Tag Archives: Self-Publishing

My Virtual Book Tour (Day 1)

Today starts my viritual book tour with Goddess Fish Productions and my first stop is Kerry Hearts YA. Check out the link below and come support me as I work to get information about my YA Supernatural series out to the public.

http://kerryheartsya.blogspot.com/

Deceived, Soul Keeper Book I is listed on Amazon today (Mon) through Wednesday this week for FREE!

Destroyed, Soul Keeper Book II is going to be released on Amazon on November 15, 2014.

I’ll post up each day where I’ll be and I hope that you’ll stop by and drop us a complement.

Super stoked!

L.

Finished up, wrapped tightly and DONE!

There is something so right about typing that final word on a book you’ve been working on. You put in the last period and sit back in your chair, your head aching a little and your body worn out and yet… it’s exhilarating. Done!

Isn’t it so funny how quickly you start to edit in your mind, even though you’ve promised yourself that you’ll take a few days off from working on any part of this blasted project and just enjoy life. And yet… the voices start nagging at me to change this and adjust that and oh this must be cleaned up.

HUSH. Just slow your roll and let me enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something pretty awesome. (Yes, I am talking to myself. It’s cleansing for one’s mental health, or so I tell myself.)

I’m done. I’m finished. It’s wrapped up and ready for editing, but the creative process that requires all of my senses to truly hum is complete for this project.

Destroyed, Soul Keeper II is around 90K words and after 16 days, a respiratory infection, trip to Lubbock, 30 cups of cold coffee and 25,000 jumping jacks to wake up – it’s done.

I hope you’re pushing through to finish something on your goals list. We’re growing or dying, right?

Perseverance is my nemesis and yet when I embrace the sheer power of what she offers, there is nothing that I cannot do.

Push, shove, shuffle forward toward your goals today.

Finish it up, wrap it up and then… be DONE, for tomorrow, we start all over again. :–)

L.

Extreme Impatience

Impatience

I swear I was picking daisies out in a field the day God was handing out patience because I have none. I hate even trying to spell the word.

So here is the latest issues with my patience. I almost have my cover art for book two in my series done and I LOVE IT. I want to show everyone the new cover and yet I understand the importance of having a cover reveal that is fresh and new to everyone, not a repeat from your peep show last week when you just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to flash everyone with the goods. We’re talking book covers here people, stay on topic.

I get it, but I still struggle with it.

The other thing. I have on all my latest paraphernalia that’s going with me to the Texas Teen Book Festival that my next book, Destroyed, book II in the series is coming out on November 15th. Well, I’m ahead of schedule by about 2 weeks and it’s actually going to come out on the 1st. That’s already my lack of patience showing.

I honestly wants to wrap up the last 5 chapters tonight, edit like a crazy person for two weeks and release it at the beginning of October, but that is just insane. I released the other one August 29th. I’m impatient and I move extremely quick – two horrible character traits to combine.

This second book will be about 90k words, 35 chapters and 450-485 pages. I started it September 1st and I plan on wrapping it up tomorrow. IMPATIENT.

Anyway, hope you guys are having a great night and just know that if someone is honking at you to GO in the morning, it’s me. Naw… you wish tho! 🙂

L.

**Pic from http://www.chahal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/impatience-153602.png

The Element of Surprise

So my girls new favor song is “All About That Bass,” which I have to admit makes me want to dance like a teenage girl in my car. I refrain, so no worries there, but in looking up the video to listen to this song, I admit – I was surprised.

I didn’t not expect to find a very proper looking white female. I expected to see a very cute Jennifer Hudson-like gal. Ahhhh… the element of surprise. So important in this very mundane existence if we allow it to be.

Don’t you know the Meghan Trainor loves the fact that her latest hit sounds like a fifties version of a little Kym song, upbeat and makes the grown woman want to twerk. The girl has serious vocal skills.

How does this translate into our writing?

The element of surprise is alive and well and should be used in all of its various forms. When writing my first novel I remember having in mind that it would be a love story that focused on the struggle of having two soul mates, but while I opened myself up to writing the story free-form, a few surprises showed up – even for me.

There’s a character in a yellow hoodie that is seemingly the villain, or is he? I wondered the entire time who he was as I wrote, his devious actions showing up here and there, leaving me a little worried as to why he was showing up and how he would ultimately fit into the context of the love story. Needless to say, the element of surprise came through and took my story from a normal love story to a trilogy cliff hanger. (No comments on my multiple personality disorder. We use that to our advantage. 🙂 )

Let us use this powerful tool – the element of surprise – to remind the world that judging a book by its cover might be the norm, but just maybe beneath the lovey-dovey picture on the front is a story that leaves you breathless and guessing. Mine will…

“… All about that bass, ’bout that bass,  no treble…”

L.

A Final Word on my Goodreads Contest

So my two week goodreads contest ended last night and five lucky peeps will be getting a signed paperback of my debut novel, Deceived (Soul Keeper I) in the mail soon! I’m excited for them, but I might be a little bias.

I entered the contest with the hopes of getting a bit of exposure with readers for the book and I’m happy to say that as of last night, 1,070 people from across the world had entered the contest. Pretty cool!

The exposure offered by the contest have 578 people listed as having marked the book as “to-read”. Now, I have decided not to delude myself to think that most of them will read it, but I’m glad to know that my cover grabbed them and that they consider it worth reading!

I love the goodreads community and am much more of a reader than a writer. It was a great way to kick off the exposure of this book and I’m hoping that the other advertising ideas that I’ve invested in work as well.

Tomorrow starts a twitter campaign that I signed up for. It’s for 3 days and we’ll see if it helps my sales on Kindle.

I’ve got a nasty cold that is kicking my buttocks. I’m out! 🙂

L.

Musical Muse Monday

Musical Muse Mondays

 

So I was thinking last night about the need I desperately have for a break from my current series. I love to write on these characters, but there are times when you need to separate yourself and just dive into another project altogether.

Because I’ve put myself on a tight deadline for book two in my Soul Keeper Series, I’ve decided to make my breaks “quickies”.

Music is one of my most treasured muses, as I’m sure it is to most of you to. So, in honor of needing a break, and for my love of music, I’m going to start posting a Musical Muse Monday post on this blog. Each Monday morning I’ll pick a song and drop the YouTube link on here. If you want to join me, just listen to the song and write something in retrospect of the words or the musical movement – whatever you like. (Poem, Scene, Short-story?)

I often find myself in the middle of a “scene” when I listen to a song. Anyone can join me if you like and if no one wants to, that’s cool as well. I’m going to write a new scene every Monday for a break as well to remember he more creative parts of why I write at all. Grammar be damned…

To make it more interesting, please feel free to e-mail me a song that you’d like to see on the Musical Muse Monday’s post and we’ll use the song you pick instead with all of us that want to participate going to listen to your song.

Laurie.Starkey@att.net

Note to my non-writer friend – join us anyway. Everyone has creative bones in their body, come let yours fly high and you might just be surprised at what shows up, says the CPA YA Author. 🙂

Share this with anyone else you think my be interested and where my scene will be a post with the song topic at top, feel free to use the comment box for yours, or post yours on your own page and just link me to it in your comment and I’ll reblog it for us.

L.

Want my opinion? Be honest now… do you really?

It’s humorous to me how often we ask for the opinions of others, but if we receive something back that differs, even slightly from our own, many of us take offense.

 

Case and point:

My 15 year old walked into the kitchen last night, having just spent the day in the pool with us. Her hair was a hot mess and she was getting ready to go on a date. She wears her long blonde hair wavy every once in a while, simply because she can pull off that “California Girl” look. That look still requires clean hair and a little bit of hair gel.

She looks at me with an eyebrow raised and says, “Be honest, Mom. Knowing me and how I like to present myself, does my hair look alright?”

I wanted to lie and say yes, but the look I was getting almost seemed like a door to be truthful, like she really wanted my opinion no matter what. Almost being the keyword here.

I paused and looked at her wild mess of hair and wanted to ask if she’d looked at the mirror, but I bit my tongue and contemplated lying verses telling the truth.

“For real, Mom. I’m going on a date and I need to know. Tell me.”

Now in all actuality my silence told her everything she needed to know, right?

I smiled and said, “It doesn’t look like a hair style that you’d wear outside of the house, but you’re always beautiful to me.”

She huffed and walked out, speaking over her shoulder. “You could’ve lied.”

I laughed and responded, “I did. You look like a hot mess!”

 

This is so us as humans though, isn’t it. Tell me your opinion, give me your thoughts and comment on my stuff, but never mind unless you agree with me.

I can honestly say that in terms of my writing – I want constructive feedback.

My goal is to create something that draws people into the moment and leaves their heart racing, or broken, or full of hope. If my novel isn’t doing that, I want to know.

The book isn’t who I am and doesn’t define me – unless I let it. However, if I can remove myself from the opinion and consider the fact that I asked for feedback and received it, then perhaps I can objectively step back and see if it’s a valid thought. 

Receiving a bad review or a negative comment can be hurtful and discouraging, but I’d encourage you, like I do my kids and coach myself at times, step back and welcome the positive and negative opinions of others. Most times those opinions make us better and richer and wiser.

If not – tell them they suck too and move on. J

Deceived, Prophecy Excerpt

Maybe reading the prophecy out loud and a little slower might actually help me decipher its meaning. Samantha exhaled loudly and began.

 

“In a battle of wills,

 of the gods of old.

For each his revenge,

 will he forfeit his soul.

 

On the chess board of blood,

 will their narrative play.

aged, innocent lives,

 revenge claims her way.

 

Out of hate will come love,

 and love will come hate.

For immortal and man,

 have entwined their damned fate.

 

As the time draws near,

 a soul mate will speak,

And invoke its commencement,

 when strong will fall weak,

 

And the child in the middle,

 will break the seal

That is held by the fate,

 who’s heart cannot heal.

 

 With death sets in motion,

 a prophecy of old

Ergo seeker of heart,

 and keeper of soul.

 

“One heart with two parts,

split between twins,

two bodies that hold,

one despondent young man.

 

As the battle ensues,

against himself he will stand,

her pendulum swings,

with balance in hand.

 

For this generation,

will affect us all,

for the same man will rise,

 but he also will fall.”

 

Sam stopped at the end of the prophecy, the room much cooler.

The joy of promotion!!

This last few days has been a blur of promotions. I can honestly see why people either hire a publicist or become one instead of a writer. After figuring out the various alley’s to travel (which I honestly have only touched the tip of the iceberg), I will say on thing is for sure – this ain’t easy.

I bet I contacted 40-50 book bloggers last week when the book released with a nice form letter that was professional, fun and gentle in request. I received three no’s and heard crickets from the rest. Now I understand that I probably went into a listing of 10,000 e-mails, but it was a bit discouraging to say the least.

I should add that in my own life I move at the speed of sound, so superman watch out… I’m faster than a speeding bullet!

I decided at that point to go with a virtual book tour – not one I create myself, but one where I pay someone to assist me. With this first book I actually wanted to do two tours and try out two of the best companies I have seen in the context of my research.

The first was Xpresso Book Tours. I contacted Giselle Saturday morning and within a few hours I had an e-mail back from her with information and some first round questions. She was professional and super welcoming. I signed up for a 3 week January Rock the Star’s tour, which consists of the following ($280):

Copied from their page

▪    1 to 4 weeks (your choice)
▪    ~40 tour stops
▪    Reviews/Excerpts/Guest posts/Interviews
▪    Custom Tour Banner by Xpresso Design
▪    Media kit
▪    Advertisement on Xpresso Reads (30,000+ views/month): 6 weeks (130$ value)
▪    Social media promo: Kick off post on Xpresso Reads’ Facebook Page (4,000+ Likes) + Daily tour promotion on Twitter @XpressoReads (10,000+ followers)
▪    A personalized Tour Page at Xpresso Book Tours

 

Here’s the link to her page: http://xpressobooktours.com/

 

Next I contacted Marianne at Goddess Fish Promotions. She too got back to me right away and offered information, advice and assistance. I’ve read numerous raving reviews on this company and am looking forward to my November full service tour. The tour includes the following ($399 – changing soon):

Copied from their page

A four week tour with at least 30 stops.

  • The stops will be the host’s choice of either an interview, guest post, promo only or review.  Note: Reviews are possible, but not guaranteed with this tour.  We will provide you with a list of interview questions and blog topics to choose from when you book your tour. You’ll complete these ahead of time and we’ll break them down into interesting and appropriately sized stops.

You’ll also receive:

  • We provide the prizes, do the drawings via Rafflecopter that we create for the tour and we will issue the prizes at the end of your tour. Prizes consist of a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter, and a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn host
  • Creation of a professional cover graphic for your Facebook page using your book covers or website header/logo
  • A six month cover ad + text or a six month rotating cover only ad (using all your book covers) at Long and Short Reviews.  Ad graphic is created by us, and the graphic will be yours to keep and use as you choose.

 The website for Goddess Fish is http://www.goddessfish.com/

Couple more things… Because I’m YA, I contacted the local high school’s PTO/PTA president and let them know that I was a local author and would love to donate a book or host a booth or whatever at any of the HS events this year.

I created the flyer below to drop off in the local starbucks and Panera bread restaurants. My hawt hubby is out in town now posting them up to various community bulletin boards. Yes, his hotness will help. I know… I know no bounds. 🙂

Flyer

 

Lastly, I put up a 3 month gold add for $50 on YAPC – Young Adult Promo Center. Amanda was super helpful, kind and easy to talk to. I submitted my information and payment to her and am excited to see how this medium might play out. The following comes with the gold package:

Copied from their page

  • Posts advertised weekly to over 234,574 of YAPC’s combined followers from Twitter, Google +, Facebook, Reddit, Digg, Stumbelupon and more
  • Three months of Sidebar Advertising
  • You get 15% off of advertised authors services
  • Choice of guest post, author interview, or book blurb/excerpt feature
  • Book cover advertised and archived on Facebook Pinterest with links to Amazon
  • Your post stays on our highly optimized site for the duration of YAPC

Visit their website if you’re a YA author. It’s fun and their humor is refreshing and welcomed. http://yapromocentral.com/

 

To say I’ve been busy would be an understatement. *drools on the keyboard*

L.

Updated my website via GoDaddy

I seriously keep coming across things on my to-do list that have absolutely nothing to do with writing my next book and everything to do with being a publicist. *friendly growl*

That being said, I just finished up constructing my website, which is hosted by GoDaddy. It was easy and fun once I got the hang of it, and within an hour I had something I’m quite proud of.

I can totally see why authors, especially self-publishing authors become good speakers. We have to be authors, editors, publishers and promoters. Crazy skill set that I might have once this is all said and done.

It’s been a weird day, but I’ll save that for another post. Today… I celebrate the book being released yesterday and point you to my website to see what you think.

 

http://www.lastarkey.com

 

Tell me your thoughts??? 

I’m off to finish creating paraphernalia… Anyone need a part-time job?

L.