Damn, I’m a bad blogger!
I was working on the website today and realized that it had been more than a year since I had blogged about anything. So let’s talk.
2016 was a tough year publishing wise. The market got a hell of a lot tougher and it was harder to connect with our readers. A lot of books flooded the market, diluting the pond, so to speak. I think I learned a lot, but I definitely didn’t sell as many books as 2015.
All around me, I see notes and posts from authors that are being forced to go back to the EDJ- Evil Day Job. That’s so disheartening to me because this profession truly is one of love for most authors.
I’m lucky enough that that isn’t a possibility. Money wise I’m still making a better living doing this than being a cop, plus I have a much lower risk of having my ass kicked or being bitten by a dog, or being involved in a high-speed crash. The list could go on. Lol!
The challenges in the market make small business owners like me work to stay pertinent. Experts say you need to release fast, fast, fast to stay in the public’s eye, and to a certain extent, I believe that, but it will burn you out. When you released a book 4 years ago, it stayed popular for longer. Now when you release a book you have a couple of weeks of popularity, then you start to sink faster without huge advertising intervention. It’s very daunting trying to stay up on the market, as well as write the next blockbuster at the same time.
Some people can’t, so they’re forced back to the EDJs!
So, I’m changing a few things up this year.
One, I’m staying closer to home. While I love going to conferences and meeting readers and seeing author friends, that doesn’t get my books written. The planning that goes into even a small day signing is significant and very distracting. If it’s an out of town trip, the planning is even more involved with travel, hotel, reader meets, author meets, plus everything you have to plan for at home before you leave. I have kids and horses and dogs and a wandering hubby I have to keep track of. This year I have 5 definite conferences, with maybe a couple of smaller, close ones thrown in. Definites are Washington, Pa, Lexington, Louisville, Atlanta, and Huntington. Check out my appearances tab on my website!
Two, I’m diversifying! This month, after I release SEAL’s Christmas Dream, I will have 16 books out in the Lost and Found series. Holy crapola! That’s a lot! And as much as I love the guys at LNF, I need to change directions a bit. I’m spinning off a series about Chad’s ranch. He and Lora are getting married on the Blue Star ranch, and his brother Brock and sisters need to find their own love! This will definitely be more Western!
Yes, I will also be starting the Dogs of War series, toward the end of the year. You will learn why Aiden/Jaime is the way he is, and we’ll meet his fire squad. I’m excited to write them. This will definitely have a bit of a paranormal bent, similar to Christine Feehan’s Ghost Walkers.
I’ll be doing an Elle James Brotherhood Protectors Kindle world in June! So keep a look out for that! As well as a couple other secret projects in the works!
Jeez, what else….
Yes, I have a second Needful Heart book that needs let out, tentatively titled A Hopeful Soul. Everyone always asks about this. Time, time, time…
Three, I’ll be opening a store here on my website, where I might offer limited signed print runs and swag and the like. I’m pretty excited about it.
Four, I’m going to be blogging more. I want people to be able to find information about what I’m doing and who I’m working on more easily. Also, for those that are into publishing, I’m going to be blogging about doing it yourself, even in this hard market. There’s so much misinformation out there that it’s disheartening, and I want people to be able to see how I did it myself. So, stay tuned for that.
Okay, I think that’s all I wanted to convey. Any big plans for your year ahead?
So, in 2015 I promised myself that 2016 would involve less travel and more writing. Well, you know that saying about best-laid plans…
I have several super secret projects on my list that I can’t talk about (although you will absolutely love them, just fyi!), but there are several highlights that I CAN tell you about.
- Rachel is going to be expanded and released. Hopefully this January.
- Duncan is being worked on as we speak. Projected release date? I’m going to say as soon as possible. I would like to say May or June. But I have a couple of projects that I HAVE to release before his.
- I have a Kindle World book releasing January 26th in Cat Johnson’s World, where you’ll get to meet Zero and Izzy.
As for traveling, well, here is my current list. If you are in the area and CAN NOT attend the event, please send me a note or message. Maybe we can get together for a coffee or something!
- February 27th I have a local signing at Midway College for Woodford Country Library. You can find the details here: http://www.woodfordcountylibrary.com/event/1192
- March 18-20th I’ll be in Biloxi, MS for the Booking in Biloxi Event at the IP Casino! Here’s the FB page- https://www.facebook.com/bookinginbiloxi/?fref=ts
- April 12-17 I’ll be at the Rio in Las Vegas for the Romantic Times Convention! https://www.rtconvention.com
- May 13-15 Nashville, TN I’ll be there for the Weekend With the Authors event. http://www.aweekendwiththeauthors.com
- June 10-12 I’ll be in West Chester, Ohio for the Lori Foster Event. http://readerauthorgettogether.com
- In September I’ll be at the Novelist Inc Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is an industry conference. But I will be available to readers in the area!
- November 4-5 I’ll be in Huntington, WV for the Rebels and Readers Conference. http://www.rebelsnreaders.com/rarae-2016.html
Jeez! See what I mean? And there may be a couple of other smaller events thrown in later. I truly hope to see you at one of these!
This is so appropriate right now, because the thermometer on my phone says it is 13 degrees outside and dropping. Kentucky gets cold, but not normally this cold. Next week we’re supposed to be in the negative at night! BRRR…..
Luckily for me, I’m writing a couple of hot scenes. The following is from an untitled story related to my Lost and Found series.
They made it through dinner,
packed up the few leftovers and left. Flynn felt like a schmutz, ruining their
date the way he had.
“I’m sorry,” he told her, holding
the truck door open for her.
She glanced at him and frowned.
“I’m not. I had a lovely dinner with you.”
Flynn leaned between the door and
the frame, needing to explain.
“Crowds mean danger to me.” He flicked
his gaze back to the restaurant. “There were twenty-three people in there,
possibly too many for me to take on alone.” He couldn’t help but grin. “But I
would have done my best.”
Willow laughed at his bravado and
reached out to hold his cheek. Flynn forced himself to stand, unmoving, as she
caressed the bristly beard down to his chin, and he felt obligated to be blunt.
“I’m not a regular guy, Willow. I can’t take you out dancing or to a county fair
without planning exit strategies and collateral damage. I’ve been stateside for
three years now, but I still live as if I’m in a warzone. To some extent, I
probably always will. I don’t know that anything will ever change that. And I
don’t know that that would be a good environment for you.”
She raised a brow at that.
“Do you see me pulling away? Cringing
at what you do?”
She waited for him to shake his
“Did I not give you the back-up
you needed for that situation?”
He stared at her, shaken that she
could understand the fear he did not want to give name to.
“Dancing is overrated,” she continued, “although we
may have to work on the county fair. That’s one thing I simply cannot miss. I
love animals more that people, so as long as you make an effort every once in a
while to get out, I think we’ll be fine.”
Leaning in, she pressed a soft
kiss to his lips.
Flynn felt like he was drowning;
in her scent, her taste and the emotion she stirred in him.
He opened his mouth to taste her,
and a visceral need erupted. It had been so long since he’d been with a woman,
but he didn’t even think that was it. It couldn’t be just any woman. Willow had been the one taunting him in his dreams for so long.
Saving him from himself.
She tasted of Italian herbs and
lemon. Angling his head, Flynn forced her mouth wider, needing to taste everything
she had. She met him move for move. Fingernails dug into his ribs, then
burrowed beneath his shirt to his skin. Flynn shuddered at the first intimate
touch he’d felt in years. Her hand moved across his ribs and brushed his pectorals.
He stepped closer, unable not to. One of her hands drifted down to his ass cheek and squeezed, and he hardened to the point of pain. Oh, hell…
The hairs on his neck rose, and he
realized how exposed he was, kissing her out here on the street. With a final,
lingering nibble, he pulled away. He scanned the surroundings, but didn’t see
any immediate threat. Circling the truck hood, he slid into the vehicle.
Willow had dragged the seatbelt
across her midsection, but still looked a little dazed. Flynn grinned at her
hazy expression. “Are you okay? You look a little flushed.”
She gave him a smack on the arm.
“Can I help it if I’m recovering from one of the hottest kisses I’ve ever had?”
Flynn swallowed and looked at her,
trying to decide if she were bullshitting him or not. She looked totally
sincere. And aroused. The erection he’d been trying to tame renewed, making him
Willow leaned toward him with a satisfied
look on her face. “Yeah, I’m not the only one, am I?”
Grinning with her, he started the truck and shoved it into gear.
This book won’t be out for a couple of months, I’m sorry. But I’ve got a couple of free downloads of my book Embattled Minds for anyone who tells me about the hottest scene they’ve read recently. And if you bounce along on the rest of the hop, you can be entered to win a Kindle, a Nook, gift cards and book downloads! A pretty awesome way to spend a chilly weekend if you ask me! Just click on the fireplace to be taken to the list.
Also, if you need another FREE READ, you can check out the prequel novella to my Lost and Found series, HERE
Publishing is changing every day, it seems. Indie pubbed authors are getting publishing contracts and traditionally pubbed authors are putting out their back lists as indies. The stigma to releasing your own work is finally beginning to ease as authors realize there is more than one path to publication.
I had a lady email me the other day wanting to know what she needed to do to release a title she’d received the rights back to from a small e-pub, and I thought it would be a good blog post. She’s probably not the only one wondering.
When we sign contracts with publishing companies, be they New York traditional or smaller e publishing houses, we give up our rights to that work for a length of time. Contracts themselves usually run from one year to fourteen, with three to five being the average. During that time, the publishing house prepares and distributes the work. There should be a section of the contract dealing with the length of the contract and directions on how to request your rights back from the publisher. Follow those directions closely. On some contracts, if you don’t request your rights back during the window specified, the contract itself renews, locking you in again.
Once you receive your reversion of rights, you can prepare to put it out yourself.
~~~There are some things to remember. When you signed the contract with the publishing company, more than likely they took over the cost of production. They bought a cover, they paid somebody to edit the work and they put their own ISBN on it. Now that you own the book again, YOU CANNOT USE THE OLD COVER OR ISBN. You, as the new publisher, have to provide a new cover, a new ISBN and possibly new editing.
Here’s what you need to do to release your reverted-rights, backlist title:
- Once you receive your Reversion of Rights letter from your publisher, read over your manuscript. This is a chance to remake the story into what you’ve always envisioned. When you read it over, you may find sections that you’d like to change or expand on. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give it a different ending. Or turn it edgier. Make the hero a little nicer. Well, now’s your chance. Make the story into what YOU want.
- Choose a cover artist and cover. There are a lot of up and coming, fabulous cover designers out there. I’ve personally used The Author’s Red Room, Melody Simmons at ebookindiecovers.com and Viola Estrella, and all were fabulous. If you follow this link, it will take you to an updated list of 52 cover artists I’ve listed on my website under Author Helps. Some publishing houses barely ask your opinion about the cover, let alone what models or scenes to use. If you’ve ever cringed when you’ve gotten a cover from a publisher because the heroine’s hair color is wrong, or the scene is off, this is your chance to make it right. I put this a little higher in the list because some cover artists take several months to create a custom cover. Or it may just take that long to catch a break in their schedule. You can order the cover while you’re doing everything else. If you plan on taking your book to print, you’ll need a wrap cover, which will take a little longer to create. Tell your artist what you need before you start. Cost– can be any amount. I’ve seen pre-made covers for as little as $5 up to custom covers for several thousand.
- Edit your work. While the original publisher probably, hopefully, edited your work competently, you still want to have it checked over, especially if you modify or change anything from the original manuscript. Every editor I’ve had has worked differently, but they’ve all been fabulous, luckily. I’ve heard horror stories of editors that couldn’t edit for shit, and if you’ve ever had one of those, you have my sympathies. I think every piece of work about to be published needs to be re-edited, because just about every book I read -Traditional, e or indie- has a typo in it somewhere. Cost– any amount. If you have a critical reader good at spotting issues, it may be free. If you use an actual editor, expect to pay out $50 up to several hundred dollars for a critical read through. I currently use Mary Yakovets. I hate to give her name out because she really is awesome, and I want her to still have time for me!
- Buy ISBNs for your work. I’ll explain this out a bit, so that everybody knows. If you publish on Smashwords, they offer you a free ISBN, but THEY are listed as the publisher, not you. If you actually buy the number from Bowker, YOU are listed as the publisher. It took me a while to figure out, but from now on, I want MY work to be under MY name. Cost-You can buy them at Bowker; 1 for $99 or 10 for $250. I bought the 10 pack, because each book that you put out will need 3 numbers. One ISBN for digital, one for print and one for audio.
- Format your work. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and I’ve resigned myself to be one of those that CAN NOT format, no matter how long she tries. But it’s turned out for the best. I have a formatter at BBebooks that absolutely rocks formatting, affordably. When I send Paul my doc file, for $50 he turns it into 7 different versions, for each of the distributors. WELL worth the money. Cost– depends upon your file size and the number of different versions you need. $50 and up.
- Register yourself and Publish at all of the distribution sites. Some, like Apple, take a long time to check you out and approve you as a publisher. Like, several weeks. If you don’t have a Mac computer and have to upload to Apple through Smashwords, ARE or one of the other distributors, be prepared for it to take several weeks for your book to go live. The rest of the sites go live fairly quickly. Smashwords is live immediately. Amazon takes about a day, Kobo and Barnes and Noble take a few days to a few weeks. ARE is also a quick one. Your book will be available as soon as you upload it, but I will say that their upload process is a pain in the butt. When you upload to Createspace for your print book, the proof will take 24 hours. Once you approve the proof, you can hit print and your books will be available. Cost– None of the sites charge you to publish a book through them, although they will take a portion of your royalties. Read the information at each site to see how much.
- Start Marketing! This is probably something that you’ve been doing anyway, no matter where you were pubbed. Keep doing it. The advantage to this, though, is that now that you’ve pubbed your own book, you can see real-time sales at all of the sites. If you do a blog-hop or targeted advertisement, you can see immediately if it was effective or not by following your numbers. You had no way of knowing that when you were pubbed with a publisher.
This is a highly simplified version of what you need to do, but you can now call yourself a self-published author. If you have any questions at all, either comment here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!
While my heroes are not typically handsome, they do have a strong appeal with women. They’ve served their country with pride, and returned better men. They’ve saved lives and tried to secure peace.
The main difference is, my heroes are all Disabled Veterans.
When I started writing the Lost And Found series, I didn’t know what kind of reception I would get with my men. They are not your typical ‘tall, dark, and handsome’.
In Book 1, Embattled Hearts, my hero John used to be tall, dark and handsome, until a roadside bomb paralyzed him and put him into a wheelchair.
In Book 2, Embattled Minds, Zeke used to be a ladies’ man, until he made the mistake of taking cover behind a wall that came down on top of him, permanently scarring him and leaving him with a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Book 3, when it comes out, will have a hero with a permanently disabled arm and an amputated leg.
Not your typical hero, but to me they are the epitome of heroism. They have sacrificed for their country. They have sacrificed time with their family, their children. They’ve sacrificed, sometimes literally, their sanity to their country.
I’ve had people ask me about my covers, because the men, in general, are good looking and healthy. Unfortunately, there are very few stock images for my heroes- definitely none with a romantic theme. So, I’ve modified the pictures as much as I could. Trimming the lower half on one, shading a face on another.
If you’d like to check out my men, the prequel to the series, The Embattled Road is free.
My question is: What is your ideal hero? One commenter will win a free download of my newest book, Embattled Minds.
If you click on the image below, it’ll get you started on the hop. Just press ‘next’ in the top right hand corner to go to the next blog. Happy hopping!
Please, continue on the blog hop to meet more fantastic heroes and be entered for a chance to with a $75 gift card, plus several free book downloads.
So, I’m a little over on my timeline, but Embattled Minds is done! This was supposed to be a filler for between the full-length partner novels I’m doing, but it didn’t go that way. Zeke had a lot to say! And Ember had a lot to say back! The 20-25k I planned turned into 45k words!
If you haven’t been following the Lost And Found Series, this is the second book in the series, three total in the line if you count the prequel. Check it out.
Zeke Foster has little to no experience with women over the past couple of years, after being injured in Afghanistan. Brutally scarred, he has no expectation that he’ll ever find a woman capable of accepting him the way he is. But he can’t help but be enamored of Ember, the waitress of a local watering hole.
Ember Norton’s life has turned into one devastating catastrophe after another. When the scarred soldier with the kind eyes brings some security to her life, she’s afraid to trust her luck. She’s been self-sufficient for a long time. But his wounded soul calls to her and she finds herself falling for him.
In spite of the secrets he continues to keep.
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble