A Writer’s Christmas Wish: Reviews

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If I could have one thing for Christmas this year, it would be more reviews of The Demon Within on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and other retail and review sites.

We are in an era where new books are being published in hard copy and electronic format every single day. But what that means is that any individual book has a harder time standing out from among the masses. We’re competing for people’s time and entertainment dollars with not just other books, but with television, movies, computer games, smartphone apps, etc., etc., etc.

With so many books out there, it can be hard to separate the ones we’ll like from the ones we won’t. It’s easy to be skeptical about a book when it only has a few reviews, and it makes people less likely to want to spend their money on that book.

Andi Cumbo-Floyd, an author and editor I’ve gotten to know this last year through her blog and social media pages, posted a video a few months ago about the importance of reviews, particularly Amazon reviews. (Amazon uses its review system to do a lot of cross-promotion through those “You May Also Be Interested In” links and their direct e-mails.)

So that’s why I’m asking if you could do me a solid this Christmas. If you’ve read the book, I would be super duper grateful if you posted a review. It doesn’t have to be long or involved. Just a couple of sentences saying what you thought about the book.

And hey…even if you didn’t like the book, I’d still appreciate the review. Don’t get me wrong: I’d much rather you liked the book. But I get that my book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. What you disliked about the book may be exactly why someone else likes it. All reviews are helpful, because they give people different perspectives.

I’ve got to admit, I’m a pretty negligent reviewer. I read a lot, but I don’t review nearly as often as I should. But I’m going to try to remedy that this holiday season. I’ll be spending some of my time off writing reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year, especially for the authors who are not as well known.

Whether it’s for me or someone else, it’s a small thing you can do that will make a huge difference to an author.

 

 

Happy Book Birthday to THE DEMON WITHIN

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Unofficially, The Demon Within has been out in the world for a couple of weeks now. Officially, though, the release date is today. You should be able to get the book everywhere now, and any brick-and-mortar bookstore should be able to order it if it’s not in stock already.

I wrote out the book’s acknowledgements several months ago, before the book went to press. But since then, the list of people to thank has grown, and I want to make sure I do so here:

I got some amazing blurbs (basically, those things on the cover of a book saying, “This is the best book ever!”) from some amazing authors and bloggers: Jenn Bennett, author of the kick-ass Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series as well as the Roaring Twenties paranormal romance series; Carolyn Crane, author of the Disillusionists urban fantasy series and the Associates series of romantic suspense novels; Joe Alfano from the Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog; and Jodi Scaife from Fanboy Comics (which is currently rebranding as Fanbase Press). Thank you all for taking the time to read my book and for writing up such amazing blurbs! It’s incredible, as a first-time published author, to open your book to the front page and read all the cool things people are saying about it.

I want to single out Carolyn Crane in particular because, in addition to providing an awesome blurb, she has also been a friend and an inspiration to me for several years now. I first started talking to Carolyn back in 2010, when I interviewed her for CC2K, the blog I wrote for at the time. After that, we started talking more via Facebook and Twitter, chatting about writing, the publishing world, and, of course, our cats. I got to meet her last summer when we attended the Romance Writers of America Conference, and she’s just as sweet and down-to-Earth in person as she had been online. Carolyn, you’re seriously just a super cool person, and I’m so glad to have you as my writer friend.

Several blogs have already featured me, either as an interviewee or guest blogger, and I’d like to thank them as well: Audrey Kearns and the Geek Girl Authority blog; Andi Cumbo-Floyd and her AndiLit writing blog; and Barbra Dillon from Fanboy Comics.

I would also like to thank my friends and family members for supporting me in this endeavor. I’m shocked, and humbled, by how many of you have bought the book, spread the word about it among your own family and friends, and reviewed it. I tend toward the cynical end of the spectrum, but I feel like I’m having my George Bailey moment right now. Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. No woman, either.

And then there is everyone else. Maybe you bought the book at Wizard World Comic-Con, and I signed it for you. Maybe it was recommended to you, likely by one of my amazing network of friends and family. Or maybe you saw it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and thought, “This sounds cool,” and bought it just because. However you got there, thank you for taking a chance on an unpublished, unproven writer, and I hope you like the book.

For almost six years now, Dale Highland and her dark, crazy world of angels and demons with superpowers have been taking up real estate in my brain. And now they’re here. No matter what else happens, Dale is a part of the universe now.

Happy birthday, Dale.

 

 

 

 

 

Jenn Bennett Blurb, and Other Cool Stuff

Jenn Bennett, the author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series and the Roaring Twenties paranormal romances, blurbed The Demon Within. (Basically, think of how, on most books you read, you’ll see quotes on the front that say things like, “This is the most amazing book since sliced bread!” — says Important Author.)

She said, “Engaging, old-school urban fantasy. Will appeal to readers hungering for spirited supernatural action with a dash of forbidden romance.”

This is my very first blurb, so I’m doing happy tap dances over here. Better, it comes from an author whose work I already love. The Arcadia Bell series is high-stakes and consistently fun, and it has one of my favorite book couples of all time: Cady and Lon, whose relationship always struck me as sweeter and more realistic (not to mention more equal) than a lot of other romances in the alpha-male dominated UF market. The Roaring Twenties books I actually read much more recently, and I loved them. Great characters, great world building, and a unique setting (1920s San Francisco). I had been hungering for historical sci-fi/fantasy that was NOT steampunk. Not that I dislike steampunk, but I’ve been seeing so much of it lately that no longer has that unique feel that made me love it in the first place. So the Roaring Twenties books really hit the spot.

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The old City Hall subway station in New York City, which has been abandoned since the 1940s and is featured in The Demon Within.

 

In other news, I am being featured today on the AndiLit Blog giving some tips for scene building and “setting the stage.” As a writer, this is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I tend to focus more on character and plot than on stage setting. It was also one of the things that my editor from California Coldblood pushed me hardest on during the revision process. I had to come up with some strategies to compensate for my lack of visual imagination. I talk about a few of the strategies I’ve learned to use. Thank you to Andi Cumbo-Floyd for hosting me 🙂