Sunday, March 31, 2013

@OBBookTours Maggie Harryman Guest Post and #Giveaway


Why I Published My Novel

Why I’m still happy—six months later—I self-published my debut novel, Here Among Us.

by Maggie Harryman

When I think back to how I felt when I finished writing Here Among Us, one word comes to mind— and it isn’t elated, gratified or proud.  It’s depressed.
Let me explain.
I’d spent years writing the book, had it professionally edited… twice (and there were still typos!). Had it read by two of my most respected writer friends (one a well-published poet, the other a published and award-winning novelist), let it sit for six months and then went through it again. I believed in it deeply. When I asked myself if I was sure I’d written the best possible book I could write and the answer was yes, I knew I was ready.  I began looking for an agent.
I set about compiling lists of agents, reading every “how to find an agent” website I could and generally trying to determine what to say in my query. I felt reasonably confident about writing the query. I’m a working copywriter, so writing sales copy—essentially what a query is—was pretty much second nature.
So why was I depressed?
It took me a while of feeling down to figure out that after more than four years of writing and refining this novel, I was deeply unhappy that the second leg of the journey involved completely giving up control of my work. It wasn’t that I felt I deserved an easier path than other writers before me, and I certainly didn’t resent the idea of jumping through hoops until I signed with an agent.  My depression had to do with time; the entire process could take anywhere from several months to a full year or more and even then, there was no guarantee that my agent would find a publisher.
I was chastened by stories like a gifted writer friend lived through. A few years back, after months of sending out queries, she’d found a well-known New York agent who was excited about her beautifully written memoir chronicling her years in the circus. After a valiant, twelve-month effort to place the book, and despite serious interest on the part of several publishers, not to mention significant praise for the writing style and story, the agent came up short.
When I thought about the possibility of investing that much time for zero results, I felt depressed.
Do I want to compete with Snooki?
I asked myself to be realistic about the likelihood of an agent placing my book. I was an unknown who had written a literary novel (not easy to sell under the best of circumstances).  I had no platform and no track record of previous sales (anyway, even if I had been published, without adequate sales, I could still be passed over).
Depending on the month, the NY Times bestseller list brimmed with books by celebrities like Snooki and Kris Kardashian. Looking at the list of bestsellers, I got even more depressed, because let’s face it, if the big publishers were looking for ROI, they weren’t going to publish me. It looked to me like traditional publishers were only interested in reality tv stars, sports figures and the Dan Browns and Stephen Kings of the world.  In short, high powered public figures with well-established platforms (and in the cases of King and Brown, well deserved) that would justify a serious marketing effort. And of course, all but guarantee a healthy return on their investment.
Sure outliers slipped through.  But again, I could be looking at years of trying to find an agent and publisher. And even if by some miracle a publisher decided to take a chance on me, I’d be giving up complete control over the novel, including—but not limited to—all the rights to the work.  In the stories I’d heard from published friends, this always seemed to be their biggest regret.  When the book didn’t sell and the bookstore returned their books to the publisher (generally a short six weeks after they arrived on shelves), they couldn’t turn around and sell the leftovers on Amazon because they didn’t own the rights to their own books.
So I decided to go the self-publishing route, understanding that I, not some deep-pocket publisher, would be the one footing the bill for the cover design and lay out. In the process I’ve learned a few things about the pros and cons of self-publishing literary fiction.
Let’s start with a pretty big con. I gave up the prestige of the big publishing house.  Prestige, the admiration of ones peers means a lot to most people and authors who write literary fiction are certainly not immune.  Let’s face it, we’re obviously not doing it for the money (other genres like sci-fi, romance or suspense/thriller are far more likely to pull in the big bucks).  We’re doing it purely for the love of attempting to create a multi-layered, beautifully written story that attempts to tackle the big questions. Whether we succeed is quite another matter.
And the pro?
Having said that, I was surprised at how little my readers seemed to care who published my novel.  In fact, I’ve only had a few people ask me who the publisher was and when I tell them “Straight On True Publications,” they just sort of nod fake sagely and crinkle up their eyes like they’ve heard the name but can’t think where (typical human nature; people don’t like it when they don’t know something and especially don’t like to admit they don’t know).
It seems that the only thing my readers care about is whether or not I’ve delivered on my promise (unspoken but still, it’s there in the cover design, in the product description, in the first pages available for reading before they buy) to write the best book I could write.  In my case that’s meant a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and a whole lot of other readers who have sent me emails saying how the book impacted them.  Most ask when I’m planning on publishing the next.
So while I may have given up some prestige by self-publishing my novel, I gained control.  If I hadn’t done it, I’d be checking my email everyday, wondering why some faceless, voiceless, overworked mid-level publishing person in New York didn’t think I was quite good enough. Instead, when I’m not working on my next novel, I’m reading positive reviews on Amazon of Here Among Us, putting checks in the bank, scheduling public and book club readings, developing a solid fan base and most importantly, writing, writing, writing. If I hadn’t done it, I’d still be floating in limbo.
I’d still be depressed.
Instead I’m happy.
And grateful.  Very, very grateful.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – R (Strong language, adult themes)
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Maggie Harryman on Facebook 

Follow the tour:

1st April - Book Review & Author Interview at Author’s Friend
2nd April - Author Interview at eInk Reviews
3rd April - Author Interview at Books on the Open Range
4th April – Book Review & Guest Post at Top o’ Monin’ To YA
5th April – Author Interview, Guest Post & Book Feature atRichard Stephenson‘s blog


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Monday, March 25, 2013

@OBBookTours Liz Schulte Guest Post #Giveaway


How to Handle Pressure
How to Handle Pressure: Writing Under a Deadline
by Liz Schulte
I am lazy. It’s true. I am. However, I am a productive writer. How? Deadlines.
I love deadlines. They honestly keep me going and motivated all of the time. Before the start of each new year I make my writing schedule for the following year. Planning ahead allows me to prebook my editors, which puts extra importance on meeting my deadlines, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Deadlines are often difficult to meet and with them comes stress—lots of stress.
First thing I want to point out is that to me writing is a job, not a hobby, so excuses aren’t going to cut it. If you find yourself making excuses, stop it. The more you allow yourself to excuse not making your deadlines the less likely you are to make them. Life happens to all of us. You have to work through the hurdles.
Second, set reasonable deadlines for yourself. Don’t procrastinate until you have to stay up all night to have any hope of making the deadline.
Third, write every day. Writing is easier with practice. The more you do it, the less you will struggle. I am not saying it will be easy to write every day, but once you have that muscle memory it will become a lot easier to muscle your way through the difficult days.
Fourth, don’t forget to relax and have fun. If you push yourself too hard you will burn out. So remember when making deadlines that you also need time for yourself too.
Fifth, set a routine. I know that routine perhaps goes against every artistic instinct you might have, but for me it makes my life so much easier. My routine makes it easy to sit down and write because it is th designated time I always write.
That’s my advice for how to handle the pressure of making a deadline. Good luck and thank you for having me on your blog today.
 
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Paranormal Romance
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Liz Schulte on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the tour:
26th March – Book Review & Author Interview at Imagination in Books
27th March – Author Interview, Guest Post & Book Feature atTotal Book Geek
28th March – Author Interview at City of Reviews
29th March – Guest Post & Book Feature at Delphina Reads Too Much
30th March - Book Review, Author Interview, Guest Post & Book Feature at Promiscuous Diva
31st March - Author Interview, Guest Post & Book Feature at We Fancy Books
1st April – Author Interview at Kindle Nook Books
2nd April – Guest Post & Book Feature at Unending TBR Pile
3rd April – Author Interview at Pages to Chapters to Covers
4th April – Book Feature at eInk Reviews
5th April – Author Interview at Reading My Addiction
6th April – Guest Post at Book Lover’s Dream


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Friday, March 22, 2013

@OBBookTours Karin Cox Guest Post #Giveaway

Hi, guys

This is my first book tour and I am so happy to be participating. Today Karin Cox is sharing a great guest post with us so I hope you enjoy it! Make sure to enter the giveaway at the very end!!! =)


So, you wanna be a writer?
So, you wanna be a writer? Some practical advice that doesn’t mention adverbs…
by Karin Cox  
Beginner writers are often bombarded with advice—some helpful, some not so helpful. The best advice I can give is to take all advice with a grain of salt. A lot of writers repeat “rules” they have heard elsewhere without providing any background, which leads to a kind of “writers’ Chinese Whispers” when conventions have been taken out of content or are incorrect. So, aside from being particular about whose advice you subscribe to, the most practical advice I can give to beginning writers, without delving into grammatical discourse, is:
Read. Read, read, and then read some more. Read books in your genre that you love, and then read books that you really didn’t like. Figure out why. What was it about the books you loved that resonated with you as a reader? What about the books you didn’t enjoy made you to struggle to finish them. What made certain books bestsellers? Did the bestseller have a unique or intriguing premise? Did it have amazing, realistic characters? Did it have an original authorial voice? Beautiful prose? A twist ending? A love triangle? Did it appeal to an otherwise untapped audience? Maybe it had all of these things. Make a list of writing pros and cons that apply to you as a reader and pin it up in your writing space.
Learn. Some authors insist that reading books about writing or attending writing conventions or festivals is a waste of time and money. Such writers insist that doing so will cramp your burgeoning writing style. I vehemently disagree. Everything I have learned about writing, editing, and marketing, I learned from others (and by subsequent trial and error while following those teachings). I learned from teachers, from mentors, from books and style manuals, from analysing manuscripts, from proofreading following other editors’ mark-ups, and from attending conferences and conventions to network with successful authors and publishing industry professionals. The idea that good writers are born and not made is pure nonsense. Sure, some people have a natural affinity for writing. Some have a natural sense of rhythm. Some authors seem to have unlimited original ideas. Some have a way of thinking that produces incredible metaphor or simile. But just like dancing or painting, or any other activity, writers can improve with practice and with lifelong learning.
Invest. Another truly rubbish piece of advice for beginner writers is: “All money should flow toward the writer.” I know this was designed to prevent writers from being scammed by unscrupulous service providers, but that’s not what I’m talking about. If you’re serious about writing and you want to make a business out of your writing, you’ll need some capital. You need to invest in yourself as a writer, which might mean buying programs like Scrivener or Write or Die or Antisocial to keep you writing rather than procrastinating. It might mean reading books by successful writers. If you’re a self-published author, you’ll want to invest not only in knowledge (by way of conventions or books about writing) but also in editing, cover design, advertising, promotion, and publicity. As always, be careful about which businesses you choose to spend your money with. Ask for referrals, check service providers out thoroughly, and ensure they have a good reputation for being ethical and delivering on what they promise. There are a lot of scammers out there who target writers, so make sure your investment will be a sound one. When writing is your profession, or you run a small business, you can claim these investments as tax deductions. Like any business, don’t expect to start turning a profit immediately. Expect to inject some capital into your business for the first year at least.
Grow. By grow I mean continue to live your life. Most writers draw inspiration from the world around them, so don’t forget to stop and sit in a cafĂ© people-watching on occasion. Growing also means accepting change. As you change, your writing voice may change and the things you want to write about might change. Be flexible in your approach to writing. Try new things. So far, I’ve self-published Cage Life, a book of short stories; Growth, a book of poetry; two children’s picture books, Hey, Little Sister andPancakes on Sundayand now Cruxim—a paranormal romance. Yet I have a non-fiction background, and I have literary fiction, young adult novels, and romance novels all half-finished on my hard-drive. Why? Because I write what I feel like writing.
So you’ve always written romance, but you get a feeling you’d be good at writing for young adults—give it a shot (even if you do it under a pen name in case it doesn’t work). You’re not getting any traction with your book and you’re worried it is the cover, change it up and see. Be flexible when it comes to price, too. If you want to self-publish, try it. If you want to query publishers, go for it. You can do both. There is no one single path to success. Growth and change are positives for writers, and being flexible will help you survive in a publishing world that is highly variable at present.
Harden up. Yep, that’s my final piece of practical advice for writers. Drink a cup of concrete—figuratively, that is. No matter what you write, or how you write it, there will be some people who just don’t “get” your work. It doesn’t matter if you have three hundred five-star reviews; those three one-stars are the ones that will play on your mind.
“Why did they hate ‘me’?” you ask (because we writers have a habit of making it personal). When you put your work out there, you invite criticism, constructive or otherwise. To stay happy, you’ll need to develop skin thicker than a rhinoceros’s. I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn from criticism where you can, because you most certainly should. If your critics are saying your book was full of errors, by all means, sort it out. If they’re insisting there are plot loopholes, you might want to stitch those shut. But resign yourself to the fact that no matter what you do, sometimes “haters gonna hate.” Don’t let negative feedback undermine your need to keep on writing, keep on learning, keep on growing, and keep on developing the carapace you’re going to need if you want to write for a living.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Paranormal Romance 
Rating – PG15+ (some violence & swearing. No sex)
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Karin Cox on Facebook & Twitter 

Follow the tour:
23rd March – Book Review at Next Big Book Thing
24th March – Guest Post & Book Feature at Paws on Books
25th March – Author Interview at Unbiased Book Reviews 
26th March – Guest Post & Book Feature at We Fancy Books 
27th March – Book Review at Kindle Nook Books
Thanks to Orangeberry for organizing this tour!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Depressing but Inspiring

In the last hours of the weekend this is what I'm staying up doing, not work. sigh

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Newest March Additions to Edenfantasys.com

Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store Please note that following post contains material that is for adults only. If you are sensitive to adult material or underage, please do not continue reading. This post is also sponsored by Edenfantasys but in content, is 100% original and uncensored.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Skylark Giveaway

Check out this amazing giveaway for Skylark and a fascinating guest post by the author too!

 SKYLARK by MEAGAN SPOONER


Vis in magia, in vita vi. In magic there is power, and in power, life.

For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley waited for the day when her Resource would be harvested and she would finally be an adult. After the harvest she expected a small role in the regular, orderly operation of the City within the Wall. She expected to do her part to maintain the refuge for the last survivors of the Wars. She expected to be a tiny cog in the larger clockwork of the city.

Lark did not expect to become the City’s power supply.

For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley believed in a lie. Now she must escape the only world she’s ever known . . . or face a fate more unimaginable than death.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

She is the author of SKYLARK, available now from Corgi/Random House U.K. She is also the co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS, forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2013.

You can find her on the web at http://www.meaganspooner.com.


The Shadow Girl GIVEAWAY

Daydreaming Bookworm is hosting a fabulous giveaway for The Shadow Girl. Check out an awesome, insightful guest post by the author and enter below!


Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and PLEASE CHECK the rafflecopter widget for the rules.Here's what you can win:
 

Giveaway for Bruised by Sarah Skilton


BruisedBruised by Sarah Skilton


Publication date:  March 5th 2013 by Amulet/Abrams
Blurb:  When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else -- more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout. With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world -- full of dark humor and hard truths.




Giveaway:

Abrams U.K has generously offered a copy of Bruised for me to give away to one INTERNATIONAL winner.Enter via the form below [I lost against Rafflecopter in my fight yesterday... :s] and see the rules on the form.
Good Luck!!! :)


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fragments ARC giveaway!


Title: Fragments (Partials #2)
Author: Dan Wells
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: 
February 26, 2013
Publisher: 
Balzer + Bray
Age Group: YA



CLICK HERE TO ENTER