And the winner is ...

Congratulations to


You've just won yourself a copy of Original Sin by S.C. Lang.

Scott should be sending you a message shortly.

Once again, congratulations thank you, to all the readers, for stopping by and checking out the weekly Author Spotlight. 

Author Spotlight and Book Giveaway with S.C. Lang




K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

S.C. Lang - Thanks, Katie. My name is Scott Lang, but you can call me Scott for short. My pen name is S.C. Lang, which are my initials, because it's a little more catchy than just plain 'ole Scott.


K.S. - Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

S.C. Lang - I am a total eccentric. My wife bought me this Sony voice recorder machine, and it has become my constant companion. I'm forever talking into, leaving plot notes, or even dictating actual portions of the book. It's great fun when I use it in public. Oh, the looks I get are priceless. People are never sure if I was talking about them or not. I, of course, don't clue them in either. That's just how I roll.


K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

S.C. Lang - This is embarrassing. I wrote Original Sin on a dare. I was reading a very poorly written novel, I'll leave the title and author's name out of this answer, and was complaining about it. My friend looked at me and said, "If you can do better, then why don't you?" With those words a monster was born.


K.S. - What genre do you write?

S.C. Lang - In a word: murder mystery/thriller/action/suspense with a touch of romance.


K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

S.C. Lang - My family is my biggest inspiration in everything I do. My wife is miles and miles above being just supportive. She's active. She reads my work and doesn't let me get away with any, as she calls, laziness. I'd be lost without her. I love you, honey. My favorite author is Ken Follett. I love how he blends the lives of his characters together. Not everything that happens to the hero is good, and not everything that happens to the villain is bad. In some books, you're almost rooting for the antagonist. That's good writing.


K.S. - What does your family think of your writing?

S.C. Lang - Oh, I think I might've answered this in the previous question. They love the fact that I write. My kids call it "Wicked Cool," which I assume is good. They all promote me on their Facebook and MySpace pages, and drag their friends into the book store to buy copies of my novel. My wife has access to a lot of people during the day and she always finds a way to get a plug in for me. It's very cool.


K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

S.C. Lang - That a book will pretty much write itself and you, as the author, are actually just taking dictation. I call it being in "The Zone." I sit down and have a very precise idea of where I want the story to go. However, once I start typing, something completely different comes out. I have no clue where it came from, but there it is. The funny thing is when I read it back, it's always better than my original idea. I've learned to trust it, and not to fight it.


K.S. - What inspired you to write your novel?

S.C. Lang - Money! No, seriously, I wanted to write a book that hasn't been written ten million times before. I know that sounds simple enough, but really it's much more difficult than you might imagine. Coming up with an original idea is tough. Just ask Hollywood, they're making movies about Saturday morning cartoons and comic book superheroes.


K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?

S.C. Lang -

The Mission, a powerful and secret society, has declared war. A war not on drugs, or on crime, but on sin! Their cause is a radical one and in order to win in their battle against sin, radical measures must be taken.

The Mission sends one of their top agents, an assassin code-named Brandy, into the world of Internet chat rooms to wage the Mission's war against the devastating sin of adultery.

Brandy gains the trust of these wretched sinners, sets up meetings with them in low-rent motel rooms, and then brutally "Purifies" them.

When Brandy's first victim is found, spread-eagle and naked, filleted by a butcher knife with the word "sinner" crudely written in blood on his forehead, newly-promoted Chicago detective Dallas Holden is brought in to conduct the investigation.

As the case progresses, Holden is thrust head first into the fascinating and highly seductive realm of online chatting. Holden must fight off the temptation of being an in-room star, and the flirtatious attention of three separate women, in order to do his duty and find the killer.

Danger mounts as Holden finds himself entangled in an intricate web of love, betrayal, and power that inevitably leads to a confrontation with a trusted ally and the leader of the Mission. It's a showdown that will bring the unexpected, and change Dallas Holden's life forever.





K.S. - Where can we find your novel?

S.C. Lang - Wherever books are sold online, at www.sclang.com, or you can order it at your local bookstore.


K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

S.C. Lang - I have a web site, www.sclang.com


K.S. - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

S.C. Lang - Write for yourselves and not what you think other people will enjoy. Follow your instincts and learn to take creative criticism with a smile and a thank you. Remember, writing is very time-consuming and difficult. However, it's supposed to be difficult, if it were easy everybody would do it. Be proud of your work and fight for it.



And now for the part you've all been waiting for!

THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!



S.C. Lang has made available ONE free copy of his book Original Sin!

All you have to do is leave a comment, indicating you want to enter, and your email address.

Only one entry per person.

S.C. Lang will pick one lucky winner (at random) from the comment section.
If you do not wish to leave an email address, please make sure you are signed in to your blogger profile so we have some way to contact you.)


Winner will be announced no later than Monday March 29th.

Good Luck!

And the winers are ...

First, thank you all for participating in this week-long, Interview. You all had really good questions and it made this event a lot of fun.

As promised, each question gave you one chance to enter. So 5 questions meant your name was added 5 times. I drew the names out of my trusty, Red Sox baseball cap (in honor of the upcoming baseball season).

So, without further ado ... Our Two lucky winners are ...



Theresa Milstien

and

BK


Congratulations winners! I'll be contacting you shortly to arrange shipping. Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Interview Answers - Part Three

All this week I am inviting you to interview me and enter to win a copy of my new novel, Immortalis Carpe Noctem.


Click here for official rules.



From Toni

Whats your favorite dish at Blueberry Hill?

LoL, Nice question. I am quite partial to the Blueberry topped pancakes. Though they turn your mouth blue, they are worth it. Quite tasty!!

2) Are you glad you lost your job, giving you the opportunity to finish your book?

Hmmm, am I glad I lost my job. That question is not a black or white answer. I was well paid and financially secure.  Losing that hurt quite a bit. Having more free time though is nice.

3) If you could no longer write books, what other occupation would you like to pursue?

Professional Critiquer. Is that a real job? If not, it should be. How cool would that be to read other peoples stories every day and help make them better?

4) Have any of your friends or family been an inspiration for characters in any of your works?

Yeppers, but I’m not saying who.

5) If money was not an issue, where in the world would you live and why?

If money were no issue I would live everywhere. There are so many places in the world I want to see but just can’t afford to. If I had the money I would probably tour the world with my family and after seeing every place we could, then we would decide where we like best.


From Areana

1)What or whom was the inspiration for your main male M.C?

Lysander is a mix of quite a few men I have known over the years. 

2)Do you prefer vampires more than any other creatures of the paranormal or are there others you like as well to write about?

Vampires are my number one! I have loved them since I was a little girl. I do fancy werewolves too so don’t be surprised when they pop into my stories from time to time.

3)And that question follows tithe this one, Do you feel you write better with a female or male perspective?


Being a woman I feel I can write from a female perspective better. It’s that whole “write what you know” thing. That’s not to say I can’t write a good male perspective, its just easier since I am a woman.

4)Do you see yourself writing a historical romance with a vampire twist?

Actually I have one of those in mind right now. Will have to see if it pans out. I’ve never written a totally, Romance piece before.

Okay, okay, last one:
5) Out of the thousands of authors out there, Whom would you most like to meet and/or have them write a forward for one of your books?

I would love an opportunity to meet Anne Rice. Her Vampire Chronicles series is still my all-time favorite. I believe she revamped (pun intended) the genre back in the late 80’s and early 90’s with that series. (I do realize that Interview was published in the 70’s but didn’t gain the recognition it deserved until later)


From BK

What process did you go through to develop your characters in your book?

Many of my characters are drawn from people I know. I like to take an aspect of their personality and tweak it or embellish it a little.

2. What type of music soothes your muse?

I find the muse is an “in the moment” spirit. She likes a tune that matches the mood of the piece I am working on. If I need action, I must have fast paced, hard hitting beats. If I am writing a sensual and seductive scene, the muse demands softer music with flowing melodies and deep, husky voices.

3. When writing, does your muse ever just take over?

I love it when that happens. Those are the times when pages write themselves and scenes play before my eyes like movies. All I have to do is sit back and let my fingers type away. It is such a beautiful thing. 

4. Who are your greatest influences?

Anne Rice was my first real inspiration for the vampire genre, because (and please correct me if I am wrong here) she was the first to show us things from the vampires perspective. Rather than being just a bloodthirsty monster, for the first time, vampires had feelings. She pioneered the way for other authors to follow. After that, we saw many more series pop-up where the vampire wasn’t always the bad guy.


5. What inspired your paranormal writing side?

I think reading what came before and asking myself if I could do anything to “add” to the genre.

When writing my story, I asked myself, why? Why can’t vampires handle the sunlight? Why do holy relics bother them? I wanted to give the reader a real, solid reason behind the answers to these questions. I wanted to make my vampires real enough to step out of the pages.

Interview Answers -Part Two


All this week I am inviting you to interview me and enter to win a copy of my new novel, Immortalis Carpe Noctem.


Click here for official rules.





From van_pham


How did you come up with the title for your book?

Latin has always been an interesting language to me. As my husband always says, it’s the language you learn to understand other languages. One day I think I will have to make a hobby of learning it.

Immortalis Carpe Noctem

Translates roughly into Immortals seize the night.

Which is quite fitting when you consider the plot of the book. Alyssa must learn to seize the night if she ever expects to “make it” as a vampire.

2. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I am not writing, I am being a mommy. I have a very rambunctious 5 year old who keeps me on my toes.

3. Do you ever have writers block? how do you overcome that?

All the time! But I just call it being lazy. LoL. Writers block is when you can’t figure out what to write next. Then thing is, if you make yourself write something, anything; just get something down on paper, you might just find you aren’t out of ideas. You may not write something pertaining to the story you are on, but I’ll bet you find something that might work for a later project.

4. What was the last book you bought/read?

I’m currently hooked on the Patricia Briggs books. I bought and read the Mercy Thompson and Alpha Omega series in just a few weeks. Word is, she has a new book coming out soon. You can bet I’ll be reading it.

5. if your book was to be turned into a movie, who can you see play your main character Alyssa?

Ohh I love this question because it is one I have often considered.

Let me give you my dream cast …

Alyssa - Mila Kunis
Rozaline - Anne Hathaway
Crystal - Reese Witherspoon
Kallisto - Angelina Jolie or Catherine Zeta-Jones
Lysander - GERARD BUTLER
Nicholas – Eric Bana
Drew - MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY
Edmond - Jason Isaacs




What songs would be on the soundtrack for your book


Oh boy! That’s a fun question. Here are some contenders …  

Surprise! Your Dead! - Faith No More
The Morning After – Faith No More
Beware! Criminal – Incubus
The Hand that Feeds – Nine Inch Nails (this is Santino’s theme song)
Consequence - Incubus
Angry Johnny – POE (Kallisto’s song)
Psycho –Puddle of Mud
Better Now – Collective Soul
Anesthesia – Type O Negative (According to my Husband, this is Lysanders song.)



From Anonymous (Sorry I cannot enter anon names. Post with your email and some more questions okay.)

1)How long did it take you to complete your first draft?

From start to finish Immortalis took 5 years. It was one of those novels that I started and had to push aside for other things. Once I found the proper muse, the story unfolded in front of me, but it took me setting it aside to find it.


2)Where did the idea for this novel come from?

Great question! Is it too cliché to say I got the idea from a dream? I know many authors say this but it is true. The original concept for the idea came from a dream. I was, essentially, Alyssa, having my life turned upside down after a terrible accident. The idea of really focusing on the transformation was one I couldn’t give up. Questions kept popping into my head. How would you deal with being turned into a vampire? How would you deal with drinking blood? How would you deal with never seeing your friends or family again? The answers came as the story progressed.

Interview Answers - Part One

All this week I am inviting you to interview me and enter to win a copy of my new novel, Immortalis Carpe Noctem.


Click here for official rules.


Now, on to the current list of questions.
Answers – Part One


From Steena Holmes


1. What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Lately, I would have to say finding time. Life gets so busy that it is hard to find the peace and semi-quiet needed to let the muse speak.

2. Did anyone ever share 1 piece of advice that you still use today?

Just write! Don’t talk about it. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t loose the idea. Sit down and put pen to paper and see what happens.

3. If YOU had 1 piece of advice to share with a new writer what would it be?

Along with the first bit of advice; don’t edit until after you have a story written down. First drafts are supposed to suck. Let yours be no different. You can always edit later; if you try to edit while you are writing the first draft, you will never finish.

4. If you could only keep 5 books on your shelf - what would they be?

Oh, say it ain’t so! I don’t want to part company with any of my books. I have so many reference as well as fiction works. There is enough there to keep me entertained for a long time. Oh, well, If I had to pick only 5.


   1. My new Greek Mythology book. – It’s HUGE and has a wealth of Information. That can not only teach me but keep me entertained as well. I’m a sucker for mythology.
   2. The complete works of William Shakespeare. Again, it is a HUGE tome filled with all of the plays and sonnets I have loved over the years.
   3.  Queen of the Damned – Anne Rice. – One of her larger books, it has always been a favorite of mine.

Notice I am keeping my largest books. LoL. If I have to choose only 5 I am taking the biggest ones I have!

   4. Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales collection – Again, a very large and extremely entertaining book. Need I say more?
   5. Cry Wolf – Patricia Briggs – I’ve found another author who I am fast becoming a fan of. I would love to read the whole series again but this was my favorite one.


5. What do you get out of writing?

Writing is an escape. It’s a way to jump into new worlds and be a different person for a while. It allows you to work out your demons and do things you would never do in normal circumstances. In a way, it’s almost therapy. LoL.




From Lynsey Newton

1. Name your FAVOURITE vampire

Lestat! The Brat Prince. He was my first vampire love.

2. Is there a sequel to your novel?

Yeppers! The sequel is written and undergoing revisions with an expected release date of 2011.

3. Name your 5-10 favourite books of all time

Maybe I should go with series because I could easily answer this question with just one series.

Vampire Chronicles – Anne Rice

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

Alpha Omega – Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson – Patricia Briggs

Dark/ Carpathian Series – Christine Feehan



From Karen Zupancic


1.In what ways are you like the main character, Alyssa?

We are both too stubborn for our own good. We tend to think that we can handle everything our selves. Some of the mistakes Alyssa makes are representations of things I’ve done in the past and later regretted.

2.Do you work from an outline or just wing it?

I’m a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. That tends to lead to lots of revisions, but I cannot trap myself into an “official” outline.

3.Have you started writing book #2 in the series?

Yeppers! The sequel is written and undergoing revisions with an expected release date of 2011.

4.What inspired you to become a writer?

I really liked telling stories. Oddly enough I am a terrible public speaker and was always horrible with campfire stories. However, I do pretty well when I have time to put my stories down on paper.

5.How important a role will Facebook and other social media play in your success as an author?

Facebook (as well as other social sites) is so important. Books don’t just sell themselves. If no one knows they are there, how can they buy them? Social networking provides an avenue to reach out and interact with my target market. It not only allows me to tell people about the book, it also lets me share the person behind the pages. I can really make connections with my readers.



From Theresa Milstein


1) How many years have you been writing?

I’ve been writing in some form or another since I was little. I wrote my first story on an Apple IIc when I was about 14.  

2) How many manuscripts have you written?

Completed? I have 4.

Other than that, I have countless side project and snippets of story ideas floating around my computer. In fact, I have a file created just for info-dumping ideas as they come to me. It’s a mess in there. LoL.

3) What made you make the decision to self-publish?

It wasn’t my first choice. I wanted to go the traditional route. But, it seemed fate had other ideas. I had been querying for about a year and received lukewarm results. Suddenly, I got laid off from my job and had more time on my

hands than I knew what to do with. It just “felt” right to use it to push my dream into reality.  So, after a heart to heart with the hubby, we decided to start Rising Sign Books and self publish Immortalis Carpe Noctem.

4) How long did the self-publishing process take until your book was ready to be published?

From the time I “officially” said, “Let’s do it!” to the time I had my “proof” in hand was 4 months.

5)What advice would you give to writers who have just completed their first manuscript?

Find a really good critique group and learn all you can from them. I am still learning new techniques and writing craft rules. If you are serious about publishing, traditional or self, you need to let others take a good hard look at your work and help you polish it to a nice shine.



Great questions today! Keep them coming!

Interview the Author Week! And Book Giveaway!




Every Saturday I interview new authors and give you a chance to win some exciting new titles!

Today I am going to tweak that just a little.

In honor of my new release, Immortalis Carpe Noctem, I am going to turn the tables around and let you interview me ... all week long.

And no Author Interview would be complete without chances to win FREE BOOKS?





I'll be offering up 2, signed copies of Immortalis Carpe Noctem as prizes!



So, here is how this will work ...

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Immortalis Carpe Noctem, all you have to do is ask an interview-type question (try not to ask one that has already been asked). For every question you ask you will get a chance to win. Limit of 5 questions please. (Please post your email address with your questions so I have a way to contact you if you win)

I will be checking in at multiple times all week to compile and answer questions. Answers will be posted in a separate blog.

On Friday morning,  March 26th, two winners will be picked (via random name draw. If you asked 5 questions, your name will be entered in 5 times) and I will post the names of the winners.

It's that simple! So go ahead, ask away and good luck!

Author Spotlight - Bryan Cassiday




K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t

Bryan - we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Bryan Cassiday. I write thrillers.


K.S. - Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

Bryan - If I told you, I would have to kill you.

K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

Bryan - When I read James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man I thought he was writing about me when he was describing Stephen Dedalus. Also, my twelfth-grade English teacher once remarked that one of my short stories that I wrote for his class was “Hemingwayish in style.” This appealed to me. I’ve always liked Hemingway’s works.

K.S. - What genre do you write?


Bryan - I write thrillers. I also write horror stories, which contain vampires on occasion.


K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?


Bryan - Again, I would have to say James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. But I like a lot of writers, including, Poe, Stendhal, and Balzac. I like thriller writers, such as, Graham Greene, Jack Higgins, Frederick Forsyth, and Robert Ludlum.


K.S. What does your family think of your writing?


Bryan - My mother, sister, and brother-in-law like my books.


K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?


Bryan - That I could do it. That my mind took me to places I could only dream of.

K.S. - What inspired you to write your novel?


Bryan - I like CIA thrillers. I decided to write my own. I wrote Fete of Death. I also like horror stories, so I wrote Blood Moon: Thrillers and Tales of Terror. It contains a collection of my short thrillers, including, suspense, horror, mystery, vampire, and noir thrillers.

K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?


Bryan -







Blood Moon is a collection of my stories from the dark side. Vampires, serial killers, psychopathic murderers, and hit men populate these suspenseful spine-tingling tales.




Fete of Death is an action spy thriller about a CIA hit man with a death wish who investigates the brutal murder of a US Senator in Los Angeles and becomes embroiled in a government cover-up and conspiracy with its roots in Washington, DC.

K.S. Where can we find your novel?

Bryan - Both Fete of Death and Blood Moon are available at Amazon. I also write movie and book reviews available for reading on Amazon.


K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?


Bryan - Yes. My web site is at www.BryanCassiday.com. I am also on Facebook and MySpace.

K.S. - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?


Bryan - Joseph Conrad, another writer I admire, once said that it’s always darkest before the dawn. Who can forget the rich, lustrous architecture of his prose, so rhythmic and all but poetic at times, in Nostromo and Heart of Darkness? Through the alchemy of his art, he constructs cathedrals out of words that, above all, allow you to see. That was the admitted goal of his writing: to make you see.

Self-Publishing, Step Four.

Step Four – I have a book, now what?

You’ve done everything and now have a book in your hot little hands, ready to sell.

Congratulations!

Wait, did you think you were finished?

No, no, this is just the beginning.

Now it’s time to market it!

If you thought putting the book together was tough, you ain’t seen nuthin yet!

That is another downside to going it alone, you truly are alone. Who are you going to get to buy your book? Friends and family will only take you so far and many of them are more moral support than financial. Don’t be surprised if only a select few members of your friends and family actually purchase your book. Hey, it happens.

What you need to do is get out there and pound the virtual pavement to push your book. If people don’t know about your book, they certainly won’t buy it. Promote promote promote.

Start off by arming yourself with a few tools.

Put together a press kit.

You will need:

A good quality picture of yourself
Business cards
Promo stuff (bookmarks, flyers, post cards, etc...)
A bio
A good quality picture of your book cover
A summary sheet.
A sales sheet
A media release (to announce your book)
Generic “suggested” Interview questions and answers. (to share with people potentially interested in hosting you)
Approximately 30 copies of your book for giveaways.

These are your basic tools to begin your marketing quest.

Next, (and really you should have already thought of this) you need to target your book market and make a plan for attack. (Think of this in war strategy, where will the enemy be and what is the best method to get to them.)

I’m going to use my book for example.

Immortalis Carpe Noctem
Genre – Dark/Urban Fantasy
Target Market – Men & Women age 18 -40 Fans of Vampires, Werewolves, Shapeshifters, etc...

Now, plan out the what and how and implement it. (Note, you may not accomplish all of these tasks immediately. That’s ok. Putting them down on paper helps ensure you don’t forget them.)

Phase 1 – Internet –Social Network Marketing.

Press Kit
• Set up Press Kit and Rising Sign website. www.RisingSignBooks.com
• Include links to any and all online author or book features such as blog interviews, guest spots, & book giveaways.

Create Main website
www.RisingSignBooks.com

• Optimize main site to capture email addresses and encourage direct sales with free workbook
• Sale of book in multiple media – ebook, audio and print book

Blog Tours
• Signed on with various review sites to gain honest reviews of book.
• Seek out Genre Specific blogs for guest appearances, Interviews and giveaways.

Online Retail Sales

  • Add Amazon blog and all testimonials link to main website.
  • Add author Info to Amazon profile page.
  • Add video to my Amazon page
  • Promote sales through my affiliate Amazon Store


Blog and social networking

• Drive traffic to my website and encourage sales through my blog at http://myimmortalstories.blogspot.com/
• Link Facebook Profile with other social Networking sites.
• Link Myspace Profile with other social Networking sites.
• Link Goodreads profile with other social Networking sites.
• Link Twitter Profile with other social Networking sites.
• LinkedIn profile has info on the book as well as the day job
• Channel on YouTube for book related videos
• Profile on AuthorsDen.com


Word of mouth and viral marketing

• Post videos on YouTube with excerpts from the book.
• Add signature file with book free offer and website to all emails


Joint Ventures
Blog Guests

• Invite other authors and business people to be guest blogs or interviews on my blog. They reciprocate and promote me.

Book Reviews
• Target Genre specific reviewers to solicit reviews.
• Participate in book review exchanges with other authors in the Urban Fantasy genre.


Phase 2 – Brick & Mortar sales


Book Launch
• Approach local and independent bookstores to see if they will buy books.
• Donate books to local library and offer to speak
• Sell at fairs and markets in person
• Launch at independent bookstore. Make sure media are aware. Press release before, and after.

Press Releases
• Send press releases for any and all newsworthy items relating to the book, Immortalis Carpe Noctem. Such releases will include events like Author signings, new book format releases (Hardbound, ebook, etc…)

Book Reviews
• Target Genre specific reviewers to solicit reviews.
• Participate in book review exchanges with other authors in the Urban Fantasy genre.
Testimonials and Endorsements
• Link online reviews from respected retailers and social “book review” sites to Rising Sign Website.
• Use social networking sites such as: Mysapce, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc to spread the word about positive reviews.

Book Signings
• Target Major retailers – Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc… Arrange for book signings at various locations locally.
• Target Independent retailers and arrange for book signings.
• Be available for book signings in other cities around the United States.

Stay tuned for more in this Self-Publishing series. Step 5 - Helpful Marketing Tips 3/29/10

Self-Publishing, Step Three.

Step Three – Putting the book together and Proof Acceptance!

Ok, so you have formatted, you have edited, you have a cover design and a layout to match each media format. You have purchased your ISBN’S, and filed your copyright. You are ready to squish it all together and make a book.

This is where the printer comes in.

(Oh I should mention I am working with the assumption you are using a POD model. That is where your printer is printing a copy for each order processed. This means no worries about warehousing.)

If you followed your printer’s instructions, you will have files to upload for each format. This is where the fun happens. All your hard work and effort will finally culminate into something you can physically hold in your hand!

Usually within 48 hours of your upload, you will have the option to generate a proof.

Do not skip this step, no matter how “perfect” you think the book will be.

You need to see that proof. You need to make sure the book looks perfect.

Once you have that baby in your hot little hands, it’s time to go through it with a fine tooth comb.

Once approved, this is what the world will see. It has to be perfect.

Check the spine, make sure it is even. Check the cover design for flaws, Check the pages to make sure there is no fading on the ink. Make sure the page numbers are correct. Verify chapter headings. Look for spelling and grammatical mistakes (I bet you still find a few.)

On my first proof I found so many problems I had to go back for another round of editing.

Note that each round of revisions will cost you, so try to catch everything you can!

You will probably never catch all mistakes. I have already had people point out the mistakes in my new release. Thankfully they aren’t too many. This is one of the downsides to self-publishing. You don’t have a team of people hunting for each and every mistake. Try to make sure your book is as perfect as can be before you approve it.

On to step 4. What to do once it is printed.

Self-Publishing, Step Two.

Step Two – What do you need to self-publish?

So, you’ve decided to self publish, or are curious about what is involved.

Remember self-publishing means you are in charge of every step of the process.

As with all things, research is key. There are many books out there that will instruct you on how to go about self publishing and they will go into way more detail than I will.

(Please note I purchased these books myself and I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning them here on the blog.)

Two of the books I picked up are:

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing – Tom & Marilyn Ross
The Self Publishing Manual – Dan Poynter

These are both in-depth and take you step by step through the process of putting a book together.

But, since we don’t have time to read 1k plus pages of material, here is a short list of the key things you will need to do as a self-publisher.

1) Write the book.

That’s pretty obvious, but hey, if you aren’t finished with this step, you aren’t ready to self publish. Actually, your book should have been through multiple revisions and rounds through a critiquing group before you even consider self-publishing.

Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more editing or revisions, but, like with querying for the traditional route, you want to start with something you feel is 100% ready.

2) Have a Pro, edit the book.

Your book may have been several rounds with a critique group and you may have a masters in English, but don’t send out a book that hasn’t had a pro look at it. Self-Publishing is already looked down on, don’t give reviewers another reason to put a nail in your coffin.

3) Printing and Distribution.

Unless you plan on going door to door with a stack of books, you want a printer who can distribute to the big guys like Amazon.com

(Oh, I should mention I am working with the assumption you are using a POD model. That is where your printer is printing a copy for each order processed. This means no worries about warehousing.)

I chose Lightening Source.

http://www.lightningsource.com/


Now, lightening source is a major POD printer, but they don’t like to work directly with authors. They prefer companies. Here is a spot you might want to think about. Do you set yourself up as a company and deal directly with them? Or do you find other POD services out there?

That is something only you can answer.

If you do choose the company route, I would suggest creating a LLC (better liability protection) or you can do a Sole-Proprietorship or DBA.

You can also use Amazon’s Create Space/Book Surge to have your books put together and distributed. Check with them on what services they offer too.

No matter what you choose, you want to have your printer selected before you move on to further steps in the book process. Each printer will require things to be formatted specifically for them. They will also tell you what trim sizes and paper selections you can use. This information will be extremely helpful when moving on to Cover design and book layout.

4) Book Layout.

This can be done in word, but it is quite a frustrating process. The layout is how you book will look when printed; all of those fun little details like: headers and footers, font, page breaks, page size, margins, etc…

You can hire out for this, or you can look for programs that help you do it yourself. I found one on Self-pub.net that was quite helpful.

http://www.self-pub.net/wizard.html

Now, remember that each different format you decide to put your work into will have different layout requirements (see your printers FAQ’s for specifics). Before you finish this step and move on to the next, you will want to know and have a layout for each respective format.

Ebook
Paperback
Hardbound

As a cost saving tip, I’d suggest dropping the Hardbound version for your first attempt. Ebook and Paperback are plenty.


5) Book Cover Design.

Finding a reasonably priced designer can be a fun venture. Do your research and ask around to find your designers. Social networking sites like Facebook are wonderful for this, there are lots of groups out there with aspiring novelist, they are a wealth of information and leads.

One note to remember here, your designer will want to know some things before they make your cover. I learned this the hard way. Know what your book dimensions will be before this step. Know the page count, know the size of the book, paper or Hb. Do your book layout first.

6) ISBN’s.

Every book has one so you will have to purchase these.

http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp


7) PCN or LCCN.

If you want your book able to be on library shelves, you will need one of these numbers.
http://pcn.loc.gov/pcn001.html

Please note, you will have to send them a copy of the final product after publication.


8) Copyright.

File online! Yay!
http://www.copyright.gov/


Next, on to step 3 – Putting it together.

Self-Publishing, Step One.

Since I started this self-publishing venture, I have had a lot of people ask questions about the process and why I decided to go this route. Over the next few days I will take you through the process and explain some of my reasoning behind this decision.


Step One – Deciding on what you want to do.


Self publishing is often thrown around like a dirty word. Many people think of it as a scapegoat for those of us who cannot get traditionally published.

I tend to think otherwise but, then again, I am a bit biased since I obviously chose this route.

My reasons probably match many of yours. I had a product (a book series) that I worked very hard on. I attempted the traditional route with lukewarm results.

After I was laid off at my old job, I had a lot of free time on my hands and very little new job prospects. After a heart to heart with my husband, he gave me the nudge to “give this a shot.”

Rather than go the Lulu route, I wanted to try and make something more of this so we (my husband and I) started up Rising Sign Books, LLC. This will be the publishing label for my Immortalis Series as well as my Pleasures and Fantasy, erotic stories.



I am not here to tell you what you should do. Each writer must take their own path.

But, (there is always a but) if you choose to go down this path, don’t treat it like the easy way out. The failure of many self-published author is in the lack of effort put in to push your product. Don’t think that by having that book in your hand that you are done. Before you decide on publishing anything you should already have a marketing strategy at least loosely mapped out.

Note: Traditional publishers will want this as well. Know your market and have ideas on how to sell to them no matter what you choose.

Also, please note that to self-publish, successfully, you will do 10x the amount of work that a traditionally published author would do.

So plan on rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty if this is what you choose to do.

While you are considering self-publishing, decide what you really want out of it.

Are your goals just to have a book in hand? Do you want to try and make this a legitimate money making venture? Are you looking for fame? Is this a one time book or a series you are working on? Are you expecting millions?

Sit down and have a real heart-to-heart about what you want and what you expect to happen with this method of publishing.

If you are just in this to have a book in hand, I would suggest going the vanity publishing route. It’s cheaper, in the long run, and will give you exactly what you are looking for. You will have a bright, shiny new book with your name on it!

If you are considering this as a business venture, then I would suggest treating it as such.

Self-publishing means exactly that; you are doing it yourself.

You are in charge of everything that happens from the words that are on the page to the ISBN number that is printed on the back.

There is a lot involved in making a book, time being the biggest thing and money being second to that.

Self-publishing not only means doing it yourself, it also means putting up the money to pay for all the services necessary to make a book and market it.

Once you have decided on what you want to do, we move on to Step 2 – What you need to make a book (besides money).

I've been interviewed, and I am giving away a FREE copy of my book.


Stop on by Denise Verrico's blog and enter for a chance to win.

http://deniseverricowriter.webs.com/apps/blog/

Winners Winners!!!

Thank you Jordan for stopping by and telling us all about your new release.

She's picked three lucky winners today and they are ...

Shain Brown
Lynsey Newton
Angie

Jordan should be contacting you shortly via the email addresses you provided.

Congratulations winners and thank you all for stopping by the blog. Stay tuned, more giveaways to come as well as new Authors for you to meet!

Author Spotlight & Book Giveaway with Jordan Deen



K.S. - Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

Jordan - Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you! Well, my name is Jordan Deen. ‘The Crescent’ is my debut novel, but I have been writing and making up stories since I was seven. I still enjoy writing short stories and I read a lot of novels- mostly in the young adult market.

K.S. - Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

Jordan - A quirk and something kind of funny. I usually get the motivation to start writing when it’s time to go to bed. So while the house is asleep, I’ll get up and start writing, possibly at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning.

K.S. - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

Jordan - I started making up stories when I was seven-years-old and our house burnt down. I came from a really small town called O’Fallon and rumors were terrible about the house fire. The town was really generous and helped my family with donations and stuff, but, I grew tiresome of people talking about the fire. So, I made up stories as to how and why the house burnt down, for example aliens invaded, a burglar broke etc.

Ironically, reading young adult novels with my niece is what motivated me to start writing novels. She opened my eyes to several amazing authors such as Simone Elkeles, Jason Myers, Amanda Marrone, Lisa McMann and Lisa Schroeder. I’ll be forever grateful for her bringing Perfect Chemistry to my house- that book started off my young adult book obsession.

K.S. - What genre do you write?

Jordan - ‘The Crescent’ is young adult urban fantasy. But I have a special place in my heart for edgy young adult.

K.S. - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

Jordan - I couldn’t say that one thing inspired me more than another. Every experience in life leads you down a path and whether you decide to follow it or not, is up to you.

Admittedly, I’m hooked on several series right now. Fade by Lisa McMann, Evernight by Claudia Grey, Evermore by Alyson Noel. I also love every novel by Amanda Marrone. There are so many amazing young adult authors, it is hard for me to choose just one.

K.S. - What does your family think of your writing?

Jordan - Writing is a very personal, private thing because there is a piece of you in every page, every character that you create. Some of those characters and the situations you put them in can drive you completely insane. My family and friends have been extremely supportive during this process. I think it didn’t become real for anyone though, until that first book arrived in the mail.

K.S. - What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

Jordan - One of the things that surprised me the most when I wrote my first novel was how much the characters meant to me and how much I cried over some of the things that happened to the them. ‘Benches’ is the first novel I penned, and there is a heartbreaking scene between the main characters, Lauren and Danny that I literally cried the whole time I wrote it. I really didn’t think I’d get that attached to fictional people.

K.S. - What inspired you to write your novel?

Jordan - ‘The Crescent’ was inspired my late German shepherd, Biscuit. He wouldn’t let me into the house one night, and having a hyperactive imagination, I automatically assumed the dog knew I was in trouble. I can laugh at that now, but back then I was terrified. I even let both my dogs run through the house and check every room.

K.S. - Can you tell us a little about your novel?

Jordan

Becoming a werewolf is not an option for seventeen-year-old Lacey Quinn, but death can be a strong motivator. Lacey is so focused on her future that everyday life has passed her by. Counting down the days to her eighteenth birthday, Lacey is almost home free. But when she falls for the mysterious Alex Morris, she lands in the middle of an ancient war between two enemy wolf packs. Tempting dreams, tantalizing lies and a dangerous love triangle ensues leaving Lacey heartbroken and confused. Lacey's fate rests in the hands of Alex and Brandon, but both are pulling her strings for their own agendas. Even as she slips further into the dark world of werewolves, Lacey struggles to find the truth and save the only family she's ever know.

K.S. - Where can we find your novel?


Jordan - ‘The Crescent’ is now available at: Amazon.com, Booksamillion.com and Barnes and Noble.

K.S. - Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

Jordan - Yes, my website and blog can both be found at www.jordandeen.com

K.S. - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

Jordan - The number one thing I’d suggest to any aspiring writer is to carry around a notebook. You never know when motivation for a character or a situation is going to hit you- so carry a notebook and a pen and write whenever and where ever you can.


And now for the part you've all been waiting for!

THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!





Jordan has made available THREE free copies of her book The Crescent!

All you have to do is leave a comment, indicating you want to enter, and your email address.

Only one entry per person.

Jordan will pick three lucky winners (at random) from the comment section.
If you do not wish to leave an email address, please make sure you are signed in to your blogger profile so we have some way to contact you.)


Winner will be announced no later than Monday.

Good Luck!

Don't Miss Out!

We are coming up on the last days of Read an Ebook Week!


http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/10237

Read an Ebook Week

Don't forget, I am offering a whopping 50% off the price of my new release Immortalis Carpe Noctem!

But, the coupon code is only good for this week so hurry up and grab your e-copy today!

Just click the picture of my book (In the upper right hand corner) and you will be whisked off to Smashwords where the ebook can be purchased.

I hope you enjoy and Thank you!!

*HUGS*

Winner Winner!

Congratulations, Theresa Milstein! You are the lucky winner of a free copy of Cara Mia!

Denise will be contacting you shortly to arrange for shipping!



Stay tuned for more Author Spotlight interviews! Every Saturday you can meet an exciting new author!

It's Read an Ebook Week!


http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/10237

Read an Ebook Week

I'm participating in this week dedicated to paperless reading by releasing the e-book version of Immortalis Carpe Noctem!

You might have seen the coupon code lurking there in the upper right hand corner recently. Well if you haven't, go take a look now!

That's right folks! I am offering a whopping 50% off the price of my new release Immortalis Carpe Noctem!

The coupon code is only good for this week so hurry up and grab your e-copy today!

Just click the picture of my book (In the upper right hand corner) and you will be whisked off to Smashwords where the ebook can be purchased.

I hope you enjoy and Thank you!!

*HUGS*

Author Spotlight & Book Giveaway with Denise





K.S. Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

Denise - I’m originally from the east coast but I currently live in Ohio. I’ve been married for twenty years and have a teenaged son. I have seven parrots and I’m a roller coaster fanatic. My background is in the theatre. I studied acting in college and was a member of the Oberon Theatre Ensemble in NYC for seven years. My first serious efforts at writing were plays. I don’t do much theatre at present but I do teach acting and help friends out with their shows.

K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

Denise - I tend to write dialogue first, probably because I started as a playwright.


K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

Denise - Well, in high school I used to write comedy sketches and song parodies with my best friend. I fooled around with writing plays in college and many years later finally submitted one to a festival in NY. It was chosen and produced. I guess I decided to start writing Cara Mia when Anne Rice killed off one of my favorite characters. I read so much of her stuff around that time that I had a dream about a female vampire that inspired Mia’s character. Once I started I was hooked.


K.S. What genre do you write?

Denise - Urban Fantasy but Cara Mia has a dash of sci fi.


K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

Denise - Inspiration comes a lot from my non-fiction reading. I’ll read about a place or historical period and I’ll want to create a character to reflect it. I love mythology and it always creeps into my work. The plot of Cara Mia was largely inspired by a fascination I had in the 90’s with biotechnology. I wanted to explore the question that if vampires really existed, what would they be like biologically. Would it be possible to isolate the agent that gives them immortality? My vampires aren’t undead but biological beings. Of course to suggest that in their culture is considered heresy.

I’ve always been fascinated by vampires. My favorite show as a child was the Gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows. My favorite author in the vampire genre is Anne Rice. I like the Gothic and historical aspects of her books. I must give her credit for influencing me. Two of my all time favorite authors are Mary Rennault and Robert Graves. They wrote historical fiction about the ancient world and all of the politics and intrigue surrounding figures like Alexander the Great or the Roman emperors. I love that kind of stuff. I wanted my vampire culture to have some of those elements and tried to create Mia’s world with that in mind. My vampire society originates in India. In my third novel, Fearful Symmetry, I delve deeper into the origins.

K.S. What does your family think of your writing?

Denise - They are very supportive. My son listens to a lot of my work because I like to read it aloud to get it to sound right. My husband was after me for years to send the book out. If it wasn’t for him kicking me in the butt a little I’d still be unpublished.


K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

Denise - That all of the things I learned as an actor were valuable tools to a writer. Acting is all about getting under the skin of a character and understanding motivation. You learn about rising and falling action, obstacles and conflict. All of this really helps in creating characters and plotting. Acting shows and doesn’t tell. I think of each chapter like a scene in a play and that each has an immediate conflict that impacts the overall conflict of the book. I tend to see things like a movie in my head.


K.S. What inspired you to write your novel?

Denise - I mentioned a few things earlier but I love Henrik Ibsen’s play The Master Builder. The play has lots of allusions to demonic forces and also invokes the plundering spirit of the Vikings. Mia is acting the play, in the role of the antagonist, Hilde Wangel when her master Ethan “discovers” her. The story of The Master Builder concerns an older man who becomes infatuated with a charismatic young woman, who essentially drives him to his death. Mia is a challenge to Brovik, her Immortyl elder and their conflict echoes the play somewhat. The myth of Eros and Psyche inspired Mia and her lover Kurt’s relationship.



K.S. Can you tell us a little about your novel?



Denise -

Mia Disantini is a vampire whose greatest desire is to walk again in the sun. As a young actress, she encounters her smooth talking master, Ethan Sinclair who appears to be the man of her dreams. Mia is enslaved by him and plunged into the Immortyl culture. As a modern woman, Mia struggles against the conventions of this unenlightened world. Ethan trains her as his “Bird of Prey” and together they hunt and con mortals. She becomes the pawn of their elder, Brovik in his deadly games of deception and intrigue concerning the forbidden science. Cast out by Ethan, Mia enters into a relationship with Brovik’s slave, Kurt. The lovers rebel and deliver the secrets of immortality to Genpath Laboratories. When CEO, Lee Brooks imprisons the pair, Mia calls upon the aid of neuroscientist, Dr. Joe Ansari. But Mia and Kurt are hunted for their crime and time is running out.

Twilight of the Gods, Book Two of the Immortyl Revolution will be released this fall.

K.S. Where can we find your novel?

Denise - You can purchase signed copies through the web store on my site. It’s also available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise and other sites in trade paperback and multi format e-book. You can special order it from bookstores. Some independent booksellers carry it.


K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

Denise - Yes, www.deniseverricowriter.webs.com, and www.immortylrevolution.blogspot.com. You can also friend me at my fan page, Immortyl Revolution on Facebook. I’m on Live Journal and in the Blood Bank at Bitten by Books.


K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

Denise - Keep working, don’t give up, and dare to be different. Join a good critique group. Read everything, not just in your genre.

K.S. Well, thank you so much Denise for stopping by!



And now for the part you've all been waiting for!

THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!



Denise has made available onefree copy of her book!

All you have to do is leave a comment, indicating you want to enter, and your email address.

Only one entry per person.

Denise will pick one lucky winner (at random) from the comment section.
If you do not wish to leave an email address, please make sure you are signed in to your blogger profile so we have some way to contact you.)


Winner will be announced no later than Monday.

Good Luck!