Category Archives: Author

The Demise….

I figured I’d get your attention with that title! Did it work? Hee hee.

So I decided to stop sending out a newsletter. It never really took off, subscription-wise anyway, and it was a lot of work for not a lot of return on the work involved. The other reason I decided to render it defunct had to do with a workshop I attended over the weekend on writing newsletters.

I’m pretty sure the person who gave the workshop didn’t have as one of her objectives that the writers in the class will kill their newsletters! But that was my decision.

Let me ‘esplain. 

There are a few new privacy rules involved in sending emails with newsletters to people. The reason is for something called GDRP.

This rule requires you to show proof that a person actually wants you to send them your email/newsletter, plus you have to give them an easy out if they want to unsubscribe, all to protect the privacy of person you are sending stuff to.  It’s kinda like  publishing HIPPA. Today, with the surge in blogs, and internet sites, protecting privacy is a huge factor in how companies deal with their customers. I put my newsletter together before this edict came down and when I tried to rework the form to sign up to include all the new GDRP verbage, I screwed it up six ways from Sunday and it became a huge pain in the a** to fix.

Then, when I did fix it, I was worried I hadn’t done it correctly, which led me to trying to fix it even more, and the whole thing snowballed into an afternoon spent frustrated and now afraid I was going to be sued by the GDRP powers-that-be.

In addition to this dilemma, the workshop speaker had a list of things you should and shouldn’t be doing in your newsletter.

Can I just tell you I did every single one of the things you shouldn’t  be doing? Yeah. Who knew??

Any hoo.

The newsletter was just one more thing I thought – and kept getting told by other writers – I needed to connect with readers. Well, you know what? I blog 4-5 times per week, I tweet dozens of times daily, I share Triberr feeds, I live on facebook and my Instagram is burning up. I don’t need a newsletter to connect with people because everyone knows everything about me anyway from one of those other sites. So, bye bye newsletter and GDRP worries, hello more time to….do everything else!!

heehee.

When I’m not worrying and obsessing, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Author newsletter, author promotion, monthly newsletter

Coming soon…

I haven’t had a new book release since April 2018 when CAN’T STAND THE HEAT came out into the romance reading world. Loved that book, but I’ve never gone this long without a new release.

Well, what’s that old saying: when it rains it pours?  Yeah. Story of my life.

This fall and into the holiday season I will have 3 new releases, well, released. A new San Valentino Christmas story called CHRISTMAS AND CANOLLIS, a new series starting called A Match Made in Heaven. Book 1 is DEARLY BELOVED. And I’m part of a book series of novellas from the Wild Rose Press called The DeerBourne Inn. My addition is HOPE’S DREAM.

I’m going to do a cover reveal of Christmas and Canollis, soon, but here’s the official blurb:

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him.

 

Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company’s reputation—in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.

 

Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

Love that!!!

here’s the cover and blurb for DEARLY BELOVED:

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

Can I just tell you how much I lovelovelove this cover and this story??!! This past weekend I posted a snipper from the upcoming story. You can read it here: Sunday Snippet

The DeerBourne Inn is a series of novellas centering around a bed and breakfast in Willow Springs, Vt. The books range from historical to paranormal to contemporary and even a few spicy/erotic ones.

My contribution is a modern day romance about two people who aren’t looking for love, and what happens when love finds them!

Ski instructor Hope Kildaire’s dream of becoming a Nurse Practitioner was shattered when a fatal accident changed her family and her future. Working two jobs and caring for her injured mother leaves the twenty-seven year old beauty with no time for fun or relationships. While she loves her Willow Springs community, she longs for a life where she can travel and make a difference in people’s lives.

Lawyer Tyler Coleman has one job when he comes to Hope’s hometown, an assignment that could change Hope’s life forever and allow her to fulfill all her dreams. But once he meets and gets to know her, that job takes a backseat to his unexpected and mounting feelings for the lovely young woman. When he finally admits who he is and why he’s in Willow Springs, his one hope is that she feels the same way about him.

Will Hope’s dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s heart?

To say I’ve been a bit busy is kind of an understatement!!!

When I have official release dates I’ll post them. And if you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll be seeing the cover of CHRISTMAS and CANOLLIS soon. Sign up when the pop-up appears to subscribe!

Off to do more editing. And maybe take a nap. Definitely, a nap.

Find me here when you’re looking for me:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

Leave a comment

Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press

Do I have a backlist?

At RWA 2018 I attended a workshop about making the most of your backlist, and by making the most the presenter meant sales. So, this is good question for a writer to be asking him or herself.

So, what is a backlist? Well, it’s a publisher’s list of older books still in print. The definitive word in that sentence is older. But what constitutes older? How many years or even decades is considered enough for a book to be truly defined as backlisted? 

I’m asking this because I had my very first book published in 2015. That’s only 3 years ago. (Sometimes, it seems like 300, but that’s just me!) Now, in no one’s mind would 3 years past be considered old. But, believe it or not, in the publishing industry, it is. The reasons vary, but if you’ve ever heard this phrase: You’re only as good as your last book – you’ll know it’s true, because each time a writer releases a new book, that becomes the yardstick readers measure you by because it’s the most current, and available in the here and now.

I realize what I just wrote may be a little convoluted, so let me ‘esplain.

Most well-known writers put out a book a year, maybe 2, or if you’re Jill Shalvis or Nora Roberts, 4 or more! I’m not either, but since 2015 I’ve averaged 3 a year. This year it’ll be four, which is giving me agita even as I write this.

But I digress…

Since most authors have a lag period of about 6-12 months between releases, they don’t have much to promote while they are writing/editing/editing some more/ their coming soon book. Here’s where the back list comes in. I’m going  use myself here s an example because it’s easier. My first book, Skater’s Waltz, released in March 2015.

It was promoted heavily for a few months until my second book came out. Same scenario until my third book released. By the time the 4th and 5th books went out into the world, no one was  hearing about Book 1 which started the entire 5 book series.

So. With each new addition to the series, I tweeted/facebooked/instagrammed – you get the picture: I used my social media sites – to REMIND people about the first book, the one that started the series ( and my new life!) and put all the buy links up with each promo. I was lucky enough that each time I had a new book come out, I also had people buying the previous books because of that promo. I’ve written my series as stand alone books, which means you don’t need to read the one before the newest one to know what’s going on, but readers still went ahead and purchased those previous books.

In essence, this was me promoting my backlist.

Another way to get readers to read the books that came before your soon to be released one and utilize your back list effectively is to have a sale. Each time my newest book was a month or so from release date, I asked my publisher(s) to put the previous book I released on sale and then promoted the sale to try and garner new readers. It worked.

This holiday season I have a new San Valentino Christmas story coming out called CHRISTMAS and CANOLLIS. I don’t have the exact release date yet, but when I do I’ll be having a sale of my previous San Valentino Christmas Story A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS to try and get people interested in the new book.

The theory if you like this one, you’re sure to like that one, is the prompt for this. BTW – just a little side note: I’m having a cover reveal of Christmas and Canollis soon, so stay tuned!!!

Get the idea now of why a backlist is important to promote if you’re an author? And it doesn’t matter if your backlist is from 1 year ago and has 2 books on it, or 10 years ago with 30. ALL your books should be promoted as frequently as you’re comfortable doing.

Backlists. They’re a good thing for a writer.

When I’m not pushing, er promoting my backlist, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

 

1 Comment

Filed under Author, author promotion, love, Romance, Romance Books

Thoughts…

In May, the movie BOOK CLUB was released. It starred 4 of my favorite actresses of a certain age, my absolute fav being Candice Bergen. The plot dealt with 4 women all over the age of 50 ( way over!) and their attitudes towards aging, their bodies, their sex lives ( or lack of such) and society’s views, in general, about romance, romantic love, and yes, SEX, after the age of 40.

And just who exactly decided 40 was the cut off for all things romance? Just askin’.

Any hoo. The writing was fab, the jokes, although sometimes raunchy, always spot-on, and the dialogue was like listening to people I know speak to one another. In other words, the movie spoke to me.

The reason I’m writing this post isn’t as a review of the movie or a request to rent it – although you should! No. After watching the movie I began to think about the romance publishing industry overall, and how it can be a little insular for its writers.

Case in point – all the talk of the lack of diversity this year. I’m not going into depth on this point, but do some research and you’ll see why I’m applauding all the AOC ( authors of color) who are FINALLY being given a rightful seat at the table and a voice. It’s been a long time coming and still has a loooooooong way to go before true equity, equality, and financial parity, but 2018 has certainly been the beginning of the journey.

Diversity encompasses more than just color and ethnicity in my opinion, though. There is a decided mood of AGEISM in the romance publishing world. Whoever decided  40 was the age cutoff for heroes and heroines in romances  in order for the book to be successful or even published should be made public so the writers – such as myself – who are over this age can confront him/her and give them a good, hard dose of reality.

I am 58 years old. I have never been shy about admitting my age because, a. I’m proud I was able to live to it(!) and b. I think I look pretty good. I know I certainly feel good. Vibrant. Healthy. And when I say healthy I mean in all aspects:  medically, physically, spiritually and yes, SEXUALLY! And since I am medically sound, physically well, spiritually intact, I do, therefore HAVE SEX.

Okay. No more capital letters. You get what I’m writing about.

The traditional romance publishing industry seems to be loathe to publish any stories where the main characters, the hero and heroine, are 50 years plus. I don’t know the actual reason, but I bet it’s based on two things: money and the “eeww” factor.

Money first. Publishing, like all businesses, runs on the ability to bring money in, in essence, to make a profit. So far, the romance books that have been released into the book reading world have mostly been about main characters below the age of 40 because these sell. But…Baby Boomers and the generation that came after them are now all in their 50’s 60’s and 70’s. And they read. A lot. Why, in an industry where money is king, publishers haven’t tried to tap that market with age-appropriate romances is a mystery. I’d make a bet that if they did, the money would not only flow, it would increase exponentially.

The “eeww” factor is an easy one. No one likes to think of their parents or grandparents involved in a passionate love affair or having – God forbid and close my eyes – sex. Well, suck that up, buttercup, because how do you think you got here? You weren’t hatched. You weren’t found in a cabbage patch. You weren’t an immaculate conception because so far in history there’s only been one of those and you’re not it. You ancestors had sex. Your parents and grandparents are still having sex. Your grandparents and parents are ROMANTIC beings. Get over yourself and realize that.

The reason I am so fierce about this topic is because several years ago I was a judge in the annual RITA contest for RWA. I was assigned 9 contemporary romances to read by varying authors, all of whom I’d never heard of. Every book dealt with a heroine in her 20’s. Every. Single. Book. And they were obnoxious, self absorbed or whoa-is-me heroines. Pathetic. Right then and there I wondered if there were any books out there about women like me, my age, my temperament and with my concerns.

Here’s a hint: There weren’t.

Since then, several authors have started penning romance books for and about people over the age of 40, but these authors have done so independently – the big five traditional publishing houses nowhere to be seen. That speaks volumes about how the industry feels about my generation.

If, like me, you are a woman of a certain age who enjoys reading and writing romances, do yourself and everyone else a favor and contemplate a more mature heroine/hero, possibly along the same age lines as yourself. And if you are an editor or an agent and reading this, first #blessyou(!) second, consider well written books about people who aren’t less than 40 years of age. People 40+ have the same concerns, problems, conflicts, and romances as those below it.

Okay, enough of the PSA for today. If you like reading romances about people over 40, these are my two favorite romance authors writing such: Judy Kentrus and Roxanne St. Claire.

If you’re a facebook girl you might want to check out the Seasoned Romance group on FB

And if you’re looking for me I’m either out writing a romance about a woman in her 50’s or here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

1 Comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance

Social Media and the Quest for Name Recognition…

That’s a wordy title, but it’s an accurate one for what I’ve been mulling over lately.

I’m a household name. In MY household…no other. This is tantamount to the Kiss of Death for a writer, because no one is going to read your books if they don’t know who the heck you are.

True ‘dat, right?

In the past, publishers have had entire teams of people who diligently took steps to make sure their writers’ names were recognized easily. Marketing campaigns, publicity tours, multi-city book signings. Any and every effort the team could get the author’s name to be recognized by the general book reading public was made. With the advent of less traditional publishing avenues, most of the tried and true publishers now are only moving their advertising dollars toward their already recognizable, big-name, authors.

What’s the relatively unknown writer to do?

I’m traditionally published by two presses, Kensington/Lyrical Shine and The Wild Rose Press. Both love their authors, make no mistake about that. They are in the business of selling books and they need authors to  achieve their goal. But taking a chance on a relatively new author  – and by chance I mean throwing advertising and marketing dollars  behind them to promote them – is something both of them are reluctant to do. In the WRP case, they do minimal to no marketing for their authors – the authors and the other writers associated with the company do the bulk share of getting the word out  about a new book release. Lyrical Shine has a marketing department, but with so many authors on their docket, those dollars are stretched thin.

So, what’s an author like me – unknown, no advertising or marketing background – to do, you ask?
Well, of course I’ll tell ya.

When my first book was scheduled for publication I frantically tried to learn whatever I could about marketing and how to promote myself on a nearly non-existent budget. It was hard, peeps. Real hard.

I joined TWITTER, had my best friend set-up my WEBSITE, and made a Facebook Professional Page. I didn’t go out and employ any book-tour companies via the web because I didn’t know they existed back then!!! I garnered several hundred new followers from all this, but it wasn’t enough to make me more well known as an author ( and you know that ultimately means – no sales!)

When the second and third books rolled around and were ready to be published, I had discovered on-line book tours, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM, and Goodreads.

I got even more followers and saw a tiny uptick in sales, so a good thing, but still, my name is not showing up on any bestseller lists, or on any “Watch for the next book from this fab author” lists.

By the time I got my Lyrical contract, I had joined Triberr, BookBub,  and  Google + and started entering more and more contests. My thought was if I finaled in any of them, that will introduce my name to more people. If I, GOD-PLEASE! – won any of them,  my name and my work would be more accessible and known.

Haven’t won any yet, but have finaled in a bunch, so that’s a positive thing, right?

My first book was published in 2015. Since then, 3 years later, I’ve got 2,260 Twitter followers, 1343 people on my FB author account, on Triberr I have a personal reach of 183K and on BookBub I have 281 followers.

Now, those numbers are…okay. But they need to be waaaaaaaaaaay more to have any kind of impact on the romance reading world.

So…

I have a favor to ask ( you saw that coming, didn’t you?!)

If you aren’t already following me across my media, please take this opportunity to do so. At the end of most of my blog pieces I usually list all my Social Media sites and beg, er, ask you to find me. Well, please continue to do that, but could you also please follow me? Here’s the list:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

And if you are already following me across my SM sites – #BLESSYOU and #ILOVEYOU

It’s so humbling to beg!

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press

And so it starts….

Remember the other day when I said I was heading in a new track for a while? Well, today is the day it starts.

For next week I will be on radio silence, which is a cutsie way to say I won’t be posting, blogging, or reposting anything to any of the accounts listed below. I am taking a week to reinvigorate my mind, refresh my body and relax my soul.

Please don’t forget about me ( she begs, unashamedly!)

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

2 Comments

Filed under Author

#ChristmasinJuly Spotlight

Hey all, while I’m working my butt off at RWA I’m featured on the Christmas in July fete today over at N.N. Light’s Bookhaven

Drop by for a chance to win a copy and for a rafflecopter for a $100 Amazon GC!! Read A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS now and when CHRISTMAS AND CANOLLIS releases this holiday season, the San Valentino family be old friends!

Leave a comment

Filed under #RWA2018, Author, Author Branding, author promotion

Why I love a list….

I’m a list-maker. You know: one of those annoying people who write everything they have to do, everyplace they have to go, and every item they need to buy, down on a piece of paper before they ever leave the house or attempt a task.

This is the list of things I needed to do for Saturday, July 7.  You will notice the list is even dated. That’s so I don’t confuse it with another day’s list. You will also note at the bottom of the list is a reminder to write a blog on…lists.

I make lists for the grocery store; the chores I need to do; the stops I have to make while I am out of the house doing normal life stuff. I make sublists, too, when I have to go more than 2 or three places during one trip. I’ll list my destination, then – in bullet form – all the things I need to purchase or do at each place.

I have lists for birthday presents. I have a list of people I need to buy or make Christmas gifts for every year. I have a list of the days I need to send bills out to be paid.

I have a list of all the blogs I want to write, a list for the titles of the books I need to finish ( or start!) and then sublists added to that.

I have a bucket list with 1000 items on it. I have a to-do list for every day next week already.

I make a lot of lists. A lot of lists.

Maybe if I stopped making lists, I’d get more stuff on the lists done. Just a thought…..

 

 

 

 

When I’m not making lists, you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

6 Comments

Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion

My current #SocialMedia obsession…

So you can probably guess the answer to the blog title today. I discovered TRIBERR a little over a year ago when author (and good friend) Marianne Rice spoke to my NHRWA chapter about using social media to build a target audience. It was a great workshop overall, but when she told us about TRIBERR, I immediately looked into securing a spot on the media site.

So, what is Triberr and why is it such a worthwhile Social media site to be a part of? Here’s a great article on exactly what it is and does, link, but in a nutshell, Triberr hooks you up with other bloggers on  the web who will share your content to their sites, blogs, social media posts, etc. When I first joined the social media world I had a world wide web “reach” of maybe ( on a good day) 100 people. That included Twitter, FB, and Instagram.

After one week of joining Triberr, I saw a 10 percent increase in traffic across my sites and within a month, that had risen ten fold. My Triberr reach as of today is 171,ooo. I don’t even know 100 people, much less 171,000!! My Twitter followers increase daily ( this morning they number 2,220) and my FB author page is up to 1,301, up nine since  last Monday. I know those numbers may not seem impressive, but when you’re a virtual nobody like I am, getting your name out there so poeple can buy your books is hard. The fact that when I started writing for publication I had 1 follower on Twitter ( my darling daughter) and now I number 2k+ is amazeballs!

How I increased those numbers is no secret: I joined TRIBERR and then started following other TRIBES devoted to writing, marketing, and author branding. This is my own site (called a TRIBE) Strong Women. Loving Men

where my blog postings get listed daily, and where other authors/bloggers/readers ask to join my tribe. I’m a member of about a dozen other tribes where I read and post those bloggers’ content daily, thereby increasing my own web reach. It’s a win/win situation as far as I am concerned.

Since I’ve limited the type of tribes I want to be associated with – all romance writing, marketing, and review sites – I can target my reach to those individuals who read and write and review romance books. If I wanted to really expand my reach, and I probably will in the next year or so, I’d include book bloggers, readers, and reviewers of all book genres, not only romance. But even if you wanted to narrow down your scope to, say, just romance readers/bloggers/reviewers who only read/review/blog about Paranormal Romance, or historical romance, you could do that as well.

The site is free, the only cost – the time you take to share the posts you want to each day. And you don’t even have to do it every day. I do because I typically blog every day, but if you’re a once a week blogger, that’s fine. As long as you share other posts in your tribe, you’re fine.

If you’re looking to grow your on-line and social media presence, Triberr is a great way to do so with very little every and a whole lotta reach! I’ve even included it in my search engine sites.

And when I’m not on Triberr, you can usually find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

4 Comments

Filed under Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books

#ChristmasInJulyFete

For the entire month of July, NNLightsBookHaven is sponsoring a Christmas In July Fete featuring dozens of romance authors  and a grand prize of a $100 Amazon ( US) gift card as a rafflecopter. Here’s the link for the contest: RAFFLECOPTER  

I’ll be featured on July 17, so make sure you check back at The Christmas in July Fete that day to see what I’m promoting for the (summer!) holiday season!

And when I’m not out celebrating the holiday season waaaaaaay early ( hee hee) you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor