Thursday, October 31, 2013

HBS Author’s Spotlight – Class of October 2013

This month we have a group of interesting writers with worlds of knowledge and expertise. The author interviews are a MUST read.

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 the Showcase feature of the HBS Author's Spotlight. I have included those authors in this class. Thanks to the following outstanding authors for a great month.

Here is a summary of our October 2013 crew.

Mark Barnes

Author Genre: Educational, non-fiction, mystery

Website: Mark Barnes
Twitter: @markbarnes19

Next: I hope to have a new novel by spring, but right now I'm really just fleshing out ideas. All I can say is it will be a unique government conspiracy.

Social media is crucial for people who are working hard to break into writing, without the backing of a major publisher. Twitter has been huge for my success, not only as a storyteller but as an education consultant

Most of the book signings I do are at education conferences, since my fiction work is online. I'd love to hear more from fiction readers.

Giveaways: I have done very well offering The League: A New Game for free on Amazon. This has created a swell of enthusiasm, which ultimately brought many fans to my work.

Training of new writers: There is a lot of helpful how-to stuff already available on Amazon, though. I'd recommend that people begin there.

Author's Book List
The League
The 5-Minute Teacher
Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom

For the rest of the story...View Mark Barnes - HBS Author's Spotlight

Chester D. Campbell

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Chester D. Campbell Newsletter
Website: Chester D. Campbell - Nashville Mystery Writer
Twitter: @ChesterCampbell
E-Mail: chester @ chesterdcampbell dot com
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I'm currently working on the sixth book in my Greg McKenzie Mysteries series. I hope to have it out by the middle of next year.

Social media: I have not exploited social media as well as some of my colleagues, but Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads have definitely helped my sales.

Covers: The political thriller trilogy brought in a new cover designer, Stephen Walker. I gave him some ideas and suggested illustrations and he came up with great covers.

Free books: I had modest success until I used the BookBub site in September. It's a bit costly, but the results were dramatic.

Newsletter: Which is a long way around of saying I don't have a fixed primary goal. The closest I can offer is that I want to write stories I enjoy writing and find readers who enjoy reading them.

Reviews: I have mostly relied on a group of well-established review sites such as Midwest Book Reviews, Crimespree Magazine and Spinetingler Magazine. The BookBub promotion brought a stream of reader reviews on Amazon.

Author's Book List
Overture to Disaster
The Poksu Conspiracy
Secret of the Scroll
Beware the Jabberwock
The Good, The Bad and The Murderous
A Sporting Murder
The Surest Poison
The Marathon Murders
Deadly Illusions
Designed to Kill

For the rest of the story...View Chester D. Campbell - HBS Author's Spotlight

Dianne Harman

Author Genre: Romance and Literary Fiction

Author's Blog: Dianne Harman Author
Website: Dianne Harman Author
Twitter: @DianneDHarman
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: It should be published within the next three weeks. It continues the story of Maria and how she falls in love with a Los Angeles Police Detective while she’s hiding from law enforcement.
Coyote in Provence on Amazon

Social media: I made the decision to market my books through social media and it’s worked out well.

Covers: I have a great graphic artist. Mine is very hands-on. I probably make ten or so changes to each cover until I get it the way I think most depicts the book. I tell her the basic story and give her a rough idea of what I have in mind…

Free books: I have done Giveaways on Goodreads and I think it’s been good exposure.

Author's Book List
Tea Party Teddy
Blue Coyote Motel

For the rest of the story...View Dianne Harman - HBS Author's Spotlight

Darcia Helle

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

Author's Blog: A Word Please
Website: Quiet Fury Books
Twitter: @DarciaHelle
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: After finishing Killing Instinct, my tenth book published this past June, I spent much of the summer on marketing as well as catching up on various projects. I’ve just started working on book #11 and only have a vague idea where it’s going.

Social media buzz: For most of us who are independently published, social media plays a huge roll. It’s how we connect with fellow authors and our readers. There is a constant influx of self-published authors into the market, making it too easy to get swallowed up by the masses. A stable presence is necessary to maintain that connection. Without social media and the connections I’ve made, I’d be lucky to sell a few books a year.

Covers: I am a total hands-on person. The cover is typically a reader’s first impression of the book, and the design has to represent the content. I wouldn’t hand a story idea over to someone else to write for me, nor would I give someone else control over the cover art for that story.

Book trailers: I have absolutely no idea if the trailers impact book sales at all. Judging which promotional and marketing techniques work and which don’t is difficult at best.

Audio books: I’ve actually been surprised by how much I enjoyed hearing someone else bring my characters to life. I think audiobook listeners are often an entirely different group from e-book readers

Free books: My opinion is that most of those people who downloaded my book free would never have found me otherwise. Also, it allowed me to build up reviews for that title, which also helps with promotion.

Book tours: You need to find bloggers who are outside of your usual network. Otherwise, you’re only reaching readers who already know about you. But you also need to be sure the bloggers have an audience that fits your niche.

Blog: My primary goal with my blog is simply entertainment for readers. I don’t want it to be all about promoting my own books. That would be dull for me, so it would have to be dull for readers as well. I love promoting my fellow authors, particularly those whose work I enjoy and respect.

Feed the World With Words project: Helping to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless have been passions of mine for a long time. After the economic collapse, the homeless situation in the US grew exponentially. Here in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, we have an entire “tent city” filled with families who lost their homes.

Author's Book List
Killing Instinct
Into The Light
The Cutting Edge
Beyond Salvation
No Justice
Enemies and Playmates
Hit List
Murder, Madness, and Mystery

For the rest of the story...View Darcia Helle - HBS Author's Spotlight

Joanne Sydney Lessner

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Playwriter

Website: Joanne Lessner
Twitter: @joannelessner
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I am slaving away over the third Isobel Spice novel. It's called AND JUSTICE FOR SOME, and I expect it to be out in September 2014. It's a bit of a departure from the first two in that the murder doesn't happen at Isobel's temp job.

Social media: I have to say, I really love Twitter. Facebook is great for keeping up with friends, but Twitter has connected to me to like-minded people I would never have met otherwise. I feel like I've made genuine friends on there.

Book signings: I did quite a number of book signings for PANDORA'S BOTTLE, mostly at wine festivals, since that was such a natural fit and my publishers are very connected in that world.

Covers: I feel extremely lucky in my designer, Linda Pierro. Linda is one of the partners at Flint Mine Press, the publishers of PANDORA'S BOTTLE, and she designed the book's cover. I loved it so much that I hired her to design the covers for the Isobel Spice series, which is published by my own imprint, Dulcet Press.

Ebooks have been a tremendous boon to writers of genre fiction. Mysteries, romance, fantasy—those are not typically the kinds of books readers make big investments in. They like to rip through as many books as possible, getting hooked on series after series.

Free books: I used my KDP Select free promo days twice last year for THE TEMPORARY DETECTIVE with tremendous success. I hit the top of the free store and, as a result, had a huge increase in sales the following month or two, as well as a big uptick in reviews.

Changing hats: You write novels and musicals. I thrive on changing hats and having multiple projects on tap. I get bored easily, so if I'm not inspired by one project, I can switch—as long as I don't have an immediate deadline. Also, I like the contrast between working alone and collaborating.

Reviews: I had success with a recent blog tour through Goddess Fish promotions that netted me some very nice blog reviews, and I think saturating the online reading community is the most attainable path for indie writers.

Author's Book List
Pandora's Bottle
Bad Publicity
The Temporary Detective

For the rest of the story...View Joanne Sydney Lessner - HBS Author's Spotlight

Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Author Genre: Nonfiction, Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Phyllis Zimbler Miller
Website: Phyllis Zimbler Miller
Twitter: @ZimblerMiller
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: Besides the fiction project on Wattpad -- THE MOTHER SIEGE: A DYSTOPIAN THRILLER -- and my new nonfiction project on Wattpad -- TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY: A COLD WAR MEMOIR -- I am finishing the short screwball romantic comedy novel HOT POTATO written with my husband.

Social media: I've been on Twitter for over five years and I love it as a source for sharing information. I do think it has helped get out info about my books, but for me the most important aspect is the online friendships that have resulted.

Book trailer: I have to say in my personal opinion that book trailers do not necessarily sell books. If an author's marketing budget is limited, I would not recommend spending that budget on a trailer.

Short stories: … not a sample of my work… I wrote SOLOMON'S JUSTICE because of my long-standing interest in helping to spread information to veterans about PTSD. And I wrote PINKY SWEAR because I was interested in exploring one of the four POV characters from MRS. LIEUTENANT as a teen.

Support groups: Sisters in Crime … Nowadays I learn a great deal about writing, marketing and publishing from other people on social media sites.

Free books: I have done several giveaways on Goodreads and I'm not sure whether these made any difference on that site. But depending on how successful a particular free giveaway is via KDP Select, afterwards I usually see somewhat of an uptick in sales.

Blog: I have always loved to tell people what to do -- by which I mean share helpful information. So blogging is a natural for me. But I admit that I am doing less blogging than I did five years ago as I expand the number of book writing projects that I am doing. And much of my author blogging is sharing with others the information I have learned for myself.

Author's Book List
Solomon's Justice
Cast the First Stone
Top Tips for How to Publish Your Book in the Age of Kindle
Top Tips for How to Market on the Internet With Pictures
Top Tips for How to Market Your Book on Amazon and Facebook
CIA Fall Guy
Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders
Mrs. Lieutenant

For the rest of the story...View Phyllis Zimbler Miller - HBS Author's Spotlight

Toby Neal

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense

Website: Toby Neal
Twitter: @tobywneal
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I’m hard at work on #6, Shattered Palms in the Lei Crime Series.

Social media: While social media will NOT make up for a bad or even mediocre book, it’s a cheap and effective way to get word out about your work through relationship building.

Book signings: I’ve really enjoyed speaking at my local Rotary Clubs and at book clubs. As an “indie” my books aren’t available in most stores, but I go wherever I’m invited! Next speaking gig is Nov. 13 at the Five Palms Restaurant in Wailea, Maui.

Covers: For me the most important decisions happened early on when I planned a series with Hawaiian-themed flowers and plants with a foreboding feel—I also knew I wanted a “classy yet creepy” look to the covers.

Time schedule: I try to do 1200-2000 words a day of fresh writing and I’ve always got projects in editing and rewriting stages. I work in the mornings and I’m also a clinical social worker in private practice

Free books: I have had good results from book giveaways. As a new author, it was a great way to get the word out about my work, and since the books are a series, if they like the freebie they go back and buy the rest. It’s been great.

Reviews: I recently got a wonderful Kirkus Review for my latest novel, Unsound. It was such a thrill to read the positive assessment of the book and of me as a writer! I do have a lot of reviews on my books. I think they touch something in readers, who respond by reviewing.

Author's Book List
Twisted Vine
Stolen in Paradise
Broken Ferns
Black Jasmine
Torch Ginger
Blood Orchids

For the rest of the story...View Toby Neal - HBS Author's Spotlight

Caridad Pineiro

Author Genre: Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Caridad Piñeiro
Twitter: @CaridadPineiro
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New book: TO CATCH A PRINCESS releases on August 12 and it’s a sexy and emotional story about an arrange marriage, hidden identities and a thief who is trying to steal millions of dollars in jewels from an event the princess is hosting.

Social media: While I think social media has helped sales, the best thing about it has been all the fun and interesting people I’ve met. It’s been great and I’ve even been able to meet quite a lot of them up close and personal, which I love.

Personal appearances: I mostly do local bookstores and street fairs, but I try to get to at least two bigger conferences every year. Also, if I know fans are in an area, I reach out to them personally to try and arrange to meet them one-on-one.

Book covers: On my indie releases I get very involved with working with the cover artist to create the look and feel that I want. With traditionally published books, I am as involved.

Audio Books: I have a few audio books out and readers seem to really like them. I plan on having my indie books done as audio as well. I would recommend to new authors that they consider doing this as there are very viable avenues for producing an audio book.

eBooks: E-books have given me the flexibility to write shorter works and also, to re-release my older books. I’ve enjoyed doing that and also exploring characters like those in TO CATCH A PRINCESS.

Free books: I’ve done only one free book giveaway and it did boost sales of that and other books. My main goal was to reach readers who might not have otherwise read one of my books. My one concern is that there are some people who will only do free, but the reality of it is, writers do need to make money on their books.

Reviews: I rely on readers and bloggers for reviews. There are many responsible reviewers out there and I like to support them in any way I can and in turn, get their honest opinion on the books.

Author's Book List
To Love and Serve
To Catch a Princess
Faith in You
Now and Always
The Prince's Gamble
Kissed by a Vampire
Her Vampire Lover
The Claimed
The Vampire's Consort
The Lost
Sins of the Flesh

For the rest of the story...View Caridad Pineiro - HBS Author's Spotlight

David Prever

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: David Prever - The Blog
Website: David Prever
Twitter: @DPrever
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Getting close: A tease: When Jessica Chadwick – socialite and goddaughter to Princess Alice, the Queen’s sister – falls from her horse during her morning ride, doctors break the devastating news that a scan has revealed a tumour in her brain. It’s inoperable. At most, she has six months to live.

Social media: So much is made of social media, yet it's really just old fashioned networking by another name. It also takes time, both in building followers and then maintaining those relationships. Just like the 'real' world. It does work for me, although I do think it's important to think carefully about before you decide to post.

Cover: I design the covers myself, through my company

Free books: Writers hate the idea of giving away their work for free, which is understandable. I was no exception. But if you want to build a readership there's no other way, and no downside as far as I'm concerned. It's all about getting people to read your book

Getting reviews: I might gently remind readers - via social media - to post a review once they've finished the book. There's only one way to get a good review, and that's by writing a good book.

Author's Book List
The Blood Banker

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

Roger Stelljes

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Short Stories

Author's Blog: Roger Stelljes - Mystery Author
Website: Roger Stelljes - Mystery Author
Twitter: @rogerstelljes
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Social media: I mostly use Twitter to talk to my fans. I really enjoy the back and forth conversations and the interesting questions they present. I wish I had more time to utilize social media…

Covers: I've had three other book cover designers that decided to get out of the cover business. I'm looking at re-designing covers now. I usually let the designer come up with the idea. I am going to test my newest cover for First Case to see if fans like it better than the older covers.

YouTube: I'm not sure if it has helped in promoting my books but I suppose it is another way to connect with readers and they can get a bit more insight into the series. Deadly Stillwater - KARE 11

Free books: I've had a great experience giving away Deadly Stillwater for free. I've given away over 500,000 copies so far. The biggest obstacle to giving away books free for any author is that you need to be able to forgo the income potential had you charged for the book.

Reviews: Some of my books have been out in ebook form for a couple years. This has allowed me to build up a fairly large platform of readers waiting for the next book to come out so the reviews generally trickle in on their own

Author's Book List
Electing To Murder - Thriller
Deadly Stillwater
The St. Paul Conspiracy - Thriller

For the rest of the story...View Roger Stelljes - HBS Author's Spotlight

HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Terry Ambrose
Featured Book: Kauai Temptations

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Funny Mystery, Suspense

Website: Terry Ambrose - Mysteries with character
Twitter: @suspense_writer
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author's Book List
Kauai Temptations
License to Lie
Photo Finish
Life's Shorts

For the rest of the story...View Terry Ambrose - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Rachelle Ayala
Featured Book: Knowing Vera

Author Genre: Romance Historical

Author's Blog: When a Woman Wrongs a Man
Twitter: @AyalaRachelle
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author's Book List
Knowing Vera
Broken Build
Your Daily Bible Verse
Michal's Window

For the rest of the story...View Rachelle Ayala - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Cheryl Bradshaw
Featured Book: Bed of Bones

Author Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction novels

Author's Blog: A Place to Embrace our Love of Books
Website: Cheryl Bradshaw
Twitter: @cherylbradshaw
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author's Book List
Bed of Bones
Grayson Manor Haunting
Stranger in Town
I Have a Secret
Whispers of Murder
Black Diamond Death
Dine With Us, A Collection of Recipes from the Authors of Indie Writers Unite

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

R.P. Dahlke
Featured Book: Hurricane Hole

Author Genre: Mystery, Romance, Humor

Author's Blog: R.P. Dahlke - Infrequent Blog
Website: R.P. Dahlke
Twitter: @rpdahlke
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author's Book List
Hurricane Hole
A Dead Red Oleander

For the rest of the story...View R.P. Dahlke - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Lisa Kessler
Featured Book: Hunter's Moon

Author Genre: Romance, Short Stories, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: Lisa Kessler
Twitter: @LdyDisney
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author's Book List
Hunter's Moon
Night Demon
Night Thief
Night Walker
Forgotten Treasures: 25 Short Fiction Tales
Across the Veil

For the rest of the story...View Lisa Kessler - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Annie Seaton
Featured Book: Dangerous Desire

Author Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

Author's Blog: Annie Seaton-Romance Author
Website: Annie Seaton
Twitter: @annieseaton26
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I am very excited because I actually have three books about to be released. After Dangerous Desire, Outback Affair will make its appearance on 10th of October and then Tangling with the CEO in mid-November.

Social media: The most important factor in succeeding in your writing is to write a good story, of course. Following a close second in these days of social media, it is critical to reach the reading mass on a daily basis through the use of social media. I focus on Facebook and Twitter for my networking and spend at least two hours every day creating and maintaining relationships

Covers: My publisher (Entangled Publishing) is wonderfully receptive when designing covers. They source detailed information from me about what I envisage on the cover, similar covers that.

Support groups: I am a member of the Romance Writers Association of Australia and Romance Writers of New Zealand. To be absolutely honest, I could not have achieved success without belonging to organisations like this.

Free books: I have offered all of my self-published books for free at one stage or another and believe it is beneficial as it further increases the exposure of my name and my books. I have also given away free print copies of my books for promotion and to my local library. I also gift many copies of my books as giveaways on blog tours and it has always been a positive experience for me.

Living in Australia: My biggest audience up until recently was the United States where the population is much greater than that of my home country, Australia. Over the past few weeks my rankings for Italian Affair have picked up in India which is very exciting. Marketing online gives you a global market at your fingertips.

Author's Book List
Dangerous Desire
Italian Affair
Winter of the Passion Flower
Summer of the Moon Flower
Blind Lust
Holiday Affair

For the rest of the story...View Annie Seaton - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

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