Super Sale! Immortalis Series. #Free Print Books!

I've got an overstock of the original Immortalis series and would like to see them in the hands of readers rather than collecting dust on my shelves. So, for a limited time, I'm placing them up for FREE! Just pay shipping/handling. 
U.S. readers only at this time. I am working out the International shipping rates on a case by case basis, so please email me if you're out of the US and would like a copy.

Thanks to everyone who bought copies! All of the remaining stock has been sold!

The Social Author

The Social Author

This weekend was the Local Authors Showcase at the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson Nv. First of all, I have to say a huge thank you to the library for including me in this event. I have always loved the Henderson libraries for being so welcoming and author friendly. They have taken in donated books, they have set up individual signings as well as local author events with an eye for true visibility, and they are working on getting some readings set up for the indies and locals to help spread the word further.

Anyway, back to the topic on hand. Being involved in the indie community is an excellent way to grow as an author. You really need to be social and friend as many other authors as you can! Through community you can not only learn new things but impart your own knowledge as well.  Everyone grows and learns together. That in turn makes the Self-published group as a whole look better, further removing that old stigma we've had in the past. 

Self-Publishing is not a once-and-you’re-done endeavor. It’s a living breathing thing that includes book production, marketing, and networking. You never stop learning and growing as long as you are producing more work. And the communityis there, with you, growing and evolving too.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to be one of the attending authors at the Local Authors Showcase. I was there among 70 other local vegas authors. It was a madhouse of talent to say the least. And that provided hours of entertainment. I showed up early, before my “time” and was able to sit and chat with authors of Paranormal, Mystery, and even comic books. It gave me great perspective on how each of them brings their books to market. Some were 100% self-published, and that is saying something for the comic book authors. The time invested in writing and drawing… I just don’t know what to say. Simply amazing. Even the hybrid authors had great information on how “they” get their books out there. I sat with newer authors who, though they were on their first book, were able to bring me out of my shell and convince me to do something I had never thought of, book readings. It was amazing the information sharing and stories we all could tell about how we got where we did. The entire event was really just a day of networking. I made new contacts, new friends, and set up some future events that I think will be pretty cool. And of course, I’ll keep you updated.

The whole experience just reaffirmed to me that authors (Indie and traditional too) are awesome people!! 



I’ve talked about writing and sprints and pushing through the blocks that come up, but there is another level to the writing process I haven’t discussed. Revisions.
The steps in between first draft and …. The 20th. Ther’e is no limit to the amount of rewrites that can happen between the first draft and the last. The aim is perfection, or as close to it as you can come.
Where the first draft is a race to the finish, and you should finish it before you begin to work on revisions, the next step really should be taken with a bit of patience and a keen eye for detail. It’s the step that takes the longest if done right.
Revisions should add layers to the story. Deepen it, enrich it, add those wonderful little quirks that readers will pick up on. And I know it sounds counterproductive to what I just said, but revisions and rewriting can also be a place to cut and trim out the fat. You hone what is right and remove what is not with the goal in mind of having something truly complete in the end.
For me, this is the process that is the most frustrating as I hate to cut any words and I often find all those pesky plot holes that need filling. It’s a hard process, but a necessary step to take before you go to beta readers or editors for the finish.
And as I write this I am avoiding working on my own revisions, so I’d better get back to that.

Authors, how do you approach revisions? 

Las Vegas Events! Local Author Showcase at the Paseo Verde Library March 28th

Mark Your Calendar! This is going to be a day of literary fun! The library has workshops, talks, and tons of meet and greet opportunities for local Las Vegas Authors. 

I'll be there, and I hope to see you there as well!!

Brand New for this Event.... Print editions of the Chronicles of the Uprising book: Dissension. Only $8 per copy!!

Indie Authors, What are Your Goals?

Indie Authors, What are Your Goals?

I saw a post yesterday on facebook that really made me smile. There are a lot of dreams that go along with making the leap into self-publishing.  Admit it, we all want J K Rowling level of popularity, but the reality of it is, most of us will not find that.
The post I saw was from a new author who had just put out their first book. They said simply that they know authors that make $12 a month and authors that make 12k a month in sales, but they don’t expect any of that. They were just happy to know someone, that is not related to them, is reading their work.
It made me smile because that author has a goal in mind. They know what they want from their books and are happy with reaching that.
Not everyone will have the same goal. Some authors want to write for the enjoyment of it and sharing their stories makes them happy. Some authors want to be career authors and their goal is to pay the bills with their writing. Some authors wish to use indie publishing as a stepping stool for traditional publishing. Still, other authors want to see their books turned into movies and TV series. There are so many paths to take.
The point is, you should have a goal in mind. Going into self/indie publishing is hard enough as it is without having a goal in mind of where you want to go.

Have a heart to heart with yourself. Think about what you want from your books, and make a plan on how to achieve it. 

4 tips on Using Keywords to Reach the Best Seller list.

Back in the day… Sounds so long ago, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. About 4ish years ago we had tags which were handy little words we could apply to our books on kindle and readers could check mark them if they applied to a specific book. That would help increase visibility on said book when it was searched for by those particular words. But, as all things go, the system was corrupted by people fishing for clicks and overwhelming the system. So, amazon nixed that idea and now we are left with 
only a few ways to categorize our books.

Keywords – Handy little searchable words to help readers find your book. You add these when you are publishing your book on KDP. 

Not to be confused with the categories you place your book in (e.g. Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, etc…)

So how do you select the right keywords? 

Here are a few tips I've used to help get my book on various category best seller lists. 

1 List words you think fit your book.
What kind of words fit your book and how would a reader, looking for your type of book, search for it? What words would you put into a search engine to look for your book?
Other than the general Dystopian, does your book fit into any smaller boxes? How about Freedom, Social issues, government, etc…

2 Once you have your list, road test it.
Search Amazon for your specific keywords and see what comes up. Are these books the same type of book as yours? Would yours fit in with them? Is there a better word you could search by to find a good fit for your book?

3 Some words need to work with other words.
Did you know Amazon has a secret list of words that have to go together to allow you to reach a specific category? I didn’t either until just recently. 
Have a look here:
Make sure you’re paring words together that should be for maximum efficiency.

4 Trial and Error
The nice thing about Keywords is they can be changed as often as you like. Test a few out. If they don’t work, try something else. You’re bound to find the right fit at some point. 

Authors, Do You Have A Newsletter?

Do you have a Newsletter?

It’s one of the must-have items in any authors marketing platform. A way to reach out to your dedicated readers/fans. But how do you create one and does it cost anything?

In the effort to keep that marketing budget in check, free is always preferred when it comes to outside help. And when you want the most bang for no buck, you can’t go wrong with Mail Chimp.
Simple to use. Point and click. Full of templates. It makes creating a nice newsletter a snap. And with list features, signup forms, and tracking reports, it really does give you quite a bang. For the startup author with a small list and maybe only one to two newsletters a month, you can’t beat FREE! That’s right, free.

From their website:  Up to 2,000 subscribers
Send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. No contracts, and no credit card required. It’s free forever.

I’ve used MailChimp now for about an year and find it to be super user friendly. The list managing has some great automatic features. For example: If you are a new subscriber to my newsletter you will automatically be emailed a code to download a free copy of my book, Dissension.

It’s fully automated. I don’t have to do a thing. Set it and forget it. That is truly a blessing as it helps me keep readers happy (by offering a good value) and also takes one more task off my to-do list so I can keep up with writing and have more books to publish.

There is a lot more you can do with auto-features (like send birthday wishes to subscribers, and thank you emails for being a loyal follower, etc…) but I’ll let you play with those.

Having a newsletter does not have to be a huge time consuming task, but it is a necessary evil in the arsenal that all indie authors must have. So, consider this a good option and start yours today.

Reader question: Is there a limit to book series?

Reader question: Is there a limit to book series?

This is something I struggle with answering. Sometimes things just need to come to an end and make way for something new.

I see book series that are upwards of 10 books with more planned. Part of me thinks, “Yay!!! More books to read about my favorite characters.” But another part of me thinks… “Maybe it’s time for a break.”

I may not be like most readers, but I have found once I have devoured past 6-7 books in a series, I am in desperate need of a break. That feeling flows naturally to my writing too. Once I have hit 6ish books I am ready to tackle something new. It’s the reason the Immortalis series has not moved past book 6. I have other ideas, but I am really focusing on the Chronicles and my side project, Pretty Little Werewolf, too. Incidentally, the Chronicles are planned to end at 6 books too. Just feels like a natural breaking point for me.

But, I want to know what you think. Is there a natural limit to book series? If so, what book number do you feel is enough?  

Three Ways to Get Over Author Envy!

Admit it, the green-eyed monster hits every now and again. You’re scrolling through your facebook status updates and you see another author friend announce a book deal with a major publisher, or maybe they’ve hit the NYT best seller list, maybe they have gotten a super five-star review, whatever the case, you’re now sitting there a mix of feelings. On the one hand, you are so happy for your friend. You know all the hard work that goes into book creation. And on the other hand, you’re thinking, “Hey… where’s my success?”

It’s a rough spot to be in when you feel like you deserve more and are not getting it. But, maybe you’re looking at things wrong.

It’s said that lucky people make their own luck. Hard to believe when you’re having the crappiest day possible, but I do think there is some truth to that statement. It’s not that they manufacture their own luck, but that they look for the good in things rather than focusing on the negative, and find ways to draw that good to themselves.

Instead of worrying about where your success is, why not take a look at what you have. Read through your book reviews. Have you had any new ones recently within the last month? I’ll bet you have. Especially if you’ve been promoting your book and making your presence known online. Why not share that review with your facebook friends (just like other authors are doing). That “sharing of your success” might just spark a new friend to read your book and could turn into another good review down the road. See, you just made your own luck.

Have a look at your sales ranking on Amazon. Have you hit any categories lately? Maybe you’re in the top 100 of something. Even if it is obscure (I’ve been in the top 100 in Plays for some unknown reason), share that with your friends and readers. That can also invite new people to buy. You’re book is “special.” If it hasn’t hit a category, why not try to make it hit one? Put the call out to readers stating that is a goal and if you can just reach X amount of clicks/sales/whatever, you might get there. People love to help you reach a goal or take on a challenge. It might just work for you. And again, you’ll have made your own luck.

None of those ideas working? Well, You can always drum up more interest by offering a contest. Why not offer up review copies of your book on your facebook or twitter pages. And the first ten people to send back confirmed reviews will win a prize. That prize could be more free books, could be an amazon gift card, etc… you make the rules. 

The point here is, to make yourself some success rather than feeling less than stellar about not having any.  The more you focus on your books, the less time you have to worry about anything else. 

Always Be Writing

Always Be Closing Writing
Did you miss me? Life gets in the way sometimes…
I missed a blog post yesterday. I know. I know. A terrible travesty. I know there are so many of you hanging on my every word. This blog schedule is a bit aggressive. Monday through Friday post, leaving the weekend to post about sales and exciting new book releases. It’s all meant to be not only a helpful outlet to others in the self-publishing world, but also an exercise in control for me. Committing to a 300-500 word a day blog helps keep the words flowing, even if they may not be story words.
We’ve touched on that topic before. Just write. That’s what separates those that want to be writers from those that are. Not all words are story words. And not all words have to be. Sometimes just the act of writing needs to happen. Especially in times of a story block. Let that not be a reason to stop you from writing. When the words are not working in a story. Make sure you are writing something else. You do not have to write a blog. You can draw up character information sheets. You can write a journal about your day. You can work out some history on your book’s world. Anything really.  The sky is the limit. Set a goal word count. Something easy to keep, but that requires you to actually do it. 500 words a day is roughly 30 minutes of real writing. Doesn’t take long at all. Just, whatever you do, if you want to write, keep in practice. Dedicate yourself to the task.

I say this all to myself just as much as I am saying it to you, because I too have been in a story slump. Words have not flown as easily as I would like, but this blog, and the daily task of keeping up with posts, has helped me immensely. 

And just because I can't help myself... I'm applying this speech to my writing. (Language warning for those that need it)
Coffee Is for Closers  Authors!  
And I desperately want to be an closer  Author

Finish that Novel (or Novella, or Short)

Finish that Novel (or Novella, or Short)…

So the unofficial theme this week seems to be along the lines of getting that first draft done quickly and efficiently. We talked about writing sprints. We talked about the old practice makes perfect adage. It all adds up to one thing: Butt in chair, and get writing.

I’ve had many people this week tell me, “Oh I would love to be published, but….” Ten guesses what that last bit is (and the first 9 don’t count.). Right… They haven’t found the time to finish a story.
That’s what holds back the many many dreamers. The idea of writing is a fantasy. They envision themselves almost romantically scrawling away with pen in hand under the light of a flickering candle. Writing the next great American novel and instantly finding publishing success. The truth just throws a cold bucket of water on those ideas.

The truth of the matter is this… Writing is a grind. A daily bleed of words on the page. To do it well takes time, dedication, and love. The romantic notions are far from the actual truth. Writers are often alone, staring into the blank abyss of an empty page, struggling to make it into something worth reading. And not everything written is worth reading. But we go on. We write more. We perfect what can be perfected. We delete thousands of beloved words that just don’t work. We push ourselves through sleeplessness, backaches from hunching over a keyboard or pad of paper, migraines from the computer screen, and the constant fear of being ridiculed for not being good enough when a reviewer finally does read our work.

That’s the real life of a writer. But, though it sounds terrible in that light. It is all worth it when you see the fruits of your labor come to light. Holding that printed and bound book in your hand for the first time… priceless. When a reviewer gushes over your characters and begs you for the next book. When an agent offers representation for your book. When you see that royalty check come in (even if it will only buy you a pack of gum.) Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.

So, for those of you who haven’t run screaming in fear, and for my author friends silently nodding their head in agreement, I pose this challenge. Let’s stop talking and start writing. Finish whatever project you are on… as quickly as possible.

For the new writers: Make a goal. A daily word count goal. And achieve it.

For the old pros: Word sprints! How fast can you get 1k words.

Post results in the comments. 

Writing - Speed vs. Quality. Does it have to be one or the other?

Not really sure of the answer myself, but after a conversation with another indie author, it is definitely a topic of concern.

It used to be quite commonplace for readers to patiently wait up to a year for their favorite authors next release. And I believe largely with the Traditional set, that is still the norm. But for Indies, it’s a game of grab their attention and hold on to it for dear life. That necessitates a quick to market release for most books. Even ones that are not series based. Always have something new to give your audience. It’s one of the reasons the Serial Novel is in vogue at the moment.

But, this is not new news. We’ve discussed before the need to get to market quickly with books. With thousands being published daily, readers are overwhelmed by choices and even popular authors have a hard time staying in the forefront of their minds.

The concern today is, are we sacrificing speed for quality? Can we have both? How?

It’s my belief that as we continue to write, we improve. Practice makes perfect is the old adage we grew up with, and it holds water. I can say without hesitation that in the last five years of publishing, my books increase in quality as I learn new tips and tricks to bring them to market. In the last ten years of serious writing, my stories themselves have deepened and characters grown. So that in itself says that quality can be achieved through experience.

Now, as for speed. That’s the hard part. Yes, writing sprints can help you belt out a first draft in record time, but even the most qualified of writers will still have layers of revisions to do. And I believe every book should go through a beta/proof reading process before final revisions and editing. So, the speed part might be out of the writer’s hands to some extent.

So if speed is a variable we have to consider, but quality is still key (as it should be), then what is the right amount of time to give each novel (or novella) from concept to publishing to fit with the “have to keep readers happy or fade into oblivion” marketplace?

I honestly don’t know the answer. But, for me, and a few other’s I’ve talked to, the ideal time frame for new materials is between 3-6months. Averaging about 3-4 new books (Novels or Novellas) per year.

But, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below. If you are a reader, how long is too long between books. If you’re an author, what’s your average timeframe for new releases? 

Writing Sprints and Deadlines

Ever noticed how much work you can magically get done when you’re down to the wire?

No one wants to admit to being a procrastinator but we’re all guilty.

Hi! I’m Katie, and I’m a procrastinator. I meant to get my work done, but….

Now, your turn. I’ll wait.

All joking aside,  my Pen name’s writing partner emailed me to remind me we have a story due to our publisher this week. THIS WEEK!!!

Immediately I went into panic mode. I must have forgotten to put it into my calendar. I’d forget my own head if there wasn’t a reminder on my calendar to screw it on every morning. Seriously, I’m a scatterbrain on the best of days.

So, that means we (My writing partner and I) will have to scramble and do sprints.

What are sprints you ask?

Just like a runner, powering through a short set of track, a writing sprint is the same concept. Great for writing first drafts and word dumping.  When you really need to push yourself to get the story written, this is a great way to do it. Set a goal. Set a timer, and try to meet or reach that goal in the allotted time. This works really well when you can get a partner or group to do it with you. You not only race against the clock, you secretly want to beat your partners best word count goal too.

Before you know it, a few writing sprints can turn into a novella or maybe even a novel. Then comes the daunting task of revising. No before you ask, there is no such thing as revising sprints. That should be handled more slowly and with a keen eye for detail. But hey, at least you’ll have something to work with after all those sprints.