The First One: Country Heartbreak

As we discussed last week, The One Trilogy is totally country. Sam was the fan in The Last One, but in The First One, both Ali and Flynn grew up in Burton, and both appreciate country music.

Their story was actually inspired by a country song. Years ago, when I heard Tim McGraw’s Everywhere, I told my daughter that there was a story in that song. In my mind, a young woman lived in a small town, and her high school boyfriend, who had left town without her when she changed her mind about leaving, returns home. I didn’t see all the details, but I knew the feelings.

iphone6greyleft_579x1711While writing The Last One, I knew that Sam had a sister, but I thought she was simply a divorced mother. Imagine my surprise when Ali began telling Meghan her story. . .how she’d been in love, had a last-minute change of heart about leaving town with her lover and then discovered her pregnancy after he’d left. Everything clicked: Ali was the heroine of my Everywhere story, and Flynn was the high school boyfriend.

This playlist has some fun songs, too: Luke Bryan’s All My Friends Say tells about his raucous night at The Road Block when he’s both trying to forget Ali and trying to make sure she knows he’s over her. (He’s not, incidentally.)

Run over and check it out here.

Oh, and don’t forget . . . The Last One is free for a limited time and The Only One is coming in eight days! Preorder now. . .

An Eventful Year (Part 1)

On April 11th, my ‘official’ season of book events will begin. The unofficial start was Coastal Magic in Daytona back in February, but since there’s a gap between that con and my others, it almost was like the end of the 2014 season.

This year, I’ll be in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Louisville, St. Louis, Orlando and Atlanta, beginning April 11th and finishing August 16th.

10686000_10152497079049145_2026524481_oWhy do some authors participate in events and others don’t? And what are the benefits to both author and reader? So glad you asked.

As a rule, we authors tend to be a tad bit hermit-like. We love writing about people and far away places, but we’re just as happy to stay home rather than interact with real people. That’s one reason the computer and the Internet has been such a boon to the authors of the world. We can appear to be social without taking off our pajamas. Win-win.

Some of us feel that events have sufficient intrinsic value to abandon our PJ’s and put on real clothes and meet real people. It’s scary, yes, and for most of us, it’s exhausting, but we force ourselves to do it because in the long run, it’s fun. We meet our readers. There is little as thrilling as having someone come up to my table and begin discussing my characters as though they are mutual friends. . .people who enjoy the voices in my head as much as I do!

There are other authors who prefer to save that time and money, and that’s okay, too. Viva la difference, right?

The benefits of events to an author, aside from talking to people who share our love for our books, is spending time with those who speak our language. My husband and kids, for instance, love me. I’m pretty sure, anyway. But they really don’t want to talk about plot lines, recalcitrant characters, editing, formatting, releases, promotion. . .at least, not as much as I’d like to. So plop me down in a room with others who know what I’m saying when I mention BookBub or KU or Facebook promotion, and I’m a happy girl.

I also get to meet bloggers who I might only know online. That’s always so much fun. I love when someone comes to my table or 10597079_10152418618164145_478778960_opanel and introduces herself first as her name, and then adds the name of her blog. So exciting!

Of course, I enjoy meeting new readers, too, and telling them a little about what I write.

Speaking of readers, what do they get out of events? So much. First of all, if I’d been able to attend author events when I was younger, I would’ve been in hog heaven. All those authors to meet and talk with . . . and then there’s the swag, and the chance to have your books signed. . .to listen to authors on panels share about their processes and tips, aspects of writing and publishing–it’s really a gold mine of information and fun. If you haven’t attended one, you should plan to try.

Plus, you are almost 100% guaranteed to find at least one new author whose work you love. You have the chance to chat with them, check out their books and see what they’re all about. That’s a hidden bonus of author-reader events.

I have a few pointers to help you get your money’s worth out of attending these events:

–If you can do it, stay in the event hotel. First, you’re helping out the event, most of which have room blocks they must fill to meet their obligation to the hotel. Second, you’ll get interaction with authors that others don’t: riding up and down elevators, chatting over breakfast, hanging out at the pool or the workout room. . .

–Check out the author list a month or two before the event, and try to read at least one book from each author, if you have time. Most authors have at least one free book, so this isn’t as expensive as it sounds. I’ve loved to have readers come up and tell me they did this. . .such a great idea!

–Introduce yourself to your favorite authors when you meet, and tell her which of her books you’ve enjoyed. Do *not* tell her which of her books you don’t like or say anything like, “I found lots of typos in your book.” You won’t make a friend. Later, if you get to know the author well enough and it feels right, you can offer that information.

–Even if you’ve met the author before at another event, or even if you feel like you know her very well online, don’t expect her to recognize you. We don’t all look the same online, and some people <cough, cough> are terrible at putting names and faces together. Assume she needs the intro and be pleasantly surprised if she interrupts with, “Of course I know you!”

–Plan to buy at least one or two books. Most authors sell their paperbacks for between $10-$15. It helps if you can buy one.

–Attend panels, if they offer them. At least attend one or two. You’ll enjoy them, I promise, and it will help both the authors and the organizers.

–Bring something for all the authors to sign. I’ve signed Kindle and/or Nook cases, bags, T-shirts, frames, special scrapbook pages, printed photo montages. . .you name it. It’s cool to have all the authors from one event sign in one place!

–At the signing, don’t just visit authors you know or recognize. At every event, there will be newer authors who need to talk to readers. Stop by their tables, ask them what they write and get to know them. You might find a new favorite!

–If you’re a writer attending an event as a reader, feel free to tell the signing authors that you write, too. But please don’t ask them for advice, help or information if there’s a crowd at their tables. I suggest offering your card or name, with your email address, and asking if you might contact them online with questions. Some, if they have time, might offer to meet you for coffee while at the event to have a longer discussion. But by giving them the option, you’ve been gracious and professional.

–Talk about the event online before, during and after. That’s promotion, and it’s appreciated!

So I hope I’ll see you in one of the cities listed above. For more details, click here to see when, where and how to meet me at some point in 2015.

See you around the con!

{Next week, I’ll talk about dos and don’ts for authors at events.}

Two Sides of the Amazon Coin

(Full disclosure: I’m at a crucial point in finishing a book under deadline. I’ve hardly moved from my computer all day, and every creative impulse has been sapped out of me. So I dug into my old post pile and found this one from April 2012. Guess what? It still applies today. Enjoy, and I’ll be back next Thursday with a fresh and shiny This Author’s Life.)

For the last several months, most of my posts here have been about book promotion–and that is how it should be, since for the last several months, my life has been about book promotion.

amazonToday we’re going to veer off that topic just a little.  I’d like to talk about Amazon.

I’ve spoken with quite a few people who work in different parts of the publishing world. There are some who believe that Amazon’s very existence is threatening small business, state governments, the future of publishing and the very fabric of life itself. There are others who see Amazon as the wave of the future, the only possible solution to the challenges that have confronted the ever-changing world of business in general and book publishing specifically.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll remind you that my books are epublished and sold through Amazon.  I clearly have a business relationship with them.

I am grateful that Amazon exists.  The company has not only opened wide the doors of publishing for the independent author, it has for all intents and purposes held our hands as we walked through. Indie publishing is that easy through Amazon.

But I see the bigger picture as well.  I know that Amazon’s existence and ease of use has made us lazy and demanding consumers.  When we want something, we simply go to the Amazon page, search for it. . .order it. . .and usually it arrives within a few days, at a price that it is at least competitive if not better than that of our local source.

I know too that many consider Amazon’s open door to publishing to be a death knoll of quality books, that without the traditional gatekeepers of agents and editors fighting off the specter of bad writing and poor stories, we’re all doomed.

I don’t agree. Visit your local bookstore, pick up about ten books randomly.  Some of them will be great; well-edited, well-written stories that deserve their spot on the shelf.  But some of them are the equivalent of literary garbage, poorly written drivel that slips through because of the perceived demands of the reading public. (“We need MORE VAMPIRE BOOKS!!  I don’t care if there’s a story. . just GIVE ME VAMPIRES!!”)

Here’s the truth, folks:  Amazon isn’t the devil.  It’s not going to usher in the end of days. But it’s not the savior either; it’s merely a vehicle that’s helping to take us from point A–our old way of doing things–to point B, whatever the future might hold. Change is never easy, but it’s constant. Let’s hold on and see where we end up.

In the meantime, I’m happy to marching right through that door.

Five From Josie Bordeaux

Welcome to Five From Friends Friday!

Each week, I’ll share with you five quick and quirky questions and answers

from some of my favorite author friends.

I think you’ll see some familiar faces in here, too.

Quickies from Josie Bordeaux

I met Josie last summer at Indie BookFest 2014 and then again at Indie MashUp Tampa. She’s funny, smart and talented. . .and I really enjoyed hanging out with her a bit. I was thrilled when I got the chance to corner her for five quickies!

Q: A friend is about to get on the airplane and asks for a fast-read book recommendation. What do you tell her? 

A: Aside from my erotic romance novella (I’m assuming since this is my friend she’s already read it!), I would recommend Strictly Off-Limits by Jessica Hawkins. It’s a quick, erotic romance that was a part our limited time Forbidden Fruit Anthology. I fell in love with her writing.

Q: A genie appears and offers to bring one of YOUR characters to life. Who do you choose?

A: Ohh! Definitely Matt from Romantic Promises. Believe me, I love my other characters, but Matt is a nice mix of alpha, sweet and most definitely sexy! 

Q: Your significant other offers to take you to any restaurant you want for your birthday dinner. Where will you go? 

A: Anywhere? I’m assuming – anywhere in the world? Mmm, that would definitely be Le Chalet de Gruyeres for some amazing fondue in the world! Oh wait, you mean locally? Columbia Restaurant! Their 1905 Salad and Sangria are to die for! 

Q: What’s the most surprising part of being an author? 

A: The amazing friends I’ve made. Between readers, authors and bloggers, the Indie community is absolutely supportive and amazing to be a part of.  

Q: Your car’s being repaired at a shop next door to a Target. You have an hour to kill. In which department will we find you?

A: Gah! Please don’t ask me that! I’m so embarrassed. It would be the toy department. Yes, even when my kids are in school, I find myself wandering around there. Legos are my favorites and I’m just a little jealous that they have girl Legos now. My favorite thing to do on a rainy day is break out my daughters’ Legos and start building! Sometimes I’ll even let them play! 😉 

***

Josie Bordeaux is the author of the Alluring Promises series. Her romance novels revolve around friendships, sizzling JB picattraction, and steamy sex scenes. Lust, passion, and love are all entwined with a lot of drama and fun-filled friendships. Josie lives in the sunshine state with her best friend (AKA – husband) and two sweet (and very creative) daughters. When she’s not driving her kids around town, she’s usually clicking her fingernails on her keyboard or down at the beach where her eyes are glued to her kindle app reading.

Follow Josie here: Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads/Google+/Tsu/Amazon/Newsletter (by signing up for my newsletter, readers will receive The Naughty Au Pair, an erotic romance novella for free!)

***

**Each Book in the Alluring Promises Series can be read as a stand-alone.**
Adult Content for 18 and over.

Clark leaves heartache in his wake at every turn. He’s perfected the art of a well-oiled one-night stand. Banging a girl in record time in the back room at his favorite bar has always been his M.O.

Aubrey should know this better than anyone. After all, she was one of his one-night stands. Even though she has fond memories BP-3D-Trans-noshadowof that night, she adheres to her own set of rules when it comes to using a guy–One time only.

But, when Aubrey willingly moves in with Clark, the most attractive, annoying womanizer she’s ever met, their living situation forces the pair into an unlikely, and at times, unusual friendship…and what develops from that is something they never could have predicted.

The walls they both spent their lives trying to construct start to crumble beneath the power of friendship and lustful attraction.

When those walls come down, will either of them be able to handle what’s happened to their hearts?

Buy today!!

Goodreads/Amazon/BN/Kobo/GooglePlay 

Kindle Unlimited, Book Pricing and The Worth of an Author

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I started this post a few moments ago at 11:10 PM, the night before it’s scheduled to go up. Working past midnight is not unusual for me. As I type this, the room is dark, and my husband is long asleep in the bed by my desk. Poor guy, he’s learned to sleep to the accompaniment of the taps of my keyboard and ignore the bright light of my monitor (and it’s a big one, too).

I’ve spent today writing. . .some. And I took some unusual time to spend with my two younger kids, one of whom is on spring break from college. Other than that, I worked on writer-related stuff. I responded to emails and messages. I commented on posts from readers. I corresponded with the wonderful people who keep my business life moving along, setting up tasks and goals for the next few weeks. I chatted with some fellow authors about some business issues and how to best address them. I worked with some other fellow authors on setting up an event we’re doing this Sunday to promote our books. I boxed up prizes and signed books to send to readers. I worked with my business partner on some details for the book event we’re hosting in July this year, here in Orlando.

So, yeah. Really a pretty light day.

I don’t think I know a single author who doesn’t work hard. Most of us have hours that would make the most hard-core stock broker or dedicated doctor cringe. We’re up late, we’re up early, and we never stop. We do it, as the lovely meme above reminds us, because we love it. We love the characters we create, we love the readers who love those characters along with us, we love our fellow writers (well, mostly) and we love the idea that on a daily basis we are peopling the world with more fabulous fictional folk.

But even when you do something for love, it’s nice to see a paycheck.

Last year, Amazon introduced a program called Kindle Unlimited. It’s basically Netflix for books: by the company’s own description: Enjoy unlimited access to over 700,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month.

Sounds awesome, huh? Great idea. 700,000 books for about the price of a cup and a half of coffee at Starbucks. What a bargain.

And of course it is. For some readers, this works out well. Even some authors have benefitted from the program.

Most have not.

I’m not going to get into the whys and wherefores here. Others have done it far better than I could, and I’ll share some of the links below. I strongly encourage you to read these posts and articles before you make up your mind about KU.

What I will address is the idea of an author’s worth. When ebooks were introduced, we weren’t really sure how to price them, to be honest. I remember sitting in front of my computer, uploading Fearless and trying to decide what to choose. (For the record, I believe Fearless began life at $2.99.)

But as time went on, authors began to realize that we can’t keep underpricing our books and continue producing them. It may seem that creating an ebook should be cheap and easy, but let me assure you, it is neither. Delivery is less expensive; other than that, it’s the same basic premise as any hardback or paperback you might buy at Barnes and Noble for $16.99. It must be edited, proofread and formatted. A cover must be created and produced. Often, artwork for that cover must be created. Nothing is cheap and nothing is free.

And yet. . .it seems some readers expect that our books should be.

Today, in March 2015, all of my ebooks are priced at $3.99 and under, with the exception of The King Series Boxset which is FOUR full-length books plus a short for $6.99. Two of my books are free (Fearless and Best Served Cold). Do I feel my books are fairly priced for a reader? Absolutely. Do I think they’re fairly priced for me? Not really.

I’m not complaining. I love my job, and I would do it for free. That’s the truth. I’d write even if you charged me to do it. But I don’t want to write for free, and like any other professional, I hope I’ve earned the right not to do so.

Happily, I am surrounded by fabulous readers who never, ever question the value of my books. They make me happy on a daily basis, and I’d pay for that luxury, too.

It’s business practices like KU and others going on in other book sellers that make us feel undervalued, under-respected and just plain tired.

So before you sign on for Kindle Unlimited, or for any program that affects how authors earn, do some research. Think about how much you value the work of your favorite authors.

We’re worth at least the same as a cup of designer coffee, right?

 

 

Articles on Kindle Unlimited that I recommend:

 

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/kindle-unlimiteds-two-tier-system-makes-some-authors-second-class-citizens/

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/01/writers-are-mixed-over-amazon-unlimited/?_r=0

http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/07/is-kindle-unlimited-bad-for-authors.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/technology/amazon-offers-all-you-can-eat-books-authors-turn-up-noses.html

Free And Bargain Kindle eBooks