BLACK WATERS

Book #1 in the Songstress Trilogy
The Story...

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Abby Carson thought she had her secret under control. Who cares if after “the change” took place, she became so beautiful that all the girls at school hated her. And the boys, well, when they look at her, hate isn't exactly what's going through their minds.

But when Abby witnesses a teenage girl's murder by a preternatural creature off the coast of Cape Cod, her carefully controlled life slips into chaos. Hiding in the water until the killer's gone is a must. Getting spotted by Brian Baker, a boy from school, isn't. Neither is falling in love with him. That definitely wasn't part of the plan.

Combine all this with the mysterious mermaid box Abby receives as a postmortem birthday gift from her dad, and she's pulled even deeper into the world of shades and monsters. Once the full force of Abby's deadly siren powers are revealed, the only one she can hurt more than herself is the boy she loves.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I'm Giving My Book Away On Smashwords



If you're reading this blog then you probably know that I recently put Black Waters up on Smashwords as a free download. This was a tough decision for me because, in reality, I'd like to get paid for my writing. But since I'm a new and virtually unknown writer, free seemed like the way to go.

In July, when I first published Black Waters on Amazon, I listed it at $.99. (Note: I know the publication date says May, but that's actually the date I loaded the book up onto Amazon's website. It took me two frustrating months to get the formatting right, so July was when it was actually available for sale.) Now, of course I think the book's worth more than that. Much more. I mean, it took me a couple of years to write the thing. And then I had to edit it, get beta readers, rewrite it again, and again and again.... And after all that, I still had to figure out a way to get an inexpensive yet professional looking cover. (I tried making one myself, but the outcome was pathetic.) All in all, it was a lot of work. Fun yes--but still work. But, and this is a problem for me as well as gazillions of other new authors out there, nobody knows who I am. I am anonymous...and also possibly a little naive. You see, I didn't have much a a marketing plan going into all this. “Hey,” I thought. “ I'm just a writer... what do I know about marketing?” And so, unfortunately, at least on Amazon, it's been really hard for me to make sales. I was hoping that pricing Black Waters at $.99 would encourage readers to take a chance on me. And that plan is working... sort of. I've gotten some good review, and I have sold some books, but, let's face it, I haven't sold that many. As of today, I've sold approximately fifty books on Amazon. That's it. Obviously I'm not making a living. But, in all honesty, I'm not even aiming for that right now. I just want people to read my book. That's it.

So...I decided to publish it on Smashwords. Of course, I was always planning on putting Black Waters up there, I just dreaded the awful formatting process. It took me such a long time to get it right on Amazon, and now that I'm working on my next book, I didn't want to format it all over again. So I procrastinated, and procrastinated, then procrastinated some more. Then I found someone to do it for me. It only cost me fifty bucks, and it was TOTALLY worth it. Only that's when I thought, “Hey, I need more readers; I need more people to review my book. Free, yes, that's what I'll do. Because who doesn't like free stuff? I know I do.”

As I mentioned previously, if you asked me how much I really think my book is worth, then free would definitely not be my answer. No way! In the best of all worlds, I'd price Black Waters at about $3.00. I think that's a fair price because there really are no upfront costs for me when I sell my ebook on Amazon of Smashwords. Also, I personally believe that ebooks should cost less than physical books. Holding an actual book in your hand means something, at least to me. Unfortunately, it seems that even $.99 is a lot on Amazon when there are thousands and thousands of books for sale. So for the next month (through Dec. 18th), Black Waters is free. At least it is on Smashwords. I can't sell it for anything less than $ .99 on Amazon. Trust me, I would if I could.

Lately, I've been reading that a lot of authors are unhappy about other authors offering books for free. And I understand that. I really do. When you put your book up for free, you depreciate the value of everyone else's work. Plus, if readers get accustomed to getting free books, they may feel that they shouldn't have to pay for books at all. Then how will authors make a living? But the problem is that when you're unknown, free might actually help you build a fan base. And that's something every author needs.

Since Black Waters debuted on Smashwords last Thursday, I've had a large number of books downloaded for free. A lot more than fifty, anyway. I do have one concern; however, and that is whether the people who downloaded my book are actually going to read it. I know how it is because I do this myself. You download a free ebook because you think you might like it, but then you never bother to read the thing. Maybe it's because you weren't really a hundred percent interested in it in the first place, and you only took it because it was free. My hunch is that if you had to take out your credit card and type those numbers in to get the thing, then you're more likely to invest the time it takes to read it. I know I'm like that. I've downloaded a countless number of books that I haven't read. I'm planning on reading them; I really am. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. And, do you know what? I think that's okay. It's the territory that comes along with free. But as a writer, I only ask that if you've enjoyed my book for free, please think about leaving a review on either Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads or, preferably, all three. For an unknown like me, reviews are better than money. And yes, dear reader, I'd love to hear what you thought. It's so cool to think that somewhere, someone I don't even know might be curled in a corner reading my book. Well, I hope that someone is you and that you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Waters Availabe for FREE on Smashwords

For the next month (through December 18th) Black Waters will be available for free on Smashwords.  So check it out and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Indie Aisle's One Year Anniversary Webcast

I'm very excited to be one of the featured guests on the Indie Aisle's one year anniversary webcast.  It's all happening this Thursday at 8pm pacific time.  Check it out if you're interested at http://blog.indieaisle.com/

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Balance... That's My Goal (Gulp!)


Today I've been thinking an awful lot about my attempt to balance writing and marketing on only about 1.5 hours a day. Yes, it's true. That's all I have. I'm a busy person with lots of obligations, and it's hard to squeeze in those few precious moments.

Now, unfortunately, and I say this in a wish I knew then what I know now way, I had no game plan when I first put Black Waters up on Amazon. I'd read a couple of top selling YA/PNR books and thought mine was comparably good, so I put it up. Oh yes, I admit it. I was one of those naive writers who fervently believes that if he/she publishes something on Amazon then people will buy it. Alas, that's not exactly how it works. There are tons of books on Amazon, and I mean TONS. You have to make a real effort to get yourself known. It's tough because, like most writers, what I really want to do is work on my next book. You see, Black Waters is a series, and I've got the next installment all mapped out. (Plus a big chunk of it written too!) But how do I juggle my time between marketing activities like blogging, tweeting, trying to get reviews, commenting on other people blogs, etc., and still have time to work on my next novel?

Okay, so there's no easy answer for that one. But, really, I think all a person can do is designate specific times for writing and specific times for marketing. (And then you basically have to try not to obsess about one while you're working on the other-- so hard!) Balance, yes--that's what I'm after. And maybe I should start waking up earlier so I have a bit more time-- especially since I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Oh no, what was I thinking???? Why am I blogging when I should be working on my novel???? Wait...deep breath. Balance...that's right. Okay, here we go again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Typing Is Not My Forte



This NaNoWRiMo thing is is SO hard-- and it's not because I don't know what I want to say. Let's face it folks, I'm a horrendous typist. I guess I didn't pay enough attention in typing class in high school. Aaaagggh!!!!! I really don't want to write 150 illegible pages, but I can't stop my brain from racing faster than my hands. Any advice out there? (Besides hiring a secretary.) LOL!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWiMo: Day 1


NaNoWiMo is kicking my butt! Today I only wrote 811 words. That's not much. (Think something like a page and a half.) Guess I need to pick up the pace. (Or maybe I should learn how to type a little faster.) AAAAGGHHH!!!! But it's only the first day. There's still hope, I hope.  At least the power's back on, so I can actually try and get something done. Plus, my house isn't freezing anymore.  There's always that.