Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Julie Anne Lindsey - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Julie Anne Lindsey She is the bestselling author of the Honey Creek Books and The Patience Price Mysteries.



Author Genre: Young Adult, Cozy Mystery, Romance

Website: Julie Anne Lindsey
Author's Blog: Musings from the Slush Pile
Twitter: @JulieALindsey
E-Mail: julie.a.lindsey@gmail.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest


Author Description:
As an only child Julie always had plenty of time to people watch and make things up. When she didn't think she could make a living at the latter, her love of people led her to a BA in Psychology instead. A few years and three kids later, Julie discovered the thrill of writing. Writing lets her harness a seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm and create something of value in the wake.

Mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you'll find her online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.

You can find Julie blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile.


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Murder in Real Time. First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I do! I’ve contracted a new cozy mystery series with Carina Press, tentatively titled Geek Girl Mysteries, wherein my brilliant, thirty-something, heroine solves crimes at the gated community where she works and at the local renaissance fair where she spends her free time. Three books are under contract. The first is slated to release in August 2015.

On the YA front, the sequel for my October release, Prophecy, is officially in the hands of my editor at Lyrical Press and set to release in February 2016. Goddess will dive headlong into mythology with my heroine learning the ropes in a contemporary world where she has discovered demigods are real. To fulfill a promise to Zeus, Callie leads the demigod Vikings in a battle against frost giants sent to ruin her town.

You have a great following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

Thanks. I love twitter. I think every writer has to find a support system however they can in this business, and twitter is where I feel most at home. Not everyone gets twitter, and that’s okay.

I think social media relationships are very important. I’ve made lifelong friends on social media, found critique partners and beta readers, I keep up with industry news and I network with readers, both as an author and as an avid reader.

I built my following the way you’d expect, one day at a time. I started my blog and social media accounts a few years ago when I decided to attempt writing a novel. Many of my followers today have been around since I opened the accounts. I’ve developed a relationship with them over time. Many don’t care that I write. Some connect with me on completely different levels, as readers, as parents, as swimmers. Honestly, when I’m not in promo mode for a new release or contest, I rarely mention my books. I do talk about writing because that’s my life, but I don’t use social media as a way to spout “Buy my Book!” on a daily basis. I use social media to meet people with common interests and to be myself. I think people appreciate the transparency.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I’ve only begun to make a reader list in the past month. I know. Bad. Bad. Author. I understand the importance of having these lists, but I’ve never felt like someone anyone would want to get a newsletter from, plus what would I put in it? What could I offer readers? I still don’t know, but after the success of my Murder by the Seaside promotion in September, I decided it was time to see if people wanted to be on my list.

I initiated a contest during my blog tour where readers could follow me on social media or register for my newsletter through my author site for a chance to win copies of the Patience Price Mysteries or a copy of Prophecy and people registered! They voluntarily gave me their addresses. I still can’t understand it, but they did and now I need to make a newsletter….That’s a whole other problem.

You do a lot of book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Meeting people scares the daylights out of me, but I love it. If you’re an introvert, that will make sense. I’m attending a Family Reading Festival at a local mall this weekend. After that I will be signing books at a Cleveland, OH Barnes & Noble with some fellow Sisters in Crime on December 3rd. I’m speaking at a library in February and then conference season begins in the spring. I like to go as many places as I can to network and meet readers. I try to be useful and encouraging to other writers. This industry is tough. We need each other. I keep an updated list of appearances on my blog: http:// blog.juliealindsey.com


You have a great book trailer for Deceived. (See link below.) It looks very professional. Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailer?

Thanks! When my first YA was put under contract, I knew I wanted a book trailer. You Tube is an enormously trafficked resource and search engine where I wanted to take advantage. I put up the Bat signal and contacted my alma mater, Kent State University, where I found a film student willing to create a trailer for me. His name is Matt Petrunak and he created that trailer free of charge. He spent countless hours wrangling friends to run sound, lighting, play the roles, and whatever else goes into that. It was all way over my head, though I went to a taping and fangirled all over him. I helped with the script, but other than that, my trailer was his baby.

Despite the incredible amazingness of the trailer, I don’t think it helped sales. It’s been viewed only about 3500 times in a year and sales were mediocre for that title. Whether the trailer didn’t’ entice readers to buy or the trailer wasn’t seen by readers of this genre, I don’t know. I can’t say why, but I can say, the trailer didn’t seem to bolster sales despite its amazingness.

Murder by the Seaside has been converted into an audio book. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience?

Murder by the Seaside is like the little book that could. Carina Press picked it up as a digital book and requested two sequels. Carina Press is a digital imprint of Harlequin, so I was thrilled. The book has since gone on to audio and was selected for the Harlequin book clubs where it was printed into their World Wide Mystery line and shipped to thousands of Harlequin book clubbers. Murder in Real Time will follow suit next year. So far the audio sales have been small, only a tiny portion of digital sales. For this reason, I can’t say audio has necessarily found me a new audience.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Small Town Charm, Love & Mystery Boxed Set. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together?

I started my career writing heartwarming romances for a small online press, Turquoise Morning Press. The first novella I completed, some three or more years ago, is part of the Small Town Charm collection. The boxed set is doing really well, staying on top of the Amazon charts in collections, but I’m not sure how it’s impacted my other sales. Authors normally get quarterly feedback, so it will be a few months before I can say for sure if that set increased sales in my other books.

The main objective of bundling is to lure readers. It’s hard to pass up eight stories for ninety nine cents. Readers pick up the collection and are introduced to eight new authors. It’s a win-win for everyone. With luck, the readers find a voice they connect with and then buy more of that author’s stories. I had nothing to do with the conception or execution of the boxed set. Turquoise Morning Press created the set to help authors and lines at the press get noticed and find new readers. So far, the set is a hit, so the hope is that each author will find a new readership and revitalize the lines of books those stories represent.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I give lots of free PDFs and some digitals through Amazon. I’m extremely stingy with paperback and hardcover giveaways. This is because most presses only provide a handful of author copies.

Once those are gone, authors have to purchase their books to give them away and too often the money spent to give the book never creates another sale, so the money is lost.

The idea behind giving books away is to create buzz. You can offer free books to people who enter contests (where they enter by following you on social media or register for your newsletter).

Many self-published authors make one book free for a limited time (or forever) to generate buzz and hopefully hook readers. Then, they will, hopefully, buy more from that author because they enjoyed the free book so much. I run giveaways on Goodreads to generate buzz, too.

So far I haven’t run into any obstacles with giveaways, other than I can’t afford to give away as many as I’d like. Moving forward, I will work with my agent to negotiate a higher number of author copies for these purposes. Libraries and local media are another great place to send books – after you contact them to see if they’re interested in receiving them. Never send a book without asking. It could end up in the trash.

What has been your experience with book tours? Did they contribute to the increase of your book sales?

I’ve done a ton of book tours. I’ve set some up on my own with volunteer bloggers I met online and in my literary agency or through fellow press authors. I’ve paid for book blasts and full on month log blog tours and I’ve been on tours arranged and paid for by my presses.

I think tours are a great way to get your cover art and name out there, but there is a catch. The blogs you visit have to be trafficked. If no one visits those blogs, it’s like the whole thing never happened. My blog gets about a dozen people a day. If you come to my blog, for example, no one will know. No one visits my blog. You need to get on blogs with traffic. Preferably high traffic.

That’s not easy. Furthermore, just appearing or guest blogging is one thing, a better thing is for the blogger to review you and like what they read. Review posts draw more attention than an author’s guest post.

There are lots of factors that go into the success of a blog tour. Sometimes the best thing you get from them is experience writing blog posts and some new blogger contacts. Networking is important, so hang onto those emails for bloggers who liked your book. They might let you come back on your next release without paying for a tour. Just look them up, remind then you hit it off before and see if you can come back. It will save you money and create the same exposure.

So far I have not seen a notable increase in sales during a blog tour.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Thank you for saying so. I feel I neglect my blog horribly these days. In the beginning I wrote daily, then three days a week, then once a week….As writing has gone from an aspiration to a deadline situation, I’ve fallen away from the dedicated schedule I began with. I started my blog the year I started writing in the hopes of publication. I thought there was enough to learn that it deserved being chronicled, so I did. I blogged about whatever I learned that week about craft, blogged industry news and contests, my personal rejections and triumphs. It was a sounding board. A place to find friends and share what I had to offer. I also used it to gain followers. Back then my followers were all writers and that was the goal – outreach and documentation.

I’m not sure who visits now, but I us the blog for continued networking, to support and encourage fellow writers and to share news related to my career. I open the blog to any writer who wants to guest post or spotlight their new release and I occasionally blog about an event or something notable in my writing journey, but overall, I’ve fallen slack. It’s tough to juggle it all with real life and meet the deadlines, so family comes first, then friends, then writing and editing.

After that, I update my social media and the blog gets my attention last. Time management is the toughest thing in this life, I think.



Author's Book List
Murder in Real Time - The Patience Price Mysteries
With the chaos of summer tourists and fall birders out of town, counselor Patience Price is looking forward to the quiet life she remembers. She longs for some peace. And an apple fritter. But the calm is cut short when a reality show sets up camp to film a special about ghosts on her little island. Now fans, reporters and crew have flocked to sleepy Chincoteague. Who knew ghost hunters had an entourage?

When two cast members are killed in a room at the local B&B—a room usually occupied by Patience's FBI agent boyfriend, Sebastian—she finds herself on the case. Sebastian doesn't want Patience ruffling any feathers but, as always, she can't help herself.

Patience promises to let Sebastian handle the investigation—he is FBI, after all—but after a drive-by shooting, her wicked curiosity gets the best of her. And with the TV show forging ahead with filming, the list of suspects (and the line of food trucks) only grows. But has the shooter already flown the coop? And how do you find a killer when you don't know who the target is?


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Prophecy - Calypso
On the other side of death, is destiny.

Callie Ingram is spending her senior year focused on one thing: swimming. Her skill as a competitive swimmer is going to secure a scholarship and her future, or so she hopes. She has big plans, and Liam Hale, her gorgeous new neighbor, isn’t going to affect them. But when Callie sees Liam beheading someone, she learns his family has a secret that will change everything. The Hales are Vikings, demi-gods who’ve been charged by The Fates to find their new destined leader.

Callie’s caught in the middle of a budding Norse apocalypse, in love with Liam Hale and desperate to protect her best friend…who the Hales believe is marked for transformation. Putting the clues together as fast as she can, can discovers she has the power to rewrite destiny, for herself and all humankind.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Murder Comes Ashore - The Patience Price Mysteries
Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.

Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.

When the body count rises and Patience's parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It's not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she's determined to clear her family's name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer's next victim.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
A Beautiful Pointe - Honey Creek Books
Secrecy is Veronica French’s way of life. Uncovering the truth is Hudson’s.

Veronica doesn’t mind being the center of small town gossip. Her home and dance studio alone keep more secrets than the rumor mill can inventory, like the way women in her cooking classes always come home changed. Some Honey Creek residents say she bewitches them with her enchanted treats and pastries. Others smile and say nothing at all. When a local woman goes missing after an evening at Veronica’s, all eyes turn to her for answers.

Hudson Reed doesn’t believe in secrets, and he doesn’t want to hear about enchanted cookies. Hired to find the missing woman, he’s only interested in the facts. Now, he must navigate the town’s wild speculation and deal with Veronica’s coy disposition if he wants to find the truth, and he won’t like what he finds.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Murder by the Seaside - The Patience Price Mysteries
Armed with a new counseling degree, Patience Price is eager to move back home to Chincoteague Island to help folks with their problems. But she finds the streets awash in more than East Coast charm. There's been a murder, and Adrian Davis, the town golden boy who once stomped her heart into a zillion pieces, is the main suspect. Now he's on the run, claiming he's innocent. Patience finds this…poetic. Not that she holds a grudge.

Adrian's mom is sure that with her FBI background Patience can find the truth. Yes, she was at the FBI—in human resources. Still, she looks into it, but not everyone is happy with her snooping. Either that, or the welcome wagon has some bold new policies involving drive-by shootings.

Things really heat up when a hunky former coworker, an actual FBI agent, arrives to help. But he may be too late; the quaint island harbors deadly secrets—and Patience is running out of time.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Deceived
What you don't know can kill you . . .

Ever since she could remember, Elle has had to hop from town to town to keep up with her dad's demanding career as a corporate insurance agent. Each time, a reoccurring nightmare followed her wherever she went - until the day that the frightening figures haunting her at night became all too real. When news of a serial killer spreads throughout her new school, Elle worries that the Reaper has been leaving her his calling card in the form of cigarette butts on her doormat and an unusual ribbon in her locker. With the help of Brian, a boy she meets at a flea market, she discovers that this isn't her first encounter with the murderer and that her father has been concealing her true identity for the past twelve years. But despite her father's desperate attempts to protect her, Elle still comes face to face with the darkness she has been running from her whole life. Trapped in the woods and with help hundreds of miles away, will Elle be able to confront the Reaper and reclaim the life she lost?


Book Trailer: Deceived

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Reinventing Chloe
When Chloe’s completely tragic life strands her in an East Coast nightmare, the smart, sassy Texas cheerleader sets her sights on solving a local murder. Sure, her new home has no Internet, her iPhone doesn’t get a signal and there’s no mall to be found, but Chloe’s navigating a new school, new job and a confusing new romance. Her life’s officially tragic and she’s freezing her peep toe pumps off. She needs the distraction.

When her killer curiosity lands her in the cross hairs of a suspected murderer, things go from no fun to downright deadly. He’s determined to get Chloe off his case, but someone should’ve told him Chloe’s bully proof.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Seeds Of Love - Honey Creek Books
Welcome to Honey Creek, Ohio, where life moves a little slower, stars shine a little brighter and love is always in bloom. Small town life is complicated, sometimes a little messy, but never anything friends and family can’t mend. Seeds of Love is a collection of sweet romantic reads where hearts are challenged, bonds are formed and love heals all things. In Honey Creek, folks find redemption, forgiveness, and friendship. Rock back on the front porch swing, grab a glass of sweet tea and listen to the bullfrog and cricket chorus. Watch the fireflies, toss a horseshoe, stay a while. There’s a Strawberry Festival on Main Street. Watch the cowboys swing their sweetheart in a line dance, or take a seat by the lake. There’s something for everyone in Honey Creek, but the greatest of these is love.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Written on Her Heart - Honey Creek Books
Emma has her reasons not to fall in love, but fate has other plans. When she finds a journal near Honey Creek Lake, she sneaks a peek at the words of a stranger but finds the heart of a hero instead. Soon she’s savoring every word, opening her heart to the man inside and her mind to the possibilities she gave up long ago.

Across town, Nicholas is devastated at the loss of his grandfather’s journal, one he’s written in since he left for Iraq a decade ago. The thought of a stranger mocking his words, or worse, someone from Honey Creek knowing his most intimate trials…. If his journal falls into the wrong hands, humiliation is sure to follow.

But what if it fell into the right ones?


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Harvest Of The Heart - Honey Creek Books
Savannah James thought heartbreak ended her story, but she was wrong. When she gets an infuriating new neighbor, life takes a dizzying turn.

Isaac Mason is making Savannah crazy. One minute he drops by to say “Hi,” and the next minute he walks away without a goodbye. The hot and cold is killing her and so is the intrigue. Now the town’s youngest recluse is coming out of her shell, and folks are taking notice. For the first time in five years, she’s pushing her tragic past aside to focus on someone else. What she finds may send her back into hiding.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Love Blossoms - Honey Creek Books
There’s a wedding coming to Honey Creek and the whole town’s preparing for the party. When Jillian Parker agrees to host a few groomsmen at her inn, she has no idea what she’s in for. With events to coordinate, a bride to please, and an ex-fiancĂ© to dodge, her comfortable life’s getting crazy fast.

And then there’s Jackson.

Jillian’s floored to discover one perfect groomsman is someone she’s known for years. Once a regular at Honey Creek reunions, he’s back for his cousin’s wedding. Jillian’s smitten, but falling in love is out of the question. She’s already juggling bar fights, lodge fires and financial woes. Not to mention, he’s leaving in a week and love takes time.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Death By Chocolate - The Killer Confection
Ruby Russell has reached her limit. When she discovers her hipster husband has a dirty little secret, she whips him up a Viagra-infused-chocolate mousse punishment, but in the morning, her husband’s a stiff. Armed with a lifetime of crime show reruns and Arsenic and Old Lace on DVD, Ruby and her best friend Charlotte try to lay low until after Ruby’s son’s wedding, but a nosy therapist, meddling minister and local news reporter are making it very difficult to get away with murder. Despite the growing chaos, bristling conflicts, and a mounting body count, these delightfully unstable girlfriends are determined to get away with murder come what may.


Order the Book From: Amazon
Bloom: Seeds of Love - Honey Creek Books
The debut novella in the Honey Creek Books series. (Sweet Romance)

In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future….

Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one. Now Cynthia’s come home, and these two hardened hearts can’t stop arguing. If they’d only take a break long enough to find some common ground, they might be surprised to find love can grow anywhere.

If they let it, love will find a way to Bloom.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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