A couple months ago I finally got possession of the cover for my book “The Gift” which is the first book in my “Falling like a Johnson” series. The Gift is now slated for release on Amazon on the 1st October 2015.
Today makes four months since I’ve posted to this blog. This is the exact opposite of what I hoped to achieve when I did my blogging schedule in February. I sort of fell into work, working on the novel which is now due out in October (after a fifth date push back) but mostly I fell into weariness. The kind of bone deep, soul crushing weariness that makes me wonder why I’m doing this in the first place. I could spend paragraphs on top of paragraphs trying to capture how I’ve been feeling but I won’t. You see, I’ve done that many, many times before on this blog, to my friends, in angry cursive strokes in my diary and to my bathroom mirror but one thing remains the same… it changes nothing. You see if you’re feet don’t get tired when you are chasing your dreams, it is likely that you aren’t chasing them hard enough.
I didn’t wake up today saying, “Hell, it’s been four months maybe I should post on my blog.” The decision was impulsive. This weekend is Carnival weekend in Antigua. Whilst a lot of persons are partying their souls out during the masquerade parade through the streets of our city I’ve gone on to my third sequestered day. I’ve not been out of the house since the early hours of Saturday morning. This was meant to be a writing weekend but I found that I was too tired to do it… too drained to try. I allowed myself that and instead chose to binge on Youtube and ice-cream.
When my automated Youtube playlist spluttered out Sam Smith’s ‘I’m Not the Only One’ I thought, “This would make a good short story.” Then I remembered I’d done one already. So I came meandering to my blog hoping to find it and share it on my equally inactive Facebook page. There in my own words I found the inspiration I needed to dive back into it. I remembered why I’ve been running to begin with. My feet are tired, yes. But I’m not done chasing yet.
On the 4th of February 2015, I attained a major milestone. I am still useless at twerking but I am a published author who is useless at twerking. If you were wondering if the previous sentence was facetious – well, it was.
Late last year I promised myself I would publish before my 25th birthday and I was so happy to be able to make that promise a reality. My friends have been, and are, the most amazingly supportive people. They all gathered around me and purchased a copy of the book. Then, after a free promotion I was able to get the book out to several hundred people. However, after the initial hustle and bustle passed and I got over being a proud mama to my creation, reality set in.
It will not be enough to have the book on Amazon. It will not be enough to continue writing so as to bring up my catalogue. At some point in time I will have to market so that I can sell the damn book. Yet, I don’t have the first clue about how to go around achieving that. Thankfully we live in an age where information is at the tips of our fingers. I decided that ahead of the release of my second book, ‘The Gift’ I would commit to researching how to market. All the reading and researching has led me to the conclusion that the most effective way to market a novel (or anything for that matter) is word of mouth. Every technique honed and used must be with the aim of not only getting someone to buy your book but also to encourage those who have read the book to talk about it. In this day and age word of mouth is more powerful than ever before. This is because it now consists of more than a friend whispering to another, “Have you read ‘Sail With Me”, you know the book with the hot sex scenes?” (To see if that was an accurate assessment of the sex scenes – buy the book here.) Word of mouth includes tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram snaps. One person has the potential to influence a host of other people with just one recommendation.
Below are my top five recommendations on how to take ‘baby steps’ into the crazy world of novel promotion. In a couple weeks I will do a follow up blog detailing how effective each of these were and speaking about new marketing tips I would have (hopefully) picked up by then.
- Write a well-crafted story.
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation. It is a lot easier to recommend an engaging book to another person than a crap book. Focus on creating realistic characters and an interesting plot. In order to this, it will be necessary to know your audience. The advice that a writer should write what they read isn’t without cause. I eventually started writing romance novels because I realized, despite my determination to write Fantasy and Literary novels, whenever I was in a bookstore I was always browsing the romance section.
- Create a social media presence WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are just a selection of the social media sites where a presence can be created and used to publicize current and upcoming projects. The key here is consistency. This is something I have been very open about struggling with. Schedule blog posts and tweets but remember to be real. The biggest turn off I’ve seen on many Twitter accounts is that all they do it promote. Be genuinely interested in interacting with and getting to know readers as well as sharing aspects of your life.
- Get a review!
This is definitely easier said than done. When I first realized I needed to market one of the first things I did was try to send copies of Sail With Me to bloggers asking them to review it. As it happened, I only managed to secure a review from one blogger. She was very helpful and thorough. I am gearing up to do a second round of soliciting reviews.
While we are on the topic of reviews, reader reviews are very, very important on sites like Amazon.
I am currently working my way up to offering a giveaway to persons who purchase and review my books. It helps to give readers an incentive. So far I am currently trying to position myself to be able to use a big incentive in the form of maybe an iPad or a Kindle Fire. Hopefully, I will have this up and running in time for the publication of “The Gift.”
- Keep on Building
My favourite phrase in the world is: Build it and they will come. I also think it is one of the most accurate. Keep expanding your catalogue with amazing novels. In three years someone discovering and liking your most recent novel will be able to go back and buy everything you have written.
- Patience, grasshopper
I know I promised five but this extra one is so very important. I am realizing that this is a very slow process. It is easy to be discouraged because sometimes it’s very, very hard to see progress. Keep on moving. Keeping on trudging. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Are there any other newbie marketing advice tips you want to share? Leave them in the comment box. I am interested in reading them.
I’m slowly finding a writing groove. My Muse has finally let up her death hold on my creativity (she has been protesting for several weeks about being second best to my job) and very slowly scenes from “The Gift” are once again taking shape.
I want to argue that my job is my biggest roadblock where meeting my writing goals is concerned, but it isn’t strictly true. Yes, my job and my Muse have a tense relationship (hell, I have a tense relationship with my job) but I think it is time for some self-responsibility. I am the biggest roadblock between where I am and where I want to be in my writing. Some days, I’m having none of it. Unfortunately in the last two months I had more of those days than I wished to have. The days when I didn’t want to write and I loathed my desire to create. On those days I would wish I felt comfortable with just being a bookworm. I once stumbled across a quote where the author (jokingly) berates a friend for taking two years to write a novel when one could’ve been bought in five minutes. I definitely related to that feeling a lot over the past couple weeks. I’ve thought, “Look, Rilys… there are so many books out there in the world. Why are you putting in so much effort to add to the list?
I now recognize those thoughts as a way to feel comfortable in my laziness and to justify not sitting my ass down and getting those words out.
Over the last week I’ve had several persons ask me about progress on my second book. It has shamed me to tell them that it has been progressing very slowly.
If I had been completely honest, I would’ve explained that it has not been going at all. I took a long, unnecessary hiatus from working on ‘The Gift’ for the past couple weeks. It started with my laptop being felled by an 8 oz glass of Ginger Ale and me losing all of my words. However, my laptop resurrected itself after two weeks (in a greater plot twist than the story of Lazarus) and I found that all my documents were in tact. Still I managed to not add more that six hundred words to my word count since then.
I’ve decided today that something has to give. There are some things in life I cannot control: what people think about me, the weather, the price of coffee, my sushi addiction or how many glasses of Prosecco I can have before getting drunk. But I can, without a doubt, control how many words I put towards my books. Staying up a bit later, saying no to events, spending less time trolling through Instagram at 4:00 AM (there I admit it) are arguably the smallest prices to pay for fulfilling this dream. The thing is, my writing is a lot more than just a dream. It is my soul. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know I wanted to be an author. It is time for me to put my time and effort where my dreams are. I’ve been asking myself for the past couple hours as I contemplate this: so what do I when I just can’t be bothered? What do I do when I just am not having any of it? The answer to that must be; keep going, keep trudging, keep pushing – win.
Anticipation bubbled in her, like the champagne in the glass, as they drove. It didn’t help that Jonathan sat close enough for her to feel the pressure of his leg against hers. She wanted him to kiss her badly but he was busily telling her a funny story about his niece, nephew and his Beagle, Ollie. She made fists with her hands at her side in a sad attempt to stop herself from reaching out and touching him.
Stop being scared, her mind urged. Emmy wasn’t used to making advances. Not once had she felt comfortable enough during her relationship with Tim to initiate sex. She swallowed the rest of the champagne in a gulp and put the flute down. She was done being scared and she was done being timid. So far going after what she wanted had only brought good things and right then she couldn’t think of anything but good things coming from Jonathan’s lips on hers.
She kissed him mid-sentence with her hand fastening onto the back of his neck as she pulled him closer to her. He stiffened at first, caught off guard, but in less than half a second he sunk into the kiss. His mouth was soft, firm and hot against her own and he did things with his tongue in her mouth that had Emmy wondering just how well he could utilize his tongue much, much lower down her body. Her insides clenched at the image and she sighed into his mouth. When he turned his mouth to the side to deepen the kiss, Emmy pushed her body against his and he helped her by hoisting her onto his lap. His erection, pressed tightly against her, sent her hormones flying to heights she didn’t even know existed. She wanted him and she wanted him right there, right then in the back of the limo and she didn’t care if the push of one button would give them away to the driver. Her nipples hardened into bullets and brushed against his chest. Without thinking about it Emmy ground against his erection wanting to get him as close as possible but knowing that only him buried to the hilt inside her would satisfy the raging lust threatening to take over her body.
He pulled away from the kiss breathing as heavily as she did, his eyes dark. With his hands still wrapped around her waist, Jonathan eased her off him. Her body shook at the loss of physical contact.
“If that carried on any longer I wouldn’t have been able to stop,” he said. His husky voice washed over her and she closed her eyes against its onslaught. How could he even have such an effect without touching her?
“I didn’t want you to stop.”
He smiled at her then, a wolfish grin chocked filled with mischief, “It drives me crazy knowing that but I wanted to stop. Your first lesson won’t be in the back of a limo.”
He leaned down and nibbled on her neck and earlobes. She arched into him.
“Well that’s an ineffective way to try to put a stop to this,” she murmured struggling to get closer.
“I want you spread out on a bed with a lot more than three hours in front of me so that I can pleasure you until you beg me to stop,” he whispered against her ear.
His dig at Tim would’ve earned a giggle if she could see past the haze of want.
“I won’t beg you to stop,” she challenged. Not ever. Not when he made her feel so good.
Jonathan snaked his hand under the hem of her dress, deftly moved her panties to the side and slid a finger into her already slick warmth. She shivered against him. While one finger pumped into her he made firm circles against her clit with his thumb, his tongue circling her neck.
“Challenge accepted,” he whispered in that same husky, breathy voice. And then, Emmy came so hard and so fast she couldn’t help but cry out. His mouth found hers as he continued working her with his finger. The circles were a bit lighter but his finger went deeper and faster. Her body felt like it would implode from the effects of the orgasm and his finger still in her. She swore that if he didn’t stop she’d go crazy but stopping was the last thing she wanted him to do.
“I won’t ask you to stop,” she managed to force out through rapid breaths when he broke the kiss.
“That’s good,” he said. “Because I’m not going to.”
And he didn’t. Not until another two orgasms ripped through her body and Emmy wondered how she could possibly keep up with sex with him.
“We might have a problem,” Jonathan was saying as he resettled into his chair and poured another flute of champagne.
Panic rushed to her immediately. Was he already realizing that she was no good at this? He must have seen the panic on her face because he brushed her cheek with his thumb and kissed her softly.
“Your ex really did a number on you didn’t he?” he asked.
She started to deny it but stopped and nodded. It made no sense trying to save face when the truth had flashed all over her face.
“The trouble is that we’re supposed to enjoy these beautiful islands,” he said slowly as if picking his words with care, “but I get the feeling that all I’m going to want to do is keep you in bed.”
Relief flooded her and she leaned in for a kiss, “That doesn’t sound like a problem from where I’m sitting.”
© Rilzy Adams, 2015
Got you hot? Buy Sail With Me to find out more about Emmy and Jonathan’s love story!
The battles are still raging between traditionally published novels and self-published novels. I still experience (though not often) snide comments when persons realize I am self published and not traditionally published. The belief that I self-published because obviously my work wasn’t good enough to be traditionally published always hangs in the air like a foul odor. I no longer explain to persons that it is unfeasible to traditionally publish with my career. I don’t tell them that to do so would ensure a frustrated editor and a ticked off publishing house. Meeting editing deadlines will never be as important as preparing submissions or starting a case – that is the way it will be until I retire (quit or have a mental break down 🙂 ).
Recently there has been a upsurge of debate as to whether self published authors are actually reinforcing the presumption that we are peddling crappy work rejected by the traditional publishing houses. This time the debate doesn’t revolve around plots, editing or book covers. This time it is all about pricing. When self-publishing blew up on Amazon around 2010 / 2011, the hook was that readers were able to get novels a lot cheaper than they would if they went for a published author. Most books debuted on the Amazon Kindle page at $ 0.99 USD and $ 2.99 USD. I’ve recently bought several Nora Roberts eBooks. The process reminded me that the disparity between traditionally published and self-published prices could be very, very steep. There is also the underlying belief that traditionally published authors’ works are inherently more deserving of a higher price tag.
My novella, Sail With Me, is currently priced at $0.99 USD or the equivalent in stores with a foreign currency. When persons purchase the book from the Caribbean they pay $2.99 USD, something I’ve been trying to figure out since I started buying books for my Kindle four years ago. My book is only 30 000 words as I’m following the Cosmo Red Hot Reads / Harlequin Kiss format for romance novels. I say this to say that my work is probably more closely valued at $1.99 / $2.99 than let’s say – $5.00 -$7.00. In fact, I think most Cosmo Red Hot Reads book retail for $3.29 AT MOST. Until I start writing longer novels, I’m not sure that the $. 0.99 – $ 1.99 price range will bother me because I see them to be in comparison to the genre I have chosen to stick to for at least the next seven books. However, when I see a self-published author offering an 80 000 to 120 000 word novel for $ 0.99 – $ 2.99, I wonder how much the self-published vs traditional published debate contributed to the list price. I do know that there are other things to be considered such as the following of the particular author and the reputation they may have earned. However, I think it would be naïve to disregard the fact that the perceived “worth” of self-published novels plays a roll.
What do you think?
Will we ever see a day when books are judged by what is on the inside and not the cover or the method of publishing?