Author Archives: Kimberly G. Giarratano

About Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author.

AuthorFest ’15

February 14th 2015

It’s been a tough winter. A two-foot pack of snow outside the patio door can chip away at a girl’s soul. So it’s nice to get out and mingle once in awhile.

Today, amidst a light snow fall, I attended AuthorFest at the Hawley Silk Mill in Hawley, PA. The Silk Mill is this beautiful historic building that looks like a castle and AuthorFest is like this giant meetup of local authors talking about writing. There were two workshops in the late morning — “How to Write a Bestseller” and “Traditional vs. Indie Publishing”. The audience was made up of aspiring authors, many with their notebooks open, jotting down relevant information. I sat on the latter panel and offered my opinions on small press publishing. I joked that it was a “dream-crushing” panel. We were all pretty honest about writing today — it’s hard to get a traditional publishing deal and it’s even harder to sell books. But we all love writing. I met many authors, including award-winning children’s book authors Suzanne Fischer Staples and Lindsay Barrett George. And Samantha Warren, an indie author who was kind enough to buy my book and give me solid advice on indie publishing. She was a doll.

I sold two books (and one ebook — thanks Samantha!) at the author signing and gave out a bunch of bookmarks. I had the best day ever!

Me at AuthorFest

Me at AuthorFest

Meeting fellow authors, networking, just getting out of my house is energizing. For a little while I am not retrieving juice boxes or scheduling dentist appointments — I am an author and I’m talking craft. Writing is hard work. Sometimes it’s not the actual writing that’s difficult but the feeling of isolation. Writing is solitary business. But networking and chatting with fellow authors makes me feel like I’m part of the profession. Community is vital.

My tip for anyone who writes: find writer friends. Join organizations. Go to conferences. I have small kids. For the last five years, I’ve either been pregnant or nursing a baby. I haven’t had a chance to get out. But now I’m starting to venture from home in order to market my books and meet other authors. In time, I’ll be able to do more. Can’t wait to do AuthorFest 2016! I already told the organizers, I’ll be there.

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Goal!

January 1st 2015

Well, hello 2015. You sure snuck up on me. In the excitement surrounding Hanukkah and Christmas and New Years, I haven’t had much time to catch my breath. And even though my husband has been off for two weeks, I haven’t made much time to write either. Shame on me. I think I need him to go back to work; I definitely need the kids to go back to school, and then I can find my groove again. Right now, my mind is still on vacation.

I’m feeling a little anxious about the new year because I’m itchy to get moving on my projects. 2014 was an amazing year. I had a baby in my car and published my debut novel. That’s crazy. But I’m ready to produce more (books, not babies). I’m revising a novella and I’d like to finish a long overdue draft of a YA mystery AND start the next one in the series. I want to self-publish this year and I’d like to have the first two books in the series done by 2015’s end. For that to happen, I have to change some bad habits (log off Facebook for one thing) and set aside time at night to work. I need to be more efficient.

Happy New Year!

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A Brave New Girl

December 11th 2014

I’m going to be in an anthology! My short story, The Graveyard Shift, will be published in Brave New Girls, an anthology about girls and gadgets. The proceeds will benefit scholarships for girls in STEM fields. My story is a murder mystery about a 17-year-old hacker whose day job is doing maintenance in a futuristic cemetery.

Here’s the sweet cover. Release date: Summer 2015!

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My 6 month bookaversary: a reality check

December 7th 2014

I posted this to Leandra’s blog a few days ago and I thought I’d cross-post it here as well. On December 3rd, I celebrated (sorta, kinda) my 6th month bookaversary.

Here’s the post I wrote on Leandra’s blog. She was a doll to host me.

Today is my six month bookaversary. Grunge Gods and Graveyards is slightly younger than the crying infant who is laying beside me as I type this post. (She’s peeved I’m typing — I don’t think she likes the clickety clack of the keyboard.) Leandra had asked me if I wanted to talk about what it’s like being a newly pubbed author and I said, yes! I’m very appreciative when authors are transparent. Fair warning though — this post details my experience. I have no idea what it’s like to be published by a large press with a large marketing budget. Your miles may vary.

First, GG&G has been out in the wild for six months and I’m pretty sure every family member, friend, friend of friend, mother-in-law of friend, cousin’s friend has read the book. Seriously, I am truly blessed. It’s awesome, but I’ve exhausted that group of people-who-know-me. I kinda need some strangers to read it. Right now, my sales have trickled down to a few a month, if I’m lucky. That’s right. A few a month. And part of me thinks it’s my mother buying extra copies.

It is crazy hard to sell a book and gain visibility, especially if you’re pubbed by a small press like me (a fabulous small press, but small nonetheless). My book cannot be found in Barnes and Nobles brick and mortar stores (right now, I’m selling the paperbacks at the local gym where my son takes swim lessons) nor is it likely to get reviewed by a major trade publication. I don’t think I’ve sold one copy on Barnes and Noble in the last month. My Amazon author rank is in the 700,000s. According to Goodreads, no one is reading it. My only hope for some momentum is to get a Book Bub ad which is very hard to come by, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Getting a Book Bub ad is like winning the lottery.

For the last six months, I’ve been hustling trying to get book reviews. I’ve implored anyone who has read the book to review it on Goodreads and Amazon and I’ve been contacting bloggers. For every 20 review requests I send out, I’m lucky if I get one acceptance. It’s just how it is.

For awhile, I was constantly checking Twitter to see if anyone had mentioned my book in a tweet (rarely) or Googling the title to see if someone had written a review and I missed it (nope). I’ve stopped doing that.

Truthfully, I am not shocked or surprised by how things are going. I have written only one book and I am utterly unknown. I’m just glad to see my name on that beautiful cover. The only thing I can do right now to help my writing career is write, which I do, painstakingly slow. I’m currently working on a novella spin-off to GG&G. I’m half-way through a horrendous first draft of another YA mystery and I’m outlining a few other projects.

The last six months have been fun. It feels crazy good when someone says they read my book and loved it. Or that they recommended it to their friend. I even had a fan at my most recent book talk at the library. Now, that was awesome. My book can be found in five NJ public libraries. Granted, two libraries received donations from my mom and brother, but still…that’s something. Maybe someday, I’ll hit the lotto and become a literary sensation, but for now, I’m right where I figured I’d be.

The comments came streaming into her blog that day and I was moved by everyone’s encouragements. Many commenters were appreciative of my honesty. Truthfully, I need to hear from authors that publishing is not roses and sunshine and that all authors struggle. It makes me feel better to know I am not alone with weak sales and obscurity. It makes me feel like part of the pack. Also, that I’m paying my dues and someday things will pick up. When I write that next book.

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Mailing Lists

November 6th 2014

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how important mailing lists a.k.a. newsletters are to marketing. Of course, this makes sense. Once upon a time MySpace was the the social networking stream, now it’s Twitter and Facebook. In five years it could be HighFive (I just made that up). But email and a website are pretty much longstanding. At least, I hope. If I have a mailing list, I can always email readers to tell them about a new book or project or sale. Whereas, let’s be real, Facebook is hit or miss. Mostly miss since little of what I post makes it to fans.

Here’s the problem with a mailing list, I can’t figure out how to get people on it. Granted, I only have one book out. I’m sure in time, with more books under my belt, I’ll gather more readers. But seriously, I have four people on my mailing list and half of them are me and my dad (who I signed up on his behalf). I don’t want to be all ‘give me your email address’ but I’m not sure how to get people interested without being annoying.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can increase interest in my mailing list? Do you have a mailing list? How often do you send out emails? What do you email your readers when you don’t have any news?

Here’s a link to mine if anyone is interested in signing up.

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