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

A Haunting Mystery, THE LIBRARY is based on a true story! After you download, make sure you enter the giveaway!


In 1934, the body of a beautiful, but poor young woman was found alongside a riverbank near The Depot. Beaten to a pulp, only recognizable by a tattoo on her ankle, and yet, days after the discovery, the story all but disappears. 

Eighty years later, locals claim The Depot is haunted. But in all the years homicide detective Mark Waters has visited the ancient train station turned restaurant, he's never seen proof. Until now. 

As he sifts through evidence of a supposed suicide by train, he learns the murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case. 

Six months after the strange occurrences at The Depot, there's another murder. This time, The Library holds secrets of several murders, and the dead won't rest until the murderer checks out too.


For more info or to download, visit:
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For you ghost hunters... While The Depot and The Library story is fictional, there is a ghost story. To learn more, visit here

Also, don't forget about the Giveaway! To enter, simply choose an option listed below. Or, choose several!

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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

Romance, Suspense, a hint of Paranormal sometimes... Three Bestsellers FREE and a Giveaway!

Three FREE eBooks? Why not?

$200 WORTH of GIVEAWAYS?

Absolutely!

Think of it as me buying you a cup of coffee. So we can become better acquainted. If we enjoy each other's company, maybe you'll come back for more. And if you do, I assure you, I'll always keep my prices low--less than a latte seems fair--so you can afford to keep coming back and hanging out with me and my characters again and again.

And since I know many of you have already read many of my books, I'd like to offer you a gift, just for sharing my books with your friends.

Visit the Raffle Copter at the bottom of this page to find out how to win more than $200 in gifts chosen especially for avid readers!

As always, thank you for your support!

Carmen

FREE Romantic Suspense!

A tightly woven tale of love, possession, and secrets: When 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.

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FREE Romantic Suspense with a Paranormal Edge!

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

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FREE Mystery with a Ghostly Edge!

They say The Depot is haunted. But in all the years homicide detective Mark Waters has visited the ancient train station turned restaurant, he's never seen proof. Until now...

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FREEBIES are available at all major eBook retailers!
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 If it's not free in your area, use... Smashwords

I listed TEN gifts and Eight ways to win in the Raffle Copter.

Notice...referring this page to a friend is the number one way to win more entries.

Then your friend can refer, and their friend can refer, and so on.

Good luck and Happy Reading!


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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. :)

Is there a difference between a romance and a love story? #AmWriting #MondayBlogs


No wonder readers--people in general...MEN--get confused.

Marvelous deeds?
Imaginary setting?
Tales?
Fantastic or supernatural events?
Baseless?
Made-up story?
Full of exaggeration?
Fanciful?

Come on!!!

That's not what romance is!

I'd like to think that I'm living a romance because my husband does romantic things. When he surprises me with a mini-vacation, sends me cute little text messages, gives me sweet gifts, cleans the house before I get home, kisses me sweetly when I don't expect it... That's romantic, so doesn't it make sense that we're living in a romance story.

Let's take a look at the words that define love:

Profoundly tender
Passionate affection
Personal attachment
Deep affection
Sexual passion
Desire

So why do we define books as contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, romantic mystery, and romantic thriller. 

For the record, I wish there was another word other than 'romantic' to describe what I write. Funny that they don't have a genre called 'love-suspense novel', since according to the definition, it would work better. 

Even though when I think of a 'love story', the first thing that comes to my mind is the movie Love Story or Romeo and Juliet, stories that are love stories because the characters fell in love under impossible odds. 

The fact of the matter is...I don't write romances. I don't write about fanciful events leading up to the characters falling in love. I write love stories that went wrong. Love stories that started on the rocks, went through tragedies, are surrounded by a life-threatening event, a murder mystery, secret pasts, on the run, mistakes...

But readers don't know that because they see the tag 'romance' and they immediately think of a shirtless Fabio sweeping a half-dressed woman off her feet, so I'm not surprised when I read reviews like this one:

5.0 out of 5 stars Never thought I would be reading a romance novel.
By Joey Yagin
Format:Kindle Edition
Never thought I would enjoy reading a romance novel. I hate them. I gave this series a chance only because I was curious about who existed, what is a creatus? Once I read the first of the series, I was hooked. Could not stop reading. Normally, I would stop in between the series and read another book before starting the next book of a series. With this book, I could not stop. I had to find out what's coming next. It was well written, and I did enjoy the characters. I even enjoyed the antagonist of the book. For me, what made it a good read is the combination of the super heroism, supernatural, mystery and suspense ( oh yeah, the romance). All in one series. If you do decide to read it, just buy the set. You will not be disappointed.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Romance Novel for People Who Don't Like Romance Novels 
By C. M. Lance
Format:Kindle Edition
I read "She Belongs To Me" and found it to be quite a good mystery/thriller without the overt physical descriptions that overflow from other Romance novels I've ventured into. The Romance is more of a caring, loving sort.

"Split Decisions" is different. Not that the romance changes, but the story is stunningly better - and that is saying a lot. It opens with Jaynee sliding uncomfortably toward her 40th. Then the suspense and tension take off and keep rising.

"She Belongs To Me" dips a toe (the little one) into the paranormal. "Split Decisions" thrusts in a full foot. It surprised and delighted me, and it kept me avidly reading. DeSousa managed a twist I'd never encountered before and made it believable and suspenseful.

You don't have to read "She Belongs" to read "Split Decisions" it is a complete story in itself, but I do recommend both books.

I have many reviews like the two I posted above--most of them by men, some of them by women--who shy away from any genre with 'romantic' in the title, for fear that it'll be the mushy tales of old, that were described as the romance definition at the top of the page.

When in fact, just about every book or movie ever written includes a background love story or romance. Even war movies usually show a man trying to get home to the woman they love, ready to buy the house with the white-picket fence. Heck, even thrillers and horror stories usually have a man dying to protect his woman. That's a pretty darn romantic gesture if you ask me. 

So...what do you think? Do you read novels with a romance tag? What do you immediately think of when you see romantic as part of the genre description. Please let me know your thoughts, and if you want a better description of my romantic novels, read on...


A romantic-suspense with a whodunit mystery...

A journey of two souls through tragedies with a romantic-suspense whodunit...

A romantic-suspense with heartbreaking pasts, life-changing events, and evil intentions...

A romantic-suspense with a supernatural edge...

A romantic-mystery with a ghostly edge

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