This coming Friday I’ve been invited onto the “Beyond the Mundane” radio show to talk about my Undead Sorceress book and other stuff. We’ll be giving out copies of my book to some lucky callers as well!
I’ll be on from 9-11pm and here is the link.
A bit nervous as I’m not sure what will happen since it’s live and I know there will be a few callers phoning in. I’m not very good at improve, so random questions do scare me! But I guess I have to practice or I’ll never get over my fear over answering things on the fly!
If you are free this upcoming Sat morning in Toronto, I’m doing a book signing/selling thing at a farmer’s market at Artscape Wychwood Barns. A bookstore called Accents located there will stock my book on a consignment basis.
This time coincides with a Farmer’s market and live music, so come by for the festivities!
My Viking husband will around of course! Stop by and say hi if you have time!
SATURDAY, June 7/2014 from 10:00am to 12:30pm
VENUE: The Stop Farmers’ Market, 601 Christie Street, Artscape Wychwood Barns, Toronto.
Book Signing, Reading and Sale “Undead Sorceress, Book 1 of The International House of Vampires Series” by JF Garrard (Author of Multicultural Fantasy Fiction & Non Fiction)
“Ever since Tamara became a vampire, things have gone downhill. Her grandma runs off with her daughter’s soul and then her husband thinks she’s gone crazy. The only thing certain right now is that she has to save her daughter, no matter what the cost. Caught in the middle of a war between vampires, sorceresses and warlocks, she discovers an alternative history to the world she thought she knew”
Today is the first day I’m doing a quick promo to give away a few e-books for free in exchange for reviews. Also, I’m at a Japanese Animation convention, Anime North, doing a few panels on publishing and Asian vampires.
After a long day of chatting with friendly people dressed as Sailormoon, Naruto and other fabulous creatures; I came home to do a quick check to see how the downloads were going. Surprisingly I hit number one in Fiction/Asian American and Fantasy/Asian!
Admittedly these are very niche categories, but hey, No. 1 is better than No. 100 at the moment! Here’s hoping that I’ll find a great audience who likes to read things from a different perspective!
Meanwhile, greetings from me and a plant lady at Anime North (pic below)!
Another book I have on the go is The Literary Elephant: The Beginner’s Guide to Indie Publishing. This book was started way back in November as part of National Novel Writing Month. People have been asking me where to buy this and alas, I have to tell them that it’s not done yet!
This cover was completed by a fabulous graphics company based in Bosnia I found on Fiverr.com. They also helped me with the “How To Make a Munchkin” cover. I have to kick myself in the butt to keep going on finishing the manuscript for both the Munchkin and Elephant book as I have been so distracted by marketing activities for The Undead Sorceress.
However, I’ve learned a lot since launching one book and I predict things will be easier for me to release my other books.
One of my friends said I was getting too ambitious in wanting to release two more books by the end of the year, but what the heck, the manuscripts are 70% complete at this point! As an author, I don’t think you can survive on one book, so I need to keep going! Another thing I’ve been busy with is trying to write short stories as those are easier to sell than novels…yes, there aren’t enough hours in the day for me!
The paperback version of The Undead Sorceress was just released yesterday on April 24, 2014 ahead of the May 8 schedule. I don’t think this will ever happen again! I am maximizing the number 4 it seems with an April 24, 2014 release date. The number 4 sounds the same as “death” in the Chinese language and is typically avoided. Well, this book is about vampires who are undead so perhaps they are a lucky bunch and having so many 4s around this book is ok!
Retail list price is $15.99 USD and it is available on Amazon for now. In the near future it will be uploaded to other distributors to make it available at Barnes & Noble, etc.
Meanwhile, I’ve been prepping for book launches and Anime North, so I’ve ordered a stack of 300 books to carry with me everywhere. The book is damn heavy at 500 pages! The matte cover is beautiful though and the colors translate well from digital to print. And I’m a picky person when it comes to books! After going through 12 proofs, I’m finally happy, so I hope you will like how the book turned out too!
Over the last month I have been uploading my Kindle and Print version of the book onto Amazon for sale. The Kindle version was uploaded onto the KDP site and the Print version onto the Createspace site. Although both sites belong to Amazon, the structure of each site is different as they are considered separate entities.
Generally, the KDP site was much easier to work with, as you can upload your tax information digitally, obtain real time sales data and chose to be paid via direct deposit. Sadly, the Createspace site had only the option of mailing in your tax information, monthly sales data and only cheque payment options for Canadians. No cheques are mailed until you hit $100USD in royalties, so that might be a few years from now!
The 3D cover software on Createspace also impressed me as you can spin your cover around to make sure you “covered” the template you built your cover on. Alas, I still need to see the book in my hands to make sure the cover and pages printed properly.
For both sites after you upload, there is a 12-24 hour wait period as an Amazon staff needs to make sure that the file is properly formatted. For my Createspace cover I kept getting messages about the file not being big enough although I used their template. Of course, I have the option of not selling the book until I make sure the cover is perfect, which is great.
Amazon does tend to listen to their customers, which in this case, are the self-publishing authors. There was a demand for matte covers for print books versus glossy, so now there is an option for matte covers. People wanted real time sales data for kindle ebooks, so that is now available. When I had issues with uploading my cover to Createspace, I had the option of having someone contact me “now” or in 5 minutes. I chose “now” and my phone rang right away, connecting me to a service representative immediately.
Over the next few months I’ll be uploading onto other platforms, but Amazon is a good place to start. The software for uploading may not be as user friendly on other sites and there are extra fees if you need to re-upload again due to any mistakes in the file (free on Amazon to take down and upload again). Amazon has set a very high bar for self-publishing services and they can’t be beat at the moment. They are just so good! It’s only a matter of time before they take over the world with their other plans!
Finally, one book is available online after lots of difficulties with IRS forms, last minute formatting changes/deletions and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for Amazon to approve of it for sale. Yes, there is a process in which Amazon looks at your book to make sure it’s not offensive stuff you are putting onto their site.
Although I’ve learned to read legal documents for work, reading IRS forms and documents are totally different. I am convinced they are written by aliens to destroy our little minds as they are so difficult to comprehend.
Things turned out ok in the end, but there was lots of sweating and panicking. Uploading onto Amazon was a breeze though, but what took me so long was that I would “test” the book on different kindle programs and find glitches in the file. So I went back and forth with my very patient Australian formatter to perfect the book. Then I set up an Amazon Author page, changed the book status on Goodreads, updated all websites, then announced its availability via Facebook and Twitter as well. Is giving birth easier? Not sure…
The print book manuscript takes a bit longer to format and after that’s done, I can finish the spine/back for the print cover. I have been going to bookstores in my spare time and studying other people’s books to see what they put on their books. Perhaps I am vain, but I like well designed books and I hope to make a good looking book as well. For a panel on self-publishing on the weekend, I’ll try to remember to make this point: once the writing is over, you have to shut off your writing brain. The book becomes a product next and it has to be able to compete with other books. This means that the inside must be polished with professional editing and the outside has to be well designed. Book covers do matter and sometimes people will pick up your book because the cover is pretty if nothing else.
Due to my enrolment in Amazon’s KDP Select, I had to take down my preview of the book as it is available on Amazon now. KDP Select puts the book into a Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, so people enrolled in the library can read the book for free. Amazon does compensate the author regardless and it’s a new business model for people to subscribe to Amazon’s library service.
Click the cover below to visit The Undead Sorceress’ Kindle book page. Happy reading!
Recently, a question came up on the Goodreads forum about why people hired on Fiverr usually do promos for free books?
I speculated that a lot of them will only promote “FREE” books because there are lots of lists available online that this Fiverr person can fill in forms for free promotion on your behalf.
If the book isn’t free, it is much more difficult for them to do promotions. They would actually need to take more time to contact people and convince them to do book promos.
Generally, promoting a free book by filling in forms only takes a few minutes and they don’t have to negotiate.
If you are running a promotion for your book and giving it away for free for a few days or forever, you can post the links online to various sites yourself to spread the word. Or you can hire someone to do it for $5 as well.
Here is a list of 72 sites for promoting free ebooks to get you started along with Facebook, Twitter advice::
Another one at Indies Limited:
If you google “list kindle free promotion” you will find several more sites. Of course, some of the sites listed may be the same over and over again.
Good luck on your freebie campaign!
On Goodreads I recently met Cynthia Vespia, the acclaimed author of the fantasy saga Demon Hunter. Her first novel, a medieval fiction entitled The Crescent was published in August 2005. The novel was unanimously praised as “an engaging, descriptive read” which prompted a sell-out at Borders Bookstore in less than one hour during the first official signing.
As part of the Writing Process blog hop, she was kind enough to share tips to upcoming writers:
What am I working on?
I’m currently working on the sequel to my acclaimed Demon Hunter series, titled DEMON HUNTRESS. It follows the daughter of my lead character as she follows in her father’s footsteps and takes up the role of hunter.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Every author has a different voice. I have been told I’m a multi-genre writer. I’ve included romance in horror novels, and comedy in thrillers. I write what comes naturally to me to make the best story possible.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what I like to read. I’ve been a fan of fantasy since I was a kid reading Piers Anthony or C.S Lewis. As I grew my tastes grew into more mainstream thrillers. So I still dabble in both genres. I can’t help where I get my story ideas.
How does my writing process work?
I get a spark of an idea and develop it from their with a rough outline. My character profiles will go in depth but I tend not to flush out too much of the actual story because it ruins the spontaneity.
Cynthia’s Goodreads profile contains links to her books and book trailer videos, check them out!
I was complaining recently that I had hired a cover artist who fired me as he thought my mock front cover was good enough. Also he had 20 covers in queue and didn’t really want to think too hard about detail work. So I took it upon myself to improve what I already had as I thought it was missing a “”je ne sais quoi!”
After spending many hours researching and staring at hundreds of other book covers in store and online , I learned a lot about styles of different books. As I wanted a “unisex” book, straight lines were better. Books purposely aimed at female audiences had lots of swirly motifs and books directed to men had darker colors. Fantasy books in general are the most elaborate, with lots of illustrations compared to other books which just have fancy text and stock graphics.
Subsequently, after lots of fiddling around with my graphics program for a few days, here is the new cover. TA DA!
You might think – this cover looks the same as the mock cover!
Well, the changes include a different font (looked at thousands of fonts before choosing this one), a straight line divider, shuriken symbol, smaller wallpaper and shadowing of the text.
The “Volume One…” text was moved from the bottom of the mock cover because I looked at many paperbacks at the bookstore and realized that not all books have their edges cut evenly. So if I have anything at the bottom that’s significant, it might look odd if the book cutting machine isn’t having a good day!
For me, the font was super important as it evokes emotions and helps convey an aura of fantasy. Generally the new cover to me seems more dramatic and elegant.
The spine & back cover is another story as I am still working on that. People keep going on about having an important front cover and they forget the rest of the book! Will post the rest as it comes together!