Meet John Walker

I agree with today’s featured debut author, John Walker, who says writing a book is “a bit like riding a wild Mustang bareback.” Quite the adventure, indeed.

Name: John Walker

Name of book: Shadow Dancing (the first in the Charles and Amanda series)

Book genre: Romance, Invention and Crime

Date published: October 2011

Publisher: Amazon Kindle

What is your day job? Invention, engineering and, of course, writing

What is your book about? In Shadow Dancing, Italian Mafiosi unearth a priceless bronze statue, some 3,000 years old, in the Saharan sands. Smuggled back into Italy, it is sold to a wealthy industrialist. Our heroes get it back.

Why did you want to write this book? To say something positive about our brilliant inventors and engineers, drawing on some of my own experiences and some that might have been. And to explore in some depth the love between people.

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? As they say, when you have written it, you are no more than a third of the way through.

Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? I hardly needed to, since I know England, Italy, Greece and Egypt.

What motivates you to write? Wanting to make a difference.

Did you experience writer’s block? Never, although I spend a lot of time planning the next stage before going to sleep and upon waking up.  It never works out as planned, of course.


By |2012-04-24T06:00:52-04:00April 24th, 2012|Debut Author Q&A, eBooks|0 Comments

Why I’ll Be Pricing my eBook, ‘Baby Grand,’ at $2.99

As a reader, I think many eBooks are overpriced.

In my mind, there’s no reason for an eBook to be more expensive than a paperback. And when I find that it is, I will buy the paperback, even if I originally intended on buying the eBook.

For me, as a buyer, the magic price point for an eBook purchase is $4.99. I generally will not pay more than that.

So when it came time to price my own eBook, Baby Grand, I figured that would be the magic price point: $4.99. Case closed.

Imagine my surprise when my literary agent, during a discussion of price, suggested we sell Baby Grand for $2.99 — with a promotional price point of $1.99.

What?! Two bucks?

As a professional writer who has been paid a dollar PER WORD of an article, the idea of selling my entire novel (all 93,000+ words of it) for $1.99 totally freaked me out. My first thought was, This can’t be right. I worried about the perceived value of my product. Won’t readers think it’s cheap or (gasp!) worthless if they only pay $1.99 for it? I can’t breathe. Somebody get me a brown paper bag…

I spent a weekend mulling it over and researching — lots of researching. And in the end, I knew my agent was right.

Here’s why:


By |2012-04-12T06:30:11-04:00April 12th, 2012|eBooks, Publishing Process|0 Comments

Meet Sophie Moss

Lots of excitement over here as the publication of Baby Grand approaches. Copy-editing. Cover design. Blurbs trickling in. It’s all feeling very REAL now, so today’s debut author, Sophie Moss, sprinkles us with a healthy dose of Irish fantasy to return our heads into the clouds, where, of course, writers’ heads belong. :)

Name: Sophie Moss

Name of book: The Selkie Spell (Seal Island Trilogy)

Book genre: Irish Fantasy Romance

Date published: November 6, 2011

Publisher: Self-published with Amazon

What is your day job? Consultant, mainly to U.S. Government agencies

What is your book about? American doctor Tara Moore’s life is transformed when she travels to an enchanted Irish island and discovers she has the power to break a centuries-old curse.

Why did you want to write this book? When I was living in Ireland, I took a weekend trip to an island. The moment I stepped off the ferry, I felt like I was home. It was the strangest feeling: being so far from home and yet sensing I belonged. After returning to the states, I discovered the movie, The Secret of Roan Inish, and first learned of the selkie legends. Intrigued by the thought of seals who can transform into beautiful women on land, I decided to weave my love of romance novels, Ireland, and fairy tales into one delicious novel!

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Plotting. I map out every scene before I start writing a story.

Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book? I lived in Ireland for a summer. I drank a lot of Guinness and chatted with the locals. I guess you could call that research. :)


By |2012-04-10T10:44:27-04:00April 10th, 2012|Debut Author Q&A, eBooks, Publishing Process|0 Comments

Why I’m Publishing ‘Baby Grand’ Thru Amazon’s KDP Select

Two weeks ago, I announced that I’ll be self-publishing Baby Grand as an ebook through Amazon’s KDP Select. Last week, I blogged about why I decided to self-publish my novel. Today, I’m discussing why I’m using KDP Select.

For those unfamiliar with KDP Select, it’s a new option at Amazon in which, in exchange for exclusivity on your eBook for three months, you get some extra marketing/royalty help. For instance, as part of the program Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle device can “borrow” your eBook from the Kindle Lending Library (even though members read it for free, you still earn $$$$ based on several factors — how many times your book has been “borrowed,” the number of total borrows for all KDP Select books for the period and how much has been invested in the program by Amazon in that given month).

In other words, Baby Grand, for the first three months of its publication, will only be available to Kindle customers, who will be able to buy the ebook for their device or Kindle Apps during the period of exclusivity, or “borrow” it from the Lending Library if they are an Amazon Prime member with a Kindle device.

This means I have had to tell more than a few non-Kindle e-reader users (including my sister-in-law) that, no, they couldn’t buy/read Baby Grand until August, when the exclusivity deal is over, especially now that I don’t plan on making a POD paperback available until later this year. And every time I say that, there’s this undeniable lump in my throat as I hope that these people will indeed stick around and wait the three months and that I can maintain some excitement for the book in the interim.

Why do it this way?


By |2012-04-05T06:00:24-04:00April 5th, 2012|eBooks, Publishing Process|0 Comments

Meet Sabrynne McLain

Today’s featured debut author is Sabrynne McLain who offers a truly insightful and in-depth look at the road to publication for her novel, When Red Is Blue.

Name: Sabrynne McLain

Name of book: When Red Is Blue

Book genre: Contemporary drama/literary fiction

Date published: February 2012

Publisher: Elevin Books

What is your day job? Proofreader and editor

What is your book about? The theme of the book deals with how children are affected by parents who suffer from some form of dysfunction – in my book’s case, mental illness and alcoholism. The story is based on my own childhood experiences. The “in a nutshell” description is:

Kate Faraday, a young woman from a small town in Michigan, dreams of leaving her past behind her and moving to California. But when her schizophrenic mother is found dead in a ravine, Kate is forced to examine her conflicting emotions over her mother’s death, while coping with the demands of her alcoholic father and local residents who witnessed the shame of her childhood. In the end, Kate discovers that the most difficult relationship to reconcile is the one she has with herself.

Why did you want to write this book? When I turned 30, I realized I wanted to be a writer. I bought and studied numerous books on writing and, about six months later, began writing my first novel. I opted for the romance genre, which I thought would be a lighthearted way to start my new passion. My first attempt at a book was loads of fun to write, but then I decided I wanted to apply to the University of Iowa’s MFA program in Creative Writing. The application asked for 75 pages of a manuscript. I was too embarrassed to give them the opening chapters of my little smut novel, thinking it wasn’t serious enough. Then I recalled all the people over the years who had suggested I write a book about my family, so I started When Red Is Blue. I got to page 75 and kept going.


By |2012-04-03T11:14:59-04:00April 3rd, 2012|Debut Author Q&A, eBooks, Publishing Process|0 Comments

Meet Author Sidney Bristol

Is it hot in here or is it just my interview with Sidney Bristol? :) Please help me welcome today’s featured debut author and self-described “smut writer” who enters the erotica genre at a time of great excitement and an explosion in sales led most notably by ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’

Name: Sidney Bristol

Name of book: Flirting with Rescue

Book genre: Contemporary romance of the very hot kind

Date published: January 18, 2012

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

What is your day job? IT Education Administrator

What is your book about? Two people, brought together by their passion for animals, fall madly in love.

Why did you want to write this book? I wrote this book on a dare. I kid you not. I wanted to be a swords and sorcery and horses kind of writer. The idea that I would write romance, contemporary romance at that, was hysterical. But, I put pen to paper and roughly thirty-six hours later I had the bare bones of what would be this book, and I had to write it. “They” always say to write what you know, and one of the things I know is horses, rodeo and what can happen when a person doesn’t want the best for an animal. I decided that if I was going to write a contemporary romance, I wanted to poke my finger at a dark secret. In this instance, I talk about horses, and their role in drug trafficking.

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Sex. I’d only written vague sex scenes before, and a big chunk of the story happens between the sheets. I wound up reading a lot of How To Write Erotica books to get a handle on how to approach it for the genre. I also did a lot of reading above my “comfort zone” to figure out what I would write. Writing sex and sexual tension is hard, because not everyone finds the same things alluring.


By |2012-03-27T13:49:24-04:00March 27th, 2012|Debut Author Q&A, eBooks, Erotica, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Breaking News: ‘Baby Grand’ to be Released as eBook

Well, it’s official. My debut novel Baby Grand will be released as an eBook through Amazon’s KDP Select program. Final draft and cover should be ready for upload by mid-April with publication in late April/first week of May. I’ll keep you posted on the details.

And I’m happy to announce that throughout the publishing process I will continue to work with Stonesong – the New York-based literary agency that signed-up Baby Grand back in January 2010 when the manuscript was merely a third completed. I don’t know what I would do without the support and dedication and amazingness of Judy Linden and the entire Stonesong team who have been staunch supporters not only of this book, but of me, and I am so happy to be doing this with such a dynamic group of women.

In the coming weeks, as we get closer to Baby Grand’s publication date, I will be answering questions you may have regarding this announcement, such as why I chose to self-publish, why I chose to go with Amazon’s KDP Select, etc. And, as always, I will share with you the ins and outs of the process, from copyediting to price-setting to making myself nuts watching sales stats (and I will!).

Expect the big cover reveal in the coming weeks as well as advance praise for Baby Grand!

What’s more, I have plans to make Baby Grand available as a print-on-demand paperback for those of you who like to read books the old-fashioned way (I know you’re out there!). I would include my Mom in this group, but she just told me last week that she would read my novel anywhere, even if it were written on a napkin. :)

I look forward to sharing all the exciting news surrounding the release of this book. Thank you to all of you who have supported me since I started writing this blog (my two-year anniversary is March 30) and for your support of authors and reading.

By |2012-03-22T07:00:37-04:00March 22nd, 2012|eBooks, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meet Ethan Dreilinger

We’re mixing things up a little today. I’d been meaning to feature my friend and colleague Ethan Dreilinger on this blog to discuss his first novel, Out of the Dust, which he self-published last June. But that wascally wabbit went ahead and published his second novel in October, before I had the chance, making him, technically, ineligible to be featured here. So we’re working around that minor detail today by showing my interview with Ethan for “The Writer’s Dream,” which aired last fall — before he published his second book. Enjoy!

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