Monday, August 29, 2011

Marketing Strategy Idea

I would like to get a long list of writers with blogs (with at least forty followers) together to help get the word out about our books.  To participate you would need to have at least one book or ebook available for purchase.  After I compile of list of interested writers with blogs, I will organize it and send out the list to everyone.  Then each week we will do an Author Spotlight on one or two writers (depending on how many are interested in this).  The posts must include a summary of the book(s), maybe a short exerpt, and the links for purchase. 

At the very least we will get exposure on several different blogs.  Maybe the writer should even do a short interview introducing themselves to these blog followers.  That might be fun.  What do you think?  Does anyone have a better idea for how we could do this?  I'm open to suggestions.

If you are a writer (with at least one available book) and a blogger (with at least forty followers), please email me your blog link at
After I check out your blog, I'll be in touch.
Happy blogging!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Blank Page

I am starting a new book.  Okay, I am trying to start a new book, but I keep staring at that blank (screen) page.  When a friend asked me what the hardest part of writing was, I told them it was getting that first chapter out.  Then I started thinking:  It's the first page.

No.  It's the first paragraph.

It's the first sentence.

Who am I kidding?  It's the first word.

Every time I start a new book I go crazy for days, sometimes weeks as I try to find my perfect beginning.  The way you start your book sets up the flow for the entire thing.  It either draws the reader in or repels them.  And I always hear that nagging voice in the back of my head, taunting me and saying this book will never become a reality.  At this point my mind starts playing tricks on me.  I think, "Why is this so hard?  My last book came easy."

Did it?  Not really.  Once I take an honest look back I can see that I rewrote the opening at least half a dozen times, and I didn't think I would ever finish that book either.  Eventually something came to me.  I expect that will happen this time as well.  But in the meantime, that blank screen mocks me, and I feel like pulling my hair out.

I've already made a list of possible openings.  None of them seem right.  I've tried writing a diary page from my main character.  That didn't help.  I'll keep trying, and eventually something will work.  Or not.  Come to think of it, there have been a few books that I had to give up on because nothing ever worked.  I couldn't get a firm grasp of the story.  Hope that doesn't happen this time.

So what do you do when faced with that dreaded blank page?  Any tricks you'd like to share with the class?  :)  Happy writing!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Publishing with Createspace

I just learned a lesson at Createspace about print-on-demand publishing.  When you upload a book onto Createspace, they make you an offer to join this thing called Pro Plan.  For forty dollars you can get a higher royalty and pay less for books that you personally buy.  I did this on my first two books, so I've spent eighty dollars up to this point.  I'm still in the hole even though a few books have sold.  Since I didn't have the money to do it again with Werewolves Rule, I looked to see what would happen if I didn't. 

If I don't pay them forty dollars and join the plan for this book, I only get sixty-nine cents per book.  That is with a charge for the customer of 12.99.  So Createspace does very well on this deal.  Me, on the other hand, not so good.  They will also charge me seven dollars per copy for the ones that I buy, and they charge such a high shipping rate that I'll be paying about ten dollars a book.  And this is why Werewolves Rule will not be in print for a while. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Can You Find a 'GOOD' Agent?

There has been some debate on whether a bad agent is better than no agent at all, so I thought I'd weigh in on it using my experience.  Now I am not saying that I had a 'bad' agent.  My agent was inexperienced, but she was a very nice person, and I liked her. 

First of all, if you are looking for an agent, there are several online sources like Agentquery (dot) com where you can find a list of agents interested in the type of book that you write.  I also like to check Preditors and Editors (not sure if I spelled that right) to see if they are legitimate. 

You should research a literary agency thoroughly before handing over your life's work to them.  Also, it is good to research the hows, whens, whys, etc. about having an agent.  Learn what questions you should ask before agreeing to anything.  Unfortunately I knew the questions to ask, but I didn't do it because I was so thrilled to have an agent interested in my book.  Nathan Bransford has some great posts on agents on his blog. 

I always heard that first you sell yourself to them (through your query letter).  Then they are supposed to sell themselves to you, convince you that they are the right agent to represent your work.  Some agents even say that they expect you to ask them questions before telling them that you need to think about it.  The agent who called me was from an excellent agency, one of the biggest, but she was newly promoted.  She didn't try to 'sell' herself to me.  In fact, our conversation was short.  But I had an agent... so I was thrilled.  Now, looking back, I can see the warning signs. 

1.  The Phone Conversation:  It didn't go at all the way I'd been told that it would go.  She didn't sell herself to me, didn't tell me about the agency or ask if I wanted her to be my agent.  In fact, it was a done deal as far as she was concerned.  I felt rushed and should have put the breaks on here.

2.  Unreachable:  From what I've heard, agents will do their best to keep in touch with you.  They don't want to be on the phone with you every day, but they will keep you up to date.  This agent only contacted me every six to ten weeks. I was 'agentless' for over two months before trying to conact her only to discover that she'd quit.  Before that I had tried to contact her a few times to ask a question or find out if there were any new rejections.  Rejections don't bother me, but I wanted to know about them.  I had told her that straight up, but she only told me about them after I tracked her down.  Once when I desperately had to talk to her, I called the number she'd given me, and it wasn't in use anymore.  That should have made me wonder, I guess, but I was too happy about having an agent to care.  She eventually gave me a number that worked.  Part of all of this was my fault because I didn't want to 'bother' her. 

3.  Doesn't do what they say they will do:  I lost track of how many times she told me she would do something only to tell me later that she hadn't.  She had told me at least six different times that she was contacting editors about my book.  Later she would tell me that it hadn't been the right time, edtiors were out of the office, etc.  Now I wonder if she'd done the same thing to editors, telling them she was going to do something and then not do it.  That's not good.

4.  Did not ask for editing:  This should have been the biggest clue that she might have been in over her head.  I know my books are not in perfect shape even now, but she took the first manuscript on each book and told me she loved it.  She never asked me to change anything.  At the time I thought I was just that good.  Oh boy, was I delusional.

Anyway, there were several red flags that should have tipped me off.  Don't be so thrilled about finding an interested agent that you ignore these flags.  You might live to regret it.  Happy writing!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I finally did it.  I finally finished the second book in the Rule series and put it out.  Please help me spread the word.  Thank you.  Anyone interested in reading it can find it here: 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Werewolves Rule Will Be Released on Time

And everybody 'sigh' with relief. 

It has been a long, hard summer.  I set goals for myself at the end of May.  More than anything, I wanted to have two of the Rule series books out before I go back to school.  It looks like it's going to happen.  I am reading through the book for the last time, trying to catch anything that my editor didn't notice.  Despite what people think, I do have editors.  Okay, they don't do it for a living, but my main editor is a high school teacher.  She catches a lot of the stuff. 

Just thought I'd let everyone know that I'll be releasing Werewolves Rule in a week or two.  One of my Goodreads friends messaged me to say they didn't see anything about it on my blog, and they were wondering about it.  So I thought others might be wondering too.  As soon as it becomes official, I will put up another post.  Thank you all, and happy reading!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The List is Growing

The list of places where you can find my books is growing longer.  I added the links to my books at Barnes & Noble to my Book Buy Links page.  They are, of course, at Smashwords, Amazon (ebook and in print), and they are at a few bookstores in my hometown.  Awesome!  This direct publishing thing is cool.  I wish I'd done it years ago.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Trials of Editing

I have editing on the brain right now because I am up to my chin in it with Werewolves Rule.  My head has hurt almost non-stop this month because I am staring at the computer screen, reading and editing every day.  Sometimes I work late into the night too.  Not good for the eyes.  Then when I'm not working on my book, I'm doing this blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  My eyes and head really need a rest, but I want to get this done.  I am in the homestretch now, and I can see the finish line.  Very exciting.

I also have a few other people editing it too, but the problem is that we are all so familiar with the book that we miss stuff.  After reading through Crushed more than a dozen times, a friend and I were shocked when someone found a mispelled word in one of our favorite scenes.  How did we miss that?  It was so obvious.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing.  Hope everyone out there is doing good.  Happy writing!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I decided to copy this one over from the Reading Vacation blog.  You can find the whole review here:

The Noah sisters have this game they play. It’s called Crushed. They blow magical dust into a boy’s face and then that boy follows them around like a puppy doing their bidding and falling in love with them. Ha! I love this!

The girls have had great success with Crushed in the past, but something goes wrong this time around. When Kristen Crushes Zach, he doesn’t act like the other Crush boys. Instead, Zach can break Kristen’s commands and he alternates between falling for her and hating her. Whoa!

The Noah sisters are an interesting bunch. Kristen starts out being very obsessed with popularity, but she becomes less self-absorbed. Thank goodness. Brittany is moody and she dresses in goth style. And then there’s the peacekeeper, Cindy. I like that each girl has her own style and personality. These girls are certainly not one-dimensional.

Zach’s odd behavior had me baffled and I was surprised by what was causing all the drama. Oh, I did NOT see this one coming at all. I love when that happens.

Crushed is an entertaining and light story that I enjoyed. A cute premise and an intriguing plot make for a fantastic story.
Thank you, Melina.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Great Review!

I am stoked!  CRUSHED is getting even better reviews than VAMPIRES RULE.  Don't know if that is because it is a better book or because people are sick of vampires and didn't want to read it.  Anyway, you can read the new review here:

Oh, and here is a guest post that I did.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Widgets

I have so much fun with this blog, discovering new stuff and adding it.  If you look to the right, you will see two brand new widgets.  First of all, I put a 'favorites' list from Amazon.  My two books in print are on here, plus a Mortal Instrument book because I love it.  I'm going to add more later.  People have complained that they can't find my books when they try to look for them.  I added a Links page, but some people are still having trouble.  Now all you have to do is click on the book that you want.

I also added a slideshow with my books on it.  The reason Crushed comes up more than once is because one is the ebook and one is the print book.  Unfortunately I don't think you can tell the difference by just looking.  I may have to figure something out there to separate the two.  Anyway, so that's what's new here.  What's new with you?