Chapter by Chapter Book Rave

I had such a good time at the Chapter by Chapter Book Rave. It was my first convention as an author. I went in with very low expectations because there were tons of bestselling authors there and I doubted anyone would notice me. Although, my banners were pretty large, so I think it was impossible to not to notice them. 😉

CBCBR 1

The most surprising moment of the day was when I met Lauren. She’s the first reader I met in person. She had both my books for me to sign. I swear, I nearly fell off my chair. I’m sure I scared her a little. I also asked her to take a picture with me. I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life.

CBCBR Lauren

In addition to meeting Lauren, I met Kelly (below) who is one of my favorite bloggers. She runs the Book Crushin blog and she rocks! I also met tons of other readers. Some had read my series which was so awesome. I gave out tons of swag and signed lots of stuff. I don’t think I could have had more fun if I tried. It was just a love-fest for me. I just wanted to run around and hug everyone.

CBCBR Kelly

I also got to do a little fangirling of my own. I finally got to meet Tessa Bailey. She’s one of my favorite adult contemporary romance authors. I may have scared her a little, but I scored an ARC from her, so win for everyone. I also bought every book she had. I only had her on ebook, so I wanted print copies to pet. 😉 Tessa is on the left and equally awesome Diane Roberts is on the right.

CBCBR Tessa

There was also time to meet other authors I’ve known solely online. I spent a lot of time with Tricia Wolfe. We’ve been friends for years and she’s so awesome! By the time this picture was taken, I had enjoyed a few too many long island ice teas, but whatevs, I’m still gonna post the pic.

CBCBR 2

I wanted to thank Damaris and Trini for organizing this amazing event. Thank you so much for including me. Special thanks to Jennifer L. Armentrout for hosting. Jen discovered Dipping Dots ice cream at our hotel and I don’t think she’ll ever be the same. ;-p

THE SHADOW PRINCE Audio Book is COMING…I found my Rowan!!!

I have to say, finding the perfect voice for Rowan wasn’t easy. There are hundreds of voice actors available and it’s incredibly time consuming, especially when you’re trying to write. I can’t even tell you how many voices I listened to…for WEEKS. But I just couldn’t find the right person. Several glasses of wine were required by this point. Ultimately, I decided to poll the people who I knew would point me in the right direction – my book blogging friends! After one poll and several serious sexy male voice discussions, one name rang out over any other…Zachary Webber.

Zachary Webber

You may not recognize him immediately, but if you listen to YA or NA books, you’ve probably heard his voice.

These are just a few of his books:


Red HillMaybe SomedayBreakable

Once I knew who he was, I listened to some of his voice work…amazeballs! I could literally close my eyes and it was like I was listening to Rowan’s voice from inside my head. But then I started to worry. I mean, this guy has worked with so many awesome authors. Could I really get him to voice my little novella? And my answer to that was…

I love a challenge

 Well, I sent him an email telling him how awesome I thought he was and how perfect he would be for this project…AND HE SAID YES!!!! I should have a finished audio available sometime this October!!!! I’ll keep you updated here with news. Oh, and I’ve asked him to record a sample that I can post on here for you. Hopefully, I’ll have something for you to listen to sometime in the coming weeks.

 Oh, and he has a hilariously awesome comedy show on YouTube you should really check out called, Sasquatch Sketch Comedy!

How Authors Piss Off All Their Friends Using Social Media

SpamThe growing self-publishing and small publisher markets have been great for the industry. It’s changed the game, allowing more people to achieve their publication dreams. The downside is you’re seeing more people working without an experienced publicist. Without their guidance, most authors aren’t sure how to get their books in front of readers. Unfortunately, this has unknowingly turned many authors into spammers.

With that in mind, I decided it would be helpful to tell you what not to do when trying to publicize your book. I’m going to take a cue from Jeff Foxworthy and explain how you might be a spammer:

If you friend someone on Goodreads, then immediately send them buy links to your book, you are a spammer. No one will check out your book. Why? Because you are one of hundreds of authors doing exactly the same thing. All that does is get you reported as a spammer or get you un-friended.

If you send a bunch of people a tweet on twitter with your buy link, you are a spammer. People join social media sites to make a personal connection. If they don’t know you, and you’ve never contacted them before, why would they check out your book?

And while we’re discussing twitter, don’t request book reviews from bloggers on this site. Most bloggers have book review request pages on their sites. They tell you how they want those requests. If you don’t follow their guidelines, don’t expect a positive result. If you still have questions about getting your book reviewed by bloggers, check out my other article where I discuss this subject in detail.

If you create an event on facebook telling everyone your book release date, you are a spammer. That might be an event to you, but it’s a mass email spam to everyone else. All it does it annoy everyone attached to it and usually causes people to un-friend you.

Everything I’ve said above can also be applied to your LinkedIn account. No matter how you phrase it – it’s still spam.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful, and good luck with your book! 🙂

I borrowed the gif in this article from this website.

Not All Book Publicity Is Equal – Even in the World of Big 5

book publicityMany of you have been commenting on an article warning writers about a few unnamed small publishing houses. The article had many good points about doing your own research before you sign a contract, and for the record, I totally agree with everything she said. I also quietly read the article comments from published and unpublished writers. The one subject continually brought up was about small pubs inability to promote and sell books.

As a publicist who’s worked for two successful small publishers and independently, I feel it’s important for authors to understand they are ultimately responsible for their own marketing/branding regardless of the publisher. Now, I’m sure many authors are cringing at that statement. Most don’t want to accept they played any role in their books failure. It was all about what the publisher didn’t do or what money they didn’t spend.

So, I thought I would give you a better picture of what book publicity looks like from a “Big 5” point of view. Many believe publishing with “Big 5” is best because the author would be responsible for the writing and the publishing house would handle all the publicity. This isn’t how it works with most “Big 5” authors. A publishing contract isn’t the prize at the end of a hard fought race—it’s actually step one. Once you’ve gotten through your edits and it’s time to promote the book, your job as an author is to promote yourself.

But, if I get a “Big 5” contract, they have way more connections than a small publisher, so the choice is obvious, right?

Yes, they do have great connections, but not everyone will have access to them. Every book release period has a group of books called their lead titles. These are the books they feel will make the most money during that period and ultimately pay for the ones with low sales numbers. Those lead titles are easy to recognize. They are the ones at the bookstore with their own display, they have their cover reveal/book trailer on a major website like MTV’s Hollywood Crush, or the author is interviewed by a big show like Kathy and Hoda.

But, what happens to the other 98%? The answer is not much. Publishing functions like a strip club—they won’t put any money out unless they like how it performs. Meaning, they will throw extra promotional money into a book IF it starts to sell higher than what they anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, “Big 5” will put your book in stores, send out ARC’s to appropriate reviewers like Kirkus, and provide a publicist who will help train you in areas like social media. But, that publicist has tons of clients and guess which ones are the priority? Exactly. Most “Big 5” authors plan their own blog tours and signings, pay to attend book conventions/conferences, buy their own swag for giveaways, and run contests on their websites.

The point I wanted to make is that “Big 5” doesn’t provide major marketing dollars to most of their authors. They function very much the same way most small publishers do. And, just like a small publisher, sometimes their books fail to sell—even some of their big lead titles. So, don’t jump to judgment regarding small publishers. They can get it done and many authors do find success outside of “Big 5”. But, those authors are the ones that understand their part in the process. They dedicate time every day to reaching out to their readers.

So, be prepared to put in the work and be accountable if it doesn’t go your way. If your first book isn’t a huge success, take notes on what worked for you and what didn’t. Then, the next go around, maybe you’ll do a bit better. With many authors, it takes several books to find success. Many build their audience over a number of releases, then one day BOOM, you make a major list.

Bottom line: You really never know where you’ll end up on the publisher food chain, so your best bet is to count on yourself.

The picture used at the top of this post is from Book Publicity Services.

How Amazon Plans to Destroy E-Book Sales (as it has Most of the Publishing Industry)

Amazon KindleLooks like the publishing industry is set to take another hit from Amazon. This one will be what kills e-book sales. Yesterday, Publishers Weekly announced, ‟the mega-retailer has its sights on digital resale, including used e-books and audio downloads. According to the abstract, Amazon will be able to create a secondary market for used digital objects purchased from an original vendor by a user and stored in a user’s personalized data store.”

I’m going to attempt to explain what this means: If person A buys an e-book from Amazon Kindle, they can resell the e-book to person B at a lower price because the e-book is now deemed used. The license moves from person A to B, and supposedly once person A has sold it, they can no longer view the e-book in their device. Just to be clear, both the author and publisher of the e-book receive no compensation from the sale to person B. Also, person B can choose to sell the e-book to person C, and it works just the same as above.

Maybe you’re asking, ‟Why does this matter? Amazon already sells used print books and authors are still making money?”

Here’s a great example. In October 2012, I ran the promotions for the second e-book in J. Lynn’s Gamble Brothers series, Tempting the Player. That month, the promotions of the second e-book boosted sales of the first e-book (Tempting the Best Man) causing it to land on the USA TODAY bestsellers list for the first time. The e-book, Tempting the Best Man, was released in May, 2012.

Let’s pretend Amazon’s secondary e-book market was already in place when Tempting the Best Man was released. Since the e-book was available for six months, there’s a good chance used copies would’ve been available. Meaning, the first e-book would’ve never hit the bestsellers list because secondary sales are not counted toward the lists, and as I already stated, the author receives no compensation for secondary sales. There’s no way for me to prove it wouldn’t have been a bestseller, but I’m confident readers would’ve purchased the cheaper digital if given the option.

Overall, it’s a major hit to an already dwindling market. You can thank Amazon personally for the loss of Borders and most of the other bookstore closings over the last few years. They simply can’t compete with used print book sales. And, this new development will make it even worse for booksellers, publishers, and authors. I expect e-book only authors to take the greatest hit. I mean, why would someone buy a new e-book from the publisher/author when they can buy used (but not really used because it’s digital) at a lower cost? Not to mention, the e-books can be sold over and over and over again (see outline above) without the burden of having to mail anything yourself.

In my opinion, Amazon has become the Walmart of the publishing industry, and I wonder how long the publishers/authors/booksellers can take these ginormous hits before the whole system as we know it crumbles at their feet.

Stacey O’Neale is a freelance writer, book blogger, and a senior publicist with Entangled Publishing. She has participated in panels at Book Expo America and the Virginia Festival of the Book. In addition, she teaches social media and publicity courses through Savvy Authors.

Special thanks to CNN Money for this pic.