Saturday, July 26, 2014

Round Robin Blog with Ginger #RndRbn0714

 How effective do you think book giveaways or contests are? Do you think all the free books through Amazon and the library offered to prime members affect your efforts? What are the best promotions you've participated in?

Wow, I'm torn over the question since I'm with a publisher who has exclusivity with Amazon.  Somehow those free or 99 cent books do parlay into sales, but I'm not sure how.   What I do know is that giving away books also seems to bring "snarky" reviewers out of their hiding places and make them feel inclined to "dis" ones work.  That's even more puzzling to me.  I guess I just don't see the point in ruining the career of someone I know has toiled long and hard over something about which they feel a great deal of passion.  For every one who feels like me, there are two dozen who take pride in just being mean or hope to eliminate their competition.  Yes, all authors, even the mainstream stars, get bad reviews, but when it's evident that your book hasn't even been read, the meanness is hard to comprehend.

In order to compete with freebies, my publisher lowered the prices of our books to try to be more competitive.  The sales didn't increase greatly, but that came about the same time that "self-publishing" became all the rage, and I think the reason had a lot to do with new author's seeing a way to cut out the middle-man and enjoy all their royalties.  Sadly, some of the books released were amateurish attempts at writing a novel, because there is no way you can circumvent the process unless you've already been through it, learned, and know the key tricks to turning a story into a novel.  If there is one thing I've discovered by being an author it's that the learning never stops.  I cannot count how many times I wished I had known "this or that" when I wrote a previous book.  Learning is great, but it can be frustrating at times.  So many rules, so little time.

So in answer to the question...I've tried giving away books as prizes, shared chapters on blogs, share all my posts on FB, Google, and Twitter, and I still haven't found my niche.  I get more likes and shares on jokes and videos than I do on anything "bookwise" that I post.  Even if I share on one of the many topic specific groups on FB to which I belong, I still don't recognize much benefit to my efforts.

I do have a Paypal receipt framed.  It's for $3000 for one book, for one month, but my success was all about "timing."  The book released right after the December that over a million Kindles sold, and I guess my book being promoted at the time was lucky for me.  I consider it a once in a lifetime moment, but  that check sure was a nice one.  :)

 Amazon distributes a large list of books that are free, the lending library allows Prime users to read one book of their choice monthly at no additional cost to their membership, and thousands of authors host contests daily...the yahoo loops are filled with invitations to participate.  I often think giveaways are detrimental to sales because everyone will wait to see if they are a winner and then forget about your book when they aren't. So, in a way, I guess when your competition does what you do, yes, giveaways can be detrimental to sales.

 What I've been reading is the importance of "branding" and marketing to the right audience.  Now if I an figure out the how and who...I just might see my royalty checks increase.  Until then, I keep reminding myself I never started this career for the money BUT...the good new is Jude Pittman, owner of Books We Love, with whom I'm published multi times has just released this statement as part of a press release:

 Of course, any great author would be oppressed without an extensive distribution network for their work. To that end, Books We Love Ltd. has just signed a deal to distribute their books in print in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Red Tuque will also be handling a portion of the distribution in Canada, with both distributors releasing a combined twenty-five titles this coming fall.
 “This print distribution is a big step for our authors, returning their work to its original format. Of course, we’ve not forgotten about eBooks and currently have over four-hundred titles exclusively available through Amazon Kindle. With each book priced at $4.99 or under, getting some of literature’s forgotten heroes into your hands has never been cheaper,” Pittman adds.
 Am I bet!

Now, time to see how others responded to this same question.  Follow the links below.  I know I'm going to.

Rhobin Courtright at
Ginger Simpson at
Margaret Fieland at 
Connie Vines at
Diane Bator at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger Simpson #frifreebits #blogshare

Today, another six from White Heart, Lakota Spirit before I switch to another book.  I hope you enjoy this selection and want to read more:

Set up:  As you've already read, Grace's family has been attacked by a small war party and killed.  In this scene, she's been taken back to the camp of Chief Lone Eagle and his tribe:

 Lone Eagle crossed the compound in search of his son. Nearing his mother’s lodge, raised voices came from a crowd gathered at the far end of the village. He quickened his pace toward the commotion, thoughts of finding Little Cloud lost.

Six young warriors rode into camp—their faces and horses painted for war. Shock and confusion jolted Lone Eagle at seeing his nephew, Little Elk, among them. Where had the group been? He had no idea they’d left the village. He shoved his way through the throng.

His gaze shifted to the white woman tethered and stumbling behind the Appaloosa of his nephew’s closest friend, Black Crow. Each faltering step testified to her exhaustion. She struggled to
remain standing. Her chin lifted momentarily, and she looked directly at Lone Eagle. Long blonde hair hung in matted strands. Her blue eyes, barely visible beneath the dirty tresses, were wide
with fright. One sleeve of her soiled dress hung in tatters down her arm, and crimson chafe marks marred her wrists. Raw and weeping red spots peeked through the veil of dust on her bare feet.

Rage burned within Lone Eagle. He stood in the path of Black Crow’s horse and raised his hand. “As your Chief, I demand to know what you have done.”

The band dismounted. Little Elk came forward, pride shining in his eyes. “My uncle, we rode together to make war against the whites. We have brought a captive as evidence.”

Lone Eagle’s icy glare spanned the young braves. He stepped closer to Little Elk and leaned in until they were almost nose-to nose. “Your chest puffs with pride, but your actions were foolish.” He fought the urge to shake some sense into his nephew and knotted his fists at his sides. “How dare you decide something without advice of Tribal Council! You have no right to put the tribe at risk of war. By bringing a wasichu captive to our camp, you place our people in danger and bring shame upon yourselves.” you want to know what happens next.  Well, if you do, you can find your own copy of White Heart, Lakota Spirit on my amazon page.

Now scoot on over to my friends' pages and see what excitement they share with you today.  Like what you see?  Let us know, and keep coming back.

Jamie Hill
Tricia McGill
Juliet Waldron
Taryn Raye
Kathy Fischer-Brown
Rhobin Lee Courtright
Margaret Tanner

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The other day a new writer asked me which sample three chapters she should sent to an agent that requested them?  She felt her last three chapters were the strongest, and she was considering sending them.  Is this a good idea or really bad?
Good thing that was an email . . . or she would have seen my jaw drop to the floor and my eyes bulge slightly.  My first response was - you wouldn’t start reading a novel at the last three, would you?  Then you shouldn’t expect an agent to start there – should you? 
I’m a firm believer that you hook your reader with the first sentence . . . in the first paragraph . . . in the first chapter.  If you can’t do this – maybe your book should start somewhere else.  I once read that beginning writers should consider looking at how chapter three starts . . . and consider starting your book there.  Why?  Because when we first start writing – we think we must tell everything up front . . . and the book really starts on chapter three.  Believe it or not – I still just to chapter three and make sure that isn’t true with my books to this day!
So the answer to the question – ‘which three chapters should I send?’ should always be the first three chapters of your book.  If those aren’t the strongest, then your book isn’t ready to be sent to an agent … an editor … or even to your best friend.  You should be editing, rewriting, and reworking your book until you can honestly say, yes, my first three chapters are everything they should be.  If I were a reader – I would be hooked and anxious to start chapter four.
You want that agent or editor to say, “Wow – I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.  I’m definitely requesting the entire manuscript to find out!”
You might consider sending the first chapter, then choose two others after that (one from the middle and one from the end).  Some believe this is an advantageous approach, giving the editor or agent a clear picture of what your book is about and how your writing style evolves a story. 

The choice is yours.  But if you know those first three chapters won’t get an agent5 or editor to call – you better stop – write until you know it’s the best it can be.  The same goes for the rest of the book . . . because those first three chapters better not outshine the following chapters!  No one said this was going to be easy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Page Straight From Juliet Waldron - #apagestraightfrom

Angel's Flight
Juliet Waldron

Angelica and Jack’s sail aboard the The Judik ends when they are caught at a Hudson River port by British warships. The British know that The Judik is carrying powder for the American army. The runaway couple and the Patriot soldiers who are with them have no choice but to “head for the hills”.

The path they followed was a series of switchbacks, a footpath clinging to the rearing promontory. For a moment the entire line stopped while everyone stared with horrified fascination at what was going on below. The ships carrying the British flag were so much larger. They surged toward the rebels.
Streaks of red and puffs of blistering white illuminated the cove while the sun slipped away. The roar of cannons ricocheted back and forth between the high cliffs. One little ship exploded in a cloud of slow motion splinters. Almost before these had finished falling, its broken bow slipped beneath the Hudson’s green surface.
“Get moving, you fools!” This was Captain Van Dam, waving his arms frantically. “We can’t be caught!”
With much stumbling and rattling of rocks, the column moved again. Everyone understood the danger, but it was almost impossible to turn away from the scene on the river.
Clods of dirt and stones rattled from above, startling some of the horses at the end of the line. There was a constant fear of being kicked. Angelica stubbed her toes and staggered, trying not to fall. In the summer twilight, everyone was stumbling and cursing. Sparks flew as horseshoes struck rock.
Fearsome roars and flashes rose from the river. Finally, a rising red tide washed over them and, helplessly, everyone paused to look back. Angelica saw ships sailing fast toward the shore. Behind them, the sails of a two-masted ship too large to escape over the boom made a magnificent pyramid of fire.
“The Judik!” Angelica’s heart thumped her ribs.
“Yes,” Jack said. “Hurry!” he shouted to those who, gaping down at the river, blocked the trail ahead. “They’re coming after us!”
As they reached the top of the bluff, the tempo and size of the explosions on the river multiplied. Flames had reached the powder still stored on board the ship. Angelica, her sides aching from the steep climb, looked back. The Judik was the center of a whizzing, smoke-trailing fireworks display. The entire gorge glowed and rippled red as if the hills were melting into the river. The British were painting the world—Angelica’s world—with fire!
“Run! Damn it—run!”
The time was past for formalities. Jack’s arm caught her around the waist, and he rushed her up and over the final rise. Tongues of fire danced behind them.
Then, with an earsplitting roar, a sound that surpassed any she’d ever heard or imagined, the end came for Vanderzee’s ship. There was a blinding light, while the concussion staggered those who had lingered to watch. Men and animals screamed in fear. Jack threw his cloak around Angelica like a wing, pressed her close against his chest and rolled with her to the ground. When the raging incandescence passed, they were clutching each other in a bitter twilight that tasted of gunpowder.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Yes, rejection hurts.  But you can learn to turn that into a learning experience.  Rejection is will always be part of the writing and publishing process.

The best thing you can do after reading a rejection is to sit down at the computer and write.  Prove you can write the book that will get a ‘yes’ from a publisher.  Wallowing in self-pity will do nothing but undermine your confidence and reaching your goal(s).

Do you watch the trends?  Well, most likely by the time you find out there’s a trend – it’s over.  Not really, but in many ways it’s true.  I don’t follow trends . . . I look for the story that moves me and ignites the ‘what if’ . . . ‘what if’ . . . and ‘what if’?

Editors are looking for a polished story that grabs their attention and is fresh and entertaining . . . whether it be humorous or a serious serial killer drama.  They’re looking for a fresh voice.

With the explosion of e-books and the ‘self-published’ writers, there’s a plethora of books needing serious ‘editing’ . . . and I believe we’re going to see serious repercussions – if not soon – later.  Not everything a person writes is worth putting out there. 

Recently a friend of mine called to tell me his book was just released.  I was so excited until he said, “I know it could use some editing – but I was tired of working on it and just wanted to get it published.”   OMG – right!  I had to ask if he self-published.  I wasn’t surprised when he said yes.  I wanted to take back every congratulatory comment’ I muttered.  Why?  It’s like a slap-in-the-face to the authors who’ve worked umpteen hours to get the book right, who’ve jump through the hoops, spent the time and money to learn the craft, and finally have gotten that publisher’s contract.

Now anyone can publish their own book and make it look like it’s from a publisher.  A reader purchases it and says, “That had so many typos, grammatical errors, and flaws – I was angry I spent money on it.”  Egad, is this the wave of the future?  I firmly believe a self-published book should be required to have ‘self-published’ stamped on the cover of their book.    Okay – let me step off my soap-box and continue.

A note: If you’re going to self-publish, be savvy enough to hire a reputable freelance editor to go over your work.  Believe me, one badly written – unpolished book – is the kiss of death to your writing career. 

One last bit of advice – don’t stop writing.  Keep working on your book until you know it’s ready for publishing – but don’t get so hung up on rewriting that you make it a one-book career.  I have a friend who has written … rewritten . . . and rewritten the same book for the past ten years.  It’ll never be done and she’ll never reach her goal of becoming a published author.

If you aspire to be a successful author you must keep writing, keep working, keep trying, and above all you must keep-believing you’ll reach your dream.

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