Book Marketing – What Works? (Part 5): Interview with Romance Author Amy Cecil

Amy Cecil and Books

So far in this Book Marketing – What Works? series we’ve heard about: social media marketing vs. face-to-face marketing methods form dark fantasy author, Cynthia Vespia in Part 1; digital marketing strategies from co-authors Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd in Part 2; social media marketing and street teams for reviews from YA author Jordan Elizabeth in Part 3; and branding and free promotions from author Tim Baker in Part 4.

Today, I’m pleased to bring you a chat with contemporary and historical romance author Amy Cecil, who is a self-published author, who uses book blog tours and street teams to promote her work. I met Amy when I interviewed her for her book blog tour through Full Moon Bites Promotions for the release of the second book in her Knights of Silence MC series, Ice on Fire. So, without further ado, please welcome Amy Cecil.

Kaye: In addition to your Knights of Silence MC contemporary romance series, you write historical romance. Would you like to talk about those books a little?

Amy: Of course I would!  I have two historical romance novels published that are variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.  You know, the kind of stories that you always wonder, “what if?”  Well I did and I decided to create my own “what if” story in Jane Austen’s world.  I am currently working on a third historical romance, also a Jane Austen variation, titled On Stranger Prides.

Kaye: What made you decide self-publish?

Amy: At first, I really didn’t have a choice.  The publishing companies that I originally contacted were not interested or were not taking new authors at that time.  I didn’t know that self-publishing was an option until I did some research.  Self-publishing was the only chance I had to get my stories out there.  I have no complaints with the self-publishing world, but I do believe it requires a lot more work on the part of the author.

Kaye: How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself for your books?

Amy: Originally, I did everything myself.  But as I got savvier, I have since hired a professional editor and cover designer both with Creative Digital Studios. And marketing, well, I never did anything in the early days.  I never realized how important it was until I decided to hire a PA.

Kaye: How much work do you contract out? Book Covers? Editing? Marketing? Etc…?

Amy: Creative Digital Studios does all my promotional materials, however I may do a teaser or two myself.  My two PA’s Alicia Freeman and Monica Diane do all my marketing and promoting.  I do a little myself when I am not trying to meet writing deadlines.

Kaye: How do you feel about the marketing tasks you have to do? Do you embrace them or loath them? Why?

Amy: That’s a trick question.  LOL… I’m just kidding.  Sometimes I am all excited about doing some marketing of my books, other times not so much.  It really all depends on my mood and what else I have to do.

Kaye: You and I met through Full Moon Bites Promotions, when they hosted your book blog tour for Ice on Fire. For that tour I did a review of your book and we did an author interview. Is that the first book blog tour you’ve done? What kind of results did you see from it? Was there a rise in sales? Do you feel it was a successful marketing venture?

Amy: It was the first blog tour I have ever done – and I assure you, I will not release another book again without one.  I really can’t say that I saw a rise in sales, but what I did see was my new release ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA!  And if I saw it, then I am sure millions of others saw it.  So, yes, I feel it was completely successful.

Kaye: You recently did your first book signing at Barnes & Noble. How did that go? How successful do you feel that was, as a marketing strategy?

Amy: That was freaking awesome!  For an indie author like myself to actually get into a major bookstore is huge!  I met a lot of great people that day, including the B&N staff.  On the marketing end, I believe it was very successful.  It’s definitely opened up a lot of doors for me.

Kaye: You have a street team who help you promote your work, Amy’s Amazing Street Girls. Can you talk a little about what your street team does and how you build a street team?

Amy: I can definitely talk about my street team, but a little – not so much!  My street team is amazing!!  I didn’t realize when we named it Amy’s Amazing Street Girls, that I would continually use the word “amazing” to describe them.

This team is my safe zone.  I go to my team when I need someone to bounce ideas off or to get me through a rough writing patch.  When I need something shared or a contest voted on I can always count on my team.  I host several giveaways in my team and we even have a weekly SWAG giveaway that we do.  They help me promote my books everyday.

In return, we (my PA’s and I) entertain them.  There is activity in this group every single day.  Some days are themed others are not, but we have a lot of fun with whatever we happen to be doing on that particular day. We currently have over 470 members and we add new members every day.  Just to show how much I love my street team, my latest release, Ice on Fire is dedicated to them.

Kaye: You have a P.A. who helps promote your work, too. How much of a help in your marketing is this?

Amy: No, I don’t have a PA – I have two, Alicia Freeman and Monica Diane.  These ladies are my biggest support in all aspects of writing.  They promote my stuff, they run my street team, they do Author Takeover Events – they do everything.  I would be lost with them and still don’t know how I survived as an author before them.

Kaye: Do you pay your P.A.s or your street team?

Amy: I do pay my pa’s, but not members of the street team.

Kaye: So what is involved in building a street team?

Amy: I believe that you need to constantly be recruiting new members – keep them engaged daily and offer lots of perks for them to be a member of the team.  My PA’s have worked really hard in building the team and I am just along for the ride.  LOL.

Kaye: You promote a lot on social media, including book release parties and the like. How effective do you find social media marketing to be? Do you feel they increase your sales or are the biggest benefits in gaining new followers?

Amy: I’m not really sure if social media has increased my sales, as I believe people are buying books like they used to.  Indie authors have got them self in rut by giving away free books that I believe a lot of people on social media are looking for the freebie. But on the flip side of that, social media has definitely given me exposure. To me, the exposure outweighs the sales because I am a firm believer that eventually that exposure will lead to more sales.

Kaye: What other marketing strategies have you used?

Amy: I have done Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon ads and giveaways.  I have also done advertising in Inks and Scratches magazine and have attended several signing events.

Kaye: What would you say works best to sell books, as far as marketing goes?

Amy: Me.  I know that sounds odd, but I find that I sell more books if I am physically in front of the person telling them about my book.  I have done a lot of signings this year and that face-to-face contact between me and the reader makes a huge difference.

Kaye: What advice would you give to new authors trying to get their work out there?

Amy: Don’t be afraid to spend some money.  First and foremost hire a good cover designer and editor.  It is so worth it in the end.  And definitely hire a PA!  Their rates are reasonable and their value is priceless!

Thank you so much Kaye Lynne!

No thank you Amy, for joining us on Writing to be Read, not once, but twice. And thanks for sharing some of your marketing experiences with us. If you’d like to learn more about Amy or her books, visit her Amazon Author Page, her Goodreads Author Page, or her website.

Don’t miss next week, when my guest will be hybrid author, Chris Barili in Part 6 of the Book Marketing – What Works? series. If you don’t know what a hybrid author is, you’ll have to check back in to find out.

 

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.

Advertisements

Book Marketing – What Works? (Part 3): Interview with YA author Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth and Books

In Part 1 of Book Marketing – What Works? we heard from self-published author, Cynthia Vespia, and in Part 2, we met traditionally published co-authors Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd, to get a glimpse into their marketing strategies. While Vespia preferred face-to-face marketing strategies such as conferences and book signings, the Todds use Internet marketing such as websites, blogging and social media. Today, we’ll talk with an author who utilizes paid advertising via the Internet.

Small presses may take some of the publishing duties away from the author, such as cover art, and of course, the actual publication of your book, but even then, a lot of the marketing and promotion may fall upon the author. Therefore, traditionally published authors are faced with the same challenges of getting their books out there where readers can find them as independently published authors are.

I’m pleased to welcome Jordan Elizabeth to Writing to be Read today. Jordan is a talented young adult author, who is published with a smaller independent press. I have reviewed many of her books and anthologies where her short fiction has appeared, and she’s weighed on publishing, with an interview in my ten part series, Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. Self-Publishing. Although she may not have as much control over the publishing  details, she maintains the brunt of the responsibility for the marketing of her books.

Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?

Jordan: I always knew I wanted to write.  I had written a ton of stories by high school (none of which will ever see the light of day).  I finally wrote my first “real” manuscript sometimes around 12th grade and started sending it to publishers.  They rejected me right away.  After some research, I understood you need an agent to get your foot in the door.  I queried over 4,000 agents before I landed mine with COGLING.

Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?

Jordan: I get most of my ideas from dreams, but I would say the strangest inspiration was for VICTORIAN.  I volunteered at Fort Stanwix and worked for the Victorian Leisure Fair, both in Rome, NY.  The positions involved dressing in costumes and explaining history to visitors, while having fun.  I had the best adventures in Rome!

Kaye: Have you ever had places that you travel to end up in your books?

Jordan: Yes!  I love to travel, and we used to do 3-4 vacations a year before I had my baby.  The places I go to especially come out in my fantasy novels. The homes in COGLING were based on a lot of historic sites and tour houses, such as President Buchannan’s house in Pennsylvania.

Kaye: Do you participate in KDP Select on Amazon? Do you feel this program is conducive to selling books?

Jordan: All of my published novels except for one are on Kindle Unlimited.  It depends on the publisher’s rules, so I don’t have a say if they are or aren’t.  I do find it conducive, as someone who might not want to buy my ebook has the freedom to borrow it for “free.”  I’ve heard from quite a few people that they used Kindle Unlimited to read something I wrote.

Kaye: Do you use social media to promote your books? Which social media is your favorite for promotion and why?

Jordan: I use Facebook and Twitter.  In the past, I’ve found Facebook to be the best, but the world seems to be moving away from that.  I’ve had bad luck with my past few Facebook ads.  I’m going to try to utilize Twitter more and see how that goes.

Kaye: What type of marketing strategies have you tried with your books? What worked and what didn’t?

Jordan: I post on Facebook and Twitter, aim for one book signing a month, and take out ads.  The ad in BookBub was amazing.  I’ve also had good luck taking an ad out in Fussy Librarian.  The more reviews you have, the more people are excited to read your book, so I am always open to giving a blogger a book in exchange for an honest review.  That hasn’t always worked out in the past, as some bloggers will take a book and never read it.  Book review tours have never worked for me.  I’ve paid for multiple companies to send out my books to x-amount of reviewers.  Each time, I’ve only gotten a handful of reviews.  It hasn’t been worth the price.

Kaye: You have publishers for your books. How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself?

Jordan: The publishers all take care of editing and book covers.  I do about 85% of my own marketing.  It takes a lot of time and effort, but I enjoy it.  It gets my face out there and helps me connect with my readers.

Kaye: You and I made a connection through a member of your street team, when I reviewed Escape From Witchwood Hollow, and I’ve been reviewing your books ever since. Could you explain what your street team does for you? How do you go about building a street team?

Jordan: My street team has actually disbanded, but I did have a street team for many years.  It started when a few girls told me they loved my books and asked me about the process.  When I told them how I’d gotten published and all the time spent on marketing, they asked if they could help out.  Of course!  They contacted reviewers for me to see if anyone would like to read one of my books in exchange for an honest review.  I had an awesome group of supporters and we had fun brainstorming new marketing ideas.

One girl dropped out of the street team to concentrate on going back to college and the other two started getting hate mail from reviewers because they felt that I should be the one contacting, not them.  I personally don’t see anything wrong with having someone else contact a blogger on your behalf, but I also see where it can become tricky.  You don’t always know if the personal contacting you is legitimate.

Kaye: What works best to sell books for you, as far as marketing goes?

Jordan: Taking out ads and book signings.  In those cases, I know how many I sell.  I don’t know why people who buy my books on a day-to-day basis bought them.  Did someone tell them about the book?  Did they see it on Facebook?  At least when I see a jump in sales on the day an ad runs, I know it is because of the ad.

Kaye: How much work do you contract out? Book Covers? Editing? Marketing? Etc…?

Jordan: I don’t contract anything out.  Ah, if only I had that luxury!

Kaye: What kind of Chinese food do you order all the time?

Jordan: Peanut noodles are my favorite.  Oh, and Chinese donuts.  I eat the entire container in one sitting unless my husband grabs on first.

Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Jordan: Don’t give up, because you need to write for yourself.  Even if publishers aren’t biting, write because you love it.  Also, make sure to understand marketing is going to fall on you.  I was surprised and a little taken aback at first.  Authors need to realize that publishers have 100s of books out there.  They can’t donate 100% of their time on marketing your book.  You need to do your share of the legwork too.

I want to thank Jordan for joining us today and sharing her marketing experience with us. You can check out my reviews of Jordan’s books and anthologies in which her work appears by following the links below.

Reviews of Jordan Elizabeth Books:

Escape From Witchwood Hollow

Cogling

Treasure Darkly

Wicked Treasure

Victorian

The Goat Children

The Path to Old Talbot

Riders & Runners

Kistishi Island

Reviews of Short Story Collections from Curiosity Quills Press Featuring Jordan Elizabeth’s Short Fiction:

Chronology

Under A Brass Moon

Darkscapes

Be sure to check back next week for Part 4 of Book Marketing – What Works?, where I’ll interview a veteran author that has traveled both the traditional and self-publishing routes and will share what his learned about marketing after writing books for ten years, author Tim Baker. Don’t miss it!

 

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Interview with romance author Molly V. Lovell

A sibling's dilema-001 (1)
If you were expecting a book review today, you’re in for a bit of a surprise, since I’m bringing you an author interview instead. I have the pleasure of talking with romance author Molly V. Lovell to round off the FMB tour for her latest book, A Sibling’s Dilemma. When not writing romance, Molly studies law at William and Mary. Join us as we learn about this double romance and the intriguing author who wrote it.
Kaye: Your book A Sibling’s Dilemma was recently released. Would you like to tell us a little about how two sisters and their double romance will double the reading pleasure?

 

Molly: In my opinion (and it may just be me), having lots of interesting and unique characters makes a story read better. A genre convention for romance novels is that there needs to be a happy ending. No happy ending=no romance novel. This is good, in a way, because people look to romance novels for a fun, happy, read—it’s the hallmark of the genre. But, the downside to that is that you know how the book ends before you pick it up. When you have multiple couples, it adds a little mystery to it. Who’s going to end up with who? Are both couples going to be together at the end? There’s going to be a happy ending somehow, but you don’t know what that happy ending is.

Kaye: You are a law student by day and novelist by night. What’s the trick to juggling two careers at the same time?

Molly: Honestly? As long as I budget my time, it’s okay. I spend about 40-50 hours a week doing legal work and about 40 hours a week writing and promoting my books. An 80/90-hour work week is very manageable, especially when you’re doing something that you love. I’m fortunate enough to have two jobs that I’m very passionate about. In a way, having two very separate and distinct careers is easier than having just one—I never get bored. When I tire of legal stuff, I write. When I get writers block, I hit the books again. My husband and I don’t have any children, which makes things easier too. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other romance novelists who work, write, and have kids. I don’t know how they do it because that’s like having three jobs. I just have two.

Kaye: What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

Molly: I’m actually an only child. You’d think that someone who wrote a book called A Sibling’s Dilemma would be tripping over siblings, but it’s just me. I’m fortunate enough to have three life-long friends that I would call my sisters though. (They’re nothing like Cassie and Ellie, for the record.)

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing? Why?

Molly: I like to write whenever I can. Usually “whenever I can” turns into the evening because of law school. I also do this really weird thing where I like to write with the TV on in the background. (I measure my stories through how many series I blow through on Netflix. If you’re curious, this book took me the entirety of X-Files, most of Pretty Little Liars, and a boat load of one-season Netflix original series to write.) It’s nice because I can write while I’m hanging out with my husband; I’ll take breaks every so often and we’ll chit-chat and stuff. Writing’s always a fun time for me. Whenever I’m not out with friends or doing law school stuff, I write (and watch TV.)

Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?

Molly: Okay, I’m going to have to say Ernest Hemingway for this one. I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway’s books. I mean, they’re great and all, but there are other authors that I like more. Hemingway’s an interesting guy though. You can only talk about books with someone for so long—that would get old after about fifteen minutes. Hemingway’s done all sorts of interesting stuff. He was an ambulance driver during WWI, lead a group of French Militia against the Nazis, stole a urinal from his favorite bar, survived a ton of weird illnesses, lived through two plane crashes, and was kind of a spy at one point for the KGB. (Well, the KGB part is kind of sketchy, but it was the 1940’s…) Hemingway even has his own hamburger recipe. Who else does that? No one. We could go to bars and eat hamburgers. It would be great.

Kaye: What is the biggest challenge of being a writer for you?

Molly: The biggest challenge is that, with being a writer, you need to wear many hats: it’s sort of like being a small business owner. Writing itself isn’t too hard though. My other career, law, can be a bit more challenging at times. I spent a great deal of time clerking at prosecution offices and that’s way more taxing—especially because I did a lot of stuff with sex offense and domestic violence. It can get emotionally hard at times, but also rewarding. I’ve done jobs that are physically demanding too; I worked night shift McDonalds during college. That was hard. Really hard. I guess, in comparison, writing’s not that challenging—even with all the ‘hat wearing’ involved. I don’t have to stay up until five A.M. dealing with angry customers looking for their cheeseburgers.

Kaye: If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

Molly: I wouldn’t change my day-to-day life, actually. I would still finish my JD and I would still go into criminal law because I believe in what I do. We need good prosecutors and good public defenders. Even if I were a multi-millionaire, my day-to-day life would be the same. I would, however, do something really nice for my parents. Buy them a fancy mansion or something like that. I would definitely go on an awesome vacation with them too. (They just took me to Bermuda, so it’s fresh on my mind.) They’ve done so much for me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Being an only child, I feel like I’m closer to my parents than most people. They’re my best friends too. I would do something nice for them. In addition, none of the people I care about would want for anything. I guess that’s what everyone dreams of if they become rich—doing nice things for the people they love. I’d probably give most of the money away. I have simple tastes. I mean, my favorite food is McNuggets. You don’t need to be rich and famous to eat McNuggets, hang out with friends, and write on your couch. My husband has simple tastes too.

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Molly: I used to love to write as a kid. My best friend and I were big nerds and we would write all the time. We made up really elaborate fantasy stories. Mine was called Unakarie’s Tail (because I didn’t know the difference between “tale” and “tail” as a kid) and hers was called Magic Factor. We would obsess over our books and stay up late drawing our characters and writing cross over stories. I wrote like, a hundred pages. For a ten-year-old, that was like writing War and Peace. Then, being a nerd and all, I transitioned to fanfiction. I stopped writing for a bit when I went to college, but then about a year ago I realized how much I loved to write and picked it up again. I started writing my own story with my own characters and it’s so much fun. This time I managed to not have any typos in my title, so that’s progress.

Kaye: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Molly: Friendly, off-beat, tenacious.

Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Molly: My mother, the wisest woman that I know, told me not to care about what other people think. If you live your life beholden to the opinions of others, you can never be the best version of yourself.

Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?

Molly: I don’t really think that there’s anything unique to my writing process, other than I write my drafts while I watch television.

Kaye: Is there another book in store from Molly V. Lovell in the future?

Molly: Actually, yes, there will be. For the last several months, I’ve been working on a trilogy of books. I want to finish all three books before I submit them for publication. So far, I wrote 150,000 words and I’m almost done with the series. Then, I need to polish it up; that’s going to take a while. But, by this time next year, I’m hoping to have those three books out. The characters have pretty different personalities than the ones in A Sibling’s Dilemma and it’s written in first-person instead of third-person. The stories chronicle a hot-headed attorney and her rambunctious teenage intern, who happens to be the boss’s daughter. Together, through a very strange series of events, they take on the mob, a stalker, and a bunch of other things.

I want to thank Molly for joining us today on Writing to be Read and sharing a little about herself and her book. A Sibling’s Dilemma is available in ebook format or paperback on Amazon, so be sure to get your copy today.

A Sibling_s Dilemma Banner

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Interview with Author Kasi Blake

kasi

I’m pleased to welcome speculative fiction author Kasi Blake to Writing to be Read today. Kasi likes to write about vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my! I invited Kasi to join us today because she’s doing something different with her 4-Ever Hunted series, which encourages reader participation. I thought was kind of clever, and I asked her to share her creative marketing idea with us. But first, lets learn a little about Kasi and her books.

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Kasi: When I was 12. I read The Outsiders in class and then started a short story. It slowly progressed from there.

Kaye: You have three series out. Would you like to tell us a little about each one?

Kasi: The Rule series is basically a YA Urban Fantasy series about a vampire boy who goes legit. Meaning, he turns mortal through a freak event and loses the fangs. This is great for Jack, because he hated being a vampire. He just wants to be normal, but then he falls for a werewolf hunter and discovers his true destiny.

Witch Games

The Witch-Game books are about teen girls with powers. They use them to play games at school beginning with one called Crushed. They enchant boys and compel them to do their bidding. Witch Hunt is more like hide-n-seek for witches. They both have romance and a bit of mystery.

Bait

Bait starts off the Order of the Spirit Realm series. The titles are a little strange here: Bait, Hunter, Warrior, Legend. These are the ranks the students at Van Helsing’s school receive as they work their way up the hunting ladder. Bay-Lee is his daughter, but she doesn’t get special treatment. In fact, the gorgeous hunter assigned to be her mentor hates her on sight. This series is set in New Zealand and has all the action, sweet romance, and monsters you could possibly hope for.

4-Ever Hunted

Kaye: In 4-Ever Hunted, you’re offering your readers a say in how the series turns out. This is a cool and unique thing to do in your writing. Would you like to tell us how that works?

Kasi: After you read 4-Ever Hunted, there is a link at the end explaining that you can choose Dani or Scarlet as his love interest. Read the book and at the end, there is a link to click on, which takes you to my 4-Ever Hunted Facebook page, where you can vote for the girl you’d like to see him end up with at the end of the series. This book is free with Kindle Unlimited, so no purchase is necessary to vote, but you do need to read the story.

Also, feel free to post and try to sway people to your side in the comments. You can change your vote until voting closes after I begin to write book three. Majority rules. I like both girls, so I know how to make either relationship work, depending on who is picked. Trick will wind up falling in love with and sharing a romance (not to mention action-packed adventure) in book three and four.  Think of it as team Edward or team Jacob, with the readers in control. It’s all up to you, the readers.

LegendKaye: Legend is your most recent release. Would you like to tell us a little about that?

Kasi: Legend is the final book in the Order of the Spirit Realm series and wraps up life at Van Helsing’s school for Bay-Lee, Nick, Mike, and the rest of the young hunters. Monsters from the other realm have found a way to blow the doorway between them wide open. It’s all-out war. Who will win? Who will survive?

 

Kaye: What are you working on now? What can we expect in the future from Kasi Blake?

Kasi: I am currently writing 4-Ever Cursed, book two in the 4-Ever Hunted series. I plan to do all four books in a row, if possible. Then, I have an exciting fairy tale series like none other coming your way. Cursed by a Grimm is a dark fairy tale about a fading faerie realm, the wicked Ivory Queen who will do anything to stay in power, and a strange creature hiding in the shadows. The Grimm will either help Shayne save the realm and find true love. Or he will lead her down the wrong path and destroy everything.

Kaye: How do you decide the titles for your books? Where does the title come in the process for you?

Kasi: The titles come from the books themselves. I usually don’t name them until the book is either done or the entire outline is at least finished. Vampires Rule is something Cowboy says to Jack all the time. He loves being a vampire; Jack loathes it. Then it goes from there. Werewolves Rule and so on. Crushed and Witch Hunt are named after the games the witches play. Bait, as I already said, was named after the ranks the hunters get.

4-Ever Hunted is unusual because it comes from the fact that Cowboy and Summer want a fourth for their group. Cowboy is obsessed with having four members. They make the mistake of setting their sights on a hunter though. The question is, will Trick become the thing he hates most in order to save his own life?

Kaye: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Kasi: Plotter. I feel like I need a map so I know where I’ll end up. I don’t understand pantsers. I would get lost without my map. Although, the outline does change several times during the process as I write. I leave room for character growth. Sometimes they do things that surprise me and turn my outline upside-down.

Kaye: You write about vampires and werewolves and shape shifters. What kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories? 

Kasi: I only research creatures that are new to me. Most of the mythology I make up so that it will be new and fresh like how vampires and werewolves were created by a faerie.

Kaye: What do you do for cover art? DIY, or hired out, or cookie cutter prefab?

Kasi: I started off doing them on my own, and they were not that great. Crushed and Witch Hunt were published by Clean Teen Publishing, so the covers were created by the awesome Marya Heidel. The Bait series and the vampire series were done by a woman just starting out in the business. I don’t even think she does it anymore. The awesome 4-Ever Hunted books are all by a great artist I found on Fiverr. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember her name, but she is listed at the front of the book as the designer.

Kaye: You have a blog, Supernatural Slant. How did that start?

Kasi: They say all authors need a blog, so this started off as a blog about writing, but I am obsessed with the show Supernatural. So, it went off more in that direction. I still blog about my books, sometimes books I like, but the blog is about Supernatural, the show, and shows like it now more than anything else.

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?

Kasi: I like to write late at night and early in the morning because there are no distractions then. I’m not getting phone calls, and people aren’t asking me to do favors for them or help them out or just wanting to talk. Plus, it is so peaceful when others are asleep.

Kaye: Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

Kasi: Reading, shopping, hanging with friends, and I love all my animals. I live on a farm, so taking care of them and watching them do silly things is always entertaining.

Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?

Kasi: I guess I would have to say JK Rowling, because I really want to know what it feels like to have your world made not only in movies but also in a theme park. I’d never want to go home.

Vampires RuleKaye: My final question is one you may get asked a lot because of your Rule series, but you had to know it was coming. Who does actually rule, vampires or werewolves?

Kasi: I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I like vampires better, and sometimes I prefer werewolves. It depends on which character I’m writing at the time.

I want to thank Kasi Blake for joining us today, sharing about her books and letting us get to know her. If you want to know more about Kasi or her books, you can check out her website, or her author page on either Amazon or Goodreads.

 

Next week there won’t be a Monday post because I’m being interviewed on Authors Talk About It and I’ll be promoting that. Then, on Monday, September 4th, we’ll be treated to an excerpt form author Scerina Elizabeth, before delving into my seven part series Book Marketing – What Works? on Monday September 11th. So don’t miss it, on Writing to be Read.

Never miss a post on Writing to be Read again. Sign up for email to have notification of new content delivered right to your inbox, or Follow WtbR on WordPress.


Interview with Author Scerina Elizabeth

lisa

Today’s interview kicks off the Full Moon Bites blog tour for Scerina Elizabeth, a paranormal romance erotica author, who has recently released four novellas: Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the Night and Spellbound: The Awakening, Eternally Yours, and Savagely Yours: The Beginning. 

Kaye: How did it happen that you’ve had four novellas released so close together?

Scerina: Actually, Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the Night was originally released on May 1st, 2017. But due to it being my first ever published book and wasn’t edited nor proofread – I had to go back and edit and revise it than re-release it this month after being edited and revised.

Spellbound: The Awakening was originally released on July 1, 2017 and Eternally Yours: Bloodlines will be released don August 16, 2017.

Eternally Yours was accidentally published and am in the process of rewriting it. It will be about a woman who grows up in foster care.  After moving to New York City at the age of eighteen, she inherits her biological family estate back in Louisiana where she will learn all about her biological family and who she truly is.  She will also discover a dark family secret which she is now responsible for.

There is a prequel to Eternally Yours that I am about to release within the next week or so called Savagely Yours: The Beginning, which tells all about the beginning of Eternally Yours.

I am currently in the process of rewriting Eternally Yours which will be available on August 16, 2017

Nocturnia Cover 01

Kaye: Would you like to tell us a little about Her Dark Angel of the Night (Nocturnia #1)?

Scerina: Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the Night was really my first true published novella.  I wasn’t planning on publishing it but while writing this little story, I discovered how easy it was to self-publish and publish my own writings.  I was told by two close friends who read the early stages of Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the Night to have it published as it should be made into a book.  That it had actual potential to make it in the literature world.

SPELLBOUND COVER

 

Kaye: What can you tell us about Spellbound: The Awakening?

Scerina: After re-releasing Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the Night, I was told that my stories and characters should be more developed with more backstory to them.  I did this in Spellbound: The Awakening, but turns out it was information overload which in turn did more damage to the actual story.  A close friend told me that Spellbound: The Awakening would work best as a full-length novel more than a novella – which I plan on doing sometime in the future. Extending it into a full-length novel along with Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the night.

Kaye: You’ve written some very distinct works. Vampires, Dragon Shifters, Witches… What, if anything, do the three works have in common?

Scerina: I am a huge lover of Vampires, Shifters, and Witches – that is my area of specialty when it comes to Paranormal Romance Erotica. I not only enjoy writing such stories but I enjoy reading them as well.

Kaye: What can we expect to see from Scerina Elizabeth in the future? What’s the working title of your next book?

Scerina: Right now, two other Paranormal Romance authors and I have come together to collaborate with other authors (who are interested) in a collection of Paranormal, Horror, & Erotica short stories called HallowErotica 2017 that is due to be released on Halloween – October 31, 2017. You can learn more about HallowErotica 2017 and how to enter your short fiction works @ https://scerinaelizabeth.wixsite.com/hallowerotica2017

As for me personally, my next projects are:

Bitten by A She Wolf: A New Moon Rising book which is an American who is in Europe with his best friends and girlfriend.  While celebrating his twenty first birthday in a club, he catches the eye of a she wolf who is on the prowl for a new mate.  A she wolf who will stop at nothing to get what she wants even if it means stealing him from his current girlfriend to make him hers.

This will be a very interesting story. I am also in the process of working on a prequel to Nocturnia: Her Dark Angel of the Night and also the first book of another series called

Angel Falls will be about a Dragon-Shifter who has just awaken after hundreds of years of being asleep underneath a frozen sea after a shipwreck.  He comes across a woman who was attacked by some kind of creature and takes her back to his home where he tended to her.  This is the start of a very intimate relationship and she could possibly be his true love.

Kaye: As a paranormal romance erotica writer, what kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories?

Scerina: I have always been a lover of anything and everything Paranormal Romance & Erotica.  I have read numerous books and novellas based around these genres, also based on movies and shows which I watch.  I don’t really do research as I go by memory of what I learn from other books, novellas, movies, tv shows, folklore, and of course superstitions. I add my own little twist to them to make them my own for my stories, to keep them original.   

I usually do my research when I read other Paranormal Romance Erotica stories as well as a bit more research when I need more information about something in particular.

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing? Why?

Scerina: I basically write whenever I feel inspired or motivated which is basically anytime really.  I love to write when is quiet so that I can focus more on my stories and the creations of my stories.

Kaye: What is the one thing in your writing career that is the most unusual or unique thing you’ve done so far?

Scerina: The ability to create a unique world or environment for my characters that is unlike any other – originality.  The ability to add my own personal twist to a legend or folklore or something that we so often hear about to make it my own.

Kaye: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Scerina: I like to say am a plotter, but sometimes the plot takes an unexpected turn and that is when I go with the flow of the story.

I guess you can say am both a plotter and go with the flow kind of author because my the story lines tend to change depending on what my inspiration is at the moment when am writing.

Kaye: What works best to sell books for you, as far as marketing goes?

Scerina: I love posting on Goodreads related Groups to promote my books and novella as well as in Facebook related group to promote.  Twitter is another excellent promotional tool as well. I also promote my latest releases on my own site as well.

I love to post excerpts from my current projects to catch the interests of the readers to give them a little glimpse of my newest project – keep them on their toes so to speak.  So when my book is released, they will want to read it.

I also love the idea of book promotional trailer videos and banner ads with quotes from the book as well.

Kaye: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Scerina: I love to read other Paranormal Romance Erotica stories, as well as watch reality t.v. I am a huge fan of real life paranormal reality shows and I enjoy watching any kind of Paranormal/Horror movie.

 

Kaye: What’s your favorite social media site for promotion? Why?

Scerina: My official site of course. But, I love to promote on Goodreads, Facebook, & Twitter. I love these places mainly because they are very popular and a lot of people who share the same interest and passion for Paranormal Romance Erotica are on there looking for new books and novellas to read.

Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?

Scerina: Well this is one for a short story that is based on an old eighties horror film called The Unholy – a demoness who seduces priests. Not only does she seduce them but she also becomes pregnant with their unborn child making it, the anti-Christ.

I have a very creative imagination that can sometimes be very sick and twisted which shows in my stories sometimes.  Hopefully it is what makes my stories all the more interesting and keep the reader’s interest.

Kaye: Why do you think some authors sell well and others don’t?

Scerina: As I learn recently from a really negative review, too much information and too many characters can really kill a good plot.  Especially if it is a short story.

I also learn that sex really does sell especially in these kinds of books as it keeps the reader’s interest and makes them hungry for more.

But if you are using sex as a sell too, you better have a good story line that goes along with it, as sex alone won’t keep the reader’s interest. Yah sure, they love a good sex scene and all that lust – but having a good story line makes it even better.

Kaye: What kind of Chinese food do you order all the time?

Scerina: Fried Rice and Dumplings 😊

Scerina Elizabeth Banner

I want to thank Scerina Elizabeth for joining us here on Writing to be Read today, and wish her the best of luck in her writing endeavors. I’m sure we’ve peaked the interest of many paranormal romance erotica readers. You can find out more about Scerina on her Website or Goodreads, or check her out on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Interview with Author Kristy Centeno

Deliverance.Ebook

Today, we have the pleasure of chatting with author Kristy Centeno, who recently had her latest YA/NA paranormal romance released, Deliverance. In addition to being the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series, and now, Deliverance, Kristy is a wife and mother to five children, and she holds down a day job, as well. This interview will kick off her book blog tour for the book with Full Moon Bites author promotions, so let’s give her a good send off.

Kaye: Your most recent paranormal romance released is Deliverance, and I hear it has received some great reviews. Would you like to tell us a little about it?

Kristy: Deliverance depicts the story of a young man who has been imprisoned in an Institute his entire life. Created in a lab, he has no clues as to what he is. Only that he’s not human. Tired of a life of suffering, he escapes to seek the assistance of a man that can help permanently free him and the other prisoners from his creator’s clutches. To do so, he requires the assistance of a young woman—one that will come to challenge everything he believed his enemies to be.

Deliverance delves into the paranormal, with a hint of romance, and some mystery thrown in as well. It took me a year to complete this project and enjoyed every minute of the process. Tiger wasn’t an easy character to develop as he isn’t quite your average hero. He’s both fierce and vulnerable. Strong yet weak. A potential killer yet innocent. As readers go through the story, they’ll better understand what I mean.

Kaye: Deliverance is listed under both YA and NA paranormal romance. Would you talk a little about what the difference in these two genre categories are?

Kristy: Young adult is basically geared more toward the teenage audience with coming of age scenarios that help shape the young character’s future, personality, or outlook in life. The main characters are usually in their teens, experiencing, learning, experimenting things for the first time.

New Adult, however, portrays characters that are a bit older and perhaps, a tad more mature. Think college age adults who undergo a series of scenarios that might have more of an impact on their lives than it would a younger person. They might have to deal with things that might not be an issue for someone in their teens.

Kaye: You are currently working on a sequel to Deliverance. Any hints as to what might be in store for your readers there?

Kristy: There is a bit more background story for some of the main characters as well as information on how the Legion works. It gives some insight on what Gerard’s next plans for the main characters were. And, of course, another mystery unfolds. One that will flip Tiger and Kristina’s worlds upside down.

Kaye: You have a large family, including five children. What are your secrets for juggling writing with family?

Kristy: Between my day job and my five children, finding time to write isn’t always easy. To be honest, even when I find time, I struggle between heading off to bed early to get some rest or get the next chapter completed. My days are full, but I try to make the best of what time I do have.

Most days, I get some writing done after the kiddies head off to bed. It’s nice and quiet. Not having anyone vying for my attention provides me with at least one to two hours of uninterrupted writing.

Basically, the way I work around my schedule is by tending to the kids first, house second, and then my writing. If the kids need something or the house is unorganized I can’t concentrate on my writing either so when I sit down to write, no matter what time of the day it is, I have to make sure that my to-do list is complete. Then and only then can I devote my full attention to those that live in my head.

Kaye: What is the one thing you hope to teach your children?

Kristy: There’s so much I wish to teach my children that I could go on forever naming each. But one thing that’s important for me is that they learn how to love themselves first and everyone else second. With so many issues about body shaming and public ridicule for being different, I don’t want my kiddies to feel as if they have to be like everyone else just to fit in the crowd. I always tell them that it’s okay to be different and there’s nothing wrong with being a little weird.

Kaye: You have two blogs dedicated to author promotions and writing. Would you like to tell us how they came about and what one might find there? How do you come up with enough content to keep them both active?

Kristy: When I was first published, I realized right away that one of the most difficult things to do as an author was, and still is, promoting. I had to develop an online presence and that took time. Fortunately for me, I found a network of authors that were willing to lend a hand when it came to promoting my work, offering advice, and some constructive criticism when needed.

While I was establishing an online presence, I found many new authors that like me, struggled to promote their work and would benefit from the same kind of help I received when I first got started. Thus, the idea was born to create not one but two blogs where I could assist anyone that needed it.

It didn’t take long at all for my inbox to start to fill up with requests from authors all over the States, Canada, and even the UK. I keep a calendar to track which author I’m hosting on what day due to the sheer volume of requests. Many of the authors I’ve worked with over the years also help cross promote my work on their sites/blogs, which is fantastic. Plus, I get to learn about new authors and their fabulous work that I’d probably have a difficult time locating if I didn’t hear from them directly.

Now, I also host blog tours for various book blogging companies as well. It’s something that I’ve come to enjoy over the years and continue to do as a hobby.

Kaye: What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

Kristy: I’m a bit of an introvert. Most people don’t believe this because I’m generally outgoing. Though at first I’m a bit shy, once I’m comfortable with someone I tend to talk a lot more and joke around. But I prefer the comfort of my own home as opposed to going out.

Kaye: What is the biggest challenge of being a writer?

Kristy: Aside from getting published and struggling with promoting your work once it’s published, I’d say one huge challenge is overcoming the dreaded writer’s block.

Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?

Kristy: My story isn’t that different from most authors. At least, I don’t think. I must have queried close to thirty agencies that first year, receiving nothing but rejection after rejection. It was very disappointing, not to mention it really made me suffer through periods where I had serious self-doubt about my work and myself as a writer.

I didn’t understand that even if your first manuscript isn’t the best, you tend to improve overtime. I wasn’t in that state of mind though. I considered quitting before I even got started. That was until I heard a positive response from a publisher that was interested in reading the full manuscript of the first book I ever submitted.

They decided to pass, but that rejection ended up helping so much. When they got back to me, they were kind enough to say where my strengths lay and where and what I needed to improve. I took their advice to heart and worked on my manuscript some more. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it read a lot better. When I submitted it again to another publisher, I was once more asked for a full manuscript. Three months later I was offered a contract. I was elated!

From there it has been easier but I’m still learning. I’m sure there’s still so much room for growth and I don’t mind. I love evolving my skills and developing my voice as I go along. With every publisher and every editor I work with, I learn something new. I learn where I have to improve and what areas I should focus on. It’s a never-ending cycle but one I don’t mind repeating.

Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Kristy: “No matter how hard life knocks you down, you better get right back up again and plow through. Life will never stop trying to knock you off your feet so don’t ever stop getting right back up again.”

Kaye: You are fortunate enough to have found a publisher for your books. How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself for your books?

Kristy: Fortunately, the book covers are taken care of by the publisher. However, I do most of the marketing for my book. I organized takeovers, hire book blog companies, spread the word via social media, send emails, etc.

One of my publishers does quite a bit in terms of spreading the word about our books. They have put our books in local libraries, they send out newsletters with interviews, guest posts, etc. and we occasionally do author takeovers and Facebook events as well.

Kaye: What strategies and promotional tools work best to sell books for you, as far as marketing goes?

Kristy: It’s hit or miss with marketing to be honest. I have found that when I book a tour via a book blogging company, some will do extremely well and I immediately see an increase in sales. While there are other times when there’s barely a difference. However, I’ve found that when I do character interviews, guest posts, or giveaways my book does well and there’s a lot of online activity, which is great.

I prefer to schedule release tour weeks in advance to get the release off to a good start. Usually, this is when I see the most impact when it comes to sells as well as reviews. Giveaways do very well too so I have tend to partake in them more and more nowadays than I used to. Especially if I’m giving out a signed copy of one of my books. People respond positively to that.

Deliverance Banner

I want to thank Kristy for joining us here, on Writing to be Read, and for sharing a little bit about herself and her paranormal romance, Deliverance. You can purchase Deliverance on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Inktera, and Createspace.

To find out more about Kristy, or her books:

Her Website: https://booksbycenteno.com/

Blog: http://therightbook4u.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kristy-Centeno/e/B00BR7KQ4U

Goodreads Author Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6580510.Kristy_Centeno

Or check her out on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Pintrest

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Interview with Author Amy Cecil

Amy Cecil

I’m happy today to be interviewing Amy Cecil, author of the Knights of Silence MC romance series, as a part of her blog tour surrounding the release of Book 2 in the series, Ice on Fire. (See my four quill review of Ice on Fire.) Amy is married, and she and her husband have three dogs and a horse. She is also the self-published author of four novels. She writes both historical and contemporary romance.

Kaye: Your new release, Ice on Fire, is the second book in your Knights of Silence MC Would you like to tell us about the contemporary romance series, and how Ice on Fire fits into it?

Amy: The Knights of Silence MC series is my pride and joy.  It is my first attempt to write my own characters, develop them and subsequently fall in love with them.  And, it’s in a genre that is totally different than what I started in. It has been a challenge for me and the result is a product that is all my own. That makes me a very proud writer. The series right now is going to consist of four books, but who knows, that may change.  Ice, the first in the series was published in September.  I am currently working on book 3 in the series, Celtic Dragon, and I am hoping on a spring 2018 release.

Kaye: You wrote your first novel in thirty days and went on to be a two time NaNoWriMo winner, in 2015 and 2016, where contestants are challenged to write a novel in a month’s time. What is the secret to writing a novel length work in thirty days?

Amy: NaNoWriMo requires 50,000 words in 30 days to win.  That’s seems pretty tough to do, but if you break it down, it’s not so bad. I divide the 50,000 by 30 and come up with my daily goal.  It’s 1,666 words a day.  Doesn’t sound so overwhelming when you break it down.  And then the hard part is to adhere to that goal.  Some days I will write more, other days I will write less, but by the 15th of the month, you can bet I will make sure there is 25,000 words written and that I am on track.  And then periodically throughout the month, I make sure I am still on track.  NaNoWriMo does this for you and it is really helpful.

Kaye: Today many independent or small press authors are using what are called street teams to spread the word about their books. Could you explain what your street team does and how you go about building a street team?

Amy: When I first started writing, I never knew what a street team was, until my PA’s Alicia Freeman and Michelle Cates told me I needed one.  These girls are amazing and built my team to over 400 members in just a few months.  This is where I can talk with my fans and actually let them share in the writing process.  They have not only shared my books and teasers, they have contributed in many ways to my books.  They are a great group to bounce ideas off of and they are always there to support me when I am doing an author takeover event.  I’d be lost without them.

Kaye: What are some of the differences between writing historical romance and contemporary romance?

Amy: From a writer’s perspective, the biggest difference is how they talk.  Historical romance is more formal, more polite.  Things are very proper and liberties are not common.  Contemporary is more relaxed and casual.  They are less formal in the way they speak and you can use contractions.  That’s a big no no in historical writing.  Also, you can take liberties with your characters that you would normally have to be careful within a historical romance.  Because I write Jane Austen Fan Fiction, I have to be conscious of keeping my characters the way Jane Austen created them.

Kaye: What do you see as the pros and cons of independent, or self-publishing?

Amy: When I first started writing, I went the traditional route.  I sent my manuscript to several publishers and of course, was turned down by all of them.  Discouraged, but not ready to give up, I learned that I could self-publish.  Since then, I have self-published four novels.  I’m not sure what I would do now if a publisher wanted to publish one of my books.  I really like the freedom I have to write what I want and when I want.  I have no deadlines.  The hardest part of self-publishing and requires the most amount of work is PR.  Getting your name out there is difficult if you don’t have a publishing house or an agent behind you.  But I have found two great PA’s, Alicia Freeman and Michelle Cates.  They not only help me promote my works on social media, they all put together an amazing street team for me.

Kaye: Where does the title come in the writing process for you? How do you decide the titles for your books?

Amy: My titles usually come first. I don’t have any special formula to specific way I do.  Some just come to me, some have been suggested by friends and the latest one, Ice on Fire came from my husband.

Ice on Fire

Kaye: What’s the most fun part of writing a novel? What’s the least fun part?

Amy: I would have to say that my favorite part of writing a novel is coming up with the initial story line.  Creating the characters and just watching it all play out.  My least favorite part is the editing.  I know, it has to be done.  But it is always a struggle for me.  Luckily, I have an amazing editor Carl Augsburger of Creative Digital Studios who makes this process a little less agonizing for me.

Kaye: What’s your favorite way to get exercise?

Amy: I walk my dogs – I have three of them.

Kaye: Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

Amy: My husband is in the Air Force, so I spend a lot of time at home alone.  I work full-time for a home improvement company.  Also, I have three rescue dogs and a horse that keep me busy.  I enjoy other creative hobbies as well like painting and basket weaving.

Kaye: Where do you get your cover art?

Amy: Ellie Augsburger of Creative Digital Studios designs my covers.  We use stock photos and get most of them from Adobe Stock.  I’m not sure what other resources she uses.

Kaye: What’s your favorite social media site for promotion? Why?

Amy: I guess I would have to say Facebook.  I use it the most because I am most familiar with it.  I really want to expand my social media reach, but I guess that will come with time.

Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Amy: “Write your own.” These were the exact words from my best friend who encouraged me to write my own story.  I’m so glad I took her advice.

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?

Amy: I really don’t have a specific time of day to write. Usually it seems to be when the ideas hit me.  I don’t write everyday, but that doesn’t mean I am not working on my books.  I spend a lot of time doing research.

I want to thank Amy for joining us here, on Writing to be Read, and sharing some interesting facts about herself and her writing. You can find each of Amy Cecil’s books here:

getBook.at/ICEonFIREbyAmyCecil

getBook.at/ICEbyAmyCecil

getBook.at/ARoyalDispositionbyAmyCecil

getBook.at/RelentlessConsiderationsbyAmyCecil

 

Follow Amy:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramycecil

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/authoramycecil

Twitter: https://twitter.com/acecil65

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/amycecil

Website: http://acecil65.wix.com/amycecil

 

Learn more about Amy’s Amazing Street Girls:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/201903646918497/

 

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted.