Category Archives: Good Reads

Goodreads Giveaway of SUNKEN TREASURE by Katy Lee

Hello Readers, Katy Lee here.

Lots of good news to share with you all.  First, I am holding a9780373446216 Goodreads Giveaway for my September romantic suspense release, SUNKEN TREASURE!  You have until August 31, 2014 to enter and can go right to www.KatyLeeBooks.com to press enter.  Simple as that.

Romantic Times Book Reviews announced its review of SUNKEN TREASURE yesterday.  Here’s what they had to say:

4 Stars! Compelling. A Page-Turner!  “Shipwreck diver Gage Fontaine is trying to outrun the pirate after his treasures. He unwittingly places fisherwoman Rachelle Thibodaux in danger when he leads the pirate to her boat. Rachelle has been in hiding due to the shame she feels over her father’s criminal past. Now she must work with Gage to survive. The use of a female pirate is a nice twist on the movie-fantasized life of pirates and treasure hunters. Bible verses are nicely tied to the storyline. The analogy of God seeing us as lost coins is encouraging.”  ~RT Book Reviews Magazine

And now it’s time for my other news.  This week I accepted and signed a contract with Harlequin for four more Love Inspired Suspense books.  I’m super excited about this new series that involves fast cars and fast-paced suspense!  Stay tuned for pictures of me driving a Ferrari!  All in the name of research.  I LOVE my job!

Thanks for stopping by to hear my news.  Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of my September release, SUNKEN TREASURE  at www.KatyLeeBooks.com!

 

Launch Party Time!

Welcome friends, guests, and party crashers! I’m so happy to have you all here to celebrate my latest release, WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. I’ll get the business end of this gig over and done with so we can relax and have a few refreshments.

Drum roll…Curtain draws back…MC (preferably George Clooney) takes the stage, smiles and says: Without further ado…INTRODUCING PJ Sharon’s latest release!!

Thanks, George! I’ll take it from here…

Available NOW!
Available NOW!

WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, takes off where WANING MOON ends. Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated U.S. in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

BN

Smashwords

Print copies available directly from CREATE SPACE or on AMAZON

If you haven’t read Book One in the trilogy, WANING MOON, it’s available for FREE this week (June 24-28) for Kindle owners!

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Also available for FREE is SOUL REDEMPTION, the short story prequel to WANING MOON. You can download it for your e-reader from Smashwords, or read it directly on Wattpad. You won’t want to miss this dark and twisty journey into the mind of a teenager with the power of life and death in his touch. It definitely makes you wonder…what would I do?

Creepy, I know!

Let’s move on to the fun part…

Feel free to pop over to Suze’s page of treats later where you’ll find some awesome recipes for drinks (non-alcoholic ones for our YA friends), and some tasty hors d’oeuvres! But don’t forget to come back, because I have some prizes to give away.IMGP0088

Three of you will be chosen randomly to receive signed copies of one of my first three books. You can choose between HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, or SAVAGE CINDERELLA. You can find out more about these books by visiting my website’s Contemporary YA Books page. I’ll be happy to mail you your signed copy, providing you leave a valid email address in the comments below so I can contact you privately for your mailing address. Enter ie: maryjanedoe(at)emailaddress(dot)com.

You can also win a nifty swag bag with some cool Lily Carmichael items, including a wooden whistle, a lanyard, bookmarks, and a signed copy of both WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT.

My grand prize giveaway is a NOOK Simple Touch!

It’s easy to enter. Simply leave a comment below with a valid email address if you want a single entry. For more chances to win, just let me know what you’ve done to help spread the word about my new release. Share this post to FB, twitter (or retweet any tweets with the hashtag #WesternDesert), or you can follow me on any of my social media platforms listed below. You could also sign up for my newsletter (for occasional updates). For each effort you tell me about, I’ll enter your name for another chance to win! Contest ends at midnight on June 30, and winners will be announced next Tuesday right here on the Scribes.

Hang out with me at the following places online:

Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+

So now that you have the low down on where to find my new book, connected with me at my various online hangouts, and you’ve downloaded some FREE books, pull up a chair and let’s chat. Don’t forget to grab a beverage and a snack and leave your comments, an email address, and what you’ve done to enter for the prizes. I’ll be posting some excerpts today in the comments section below, and look forward to you sharing your questions, responses, and thoughts.

Flowers from Mom's GardenI love a simple bouquet of flowers for a center piece, don’t you? As a conversation starter, tell me what books have you most been looking forward to reading this summer? Any new releases coming out soon that you are dying to get your hands on? Come on, people, dishing about books is what we do around here. Let’s get this party started!

The Final Countdown (A Book Launch Story)

Hi there, Sugar here. And I have got a twitchy eye. Why? Because I’m stressed out. Forget about the multiple deadlines and the difficult day job, I’ve got a book coming out in a little over four months. And while I am over the moon excited, am I ready? Absolutely not. 

Saturday I spent the day with my CTRWA peeps and listened to Kristan Higgins give a great talk about how to prepare for a book launch. I listened to every word which is hard for me because I have severe case of self diagnosed ADD but I had trouble absorbing everything because the entire time I kept thinking oh S#@t I’m not ready. I’m never going to be ready. Book seller letters, and authors assistants and giveaways and swag and book signings and public speaking and workshops and blog tours and Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads and websites and newsletters and put me out of my misery.

I went home that night sobbing with all of that stuff swimming in my head. I think I feel the way all writers feel. If I can just get my book into the public’s hand they’ll like it, some will hate it, but a lot will like it. But how can I do that? I know realistically I can’t do it all. I don’t have money to hire an author’s assistant or to buy really cute swag.  There is no way in hell I’m going to be able to put together and manage a street team. I have no back list to give away, no legion of fans that I can ask to spread the word about me.

But instead of thinking about all the things I can’t do I started to think about the things I can do.

I can continue to write good books. Before anything else I will focus on this. I write because  I feel compelled to not because I need or want to.

I can update my Facebook fan page and Twitter daily. I sometimes have trouble with this. I can’t talk about my day job, or bitch about my mother. I don’t have any kids to tell cute stories about. I don’t have a cute boxing trainer that I can pant over. Hell, I don’t even have a pet, so I sometimes wonder if what I have to say is good enough. (I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I think I’m pretty damn engaging.) Check me out here.

I can spend my limited advertising money wisely. In DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD my heroine is a wicked funny, ultra curvy fashion blogger/designer/shop owner. And if she were a real person she would be all over Full Figured Fashion week which is taking place in NYC June 17-21st.( PS I’m looking for some women to hit the sample sale with, if anybody is interested.) I’m researching taking out an ad in their program. Even if it doesn’t reflect in direct sales, I can get my name out there and let girls like me know I write books about girls like them. I can also take out targeted ads on Facebook and GoodReads without having to spend much of my hard earned cash.

I can look like the super sexy successful author I want to be. I’m shedding some of this extra coat of winter fat. (9 pounds and counting). This also includes buying new outfits which is no real hardship for me.

I can attend conferences. Look out Atlanta here I come!

I can take care of myself. I can eat healthier. Sleep better. Drink more water and try to not let the stress take anymore of my hair out. Because without me there are no books to launch. We ALL need to take care of ourselves!

So what do you do? What do you think I should do to help with this book launch? Any and all comments are welcome. 

Stories that Stick

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

In the Garden of IdenWith the holiday season in full swing, I wanted to share some of my favorite books in case you’re looking for gifts or something different to read in all your “free” time.

Either because of the characters or the adventure, these are the stories that have stuck with me over the years. Sometimes, I re-read them (except for #6, explanation to follow), other times, the memory is enough to make me smile.

By no means, is this a list of all my favorite books. Absent, but no less loved, are The Lord Of the Rings trilogy, A Christmas Carol and all of Harry Potter. Instead, I wanted to offer more obscure titles that maybe you’ve never encountered. And I do admit that some of these have a sci-fi/fantasy bent (but I can’t help that!).

1.In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker – a 24th century cyborg named Mendoza time travels to Elizabethan England to the garden of Sir Walter Iden. While there, she falls in love with a monk name Nicholas Harpole. While there’s a romance, this is really speculative fiction and is the first of an epic series about the mysterious Company – Dr. Zeus, Inc.

2. Spring Moon: A Novel of China by Bette Boa Lord – I first read this book as a teen. I distinctively remember that you could choose among an assortment of different colored covers. I choose a pink one with red lettering (which I still own). At the time, I knew next to nothing about China, let alone about the turmoil at the turn of the twentieth century. But I never forgot this tale about Spring Moon and how she survived her country’s massive social upheaval. I re-read this Spring Moonbook several years ago and it was still as poignant as I remembered.  If you are a fan of Lisa See, check this book out.

3. A High Wind In Jamaica by Richard Hughes – this book was out of print for many years but returned in the early 2000s, when I first learned about it. This story is a dark comedy about a group of siblings on their way home to England after their Jamaican plantation home is leveled by a hurricane. Along the way, their ship is hi-jacked by pirates who have no idea what they are in for. And it begs the question, who is more wicked? The children or the pirates?

4. The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett – A wacky variation of the story about the guy in the in the red suit. In the land of Discworld, Hogswatchnight is in danger when the beloved Hogfather goes missing.Death’s granddaughter has the task of finding him before disaster ensues. With appearances by a down on her luck tooth fairy, a nasty assassin, and Death himself, this is a satirical holiday tale like nothing you’ve read before.

5. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote – A short story that I read in high school English class. Young Truman recalls holiday visits with his aunt and their annual mission to find ingredients to make fruitcake. I believe this tale sneakily contributed to my fascination and enjoyment of fruitcake. Yes! I admit it. I like fruitcake!

World War Z6. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks – This book scares the crap out of me. Written in fast-paced, first person, documentary style, this story is so plausible, it’s freaky! And, since Brad Pitt will be starring in the movie version (which I am sure will bear no resemblance to the book), you might want to check this out. If you read Stephen King, you can handle this. Don’t be put off by my nightmares! I’m just a big scaredy cat when it comes to zombies

7. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley –  Everyone has a book that they read a zillion times as a kid. This was mine. I took it out of the library so often that I knew its exact shelf. My love of Beauty and the Beast traces back to this book. And I suspect my love of romance too.

Who wants to share their favorite (not as popular) stories? And what books are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

Marketing Makeover

As the end of 2012 looms on the horizon, I’ve been working on my first quarter marketing plan for 2013. Being a relative newbie to indie-publishing with much more to learn, I’ve been studying the results of my first year efforts, and in retrospect, I can say I’ve definitively learned one thing. Well, I’ve learned a LOT actually, but one thing in particular stands out for me. I’ve learned that there are no constants in this business. What worked for one book didn’t work for others. What worked yesterday might not work today, and no matter how hard I work, there is an element of luck and timing that I have no control over. PJ Sharon here, welcoming you to the Writing Secrets of Seven Scribes. Today, I’ll be sharing what I think is a more focused approach than my previous “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” marketing plan.

Not that I haven’t had some moderate success with this approach, but like any business, the only way I can survive is if I trim the fat so to speak, and look for areas where I am wasting my time, effort, and resources. To that end, here is what I plan to do differently in 2013.

1) KDP Select-The exclusive 90 day enrollment that I did last spring with Amazon for Savage Cinderella was by far the most successful (at least in the short term) promotional tool I found. With 39,000 downloads, a temporary spot on the top 100 list, and a significant uptick in sales for several weeks after my FREE days, I felt like I was seeing some real progress forward. However, shortly after coming off the Select program, my sales declined in June, and the numbers tumbled every month after that for my first three books. I heard from industry veterans that the best way to rebound was to publish another book, which I did in September. Despite a month long blog tour and several group promotions, I have not seen much improvement in sales since then.

I resisted continuing with the KDP Select program because I didn’t like the idea of exclusivity, and I was hearing that results for the Select program had reportedly not been as good as they were last spring. That being said, I’ve decided to take the plunge again—for several reasons. I would be foolish not to tap into the Amazon pot that is set aside monthly to be divided amongst Select participants, paid out for “borrows” from the Kindle Lending Library. With 1.5 million dollars available for December (twice the norm), “borrows” should offer authors a nice Christmas bonus. Being able to offer my books for FREE for five days during that 90 day period without jumping through all the hoops of playing the “price matching” game is a simple and effective marketing tool. It also helps me to increase my reader base and my visibility, which are probably the greatest challenges that an author must focus on.

So I’ve revamped my cover for Heaven is for Heroes Heaven is for Heroes 72 dpi 600x900 WEBSITE USEand enrolled both it, and On Thin Ice, into the program for the next 90 days. That means Only Savage Cinderella and Waning Moon are available on all platforms. If all goes well, when my 90 days are up, HIFH and OTI will go back onto all distribution channels and I’ll put Waning Moon into the Select program for a few months prior to the release of Western Desert, book two in the trilogy. I hate feeding the Amazon “monster,” but until I see real sales on B&N et al. I can’t pass up the opportunity. I literally have made an average of $15 a month from B&N—and less through Smashwords–hardly worth giving up potentially hundreds of sales through Amazon.

This is where I was supposed to mention earlier that both Heaven is for Heroes and On Thin Ice will be available for FREE on Amazon this Friday and Saturday, December 22-23. If you haven’t read them, I’d love it if you would download them or tell anyone you know who might enjoy some YA romance drama. The more downloads I have, the closer I’ll get to that top 100 list so all those new Kindle owners can find me after Christmas. I appreciate it!

2) I’ll keep exploring available social media platforms-I now have almost 500 FB likes and nearly 1000 Twitter followers, which is where I have put my focus over the past year. I’m not sure how that translates directly to sales, but it sure helps me connect with some great authors, bloggers, readers, reviewers, industry professionals, and some all-around awesome people. Since word of mouth is still the best advertising, it’s clear that social media is here to stay and is a useful medium to help get the word out. I would like to try to focus on finding what works for me and best helps me connect with my target audience. That will include more time on sites like Good reads, Pinterest, Tumbler, Wattpad, and Kindle Boards.

3) Budget funds for paid advertisements and production costs. Short cuts are not the way to go in this business. It’s a very competitive industry and becoming more so every day. Hiring a cover artist, quality editors, and paying for advertising that has proven to be effective are worth budgeting funds for. My husband and I doing everything ourselves at first seemed like a way to save money and maintain control of my product, but in the long run, I can see I didn’t give my books their due.

The nice thing about Indie publishing is that I can make changes whenever I want. The books won’t be taken off the market if they don’t sell in a month or two. My backlist can become my front list if I want to start a new advertising campaign and change up the cover, try a new venue, or target specific groups of potential readers. The sky is the limit, but it all costs money, so I’ve realized that I have to budget money to give the books their best chance to succeed.

4) More than anything, though, I’d like to become more organized about my time management-This is a business. But without writing good books in a timely manner, I will have no business. That means that the writing has to come first. I’m not kidding myself into thinking I’ll be able to keep it all under perfect control, but I will budget my time differently, allowing for 50-60% of my time to go towards production of new material, with only 40% of my time spent on administrative details.

There have been times over the past year where I haven’t written a word on a WIP for weeks because of getting caught up in all the crazy business chores and responsibilities. I’m finally beginning to let go of all that, and bring my focus back to the writing. If it means less time building my network or promoting the books, then so be it. And if I only get one quality book out this year, then that’s okay with me, too–though I’m planning for two and possibly another short story.

Most importantly, staying healhy, sane, and having some fun along the way is much more important to me than sales figures these days. When I start stressing about all the “to-do’s,” I remind myself to relax and enjoy the ride. You never know what’s going to come over that next big hill.

What will you do differently this year?

Goodreads Giveaway by Katy Lee

I have to be honest. Since I joined Goodreads this past year, I had my doubts if it was worth my time. I just didn’t see the benefits of investing the little extra time I had in it. I wondered if people really hung out there enough to read updates and reviews from their friends, or if those updates scrolled down the page, never to be heard or seen again.

But before I made my final judgement call on this social media, I decided to hold a one-week giveaway of Real Virtue. (Click here to enter if you would like.) And so far, I have to say, my opinion is being swayed toward the positive.

First of all, readers are adding my book to their libraries constantly. (So people are hanging out there) Whether they will buy it is another study, but more people are seeing the ad and having to respond in some way to it versus other (PAYING) ads where they glance over it and move onto the next thing. And notice I said PAYING ads. The Giveaway is free, minus the book, of course.

And second? It was easy. I like easy. Plus, once I sign up, Goodreads takes the campaign from there and gives me the tools to get the word out on my end…as I’m sure all my Facebook and Twitter friends can attest to. But honestly, I would LOVE it if one of my followers won the free copy.

When you are reading this on 12/16/12, I will still have another two days left of the giveaway, and won’t be able to give concrete numbers, but at the rate I have seen action, I’m pretty positive it’s not going to let up. I’m thinking as it crunches down to the final seconds, more and more people will see it and make the decision to enter and add it to their lists.

The Unlocked Secret: In the end, it’s not about numbers of sales for me, but rather the chance to bless someone with the message of Real Virtue. But if no one knows about the book, that will be hard to do. I know God gave me a story to tell, and He’s not going to leave it on the shelf. It’s nice to know there are sites like Goodreads that want to help me get it out there.

Question: Have you done a book giveaway? How did it help you spread the word? Or did it?

AND DON’T FORGET TO ENTER!

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Indie Excellence

PJ Sharon here, talking about Indie Excellence today. With all the new indie-published authors flocking to the internet, the gazillion free self-pubbed books available for Nooks and Kindles, and the influx of Small Press publishers, how can we possibly separate the chaff from the wheat, or in this case, the good from the bad in published books?

Most readers, in an effort to narrow their search, will go to those trusted Top 100 lists on Amazon or BN. How do books make the list you ask? And which list are we actually talking about? Here’s a great article by David Gaughran about the difference between the Top100 lists and the Popularity lists. Most people don’t realize there’s a difference or what it means. The trick is getting on those lists and becoming visible to readers who routinely shop there. But making the list is one thing—staying there is another. Both require a tremendous amount of promotion, a dollop of good timing, and a heaping helping of luck. One big edge that traditional publishers have is the power of advertising. They know how, where, and when to advertise to get maximum exposure. Whereas us indies are figuring it out as we go along, and taking shots in the dark that either pay-off or they don’t.  

Ironically, there are nearly as many indie-pubbed books on the Top 100 list lately as traditionally published books, a fact that makes us indies very hopeful that the playing field is leveling out quickly. The truth is that readers don’t care HOW a book is published. They care about a good story. But finding great indie books can be challenging since there are no real controls in place to ensure that what is published is a quality product. And yes, there is a tremendous amount of poorly written, poorly edited, and shoddy work out there. My personal experience, however, has been that there are some amazing indie authors producing phenomenal books. Stop back next week to see my “Favorite Indie books” list.

My favorite part of reading indie books is that they are unique in plot, structure, voice, and character—all the reasons that they weren’t picked up by trad-publishers who are looking for “the same, but different”. Indie books often fall outside the traditional mold and therefore are overlooked by agents and editors who think they know “what the market wants”. Thankfully, the Top 100 lists filled with all those indie-pubbed books are proving them wrong. My feeling is that there is an audience for every well-written story.

If you want to find some great quality indie books, check out the following sites.

 Indie Bound

Good reads Indie Book List

American Booksellers Association

There are also more and more review sites that are now reviewing Indie books.

Kirkus Reviews (although it is pricey to get a review from them and paid reviews just seem wrong to me.)

Indie Book Collective

Indie Reader

Even RT Magazine is “Hot for Indies” according to this article on the WG2E. Still, there is something about being traditionally published that screams legitimacy. Not that being traditionally published guarantees quality. I’m sure we have all read poorly written and poorly edited books straight off the bookshelves of BN and the desks of Big Six publishers. But for most writers, the legitimacy of being traditionally published still means something. We want our friends, families, readers, and peers to know that we DESERVE to be published—that our work was recognized as standing out among the hundreds of thousands of writers who submitted their manuscripts into the fray. And that our writing has been judged worthy.

So who decides what truly makes the cut in the Indie world? Enter the IndiePENdents,  a group of authors who started a review site set up to judge and legitimize good quality indie books. Each book submitted to the site goes through a panel of three volunteer reviewers and a validation team prior to being awarded the IndiePENdents Seal of Approval. I’m proud to say that my first book, Heaven Is For Heroes was one of those books selected for the honor. I received a certificate and this lovely seal to place on the covers of my print books to show that this book has met the industry standard of excellence in writing. The book also made the Awesome Indies review site’s top picks.

I’m so thankful to the wonderful volunteers who read and review indie books, making it possible for readers to find the best of the best in Indie Publishing. You guys rock! be sure to stop by Rhonda Hopkins’ blog later this morning. I’m a guest on her Authors Give Back charity blog and I’ll be sharing one of my favorites and why I love it. The post goes live at 9 am EST.

Please tell me dear readers, have you read any good Indie published books lately? What did you love about them? How did you come to find them? And was the quality up to your standard for a good book?