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Good morning! I hope everyone has a great week.

Me? I struggled a little. Okay, more than a little. For a day, I gave into the hopeless insecurity that plagues every author. 

When sales are low, and you’ve done a push in promotion without any results, it’s hard. It becomes a real struggle to put words to paper on a work in progress. To chat with readers. Even to go on your favorite social media site and put up a status that doesn’t paint you as whiny or begging for sales. You begin to lose sight of why you started this process to begin with. You wonder, to yourself, what’s the point of writing when no one can be bothered to even read what you wrote.

You take the lack of sales personally. You see it as a reflection of who you are as not just an author, but a person. And you begin to wonder if you’re as bad as those voices who discouraged you for years have always said.

I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to shake the foul mood. I came up with something new to try this week as to promoting my work, I finished a chapter of ‘Wielder of Tiren’. I kept my positive public face. 

For other authors, they can’t work past this blackness. We’re an insecure bunch. We put our souls into our characters, strive towards presenting the best story we can create. All we ask is for someone to buy our work, see it worthy of a few dollars, and like it enough to take the time to review it. Months, sometimes years, go into crafting a book that readers will finish in a few hours (or days). To see sales plummet tests our resolve. It makes us question ourselves as storytellers. As people.

Every author I know has faced this point in their career. It can define us. We either give up because we can’t handle the bad months. Or we push through it, regain our hope, and keep trying. To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day”.

May it be a better one than the one before.

BB

It’s a Sunday night, and I’m relaxing. About to go dive into Arwenna’s world and do some more work on book three, and final, book of The Raven Chronicles. We’re on vacation, you see. While the bulk of our traveling is now done, we’re taking all next week to do small things local to us. And for me to write.

Given that my alarm clock is beyond off (it’s actually unplugged), and tomorrow’s schedule’s pretty fluid, I chose to make my weekly post tonight just so I’d remember to do it and share the link like I normally do.

Today, I’m going to give you the secret. The one thing that will make you a successful author. Are you ready?

Promote your book.

It takes time to be a household name. No one is going to know KateMarie Collins from anyone else unless I promote. It’s not up to my publisher. It’s up to ME to make my name and books known to the world.

I’m going to be blunt right now, because it needs to be said. If you think any of this, you’ve got the wrong mindset:

1. My publisher will do all the promoting/marketing of my book

2. All I have to do is put it up for sale and I’ll sell thousands overnight

3. The hard part’s over once you get a contract. Everything else is their job, not yours.

4. There’s a magic trick to promoting that no one will share.

5. People wouldn’t lie to me and say they bought my book and not do it!

6. I’m going to make millions and retire to a cabin in the Rockies six months after it releases.

7. Other authors aren’t worth reading, or talking to, because they’re ‘stealing’ my sales.

8. Being rude, arrogant, demanding, a jackass, or screaming obscenities at my publisher is perfectly acceptable behavior. Just because I’m a new author doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to be a diva. My book’s going to make them rich, so they should learn to cowtow to my whims early on.

THERE IS NO MAGIC FORMULA! THE ONLY WAY TO SELL BOOKS IS TO PROMOTE THEM!!!

Even then, it TAKES TIME. I’ve been published now for just about 2 1/2 years. I’ve got 8 titles out. And I promote. During our travels, I leave business cards and personalized postcards for my books in hotel rooms. I spend time on FB and Twitter. I write this blog. I let people know what I do for a living. I’ve been known to slip in postcards into the folder at restaurants when we pay the bill! Or chat up a cashier someplace and give one to them. I’ve gotten good reviews. But I’m still averaging single digit sales each month. Why? Because people don’t recognize my name yet. They have no connection to KateMarie Collins as an author. They don’t know that ‘Daughter of Hauk’ is the first book of a trilogy. Or that ‘Fin’s Magic’ is both fantasy and romance. That ‘Mark of the Successor’ is the story of a girl who wanted nothing more than to escape one prison, only to find herself a pawn.

I don’t have the right to play diva yet. I am not my publisher’s best selling author. I am not going to be able to contribute substantially to the household bills in the next four months. Possibly even the next four years. 

So, I say this to you all. Either grow up, stop whining, and do the work to get what you want, or put the pen down. This is not a get rich quick business. It does not tolerate temper tantrums from people who are ‘certain’ their book is selling like mad two days after it releases. And it will chew you up and spit you out if you aren’t willing to pay your dues and put the work in.

BB

Responsibility

It’s late on Monday, but I still made it here! It’s been crazy busy today. So much going on!

Today, I want to talk about responsibility. It’s a great concept, but we’re in the middle of a shift in thinking. I remember, not to long ago, when the main chorus I heard from a lot of people was “It’s not my fault.” or “That’s not my responsibility.” As authors, we need to take the road less traveled so to speak, and make certain things our responsibility. Otherwise, our book sales will not meet even the most meager of expectations.

Here’s a list and commentary of what some of my top responsibilities as an author are. You may not agree with them all, but hopefully some will at least make you think about it.

1. Being open and honest to critiques/feedback from any source. This means not fighting with your crit partners, beta readers, or editor. This means learning the difference between a comment that is valid and one made by someone who just doesn’t get it. This is being responsible for both how you interact with those who are trying to improve your work, and seeing that they might have a point.

2. Timeliness. This is not throwing a fit and ignoring an editor because you didn’t like what they said. This is being on top of your edits and getting them back to the editor without a lot of prodding. Life happens, and editors and publishers know that. But you have a responsibility to conclude your side of the process in a timely manner. If you’re one who just thinks you can put it off like the laundry, you’re wrong. It sets a very bad precedent, one that your publisher will remember.

3. Taking charge of your marketing. You know your book better than anyone else. You also know what you want your public image to be. Don’t expect your publisher to do all the work to make your book a success. Authors have a responsibility to market the book, make the public aware of their name. Authors cannot expect this to be done for them.

4. Give your reader credit for intelligence. This is a big one for me. You’ve already got someone invested in the book. Don’t now insult them by constantly repeating words or phrases. Your main character is a cop? Fine. She’s a cop. But you do not have to remind your reader of that on every page. Or every other page. Readers will remember, so give them the benefit of the doubt. I guarantee you that the impression you’ll make if you do this will not be a positive one. Readers will be so put off by it that they’ll never buy your book again. Do yourself a huge favor, and the responsible thing, and figure out repetitive words in your m/s before you submit it or upload it for release.

5. Positive public image. You are going to get, and keep, more readers and be praised by your publisher/agent/editor if you’re nice and pleasant. Leave the diva at the door. Seriously. No one wants to deal with a prima donna. Publishers will learn to dread to open your email if you’re demanding preferential treatment. Editors will push your book to the bottom of their pile if you reject every thing they recommend with nary a word. And readers will not recommend you to their friends if you can’t be bothered to sign an autograph in the elevator at a con. 

That covers the bigger ones. Like most things in this business, it’s a learning curve. Even people who have seventeen titles out and twenty years of sales behind them learn something new all the time. The important thing when you have a misstep is to figure out what went wrong and remember. Because it very well could be your responsibility and not your publisher’s.

Speaking of publishers, have you ever been curious about Solstice? Our CEO, Melissa Miller, did an amazing interview over the weekend. Highly recommend taking a read at it!

http://lizzystevens.blogspot.com/2014/08/learn-more-about-solstice-publishing.html

BB

Hello!

I know, I know. I’m posting without it being a Monday.But this is so amazingly awesome I had to share!

Solstice Publishing is now the home to the first two of a seven book autobiography series by fashion designer Bernard Foong (aka Young)! And he’s stopping by here to promote the upcoming release of the third title!

‘A Harem Boy’s Saga’ is a series of books chronicling Young’s life as part of a secret society of harems for both heterosexual and homosexual people. But the books are more than just erotica. They’re lessons in life, becoming an adult, and being true to who you are.

Author’s Bio

Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.

By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist).

 

Bernard Foong (designer) – A brief history

 

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.

Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer – travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon  recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school – working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.

 Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.

He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.

Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China  producing – BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW – Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ  (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.

Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:

  • Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
  • Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
  • Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
  • Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
  • Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.

Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:

A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.

This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems .”

A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.

 

Out of his busy schedule, Bernard is also working on a mini series of three contemporary paintings for the Rathe Galleries in Dallas, Houston and soon to open gallery in Austin, Texas. 

A Harem Boy’s saga – I – Initiation: book retail links:

Print book:

http://www.amazon.com/Initiation-Harem-Boys-Saga-1/dp/1625260733/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406157007&sr=1-3&keywords=a+harem+boy%27s+saga

E-book:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KOEXWQQ

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon IN: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon FR: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon ES: http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon IT: http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon BR: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00KOEXWQQ

Amazon MX: https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B00KOEXWQQ

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00KOEXWQQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00KOEXWQQ

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/initiation-young/1119634149?ean=2940149501014&itm=1&usri=2940149501014

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/443362

A Harem Boy’s Saga – II – Unbridled:

 

Print book:

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Unbridled-Harem-Boys-Saga-2/dp/1625260881/ref=sr_1_2_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406157007&sr=1-2&keywords=a+harem+boy%27s+saga

E-book:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L8F1RYO

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon IN: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon FR: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon ES: http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon IT: http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon BR: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00L8F1RYO

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00L8F1RYO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon MX: https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B00L8F1RYO

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00L8F1RYO

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/451244

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unbridled-young/1119857648?ean=2940149752607&itm=1&usri=2940149752607

HaremBoyDebauchery_500x750

Hi there! It’s that time of the month again! Today, we welcome Solstice Shadows author, K.R. McClure!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

     “Edge Walker and the Orb of Death” It can be found on Amazon via this link: http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Walker-Death-K-R-McClure-ebook/dp/B00HQNVSSM/ref=sr_1_1? s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391547541&sr=1-1&keywords=edge+walker+and+the+orb+of+death or this Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/mjkcag9

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

    I’ve always loved the darker side of fantasy, so creating a character that moves in this sort of world is natural for me. Exploring it with humor is just a bonus.

3. What do you like to read?

    Anything I can get my hands on? I love the old myths, and history, and fantasy and comics and, well, a little bit of everything. Some of my favorite authors are: Sir Terry Pratchett, Niel Gaiman, S.M. Sterling, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare.

4. Favorite movie?

    Hm, not an easy choice. I suppose the one I will stop and watch whenever it is on is Raiders of the Lost Ark. That’s such a fun film!

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

    Spurts of creativity, though they tent to happen at the most inconvenient moments. It is hard to jot down an idea when going full-blast down the highway!

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

    Actually coming to the realization that I AM an author!

7. How can readers find you?

    I have recently started a writer’s blog at: http://ommers.blogspot.com/ And I have an Edge Walker Facebook page.

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

    I’m still learning that part. It has been an interesting experience, though!

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

    Usually just a glass of water and some nuts, though once I get into the writing, I don’t notice anything else, even food!

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

    I don’t really have an item that I use for inspiration. When I write, the world tends to fade out, and all I’m seeing is the story in my head. I *should* have a poster above my computer that says ‘Write, Dammit!’. ;)

 

 

 

 

Edge Walker

Good morning!

It was a wild weekend, and equally chaotic Monday morning. Arrived back home late (and tired) last night, so there were a few things that needed to be dealt with first thing this morning. Like getting groceries back in the house. LOL.

My meet and greet on Sunday was wonderful. I think I talked with around 8 people. Two signed up for a newsletter I plan to start doing monthly (details to follow in a later blog, if you’re interested). And one person bought a copy of ‘Son of Corse’. I’d only taken one copy of that and one of ‘Mark of the Successor’, as that’s all I had on hand. Some of the highlights was how giddy the one who bought the book was to meet a real author (I’d estimate she was around 14). Another was having the husband of one woman check out the reviews (and quote them to his wife) for ‘Daughter of Hauk’ as she and I chatted. Having people you don’t know make comments about something you wrote having some good reviews can really boost your ego. LOL.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Only 8 people? You sat there for 3 hours and only talked to 8 people?!?! That’s hardly worth your time! You could not be more wrong.

I’m still new. I’m unknown. I don’t have a household name, and my works are still being discovered. I know, without a doubt, that the majority of those of you who follow this blog haven’t purchased a copy of one of my books yet. Or left a review. How do I know this? Because I’ve got more people who read what I write here than I’ve received in reviews. Does it bother me? Nope. Because you’re still reading what I write. Maybe one day you’ll buy a book. Or leave a review. 

Another point is that there are now 8 people in the world who know who I am as an author. They know my face and book covers/titles. They may buy a copy of one or more of them one day. Still, that’s 8 more people than even knew there was a fantasy author by the name of KateMarie Collins than there was on Saturday night. Say 3 of them actually buy, read, and review one of my books. And tell their friends. Of their friends, 2 may buy a book. Now I’ve gained another 5 readers overall. 

Sales don’t happen overnight. It’s like that massive snowball rolling down the mountain. It starts with a single sale. And then another one, and another. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding enough snowflakes to even create a pea-sized snowball. But those readers who discover, and love, your work will create that hard core that other readers will be drawn to. And that snowball begins to grow in your hand. Another few months, or a year, maybe it’s big enough where you can stop shaping it in your hands and put it on the ground to push around. It takes even more time, but eventually it’ll get so big that it’ll start moving down the mountain and gathering size as it goes.

Oh! Almost forgot! Photos of the event are below!

BB

SAM_1557

 

SAM_1564

SAM_1558

Good morning!

We’ve got a small wilderness area with a river behind us, and the county is working to shore up the levy/create a salmon habitat/make run off areas. While it doesn’t directly impact us, the noise and occasional vibrations have made it interesting.

I’ve had a few people tell me later that I inspire them. It’s not something I went out seeking, but I’m learning to be okay with the idea that people see me as a role model of sorts. I can’t control what they think of me, in all honesty, and perhaps they’ve seen something in what I do or how I live my life that inspires them to do the same.

One of the things I think all authors really should be aware of is what your goals are. Are you looking to be at the top of the NYT best seller list? Retire early to a mansion in the middle of nowhere? Will you be willing to donate your time to a charity looking for a celebrity guest? Are you wanting to be surrounded by an entourage every where you go? Assistants to do everything but write and sign the books for you? 

If those are some of your goals, start saving now. Because that’s not going to happen overnight, and you won’t get it from the first day of your first release.

There is no real instant gratification when it comes to being an author. We spend months or years on a single project. Then, more time devoted to either finding an agent/publisher or going through editing/proofreading. It can take 4 years or more of real work to see a book go from idea to up for sale. And, for new authors, another 5 years before it’s discovered by readers. 

Being an author has a certain amount of celebrity status attached to it, yes. I’ve seen it on the faces of people when they find out what I do for a living. I’m one of the success stories. That person who stopped dreaming about writing a novel, and actually did it. 

But I don’t care if I top the NYT list. The mansion? Not my style. Celebrity guest? I could do that. Entourage? Now, that’s a funny one. Because anyone who I would include in something like that would keep my feet firmly on the ground. I’m surrounded by people that all know when, and how, to tell me my ego’s running amok. And that’s one reason I keep them around.

My goals as an author are far more simple. To write a story that engages the reader. To have enough success with my books to help our household budget. Maybe help out with college for my daughters. Give us some breathing room each month. 

Am I there yet? Not by a long shot. My stories, I think, are good. And the sales will find me. Eventually. I hope so, anyway. But I already got one goal I didn’t know I was even trying for. I inspired someone else to write, put thoughts to paper, and think about getting published. I can live with that.

Good news alert!

Do you live in the Portland, Oregon area? If so, come to Book Warehouse in Troutdale on Sunday, July 20th! I’m doing a meet and greet from noon-3pm! The books aren’t making it in time for the event, but should be in the store sometime in August. I’ll still be there, though! With postcards, doing a reading or two, and talking about my books and publishing. Hope to see some people there!

BB

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