Sunday, May 5, 2013

HBS Author’s Spotlight – Class of April 2013

This month we have a group of interesting writers with worlds of knowledge and expertise.

Be sure to check out what they have coming next for their readers. I try to pick authors who are interesting studies and ask them unique questions for our Q/A section.

Check out our new feature to the HBS Author's Spotlight, The Showcase. I have included those authors in this class. Thanks to the following outstanding authors for a great month.

Here is a summary of our April 2013 crew.

Denise A. Agnew
Author Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

Author's Blog: Denise A. Agnew Blog
Website: Denise A. Agnew
Twitter: @DeniseAAgnew
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Social media is important for me, because as time goes on some of the other old standbys to let readers know about my books have fallen away.

Covers: My publishers have been good about asking me what I think is important in a cover, but at the end of the day they make the final decision.

Support groups: Novelists, Inc. is one of the most progressive groups out there plus International Thriller Writers is the other organization.

Giveways: I've been involved with Goodreads Giveaways. I've found those contests get more attention than anything else I've done in relation to contests.

Author's Book List
Redemption Ridge
Daryk Craving
Shadows Fall
Daryk Rogue
Daryk Warrior
Before the Dawn
Dangerous Intentions
Daryk Hunter

For the rest of the story...View Denise A. Agnew - HBS Author's Spotlight

Ann H. Barlow
Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: The Guardian’s Chronicles Blog
Website: The Guardian’s Chronicles
Twitter: @guardianschron
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New Book: Resurrection, another book in The Guardian’s Chronicles coming soon.

Social media: I value social media it's a great way of getting yourself known.

Unique covers: I have a designer who I give my ideas to and we work together, although I do tend to go with her ideas.

Book trailers: I can't really tell whether the trailer has had a great impact as it's been on the site since the beginning, but the trailer was made after the book was complete and the characters were very much developed.

Giveways: I had good experiences, in the sense that I got feedback and that was the whole point of the exercise.

Fan’s Café: When I originally started Fan's Cafe, it was to encourage people to talk about the book.

Author's Book List
A New Dawn
A World Without Faith

For the rest of the story...View Ann H. Barlow - HBS Author's Spotlight

David Brin
Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Thriller, Comics & Graphic Novels

Author's Blog: Contrary Brin
Website: Worlds of David Brin
Twitter: @DavidBrin1
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What"s next: Readers have been patiently awaiting for 30 years for my return to the planet Kithrup where (at the end of STARTIDE RISING) I left a small crew of dolphins and humans who must protect a secret that will rock five galaxies. I figure it's time to keep that promise.

Social media can be very useful and I try to keep up with the best techniques. After all, in EARTH (1989) I had web pages before there was a web and predicted many of the advantages… and problems … of digital, two-way media

My web site is one of the most extensive author web presences around, with a good listing of coming events.

Youtube presentations: We are entering an era when it will be rare for written fiction to stand entirely alone. Oh, I love the power of the autonomous novel. But it is becoming easier to enhance the experience.

Readers involved in Covers: Indeed, though, I get sent a lot of fan-generated art. It is so cool to see beautiful scenes inspired by pages that I wrote. Often they are more lovely than anything I ever imagined. We are collaborators!

Author's Book List
Heart of the Comet
Kiln People
Foundation's Triumph
The Transparent Society
Heaven's Reach
The Postman
Brightness Reef
The Uplift War
Startide Rising

For the rest of the story...View David Brin - HBS Author's Spotlight

Thomas Cobb
Author Genre: Fiction

Author's Blog: Thomas Cobb Newsletter
Website: Thomas Cobb
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Social media: I do stay away from social media, though I expect to do more of it in the coming months. I prefer the personal contact I get from doing readings and signings, and I do as many of those as I can; likewise, interviews in print and broadcast media.

Covers: With With Blood in their Eyes…my favorite cover of all of them. Next to that is the movie tie-in Crazy Heart with Jeff's picture on the cover.

eBooks: Certainly the ability to notify people of upcoming events in various locals is a good change, as is the ability to get reviews out where people can see them is really helpful changes.

Crazy Heart has been published in several languages, including Czech and Swedish.

Crazy Heart: It was Scott Cooper's first film, and I'm pretty sure he didn't want any distraction from me. The road to the movies was a long one.

Author's Book List
With Blood in Their Eyes
Crazy Heart: A Novel

For the rest of the story...View Thomas Cobb - HBS Author's Spotlight

Connie Flynn
Author Genre: Mystery, Fantasy and Romance

Author's Blog: Imagination Gone Wild
Website: Connie's Books
Twitter: @ConnieFlynn
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming soon: KNOW WHEN TO RUN, tentatively scheduled for late May.

Social media buzz: Back in the days I traditionally published, the publisher did most everything for me…Now that I'm indie published and mostly on Kindle at that, it's become essential that I stay present in the social media world.

Personal appearances: They are among the events I love the most — being there in person, out in public...My next scheduled appearance so far this year is at the July 20 meeting of the Tucson Sisters in Crime at the Viscount Suite Hotel, 4855 E. Broadway, Tucson, Arizona.

Great covers: I design and produce my own covers. Before I became an author, I was a graphic artist and while the tools have changed, design principles really haven't.

Writer support groups: member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime…

Time management: I've been working on a crisis management model ever since I decided to jump into indie publishing with both feet. There was simply so much to do and not enough time or money to go around.

Giveways: The main reason any author sends out free eBooks is because it elevates their visibility inside the incredibly crowded field of online indie books. However, the big free book sweeps that I have been involved are just not as successful in achieving this end as they used to be.

Bootcamp for Novelists is essentially a writing school that presents in-person seminars and online courses. The Bootcamp Basic Training Manual is available through the Kindle Store and Linda offers course packets off the Bootcamp website.

Author's Book List
The Dragon Hour
The Fire Opal
Shadow of the Wolf
Shadow on the Moon

For the rest of the story...View Connie Flynn - HBS Author's Spotlight

Margo Hoornstra
Author Genre: Contemporary/Reunion Series

Author's Blog: Writing Inside & Out
Website: Margo Hoornstra
Twitter: @MargoHoornstra
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Night Stars and Mourning Doves - Buy The Book Tour feature

Author's Book List
Night Stars and Mourning Doves
To Be, Or Not
Next Tuesday at Two
Glad Tidings

For the rest of the story...View Margo Hoornstra - HBS Author's Spotlight

Karen Michelle Nutt
Author Genre: Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Short Stories

Author's Blog: Time Travel, Magic and Otherworldly Tales
Website: Karen Michelle Nutt
Twitter: @KMNbooks
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Soul Taker - Buy The Book Tour feature

Author's Book List
Soul Taker
Twilight's Eternal Embrace
Creighton Manor
Magic of the Loch
A Twist of Fate
Storm Riders
Lucca: Warriors for the Light
Destiny's Prerogative

For the rest of the story...View Karen Michelle Nutt - HBS Author's Spotlight

Susan Oleksiw
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Susan Oleksiw - One Writer's World
Website: Susan Oleksiw
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

On the Drawing Board: seventh Joe Silva /Mellingham mystery while I promote the sixth Joe Silva: Last Call for Justice.

Social media: Some social media has been very important, but I still rely on independent bookstores to carry hard copies, which often helps word of mouth sales.

Events: Wakefield Public Library on May 22 + reading from my new book on August 15 at Nights on the Neck, as part of the Rocky Neck Art Colony event in Gloucester, MA, on August 15.

Covers: a good writer relies on the experts, and I rely on a wonderful graphic designer for some of my covers.

eBooks: I was slow to get on the ebook bandwagon, but I have converted my back list to ebooks, and I'm now also converting them to paperbacks if they're out of print (and the rights have reverted to me).

These are three different ways of being creative, and of seeing the world through different eyes. I'm definitely more of a photographer than a teacher, although I taught for many years and enjoyed it.

Author's Book List
Under the Eye of Kali
Last Call For Justice
The Wrath of Shiva
A Murderous Innocence
Double Take
Friends and Enemies
Murder in Mellingham
Family Album

For the rest of the story...View Susan Oleksiw - HBS Author's Spotlight

D.P. (Derek) Prior
Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Health, Mind & Body

Author's Blog: D.P. Prior Blog
Website: D.P. Prior
Twitter: @derekpprior
E-Mail: derekprior [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What's next: I'm currently about a third of the way through a total redraft of Shader book 3, The Unweaving.

Social media: I belong to a few groups where writers share information on all aspects of self-publishing, particularly promotion…I don't have a very large social media platform. Quite simply, I don't want anything to eat into my writing time to the extent that I fear it could.

Great covers: I work with two cover artists, mostly. I start with a basic idea -- a scene or a character that is central to the story.

Book trailer: I've only made one book trailer, and at the time I didn't have a clue what I was doing.

Giveaways: When it first started, KDP Select brought a surge of sales at the end of a freebie run. That soon dried up, however, so I no longer use the program. I have mixed feelings about free books.

Story plotting: I have three maps of my fantasy worlds in all. They help very much with keeping the sense of real world geography. This lends to an epic feel, rather than simply having the action jump between one location and the next without any sense of a journey.

Author's Book List
The Nameless Dwarf
Best Laid Plans
Cadman's Gambit
The Ant-Man of Malfen
Thanatos Rising
The Resurrection of Deacon Shader

For the rest of the story...View D.P. (Derek) Prior - HBS Author's Spotlight

Luke Romyn
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Author's Blog: Luke's Blog
Website: Author Luke Romyn
Twitter: @LukeRomyn
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming soon: Sins of the Father, continuation of the Legacy Chronicles series.

Social media: My followers on Twitter and Facebook (along with Goodreads and all the others) are utterly phenomenal. Getting the word out has never been easier, especially when others are so gracious as to share what you have to say.

Book covers: I do all my covers, from start to finish, with very little assistance. A friend of mine in Holland who designs covers professionally occasionally gives me a nudge in the right direction…

Great book trailers: I have no idea on their total impact, but I’m a great believer in using all the weapons at my disposal.

Book giveaways: My book giveaways are usually extremely successful, generating huge buzz for my books and large sales afterward. But even the ones that didn’t end up selling me heaps of books were beneficial in that they help get my name out there…

Other languages: My first four books are under contract with a German publisher and are currently in the midst of translation. There’s also been interest from Spanish and Dutch publishers…

Author's Book List
Slaves of Valhalla
The Dark Path
Corpus Christi
Beyond Hades

For the rest of the story...View Luke Romyn - HBS Author's Spotlight

Donna Shields
Author Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author's Blog: Real World on Writing
Twitter: @Donna_Shields
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Secrets of Jenkins Bridge - Buy The Book Tour feature

Author's Book List
Secrets of Jenkins Bridge
The Swan Cove Murders

For the rest of the story...View Donna Shields - HBS Author's Spotlight

Michele Shriver
Author Genre: Real Life Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit

Author's Blog: Michele Shriver - Author of Real Life Women's Fiction
Website: Michele Shriver
Twitter: @micheleshriver
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next up: Finding Forever is a traditional, contemporary romance.
Best Interests is a story about a divorcing couple engaged in a custody battle, who end up forced into mandatory counseling and having to do some soul searching.

Social media: At this point, I'm not convinced that social media has played any significant role in book sales, but I'm also not sure I am using it the right away.

Book cover creation: ...designed by a friend of mine. I usually tell her a bit about the book, and if I have anything specific in mind for what I want on the cover, then let her come up with a concept and we work from there to get it right.

Writer support groups: I'm a member of Critique Circle, which is an online writing and critique site. I submit my books there for the critique process.

eBooks: I think eBooks have absolutely changed publishing and opened doors for many writers that would not otherwise published. The potential downside to that is how many books are being released every single day, which can make it very hard for authors to be noticed. I think marketing is going to become even more important to try to keep books from getting lost in cyberspace with no one knowing they exist.

Author's blog: I actually just made a lot of changes to the blog and website a few days ago, so this is good timing. I want it to be a place where readers can come and learn a bit about me and about my books, but I enjoy featuring other authors on the blog as well.

Author's Book List
Aggravated Circumstances
Sixth South
After Ten

For the rest of the story...View Michele Shriver - HBS Author's Spotlight

Sharon Skinner
Author Genre: Children's Books,Fantasy

Twitter: @sharonskinner56
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Drawing board: I have a number of things in the works. The next project in the pipeline is a middle-grade ghost story called Mirabella and the Faded Phantom (working title), due out in early 2014.

Social media: I love the connectivity of social media, the way it provides a place to connect and dialogue with readers and other writers. I believe that building relationships with readers is critical to a writer’s success and social media provides a more immediate conduit for developing and maintaining those relationships.

Personal appearances: My next appearances will be at Leprecon (May 9-12, 2013) in Mesa, AZ and Phoenix ComiCon (May 23-26, 2013) at the Phoenix, AZ Convention Center.

Great covers: small press...I actually get to provide some creative input on my cover art and inside illustrations. While the publisher selects the artists and strikes the deals, I’m able to dialogue directly with those artists during the development process.

Writer support groups: I am currently an active member of SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)

Audio books: I think that having a variety of formats to offer is a great way to increase sales. Right now, my only audio CDs are poetry and short stories from previously published works.

Author's Book List
The Nelig Stones
The Healer's Legacy
In Case You Didn't Hear Me The First Time

For the rest of the story...View Sharon Skinner - HBS Author's Spotlight

Christine Warner
Author Genre: Contemporary Romance

Website: Christine's Words
Twitter: @ChristinesWords
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next up: Bachelor’s Special… This is a contemporary romance that will release with the Indulgence line at Entangled Publishing in June of this year.

Social media: ... everyone is supportive of one another—authors and readers alike—and I know without their encouragement and retweets and shares I wouldn’t have been able to get word of my books out there to everyone.

Writer support groups: several groups on Facebook…wonderful one on one critique partner, a small critique group. , and some wonderful yahoo groups who support each other with advice and more. Writers are a very supportive and giving group.

Giveaways: I’ve given away an ebook copy of each of my books on some blogs that I’ve appeared on and I’ve received a couple of reviews in return and that’s been wonderful.

Buy the Book Tours is an awesome partner in helping an author promote their works. You just can’t go wrong if you are being exposed to blogs and other websites who have readers you might not otherwise connect with.

Author's Book List
Two-Timing the Boss
Some Like It in Handcuffs

For the rest of the story...View Christine Warner - HBS Author's Spotlight

Cheryl Yeko
Author Genre: Romatic, Suspense

Website: Cheryl Yeko - Where Love Always Wins
Twitter: @CherylYeko
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

A Man to Trust - Buy The Book Tour feature

Author's Book List
A Man to Trust
Protecting Rose

For the rest of the story...View Cheryl Yeko - HBS Author's Spotlight

Authors Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
They also sponsor: eBook Author’s Corner and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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