Saturday, July 9, 2016

Things I Wish I Had Known the First Time I Hit Publish

Hello my lovely authors and potential authors.  I know it has been awhile since I updated my author blog, but today that hiatus comes to an end.  Life has been extremely busy for me both author-related and personally.  After speaking with several new authors at a few signings this year, I decided I wanted to address some things that I was asked by these new authors over the next few months.  Most new authors don't have a network of support to turn to when they need advice and that is sad.  We as authors should be actively helping those who are just starting out and that's what I aim to do with these weekly posts over the next few weeks.
Today’s topic is revolves around a specific question that I was asked after meeting a group of new authors at a signing in Kentucky.  Granted, I am not seasoned by any means, but compared to those who had only released one book or were still writing their debut, I was experienced. One of the specific questions I was asked was what would I have done differently looking back when I published my first book.  That question really got me thinking about how few author resources are available to new authors.  Unless you have a friendship with a published author, you are really left to your own devices to figure these things out. I have compiled a top 5 list of things I wish I would have known when I published my first book. 
1.       Plan Your Releases Ahead of Time

When I was asked this question, this topic is the first thing that came to mind.  My first book Damaged was a complete fly by night operation.  I had never intended on even writing or publishing it.  After being a blogger for over a year, I knew that the book market had taken a dive and that it was a bad time to be publishing my debut novella, but I hit publish anyway.  That action alone is not where I went wrong.  I went wrong by not promoting the book and building a fan base before releasing my first book.  By hitting publish without self-promotion or exposure with bloggers and readers, I hurt myself.  Within the first six months, I sold a whopping six books.  You read that right. Six.  Looking back, I should have planned the release, set-up a promotion schedule, contacted blogs, and did takeovers to promote.  The best planned release has a higher potential for being a successful release. 

Another side topic under this category is you have to take into account the audience of your books.  Is your book a science fiction alien ménage romance?  Well, if it is, you need to market it to the right audience.  The subgenres of romance are spread far and wide and you need to make sure you are marketing to the right people.  If you are marketing your science fiction book to a blog or a group of readers that like contemporary or sweet romance novels. you are wasting your time.  Focus on the readers that like your genre and branch out from there.
2.       Building Lasting Relationships with Bloggers and Readers
For indie authors, bloggers are your best friend.  Unlike traditionally published authors, you don't have a team of degreed professionals running your promotions and spreading the word about your books to the right audiences.  There are literally hundreds of book blogs on social media these days so finding the right one to partner with to promote your book is possible, you just have to put in the time to look.  Building and maintaining a lasting relationship with a blog is essential to book promotion.  They are your front line source to reaching new readers and should be utilized properly. Offer your favorite blogs the first chance at an ARC giveaway or send them swag as a thank you for promoting them.

Remember to be kind, patient, and polite to bloggers.  Sending a pimp post without even so much as a hello will decrease the chances that they will promote your work and make you come off as someone who isn't interested in anything, but pimping your posts.  Most bloggers are promoting and reviewing books because they love reading.  It is often a hobby for them so do not be discouraged if they don't respond right away. Get to know your bloggers and use them to your advantage with book promotions, but also help promote their page.  A quick and simple "I love this blog, check out their page" goes a long way with building that mutual beneficial relationship. 
3.       Self-Promotion vs. Promotion Companies
This is where being an indie gets tricky.  I don't know how many times I have been asked about promotion companies.  I was lucky when I started as an author because I was a blogger first.  I knew who were the main promotion companies that were out there.  I learned from the very beginning that self-promotion would only get me so far and that if I wanted to succeed I needed to employ a promotions company to help expand my releases further.  These companies are a great way to reach large lists of bloggers and get your book out there, but you need to do your research before you choose one.  You need to ask them the following questions to make sure they are the right fit for your particular book.

1.  What genres do they see the best participation rate for? 

If your genre isn't one of them, it's time to move onto the next company. Only use promotional companies that know how to market your specific type of book.  Remember that science fiction book I mentioned before, don't try using a contemporary romance centered blog or promotion company for a book that doesn't fit their readership genre. 

2.  How do you track your posts?  Do you tag the author or request links?

I've seen and heard this far too many times.  You pay a blog $XXX for a promotion and only see 3-4 posts on Facebook.  That is unfortunately the downside to the business and does relate to point #1.  You want to use a company who does it due diligence for making sure that the blogs keep their posting and reviewing commitments. Not knowing who posted and when is not a good sign.  Good promotion companies work to make sure that you get what you paid for.
3. What is the average participation numbers for similar books in my genre?

This is the most important question you need to ask.  Find a promotions company that is both affordable and has a great rate of return especially if you are offering ARCs.  At the same time, you must remember that your book may not be one a reviewer enjoys so don’t expect to get every single review back favorably or at all.  There are some blogs and even readers out there that receive ARCs that never intend to review or are unfortunately book pirates.  Piracy and non-reviewers are rampant these days, but that is the price your take to promote your book.  You have to assume some risk in order to get your book out there for potential readers to see.
4.       You Can’t Do It Alone

Think you can handle working a full-time job, writing, and self-promoting your books? Let this be reality check #1.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are people out there right now doing this very thing, but I couldn’t do it.  Between my job, my husband, and all of the activities we participate in on top of writing and blogging, I never slept. Have you ever seen an Avelyn zombie? Yeah, it’s not pretty.  Stress is the number one reason why many authors walk away from writing all together or even away from social media.  We live in a day and age where social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc are our life lines to reaching our readers and fans. Having a personal assistant, whether that be a friend, family member, or even a seasoned PA, will go a long way in keeping your stress in check and sanity especially when you’re writing.  Readers and fans are also a great source of helping you promote your books. Build a street team or a review group to help get your next book off the ground on release day.  The best promotion is done using teamwork because you are spreading the work out over several people instead of leaving it solely on your shoulders. 

5.       Be Patient.  Being A Bestseller Doesn’t Happen in a Day.

Being a Bestseller takes patience, a great team, and a great book.  Some of us may never hit that magical NYT Bestseller list, but the real accomplishment lies with the fact that you took a chance on a story from your head and made it a reality.  As an author, every single reader is special to me and even if I only have one, I am a success in my eyes.  Celebrate the small successes and continue writing because the book that you think may not be your best work could be what lands you in the spotlight. Grow as a writer with each book and learn from each new experience.
I hope that this post helps you and if you have any questions, please feel to contact me on Facebook or email.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Angels and Ashes is LIVE!!!!

Photographer: Kruse Images and Photography
Model: Alfie Gordillo
Cover Designer: The Final Wrap


Abandoned & Broken

Left alone to raise a family, widower Darcy Kyle’s life has spiraled out of control. When secrets about her husband’s past emerge, Darcy is forced to confront the fact her husband’s fatal accident may, in fact, have been deliberate. Forced to sell her soul to the Devil himself, Darcy must uncover the truth of her husband’s accident…before it’s too late.

Betrayed & Bitter

Cast into Hell, Raze has given his life as President of the Heaven’s Rejects MC, but what good is it when he can’t protect the people he cares about? His brother’s death, his wife’s betrayal… it’s too much for a mere mortal to handle. Luckily for Raze, he is the ruler of this Hell on Earth. But even the Devil has a weakness, and when Darcy Kyle sticks her nose in the club’s business he finds himself questioning his loyalty to his brother’s memory.

How can the Devil resist an angel bathed in the ashes of the fallen?

❥Buy Links❥

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Monday, March 21, 2016

When did reading romance novels become so taboo?

You might be thinking that the subject of this blog post is a bit odd for me. Well, truth be told, it is.  I had a family friend over the weekend after discovering that I wrote romance novels begin to question me.  Why do you write romance? Do you write about your real relationship with your husband?  Does your husband know you write smut?  Do you want to be whipped or hit with a crop?  She seemed to have a dozen questions that only came with the same response from her.

"So, you write explicit romance because you're unhappy in your marriage."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Update from Avelyn!

Hello Everyone!!

I know, I know, yet again it's been quite a while!  Life in Avelynland has been hectic yet so enjoyable busy.  I have completed a secret anthology project that will be announced soon. The story that I wrote is a very personal tale that I hope my readers will enjoy. It is very different from what I have written before, but I couldn't be more proud!

For those of you looking for Heaven's Rejects updates, Book #2 is currently in the plotting and early writing stages. I have been very conflicted on how I wanted to write this book and the creative juices are finally starting to flow.  My husband and I are taking a vacation to one of my favorite places next week so I hope that I can rest, relax, and even get a bit of writing done.

See you all soon!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year Blog Hop!

New Year Hop

Happy New Year!

Everyone is always looking for new authors to read. So hop your way through the New Year, New Author Facebook Hop and find some new authors to read in 2016. Be sure to link the authors page and enter the giveaways at each stop. When: Tuesday, January 5th, 6am until midnight EST. Where: On our Facebook author pages (links below). Please email if you have any questions.