Book Review of A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

I’m so in love with this cover. Thin, beautifully elegant text and amazing art work.

A Madness So Discreet deals with all the things it should – a girl struggling with dark powers; a mad doctor running an insane asylum, an intelligent young girl helping a detective solve murders. Ok I haven’t read it yet but I’ll get a copy as soon as I can and post a full review here.


“The Siren” by Kiera Cass Book Review

We have entered the epoch of mermaids. 2015 saw dozens of mermaid themed books hit the market, and what has so far been a quiet subcategory of paranormal romance is about to get epic.

Kiera Cass, author of The Selection is publishing a young adult novel called The Siren with HarperTeenIt’ll be available from January 26, 2016.

From what I’ve pieced together (may not be 100% factual), a young girl decides to serve the ocean for 100 years instead of dying in a boating accident. She becomes a siren, who offers seductive death to humans to feed the ocean.

She wants to be human, hates herself for drowning children, runs away to cry and meets her love interest, Akinli. But then she can’t speak to explain what she is (just like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and the novel I read recently based on the same original story, where the mermaid gets pregnant and gives up her baby to her love and his human bride… can’t find the name right now).

If that’s how the story really goes, it’s kind of been overdone. YA female hero who feels guilty because she rages out and destroys people…. check. Meets a guy but then runs away because she doesn’t want to hurt him… check. Comes back because her love is too strong to be without him… check.

Seems like it has all the right pieces. Luckily YA fiction is mostly formulaic. But The Siren introduces new characters, and some bittersweet romance – it’s not a simple happy story, but something deep and moving.

Also, sirens get to do cool stuff, look young and beautiful, and collect gold and treasure from the sea floor. And live a long time. They’re definitely the new vampires, only since siren are typically female, instead of the brooding Byronic heroes we have self-loathing heroines. There’s some overlap between my own book, but in mine the boy is the mermaid, the girl is human. He doesn’t want to hurt her (more like Twilight that way, and Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown).

Kiera Cass’s The Siren was actually written several years ago, before The Selection series, and self-published. Now we get to see it again (my guess is that Harper’s editors fixed some story problems and did a lot of editing, so it should do nicely). Hopefully my own book will launch a month or two before, and I can tied in some promotion.




How to market paranormal romance / YA urban fantasy

I get a lot of emails about how to market fiction; today I got one specifically on how to market paranormal romance. Coincidentally, I’ve been brainstorming for hours on the same topic: my first novel Shearwater is in final edits and I’m planning a big launch. I’m going to do a lot of things that should work and a lot of things that may not work.

The best book marketing for all genres seems to be:
1. Networking with other authors in your genre and getting them to share your launch.
2. Building a targeted email list of your own of interested readers.
3. Make the launch exciting, with prizes, competitions, etc.

For #1, I built a Thunderclap campaign; and I’m hoping to reach 1 million people and get 100K free downloads on launch. If you write in similar genres, I hope you’ll check it out. BUT I hate to ask for things unless I’m giving more than I’m receiving; so I’m trying to find ways of rewarding you for supporting my book launch.

Reward 1: I will put up a “thank you supporters!” page on a few of my high-traffic sites. I’ve also set up both (for paranormal romance) and (for urbane fantasy), which you can co-opt to your advantage (we can do an author interview, you can review other books in the genre, or a guest post on writing tips for the genre). Yes, you should be doing that stuff on your own blog as well, but you want a wide net of content linking back to your main blog or page, for increased traffic and SEO. Many other sites charge for stuff like that; I’m only asking for one Tweet.

Reward 2: I thought about running a giveaway, like a $2500 marketing package – where one of you would win a custom author platform overhaul (new website, new cover, improved author bio/mission/book summaries, and some content marketing). I could do it as a random giveaway, though I’d like to do it as a prize for the person who makes the biggest contribution to my book launch (hard to track though).

Reward 3: I’ll also be needing some quick, early book reviews before launch – if you have time to post one, you can download the full ARC here; I will in turn review any book you want me to. I’m not suggesting “trading 5 star reviews” – just sharing honest ones that genuinely help readers. If you think my writing sucks and doesn’t deserve more than 2 stars, that’s fine; I appreciate your feedback and will take your comments seriously.

I’m in a tricky position, in that for years I’ve been against spammy and self-promotional book marketing tactics, like “Twitter Blasts” – and I want to avoid it as much as possible by doing classy, fun, novel things to market my books. I’ll be sharing the results of my book launch through guest posts and podcast appearances in October, so you might see me around the interwebz.

If any of this sounds interesting and you want to be involved, please sign up at my other list on the book launch page here:

PS) Do you know any other PN romance or urban fantasy authors who could use book marketing help? Please share this with them.

FREE Kindle books until I have 500 reviews. Because SCREW IT.

Recently we were discussing what word to use when you want to say jealous… but with less negative connotations. Envious is a little better but still not good. I want I say something like “the success of my friend fills me with motivation and inspiration!”

I still don’t know the answer but that’s how I feel.

The friend in question has a book that’s doing amazing; over 500 reviews on Amazon. That’s pretty fucking great. But then I noticed the book is free.

I don’t know how long it’s been free.

It’s the first in a series of four books; the others are 2.99, the 2nd book is at about 8000 (Amazon rank) which means it’s selling well. The 2nd book has about 140 reviews so far.

My publishing plan was to start with a KDP free campaign, then 99cents, then possible up to 2.99. But this is my first book, and potentially the first in a series. I’ve already planned 8 totally different series with unique settings, plots and characters. I had planned to put a note in each book saying I’d continue the series when I had 100 reviews.

But I’m inspired to raise the bar. Why get 100 reviews and make a little money when I can keep the book at free until it gets 500 reviews. Free downloads mean MORE readers which will bring in MORE reviews, much faster.

Reviews are a very powerful indicator of future book sales. Getting 500 book reviews (especially) for the first book in a series could generate a ton of income later on. Why LIMIT the number of reviews I can get by charging 99cents, meaning fewer people would find my book?

So for the first time, I’ll probably put out my book for free, everywhere, and get Amazon to price-match. And I’ll leave it at free, to build my platform, drive email sign ups, and get more reviews. When I have 500 I met set it back to 99cents. But maybe not.

By the time any one book has 500 reviews, I’ll have more books published. I’ll keep publishing for free until a “book one” in any series gets there, then I’ll start expanding that series.

Will it work? Probably, yeah.
It may take a year or two to see any profit. But I’m not going for small gains; I want to sell a million books.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Fortune favors the bold.