I am catastrophically dorky. This is nothing I’m ashamed of. I embrace my unique charisma and channel it for good. I have such randomy, bazaar things happen to me over my lifespan, I just can’t keep it bottled anymore. I must share. I thought I would do quick blogs about these strange acts of dorkness.
Things you might read, like:
The day my scrub pants crept to my knees without me knowing.
Teaching cows how to skateboard.
Watching my Annie doll’s head be shoved with bottle rockets and lit. (This is a good one.)
Doing a cartwheel in front of Julliard School of Dance.
Skipping across the bridge at City Creek to appease the troll who lives underneath. (ummm…. yeah, this was last week)
And more such randomness…
Small experiences leave their little, sticky fingerprints on our lives and make us who we are. And that’s what I want to share – gooey, unwashable fingerprints that I can’t help or hide. Sharing is the best therapy.
So, I’m kinda heartsick right now. I feel alive with magic, yet pained by it, just as the author says.
Salt and Storm is elegantly written, with woven imagery in every memory and trinket, every thrum and tremor. I felt the salt spray, the sand in my toes, the wicked wind whip around me. I felt it all, and yes, I too wanted to be the witch of Prince Island. I was very impressed with how fresh this book was to read. Set in later 1800s I expected the language to be thick like Elizabeth Gaskell, but it was young and spirited and easy to get lost in.
I found that this tale was not so much about young love and heartache, but the relationship we have mother to daughter and the legacy we leave for those who will follow us. The whales spoke to me as well, and I listened to their song, and thought for sure the whale would mend Avery, and I still hope it can. This book is good for bother mothers and daughters, telling possibly, a different story depending on where you are in life. Me having young girls can see with hindsight the disconnected relationship between Avery and her mother, but young teenage girls might pull toward the spirited freedom Avery sought.
The love story, as simple as Kulper wrote it, had entwined a mystery that left me aching to know more. That is the only reason I could not give this 5 stars – I believed too much in the magic, both whale magic and island tattoos, and thought magic would resolve my heart and heal it. But a good book makes me feel and ache when it is finished. I wished I could see more or understand more about Tane’s magic, the island he left and the images draw in his sketchbook.
A beautifully written story with a simple, elegant delivery. Very clean, laced with important messages any girl could relate to.
Oh beautiful, lovely FanX! You have been kind to me. This will be my third FanX that I have participated in. The first I did it alone, daring the other vendors. Placed strategically on the last row across from Karen Gillan and Patrick Stewart’s line.
“While you are waiting, would you like something to read?”
Second time I was with other authors in Author Row, a hub of the writers and readers in and out like a beehive.
This year, the X’ers (Xchyler Publishing authors) have enough authors for a booth. That’s right! 1431! We are big and official. Thanks to our lovely sponsor Kelly Olsen (Kelly Olsen Realty) we are placed in the middle of the action, just a hop, a skip, and a jump from Artist Alley and second star to the right from Author Row.
There will be nine X’ers there – NINE! Books with various speculation – from Paranormal, Steampunk, Urban and Epic Fantasy, Sci-fi, and everything between.
So, while you’re waiting for your Kate Beckinsale Photo Op or the George Takei panel, the Backstreet – N’Sync faceoff, Reading Rainbow read-a-thon with Levar Burton, or the meet and greet with Buzz Aldrin . . .
There are several authors that have influenced me lately. Beautiful people who have crept in my life for one reason or another and effectively changed how I write, market, and treat other authors.
I first met Jen Greyson sharing a booth at Salt Lake Comic Con 2014. She was wildly spirited and irreverent, completely charming and A super smart, savvy author. I liked her immediately and talked her into buying a Damsel in this Dress corset (wink), which we both decided to wear the last day of the con. We also swapped books, in which she wrote, “To Candace, sister in the corset.” And I don’t know if Jen knew at the time how true this statement would become.
The book I swapped for was her first in the Tesla Time Traveler series, LIGHTNING RIDER. Her sales pitch to those interested in her book was basically – a time traveling Lara Croft. Very humble pitch, since she actually travels by bullwhip. So, that was all I knew about it.
This book blew me away! Fast-paced, plenty of action, and holy super sexy Constantine! Yes, made me blush (maybe not for the teens). And Nikola Tesla? And Evy was everything I’m not – cool, sexy, completely bad-ass. Such a smart, surprising read. And, I will be honest, sometimes it’s hard to read books written by friends, feeling the author over my shoulder wondering if I like it, but saying that, I completely lost myself in it.
Storm Front – third and newest release in the Tesla Time Traveler novels is released March 24, 2016! We are collaborating in helping Jen spread the word.
Whenever you meet authors at conferences or conventions, what is one thing we always say, besides the heart-felt THANK YOU? I think it goes something like this:
“I hope you love it. And here’s my card and information, so you can follow what I’m doing. If you can, write a review. I’d love to know what you think.”
I like to take time and thank those who invest in me as an author. I couldn’t be more sincere in my appreciation for choosing my series over the sea of other authors – and I mean every word. As crazy as this sounds, I didn’t start in this business to sell books, but to create art and find readers and keep them coming back. However, selling is the inevitability, or authors will cease to exist. Books are art, a creative expression and collaboration, but they are also a business, and artists like myself are losing.
There is a price with selling, and not just the cost of the book. I’ve said many times that authors are the worst at selling their books. Unless they have a knock-out elevator pitch, they frankly know too much about the story. Where should we start? What would grab their attention? What part would they like most? I think they’d like all the parts. And like Tommy Boy, we inevitably, kill the sale.
So, when I have someone interested, and I know they will absolutely love it, and YES, they bought a book – it’s a celebration. I have a new best friend, a fan, and they are so precious to me.
Many of my readers I meet at cons or author events, where I’m present to sign their books and talk with the readers one-on-one. Many are teens and aspiring writers. I love that interaction. I’d never trade it.
But, here is the problem that I have, it doesn’t translate to sales on Amazon.
Amazon is a juggernaut, driving sales of our products and controlling a lot of what we can do as authors. The truth is we have to play the Amazon game in order to show PROOF we are a validated author. The main way on Amazon to prove our validity is through reviews. If someone buys my book on Amazon, an email will be generated and asks for a customer review. If you buy an ebook, it’s an easy click to review and you’re done.
So, as much as I love meeting and talking with readers, it doesn’t turn my rating on Amazon.
Amazon is so big that a small fish like me is not going to matter that much to them. I am in the invisible bottom-feeding ocean, along with the other creative creatures that flounder, making their own way to survive. I’ve been swimming in the ratings around hundreds of thousands for a while, until I learned a few secrets. There is a magic number of reviews, if you didn’t know, that needs to be met in order for Amazon to pay attention to you. Once you hit that number Amazon is like, “Hey, this might make us money. Let’s pair it with this and see if we can get more hits?” Do you get those emails or bottom scrolls that show you this? It’s a game of numbers. As an author, I have zero control over this. It’s completely in reviewers’ hands.
Goodreads, owned by Amazon, has become a good friend. Readers love networking with other readers and authors- it’s a symbiotic relationship existing in an internet realm all about books. Several of my readers are a part of this world as well and celebrate their thoughts in this cyber-community. But, I’m having the same kind of breakdown with my readers, not because of the cultivation, but because of the age – several of my readers are not on Goodreads or Amazon, because, candidly, they are not old enough.
Isn’t that a funny conundrum?
There are other ways to break the Amazon code, but several I don’t have control over. Sell a lot in one day, Amazon pays attention. Kindle-Unlimited is an amazing tool if you have control of your books. Setting up a FREE book through them could spike your rating to INFINITY, but being with a small press, I don’t have that freedom or control either. There are so many circumstantial variations to this game, what works for some, doesn’t always work for others. Nothing is going to work the same for everyone, so please don’t hurry and run out and sign up for these programs thinking you’ll be an overnight success. But what I am coming to understand is my limitations with control when it comes to Amazon – you have to play or you drown.
So, I’ve come up with a plan…
As a reward for finishing the hardest book I’ve ever written, my third and concluding novel to my series, EVERSTAR, I thought about rewarding myself. I wanted an art piece, something I could frame and display in my home, a reminder of this staggering accomplishment. I contacted Khai Vinh of Ghost Illustrations.com and commissioned a painting of my world. What he came up with is beyond stunning. He drew for me Southwick, the southern most point and the capital in my world of Parbraven. He captured it at the most pivotal point in the series, simply put – at the end. The artwork is full of secrets only a fan would notice and I decided that this couldn’t be just for me, this needs to be shared.
I’m giving a print of this beautiful painting exclusively to those who place a review on Amazon or Goodreads. It seriously is something I’m so proud of and special to me. To share it with you makes me all warm inside. I had a parent post for her son, who loved my books, but didn’t have an amazon account, so it’s still possible if you want your kids to have some wall art in their room.
This link will take you to my page where you can fill out your name, email, and where you posted. I’ll follow up and send you one of these posters FREE! I’ll even sign it if you like. I’m looking for honest reviews, of course. Fives stars are wonderful, but I know that my book is not everyone’s taste. Readers needs to know if this book is for them. This is my THANK YOU for taking your time and sharing your thoughts on my art.
Authors need you. Regardless of where you bought the book, reviews are IMPORTANT. They are an essential part of a delicate author ecosystem, like algae to coral reef, a sustainable resource that can keep us creating, producing, and gifted back to you. The only way we survive in such a huge ocean is with a little help from our friends – you, our readers.