Preorder Advice from Bookbub


The folks over at Bookbub have a nifty article about promotion and presales. I thought it was worth sharing and hope to use some of the info to try and strategize the release of a few new books in the final revisions phase this year.

Check out 11 Ways to Promote Preorder Books that Drive Real Results


Evolution and the Changing Nature of Indie Publishing


One reason that I encourage people to follow my blog, along with those of other, active writers, is because of how much and how frequently the publishing world changes. Case in point: Createspace and Kindle. In the last 6 months or so, significant changes have happened with more potentially on the way… Continue reading Evolution and the Changing Nature of Indie Publishing

Review: Looking for Dei


David A. Willson’s Looking For Dei is a wonderful new YA novel.  It is listed under YA Fantasy and Urban Fantasy… I’m not sure that it quite fits either of those molds. It also isn’t quite an apocalyptic dystopia, but there are minor elements of all those genres, making modern teen readers feel right at home with the themes.

The story follows a few different POVs but mainly focuses on Nara and Mykel; Nara has a mysterious heritage and Mykel, her friend can empathize with her because of a birth defect. Looking for Dei evoked the same kinds of feeling that I get when watching the televised Shanara Chronicles. For the most part it’s good, but it’s also sometimes soooo YA slanted. But like I said: good. The story also evokes some themes of Madeleine L’Engle that I enjoy (themes of good vs evil and some very positive tropes that border on allegory in many respects.) Continue reading Review: Looking for Dei

State of Writing


I wasn’t sure I would make it this week, but I was able to complete my two chapters for the week on Hoods of the Red Order. It was a struggle late on Friday since the week’s work really knocked the stuffing out of me (the two day blizzard and canceled school and school programs actually creates more work for us youth workers). In the end, I had to shut myself down so I’d have the energy for a last-minute funeral I got called to play bagpipes at; I wanted to stay up and keep writing—I hit a great section where Robyn meets Vlad Calugarul of the House Draculesti (the half-brother of Vlad the Impaler).

YA time-traveling Robin Hood versus vampires. So much yas!

The Kakos Realm 3 is also just about ready for launch. I finished up looking over suggestions and edits from a few readers and made some minor edits. I’m still planning for a Spring release.

On the other side of things, I did some good online networking with other authors/groups and got a few interviews done with other blogs. Apparently I know a few things now so I get to pretend like I’m an expert on a few topics. I’ve also got a top secret writing project in the works that I have been investing some time into. Shhh.

Are Press Releases Worth Doing?


Derek Murphy of Creative Indie has a pretty low opinion of press releases. They just don’t seem to have the same weight that they used to.

In his exact words over at his blog,, he says

“Press releases for book promotion almost never work… It doesn’t matter how catchy and well-written they are, which is why 99% of press release services book publicity gurus offer are BS.”

He talks about a predatory website geared to take advantage of authors. Rather than make well-crafted press releases they make up a boiler plate one and fill in the blanks and then submit it… using good SEO, keywords, and paid placing they get ahead of the results in web searches and look like a great option for starving Indies who are just looking for a way to be heard.

Murphy uses some comical examples to reiterate “publishing a book is not news. You need to DO SOMETHING that makes you newsworthy.” And when he says, “If you can’t think of any news besides ‘hey I wrote a book!’ then you’re better off paying for book advertising than wasting money on a press release,” I’m inclined to agree with him.

All of that said, sometimes they do work. I have some friends in my writers’ network who feel they’ve been very beneficial and seen some other promotional opportunities come out of them. what I found interesting is that one had said a few outlets had found his press release by also searching for keywords—the same basic premise the shady PR factory was using can also work for an author who can be smart about using his language in a press release (and isn’t that what we’re supposed to be capable of as writers?”

A good solution for the DIY or low-budget Indie Author is to work through a couple steps:

  1. Heed Murphy’s advice and find your story (releasing a book is purely a factoid and not, in itself, newsworthy—it has no value or story attached. Give people a reason to listen.) A good primer for this is at
  2. Do some research into how news outlets might discover your press release. Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find the most effective terminology related to your book. (More on that at )
  3. Obey the accepted format for press releases. You can find some rules and guidelines on it (as well as a great story about how A Gronking to Remember became a hit sensation—an author made their bad book into a story) at this site:
  4. Use a discount service such as Fiverr to get your release into circulation for a reduced cost

Another template can be found here:


Review: The Silver Horn Echoes-A Song of Roland


I was sent a copy of The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland for review. It is historical fiction but comes off in such a way that it crosses over into the appeal for the fantasy crowd—it invokes kind of the feeling that Game of Thrones fans would have when watching Vikings. As a fan of both shows I enjoyed the story of Roland and it had similar intrigue to the later seasons of Vikings with the kingdoms of the region vying for dominance during the Dark Ages (even though the central figures are the characters rather than the countries).

The story is well researched and flows seamlessly—although the action never bogs down in history lessons. The action comes quick and regular during the campaigns and you never quite feel safe as the reader. Continue reading Review: The Silver Horn Echoes-A Song of Roland

What the Heck is a Blog Tour?


I’ve always been a little mystified by the concept of blog tours. Through the last few years I’ve dabbled with the and with little success… mainly because I was treating them incorrectly (kind of like using a wrench to hammer a nail—it’ll kinda work, but leaves the user unimpressed).

A blog book tour is much like a traditional book tour, except the stops are all virtual. Instead of going from bookstore to bookstore the author maintains a short presence at each of the blogs. This is an opportunity to talk about your book with that blog’s regulars. Many different people set these up: publicists, publishing agents, or even authors themelves.

WordNerds has a nifty video explaining them in a nutshell:

The best way to utilize a blog tour is to treat it like a real book tour! This has been my failing on the last few that I’ve done: even though this is a digital event it’s not a “set it and forget it” thing. You should check in at each of those blogs, interact in the forum and on the comments threads. Just because its online doesn’t mean you can check out on it and expect positive traffic.  If you want a Virtual Tour to have the maximum impact for what you spend on it you ought to put regular stops onto your schedule so you can interact with readers—that is the real reason anyone does a tour anyway, to connect with the audience. Anything else is just a glorified television commercial.

Penguin/Random House has some great advice for those planning to do one of these (Click here to read it).

If you’re looking for a great place to get started, one of my favorite blog tour companies to work with has been Silver Dagger Book Tours. Check it out and tell Maia I sent you!

Review: The Secret of the Aurora Hotel


It’s time for another Ultimate Ending book review. Having read others in their series, The Secret of the Aurora Hotel by McAleese and Kristoph is by far my favorite.

As with their others in the series these books have a few more puzzle elements versus traditional Choose Your Own Adventure titles.

The Aurora Hotel is a haunted hotel your uncle Gus purchased; you and your two cousins try solve its mystery and lift the curse that started long ago. It’s got this great Shining feel to it that immerses you, although in a juvenile and age appropriate manner… but what’s as much fun as exploring a crazy, haunted house. (Some of my favorite table top games include those like Mansions of Madness.) Continue reading Review: The Secret of the Aurora Hotel