Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CIR, THE place to be!

I have made a comment in the past about feeling uneasy hosting books or authors that have content not quite appropriate for YA readers. In my own writing I stay away from these elements as well, and that creates somewhat of a conflict in my quest to help promote fellow authors. 
I do want to share an exciting discovery with all of you...
It's called CIR, or Clean Indie Reads. I cannot tell you how ecstatic I was when I saw Lia's post saying, "I want to interview you." THIS was the place (and the kind of place) I wanted my books to be found at. 

SO, just WHO is Lia? Let me share what I can...
Here is an excerpt from her site: 

Hello.  I’m Lia, and I’m a writer.

I’ve tried to stop–especially when my fingers cramp up and my elbow locks–but I can’t.  Someone said, “I write so that I can turn the movies in my head off and get some sleep at night.”  Yep.  That’s me, too.  Except I sleep with a pad of paper nearby in case the ideas wake me up again.
When I’m not home schooling my tweens, singing jazz, practicing Tae Kwon Do, or coaxing my cat to read with me, I’m writing or advocating for writers.  Right now I juggle a few writing things, and I hope you’ll join me with at least one of them.
Collaborative Fiction HQ–That’s where I write stories with my readers, so that they can learn a little more about the process of writing a novel (at least one way to do it) and have the thrill of bossing me around.
London Books–That’s where I publish both the final products from Collaborative HQ and stories of my own creation.  I hope you’ll browse them and find something you  might enjoy reading.
Writing Coach–That’s where the teacher in me lives on, and I share tips every Wednesday that I’ve gleaned along the way to help writers at all levels.  It’s also where I play cheerleader to anyone with the dream of writing something that matters.  To that end, I have been asked to be a regular contributor for Emblazoners, a site dedicated to promoting tween fiction.
Author Advocate–That’s where I strive to support other independent (“indie”) authors in getting the word out about their projects.  These efforts include creating the Clean Indie Reads site and Facebook group.

Read more here; http://lialondon.net/

I had the chance to ask Lia some questions about her blog CIR, so go on ahead and read. I'll catch you at the bottom.

How did CIR come to be?
It was a bit of a whim, actually.  I'd been reading a lot of books by independent authors, and several of them were really very good.  As I got to know a few of the authors through social media, I found many kindred spirits.  In particular, I found authors who were discouraged to find that their books did not receive the hype of popular media and/or whose books had been rejected by agents or publishers because they did not contain enough sex or violence!  That had been my own experience with my first novel.  And yet I knew hundreds of people personally who were looking for clean reads.  There was supply.  There was demand.  They just needed to find each other.  I built the blog figuring I'd plug a few good books as I read them, and WHOOOSH!  It took off!

How did it develop?
 I started by asking a few of the author friends I had if I could feature their books.  One of them suggested we start a Facebook group so that we could coordinate how to promote the books.  "Clean Indie Reads" is a closed group for authors.  They come in by invitation or approved request (once I've seen their work).  Shortly after creating the FB group, we decided on a Twitter hashtag #CR4U (clean reads for you) and began pumping each other's pages in a tweet exchange.  Word spread quickly, and submissions have been coming in by the handful every day.

How does it work?
Authors submit their books with a picture, a teaser (like what you'd read on the dust jacket), and sales links.  I glean reviews from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, etc., and then the author can do an "interview".  I actually have a list of several questions they can choose from, and they answer up to 5.  With all of that, I create a glorified product page where potential readers can come see all about the book on one page and buy straight from the link.  The authors get publicity through the group, and the readers get a database of great "flinch-free" reads.

How are people responding?
It has been amazing.  In just 8 weeks, we've had well over 43K hits.  We now average over 1000 visitors a day coming to see these books!  People send emails and leave comments about how grateful they are to find a safe place to browse for books, and authors are grateful for a venue that connects them with others who stick to their guns and don't bring in the smut just to sell a book.
Lia London
Author & Writing Coach
Collaborative Fiction HQ

So...if you take a few moments to look around her blog, you will find posts for all three of my novels. But I won't post the link, go and look. Of course if you DO want the direct links, let me know and I will post them in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by :o)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Heart Not Easily Broken Book Promo

Remember a while back? We had the chance to meet author MJ Kane, and even did a follow up on the release of her first novel?
Well.....she's back! AND she is sharing this great opportunity to get her book for $0.99. Now how's that for a great summer read?

She was kind enough to provide us with a guest post, so without further delay, read on.

The Butterfly Memoirs: A different approach to storytelling

My journey to become an author started with my love of reading. But I felt there was something lacking it my favorite books. Sure there was the happily ever after and the couple was attractive and fell in love, what was lacking?
For me, it was being able to truly relate to the characters. The story of the uber-rich millionaire who falls madly in love with the help – the assistant, maid, daughter of the maid, fill-in-the-blank – never interested me. I mean really, there’s enough of that on daytime soap operas! I quit watching those years ago. Whatever happened to the everyday, hardworking man who sweats, gets dirty, yet knows how to handle the woman of his dreams? What about the woman who isn’t looking for a man to take care of her because she’s holding down her own?  I wanted stories that dealt with more than just the issues that hindered the characters on the outside. I wanted to see what happened on the inside. What really makes the characters tick? What motivates them to keep going even when it seems things will never work out? What conflicts threaten to derail all of their hard work? What qualities would make them risk it all and give into love they never knew they wanted?
From this, The Butterfly Memoirs were born.
The first novel in the series, A Heart Not Easily Broken, follows the lives of Ebony Campbell and Brian Young. Complete opposites, they share one thing in common: their love of hard work and determination to reach their dreams.  When unexpected attraction leads to more, they must overcome the issue of racial differences thrown at them from friends and family. But what is more, when Ebony hides a secret from Brian for fear of losing not only him, but her best friend as well, a future that seemed so bright is filled with bad decisions and the ultimate betrayal.

Topics such as family, friendship, betrayal, interracial relationships, and a women’s right to choose are a few of the themes addressed in this story. If you’re looking for a book that grips you from page one and carries you on an emotional roller coaster, this book is for you! 

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.
When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.
**On sale for .99 cents for a LIMITED TIME ONLY!!**
For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 


M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.
MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.
You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below. 

Here is the link to a previous post with our wonderful author: http://amethysteyesauthor.blogspot.ca/2012/04/mj-kane-and-butterfly-memoirs.html

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Uncharted Waters, guest post from a friend Heading into Publishing

Many times I have been told that I am losing my marbles. I disagree. There’s a hole in the bag but I still have some marbles left. That, however, could change. I have decided to become an independent publisher. In Quebec.  And publishing in English no less.  Bring on the challenges.

Why am I doing this ?  Because of one person.

In my office there is a photo album I treasure that I keep in the second drawer of my desk.  One of the pictures I cherish is that of my grade 4 class picture circa 1976.  I’m at the end of the second row to the left smiling and wearing a mom-made red suit complete with the also mom-made haircut. I was convinced my red outfit gave me super powers at least that’s what I told the sweet dirty blonde  sitting to the right in the front row beside Freddy.  She’s wearing a dark blue blouse, blue jeans and an amazing pair of blue and white North Star sneakers .  She’s leaning slightly forward, hands on her lap looking mighty mischievous yet full of promise.  Her name is Debbie Brown.

Fast forward 30 years, losing track of each other as life happened, we reconnected through Facebook with the help of a classmate only for me to discover that Debbie was weeks away from having her first book signing in Chapters after the release of her first published novel, Amethyst Eyes.  Needless to say I was impressed remembering that she was my main rival in our creative writing lessons.  She was the better writer yet I maintain I was funnier. 
I was intrigued by the path she had undertaken with her first novel, in becoming an independently published author.  Today’s financial less than secure stability has certainly made major publishing houses watching their bottom line and reluctant to spend too much on emerging writers thus driving more of those writers to self-publish in order to have better control.  That is better control over their creative output, editing, art work for their cover, promotion and distribution.  More importantly keeping the control to the rights to their work.  The main difference is that major publishing houses have huge overheads and an independent author not so much so the financial responsibilities are not on same playing field.  Plus readers are becoming less concerned about packaging and more with content which explains the exponential growth in ebook sales.  The number of independent authors self-publishing their books has grown drastically very quickly as more authors are deciding to do everything themselves thus cutting out the middle man.   However there are major challenges along the way to become an independent publisher that I am starting to face now, let you know of my progress next time.

You, as an aspiring writer, know the drill- your brilliant idea develops from a sentence to a paragraph to a chapter to a book.  You write line by line, rewrite it and then revise it again until you feel it’s book worthy. You sacrificed time, family and activities because you were driven to write this brilliant manuscript. Once you think you have it the way you want it, you decide to let what I call your first readers  have a crack at it to agree that it is an emerging masterpiece but more likely they’ll find errors you missed because you were blinded by the sweat and tears of passion you spent writing. Now it’s completely edited, interesting and so beautiful you must share it.  No sarcasm intended here…you must truly believe in your creative imaginative original work for all the magic to work.  If you don’t then why would anyone else.  Ok, having said that, what’s next??? Getting it published and in the hands of eager awaiting readers.
Certainly you must submit your manuscript to major publishing houses hoping they will see the value of your work meant to be shared. And you do want to make some money off from all your hard work.  Then comes the reality for most authors.  Their books get passed on maybe once twice or a hundred times. You might get angry, frustrated and disappointed yet there are options you can self-publish meaning you must do all the work and either get assisted or full self-publishing. 
 Now I could go on about what happens next but Debbie wrote a great piece on her blog about it…go read it, it’s very good and informative.
The biggest problem publishing in Canada is that options are few and even fewer in Québec never mind in English.  Québec is a uniquely beautiful province with a diverse landscape and a very trying, challenging political climate and cultural diversity.  It is quite militant in preserving its culture and French language making it quite complicated to do anything in English.  I wanted to step in and help Debbie publish in Québec because I believe that the money raised for her creative pursuits should stay in Québec and not head to the United States which keeps getting complicated by customs, taxes and the IRS.

The first challenge I wanted to tackle was to translate Emma, Amethyst Eyes and Rebirth in order to increase the availability and sale potential of Debbie’s work but the first stumbling block in obtaining a grant to do so, you must be a recognized publisher to qualify. Ok strike one.  In order to get grant money to fund any creative English work in Québec is akin to licking the street outside my office…there are forms to fill, justifications to defend and a whole lot of waiting for answers. Strike two.  However since I am still new at this, there’s more research that needs to be done and if I strike out, there’s always the next batter bringing on more challenges.