Friday, March 25, 2011

Contest! Name a Character in Oubliette & Win a Prize!

Back in January I held a contest to name the main character in Anathema. It went so well I've decided to do it again!

This time it's not my main character, but a character vital to the story. So vital I've been afraid of naming him.

Here's where you come in. Anyone can guess, but I want you to promote Anathema through either your FB, Twitter, or blog. Just once. You don't have to do it all the time. You can tell people to read it because it's the best book ever written, you can direct then to the contest, point them to Goodreads, whatever, as long as it mentions Anathema!!! Everyone who promotes gets one guess - that's it - so make it a good one! (Make sure you link to your post in your comment, please!!!!)

The character is the prophet who predicted Reychel's coming. He's been dead for six hundred years. His life is well-documented in his journals, but one journal is missing - the one that just might help Reychel unlock the key to understanding, and using, her gift. He's wily, cunning, and quite possibly a madman. Just a first name.

So.....wanna win something?! Of course I'll give something away!

You'll be thanked in Oubliette's acknowledgments, you'll win 5 of my Oubliette bookmarks, and you can win a second edition paperback of Anathema or you can wait and get a free copy of Oubliette (coming late spring/early summer).

The contest runs through Friday, April 1st, midnight CST. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 4th. Happy guessing! :D

Small print:
If I don't know you, please leave contact information or send me an email using the link to the right. You aren't required to follow me on Blogger, FB or Twitter, but it's always appreciated. If the same name is submitted twice, I will go with the person who suggested it first. The same name spelled differently is counted as a different entry. I also have the right not to choose a name if I don't see one I like. This contest is open only to U.S. residents.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Deciphering Reviews

Since Anathema has been out for a month, reviews are beginning to trickle in. Do I read them? Of course! Any writer who tells you they don't read reviews is lying. I've had some five star reviews from family & friends. Just a couple, most of the people I know aren't into reviewing books on the web.

What I'm really interested in are the reviews by people I don't know. Those are the readers I want to reach and their opinions are important to me - good or bad.

I've received a few great reviews, that for me, hit my intentions for Anathema right on the nose. It was as if I'd told them exactly what I wanted to achieve with the book and they wrote the review to reflect that. That's one aspect of writing I love - conveying a particular feeling to the reader. I want to entertain too, and if I can do both I'm thrilled.

Then I saw this morning I received  a one-star review (ouch!) that lamented the speed of my book. Everything happened too fast. S/he felt I hadn't given relationships time to develop. That's fair. When I read, I want to be entertained. I want action. I want to move the story along. I have been known to skip pages in books where all characters do is wax on and on about their love for each other. Boring. Let's blow something up instead. Maybe even one of those schmoopy characters!

As a former bookseller, I always made recommendations based on what the reader loves. So, if you love long, drawn-out books with pages and pages and pages of character development, don't read Anathema. If you like a fast-paced novel with magic, romance, and mystery, then I suggest you give Anathema a try. It's that simple.

Happy reading!!!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Q & A with Andrea Brown Agent Mary Kole: Indies & Agents Can Co-Exist

It seems to me that a lot of trad & indie authors have drawn a line in the sand. Them on one side, us on the other. I think there's room for all of us in this big world of publishing, but I know a lot of people don't feel that way.

Last year, Mary Kole, an agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency thought self-publishing was a bad idea. At the time, I agreed with much of what she said. Since then I've changed my mind and when I read Mary's recent post Self-Publishing in Digital Times, where she admitted she might have been wrong, my jaw dropped.

The publishing world is evolving. Indie princess Amanda Hocking is close to a traditional deal while bestseller Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 traditional deal to self-publish. While everyone has an opinion on where the industry will land, no one really knows. I think we're all full of questions and Mary was gracious enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer some for me. I wanted to know how agents and indies can work together. Just because I chose not to pursue representation for the moment, doesn't mean I've ruled it out forever.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to read Mary's thoughtful answers.

Q. I read your post in 2010 concerning self-publishing, and at the time I agreed with most of what you said. However, my mind was changed in December while reading about L.J. Sellers and her decision to pull her work from her publisher in favor of going indie. What, or who, caused a shift in your thoughts about self-publishing?

A: The advent and popularity of ereaders and digital books really changed my mind. The problem with print self-publishing is distribution. I would see a lot of writers hoofing around with their printed books or spreading their POD links all over the place but, for the most part, failing to get distribution in brick and mortar stores or attention among e-tailers. With ebooks so readily available and so easy to make and upload, and with new lists and stores popping up to increase a writer's chance of discoverability in the marketplace, it's now possible to forget about distribution woes and get attention for your independently published book. Lists and other curator resources, like reviewers, also work toward spotlighting truly worthy independently published projects. There will still be self-published books of poor or amateurish quality, but that cliche of disgruntled writers self-publishing just because the gatekeepers have all rejected them is now fading. Now people are self-publishing with new tools and, in some cases, to take complete control of the process (and potential profits).

Q. It’s my firm belief that indies and agents can co-exist, and even enhance each others careers. How do you see the agent’s role evolving in regards to indies?

A: ABLA is now developing a digital business model where we're going to address just that. The truth is, a writer can now publish independently without an agent or traditional publisher. It's dishonest to lie and say that agents are necessary if you want to go the digital route. So how do we justify our existence and commission? What's the value we add? I'll be able to articulate that much more precisely once we can finally announce our digital strategy, but I'm afraid I don't want to go there prematurely. Suffice to say, it's what we all need to be thinking about if we want to stay in and on top of the game. I'm really not trying to evade the question...I just am not ready to give you the really solid answer that this question deserves.

Q: I think your last answer is more than fair. Do you think agents will become more open to handling subsidiary rights (audio, foreign language, film/TV) for indie authors, while letting them maintain their print and ebook rights?

A: Yes. That's how Amanda Hocking got her agent in the first place. I feel like this is one thing that agents can do really well in a more indie-friendly publishing culture, which seems like it will be upon us by this time next year. It's interesting to note, though, that as the news broke that bestselling traditionally published author Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 print deal from St. Martin's, Amanda Hocking was generating a seven figure auction for print books! There's obviously flexibility in going from print to indie and vice versa. But so far, it's also good to note that only big name authors, whether they got their big name from print or indie, are generating the kinds of advances and royalties that are making headlines. It's a very different picture for the average author, whether traditionally or independently published.

Q: Are you concerned the larger publishing companies will shun agents who have clients uninterested in selling U.S. print and ebook rights?

A: I think it would be problematic with US publishers, but not necessarily foreign publishers. A publisher wants your print rights. More and more, they want your digital rights, too. But some publishers work with (again, established, in most cases) authors who have strong digital plans. For example, I believe Cory Doctorow kept his own digital rights and also copyrights under a Creative Commons license so that his fans can remix and interpret his text. So his print publisher, Tor, was cool with that but...again...he's well-known and has the leverage to negotiate that. This type of arrangement may become more common in the near future.

Q: You mentioned in your recent blog post that marketing is tricky for indies. How is their marketing different from a mid-list traditionally published author who isn’t receiving publicity support from their publisher?

A: One thing that publishers do really well is they sell into bookstores and schools/libraries on your behalf. Their sales people connect with buyers for these businesses and institutions so while a midlist author (who usually doesn't get a big publicity push from their publisher) is online and trying to market themselves, the publisher is working behind the scenes to sell them through to retailers. An indie author will have to connect and network not only with readers but also with people who will give them opportunities to sell books, do appearances, visit schools (for children's books). It's an additional layer and audience that will need its own marketing message from indie authors.

Thank you so much, Mary, for stopping by and answering these questions. I think blog posts like this will become more and more common in the next year or two as everyone considers their place in modern publishing.

I know my friends and I at DarkSide Publishing will continue to strive to release quality ebooks for readers. Will we all remain there forever? Will any of us get agents? What paths will we follow? No one knows, but I think in a publishing world where indies, agents, and publishers work together we can't go wrong.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Announcing Trailer Tuesday & A Few Random Comments

Let's start out with business before fun.

Yesterday it was announced that NYT bestselling author Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 legacy publishing contract. The same day we all found out Amanda Hocking is currently in negotiations for a traditional publishing contract.

Why the switchovers? Is the grass greener on both sides? Both have (supposedly) made millions, but both are turning to a new venture. Any thoughts?

Also, I'm starting a new feature on my blog in April. On Tuesdays, I'll be featuring book trailers. I love watching them and I hope you will too!!!!

If you're an author (indie or trad) and you'd like your book trailer featured on my blog, drop me an email at

Send me your:
Book Title
Link to a You Tube book trailer

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last Chance for 1st Edition Paperback & First Chance for a Bookmark!

When I published Anathema, I did my best to make sure it was as well-edited as it could be. I honestly believed there was not even one tiny mistake. Four people independently reviewed my manuscript and we were all confident we'd caught everything. I held my breath and hit publish, certain it was ready.

I was wrong.

The hubby found a typo - though instead of thought.
Then my fellow DarkSide author, Angela Carlie found another.
So did my nearly 90-year-old grandpa - firsts instead of fists.

Being the perfectionist I am, I couldn't let it go.

On April 1st, I'm releasing a 2nd edition paperback of Anathema. The typos are corrected and it's changing a bit in the interior (not the cover - it's staying its perfectly awesome self).

From the original 50 paperbacks I ordered, I have less than ten left. I want to sell them. Why buy a book with typos? Well, on the off-chance I become famous (haha!) this 1st edition may someday be worth a TON of money. It's an $11 investment, folks. That's it. (Well, you have to add shipping too.)

And, anyone who orders one of these 1st edition paperbacks directly from me will also get a bookmark for Oubliette. You know you want one of those!!!!!

So if you want to order a paperback, send me an email at and we'll get the sale worked out. First come, first served.

*UPDATE 3/30/2011* All 1st editions are sold out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Contest Winner & My Sales - You Might Be Surprised....

First, I want to thank everyone who entered the contest, everyone who helped spread the word about Anathema, and everyone who purchased a copy. You've all helped in making my dreams come true.

Now let's choose our winner! Two of my entrants tied for the closest guess to the number of books I sold from February 10th through March 11th. To keep things fair, my spastic miniature schnauzer, Ace, will choose the winner!

CONGRATS ERIN, our Grand Prize Winner - Kindle or Nook or $150 gift card & a free copy of Anathema!

1st Runner-Up, Terah wins $25 gift card and a free copy of Anathema

2nd Runner-Up, Tony wins a DarkSide prize pack!

Wait! I announced the winners - but NOT the winning number. Yeah, this is where things get interesting.

If you've been following me on Facebook, you know I made the Barnes & Noble Teen ebook bestseller list. I cracked the top 100:

See my book at #98, just above Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver at #99? This was March 8th.
And here I am at #96, just above Lauren Kate's Fallen on March 11th
March 12th, #93.

You must be thinking ... OMG, Megg has sold hundreds, even thousands of books in her first month to hit that list!

You're wrong. Here are my totals:

February 10th - 28th: 62 ebooks; 20 paperbacks
March 1st - 11th: 55 ebooks; 15 paperbacks
Grand total: 152

90 of those ebooks were sold through Barnes& Noble. 90. I sold 90 and hit the bestseller list.

I have no idea how they calculate placement on the list. My colleague at DarkSide Publishing, Karly Kirkpatrick, has sold hundreds more than me since she debuted in November. She's on the list, for sure, but she hasn't cracked the top 100. So why have I?

The consensus is that it has something to do with how quickly my books sold and that I had a few days with pretty high numbers of sales.

This also tells me the teen ebook market is WIDE OPEN. If I can achieve this on my first book in a month, imagine what you can do!

Am I disappointed with my sales? Hell NO! I'm thrilled someone other than my mom bought my book. I'm thrilled people are enjoying Anathema. I'm thrilled strangers have found it and embraced it. Isn't that what every writer wants? And let's remember, this is only the beginning. I have the two other books in my Cloud Prophet trilogy dropping this year. In addition to that I have multiple completed novels begging me for final edits so they too can see the light of day. People who've read my upcoming books have remarked that my writing is better, the plots are tighter, and the issues I deal with go much deeper. And then there's my contemporary YA novel about a ninja-fighting teenage girl. But that's a story for another post....

Now, do me a HUGE favor and head over to G.P. Ching's blog to read the first chapter of her novel The Soulkeepers. I promise, you'll be begging for more!!!