Sunday, April 27, 2014

VS Character Lookbook: Aeva

Today's VS Character Lookbook is inspired by Aeva Storm in her Fila gear. 
From the novel, VIOLET STORM

*     *     *
Excerpt from Violet Storm:
Fila is Agria’s state sport. We compete every year against the City of Light—the vainglorious pigs. Since I joined the team four years ago, we haven’t lost once. Am I being arrogant? No. I’m just that good at fighting, at surviving. 
The sport is most known for its use of a delicate glass ball that we throw, run, and catch. If you don’t have the reflexes of a cat, it isn’t a game you want to play—unless you like to feel bone-breaking pain. Coach Hatcher always said I was born for it. “You run like a deer, with an arm I haven’t seen in decades,” he announced the first time he saw me play. His head was shaking, his face expressing a comical degree of awe and reverence. “Now all we have to do is bring out the animal in you.”

Check out the other Character Lookbooks here.


Don't forget to Read + Review + Share 
Violet Storm!



Friday, April 25, 2014

Should You Pay for Book Reviews?

I apologize for being MIA both on my personal blog and the blogs I have been following. I must admit that I'm feeling a little burned out from the release of VIOLET STORM on top of my day-to-day job. But no worries, all has been good, wonderful actually! Also, I've been waiting for the A to Z blog challenge to finish since I didn’t' have the bandwidth to participate, and am waiting for a more manageable blog reading list.

 I've been doing a lot of research lately, mostly in the area of editorial reviews, their benefits and whether it outweighs the cost. Here's what I have on my list to consider: 

Plus competitions such as: 

I went ahead and submitted VS to Writer's Digest. I'm on the fence about reviewers like Kirkus, mainly because I think the cost is a little too pricey (standard $425 and express $575). And I need to wait for royalties to come in before I can re-invest it back into the book via events, advertising, and reviews.
 

Anyhow, I would love to get your thoughts on this! Personally, as a reader, I am compelled to trust reviews for novels I'm on the fence about, and I do believe they can be persuasive, granted that they are honest.
Oh and one other bit of news. VIOLET STORM has been accepted into Hicklebee's Bookstore's Independently  Published Authors Program, and will be carried and sold in their bookstore! VIOLET STORM will be on an actual bookstore shelf! HOORAY! :) I hope this helps pave the way for further bookstore interest. I shall keep you posted! 

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area (particularly in the South Bay), I encourage you to stop by Hicklebee's located in Willow Glen, San Jose! It's the bookstore where I got my first author autograph from Suzanne Collins for her book tour of Mockingjay in the Hunger Games Trilogy. So as you can imagine, I am very excited to have VIOLET STORM on their bookshelves!


To celebrate this awesome news, I'm giving away a secret, but super cute, prize. Shhhh! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (due to shipping costs, it will be limited to U.S. based entries). I'll announce the prize this weekend!

**UPDATE: Sorry folks, the raffle is currently being reviewed and I should have it reposted in a new blog shortly! :)






Tuesday, April 15, 2014

7 Lessons From A First Time Self-Published Author


It's been a little over three weeks since the official launch of my debut novel, Violet Storm. As I look back during those first few weeks prior to launch and just how much work there was in getting the novel print-ready, there were certainly lessons that I wish I could have known. Even if some of them were just reassurances. Something to ease the stress and allow me to enjoy the process a whole lot more.

Here are 7 lessons from a first-time self-published author:

  1. Cover Art: Start early. I'm talking at least two months before launch. Give the artist and the cover designer enough time to create your vision. It's unlikely that everyone will get it right the first round. One, two, maybe even three iterations might be needed. Save yourself the stress and start early!
  2. Systems: Learn the basics of the systems you'll be using to publish your book, and don't be afraid to publish your work early to meet your deadline. Here were the timelines I experienced:
    • CreateSpace (Paperback): Immediately 
    • Kindle: 12 Hours
    • Nook: 12-24 Hours
    • GooglePlay: 1-2 Days
    • Amazon (Paperback): 1-3 Days (by the 3rd day, all the links to everything--paperback and ebook, author profile--started working)
    • iTunes: 1 Week
  3. Budget: Budget, budget, budget. I was pretty surprised to find out just how much things ended up costing. Keep in mind that it will take time for royalties to be paid out (expect at least 1.5 to 2 months). So in the meantime, any costs toward advertising are still coming out of your wallet. After the first two months however, you can start using your royalties and putting them back into marketing and advertising. Here are some costs to consider:
    • Editor: $1500 - $3200
    • Proofreader: $200 - $300
    • Promotional cards (which I found more relevant than business cards): $75
    • Cover Art: $150 - $300
    • 10 ISBNs: $250 (if you plan on writing several books, I'd recommend purchasing a pack of 10, rather than individual ISBN's)
    • Paperback Proofs: $20 - $80 (depending on how many proofs you get)
    • Raffle prizes: $25 - $75
    • Paperback copies for you to personally sell: $450 - $650 (depending on how many books your purchase, the estimate is for 100 copies, plus taxes and S&H)
    • Advertising: $30 - $100 (Facebook, Goodreads, Google Ads)
    • Book Launch Party: $50 - $300
  4. Friends: Don't be like me--afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family will be your biggest champions. Kindly ask your closest family and friends who may be available and interested to help you with the following: beta reading (5), reviewing (5), proofreading (3), and spreading the word. Friends helped me take photo's, create logos, create covers, and setting up events. Don't forget to give your thanks, something as simple as an acknowledgement in the book (it's a big deal!), and maybe coffee, treats, or a thank you card.
  5. Market: Indie publishing is difficult no doubt about that. Of everything listed here, the hardest part is marketing and all the efforts needed to spread the word. But understand that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Think slow and steady. Start early, network with other authors (and make new friends!), and schedule, schedule, schedule! From blog stops, book signings, giveaways, and social media events/publicity. It's a lot and it can be overwhelming. Don't be afraid to make a long list and tackle each item one at a time.
  6. Collecting Money: When selling physical copies of your book, you'll likely be collecting cash along with credit. Be on the hunt for programs that have low fees, are convenient to use, and meet your needs. Here is what I use:
    • Square: 2.75% (for swiped transactions), 3.5%+15 cents (for manually entered transactions) - (also allows for you to set up an online store to collect and process online orders for paperbacks)
    • Gumroad: 5% (easy for your customers to pay and download your ebook--which Square does not do--and allows for you to collect and process orders for paperbacks).
  7. Perfection: I've said this before, the process is tough. You will want perfection from yourself and of your book. All I can say is: be kind to yourself. Something is bound to happen that you didn't expect. There was a moment after I launched, when out of excitement I decided to reread the first chapter. And that's when I caught a grammatical error on the first page. THE FIRST PAGE. I felt like crawling into a hole and dying quietly in shame. Since then, it's been corrected, but it still haunts me. Just remember: it HAPPENS. So just tell yourself that it's going to be okay. Mistakes will happen. It's all a part of the journey.
Hope this helps others in some way. I'm excited to launch my next book later this year. Violet Storm has gotten great reviews and I'm happy to hear that people have enjoyed it! Thank you for giving me the chance to share my stories with you.

**Have anything to add? Post it on the comments below!
 
 



 

A champion athlete with all the skills of a fighter, augmented to become a weapon that will change the fate of our world. 

A brilliant surgeon known for his invention of Modi’s—the only cure for a fatal disease running rampant in the City of Light—has gone rogue with his experiments, and the Monarchy is desperate to shut him down. That's where Aeva Storm comes in, a champion athlete with an ego to match. Aeva is the surgeon's secret weapon against the Monarchy. After reconstructing her body to become a Modi unlike any he's ever created, Aeva is forced into a fight against all odds. She'll have to break loyalties, hurt family, and turn her back on newly awakened love. Thousands of lives hang in the balance in a battle that will set forth a new era.

Join Aeva on her quest to see whether she's got what it takes to go up against the most powerful humans ever created.





Monday, April 7, 2014

VS Character Lookbook: Karth

I wanted to do something different today inspired by one of my new favorite blogs, Sasha & Em. Sasha & Em are avid readers and reviewers of all the latest YA books. 
Check them out!

Here is a character inspired look for Karth, from my novel, Violet Storm.
Karth is one of the unwilling heroes in the novel. He's brash, insulting, and way too moody to be allowed to own as many knives as he does. But even to Aeva, there is no denying the appeal of the green-eyed City-Blood.

------
He stares back at me, grumbling something about “girls being stupid.” But he removes the cowl over his head and pulls down the cloth covering his nose and mouth, revealing a smooth, stone-like face. His black, shoulder-length hair flies in the gusty wind, a sharp contrast to his fair complexion. We stare at each other until I look away, uncomfortable with the way his green-gold gaze sharpens when he concentrates on my face. Shame fills me. Between the two of us, I’m the one whose face should be hidden, sparing people from the ugliness. He, on the other hand…
“Feel better now?” he asks. “Thought I might have been the grim reaper come to collect?”



























Like the look? The clothes and accessories can be found on Fabrixquare.






Tuesday, April 1, 2014

VS Launch Raffle Winner!

Congratulations to Sheena-kay G. for winning the Violet Storm Launch Raffle!
Sheena-kay has won a signed copy of VS, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a VS promo card. 
Thank you for participating and for spreading the word on Violet Storm!



If you haven't checked out Violet Storm yet, here's a brief description: 




A brilliant surgeon known for his invention of Modi’s—the only cure for the deadly disease, vaincre—has gone rogue with his experiments, and the Monarchy is desperate to shut him down. That's where Aeva Storm comes in, a champion athlete with an ego to match. Aeva is the surgeon's secret weapon against the Monarchy. And they'll never know what hit them. After reconstructing her body to become a Modi unlike any he's ever created, Aeva is forced into a fight against all odds. She'll have to break loyalties, hurt family, and turn her back on newly awakened love. Thousands of lives hang in the balance in a battle that will set forth a new era.


Join Aeva on her quest to see whether she's got what it takes to go up against the most powerful humans ever created.







Check out Violet Storm and read the reviews:


"There's a little bit of 'The Hellstorm' in all of us" 




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