Book Marketing – What Works?: Conclusions

Book Marketing

Whether an independent author or traditionally published, it seems most of the marketing and promotion falls to the author in today’s literary arena. Even if we love marketing and don’t find it to be an absolutely harrowing task, we are writers, and time spent marketing is time not doing what we love: writing. We don’t want to waste our time and money on ineffective marketing methods. We want to make our marketing techniques pay off big in as little time and expense as possible, so we can spend more time putting words to page.

In this series, we’ve talked to seven authors to learn what methods of book promotion works for them. In Part 1, I talked with Cynthia Vespia, who chose to go independent after having minimal results with small publishers. She does her own cover art and all of her own marketing. She prefers face-to-face marketing events to social media marketing. While she does do social media release parties and book events, she finds them most effective to increase fanbase, rather than book sales. She says it is more difficult to gauge the effectiveness of social media marketing than it is to see the imediate results of conventions and book signings.

Something which I’ve tried which has been somewhat effective, at least in building my platform, if not in actual sales, are the book releases and book events on Facebook. Even though obtaining a spot in one of these events is free, they do require a lot of preparation for a short little spurt (1/2 hour to 1 hour) for your spot. And I think you’ll get better results if you hang out for at least a while, commenting and playing the games to support your fellow authors and creating visibility. If you’d like to check one out, I’m participating in a special Cyber-Monday event, hosted by Sonora Dawn Studios and DL Mullen, and they are still looking for author particiapnts.

In Part 2, Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd , who are small press and independent authors. Kym does their covers and Mark copyedits their books, and they do all of their own marketing. They promote through blogging and have a YouTube channel, where visitors could watch recordings of their research and ghost investigations. They also have a website and author pages on Amazon and Goodreads. They have found blogging, and social media promotion effective ways to get the word out about their books, but they found in person book readings to be less effective and unpredictable. They advocate free promotions and KDP Select.

On the issue of KDP select, I have my doubts, and author Chris Barili is in agreement with me in Part 6. It doesn’t make sense to limit the venues on which you can sell your book. With KDP select, you must sell only on Amazon, exclusively, which excludes many other venues, such as Smashwords, Lulu, Book Baby, etc… And while I say it makes no sense, both of my books are with KDP select right now. I’ve left Last Call there for now, because I have an idea to do something else with that story, and it doesn’t make sense to pull it off KDP select until then. And with Delilah, it’s really up to my publisher, so for now, I don’t have a choice.

Part 3 featured an interview with Jordan Elizabeth, a small press author. Her publisher handles editing and book covers, but she handles the major portion of her marketing. She’s an advocate of social media promotion. She reports good results advertising with BookBub and Fussy Librarian, and also says book signings are effective.

In 2016, author Nicholas C. Rossis in his post, Call to Arms: Year-long survey reveals which book advertiser offers best value for money, says that at the end of 2016, the best buy for your buck as far as advertising discounted books goes, was Amazon Marketing Services, Book Barbarian, and ENT. But he also notes that these trends fluctuate and advertisers that were rated higher in 2015, may have rated lower or not made his list in 2016. And he notes that Amazon Marketing Service rising from the ranks with unfortold speed.

According to Writer’s News’ list of useful book promotion websites , Write Globe, which claims to be the perfect platform for creative individuals, ranked number one. Also mentioned are Writers.Support, BooksOnline.Best, Noble Authors, 79ads.in, Creative Designers and Writers, ShareNews.live, Earn.Promo, in that order. The last one on their list stuck out for me, because it’s free. As a starving writer, free always has a certain appeal. Another site for free advertising that I found was Authors Talk About It. They run your ad for your book in their newsletter for free and also free book cover contests, and featured author interviews. They ran my interview and made me sound good.

Independent author Tim Baker  joined us in Part 4. He started out with small press publishers, but switched over to independent, creating his own brand. He does free promotions and giveaways and finds them to be effective in creating buzz, resulting in future sales. He contracts out editing, formating and cover art, but handles all his own marketing, believing there is no magic formula for selling books but hard work and persistance.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to hire out your non-writing tasks, so you can spend your time tending to the business of writing, there are plenty of sites out there where you can find free-lance service providers. My editing services are offered through The Author Market, and they also offer cover design and book trailers, proofreading, ghostwriting and PA services.

In Part 5, independent author Amy Cecil shared her thoughts on marketing and social media promotion. She hires out her marketing tasks so she has more time to spend on the business of writing. She hires for editing and cover design, has a marketing firm and two PAs. She’s a new found believer in book blog tours, has done a book signing at B&N, and has a street team for creating social media buzz aboout her books. She’s not in favor of free promotions, but loves the exposure that social media has given her.

While Jordan didn’t find review tours to be worth the money it costs of the promotional agencies as her results were minimal. I  know a little about them, and I know authors who swear by them, like Amy Cecil. Many of my author interviews are part of the Full Moon Bites Promotions book blog tours. And I know there are plenty of other promotional services which set up book blog tours out there, but it appears the verdict is still up in the air on this book marketing method.

Part 6 features author Chris Barili, who has published both traditionally and independently. While his traditionally published book requires only minimal marketing from him, the independently published books require him to do it all. He has found social media marketing, free promotions and KDP select to be ineffective. What works for him is hard work and persistance.

In Part 7, I interviewed DeAnna Knippling, an independent author who has also developed her own brand and publishing label. She uses an Advance Reader Copy list and newsletters, free promotions,  and tries to attract super-readers on Goodreads, testifying to the power of reviews. (Of free promos Knippling says that if it doesn’t generate new sales, it at least generates new readers and that’s worth the cost.)

There is no doubt that in today’s book market, in the world of digital marketing, book reviews are where it’s at. But, honest reviews aren’t always easy to come by.  YA author Jordan Elizabeth used her street team for the task of finding reviewers, with mixed results, and DeAnna Knippling has done free promotions on sites like Instafreebie. Free ARCs don’t always garauntee the review. That’s one of the reasons I do honest book reviews here on Writing to be Read, to help promote other authors and their work.

Everybody talks about branding and how you have to have a brand, but it looks to me like branding is something that just sort of happens in many cases, such as my red quill and ink, which began as a social media avatar and has become my logo. In others cases, like DeAnna Knippling and Tim Baker, it’s a purposeful, but still comes almost naturally.

Overall, it seems that different methods are effective for different authors, and in different ways. While social media and free promotions may or may not produce new book sales, it does create buzz, which results in future sales, at least in theory. Although Mark and Kym don’t place a lot of value on social media promotion, Cynthia Vespia, Jordan Elizabeth, Amy Cecil and DeAnna Knippling find it an effective way to build a fan base and get reviews. It seems like face-to-face promotional encounters such as book signings and conferences are a pretty effective way to get your book out there, and free promos pay off if you look at other measures of effectiveness besides book sales. Tim Baker and Chris Barili both put their faith in hard work and persistance, regardless of the marketing methods you chose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Excerpt from “Eternally Yours: Bloodlines” by Scerina Elizabeth

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This is not the first time this author has appeared on Writing to be Read as a part of a book tour. At the end of July I had the pleasure of interviewing Scerina Elizabeth as a part of her tour for Nocturnia and Spellbound. Today’s post is a part of the Full Moon Bites book blog tour for her most recent releases, Eternally Yours and Fangalicious Divas, with an excerpt from Ms. Elizabeth’s erotica vampire romance novel, Eternally Yours: Bloodlines. The content may be adult in nature, so this post is for those eighteen and over only.

Unlike my book reviews, where I tell you what I think and rate the work for you, an excerpt speaks for itself and lets the readers decide. So, without further ado…

We all looked at each other, waiting for either Chloe or William to explain it all. It was Chloe who started.

“We had been working for your grandmother for over ten years. I was her housekeeper while William was the groundskeeper. We were the ones who managed the estate when your grandmother fell ill and was unable to handle things on her own. She was a beautiful woman who was the sweetest thing and very generous. She allowed us to live on the estate just above the horse stables. When she was in the last stages of her illness, she told us all about you and your whereabouts. She also told us about your dark family secret which she instructed us to tell you about once you arrived.”

She continued, “Your dark family secret is something you would not believe so for you to truly believe and understand, we must show you.” As she said that, she got up and waited for us by the door that led down to the cellar.

We all followed her down to the cellar where she stood in front of a steel sliding door that was padlocked and chained where she asked me for the keys. Expertly she rifled through the keys to the right one, unlocked the padlock and pulled the chain from the doors. She tossed the chains to the side and stuck the padlock in her pocket. Both she and William pulled the heavy sliding door open. There in front of us was another set of stairs made of stone that looked much older than the house itself. She lit a torch on the wall. Once there was light and we could see better into the stairwell, it looked like something that you would find back in medieval times, like an old dungeon or something. The smell was stale and musty. You could tell no one had been down here in years. She led us down to the lower level of the cellar where at the bottom of the stairs was another heavy, steel, sliding door – chained and padlocked like the one upstairs. She opened the door as she had done before, she knew exactly what she was doing which washed away any doubt I may have had of her. She seemed to know her way around this house and knew much about my family.

The inner room lit up as soon as the doors opened. It looked like a mausoleum, very sterile and white with hints of gold and silver here and there. In the heart of the room, were three white marble slabs and on top of each slab was a coffin.

The one in the middle was an enormous gold coffin with a massive silver crucifix was inlaid with rubies and diamonds in the center of it. Along the sides were more precious gems and it had detailed artwork covering it. It was gorgeous.

The two smaller coffins were bronze with smaller gold crucifixes covered in emeralds and diamonds on them. Just like the center coffin, the two smaller ones had gorgeous detailed artwork.

At the very front of the room in the center, were two silver columns that looked like a doorway. I figured it was mere decorations since two silver columns were not only covered in detailed artwork but more precious gems and diamonds. Not paying much attention and figuring it was just a decoration, I continued to take in the room. It was a family mausoleum clearly and I could understand in a sense why the dark family secret would be kept down here but what I still didn’t understand was – what was it? I was just about to find out because William began to speak.

“What lies in these coffins is your family’s dark secret. From generation to generation your family has watched over and protected the contents of these three coffins. In the center lies your great-great-grandfather Jacob LaBau and in the two smaller coffins lies your great-grandaunts Latrelle & Charlamaine LaBau.

Now what am about to tell you, you will have trouble believing and you might want to have a seat for this next part.” He gestured towards a marble bench on the side of the room and we did as he said.

Scerina Elizabeth

 


Interview with romance author Molly V. Lovell

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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.

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Interview with Author Scerina Elizabeth

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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

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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.

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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 😊

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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.

 

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Interview with Author Kristy Centeno

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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

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Interview with “The Best Seller”author Dina Rae

dins

Today, we have with us, the science fiction author of the conspiracy thriller, The Best Seller, Dina Rae. She’s tried both the traditional publishing and self-publishing routes, and her latest novel, The Best Seller, was recently released by Solstice Publishing. With this interview, we kick off her book blog tour with Full Moon Bites author promotions.

Kaye: Your latest science fiction conspiracy thriller, The Best Seller: Book 1 of 2 was recently released. It is the tale of a writer’s dream come true, turned nightmare. Would you like to talk about that? Tell us what it’s all about.

Dina: I thought it would be interesting to write about a Stephen King-like author who doesn’t write his work, but records it from extraterrestrials.  I once listened to a podcast that talked about automatic writing that comes from the Akashic record and thought it would play well in a novel.  Of course, the author doesn’t live happily ever after.  That would make for a short, boring book.  There’s a reason for it as you read on.  My next novel, The Sequel, gets more into it.

Kaye: You’re a wife and mother in addition to being a writer. What are your secrets for juggling writing with family?

Dina: I also work full-time as a teacher and coach, so yes, it’s a lot to juggle!  I bring a notebook with me at all times.  When I am waiting at the dentist, it’s time to write; when I am waiting for noodles to boil, it’s time to write; when I am at a choir concert or softball game; it’s time to write…  You can always find time to do the things you love to do.  I wish I was that determined when it comes to working out!  I have found that the most productive people on the planet are the ones who have no time.  Ask the busiest person you know to do something and it’s done!

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

Dina: Great question!  I want them to be good people, but also know that it is okay to mess up.  It’s okay to take a risk and fail.  Learning from mistakes is not just a lesson, but a way to live your life.  I want them to understand the value of a dollar.  So many young people start out their lives in massive debt from college.  Life’s expenses cause more debt.  My college-aged daughters decided to attend junior college and work as a way to keep expenses down.  They might just graduate debt free.  They both have friends who already are in massive debt and have yet to graduate.

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Kaye: Your books are filled with conspiracies and intrigue. A lot of your books don’t fit neatly into a genre category or subcategory. How do you describe your books?

Dina: I love a good conspiracy-left-wing, right-wing, alien, HAARP, contrails, 911, apocalypse, bring it on!  All of my books take kernels of popular conspiracies and then build stories around them.  The Best Seller delves into how the government not only knows about extraterrestrials, but partners up with them to maintain power.  Of course, a humongous conspiracy always has a few that go rogue which messes up the plan.  I also take the Roswell incident and fill in the blanks about how our government found a spaceship and aliens in New Mexico back in 1947.  In The Sequel, The Best Seller’s second volume, there is a great deal of conspiracy about Hitler and his Nazis.

Kaye: You do a lot of research in order to write about things you haven’t ever seen and places you’ve never been? What are some of the strangest things you’ve ever had to research for your books?

Dina: In The Sequel, I spent a great deal of time researching races of aliens.  David Icke’s name popped a few million times.  Very, very strange.  He believes a Reptillian race lives on earth among us.  They shapeshift into key figures of the elite circle.  These Reptillians prepare for New World Order.  I loved it!  He is very sincere in his beliefs as are the many who follow him.

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

Dina: I am a total pantser for the first half of the book.  I start plotting later on, and then go back to change everything!  I tend to work better without an outline.

Kaye: You’ve made some pretty awesome book trailers, which do a good job of capturing readers’ attention, but how effective have they been as far as selling books goes?

Dina: Thanks so much!  The truth is the trailers do not generate a lot of hits.  They are something that I will keep doing anyway.  I think that I get most of my sales from interviews of bloggers and radio hosts.  I also will have selling spurts after a great review from a review blog.

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

Dina:  I would love to find out!  I have everything that I want in a middle-class capacity.  Extra money would mean lots of traveling.

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

Dina: Most fun-I oddly love to research.  I also love putting the pieces together for the story-it’s like a puzzle.  Yes, I am a geek!  Least fun-editing and constantly promoting.

Kaye: What did your road to publication look like? How did you get to where you are today?

Dina: My first book was The Last Degree.  My publisher was not entirely on the up and up.  I didn’t know any better.  I pulled the manuscript and canceled the contract.  The book is now up on Amazon as self-published.  My second book and third books, Halo of the Damned and Halo of the Nephilim, had much smoother rides.  They were published by Damnation Books.  They recently sold the business to another publisher, Caliburn Books.  The Best Seller was picked up by Solstice Publishing and they have been great.  The got back to me right away after my query.  I signed and then they gave me a cover.  While it was being edited, I started promoting the book.

My advice to new writers is this-check out Preditors and Editors.  They keep tabs on the publishing world.  Also know that not everyone is legit.

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

Dina: Not really, but I do like to write longhand.  I like to buy cool looking journals to write in.

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

Dina: It’s certainly not an original idea, but genetic modifications, cloning, CRISP-R, and gene therapy scare the hell out of me.  Fear of the future inspires me.  I don’t see the progress, I see the pitfalls.

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

Dina: I love to play tennis and walk my two dogs.  My husband and I also love to go to flea markets for fun.

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

Dina: There are so many challenges.  Advertising is so expensive.  Authors have to be more creative in their promotions.  There is a lot of trial and error.

Kaye: If you could have lunch with any author, alive or dead, who would it be?  Why?

Dina: Jesus Christ/God because I believe they wrote the Bible.  Meeting them would mean I made it into Heaven.  On a less divine note, I would love to talk to Shakespeare (or Queen Elizabeth as some conspiracy theories claim is the real author of all of those plays).  I want to know how it feels to have so many of your phrases used in today’s language.  I would want to know how he feels about modern literature.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!  Great questions!

I want to thank you, Dina, for sharing with myself and my readers a small glimpse into your life and your writing. I’m sure The Best Seller will be… a best seller, and I’m pleased to be able to help kick off your tour.

You can follow Dina here:

@haloofthedamned
Blog: http://www.dinaraeswritestuff.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30286767-the-best-seller

Facebook

 

See Her Book Trailers Here:

The Best Seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQER8wJmaf8
The Last Degree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkbg6Yy8UKU
Halo of the Damned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p89LXZNxOs

 

Dina is also hosting a give away for 2 signed paperbacks of The Best Seller, and 2 Amazon $10.00 gift cards. You can enter the give away here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/873c06d2357/?

 

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“Chasing the Trickster” can be rather tricky

In April Grey’s Chasing the Trickster, nothing is as it seems. This book brings old world Celtic archetypes into a modern day world with surprising and sometimes confusing results. Two women are one, and one man is actually two, or at least one man and a fertility god. The more that is explained the less that makes sense as the story switches back and forth from past to present until the two finally intertwine to knit together all the pieces of two stories into the one that they were all along. But, that doesn’t end it, because the end is a new beginning and we have to go back to the beginning to understand the end.
Although alternating perspective from first to third person is a bit disconcerting, Grey’s main characters are larger than life and her supporting characters are interesting and colorful. Nina, a gifted photographer whose spirit visions show up in her photographs; Pascal, who shares his physical body with an ancient fertility god; Linda, who has lost everything that is dear to her – they are all chasing the Trickster without knowing it, and the chase won’t end until he catches them. Through Grey’s clearly drawn settings the chase takes readers on a journey from the city streets of New York, New York to the arid deserts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Trickster is mischievous and doesn’t care who gets hurt carrying out his will. Is it possible for each of them to find a happy ending at the end of the chase? Only when past and present meet will the answers be discovered.