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Archive for March, 2012



Friday, March 30th, 2012
More Than One Way

I attended an interesting talk the other day on Indie publishing. The author obviously puts in a load of work to garner the success that she has and that includes a TON of social media. She encouraged the audience to devote a tremendous amount of time doing this, along with writing. It has worked well for her, so I cannot fault her reasoning in any way. Kind of an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ sort of thing. I watched the audience members’ faces go from hopeful to concerned/discouraged fairly quickly. They wondered how they’d ever get any writing done given the amount of work needed for all the rest of the jobs that come with Indie publishing. It was actually sad to see. I wanted to stand up and tell them there is another way, but I knew that would be rude given the circumstances.

Here’s the thing, what works for some authors doesn’t work for all authors. The only social media I participate in is Twitter and this blog. I don’t have a Facebook page. My Goodreads’ page is a way for me to keep track of the books I’ve read. I don’t chat with anyone there. I’ve been *cough* lax *cough* at contacting reviewers for my work. Okay, so I haven’t contacted any, who haven’t contacted me first. I’m not a fan of bugging people, so I do what I am comfortable with. That happens to be writing.

My message to all the writers out there who are Indie published or who are thinking about becoming Indie published is this: Just write.

Being productive is the BEST thing you can do for your career. I don’t care if you have a name or you’re just starting out. WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

The rest will take care of itself.

Now I have to get back to work. 🙂

Monday, March 26th, 2012
Names And Publishing

When I first started out in publishing, one of the first things I learned was to choose your ‘name’ carefully. It was drilled into us at the RWA to ALWAYS, ALWAYS do a search for a name (that includes your birth name) before slapping it on the cover of a book. There are many reasons for doing this: One, you don’t want a name that’s already been taken. You’re trying to build your own work up. That’s hard to do if readers are getting you confused with another author. Two, you don’t want a name that might prove embarrassing down the road (i.e. Sparkle Princess). No one will take you seriously in an interview if you sound like a child’s toy or a stripper (no offense to strippers), but it’s true. Three, it’s just plain rude to use a name that’s already taken by another author. I know that rudeness doesn’t count for much in today’s society, but it needed to be stated.

I’m sure some of you are saying, but it’s my real name. I should be able to use it, if it’s my real name. This is true. Absolutely. But I refer back to my  first point. If you want to be a writer and you want your work to stand out, then it makes no sense to start your career off by confusing your readers. There is only one NORA ROBERTS. If you as a writer try to slap that name on the cover of a book, even if it’s your birth name, be prepared for the backlash you will undoubtedly receive.

There is a fourth reason that writers choose the same name (or similar) as other writers. It’s so they can cash in on the other authors’ readership. Years ago this happened to me and several other Ellora’s Cave writers. A ‘rival’ publisher encouraged their authors to take on similar pen names. Sure, they changed the spelling, but it was blatantly obvious what they were doing. And frankly, it hurt. Anyone who takes their writing and this business seriously knows how much work goes into building a name. So when someone comes in and tries to swipe/confuse your readership, it’s painful…and infuriating. They’re basically saying to you, “You do all the work. I’ll reap the benefits.” All that’s missing is the middle finger.

With the rise of Indie publishing comes another problem–inexperience and lack of knowledge. As you all know, I’m all for Indie publishing, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from educating yourself about the publishing business. Every writer still has to put in the work (i.e. editing, writing classes to improve craft, professional covers, copyrights, and yes, name checks).

I’ve recently discovered that there are now THREE ‘Jordan Summers’ publishing books. One came on the scene shortly after I did, but we don’t publish the same types of books, so it’s not a big deal. The latest Jordan is publishing short fiction, which is their right. Just like it’s might right to be concerned that MY readers will mistake their books for MY work. I’ve worked too hard for that to happen, so I’m trying to figure out how to let my readers know that I’m not the one behind these new stories. Friends have given me a few ideas. The first was to put up this blog post. The next will be to add a bio to the front of my new releases, so readers will know who’s who. I have a few other ideas, which I plan to act on, but until then I ask that authors Please, PLEASE Google your name before you slap it on the cover of a book. Thanks!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
Promotion = Sales…Maybe Not

If you’re familiar with my blog, then you know I’m not a big fan of promotion–at least not direct, in-you-face promotion.  By and large, I HATE it when people try to sell me things. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a car, a shirt, etc. I don’t like hard sales. They tend to drive me away from whatever the person/company is trying to sell me. This is why I’ve been shall we say…lax when it comes to promoting my ebooks. Other than a mention here and an occasional Tweet, I haven’t done anything to promote my Indie books. Well, anything but the one piece of advice that J.A. Konrath gave a year or so ago, which was write more/have more releases. I took that bit of advice to heart. I edited my backlist and got it up as quickly as I could, then started releasing new material. I knew eventually readers would find me. It took ten months for that to happen. Could it have occurred quicker with promo? Possibly. But writing is the one thing I can control. I can’t control reviews. I won’t badger readers to talk about my books. I find ads useless. (I’ve taken out enough to know that they haven’t affected my sales.) The ONLY effective thing that has directly influenced my sales in any way, shape, or form is the release of new book. Today, I hit a sales milestone. My Amazon sales for the month of March alone have officially surpassed ten thousand ebooks.

This was the first of a couple of goals that I was striving to meet. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly, but I’m truly grateful that it has. Thank you to all the readers who’ve purchased one (or more) of my books. I truly appreciate your support. You’ve brought the joy of writing back into my life. As a special thank you, I’d like to give you a peek at what you can expect to see next month:

 

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

I’m still finishing up third, fourth, fifth round edits on my YA. I am getting closer to the end. YAY! When you have company, even lovely company, doing work is slow going. Once I’m done and send it off to critique partners, I’ll contact the N.Y. editor I plan to hire. Hopefully they’ll give me even more edits so that the books is in the best shape it can be in before I submit/query/not sure what the hell I’m going to do with it yet.

While the YA is being edited, the plan is to write, Write, WRITE. I’m going to try to have a big push so that I can get a small stock pile of stories together. I’d like to have a build up so that I can get to work on another YA that I want to write. This book will require a lot of time because the story is HUGE. I want to still have releases every other month, so that means building up stories. I have the opening of Josephine’s Surrender written and the opening of Phantom Warriors: Linx done. I’m currently waiting for two more covers. Hopefully I will get them soon.

In the meantime, I’m opening the blog up for questions, comments, and suggestions. If you have any, fire away and I’ll try to answer them. Nothing is off limits.

Friday, March 16th, 2012
John Carter

Went to see John Carter a couple of days ago. The reviews haven’t been kind. From what I can tell it’s not doing very well at the theater. BUT, I thought it was a fabulously fun movie. I think the reason for the reviews is because no one realizes this film/book series came WAY before Star Wars and the like. People assume it’s ripping off other movies, when in fact it IS the pioneer. For those unfamiliar with the books (i.e. like me), the story is about a guy from the 1800’s, who was a soldier in the Civil War, getting sent to Mars. There’s a war happening on the planet, which he wants no part of because of his history. All he wants to do is go back home to Earth. There is a princess, sentient monsters, dog-like creatures, flying machines, and major power struggles. Basically, everything you need to make a fun film. The movie has the ‘feel’ of The Mummy and the first Indiana Jones, so if you liked those films, then you should really enjoy John Carter.

I’d love to see it again at the theater and I intend to buy it when it comes out on DVD.

Also, I’d like to send out a special thank you to everyone who spread the news about The Ghost Hunter Chronicles: Solomon’s Seals. I really appreciate all your help. 🙂

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Last E-Book Sales Report (Probably)

I decided to do one final ebook sales report. It’ll probably be the last time (unless I hit a milestone). I started epubbing my backlist in Feb. 2011. As I’ve mentioned multiple times, it was SSSSLLLLOOOWWW going in the beginning. The sales trickled in. I’m not big on promo. I haven’t hit up any review sites. My bad. Well it’s been a year and I just tallied up my final results. (No, I’m not counting March, since it’s not over yet. And there’s a very good possibility I miscalculated (not by much), since I’m math challenged.) Right now, I officially have 16 ebooks for sale–not counting my N.Y. work. Keep in mind, I didn’t start with sixteen books when I began putting my work up. I started with two, which sold a whopping 68 copies in Feb. 2011. The number grew over time.

Anyway, from Feb. 2011 to Feb. 2012, I sold roughly 32,400 ebooks. Not great, but certainly not bad. I’ve sold more ebooks in the past two months than I have for the entire year of 2011. I know this number is nowhere near what some authors are pulling in sales wise, but I think it’s a good start. I have more releases lined up. A ton more stories to write. My goal for this year is to sell 100,000 ebooks. Will I make it? No idea, but I should be close if everything goes as planned. I will announce it here, if I do succeed. 🙂

So for authors out there struggling, keep writing more books. Try to release as frequently as possible, while still maintaining quality. And don’t get bummed out if the numbers start out low. I already did that, it doesn’t help. 😉 *ggg

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
The Ghost Hunter Chronicles: Solomon’s Seals

The Ghost Hunter Chronicles: Solomon’s Seals is FREE on Amazon Kindle ONLY until Thursday.

The urban fantasy story is about a ghost hunter seeking vengeance against the entity that killed her parents. What she finds in the process is a truth that will change her life. Below is the blurb and a short excerpt:

Welcome to Los Angeles. They call it the City of Angels. They got it half right. In a town where demons masquerade as children in order to protect humanity, while angels gain power by destroying the souls of the dearly departed. Good and evil is determined by whoever has the better P.R. firm.

Humans remain blissfully unaware that a struggle is taking place, unless they make the mistake of inviting one of these creatures into their homes—or they happen to be one of their offspring.

Meet Alexa Dawn, the Ghost Hunter.

She doesn’t try to coax, whisper, or talk to the dearly departed. She’s not there to help them crossover. She’s there for one reason, and one reason only, to make sure the dead—stay dead.

Alexa Dawn has spent her entire adult life chasing the Shade that killed her parents, leaving a trail of vanquished spirits in her wake. When her latest house cleansing goes terribly awry, she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Suddenly her clients start dying at an alarming rate. It doesn’t take a detective to figure out that she’s next, unless Alexa can find a way to stop the creature that’s hunting her.

EXCERPT:

It’s a strange sensation when the dead occupy a space. The utter stillness and unnatural cold can play tricks on a person’s mind, bringing out a primitive side that most of us try to hide.
Naïve people believe that ghosts are harmless entities who’ve gotten lost on their way to the light.
Not me.
I know the truth. I know what they really are—parasites. They live off memories and fear until their hosts are sucked dry.
That’s why I don’t try to coax, whisper, or talk to the dearly departed. I’m not there to help them crossover. At least not in the way most people think. I leave that crap to the others.
I’m there for one reason, and one reason only, to make sure the dead—stay dead.
My name is Alexa Dawn and I am a ghost hunter.

* * * * *

CHAPTER ONE

Unlike some of the places I’m called to in Los Angeles, the Frank Lloyd Wright rip-off wasn’t dilapidated or historic. In fact, the Mc-mansion looked new.
That told me two things. The first was that the haunt wasn’t structure based. It was somehow associated with the land or an object. The second was that this job was going to be a real bitch.

Land based ghosts do not like to leave peacefully. They throw tantrums that would shame any two-year-old on a sugar binge. The thought of being able to kick some ill-tempered spectre ass brought a smile to my face. I could almost feel the buzz and I hadn’t even dispatched it yet.

Some people take drugs to get high, I kill S Read the rest of this entry