Friday, February 21, 2014

Self-Pubishing: My Best Piece of Advice

I have worked my booty off this past year promoting my book and learning what works (and soooooo much that doesn't) with self-publishing. And I've had some success. True, it could be chalked up to luck (right time, right place), but I would also like to think that some of my hard work (the booty-off variety) had something to do with it.

After having quite a few people ask me for advice, I've realized one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. So here it is. Do WHATEVER it takes to make your book NOT look/seem/feel self-published.

What does this mean, exactly?

It's quite simple, really. Your book, in order to compete with the big-guns (publishers), must look like it came from a big publisher. Your cover, your content, your blurb, your blog, your website. Everything.

It really goes without saying (or it should at least), that if you want to make a name for yourself, you must look professional. Put it this way. If you made the best baked chocolate cookies in the entire world, but you wrapped them in Ziploc bags, slapped on a printed tag using Comic Sans font (please don't make me cry) and then presented it for the world to buy... do you think they will? Not likely. And especially not on the internet.

How do you do this exactly? Research, research, research. Look at the bestsellers in your genre and see what they are doing. Here are some ideas of what you can do:
  • Pay someone to make your cover. Use a professional. Don't think you can do it on your own, or use one of those ready-made programs. That screams self-published. And don't try to buck the trend. Look at what is selling and go from there. 
  • Have your book read by multiple beta-readers, and really take into account their feedback. Even if you have the best packaging in the world, your book will not succeed if people do not like it. 
  • Have your book professionally edited. Your "grammar nazi" sister is not good enough. (trust me)
  • Pay to have your website designed, or buy a pre-made design that you can adjust. There are lots of great programs out there.
The deal is... this will cost you money. But like any business owner will tell you,  you have to spend money to make money. And your book is your business. You have invested your time and energy into writing it. You will also have to invest some money. Ask ANY business owner. They did not get to where they are without spending money and taking a chance at first. 

I must go now. That chocolate cookie example may have not been the best thing to talk about while dieting. I must have one... right now. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

#ChickLitLove Time!

More #chicklitlove today as we put Jared Moody in the hot seat! (Note: he was not very forthcoming with answers and kept asking "are we done yet?")

Fun, Flirty Facts About Jared
(Note: he also didn't want us to use this title, but too bad for him)

Celebrity you've been told you look like:
Just recently I was told I look like Ryan Reynolds. I don't see it. 

Naughty food you like to indulge in:
Ice cream. Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. 

What you wear to bed:
Depends on the weather. Okay, it's always boxers. 

Favorite body part of the opposite sex:
Besides the obvious, I like shoulders. Shoulders can be very sexy. 

How many people you've said "I love you" to:
Only one person, we dated in college. 

Relationship deal-breaker:

Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it?:
I was 12, on the playground at school. Of course I instigated it. She was cute. Had to make my move before someone else got to her. 

Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, describe:
None. Never. No. Hate that crap. 

Favorite alcoholic drink:
Don't drink. Not anymore, at least. Back in the day it was beer. I don't like to remember those times, though. 

Describe your dream girl:
Someone who is funny, intelligent, keeps me on my toes. I like a girl that's different, someone who doesn't fit into the normal, who doesn't get caught up in dumb things. 

To learn more about Jared, check out Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

#ChickLitLove Book Excerpt!

Romance is in the air! More #Chicklitlove to share! (I did not mean for that to rhyme, I swear... ha! I did it again... sorry.) 

For the second day of Valentine's week, my fellow Chick Lit lovelies and I are sharing a little romantic excerpt from our books. So here is a little something from Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!

My computer beeps and I look and see I have an e-mail from one Jared Moody. My heart starts to thump in my chest as I double-click on it.

Thanks for your help today. Any chance there are cupcakes leftover from yesterday?

I try not to get too caught up in how I honestly want to react here, which is spending forty-five minutes writing a one sentence reply. I need to reply now. So without thinking it over too much, I write this:

You’re welcome, anytime. Cupcakes are gone, I’m afraid. They never last past the first day.

I push the send button and wait, hoping for a reply. It doesn’t take too long for my computer to beep again.

I figured. Too bad. I was craving one. What can I say to convince you to bring some more?

I should say something witty here, right? Like “only just the promise of your firstborn.” But that’s stupid and contrived… Can’t I come up with something better? I have nothing though, no good reply. I’m rusty when it comes to bantering with the opposite sex. I reply quickly not allowing myself to over-think it.

No convincing necessary. I’ll bring some on Monday. :)

Crap. I just added the dreaded smiley face to the end of my e-mail and hit send too fast before I could erase it. Stupid, stupid spinster. Not only that, I just essentially told him I have nothing better to do this weekend than make cupcakes. I seriously need to go back to over-analyzing everything. It’s better that way.
 My computer beeps:

Excellent. That will make for a better Monday. ;)

Oh! Okay, he just sent back a smiley face, too—and a winking one at that. That means something, right? It’s like a flirty-smiley face. Or it could also be that the colon and the semi-colon buttons are on the same key and can easily be mixed up. Whatever. Clearly, I have some considerable reading into and over-analyzing of this little e-mail chat.

Who needs to do work when there are so much more important things to do?  

To read more, grab a copy of 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentines Celebration #ChickLitLove

It's Valentines week! The week that I used to dread when I was single, loved when I was dating, and now that I'm married it's sort of... meh. My hubz is a fantastic valentine, don't get me wrong. It's just lost that sparkle that V-day use to have - with the possibility of the unknown (not that I would switch back for all the money in the world... okay, maybe ALL the money in the world, but that's the only way).  

So to celebrate this holiday of love, my fellow chick lit authors and I are doing some fun stuff everyday this week! If you want to blog-hop, just search for #chicklitlove on twitter and Facebook and you will find a bunch of things to check out. 

Today brings you a little questionnaire answered by none other than Julia from Thirty-Two Going on Spinster. 

Q&A With Julia Dorning (a.k.a. Future Spinster) 

1) What three qualities do you find most attractive in a partner?
Well, it's been some time since I've actually had a partner (ahem, never), but I would say the three things I look for are, funny, romantic (but not that cheesy crap - I don't deal well with that), and smart (I need someone to make up for what I lack). 

2) What’s your idea of romance?
Since I am lacking in this department, I don't have much experience to pull from. However, I can use TV and movie couples to base this on (since that is a super realistic place to build your romantic dreams on). I would say that my idea of romance is someone who does a ridiculously large gesture for me. And I mean ri.dic.u.lous. Like flies me to Paris and then takes me to the top of the Eiffel Tower to propose and then when I say yes (because of course I would, duh), fireworks would go off all around and the whole town would celebrate my engagement. This is totally realistic, right? 

Well, if I must be realistic then my idea of romance is being with someone who wants to spend time with me and cares about the things that are important to me. And someone who brings me chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

3) Who's your favorite on-screen couple (Film or TV)?
Oh this one is hard! There are so many to choose from! I suppose if I had to choose I would pick Ross and Rachel from Friends. Which is probably a totally unoriginal choice. I could say David and Maddie from Moonlighting, but that just makes me sound old. So I'm going with Ross and Rachel. Fabulous build up of tension. And unlike David and Maddie, Ross and Rachel getting together didn't ruin the show.  

4) What's been your most embarrassing moment in regards to the opposite sex? 
I have more than the average person, I'm quite sure. Recently, I was caught by a very handsome guy, under a conference room table where I was trying to avoid being caught taking a nap on the job. It's a long story. But it was beyond embarrassing. Trust me. 

5) What was your first impression of your partner or crush? How accurate was it?
My most recent crush - it's been a while since I've had one of those - is on the very handsome guy that found me under a conference room table. Yes, him. Obviously nothing will probably come of this crush for many reasons, but I would say that meeting me under a conference room table probably ranks at the top. At first I thought he was smug and kind of a jerk (although, a hot one). I was not accurate, though. He's not smug, or a jerk. Bummer. It would have been easier to not like him if he were. 

6) How have you coped with break-ups in the past?
I handled it like a pro, of course... since there really hasn't been any break-ups in my past. Most of my "relationships" (yes, that word needed quotes because I'm not sure that's what one could call my dating past) just fizzled out or never amounted to anything. 

7) Which hot actor would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with and why? 
Hmmm, I've never really thought about this question. Ever. Ryan Reynolds. Okay, maybe I've thought of it just a little. Why Ryan Reynolds? Well because he's hot, funny, and I don't know him personally but he seems pretty smart. So all the things I look for in a partner. I sort of heart him. A lot. 

8) What is the craziest thing you've ever done for love?
Well, it wasn't really for love, but more for the hope of love. I recently found out that I have some... um... upper-lip... hair. And so I did what normal people do (so I was told) and I had it waxed off. Only more than just hair came off and then there was a scab... and really I just can't say anymore than that. It was mostly horrific. And by mostly, I mean totally and completely. 

9) PDA: How much is acceptable? 
Nothing. PDA is just a way for couples to rub it in to us single people that they are happier than we are. I find it offensive on many levels. Unless it's me doing the PDA, then that's okay. 

10) What is the best relationship advice you've ever gotten?
My sister once told me that when you are confused about whether you want to be with someone, you have to ask yourself if life would be better with or without him. If it's with him, then all of the other things will fall into place. Kind of hard to take advice from someone ten years younger than me, but since she has so so so so so so much more experience than I do (she actually said that), I will have to take her word for it.  

To find out more about Julia and her probable spinster future, check out Thirty-Two Going on Spinster! 

Book Blurb: 
Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her career, and lives in her parent's basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia's mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?