I am soooo excited! It’s been an awesome week. I just got the latest designs for my Romance Trading Cards and they’ve been ordered and will arrive early next week. Check them out…
…these characters have layers like onion. Each time Nina peels away more skin we learn something we didn’t know, or expect. Nina has a way with mystery. She tells the reader just enough to make them think they have the puzzle solved. Only to turn around and reveal they were dead wrong. Blind love has it all. A romance that ranges from sweet, to sensual, to holy crap my eyes may fall out of their sockets. Characters that are well develop and a setting you relate to from the first paragraph.
This book surpassed my expectations and I would def recommend it as a read.
Oh, and I have a release date for INVITATION TO ECSTASY, the second book in the XTC Resorts series … AUGUST 10! When I have a cover I’ll share it with you along with the first look at an excerpt.
Okay, so with all the book noise and chatter out there authors are always trying to figure out how to be heard in the din of thousands of books. We’re always trying to find that little gadget that will lead a reader to our books. One reader actually said “an author’s promotional item is like a little gift to me”. And maybe little doo-jiggers don’t have readers buying your books, but simply seeing your name. It’s a general rule of thumb that someone needs to see your name 10 times before they stop and look into it.
So the question becomes … how do we spend that promotional dollar effectively?
On all the loops I participate in authors are discussing what draws a reader to buy your book. In e-publishing this it’s even more difficult as your product is sort of nebulous… not something the consumer can put their hands on… and that makes it a difficult sell.
So with all sincerity we’re discussing bookmarks and postcards; sticky notes and glitter pens; emery boards and flashlights; trying to come up with the gimmick that will make a person so fired up they just can’t wait to get home and download your book!
I’ve spent alot of time designing and printing romance trading cards for my books. I send them out to reader conventions that I’m not attending. I’m fortunate in that I have an artistic eye and putting something together like that is enjoyable. Anyhoodles… I thought they came out beautifully. But left to their own devices, sitting among all the other glitzy author material, will they entice someone enough to 1) pick it up and 2) buy the book or at least 3) check out my website. Frankly, I don’t know.
Through this whole process it’s occurred to me… I don’t buy books. (Or I didn’t until my friends started publishing, now I buy their books. And forgive me for even thinking this… but if it’s coming out in print… I wait to buy that version… oh, I should have my hand slapped!)
So, what’s the point of all this rambling? I’m just curious… if you can’t pick the book up in the bookstore and you only have promotional material available to you… what makes you curious enough to investigate the author/book? A snazzy bookmark? A postcard with a blurb about the book? Some cute trinket?
Tell me… I’m dying of curiousity.
Oh, and here’s a sampling of my trading cards. Email me Nina (AT) NinaPierce.com if you want a full set for yourself.
Now don’t get me wrong. Putting books up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble is so easy, you can do it without losing much sleep. BUT I went further and uploaded it to All Romance Ebooks which required downloading Calibre and formatting issues and … in the name of all that is Holy, I should have paid someone to do that for me. LOL!
And did I learn anything from that. Ohhhh nooooo … Nina thought it was a good idea to combine the three books in the Tilling Passions series and put them out in print. I know, right? … what the hell was I thinking? Because here’s the thing. I didn’t choose some easy single manuscript to upload, but an anthology. Now think about anthologies. They come with title pages and different headers and hidden page numbers and … a whole frickin’ lot of hidden problems that I didn’t anticipate. Let’s just say I jumped in on Friday. Worked all day and night Saturday (like until 4 am) and got right back at it on Sunday morning by 8. The pages are FINALLY loaded this morning.
So what did I learn?
1. That my high school typing teacher had no idea that setting margins would get so friggin complicated.
2. Word 2007 is an evil empire hell bent on keeping secrets from its users.
3. That when you ask for “advanced word help” it seems everyone only knows the basics.
4. I had no idea that gutters weren’t just for removing water from the roof.
5. Headers and Footers are magical environments where the normal laws of Word don’t apply.
6. That just because Createspace says you can upload an rtf they forgot to mention … it doesn’t really work.
7. I’m so damn stubborn and every time I said “one more upload” it didn’t mean anything when it didn’t work.
And lastly …
Writing a book is only hard until you decide you want to self-publish it.
And that’s what I did this weekend. How was yours?
November was INSANE as I prepped for a blog tour for DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE. Now it’s here and I’m insane running around trying to share all the posts.
Lute at TBR Pile gave it 5 STARS and said this …
This story sizzled on the pages between the heated romance and the suspense. The plot was fast paced but I enjoyed every minute of it… adored Ayden and not just because he is the quintessential leading man who plays the underdog, okay, that pretty much had a lot to do with it. The romance kept my heart pumping and the suspense held me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to read the next installment of the series.
Check it out HERE. Comment by tomorrow, December 2 for a chance to win a copy!
And another 5 STAR review posted today at SAPPHYRIA’S BOOK REVIEWS. Check out what she had to say…
This was an awesome 105 page story. The shorter length of the book didn’t detract from the novel in any way. It didn’t seem rushed in any area nor did it leave out any crucial information that some shorter stories tend to do…The suspense and romance of the novel didn’t overtake each other; there was a nice balance of both. The romantic parts were hot and realistic and the suspense kept me engaged.
w00t! w00t! Snoopy dancing around the house. I love these two!
Also today begins a HUGE sale at Book Lover’s Buffet. ALL books in ALL genres are just $.99!! Including BLIND HER WITH BLISS. I hope you’ll check it out!
Peter didn’t want to admit he hoped meeting a strange woman in the honeymoon suite of a Boston hotel would fill the desperate void in his heart. He knew what people would think and what conclusions they’d draw if they suspected his deception. To hell with them. No one understood what he was going through. And even if they did, it didn’t matter.
He was like a train whose conductor had thrown the wrong switch—compelled to continue on this course until the bitter end.
I know it looks bad, but you should check it out … things aren’t always what they seem in romance novels.
Be sure to check HERE for all kinds of other authors joining in on SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY.
Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door. Her palm caressed its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair.
How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.
Click HERE to check out other participating authors.
It’s here! FINALLY! It’s taken more months than I’d like to admit, to say that the third and final book in the Tilling Passions series is finally out in the world! Yay! Yes, this book was previously published and I LOVED it when it went out into the world, but ya know … I’ve learned a lot about writing and storytelling and so it’s gone through a major overhaul before I could re-release it. And here’s the gorgeous cover (designed by DAR ALBERT who is the absolute best!
He has a secret past. She has dreams for their future. Together they have a problem that may just kill them both…
Floral designer, MEGHAN TILLING, has been in love with her fiancé since college. With her business, his promotion and a family illness, she’s finding the demands on her time are keeping them apart. PETER MADDOCK loves his fiancée with a fierceness that claws at his soul, but finding answers to his past becomes an obsession he can’t ignore. When bizarre accidents threaten Meghan’s life, he wonders if his secrets have finally caught up with him. Can they both discover the truth without paying the ultimate price …their lives?
Peter wasn’t sure what to do for Meghan after the horrendous weekend she’d just endured.
First the episode with the cooler, which still knotted his stomach with guilt, then the death of her beloved cat and today she’d had some argument with Deirdre that had brought tears, but no explanation. Now her father lay in the ICU, fighting for his life yet again. Yeah, sucky didn’t quite cover his fiancée’s life at the moment.
Meghan dragged herself out of the car in the garage and through the door Peter held open. Stepping up into the breezeway and into the kitchen seemed an almost insurmountable task for her. At least he’d gotten the garage door to work, and she wasn’t schlepping through the freshly fallen snow.
Another winter storm had rolled in somewhere around midnight, accumulating several inches an hour, making the forty-minute drive from Bangor a treacherous one. Thank goodness her mother had agreed to ride back to Delmont with them. Alice was tucked in safely at home down the street. Deirdre and Ayden had gone home an hour ahead of them, leaving Julie and Damon, because their apartment was so close to the hospital, to take the first vigil at John’s bedside.
Absently, Meghan slipped out of her winter gear and threw it over the back of a dinette chair. Slumping into the seat, she looked like every cell of her body had been drained of energy.
“Babe, can I get you something to eat?” Peter walked across the kitchen and stuck his head in the refrigerator. “We’ve got eggs, bagels, leftover soup.”
“It’s three o’clock in the morning, Peter. How can you think about food?” A weak laugh escaped her lips. “I’m too tired to eat, but help yourself. I’m just going to take a shower and wash off the hospital before falling into bed.” Instead of standing, she laid her forehead on the table. “I should be able to get several hours of sleep before heading over to open the shop.”
Peter abandoned his quest and came up behind her, rubbing at the knots in her shoulders. “I think the good citizens of Delmont would understand if you didn’t open the shop today. There’s no doubt word has already made it around town that your father’s in the hospital.”
Turning her head to look at him, Meghan’s eyes filled with tears. “What if…”
“Don’t, Meggie.” Peter knelt beside her and cupped Meghan’s face in his hands, his thumb brushing a tear from her cheek. “Your dad’s a stubborn man. He’s pulled through before, he’ll do it again.”
“I just don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t.” Her voice trailed off.
Peter pulled her tight to his chest, protecting his own shattering heart. John had been the only father figure he’d known. His only memory of his mother centered on his fourth birthday, party balloons, and a bike. Shortly after that he’d been placed in state custody. His mother had never shaken her drug addiction long enough to regain permanent custody. Though he’d always believed she would come for him, her death when he was ten sealed his fate. He’d come back to Maine in search of the happy memories of his childhood and found love in Meghan.
“Hey, where are you?” Meghan’s finger trailed along his brow.
“Nowhere.” He stood and pulled her with him. No sense hashing over a past he couldn’t change. “Let’s get you to bed.”
“How about you climb in the shower with me?”
“Meghan.” The word came out on a husky breath. As exhausted as they both were, desire sparked in her eyes, and the heat shot straight to his groin. How had he ever doubted that she was enough? His lips came down softly on hers, the contact gentle but filled with unspoken hunger.
He swept her into his arms, cradling her against him, her cheek pressed over his heart. He carried her past the bed they shared, where she satisfied every part of him. He set her down, kissing her tenderly, her mouth hungry and eager for him. There would be no bondage tonight. No spanking or sex toys. Just sighs of pleasure and sweet caresses. As he pulled the T-shirt over her head and bent to kiss the luscious curve of her breast, he marveled at the many sexual personas of his fiancée; insatiable tigress, wanton sex-slave, and alluring angel. All his—whenever he wanted.
“I love you, Meghan.” He sighed the declaration into her ear. He didn’t need to say it out loud. His hands roaming her body communicated it so much better, but the emotions bursting from his heart required a voice.
“I love you too.”
Oh, and did I mention it’s on sale for the next couple of weeks for $1.49?
Opinions are like noses … everyone’s got one..and they all smell!
Okay, so that’s not exactly how that saying goes, but I thought I’d clean it up for my public. Anyway, the point is, no matter where you turn in the writing world, someone has some tidbit to help you on your way. Unfortunately, much of the time it conflicts with the last great bit of advice someone gave you. And if you’ve been doing this writing gig for any amount of time you know of what I speak!
It starts with the first critique of your writing whether it’s a friend or a contest. Heroine’s wishy-washy. Heroine’s overpowering. Too much description. Too much dialogue. Too much internal angst. Not enough deep POV. You just can’t make everyone happy.
And there it is and it bears repeating. You. Can. NOT. Please. Everyone!
All of us have different things that pull us in and throw us out of stories. What works for me may be a can’t-possibly-finish-wall-banging trope for you. Ask anyone who writes erotic romance and they’ll tell you they hear as many “I don’t like when X” as “there’s never enough X”. It’s because readers bring their own personal experience to the table when they open your book. What they love, what they hate, and what makes a book go on their keeper shelf are dependent on so many factors that the author can’t control.
But why am I even mentioning this? Because I’m analyzing and re-evaluating my self-published books. As I get ready to put up the last of the Tilling Passions Series I’m trying to figure out how to increase the sales. I’ve been pretty open about the dismal showing they’ve had. While others are talking about paying college tuitions and buying new cars I’m barely making enough to take my family out to dinner … at McDonald’s … dessert not included. And please don’t tell me one more time this is a marathon and not sprint. I have the patience of a kid on Christmas morning. I’d like to see results. NOW, thank you very much. Maybe not pay-the-mortgage-vacation-in-Europe kind of money, but something that is worth the gas to cash the check kind of money.
Okay, that being said. I’ve rewritten all three books from their original published manuscripts. (Well, I’m finishing the third.) Gave them new titles and spiffy new covers. Had every person I know enlist their family and “tag” and “like” them. Wrote new blurbs and put them up on Amazon/Barnes & Nobel/Smashwords and soon All Romance Ebooks. But they sit buried in the noise of thousands of releases making tiny little Horton Hears a Who quiet cries, trying to get noticed. Unfortunately, it seems there are no elephants to pluck my books from obscurity.
So now, I’m giving something new a try. In this world where people have no more than 30 seconds to check something out before they have to answer email, chat on the phone, move another load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, tweet, go pick up a kid at practice, finish making dinner or update their Facebook status there isn’t a lot of time to be reading through book descriptions on Amazon. I’ve honed the craft of writing back cover blurbs that cover a full story in 180 words or less. Intrigue. Romance. Lust. The story that took a whole book to unfold, boiled down into a few short sentences that grab the reader. Remember the days standing in the bookstore or library and reading the back cover? There was plenty of time to get a feel for what might lie between the covers. Well, it seems those days are gone.
So I’m trying something new. Quick, short blurbs in my book descriptions. A few sentences that hopefully will hook a reader before they surf to another page.
BLIND HER WITH BLISS:
She’s trying to find herself. He’s attempting to hide. Together they’ll discover a truth that threatens them both…
Investigating the death of her best friend, uptight accountant, JULIE TILLING, discovers an erotic world of adult nightclubs and Internet intrigue. When shock jock DAMON COREY rocks her world in a wild night of lust, she wonders if she’s found love…or the key to solving a murder.
DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE:
A woman determined to protect her heart. An agent hell bent on proving himself. One night that changes their lives…
DEIRDRE TILLING had no way of knowing that attending her friend’s party would throw her into a dangerous world of corrupt businessmen and police stings. Of course her sexual romp with undercover DEA agent, AYDEN SCOTT only pushes her deeper into the drug smuggling ring running up the Maine coast. As the heat rises between Deirdre and Ayden, one thing becomes painfully obvious…their relationship has jeopardized his mission and now someone wants them both dead.
There you have them. I don’t know if they’ll work. But the theory of grab ’em quick seems to make sense. I’ll let you know if it works. What do you think? You can check out the original blurbs HERE and HERE. I haven’t changed them at B&N.
There has been a lot of talk on the internet about authors like JA Konrath and John Locke who have made A LOT of money self publishing their books. Heck, even NYT best selling authors are looking to put their backlist up on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. And why wouldn’t they? There is money to be made from digital savvy readers looking for a fix.
Why shouldn’t it be my book?
I’m not going to talk about HOW to do it. There seems to be all kinds of self-help blogs and books about the actual process. Let me just tell you … it’s easy. Don’t be fooled into thinking formatting is something only IT techs can do properly. Seriously, I did it myself and as the saying goes “If I can do it…”
Of course I decided to upload books that had already been edited and published through traditional electronic publishing routes, so a freelance editor wasn’t something I needed to consider. I did have someone design covers, Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs worked with me for the Tilling Passions series. I would highly recommend her. Her prices are reasonable and she didn’t charge me for all the “tweaking” stages. 🙂
But I digress. Really I wasn’t going to talk about the process. I want to talk about the results. Though many authors are finding HUGE financial rewards within only a month of putting their book on Amazon, some of us … just aren’t. And we don’t know why. I’ve looked at the marketing studies. I’ve read the blogs of authors who are now paying quarterly taxes for the first time because their sales are overwhelming. I’ve tweeted and facebooked and blogged and toured and … well, suffice it to say … for me nothing has been the magic bullet.
I understand it’s a numbers game. And I’m working on that. The third book in the Tilling Passions series, Arranging Love should be on sale by the end of August. I’ve got two more books that require a major round of edits before they’re ready to go up for sale. But I’d like to have both of those out before next spring. Perhaps that’s the answer. I’m not sure.
I know I’m not alone in this. There are many authors whose sales are lackluster at best. Since I’m on a loop with them, I know they’re out there. So just to let you know, not everyone finds gold in this self-publishing venture, let me share my three months worth of sales for Blind Love:
I understand this is a marathon and not a sprint, still it is a little discouraging when someone on an indie loop I’m on is wondering why her sales dropped below 100 that day and had anyone else experienced the drop. I haven’t experienced the sales. Bleh.
I’m not suggesting anyone shy from self-publishing. Like I said, it’s uber easy to get books up on the three venues I mentioned above. (Though I understand All Romance eBooks is a little more difficult with their formatting requirements.) I really just wanted authors to know that their results may vary.
I’d like to welcome all the visitors following the Summer Reading Trail and thank you for stopping here. I hope you’ve found some wonderful stories and been introduced to new authors.
Cautious, and working to keep his jangled nerves from pumping his legs in a dead run, Ayden strolled to the shelter of the dinghy. The noise grew louder. Ayden realized he wasn’t moving away from the sound. He was aimed right toward it. What a fool. It was a beautiful fall night. No doubt lovers were using the upended craft for a little private party of their own.
Turning on his heel, he started to walk away, when the noise came again. It wasn’t the moan of sexual pleasure. It was the keening sound of sadness. Someone was crying. And from the quiet hiccupping, it was female.
Ayden shot a longing look over his shoulder, debating between the refuge of the path and the complications under the boat.
Chivalry won out and he stepped warily around the bow.
The redhead sat on the wooden slats, her bare feet digging restlessly in the sand, her face cupped in her hands. Between shuddering breaths, she sputtered angrily into her bent knees, but her tears and her fingers kept the words from him.
“Uh-hmm.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how else to get her attention.
“Holy shit…” She tried to jump to her feet, but banged her head on the iron rigging attached to the upside of the boat and fell back down. “Damn.” Her hand flew to her head.
“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.
She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the sadness in her eyes.
“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She wiped at the sand on her bottom. “You scared the living shit out of me.”
Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn to fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.
“Again, I apologize.” He held his hand out as a peace offering. “I’m Austin Schaeffer.” How easily that name slipped off his tongue.
“Deirdre Tilling,” She shook the hand he offered.
Her grip was surprisingly firm. Ayden liked the touch of her palm against his skin. Not all soft and pliant, but callused and rough. He wondered how it would feel running up his back.
She was a beautiful woman. Her breasts swelled enticingly just above the bodice of her dress. Her long, muscular legs that he’d admired in the great room, started somewhere around her neck. No wonder Jameson had been seducing this lovely creature.
Jameson. Right. He mentally shook his head. Focus, Ayden. Tonight was about gathering information, not sexual conquests. But then again, there was that two birds and one stone thing.
“You come to Jameson’s parties often?” He immediately slipped into detective mode.
She pulled her hand from his and rubbed at the spot on her head. “What? Jameson? Oh, Shawn. No, never been to one of his parties. I’m one of his employees. Damn, this hurts. It’s already forming an egg.”
Ayden ignored the fact she’d called the owner Shawn. Obviously, he wasn’t getting any action from an employee who referred to her boss by his first name.
“Here, let me take a look at it.” He ran his fingers through her hair. It was soft as silk sliding over his hand. “Oh, yeah. You did a nice job. Probably could use a little ice.” At this rate, so could he, but not on the head on his shoulders.
“I did a nice job? Me? You were the one sneaking up like some pirate looking for lost treasure.”
The woman had no idea how close to the truth she was. “I wasn’t sneaking up on you, I heard you crying.”
And just like that the white knight had rendered her speechless.
Deirdre had started the evening with her moral compass pointing the way to a mindless hookup that would break her sexual dry spell. She’d quickly lost her way after her encounter with the brunette and the mansion’s owner. She was ending her evening hiding on the beach crying into her proverbial beer over not taking a damn risk.
The whole thing with Shawn earlier had been stupid. There had been nothing untoward about the man. Her own insecurities had total screwed with her head, imagining danger where none had existed. She’d run from a perfect gentleman like a skittish rabbit afraid of being snared.
Perhaps she’d been granted a second chance.
“Yes, well, as you can see I’m fine.” Deirdre looked at the guy standing over her. Her head throbbed, but it didn’t stop her body from reacting to his hungry gaze. He had nice features. A strong jaw that softened with the smile he kept flashing her. The light of the moon reflected in his eyes that held an attentive kind of glint. Her pulse rate skipped about with anticipation rather than concern. But he was a man. She hadn’t been with a guy since Bobby Mullins eighteen months ago, and she remembered vividly what a horrible, drunken decision between friends that had been.
Deirdre had sworn off men at that point. She shivered at the recollection.
“You cold?” He rubbed his hands up and down her arms.
“No, I…” His hand grazed the side of her breast, and her nipples immediately pebbled. “Yeah, maybe a little.” She had not just fluttered her lashes at the man. But what the hell? After the rejection from the woman in the great room, Deirdre was feeling more than a little needy. For goodness’ sake, she’d just been bawling her eyes out over not getting laid. What was the difference between the dildos she kept in the box under her bed, and real, live flesh and blood pumping into her? Emotional attachment, that’s what. But she was feeling hopeless enough to risk it.
“You want to go someplace warmer?” Austin’s hands continued to trail awareness up and down her arms.
“I live really far away.”
His head tipped back as if she’d struck him, and he dropped his hands. Then he laughed. “I was thinking up to the house. But I wouldn’t turn you down if you wanted a nightcap at my place. It’s not far from here.”
Heat pulsed in Deirdre’s cheeks. She’d been so focused on going home with someone—anyone— that she was practically throwing herself at this man. How could she have misunderstood? “No…don’t feel obligated. I mean, well…oh, hell, I’m not very good at this.”
He trailed his knuckle from her cheek bone to her chin. “A drink at my place. What do you say?”
“That sounds nice. But I’ll take my own truck.”