Tag Archives: publishing

Win Autographed Copies of PILATE'S CROSS, PILATE'S KEY and More

To celebrate the release of Book Two in the John Pilate Mystery Series, PILATE’S KEY, we’re giving you a chance to win some spiffy prizes!

GRAND PRIZE:

Paperback of PILATE’S CROSS

Autographed by the author and book cover artist/designer David Terrill

Paperback of PILATE’S KEY

Autographed by the author and book cover artist/designer David Terrill

and

One Download of the Shelf Unbound 2011 award-winning short story

OBSIDIAN

in any ebook format you prefer.

FIRST PRIZE

Paperback of PILATE’S KEY

Autographed by the author and book cover artist/designer David Terrill

SECOND PRIZE

One Download

PILATE’S CROSS or OBSIDIAN

in any ebook format you prefer.

THIRD PRIZE

One Download

PILATE’S CROSS or OBSIDIAN

in any ebook format you prefer.

How to Play:

In the new John Pilate Mystery PILATE’S KEY (see below for links to download your Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo or other ereader copy) there are at least five (5) lines from classic/cult movies quoted or recognizably paraphrased by characters in the book.

For your chance to win, read the book (no complaining–you have 26 days to read a 202-page book!) and be one of the first 4 persons to email three (3) correct answers to Author (at) Pilatescross.com before Noon CST on February 12, 2012.

Answers must be sent in this format:

The line spoken by the PILATE’S KEY character, which character said it, and from what film was the line paraphrased?

Example:

“My health. I came here for the waters,” Pilate said.  (Casablanca)

Grand Prize awarded to first email received with correct answers.

Other prizes will be awarded to correct answers in order of receipt.

Winners agree to allow their first name, last initial and City/State/Country be used for contest results announcements on Facebook, Goodreads, PilatesCross.com and Twitter.

Judging by J. A. Greenwood–all results announced Feb. 12, 2012 and are final.

Winners of paperbacks must provide full name and address for shipping. (U. S. Postal Service media mail shipping costs paid by J. A. Greenwood.) J. A. Greenwood is not responsible for items lost in shipping. Books will be shipped as soon as possible after the announcement of winners (subject to publisher fulfillment times and shipping conditions).

PLEASE DO NOT POST ANSWERS TO FACEBOOK, GOODREADS OR ANY OTHER WEBSITE.

If answers are posted publicly prior to contest conclusion, the contest will end with all entries ruled invalid.

Questions?  Ask ‘em right here on this page.

Get your Kindle Copy here. Get your copy formatted for Nook, iPad, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, PC, (EPUB) as well as Stanza, Smartphone, PDF, etc. here.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll enter!

REMINDER

If you’re in the Kansas City area Feb. 23, be sure to come to the reception and presentation about my work hosted by the Kansas City Public Library! More details and RSVP link here.

Will Literary Agents Write the Next Chapter of the Ebook Revolution?

Check out Smashwords founder Mark Coker’s presentation on what he sees as the “next chapter” in the ebook revolution–literary agents “changing horses.”

Not sure if I totally agree it will go exactly this way, but it’s good food for thought for you indie authors out there (yes, like me).

Marketing the Exciting, Exotic and Extremely Erotic: An Interview with Author Eden Baylee

Marketing and promotion can be challenging for small businesses and independent artists, authors and musicians. Author Eden Baylee makes it pretty damn sexy, too.

Eden writes erotica, provocative stories incorporating all her favorite things: travel; culture; and sex. Sometimes there’s romance, sometimes not. Sometimes there’s a happy ending, sometimes not. What is consistent are the multi-dimensional characters who grow and change as the stories progress. Sex is the backdrop, but a very important element in their evolution.

We interviewed the Toronto-based author of the erotic novella anthology Fall Into Winter about her work, her marketing techniques and more.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: How long have you been writing and why did you start?

Eden Baylee: I’ve been writing erotica since I was about fifteen. I started because I enjoyed reading the genre and wanted to see if I could also write it. My first piece was a short story for my high school English class which garnered a good grade, but my teacher told me never to show it to my mother! I liked that I got a rise out of him, and it reinforced my thinking that I could actually write. I’ve had a love affair with words ever since I was a child.  I was very shy (still am) and could easily get lost in reading books. I always thought it would be a cool profession to be a writer and be able to earn a living from it.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: How do you market your book?

Eden Baylee: In several ways. I had a book launch to get the word out initially, and it was successful in that everyone and anyone I knew were aware I had a book coming out.  I also got connected with a respected book buyer in the city which was important for me. It never hurts to know someone like that. I used Facebook to create an event invitation to my launch, and emailed people personally as well. If you’d like to learn about my process to set up the launch, you can read my guest blog called “Anatomy of a Book Launch.” It lists the steps I took.

When given the opportunity, I do radio interviews, and podcasts so readers have an idea of what I sound like. I really enjoy reading for podcasts because it’s a great way to hone my writing skills. Reading aloud draws attention to deficiencies in my writing such as repeated words, alliteration, and those “what the hell am I trying to say?” moments.

Within the next couple of months, I hope to line up some book signings, and of course, guest interviews such as this are wonderful to get my name out too. Thanks Alex!

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: My pleasure! What tools do you use to reach and stay connected to your fans and prospective fans?

Eden Baylee: Twitter is my main network to connect with other authors. It’s a great place to make short and sweet announcements about myself and other writers. The community is made up of exceptionally supportive individuals, and I’ve learned to do some imaginative writing within 140 characters!

I also have an author’s website and a very active blog. The blog is my lifeline to showcase my writing, other authors, and give readers an idea of who I am. I always look forward to hearing from readers, so please visit my blog. If you like it, I’d be thrilled if you subscribe to it. I’ve included my links, which you can also access by going directly to my website at www.edenbaylee.com

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Why do readers like your book?

Eden Baylee: My book, Fall into Winter, is an anthology of four erotic novellas, two that take place in the fall, and two in the winter. It provides the reader with a diverse collection and introduces them to my style of writing.

The three comments I’ve heard the most often from readers are that the book:

  • Is well written
  • Is sexy/sensual/erotic/romantic
  • Has a great variety of stories

Some readers seem to enjoy getting their sex in small doses. I’ve had people tell me they’ve read the first two stories, put down the book because they found it very “hot” and needed a break before reading the second half. That’s the wonderful thing about an anthology, you can read the stories out of order, and savor each one as a completely different book.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Why erotica?

Eden Baylee: Ha, Alex! Why not? I’ve always loved the genre of “sexy.” I read Story of O when I was eleven. I’d never endorse anyone so young reading a tale of BDSM, but I did, and it left an indelible mark on my psyche. Writing erotica also makes me feel alive. Most adults have had sex. It’s a common experience that human beings share, which makes it challenging to write about in a way that is fresh and exciting. I try my best to exercise restraint when I write sex scenes. Ultimately, they can either advance a story or halt the reader’s interest. Words on a page can be incredibly seductive, yet, as there are natural ebbs and flows during sex in real life, so should there be when writing about it.

My wish is that my readers feel emotionally connected to my characters, deeply aroused by their story, and fully committed to reading my book.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Does erotica present any particular PR/marketing challenges or advantages other genres do not?

Eden Baylee: The only marketing problem I had was with Google who refused to advertise my book with the book cover, so I basically refused to advertise with Google. It’s ridiculous really. There are so many pictures you can find on Google Images that are much more revealing than my book cover.

A bigger challenge is that the genre of erotica can be misunderstood at times.  When a friend suggested my book for her ladies’ book club, the other women refused to add it to their list. Some people consider it porn and think it’s just page after page of sex.  Well, I’m telling you right now, erotica is not just about pounding sexual images into the reader’s mind, it’s not page after page of sex because that would be damn boring—an instructional sex manual at best. God knows when you get that technical; there is nothing erotic about it!

To make it an enticing read, there has to be context. You need to ask: Who are these people? Why are they having sex? Why are they having this type of sex? Erotica is very much about character-driven plots with sex as an important element, but not at the expense of a good story. Sex in a vacuum sucks, pardon the pun.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: I agree, and having read your book, I can honestly say I found your characters compelling–which made the book very…well, you said it best. Moving on–where are your books available?

Eden Baylee: Paperback copies are sold in specific stores only, and of course via the online market. You can find all the links here:

http://www.edenbaylee.com/books.html

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Ever get any strange fan mail?

Eden Baylee: Strange fan mail?  No, but I’ve received some extremely sweet tweets and emails from both men and women.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: What are you working on now?

Eden Baylee: I am currently editing my second anthology entitled Spring into Summer. I’ll have all the seasons covered by the time the book comes out! Following that, I’m switching gears to write full-length novels. They will certainly be erotic, but I’d like to make them darker with more intricate storylines.

Though my novellas fall into the erotic/romance genre, I also enjoy writing edgy and humorous erotica. You can get samples of these on my blog, and I’m always open to criticism, so feel free to leave a comment if you like them, and especially if you don’t!

Here’s the link.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: I’m looking forward to your new work! You’re Canadian–does that help or hurt you as you try to sell books and/or build an audience in America?

Eden Baylee: I don’t think there are any boundaries for authors given that so much is done online. I socially network with writers from the States, Australia, England, etc. and what comes across loud and clear is how similar we are. We all love to write and want to get our books into readers’ hands.

Sure, the States is a huge market, but online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters/Indigo cater to Canada and the U.S. and the U.K., etc. The Internet has made the world a whole lot smaller—which is a good thing for authors.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Any regrets about going the indie route?

Eden Baylee: Not at all, though I haven’t closed the door on traditional publishing. I’m so much better informed than when I first started. I no longer feel the tremendous pressure to publish via the big houses, but I can still learn about what they want. I also have more confidence in my writing, which makes me less anxious about getting published. Knowledge is power, and learning about self/indie publishing gave me that power.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Any advice for writers?

Eden Baylee: Not for the technique of writing, but for “newbies” who want to write but have not done so for whatever reason—my advice is: Just do it—longhand, on a computer, via a blog—that’s unimportant. The main thing is to put your story down and to be persistent and believe in yourself. I worked twenty years in corporate banking before I decided to quit and write full-time. It’s never easy to give up the comfort of a regular pay cheque, but life is short, and I’m fortunate to be able to live my dream right now. I know, without a doubt, that I will never go back to banking because it’s not what drives me. Today, I’d rather wait tables to support my writing because that is my passion.

If you’re able to write and work a full-time job, more power to you!

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Well, I’m trying to! Anything I forgot to ask that you’d like to say?

Eden Baylee: I’d just like to thank you, Alex, for generously offering me some space on your site to babble on about myself. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you, and I hope your readers enjoyed it too.

As always, food for writers are comments or questions, so I invite all readers to leave a note with any thoughts you have about what I said. It’s always wonderful to hear from you.

AlexanderG Whiz Blog: Thanks Eden. It was a genuine pleasure!

I encourage readers to check out Eden’s exceptional work. It’s elegantly written, character-driven erotic fiction that’s sexy and fun.

Disclosure: Ms. Baylee is not a client of AlexanderG Public Relations.

Midlister Dreams in the Age of Ebooks and POD

My grandfather was a midlister. Sean McLachlan aptly describes this devoted breed of writer:

They’re not rich, they’re not famous, but they make their living by writing and they’re responsible for the majority of all published titles. They’re called midlisters, and they keep the publishing industry running.

[…]

They’re the serious professionals whom publishers rely on to produce good, marketable books year after year, spanning all genres from nonfiction to fantasy to romance to young adult. They’ve moved beyond the small press to win regular paying contracts, but they do not have bestsellers. They often work a variety of writing jobs in addition to their books, including mentoring, magazine articles, and copyediting.

My grandfather wrote historical fiction, specifically Westerns. A Michigan boy who saw combat in the South Pacific during W.W. II, his true love was the Old West–which was fed by his posting in Oklahoma as a base historian for the Air Force. He won an award here and there and was published by respected imprints including Tor, Avalon and Manor. As far as I know (and sadly he’s no longer around to ask) he never made a huge amount of money on any of his dozens of books and short stories. He wrote because he loved telling stories.

Starting in the pulp cowboy field, as the years went on his work earned respect and praise for historical accuracy and reader-friendliness. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame a few years before his death.

I learned from him some things you can learn from any true professional writer: read a lot, write every day, edit, edit, edit and most importantly: don’t quit.

As a child I was once startled to see my grandfather seated at a card table at a Waldenbooks in the mall. Next to a small sign that read “Meet the Author” set a small stack of his latest book. He seemed to be doing some sort of lonely after school detention for grownups.

“Whatcha doing Rob?” I asked him (I called him “Rob” or “Grandpa Rob,” but mostly “Rob”).

He smiled. “Just sitting here with my books.”

“Why?”

“Trying to sell a few,” he said, ever patient at my interrogation. I don’t think he sold a whole lot that day, if I remember correctly. But he seemed happy to be there.

In retrospect, I wanted to be there, too. Still do.

When I finally became serious about writing a book five years ago, I put a lot of my grandfather’s lessons about discipline to work. I worked on my novel for two years. To borrow an analogy, I put the clay on the table and sculpted and re-sculpted it until I had the best sculpture I could make.

Then the hard part: finding an agent. I toiled in the mines of writing good query letters and researching the right agents. I earned roughly enough rejection letters (and email) to literally wallpaper my office (“nice, but too short” “I liked it, but you need to chop at least 40 pages of exposition” “You write well but we no longer represent thrillers” …ad nauseum). A half dozen agents asked to read a few chapters; another three asked for “partials,” which is roughly half the book.  Two agents thrilled me by requesting a “full”–the entire manuscript.

One agent said she thought it had potential but didn’t like my narrative voice. If you ask me that’s pretty similar to a girl saying she likes you but not the way you kiss. But that’s okay–either you turn her on or you don’t.

The other agent said she really liked the book but the way the industry was going it didn’t look like something she could rep successfully. I got it. This was 2008–the economy was on the brink of a very large, unforgiving crater. Most publishers were simply not going to take a chance on an unknown newbie’s solid (but probably not blockbuster material) thriller.

At this point, after spending two years writing the book and another two trying to sell it, I was defeated. The book–my best manuscript ever– was going to cozy up to the mediocre and terrible attempts from my youth in a despised cardboard box in the basement.

I felt I was abandoning a beloved pet. I loved these characters. This story was part of me. The book is good, damn it! So, half-seriously I surfed the net to check out the self-publishing options. Nothing felt right until one day I stumbled across Smashwords, which has become the gold standard of indie e-publishing. Sure, my book wouldn’t be an actual, “physical” book, but it would be out there. People with ereaders could follow my hero’s misadventures. Why not? Beats the box.

After formatting and editing the book once more and having the extraordinary good fortune of snagging a fantastic book cover by the talented David Terrill, my orphan thriller was now a bouncing baby ebook.

It sold pretty well (as in way better than I expected), so I commissioned a print-on-demand (POD) paperback in late 2010. The  paperback is now a selection of two three four local book clubs and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and at least one brick and mortar bookstore.

Despite nice reviews, I often get the old “don’t quit your day job” look. One friend dropped the big one on me, saying (not unkindly) “But won’t this self-published thing ruin your chances at a real publishing contract?”

And boom…there it was. I can call myself an “indie author” all I want, but there are still those who will always equate me with self-published hackdom because I didn’t wait my turn. I picked myself, as Seth Godin would say. I shot the gatekeepers the bird.

I can’t look back now. I am what I am–self-published. There are of course stories of self-published authors who beat the odds and made it big, including the ebook sensation Amanda Hocking.  I need to write a hell of a lot more books (with a broader market appeal) to aspire to even a tenth of that level of success.  However, the success of indies like Hocking make it a little more acceptable to go your own way. Hell, J.A. Konrath has more or less stated that he’s done with big publishing houses.

I muse about what Grandpa Rob would think of all this. I have to think he would have counseled me to stick with the traditional route–no matter how long it took–at first. But knowing him he would’ve made his own out-of-print stuff into ebooks and seen firsthand that the times had changed. At least I hope so.

Would I take an offer from a “big” publisher now? I’m not making huge money–not even worthy of the title of “indie midlister” yet–but I do have freedom and get to keep far more of my book profits than I would with a publisher. Yet…the thought that I shot myself in the foot tasks me.

I get some comfort when I think of a scene from The Late Shift, a book and film about the “Late Night Wars” when Leno and Letterman battled it out to succeed Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show:”

One of the more fascinating details is when NBC offers Letterman the “Tonight Show” in a few years, which is the same strategy that NBC did with O’Brien to keep him around. Letterman is obsessed with the prestige of getting the “Tonight Show,” but as a friend tells him sadly, “They are not offering you the Johnny Carson ‘Tonight Show’. It’s gone forever. They’re offering you damaged goods. They’re offering you the Jay Leno show…it’s leftovers, it’s shoddy.” (source: RaisetheHammer.org)

Is that the case with big publishing now? I don’t know. Is a major publishing contract “shoddy goods?” I hope not,  but I do know it’s not my grandfather’s publishing industry. It’s just not the same show anymore.

I’m doing my first book signing May 14. Like Grandpa Rob, I’ll be manning a card table–chatting with whoever will listen about the beloved characters I refused to abandon. I may even sell a book or two. Perhaps it will help me become a midlister someday.

I should be so lucky.

***

UPDATE: Turning down a half million dollars in favor of self publishing? Really?

Shoot the Gatekeepers!

Check out my guest post on @ShellyKramer’s V3 Blog for my take on being true to your work.

“…if your work is something you truly believe has everything it takes except the approval of some random gatekeeper, then here’s what you do: Shoot that gatekeeper (the bird).”