say only to other writers). Some unfortunately go the spam route, misusing social media to shout constantly about their book, sales, 5 star reviews and even sending “check out my book + LINK” messages to followers. This type of promo becomes “White Noise,” which most ignore. In some cases, people become so annoyed, rather than this strategy pulling new readers in, it pushes them away.

    So How Does An Author Find Their Ideal Audience?

    1) Know What Makes Your Book Special

    While a book’s genre (and sub-genres) help to narrow reader interest, this is only the start of your journey to finding your ideal audience. A Fantasy enthusiast will not be interested in reading ALL types of Fantasy, right? So the first step is defining what about your book makes it stand out from all the other novels like yours. Move beyond just genre. What themes or elements are unique about your book? What are the strongest qualities about your hero or heroine that make them likeable? What concept makes your book pop?

    Is your fantasy about a race of nomadic humans who are really shape shifting dragons, but over the generations, have forgotten what they are? Or, does your book have a hero who must solve codes and cyphers to uncover an astrological prophesy? Maybe it involves unusual magical travel…wizards that have discovered they can bottle the scents associated with a location and when a subject inhales it, he travels to that place. Whatever it is, this “special element” is a big part of what makes your book unique, and what will draw readers to your type of story and characters.

    2) Make a List of Groups that Tie into this Element

    Figured out what makes your book stand out from all the others like it? Awesome. Now it’s time to find out what interests people who think X is compelling, because that’s what’s special about your book.

    Let’s take one of my examples. Say your book is the Dragon Fantasy concept above. A book featuring dragons may appeal to people who collect dragon figurines, read dragon-centric books, play dragon fantasy games, create dragon artwork, fashion dragon jewellery, blog about dragons, go to dragon-themed movies, visit forums that discuss dragon culture, etc. Google has 38 pages for “dragon lovers.” In less than a minute, I found a Dragon Museum, Dragon Decor Designs and a ton of forums, facebook groups, and the like.  Using Twitter Search, I discovered there is a #Dragon hashtag that brings up people, products and discussions about dragons. All of these people have the potential to be your exact reading audience, especially those who wish dragons were real, but are hiding their true forms. Or Fantasy readers interested in shape shifters and nomadic cultures.

    (Don’t forget to look around locally, too. There may be groups, events and activities that tie into your book’s special concept in your own backyard.)

    3) Identify Possible Influencers and Opportunities

    Now within this glorious pool of Dragondom, there will be influencers: people who blog about all things dragons that really draw an audience, or active forums that discuss the latest dragon films and books. Perhaps gaming communities or even Facebook or Goodreads groups that draw a crowd. All of these help dragon enthusiasts discuss the thing they all love.

    Check some of these places out to see if they might be a home for you too. After all, if what makes your book special is the shape-shifting dragon element, I’m going to assume you have a strong interest in dragons, right? Surely you have some things to talk about, links to share, books to recommend, etc. We write what we love, and so we should love to talk about what we write.

    You want to find several groups or blogs that offer content to their readers that would also appeal to your readers. See who is discussing dragons on the web. Is there a Twitter Chat about dragons? Also look for people who create tangible goods for dragon lovers (artists, designers, etc.)  These are people you want to try and connect with, because opportunities might exist down the road for some cross promotion. Don’t forget other authors with books like yours. Make friends, tweet links to their blog and book. They will notice and most reciprocate, meaning your book might get noticed by their audience.

    4) Connect and Engage

    Hurray! We have found a slew of blogs, websites, forums and people who are into dragons! Time to join up, follow and send messages about our book, right?

    Sorry, that’s not how it works.

    Finding out who your audience might be is one thing, but actually (hopefully) turning them into your audience is another. To do that, you need to connect. Interact. Join conversations going on about dragons. Discuss your own collection, the books you read, the movies you watch. Talk to people, find out more about them. Talk about life. Ask questions. Be genuine. Add to the conversation, supply links to things you think others will find interesting about dragons. Build relationships.

    Yes, this takes time. It’s work, but if your heart is into it, it’s fun too. In time you will see that these relationships are worth far more than a handful of sales generated from  spam promo. Why? Because when you need help, you can ask. Maybe you need reviewers, or have a book launch coming up and need people to spread the word. These individuals who you have invested your time in will often be the most enthusiastic about helping you gain visibility. They become not just supporters, but if we are lucky, fans.

    5) Create Book Events to Draw in Your Reading Audience

    One of the best ways to gain visibility is to host a big book event online. Thinking very hard about who your exact audience is, and what they would find interesting or entertaining is the key to drawing the right crowd to your event. Online book events like a book launch are the one time when people expect us to shout about our new book from the rooftops. We can build buzz and flash our cover and blurbs, and draw interest. Events are excellent ways to get your book noticed by the right people!

    But the trick is to create an event that utilizes Social Media well, and draws the attention of the right people: people most suited to enjoy our book. Unfortunately this has been made harder because of all the “White Noise” of online promotion out there. So, the task is up to us to WOW people enough that they take notice, and don’t dismiss the event as more “book promotion.”

    When you create your event, keep your theme or special element in mind. Build around it. Could you do a dragon treasure hunt across many different blogs using street team members? Perhaps add a shape shifting element where participants follow clues to figure out which street team member is human and which is a dragon, so they can find the hoard (giveaway prize) on someone’s blog?  Something else? You decide!

    I hope these tips help!

      *  *   * * *   *  *

    WANaHEADS UP! If you are interested in learning how to promote better during these big Book Launch or Book Sale type events, Becca and I are running a special marketing webinar on October 13th at 8:00-9:30 EST called The Marketing Marriage: Creative Social Media Solutions to Help Your Book Event Get Noticed.

    Becca and I have run many successful events that have generated thousands of visitors, huge visibility and strong sales. In this webinar we will show you how to create your own book event that attracts attention, engages your audience, and rises it above Promo White Noise. It’s not just about getting eyes on your book, it’s about the RIGHT eyes.

    Can’t make the webinar date? No worries! Sign up and get the recording to watch at your leisure. Follow this link for more information.

    How have you found your readers? Any tips to share? Post them below!

     

    Image 1: OpenClips @ Pixabay

    The post 5 Steps To Find Your Book’s Ideal Audience appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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    16. Monday Mishmash 9/22/14


    Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

    Here's what's on my mind today:
    1. Murderer on the Loose  The biggest thing on my mind is Eric Frein, a 31-year-old man who shot and killed a police officer in my area. He critically wounded another officer, and now, Frein is armed, dangerous, and hiding somewhere in the woods. I'm scared. I wish they'd catch him soon. It's frightening that Frein is evading 200 police officers searching for him. I don't feel safe in my own home.
    2. Campus Crush is now FREE!  To celebrate the releases of Into the Fire and Perfect For You, I've decided to make Campus Crush permanently free. You can get your free copy on Kindle or Nook.
    3. Into the Fire and Perfect For You Reviews  So far, I've been blown away by the reviews for both of these books. Seriously, some have made me cry because people are relating so much to my characters and the emotions in these books. I couldn't be a happier author right now.
    4. #IntotheFireChallenge  The Into the Fire Challenge is still going on. You have until October 10th to get your review of Into the Fire posted on Amazon and be entered for your chance to appear as a phoenix in the third book in the trilogy. You can also win signed copies of all three books in the series. Go enter now!
    5. YA Scavenger Hunt  I'm happy to announce I'll be participating in the fall YA Scavenger Hunt going on October 2-October 5. I'll be part of the Green Team with my Ashelyn Drake title Into the Fire. I'm so excited!
    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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    17. Friday Feature: Who R U Really? Book Birthday & Elixir Bound Sale and Giveaway


    It’s a BOOKBirthday!
    The birth of a debut book is often a long labor of love, and Margo Kelly’s Who R U Really? is no exception. Margo finished the first draft of the manuscript in 2010! More than four years later, more than four title changes, and way-more-than four revisions … it has finally arrived! WAHOO!

    *.-*.-**throws confetti**.-*.-*
    When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she breaks her parents’ rules to play. And in the world of the game, Thea falls for an older boy named Kit whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his near-suicidal despair. Soon, he’s texting her, asking her to meet him, and talking in vague ways about how they can be together forever. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the very fate her parents feared most. Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.

    “Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. … Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps.” -- School Library Journal.  (http://www.bookverdict.com)

    “Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner.” -- Kirkus Reviews (www.kirkusreviews.com)

    Who R U Really? published in hardcover and e-book versions by Merit Press (F+W Media) on September 18, 2014.

    Buy online:

    You can also enter for a chance to win a copy in the Goodreads giveaway here.

    *.-*.-**throws confetti**.-*.-*

    Margo Kellyis a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margowelcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

    Follow her online:
    Twitter: @MargoWKelly

    Scheduled Appearances:
    September 26, 2014 – 5pm – Book Signing at Hastings in Meridian, Idaho
    September 27, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Hastings on Overland in Boise, Idaho
    October 3, 2014 – 7pm – Book Launch Party at Hyde Park Books in Boise, Idaho
    October 11, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Boise, Idaho



    That's not all! 



    My fellow writer friend, Katie Carroll's YA fantasy, Elixir Bound, is on sale (ebook version) for only $.99 until September 27th. And there's a giveaway on Goodreads for a signed paper back. First, here's her book:




    Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

    It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.




    Ebook on sale for $.99 until September 27:

    Prefer paperback? Enter the Goodreads giveaway here.

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    18. New work

    windwillow1_robertaBaird

    “Glorious, stirring sight! The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here today–in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped–always somebody else’s horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!”
    – Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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    19. Monday Mishmash 8/11/14


    Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

    Here's what's on my mind today:
    1. Two Blog Tours  Since I have two Ashelyn Drake titles releasing on September 9th (Into the Fire and Perfect For You), I've been busy with blog tour posts. They're almost ready to send to my publicists.
    2. My Dream Office  Even though I won't be able to settle into my new office for a while yet, I'm dreaming of my oversized chair to work and read in, my large desk with bookshelves, and the cheery daisy paint color I picked out. I can also finally frame the giant posters of my book covers my husband had made for me. It's going to be epic. Now I have to work on that pesky thing called patience.
    3. Painting and Flooring  Last week the construction at my house, which had involved gutting the entire first floor, progressed to painting. This week I'm hoping to have the painting finished and flooring going in so I can go home before the summer is over.
    4. Editing  I'm editing for clients this week, and I already have clients booking me for next month too.
    5. The Monster Within Book Blitz  Fandom Monthly Magazine is hosting a book blitz for The Monster Within August 15-18th. I'm looking forward to it. 

      That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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    20. Monday Mishmash: 8/25/14


    Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

    Here's what's on my mind today:
    1. My Mom's Birthday!  Today is my mom's birthday! Happy birthday, Mom! You're the best mother, friend, and beta reader I could ever ask for.
    2. Booking Events  I'm booking author events for the fall. I've got at list of signings planned and I will start working on booking school visits soon. :)
    3. Perfect For You Pre-order  Perfect For You is now up for pre-order and it's only $2.99! I'm excited. You can order it here.
    4. Perfect For You Release Day Blitz  In addition to the blog tour, there will be a release day blitz for Perfect For You. Want to sign up? Click here.
    5. Curse of the Granville Fortune Blog Tour Signups  The Curse of the Granville Fortune Blog Tour will run from October 20 to November 2. If you'd like to sign up, click here.

      That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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    21. Writer Wednesday: Frequently Asked Questions

    I've decided to add a Frequently Asked Questions feature on my website and blog as part of my Press Kit. So today, I'm asking for your help. What questions would you like me to answer? It can be anything about my writing or my books.   Things like when I started writing, how I choose my genres, why I span age groups. Whatever you'd like.

    Okay, you can ask me some silly questions too. Why not? I have a few quirks I'm willing to share for your amusement. Maybe I'll answer those as part of a vlog for fun. Sound good? 

    You're up. Leave me your questions in the comments. I won't answer them there though. I'm compile a list and share all the answers once I've finished. Thanks!

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    22. Monday Mishmash: 9/1/14


    Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

    Here's what's on my mind today:
    1. Back to School  My daughter starts second grade tomorrow. This summer flew by. I guess being out of my house had something to do with that. We've only been home for two weeks.
    2. Back to My Writing Schedule  Back to school means back to my usual writing schedule. I have two ideas battling it out in my head. I'll get to work on the one that screams the loudest. ;) I'm so excited to draft a new book.
    3. Into the Fire Author Copies!  Look what came in the mail last Friday!
    4. Free Monthly Newsletter  My newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here. My newsletters have information about my releases, giveaways, and writing tips each month.
    5. Perfect For You and Into the Fire Release Giveaway  I'm looking for people to help me spread the word about my two YA releases by posting my giveaway with teaser from both books sometime during the week of September 8th. If you can help me out, sign up below: 
      That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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    23. Friday Feature: DDYA Back to School Giveaway


    Welcome to the Back to School Giveaway hosted by the authors at Darkly Delicious YA.



    Add great YA titles to your to be read list on Goodreads and enter to win an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card so that you can purchase novels from your favorite authors.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    24. What Every Author Should Know…

    Feeling overwhelmed when it comes to publishing and promoting a book? Are you getting lost in the crowd? Relax. Take a breath. Release it. By focusing on these key areas, you can find the traction your book needs to rise above the crowd.


    Understand the Publishing Industry: Writing a book does not guarantee you readers—believe me, I know! So before publishing, ask yourself some important questions. Who are your competitors? What do they publish? How is your genre faring in the industry right now? Knowing your market is vital to finding and connecting with readers, receiving book reviews, and getting book sales.

    Book Covers are Key: Pick up a book or view a thumbnail-size cover online. What’s your first impression? Is the cover unprofessional or tacky? If so, chances are you’ll think the writing is sub-par. It’s a smart move to invest in a professionally designed cover by someone who understands book design and the publishing industry. You've put a lot of work into writing your book; apply the same philosophy to your book cover.

    Your Best Marketing Tool is Editing: With all the competition out there, you want your book to be the best you can make it. A poorly edited book will not gain you readers, reviewers, or fans. Delegate to the professionals if you must, but don’t put out a book that’s destined to receive one star nods.

    Get Good Advice: Honestly, there are so many reputable, free resources available to authors for every phase of their publishing journey. Blogs, social media groups, online forums, and more offer everything an author can imagine to get headed in the right direction. Take advantage of these resources, ask questions, learn from others, and share your insights.

    Work Your Market: Cultivate readers via the social media, not by clogging the internet with spam, but by asking if they’d be interested in becoming a beta-reader for you. Many authors have successfully built a stable of pre-publication beta readers who offer their insights. Don’t forget, beta readers are not editors—they help an author understand if the story works, if it's authentic.

    It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint: If you're going to publish a book, you have to be in it for the long haul. It takes time to learn the publishing ropes and build a following. Approach your marketing and promotion with the long-term in mind. Basic formula: Time + Backlist (4 or more books) = Sustainable Author Career.

    Website 101: Build a respectable sales hub through your website. Unless you know how to convert web visitors into buyers, and know all about web conversion and SEO, you should find a professional to design your site.

    Build Relationships: Saying thank you goes a long way. If you guest blog, thank your host. Are you getting book reviews and interviews? If so, be sure to thank them for taking the time to review your book or interview you because these are people you can approach for your subsequent books. Trust me, kindness and manners matter, and people DO notice.

    Teamwork 101: If you're hiring people to help you publish and/or market your book, take advantage of their expertise. Look for someone with a good track record, and who understands the market, then trust their advice and let them do what you've hired them to do.


    Publishing is a business. In the end, it’s worth the time to invest in your book, your team, and your promotion. Thank you for reading my blog. If you have time, please leave a comment and share what you’ve been doing to get your book in front of your readers. Love to hear them! Cheers!

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    25. A Curious Case in Texas: When Promoting a Book Becomes a Campaign Finance No No

    81H-LUSdMnLWendy Davis is running for office. She also has a book out. We’ve seen this all before. No big deal, right?

    No big deal except for the fact that this is Texas and the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s memoir includes an abortion.

    The last time Davis spoke personally about abortion (specifically, the ending of an ectopic pregnancy during an epic 13-hour filibuster over a new state abortion law) she was launched into the national spotlight.

    Now, in Forgetting to be Afraid, Davis reveals that she terminated another pregnancy in which the fetus had developed a severe brain abnormality.

    Supporters are applauding the revelation. “Having that kind of personal story around what is a divisive issue will help,” said a 35-year-old campaign volunteer to The Associated Press.

    Republicans thinks so as well, and are taking steps to curb the promotion of the book: (more…)

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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