Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Margo Bond Collins - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Margo Bond Collins. She is the author of the A Night Shift Series.

Author Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy

Website: Margo Bond Collins - Aim for the Heart…
Author's Blog: Margo Bond Collins - Aim for the Heart…
Blog: Amazon Author Page
Twitter: @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Margo Bond Collins is the author of Waking up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead, first in the Vampirarchy urban fantasy series, coming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.

She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter and several spoiled pets. She teaches college English online. She loves paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Just recently, she’s added cowboys and heroes to that list, as she has begun writing romance novels for Entangled Publishing (watch this site for more news about those books!).

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Sanguinary. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Yes! Although I will almost certainly have some books come out before it (the timeline is a little fluid at this point), my next pinned-down, definite release is of Siren's Kiss in August 2015. It's a sequel to Sanguinary and it follows one of the secondary characters in that book as he continues the paranormal investigation begun in Sanguinary. Here's the blurb and a snippet:


Her kiss might save the world . . .

Unless his kiss kills her first.

It's been almost two thousand years since the mer-shifter Skyla walked the streets of Athens—not since her heart was broken by a human man and she exchanged the land and sky for the ocean depths. Ever since, she has lived in the underwater ruins of Atlantis, studying with the priestesses of the goddess Amphitrite, refining her mermaid powers and ignoring her human half.

But her studies are interrupted when she is called upon by Poseidon himself to investigate rumors that the world above is being polluted by the magic of creatures from another realm—and worse, that the ocean kingdom of the mer-people might be next.

When her inquiries in modern-day Greece lead her to an American detective asking similar questions, Skyla realizes that the magical problem she's been sent to research is bigger than she anticipated—and that one human's kisses might be more dangerous to her, and her world, than she ever could have imagined.


This is not a love story.

It's been over two thousand years since I walked these shores, and even then, the man who broke my heart was centuries gone, sailed away into death—the last journey into yet another land where I will not follow.

Truth be told, though, he left me long before he died, gone away to rejoin a wife he hadn't seen in twenty years, to reclaim a rocky, wind-swept island for a son he barely knew.

Gone home, to spin stories about his absence like his wife spun his death-shroud—picking out the stitches at night and reweaving them anew to postpone the inevitable moment when the stories wear thin and you find the monsters have been in your home all along, posing as suitors who would win your heart.

The poets lie, you know. They say our songs seduce the sailors, draw them into the ocean to drown.

But if the ocean sings to them, it is not our doing—no more than the earth's call to us is And Odysseus never tried to resist.

You can add Siren's Kiss to your Goodreads list here:

Siren's Kiss is also part of the Falling in Deep Collection, a collection of mermaid novels by 15 award-winning and talented authors. You can learn more about the collection here:

You have a good 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?

I've tried to grow my following organically, as much as possible. I follow the kinds of people who interest me, as well as those I think might be interested in me. I do some giveaways that include "follow me on Twitter" and other social media as entry options, but I consider those to be lagniappe. I talk about books on my social media—my books, other people's books, books I'm reading, books I'm writing, and so on. People who aren't interested in books tend to leave, eventually.

I'm not sure I've seen a direct correlation between social media activity and book sales, but I like interacting with readers—I'm a college English professor in my day job, and talking about books is one of my favorite things to do! So it probably doesn't hurt.

If you want to talk books, feel free to come hang out with me on social media! (See Links above)

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 don't keep a specific reader list, but I have both a newsletter and a street team. I send the newsletter out (roughly) monthly, and I try to interact with my street team several times a week. I talk about both of these options as often as possible on various social media! I do a lot of guest posts and interviews, and I include the information there. I'm also beginning to put links to those sites in the backs of my books.

The street team is on Facebook, and it's The Vampirarchy:
Here's the newsletter link:

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

All of the above! For Sanguinary, I took a poll of my street team for the title. Once I'd gotten their votes, I contacted one of my favorite cover artists (Liliana Sanches—she did the Waking Up Dead cover, too) and gave her the basic information, then let her run with it. I find that artists tend to do their best work when I'm not hovering over their shoulders.

For Siren's Kiss, on the other hand, I arranged for the photo I wanted to use (I fell in love with that image), and then gave some general guidelines for the rest of the cover. I think I said "swimming up past some columns or something." And then I let that artist (Staci Brillhart) do her thing—and she came up with a beautiful cover!

The final way I deal with covers is that I hoard them—I skim pre-made cover sites to watch for anything that fits a work-in-progress. That's how I found the Fairy, Texas cover. And every so often, I'll find a lovely cover that I have to have, even before I have a story to go with it. That's how I ended up with the cover to Bound by Blood!

Fairy, Texas and Waking Up Dead have been converted into BookBuzzr books (Online Sample Reading) on your website. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Do you have more control over your product than the traditional Amazon preview?

It's difficult to tell if any one thing has more impact on sales than any other thing. I consider all of these things simply tools in my kit—I do plan to put the other books up on BookBuzzr, too; I just don't have enough hours in the day!

You have written several novellas. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?

Short novels have always been around. In fact, my dissertation was, in part, about eighteenth-century amatory fiction—the very first popular genre novels in English—and they were what we would now consider either novellas or short stories. Long novels didn't become popular until later in their development, historically. So I see the recent upswing in shorter reads as simply another trend in reading.

My novellas are all parts of a larger body of work. Taming the Country Star was designed to introduce my contemporary romance series. Bound by Blood is a sequel to Sanguinary—it and Siren's Kiss (as well as a few other forthcoming novellas) will all tie together to create a complete story, even though every book will also stand on its own.

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 away books all the time, and I love doing it. I give away a paperback in every newsletter. And I give away ebooks via contests, on my blog, in my street team, on Facebook. I've had free runs on Amazon of books.

My main goal is creating readers. Word of mouth still sells more books than anything else. And if I love a book, I will talk it up to others. I want people to read my books. My hope is that a new reader will love my book so much that he or she will go buy more.

In fact, just recently a friend of mine asked if I had read Courtney Milan's wonderful historical romance novels. I hadn't, but when I saw a few weeks later that she had a book for free, I downloaded it. I loved it so much that I went back and bought every single book Milan has written, and then read all of them in two weeks, and then left glowing reviews about them, then sent links to the free book to all my romance-reader friends. And that was exactly how the process should work. I hope that someday someone has the same experience with my books.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I'm still figuring this out! When a book comes out, here are the steps I usually take:

1. Hold a release party on Facebook. I don't know if it sells books, but I think of it as a celebration.
2. Post about it on my blog and social media. Probably ad nauseum.
3. Arrange to promote it on other people's blogs via guest posts, spotlights, interviews, and so on.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and promoting 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?

I started my primary blog as soon as I landed my first book contract—and then I realized that I didn't have anything to say! But I do know books. My entire professional life has been about reading books, writing about books, and now, authoring books. And I realized that the best way to get others to help me promote my books would be to help them, too.

So I decided to make my blog about anything writing-related and to promote other authors.

Initially, my primary goal was to promote my own books. But now it's more about getting my name out there in a variety of ways. I now participate in several blogs—both my own, and by co-blogging with other authors. Here they are:

Words, Words, Words
The Blazing Indie Collective
Books that Aim for the Heart
Paranormal Love Features

As for time? I'm still not sure—it's definitely a balancing act!

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I do a combination of things. I recently hired a publicity assistant, and she spends several hours a week combing through book blogs and contacting the bloggers to request reviews or guest spots. I ask my street team to review any of my books they read (though I don't require it for membership in the Vampirarchy). Other than that, I simply wait for readers to review.

Author's Book List
Sanguinary - A Night Shift Novel
Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.

When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city's vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.

But she didn't know then what she knows now: there's a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.

So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.

But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Taming the Country Star - A Hometown Heroes Novella -Entangled Bliss
He'll do anything to win her heart. She'll do anything to keep him away.

Country star Cole Grayson is in town, and Kylie Andrews is less than thrilled. As if months of changing the radio station and tearing down his posters werent bad enough, now she has to deal with a town of fans swarming toward the man who deceived her the year before. But when Kylies eyes meet Coles again, she cant deny the electric chemistry that drew her to him the first time around.

Cole Grayson is on a mission. Ever since Kylie left him, he hasnt been able to forget her sweet country smile. After writing a song just for her, he sets off for her hometown to prove hes not the player she thinks he is. But as much as Cole cant forget her, Kylie wonders if she can forgive him

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Legally Undead - Vampirarchy Book 1
A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she'll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancĂ©, Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs—not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire's heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning to face them, Elle realizes Greg's body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.

Order the Book From: Amazon - KOBO
Fairy, Texas
Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other. Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class. She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Waking Up Dead
When Callie Taylor died, she expected to go to heaven—or maybe hell. Instead, when she was murdered in Dallas by some jerk with a knife and a bad-mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s seen another murder, and she can’t just let it go; she must find a way to make sure the police figure out who really killed Molly McClatchy before an innocent man goes to prison, all the while trying to determine how and why she woke up dead in Alabama.

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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