My New Book: Free or Pre-order?

I’m excited to share with you a quick update on my third novel High Tea & Flip-Flops. If you nominated it for a Kindle Press contract in May, you should have received notice that your free copy is now available. If you don’t qualify for a free copy, the ebook is listed at Amazon for pre-order until its official release date of 28 July, which is when the paperback will also become available.

tea_front_heartAmazon sent out the advance copies in the hope you’ll download, read, and review the book before the release date. I realize many of you have a to-be-read list a mile long, but please download your copy anyway, and when you do get the opportunity to read High Tea & Flip-Flops , please, please, pretty please write at least a few words in review at Amazon. (And anywhere else you please.) You don’t have to write a lengthy, professional review, just a few honest words. The more action a book gets—in sales and reviews—the more promotion Amazon gives it. So I hope you’ll enjoy High Tea & Flip-Flops and tell your friends about it as well as help me spread the word on social media.

Here’s what it’s about:

Chelsea Cole has lost her way. A year ago, she had her heart set on launching a retail marketing career. Now, still working the deli job that got her through college, she’s one paycheck away from—OMG—moving back to her mother’s house. And that would seriously suck because her life recently got more interesting when a gorgeous Brit moved into the apartment above hers.

Jeremy Pearce is definitely not her usual blond and bronzed surfer type. He’s all sexy long hair, poet shirts, suede boots, and secrets. Lots of secrets. He’s definitely aroused her curiosity, but how will she get close enough to solve the Jeremy puzzle if she keeps humiliating herself every time he’s around?

To Chelsea’s amazement, Jeremy comes to her rescue with an offer that not only ends her financial worries but means they’ll be spending long hours together. The first secret she discovers is his surprising occupation—one that sets her on a new career path. While Chelsea’s confidence grows so does the sexual tension between them, and she boldly suggests they would be perfect together for more than business.

Linda

Thoughts on NOT self-publishing

A funny thing happened when I received notification that Kindle Press had selected me for a publishing contract: I had little obvious reaction. My husband was joyous. I felt like I’d suffered a kind of shock, and it took nearly a week for that feeling to completely dissipate. That happened when I woke in the middle of the night and thought, I’m going to be published by someone else!

17zv8Except for a vignette published in an online literary journal, I’ve only been self-published. Oh, I tried for a “traditional” publishing contract with my first novel, but at that time indie-publishing was really taking off, and my impatient and impulsive self jumped in. By the time my second novel was ready for publication, I’d decided I didn’t have the personality type to have a successful traditional career. Or a writing career at all.

I saw myself as a hobbyist, writing what I wanted, the way I wanted to write it, accountable only to myself and readers in that I would write the best books I knew how. I didn’t set out to brand myself as a women’s fiction writer or a romance writer or any other single genre writer. My author friends, volunteered as beta readers and editors and, for one book, a cover designer. I did everything else on my own. And I’ve made mistakes.*

The biggest mistake was in failing to understand the necessity of abundant platform and marketing resources to succeed financially as an indie author. Realizing, finally, how much I lacked in that area, I didn’t expect to—and didn’t—make much money. And for a while, I convinced myself I was okay with that. Oh, how we lie to ourselves!

I work hard at writing. For the last seven years, I’ve sat at this computer nearly every day—for several hours on each of those days. Writing is my full-time job. The thing is, my only job before this was raising children—four of my own and then providing day care for four of my grandchildren for various periods over the next several years. Though childcare was absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve even done, I didn’t receive a paycheck for that job.

Now, things have changed. For the first time in my life, someone has paid me for my work.

As I write this, I’m waiting to hear from my first professional editor. I’m accountable to someone else. I’m no longer just a self-published author. Someone has seen value in my work and was willing to invest in it.

Yes, I know authors say validation comes from satisfied readers. And definitely, it does. I don’t discount that a bit. Readers complete the equation. And I don’t discount the readers who’ve invested their money by purchasing my books.

Still, the money Kindle Press deposited to my bank account was a different kind of validation. It was a much needed boost of confidence. Finally, I feel like a professional. I feel like a grown-up. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a bit apprehensive about this new kind of publishing too. Then again, I suppose the unknown is always a little scary.

We shall see.

Linda

*I’ve been wondering if, once again, I acted impulsively by submitting High Tea & Flip Flops to Kindle Press … but that’s a topic for my next post.

An Author by Any Other Name

When is it worth publishing under a pen name? That’s what I’m asking myself this week. Soon I’ll have two novels published under the women’s fiction category and one under romantic comedy, but my next novel is neither.

If I published under a pseudonym, I’d proclaim authorship on this blog with a dedicated page and the cover displayed in the sidebar, but the book wouldn’t be linked to my other books on my Amazon or Goodreads author pages. And search results for readers of my other books wanting to know what I’ve written lately wouldn’t include the book.

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Some authors use both names on their covers such as Nora Roberts did when she started publishing in a different genre as J.D. Robb—Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. Now, she doesn’t need to do that because her pseudonym is well established. Then again, Nora Roberts was already a big author name when she chose to write under a pen name.

I haven’t established my real author name yet. Unless the literary gods choose to pluck one of my books from the masses and shoot it to the top of the Best Sellers list, I’ll have to establish my name by writing more and more and more books. So, at this point, can I afford to “lose” one to pen name?

My next book, besides High Tea & Flip Flops, will be a dark story with a little light at the end. I’ve described it variously as psychological suspense, supernatural suspense, and even romantic horror. No vampires or zombies, but an evil spirit is a prominent character. There’s some violence, but there’s also a lot about love and marriage and family. Here’s a quick description:

Tom and Julie Cogan’s marriage of twenty-three years is in crisis, but it’s not cliché when Tom becomes attracted to young and beautiful Annie. Not when they were lovers in a past life. Not when the orchestrator of this renewed attraction is an evil spirit with a lust for revenge nursed for over two hundred years. Not when the odds of surviving this grudge match are slim—for Annie and Tom, certainly, but for their loved ones as well.

So, yes, that’s definitely not romantic comedy or even women’s fiction. But is it different enough from what my readers might expect to warrant starting over with a new author name?

Do you have an opinion on when it’s best to use a pen name? If so, please share in a comment.

Linda

Big News! I have a new publishing contract!

I’m thrilled to announce that Amazon’s Kindle Press will be publishing my romantic comedy High Tea & Flip Flops! A huge thank you to those who supported me during my Kindle Scout campaign.  So what comes next?

High Tea & Flip FlopsI have a 30-day period to make changes and resubmit my manuscript, cover, and book details to their editorial department. They may or may not request further changes. If they do, I have the option to accept or reject those requests. Then the ebook will be formatted, scheduled for publication, and a pre-order product page will be created on Amazon.

If you nominated the book, you’ll receive an advance digital copy to read and (we hope) honestly review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or wherever you talk about books. Kindle Press options only the digital, audio, and foreign translation rights, so I’m free to self-publish a print version, which I will.

So why didn’t I self-publish the ebook? Discoverablilty. Some self-publishers have a built-in target audience or a substantial marketing budget. I have neither. I’m just a little fish in a big—and ever-growing—pond. I need someone with clout behind me to help get my books discovered. Amazon has that clout. I’m not sure how many Amazon customers will see a promotion for High Tea & Flip Flops, but I assure you that number will eclipse astronomically the number of people I have the means to get the word out to.

If you’d like to know more about the Kindle Scout program go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/.

Stay tuned here for the latest news on High Tea & Flip Flops and my next book.

Linda

A Crazy, Crazy, Crazy Start to the Month of May

You all know fiction writers are a little crazy, right? I mean, we make stuff up and call it work! It is work, of course. Making make believe believable is danged hard work. Well, just so I can drive myself a little crazier, I decided to put my first two novels on sale. This rock-bottom price sale on The Brevity of Roses and An Illusion of Trust will run for one week on Amazon US and UK. Rock bottom means 99-cents or 99-pence! That’s right—less than a dollar or a pound, so get ‘em now. Just click on the book covers below.

The Brevity of Roses: A man discovers himself through the two women he loves. An Illusion of Trust: A woman learns to trust love by facing her abusive childhood.

tea_front_widgetI may bite my fingernails to the quick this month. My romantic comedy, High Tea & Flip Flops, is still vying for a Kindle Scout publishing contract. Have you nominated it yet? If each person who’s subscribed to this blog clicked the book cover –> and then hit that pretty turquoise Nominate Me button, Amazon would really be impressed! And I’d be ever so grateful. Over the moon grateful. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow grateful. No joke. (And don’t forget: if you help my book win, Amazon will give you a free copy!)

Promoting three books while I’m working on a fourth is … you know … crazy. So, of course, that’s what I’m doing. I’ve just about finished another edit of my romantic supernatural thriller. (Say what?) I’ve wrangled a new beta reader for this one. She’s a voracious reader, but not a writer, so her feedback will give me a different perspective than usual at this stage. Then, after another revision/edit, I’ll have to find another beta or two willing to read this dark tale.

So … that’s how my month has started. I hope you have good things in store for you this May.

Linda

Exciting news about my next book!

I’ve posted about writing a romantic comedy for over a year now. I tracked its progress in word count in my sidebar under the working title Tea. Now it’s time to share the real title and the cover with you. As you can see, it’s titled High Tea & Flip Flops. The title refers to the snarky nicknames the two main characters secretly give each other.

tea_front_postRomantic comedy is a new genre for me, so I decided to try something new in publishing. I submitted High Tea & Flip Flops to the Kindle Scout program, and it was accepted. Kindle Scout is a new “reader-powered” publishing venture by Amazon, which means readers help decide if a book gets published. How? By nomination. And the great thing is that if you nominate my book and Amazon publishes it, you’ll get a free Kindle copy!

At the Kindle Scout site, I’ll have a campaign page for 30 days. Displayed on that page is the cover image, a short description of the story, an excerpt, my bio, and a brief Q&A. Also you’ll see that all-important Nominate Me button.

I hope you’ll support my campaign—it costs you nothing! Don’t wait to nominate High Tea & Flip Flops. Please help it hit the Hot & Trending list and stay there! Here’s how you can help:

  • Step One: please go to my campaign page and click the blue “nominate me” button.
  • Step Two: please spread the word to all your friends who might like to see High Tea & Flip Flops published.
  • Step Three: please watch for my announcement and reminders on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus and share them with your followers and friends. The campaign lasts for 30 days, so periodically I’ll post reminders to nominate High Tea & Flip Flops.

As you may know, I have a minuscule budget for marketing. This is my best chance to not only receive a small advance ($1500) but to get a promotional boost from Amazon. Amazon! This Kindle Scout campaign means a lot to me, so I’m sure you can imagine I’m very excited about it.

Here’s the link to my campaign page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3QR8C2LJAU1XU

Thank you!!!

Linda