Tag Archives: blog tour

Welcome YA Author M. Lathan

MEDIA KIT BookCoverMEDIA KIT AuthorPictureToday’s guest is YA Author, M. Lathan. M. lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests – creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions … like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.

Welcome to the Scribes, M. I’m so glad you could join us. Tell us about you and your book.

Thank you for having me, PJ. HIDDEN is book one in a YA fantasy/paranormal series. In the first installment, sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

That’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.
Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let’s hope she can stay hidden.

EXCERPT:

A far second to oranges, the song I sang in the shower every night had a way of soothing me. More than anything, it made me tired enough to fall asleep. With Whitney gone, I didn’t have to whisper it.
The stars are out,
It’s time for bed.
Now close your eyes,
And rest your head.
May angels shield you with their wings,
As you dream your little angel dreams.
I didn’t recall composing that song, but apparently, I used to think I was good and perfect like the angels. I knew better now.
I stepped out of the shower and tugged a brush through my unruly brown tangles. I stared into the mirror over the sink as I started the song again. My skin screamed winter. I should be a warmer tan; I looked less creepy in the summer. Maybe that was why the girls had been digging into me so hard. I looked rather witchy. The unease that made them mock me was probably their souls warning them, urging them to notice I was different and dangerous.
At my worst, it feels like the fire that could easily shoot from my palm is raging inside of me. My heart picks up, more than when I’m scared. It pounds, I can’t hear. My blood dances, taunting me, begging me to hurt whoever’s hurt me. And I know that I can. I feel that I can.
But I don’t. I breathe and pray and let the magic cool.

Wow, cool excerpt, M. I can’t wait to dig into this series!

I asked M. a few silly–and not-so-silly questions. Here were her answers:

1. Do you ever read your stories out loud?
I didn’t know this was weird. It’s the only way I read when I’m at home. I hate reading in my head. There’s too much happening up there.

2. What are your future ambitions?
I want to be a wife and mother. I want to write every single day of the rest of my life. I don’t know what about, just that I will be doing that.

3. What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
Hidden Book Two, Lost. There’s a new challenge for Christine that could end life on Earth she knows it. Wish her luck.

4. First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
I remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as I child. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in my closet and prayed for the back of it to open to Narnia.

5. If you were a shifter, what animal would you like to be?
A cat. I would still want to live in a house, and I think it would be my best bet. If I were a dog, I’d have to be too energetic. I’d be an aloof, cool, creepy house cat.

Yikes! I knew there was a reason I wasn’t a “cat person,” LOL. Thanks so much for entertaining us today.

Goddess Fish Promotions organized this Virtual Book Tour for HIDDEN by M. Lathan. If you’d like to check out her other appearances, you can find her tour schedule here. During this tour, the author will be giving away a $50 Amazon or BN gift card to one randomly chosen commenter. To enter, please use this Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4343/

VBT Hidden Banner copy

If you want to follow M. or buy her book (only .99 cents right now!), check out the information below. Please make her feel welcomed and leave a comment, ask a question or enter to win that whopper of a gift card!

Author Information:
Website: mlathan.com
Twitter: @hiddenseries
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/hiddenseries/
Buy link: Amazon

Unlocked secret: Spread the word–we’re having a party–Scribe’s style! Please join me next Tuesday, June 25th as I launch WESTERN DESERT, book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. There will be prizes–including a NOOK Simple Touch, signed copies of a few of my other books, and a swag bag for one lucky winner. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating! I look forward to seeing you there.

One Year Indie Published

Tuesday’s Child, PJ Sharon here. Thanks to all of you, I had a fun and successful launch day for Waning Moon last Friday. I can’t believe that it took publishing four books in a year for me to finally FEEL like an author. I think I needed to finally take the time to celebrate my accomplishments before I could really recognize them. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve worked hard this past year, but being a goal oriented person, I tend to look at all that’s ahead of me and forget to be in the moment, appreciating all the blessings along the way. As a yoga practitioner, you’d think I would be a pro at remaining present, but it’s no secret that the writer’s life is far from balanced and that none of us can be totally zen about daunting deadlines and promo pressures. So now that I’ve had my celebratory pause, and before I look forward, I thought I’d look back at the past year and see how I did on my goals.

 

In honor of my one year as an Indie-published author, I wanted to share my sales numbers. The following are close estimations as I haven’t counted venues like ARe (All Romance e-reads), Create Space, and the few hardcopies I’ve sold at signings. These are e-book sales only.

 

Heaven is for Heroes:                           On Thin Ice:                    Savage Cinderella:          

Release date: 9/24/11                            12/15/11                                3/24/12                           

Amazon US:       682                                1250                                       1526
Amazon UK:         22                                  361                                           29
Amazon Eu:         10                                       6                                             5
BN:                      116                                    33                                           28

Smashwords:       52                                    25                                           42

Total:                   872                                1675                                       1630

Free downloads: 77                                    30           37,762 (US); 1,120 (UK); 105 (Eu)

Estimated Total e-books sold: 4,177

Taking into account the difficult to decipher reports from Smashwords (which includes e-books sold through Kobo, Sony, Apple et al), and if you include hardcopy sales through Createspace, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve hit the 5,000 books sold mark. Last January when I set my goals for 2012, I stated that I wanted to sell 10,000 books in a year (looking to break into that 10K cake club my indie buddies talk about). There is a possibility I could actually meet that goal if Waning Moon takes off, but even if I don’t hit 10,000 by January, I know I’ll reach it at some point soon. I’m halfway there, right? I see the slow, steady build of readership and sales, and have faith that with diligence, numbers will continue to grow as I reach new readers. 

I’ve learned a lot in this past year—lessons I will take forward with me as I continue on this journey. In no particular order, these are my top five lessons learned this year as an Indie published author.

1) Hire help with cover art, editing, and promotion/marketing. 

2) The buying patterns of readers are changing with the wind. There will be seasonal slumps and missed opportunities. The only thing you CAN control is the quality of your content. (Three nuggets in one).

3) Basically there aren’t enough hours in a day to do all we SHOULD do, so do what you can and let the rest go. 

4) Watching trends, getting involved in networks, and creating a platform in some form of social media makes for invaluable resources. Appreciate those resources.

5) Keep writing and creating new material.

As for observations, the summer months were extremely slow all around. It’s important to note, here, that I had flipped my promotional efforts to 20% of my budgeted time, and spent 80% writing/revising/producing the book instead of the other way around. Sales dropped by 75% in June, July and August. This tells me that clearly, promotion works. But the best advice I’ve gotten from Indie published authors is to work on growing your cyber bookshelf. Most successful self-pubbers hit their stride with book number six or seven, unless they are very luck and catch the wave the first time out. It’s all about creating quality backlist and gaining a readership through social media and visibility. That takes time and consistent effort. 

With the release of Waning Moon and the next month of blog tour visits (you can follow along and find my upcoming appearances at the calendar page of my website or click on the Goddess Fish icon below), I’ll be back in promotion mode while trying to maintain some of that ever elusive balance we writers struggle with. The coming year will be much less aggressive in terms of production, so I think that will help.

I want to add that I’m sharing these numbers only to encourage other writers (or some might say depress them, depending on their expectations). If I compared my numbers with others, I might be a bit underwhelmed –I still can’t look at my hourly rate without cringing. But I also recognize that there are many Indie authors not selling nearly what I did, so I don’t compare. I’m simply grateful to be where I am…satisfied that I am on the right track.

Unlocked secret: We all measure success differently, take our own path to find our bliss, and set our own goals. To set goals, understand what you want and carve out a path to get you there. Just remember; keep your goals realistic, manageable, flexible, and measurable. They are after all, just a guideline.

How did you all do with your goals this year? Do you set ’em and forget ’em like the rotisserie? Or are you dogmatically holding onto them and not willing to be flexible? Have you found the balance with goal setting that allows you to reassess often and adjust as needed? I’d love to hear from you!

The Many Faces of Promotion

PJ Sharon here, and I thought I would address a topic that every author struggles with. Promotion. It’s difficult for most of us to toot our own horn, let alone jump up and down shouting about our books to the ethers. Even if we  overcome the discomfort of having to talk about ourselves and our books, the work only begins there. I wanted to share with you some of the promotional efforts I’ve learned about over the past year ,and their effectiveness in today’s market.

KDP Select-You probably remember my FREE promotion through KDP Select (read about the details here). For authors uploading their books to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the Select program has lost a bit of its charm. With so many FREE books flooding the market, the five FREE days are not producing the same outstanding results they did even a few months ago.

Blog Hops– A group of authors get together (I think 10-20 max works best). Someone creates a landing page with all the details and rules, and everyone works together to encourage readers to “hop” from one author’s web site to another, entering to win prizes in a massive giveaway. Entry can be contingent on “liking” a FB page, signing up for a mailing list, or “following” you on Twitter. Prizes often include free e-books, gift cards to Amazon or B&N, or even a Kindle or Nook if authors want to chip in and do a big giveaway. With 20 authors, it’s only about $5 each. Hops generally have themes. They are a great way to network with other writers, meet potential readers, and gain some exposure without much cost other than your time. Check out the “Summer Splash Blog Hop,” hosted by a few friends of mine.

Facebook Contests-This one you need to be careful with. FB has some rules about holding contests and you can read them here. I haven’t done this yet, but may at a later date—once I study up on those rules. It seems like a great place to hold contests since there is so much visibility. You can also set up FB Ads that target your specific audience. You decide how much you want to spend per day and they will help you create an advertisement for your book. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the benefits of this and have not yet tried it.

Blog Tours- Blog tours are great for a new release. Essentially, you contact bloggers who have a readership that might best fit your book. Contact them well ahead of time (at least two months before your tour), and ask them nicely if they would consider allowing you to be a guest on their blog. Offer to write an original post that might be appealing to their readers, or ask if they have set interview questions they would like you to answer. Be professional; don’t make them do the work. Have your post to them by whatever deadline they’ve set, including any pictures, book cover, bio, buy links, and a short excerpt or review of your book, as well as any contact info you’d like them to include, such as your FB author page, Amazon author page, website, or Twitter handle. A blog tour can be as jam packed as you like, but remember, more is not better when it comes to promo. Your peeps who are helping spread the word will get as tired of seeing your book as you do of shouting about it. I think 4-6 weeks, 2-3 posts per week is a healthy tour. That is 10-20 posts at targeted blog sites. You can hire someone to set these up for you for anywhere from $20-$75. Or you can do it yourself. On the day of your “appearance,” plan to check in frequently and respond to comments. Blog tours are still one of the most successful promotional tools you can use. It takes a bit of research to find the right blogs, but for a small yearly fee, you can join a site like Author EMS, and there are amazing resources available to point you in the right direction. That site is worth every penny!

Paid Ads- These are hit or miss. Sites like Kindle Nation Daily and E-reader News Today can give you a nice bump in sales and exposure, but they are a bit pricey ($50-$299) for a one day ad. If you are doing a big promotional push and you have some expendable cash, go for it. But you’ll have to plan ahead, since their ad space fills up months in advance. I’m also not a big fan of advertising in publications like RT magazine or RWR. Yes, you might get some nice exposure, but for the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend, you won’t recoup the loss in sales generated. Those magazines are targeted more to writers than readers, although RT ads can get you a review that might give you some nice street cred.

The list goes on, of course, and includes book signings, Good reads giveaways, On-line book launches, and Twitter parties. You can also hang out on sites like Shelfari, Kindle and Nook Boards, or Wattpad, where you will likely find your audience just waiting to connect with you, their next favorite author. There are endless ways to promote and no one size-fits-all promotional plan. Be creative, pick one or two ideas that work with your social media platform, and jump in. I try to do one big marketing event per month.

This month, I’m part of a YA Note Passing promo with a dozen other YA authors. It’s a fun way to find some new YA readers and writers, and give away some great prizes. You can find details on our landing page which is the FB page of Sykosa, a very troubled young lady who is our head note passer. My main character from Heaven Is For Heroes, Jordie Dunn, will be getting some shady advice about her love life from Sykosa on Friday at YA Beyond. I hope you’ll pop in and say hello.

The bottom line is that it’s not all about “BUY MY BOOK!” Promotion is about reaching out and connecting to readers. Have fun with it, try not to stress out, and if all else fails, enlist your friends to toot that horn for you. Happy promoting!

Questions? Promotional opportunities you’d like to share?