Friday, May 8, 2015

Shelley Young - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Shelley Young. She is the author of the Dardian Dreshaj novels.

Author Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Historical, Mainstream, Erotica

Website: Shelley Young - Amazon International Bestselling Author
Twitter: @dardiandreshaj
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Shelley Young is an Amazon International Bestseller in crime, romance and suspense. Compared often as a mash-up of two of the best thriller and erotica authors, her thriller, suspense and mystery novels have been downloaded from Canada to Australia in eBook form. A book club favorite, each of her novels were nominated as best Indie book of 2014 in its genre. The author of the Dardian Dreshaj novels, who fans have dubbed its leading character as 'a man all men dream of being and all women want to love,' she's also a writer of mystery, as well as historical. Look for her historical series scheduled to be released in 2016 and two more crime thrillers scheduled for release in the first part of 2015.

Dardian Dreshaj has lived twelve years solely during the night. A handsome, Albanian immigrant who loves as passionately as he kills, he IS the highest paid contract killer in America.

Bad doctor, good nurse is a lethal combination. For Dr. Andreus Solomon Tell, who has a temperament as dark as his well-kept secret, it's no wonder women are falling head-over-heels dead in the small town of Plain Dealing where he lives. Is he a murderer? Can he be tamed? Is his persuasive mannerism potent enough to fool everyone around him?

If you enjoy novels of crime, investigations and a touch of heat levels four and five erotica, novels with characters you can't help falling for and cheering for them every step of the way, you'll love the writings of this author. She currently resides in So California with her family.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

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’m currently working on book three of the Dardian Dreshaj series. Titled The Blood Trail, Dardian finds himself perhaps up against his most skilled component. The problem he faces is he has no idea who his new enemies are. Following the blood trail his enemies are leaving behind, he’s up against the clock before someone else loses their life. What he discovers is who he truly is in this novel. He’s not just America’s highest paid contract killer, a husband, a father. He’s a passionate man who can become deadly when the underworld he lives in targets an innocent child. The child’s name is Kayla, and she’s only nine years old. But what Kayla knows can put a public figure behind bars for the rest of his life. And Dardian will do anything to protect her, even if it means putting his life, his identity and his company at risk, because he realizes that protecting Kayla is the same as protecting his own children. Once he does come face to face with his enemies, has he risked all for nothing? Or will he do to them far more than what he’s done to his past enemies? I’m hoping to have this latest novel released by early summer.

You have a great following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? How do you maintain the steady pace of tweets?

As an author, social media cannot be ignored. I love my tweeps on Twitterville. I have garnered solid fans, interviews, book sales, and radio interviews all from Twitter. This could be why I personally find Twitter more satisfying, but I have garnered attention on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook as well. I spend approximately six hours a week on Twitter alone. Some like to use auto-tweets, but I find engaging with people more personable, and they are more incline to engage with you when they see this. Believe it or not, there is a marketing strategy on Twitter that can be successful if you can tap into it and use it to the fullest.

You do 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?

I will be in the May/June issue of Focus on Women magazine. For those of you who would like to check it out once it’s released, you can simply go to I will be attending the Vegas Valley Book Festival in October, and a Barnes and Noble book signing later that month, as well as the Authors Gala in Maryland, which coincidentally is also in October. I didn’t overbook myself this year as I needed to work on releasing a total of three new books. Anyone can keep up with me on my website. Any messages left on the Biography tab reaches me directly by email and text. I respond to every last one of these messages usually within twenty-four hours.

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers?

Book trailers are a necessity, and I can honestly say that my trailers have helped me with not only book sales, but with exposure to interviewers and potential readers. I create my trailers on my own through my subscription through Animoto. I love this site. What I like to do is pull out the key elements of my novels through depictions, mostly public domain photos, so that the crux of my novels are given to potential readers and help them to decide if this is the book for them or not.

You have written several short stories in the Dali series. 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?

What a good question, because Indies often wonder the same thing. I’m not a fan of flash fiction. I can be, but not at this time. I did the Dali series after a discussion I had with a fan. It was something that she wanted and she asked me to try my hand at it, so I did. I had to pull back from the series, because the more I wrote of it the more the readers wanted! It began to take up too much time.

Has it helped me sale my full-length novels? No, but I do believe that flash fiction can do just that. With flash fiction you have to market just as fully as you do your other work. My sales from the Dali series are actually the other way around for me. My fans buy the Dali stories after they enjoy my full-length reads, and they are quick to tell me that they prefer my full-length novels, as the Dali series is far too short and too much of a tease.

I actually had a fan write me a detailed email after she read The Blood Feud, The Blood Tie and Plain Dealing to purchase the first book in the Dali series, and after finished reading it wanted to throw her Kindle across the room. She said she stared at the screen in disbelief that the story was over so quickly. If I shared that email with you, you would laugh. I did. A lot! So descriptive was she in how she cheated she felt. When you truly enjoy an author’s work, you have a hard time dealing with a flash fiction piece that’s over with within ten to one hundred pages. That’s what I’ve learned from it all.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I have been writing for many years and I used to be active in quite a few online support groups, and here’s what I’ve learned. To some writing is merely a hobby. To others it is a business – a job. I’m the latter. Writing is my business – my passion. You can’t spend enough time writing your next novel if you’re online debating with others of what they believe are the dos and don'ts of writing. So what I’ve done was lessen my availability to the support groups and offered one on one support to any author who contacts me on my website. The results have been tremendous and I can proudly say that I have helped some Indies not only publish, but reach #1 on Amazon in their genre.

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?

Many believe that free giveaways are dead. I agree and disagree. The trick is not to use free giveaways as your only marketing tool. I waited until I had three books on the market before I did a giveaway. I did it for exposure. Nothing more. As a way for people to know that I was out there and I had a few books that if you liked my genre, you would love. And I can honestly tell you that I did the giveaway too soon. I should have waited until I had no less than six to ten novels on the market.

Here’s why I say that. My giveaway was a success! I didn’t do it through Bookbub. I did it with my small marketing team and the results were thousands given away and more than a thousand paid copies sold in twenty-four hours, launching my book into the bestsellers list and placing me next to James Patterson, Joel Goldman and the great Stephen King. Yes, my name and book cover had Stephen King to its left and James Patterson to my right.

Afterwards, my books started selling in Australia, the UK, Canada, France, Japan, China and even Africa, landing me on some of their bestsellers list in the paid category as well. Fans started contacting me on Twitter, FB, Amazon and my website. My website has seen a steady stream of traffic since! Can you imagine how much success I could have gotten with more books? For months, solely from word of mouth from those who bought my books; they inspired others to by my books, causing my sales to coast on a continuous wave for approximately four months. I have nothing against giveaways when they’re done correctly.

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?

If I could spend more time on marketing, I’m more than positive that my exposure and sales would increase drastically. What I’m focusing on now is releasing new novels so I’ve pulled back on marketing and my book sales have seen the impact. The strategy now is quantity. I have four unpublished manuscripts, and what I’ve learned is that if you don’t have enough books on the market you lose your reader following. I cannot tell you how many times people have contacted me asking when the next book is coming out. They’re impatient. Once you find a good author, you will follow and buy what they put out. That’s why quantity is important. You have to keep your readers satisfied or lose them.

I don’t have a reader list, but I do go after readers in my genre through social and marketing media. I don’t have a newsletter. It may be beneficial, but I find that when you constantly bombard people with the mention of your work it turns them off, and I don’t want to do that. As long as I see that the daily visits to my website are steady and slowly increasing, I’m fine with that alone. And for those who want to contact me, they can. My aim is for unique followers. This means your everyday readers, whereas with online groups your followers are actually authors. This isn’t bad; it’s just not my cup of tea. I prefer readers and hearing what they have to say even if they’re chastising me regarding steamy contents. It’s real – how they feel, and I respect them and listen.

You have a great website. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and offering helpful 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 website? (I notice that you have given a shout out to Jake Needham on your website. We were fortunate to interview him on the HBS Author Spotlight.)
PS: I liked the music.

Thank you! I actually keep an Excel spreadsheet of how much time I need to spend doing different things. It is time consuming! I have reached a point where I’m actively searching for an assistant. But right now I maintain my website and social media platforms myself. So if you see I missed a day or two, I’m working on it. LOL.

My primary goal is like most authors. I want to be a household name. My day starts early in the morning and I don’t stop until approximate one in the morning. This is constant!

Jake Needham is the bestselling American author in China and I had the privilege of meeting him first on Twitter. Since then we have kept in touch. I love his work. I also communicate online with Joel Goldman who at any given time has several of his novels listed on the bestsellers list. I have personally met Catherine Coulter, Amy Tan, Cara Black, Barry Eisler and quite a few other New York Times Bestsellers through an agent I used to have.

What you see on my website and the success I’ve garnered I learned through her, my ex-agent. I took all of the things her literary agency and a publisher would have done for me and done them for myself. Because I am my marketing, PR, my everything, it takes time. And time is what I must give if I want to keep what I’ve built.

This year’s Tucson Festival of Books was a great event, enjoyed by thousands. A Book festival is a unique selling situation. How did you prepare for the festival? Did it meet your goals? If you had to do something different next year, what would that be?

I so enjoyed the TFOB! I prepared by not just having books available, I came ready to mingle and had plenty of ‘swag’ to giveaway to people who didn’t purchase that day, but may want to buy later. I met a few more New York Times bestsellers, of which two invited me to be in their booths next year. I think this is the only thing I will do differently, and by that I mean keep my booth options open.

I have an actual strategy that I use for festivals that I find to be successful. Sometimes you can’t tell how well an author is doing by their Amazon rank. Because I continually get out there and attend a variety of author events and speaking engagements when I can, I sell lots of printed books directly to my fans. I love keeping in contact with fans by phone, email, my website and social media.

The TFOB met my goals in that I reached new readers and I now have more fans that are showing loyalty toward me on my website and social media. One of those fans is a retired elderly woman who normally doesn’t purchase my genre, but bought one book and now loves me. Or should I say she’s in love with my character Dardian Dreshaj? She just purchased an autographed copy of the second book in the series through my website and is already asking for book three.

When writing is not only your passion, but your business, you must engage with your readers, and I love doing that part just as much as I love writing the next bestseller. Just think of it this way. No one would know who Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian are if neither ever exposed themselves. So don’t be afraid. Get out there. Embrace your brand until it’s a household name.

Make sure you read her post: Ever thought of attending a book festival?

Author's Book List
Dali's Fantasy - Book four of the Dali series
Just when Dali thought she would have a peaceful night, an expected visit from the mysterious Dom, Michael, brings her fantasy to light.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Plain Dealing
The death of a woman forces a small rural town to uncover its first murder in more than fifty years. In a town so small, where everyone knows every intimate detail about each other, thanks to the town’s ever-churning gossip mill, it should be easy to find the killer amongst them. Or is it?

From the beginning, rumors of who the murderer is point in one single direction. Dr. Tell, a native of New Orleans, and therefore a newcomer to Plain Dealing, is the owner and chief of staff of the hospital where the slain woman worked. And rumor is Dr. Tell’s has an unquenchable dark side.

Whispered of having a penchant for preying on the nurses inside his hospital, for most in the town it’s an open and shut case. If this is so, why hasn’t the town’s sheriff made any arrests?

Alison Saunders knows all too well that every rumor spoken inside of the Snack and Eat Diner, which doubles as the town’s gossip headquarters, isn’t true. As a victim of these rumors, she’s had to live her entire life as an unwanted resident. Living alone is what she’s used to, and although she’s hated it seems by everyone, she refuses to imbibe from the well of pity.

Determined to make the most of her life, she takes each day as it comes, unaware that deep down inside her lonely heart is pleading for someone – anyone – in Plain Dealing to give her a chance at friendship. This chance finally comes when unusual circumstances pair her with Dr. Tell. As one of his nurses, will she be the town’s next victim?

With the rumor mill grinding at a swift speed, the sheriff and his deputies try and beat the clock to uncover the killer that everyone in town is looking for. Meanwhile, Alison’s new friendship with Dr. Tell unexpectedly sends her spiraling into a sexual lifestyle she never knew existed. After more women are murdered, Alison must ask herself. Is she finally living or is she setting up her own demise?

Plain Dealing is a story about stepping out of a small town caste, learning of one’s independence, building friendships and finding love in those who others around have deemed unlovable. With a fast pace and filled with levity, it’s a book you won’t be able to put down, and when you do you understand just how powerful spoken words truly are.

Book Trailer: Plain Dealing

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Dali's Ultimatum - Book Three in the Dali Series
Having a boyfriend was never truly what Dali wanted. Instead the title was thrust on her by Nassir. Still, the idea of having seemed nice all of twenty-four hours. Mysterious Michael has shown his face once again. Is he stalking her? Having a boyfriend never allows room for someone else. Or does it?

Order the Book From: Amazon
Possessing Dali - Book Two of the Dali Series
One day after Dali's secret has been revealed to readers, the guy she's been seeing wants more. His request is to be Dali's boyfriend. His desire is to possess her. Will she give in to his request, especially after she learns there are two other men who also want to possess her?

Order the Book From: Amazon
The Blood Feud
Who would have thought that the death of an aging ex-mafia boss would start a war between law enforcement, the mafia and a secret criminal underworld organization known as The Association?

Homicide Detective Jesse Richards is facing the murder case of his career. With hardly any evidence, no witnesses and no identity of the murderer he’s looking for, for the first time he fears he’s been given a case that will end up in the cold files. Desperate to uncover the reason behind Vito Russo’s seemingly senseless death, he’ll stop at nothing to bring the killer he’s looking for to justice. Just when he believes the case has reached a dead end, he stumbles upon a not so lucky break. Could the ruthless killer he’s looking for be the same man who has stolen his daughter’s heart?

Aaliyah Richards is the only good thing going for Dardian Dreshaj, and he would do anything to keep her safe. Dardian has made it known from the beginning, mess with him and he might excuse it, mess with Aaliyah and all rules fly out the window. They knew what he was capable of. They knew Padukshëm was not a myth. The reason they threatened her never mattered. What does matter is after he’s finished with them, they’ll know never to do it again.

Book Trailer: The Blood Feud

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Blood Tie
It’s been two years since Dardian Dreshaj has wrestled control of Harlow Industries. Now a legitimate business owner, husband and father things couldn’t get better. And they don’t. New enemies have come forward, enemies that may be Padukshëm’s equal. Leaving very little clues each time the killers strike, Dardian finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse. As Dardian and his men race to discover the killers’ identities he stumbles upon the true intent behind the killers’ intrigue.

Can it be that Dardian was never the killer’s primary target?

New clues left behind begin to point towards Aaliyah. Padukshëm has no choice but to awaken from his miniscule slumber. Now in full form and deadlier than ever, Padukshëm is up against time and the clock is winding down. Have the killers outsmarted him at every turn? From Los Angeles, New York, Miami and even the streets of Tiranë, Padukshëm assembles an elite crew of contract killers to make one final stand. But by this time it may already be too late. Has Dardian Dreshaj lost the one thing worth living for?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
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