Monday, April 27, 2015

Thoughts On Bruce Jenner And Acceptance Of LGBT Individuals

Last Friday, like millions of other viewers, I tuned in to Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer. To be honest, I'd expected it to be a fluff piece (he has spent the last few years of his life on the Kardashians' show after all), but I was moved by his bravery and honesty as he revealed, "I'm a woman." *Note -- I'm using the pronouns "He" and "Him" since this is what he requested for his interview.*

I think that Jenner is a flawed individual. On the one hand, I've admired him for his athletic accomplishments... but he was an absentee parent for many of his kids. Still, I applaud him for being so open about his life and hope his journey can help educate others about people who are transgender. I think that *every* person who strives to be his or her best self is brave, but it must have been especially tough for someone who is not only a very public figure, but upheld a very "masculine" image for so many decades.

On a personal level, his interview hit home for me since the male hero in my novel F#@! BOMB is a respected athlete who comes out as gay. My character, Griffin, doesn't have an easy time opening up to his friends, family and teammates, but he's still young when he does so. Jenner is 65 and kept his real life secret for a very long time. I'm glad he's finally found the courage to tell his story.

I happened to spend this weekend with my best friend, who is a gay man, and many of our mutual friends who are also gay. We had a long discussion about Jenner's interview, which ultimately turned into a discussion about how and when each guy came out. I was surprised to learn that one of my friends didn't officially come out until he was in his mid-30s. He mentioned that his teenage niece is already out as a lesbian and noted how times have changed. I hope they continue to do so and that LGBT people can continue to get the rights they deserve.

I don't expect my book to incite much change, but if it can help, inspire or educate a handful of people, I'll be really pleased. On the other hand, I do hope that Jenner can truly play a part in "chang[ing] the world" as he said.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Marketing A Novel: Using Facebook To Sell Your Book

These days authors have to depend more and more on using social media to sell their books. If, like me, you're an independent author, it's crucial... though writers who've had their books published by traditional means also have to reach out to readers. It's especially important if you're only selling your novel as an e-book. Because you can't sell in-person and do readings in bookstores, using sites like Facebook or Twitter is the next best thing.

For F#@! BOMB's release, I've been experimenting with Facebook. We had great success launching LOVE NOTES with a Facebook party, so I hosted aa FB event for F#@! BOMB. I also, of course, posted my book's link on my personal and author pages, and alerted my friends and contacts of its existence. So far, I've sold quite a few through FB, though I'm trying to expand my readership and sales.

I've tried my luck at using Facebook's ad campaigns... and I can't say it's worked too well for me. While most features on FB are still free (and will hopefully stay that way), you can buy ad space to promote a post or particular page. FB has you pay a certain amount of money -- they encourage anything from $5 on -- and the more you pay, the more people you reach. Generally your post/page is boosted for a day or so, or until the money runs out (which happens rather quickly). You can customize your ads to target particular people, which further expands your potential fan base.

FB does what it promises as my pages and posts HAVE gotten many views. I've gotten dozens of "likes" on my author and jewelry designer pages, and have a few new followers. However, while the views are coming in, it doesn't seem like people really click the actual links. People tend to "like" what's right in front of them, whether it's a photo of my jewelry or a blurb about my books, but most haven't bothered to actually head to my Etsy stores or to my Amazon pages. They simply like the post and move on. Sometimes I wonder if they even know what they're liking.

From this experience I've found that it's better to target people who are specifically looking for a product. The FB release parties worked well because book lovers were eager to meet the authors and learn about the novels. They weren't just blindly liking links. I think many of us -- myself included - kind of go through FB and click, click, click, like, like, like whatever pops up... but it takes more effort to actually stop and change the page to view whatever is being sold.

As an online vendor, I'm a big fan of Facebook because it has gotten me book and jewelry sales. But buying ads is not the way to go, at least for me.

Please read and review F#@! BOMB, REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD and LOVE NOTES, all available on Amazon.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Marketing An E-Book: A Successful Facebook Release Party!

My F#@! BOMB Facebook Release Party was tonight and I'm happy with the results! While I didn't have a huge number of people stop by, I still had enough readers to keep things interesting. A couple stayed for the entire two hours, which I truly appreciate. A few of my close friends, plus my husband, made guest appearances and I think the readers enjoyed "meeting" them.

I always enjoy meeting fellow book lovers and we had some interesting discussions. Since my novel's narrator is an overweight woman with food issues, we talked about how food has so many associations for different people -- many of them having nothing to do with an item's taste. We also talked about portrayals of plus-size and LGBT characters, and shared the names of our favorite authors. I was glad to see so many Stephen King fans in the house! He's one of my favorites, not only because I'm a long-time horror fan, but because he writes brilliant, complex characters. His stuff is scary as hell, too, and that's always fun to read.

Now that the party is over I have to plan my next steps in publicizing the book. I've already signed up for another blog tour and am getting a "Book Of The Day" post with Kindle Book Review. I'd like to do more social media events, though. I really like interacting with my readers and in an age where social media has become so important, I think they enjoy chatting with accessible authors. I reached out a bit with REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD, but my experience with LOVE NOTES has taught me that I need to do even more. I'm not entirely sure what yet, but will read up on ideas.

Meantime, be sure to read and review F#@! BOMB, now on sale on Amazon. Also check out LOVE NOTES and REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

It's Release Day For My New Novel!

It's Release Day for my latest novel F#@! BOMB -- and I couldn't be more excited! I have a nice number of guests attending tonight's Facebook party. Plus, I've gotten good feedback so far from people who've started reading it.

I always hope my work will do well and will sell, but even if it doesn't, I'm proud of this book. I put so much of myself into it and am pleased with the result. I'm also very grateful to my "team" for helping me. My editors Diane, Amy, Rachael, Tom and Elaine gave me great suggestions and my designer, Shane Morgan, made the novel look beautiful.

Tonight's FB event should be a lot of fun, so be sure to stop by! I'll be giving away Amazon gift certificates, copies of my book and some of my handmade wire wrapped jewelry:

I'm also having a couple of "guest stars" drop in to add a little more excitement. It will be an opportunity to connect with other readers, as well as to get to know me a bit better. :-)

I hope to "see" many of you tonight online. Meanwhile, please read and review F#@! BOMB, as well as REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD and LOVE NOTES. Thank you for your support!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My New Novel: Meet The Characters!

As we get closer to F#@! BOMB's release date, I've been posting little teasers about the book on the page for my upcoming Facebook Book Release Party. Each day, I've been sharing a "Meet The Characters!" blurb, where I introduce readers to the various personalities in the novel. This way, they'll know who everyone is when they read my book.

I'm trying not to give too much away -- just enough information to get people excited and to whet their appetites for my story. Hopefully, many readers of this blog will join the online party on March 30, 6-8 p.m. ET, but if you can't make it, here are a few of the "Meet The..." posts which I've shared so far. I'll include more in future posts! Meantime, be sure to check out F#@! BOMB, as well as LOVE NOTES and REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD, all on Amazon.


NAME: Sadie Abramowitz

ROLE IN BOOK: Narrator, female protagonist

AGE: 18 going on 19

OCCUPATION: College freshman majoring in English; plans to be a journalist and writes for the school paper, The Falcon.

TALENTS: Writing, singing, cooking

FLAWS: Eats to calm her emotions, has a bad habit of pushing people away

ABOUT SADIE: Sadie is smart, sassy, hard-working... and very overweight. Her size has caused her to withdraw from her peers and when we first meet her, she's a loner whose best friend is her mom. At college, Sadie befriends Griffin -- a track star, who is also one of her former high school bullies -- and he encourages her to get in shape so she can walk a marathon. As she trains for the event, she not only improves her health, but learns to come out of her shell, make friends and trust people.


NAME: Griffin Greenberg

ROLE IN BOOK: Sadie's best friend, coach and lead male protagonist

AGE: 18 going on 19

OCCUPATION: College freshman majoring in Bio; track star, marathoner and Olympic hopeful

TALENTS: Running, coaching, teaching younger kids

FLAWS: Has a quick temper, often acts without thinking, was a bully in high school

ABOUT GRIFFIN: Handsome, charismatic Griffin has always been a star. Being the oldest of four children and a talented runner, people have always looked up to him. Family is very important to him, as well as being Jewish. His father has his son's whole life planned and expects Griffin to run in the Olympics and then become a doctor. However, Griff has keeping a secret: he's gay. He's very reluctant to come out because he's afraid of how the reveal will impact his charmed life. Once he befriends Sadie, he slowly comes to terms with his sexuality and what it means to actually "be himself."


NAME: Veronica Miller

ROLE IN BOOK: Sadie's eccentric roommate

AGE: 18-19

OCCUPATION: College freshman majoring in art

TALENTS: Painter and sculptor; her specialty is creating 3-D pieces using "found objects," such as hair, dog poop or chewed-up gum. Is also extremely perceptive and has a talent for seeing through people's b.s.

FLAWS: Sometimes grunts instead of speaks, yells when frustrated, is extremely opinionated, swears like a sailor, is honest to the point where it's hurtful.

ABOUT VERONICA: Having been beaten down by Life, Veronica takes no sh-t from anyone. She favors a classic punk style with piercings and multicolored hair and is basically the exact opposite of Sadie. At first, Sadie thinks her roomie is psychotic, but Veronica often tells her some painful truths when Sadie most needs to hear it. *Side note* -- I originally meant for Veronica to be a minor character who'd provide some comic relief, but she ended up becoming rather integral to the story. She's also one of my favorite characters I've written so far!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The F#@! BOMB Book Release Facebook Party!

Only a couple more weeks before F#@! BOMB is officially released! You can still pre-order your copy on Amazon.

To celebrate my second novel's debut, I'm hosting a Facebook party on March 30, 6-8 p.m. ET. Anyone is welcome to join!

I participated in two of these parties for the LOVE NOTES anthology and they both went very well. It gave me the chance to meet and interact with readers, and we had a lot of fun. Since I've only released my novels as e-books, I haven't had the opportunity to do in-person book signings/readings, so this is the virtual equivalent.

At my upcoming party, I'll be giving away several prizes to some lucky winners, including my handmade jewelry, an Amazon gift card and free copy of my book. It will also be a chance to hang out, meet some new people and have fun.

So please join me for the FB event! And make sure to check out F#@! BOMB, LOVE NOTES and REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD!

Friday, March 13, 2015

My New Novel: Now Available For Pre-Order On Amazon!

Great news! My second novel, F#@! BOMB is finished and is now available for pre-order on Amazon! It will be out on March 30, so you won't have to wait too long to read it.

I've been working on and off on this book for a couple of years, so it's a little surreal for me knowing it's finished. I have that feeling of, "Okay, now what do I do?" but the easy answer is to ... write another book. I began F#@! BOMB soon after the release of REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD and I hope to jump into another project within the next few weeks.

Meantime, I'm really happy with how F#@! BOMB came out. This novel is a heavier story than BAND GEEK, which was basically a romance. I don't know how readers will respond, but I've gotten some good feedback from my editors. More importantly, I'm proud of my work.

One thing I did with this book that I hadn't done with BAND GEEK is make the entire package look professional. I did hire a graphic designer to create my BAND GEEK cover, but I formatted the text myself... which apparently had mixed results. For F#@! BOMB, I hired someone -- Shane Morgan, whose book THE RIGHT SONG is included in the LOVE NOTES anthology -- to design my cover AND text. She did an amazing job! The cover is below, but when you read the book, you'll see the care that was put into the creation of the chapter headers, page breaks, etc. These are details I hadn't thought about when doing BAND GEEK, but every little thing matters. I'm actually thinking of re-doing BAND GEEK's overall design so I can update it and bring it to F#@! BOMB's level.

I hope people enjoy reading my latest book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here's a blurb to whet your appetite:

Fatty. Freak. Friendless. Failure. Sadie Abramowitz is used to being alone. The morbidly obese college freshman literally doesn’t fit in anywhere and was constantly the butt of jokes in high school.

So far, life at Cunningham University isn’t much better. Her roommate only communicates in grunts while Sadie’s “dream job” at the school paper has her interviewing her fellow students with questions that practically invite them to insult her.

Things change when she’s assigned a story on Griffin Greenberg, the freshman track star who was one of Sadie’s high school bullies. At first, she’s reluctant to work with the gorgeous Griffin, but soon discovers that he’s not such a bad guy. Plus, he’s been keeping a secret: he’s gay.

As their friendship grows, Griffin challenges Sadie to do something she never thought possible: train for a marathon. Meanwhile, she supports him as he slowly comes to terms with his sexuality. Together, they help each other survive their first year of college – and also learn how to stand strong on their own.

Don't forget to order your copy of F#@! BOMB. Also be sure to check out LOVE NOTES and BAND GEEK, all on Amazon.