Tag Archives: self-publishing

Deadly Valentine: Updated – 2200+ Downloads

I got new edits of Deadly Valentine posted this weekend and Tuesday offered the book for free for one day at Amazon. Being a new indie author, I don’t know what constitutes good stats when it comes to free offers. I suspect my numbers aren’t stellar because I didn’t promote the free offer as I should have. Still, I feel good about 2200+ in a single day. Yes, the book was free, but people still have to be intrigued by the cover and blurb to make the effort to download and read. The book (at last check) had reached number #6 in free Kindle mystery books involving women sleuths and #141 in free Kindle books overall. Again, I don’t know if those are great stats, but I feel good about them. It gives me something to strive to beat the next time.

While I’m happy about the results, I’m terrified by them as well. Initial reviews are good, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all be good. I’m worrying about what people won’t like. Will they still find typos that were missed and be distracted by them? Will they like the dialogue (which an agent said was my strong point)? Will they find the story believable? Will they like Tess and Jack? Whoever said that writing requires bleeding on the page is right because when you send it out into the world to be enjoyed and judged, you feel raw and vulnerable. I’ve told myself that not everyone will like the book and may take the opportunity to tell me so through a review. It’s a part of writing. Even the most celebrated writers get negative reviews. So I’ll have to try to keep it all in perspective and hope that more people enjoy the book than don’t.

And as stressful as this whole process is, I’m back for another helping as I work on the third edit of Old Flames Never Die, book two in the Valentine series. I hope to have the book available this fall (Sept/Oct).

 

Deadly Valentine: A Valentine Mystery, Book One

Deadly Valentine: A Valentine Mystery, Book One is now available through Amazon. This is my first full-length novel and I’m so glad that it’s finally published.

After years of writing fan fiction, I’d decided to write a novel with original characters. It was much harder than I thought it would be, but I’m pleased with the finished product. Deadly Valentine includes all the elements of a story I love; a sexy romance, fun banter, and a mystery. Here’s the description:

Tess Madison walked away from her two-timing fiancé, a multi-million dollar trust fund and a cushy corporate law job to pursue the single life indulging in chocolate and fancy French underwear. But her newly reordered life comes unraveled when she reluctantly accepts an invitation to a dinner party and stumbles upon the host’s dead body. Now Tess is the middle of a murder investigation pitting her wannabe-boyfriend police detective against Jack Valentine, a man from her past with blue-green eyes and sinful smile that causes her to rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Tess has many reasons to avoid Jack including the fact that he’s the prime suspect in murder. But Tess doesn’t believe Jack’s the murderer and with an honest attempt to keep her hormones in check, she agrees to represent him. With Jack’s help, she uncovers a 30-year-old secret someone is killing to keep hidden and discovers sensual delights that don’t include chocolate or French underwear. But when her professional and personal relationship with Jack threatens to ruin her career and end her life, Tess has to decide if Jack, is worth the risk.

Deadly Valentine is the first in the Valentine Mystery series featuring Tess Madison a chocolate and French underwear connoisseur and Jack Valentine, her handsome, environmentalist, pteromerhanophobic (fear of flying) love interest.

This is a full-length 103,000 word novel of mystery and romance, including mild sex scenes.

Do Roberts, Grisham or Evanovich Write Blurbs?

You may find this hard to believe, but writing blurbs — the information on the book that tells what it’s about — is harder than writing the story itself. At least it is for me. First of all, a good blurb is crucial to sales. It’s the next thing readers look at after the cover. That’s a lot of pressure! Second, you have to fit the plot of the story into a few lines of text. But it’s not just the plot that needs to be explained. You also have to convey they tone of the story and the personality of the characters.

Example of a bad blurb…

Tess left Washington, D.C. after a betrayal. She’s rebuilt her life and her law career in a small central Virginia town. All is well until she is invited to a dinner party where her date abandons her, a man from her past, Jack Valentine, shows up and the host ends up dead. Tess doesn’t like seeing Jack, but she doesn’t think he’s a killer and so she agrees to represent him. As they investigate the crime, they learn about a 30-year old crime and grow closer together. But when her life and career are threatened, will Tess take a chance on Jack.

That’s the basic story of Deadly Valentine, but it doesn’t give you any information about whether or not the story is noir, funny, or serious, or any clue to what the characters are like.

Below is blurb I eventually pulled together..

Better Blurb:

Tess Madison walked away from her two-timing fiancé, a multi-million dollar trust fund and a cushy corporate law job to pursue the single life indulging in chocolate and fancy French underwear. But her newly reordered life comes unraveled when she reluctantly accepts an invitation to a dinner party and stumbles upon the host’s dead body. Now Tess is the middle of a murder investigation pitting her wannabe-boyfriend police detective against Jack Valentine, a man from her past with blue-green eyes and sinful smile that causes her to rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Tess has many reasons to avoid Jack including the fact that he’s the prime suspect in murder. But Tess doesn’t believe Jack’s the murderer and with an honest attempt to keep her hormones in check, she agrees to represent him. With Jack’s help, she uncovers a 30-year-old secret someone is killing to keep hidden and discovers sensual delights that don’t include chocolate or French underwear. But when her professional and personal relationship with Jack threatens to ruin her career and end her life, Tess has to decide if Jack is worth the risk.

Professional authors/publishers would probably have critiques of the better blurb, but you can’t deny it’s better than the first.

So now I’m working on the blurb for Endangered and I’m stuck. I’ve got a bad version, but am having a heck of a time beefing it up. As I work on it, I realize that I’m going to have to write a blurb for every book I publish and I couldn’t help but wonder if the mega-authors write their own blurbs. And would I have to be a mega-author to get someone else to write my blurbs?

Is it Envy? The Incredulous Success of Fifty Shades

I love rags to riches stories, especially about indie writers. There is something satisfying about hearing about a writer rejected by traditional publishing, who delivers the ultimate payback…success. But in the case of Fifty Shades of Gray, I’m stumped.

In theory, I should be excited that the Twilight fan fic turned published book is such a phenomenon since I got started by writing fan fic. What perplexes me is the quality of writing, not for fan fic, but for a traditionally published book. Fan fiction readers are so happy to read stories about their favorite characters, that they are forgiving of things like typos and quality of writing. But when a book is picked up by a publisher, it seems like editing for quality should be a part of the process. It doesn’t feel like that happened in the case of Fifty Shades of Gray. Didn’t the editor find the overuse of some words (i.e. “inner Goddess” and “holy….”) annoying? Or the sex scenes a little too flowery ala bodice rippers of yesteryear? I’m not criticising the the bondage or erotica, I’m talking about the over-the-top language like “…pushing higher and higher into the castle in the air” or referring to a part of Christian’s anatomy as a popsicle. Are these adults or teenagers? I was expecting to read things like “trobbing love thruster”.

Is it jealousy or sour grapes on my part. Maybe, though I don’t think so. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve enjoyed seeing the success of other indie authors finally getting noticed by traditional publishers. But maybe I need to view the success of Fifty Shades of Gray as a good sign. Maybe other readers, not just fan fiction readers, don’t care as much about the quality of the writing as the story. Or maybe its just readers who like titillating reads. That must be it. After all, people who like porn don’t pay too much attention to cinematic style or quality.

While I found Fifty Shades of Gray an annoying read, ultimately I have to congratulate E.L. James for her success. Afterall, what every writer wants are readers who love the story and that is what E.L. James was able to achieve.

Endangered Cover – What do you think?

Step-by-step I move closer to getting my novella Endangered published. It’s crazy how much there is do to self-publish a book. Aside from writing, there is editing, formatting for e-readers, buying an ISBN, writing a blurb that makes people want to read it, and creating a cover that entices people to read the blurb. I’m working on the final edit and then I’ll do the formatting. I’m also working on the cover. Below is the current incarnation, but I’m not sure it’s right. I’d love to have your feedback.