Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Perfect" J.C. Mells

I am convinced that author J.C. Mells titled her book Perfect so that fans, reviewers and bloggers could refer to J.C. Mells as perfect. (I guess it could backfire and reviewers could say "far from perfect"). I, for one, would say she is close to perfect.

Author J.C. Mells has thankfully agreed to another interview on Writer & Wilderness Girl Under it All blog. Available here Perfect on Amazon.  After the interview check-out Mells' new look on her website. It is complete with pictures of many of the characters in her book.

As I have written in this blog before, I was lucky to somehow stumble upon Pierced on Amazon or Smashwords and I am hooked! It is not my regular read, but her books now frequent my Kindle.

Tell us about PERFECT- what makes it a must read? (no spoilers I still have to read it)
 PERFECT is a must read especially for fans of the Paranormal Romance genre who have been sticking with the series from the beginning.  Book 1 had very little of the paranormal and no romance.  Book 2 had a bit more paranormal and just hinted at romance.  PERFECT is the “pay-off!”

What kind of feedback or reaction have you been getting from the Pierced Series?
 The feedback has been super positive.  It appears that just about everyone who reads the series really enjoys it.  It’s the getting-people-to-read-it part that is proving challenging!  That's just part and parcel of life as an Indie author though!

What is next for your writing? And for the Pierced Series?
 I am currently working on a novella in the Pierced Series world, featuring one of the peripheral characters, Napoleon.  It will be my first venture into writing M/M Romance and as of right now I’m keeping it YA – but that may or may not change!  After that I have plans to write some Contemporary Romances (I have two in my head at the moment that I’m itching to get to!)
 Wow- I can't wait to read that!

How would you describe your writing journey? How did you get started? What have you learned?
 My writing journey has been a little up and down.  I’m trying to find that balance between working (I’m not yet making enough from the books to pay all the bills…yet!) and finding time to write.  I’ve also learned that it doesn’t come easily to me.  There are some days I can sit and write 10 thousand words (I wrote PERFECT in 3 weeks!) and there are entire weeks I can’t write anything.  I guess I’ve discovered I’m more temperamental than I ever thought I was!

What is your inspiration for your characters and plot?
 I write about things I want to read.  I’m an avid, almost obsessive, reader and I devoured Paranormal Romances for a year or so – so that is what I wrote first.  Now I’m reading Contemporary Romances and will tackle that genre next.  It might sound crazy but I start a book with just a scene or two in my head – then many plot details come to me as I write.  I don’t plot out the entire book before I write, which I assume is more traditional?  The “rave” scene in PERFECT was all I had before I sat down to write it.  I had that scene in my head before I even started PIERCED (Book 1).  Took me a while to get to it – but I think it was worth it in the end!
I agree. I don't do an outline first. It gets me in trouble sometimes. Most times it takes me places I never would have been able to go with an outline.

What do you like most about writing?
 The freedom to create your own little movies in your head and on the page.  I was a Cinema Studies major in college; hence the many film references in the series!

Anything else you would like to add?
Just to say thank you for all your support over the last year since I first published the first book in the Pierced Series.  Also, big congrats to you and your success with Love’s Autograph!  I’m looking forward to reading it!
Thank you for YOUR support!

Check-out the whole Pierced Series. You will not be disappointed.

Developing Writing & Marketing Strategies

Here is a crazy thing. As a writer I want to be writing. I told you it was crazy. Alas, I do not have the luxury of JUST writing if I want to be a successful Indie Author. There is editing, blogging, marketing and networking to be done. My goal for work and life in general for 2014 is to become more organized. My former self about ten years ago was organized, but that part of me died for a bit.

These are some things I am working on.

Marketing Plan
I have read some ebook marketing books, blogs and watched videos. They all pointed to one thing I need a marketing plan. This morning I created a marketing plan for all my books. I have already completed some of the steps. The plan includes entities such as creating a title of the book, using KDP free days, video blogging, blogging, connecting with authors, forum presence, etc.

A integral part of the plan is a COMPREHENSIVE RELEASE STRATEGY. Sounds fancy, right? So far, this is what it entails.

Comprehensive Release Strategy:
  • Soft Release. (Releasing book without marketing.)
  • Blog Tour.
  • Write on Own Blog.
  • Tweets.
  • Obtain Reviews. (Free review sites, formal review requests, Betas)
  • Low Cost Single Book or Short Story to Accompany.
  • Great Cover Design.
  • Public Speaking. (Not sure if going to do this at this point.)
  • Create an Email List.
  • Use of GoodReads.
My marketing plan is helping me choose where to focus my writing endeavors in the next few months. (Despite my internal feelings of wanting to JUST WRITE WHATEVER I WANT WHEN I WANT TO WRITE IT.) I am planning what to publish next based on what will be marketed best. For instance, I have a YA novel close to edit ready. I am choosing to hold off on that to get some more lesbian fiction writing published to take advantage of the success Love's Autograph is having.

Listening to my readers' feedback is important. A lot of the feedback points to my books needing better editing. First, along with using Beta Readers, I am looking for an editor. Yes, every author, publisher and editor article I have read has said, "Find a good editor. Don't skip the editing process. Edit, edit and edit." I believe them all BUT there was this thing called money and I did not have any of it. Now, I have some money coming in from Love's Autograph and I can filter it back into my book. Again, editing will take away from my writing time, but it is needed. I am running into a bit of a problem that a handful of editors who I have contacted read romances but not lesbian romances. One editor wrote "it goes against my beliefs." This is a larger discussion that involves my emotional mind, so I will hold-off on it for now.

What is on your marketing plan?
How have you organized your writing plan?
Do you have a good editor?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Writing: Experiencing some Success

I am writing you at the tail end of a nasty fight with the flu. That is not a very cheery way to start a post about some great headway in my writing. I think I just put the flu part in there as a disclaimer for any delusional sentences.

They last two weeks I have had tremendous success with my new book Love's Autograph. The success has been so overwhelming that I have been walking around with a silly grin on my face. I keep checking the sales numbers and thinking "is this really happening?" My wife has even gotten in on the act and checks my Amazon sales report daily. The phrase "what's for dinner?" has been replaced by "have you checked how many you sold today?"

It is not only the amount that I have sold but the REVIEWS I have been getting. There are a bunch of uplifting comments on the Amazon Review site. The first review I read was not very favorable, and I thought "Oh no, here we go again." Then the good ones started rolling in. (I really thing that author's on Amazon should be able to delete at least five reviews.)

Oh, I also found out that I did not make it to the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The success that I have been having with Love's Autograph has overshadowed that.

I feel like these two weeks of little success has led me to think about the next level to take my writing. I also have a little bit of money to play around with. Some of the reviews focused on my editing mistakes. Despite the GRUELING hours of going over the book and having eight beta readers, there are still errors. Thus, I spent some time today researching editors.

Also, my wife does a great job with what she knows how to do in creating a book cover, but it is not professional. I am thinking about hiring a graphic designer for my cover.

What would you identify as milestones in your writing?
How do you bring your writing to the next level?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Love's Autograph Out & Selling

 Love's Autograph is available to be bought, read and enjoyed on Amazon. It will make you want to create a secret identity and fall in love. If it cannot do that, hopefully it will make you laugh. Its first three days on Amazon and it is already selling 7 x's as many books as Trail Swap did in its first month!

I started writing this book spring of 2013 and was done writing it in three months. Then there were months of editing and getting Beta Reader feedback.

The result: a rocker finding herself and accidental babysitter. A unique 11 year old. A fabulous doctor going on dates with people found online. A roller coaster of a love story.

I am not going to lie. This is pretty dang exciting. Also, I just ranked 11th in the lesbian romance ebooks category. I am hoping to get more reviews with this book and more four and five star reviews. As I have said before,  I wish readers would take a few minutes to write review on Amazon. It would help a lot of authors.

I am excited to see how far I can push this book and to forge new relationships with readers and other writers.