30 Days30 StoriesEarlier today, while sitting in a meeting at work, I started thinking about my 30 Days, 30 Stories challenge and how it would be great to have all the stories in one place where people can read them. I’ve been sharing them on my Facebook author page and on Goodreads, now I’m sharing it on Wattpad as a compiled book–and, yes, it’s free.

Are the stories perfectly edited? Nope, and they probably never will be until I decide to use them in some future project. But if you want to read them on your phone or your tablet as a proper e-book, you can read them for free by using this link, http://embed.wattpad.com/story/32495751.

Or, if you’re already a member on Wattpad, add it to your library. I’ll be updating until the end of the month. One of the stories, “Drive”, is the first chapter of a novella I’m working on about Jesper, Niklas’s teenage son from Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight. You’ll see it later this spring. I’ve got to finish a couple of other projects first. 🙂

webgoodreadsThe Christmas spirit must be getting to me–it is Third Advent, lights are twinkling in every window and Christmas isn’t too far off…I have this sudden urge to give away three signed paperbacks of Maybe Baby and I’m doing it through Goodreads.

Interested?

All you have to do is click here and enter the giveaway.

No trivia questions to answer, no scavenger hunt, just use the link and enter to win. Winners will be picked on 3 January. And why that date? Because it’s my birthday and, as far as I am concerned, it’s an international holiday. This giveaway is open to *everyone*! So no matter where you are in the world, you can enter and if you win you’ll receive your signed copy directly from me. 🙂

The giveaway starts today and ends on 3 January–so head over to Goodreads and give it a shot. You never know–you just might be one of the lucky winners!

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 15.03.00Have you ever wanted to ask an author about how or why they write? Or talk about their novels with them? Well now you can do just that with Goodread’s Ask the Author function. Initially, it was only available to some of their top authors, but now they’ve made it available to all Goodreads authors.

I’ve decided to check it out, so from now until the end of August, you can ask me any questions you like about writing, my novels or my characters. Want to get the inside story on Jake and Mia? Ask away! More interested in Laney, Niklas, and Mads? Yup, you can ask about them too! Or are you hooked on the teasers from my WIP, Maybe Tomorrow, and want to know more about Eddy and Henrik? Yes, you can ask about them too.

Head over to my Goodreads author profile, post your questions there and I will answer them as best I can!

And then there is other news for you: According to Kindle Direct Publishing, the updated and complete file for Maybe Tonight is now available for purchase. For those of you who have the old version of the file, you can either wait until KDP confirms that the changes were critical (which I’ve already informed them they were–it’s the last 12 chapters of the novella!) or you can call their customer care executives who will make sure you get the updated file now and help you do a manual sync. Here are the numbers to call:

  • US & Canada: 1-866-216-1072
  • International: 1-206-266-2992

For people who have the older version of the file, make sure you give them the ASIN when you call. They will probably ask you when you purchased Maybe Tonight, which you should be able to find when you go into the “Manage Your Kindle” section on Amazon.

For Kobo users: as far as I know, the file should update automatically, but I will check with them as well.

 

magic size (1)Maybe Baby has been on sale for a little over a week and it’s doing really well. For that, I thank all of you who’ve purchased it and supported my writing dream. Thank you a thousand times over.

So what’s happened in that week? Maybe Baby was (and still is) on Amazon’s Hot New Kindle Releases list for African-American Women’s Fiction. The highest ranking for it was #6. As of the writing of this blog post, it’s at #11 for Hot New Releases and #21 for Amazon’s Kindle Bestsellers List of African-American Women’s Fiction and #97 for the paperback Bestsellers List of of the same genre.

It’s also been around a week since I released Maybe Tonight, the e-short told from Mads’s point of view. I’d initially only planned on Maybe Tonight being an e-short but it’s been so much fun writing from Mads’s perspective that I’ve decided to keep updating it with 3-5 chapters every few weeks until it’s a full-length novel. So you pay 99 cents Maybe Tonight Cover for WPnow for a 22-page story, which gets updated every few weeks until you have a novel. Do you pay anything extra? Nope. Just the initial 99 cent investment.

So what else is in the pipeline? I’m plotting two novels at the same time: a sequel of sorts to the Maybe Baby story (called Maybe Tomorrow) that focuses on Laney’s cousin Edwina (also known as Eddy) and what happens when she meets Mads’s cousin, Henrik; and there are also two standalone novels in the works that are set in Hunters Grove–the town where Snowbound is set. Yes, Mia and Jake will pop up in these novels but the focus will be on other couples.

That’s it for now. If you’ve already read Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight and liked them, please consider reviewing them on Goodreads, Amazon and Kobo. And thanks again for your support! It really makes my day when people tell me how much they’ve enjoyed my books and connected in some way with the characters and the plot.

Happy reading! 🙂

 

Maybe Tonight Cover for WPI’m so happy that Maybe Baby is finally live for Kindle. I was hoping it would be live for Kobo today, but it’s taking a bit more time. The paperback version is already available via CreateSpace and will soon be available for purchase from Amazon. Nook version coming soon too.

And while I was at it this weekend, I also published an e-short called Maybe Tonight. I originally wrote it when I was planning on having alternating points of view in Maybe Baby. But I soon realised Maybe Baby was Laney’s story. So Maybe Tonight gives you a glimpse into Mads’s life and what he’s thinking just before and just after he meets Laney.

So far, Maybe Tonight is only available for Kindle, but it will soon be available for Kobo and Nook as well.

If you’ve already purchased and read Maybe Baby, thanks so much! If you enjoyed it, please consider writing a review and posting it on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, etc.

Your support means the world to me! 🙂

Sorry it’s been so quiet here lately. I’ve had a lot to do at work and then my evenings have been all about relaxing. I just returned home from a romantic Valentine’s Day in Copenhagen. I know, Tord and I end up in Copenhagen a lot. It’s a nice town to visit and it’s great when you need a quick change of scenery from Stockholm. It’s just a one-hour flight or a six-hour train ride away… This time, we won a Valentine’s stay at the Avenue Hotel on Åboulevard in the Fredriksbergs section of Copenhagen. We had a wonderful time and I’ve got lots of inspiration for one of my next writing projects, which will also be partially set in Copenhagen.

LAFNow I have another getaway planned but this one is all about writing and publishing. On Friday, February 28, I will be attending the London Author Fair at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden, London. LAF is arranged by Authoright, a publishing and marketing consultancy firm,  and its founding collaborators are CreateSpace, Kobo, Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook Press and Blurb. The full-day event is geared to indie writers and features seminars, workshops with authors and agents, pitch sessions and–of course–a nice party. I’m really looking forward to it! Some of the speakers include bestselling author Adele Parks, Patrick Brown from Goodreads, literary agent Gordon Wise. Have a look at the schedule. There are still tickets available and, if you’re already in London and you’re a writer, this could be a great opportunity to network, to gain new insight on growing your writing career or maybe even get a foot in the door by pitching your novel to one of the agents or editors on hand.I won’t be pitching anything. I am going there because I want to attend the seminars and workshops on publishing and promotion,online branding and discoverability. I think it will also be great to meet other indie writers and compare notes. 🙂

London-Author-Fair-wide-banner

 

books460This entire self-publishing journey I’ve been on since 2012 has been frustrating, cathartic, satisfying. When I first started, I had no clue what I was doing–I just jumped in and hoped for the best. Now you can take classes and learn the ‘right’ way to do it. I kind of like learning by doing.

So what have I learned?

Make sure your cover looks good: Yes, I know I should follow the old adage of never judging a book by its cover, but–let’s face it–we all know an ugly book cover can ruin the impression people have of a book. It should look professional. Make sure the image on the cover is in proportion so it doesn’t look blurry or weirdly stretched out. The fonts used on the cover should be easy to read. The image chosen should be clear even in thumbnail size. Avoid tackiness at all costs. Nothing like a tacky book cover to turn off a reader. Even if you write erotica, you can find sexy images that are sophisticated.

I’m lucky in that I work with a lot of very creative people and they’ve given me advice         on covers and things to think about in book cover design. I’ve also been lucky enough         to come into contact with some very talented cover designers whose prices are                 affordable. But one of the most important lessons I learned in cover design came               from Christine Witthohn of BookCents Literary Agency, who reminded me that my             book cover doesn’t have to tell the entire story of my novel or my novella. It needs to           hint at  the story. It doesn’t have to be an exact representation of my main character–         it can simply give people a snippet of who she is.

Don’t write to suit a trend–by the time you write and publish your book, readers will be on to some new trend: Instead of trying to jump on a trend, ask yourself what kind of book you want to write or what sort of story you really want to tell. If you like vampires but everyone else is writing about werewolves or zombies–so what!–keep writing about your vampires. You will find your readers. Or they will find you. Use social media to connect with them, post samples of your writing on your blog, connect with other writers on Scribophile. Whatever you do, write what you love and not simply what you think will sell. Sure, you probably want to make money, but if you don’t feel happy or satisfied while you write, you shouldn’t do it.

Readers like backstory. Readers hate too much backstory: I spent the last two weeks reading a novel that had an interesting story but took way too long to get to what was supposed to be the heart of the book–namely a love triangle between the heroine, a man from her past and the man to whom she was engaged. I found myself getting bored at times and wondering why the author was telling me so much about a character who never appears again. Later, there was page after page after page of a family history that felt like too much information. I already understood the character’s background and that he came from a prestigious family, I understood he was from an upwardly mobile family. I didn’t need close to ten pages of family biographies of his great-great-grandparents or who moved north and who stayed south… it didn’t add anything to the story. I want to get to know the main characters. I want to get to know the supporting characters who are important to the story. I don’t need to know that a waiter who only appears once went to Columbia. That’s great for him, but why do I need to know?

We writers *love* creating backstory, but we need to balance it. I struggle with this             everyday when I write. How much should I include? Does the reader need to know he         once went to Paris if it has no bearing on the story I am telling? So it means I end up         erring on the side of too little backstory at times. So we writers must find that perfect           balance. And it’s probably a lesson that never ends. 🙂

Not everyone is going to love the characters you create: Since I published Choose Me and Snowbound, I’ve had people tell me they hated Mia because she chose to be a man’s mistress or they hated Jessica because she was immature and she cared too much about what others thought. I like creating characters who make mistakes, who are flawed. I figured it was reasonable for a young woman in college who has grown up being aware of racial tension and people’s negative attitudes about interracial couples would be worried about what others thought–especially her closest friend and her mother. I wrote Mia as someone whose pride prevents her from seeing that she is being used and that she is in the wrong until it hits her in the face. She’s a changed character by the end of the book, but some people didn’t see it because they were focused on her role as a married man’s mistress at the beginning of the book.

I like Mia. I think she’s as flawed and irrational as we all are. I think some people                 will hate Laney (the protagonist in Maybe Baby) for the same reasons. No one is               consistently good. It’s boring to write about consistently good people. Even more               boring to read about them. I write about people who cheat, who have sex with                     strangers, who drink and smoke too much, who fuck up, who are indecisive or too               opinionated. Some people like that. Some people don’t. I’ve learned to accept that.

A good editor can be hard to find, so ask around: The first book I published, I edited and formatted myself. Even with several rounds of critique from my writers group and revising and checking, I still missed things. For Snowbound I used an editor and she was great to work with, but we still missed a couple of things that I wish we’d caught. For Maybe Baby, I’ve had a beta reader, an editor, two rounds of proofreading, and formatting via Black Firefly Production so hopefully I’ve caught everything this time. 🙂 Finding an editor is not always easy. Your book is your calling card and you want it to be as close to perfect as possible. And for that you need a good editor. Ask other writers for their advice. If they’ve used an editor and like working with him or her, they’ll tell you. One of my plans for this blog is to post a list of resources for indie writers,and editors who come highly recommended will be included in the list.

Don’t check your sales ranking everyday: If you do, you will drive yourself insane. Some days you’ll be really high on the list. Some days you’ll be at the bottom of what feels like a bottomless pit. Checking it over and over again won’t make your sales numbers change. Nowadays, I only check once a week. If I want to increase my sales ranking, I know I need to do more to sell my books. I don’t have a publishing company with a marketing department behind me, so I have to figure it out myself. It’s trial and error. I’ve tried a couple of things (posting excerpts on my blog and on Facebook, Kindle Countdown Deals, advertising, word of mouth) but it’s hard to say at this point which has been most effective. Anyway, as much as I’d like to be able to support myself solely through my writing, I know I cannot obsess over what will make my sales figures skyrocket. That is time better spent writing. 🙂

And speaking of writing, it’s time for me to go to my local café and write. And if any of you have suggestions for great freelance editors, cover designers, book designers and formatters, etc–let me know via Contact Me and I’ll add them to my list.

Hope you all have a great weekend!