Vanity isn’t Always in the Mirror

Do you know what a Vanity Press is?

Not everyone does and I am not looking down on someone who goes this route, but it is warning to ensure authors understand the risks.

Obviously I am a fan or independent publishers as well as traditional publishers. I have my reasons. Self publishing is a whole new world that is allowing a lot of new books to flood the market. What of vanity presses though?

A vanity press is a ‘publisher’ that requires the author or perspective author to sign a contract that requires them to pay money up front in order for a book to be accepted.* I don’t mean a small amount either. Most request a few thousand. Some request the author to buy a certain amount of books, or to buy others books from the publisher. There are a lot of different ways to identify a vanity press, but the biggest is that your book was not accepted due to merit, quality, plot line, or any other point that most agents and publishers look for.

A indie and or traditional publisher has contracts, but they never ask the author to foot the bill. Some do not pay advances; this is usually an Indie publisher due to their size and is not uncommon nor a red flag to worry about. Royalties should always be addressed, you’re a publishing to make money – let’s not kid ourselves.

If you aren’t sure if the publisher is a vanity press, where you are pretty much paying to have your book printed rather than self publish in ebook first, Google search and look for reviews. I am not saying all vanity presses are bad, some help market even. Just be aware of what you are getting into before you sign over a lot of money that might be lost for good rather than an investment.

*Please know that it is not uncommon for agents to ask for the author to pay their printing of manuscripts that will be shopped around to potential publishers.

Throw Back Thursday – When I Started to Write

When I first started to write I simply knew I would be the next big one. The next Stephanie Meyer or <Insert famous author>.  This wasn’t because my vampires sparked, because well, they didn’t.  No.  It was because I had something to say that would bring joy to people. Little did I know that the average it takes a person to get published isn’t exactly a fact, but it is founded on facts.  The average I last heard was 8 years.  Is that true today? I would say no.  Why?  Well now there is self-publication and therefore one more statistic.

Okay – enough depressing words.  So for fun. 

If you are a writer – what is the first thing you tried to publish?

If you are a reader – what have you thought of some authors new releases vs. their later releases?


Here is my embarrassment.  Mind you I started to seriously write during the vampire craze about 7 bad ideasyears ago.

Seventeen year old girl who is human, falls for a vampire that is a friend of her vampire family.  Yes – a human raised by vampires.  There’s some crazy vengeance from a few hundred years of feuds, some trips to Ireland and Italy.  Shopping in France.  A crush from a human boy – so a small love triangle.  Love struck girl is kidnapped, but don’t panic.  There is an over indulgent HEA – because all my stories are happily ever after.  The end!

You can laugh now 🙂

The Pains of Helping Others Market

Marketing is a pain in my behind. Ask any author out there. Marketing isn’t generally why anyone went into writing. Turns out writing, although a lonely profession, requires lots and lots and lots and lots of networking. Why you ask? Well simple. You are one voice and unless you know millions you will need others help.

In return for others help, it is expected that you would help them. This is the hard part. Obviously not everything out there is going to fit your blog. You have an environment that you worked hard to get. You branded yourself. You branded your blog. So the tough choices are now who and what do you allow on your blog?media

I have someone close to me start selling health products. Some are weight loss. Some are general natural vitamins. I really, really want to help him out. It’s hard to make a living making sales. The issue is I don’t blog about health products. I don’t have the audience for this. Well maybe I do? I am not a health expert though and regardless if I attract mom’s attempting to take baby weight off, or some men looking to resemble some of the alphas in romance novels, I don’t really want to brand myself as someone pushing products.

So what about other books and authors? They are all the same right? No not really. Although I like YA books and some science-fiction, most people who read my blog came to me for romance. I want to recommend books that would appeal to those that have come to trust me as a romance author and a romance genre junkie. I want to support as many authors out there, but I have a brand to uphold so I find that I have to say no. It’s hard though. I hate letting people down.

So networking is huge, but be careful about making good choices. It is just as important for you to advertise to the correct target market as it is for you to share pertinent information to your personal network.

(My dog is currently blowing bubbles in her water making it really hard to write a serious post.)

For those starting out, have you picked your niche or are you still finding your way in marketing? For those with experience, do you find it hard to turn away people with the wrong message for your audience? If you have great advice or another blog that has helped you with marketing, please leave that information for others!

The Marketing Craze

statsIt’s been awhile since I wrote about what I’ve learned along the way to publication.  I thought it was time to start again.

If you are reading this, you are already a step ahead of a lot of authors or writers. There are those that think that they are too good to market themselves.  There are the crazy ideas that everyone gets large amounts of marketing from publishers. Well, reality? There is more money out there from the big 6 for marketing, but not all authors are treated equal. And even so, the odds of getting picked up at a big house are small, at least right away.  I know a lot of talented authors that have started as small press and moved to a big house after a few years.  so you might be at a small press for sometime. Or maybe you aren’t anywhere yet, but you want an agent.

Before you hit it big, or even before you get published, it’s great to start creating a platform. Agents love to see a presence established.  Publishers love to see books sell.  Sometimes your first book is too late to start finding social networks to market.

Start to follow authors or writers you like. Start to comment on their blogs.  Become a respectful cyber stalker.  Yes, this is one of those times when stalking is encouraged.  Don’t go too crazy though.

Maybe start your own blog. Maybe start with something you know.  I started my blog about two years before I actually got published, and I started by writing about the mistakes I was making. I met some amazing authors thorough blogging. I actually found my first pub contract through another author’s recommendations.

The moral is, it’s never too early to start getting your name out there.  even if you don’t think you have a lot to offer there are others put there willing to help. So start small and grow from there.

Are there tricks to getting lots of followers and likes? I suppose so, but I don’t know in the end how many payoff. Perhaps some experienced bloggers put there have some advice?

It’s Here! Winter’s Sweet Kiss Release

Who’s singing Christmas carols?  Admit it.  There’s something about the holidays and cold winter nights. Something about holiday themes and the excitement they incite.  The authors of Winter’s Sweet Kiss, a sweet romance anthology, would know! Their stories will warm your hearts and take the chill out of your evenings.

I asked the author’s, and myself, what is their favorite holiday song, book, or movie.  Here’s new release smallera glimpse into what makes the holidays for them.

Don’t forget to tell us your favorite and also enter to win a gift card and paper copy (hint, the entry is at the bottom of this post)!

Michelle Ziegler:
The list is huge, but the one song that gets me happy no matter what is Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. I can’t not sing to this and it sums up my feelings. Maybe you can’t guarantee everything will be perfect, but it’s the best time of the year!

Shaya Roy:
I like the movie ‘Love Actually’. Mostly because of Jamie and Aurelia’s story. I love how they’re answering each other’s statements even though neither speaks or understands the other’s language. And that proposal was the cutest ever. And Colin Firth! Need I say more?

Lily Carlyle:
I could write an entire book on this; I think I love every holiday movie ever made, and I could list many books and songs I love as well (I can’t pretend to know all of those!). However, my current favorite book is Earl Hamner, Jr.’s The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer’s Mountain. For those of you who did not grow up in the 1970s, this is the book on which the made for TV movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story was based. And of course, that led to the long-running TV series The Waltons. Good night, John Boy.

Since living in the South, I’ve become fascinated with the southern Appalachians, and I’ve always been interested in the Great Depression, so I had a feeling I’d love the book. I waited weeks for the lone, yellowed copy owned by my local public library and enjoyed reading it aloud to my younger daughter. Unfortunately, she didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.

While verifying precise titles for this post, I discovered there was an earlier, 1963 movie (Spencer’s Mountain) based on the book, starring Henry Fonda. Guess what my mission is for this holiday season?

Terri Rochenski:
I’m going to go with holiday song – Baby It’s Cold Outside. My husband is ALWAYS singing a line here & there, and my girls chime in once they realize what he’s singing. Each time they break into song, I get a big smile on my face.

Annabelle Blume:
I absolutely love A Christmas Story. It’s fun, silly, and carries the slightest bit of romanticism. My sister and I loved watching the 24 hour loop they aired on Christmas day when we were teenagers. I wish I could pick a favorite line, but there are so many! I did manage to teach all my kids “Meat loaf, smeat loaf, double beat loaf, I hate meat loaf.” Oh, and my husband continues to threaten to get a tattoo of the famous Leg Lamp. Obviously, I’m not the only one in the family who loves the movie.


Winter’s Sweet KissCover

Publisher: Roane Publishing

Key Words: Adult, Romance, Sweet, Contemporary, Historical, Anthology

When Wayne Edwards moves to town, Lillian Douglas experiences stirrings she thought were long dead. Guilt ridden over betraying her deceased husband and the feelings Wayne inspires, Lillian reluctantly lets him in. Secrets of the past – an old promise emerges, but will it threaten their forever?

MELT By Shaya Roy
Newlyweds in an arranged marriage, Naina and Dev go to the mountains of Shimla, India in search of snow. Unfortunately, they find fifteen inches more than they expected.
Being snowed in with her husband is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives Naina an excellent excuse to snuggle up to her deep, quiet man, but every time Dev spurns her, a little more of her heart drips away. Melting the ice around her husband’s heart before the snow outside does might take more pride than Naina’s ready to surrender.

Angela is in love with someone she can never have–her best friend, Rebecca’s older brother.

Stranded in the bitter cold after a disastrous blind date with yet another company Christmas party looming, a standing offer from the boss’ nephew gets a little more appealing. Desperation. Not a good sign. Surely when Rebecca rescues her from the blinding snow, she can also convince Angela to just go to the party alone. She can always count on her best friend.

That is, as long as she never finds out about Angela’s secret crush.


Blurb: Stella’s got everything she needs in life: a great job, a beautiful house, and her independence. But on last minute trip to the local Christmas tree lot she finds something, or rather someone, she desperately wants – Grayson. An emergency trip to Target, an unexpected wreath, and a little Christmas magic make the season much brighter.

SANTA BEBE By Lily Carlyle

Blurb: Disillusioned by men and her belief that they see her only as an object, Bebe is determined to find a man with money. Her geeky, but unfailingly kind, next-door neighbor James tries to convince her of the possibility of real love, even as she reveals to him the troubled childhood that made her so cynical about relationships. When her mother dashes her hopes for a perfect Christmas, Bebe finds herself turning to James once again, and in the process, learning a lot about herself and the promise their relationship holds.

Goodreads Link:
Roane Publishing

Amazon (Print)
Amazon (Kindle Copy)
Barnes and Noble
Createspace (Print Only)

giveawayGroup Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card & paperback copy of Winter’s Sweet Kiss  ENTER HERE  or here

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on our tour!

WSK Tour Button Final

It’s Been Done Before

For the writers out there, something to think about. A published work that has gone out of print, or the rights have gone back to the author does not make it a new story.

Close your mouth. I know that has us all in shock. Or maybe not. It is good information for those contemplating independent publishing, small publishers, magazines, news articles, and even large publishers (although you probably have an agent there).

Before you hit that button that seals the deal on your story, make sure that you are 100% okay with it where it is. If you ever think you might want to change where it is published you need to think about this. Some publishers will reprint or republish a previously published work, but not all, or most actually.

Things that go against the grain are books with massive sales previously or news articles. There are always exceptions to rules. But with all the means of publishing these days and the reality that digital doesn’t always go away, it is a very real concern to worry about where you want your baby to go.

Story Vs. Writing Quality

I really wanted to like it. I really did.  Those are the words I find myself saying through a lot of books these days.

The word is out that publishers are becoming more picky.  They don’t want to take on new authors as often. Breaking into the writing world has become harder.  So…

I find myself stumped.  I found a book that was a freebee.  Oh the ploys of publishers and writers. Get me hooked to buy the rest in a series. I get it.  So I did.  The problem is that the story was a great idea, but it wasn’t well executed.  Can we say repeat?  I found myself skimming over entire pages of repeated information – or whining in this case.

How did this book get popular?  Well, it breaks down to the age old question. Story or quality of writing?  Twilight was a mainstream book that baffled many.  I truly have a hard time re-reading those books, but the first time through I was obsessed.  This book isn’t quite to the obsession level, but sucked me in all the same.

I am scratching my head.  The book in question is a small publisher that also dabbles in self-publication assistance.  People complained of editing, as in punctuation, but for me it was the story.  I can’t tell if she is self published or not.  Either way, she is a success and rightfully so – great story, but getting past the info that should have been cut can be daunting.

Lesson learned from this book – don’t repeat, repeat, repeat. We get it. We read it the first time. Reiteration can be useful as a reminder, but DO NOT REPEAT.  If I can skip pages and miss nothing there is a problem.

I know authors who have awesome editing skills and their stories don’t seem to be half as successful. Long story short.  What matters the most. Story or writing?


Related links:



Editor 2

Don’t Annoy the Reader

The Ultimate Revamp

 So you have a story.  So you have a story someone wants to buy.  So you had a story someone wanted to buy. 

 What happens when acquisitions occur or small publishers break down?  Rights are returned and stories begin to collect dust.  That seems logical. edits

 The thing is. There are a lot of authors who actually didn’t sit long at all.  They had marketable stories and were determined to find a new home.  Several of my stories were written for specific themes and therefore needed to be changed a little.  I am finally getting back on the wagon and doing just this.  I know too many authors that have had amazing success to give up now, and yes, they were where I was.

 What is my point?  If you have a story don’t give up.  Revamp things if you need to.  If you know someone valued it, the odds are someone else will do the same.  All things that are worth doing usually take a lot of work for the payoff.   Perk up and keep on trucking!

 Related Links:

Jennifer M Eaton

Vonnie Davis

Linda Carroll-Bradd

Fun Fact Friday – Romance and Ebooks

Is it a fun fact to know that e-books are on the rise? I love the smell of a paper books.  I love the feel of pages. Growing up, I loved all books with the shinny, smooth pages that were aromatic. If osmosis were real, I would have absorbed a lot of information from laying face down in a book.  Don’t worry though.  I have a Kindle and I am continuing to embrace the e-book generation. The truth is though, some books were to just meant to be owned in print and I hate to see that die.

So who is reading what these days?

The average age of a paperbook reader is: 49

The average age of an e-book reader is: 42

Are you surprised?

Can you guess where most books are bought these days? Don’t panic if you can’t.  Just breath.  I listed the answers below.

  • 25 percent
  • E-commerce less Amazon: 19 percent
  • Walmart: 13 percent
  • Book clubs: 11 percent
  • Barnes & Noble: 11 percent
  • E-book/audio download site: 10 percent
  • 4 percent
  • Other online retailer: 4 percent
  • Supermarket and grocery stores: 3 percent
  • Warehouse clubs: 3 percent

Referenced from RWA web.

Happy reading.  Have you embraced the e-book yet?

Fun Fact Friday – So What if You’re a Best Seller

I’d tell you why I’m late on posting, but that isn’t’ a fun fact.  I will tell you though that I have been allowing some self doubt to creep into my mind lately and found today’s fact a little helpful.   doughnut

Who doesn’t know of Janet Evanovich?  If you don’t, then most likely you live in a cave.  Well, that or you just don’t read the genre’s she writes.  Either way.  She is a very successful author and a best seller.  Her first Stephanie Plum novel was made into a movie last year even.  What is my point?  Well, even she has two books that have never been published!  That’s right.  An author who has proven herself time and time again still has unpublished works that probably won’t see the light of day.

The fun fact of it all is that everyone has learning to do or editing.  No one’s stories are perfect out of the gate and just because a few stories get rejected doesn’t mean that ten won’t be accepted.  Keep writing if you are a writer.  Keep reading and telling the authors you love that you love them if you are a reader.  Write

Related article: