All posts by jenniferfusco

Kait Ballenger’s Cover Reveal

Hi All,  Jennifer here,

Paranormal Romance author, the lovely Kait Ballenger, and I share the same agent.  When she posted on our agency’s loop that she needed help to promote her release Shadow Hunter at .99, I jumped right in.  I’ve read Kait’s work and its FAB!

ShadowHunter_FINAL

If you like awesome, well-written paranormals, then Kait is for you!

Here’s the blurb!!

Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead.  But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs… and their newfound hearts.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Hunter-The-Execution-Underground-ebook/dp/B00K4M3I26/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401256662&sr=8-2&keywords=Kait+Ballenger

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadow-hunter-kait-ballenger/1119434584?ean=9781459256347

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-hunter-10

 

Author Bio: Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, former professional bellydancer, and soon-to-be-professor. She has a BA in English from Stetson University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She lives in Central Florida with her screenwriter husband and three sweet furry babies, all three of whom are named after fictional characters. Kait hopes that one day with hard work and dedication, she will be a bestselling author, and then, people will name their pets after her characters, too.

 

Website: http://www.kaitballenger.com

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

Twitter: @kait_ballenger or https://twitter.com/kait_ballenger

Google+: https://plus.google.com/108985176548347481138

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kaitballenger/

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

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about you!

For this post, you guys are always hearing about what’s up with me, the radio show, the new house ,  or how crazy my dog is. This time I thought it’d be fun to talk about you for a change.  Here are some random questions, answer as few or as many as you like:

1.  What’s your name?

2. Who is your favorite movie star?

3. How many books do you read per month?

4. Who is your favorite author?

5. What’s your favorite food?

6. What was the name of your first grade teacher?

7.  How many books or manuscripts have you written?

8. Who is your favorite superhero?

9. What’s your favorite holiday?

10.  If you could have dinner with three other people (living or dead) who would they be? and why?

 

The truth about SWAG

For a moment, let’s talk about S.W.A.G (Stuff We All Get) or rather; giveaways, at author events, conferences, and book signings. For this conversation, the term SWAG refers to author branded pens, jar openers, sewing kits, lip balm, recipe cards, bookmarks, etc. Any promotional item you can put your name on can be considered swag, and just as you wouldn’t show up at a friend’s house for dinner without a dessert or a bottle of wine, you can’t attend a signing without offering a little bit of swag.

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Over the years swag has become a “necessary evil,” one that authors have poured money into in the hopes that the reader will not throw their trinkets away.  But, now, I wonder if you and I are looking at swag through the correct lens. Instead of wishing our swag a long and dust collecting life sitting on a shelf, maybe we should make the most of its short-term existence.

Pondering if I was alone in my opinions of swag, I sought help. Fellow romance author, Kim Boykin gave me her opinion of swag. She says, “For newbies like me, it’s expensive, creating stuff, postage is the real killer. It’s hard for me to tell what giving it away actually does for sales. Does it build up your brand, lots of good will? Most definitely.  But does it sell books? Probably not. I think it’s one of those tools the industry used so people do it. Everything is so price driven these days, I’m guessing readers would rather have a discount or free books rather than stuff. I’m always amazed going through the SWAG room at RWA how much stuff there is and how much of that stuff is still there at the end of the conference. Except chocolate, that always seems to go. Fast.”

To Kim’s point, I’m often baffled by the author who labors over the perfect piece of swag and tries to get it “just right,” then complains post-event that she didn’t see her book sales spike. Have you ever purchased a book because you were given a free nail file? I haven’t. This leads me to believe that we are looking at swag the wrong way. Therefore, if we must invest in promotional items, we should come together to look at swag for what it is…a tradition. Let’s And readers do not feel obligated to buy your book because they walked away from your signing table with a free bottle of hand sanitizer. Let’s admit swag is expensive and after a few years it is possible to run out of good ideas for giveaways. Let’s accept tiny bottles of screen cleaner won’t sell a book. Let’s vow, in unison, not to check sales when our supply of pens is exhausted to only suffer disappointment when the expected uptick in sales isn’t realized.

Instead, let’s do this. Let’s make a promise to carry on a tradition. That if we do invest in promotional items, we do so with the following in mind:

  • We will try to make our swag as clever and unique as we can without breaking the bank.
  • We will strive for our swag to match the tone and theme of our book, and order just enough so that we aren’t giving away author branded hot cocoa in the summertime.
  • We will aim to imprint a visual image on our swag and recognize some people are better at remembering faces and icons because we are more than just fancy script and a web address.
  • We will attempt to make the swag work for us. We vow to share our ingenious ideas with our friends and fans on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
  • We will understand it is more important to place our swag in the hands of the readers than display it on a table to await its unavoidable meeting with the trash can.
  • We vow to look at swag as a gift to the reader, not as a means to a sale.

In conclusion, dear authors, I ask you to stand alongside me to carry on the tradition of swag. Together we realize that from chocolate candy to refrigerator magnets it’s all been done before, and will be done, probably forever. Because just as readers have come to rely on a trinket given in good faith, we have come to expect to provide it. With nothing expected in return, except a smile.

10 Rules for Writing an Effective Press Release

Hi Scribblers,

Being a marketer, I was blessed with the gift of gab.  And, using my gift I’ve been quite successful getting my clients of Market or Die Author Services, LLC noticed in the media.  My client, Kourtney Heintz was even featured on a local TV station – and her book was the focus of the show.  But, getting the attention of traditional media isn’t easy.  I’ve gotten more no’s or no responses than yes’s over the years.  But, my wins have been big ones. Just last week I was on the phone with the producer of CBS This Morning discussing my client Ava Miles as a potential guest.

Having the contacts is part of being successful in the press. The other half of the equation is  writing an effective press release.  So, here are my top ten must-have’s for writing a release that is both professional and eye catching.

1.- The words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE should appear on the top left of the page above the headline – No dates – Dates will be overlooked.

2. Next, the headline should appear in bold capital letters.  Write the headline to attract the attention of the reporter.  If you have a title before your name like, USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, make sure you use it here.

3. Avoid overused words like HOT, NEW, BEST EVER. Write simply and concise.

4. Make sure your book title appears in all caps.

5. Write your release in the 3rd person and do not use a title such as Mr. , Ms. or Mrs.  Just refer to yourself by your last name, such as, Fusco says this is her top ten rules for writing an effective press release.

6. Never use exclamation points in a press release!!!!!

7. At the bottom of the press release type the word “end” or designate the end by using ### .

8. List your website and social media information as well as your phone and physical address.

9. Your release should be no longer than 2 pages MAXIMUM!!!

10.  Submit your press release, and follow up about a week later. If there has been no response – accept that the venue is not interested and move one.  Further correspondence will only piss them off.  :)

Tawny Weber’s Excerpt Tour

Hey Gang:

I’m so happy the Scribes were asked to be a part of Tawny Weber’s excerpt tour. Just take a little read below. If this doesn’t make you want to buy the book, not sure what will.

Warning:  It’s HOT!!

A SEAL's Salvation cover (1)

A SEAL’S SALVATION

by: Tawny Weber

ISBN: 978-0373797875

 Subject: Navy SEAL Petty Officer Brody Lane

Current Status: On leave

Obstacle: The one girl who was off-limits…

Where Navy SEAL “Bad Ass” Brody Lane goes, trouble follows. Being run out of his hometown years ago for misbehaving with Genna Reilly—the sheriff’s daughter—was one thing. Now Brody is about to step into real danger. Not the suggestive letters he’s been exchanging with Genna, but the kind of trouble that can send a soldier home injured and broken inside…

Genna’s entire life has been orchestrated by her family. The right job. The right friends. Enough! Brody’s return offers the promise of lust-filled pleasures. Of flesh teased and tasted. She’s not expecting to find a soldier with distant eyes who has secluded himself from the world. But this good girl knows exactly how to bring a bad boy back to life….

Uniformly Hot!  The Few. The Proud. The Sexy as Hell.

Excerpt:

She was so damned cute when she got feisty. Brody couldn’t help but smile a little. Actually, she was so damned cute all the time, feisty or not. And sexy. Fascinating, entertaining, fun.

His smile fell away.

Maybe that was part of the problem.

He’d thought they could be friends. He hadn’t been able to resist spending time with her, and had thought he could control the intense attraction he felt for her. That he could channel it into making up for some of the lousy deal she’d gotten after he’d left.

But he felt as if he’d signed up for a torture project. Days spent talking and joking. Watching her bake, listening to her dreams. Nights spent hard and horny, diving into dreams so hot he thought the bed was on fire. He was a man used to pushing through the pain, well trained to overcome his body’s weaknesses. Except, apparently, the ones Genna inspired.

“Look,” he said, taking a deep breath and hoping for some semblance of tact and diplomacy. “This friendship thing, it was a mistake.”

Her eyes widened, surprise and hurt flashing. Then, with a sweep of her lashes, her expression changed. Intensified. It sent an itch down Brody’s spine.

“We’re not going to be friends anymore?” she asked in a calm, friendly tone. If it wasn’t for the fact that she was saying the right words, he’d have figured she hadn’t understood him.

As soon as he nodded, she gave him a brilliant smile and tossed off her coat. It hit the floor with a swoosh just as she reached behind her back. The move was quickly accompanied by the sound of a zipper. And Brody’s hiss.

“What, exactly, do you think you’re doing?” he asked, hoping like hell it wasn’t what he thought she was doing.

“Seducing you.”

Damn.

That’s what he’d been afraid of.

A SEAL’s Salvation Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373797877/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0373797877&linkCode=as2&tag=tawweb-20

Tawny Weber

USA TODAY Bestselling author of over twenty hot books, Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook.

Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website, http://www.tawnyweber.com, or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, complete first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Websitehttp://tawnyweber.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/TawnyWeber.RomanceAuthor

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TawnyWeber

Pinterest:   http://pinterest.com/tawnyweber/

A SEAL’s Salvation: http://tawnyweber.com/books/seals-salvation/

A SEAL’s Surrender: http://tawnyweber.com/books/a-seals-surrender/

A SEAL’s Seduction: http://tawnyweber.com/books/a-seals-seduction/

A SEAL’s Kiss: http://tawnyweber.com/books/seals-kiss/

A SEAL’s Salvation Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373797877/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0373797877&linkCode=as2&tag=tawweb-20

A SEAl’s Salvation Barnes & Noble:  http://click.linksynergy.com/link?id=U2Z6CH9yWnc&offerid=266972.9780373797875&type=2&murl=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.barnesandnoble.com%2FA-SEALs-Salvation%2FTawny-Weber%2Fe%2F9780373797875

A SEAL’s Salvation Harlequin:  http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html;jsessionid=4806944D326FA240103DB9727254679F?iid=50156

Email:  tawny@tawnyweber.com

An Independent Publicist or, What the Heck is an Independent Publicist, and Why Do I Need One?

jennifer_hires 600x600An Independent Publicist or, What the Heck is an Independent Publicist, and Why Do I Need One?

By Market or Die Author Services, LLC   Jennifer Fusco and Melanie R. Meadors

Melanie’s contributions to this article are in bold.

Let’s face it. In today’s book world, the market is flooded. Everyone who thinks they want to publish a book has the ability to do it. So, it’s not uncommon for an author to feel the pressure of the crowd when they are about to release their book into the wild.  Many times our clients will feel alone, like they are the ones jumping up and down in the back of the room begging readers to “buy my book,” and that’s not their job.

An author’s job is to deliver the best story possible and to sweep the reader away emotionally, so they are not only compelled to finish reading the story, but crave to know more about the character and their future journeys. Yes. And I know I sound like a broken record at times, but I always say, an author’s best marketing tool is their next book. It’s really hard to market nothing, after all, and even harder to market something that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves during its production.

Our goal as independent publicists is to ensure our client’s work gets the attention it deserves. Through whatever means necessary. With the author’s approval, of course.

MelOur relationship with our clients is based on trust, focus and good planning. And I personally think this is the key to why an author should hire an independent publicist. Trust: you need someone who has your back. When I go into a bookstore, as I do…once…twice…OK, probably five times a week, and I don’t see my clients’ books on the shelves, I see to it that they get there. How are they supposed to sell books if they aren’t in the store, after all? Focus: This is my strong suit. I have ADHD. Hyperfocus is my middle name. When I do a job, I do it thoroughly. Writers WRITE. They can’t have that singular focus on the marketing aspect when they are on deadline at the same time their book is released. By hiring an independent publicist, they have someone who can be there to answer the emails and snap up sudden opportunities that they may not have had time for. My eyes are always open for opportunities for “my authors.” It’s not realistic to expect an author to do all of this herself. And good planning: this is where a publicists knowledge comes in handy. We have connections to blogs and media outlets. We have experience. We know when things should happen, such as blog tours or when press releases should go out.

Often, we are hired to create buzz among readers, and we do that by arranging blog tours, soliciting the press, throwing live events, creating marketing plans and giving our clients opportunities to talk about their work with venues like Authors on the Air. Publishers may arrange some of these things for their authors as well, with their in-house publicists. However, remember that these publicists have other authors they are working for, authors who may, to be frank, be more “important” to that publisher because they draw in more money. These in-house publicists are often stretched thin, and their assistants can often be very inexperienced. An independent publicist works directly for the AUTHOR. Every one of our clients is just as important as the next. The only priority we have when selecting who we should work for next is maybe the release date of their book. We also personalize everything we arrange for an author. No two blog tours are alike–this is because we know that different readers go to different blogs, and we make sure we pay attention to that. We also keep in mind what the author wants, and what his strengths and weaknesses are. It’s much more personal than with a big publisher’s marketing staff.

Bottom line is we love books. We LOVE our authors and there really is no better job in the world.

Welcome 2014!

Hi All,

Jennifer here.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This year, we spent our first holiday in Florida, making new friends and new traditions.  A new tradition our family started was to declare our new years resolution at the Christmas dinner table. My mom’s husband Karl said, “if we tell our resolutions, we’ll all be there to make sure we keep them on track.”  A nice idea, I thought.  So, we did.

Karl said, his resolution was to give up eating potato chips, while my mom resolved to play more golf. I gave the obligatory “finish the damn book” speech, while my husband spewed the cliche of losing weight.  Jacob, my 6-year-old, said he wanted his yellow belt in karate.

So, there they were, our resolutions out for all to see, and to hold us to.

I thought here at the Scribes that declaring our resolutions on the blog may be a good thing to do as well. We’re like family. We can all list what we hope to change, quit, finish, and do then check back at the end of 2014 and see if we did it.

So, who’s with me?  Go ahead, leave your resolution in the comment box and I’ll check back at the end of the year and write a post about all those resolutions and we can see how we did.

2014