Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Follow me on Twitter!

I'm finally on Twitter!

Follow me @lovechicklit

Hope to see you there!

Technical Difficulties on Amazon

Overall I've been really happy with self-publishing on Amazon and enrolling in KDP Select.  The ease of getting my book into the Kindle format, updating it with changes as needed, allowing readers to borrow First Sight from the Kindle Lending Library, and doing the free promotions have been great resources for me to promote my first novel.  There was one day last week when reports were down all day, which was really only a concern for us authors.  It didn't affect a reader's ability to purchase a book and was more of a "behind the scenes" problem.

Yesterday Amazon was having technical difficulties of another sort though: some Kindle books on their site were not available for purchase!  The page for First Sight was up, but viewers were also greeted with the following message: Pricing information not available.  The book was there, but no one could buy it.  This would be frustrating on any day, but since I was scheduled to be on a blog this morning, it was horrible timing.  The clear disadvantage of being enrolled in KDP Select is when Amazon is having problems, your book is not available anywhere else.  You don't want publicity directing readers to your book on Amazon only to have them unable to buy it. 

Unfortunately this problem affected other authors as well, but the customer service team responded to my inquiry and my book was finally available to purchase again this morning.  I'm sure I'll be checking it even more often now to make sure this problem doesn't happen again. 

A huge thank-you to Samantha Stroh Bailey for keeping me sane during this time!  She is another author, so be sure to check out her blog and book.

In other news, First Sight is also featured on Premier eBooks today under the Romance section.  Thanks to them for including it! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cover Design

I downloaded about 50 new fonts the other day.  Where am I finding all these new fonts?  Thank you Pinterest!  Here is the link to my Pinterest profile if you want to follow along:

Fonts are saved on my Design board!

Until I needed to create a cover for First Sight, I'd never given that much thought to book covers.  Although I certainly appreciate covers that immediately catch my eye and have unique or bold fonts, colors, and layouts, creating my own book covers makes me appreciate design in an entirely new way.  I was pretty excited to play around in Photoshop just to see what the new fonts look like.  Hopefully with more practice my own designs will get more sophisticated, but for now it's fun to try out a variety of styles.

Although I always imagined a silhouette of a couple on my book cover, the font choice and title itself were not what I initially had in mind.  I imagined a flowy, handwriting-style, script font and a longer title created from some catchy phrase.  But as I browsed through the Kindle store, looking at tiny icon after tiny icon, I realized that wouldn't work for a book that I was e-publishing.  This wasn't a hardback book that someone could pick up and hold, admire the raised lettering on the front cover or carefully examine the flowy script.  This needed to be a bolder graphic design that would stand out amongst other thumbnail size images.  My book needed a short title that people could actually read.  The end result is what you see now for First Sight.  I had fun trying different cover images and fonts, but I think that I chose the best one in the end. 

One advantage with cover design and e-publishing is that you can change your cover as much as you want!  See which cover sells more books, upgrade to a professionally-designed cover if your book is selling well, or keep the same one all along.  The choice is yours!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chick Lit I'm Looking Forward to Reading in 2013

Some of my favorite Chick Lit authors have new books coming out soon!  These are some that I'm looking forward to reading in 2013.  It looks like I'll have a couple of beach reads to choose from this year!

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, by Lauren Weisberger (June 4, 2013)
Who didn't love The Devil Wears Prada?  I can't wait to read this sequel!

Wedding Night: A Novel, by Sophie Kinsella (May 7, 2013)
One of my favorite authors; I'm looking forward to this.

Monday, January 7, 2013

5 Biggest Errors in Self-Published Books

There are a lot of ways that self-published books can go wrong: bad writing, lots of typos, no character or plot development.  A lot of these problems the reader will discover after picking up and actually reading your book.  I've downloaded various free ebooks over the holidays and am amazed at the number of errors I've seen before I've actually read the first page though.  How do these authors expect to gain readers if the reader encounters so many problems before they even start chapter one?

  1. A blurry cover.  I know a lot us aren't graphic designers, but there are enough software programs and clip art images out there that most authors should be able to create a decent, if simple, cover for their ebook.  I've seen a few books where the image, book title, and author's name are so blurry, I could barely read them on my computer screen.  Now imagine how that looks as a thumbnail image on my Kindle.  If the image you have doesn't work, look for another or resize it properly.  I'm not going to buy a book if I can't even read the name of it.
  2. Typos/Grammatical Errors in Book Synopsis.  It can be challenging to edit a full-length novel and even more difficult to edit your own work.  In fact it always is best to have a second pair of eyes to review something.  But a synopsis is only several paragraphs long.  It's what I see when I'm deciding to buy your book or not.  If you can't run spell check or proofread for grammatical errors on something so short, what makes you think I'll want to purchase and read your entire book?
  3. Missing Table of Contents.  A lot of us gripe over formatting documents in Word, but if you can figure out how to generate a Table of Contents (TOC), then you can insert it into the right place.  I was reading a freebie I downloaded the other day, and the TOC was on the very last page.  This wasn't helpful at all and is such an easy thing to fix.  When someone downloads a preview of your book, the first pages including the TOC are always included.  This helps me see how long the book is, which can be sometimes difficult to judge otherwise when buying an ebook.  Traditionally published books all have a TOC, and your book should, too.
  4. A rush job. Why am I so concerned about the length of the book?  Some of the self-published "books" I've seen in the Kindle Store aren't long enough to be one chapter, let alone a short story or book.  The author quickly writes a scene or two, slaps a cover on, and posts it for sale.  I don't mind reading short stories, but I want to know what I'll be paying for.  Rush jobs are also poorly written, have lots of typos, formatting errors, etc.  If you don't want someone to immediately return your book, take the time to do a good job.
  5. A cover that doesn't match your story.  It took me hours to find an image I liked for my cover.  I'm not a designer; I didn't even know what websites to use for finding clip art.  But if you're writing an innocent love story and the cover you've chosen has the man wearing a wedding ring, that leaves the wrong impression.  If you're writing a novel intended for a more mature audience, then don't use cartoonish images of teenagers.  I'm kind of puzzled by some of the covers I've seen, but with so many choices out there, you should be able to find an image suited to the tone and content of your book.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for Writers

Some of the writing blogs I follow have been posting their New Year's Resolutions for Writers.  I figure I'll follow suit since I have plenty of writing goals for 2013!

  1. Finish my Chick Lit short story, to be released just in time for Valentine's Day!
  2. Find at least one new way each month to promote First Sight.
  3. Make First Sight available in other formats to reach more readers.  It will soon be available on Nook, in hard copy, and other formats yet to be explored.  (I guess I have some research to do!)
  4. Network and join more writer's groups.
  5. Find more websites and media outlets to review First Sight.

    And last but certainly not least...
  6. Write my second novel!