We Give You Fever … Again!

Hey, everybody. Suze here.  I’ve preempted your regularly scheduled J Monkeys programming to bring back Kensington author, Joan Swan, whose debut novel FEVER releases on February 28. Read through to the end to find out about Joan’s giveaways!  (Click here to read Joan’s earlier post) Welcome back, Joan.

Yowza! I’ve been waiting months for this book!

Now that your release is almost here (February 28!), how excited are you?  What’s going through your mind right now?

Thanks for having me back!!

I’m actually really excited!  What’s helped create excitement vs. anxiety is that Fever has already received many wonderful reviews.  (You can see them here.)  For a debut author, this is a huge relief knowing the majority of people who’ve had the chance to read an early copy have enjoyed the story!

What’s been going through my mind?

“ACK!!”  Yep, that actually does run through my mind about every twenty minutes, punctuated by, “What’s next?”  “What have I missed?”  “What haven’t I done yet?”  “What do I still need to do?”  “What am I going to have to let slide?”  and “Can I sleep yet?”

Tell us a little bit about FEVER.  I know I’m hot to buy it!

Thanks Suze!!

A mysterious explosion at a military warehouse injuries a team of seven hazmat firefighters, killing one.  The contents of the building, chemicals used by the Department of Defense, have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities.  Abilities the government wants to study covertly.  Abilities the team wants to understand and expose.

FEVER is about one of the seven firefighters, Teague Creek, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, framed by a government threatened by his prying questions into the warehouse explosion.  Teague has been denied an appeal, lost the daughter he lived for, and the career as a firefighter he loved.  With no hope left, he plans an escape.  But his plan goes wrong when the woman he kidnaps as leverage to get his daughter back turns out to be someone else.  And this woman quickly clues into the abilities he tries to hide, creating a bond neither can afford while they’re on the run from both the cops and undercover operatives who want Teague silenced.  This time, permanently.

You are doing an amazing job of marketing and promoting your debut release.  I see you everywhere.  Can you reveal what your strategy was/is and how you’ve gone about implementing it in the months leading up to FEVER’s release?  How much assistance did your publisher give you, and how much did you put together on your own?

I have an intricately choreographed strategy of throw everything I can grab against the wall and see what sticks.

Actually, I’m being only slightly sarcastic.  Though I never meant it to turn out that way, in retrospect, that is what happened.

Basically, my publisher gave me little to no help.  In their defense, publishers give most authors very little resources now, and debut authors typically get nothing.  There is a publicist at Kensington who has gone out of her way to help me with ideas and contacts and providing extra copies of my book for the extensive blog tour I’m doing so I can offer giveaways of Fever at each stop, which has been fabulous.

Some of the things I’ve done that have worked best have been:

  • Starting early:  I built a website, engaged in social media and built relationships well before I sold.  This all gave me a leg up when that time came, and a head start now, when my book is being released.
  • Networking:  By building friendships and professional relationships with other authors, I’ve built a web of support, strength, intelligence and resources.  We all have unique things to offer each other—as friends and business associates.  Banding together we are so much stronger than standing apart.  This was one of the best things I’ve ever done.  These relationships have brought me readers, contacts, alliances, information and friendships that will last a lifetime.
  • Giving:  When you give, you bring people to you.  Yes, for some it will be simply for the prize.  But you are imprinting your name and your brand on them.  And for some, it will develop into more.  When you give, you inspire the same in others and they give back.  The generosity I have received from both writers and readers as a result of giving in some way has astounded me.
  • Consistency:  Building a following takes time and consistency.  If you’re not always there, if you’re not sending a consistent message, people won’t stick.
  • Authenticity:  Promotion is about building relationships, not selling books.  People don’t buy your book because they meet you on Twitter or read your blog.  They buy your because they see you have something valuable to say, because they see you’ve studied your craft, you have an engaging voice, you have heart, you have personality, you’re real.  People buy your book because they’ve gotten to know you and they believe in your ability to entertain them through your work.
  • Supporting the bigger picture:  It’s great to talk about your work, share great reviews, tell them where you’re going to be and when you’ll be giving something away.  But it’s also great to talk about others’ work, share others’ great reviews and tell them where others’ are going to be and when others’ will be giving something away.  We’re all in this together and helping someone else now means they’ll be around to help you sometime too.

How are you juggling having a day job, a family life, and a blossoming writing career?  I know we’d all love to hear about (and be inspired by) your time management process.

Um…sorry.  I won’t be providing any inspiration here—unless it’s inspiration to do it differently.

Honestly, I’m very imbalanced.  On the up side—I know it.  This is a conscious choice.  It’s also a short term choice.  I’m of the belief that one works hard for what one wants, and that one reaps what one sows.  Therefore, I’m putting everything I’ve got behind this debut book:  FEVER.

But I think it’s important to point out that while above I mentioned in regards to tactics, I may be using the al Dante method, in vision, I am crystal clear.

What I’m doing is investment marketing.  Investment marketing is dumping a lot of resources into something now with the bet/hope/gamble it will pay off in the future.  I am investing in my career as an author and I’m using FEVER, my debut novel, as a vehicle to give me a running start.  Because FEVER only has a limited life cycle, I’m putting every scrap of time and energy I can generate into revving that baby up, so it will spring me as far as possible—the way you stretch a rubber band as much as you can to get the biggest snap.

Once my appearances end and the blog tour ramps down, I’ll find my balance again.  I’ll regroup.  I’ll examine all my marketing efforts for FEVER and restrategize for BLAZE—hopefully in a far more sane and manageable fashion.

Great progress takes great sacrifice.  So, for now, I’m surviving.  I’m meeting my obligations, getting my family to pitch in, taking care of myself and letting others take care of themselves.

How do you plan to celebrate on February 28 when FEVER is released?  Will it involve chocolate and/or champagne?

*laughing*  No.  My extensive blog tour has me managing about 9 blog posts (and all the comments and giveaways for them) per week…which means the ones that have passed, because comments continue for about a week’s time, the ones for the current week, and making sure I have all the blogs coming up written and turned in.

In addition to that, I’m revising a two-time Golden Heart finalist manuscript for Indie publication in April and it needs to be into the editor by the end of February.  With my promotional crush for FEVER, I’m working down to the wire on that project.

I imagine February 28th will be spent writing, writing and writing.   I’m livin’ the dream!  Livin’ the dream!

What’s next for you?  Is your next book finished, or still in process?  Can you give us a hint?

Book 2 in the Phoenix Rising series is BLAZE, which releases in October.  I recently received the back cover copy of BLAZE, which ROCKS!  And I’ll share it with you here:

                            The hotter they come, the harder they fall…

                 With a man like him, every mission becomes personal…

Ever since FBI agent Keira O’Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she’s felt a connection even her empathic abilities can’t explain. She needs to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that—not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she’s regretted walking out on for three long years.

Losing Keira left Luke vulnerable—in every way. When they were together, the powers each possesses were mysteriously enhanced. But it’s the sexy, surprising woman beneath the tough exterior that Luke’s really missed. Even if she betrayed him utterly. And even if agreeing to help her uncover a government conspiracy means watching his life and his heart go up in flames again…

And the Indie book I mentioned above is a romantic suspense and releases in April.  Here’s a little about INTIMATE ENEMIES:

Cassandra Christo is on a quest for answers. Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed her mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident.  But there she runs into two major obstacles: her stepfather, a man Cassie despises and who she suspects is involved in illegal activities, and Rio Santana, Saul’s right hand man and the person she unknowingly let into her heart after he comforted her during the darkest moment of her life.

Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now, when he’s only weeks away from finalizing transport of a terrorist cell over the U.S.-Mexico border. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie, let alone the risk it poses to his cover.

So when Cassie’s stepfather grows nervous about her investigation and orders Rio to use seduction as a last ditch effort to keep her from learning too much, Rio thinks he’s found the perfect solution. Until, that is, the heat between them turns into a full blown inferno. Suddenly, Rio’s not sure who’s doing the seducing. And not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.

Author Bio:  Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist and writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist.  Her debut novel with Kensington Brava, FEVER, releases February 28, 2012.  Her second novel, BLAZE, follows in October, 2012.

In her day job, she works as a sonographer for one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation and lives on the California central coast in beautiful wine country with her husband and two daughters.

Book Blurb: Release Date: 2/28

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…
A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever…

Giveaway:

Buy links:  Amazon| Barnes & Noble | Booksamillion

My linksWebsite | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Thanks so much for being with us today, Joan!  It’s only a few more days till FEVER releases, everyone! And as you can see Joan’s got plenty more in store for us.  Questions, anybody? Commenters here and on Joan’s other blog stops (see above) are eligible for some really great prizes, so don’t be shy!

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58 thoughts on “We Give You Fever … Again!”

  1. Thank you for this post Susannah. I’ll look forward to reading Joan’s book, Fever, soon. She has me intrigued. As a new author myself, I can relate to much of what she’s saying. I’m still in the beginning stages of working with an epub, and learning the marketing and promo stuff. Although my background is in sales, I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to book publishing/marketing. Following posts like these are sooo helpful. I wish you both nothing but success.

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I understand on the figuring out epub, but I think you’ll be surprised that it’s not as crazy-complicated as it looks from the outside. Your sales background will come in very handy! Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the marketing insights, Joan. I remember the frenzy and resulting fatigue of my first release last September. I’ve never worked so hard in my life! But you are exactly right. It’s both necessary if you want to be successful, and temporary as you build your brand and refine your marketing strategies. I like that you are combining traditional publishing with indie. It’s a great way to supplement your income and reach another audience. It will also keep readers happy between releases of your trad-pubbed books.

    Very smart! Best of luck with sales and way to go on the blog tour. That’s a pretty agressive schedule. Did you set up the tour yourself or hire it out?

    1. Hi PJ. You’re totally on target…even if you hadn’t told me, I’d have known you’d done this before! 😀

      You make a very good point on refining your marketing strategies — that has been such a valuable part of this process!

      I definitely agree on both aspects of mixing traditional pub with Indie. I see it as a symbiotic relationship–where they each support and aide the other. The epubs are great for giving a reader a taste of your writing w/o taking such a high financial risk — especially since I’m in trade, and as you mentioned, keep readers satisfied in between the often long stretches between traditional published books. And with traditional, I get the benefit of working with editors and agents who’ve been in the business for decades.

      If I can keep from going insane…I’ll be golden!! 😀

    2. Sorry, PJ, forgot the last question…I had hired out originally, but the coordinator had some other things come up in her life and wasn’t able to continue, so I picked it up. Most of it I scheduled. I’m handling it on my own. 🙂

  3. Hi Joan! Welcome back to our blog and for the excellent advice. I’m in the middle of trying to find that balance after my first release came out in January. I’m starting to wind back down. I’ve started another book before my next round of promotion starts in March. Best of luck with FEVER. I wish you many, many sales! 🙂

  4. Hi Joan! You’re not exaggerating when you say you started early. I feel like I’ve been awaiting FEVER for ever. In fact I think I won one of the FEVER bookmarks you made last spring ;).
    I can’t wait until I get my hands on this. Meany Amazon says mine won’t ship until March 6th. That’s what I get for ordering a couple items at a time.
    I wish you all the best!
    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Hi, Joan.

    I enjoyed the post; it was a great read. I look forward in reading Fever and your future works.

    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  6. Good luck with your releases!

    I admire your marketing strategy. My marketing strategy was more like, “Oh crap! My book comes out tomorrow!”

    (Yeah, I’m a bit of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of girl.)

    Good luck with this release! It looks great! I can’t wait to read it.

    1. Hi Becky Jean!

      Hmmm, hardest scene in this book…*pause* *crickets chirping*

      Had to be either the fire scene at the end of the book in Alyssa’s pov or the very next and last scene in Teague’s pov. The fire scene was hard because it was equally full of emotion, tension and action — those are HARD to write all together. And the last scene was really, really hard because my editor just wanted to the book to end…no trailing scene to tie everything up. She wanted the climax and an immediate ending — so I had to do it all in that last scene. Yeah, that was rather brutal. But it worked, and I’m a stronger writer for having done it. Great question!!

  7. Hi Joan,
    Congratulations on the release of your debut novel. Best wishes for much success. I would love to win a copy of Fever. It sounds great! I see you live on the Central Coast … I lived in Monterey for 7 years. It’s so beautiful there. Now living in CT and I have to say, I really miss the CA weather.

  8. Keep on living that dream Joan! Soak it in, revel in it and repeat! No rinsing of happy karma needed. I like the building relationships aspect of marketing. I think if you can connect with readers it does bring with it authenticity – of you as an author. You’re really taking your dream by the hand and ensuring it reaches as many of your potential readership as possible.

  9. Hey Joan! Congrats on the publication of your debut novel. I appreciate your insights on marketing strategy and your honesty about managing your responsibilites at this exciting time. I agree: Great progress requires great sacrifice. I wish you much success in your writing career, and it sounds like you’re off to a fine start. 🙂

  10. Howdy Joan! WOW – you are an inspiration! I’m watching and learning and will be ramping up a blog tour in the coming months! I hope it brings you GREAT success!

  11. That sounds like an incredibly draining schedule. Wow! Congrats on your debut! I look forward to reading your book. It sounds awesome!

    1. Oh, hell yes! Drives me insane! It’s this horrible nagging feeling that follows me all day. A little voice whispering, “What about the manuscript?” “That deadline’s coming up.” “The editor is expecting it.” “It always takes longer than you think it will.” “If you don’t get it to her by xx, you won’t have it ready by xx.”

      UGH!! It’s maddening! Definitely something I need to work on and manage better. Out of everything I’ve learned – that has been the thing I’m definitely changing first – figuring out what I have to do to get the writing done first.

  12. * Stalking * LOL!

    Just getting on the computer. Hubby and I are doing some “home improvements”. Joan I’ll celebrate for you come this tuesday! I’m psyched about it being here (and I already have he book!)

    No need to enter me in the contest for Fever

      1. * Laughs * Believe so. Though Saturday they hubby nearly put a screw through his finger from putting up dry wall. Only my hubby. Our oldest boy helped.

  13. Hi Joan,
    I am so excited for you. I know you must be nervous and anxious. I think your book is going to be a major hit. I can’t wait to read it.

  14. Anther great interview, Joan! With each one I read, it makes me want to read your stories more and more. From what I’ve seen so far, you are doing an AMAZING job promoting your new release! Especially for it being your first time! I look forward to reading all 3 stories listed above. Thank you for the opportunity!

  15. This book sounds so good. I have to agree that you’re doing a great job promoting the book. I have seen it on a number of sites. The BIG day is tomorrow… SQUEE!!!

    1. Thanks Kristin. The fact that you’ve seen it a few times is good. Now-a-days with the barrage of info, people have to see things so many more times to have something stick in their minds than they used to. It’s a tough job!

  16. You’ve certainly worked hard to get the word out about FEVER – well done. Made me thing of “God helps those who help themselves”.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

    1. Hi Donna!

      That was one of the things I was excited about when I sold the two books, that they would publish them 6 months apart. Kensington often publishes a year apart, which is hard on both readers and authors, so I was thrilled wih March and Oct. 🙂

  17. Just popping in to say hi! *waves* Congratulations on the release of Fever yesterday! The buzz is good! I had been looking forward to Fever for what seemed life forever, finally got to read the absolutely amazing story within, and now am right back to waiting for what will likely seem like forever until the release of Blaze! *le sigh* Until then, I will just have to settle for drooling over Teague’s amazing cover. *grins* Be sure to let us see the Blaze cover as soon as you can, okay? I have high hopes for it’s potential for awesomeness! *nods* Best of luck to everyone in the contest. The winner is in for an amazing read!

    Kendra @ Reader’s Edyn

  18. I feel like such a book stalker….lol. I swear I feel like I have visited a million blogs all in the hopes of getting my hands on a copy of FEVER. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in need of this book. Once I heard of this book and had read the excerpt I knew FEVER was a book I just had to have. 2012 won’t be complete til I get my hands on this book and read for myself the wonders it holds….^_^.

  19. Hi Joan,

    I enjoyed your blog! Thank you for the tips on marketing. I find that end of the business to be challenging.
    I write historical romance, but I find that I read a lot of paranormal. (I love Alpha heroes and paranormal stories can offer some of the best Alphas, because they aren’t bound by typical human constraints.) I’ll add Fever to my reading list. All the best with this book and your writing.
    Dawn Ireland

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