10 Things Every New Indie Author Should Know

1.  It takes time to build a fan base – Go into your journey remembering why you write.  Most of us write because it makes us happy, because we are compelled to do it, and because there are people who love our stories.  People will be attracted to your enthusiasm, but give yourself and your work time to grow a following.

2. The odds are, it will be difficult to sell books, at first – Remember that you are not with one of the big six publishers who would throw money and advertising behind your work.  YOU have to do it all.  However, you will get a longer shelf life being on your own, and get to interact with amazing fans.

3. You will get bad reviews – There are many reasons for this.  Maybe the person just didn’t connect with your work.  There is even a small group of authors who try to sabotage each other.  You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.  I promise it will hurt, but keep in mind that you evoked enough emotion to make someone take time out to write something negative.  Have a pity part, but move on.

4. Cover art is important I was recently asked by an author if he really needed to hire a cover artist.  The answer is always a resounding, YES! The cover is the face you will present to the world as far as your book is concerned.  A lot of people choose the books they read based solely on cover art.

5. Editing is not the place to scrimp – I made a rookie mistake and contracted with a publisher who refused to edit my work.  In the end, I pulled the book and had it edited myself.  Most people can not edit their own work.  Find a publisher that does both content edits and proofreading because bad editing equals bad reviews.

6. Don’t jump on your first contract without reading the contract – Also have someone you trust review it before signing on the dotted line.  This seems like common sense, but in the excitement of receiving your first offer you can make huge mistakes that take away your rights as an author.

7. Surround yourself with AWESOME – We are very fortunate to have a community of caring and talented indie and small press authors that are willing to help out newbies. These people can make or break you.  Forge genuine symbiotic friendships and you will go far!

8. Research your work – Most of us write fiction, so we are free to create our own worlds and twist and tweak the one we live in. Regardless, it is important to know the subject that you are manipulating. We living in a glorious time when you don’t even have to leave your house to get reference materials.  Use them!

9. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – Last Halloween, I wrote a horror short.  I usually write spooky, but this story tested my abilities, because I wanted to scare the pants off my readers without being gory.  That short story was über popular, and I got great feedback. Try not to ever pigeon-hole yourself in one genre.

10. Don’t be afraid to give your books away – Keep in mind that the more people who read your work, the more others will hear about it.  You can also write those giveaways off on your taxes! Another quick word about SWAG – there is nothing wrong with doing giveaways, but you will probably be struggling to make money for a while.  Make sure that you are getting your fans addicted to your words and not just what they can get from you.  True fans will want to read your books.  Having said that, I do other types of SWAG giveaways a couple of times a year, but don’t break the bank trying to buy fans.

I hope these little tidbits help, and I’m always available to answer questions or help out.  Most of all, have fun with your writing journey.

Don’t forget to check out Bayou Brew Publishing and give us a like on Facebook.

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy with Cajun Flavor!

Please check out my latest novel Black Water Bayou on Amazon!

BWB_MoHo

Gabe was raised to trust his intuition and rely solely on himself. Troubled and alone, he’s spent his life haunted by night terrors, and turmoil over where he came from rages in his soul. Always the lonely hero, he never saw Frannie coming. Under the fury of a southern storm, she blew into Gabe’s life and changed it forever.

Can she tear down his walls? Can he save her from herself and the demons that are after her family?

As the past catches up to the present, long kept secrets are revealed and families are salvaged while evil pours into the waters of an abandoned bayou. No one could have seen the dark forces true power, but one man was marked to battle them.
Can Gabe make amends with his past, or will the devil win his soul?

http://www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

http://www.twitter.com/mjames13

http://www.facebook.com/moniqueoconnorjamesauthor

http://www.facebook.com/monique.o.james

Other titles available from Monique O’Connor James – The Keepers, The Watchers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Musical Scares, Becoming Jolie and Magia Rising

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Christmas Blog Hop 2012

2012 Christmas Blog Hop

Hi Everyone! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!!
I hope you love the hop! Make sure you visit all the participating blogs and enter their giveaways as well as mine. Have fun and remember to leave comments 🙂 I will pick a comment at the end of the tour for an EXTRA giveaway.
Here are the other participating blogs my Rafflecopter is also below!!!
18. Casey Crow

Try this link….
<a id=”rc-95c2a32″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/95c2a32/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Huge Giveaway – Magia Rising Launch!!!!

Come help me celebrate the debut of Magia Rising by clicking on the giveaway link below!!! You have a chance to win A $25 Amazon Gift Card, Mardi Gras Beads, and PDF Copies of Magia Rising!!!!

Have fun!!!!

Image

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Year in the Life of an Author

I started my first novel in November of 2008.  As most of you know by now, I’d always been a writer.  I still have friends tell me they used my stories to turn in for grades in school.  That thought scares me, because most of what I wrote back then was a little frightening!!

In April of 2011, I was going through a bit depression.  I can remember the day that I got my first contract from Astraea Press vividly.  I’d been at home suffering from a migraine and feeling sorry for myself.  When I opened the email and saw the contract attached tears of joy rolled down my cheeks.  Someone out there wanted to hear my stories!

The Keepers was published in June of 2011.  I can’t even begin to tell you what it feels like to see your work on Amazon or to hold your novel in your hand for the first time.  For me, the biggest thrill was putting that book in my Dad’s hands and saying here, this if for you and me and all we have been through together.  Also, this was a very personal book for me.  One about a main character whose mother had died of breast cancer and the damaged angel that came along to save her.  This tale was so close to home that I was extremely nervous about sharing it, but tickled that I had the chance.

Everything wasn’t perfect.  No, my first novel was quite the roller coaster ride.  Somehow, the edition that was originally uploaded was not the one that the publishing company and I had spent hours pouring over during edits.  I got a lot of great reviews, but then the die-hard readers started to mention editing errors and after much thought and support from Astraea, I pulled the book and it went back to editing.  We literally had to start over!!!

During this time, Astraea put out a call for short stories which would be published with all monies going to the Japanese Tsunami Relief.  This is when the Mulligan Man was born.  I’d had a dream one night that I was standing in my front yard screaming, “I want a Mulligan!”.  My son, Colton, and I jotted down ideas and characters and this fun YA Folk tale came to life.  It is different from anything I’ve ever written, but one of my pride and joys because my son played an integral part of developing it.

The contract for Jamais Vu with Astraea soon followed and it was published in October 2011.  Whirlwind right?  Yes!  And so much fun.  I can’t talk about Jamais Vu without either crying or beaming.  As though the cosmos was trying to make up for all that had gone wrong with The Keepers, everything with Jamais Vu was easy.  There are over 25 5 star reviews on Amazon for this book and several four star reviews.  Knock on wood, not one person has ever slammed it!

This book also had deeply personal meaning to me.  My mother was playing with a gun she thought was unloaded when I was a toddler.  She was shot and spent years recovering.  My main character, Darby, also suffers this fate in Jamais Vu.  I wanted to pay tribute to my mom’s story but give it a huge paranormal twist and I think this book did the job.

In February 2012, the follow-up to Jamais Vu, Deja Vu was also published by Astraea Press.  Blessings! Blessings! Blessings!  By this point not only did I have four book in the marketplace, but I also had developed wonderful friendships with readers, bloggers, reviewers, cover artists, editors and publishers.

It is such a rush.  There are people out there who want to read my books!  Before I ever considered getting published, the one thing I said was, “If I could just have a few fans who enjoy my work, I’ll be happy.”  I’ve far exceeded that goal, and to each and ever one of you, I am eternally grateful and humbled by your love and support.

So that brings us to the middle of 2012, back to the time where I started last year.  On July 9th, Becoming Jolie, my first Adult Paranormal novel will be published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.  Also in July, The Watchers, the sequel to The Keepers will be published by Astraea!

So what else is coming?  I’ve written the first novel in a new series called Magia Rising.  I’m considering self-publishing that one in October.  Next year, I know for sure this book will have a follow-up as will the Jamais Vu series.  I’m also hoping to self publish a novel that I’m currently offering chapters of on my blog, The Awakening.

I’ve had some hard moments in the last year. Sometimes, I’ve been frustrated and overwhelmed, but mostly I’ve been filled with joy and love.  There is nothing like meeting one of your biggest fans for the first time, getting emails from people dying to read your next work, hearing from young authors who just want someone to talk shop.

I hope that I can continue to offer you all stories that capture your hearts and imaginations! Today, I just want to say thanks!  Every time you mention my book to a friend, share my Facebook posts or Tweets you are pumping new life into my crazy brain.

As long as you will all have me, I’ll be around!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176
Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/moniqueoconnorjamesauthor
Twitter:  mjames13

Author of The Keepers – http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1331129226&sr=8-6

Jamais Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Deja Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Deja-Vu-ebook/dp/B006X3133G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

The Mulligan Man – http://www.amazon.com/The-Mulligan-Man-ebook/dp/B005ES06M0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Coming July 2012 – Becoming Jolie from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing & The Watchers from Astraea Press!!!!

Book Demolish Derby Winners!

Below are the Winners of the Book Demolition Derby! Thanks for playing and I’ll get the authors to contact you!

Shadow Kohler –
Signed Books – The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Spartan Heart, Secret Santa, Alien in the Family, Her Kind of Man, A New Dream
PDFS – His Chosen Bride, Aegean Intrigue, The Legacy
Denise Zaky –
Signed Books – Mirrored, Sucker for a Hot Rod, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, Supernova
PDFS – The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu,
Jen McGowan –
Signed Books – Seeker of Shadows, All that Matters
PDFS- The Mulligan Man, Spartan Heart Part One, Spartan Heart Part Two
Diane Burton –
PDFS- Spartan Surrender, Secret Santa, Unfiltered, Legend of The Oceania Dragon, Vala Agenda, Vala Heritage, Battlefield, The Sentence, Imperfect Beauty
Ann Hengst –
PDFS – Through the Rabbit Hole, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, A Body in the Attic, Emily Dahill CID, A Dog Gone Christmas, Journey to Her Dreams
Danielle Williams –
PDFS – Painted Lady, Love Octogon, The Super Spies – Cat and The Lady Killer
Cheers!!!!
Monique O’Connor James

The Book Demolition Derby!!! Scavenger Hunt! May 5-May 20th 2012

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 A fabulous group of authors has gotten together to offer readers the chance to win lots of signed books and PDFs for their collection!  This is amazing!  We hope you enjoy!

Here’s the scoop!  Below is a list of web addresses for each author and a question from their website.  Most of the questions come from the first page. (If a question comes from another page we will tell you where to look).

We made the questions as simple as possible.  The idea is just to visit each website.  Once you have answered all the questions email your list of answers to nique313@yahoo.com.  On May 20th, we will do a random drawing from the correct answers and you can win signed books or pdfs from these authors.  (See prizes below.)

Questions and websites:

1. http://www.moniqueoconnorjames.com/ – In what state does Monique live?

2.  http://www.kristinecheney.com/ – click on bio- what is the name of Kristine’s labra-doodle?

3. http://www.ginikoch.com/ – Making the world safer one _______ at a time.

4.  http://sellery.weebly.com/– What is the name of the anthology Miller’s Daughter was published in?

5. http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com – Click graveyard – what does Jillian keep track of here?

6.  www.elainecantrell.com – Hope. Dreams.

7.  www.frederickjarceneaux.webs.com – Where is the setting of Mirrored?

8. http://eawest.mcphitty.com – What are her unusual pets?

9. http://www.lisakumar.com/ – Escape into fantasy and _______.

10. http://www.breaessex.com/ – Shadows and ________.

11. http://www.briclarkthebelleofboise.blogspot.com/oise.blogspot.com – _____ from the life of an author and speaker.

12. http://www.thesupernovasaga.com/– Who is the publisher of Supernova?

13. http://murdersandmysteries.wordpress.com/ – What kind of dog is that on Lindsay’s blog? (hint – Lassie)

14. http://www.iris-b.blogspot.com/ – Dare to live your _______.

15. http://feliciarogersauthor.webs.com/ Click on about me. For what is love without _______.

16. http://www.lisaorchard.com/ click on bio – Where did Lisa grow up?

17. http://www.nancygideon.com/ Romance by any other _____.

18. http://www.loraleelillibridge.com/ – Ordinary People….Extra-ordinary ______.

19. http://www.sherrygloag.com/ – The ______ of romance.

20. http://joselynvaughn.wordpress.com/books-sucker2.htm – The things that give me joy (and _______).

21. http://www.patriciakiyono.com/ – Escape into a great ______ _______.

PRIZES:

FIRST PLACE: 7 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS

SECOND PLACE: 5 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS

THIRD PLACE: 2 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS

FOURTH PLACE: 10 PDFS

FIFTH PLACE: 7 PDFS

SIXTH PLACE: 3 PDFS

Cheers and Enjoy The giveaway!

*** PS:   I did everything I could to get the covers of the books to pull into this post and for some reason the preview button wasn’t working in wordpress!  So here is a list of the books that are being offered just in case it doesn’t work!

Print:  The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Spartan Heart, Secret Santa, Alien in the Family, Her Kind of Man, A New Dream, Mirrored, Sucker for a Hot Rod, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, Supernova, Seeker of Shadows and All that Matters

PDFS:  His Chosen Bride, Aegean Intrigue, The Legacy, The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Spartan Heart Part One, Spartan Heart Part Two, Spartan Surrender,  Secret Santa, Unfiltered, Legend of The Oceina Dragon, Legend of the Inero Dragon, Vala Agenda, Vala Heritage, Battlefield, The Sentence, Imperfect Beauty, Through the Rabbit Hole, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, A Body In the Attic, Emily Dahill CID, A Dog Gone Christmas, Journey to Her Dreams, Painted Lady, Love Octagon,The Super Spies – Cat & Lady Killer.

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man

& Coming Soon:  Becoming Jolie and The Watchers!!!

Win a Copy of Jamais Vu (signed) on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Jamais Vu by Monique O'Connor James

Jamais Vu

by Monique O’Connor James

Giveaway ends May 21, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter to win

Writers Corner – What Do You Mean I Have to Blog?

So, the publicist and marketing personnel at your publisher have suggested, or insisted that you start a blog.  Not just start one, but create interesting and informative posts on a regular basis, and do it with a smile! After you finish screaming and you have pulled out the last clump of your hair, take a deep breath.  Everything is going to be okay.  I promise.

There are a gazillion blogs on the internet, and every topic known to man has been covered over and over again.  This begs the questions, does anyone really care what I have to say? What am I going to blog about?

The short answer is, Yes! Your readers are interested in what goes on in your life and how your crazy mind works.  And as for what you going to blog about – well there are some easy ways to generate ideas, so again, breathe.

1.  Create Tags.  The most helpful advise I’ve gotten about blogging ideas was this:  Make a list of fifty to a hundred tags related to your books.  Yes, you can do it! It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Make sure you consider every character and subplot in your book when you compile the list.  Once you are finished, you will have a plethora of words that can help spark ideas for blog topics.  Try it!  It works!

2.  Read lots of blogs posted by your fellow authors Sometimes in their blogs they will pose a question or make a statement that you don’t agree with.  Use this opportunity to respond with your own thoughts.  Make sure you link to the original post, especially if you use direct quotes from it.

3. People love lists.  Lists are easy to scan and provide a wealth of information in a short amount of time.  List the best comments you’ve received, your favorite Facebook statuses, the best books you’ve read, the options are endless.

4.  Give away your secrets.  People appreciate help and like to know that there are others in the same boat.  List your resources and provide links when you share information so they can access the sites easily.  Include blogs and web pages that you can’t live without, and then sit back and wait for the kudos to fill up your comment box. 

5.  Share other author’s reviews, excerpts, interviews, etc.  If you’re tired of seeing these types of posts, create a list of ten of the most intriguing book trailers, or your favorite back cover blurbs.

There are many ways to grab your audience’s attention.  Don’t sweat it! If I can do it, I know you can!  Now that you have a few ideas get to work and have fun!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man published by Astraea Press

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Deja Vu Debut 1/12/12 Giveaways!!!!!

You probably know by now that Jamais Vu’s follow-up, Deja Vu, will be coming out tomorrow 1/12/12.  I have lots of giveaways going on right now and just wanted to do a little run down so you don’t miss anything.

Okay first,  if you purchase Deja Vu on 1/12/12, email the receipt to nique313@yahoo.com and I will give you the choice of a PDF of The Keepers , Jamais Vu or The Mulligan Man!  Two for One!!!!  This is for 1/12/12 only.

Next, Rachel Van Dyken had a fabulous write-up about the books on her blog.  If you comment on her blog, I will draw someone on 1/12/12 o receive a PDF copy of Jamais Vu or Deja Vu (Your choice).

Okay last one for now.  We are playing throw me something mister on my facebook page.  Change your profile picture to the cover of Deja Vu above and yell “Throw Me Something Mister” on my page!  On Saturday, 1/14/12 I’ll draw for several winners and the prizes are the collectors beads below and maybe even a couple of PDFs!

Have Fun! Thank you all for always supporting me!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man, Jamais Vu and Deja Vu published by Astraea Press

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

So you got a bad review?

It seems that all authors treat reviews differently.  Some read each one and take them to heart and others refuse to even look at them.  It’s difficult to take something you’ve loved, nurtured, and sent into the world and allow others to cast their opinions on it.  For those who don’t write, I would compare it to someone criticizing your child.

At least once a week, I see the following post on Facebook, “I received a one star review, and I’m crushed”. Well there’s hope!  There are some things you should know about negative reviews and I hope this helps you put them in perspective.

First, I’ll start by telling you that I’ve had my share of bad reviews and most of them were caused by something completely out of my control.  When my first book The Keepers was published, we worked tirelessly on editing it and then the worst of the worst happened.  Somehow, between here and there the wrong document was uploaded and the unedited version was sent out to the masses.  Being so excited and green, I didn’t even check my copy. (Yes, I know, I know.)  So for over a month I was sending it out for reviews oblivious to the problem.

The first time I got a review back that said something to the effect of, “I couldn’t even finish this book it was so error-ridden” I almost died.  No, not literally, but you know what I mean.  I knew we had spent hours editing it, and for me this was a huge slap in the face.  I thought it was a fluke, until a few more came in with the same comments.  In tears, I pulled it from the shelf and my publisher graciously sent it back through editing.  So you see, I’ve had my bout with horrid, nasty reviews and those reviews can still be seen on my Amazon and Goodreads pages.

I can’t lie, I was defeated at first.  I thought there was no way to overcome the damage that had been done, and I wanted to just give up.  Lucky for me, I can’t ever let anything go.  I put the new copy up, went plugging along, and have since released another book.

So what’s the good news?  One thing I did when I was distraught over the mark on my name, was I went to other author’s Amazon pages.  I picked authors who were at the top of their genre rankings and studied their reviews.  There was a very small percentage who had never received less than three stars, but for the most part, every author had at a few low scores, and even those who didn’t, had some nasty remarks made by readers and reviewers. What does this mean for you?  If people selling 500 plus books a month aren’t losing momentum because of a couple of less than stellar reviews, neither will you.

Another thing I noticed about reviews that were less than complimentary, was that most of the time, the reader couldn’t pinpoint why they didn’t like the book.  Maybe they didn’t connect with the characters, or the story moved too slow for them or two fast, but even they had a hard time putting into words why they didn’t like the story.  (Imagine that this is better than – the story was so riddled with errors I couldn’t finish it!).  Once long ago, when I first started my regular JOB a friend told me, “Not everyone will like you.  Get over it.”  I’ve taken this attitude with me into my writing.  No matter how hard you try, not everyone is going to get you.

Yes, I know you are thinking – But I want everyone to get me! – No you don’t.  I’m sure when you were writing one of the things you hoped for was a unique voice and to bring something new and different to the table.  Some people just like cookie-cutter.  They want romance to be boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, and they live happily ever after.   They want your hero to be the kind of guy that has no flaws that everyone just falls for from the beginning.   They want the same thing they’ve been reading for years, because they find it comfortable.

Since you were striving so hard to make your voice unique, I know that there are things in your books that not everyone will connect with and as writers we have to set our delicate egos aside and understand that it is OKAY!  I’ve found that when you have stepped outside of the box you will no doubt get those nasty little reviews, but you will also develop a following of rabid fans that DID connect with what you were trying to say and the message you wanted your work to put out there.  Wouldn’t you rather have those die-hard fans who yell your name from the roof, than just another reader that felt comfortable reading your work?

Finally, I’ll leave you with this.  I get nervous when I have all five-star reviews.  Yes, I said nervous.  Right now on Amazon, Jamais Vu has all five-star write ups!  I’m thrilled, because each one of those readers is passionate about how much they love the story. However, everything I’ve read says that when you do have a couple of lower marks, it lends credibility to your great reviews, because then it doesn’t look like you just rounded up your closest friends to tell the world how super you are!

I really hope that each of us can put aside any hurt and learn anything we can from constructive criticism.  We learn from each other and our editors, why can’t we learn from those that didn’t exactly connect with our work?

Here’s to a future full of five-star reviews!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of:  The Keepers, Jamais Vu & The Mulligan Man

all from Astraea Press.

http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_4

http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=pd_sim_kinc_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mulligan-Man-ebook/dp/B005ES06M0/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2