Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Working Author


I've had a very busy day today, and I thought I would record all the different things I worked on for posterity's sake. Please note that I didn't actually write any new words. Shame on me.  

Oh well . . .

I woke up early this morning around 6:45 am. This was about an hour earlier than I usually get up, thanks to changing the clocks back this past weekend. I read emails, checked my sales numbers, read a few blogs and Kboards, skimmed Facebook, then ate breakfast. Showered and dressed.

Around 9:15, I sat down at my work computer to finish edits on the short story I'm going to publish under a different pen name. (And no, it is NOT erotica. Quite the opposite, in fact.)

Took a break and checked email. I have a translation deal going, and I had to read the contract and sign it. That in and of itself is super exciting. (More details later.)

My audiobook needed the last of the corrections proofed (listened to), so I worked on that and sent them back.

Started formatting the short story. Had to insert hyperlinks in the front and back matter, and then had to actually MAKE the URL for my new mailing list so I would have a hyperlink. It's always something . . .

Checked email again and the last audiobook correction came back and I had to listen to that. Approved the book and made the payment. THE COWGIRL'S SECRET will be available soon. Stay tuned.

Then I had to tweak the cover for the short story. Tweaked the blurb. Figured out the meta data and keywords.

Right before I went out to dinner, I found out THE DOCTOR WEARS A STETSON finally went free on Amazon. Now the fun begins. My brain is buzzing with strategies. It'll be fun to see how it pans out.

And after all of that, I decided to write this blog post!!!

So if anyone ever tells me self-publishing is the easy way out, I think I'll just smile. Because I know the truth . . .

It's a lot of hard work, but I love it. I'm living my dream!!!

Happy Writing!!!

Anne Marie   :)




Friday, October 25, 2013

What exactly does “larger-than-life” mean when applied to the stories we write?

To answer this question, I went online and looked up the definition of larger-than-life, and here is what I found: Greater, grander, etc. than most others of its kind (YourDictionary.com); Of greater size or magnitude than is naturally or normally the case (allwords.com); of the sort legends are made of (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary); very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale); "an epic voyage"; "of heroic proportions"; "heroic sculpture" (wordnet-online.com). 

Notice the recurring use of the adjective heroic. Interesting. We write about heroes and heroines, don’t we? Then I looked up epic: a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds (wordnet-online.com). Whoa. That got the old brain churning. We write about heroes’ and heroines’ journeys of growth and discovery in life, romance and love. 

So what does “larger-than-life” really mean in regards to our stories? 

Well, it doesn’t mean our heroines have to be Wonder Woman or Super Mom, and our heroes don’t have to be Spiderman or as rich as Bill Gates. At least they don’t unless our stories require them to be. 

I once attended a workshop where the instructor put it like this: Larger-than-life means that our characters do things we’re not brave enough to do in real life, and they say things we would never have the courage to say. 

Readers want to identify with the characters they read about, but they want more. They want the heroes and heroines to be bolder and more daring than they are themselves; they want them to be fearless and to stand up to the villains of the world. 

It’s as simple as that. 

Happy Writing!!!

Anne Marie  :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Release!!! The Cowgirl's Secret


 

I'm proud to announce that Tori and Sam's story is finally finished and ready for your reading pleasure! THE COWGIRL'S SECRET is Book Five in The Diamondback Ranch Series! This is the book many of you have been patiently waiting for. Thank you so much for all the emails telling me how much you've enjoyed the other books in the series about Tori's brothers. I hope you enjoy Tori and Sam's story. I certainly enjoyed writing it.

The Cowgirl's Secret is available for $2.99 at the following online retailers:

Amazon
B&N
Amazon UK

BLURB:

An Independent Young Woman

Tori McCade is bound and determined to earn her degree and return home to practice veterinary medicine in Salt Fork, Texas. Nothing and no one can stop her, not even the hottest man she's ever met in her life.

A man who knows what he wants

Sam Garza meets the much younger Tori McCade in a dance club in Dallas, Texas, and all bets are off. He wants her, and he's going to have her . . . even if it means following her to Salt Fork. Both agree they need to keep things simple and uncomplicated. And he's okay with that . . . for now.


EXCERPT:
Tori's breath stalled in her lungs as her back lay nestled against Sam's solid-muscled chest. She felt his lips on her hair, his kiss burning her scalp. Hot prickles of desire infused her blood, and she couldn't help tilting her head forward, wanting to feel his lips on her skin. He was quick to oblige, trailing kisses across the nape of her neck and collarbone.
Suddenly, he twirled her around and Tori looked up at him. He really was a brutally handsome man, his features hard as granite. She fleetingly wondered how a man who looked so fierce, so feral, could scatter such gentle kisses across her sensitive skin. How a man who had uprooted his whole life so he could help his sick mother--how could such a man look at her with such intense yearning? Such hot passion?
Sam's eyes dilated beneath heavy lids. He bent toward her, stopping only millimeters from her mouth. His breath was hot on her lips. Tori's stomach dipped in an alarming manner.
"I'm going to kiss you." His voice was rough with desire. "I've been wanting to kiss you from the first moment I saw you at the bar."
He yanked her into his strong arms and gathered her close. He was warm and hard and very aroused. Before Tori could say or do anything, his mouth crushed down on hers in a hungry savage kiss.
### 
The Cowgirl's Secret will also be available on Apple, Kobo, Sony and Smashwords very soon. Look for it in Audio and Print formats a little later on.
Happy Reading!!!
Anne Marie   :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Indie Author Adventure Continues: Three-Year Anniversary!!!




This month, I celebrated my three-year anniversary as an Indie Author. Three years! Time sure flies when you're having fun! And I'm having fun. Loads of fun! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm living my dream. I'm writing stories I want to write, publishing to readers who like my kind of stories and making a little dab of money. I've found the joy again in the writing process. It's fun, but not easy. Publishing directly to readers is a lot of hard work. But the rewards are satisfying and SO worth it.

I'm getting ready to publish my tenth novel and my twentieth title. Book Five of The Diamondback Ranch Series will go live in the next couple of weeks. The Cowgirl's Secret is Tori and Sam's story; readers have been wanting this book seems like forever. It'll go on sale as an ebook first, then soon after it will be available in audio and print. It's a great time to be a writer!!!

I thought I'd share my list of the five most important marketing tools in my Indie Author's tool bag. This is just my opinion. Of course, your mileage may vary.

First off, I have to say that I never do promo. Well, almost never. I did take out an ad at STORYFINDS in January and it really gave me a bump in sales the first time; the second time, not so much, but that was probably because the ads were sent out too close together in time. The site is growing and Renee keeps prices low. I plan to take advantage of some of the promo ops later in the year.

Second, I truly believe that writing the next book is the best promotion you can do. The more product you have out there, the better chance readers will find you.  

Visibility is everything!!!

With that said, what I call marketing is something I do pretty much one time and then it's in place forever, and I can forget about it and just write more books. Yes, sometimes I have to go back and update stuff, but that's just part of the gig.

So here we go . . .

The number one most important marketing tool is write a good book. Enough said.  :)

The second most important marketing tool is create a mailing list for dedicated readers and fans. This list is made up of readers who want to read your next book, not people who sign up to get something for free and could really care less about your next new release.

It grows organically at its own pace. My first mailing list was a Yahoo Group. This bombed because it was too hard for people to sign up. Many people don't use Yahoo and didn't want to go to the trouble of opening an account. I lost a lot of subscribers that way. You need to make it as easy as possible for readers to sign up for your mailing list. One click, maybe two.

And when you do release a new book, you send out an Email Blast and if a whole lot of those readers buy your book right off the bat, your rankings can sky-rocket and you get on a few of the best-selling lists and that EQUALS VISIBILITY.  

Visibility is key!!!

I use Mail Chimp. So far, I'm using the free account. If I get over a certain amount of subscribers (God willing), I'll switch to a paid account. I put my sign-up form on my website, blog, and my FaceBook Author Page and my Amazon Author Page. I also make it easy for readers to sign up by putting the link at the very end of each book. Say they've just finished reading my book and love it (fingers crossed); after The End, there's a link to subscribe to my New Release Mailing List. One, two clicks and they're done. I do not send out newsletters. I'm too busy, and I don't think a lot of people want their inbox filled with them. I also put the link at the beginning of each book, as well as links to my website and FB Author page. Make it easy.

Visibility is paramount!!!

The third most important marketing tool is a professional-looking cover. I'm still working on this. When I first started out, I didn't spend a dime on anything and somehow still did okay. After I changed the covers and created a "brand," sales got a lot better than okay. Amazing what a good cover can do for marketing. It needs to look good and legible in thumb-nail size. Like I said, I'm still working on this. My nephew made me a PowerPoint template for my series and it's pretty easy to make my covers now. I also pay a young lady ($25) to make my 3d covers for my boxed sets.

The fourth most important marketing tool is a short concise blurb that hooks the reader. Again, I'm still working on this. It should be in present tense with action verbs, etc.

The fifth most important marketing tool is the back matter in your books. Again, you want it to be easy for readers to find you. Provide a link to your author page on Amazon (in Kindle books), provide blurbs and links to some of your individual books, especially series. You might want to entice readers with a short excerpt from a couple of your previous books or tease them with a short excerpt from your next. Don't include too many excerpts or you'll frustrate them and they'll feel like they've been cheated because they thought the actual book was longer.

Pricing is important, too. You need to experiment and find your sweet spot. I price as follows:
Short stories: $0.99
Novellas: $1.99
Novels (50k words and up): $2.99
Box Sets: Right now, $2.99. I'm still playing around with the prices.

I have the first book in my Diamondback Ranch Series, The Doctor Wears A Stetson, set at 99 cents. I will probably always have it at that price because it introduces readers to the series. I have one of my books (the longest) at $3.99. Still playing with that one.
 
Also, I have my books distributed through as many different channels and in as many different formats as I can. I'm on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Sony, Apple, Diesel, ARe and Smashwords. All of my novels and novellas are available in audio format on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. I'm working to get all of my novels into POD (print on demand) through CreateSpace. One of these days, I plan to have my books translated into different languages, but that is cost-prohibitive for me at this time.

An author website is important. I need to upgrade/update mine. So much to do, so little time. A Facebook Author Page is also important to create. I'm just now working on building my page, but I know it's an important venue to connect with readers, and I'm slowly getting there. It should go without saying:  provide links to buy books on your websites, blogs and author pages. Always make it easy for readers to find you.
 
* My website: www.annemarienovark.com
* Check out my Facebook Author Page:  Anne Marie Novark Romance Author

Some resources I highly recommend:

The Writers' Cafe on Kboards is the best place for Indie Authors (IMO). If you have a question and/or need to keep abreast of what's happening in the Indie Publishing world, this is the forum to go to. Extremely helpful.

Websites/blogs:

It's hard to believe I've been self-publishing for three years. I remember when I first decided to take the plunge, I was almost embarrassed to tell my writer friends what I was doing. Self-publishing still had a stigma attached and negativity associated with it.

Boy, has that changed!  Publishing has changed and is still changing. No telling how it will all end up.

All I know is that I'm glad I took the plunge. It's an awesome time to be a writer!!!

Happy Writing and Publishing!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Cover Reveal for Tori and Sam



Here's a peek at the cover for Tori and Sam's book. I'm finishing up the edits and with luck, THE COWGIRL'S SECRET ( Book Five in The Diamondback Ranch Series) will be out very, very soon!!!

Happy Reading!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

BICHOK Monday!!!


Thought I'd gone away forever? No such luck!!! I've been in the editing cave revising and tweaking Tori and Sam's story.

Already this morning, I've finished the first pass. Yay me!!! I'm off to a good start. Now, I have one more pass before handing it off to one of my beta readers.


Here are my writing goals for this week:

*  Complete second pass of WIP and send it to beta reader.

*  Make Tiny URL for FB Author Page and put it up on Amazon Author Page.

*  Format THE MEN OF THE DIAMONDBACK RANCH boxed set document.

*  Start working on blurbs for both Tori and TMOTDR.

*  Work on pen name stuff. (Top Secret Stuff)   ;)

*  Resize Tori cover.

I think that will keep me busy for a while.

Happy Writing!!!

Anne Marie  :)


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Love, Honor, Cherish Boxed Set Available Now!!!


LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH BOXED SET
A Collection of Three Romance Novels
170,000 words

Available on:
Kindle
Nook
Smashwords

Discounted for a limited time only at $2.99. Get three books for the price of one!

Three full-length stand-alone novels by Anne Marie Novark, author of The Diamondback Ranch Series. Three books, three romance genres. Love, Honor, Cherish . . . and Happily-Ever-After.

ADAM'S TEMPTATION (Book One)
The Romance Reviews Best Book of 2011 Nominee for
Contemporary Romance
Heat Index: Spicy


Millionaire professor, Adam Brant is hiding from life. When his broken engagement is plastered all over the papers and tabloids, he retreats to the only place he's ever felt he belonged--his late grandmother's lighthouse in Briny Cove, Florida. He vows to live in seclusion away from nosy reporters, money-hungry women and people who can't accept him for who he is.

Ambitious wanna-be journalist, Megan O'Conner is stuck in Briny Cove, living with her family, struggling to finish her degree and working odd jobs. When she finds out the new tenant in the old lighthouse is Adam Brant, Megan believes she's found her ticket out. But as she becomes better acquainted with the sexy professor, everything changes. Will she choose the exclusive story or the man who has stolen her heart?


TEXAN UNDERCOVER (Book Two)
Contemporary Romantic Suspense Novel
Heat Index:  Spicy


Sparks fly and computers crash when Claire Maxwell's cybercafe is used for criminal activities. She's thrown into the midst of an undercover operation and doesn't like it one bit. She really doesn't like being thrown in the company of the hot private eye handling the case. Claire doesn't believe in love or happily ever after anymore. Can the handsome P.I. change her mind?

Dillon Anderson needs Claire's help to stop a dangerous corporate hacker. What he doesn't need is the sucker punch of desire whenever she's near. Dillon has always avoided women like Claire, but avoiding this particular woman proves to be an impossible mission. Can he get the job done without getting done in himself?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Texan Undercover is a fun Retro Read. It certainly was fun to write. I call it Retro because the story is set in 1998. Back in the day before WiFi, Bluetooth, blueray, and flat screen TVs became widespread.There were no smartphones, netbooks, iPods, Kindles or Wii.  MP3s were relatively new and people still watched movies on VHS. Not everyone owned a computer; laptops were mainly used in the corporate world. Tablets were taken for headaches, texting pretty much didn't exist, and internet cafes were becoming popular here and abroad.


MIDNIGHT MY LOVE (Book Three)
Traditional Regency Romance Novel
Heat Index: Sweet


For years, Damien Avenall loved Alexandra Turlington like a little sister; or so he thought until she grew into a lovely and desirable young lady. In a moment of madness, he kisses her and everything changes between them.

Alex often wonders why the dangerous viscount betrayed their special friendship. His kiss awakened her to passion, but she knows better than to give her heart to a libertine. Or does she?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Ebooks Sold and Counting!!!

My Self-Publishing Adventure Continues


I hit a very big milestone last week in my Indie Publishing career. I passed the 250k mark in sales. Two hundred and fifty thousand ebooks sold. That's a pretty astonishing number. It's difficult to wrap my brain around that amount.

Two hundred and fifty thousand!!! Wow!!!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever sell that many ebooks. When I started this adventure, I remember hitting one-thousand ebooks sold. I couldn't believe it then, either. And when I hit ten-thousand ebooks sold two months later, my joy knew no bounds.

In August, I will celebrate my third anniversary as an Indie author. During those three years, quite a lot has changed in the publishing landscape. The industry is still in flux, but Indie Publishing is well ensconced. Indie Publishing is here to stay and thrive.

It's hard to grasp the magnitude, the sheer number of ebooks sold around the world; millions of them written and published by Indie authors like myself. Much of the stigma associated with self-publishing has ebbed away. A respectable number of Indie authors are hitting the USA Today and the New York Times Bestseller Lists. WooHoo!!!

The freedom and control that comes with self-publishing is truly liberating, but it isn't easy, by any means. Writing is hard work. Publishing is hard work. Putting out quality books again and again is hard work. But the dividends are awesome.

Every sale is golden. Reaching readers and touching their lives, knowing people are reading and enjoying my books is priceless.

Happy Reading and Writing and Publishing!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tori and Sam's Story


Well, I'm hard at work writing Tori and Sam's story. This will be Book Five in the Diamondback Ranch Series. I'm having fun finding out their backstory, and I hope readers will find it fun and satisfying, too.

I'm writing this story in two parts. In part one, we get to live through their backstory like it's really happening. We find out how they meet, we're there for their first kiss, etc. We get to find out why Sam ended up in Salt Fork. Part two takes us to the present time, and we see them work through their differences and earn their happy-ever-after.

Lots of good stuff, let me tell you. I don't have a title or a cover yet, but I'm thinking hard and long. Here's hoping for a Summer 2013 release!!!

Happy Reading!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

BICHOK!!! Monday!!!



Man, it's been a while since I've written a Monday BICHOK post.  (Butt in chair; hands on keyboard.)  I'm hard at it writing Tori and Sam's book right now. This will be Book Five in The Diamondback Ranch Series. I have many readers waiting for this book, and I'm finally writing it at last.

I'm having fun discovering what exactly happened between Sam and Tori. I'm also remembering how much fun it is to be inside a book--immersed in my story world, finding out about my characters. There's nothing quite like it, let me tell you.

Here are my writing goals for this week:

*   Write 1000 words /day; 5000 words/week. (I had a bonus weekend and wrote an extra 1000.) WooHoo!!!

*   Start searching for a stock photo for the cover.

*   Start thinking about a title.

*   At the end of the week, I need to begin sending out invitations for the April Madness 2013 BIAM Writathon.

*  Follow-up phone call concerning one of my copyright certificates.

I believe that will keep me busy for a while.

Happy Writing and Reading!!!

Anne Marie  :)



Tuesday, March 05, 2013

AudioBooks--All Done!!!

At long last, all of my novels and novellas are available in audiobook format through ACX. It's been an interesting and fun experience working with the five very talented narrators and producers for each of my books.

Listening/proofing my books has really taught me about my own style of writing. Best of all, the narrators brought the stories to life and made the characters delightfully real.



Fans of my Diamondback Ranch Series will be happy that Tyler's story is available for their listening pleasure. Lone Star Heartbreaker is awesomely narrated by Erin Mallon and produced by Brick Shop Audiobooks. 

Look for it at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.





Last, but certainly not least, my Traditional Regency Romance novel has gone live in audiobook format. The very talented Pearl Hewitt of Voice Needs works her magic again narrating Midnight My Love.

It's available at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

Happy Listening!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Three New Audio Books Released!!!

I'm happy to announce that I have three more of my novels available in audiobook format. It's been such a learning experience listening and proofing each book. I've been very lucky to have worked with such awesome and talented voice-over narrators and producers.


 
Fans of my Diamondback Ranch Series will be happy to know that two more books in the series have been released by ACX.

Book Two: The Cowboy's Surrender and Book Three: A Match Made in Texas are available for your listening pleasure.









Brick Shop Audiobooks produced both books with the very talented Erin Mallon narrating.

Look for them at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.







Last, but certainly not least, we have Tall Dark and Texan, the second book in the Return to Stone Creek Series.

Brick Shop Audiobooks produced this book with the awesome Jennifer O'Donnell narrating.

Check it out at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

In the next month or so, my last two novels will be released in audio. Then I'll be all caught up and future audiobooks will be released as I write more novels. Stay tuned . . .

Happy Listening!!!

Anne Marie   :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!!! 2013!!!


It's hard for me to believe it's 2013. When I was a child, the new millennium loomed in the far distant future. I had figured out how old I'd be in 2000, but never really thought what life would be like beyond that magical number. And now it's 2013. Wow!!! Life is good.

Looking back on 2012 is like looking at a dream come true. I am a working author; I have dedicated readers; and sales are good. I sold over 140,000 books last year. Unbelievable!!! It pretty much staggers my mind and imagination. It also puts the pressure on to publish more books that will live up to my readers' expectations.

Here are last year's goals. Let's see how I fared:

1.  Work on my output and daily writing pages.
I wrote one novella and one novel. I still need to work on the daily writing.
2.  Finish my Regency novella and publish by February 14th.

I did this, but it was a month late. Oh well . . .
3.  Start and finish Tyler McCade's story in my Diamondback Ranch Series and publish. YES!!!
4.  Write four short stories and publish individually and in a bundle. Nope. This fell to the wayside.
5.  Upgrade all my novel and novella covers. YES!!!
6.  Upload all my novels and novellas on ARe. YES!!!
7.  Investigate other platforms and sites on which to sell my ebooks. Still working on this.
8.  Blog more.  *grin*  Ditto this.

Not too shabby, right? True, I only released two new pieces of fiction, but I've also released nine audiobooks and working on the other three. I also hosted my two yearly writathons (April Madness and October Obsession). I released one book in POD format, and I'm working on the others.

My books are garnering good reviews and hitting some of the best-seller lists on Amazon, B&N and iTunes. Life is good.

All in all, I would have to say that 2012 was a very successful year.

So now, let's look forward to what I would like to accomplish in 2013:

1.  Write and publish Tori McCade's story in the Diamondback Ranch Series.

2.  Write and publish Marco Defalco's story in the Return to Stone Creek Series.

3.  Tweak and publish The Undutiful Duchess Regency novella in the Damsels in Breeches Series.

4.  Finish releasing the audiobooks.

5.  Release all books in POD format.

6.  Work on The Diamondback Ranch Series blogsite.

7.  Release two boxed sets.

8.  Upgrade the covers for the Return to Stone Creek Series.

Whew!!! Those who think self-publishing is the easy way out really don't have a clue. It takes hard work and perseverance to keep the business running. But I'm not complaining. I'm living my dream!!!

Happy New Year !!!


Anne Marie  :)