It's my birthday, but since giving is more fun than receiving, I'm bringing the goodies!


It's my birthday, but since giving is so much more fun than receiving, I'm going to bring the goodies! THIRTY gifts, to be exact!

But because I have many readers, and not an unlimited pocket book, we'll have to have some fun to see who wins.

The giveaways will be one of the following:



If you already have all of those, you can ask for my next release.

All you have to do is use the social buttons on my Newsletter to share this post!

Every day, I will award a reader their choice of gift! Didn't win today...come back and play again and again. If I get behind, which I do sometimes, I'll award several in one day, until I reach THIRTY winners! :)

Of course, if you're new here, or you received this email from a friend, I always give away the firsts in my three ongoing series, so everyone always wins something.
Until next time, happy reading, friends!
Carmen

FREE Romantic Suspense

A tightly woven tale of love, possession, and secrets: When police detective Jordan Monroe finds his wife unconscious, clinging to life, he must uncover the mystery of her past before it comes back to claim them both.

For more info or to download, visitAmazon.com




















FREE Paranormal Romance

For four thousand years, creatus have concealed themselves from the humans who hunted them almost to extinction. Unwittingly, one creatus will endanger them all...

For more info or to download, visitAmazon.com




















FREE Mystery - Paranormal

When what seems like a normal pit stop turns to more than just gas and food, a lost couple finds themselves searching for the truth of a twenty-year-old mystery that may cost them their life.

For more info or to download, visitAmazon.com




















If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use... Smashwords


Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/72153088@N08/

When there's nothing to do, when will you write? #AmWriting #MondayBlogs


First of all, let me preface this post by saying I'm not complaining, and by no means do I expect anyone to feel sorry for me.

Prior to publishing my first book, I'd written four novels and had two on the way. The reason, all I did was write. I'd just walked away from a fourteen-year career, both of my kids were still in school, and hubby worked a full-time, drive-to-work-five-days-a-week job. Money was tight without my income, so even if I wanted to do something, there wasn't much I could do.

Fast forward six years, both of my sons are out of the house, the oldest just graduated from UCF, the youngest moved in with his cousins and plans to start UCF next fall, and hubby has a new position in his job that transported us to Pittsburgh, PA.

I'm officially an empty-nester. I don't have to drive my sons to school, pick them up, drive them back to school for football practice or drama practice. I don't have to make big meals and clean up after three men. Heck, my oldest son even took my kitty, so I don't even have to scoop litter all day.

Hubby's job is amazing... We get to travel everywhere! But therein lies the problem. Again, I'm not complaining! I swear!

In fact, all the places we've gone has given me many cool things to write about. I've taken a ton of pictures that as soon as I start writing the stories, I'll share on my Pinterest board.


So what's the problem, you ask?

When I have all the time in the world, I simply can't find the time to write!

Oh, I still jot down a few hundred words a day, but those words are slow-coming. Somehow, when I knew I only had the hours between dropping my kids off at school and then picking them up again, I made that time count.

All the things I do now, like... writing blogs, playing on Twitter and Facebook, and promoting books, I used to do while hubby and the kids were watching T.V.

Not sure what the answer is, but I know I have to find one, as all these stories inside of me are hankering to escape.

If you have a suggestion, please feel free to tell me. I'm open for suggestions.

Until next time, happy reading and writing, friends!

Carmen


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use... Smashwords


Time Flies image - Robert Couse-Baker 

The rule of thirds: No matter what you do, someone will hate you. Get over it and Write On!


No matter what you do in life, a third of the people will love you, a third will hate you, and the rest will be indifferent. Get over it and Write On!

Yes, I'm talking to myself. If you're listening, GREAT! It's good advice!


Is it easy advice?


Heck No!

For some reason, even though that percentage is rather low on my books--the percentage of people who hate my books runs about 4.6%--it still hurts. 

Note: I only averaged the 'firsts' in my books, the books I actively promote. Because if I go to the second, third, and fourth books in my series, those numbers drop drastically. Obviously, if readers don't like my first book, they don't go on to the rest of my books in a series, so those books receive little to zero one-star reviews.

So...if the number of one-star reviews we receive is less than five percent--Thank God ALL of the 33 1/3% of the haters don't write reviews--why do we get so depressed when we receive a one-star review?

Why do we readily believe what less than five percent of readers tell us, instead of embracing the 95%? 

I'm certain I'm not alone in this, right? When I receive a three, four, or five-star review, I'm always happy. But I don't run around and cheer. I smile, release a breath that it was a good review, and then carry on with my life.

BUT...when I get a one-star review... My head drops, my heart rate increases, I almost always stop what I'm doing and sulk a bit. Sometimes I run to the pantry for some dark chocolate, read the review to my hubby who says, "I'm sorry, babe." which often makes me feel a little better. 

And then if I'm really put off, I'll do something drastic like writing a blog post. Ummm...like today.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I care? Hey, she didn't even attack my writing. All she did was say it wasn't very exciting. So what? Didn't 95% of the people say they couldn't put it down? Yes, they did.

There, I feel so much better now, and I hope you do too. If you don't, let me tell you about an exercise I used to do. I don't have to do this exercise anymore, because even though I just sulked the last few minutes as I wrote this blog, I really have learned to take a one-star review with a grain of salt. We need one-star reviews. If we never got one-star reviews, other readers would wonder. Because even if you've never heard about the Rule of Thirds I mentioned above, almost everyone knows that you can't please everyone. If everyone says they love you, then someone is lying.

Oh...the exercise... Look up your favorite book of all time, preferably a bestseller that's been loved by millions worldwide. Check out the one-star reviews, read a few. I guarantee they have more one-star reviews than you do. :)

Until next time, happy writing, my friends. 

And for all of you lovely readers out there, it's okay to give a one-star review. Just remember there's a person behind the book, movie, or music that you're reviewing. So please remember to keep it constructive. <3

Warmest regards,

Carmen


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use... Smashwords



Authors, don't go it alone! Everyone needs a helping hand. #AmWriting #Blog


Thankfully, when I decided to start my career as a full-time author, I had a few things working for me.

First, I'd spent years in sales and marketing, so I knew the importance of building a brand. Eighteen months before I published my first book, I'd already started all my social pages, connected with many like-minded authors, and of course, met other avid-readers who shared my love of reading. 

Second, through my ventures, I also met a publisher, which certainly made it easy for me, since I had someone who knew all the ropes when it came to publishing.

But, I still needed sales, and let's face it...even though I met a lot of great people, that would only take my career so far. I needed to meet the masses. 

So, I set out with a plan to meet the avid-reading community. That's not as easy as it sounds. Honestly, as I look back, I can tell you the number one way I met readers was through Amazon's Kindle Select program. By offering my first book free through Amazon, I was able to meet many readers who downloaded, read, and reviewed my book. 

So, years later, I thought to myself... Could I replicate my process, what I did, with a complete unknown?

Well, I'm not going to offer you proof via an actual name, as I think when authors--or anyone for that matter--seek out professional image help, the person helping them should be anonymous. Similar to all those funny movies where the suave, popular man spoke into the meek, unpopular man's ear while he tried to woo a woman. But, I'll give you the scenario and outcome.

Six months ago, I helped an author, who--was in the same situation I found myself in six years ago--she needed a career change after twenty years in the same field. 

She'd never sold a book. Didn't have a social profile, didn't have a publisher. But she'd written a great book. So, I helped her edit the book, design the book cover, publish, and then finally, market herself and the book. To my surprise, this author, who didn't have one follower, no publishing company behind her, no marketing team...ended up on the bestseller list within days of publishing her first book. Stayed on the bestseller list for months. And now she's in the process of writing book two.


So... What sells a product? 

Product Image
Description
Name recognition
A Push
A Salesman


The answer, all of the above! But sadly, not in the order you think. Yes, having a great Product Image is important, but without readers knowing who you are, it won't sell your book.

Yes, that second step, the informative and exciting Book Description, is important, too. But again, if people don't know you, why would they believe what you're selling. Sure, you might get a few... But, it won't make up for those untold hours you spent slaving away at your product.


So, what works?


Well, my answer is simple: don't go it alone!

A Push...

If you're a first-time author, or even an author who has a few books, seek help among your peers. Connect with other authors on Twitter and Facebook, join groups where they discuss different ideas.

The fact of the matter is... If Stephen King puts a quote on a book, more than likely, that book will sell. After that, though, the author has to prove himself to keep selling, all King did was give him A Push.


A Salesman... 

Let's call Book Bub, eReader News Today, Pixel of Ink, Book Gorilla, Kindle Books and Tips, and the like, salesmen. 

Yes, you usually have to have a few reviews, but several of them have gone to promoting new releases. If you're offering your first book free or $0.99, FOR A LIMITED TIME, many of them will take a chance. Quick note: selling a book at $0.99 doesn't do anything if readers don't know you, or if you don't advertise it. Remember, you are buying their time. Their time is a lot more valuable to them than a buck.


Name recognition... 

After you publish a few books, sure... Now, people know who you are. Yes, it still requires a great cover, a well-written book description, and marketing, but now you will have your core readers, the readers who'll follow you and read everything you write. So, be nice, be friendly, treat your readers well, and they'll keep coming back. 

Until next time, happy reading and writing, friends!

Carmen

Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use... Smashwords


Image Credit: erizof via Flickr