Category Archives: book discovery

Discounting Books – A guest post by Bryan Cohen

discountHere at eBookSoda we like to think we know all about the power of discounting books. About how readers, tempted by a deal on our site, can become lifelong fans of newly discovered authors. Author Bryan Cohen is expanding on this idea, and experimenting with enhanced ways to win new readers. Bryan’s here today to tell us about his latest venture:

“If you discount a single book in the middle of Amazon, does it make a sale? Some books do quite well on their own in the middle of the book-selling wilderness. Others don’t. There are so many factors that dictate whether or not a book will make a 99-cent or free sale worthwhile. I’m not the kind of person who likes taking chances.

In February, I ran an event on non-fiction books for writers called March to a Bestseller. Instead of discounting my book and hoping for the best, I joined together with 15 other authors in my genre and we worked together to bring all of our fans under one Facebook roof. Each of the authors took shifts during the event to respond to questions and interact with fans. The comments came fast and furious and it was nearly impossible to keep up. By the end of the day, more than 600 people officially attended the event, and most of the authors sold hundreds of copies of their books. One attendee said it was the most enjoyable Friday he’d had in quite some time. I felt the same.

When we bumped our prices back up from 99 cents, increased sales continued as we’d all entered each others “also bought” lists. The authors thanked me and encouraged me to organize another event in the future. I had another idea in mind. I wanted to organize four of them.

In honor of my upcoming first novel, Ted Saves the World, I put together four author events on Facebook centered around genres that related to my book. By running these events, I figured I’d meet authors who were the best in the business in fantasy, paranormal and horror, while interacting with the fans who make the genres thrive.

The first event, Cruel Book Summer: A One-Day Sale on YA Paranormal, Horror and Fantasy Books, starts this Friday June 13th on Facebook. There will be 16 authors on hand ready to chat with readers, give away prizes and sell their books at 99 cents a piece. Join the event by clicking here.

cruel book summer

It’s valiant to go it alone on Amazon, but there may be a better way. Figure out how to connect with authors in your genre to cross-pollinate your readers and meet amazing people who will help you to feel a sense of community.”

Bryan Cohen is a non-fiction and YA paranormal author. Learn more about his upcoming work on his website: BryanCohen.com

Author Interview with Hilary Grossman

Hilary

 

Today we’re talking to Hilary Grossman, author of ‘real-life’ contemporary romance Dangled Carat – One girl’s attempt to convert the ultimate commitment-phobic man into a doting husband with a lot of help from his family and friends!

Today, Dangled Carat is on offer via eBookSoda for just 99 cents / 99p!!.

DangledCarat-BarnesAndNoble-1600x1000 copy

Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship—why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose.

But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready—and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary’s humorous and honest story will hit home.

Tell us a little about what prompted you to write Dangled Carat.
While many of the things that happened to me (two faux engagement parties, for example) were very unique, being involved in a relationship with a commitment-phobe is a very common situation.  I felt that my story was something so many women could relate to which is what prompted me to write this book. 
But more than that, I wanted to share my story in the hopes that I could help someone who was in the same situation.  It is a very difficult position to be in. Everyone in your life has an opinion and “advice”.  You are always seem to be second guessing yourself and your actions.  My desire to help has been accomplished! I recently received an email from  self described commitment-phobic male reader who shared that after reading the book he realized some of the ways that he has sabotaged his relationships in the past.  He completely related to Marc.  He also told me how he learned that he has to go at his own pace regardless of what the other person seems to want – it will either work or not. He also learned that he has to communicate his feelings and just relax – enjoy the moment and let nature take it’s course – rather than worry about what tomorrow will bring.  This new attitude has kept him in a relationship that he would have already ended in the past!
Dangled Carat is written in a unique way. You took a personal story and wrote it like a novel. The reader feels like they are reading chick lit, but at the back of their minds they know it’s a true story. Was it difficult for you to write your story in this format?
It was very hard.  I really struggled with deciding if I wanted to fictionalize this story or stick with it as a memoir. In fact several agents strongly suggested I fictionalize it so that it would be more marketable. But in the end I just couldn’t do it.  For the reasons mentioned above I wanted to keep the story as a memoir. But I also wanted it to be a fun read. I didn’t want it to read like a “how to book” on how to get a guy to commit, as most other similar books are.  So I as I wrote, I just pretended that I was sharing my dating experience with a new friend over a bottle (or two) of wine.
The most difficult part of writing this story was sharing all my innermost thoughts, fears and experiences.  Some of which I never expressed to anyone in the past. It was almost like going through therapy! 
How did you come up with the title of your book?
It sounds corny, but the title came to me while I was driving home from work and stuck in a major traffic jam. I was struggling with what to call the book. And as soon as Dangled Carat popped into my head I knew that was the perfect title. After all, that carat kept on being dangled! No one should have as many faux engagements as me….
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
In my first draft, I didn’t include any s-e-x. My editor, Christina Baker Kline, NYT bestselling author of Orphan Train, told me that I couldn’t have a relationship / dating memoir, of such a personal nature, and not include sex. I knew she was right, but I just couldn’t write it. It took me hours to work up the nerve to write that section!  
What was the most encouraging experience you had during your journey to publication?  
Like all other authors I querried agents. I was very realistic with myself during this process. I didn’t expect to land an agent, but I knew I had to try.  I was shocked that five agents requested my manuscript, and one of them spent an hour on the phone with me making suggestions as to how I could improve the story!  Although none of them ended up taking on the project, knowing that they were interested, gave me a huge confidence boost!  I am also in awe at how supportive and encouraging authors are. They are so eager to offer advice. They help you celebrate your successes and provide a shoulder to lean on if you are unsure, upset, or just need to bounce an idea around. 
Was there a definitive ‘moment’ in your life where you decided ‘I am going to be a writer’?
Not really… Writing was always something that I wanted to do / enjoyed doing. For as far as I can remember I always would dream of one day writing a book.  Actually I played around and started many over the years,  but I never stuck it out long enough to finish one. Then one day, about four years ago, I got tired of dreaming. I decided to started my blog, Feeling Beachie, to see if I had the wherewithal to write as well as to see if anyone would be interested in what I had to say…  I fell in love with blogging, and writing became a regular part of my day.  Then BlogHer had a conference about turning a blog into a book and I jumped at the opportunity to attend. I was so encouraged by the sessions that I started writing Dangled Carat immediately after.
How did you react the first time you held your book in your hands?
I cried. I was so happy that I was able to transform my life long dream into reality.
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Thanks so much for sharing your writing (and relationship) experiences with us. It’s been great having you on the blog!
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Today, Dangled Carat is on offer at eBookSoda for just 99 cents / 99p!!
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Here’s where you can find Hilary online:

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Interview with chick lit author CeCe Osgood

Today at eBookSoda, we’re privileged to be hosting an in-depth interview with chick lit author CeCe Osgood. Asking the questions is writer and book blogger Ali Crean, otherwise known as: The Word Slinger from All The Things Inbetween.

They’ll be discussing CeCe’s debut novel, The Divorced Not Dead Workshop, covering topics from friendships and love, to trust and commitment, as well as chatting about what it’s like to be an indie author. It’s a perceptive interview, showing that genre fiction, in particular romantic comedy/chick lit, can reveal character and substance . . . along with the fun and fluff.

cece

CeCe has had a fascinating career so far: having produced a cult horror movie, worked as a script analyst for HBO, had two screenplays optioned, and has now finally realised her childhood dream of becoming an author.

Her debut novel The Divorced Not Dead Workshop is a romantic comedy with a whopping side dish of sassy chick lit!

 

divorced ~

Divorced five years and recently dumped by her Brit boyfriend, Dorsey Bing, smart, funny and a wee bit angsty, brainstorms about a dating workshop for divorced people. Too bad she’s an idea person with zero follow-through.

Facing failure, humiliation and heartbreak, Dorsey must tackle her biggest challenge if she’s to win the love, and life, she’s always desired.

~

Ali: The Divorced Not Dead Workshop is a pretty cheeky read about the thirty-something relationship sinkhole that many of us women fall into. Dorsey is a very comical walking disaster, I couldn’t help but constantly be pinching my eyes shut to better imagine the visual of her antics. Was the first concept Dorsey the same thing that final edit Dorsey was? What was the evolution of her in your character process?

CeCe: Dorsey did evolve from the original concept. At first, she was a less introspective character and a non-stop klutz, however as her backstory surfaced she evolved into a more realistic person in my view. In my writing process, and I know this is true for many authors, I created a list of details about Dorsey—her physicality, her attitudes, her family history, her emotional range—but during the (many) drafts of the story, she became more individualized and distinctive.

 In the beginning of the story I noticed that you really “California’ed” up the novel. It oozes Los Angeles character and I couldn’t help but feel like I had returned back there when you were talking about the parking lot that is the 405, Pei Wei, air kisses & false affection, mini mansions on Beverly Glen, and the general douche-baggery of LA people in their unashamed and blatant preference of what twinkles, shines and has bigger, firmer and more than likely terribly expensive implants. Was it simply writing what you knew or was it that you really wanted to comment about the superficiality of Los Angeles and how it played into Dorsey’s state of mind?

Dorsey is at a crossroads at the beginning of the book. The fifth anniversary of her divorce is preying on her mind, as well as being dumped by Theo. She’s trying to figure how to make things change, and the idea for a dating workshop for divorced men surfaces, however she has zero follow-through on her ideas. Pilar is the one who forces Dorsey to act, at least it seems that way. To me, Dorsey is actually at a turning point in her life, one that’s been coming for a while

Dorsey is on the negative scale of self-esteem and her self-talk is horrendous and her pessimism is through the roof. Not many people would understand the conflict of a character like hers being so distrusting of other’s motivations and intentions while also relying so heavily on them to save her and like her at the same time. Were you ever worried that you would make Dorsey unlikeable in her emotional complexity?

In an early draft, I decided Dorsey was too whiny and had her show in later drafts a wider range of emotion, using anger, resentment, and sadness to offset her self-doubts. I wanted her to be real, not a kick-ass heroine, which seems more of fantasy than a reality to me. I can understand that women, particularly younger ones, who haven’t gone through divorce or other kinds of loss may still have a lot of kick-ass in them, but Dorsey has had several losses in her life over the past five years, so she’s proceeding with caution.

It’s often stated that in friendships three is the perfect number for a pack of females. In view of Dorsey’s insecurities did you ever consider when making this trifecta that there would be an imbalance in her mind that should have also been woven through the story about conflict of sides within that friendship. The world was against Dorsey and everyone was always undermining her and sometimes you really can’t trust the ones you love after all. Did that aspect ever strike you?

No, frankly, that didn’t strike me. This story wasn’t focused on the female friendships, which I feel would have placed it more directly in the genre of women’s fiction. Its focus is on divorce and dating after divorce, so I chose to make the M/F relationship more complicated and filled with trust issues.

This entire novel is all about risk. The risk of taking an idea and actualizing it. Taking the risk to truly commit in a relationship and invest in it. Taking the risk to fully trust someone and surrender to the fact that they might hurt or disappoint you and it won’t be the end of the world. Taking the risk to be something and risk the chance to fail at it. When you were coming up with the concept for the book was the theme of risk so heavily weighing in your mind and why didn’t you make Dorsey focus more on the topic of risk in the workshop?

“Taking the risk to truly commit in a relationship and invest in it” is a central theme in the novel. At the deepest level, that’s what the workshop is about. It’s also how I feel about marriage. My own experience with divorce showed me that I did not fully commit to the relationship or to making the marriage work. Like Dorsey, I was too young and not ready for marriage, but wasn’t aware of this. I learned though. Sadly, it took many years because I didn’t go to a “Divorced Not Dead Workshop.” (sigh)

Another theme concerns why people don’t act on their ideas. Dorsey has a great idea but doesn’t put it into action. This is a behavior pattern for her. She fears failure, which many women undergo after a divorce. And taking the risk to start again? Well, that’s just about every Woody Allen movie ever made.

One of the things I noted the workshop never touched upon was the value of not every relationship ending in romance or something serious. It’s extremely unhealthy to be in that constant black and white thinking of men/women are bad or I can’t live without this being ‘my everything’. Entering into intense relationship after intense relationship only fortifies that sense of insecurity of not being worthy of one. Dorsey never really learns the value or importance of male friendship over a romantic or sexual relationship. Had you ever considered having an alternate ending with a more ambiguous ending? Maybe something where she realizes that she just needs to be whole before she become to halves of a whole?

If the story had been more of a literary fiction, I might have chosen that direction. Since, however, I thought of it in terms of a romantic comedy/chick lit/lighthearted women’s fiction I wanted the romance to play out. Plus, it shows Dorsey coming to understand her own mind and behavior patterns. She has to become proactive (to act on her idea rather than bail like in the past). She has to confront Theo. She has to face her biggest challenge — and fight to get what she wants; for “the serious” relationship.

The Divorced Not Dead Crew becomes a rather close group of friends. Of those in the workshop who was it that you found the most fun to write and who gave you the most trouble to visualize? Did any of the characters surprise you in their self-discovery?

I enjoyed the sisters and their rivalry quite a lot. And Stewie, who appears to be a jerk. He did surprise me in how he behaves as the story unfolds.

I also enjoyed creating Chester and seeing him grow from a timid fellow to someone who realized his own value.

If you were to review your own book what would you have to say about it? Tell me what you feel are the strong parts and the weak parts about your novel and in hindsight is there anything that you might have changed.

I was worried about the workshop chapters. Originally they were longer but I cut out a portion because I thought it dragged, and I also felt that I needed to get more plot events going on to satisfy the genre aspect of the story. I wanted the book to show how we can become aware of our thought patterns and yet fall right back into them, which is what happens with Dorsey.

I guess my review would reflect on this and point out that this romantic comedy cloaks a fairly serious approach to human psychology.

I wanted to show that, despite what she’s “learned” in the workshop and the events of the story, she falls back into that thinking almost by default in the last confrontation with Finn. I guess Tolstoy said it more succinctly: “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”

As a self-publishing author how do you feel about book pirating? Do you think that indie authors are more strongly impacted by illegal book downloading than publishing companies? Would you be willing to make your books free and request donations if you found that was a better earning model as a self-publisher?

I’m not sure how the requesting donations would work. I think the music industry has done something like this, but I’m unaware of the result.

I hate pirating, not only because it is theft, but also because it devalues the intense amount of work an author puts into a book. Like Nathaniel Hawthorne said; “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

And, really, doesn’t everyone wants to paid for working? No matter what you do or where you do it.

What does being an indie author mean to you? What would you wish to change about it?

I enjoy writing under my own rules, which doesn’t mean NOT proofing or editing the work. That’s a given.

I wish I knew of a better way to become visible to the reading public. It takes a lot of time and energy to get reviews, to get your title out there, and to find promotional activities.

Are there opportunities that you would like to find out about or network with that you don’t have available to you currently that would help you become a more accomplished writer, increase your fanbase or help establish your work publicly that you would be interested in having someone contact you about?

Reviews are a strongly needed component in the self-publishing world. It’s getting very difficult to secure effective promo without a certain number of reviews and the number keeps ratcheting up.

Also I would like to know if there are more print-on-demand companies springing up and a list of editors, proof-readers and web designers would also be useful.

Anyone who can help CeCe out with her list of requirements, feel free to leave details in our comments section. And if you’d like to connect with CeCe online, here’s where you can find her:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

 

BookCrossing – how to discover and promote books

BookCrossing

If you love your book … let it go.

If you’ve never heard of the site before, it’s a fantastic way of connecting people through their love of books, by releasing your favourite novels into the wild.

How it works:

1. Label:                  2. Share:                 3. Followbookcrossing

First, you add a BookCrossing label to a book you love and then you leave that book in a prominent place, such as a train or a park bench, where someone can pick it up. The label has a unique ID so the recipient can go online and let you know they have the book. It can be passed on forever like this.

What do you think of this idea? If you found a BookCrossing book, would you keep it? Or pass it on? Would you take the time to go onto the site and record it? I know I would.