Thursday, January 26, 2012

Giving Away Paperback Copy of Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace!

 It's time for the YA Giveaway Hop, and I have up for grabs a paperback copy of DESCENDED BY BLOOD, the first book in the Vampire Born Series by Angeline Kace. This is a great YA paranormal read, one of my faves from 2011. Here's the description:

Brooke Keller's a high school junior who never spent much time living in one place. She's finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened by a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey to find out who is after her and how to stop them. Thrown into a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Brooke must tap into the side of herself that she never knew existed, at the risk of losing her life in order to save it.

The entry form is below (you may need to click Read More). Note this giveaway is US only. After you enter, scroll down for links to more great giveaways.

Thank you, I Am a Reader Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole, for hosting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Speak Out Against Bullying On Feb 3 - Please Join Us

Not long ago, my friend Katie told me a story. She's an author (writing as K.M. Parr), but this was not a nice story, and unfortunately it wasn't fiction. Katie recently published her first novel. Awesome, right? YES... except someone she knows in real life decided to mock her accomplishment, and began bullying her online.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not into trying to persuade people to speak out or soapboxing or... whatever you want to call it. But I recently released my first novel, too. I couldn't stop thinking about how awful it would feel to have such an ugly stain on the experience.

And I couldn't let it go.

Katie and I talked about it, and we decided we wanted to counter the negativity. We wanted others to join in, too, 'cause power in numbers, right friends? :) That's how Spread <3, Not Hate was born (Katie came up with the name - I love it).

We invite you to join us and speak out against bullying on your blog on February 3rd. Here's how:

1. Scroll down this post to where it says "You are next... Click here to enter" and click the link. Enter your blog name, URL, email, and name. (I'm asking for your email so I can send out a reminder for the event the day before.)

2. Schedule or plan to put up your post first thing on February 3rd (you can publish it the night before if that's easier). Be sure to grab the button code for the event (see below) so you can include the button in your post. You're more than welcome to display the button or badges (top of this post and in my sidebar) on your blog prior to the event.

Your post can be about anything related to bullying - tell a story about something you experienced (online or in real life), something you witnessed, a time when you stood up for someone who was bullied (or wish you would have), or just write a short message of support.

3. Please help us spread the word. I'd love to see at least 50 people sign up for this event. Katie will be telling her story on February 3rd, and I'll be blogging, too, of course. I really want us to look back on this, and instead of thinking of some jerk who tried to bring someone down, remember all the people who spoke out against bullying and in support of a new author. Thank you!! <3
Copy the code below and paste it in HTML view to display the button:
Spread <3, Not Hate

Thank you, Livia of Butterfly-O-Meter Designs, for creating and donating
the beautiful badges and button for this event! 
(You can't see me, Livia, but I'm blowing kisses at you!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interview: Lisa Cordileone, Voice of the Pyxis Audiobook

Pyxis recently released in audiobook format, and I was lucky enough to get to choose the voice actor to do the recording (my publisher, StoneHouse Ink, is awesome like that). Lisa Cordileone was my top pick, and I was thrilled when she agreed to take the project.

This is the first half my interview with Lisa, and it starts with a really cool behind-the-scenes video about the making of the Pyxis audio book. If you've read Pyxis, this is essential viewing - Lisa talks about how she developed the different characters, and it's a lot of fun to hear her takes on Corinne, Mason, Angeline, Andy, Grandma Doris, Great Aunt Dorothy, and Mr. Sykes. Take a look!

And here's Part 1 of the interview.....

K.C.: I’m really curious about your background and what led you to work as a voice actor. Do tell!
Lisa: I’m an actor based in Chicago, studied here at Second City after graduating with a BFA in Acting, and have performed in Theatre, Improv, Commercials and a few Film projects. I’m turning my focus towards independent Film projects, and interestingly, this offbeat category of voice books. When I first moved here I was on an open call for an agent and someone sitting in the room said, ‘hey you have a great voice!’ I was hesitant at first, but it eventually led to a Commercial VO Demo, and now I’m with a great agent in Chicago auditioning primarily for commercials, and then on my own for audio books.
K.C.: What was the first book you narrated professionally, and what was the experience like?
Lisa: It was called 86400 by Lavaille Lavette. It’s a non-fiction spiritual self help book, distributed by Gildan Media. This was a very interesting experience, mostly because I recorded this book from my home studio without a director-- and learned very quickly about self editing and trusting myself in this work.
K.C.: What are some other audio books you’ve performed since?
Lisa: I’ve narrated a couple other non-fiction books, Giving 2.0 by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and Erotic Capital by Catherine Hakim. This is my first year diving into the Audio Book scene, so my first experiences were with non-fiction, which I think is the perfect way of going about getting into this new area of voice over. Pyxis, which has been the most fun and rewarding as an actor, was my first fiction book.
K.C.: What do you think makes someone suited for voice work, and specifically audio book work?
Lisa: I’m still learning, but in my experience, I think you need to be aware of the best qualities of your voice and how best to use them. Knowing whether your voice is more resonant, nasal, what your vocal range is, how articulate or even off the cuff you can be. The commercial world has it’s own standards and challenges, but once you get use to reading commercial copy you start to get a feel for the rhythms, how to break a script down and ultimately make it your own. Audio books are like the cross country of voice over. I think what makes someone well suited for the challenges, are the longer hours in the studio and having the patience and discipline to take care of your voice. I think if you are able to read a book and identify with what the author is trying to say, and convey the voice of the narrator, the characters just fall into place. Actors are part of telling a story, audio book actors are telling every part of the story.
Lisa Cordileone's website
Twitter: @lisacordileone

Watch for Part 2 of the Interview later this week!

Pyxis: The Discovery Audio Book on Amazon/Audible - Now 10% Off

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The One Thing Book Bloggers Hate Most

As I mentioned in another post, when I decided to coordinate my own blog tours I first spent some time thinking about what book bloggers might value, understanding what they do and the effort involved, and how to create great relationships with them.

I strive to make sure the bloggers I work with feel valued, and that idea is at the root of my blog touring process. At some point I realized, what better way to understand what they value than to ask? So I put out a survey, and 70 bloggers responded.

I asked bloggers to list some things authors or publishers have done that really turned them off and made them NOT want to work with those authors/publishers.

The overwhelming common thread in the answers, repeated over and over in various ways, was this:
Disregarding the blogger's review policy.

Here are some quotes from the survey:
“Authors who don’t read my review policy and send review requests anyway.”
“Spam me with requests to review books that clearly go against my guidelines…."
“My policy says I don’t review ebooks, and yet I get a ton of offers for them.”
"Asking me to review without looking at what type of books I accept.”

You get the idea.

Yes, it takes time to read each review policy and tailor each query. But you know what takes a lot MORE time? Reading your book (10-15 hours), writing up and formatting a review post (30 min? 1 hour? 2 hours?), promoting the post, and cross-posting the review on AmazonB&NGoodreads. Respect the review policy, and you help ALL authors stay in good standing with the bloggers who do so much for us.

Want To Put Together a Kick-A$& Blog Tour, But Not Sure How?
You're in luck - I'm co-teaching a webinar, 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour, on Feb 1. I'll be sharing more of what I've learned from the survey, plus my process for planning and conducting blog tours. A blog tour company may charge $100-$1000 to do your tour. This webinar is 50 bucks, and you'll learn all the essentials for creating your own successful blog tour, plus tips for building relationships with book bloggers and making your tour stand out from all the rest.

Space is limited - register for the StoneHouse University webinar 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour.

More On Blog Tours
This is the third post in my series about blog tours and working with book bloggers. Read the other posts:
Why Do a Book Blog Tour?
How I Went from DREADING Marketing to Loving It

Author K.C. Neal :: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal

Monday, January 9, 2012

How I Went From DREADING Marketing to Loving It

When I started on this publishing journey, I assumed I would hate the promotional side of being an author. Marketing, business-y stuff? Eeeewww, right?

Then I set up my first blog tour. It was just a little 4-day tour, a precursor to a larger tour for my book launch. And I fell in love with book bloggers and the whole process of book blog tours. I've since set up 5 blog tours and nearly 200 blog appearances.

Let me start at the beginning....

Prior to publishing a book, I had zero business/marketing experience and really, no desire for any. My background is in science. I'm a Medical Writer and fiction author. I don't like approaching strangers. I HATE trying to persuade people to do something and the thought of having to "sell" anything kinda just fills me with dread.

When it came time to start promoting my book, I knew I wanted to do a blog tour. Not to mention that my publisher practically insisted on it. I was wavering between doing it myself or paying someone else to do it. But I figured, hey, I might as well give it a shot before I pay someone else my hard-earned money.

I am so, SO glad I set up and ran my tours myself. By doing my own tours, I established relationships with lots of book bloggers, many of whom have become great friends and some of my most loyal supporters. I'm not sure that could have happened if I'd hired a "middle man" to manage my tours.

Also? I discovered I'm very good at creating, recruiting for, and executing book blog tours. SURPRISE! I don't hate book promotion! :D

I've Figured Out A System

So how did I, a soon-to-be-published newb author no one had ever heard of do things like
  • Get over 130 reviewer requests for an ARC of my yet-unpublished, debut book
  • Recruit so many tour hosts I ended up tripling the size of my tour
  • Get bloggers to commit to reviewing my book
Before I contacted a single blogger, I spent some time thinking about my approach, trying to understand what book bloggers value, and figuring out how to create a tour that felt rewarding for the bloggers and for me. This has paid off HUGE for me and it made recruiting for tour hosts extremely easy.

Now, when I put out a call for tour hosts, I get more responses than I know what to do with. I have tons of book blogger friends on Twitter and FB who are are always ready to help me. And to be perfectly candid, I adore them. They work their butts off, all for the love of books. Most of them get nothing in return except free books to read and review, yet running a good book blog requires massive amounts of time and stellar organization.

I get many questions from author friends about blog tours, everything from how to recruit blog tour hosts to how to get bloggers to review books to how to structure giveaways.

I'm always happy to answer questions and talk about blog tours - I LOVE talking about them - and I'm excited to have the opportunity to share everything I know about blog tours in a webinar hosted by StoneHouse University: 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour. It's $50 for 2 hours, with plenty of time to ask questions. If you're thinking about a blog tour but don't know how to begin or how to do it, you'll get everything you need in this course. You'll learn the essential steps to planning and executing your own successful blog tour, plus tips for building relationships with book bloggers and creating a tour that stands out from the rest.

StoneHouse University Webinar: 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour

Also in my series on blog tours:
Why Do a Book Blog Tour? 4 Reasons

Author K.C. Neal :: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Do a Book Blog Tour?

I've gained a bit of a reputation about book blog tours - I've coordinated five of them (the fifth starts in a week) and well over 200 blog appearances, just in the past 4 months - and I hear this a lot: "You're always touring!"

I get a ton of questions from author friends about all aspects of book blog tours - what they are, how to find bloggers, how to approach bloggers, how to get bloggers to review a book, how to structure giveaways, how to manage all of the details of a book blog tour. Book blog tours are kind of my thing. :) And for reals, I LOVE talking about this stuff!

So... Why Do a Book Blog Tour?

Targeting: Reach your target reader audience by getting featured on genre-specific blogs

Exposure: Many blogs have hundreds or thousands of followers

Reviews: Book bloggers review books; reviews are important for buyer confidence

Efficiency: You’ll reach many more people than you could with a bookstore signing tour… without even leaving your home.

Who Should Do a Book Blog Tour?

Anyone who's trying to sell a book. It doesn't matter whether your book will be released soon or has been out for years, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. There are blogs out there for all topics and genres.

Learn How To Do Your Own Blog Tour
 I'm co-teaching a webinar on February 1st, 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour. If you want to do a blog tour and you're not sure about where to start or how to do it, this is the course for you. You'll learn the essential steps to planning and executing your own successful blog tour, plus tips for building relationships with book bloggers and creating a tour that stands out from the rest. The webinar is $50, 2 hours long. I have a system that's worked extremely well for me, and I will teach you everything I know in this course, and in Part 2: Advanced Tips and Techniques for Blog Tours (in March).

StoneHouse University Webinar: 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour

Author K.C. Neal :: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Want to Read a Teaser from Alight (Pyxis Book 2)?

I'm starting a newsletter this year, and in a few days I'll be sending out the first message. In each newsletter there's a chance for a subscriber-only prize, aaaaand... I decided to include a rough-draft teaser from Alight for subscriber eyes only. I plan to send out a newsletter no more frequently than once a month, so no worries about inbox overload. :)

Don't forget to confirm your subscription via the message that will show up in your inbox after you sign up on the form.

K.C. Neal's Monthly-ish Newsletter

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Author K.C. Neal :: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal