Thursday, June 27, 2013


SPE has now been up for a year. One year of this journey and I don't feel like we're all the way into the adventure yet. Each step is a small milestone to the big picture. We all dream of six figure (or bigger!) book deals, that would be able to buy us a mansion and solve all of our money woes. (Cause let's face it, we all have them.) But normally, you don't get there over night, you have to reach little stones first. One step at a time.

I look back on this year that SPE has been around and I think about things that we could do better and things that we have done well with. The same thing goes for my writing. I wish I could have worked faster, but I'm happy with the current results of In Black and White. I'm proud of Mia for coming as far as she has. I've read over her manuscript twice now and I've loved it both times. We have come so far, yet we have so far to go. It's time we celebrate the little victories, and support us and fellow writers in them. When we release our first SPEs (yes, there will be more) they will probably not be a six figure seller, but it is a victory nonetheless.

A milestone, a goal, whatever you want to call it, as soon as we hit that publish button we have reached a point. We will take time and celebrate and then we'll move on to the real work of market. As you go about your writing journey, keep the big picture in mind, but ask yourself, what are you milestones and your goals to get to that big picture?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Promotion & Marketing

A lot of being successful in publishing is promotion and marketing, when you self-publish all of that falls on your shoulders. So what can you do and how much does it cost? You can do a lot, and as it turns out a lot can be done for free.

Since I am still new to all of this and I'm on the verge of self-publishing my first book I am overwhelmed by both promotion and marketing.... But I have a plan.

I am going to utilize the free social media sites I am already on:
and Google+

But I am still going to strive for the 80/20 rule. 80 % of what I post isn't direct marketing and the other 20% of the time I will be selling myself hardcore.

Another avenue I really suppose I should dive into is Tumblr. But I am still floundering in my ignorance of that site.

Next up are the book sites:
And I might check into some other sites like: Authors Den, and Internet Book Database.

I might even travel down the crazy road of Press Releases, there are a number of sites that have free press release distribution.

Cross promotion can be helpful too, I have seen it work well for several self-published authors. When my book, Waking Up In Bedlam, comes out I will be running some cross promotions with a fellow self-published author A.L. Kessler and with Alexandra. Cross promotion can run the gambit in terms of what you want to do, it can be anything from hosting giveaways on eachothers blogs, facebook pages, or even something as easy as hosting an interview, a cover reveal. All of our cross promotions will be revealed later.

Next up on my promotion and marketing list will be a blog hop, I am already signed up for it and it will run very near to the time with Waking Up In Bedlam will be released so it will be perfect. I've never done a blog hop and I am definitely nervous about it but I'm looking forward to getting my name out there a bit more.

Last but not least on my list is Book Reviews. This one makes my tummy flutter with ten thousand butterflies. It really did seem like an easy task, simply find sites to review your book, give them a copy in exchange for an honest review... But the more I looked into sites that I knew did book reviews I found most of them no longer reviewed Indie/Self-Published authors. I found myself back at square one, luckily I've found a few sites that review self-published authors and they review the genre of Paranormal Romance, which is what I write. One thing I've learned about book review sites is when you send them a request to review your book make sure to make the email personal, they don't like to get a blanket email that was obviously sent out to several sites all at once. So when I send out my requests it will personal emails only and then I will sit back and cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I'm sure after a couple of releases all of this will like second nature to me but this is without a doubt very stressful. I think I've gained some gray hairs from thinking and over-thinking all of this stuff. But if it helps me to reach readers that I might have not been able to reach than every gray hair will be worth it. I love my story and I want it to reach as many people who will hopefully love it just as much as I do. That is the goal, share my story.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dark War Chronicles Blog Tour- Character Interview with Lucius

As part of the Dark War Chronicles Blog Tour we are honored to be interview Lucius, one of the characters from Book One: In The Light Of The Moon (Release 6/11/13).

Stripped of all control, panther shifter Kassity has no choice but to be a killer for Lucius. Obeying the vampire was simply her way of life, until Jax comes to town and brings trouble with him. When she recognizes Jax as her fated mate, Kassity must deal with betrayal, secrets and Lucius in order to be with him. 

With a war raging between all supernatural creatures Jaxon must decide who he is fighting for-and against. What started as a simple job turns into a complicated game of hearts when he meets Kassity, the woman he thought he was rescuing. But not everything is as it seems in Lucius' territory.

Welcome Lucius! To start off can you give us your full name and without giving too much away can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Lucius, that’s all you need to know about my full name. I come from Europe originally before I came to the Untied States under the instruction of a vampire named Zaaren. I’m a very old vampire, just one generation down from the Originals. I have an ever-loyal human by the name of Tegan and she has been with me since I was a young vampire. I worked hard for my territory here and intend to keep it at all costs.

Do you feel you were accurately portrayed in this book?
A.L. Kessler does a decent job at portraying me. I feel she softens some parts up, but she knows things about me that the readers do not yet. I can be much more terrifying than she leads everyone to believe.

If your story was made into a movie who would you like them to cast as you, Kassity, and Jax?
For me: James Callis, for Jaxon: *growls* Alex Pettyfer  Kassity: Susan Coffey

Do you have a personal motto or favorite quote?
“I don’t believe in happily ever after, I believe in compromise.” Is the one A.L. Kessler has stuck to me. It is very true. As for a motto, “I protect what is mine.” I don’t care if that means lover, servant, killer, or someone who happens to get attached to one of my people. If I consider you mine in anyway I will protect you.

What is your strongest trait?
My determination to keep my territory and the power I’ve worked so hard for. It is what allows me to do what I must to keep people safe.

What is your weakest trait?
I am always suspicious. It makes me hard to negotioiate with and hard to get along with. I see the worst in people and the damage that they can do to me and mine.

Do  you have any hobbies that we might find surprising?
What kind of hobbies do you expect a vampire to have? Kassity points out that I have a thing for collecting rare items, take that as you like. Archery is something that I find calming, but it’s not something I often get to take part in.

Do you see yourself as the villain or the good guy?
I see myself as a little bit of both. Things are not black and white in our world. There are certain situations where I have no choice but to be the bad guy and there are people who will not see past those choices. As the good guy, I truly do care for my people and there are those who see that. Tegan is truly the only person who sees me only as the good guy and that is because of our past together.

Do you think the fans will root for you?
I think some will, but I think there are those who will hate to love me and love to hate me.

In your opinion, what is one minor character in this book that we should keep an eye out for?
Without giving too much away there are two in this book that you should keep eye out for later, Coran and Sarah. Coran holds a special place in my people and Sarah well, she is part of Kass’ Clan.

Do you believe in happy endings?
That depends on what you classify as a happy ending. Do I believe people get some things that they want, yes, do I believe they get everything, no. That is why I believe in compromise, you give some you get some.

Will we be seeing you again in any future books?
Without a doubt, yes, even the books that don’t deal as much on the vampire side of things you will see me here and there. The series does take place in my territory after all, wouldn’t be complete without me.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Amazon and Smashwords

So while Mia and I are both working hard on our edits, I thought I would cover distribution a little bit. When I first looked into this, I was completely overwhelmed. There's Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Ibook and so many others out there. What was I going to do? I want my book out to as many readers in as may formats as I can. At one of the conventions I went to I sat through a panel that kept mentioning Smashwords, and I had to wonder what on earth was this magical website where authors only had to formate one document and were able to distribute to all kinds of different places? Naturally, I went home and I googled it. Now, I plan (and have used under my non-penname) to use Smashwords and Amazon to publish the digital copy of In Black and White.

Amazon is fantastic for Kindle and it's rare that Smashwords will distribute straight to Amazon (I'm not sure what the trick is behind it.). Kindle is easy to format for and simple to upload. Amazon has their KDP Direct program, where you have certain benefits for only having your book on Kindle for a specified about of time. I've never used this program, nor have I talked to others who have, so I can't tell you if it's worth it or not. Personally, I won't participate in this because I feel like I'm isolating my readers who don't have a kindle.

My Pros for Amazon:
-Widely known and trusted site
-Easy for readers to purchase and leave reviews
-Easy to up load and sell

My Cons for Amazon:
-Kind of a pain in the butt to run sales
-Other authors cannot leave reviews
-Kindle only
-Cannot offer free book without hassle

Smashwords to me is magical. I know a lot of people who have problems with Smashwords because they are DRM free (Digital Rights Management, read Smashwords' comments on it here in the FAQs). I read through their thoughts, did some research and decided it wasn't a deal breaker for me. Smashwords has guidelines you must follow in order to make it into their premium catalog so you can be distributed to the different companies they work for. It's a super simple guideline and easy to follow. They also have many different formats on their website (including Kindle, even though it's rare they distribute a book to Amazon.). I love the idea of uploading one document and them converting it for me. It saves me a ton of time. The biggest downfall to this is some times it takes a while for the book to show up at Barnes and Noble and Ibook, because of the days that Smashwords 'ships' books out. (But I feel they make up for that by offering all the different formats from their website.)

Pros for Smashwords:
-Different formats and distributions options
-Easy to format
-Easy to change price and run sales (Also offers coupons, great for giving free copies to review blogs.)
-Easy for readers to review
-Easy to put up a free story

Cons for Smashwords:
-Not widely known to readers who are new to the indie game
-DRM free (though again, not a deal breaker for me)
-Lots of smut and crap (There seems to be more on Smashwords than Amazon...)

So there you go, some basics on the two of them, a small comparison. My advice to you, read into it, do some research and see if they are both right for you.