Thursday, February 21, 2013
For me, Smashwords will always hold a special place in my heart because it's the site where I learned publishing without an agent or a traditional publisher was a possibility. I will forever be thankful for their contribution to indie authors.
For anyone who wants to publish an eBook, Smashwords Style Guide is a must read. It helps you format your book to the specifications of iTunes, Barnes & Noble's, Sony, Kobo, and Diesel. Take it from me... those specifications are nearly impossible to meet without step-by-step instructions.
Smashwords also offers a one-stop shop where indie authors can upload their books, and they will do all the work for them, making their eBooks available on any and all eBook sites. I take full advantage of their offering with the exception of (you guessed it) Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I personally manage those sites, but with Smashwords' assistance, I'm left with only three sites to manage even though my books are available everywhere.
I also LOVE Smashwords coupon manager. I can gift ebooks to people, and it doesn't cost me a dime. That is not true for Amazon or Barnes & Noble's. If I want to gift a Kindle or Nook book, I have to pay for it (at least... I've been paying for them). With Smashwords coupon manager, I can give away as many as I like.
In summary, Smashwords is committed to indie authors, and it shows. We can achieve things we never would have been able to achieve if it were not for them. For that, I'm thankful to Mark Coker and his dedicated team.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
- #1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Science Fiction & Fantasy
- #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Religious Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy
- #1 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy
Join us in celebrating our friend's success and congratulating her.
Laura A. H. Elliott, best selling author, loves writing about enchanted road trips, shadow worlds, and alien romance while eating lots of popcorn. She lives in a tree house on the central California coast. After twenty-plus years as a freelance graphic designer/animator with clients including E! Entertainment Television and The Los Angeles Times, she crossed over into the world of publishing non-fiction and followed her heart to the world of fiction. She is the author of the paranormal romance Shadow Series (also available in audiobook format), the sci-fi romance Starjump series, and stand alone literary romance novel Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale. Her latest release is Shadow Slayer, book 2 of the Shadow Series. Moon Killers, book 3 is due out this spring. She's also due to release her first adult title later this year. She's happy to have been included in the new adult anthology Midnight Surrender.
A Valentine Story From Laura:
Laura A. H. Elliott's Books:
Winnemucca a small-town fairy tale (YA literary romance)
When fear’s as blind as love, how far would you go to find your own happily ever after?
One mistake will change Ginny’s life forever. One answer will set her free. Once upon a time Ginny’s road blood ripened, the day she got wise to love. Engaged to the high school quarterback, his quarter-carat ring and enchanting smile should have been enough for her. But, she stands him up and takes a walk where every step questions her happily ever after gone-bad and the fate of the mother she never knew. The mother her father refuses to talk about. Ginny fights to untangle her big, fat, lie-of-a-life on an enchanted road trip to Winnemucca, where she believes all her answers lie. To solve the riddle of her past, she must outrun everyone who wants a piece of her future–including a man determined to see she never has one.
Transfer Student (Starjump #1) (YA Sci-Fi Romance)
Earthling Ashley's world revolves around winning daily popularity contests at Beverly Hills High School and surfing competitions with sweet scholarship prizes that will finally help her break free of her control-freak mother. Meanwhile on planet Retha, Rhoe misses his dad, loves his mom's home-cooked Glechy crag with a side of ory sauce, is desperate to heal his sick brother and wants more than anything to win The Retha New Invention Competition. But Rhoe's invention teleports him across the universe with an unintended side effect, Ashley and Rhoe transfer. They swap lives when they make the same wish at the same time.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Most of the time, my indie author role is unbelievably fantastic (filled with new fans, friends, and followers and amazing reviews). Periodically, this role puts me in situations that are uncomfortable as best. When that happens, I'm left to wonder if the morals and ethics of the world at large have regressed to a level so low that there may be no hope for people who work hard every day of their lives and try to do the best by others every chance they get to survive.
For those who follow me, you know being an indie author is my second job. It's one I take as seriously as I do my primary job. Typically, I spend forty-five to sixty hours per week working as a director for a not-for-profit hospital system. I spend another twelve to fifteen hours commuting to work, and the rest of my time is spent being a wife and mother of two while writing, socializing, and performing every last duty necessary to make sure I release books that are as professional as those released by traditional publishers.
If you are not an indie author, you probably will not understand - or believe - the amount of detail that goes into every book release. Over the course of three to four months (often times longer), indie authors write, proof, edit, format, book cover design, upload the book to sites, market, blog, and anything else necessary in order to publish our books.
Given the hours I put in, the sacrifices my family and I make, and the sleep I'm deprived, I can't help but get upset when I see my hard work and the hard work of others infringed upon. It's going to take a few minutes for me to build my case. Once I'm finished, I'll leave it up to you to decide: Copyright Infringement OR Coincidence.
Here's what I know to be true:
Several months ago, my dear friend and cover design artist, Claudia Lucia McKinney (Phatpuppy Art), sent a marketing notification to her authors. With it, she let us know that she was having a pay-it-forward day whereby she graciously offered her services to us for donations only, meaning whatever we paid (and we decided) would go to charity. Claudia's been so successful in her career that she wanted to give back to others. I was impressed with her selfless act and paid her exactly what I would have paid if she were not having a pay-it-forward special.
As soon as I got the notification from Claudia, I went straight to depositphotos and spent hours looking for a photo that would accurately represent the story I was planning to write for NaNoWriMo 2012. With my options narrowed, I sent all of them over to Claudia and asked her to pick her favorite. I was thrilled with the picture she picked because it absolutely was my favorite. To the right is the picture/models in question:
Within no time, Claudia had a cover design back to me that encompassed my many requests. Like everything Claudia's ever done for me, I was amazed... awed... thrilled. I should tell you that traditionally I write paranormal and fantasy. Claudia knows this; therefore, she added a hint of sparkly magic to the woman's eyes and the hair around her face. To the left is Claudia's finished product as sent to me for my book cover.
Now, Claudia had no idea I was completely switching genres for this book and writing an adult contemporary. She and I talked, and she recommended that I decrease the pixels to minimize the 'touch of magic'. I did, and it worked. I also went to work adding the title to the design and making it a real book cover worthy of release. After that, I announced my next book and revealed the book cover. To the right is the finished book cover for Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) to be released 3/1/13.
I spent November writing 50,000 words and winning NaNoWriMo 2012 (a writing marathon for authors). December was spent finishing and fine-tuning this powerful story. In January, I did my own proofing, editing, and perfecting of the details. This month, Grave Bound is at my editor, Gathering Leaves. Cassie is an amazing woman who takes my book and looks at it with a magnifying glass. She picks out typographical errors, time-line problems, confusing statements/comments, and anything else that will cause a read to pause. In other words, this month Cassie gets to do all of the hard work, and I get to sit back and anxiously await her formal recommendations.
I can assure you that I would not be saying anything IF the stock photo had been taken and manipulated into something original. Instead, the tiniest details of Claudia's design were present in this cover. I instantly contacted Claudia who began researching and investigating. She's as concerned with the similarities as I am.
Please know, that I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting Katie Salidas did ANYTHING wrong. She saw a book cover that met her needs, and she's using it. Remember, I know how hard so works because I work just as hard. My 'concerns' lie with the book cover designer herself/himself.
Telling the whole picture with a side-by-side comparison, I've included each picture. If you study Claudia's design and compare it to the book cover in question, you will see that the 'touch of magic' appears to be there.
- The original picture from depositphotos
- Claudia's original picture as sent to me
- Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) book cover
- The book cover revealed
I can summarize this entire situation by saying that I don't plan to do anything about it. Instead, I'm leaving it up to my peers, fans, friends, and followers to study the facts of this case (and the pictures), and for them to let Claudia and me know their opinions (comment below). The one thing I can say for sure is that I will ALWAYS use Claudia so that I'm not put in a position of collaborating with someone whose works of art are nothing more than copies or infringements. I value creative originality and a pristine moral character too much to settle for less.
A thief of someone else's creative work is still a thief.
Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) by T.R. Graves - Release date March , 2013
When Emily learns her father has promised her to Lorenzo, a perverted man who has plans for her that extend well beyond marriage and kids, she rebels. Regardless of the consequences, she refuses to marry someone who'd rather beat her than caress her.
A day of hooky that starts out as a tiny act of defiance - sneaking out of the commune for a swim - turns into a day filled with hope. After spending time with Levi, a man camping near the lake, she finds what true romance looks like and catches a glimpse into a future that's filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission.
That tiny peek is enough to change the course of Emily's existence and makes it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she'll ever be able to tolerate the life chosen for her instead of the life she longs for. One that includes Levi.
Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily expected. The secrets she knows, as the leader's daughter, will either follow her to the grave or send her - and Levi - there.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Barnes & Noble's self-publishing portal is called PubIt!. It's just as simple to use as Amazon's KDP. Utilizing this portal, indie authors can upload their books and make them available for sale through Barnes & Noble eBookstore. The time from upload until availability is twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
I've talked to lots of indie authors who've had great success selling their books through Barnes & Noble. I'm not one of them. Don't get me wrong. I sell books on that site, but it's a small fraction of the number I sell on Amazon's site. I'm sure that has to do with there being something I'm not doing because I don't know I'm supposed to be doing it, but that in and of itself is problematic for me. The whole book publishing process has been filled with secrets and controlled by traditional publishers' gate keeping long enough. I don't want to have to 'figure out' what I need to do in order to become a best selling author on a site. I want that site and its experts to lead me... guide me... partner with me... market for me. I get all of that (plus some) with Amazon.
I should say that no one is more disappointed with my Barnes & Noble sales than me. When I uploaded my book to PubIt!, I just knew Barnes & Noble, being the best-of-the-best, would be where I sold the majority of my books. The next thing, I knew my Amazon sales soared, and my Barnes & Noble sales slowly trickled in. Without a doubt, I'm going to keep uploading books there and hoping for the best, and if all the stars align, I'll find the same success I've encountered with Amazon. All I can say is that I expected more.
While Amazon has options for paper books and audio books, PubIt! has four programs that allow indie authors to make their books available next to traditionally published books (per PubIt! Support and Resources Page):
Read In Store:
Read In Store allows customers in Barnes & Noble bookstores to browse the complete contents of eBooks available in our NOOK Bookstore at no cost for up to one hour on any given day and browse through as many eBooks that have the Read In Store option as they wish. This innovative program will provide further exposure for your eBooks, offering customers the chance to sample the entire contents of the book for up to an hour.
Sharing eBooks with LendMe Technology:
Only Barnes & Noble offers customers the ability to share eBooks with friends through its breakthrough LendMe? technology. Customers can share LendMe-eligible eBooks once, for up to 14 days. Customers can send a lend offer and a personal message about the eBook they are offering to any friend's email address. The lend offer is available for 7 days and can be accepted or declined on a NOOK or online.
The recipient can easily download the book to their NOOK eBook Reader or on a computing or mobile device enabled with free NOOK eReading software. While the eBook is with the recipient, the customer who shared the title will not have access to it. All eBooks offered via PubIt! will be eligible for sharing through the LendMe program and noted with the LendMe icon.
Barnes & Noble customers have the option to try before they buy. For all PubIt! eBooks, interested customers will be able to download up to 5% of the eBook to their NOOK or to their computing or mobile device enabled with free NOOK eReading software. From the sample, it is easy for customers to buy the full eBook and download it in seconds.
Giving a digital gift is quick and easy - we call it eGifting! NOOK Books and NOOK Apps can be eGifted to anyone with a valid email address (currently not available on NOOK.co.uk). You do not need a NOOK to purchase a digital gift, and your eGift recipient does not need one to receive your eGift either. For more around the eGifting experience as it pertains to the customer, visit our eGifting FAQ's. Reference the eGifting section below for more information as it applies to publisher royalties and reporting.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2013
SYNOPSIS: Below Review
Let me start the review of Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) by saying this book is an adult contemporary written for audiences 18+. The genre is solid without even a hint of paranormal, fantasy, or Christian.
When Emily learns her father and brothers have promised her to Lorenzo, a man she despises down to her core, she rebels. No matter the consequences, she refuses to marry someone who'd rather beat her than caress her.
A day of hooky that starts out as a tiny act of defiance - sneaking out of the commune for a swim - soon turns into the best day of her life. After spending time with Levi, a man camping near the lake, she finds out what true romance looks like and catches a glimpse into a future that's filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission.
That tiny peek is enough to change the course of Emily's existence and makes it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she will ever be able to tolerate a life chosen for her rather than the life she longs for. One that includes Levi.
Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily ever expected. The secrets she knows, as the commune leader's daughter, will either follow her to the grave or send her - and Levi - there.