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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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. 
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  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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4. Comic: "First Things First"

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

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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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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19. Everyone Agrees That Book Promotion Is Necessary, But...

The two writers taking on the question of the necessity of book promotion in The Demands of Book Promotion: Frivolous or Necessary? are pretty much in agreement that it definitely isn't frivolous. They just don't/can't get into the subject much beyond that. The comments are a little more nitty gritty.

But, you know, it's rare to find a promotional essay that offers a whole lot of help and hope to writers.

0 Comments on Everyone Agrees That Book Promotion Is Necessary, But... as of 7/26/2014 10:18:00 PM
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20. Monday Mishmash 7/28/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Picture Book Sketches  I got to see sketches for one of the three picture books I have in the works. I love that part. It's so much fun to see how an illustrator views my characters.
  2. Revisions  Revisions on my MG will be finished this week and then I'm sending the book on to my betas. After that I have to revise the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix series.
  3. The Monster Within Book Blitz  Fandom Monthly Magazine Book Tours is hosting a book blitz for The Monster Within. Bloggers who participate will be entered to win an ebook copy of the book. You can sign up here.
  4. Perfect For You Blog Tour  YA Bound Book Tours is hosting the blog tour for Perfect For You. Want to sign up? You can here.
  5. Into the Fire SWAG and Blog Tour  Swag is on its way! I have Phoenix buttons arriving tomorrow and the flame pendants already here. Check out the pendant. I love it.
    Want to participate in the blog tour for Into the Fire? Sign up here
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


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21. Pinterest and Your Novel

By Julie Daines

The other day I had the most wonderful surprise. A reader read my book, Unraveled, and loved it so much she created a Pinterest board for it with a few pictures that sparked her imagination about certain elements of the story.

I can't believe I didn't think of that. What a great way to share fun visuals with readers. I started thinking how Pinterest could be used as a promotional tool, as a forum to draw readers together to share something they love, or as an idea generator while drafting.

Here is a link to her awesome Pinterest board. It's only got seven pictures, but it captures the novel perfectly.

I'm not always the best at using all the tools at hand when it comes to writing and promoting.

I'd love to hear ideas from all of you on ways you've seen Pinterest--or any of the social media platforms--used in any part of the writing process.

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22. Confessions of a Serial Novelist (Part 3) by Clara Kensie

Welcome to the final installment of the Adventures in YA Publishing series on serialized novels! Two weeks ago we discussed the surprising pleasures of reading a serial, and last week I gave you some tips on how to write a serialized novel. Today, we’re talking about how to market your serial. Serialized novels are making a big comeback! If you are considering joining the serial revolution, I hope these marketing tips are helpful to you:

How do you find readers who will embrace your serial?
Photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg via flickr

NUMBER, LENGTH, AND PRICE OF INSTALLMENTS

We’re all word-lovers here, so hold on tight: I’m going to throw some numbers at you. According to my (admittedly unscientific) research, while there is no industry standard for price, traditionally-published serials tend to be priced at $1.99 per episode, regardless if the audience is adult, new adult, or YA. The number and length of installments, however, can vary greatly. To compare, I’ll give you four examples: one adult, one new adult, and two young adult:

• Three of the books in Beth Kery’s BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE adult romance series (Berkley) have eight installments apiece. Each installment is priced at $1.99, and each installment is approximately 55 pages long. The installments of each book were released weekly.

Jessa Holbrook’s new adult romance WHILE YOU’RE AWAY (Razorbill) has six installments of about 48 pages each, priced at $1.99 apiece (weekly releases).

THE WITCH COLLECTOR by Loretta Nyhan (Harper Teen) is a YA paranormal novel serialized into two parts of 184 and 110 pages respectively, and priced at $1.99 each. Released monthly.

The two books in my YA romantic thriller series, RUN TO YOU (Harlequin Teen), have three installments each, averaging 95 pages apiece. They are priced at $1.99 each. The installments of each book were released weekly.

Notice that in the examples above, the YA serials have fewer installments and a much longer length than the adult and new adult serials. Personally, I’m happy that Harlequin Teen serialized my books this way. While it’s not a big deal for an adult to make six or eight purchases of $1.99, teens often don’t have their own accounts with online e-tailers (serials are usually published digitally). To make an online purchase, many teens must first ask their parent’s permission or ask their parents to order it for them—which means for an eight-part serial, they would have to ask permission eight times. Also, an installment of 95+ pages is long enough to leave the YA audience satisfied with both the length and the price they paid. If you are budget-conscious, you will be delighted to note that at $1.99 per installment, the total price of the two- or three-part YA books is still lower than the average full-length digital book. A great deal for the YA audience!

The take-away: While adult and new adult serials have more, shorter installments per book, if you are considering publishing a YA serial, I highly recommend keeping the number of installments low, and the number of pages per installment high.

RELEASE SCHEDULE

Weekly releases seem to be the most popular release schedule lately (although there are exceptions). Why are weekly releases the most popular? Weekly releases give the readers enough time to finish one installment, and they don’t have to wait very long for the next. The book is still fresh on their mind when the next installment is released, so they don’t have time to forget about it and move on to a different book. Also, TV series broadcast their episodes weekly, so we’ve become programmed (pun intended) to enjoy our stories in weekly doses. Finally, for readers who prefer to read the entire book at once, they don’t have long to wait for all the installments to be released.

FINDING READERS

Okay! You’ve determined the length, number, and price of each installment of your serial, you’ve set the release schedule of your serial, and you wrote your serial. Good for you! Now you have to find readers for your serial. I’m not going to lie to you: there are definite challenges to finding readers for a serial. Why?

• Some people won’t read your book simply because of its serialized format. They will see that it’s a serial, and that’s it: they won’t even give it a chance. They want a complete book, and nothing else will do.

• Many readers don’t want to make multiple purchases for the equivalent of one book. They assume every serial will eventually be released as a complete novel, and they’ll wait until then to read it. In my (non-scientific) research, this is by far the biggest reason most people give for not wanting to read a book in serial format. But for some serials, the publisher has no intention of re-packaging it into one complete novel, which unfortunately means those people will never read it.

Other obstacles:

• Some readers will be disappointed that an installment is shorter than a full-length book. They may leave a bad review or give it low stars—not because they dislike the writing or the story, but because they dislike the length or the serialized format. They are perfectly entitled to their opinion, of course. As the author, you just have to hope that they like the story enough to read the next episode. But those bad reviews and lower stars will affect the book’s overall rating.

• All authors spend lots of time promoting their books. But because serials are new and different, you may spend more time explaining the serialized format of your book, rather than explaining what your book is actually about.

OPPORTUNITIES

But fear not, my friends. While there are definite challenges to marketing your serial, there are some unique benefits, additional audiences, and fun opportunities!

Benefits:

• Multiple releases in a short time frame help get an author’s name out faster through consistent exposure week after week.

• A serialized novel offers an author multiple opportunities to communicate with a growing and potential audience in a short time frame.

• Serials offer more opportunities for reviews.

• Multiple installments means multiple covers! Every author knows how hard it is to stand out from the crowd. The multiple, connected covers of your serial are a unique way to catch the eyes of readers.

Additional audiences:

• Serials appeal to busy people. If someone tells me they don’t read books, I often ask them why not. The most common reason: they don’t have the time. But most people have an hour here or there throughout the week, the perfect amount of time to read an episode of a serial.

• Serials appeal to the reluctant and occasional reader. I’ll give you a personal anecdote: I received an email—one I will cherish forever--from a mother who said RUN TO YOU was the first non-school book her teenage daughter had ever read. Her daughter envied her “fangirl” friends who were obsessed with popular YA novels such as HARRY POTTER, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, and DIVERGENT. But those longer tomes intimidated her, and she felt excluded from the book fandom experience. Her mother discovered the RUN TO YOU serial and purchased it for her. Its weekly episodes of 95 pages each were perfect for the girl, who felt accomplished and proud after finishing each installment. Reluctant and occasional readers find serials to be incredibly gratifying.

• Serials also can also appeal to voracious readers. While reluctant and busy readers may take a week to read an episode, avid readers will read an episode in a single sitting. If they still want more, they can wait for all of the installments to release, then read them all at once.

Additional opportunities:

• Serialized novels can make reading a social experience. Like with television series, your readers can read each installment of your serial, then discuss it with each other and online. They will anxiously anticipate the next installment together.
• For example, you can utilize the fun social aspect of serials by having an online read-along! Your current readers will enjoy engaging with other fans, and the read-along will attract new readers as well. (Psst… we’re having a read-along of my serial right now! See the info at the bottom of this post.)

DISCUSSION:

So there you have it, folks: I’ve told you about reading, writing, and marketing serialized novels. Any questions? Ask away!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is the author of dark fiction young adults. Her debut series, the romantic thriller RUN TO YOU, is Harlequin TEEN’s first serial. Book One is First Sight, Second Glance, and Third Charm. Book Two is Fourth Shadow, Fifth Touch, and Sixth Sense.

Her favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

Find Clara online: Website   Twitter   Facebook   Tumblr   Instagram   Goodreads  Newsletter

About the books

Good news! The first installment of my serial, RUN TO YOU Part I: FIRST SIGHT, is still free across all e-tailers! It won't last much longer, so get it before the price goes back up!
In Part One of this romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can't even tell him her real name. But Tristan won't be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…

RUN TO YOU is Tessa and Tristan's saga—two books about psychic gifts, secret lives and dangerous loves. Each book is told in three parts: a total of six shattering reads that will stay with you long after the last page.

Grab FIRST SIGHT now for free, then join Harlequin Teen and a whole bunch of book bloggers and fans at the RUN TO YOU read-along. It's not too late to join in the FIRST SIGHT and SECOND GLANCE discussions, and we're starting the THIRD CHARM week on Monday, August 3. We’re having a great time, and we have some fun prizes to give away. Get more details on my blog: http://bit.ly/readR2Y. I’d love to see the Adventures in YA Publishing gang at the read-along!


For more about each installment of the RUN TO YOU series, click here

Find RUN TO YOU at your favorite e-tailers, including:



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23. Monday Mishmash 8/4/14


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 SWAG  I have awesome swag for Into the Fire! I'm loving the fire pendants and phoenix buttons. Check them out. Watch for a giveaway soon since the book releases on September 9th!

  2. Free Monthly Newsletter  My newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.
  3. Blog Tour Posts  I'm getting all my blog tour posts for Into the Fire together this week. Thank you to everyone who signed up for the tour. If you tried to sign up and were told the schedule was full, feel free to contact me. We can still set something up separate from the tour.
  4. Reading  I've been a little LOT stressed lately with the construction on my house. I'm coping by reading.
  5. Leap Books Editor  I'm so excited to be part of the editorial team at Leap Books. I'll be editing for all three of their imprints! I couldn't be happier about it. If you missed the big announcement about the new direction of Leap Books on August 1st, you can read it here. If you're interested in submitting to Leap Books (I'm not the acquisitions editor.), you can find their guidelines here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


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24. Writer Wednesday: Making a Book Trailer


I've made my share of book trailers so I thought I'd share some tips on how you can make a trailer without spending a fortune. It's also fairly simple, so even if you aren't computer savvy, you can figure it out pretty quickly.

First, your computer comes with programs to create movies. I use iMovie because I have a Mac. PCs usually have Movie Maker. If you don't see an icon on your desktop, search your Applications. I'm willing to bet you'll find a program. The programs are designed to let you drop pictures into the frames and then add text, voiceover, music, etc. You get to set the duration of each clip, which is great for adjusting the length of your trailer to fit your music. There are even transitions to choose from between the slides.

Once you locate your program, you need to find images for your trailer. A very cost efficient way to do this is to create a book trailer for an entire series instead of each book. You can then use your book covers and crop them for images. That's what I did for the Touch of Death series. All the images, with the exception of one, came from the front and back covers of the books.



I did the same thing for my Campus Crush series, written under my pen name. 



If you have a budget that allows you to purchase images for your trailer, I suggest royalty-free stock photos. I use Shutterstock, which allows you to purchase images on demand. I usually opt for the package of five downloads, which isn't expensive at all, and you can almost always find a coupon code online to take about $10 off the price.

For The Monster Within, I opted to purchase images instead of sticking to my cover. I did find some sites (thanks to an article in the SCBWI Bulletin) that offer completely free images as long as you credit them. I found similar sites for the music tracks. Both are great options for keeping costs down. The Monster Within Book Trailer uses paid images and free images along with free music. I made sure to credit my sources on the final slide.



Another option is to film your book trailer yourself and hire some actors to portray your characters. I haven't tried this myself just yet, but maybe one day.

I recommend playing around with whatever movie program your computer has and get used to the different features and how they work. You'll be surprised by how easy it actually is to create a trailer for your book.

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25. Friday Feature: Sassy Summer Book Party


I'm one of the 61 authors participating in the Sassy Summer Book Party. There are 10 prize packs up for grabs with books, SWAG, and gift cards! You don't want to miss this.


Into the Fire is one of the books in prize pack #3, which is a YA prize pack. If you want to try to win a copy along with 7 other books and a gift card, enter here.

That's not all though. You can enter all 10 giveaways and increase your chances of winning. Just click on the links below to enter. (Some books are ebook, while others are print. Click on the giveaway to find out the format.)

Prize Pack #1 YA
Malicious by Alissa T. Hunter
This Is Sara by Ally Malinenko
My Sister's Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer
My Tethered Soul by Dorothy Dreyer
Darkness Watching by Emma Adams
Lore (YA fantasy anthology)
Eternal Shadows by Kate Martin
Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Prize Pack #2
This Is Sara by Ally Malinenko
Of Breakable Things by Lyden Rolland (includes SWAG)
Resisting Fate and Seizing Fate by Heather Van Fleet
Elixir Bound by Katie Carroll
Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash
Crown of Ice by Vicki Weavil (includes SWAG)
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Prize Pack #3 YA
This Is Sara by Ally Malinenko
Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane
Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway
Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake (That's me!!!)
Quest of the Hart by Mary Waibel
Surrender the Sky by Meradeth Houston
Fatal by T.A. Brock
A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Prize Pack #4 YA
This Is Sara by Ally Malinenko
Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
The Mystery Prince by Mary Waibel
Don't Fall by Rachel Schieffelbein
Snark and Circumstance by Stephanie Wardrop
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
The Funeral Singer by Linda Budzinski
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Prize Park #5 NA
Wonderfully Wicked by C.J. Burright
Clipped Wings and Inked Armor by Helena Hunting
Because the Night by Kristen Strassel
Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa Petreshock
Jace by M.J. Fields
Bloodlust by Nicole Zoltack
Double Life by S. Usher Evans
9th Life by Wendy Beck
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Prize Pack #6 NA
Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
This Is Sara by Ally Malinenko
$5 Starbucks Gift Card
In the Desert by Dierdre Riordan Hall (includes SWAG)
Up For Grabs by Heather Young Nichols (includes $5 Amazon GC)
Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa Petreshock
Jace by M.J. Fields
Over the Ocean by Georgia St. Mane
The Darkness of Light by Tammy Farrell
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Goodbye to You by A.J. Matthews
Adorned by Georgeann Swiger
Up For Grabs by Heather Young Nichols
Clipped Wings and Inked Armor by Helena Hunting
Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa Petreshock
Jace by M.J. Fields
Crossing the Line by Nicola Marsh
Black Hellebore by Nicola Marsh
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Prize Packs 8-10 are Adult/Erotica, so I won't list them here since this blog doesn't cover adult or erotica. You can access the page for those giveaways here if you are interested.

Good luck to all who enter!

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