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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Becoming Jolie Huge Giveaway!

Becoming Jolie is going to be FREE for download on Amazon from October 8-10.  We have set up giveaway so that you can win lots of free stuff by helping us spread the word!  Just click on the rafflecopter link below and follow directions.  Hope you enjoy!!!!

Prizes – Original cover – signed copy of Becoming Jolie – (The one with the swing set on it), PDFS of Magia Rising, Becoming Jolie and The Watchers and a $10 Amazon Gift card are all up for grabs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Writers Corner – Book Reviewers

If you’re like me you are always hunting for book reviewers that will respond and that post honest and fair reviews.  Well here is my latest list!  Enjoy and I hope it helps.

1.  Ressa – www.ressaempbra.wordpress.com

2.  Thamy – www.franticreader.weebly.com

3.  Kristina – http://kristinasbooksandmore.blogspot.com

4. Mandy – http://twimom101bookblog.blogspot.com

5. Katrina – http://www.pageflipperz.blogspot.com

6.  Leanne – www.booksnmakeup.com

7. Tanya – http://speedyreader-allthingsbooks.blogspot.com

8. Dawn – http://dawn_hagen.blogspot.com

9. Jenn – www.romancing_the_book.com

10. Stacey – http://staceyeatonauthor.blogspot.com

11. Stacey – http://sassybooklovers.blogspot.com

12. Realteen Reviews – http://realteenreviews.blogspot.com

13. The Book Boost – http://thebookboost.blogspot.com

14. Sue – www.thewmreviewconnection.com

15. Cheryl – http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com

16. Renee – www.deepintheheartorromance.com

17.  http://clusallnightpreview.blogspot.com

18. Kim – www.living-fictiously.blogspot.com

19. Tazzie – http://tazziebookreviews.blogspot.com

20.  Lindsey – http://unitedbybooks.blogspot.com

21. Yoly – http://moonlightbeautybooks.blogspot.com

22. Shelly – www.shellygoodmanwright.com

23.  Wendy – http://.www.lovetiggibookreviews.wordpress.com

24. Susie – http://satinsbookishcorner.blogspot.com

25. Belinda – http://thebookishsnob.blogspot.com

26. Mindy – http://forbiddenreviews.com

27. Andrea – http://thesecretsanctuarybooks.blogspot.com

28. Brea – breaessex.wordpress.com

29. Cheeky Reads – http://cheekyreads.blogspot.com

30. Sheila – http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com

31. Kristine – www.spartanheartbyauthorkristinecheney.blogspot.com

32. Kyan – http://blog.liloqui.com

33. Devyn – http://devyn-dawson.blogspot.com

34. V Saewood Tice – http://saewood.webs.com/apps/blog

35. Mindy – www.bookscompleteme.com

36. Alaiel – http://www.libraianmouse.com

37. Amber/Sapphyria – http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com

38. Mera – http://merasyabooklist.blogspot.com

39. Chynna – http://www.the-gift-blog.com

40. Kati- http://klearsreviews.blogspot.com

41.  Laurie – http://www.bona-fide-reflections.com/

42.  http://scribblesonthebackofjanuary.wordpress.com

43.  http://cleanromancereviews.blogspot.com

44. http://reviewsrmine.wordpress.com

45. www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com

46. www.whispersfromabook.blogspot.com

47. www.novelreaction.com

48. www.affairedecoure.com

49. www.bookwormnation.blogspot.com

50. www.coffeetimeromance.com

51. www.fallenangelreviews.com

52. http://journeywithbooks.blogspot.com

53. www.romancing-the-book.com

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

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

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie from 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

Paranormal Addiction

What is it that keeps us buying paranormal books and staying up all night as we stand in line for tickets to paranormal movies? Is it because they are created around characters that aren’t quite human?  I’ve thought about the reasons I’m sucked into a well planned and plotted storyline and how these things fuel my addiction to the genre.  Read over them and add your own.  I’d love to hear from you.

1.  The Characters – There is a whole brood of paranormal personalities to fall in love with from Demons, Vampires, and Angels like the ones in The Keepers, to characters who possess some psychic or mystical power like Darby Lambert, in Jamais Vu.

They all give our imaginations room to wander and grow.  If you are like me, you love nothing more than a character who you didn’t expect, one who isn’t average.  Because we are curious about things we don’t quite understand, we are drawn to the stories of these people and creatures and the way they live, love, and overcome obstacles in their lives.

The Settings – Paranormal worlds usually take place in a setting that has a  personality all its own.  The Keepers is set in The French Quarter, in New Orleans, where the architecture and night life seem to jump off the page.  Jamais Vu takes place in St. Francisville, Louisiana, amongst creepy sugar cane fields and aging plantation homes.  Both of these locations reel you in through well described scenery and the effect the places have on the characters. We like locals that provide us with the ability to become a part of them.  As readers we expect to be sucked into our characters worlds and feel exactly what they do.

3.  Plot Twists – The paranormal genre isn’t ruled by the limitations of humans.  We can expect surprising turns allowed by the characters’ supernatural gifts. I think we have become spoiled by this as we expect more than the average boy meets girl story.

What are the aspects of the paranormal genre that keeps you coming back for more?  Do you watch paranormal movies and TV shows?

There are many great indie and small press authors out there waiting to thrill you with their tales.  Who are some of your favorites?

Enjoy your addiction.  I know I do!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu & The Mulligan Man available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Coming Early 2012:  Deja Vu;  Coming Summer 2012:  Becoming Jolie

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

15 Ways to Find New Blogging Material

If you’re like me, finding things to blog about can be a challenge.  I see many lists that have ideas out there, but I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and hope it helps you break through the … Continue reading

Review for Hurricane By Jenna-Lynn Duncan

I anxiously looked around, my heart palpitating, just in time to see an alligator slink into the green algae covered water that was on either side of us. I swallowed hard, and my heart raced even faster. Alligators were a different type of predator—the one thing I was afraid of. Now I was on my own personal swamp tour. What if my kidnappers left me in the middle of a swamp with five of
them creeping up on me? I’ve had that nightmare before and—oh no, if my dreams really are a sign of the future—I couldn’t breathe now.

Excerpt:
Adriana couldn’t decide what was worse—that Hurricane Katrina was heading for
New Orleans, or that she might not survive her kidnapping to see its potential
effects. She had trusted Hayden, even fallen for him, and now he and his
brother Luke were taking her deeper and deeper into the Bayou. Why had two of
her classmates, the mysterious Boudreaux brothers, kidnapped her? Why had
Adriana’s dreams started predicting the future? Most importantly, would she
make it out of the Bayou alive…

My Thoughts:

Adriana’s mom has never been part of her life, and her father is slowly backing away.  Life with nothing, but a catastrophic hurricane looming down on the city she loves, allows her to yield to the opportunity to find out about another world that exists; a world she is a part of.  Being a lover of all things, Louisiana, made this one a no-brainer for me.  Jenna Lynn’s descriptions of the city of New Orleans made me long to walk the French Quarter and nostalgic for pre-Katrina days.  Jenna Lynn is a wonderful storyteller and you will be sucked into the new world she has created and left wanting more.

Don’t miss this one!!!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man Available @ www.astraeapress.com

Coming Soon:  Jamais Vu