Monday, 29 April 2013

Updating My Website

I'm changing the name and design of my blog. It will now become my author website and as of May 7th, 2013, Bloodgifted will officially become,

I tossed up renaming it after the series of books I'm writing - The Dantonville Legacy - but then, I read somewhere never to name your website after your books. After all, what if I decide to write another series after I've completed this one?

This is a big change for me, so I hope it doesn't lead to too much confusion. But, it's time for an upgrade, especially before my debut book is released.

If anyone's done something similar, please leave a comment as I'd love to know how it worked out.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Book Launch for Lindsay J Pryor's, Blood Roses

It's Book Launch Day for one of my favourite authors - and good friend - Lindsay J Pryor. Blood Roses is the second in her Blackthorn series, and a damn good read it is, too!
For all you dark vampire lovers out there, meet Caleb and Leila - each deadly to the other, but thrown together to save the ones they love.

Here's a selection of some of my favourite "Blackthorn Bites" to give you a taste (please, excuse the pun) and have you running to get a copy.

I'll be pasting one of these delicious "bites" on my sidebar so I can swoon over Caleb's mesmerising emerald eyes every time I open my page! Mmmm... he's almost a yummy as Alec Munro, my tall, dark and smouldering hero in my soon-to-be-released book, Bloodgifted. (Sorry, Linds, couldn't resist the plug!)

This weekend just happens to be my Girls Weekend, with a few close friends. So, guess what we'll be doing? Bring out the wine, chocolate, moody background music and Blood Roses.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

So, I've Rejected a Traditional Publishing Contract? What Comes Next?

There's a certain perverse satisfaction that comes when an author rejects a publisher's offer, as it's usually the other way around. But, it happens - especially when one carefully examines the small print in their contracts. The publishing world favours the publisher NOT the author, even though we're the proverbial golden goose who keeps their presses running! Yet, they get the shiny eggs and we get the crumbs and told to lay some more!
Thank goodness for self-publishing.
Originally, I planned to go indie and the hiccups along the way were stepping stones in the right direction. I simply needed to prove to myself my manuscript was worth publishing.
The onus now is on me, and being a control freak, nothing could please me more. My book is my product and I want to be responsible for its publication and marketing. In this way, the work I put in, comes back to me, in the way of royalties.

So, my next step?

Step 1.  The book has been thoroughly edited and critiqued. It just needs a final proofread. I've learnt NEVER to proofread my own work. No matter how good I think I may be, I'm not that good. Thankfully, I have a marvellous critique partner who I believe was an editor in a previous life.

Step 2. Send my manuscript to CreateSpace. They will convert it into kindle format as well as POD. This will take a maximum of ten days as CS will send me back the proofs for any correcting. If all goes well, I'll press the 'Approve' button and my manuscript will appear as an ebook within a couple of days on Amazon. I also intend placing it on Smashwords, Apple, Sony and B&N and every other online retailer.

Step 3. Since I'm Australian, I'll need to send my EIN number and CS kindle number to the US IRS department for processing. Last thing I want is to be taxed at a higher rate than necessary. Australia has a tax treaty with the US which reduces the amount I have to pay to 5%.

Step 4. Convert my blog into a website. I'm on blogger (and happy to stay here, since I find Wordpress too damn complicated!) I'm only going to add extra pages, titled - Home, About Me, My Books,  My Testimony, The World of Dantonville, Blog, Press. That should just about cover it. I've been searching the web and perusing the best blogs for inspiration and there are some incredible ones around. There's nothing wrong with looking to the best and emulating them.

Step 5. Create a series of promo images based on my book cover. Good publishers will use the book cover as a pseudo-eposter. Eg. They'll take the image, remove the title and add a line from the book, or a catchy blurb. It's a clever way to garner interest both prior to and after its release.
My graphic artist is currently in the process of creating some truly professional ones for me, but in the meanwhile, here are two promos I've been playing with.

Step 6. If you're don't already have a Goodreads author page, GET ONE! Sorry, don't mean to shout, but Goodreads is one of the best author platforms around. Readers go there to find books and authors, and a favourable review on Goodreads will start the process of gaining you a loyal reader following.

Well, I think that's all - for now. In the next few weeks I'll be adding to these steps as my publishing journey continues.

I'd love to hear from any authors who bravely struck out on their own. What has been your experience?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Sunshine Award

Last week, I was thrilled to be tagged by my friend, Lindsay J Pryor, for 'The Sunshine Award'. A couple of months ago, she tagged me for 'The inspiring Bloggers Award'.
So, thanks again, Linds!
What is 'The Sunshine Award'? As you can see from the lovely flower above, it's a recognition from fellow bloggers to those, "who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.

Me? It's a surprise, indeed and I'm honoured.

Now, these are the rules:

1) Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.

(2) Do the Q&A below.

(3) Pass on the award to 10 - 12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.

Simple? Yes and no. I love answering the fun questions, but not all of my writer friends have blogs! So, I'll probably have less than the required 10-12.

Favourite Colour:  Blue

Favourite Animal: Dog, especially the 'Westie'. They're so cute, I can't help falling for them. One day I intend getting one.
I also love horses and swans - two of the most beautiful creatures to grace land and air. In Australia, our swans are black, not the traditional white as in the northern hemisphere.We're unique, here Down Under!

Favourite Number: Nine. It's always been a number I've considered magical, as it's on the border of something ending and something new, as in twenty-nine, thirty-nine...etc. You're on the cusp of a new and exciting era. No wonder JRR Tolkien created, The Nine Walkers, as opposed to the Nine Ring Wraiths in, The Lord of the Rings.
He knew!

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Lemonade! There's nothing more refreshing like a cold glass of lemonade, with sprigs of mint, on a hot summer's day.

Facebook or Twitter: I've been on both for a while. Facebook is great to keep in contact with friends and family, while twitter is fun for posting comments and making new friends. I tend to do that a lot.

Your Passion:
Writing and archaeology. Since both take up the same space in my mind, I indulge them in my books.

Giving or getting presents:
Giving. I get a real thrill just standing back and watching the expressions on people's faces - especially kids - when they receive a gift. It's priceless!

Favourite Day:
When it's pouring with rain and miserable outside so I can stay in and write!

Favourite Flowers:
Jasmine in spring. The aroma is simply intoxicating! To me, there's no Spring without jasmine. Then when summer comes around, it has to be the heady gardenia.

Now, I'm going to pass the award to:

Dionne Lister

Diane Eklund-Abolins

Claudia Taylor

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Why I Declined a Publishing Contract.

Only last week I was offered a publishing contract for my debut novel, Bloodgifted. And like every newbie writer out there who receives one of these emails from a publisher, my excitement knew no bounds. I even splurged on an expensive bottle of red wine to celebrate with family and friends. It set my budget back for that week, but what the heck! It was worth it.
Then came the contract and that's when fantasy rudely bumps into reality!

1. Royalties
When I originally submitted my manuscript to the publisher, I checked their website and knew they were offering 40% royalties. Now, that sounds good compared to many others whose royalty payments are designed to keep their authors humble - aka, poor. But, what I didn't realise was the royalty payment (40% gross) referred to books (ebooks) sold on their website.
I'd like know how many readers actually go to a publishers website to purchase books? Personally, I don't know of anyone. But, maybe I could be wrong.
Then there's the net payment of 40% on ebooks sold through online retailers, such as Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Booktopia and Barnes and Noble... etc.
After taking their slice of the proverbial cake, what would actually be left for me?

I also noticed this publisher was a little slow uploading their author's titles on to those online retailers. They've been sitting on the publishers website for longer than a month now, and as yet I haven't seen them on Amazon, or anywhere else. That's at least 4-6 weeks of lost royalties.

2. Digital Only
What swayed my decision not to accept the contract was that this publisher was digital only. They don't do Print-on-Demand. Maybe I missed that in my hurry to submit, maybe not. I know ebooks are here to stay, yet how many of us authors long to hold a paperback copy of our books in our hot little hands? I do, and so do many of my friends. They still like the old-fashioned smell and feel of a 'real' book. Why deny them?

3. Cover Rights

A local graphics designer created a beautiful cover for my book which would have been modified to suit the publisher's taste. Now, I know I could have let them design a whole new cover, but I absolutely love my current one, and if I let them modify it I'd lose my cover rights.
The problem with that is, were I to self-publish in hard copy form (since I would hold paperback rights) I would have to create another cover.
I don't even want to contemplate the trouble that would cause. Imagine my ebook with one cover and the paperback with another! Amazon would have a field day!
So, not going there. Ever.

4. Publisher's Brand
Okay, call me a prude, but what finally persuaded me not to accept the contract was the their brand. It would have labelled my book as erotic - which it is not. It's simply not my cup of tea, as they say. More importantly, as a Christian, I don't want to give the wrong impression to my readers, let alone my family and friends.
It was probably my mistake submitting to them in the first place, although their books range from the sweet and romantic all the way to the erotic - just like every other publisher of chic lit these days.
I guess, as an author, there are things easily overlooked while desperately striving for that 'holy grail' -  the publishing contract.

But, I'm grateful for this one thing - they proved I have a book worth publishing, and for that I owe them.
So, now what? Looks like I'm going indie!

Did I do right? I'd love to know.