Promoting Your Book on a Budget

Since I am in the process of doing my HIGH Blog Tour, I have been spending a lot of time researching on how to promote my book. Recently, I came across a great article on how to market your book—on a budget.

Click here to check out the article.

Do you have a marketing tip you’d like to share?

Birthdays, Books, and Blogging

A few years ago, I wrote a book. A few months ago, I edited it. A few weeks ago, it was published.

Today is my birthday. And since today is my birthday, I’d like to make a wish. I wish for my book to someday end up in your hands. 🙂

WARNING: My novel may cause smiling, chuckling, continuous page flipping, and sudden caffeine cravings. Falling in love and crying were also reported in some cases.

Cheers to another wonderful year! To old and new dreams, to love, and to life!

For the Kindle version of HIGH, click here.

Book Release: HIGH is Now Available


After a long, but wonderful journey—my first novel, HIGH, is finally published.

The paperback is now available for purchase on, and will be available on in the next few days. The eBook version will follow shortly. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you so much to those who have supported me along the way.

Have a Fabulous New Year!

A Happy Holiday Book Release

I am in the midst of preparing a nice holiday dinner for family tonight. Still have a lot to do, but I thought I’d take a quick break and update you on my novel.

Trying to release a book during the holidays is probably an insane idea, which was why I originally planned on releasing my novel last month. Unfortunately, editing took longer than I expected.

My manuscript sat with my editor for three long weeks. When I got my manuscript back, I was thrilled to find only a few markups, which I immediately worked on. After that, I set up my files then sent them to print. Once the files were approved, I ordered a printed proof. My proof arrived a few days later, and I was excited to read my book in print format. I had no idea I was in for a big surprise. I found mistakes I didn’t catch on screen, but more importantly, I found mistakes my editor completely missed. Most of the mistakes were minor, but there were a few that made me cringe. It was disappointing and very frustrating.

Quick writing tip: Don’t just proof your manuscript on screen. Print it out. You will be amazed at what you can find.

I finished doing my edits last Saturday, and I received the online proof last night. I’m getting ready to review it—hopefully, one last time.

I know that I could easily postpone my release date to next year, but I won’t. I can’t. 2012 has been a productive and good year for me. It just feels right to release HIGH this year.

So after tonight’s celebration, I will make time to review my book one last time. I’m hoping that by Christmas morning, the eBook version of HIGH will be available for everyone to view.

I hope you are enjoying the holidays with good company and good food. I wish you all happiness and success in the coming New Year.

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!

An Interview with Author, Lauren Waters

I am thrilled to have the lovely, Lauren Waters, the author of Infinite Sacrifice and Infinite Devotion, as my guest for this interview.

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
LW: I wrote poetry since I was very young and I dreamed of becoming the next Jane Goodall. I thought I’d write about my adventures observing animals in exotic locations, but life went a different way and I chose to observe my own little monkeys. A few years ago, I felt compelled to write down the story that was keeping me up at night. Writing my first novel was so rewarding that I knew it was something I needed to do for myself from then on.


Tell us about Infinite Sacrifice and Infinite Devotion.
LW: Infinite Sacrifice is a reincarnation fantasy about an old woman named Maya who is shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined; in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment she dies. What follows is a series of historic vignettes, spanning from the dawn of civilization up to the apocalyptic time of plague, all tied together with the thread of one soul’s journey for spiritual perfection. However, Maya is not alone on the road to enlightenment. She is surrounded by souls who help or hinder her progress—evolving alongside her throughout some of the most compelling events and eras in history.

Maya continues in Infinite Devotion to delve into her past lives after death, as she strives  to complete the tentative journey required to reunite with her loved ones in heaven. Her companions prove truer while her enemies grow stronger as her bygone adventures spin forth. This time she must experience the trials of loyalty and endure the hardships that only supreme devotion brings.

What inspired you to write your book series?
LW: An idea. Many say, “Write the books you want to read and for years, I wished that someone would release a book or movie that explored the possibilities of reincarnation. I came across a few books in this genre that centered on star-crossed young soul mates with only flashbacks of one other past life.  I yearned for one that dug deeply into all of the intricacies of many lives and many relationships. I wanted it to feel real. Therefore, I decided that I would write it.

What made you decide to self-publish?
LW: I queried my first book for six months and I was thrilled when my dream agent asked for a full request. She let me know that series sold well if they were stand alones, since publishers only want to continue with a series as long as it’s successful. She asked me to make it a stand-alone and I tried to think of how I could do that, but this story can never be a stand-alone. It is a true series, and I knew it had to be told as such. I decided then that I wanted to publish it on my own and I’ve never regretted that decision.

Which publishing company did you use and would you recommend them?
LW: I used Createspace for my print versions and I highly recommend them. The quality amazed me and they are very easy to work with. However, I have sold only a hand full of print copies outside my friends and family. The majority of sales for self-publishers will be ebooks sold through Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. I recommend all of these distributors. I know many indie authors who only publish in ebook form, yet I just had to have a physical copy for myself. If your budget is tight, by all means, forgo the print format.

What do you think are the advantages of self-publishing?
LW: Namely, control. You are the one who decides: which editing advice you listen to, cover design (one of my favorite jobs), title, book price, free promotions, which books you publish in the future, your promotional strategy, deadlines. The deadlines are the most important aspects for me since I have two little children who always come first. If I felt the pressure to complete a book by a certain date with a whole team of people relying on me, that pressure would interfere with my more important full time job. This way I can live my life around my passion for writing.

How do you feel about book trailers? Do you think they work?
LW: I had so much fun creating my book trailers. I’m not sure if they sell any of my books, but I don’t think they can hurt. If a reader doesn’t like book trailers then he won’t bother watching them, but if someone is interested, then they might get his attention. However, I wouldn’t pay someone to make one for you though. Here is a post I made so you can make one yourself: Any publicity is good publicity.

What type of marketing has been the most effective for you?
LW: Definitely making my first novel in the Infinite Series free. It has done wonders for me. I now advise any self-publisher to make something free for a prolonged period in order to get your other books noticed—whether it be a short story, novella, the first of the series, or part of your book. People mistrust self-publishing, so if you give them a free sample of your writing quality, they may invest into other works. Plus, you are seen on the free ebooks lists and on free ebook promotion sites. Again, publicity.

How much time do you think you spend on marketing your book online and offline?
LW: I try to do as little marketing as possible. It’s my least favorite part of the process (right after creating book descriptions!). This is one of the main reasons I made my first book free. That does most of the promoting for me. Every once in awhile, when the rankings slip, I have to get my free book featured on a free ebook site to pick the rankings back up. I also send my book out to book reviewers and give print copies of my second book away on Goodreads from time to time. Nothing sells your book better than word of mouth.

What do you think about blog tours? Do you participate in them?
LW: I have done a blog tour and didn’t see any huge increase in sales that week, but it’s a great way to get many reviews and interviews in a short amount of time. I chose a very inexpensive one, but I don’t think they paired up the reviewers very well with my genre. I have come across a fantastic historical fiction blog tour that I might splurge on in the future.

Aside from writing a great story, what do you think makes some self-published books succeed and some fail?
LW: Not putting enough time and money into it. Without a team of people telling you when your book is ready, you need to revise until it feels like terrorist torture to read your MS one…more…time. Then you need to send out to as many beta’s (hopefully some with writing experience) as you can. Then you need to make changes again. Then you have to pay for the best editor you can afford, and one or two proofreaders to catch all the things the editor missed. Pay for it now and save yourself the negative reviews and embarrassment of fixing typos after the fact.

Would you ever consider traditional publishing?
LW: Of course, I’ve dreamed of high sales that would attract the attention of my dream agent who will not only get my books in brick and mortar stores, and sell the screenplay to Bruckheimer (yes, I said dream). Then, I think about all that pressure and I’m content with where I am right now. My books and fans make me so happy; I don’t need much more. Although, after my children are grown, I might pursue traditional publishing when I can commit to it full time.

What book are you currently reading?
LW: The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790-1840 by Jack Larkin—research for my third book, Infinite Loss.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
LW: The best thing of all is when someone tells me that they loved reading my book. There are no words to describe how great that feels.

Thank you, Lauren for giving me the opportunity to interview you.

If you would like to check out Lauren’s blog or pick up a copy of her books, you can find her at:

Her books are also available on Amazon.

Guest Blog: Writers Workshops

Hi writers. It’s been a while since I’ve had a Guest Blogger, so I thought I’d ask a new friend and fellow-blogger who I met at the Paris Writers Workshop, to do me the favor of writing a guest post. I immediately thought of the wonderful, Kristen Coros.

Our topic for this guest post will be: Writers Workshops.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is, Kristen Coros…

Three Arguments for the Writers Workshop

by Kristen Coros (

Intro: I am a Canadian blogger and aspiring fiction writer currently living in Zürich, Switzerland. I met Corey at the Paris Writers Workshop in June, and I’m honoured that she asked me to provide a guest post for her blog. Below, I’ll give my take on why writing workshops are worth attending.

Writing fiction is a funny thing. It requires you to sit alone in front of your computer for hours on end, inventing people, events, and conversations. There comes a time when you say to yourself, “Well, it all seems clear to me, but will a reader understand it the way I want them to? Do my characters behave/seem like real people? Will someone reading this find it plausible that they would say this or do that?”

This is when you need to get feedback on your writing. You might find, however, that if you offer your writing to your friends and relatives, you’ll receive comments that are either a) unfailingly supportive, along the lines of “I just think this is the best thing I’ve ever read, honey!” (note: spouses are especially prone to this type of feedback); or b) critical but not constructive (“I didn’t like this part, but I can’t really say why.”)

You need other writers to read your work, writers who have struggled with and thought about the same issues of narration, plot, dialogue, and characterization with which you are now grappling. And while you might be able to find fellow solitary key-peckers in your area who are willing to meet and swap work on a regular basis, I would argue that additional benefits are accrued from attending a writer’s workshop. As a three-time veteran of Zürich Writers Workshop weekend events and a recent attendee at the weeklong Paris Writers Workshop, I’ve observed the following three benefits of these organized events.

The presence of a leader. Critique groups can sometimes be overly informal, devolving into too much chatting, joking, or complaining, and not enough productive discussion. In a workshop setting, a leader – typically a writer who has been published to some acclaim – acts as a facilitator to keep things focused and to ensure that there is equal time for everyone’s work to be discussed. They can also help to interpret the feedback being given. While my piece was being discussed at the first workshop I attended, a fellow participant looked at me and said, “Your underwear is showing in this piece.” It was an essentially useless (and potentially hurtful) remark before our leader was able to draw out and rephrase its meaning.

Equal footing for the participants. In a workshop, it’s typically the case that every attendee must submit the same amount of writing beforehand (at events I’ve attended, the amount has ranged from two to twenty pages). The leader does not submit anything, but their work is available for scrutiny at your local bookstore. It helps to have everyone in the same boat, as opposed to informal groups where some people may be frequently submitting and others hardly ever. When everyone is equally invested and vulnerable, each member of the group will be more likely to deliver what they themselves are seeking – honest, helpful feedback delivered in as kind a manner as possible.

Chances to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise. The workshops I’ve attended have introduced me to a wonderful and geographically diverse set of like-minded writerly people (such as the lovely Corey!), many of whom I’ve kept in touch with afterwards. As noted above, being a writer can feel very isolating, so workshops can offer a great sense of your community and networks growing.

After having sung these praises of the workshop, I will note, in closing, that there is a time to workshop, and a time to head back to your desk alone. To paraphrase Stephen King, whose memoir/instructional book On Writing I love abidingly, writing itself needs to be done in solitude, with the “door closed” and only your own voice in mind. So after our wonderful week in Paris, it’s time for me to cloister away again.


Thank you so much, Kristen. 🙂

To check out Kristen’s blog, please go to:



ABC Award!

I’ve been busy with personal things lately, that I had to put my writing and blogging on hold for a couple of weeks. When I finally returned to blogging, I felt so behind. I couldn’t wait to check my emails and start writing new posts. While catching up on things, I realized that the sweet and thoughtful Shannon of isleofbooks, nominated me for the ABC Award! Thank you for thinking of me. I am flattered. It was a wonderful welcome back after being away for days from the blogging world.

This award asks that the recipient name 26 alphabetical things about themselves and then pass it on.

It was a fun and challenging exercise to think of 26 things alphabetically to describe myself. I hope I did okay.

A – Ambitious
B – Bright
C – Creative
D – Determined
E – Energetic
F – Funny
G – Generous
H – Humble
I – Inspired
J – Jolly
K – Kind
L – Loyal
M – Motivated
N – Nice
O – Optimistic
P – Petite
Q – Quirky
R – Resilient
S – Sincere
T – Thankful
U – Unique
V – Veracious
W – Witty
X – (Need help on this one)
Y – Youthful
Z – Zest

Here are my nominations:

Thanks again Shannon! You made me smile. 🙂

My First Guest Blogger

Today’s Writing Tip will be coming from my very first Guest Blogger, Robin Coyle. Robin and I met through Her kind comments on my posts, mixed in with her witty sense of humor have always stood out to me. When I finally got around to thinking about finding a Guest Blogger, I thought of her first. Thanks Robin for writing today’s guest post.

Writing Tip #11: Moldy Verbs, Adverbs, and Intensifiers
By: Robin Coyle

Corey asked me to do a guest post on her blog Corey M.P. and I accepted with delight. She is a talented writer, wise, and all-around sweet person. Her prompt for my guest post was “writing tips.”

What is the best piece of writing advice you received?
I’ve learned volumes since I took on the job of “novelist.” Distilling it all, two things caused me to go back to my “finished” novel, In Search of Beef Stroganoff, and spend hours editing, editing, editing. The advice transformed my writing from “pretty good and readable” to “writing with punch.”

Use vigorous verbs.


Let there be a pox on adverbs and intensifiers.

When I learned these two tips, they really made me a better writer and were very helpful in making me be a more critical reader.

Yikes Robin, why didn’t you follow those tips when you wrote the above sentence?

Ok, smarty-pants. Allow me to rewrite the sentence.

When I digested these two tips, I evolved as writer and now read others’ work with a critical eye.

“Learned these two tips” became “digested these two tips.”

“Really made me” became “I evolved.”

“Very ” disappeared.

“More critical reader” became “critical eye.”

I now pause at every verb and ask, “Is there a stronger verb out there?” So . . .

“Walked purposefully” became “strode.”

“I turned quickly on my heel” changed to “I spun.”

Rather than “she ran out of the room,” my character “raced for the exit.”

When a vigorous verb replaces a weak one, the sentence springs to life.

I am embarrassed to say in an early draft of my novel I described a closet as “very, very, small.”  That closet is now “miniscule.” I nuked every: very, really, much, so, and too.” I went on the hunt for “ly” words – adverbs that made the text lay flat on the page like yesterday’s toast.

“She was extremely hungry” became “she was ravenous.”

“Amazingly, she made it to work on time and wasn’t fired” was better when rewritten to say, “She averted being fired when she clocked in at the strike of one-minute-late.”

I kept one blatant string of adverbs because I liked how they sounded together and it fit the moment in the story.

“I covered my eyes in the hope he would go away, but he pulled me close as we danced to The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” I was so incredibly, positively, and magnificently turned on. Those Brits know how to write a lyric.”

It wouldn’t have the same feel if it read, “It was an incredible, positive, and magnificent turn on.” Blah. Boring. Yawn.

Slashing moldy verbs, adverbs, and intensifiers will transform your writing. It did mine.

Thanks for the opportunity to do a guest post Corey. You rock!

Check out Robin’s blog at:

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Wow. A few days of not blogging feels like a year of not working out. Well, it feels great to back. It feels even better because
I just found out that the lovely Robin Coyle nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award! Thanks for thinking of me Robin.

Blogging is fun, but it’s a lot of work. Learning that people dig what you write is satisfying. Getting comments on your posts can be inspiring. Receiving awards like this one is encouraging. It makes it all worth it in the end.

The rules of accepting the nomination:
Thank the person who nominated me. Done.
Include a link to his/her blog. Done.
Nominate fifteen blogs I enjoy and follow. Yikes. I don’t have 15, but see below.
Inform said bloggers about their nominations. Done.
Lastly, share seven things about myself. Done. See below.

7 Random Things About Me:

  1. I wrote my first poem at 14. I knew then that I wanted to become a writer.
  2. I wrote my first book as a novella, but later changed it into a novel.
  3. At one point, I wanted to become a professional poker player.
  4. Traveling inspires me.
  5. I’m a foodie.
  6. I’m obsessed with Paris in the 1920’s.
  7. I was a Graphic Designer for 10 years. I am so much happier now as a writer.

Here are my nominations:
The Canary
Sara Flower
Julie McKay Covert
Writing is Hard Work
Writing at Midnight
The Year of Wonderful Weekends
Lori’s Lane Blog
The Short and the Long of It

Thanks again for the nomination Robin!