Category Archives: Uncategorized

YA Spring Fling! Win books! Lots o’ books!

March 20th 2015

Nothing says ‘I am so over snow’ more than a big YA books extravaganza!

YA Spring Fling, baby! Over 70 authors are participating. Over 100 ebooks. Signed paperbacks, swag — you name it. Click here to enter. It’s crazy easy. Then stop back here on March 28th to read an interview with YA author, Cheyanne Young. Good luck!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. vvv

YA Spring Fling no text med

 

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The long and short story of it

March 5th 2015

I self-published a short story today! Last week, I got the final rejection on a beloved YA short story (“Strong writing but we don’t publish YA” — I didn’t read that anywhere on the submissions page). I had sent it to quite a few literary journals (one that even paid) but alas it was never accepted. I was not doing myself nor my story any favors by having it languish on my Macbook, so I decided to publish it myself. I created a cover on Canva for $1 (I don’t recommend this, but I’m low on funds), paid $20 for a quick copy edit (this I do recommend spending money on) and formatted it, only to have a lovely KBoards author reformat it so I wouldn’t embarrass myself (thanks, Pete!). onenightcover4And then I spent a few hours trying to figure out the best keywords to get the book visible. I created an account on Kindle Direct Publishing and uploaded everything. Summarizing all this makes it look like this was a quick process when, in fact, it took up a lot of time. So much so, I haven’t done revisions on my novella in a week. Despite this, I feel energized. I’m sure I’ll feel pretty crappy in a week when no one has bought the story and it’s sitting on page 1,200 on Amazon’s search results, but for now I’m excited. I truly believe authors need to be fed a diet of their own work in order to survive. Meaning: write and publish. Write and publish.

Here’s the summary to One Night if you’re interested.

After Margot Green helps move her older sister into the University of Miami dorms, she just wants to go home to New Jersey where she can wallow in her loneliness. Unfortunately for Margot, her parents decide to extend their trip to the Florida Keys where they sign up for a kooky tour of historic Key West. Margot is horrified to have to traipse around hotter-than-Hades Old Town with her embarrassing parents until she meets Sam, an enigmatic local, who convinces her to embark on a spooky adventure that will inevitably lead to discovery and heartache.

You can buy it on Amazon or read it for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

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Making it on my own

February 26th 2015

So, I have some news. I am going to self publish my novella, The Lady in Blue. Hot damn, I’m excited!

 

The Lady in Blue is a spin-off story to Grunge Gods and Graveyards, and is set in 1955. It is the story of Lana, a golden-haired beauty with Hollywood dreams, who is run off the road and left for dead. Right now, I’m doing revisions so that I can send it off to my beta readers in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’m lining up an editor (or trying to) and figuring out a release date. Hoping for June!

Self-publishing is exciting, but it’s also daunting, overwhelming, and confusing. There’s so much to learn. Formatting. Keywords. Kindle Unlimited. I’ve been on KBoards often, soaking up the knowledge that flows freely there. But it’s still scary to go out on your own. Wish me luck.

If you’d like to see The Lady in Blue’s cover before anyone else, please sign up for my mailing list. I’ll also send out an email when I have a firm release date planned.

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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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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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