Meet/Greet: Capital City Carnival – Food, Fun, and Games Friday May 20, 2022 7:00pm – 10:00pm Live Music/DJ, Carnival Style Food, Table Games (with attending Authors), and Cash Bar Ticket Cost: $15
Author Signing: Saturday May 21, 2022 11:00am – 4:00pm VIP Ticket Cost: $25 Includes 1 hour early entry in the event from at 11:00 am, Special VIP Swag Bag, VIP Lanyard, and 1 Scratch-off Ticket (Scratch-off prizes include chances to win Amazon gift cards, raffle basket tickets, book cash, and more) General Admission Ticket Cost: $5
Be sure to come and meet me. I’ll have copies of Circle of Desire, Circle of Danger and Circle of Deception available to sign. For the people who are in my Readers Group or purchase a copy of my book, I have swag to give you. So much fun!
For those who already have the books, take a picture of yourself holding the book and show me the picture and I’ll give you swag!
For everyone else, I have book marks and excerpts (and possibly candy) to give out.
The other day, one of my writer friends was setting up a press release for our book signing at Barnes and Noble (The Summit) in Birmingham, Alabama on February 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. And she asked a couple questions you might be interested in seeing the answer.
As a local author, what about Birmingham and Alabama inspires you? How do you weave your local experiences into your stories?
A well-known fact of the South, it’s rich with culture and history. The people love to tell about what happened to them and their relatives with rarely any of the good bits left out. My dad and his dad were big talkers and big readers. No surprise that I am too. So when you mix a reader with someone who likes to talk, they often turn out to be a writer. That’s me.
On June 8, at 10:30 a.m., I will be at the Decatur Public Library. Come and buy one of my books and I’ll sign it. All kinds of fun things will be going on. Plus you can have lunch with me or another author. Click here for more information.
The last Bookbub I looked at was Tuesday’s. Today I caught up.
A few interested me, but not enough to buy. I’ve been wanting to cut back on my TBR pile. So the book has to interest me big time. Wednesday, nothing. Thursday, thought about one, but decided I’ve read too many like it and have been disappointed. Friday, interesting, but a no go.
Finally, Saturday’s has three I’m interested in. An erotic Romantic Suspense: Hero offers to pull heroine’s business out of debt if she obeys him in all ways for 30 days. Historical Romance: A Scottish warrior inherits an English earldom and an impoverished lady will teach him “proper” etiquette. Sci-Fi romance: Girl goes to war torn planet and meets two warriors.
I try to narrow my choices by looking at the full blurb on Amazon or iBooks. Sometimes it reveals the book isn’t what I really want. Maybe too heavy on history, or doesn’t really concentrate on the romance. And I’m not talking about sex. I like the one-on-one relationship building. I don’t mind a little arguing as long as it doesn’t get stupid. You know, arguing for argument sake.
Then if I’m still interested in the book, I read the sample. I can’t tell you how often I read the beginning and became SO bored. Then others are just not to my taste.
So far, I’ve bought the erotic Romantic Suspense. Passed on the Sci-Fi romance. The blurb did it. So not what I thought it would be. Maybe the author or editor messed up in telling the summary, but that’s the way it goes. Still thinking about the Historical Romance.
When it comes to To-Be-Read piles, mine is small. Around 10 e-books, and about the same in paperbacks.
I refuse to mistreat the authors who go out of their way to provide a deal that takes you years to read. When you finally read the book you bought 2-3 years ago, and it turns out to be great, and you go in search for the author, don’t be surprised if you can’t find another book from that author. Please understand. The author thought no one liked her books. You didn’t read it and review it, or tell your friends because you took so long to read it. For an author to make only $100 a year on her books isn’t enough to keep going.
And don’t get me started on selling a book that took months, if not a year to write for 99 cents. Someone told me recently that charging more than 99 cents for an e-book is horrible. She says the author doesn’t have to spend money on paper and printing. Like that’s the only reason a person reads a book. Maybe I’ll try to sell her a bunch of books with nothing printed inside. I bet she wouldn’t pay $7 dollars for each then. It’s the words inside that makes them valuable.
Think of it this way, I use a computer to write my books and often have to get a new one every two to four years. (Salesperson in the store said they aren’t made to last no more than two years. Bull crap!) When you write everyday in your spare time, they get overused and/or obsolete. My wage from a day job pays for it. Not my writing. Then I go to a writers conference to hear experts talk about how to make my manuscripts/books better, fresh, or more exciting. Again my day job helps pay for my airfare/gas, hotel, food, and the huge conference fee. Not my writing. Even if I go to a local college to take a class or two, I have to pay tuition. Not provided by my books. I giveaway book marks (readers still love them despite most read e-books), pens, t-shirts, and gift cards to readers. Day job, not writing. Let’s not even get into the costs of ads.
If I self-publish a book, there is the cover art that can range from $20 (if I do the design) to $400 (by a professional designer and you could pay even more if you want a unique design/cover). I can format the inside of the book through Draft2Digital free. Then there’s the editor. She receives $350 to $450 a book. Some editors charge a lot more. So I dare you to tell me again the book is worth less than a dollar.
You say, why do all of that? Just write a good book, they will come. Despite what the movie, Field of Dreams, make you believe, it doesn’t necessary work that way.
Even if you have a publishing house–I’ve had the biggest–behind your book advertising the hell out of it, you still need to help.
Book signings do little. They are more to stroke your ego. Actually, I say go for it. Authors need all the ego stroking they can get. It’s a rough, thankless job. Kind of like being a mom. At book signings, I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold just with the hope they will read the others.
Sure most publishers give the author books, but only one of the two large publishing houses I’ve been with gave me six. Yep. Six. And those I gave to relatives because they think you’re being cheap by not giving them a book. To cover everyone, I usually have to buy a few extra. The other publisher gave me zilch. My book was published in e-book only. I will say they provided the most advertising to readers and bloggers (that’s the one I mentioned above). Of course, the self-published copies were provided to my family at my cost. You know, I’m rich off all of those books. NOT!
As you can tell, authors deserve more for each book. No matter what, be sure to tell your family and friends about the latest book you enjoyed and write a review and share it everywhere! Thanks!
A few years ago, I posted on another blog about how wonderful it is to be a published author. Some of it was me teasing (aka sarcastic/ being funny) and a commenter thought I was for real and scolded me for not being appreciative of my good fortune. Anyway, I thought I would talk about what people expect when you become published. If you’ve been reading my posts for any time, you’ll know I love lists. So here we go.
1. Non-writers (not necessarily readers) believe you are rich. Less than 1 percent of published authors make enough for a living or more. No. I don’t have a link confirming that. But think, saying someone is rich because they were published, for example, with a traditional publisher like Penguin/Random House. That would be like saying a person who owns a business is rich. Did you know only 20% of new businesses survive their first year? So that means 80% lose money and close up. Writing is a business, a business most writers love, but they don’t work out for everyone.
Writing takes time from being with family and friends. Many writers are overweight, manic depressives, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc., because once a person is published they are pressed by their publishers and fans to write more and faster. Most writers have a day job to pay the bills until they can make money. See #1 above. So we can be found on our computers (or handwriting in notebooks) early in the mornings to late at night and all the times in between. And yes, I know some authors can write a book in a few weeks. That’s all I’ll say about that. And yes, I’m a little green with envy, but … (biting my tongue).
People expect you to give your books away. People become offended because I don’t give them a book. Family and friends are to support what you love, but they don’t want to buy. First, when you’re traditionally published, most authors only receive five to twelve books free from the publisher. Those are to be sent to reviewers, but I always gave them to my immediate family, signed. If you’re independently published (indie), then those books you hand over to family and friends are paid by you, and they don’t necessarily cost only two bucks.
Reviews can be confusing and they don’t always help authors to become better writers. They can push an author into a gray funk. Yes. We try to avoid reading them, but it’s like driving down the interstate swearing you won’t look at the wreck, but we always glance at it. No matter if the majority of your reviews are five stars (coffee cup, hearts or whatever the fuck a person makes up), the four and less can kill you and the percentage. I really wish Amazon would do away with the stars. I’ve seen one stars because the author charged a dollar more a book than author xyz. That’s not why the review section is there. Read the book, review it, and then at the end, say (without affecting the stars) please lower your prices because we all know you’re rich. See #1 above. I’ve seen one stars because it’s written in first person. The blurb on the story is in first person. That should’ve been a clue, not counting there is usually samples on the same website page. Or one person gives four stars because it’s a great read. Four stars out of five, really? Great? Yes. The five stars are for those certain authors they love. Geez! Or one star because the hero has the same name as the reviewer’s lying, cheating SOB of an ex. That’s why stars (and the other kind) should be done away with. Yes. I need to write a blog about it.By the way, editors at publishing houses you submit to do look at reviews (mainly the number of stars) in particularly, at that troll paradise place called Goodreads.
I know I struggle to improve my writing. Though many readers appreciate my writing (see picture above of an award). I’ve learned it doesn’t matter how well you promote yourself or the publisher does, it all boils down to the writing, the story you have to tell and how you write it. That’s what I figure where my problem lies.
The word I hear in several of my reviews is gritty. That means, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “having strong qualities of tough uncompromising realism.” I guess it’s okay for romantic suspense about assassins to have the term used, but I want more. So my next book will be a pure romance. Of course with sex, I’m not going off the deep end here. By changing the type of story and writing it in first person (oh, yeah, I’m going there), maybe I will find my niche.
Author swag rarely sell books. BUT, I have to say if you send out 300 bookmarks and get one sale, it’s really worth it. For they may decide to buy your other books and tell their friends. That’s how the good things get started. Swag like pens, bookmarks, and other cutesy and cheap items for giveaway at book signings or in the line at the grocery store can be easy to carry in purses or computer cases. Really, in a way, they are items every writer loves because it is an ego thing. A way to tell strangers that you’re published.
That brings me to doing giveaways on FB or websites/blogs. This is more than just bookmarks or postcards. If you give away big items like flash-drives, tablets, and huge dollar amount gift cards, be sure to advertise and/or pinpoint those fans who will celebrate by mentioning your name often. I’ve given away books and gift cards where people didn’t come back and acknowledgement their win with the info I need like their email address. I do not add them to other lists. And I can understand not wanting a romantic suspense book if you read only historical romance. So be careful where you comment. If you do and see that you might win a book you’re not interested in, say “Don’t include me in the drawing.” If you think that’s rude, it’s just as rude not to accept the prize. You’ve prevented someone else from winning a book they may love. You can always add “I have too many books to read for now.” You know you won’t be lying. All readers do. Not lie, but have a huge stack on their Kindle or on their bookshelf or both.
Book signings can be boring. In all of the signings I’ve participated, I’ve talked more to the authors around me than to readers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an extrovert and will wave freebies at passersby to get them to stop and talk to me. Packages of M&Ms attached to postcards with pictures of a nearly naked man on the front will stop most attendees in their tracks. But if you’re not a well-known author, the readers will ease on by otherwise. I can tell you, you can go to every friend’s book signings before you’re published and chances are they won’t be there for your first. Bitter? Oh, yeah. Couldn’t help but let it spill out. I guess I’m in a mood.
And no, once traditionally published doesn’t mean you’ll be forever published that way. Many, many reasons and it’s so hard to explain to non-writers. It can be from your editor leaving and the next one assigned can’t stand you and/or your writing to you don’t write the type of books they want no matter what they thought in the beginning. Goodness, there are hundreds of reason for not carrying on with the same publisher. If you’re lucky enough to click with the publisher, editor, and fans, I say bully for you! Stick with it until you know you need to write something different. Get that fan base and remember them when you’re writing your next book/series.
With all that said, I do love being published, traditionally and indie. I love writing the stories about two people falling in love and having fun doing it. Though I will say halfway through most of my books, I’m cursing as bad as my characters. I always wonder why in the hell I’m doing this, but when I hold that completed book in my hand. I feel proud that I finished something not everyone can or is willing to do. Maybe when my grandkids get older they will think Nana was one crazy woman, but they will remember me. They’ll know my name and know what I loved to do. Write.
Since my first book signing in 2012 at the RWA Literacy Event in Anaheim, I’ve been involved in numerous others. Some have been a bust and some have been wonderful. But I’ve found that some authors don’t understand how rude they can be to other authors during one. You thought I was going to talk about readers to authors or the other way around. I have links for those at the bottom.
When you’re sharing a table with one or two other authors, it’s important to not take up more than your share of the table. So what if you have twenty different types of swag, shelves, mini posters, etc., and the other author has only five copies of one book and a small stack of bookmarks. She deserves that room. Don’t be rude and ask if you can take up a little extra room — “she don’t need it.” WRONG! Readers need to be able to see her and not think she’s your assistant.
When a reader is talking to the author next to you, do not interrupt and draw the reader’s attention to you. The author will not appreciate your pulling her reader away from buying or talking about her book or whatever they are talking about. All part of being accessible to a possible fan. If you feel a need to say something, be sure it’s along the lines of praise for that author’s book or suggesting another book from that author. NEVER start talking about yours. At a book signing not along ago, I had this happen to me several times by the author next to me. You can imagine I don’t think much of that author and will ask to be moved in the future.
So you’re lucky and got assigned next to your good author friend or your favorite author. Before the doors open and the readers spill in, talk to your heart’s delight after the author has set up her table. Let her have a chance to get organized. Then when the readers come in, a short chat without readers nearby is okay, but no long, drawn out conversations. Readers will not want to interrupt and they’ll walk on by.
Place as many or all your boxes and bags including purse under the table. The author might need to leave early or want to hug a special reader. Don’t make her trip over your crap.
That’s all I can think of at this moment. Comment and let me know if you can think of anything else.
Guess what I found out today? My workshop with Lexi George and Heather Leonard has been picked for the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Norcross, GA this October. We’re so excited. Twice we’ve presented it (and I was so freaking stiff – got to work on that – so unlike me) for groups of writers.
It’s called The Pitch is Back. Yeah, yeah. Not very original, but it works and I plan to play the Elton John song (appropriate considering he lives in Atlanta part of the time) The Bitch is Back while waiting for people to sit. Anyway, it will be a lot of fun to attend as we actually act out how to behave and not behave with an editor and agent. Not just telling you BUT REALLY SHOWING IT! HA! It’s a lot of laughs.
So come and join in the fun. Click here to find out more about the conference. It’s probably one of the three largest RWA chapter conferences.
And don’t forget I will be signing my book, CIRCLE OF DECEPTION, at the book fair October 11 there.
Though I’m still wary about Amazon.com (they are taking over the world), they provide a neat service to authors (no matter who publishes your books). They have an area called Author Central where authors can sign in and look at info from BookScan. That service shows your sales of paperbacks throughout mainland U.S.A. I have a feeling it’s not totally accurate, but that’s okay. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know anything until I receive my royalties payments. So I’m happy to see something in the meanwhile.
The info doesn’t tell you what store or who buys the book. It can tell you what city it was sold in. I’m happy and tickled to no end that the Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne love my books. They’ve sold the most. I have a feeling that either a book store bought them or a large book club. THANK YOU!!
It’s no surprise that the second largest sale was in Alabama. I do a lot of book signings there. THANK YOU!!
And the third is all due to my friends at FreshFiction.com. Yep, the Dallas-Ft. Worth area!
Ha! That subject line is great for excusing all kinds of behavior, isn’t it?
Last year, I decided that this year I would only do two big events and two small. The big ones were RT Book Lovers Convention in KC and the Romance Writers of America Conference in Atlanta. The small were Heart of Dixie’s and Southern Magic’s Romance Readers Luncheon.
Well, now I’m considering doing one more in Dallas, TX. I know I need to decide this weekend before it’s too late, if it isn’t already. My buddies, Sherrilyn and Dianna will be there along with a couple more. Money-wise I believe I can swing it, but vacation is at a premium at the day job.
Is there anyone in Dallas that would like to see me and get a signed copy of my book(s)?