Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Fun Facts: Where Stories Begin...

So I thought it might be kind of cool today to talk about how and where and when stories emerge. Of course, everyone has a different process. Sometimes every book is a different process. I remember when I first started thinking about the story that would eventually become my newest release, Between the Sheets. I had just started going to Zumba classes at my local gym, and I soon became friends with a group of women in the class.

One night we all went out to dinner, along with our instructor, and I mentioned that I should write a book about our adventures. They all wanted to have input on character names, so I grabbed the closest thing I had and started scribbling. 5 years later, I still have the napkin:

The final book changed shape MANY times over the years, and it's a lot different today than where it started. But I did keep two names from this original napkin, Roxy (friend of the heroine) and Sebastian, the hero. I love looking back at this and remembering where it all began!

Sneak peek for all you blog readers (no one else knows this yet!!): I'm hard at work right now on the prequel to the Cocktail Cruise series, and while I didn't write my first notes for that one on a napkin, I did use long-hand to start drafting:

If you look closely, you can see the names of some of my characters from the Cocktail Cruise books...yes, they'll be appearing in the prequel! Stay tuned to find out more...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Writer's Wednesday: It's Release Day for Between the Sheets!

Hey everyone, look what's available TODAY!!!! The third book in my Cocktail Cruise Series:

An affair with an exotic cruise line dance instructor might be just the escape single mother
Andrea DeMarco needs…

Andrea is determined to merge career and motherhood, which she’s (barely) managing as a cruise line marketing manager and a single mom to six-year-old Drew. That life leaves zero time for sex or love, so when she has a chance for a no-strings fling with a sexy cruise ship dancer, she decides to go for it.

Sebastian is enjoying a low-key life as a dance instructor on a singles’ cruise ship, a welcome change from his previous life in Argentina as the star of a hugely popular dance show. Tired of women who only wanted him for his moves on and off the dance floor, he’s content to teach basic waltz and foxtrot and keep to himself. But when the lonely, enigmatic Andrea sweeps into his life, everything changes.

Can he come to terms with his past? Can she find room in her life and her heart for another man? And is the possibility of new love strong enough to make them both want to?


Only $0.99 for the month of September!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Fun Facts: Reviews Are A Beautiful Thing

That's all today, folks! If you've read one of my books lately but haven't had a chance to leave a review, you can hop on over to my Amazon page and do just that! Doesn't have to be long or detailed. We just love to see new ones!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Writers' Wednesday: Why Writing the Next Book is Always a Good Marketing Strategy

Hello writers! (and readers, and everyone else who's dropped in today. But my post this morning is mainly targeted to ((newer)) writers).

Inevitably, no matter what path you take to publication, you will discover that a large part of the marketing and promotion of your books will fall on your own shoulders. From New York Times Best-Selling authors, to brand-new teeny fish in the pond indie authors, we must promote our own books. Your publisher may do some of this for you, but by and large, even the most famous names are out there on Facebook or Twitter, or speaking at conferences, or setting up book signings, or taking out ads in various media.

Where to start? Where to spend the money? It's a daunting task, and conventional wisdom will tell you that in many cases, it's hard to directly link advertising to sales, because so many other factors come into play. This post is not about where to advertise - there are a million posts out there about best choices for you, your genre, your budget, your social media reach.

Many authors I've come into contact with recently will tell you not to spend a dime on advertising until you have at least 3 books for sale. I don't know if I agree with that completely. After all, you do want people to know you have a book they can buy. If you can throw a Facebook party, or book a $5 ad, or get your friends and family together at a winery to sell your first print copies, I say go for it.

But far and away, the other advice you will hear, and the advice I will echo, is to write your next book. Backlists (those books you've already released) are beautiful ways to sell, especially since e-books are always available (as opposed to print books which will be removed from store shelves after a pre-determined time). Release a new title - people read it - people love it - people want more. So they look up your name and see what else you've published. Voila! More sales.

Series work along these same lines. Once your readers fall in love with your characters/plot/setting/world/whatever, they'll want to read more. So release the first book, and then get to work on the second.

As a very basic example, I thought I'd share my sales over the last 3 months, all of these indie-released titles. Now, I am not a big seller (sigh). Roughly speaking, I averaged about 1-5 books sold a day in May and June (excluding a BookBub ad which ran in early May - more about this another time). Prior to June 1, I had 3 indie titles for sale.

On June 23, the Passionate Kisses Boxed Set released. On July 20, Tequila Sunrise released. On August 5, Sex on the Beach released. My sales now average anywhere from 5 - 15 books each day. And interestingly, Inferno of Love, which follows my book included in the boxed set, is far and away the best seller of the 5 titles now available. I have not spent a single dime, or much time at all promoting Inferno of Love. It is simply the next book in the Hometown Heroes series, and once people read Beacon of Love, I'm guessing they wanted more :)

People read books - people want more books. So keep writing! Don't get too hung up on promoting, and don't spend too much time or money on it, either. Write. Isn't that what you love to do, in the first place?

Monday, September 08, 2014

Monday Mentionables: New Things to Come!

Happy Monday, everyone! My apologies for being rather absent last week. I'm a full-time high school teacher, and we started school last Tuesday. Bring on the coffee!

In other, more exciting, book-related news, though, exciting things are on the horizon. First, the 3rd novella in my Cocktail Cruise series, Between the Sheets, will be available within the week! It's the story of a single mom and a sexy dance instructor and the sparks that fly on (and off!) the dance floor...

If you didn't get a chance to pick up Tequila Sunrise or Sex on the Beach yet, the first 2 books in the series, they've both gotten some lovely 5-star reviews over the last few days, so do check them out! Quick reads, only about 100 pages each.

Finally, I'm soon going to be launching some changes to my newsletter, which will include lots more sneak peeks and prize opportunities for everyone who subscribes, so sign up right here if you want in on the fun! Have a wonderful start to your week!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Monday Mentionables: Honoring Labor Day

Whatever kind of labor you're doing (or not) today, in the United States, here's something to keep in mind:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Fun Facts: How Much Do You Know About Indie Authors and Self-Publishing?

Happy Friday, everyone! If you're in the United States, it's the beginning of Labor Day Weekend - we hope with good weather to round out this summer. Two interesting reads came across my Facebook Newsfeed this week, both related to self-publishing. Now, many of you probably know that I am what they call a "hybrid" author, meaning I'm both published with a traditional press and I've self-published, or indie published, other titles. I have much to say about both experiences, but that I'll save for another post. Today, let's just say that while I do believe that attitudes are changing toward indie authors, many readers do think that DIY publishing is less than authentic. I will say this: for those who do it right, nothing could be further from the truth. Check these out:

12 Things You Should Know About Indie Authors Before You Snub Them

What It Costs To Self-Publish (I actually take issue with the very low figure given to Cover Design. In my opinion, covers sell books. Yes, yes, I know we might not like to admit that, but it's true. I've seen many covers on indie published books that LOOK amateurish. This is definitely one place you don't want to skimp.)

Have a great day and a spectacular weekend, everyone! Go out and buy an indie-published book!