Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sultana Book Launch Party - Planning

Less of a book launch, more of a celebration of the signing of the Turkish deal on the two books in the series. To date, I've sold 2,678 copies of Sultana over 15 months, with an average rating of 4.3 / 5 stars on Amazon. Sultana's Legacy debuted in October 2011, with 973 copies sold and a rating of 4.3 also. While I'm 16 chapters into the next in the series, Sultana II: Two Sisters, this summer seems like a great time to take a break from the writing and celebrate the books. Why didn't I do this before when the books first came out? Didn't think of it, but now I am. It will be a 2-hour after work / evening event this July since family commitments take me to Wales and Barbados in late summer.

Since this is my first such event, I'm learning like everything else that's new, easy to do if you're willing.

Location, location: Does your book have a setting like mine that lends itself to the location? I've scouted seven locations between downtown Manhattan and south of 70th Street, with Moroccan or Spanish decor, as both books are set in Moorish Spain. Also cost is an important consideration. My total budget is a couple hundred; won't break the bank but will ensure a nice evening.

Entertainment: Food, music, and other entertainment give attendees an incentive to stick around. A private lounge with food, drinks and entertainment (typically a belly dancer) are included at six of the eight venues I'm considering, but the other two also offer a space I can decorate with personal touches. Think rose petals and citrus peels strewn on table tops, votive candles or tea lights. Also, a very gracious friend is offering her talents as a henna artist for the evening.

Books for sale: Assuming that not every attendee has read your book, the party seems like a perfect place to sell copies. Thanks to CreateSpace, I have a dozen free copies of both books, which will be available for discounted sale and signing throughout the evening. I also have business cards and bookmarks with the URLs for the books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and my website.

Swag: Gotta thank everyone who showed up, right? I found the perfect little beaded organza bags to fill with a few items for all party guests. One lucky attendee will leave at the end of the evening with a Kindle Fire and another will each receive a signed paperback copy of each book.

Have you ever planned a book launch party? Are there any great ideas you can share?

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Burning Candle: Final Cover Art

Here's the finalized version in the full cover spread. Just gave the final nod, otherwise known as eternal gratitude, to the wonderful Lance Ganey. I've loved all of his work, but Lance really made this one so striking. Just wait, I'll probably say that about the other covers to follow. Yeah, I'm fickle.

You may notice one change from previous books in that this one bears a logo for "Alhambra Press" on the spine. The Burning Candle will be distributed through Lightning Source (LS) AND CreateSpace (CS). LS requires a publisher imprint, hence the slightly pretentious name, but absolutely gorgeous logo. LS setup is a bitch different from CreateSpace and the fees are slightly higher, but not enough to dissuade. Still, pray for me. Seriously. Lest you think I'm some glutton for punishment who thrives on near-insurmountable tasks (the whole self-publishing process gave it away), there is method to my madness. LS offers great print distribution channels and better revenue on paperbacks, which account for eight percent of total sales. Having bought ISBNs, I can stay with CS and never enroll in its Expanded Distribution again. The revenue through Expanded Distribution is ABYSMAL. Like 18 cents on one book or 33 cents on another kind of  ABYSMAL. Hoping for better through LS.

Edits continue on the book and then it's off to the patient beta readers. Still looking at a summer release of this title.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Can't" is a four-letter word

Right up there with the worst curse words, but I'd also advocate "can't" for removal from the English language. Seriously. The next time someone says, "I can't..." to me, I will bitch slap that person into next year. To the poor unfortunate soul (s): don't say you weren't warned!

In case you CAN'T tell, this particularly offensive word has been uttered a little too much within my hearing this past week. There is no such thing as "can't" - there is "won't" as in hampering our own efforts to accomplish something, by refusing to try in the first place. There's also "couldn't" as in not permitting something to happen that rightfully and naturally could / should occur. If someone told me today, "You can't..." it would be the most powerful motivator I have ever received. That was not always true. There have been incredible moments in my life where I once thought, "I can't do this. I should just give up now." Like:

  • I can't get into law school - I did. 
  • I can't find a good job- I have, a few, in fact. 
  • I can't write, attend classes and work full-time, I have too much to do - I carved out blocks of time during the morning and evening commute, which allowed me to finish my first novel. 
  • I can't get an agent to take on my stories - I did, found two of them. 
  • I can't self-publish. It's too hard, too much work - I'm putting out my fifth title this summer, working on my sixth for a 2013 publication date, and have a schedule of titles up through 2016. 
  • I can't make any money at self-publishing - I've earned more in the first four months of 2012 than the total sales generated for 2011. 
  • If I self-publish, I can't get any publishers to take me on - two of my titles are being translated by a Turkish publisher and I'm considering a Polish deal.

Notice a trend here?      

Those of you who have inspired this post - you know who you are cause I cussed you out - take notice: don't let I won't become I can't. We use excuses to avoid fear, added effort and potential failure too many times. We're so afraid, we won't even try. Not every endeavor will yield a positive result, but isn't the possibility worth an attempt? 


Time flies when you're having fun, or writing novels.

It's been a tremendous twelve months. A new job and health issues have impacted my writing time, but I'm still at it, trying to wrap...