Friday, September 11, 2015

AJ Lape - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author A. J. Lape. She is the Amazon bestselling author of the Darcy Walker Series.

Author Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Website: A. J. Lape
Twitter: @AJLape
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
J. Lape is the Amazon bestselling author of the Darcy Walker Series. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola--and a lifelong love affair with bacon. If the FBI ever checks her computer, she'll be wearing prison orange due to the various "wiki" articles she looks up. She swears the dead body, mob, and drug related stuff is only career research.

AKA - Ada Miracle Lape

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: DEFCON Darcy. What do you have on the drawing board next? Rumor has it that you have another book in the Darcy Walker Series on the horizon. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you! Yes, I’m currently working on the fifth book in the series called, “Foolproof.” This is the senior year in high school for Darcy and her friends. A little tease for the reader is the theme is all about the changes that you go through senior year in high school—friends leaving one another, making decisions about you future and the excitement and undeniable anxiety that goes along with those. Plotwise, Darcy is a character that is never bested. In this book, she runs across a villain that just might be her match.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

Social media relationships are very important to me and indie authors in general because we don’t have the advertising dollars that come with big publishing houses. So I try to form relationships with readers through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and newsletters to keep them in the loop with what’s going on in Darcy’s world. I will provide teasers on the book I’m currently writing and let my readership know of sales and upcoming releases to keep them interested until the next book releases.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Yes, I do all three of those and love to get the chance to talk with readers directly. It's so much fun to discover the affect your character has on someone and to find out you’ve given someone a little bit of escapism is the best feeling in the world. If a reader wants to keep up with me for specific events, the best way is to sign up for my newsletter or check my calendar of events on my website. Here are my author links:

You have great covers. 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?

Thank you! I absolutely love my covers. They are done by the guys at ’68 Zombie Comics. I went to high school with Mark Kidwell, the illustrator at ’68 Zombie Comics, and I will contact him before a book releases and give him a plot summary. Mark will then pull something together and his partner, Jay Fotos, will color it. Listen, Mark is beyond-words good, so I don’t even bother with being a hands on client, you know? They’ve never steered me wrong and as you can see are beyond fantastic. I feel totally blessed that they work with me because a cover is what grabs a reader first, followed by the book blurb.

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?

My first book, Grade A Stupid, is on perma-free at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. My main goal was to get readers drawn into the series at no cost for them and hopefully they enjoy Darcy’s world and decide to stay. Being on perma-free is a double-edged sword though. You can give away thousands of books a month on something you’ve worked so hard to create. That being said, the payoff has been worth it because of the free advertising. All readers have to do is go to Amazon, type in a book genre you are interested in, and the word “free” and you can see which books have been placed on perma-free. It’s a great way to discover new world at no cost to you. Regarding giveaways, yes I do a lot of them and do most of them when I release a new book.

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

I think any time you get your name out there in book tours and blog hops you are encountering readers that you may never have met before. Yes, I do both of these. Do they always transpire into sales? It’s hard to measure sometimes but again, the exposure for you and your series is what keeps the indie boat chugging along.

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 always hire a couple of promotional companies before a book launch to help get the word out and hire someone to organize a blog tour. Both of these companies will offer ARC copies to those bloggers that want to read and review. I will try to give bloggers about a month ahead of time to read and review and request they post their review on release day. I know a lot of indies do all the organizing themselves to save money, but I just don’t have the time to do it. I think it’s money well spent though because these companies have access to people that I might not necessarily have.

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?

For each book, I will send ARCs or advanced readers copies, out to bloggers that have reviewed in the past. I will also do a social media push and rely on my loyal reader audience. The professional review services are uber expensive, and I haven’t gone this route, but it is something I think about all the time, wondering if I’m making a mistake. One thing about being an author, what you find works one time on a release, may not work the next when you’ve done the exact same thing. You’ve got to constantly have your ears open to what seems to be working with readers.

Author's Book List
DEFCON Darcy - The Darcy Walker Series Book 4
Fisher Stanton, Valley High School’s Nantucket wannabe, has a cheating girlfriend. When he hires Darcy Walker to chase her to a local club, in true Darcy fashion she stumbles upon a dead body. Thing is, this body has secrets...and Darcy’s mysterious friend, Jaws, and the reporter, Tito Westbrook, have a vested interest. Both enlist Darcy to find the person responsible who has eluded them for years, but Darcy doesn’t solve crimes for free anymore--especially where Jaws is concerned. Knowing Darcy’s Achilles heel, Jaws blackmails Darcy into working for him.

In a true test of wills, Darcy and Jaws battle head-to-head—Jaws needs Darcy to help him end a bitter grudge war; Darcy needs Jaws to divulge the mystery surrounding her mother’s death. Haunted by a past that shaped her present, Darcy will stop at nothing to get answers. Even if it means breaking the law and being disloyal to her new boyfriend, Dylan Taylor, in the process.

DEFCON DARCY gives Darcy’s demons a name and ties up loose ends that made Darcy into the verb that she is. What she thinks she knows as truth, isn’t. What she wishes wasn’t true…is.

The problem is, when your life goes DEFCON 1, not everyone lives to tell about it.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

100 Proof Stud - The Darcy Walker Series Book 3
Sometimes life smacks you right in the kisser with a whole lot of ohhhh craaaaap.

Just ask Darcy Walker.

100 Proof Stud picks up four months after No Brainer's cliffhanger ending, and Darcy discovers the aftermath pales in comparison to the crisis her heart is in. All of a sudden it's raining men, and this teenage heroine’s personal life turns her inside out.

Before she can sort out her feelings, she chases a spray-painting vandal and stumbles upon a case of identity theft right in her own backyard. Darcy jumps into the fray headfirst to prove she can hang with the big boys.

But it’s not just to hang…nope, she’s chasing reward money.

Tapping her band of misfit brothers for help, she turns Valley upside down trying to unearth the criminals. Problem is, the cloak and dagger goes high-octane, and she raises the bar on “crazy" in the process.

Bullets ring out…dead bodies appear…and Darcy rubs shoulders with the ultimate sociopath. In the midst of murder and mayhem, will she finally follow her heart or build a fortress of lies around it? Will she even get the chance?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

No Brainer - The Darcy Walker Series
DARCYVILLE ... where stupidity is celebrated ... with a deadly dose of sin.

Two weeks before junior year, Darcy hops a plane to Orlando for a little R&R with her best friend Dylan and his family. Fresh off the heels of solving three murders in Valley, you'd think she'd sit back and enjoy the vacation capital of the world ... maybe if you're a noun. Darcy Walker, however, is nothing but verb.

Before her feet hit the Orlando soil, she's meddling in the disappearance of a five-year-old boy who vanished six months earlier.

With authorities still no closer to solving the case, Darcy is shanghaied by her impulsivity and runs headlong into that proverbial burning building, convinced she can bring him home.

She travels down a road that not only follows this missing child but branches off into the corrupt and sinister world of mob activity when she tampers in a case on which Dylan's detective grandfather is working.

After a near disastrous midnight meeting in a warehouse and a date with a mechanical bull, Darcy realizes she might've bitten off more than she can chew. Add the boiling flirtationship with her best friend and the appearance of his romantic rival, and she is in over her head.

Will she survive a life of flirting with death too easily? Or will her flirtationship with Dylan become the actual death of her instead?

For a girl with a habit of finding dead bodies, No Brainer gives Darcy Walker more of the same … surprising twists and turns … and running for her life.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Grade A Stupid - The Darcy Walker Series
Fifteen years ago, Darcy Walker's parents thought it was a good idea to give her a unique name: Darcy, meaning "dark walker." Whether that was a stroke of genius or stroke of stupid, they definitely nailed the irony. She lacks direction, her grades stink despite a high IQ, she's boringly average--although flirting admirers claim otherwise--and God help her, she's infatuated with a bad-boy.

A bad-boy that her hottie best friend, Dylan, wishes would get acquainted with his fist.

And, oh yeah, there's that tattoo that was a royally stupid idea.

With her life spiraling out of control, everything changes when she skips class and finds a dead body... in fact, it gets worse. It jump starts Darcy's inner-verb, and her brain hardwired for action gets caught up in a situation she can't let go.

Set in the fictional Cincinnati town of Valley, Ohio, Darcy falls into a world of threats, violence, and gangland exploits chasing down every clue to finger the murderer. When a fellow misfit is fingered for the crime, Darcy goes from zero-to-sixty trying to clear his name--constructing aliases, breaking the law, everything that makes perfect sense to her but reeks of Grade A Stupid to everyone else.

Trouble is … will she live to see sixteen?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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