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

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!!!!

Fan-tastic Fans #2 with Kimberly Miller-Callegan

Welcome to another addition of my FAN-Tastic Fans Blog Posts. As you know this a tribute to my fans and readers and a way to allow them to receive the recognition they deserve!

This week I got to interview Kimberly Miller-Callegan.  If you like YA this girl is your best friend…she really knows her books!!!  Kim and I only met a few months ago, but we became fast friends.  I work with Kim’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth.  One day Elizabeth told me about Kim and that she was writing a YA novel.  She asked me if I would mind if Kim called or emailed me because as a new writer she had a million questions and not many people to get information from.  Kim called that weekend and the rest is history.  She has been a great friend and a rabid supporter of my books and me personally. The first time I read her WIP I cracked up when a line of her dialogue actually said “Squee”. Ever since, she has been lovingly known in my house as Squee!    Hope you enjoy meeting her!

First tell us a little about yourself:

Squee!:  My name is Kimberly Callegan. I am happily married to my husband of twelve years and a mother of two. I am in my early thirties and am having the best time of my life! Reading is my passion and I am an aspiring author. This girl doesn’t buy clothes, jewelry and shoes, well… maybe if I find a good sale, but I prefer BOOKS, BOOKS and more BOOKS! The smell of a book when you first open it is the best smell in the world! My friends say I’m one of a kind… I take that as a compliment, I think? Reality TV entertains me (Big Brother premiers this week- yes!!) and everything stops for True Blood and Vampire Diaries.  I enjoy listening to music, preferably of the rock/alternative/punk genres. Throw a little hip hop in there and I’m down with dropping it like it’s hot!

Yea I can totally picture you droppin’ it ….lol!  When did you first develop your passion for reading?

Squee!: I’ve only been reading since last summer! I finally broke down and watched the movie Twilight. I loved it so much (maybe Robert Pattinson had a little something to do with it), I rented New Moon the following night. I then bought the series to read and I went HAYWIRE from there! I went on a reading frenzy and to date have read 95 books. That’s a lot considering I work full-time, am a wife and a mother of two young children. I’m such an avid reader, I decided to write my own novel.  It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Writing is totally therapeutic and provides me with much delight.

I’ve really enjoyed watching your writing blossom. It’s amazing that you really just got into reading. Do you have any other hobbies?

Squee!: I enjoy hanging out with my friends and laughing. I’m learning acoustic guitar and hope to get a good rhythm down. It’s not as easy as you think!

OH my fingers always hurt when I tried to play!  You go girl! Who is on your list of favorite authors?

Squee!: Well of course I have to mention Monique O’Connor James (wink, wink)! Currently, may faves are Cassandra Clare, Becca Fitzpatrick, Alyson Noel, Melissa De La Cruz, Lisa McMann, Lauren Kate, Kelley Armstrong, P.C. & Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, James Dashner, S.L. Naeole, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Maggie Steifvater, Suzanne Collins, Stephanie Meyer, Gena Showalter (YA series), Shelena Shorts. Of course, the more books I read (405 on my “to be read list”) the more authors to add!

Do you find yourself getting emotionally attached to characters if a book is well written?  Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my best friend when I finish reading a book….do you do that?

Oh my gawd yes! Like big time! I love getting lost in the author’s world. It takes you away from the everydayness of life. And… book boy crushes are the best! I’m emotional for days after reading the end of a series!

Out of all the books you’ve read if you could have dinner with a character who would it be and why?

Jace Wayland from the Mortal Instruments! EEP! The boy is totally bad-ass and swoon-worthy. He’s snarky, but compassionate. I tell ya, I have a wonderful image of him in my head. He’s definitely a character I’ll always remember! (Too bad I can’t mention Matt from Jamais Vu- Sha-wing!) <—- I left this in… because Kim got a sneak peek at my September Release Jamais Vu and she um…has a crush 🙂

What are you currently reading?

Squee!: I am currently reading The Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr. I’m on book 3- Fragile Eternity.

Any strange habits while reading?

Squee!: I’m like a zombie when I read. Everything else is tuned out. My husband and kids know if they need my attention, they need to tap my shoulder because I do not hear their words. I don’t even know if my eyes blink while I’m reading!

How much description do you like in a book?

Squee!:Well, I think it’s important you have it so you can visualize. Sometimes, there is too much and you’re like “Geez, get on with the story, I don’t care!” But then in some instances, there isn’t enough. It’s very important to describe your characters, emotions and places so you feel as if you are present in the book.

What genres do you like best?

Squee!: Definitely Paranormal, Dystopian and Urban Fantasy Young Adult. I’ll eventually venture into adult books. Anything outside of those genres, I’m really not interested in at this time. Reading young adult makes me feel like a teenager again and I love it! There’s also morals in just about every young adult novel that teens or no matter how old you are can relate to. It’s a beautiful thing. I wish all these wonderful books I’ve read were out when I was a teenager. Things could have been… let’s just say, easier!

Anything else about you, you’d like to share with us?

Squee!: Not about me, but I’d like to mention one more thing… Monique O’Connor James is fabulous! If you haven’t read The Keepers, you are totally missing out!

 Ya’ll add her to your FB and Twitter and keep up with this girl! She’ll be making waves soon!

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176#!/profile.php?id=649590669

Twitter:  Kimberdee

Thanks and Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

PS!  This blog is being posted on 7/9/11 The Keepers Ebook is on Sale for $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Astraea Press.  Sale goes through Sunday then its back to $6.99! Catch it while you can.

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

FAN-TASTIC! Fan Interview with Kristina Haecker

I kind of snagged this idea from Kay Springsteen blog.  She is doing a Reader’s Corner weekly and I thought it was a brilliant idea to highlight some of the fans who are so supportive and give them a moment in the spotlight to let you know what they do!

I chose Kristina first, because she is a reviewer and one of the administrators at All Things Books on Facebook.  She is just a genuine southern belle who has done so much for me as far as sharing my links, passing the word on about “The Keepers”, and you can find the review she did on all the major websites.  Enjoy getting to know her and make sure you add her to your Facebook as she will be an up and coming author someday soon!

First tell us a little about yourself: I am a 20 year old full time college student that works at a Catholic school and lives in Texas with her parents and younger brother. I am a huge Green Day and Lord of the Rings fan! I collect bookmarks and other cool swag from my favorite authors. Basically, I’m a nerd. 🙂 My favorite color is blue and I drive the cutest little blue BMW. I have the two best friends in the world. I have even been labeled “The Optimist Queen” and “too nice for my own good”.

I love music too and Green Day Rocks! When did you first develop your passion for reading? I’ve been reading, well…since I could read. When I was little, my mom would read to me. Both of my parents liked to read in their spare time. It was kind of like a double whammy. Both of them liked to read… So, I LOVED to read.
Reading has always been my escape. When I got home from school or work, I would feel better knowing that I could pick up a book and slide into someone else’s world and forget everything for a bit. I got teased in school for carrying a book around with me, but I was never ashamed of that. Now I have a Nook that I take everywhere. I’d rather stay curled up in my bed with a book or my Nook (hehe, I love how that rhymes!) rather than go out on a Friday night.
  I know you like to design shirts (wink) and read, but what are your other hobbies?
I love to dance. I was on the dance team in high school and have taken some classes in college. Music is a big part of my life. It is my other escape. I put my headphones on and  hear nothing other than the music I choose. I enjoy going to concerts. (I’ve seen Green Day twice!) I like photography. And of course, all of the other things women my age like to do: shopping, hanging out with friends, texting, and facebooking. Traveling, too. Two summers ago I visited England, Whales, and Ireland and after that, I want to see more of the world. I recently just started to review books, and I love it!
I’m so jealous that you went to Ireland!!  Who is on your list of favorite authors? I have a lot, so bear with me. Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Colleen Houck, Meg Cabot, Suzanne Collins, Ednah Walters, Deena Remiel, Gracen Miller, Maggie Stiefvater, Ellen Hopkins, Jennifer Laurens, J.R.R Tolken, Shakespear, Becca Fitzpatrick, Karen Kincy and, of course, you! 🙂 There are many others, but those are the ones I can list off the top of my head. 🙂
What genres do you like best? Paranormal romance or just straight up romance. I used to read some mystery too, but I’m a hardcore romantic. 😉
Do you find yourself getting emotionally attached to characters if a book is well written?  Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my best friend when I finish reading a book….do you do that? If a book is well written, yes! Especially with your book The Keepers. I bawled through the last half of it! Only the best of books can grab a person like that. I was also really attached to the characters in the Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck. (Two more great books I’ve read recently!)
Out of all the books you’ve read if you could have dinner with a character who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one. I think I would say Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy books. She’s so fierce and funny. Maybe she could show me a few self-defense moves.
What are you currently reading? I just finished your fabulous book, The Keepers, and now I have no idea what I’ll start. I have so many books on my TBR pile. I guess I should finish Water for Elephants since I am halfway finished. I put it aside to read Trinity by Deena Remiel and never went back to it. If not that, then Slow Burn by Ednah Walters.
Any strange habits while reading? I have to have complete silence to read. I have no idea why, but I just can’t focus with so much going on around me. It’s incredibly hard to read in my house because my family is so loud. That’s why I stay up reading long after they fall asleep, or before they get up. I don’t really like to read outside either, for the same reason.
How much description do you like in a book? I like a good amount. But I don’t want the book I’m reading to be just description. I few weeks ago I read a book that had all the description based on a couple kissing. It made the rest of the book quite boring and I struggled to finish it. I guess you have to have the right amount of description versus everything else.
Anything else you’d like to share with us? I am currently working on a book of my own about a badass female assassin that has to protect a young and handsome weapons dealer on their journey to a secret location. I hope to finish the book and publish it in the next few years!
I am an admin on the Facebook page All Things Books. I also am on the review team of an upcoming author.
Everyone Add Kristina she’s really a great person to know!  Thanks Kristina for taking the time to answer my questions!!! 
Check out my other blog posts as there are two contests going on right now.  One for The Keepers and one for Mulligan Man!!!
Cheers!
Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers”
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com