Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best Seller For A Day - Soul Search

Soul Search (A Soul Thieves Book)

"In a sweeping tale of mystery and romance, Amber Scott delivers a gripping story of the ultimate self-awareness and trust. It will suck you in and hold you till the last!"
-Siobhan Muir, author

Three years ago, one horrific night changed his life forever. And now the wolf soul that was invoked to save him is taking over his body, day by day.
Can he master his animal instincts in time to discover who is stealing children's souls before the delicate balance we all depend upon is shattered?
Or will he reject the one woman who can help heal his body and his soul?

What are reviewers saying about Amber Scott's Soul Search?  See for yourself:
"I couldn't put it down. The only thing that got between this book and me was work. I could only read a few pages a night. This is the best book I've read this year." -Jacqueline Ortiz, "@jackiebkworm" Book Reviewer
"The twists and turns in Soul Search had me gasping out loud. Once again, Amber Scott delivers a delicious read." -Your Need to Read 5/5 Stars, Reviewer
"From the start, Soul Search grips you and won't let go. Two endangered souls forced to join together in the search for a missing child--a journey filled conflict and complications. Sizzling romance, heart-pounding suspense, and a touch of mystery make for an exciting, riveting read. Amber Scott has me hooked!"
-Ann Charles,  Award-Winning Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series
This November, it’s your turn to grab Soul Search for the incredibly low price of 99 cents and see for yourself why it makes readers sigh with appreciation.
Just purchase Soul Search at the promotional price, send a friend who you know would love finding a fun, fast-paced read at an awesome price, and grab the 3 Bonus Buys that are the perfect companion reads to this supernatural suspense.

Buy to Win!!! Enter to win a Kindle!!! Head here for all the exciting details.

Upcoming Bestseller for a Day
BlackStar - January 6, 2011

To celebrate Soul Search’s big day, these authors are dropping the price of their amazing titles to just 99¢!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Novel Publicity Stay Tuned Tour

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Stay Tuned eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 2nd, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes:

1. Purchase your copy of Stay Tuned for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (You’ll need it for the big contest on Friday)

2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes

3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Lauren on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this fun and bubbly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of Stay Tuned. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet:  Take a break from the holiday frenzy, and read Stay Tuned. It's fast, fun, and reduced to just 99 cents! #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Stay Tuned either in paperback or on an eReading device, tag Lauren Clark’s Facebook page, and you can enter to win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the most creative photo, $50 to the best BFF photo, and $50 to the photo with the most people in it. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. If you need help learning how to tag a photo, you can visit Lauren’s Facebook page for detailed instructions.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Stay Tuned: What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it? For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle. But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news.

When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch. Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target. What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out…

Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast.

Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Paranormal Turkey Tour

Ah yes, Thanksgiving. Nothing says the holidays like sitting around a fully decked out dining room table with mouthwatering temptations waiting to be gobbled up. Everyone waits anxiously for the big reveal… the turkey!

Lovingly prepared since early that morning, the turkey is brought out in a covered, silver serving platter. Aunt Edith smacks little Tommy's hand as he attempts to steal a candied yam dripping with marshmallow. The collective breath is held as the silver cover is removed… revealing… a zombie turkey!

What—what? That's right folks, this year, we are celebrating this American holiday paranormal style. And what says paranormal holiday better than a walking, talking zombie turkey?

This zombie turkey brings you important tidings of great prizes that shall be for all people… who participate and win of course.

November 25-27 you could win up to $200 in prizes!

Three days. Four YA paranormal books. Five chances to win!

And who are these crazy paranormal authors? Check them out. It's like the Nightmare Before Christmas, Thanksgiving style!

 Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted

"Psychic or not, you'll never see the end for this one coming! Emlyn Chand is pioneering 'the next big thing' for YA." ~ Emily Reese, author of Second Death

Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

Monster Mash: Emlyn says… I. AM. WEREWOLF! And why's that you ask? First off, my name (Chand) literally means moon in Sanskrit. Next, werewolves are super cool--we can blend in with common folk, and then out of nowhere, kapow! I'm a werewolf, and I sure am hungry. Lastly, Team Jacob 100%. Now excuse me while I cock back my head and howl at my namesake.

Patti Larsen, author of Family Magic

"Patti Larsen is truly gifted because I read Family Magic cover to cover and I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment!" ~  from Goodreads review

Sixteen-year-old Sydlynn Hayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord, but she just wants to be ordinary. When her coven comes under attack, Syd must face the fact only her power can save her family's magic.

Monster Mash: Patti says… I am a witch. Naturally. I weave spells with my words, cast incantations from my keyboard, mix up the very best potions in my cauldron of documents. You want to stay on my good side. Trust me. Unless you enjoy waking up as something... unnatural.

Kimberly Kinrade, author of Forbidden Mind

"Forbidden Mind is a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment." ~Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

Paranormal teens with unimaginable powers. An evil organization with deep secrets. When Sam, a girl who reads minds, meets a boy who controls minds, she discovers her future isn't what she thought. Together they must escape and free the others… or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

Monster Mash: Kimberly says… I may look like a demon, but I'm actually a succubus. Enchanting and seductive, I weave stories that will fuel your passions and make you fall in love. But be warned… once you fall under the spell of my words, your world will never be the same.

John Corwin, author of The Next Thing I Knew

Corwin does a phenomenal job of including humor throughout this novel. This book was like . . . Ghost (the movie) meets The Host (by Stephanie Meyer) meets MIB (Men In Black the movie). ~Maryann, Chapter by Chapter

The afterlife is the last thing on Lucy’s mind until she and every other human on the planet drop dead and find themselves in the hereafter. Lucy drags her social life back from the grave and enlists her friends to figure out the rules of the afterlife and, more importantly, to discover who or what killed everyone and why anyone would do such a mean thing.

Monster Mash: John says… I am a ninja. After all, vampires are simply ninjas with fangs. They can hide in plain sight, right in your living room. Jump out and scare the wits out of you. Drop a smoke bomb and poof! All you’re left with is stinky smoke in your house and soiled underclothes.

The Prizes

Four $25 Book Entries: For each of the four books in the contest, you can enter to win $25 (up to $100 in giveaways!) Simply buy a copy of the book (each is priced at just 99 cents for this special promotion) and email the proof of purchase for that book OR submit the first sentence of the fifth chapter for that book to Winners will be chosen randomly. Each person can submit one entry per book. Here are the links for each book:
And... if you buy all FOUR books, you are entered to win the Grand Prize!

The Grand Prize

One randomly selected reader who enters to win all four book prizes (Family Magic, Farsighted, Forbidden Mind and The Next Thing I Knew) will win the grand prize of $100.

So go on now and pick up a copy of these fantastic paranormal reads before the zombie turkey eats you!

What? Still around? Then enjoy these fun book trailers and Paranormal Turkey Tour trailer. (Then go buy the books.) Also, leave a comment and help your favorite blog host win a $50 prize!

  • All winners will be chosen randomly using
  • Amazon links are provided, but books purchased through any online vendor will qualify with proof of purchase.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Indie Insider - Jackie Chanel

What is the best way to create tension?

Everyone does it differently, but I use my characters’ personalities to create tension. My books are already filled with drama (scenes, plots, etc) so for me, tension is best created in how the characters react to the drama.

Do people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

Yes! It’s unfortunate too. I’m guilty of choosing books by simply glancing at the cover. I’ve read countless of bad books with great covers. But you can’t use an excerpt as the cover. No one will buy it.

I’ve tried to create my own covers but I’m no good at it. I use a great cover artist named Joleene Naylor.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

I watch a ton of movies and when I’m writing I tend to see the scene as if it was on the big screen. I’ve written a few screenplays and the first thing that you learn is that you can’t write “Jane was nervous”. You have to show how Jane was nervous through shaking speech, nervous gestures, etc. I take that train of thought and apply it to my novels.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

Umm…I don’t have a goal for the number of books I write in a year. I suppose I should. I understand the importance of building a solid backlist but it’s really important for me to focus on quality not quantity. If I put out more than 2-3 books a year…AWESOME. I can also be happy putting out one or two well written books in that same timeframe.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

My quota is at least a chapter a day. That can range from 1500-3500 depending on what I’m writing. Thankfully, I’m meeting that goal.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

My greatest challenge is finding the balance between writing, promoting, and living life. Sometimes I get so caught up in figuring out my next marketing strategy that I don’t leave time for writing and vice versa.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

I do have a professional editor. I don’t self edit as I’m writing because it slows down the process for me and make me lose focus on the story. However, I do send my work in chapter bunches to my editor so she can edit while I’m writing.

After I’m finished with the first draft, I will look at changes my editor wants and make those corrections and send it out to beta readers.

What is your favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!

Bringing my characters to life is my absolute favorite thing about writing. My characters are almost like real people by the time I get finished working up a full character sketch. It feels good to give them a voice instead of letting them keep rambling in my head.

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.)

Writing No Drama
Novel Publicity
Indie Book Collective

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I used to think that I wanted to be an author because I enjoy writing stories and I’d rather write drama than live it. That is until the day my teenage niece picked up one of my books, read it straight through, raved about how much she enjoyed it, and she passed it to her friends who loved it. It was heartwarming to walk in on conversations about my books, where the readers were just as engaged in the characters as I was. Now, this is why I write. I want to write the stories that will get people to understand that reading is fun and done more often.

If that makes any sense.

Stalkers Welcome:
Twitter: @JackieChanel

Purchase Links:
Untitled (Kindle and Paperback) -
Change of Heart (Kindle) -

Untitled -
Change of Heart -

Monday, November 21, 2011

Art of the Meet and Greet: Part II

Art of the Meet and Greet: Part II By A. R. Silverberry

Last post, I described how to set up a bookstore author event called a meet and greet. I discussed the advantages of the meet and greet, and how it can fit into your overall marketing plan. Today, I’ll be discussing how to maximize sales on the day of your event. If you missed Part I, you can be read it on my blog.

Now we’ve come to the day of the event. Plan to get there early to set up. If you have a lot of stamina, you can stretch your selling period out, and sell earlier and later than the official time you’re there. I’ve found that customers start coming in greater numbers at around noon, and continue to come in waves until about 5 PM. My book is for children, so things slow down for me around then. I haven’t tested store traffic after 5 PM.

Stores will generally provide you with a table and chair, but it’s helpful to bring your own folding table and chair, just in case. Bring a friend if you can. It helps pass the time pleasantly. Also, if the store has more than one entrance, your friend can hand out fliers as people come through the other door, and invite them to meet you at the front of the store.

Each store has what they call their power aisle. This is the main aisle running from the front entrance and down the center of the store. Position you table as close to the power aisle as you can. Ask them if you can decorate the table. I bring a pink table cloth that coordinates with the color of my book. I’ve got a 36 X 24 poster of the cover that I set up on an easel behind me. An 11 X 18 laminated poster with reviews is placed on a small easel on the table. I arrange the books, and the bookmarks, postcards, and promotional fliers that I’ve brought. I also bring business cards along. I’ve almost always met people who want to contact me later, such as teachers who would like a school visit. Provide the store with a short announcement about you and your book, and ask if they could announce it every half hour.

Now we come to the most important part of the meet and greet. How to get customers to talk to you. You need to be active. Many customers will walk right by you if you’re sitting behind the table waiting for them to come over. You need to be standing, and as they approach, greet them with something that stops them. I use the following: "Good afternoon! May I introduce you to my award-winning novel?" You’ll get all kinds of responses, from an enthusiastic, "Yes!" to, "I’m in a rush," to no response at all. Decide that you’re there to have fun and to have a good time meeting people. A relaxed attitude about the whole thing really helps! In my younger years, when I hitchhiked to college, I used to tell myself that the cars that didn’t stop were making way for the car down the line that was going to pick me up. I have the same attitude toward the customers who don’t stop at my table. I smile and thank them! Sometimes, I’ll invite them to stop by later. Some actually do, and buy a book! I think they were impressed that I was sensitive to the fact that they were on a mission. Once that mission had been fulfilled, they were more relaxed, and curious about me.

This next part is very important. Once you have a customer who is interested in your book, you need to give a one- or two-line description of the book, and it should be memorized. It took me a good year to hone my synopsis to this: "A sinister shapeshifter threatens to shatter Jen’s world and the kingdom of Aerdem. She has one chance to stop them—with a magical cloak, too dangerous to use." I immediately follow with this: "If you love page-turners with secrets, riddles, mystery, treachery, and intrigue, you’ll enjoy Wyndano’s Cloak." And then I hand them the book, which I’ve been holding with the cover facing them.

At this point, allow them to look over the book, and answer any questions they might have. If they are interested, sign the book and include a bookmark!

Don’t start selling to someone else while you’re talking to a customer. You’ll lose the one you’re with. Some customers may want to take the book to look over as they walk around the store. This is fine, as long as the store was the one who ordered the books. If you brought the books, encourage them to look it over at your table. If the book walks out of the store, or is lost, you’re stuck.

At the end of the day, pack up and clean up your area. Thank the staff and managers, and send them another thank you by phone or email. They’ll often ask you back! One store has hosted me three times! Repeat the process with all the big stores in your area!

One final note. Some authors have a bowl of candy or a plate of cookies on their table as a way to lure customers. This didn’t work for me. People gobbled them up, but had no interest in staying to talk about the book. It actually got in the way of talking with customers who were genuinely interested. However, I imagine if you are selling a cookbook, some samples would be wonderful, and would provide a good lead in to your book!

Now make the process yours. The more meet and greets you do, the more comfortable you will become. I’m introverted and shy by nature, but I love talking about my book! It’s fun being in the spotlight and away from my writing desk. I’ve met wonderful readers and valuable contacts. At one meet and greet, a girl hugged my book in her arms as she walked out of the store. That’s a moment I’ll always treasure.

A. R. Silverberry

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Indie Experience

I’m proud to offer you our amazing new anthology My Indie Experience, which includes searingly honest essays about the self-publishing process from Indie Book Collective founders (Carolyn McCrayAmber Scott, and Rachel Thompson) as well as many members of our amazing volunteer staff: Miranda Wyatt-Mills, Karen Johnson, Augusto Pinaud, Kelli McCracken, Elena Gray, Patricia McCallum (me!), George Sirois,  and Jackie Chanel. We share the terrific, the not so great, and hair-tearingly ugly. You want honest? We have honest.

Get it FREE here during the Blog Tour de Troops until November 14th!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blog Tour de Troops

This Veteran’s Day weekend, over four days, 50 plus authors are thanking our troops for keeping our country safe and free.

Ready for over 50 free ebooks?

YAY! Because every commenter on each listed blog, each day, gets that author’s participating ebook FREE!

Not only do you get it, but one goes to a troop for every single unique commenter. So send a friend! Not only do you and they score a 5 star read, a troop gets one, too.

Talk about freedom! Let’s make it ring book lover style this Veterans Day!

There’s more!

We’re also giving a brand, new KINDLE to a tour commenter, randomly drawn and multiple KINDLES to several lucky troops.

Why? Because the number one care package item request is books.

Let’s give them to our troops!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Indie Insider - Ann Werner

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish on average?

It usually takes a year, more or less. I’ve got novels sitting on the back burner that I‘ve written over the years and I’m planning to update them. Right now I’m working on doing just that. Sometimes the rewrite process is more difficult than starting from scratch.

How many hours a day do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating?

I’m GREAT at procrastinating. Then I feel guilty and get down to it. It depends on what I’ve got on tap for the day. When I’m writing a brand new novel, I spend about three to four hours writing. After that, I feel almost physically exhausted, so I go away from the computer but I continue to think about the story and more often than not, will jot down notes on scraps of paper that I have strategically located throughout the house. Now that I think of it, I follow the same process for editing. Sometimes I’ve awakened in the middle of the night because I’ve dreamed of something about the project I’m currently working on. I have a pen and paper handy in the nightstand next to my bed for such occasions.

How are your book covers designed?

I have used a gentleman by the name of Ralph Faust. I’ll tell him what I envision and he comes back with something wonderful. He never ceases to amaze me. Like me, he’s very nitpicky and pays attention to detail. I love that!

What do you do when you get writers block?

Walk around in circles and talk to myself. I’m not kidding. I really do. I ask myself what I would do in whatever situation is causing me to freeze. Sometimes it’s not so much a block as how to put something into words. When that happens, I go to my bookshelf and pull down a few of my favorite authors and flip through their books and get ideas from the way they’ve opened chapters or paragraphs.

Which narrative form and tense do you use and why?

I’ve run the gamut. I’ve got a couple of stories that are told from the protagonist’s point of view, using the first person, past tense and others that are observational and use the third person, past tense. However, the novel I’m working on now is using both. The villain is an unknown factor for a large portion of the book but the reader is inside the villain’s head, hearing the first person present tense thoughts as they play out. I think if you use different techniques, and use them judiciously, it makes a story more interesting and involving for the reader.

Where do you get your ebooks formatted?

I’ve utilized Create Space to format for Kindle but I’ve also got a friend in the industry, Julie Ricks, who has formatted Dreams and Nightmares for NOOK and Smashwords. She’s working on a project right now for a non-fiction my daughter and I have produced.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

Once I finish a manuscript, I pick out ten people who I know are readers and will give me an unvarnished opinion and give them a copy of the manuscript. The understanding is they will finish reading it and give me a critique within two weeks. At that point, my primary concern is mistakes in spelling, grammar and mistakes or holes in the plot. I don’t always use what they tell me but if more than two people mention something, I know it needs attention. Actually, if two people point out the same thing, it’ll warrant attention.

In Dreams and Nightmares one of my readers, a woman I’ve known since grade school and a good, Catholic lady, thought the language from my less than savory characters wasn’t strong enough. I was worried the nasty language might offend her but she pointed out that these were criminals and weren’t going to be speaking the King’s English. Point well taken! After I get all that feedback and make whatever changes I feel are necessary, then I’ll go to a professional editor.

Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.

I think they all have their uses. Twitter is great because you can reach so many people but you’re on a feed that blips by at sometimes lightning speed. I utilize all of them to one extent or another. Facebook allows you a lot more leeway in what you communicate to your followers and it’s great to be able to put up a graphic of your book to make an imprint on the brains of the people seeing your post. Same thing goes for Goodreads. I’ve used LinkedIn more to gather information than to promote myself. I participate in a few groups there and also on Goodreads. There’s a very supportive community out there and you never know where your next tip or cheerleader is going to come from.

What are three unique web sites or blogs that you follow on a regular basis? (related to writing etc.)

I am subscribed to A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and I check in with Preditors and Editors, which is a great resource for finding out who is on the up and up and who is out for your money. It covers everything having to do with writing, from publishers to agents to contests etc. I’m also subscribed to several discussions on Goodreads and LinkedIn and have been a member of Born2Write in Yahoo Groups for at least a decade.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I love to read and I love to write. I know not everyone will be my demographic but for those who are, it is my sincere hope that I will deliver a satisfying experience each and every time. I once went to a three-day writer’s conference where there were several well-known guest speakers. One was a man who wrote biographies of famous people and he advised the audience to make sure that what they wrote was IMPORTANT. I was very new to writing for public consumption back then and just getting my feet wet. I had a novel I’d finished and was sending around titled The People Next Door.

After hearing him speak, I went back to my room and cried because I felt like what I had written wasn’t important. But then I started to think: what does that mean? I thought about the times in my life when I was going through hard times: when I was a young woman and my new husband was sent off to war and I was pregnant, when I was going through a wrenching divorce, when I lost people I loved, when I didn’t know if I could pay the rent or put food on the table.

To get away from the stress of those problems I would turn to a book. Not a big, “important” tome, but something that would rescue me from reality for a brief time: make me cry, make me scared, make me laugh and yes, sometimes educate me. But most of all, entertain me. THAT is important. And that is what I wish to do. Entertain you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Indie Insider - Kimberley Johnson

How many words do you do write a day? Where do you do it?

I write non-fiction or what I like to call Reality Book. I also run two blogs. I collect stories from people, primarily based on feelings on universal topics.
Because I am not a fiction writer, I don't have a daily word count but I am always writing. I write guest blogs, articles and pieces for my Reality Blogs.
I work from my home office.

Do you think that people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

Yes, I do believe people judge books by the cover. I say that because my first book, The Virgin Diaries often scares people. I made it for virgins to make an informed decision as well as for parents who wish to open a healthy dialogue about sex. These are the two groups that fear it most. Fortunately, once they give it a shot, they usually embrace it and see the value.

What do you do when you get writers block?

I walk away from the computer and put mind my on something else. Most of the time I can type away but when I can't, I find other activities freshen my mind up.

How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?

I spend A LOT of time on social media. Hours? Not sure, maybe 4-6 but I look at it as a full time job. I am on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs (mine and others), I surf the net for opportunities and check into various web sites that pertain to my subjects.

Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?

Since I am not a fiction writer, it's hard for me to answer this. Maybe one day I will make the leap but as of now, I like to collect stories and write opinion pieces.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?

My mother Ann Werner and I are business partners. She handles the majority of the editing, though I do some as well. I collect stories from people and edit them, send them to Ann (mom) and she does a final edit. When it comes time to make the books, Ann does the formatting and we decide on the structure together. She is not officially a professional editor but could be one and people often ask that of her.

How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?

It is extremely important to be professionally edited. My mother is not considered a pro but she is an excellent editor. Between the two of us, we can handle it. As an indie author, you are already up against so much. If your book is poorly edited, not only do you make yourself look bad, you bring the whole self publishing industry down. There are so many people these days jumping into self publishing. I have read some of the authors. I have seen books that have not been properly edited and it gets on my nerves. Just because you now have the ability to publish your own work doesn't mean that people will be interested in reading it, especially if you have not taken the time to put out a quality book.

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?

For me, it depends. My first book The Virgin Diaries took years but there are many reasons. I started before the indie wave in 2004. I also wasn't sure if I would actually make a book. So I would drop it now and again. After I published in April 2010, I started on my second title Ain't No Sunshine: Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak in December 2010.
I collected stories from anonymous men on what it feels like to suffer a broken heart, not an easy task but by April 2011, I had enough stories. We edited as they cam in so the process of formatting was a quick one and it was released in May 2011.

Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis.

The Things Women Want

Cold Coffee

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am currently working on a series for my personal blog. I am interviewing authors on both sides of the publishing fence. Independent vs. Traditional. I have already received many interested authors and I am really excited to see what everyone has to say!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Indie Insider - Jennie Coughlin

What is the best way to create tension?

I like to do it subtly, through small details and layers. Words that don’t quite mesh with what you think is happening, items that maybe shouldn’t be there and are — or should be there and aren’t, actions that don’t quite fit with the words. Tension that creeps up is more effective, in my opinion, because you don’t see it coming until things are far enough along that you know there’s no going back for the characters — and then it’s like watching a train wreck. You know it’s going to go badly, but you don’t know how and you can’t look away. There obviously needs to be conflict pretty early on, but I like to have another layer running underneath in my stories that doesn’t become apparent until later.

Since the short stories in Thrown Out are in the same universe as the novels I’m working on, there are tiny bits and pieces in there that most readers probably won’t even notice until they get to certain spots in the novels after those come out. Then a re-read will give even greater resonance. Each story, each novel stands alone, but there are little rewards - Easter eggs, to put on my McGeek hat for a moment - for the fans who start reading from this book on.

Do people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

I think a bad cover will turn people off, especially if they’re not predisposed to try indie books in the first place. But a good cover won’t sell a book that doesn’t have a compelling summary and engaging writing in the sample.

I do my own covers — my background in newspapers includes page design and graphic design, so I’ve picked up enough skills over the years to be able to do it myself.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

Think visually — and this is something that’s a challenge for me and always has been. When I was a reporter, I used to have to write down all sorts of little details about a scene to capture the color of it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to picture it once I left. Then I could recreate the setting on paper once I was back at the office for those stories that needed it. This often was most important with people because as a reporter, you can’t editorialize. So if two public officials get into it in a meeting, and you can tell that even though the words aren’t inflammatory, they were angry, combative, whatever, from tone of voice, body language, etc., you can’t say that unless one of them will say it. But you can add in the things that you see that tell you that when you’re writing the story and let readers draw their own conclusions. Often for tough scenes, I do what I call “reporting in reverse” and try to figure out what I’d be seeing if I were there covering it for the paper.

Basically, if you’re telling people something — Ellie was angry, Riordan was embarrassed, Chris is shy — there’s a way to show that instead, either through description or dialogue or a combination (my personal favorite). Most of the time, go for showing — it makes for a stronger story.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

I just have the one out now, but my goal is to write two a year, and I’m on track for that. This year, I’ll probably have the first novel finished by the end of the year, but won’t release it until first quarter next year to allow for some marketing in the weeks before launch. Depending on how things play out in the rest of my life — I have a full-time job and a part-time job in addition to writing — I could release three books in 2012 just because of timing. But I’m generally shooting for two novels a year, with the odd short-story collection here and there.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

This varies some based on my schedule with both jobs, but I probably average 1500 to 2500 a day when I’m in the thick of a project. I usually take a few weeks between books to decompress, maybe work on some short pieces, and I specifically don’t give myself word count goals during those times. Sometimes I’ll use a quota/goal system if I feel like I’m procrastinating. I’m using one now because my November’s a little chopped up with trips and I’m trying to get the periods where I let the draft sit to overlap with those. That means finishing this draft by the end of the month. I’m on track now, but I wasn’t a week ago. The daily word goals got me back on track.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Time, or lack thereof. The storytelling for me is the easy part. These characters have been living in my head long enough that I already know what the first five novels in the series will be and have pages of short story ideas and partial drafts. But there’s only so much I can write while juggling my other responsibilities. I’m hoping in a year or two to be able to make a living between writing and teaching (PT job), which would let me devote more time to writing. Some of that’s out of my hands, though, because even with a good story, you can only make a living at this if you get enough word-of-mouth for your book to build a significant readership.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

I have a close friend who’s been editing my fiction for more than a decade. She’s as good as any professional editor, plus she knows me well enough to know what to look for in my drafts if there are any weaknesses. And she doesn’t pull her punches. She likes editing my work because for me, that’s one of her best qualities. I want an editor who’s tough on me — tougher than I can be on myself — and who has high enough standards to not let me settle for less than my best. She fits the bill. She’s my main editor, and the final sign-off on drafts. I also have several writing friends who will look at sections or stages of the drafts either for specific things (the mother/grandmother who vets my kid characters for age-appropriate behavior, etc.) or just to give an overall take on which pieces work and which ones don’t.

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

I like sitting down and exploring the lives of these characters and finding out things I didn’t know I knew about them. It happens a lot with the Exeter characters because they’re strong, meaty characters who have a life beyond my brain. They often surprise me, which is the hallmark of a good, 3D character. Seeing the story turn down a different direction and then realizing it was headed here all along and I’m the only one who didn’t know that is such an amazing feeling as a writer, I don’t even know how to describe it.

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend?

Jane Friedman:
Terri Giuliano Long:
Novel Publicity:

Is there anything else you would like to share?

The advent of indie publishing has changed the landscape of publishing permanently. It’s opened up lots of opportunities for writers; it’s also created new risks. You can’t ever go back and undo a first impression, so it’s even more critical that we as writers find good editors and craft compelling stories before putting them out there as books. I’m glad I didn’t have these opportunities eight years ago when I had a book I thought was ready (my editor didn’t) and tried submitting it to agents. If I had gone ahead and published it as an e-book, it would have been one of thousands of bad books out there and I would have wasted my chance.

My Blog: