Christmas In The Duke’s Arms Giveaway

November 21st, 2014
Hamper of Awesome Gifts

Hamper of Awesome

The authors of Christmas in the Duke’s Arms, Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Carolyn Jewel, and Miranda Neville, are giving away this lovely Fortnum & Mason hamper filled with British goodies guaranteed to make your Christmas merry and bright.

Entering is simple! In the comments to this blog post, tell us your favorite Christmas food or beverage. The winner will be announced and contacted on December 19, 2014. Please review the rules below.

Those of you who may see this via a feed from another source (Facebook, Goodreads, etc) you must enter at Carolyn’s blog post here.

But Wait! There’s More! Sweetening The Pot

For every 10 reviews (not just ratings) of Christmas in the Duke’s Arms that post to Amazon or Goodreads between now and 9:00:00 PM Pacific on Thursday December 18, 2014 we’ll give a $50 AMEX gift card or other prize (other additional prizes may be added at our discretion) to one of the qualified entrants. You do not need to do anything. You are not asked or required to post a review.

About Christmas in The Duke’s Arms

Cover of Christmas in The Duke's Arms

Christmas in The Duke’s Arms

The Duke’s Arms is an undistinguished little inn in the tiny village of Hopewell-on-Lyft. But one Christmas season sees both inn and village seething with adventure, intrigue, rabbits, and, above all, love as four couples find Yuletide happiness.

All Romance | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Trade Paper

RULES

Void where prohibited, no purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter. Winner selected at random from among the qualified entrants. If the winner does not contact Carolyn Jewel within 5 calendar days of notification, an alternate winner will be selected. Contest closes at 11:59:59 PM Pacific, Thursday December 18, 2014. Your comment must be posted by 11:59:59 PM Pacific December 18, 2014.

For the purposes of eligibility, only your first comment is valid as an entry.

The winner of the hamper must provide a US shipping address to receive the hamper. We are unable to ship outside the US.

The winner(s) of a gift card must be eligible under the card originator criteria to use the funds on the card. (EG, AMEX, etc.)

Assuming the criteria for adding the non-Hamper prizes are met, for each additional prize added, there will be a new winner until all additional prizes have been awarded or all eligible entrants have won. That is, if you already won a prize, you won’t win another unless or until all other eligible entries have won.

The total number of reviews posted at Amazon and Goodreads as of the original posting is: 57

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The Self-Publishing Delusion

November 18th, 2014

So, there was this article: Second Thoughts about Self-Publishing over at Publisher’s Weekly.

This article is an example of what I call the Self-Publishing Delusion. It goes like this: someone who did not do anything like enough research into the new publishing landscape self-publishes a book and is disappointed that he’s not a NYT Bestselling author. Follows from this, an article all about how Self-Publishing isn’t all the thing after all.

As is the case here. The author, in 2012, decided to self-publish his novel. In print only. A novel he seems to have marketed only to friends and family and only using traditional methods to gain attention. His second novel did not do as well as the first and now he is sad and disappointed because apparently books must be marketed. My God, the crass commercialism.

Dude. Are you serious?

Who the hell, even in 2012, would think self-publishing = CreateSpace? Five minutes of mediocre Google-fu should have uncovered the limitations of CreateSpace as a vehicle that reaches traditional outlets OR readers. If you want to be an author, then there is no justification for not doing due-diligence. And due diligence would have meant a month or more (and you’d need less, to be honest) researching the heck out of your publishing plans. The kind of research that justifies making any dollar investment in a business decision should have included things like, who are the leading self-publishers and what/how/why are they doing?

If he’d done that, here’s what he would have found out:

  • CreateSpace does not = traditional print publication.
  • By doing ONLY a print book, he did not each the core avid reader, because they read digital.
  • By choosing ONLY CreateSpace, he was unable to get into traditional print outlets.
  • In 2012, the dual strategy of CreateSpace and Lightning Source was still a viable work-around to the Book Store problem. The fact that he did not do enough research to find Alan Shepard’s site is a huge red flag.
  • Writing careers rarely have trajectory after only two books. Research beyond what’s said in the traditional publishing space would have uncovered that his expectations were unrealistic in any publishing venue. A self-publisher should reassess after 5-10 books under-perform. Not two. (Snarky aside: a traditionally published author won’t have that luxury.)
  • If he’d paid any attention to what traditionally published authors experience in the business he would have found out that all authors, traditionally published or self-published, carry the majority of the marketing burden.

And that’s just a response to what he says of his experience in “self-publishing.”

Inform your Decision

You, the author, need to investigate every aspect of the business of New Publishing. You, the author, are solely responsible for understanding the disconnect between what traditional publishers say and what authors say. You, the author, must understand who is succeeding in all spheres of publishing and figure out why and what that means for your strategy.

The traditional publishing space has a vested interest in perpetuating several myths about the business of being an author. Places like PW and DBW put out an astonishing amount of disinformation about that. Likewise, there are people and companies who have a vested interest in selling services to authors. All those claims must be examined, parsed, and dissected.

There’s a reason many, many mid-list authors are leaving traditional publishing or diversifying their careers with both. You, the author, must understand why that is. How can you make a sound business decision without knowing the pitfalls of both?

Of course he did not have the results he wanted and hoped for. If he’d done his research, his self-publishing plan would have looked very different. Instead, he approached the business of being an author as an ill-informed newbie who stayed ill-informed. His lack of research means he didn’t do any of the things known to increase book sales and build a career. He gave up too soon.

In short, he fell prey to traditional publishing delusions about self-publishing.

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November! Update.

November 9th, 2014

OK, so I am failing miserably at NaNoWriMo again. I’m busy pulling together an excuse. I’ll let you know when I have one. Feel free to provide an excuse in the comments.

I have finished turning Dead Drop into a novel. I’ve given it Book 6 in the My Immortals book order, by the way. It’s 42,000+ words and will be on sale December 17, 2014. Pre-order links are going live now. Also, it seems I have not yet shown you guys the cover. Here it is!

A hot, sexy, shirtless demon against a blue background. He's awesome. Dead Drop by Carolyn Jewel

Cover of Dead Drop

The print version is ready to go. I’ll just need to pull the on-sale trigger. Here’s the pre-orders I have so far:

Amazon
iBooks
Kobo
Google Play
Nook

Just a reminder that I set up a newsletter-subscriber only section of my website. I’m currently serializing Dead Drop there. We’re up to chapter 8!

My last newsletter included everything you need to know to login to the subscriber only section. If you believe you’re a subscriber and didn’t get the email, then check your spam. I know Yahoo mail and Gmail both do a good job of reducing spam and “Promotion” but that also means that my newsletter is likely getting caught up in that. You may need to check those folders and whitelist me. If you don’t have the information, email me and I’ll get you the details.

Other News

I will be on vacation beginning Wednesday. ::me dancing:: Thursday I leave for New York and my first RWA Board Meeting. I’ll have all the following week off and hope to make major progress on My Immortals Book 7, which is Kynan’s and Maddy’s book.

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Winner!

November 2nd, 2014

The winner of the copy of Rogue Spy is…

Jennifer!

I’ve emailed you further details.

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Really?

October 31st, 2014

Agent Andrew Wylie had this to say:

“I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of Isis-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”

Quoted in The Guardian

[publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.

What alternate universe is Wylie living in?

1. ISIS-like? Are you kidding me? We’ll start with insensitive and offensive and leave it there, actually.
2. Publishers have had 80 years to position themselves to pay writers more money. What they’ve done, since before Amazon, is reduce the money they pay authors. Why on earth should any writer believe that the demise of Amazon will mean authors will FINALLY be paid more?

Oh wait. I forgot. Wlyie only represents literary authors whose advances are funded by paying less money to the writers of genres that actually make money.

Let’s see here, continue self-publishing and earning 30-70% of the price I set or …. Accept 40% or 50% of net, maybe. Someday.

Well, gosh. No, sir.

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Open Position: Minion

October 25th, 2014

Work from Home!

Minion

Make extra cash in every spare minute while working from home. Do you have a poorly functioning moral compass? Apply immediately!

If your moral compass sometimes gives you pause, you’d probably be a great fit for our junior minion position. Check back in a month. We’re waiting to see if the intern quits.

Pay: Bit coin and free books.

Benefits: Every day is casual day.

Requirements: Able to start immediately. Limited ability to work unsupervised. Must be able to copy and paste. Familiarity with Word a plus but not required.

Duties: Carry out tasks on approved schedule. Set up internet alerts and take proscribed actions per provided flow chart.

To apply: Please copy and paste your resume into a comment to this post. Include a link to a video of you dry-washing your hands and laughing in an unsettling manner. Equal opportunity Employer.

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Jo Bourne, Rogue Spy, and a Giveaway!

October 20th, 2014

Interview and Giveaway With Jo Bourne

I’m thrilled to have Jo Bourne here at the website! She’s a wonderful, RITA winning author of historical romance who is also one of the nicest people ever. She’s also one of my very favorite authors. If you haven’t read her yet, you really, really should. Rogue Spy, by the way, has been getting amazing reviews.

About Jo Bourne

Author Photo of Jo Bourne. She has curly hair and glasses

Jo Bourne

 

Joanna lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat.

She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars.

She’s fascinated by that time and place – such passionate conviction and burning idealism … and really sexy clothes.

 

 

 

 

About Rogue Spy

Cover of Rogue Spy by Joanne Bourne

Cover of Rogue Spy by Joanne Bourne

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever. . .

Read an excerpt: http://www.joannabourne.com/

The Interview

Q: Rogue spy. Uh oh. Without spoilers, what happens and why does she/he go rogue?!!!

You know how I write my stories with some French spies and some English spies and then there are one or two who turn out to be both.

Pax is both.  He gets himself unmasked and heads back to London, where he just about immediately steps in the middle of a super-huge-evil-plot ™ (of course).  He also runs into Cami.

Cami is another ambiguously double agent . Cami and Pax  go way back — to when they were children.  They meet. They notice they aren’t kids any more.  And ba-zoing!!  (Sound of Sexxy Times coming.)

Cami has one agenda. The British Spy Service has another agenda.  Pax gets to choose.  (He even has his own agenda, come to think of it.)

Cummon. It’s a Romance. What do think he chooses?

A deer standing in a snowy field with trees

Deer. In The Snow

Q: You live in the wilderness. In a log cabin with no running water and no electricity. I heard you wrestled a bear for nuts and berries. Obviously, you won. Tell us about your thrilling battle. One time there was a huge stir here in my town when someone spotted a young bear walking along one of the creeks that run through town. I did not wrestle the bear. If I had, though, do you have any tips for me?

The bear wrestling — and, indeed, certain pre-technological details of the old domicile —  may be just a tad  exaggerated.

A possum and a dog. In snow. It looks cold.

Dog Encounters Possum

We do have a nice selection of possums/dog encounters.  Here they are discussing interspecies relations through the door.

And we have deer. The dog chases them to the property line and then stops.  Our grass is safe.

The deer walk off, sniggering to themselves.

 

 

 

 

Q: Pets. Tells us about your pets and how they help you write. Or not.

A Cat Sleeping on Important papers

Helping Cat Helps

I have a writer cat.  Everybody needs a writer cat.

She is particularly generous with her fur.

I find it everywhere in the crevices of the keyboard.

 

 

 

 

Q: You get a phone call from your agent. You’re being offered $10 Million to write any screenplay you want, movie is guaranteed to be made by the director of your choice. What story would you pick and why?

Of my own books?  I think Forbidden Rose is the most cinematic.  Maybe the only cinematic one.

I’d start it at the gates of Paris and go for a ‘Tale of Two Cities’ vibe..

Q: Favorite meal? Assume you don’t have to cook it or clean up afterward.

Pasta in brodo for soup. Broiled lobster with asparagus and maybe a nice beet-and-burrata salad. Lemon ice for dessert with a little thin lemon wafer cookie planted proudly in the top.

Yum.

Q: What’s next for you?

Séverine’s story.  It’s fairly late in sequence.  1820 and some.  I had to research a Long Time  to find the political background here.  And having set Rogue Spy in London, I’m putting Séverine in Paris.

Where to Find Jo

Website  http://www.joannabourne.com/
Blog  http://jobourne.blogspot.com/
Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/joanna.bourne.5
Twitter   https://twitter.com/jobourne

Giveaway

Jo is giving away paper copy of Rogue Spy to a US winner.

Rules: Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter and have a US mailing address. Winner chosen at random from among the commenters at my blog. Comment before midnight Pacific, Thursday, October 30, 2014. An alternate winner will be chosen if the winner does not reply to my notification after 10 days.

To enter, answer this question in the comments: If you were a Rogue Spy, what would you wear?

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Christmas in The Duke’s Arms

October 19th, 2014
Cover of Christmas in The Duke's Arms

Christmas in The Duke’s Arms

Find out more at my book page

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Boundaries

October 18th, 2014

This post is an author’s tale of how she confronted a reviewer who did not like her book, an article published in The Guardian, and so given legitimacy.

This post was written by a man who felt his ex should continue interacting with him even though she did not want to.

I see little difference between what’s behind these two articles. In one, an author can’t get past someone’s bad review. Despite all evidence that the reviewer did not wish to be known, this author tracked down the reviewer and made contact. On multiple occasions.

In the other, a woman no longer wished to see her ex, and he writes and publishes an article in which he details why he should get what he wants.

In both, we have the words of the person who pursued a relationship despite clear evidence the other person did not wish, want, or invite the contact.

Both people have written a long justification of actions that violated the peace and privacy of another person.

Both of the people who were contacted against their will, repeatedly, were women. I don’t think that’s an accident.

People like the authors of these articles terrify me.

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Book Covers and Branding

October 10th, 2014

As some of you may know, I’ve been rebranding my book covers with a more consistent look. I’m also using a custom name font. My name is the same on every single new cover. I have given my cover artists very specific instructions about what I’m going for, and one of those instructions is that my name should be big. Bigger than the title, even.

Today, I saw a great illustration of why that’s a good decision. Amazon (as of Oct.10.2014) is now showing pages of top selling books in categories with two sections to the right that look like the below. Take a look. Which authors are in that Hot New Releases category?

Well, the ONLY author name you can read is Eloisa James. If you are a fan of historical romance, and you were thinking, maybe I’ll buy something else, how likely are you to click on a cover where you don’t even know the author?  I think it’s very likely that buyers will say, oh, hey, I’ve heard good things about that author ….

Who's on First? No name shown

What’s in a Name?

And, of course, the image above illustrates the problem with covers in the digital space. The two boxed sets have issues. Yes, the images convey boxed set, but nothing else. The first one is just a blobby mess. The second one is partially saved by a recognizable image. This is the reason I’m not wild about boxed set covers like this… They are a design challenge that is not currently being met.  So. The 3rd book in the top row. What the hell is that background? I can’t see the name OR the title. This cover is a fail. Truce — I can’t even tell what the eff that is. The title is big but you have to stare, and cheat with the title text below. All I really see is T[something]UC.

The Eloisa James cover is a win. Not only can you read her name, you can read the title, too! AND the image is recognizable. I would have asked for a fix at the upper left corner, which is too dark, but over all, that cover works.  That last one? I can read the title, I have no hope of reading the author’s name. But the image is compelling and atmospheric so it I’d give it a marginal pass.

These books are doing well, that’s why they’re in that corner, but this corner real-estate is not doing the authors any favors. I imagine the click-throughs are disappointing because Amazon isn’t showing the author name and so loses a key reason for clicks. (I’ve heard good things about that author….)

There are six books there, and yes, a click will get you a Hot New Release, but there is nothing here to compel the user to click any given title (aside from rank).  The publisher (whoever that might be) needs to provide a cover that will compel clicks on THEIR book over the other five.

I ask you, which book, other than the Eloisa James book, does that?

I expect Amazon to redesign this real-estate. They should remove “Kindle Edition” and show the author’s name so that buyers have more reasons to click. Plus, all these authors, except James, are losing name recognition moments. Free advertising that, in this set of covers, only accrues to  James.

So, the image above was directly to the right of the one below. And you should be able to see why I was looking at this page.

 

Image showing book covers with author names of varying readability

Names. Yeah. Who can you Read?

 

Right. So at least these images have text that includes the author’s names. But that’s going to be the second or third thing people look at. Even if you have no interest in Scandal because you never heard of me, you see my name.

Miriam Minger has a similar success even with a cover that looks cramped. Those horizontal lines are a problem for Bolen’s books, too– whose name is barely legible and has a further problem with a busy background that distracts.

Now, I heartily dislike that P&P cover, but here I will give a pass on author name because the title is so famous. Yes. It’s Jane. Have we learned our lesson about horizontal lines? None of them are well done here.

The other two, well. The leftmost author’s last name is Cook. That’s really all you can read. And, I fear, someone seems to have actually tried to make Mary Campsi’s name invisible. It’s actually possible to look at the cover and think the author’s name is Sophie Seacrest.

The take away? I’m outselling Jane Austen in free books. Read it and weep. And who the hell is giving Jane fewer than 5 stars?

 

 

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