3 S.R. Johannes: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Autography - Time to have ebook signings!

You can still enter for free marketing ebook by asking a marketing questions HERE.

Today Tom Waters is here to talk about Autography. He is an author as well as the founder of Autography - an app/site that allows authors to personally sign ebooks for readers.

Hi Tom, tell us about yourself/books!
I'm an author, speaker, and consultant working in the Intelligence Community.  Most of my books have been nonfiction, but a couple of years ago I wrote a mystery/thriller called SECRET SIGNS.  I've recently had a spy novel cleared by CIA review (a requirement as a former employee) and working on a sequel right now.

What is Autography? 

Autography is a digital media firm with a patent pending method for autographing ebooks and other digital media.  We debuted at Book Expo America last year.  We were there again this year supporting eight different authors – from Warren Adler (War of the Roses) to Scaredy Squirrel (yes, a 'real' author).  We sponsored some authors in our booth, others in their publisher's booths, and a few on the big Author Stage.  A really great event this year, especially when fans can get a signed picture of their favorite author as the autograph for their ebook.

What made you start it?

Actually, it was my whining that did it.  An ebook I'd written on the NFL's intelligence operations (game film, scouting reports, etc) had become wildly popular with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The USO invited me to join a tour with a bunch of NCAA football coaches.  I complained to my good friend Robert Barrett (IT executive in the space program) that 'they' could put a man on the moon, but I can't sign my ebook for the troops.  All these coaches would be signing balls, jerseys, and helmets (we took 3 tons of tchotchkes) and I had nothing to sign.  Robert figured out how I could sign copies for the troops with an Apple iPad.  I did 10 days and 20,000 miles across the Middle East.  Incredible trip. 

What benefits do you see for authors using autography?

It gives authors an opportunity to meet with fans anywhere.  I've done ebook signings in Starbucks, hotel bars, festivals, wine tastings – because the system handles all of the transaction responsibilities, the author can just concentrate on interacting with their fans.  We provide the author with all of the information from their signings: date, time, location, and email addresses for everyone they've autographed a book for.  Plus, the fan can export out that signature page to their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or MySpace page with the touch of a button.  Great marketing for the author/publisher!!

How can an author join?

It's simple.  We need five things from an author:  their epub file, a head shot, book cover image, 2-3 sentence description of the book, and whatever greeting the author wants the fan to see.  The Autography app is available on iTunes and the author needs an Apple iPad to do the signing!!  Once we give you a logon and password, the author is ready to go. 

Provide any more information you would like.

Think about the options available now!  I did an ebook signing in Dublin, Ireland from my home in St Petersburg, Florida via Skype!  I've done ebook signings over Internet radio too.  You can do Ustream, Livecast, or Spreecast events easily and quickly.  Autography support multiple languages and currencies – take your virtual tour global!

For more information, go to their web site

If you would like a signed ebook of Untraceable, let me know at shelli@srjohannes.com and I can send you one. The cost is the same 2.99$ so there's no extra cost to you :)

You can follow Tom and Autography on Pinterest, Twitter, and the web site.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Marketing Your Words!

The "Market Your Words" marketing and book promotion ebook will be released next week.
You can add it on your Goodreads now.

It's no longer enough for writer's to write good books. They must know how to market their words. 

This marketing book is for every writer who doesn't know where to start. It is a compilation of tips, strategies, and key steps from my marketing blog for authors, Market My Words.

It also includes marketing interviews from the industries top publishing editors, literary agents, and bestselling authors such as Jay Asher, Aprilynn Pike, Aimee Friedman, and more.

MYW will be available in ebook first and then paperback - both priced way under 10$.

The ebook will be about 200 pages of tips, strategies, and interviews some from this blog and some new.

The book covers topics like:

  • Everything you need to know about marketing
  • Learn how to brand yourself and your books
  • Create a winning marketing strategy and plan
  • Make the most of your social networks and online marketing
  • Bestselling book publicity
  • Self Publishing marketing tips
  • Interviews - authors, editors, agents and other publishing professional.
  • Resources

Today I'm taking your marketing questions. 

Comment and you will be entered into drawing for a free ecopy! :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Post: Writing for Boys

Bam!  Pow!  Screeech! Should there be books written just for boys?  Should there be books written just for girls?  Or should there be books for every young reader, one size fits all?  What are those editors/readers/librarians looking for, really? The debate rages on, with passionate advocates on every side.  Luckily, we writers don’t really have to take a side; all we have to do is to start writing and see who our main characters become as the stories take shape in our heads. 

As we begin the writing process, knowing our audience is invaluable, and that comes through research and experience – oh, the experiences!  In my own case, I spent years teaching in middle schools and high schools, and now, as an author, school visits and readers’ letters help to keep this dinosaur current. My weekly volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club doing “homework help” (translation: “controlled chaos”) is key to get a glimmer of what’s going on in the lives of both boys and girls.  Then, living with the “ultimate guy,” my dear husband, a sports nut and avid reader, also influenced my world view of how “guys (well, one guy anyway) see the world.” 

Sometimes, a specific audience is already targeted, as it was for my contracted reluctant reader series (Cover-to-Cover, Perfection Learning), which is for boys ages 9-14.  Other times, the sense of the audience evolves during the writing process, determined by the main character’s voice, as it did for my most recent middle grade/tween mystery, ISLAND DANGER, which is also for boys, 9-14. 

To focus specifically on writing for boys, I’ve found that reading suspense รก la Grisham, Patterson, and DeMille and studying their use of lots of action and hooks in their plots were critical to get me focused.  Additionally, books on language and gender, such as YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND by linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, helped inform my writing. 

Tannen’s theory is that girls primarily use language to “connect,” whereas boys use it to report a fact and to establish dominance.  For boys, she says, the “glue” that binds them together in a group is “activity,” whereas for girls, it’s “talk.” Sure enough, my male main characters grab hold of the plot and establish their own voices quickly, as opposed to my female main characters, who seem to establish themselves with less overt physical action, more dialogue, and at a more subtle pace. 

For example, the fourth through eighth grade boys at my local Boys and Girls Club will read THE HUNGER GAMES, with a female main character, but won’t pick up TWILIGHT, at least not in front of other kids!  They love the suspense and exciting action in the former, they tell me.  The fourth through eighth grade girls will read both books.  Most boys I talk to say they love mysteries, and they seem drawn to overt struggles and strong conflicts between good and evil.  When I write for boys, I keep these theories in mind, so Todd, my main character in ISLAND DANGER, plays a lot of soccer, surfs, and gets into fistfights.  Yet, he definitely has an empathetic side as well, which he uses to assess the other characters, to make his decisions, and take action. 

            There are plenty of examples of books that contravene these theories, and many authors who will disagree, but, as a writer, I find that these ideas help keep me grounded as I write and revise my manuscripts for boys.  With any luck, young readers will pick up one of my books and find an experience that resonates with them, whether they’re boys or girls. 

If you tweet or email Margo the following, you will be added to a drawing for a free book.

For a Tweet to @ipapaverison:  Enter me in #mg ISLAND DANGER ebook giveaway

For an email to ms@margosorenson.com: (subject line) Island Danger ebook Giveaway 


Tween Mystery Action Adventure

When fourteen-year-old soccer star Todd arrives in Hawaii, he hears that radical, militant Hawaiian activists have hidden weapons in a nearby ravine to use for their rebellion against the U.S. government to gain Hawaiian independence. Even though he’s warned that people are raising marijuana or “pakalolo” in the ravine, guarding their crops with rifles, pit bulls, and explosives, Todd plans to scout the ravine and find the weapons, hoping he can finally earn his family’s respect and find some adventure to offset his boring summer. What will Todd discover in the ravine that could force him to rethink everything he’s believed?

Author of twenty-seven books, Margo Sorenson was born in Washington, DC, and spent the first seven years of her life in Spain and Italy, living where there were few children her age, so books became her friends. She finished her school years in California, graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles. After teaching high school and middle school and raising a family of two daughters, Margo is now a full-time writer, writing primarily for young people of all ages, toddlers through high schoolers. Margo enjoys writing for young readers since she believes they are ready for new ideas and experiences, and they really enjoy "living" the lives of the characters in books. She enjoys meeting with her readers in school and library settings from Minnesota to California and Hawaii.

Besides winning recognition and awards for her books from various groups, including the American Library Association, Margo was invited to donate and archive her working papers with the internationally-known children's literature collection, the Kerlan Collection, at the University of Minnesota. After having lived in Hawaii, California, and Minnesota, Margo and her husband now live full-time in La Quinta, California. When she isn't writing, she enjoys visiting her grandchildren, playing golf, reading, watching sports, traveling, and hearing from her readers.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Winners of Hugh Howey ebooks

Congrads to the following for winning the ebook OMNIBUS by Hugh Howey.

Claudette Young

Rebecca Campbell

Ansha Kotyk - (Twitter contest)

please email me at shelli@srjohannes.com with your ereader format !

Monday, July 23, 2012

IndieView: Hugh Howey on writing eshorts (Bestselling Author of WOOL series)

NOTE: Hugh Howey will be joining us on #indiechat tonight (Tuesday) at 9PM EST to answer more questions about writing eshorts. You can use tweetchat.com and enter in the hashtag #indiechat to follow easily.

Enter for an ecopy of Omnibus below.

For those who haven't heard of Hugh Howey, he is an indie writer who started publishing a couple years ago. His first short story WOOL took off last spring. When readers begged for more, he released several more editions within 6 months and quickly became a household name in the indie world :) He just signed with Kristin Nelson, sold Wool to RH in UK, and sold his film rights to Ridley Scott.

Today, I'm giving away a couple ebooks of his OMNIBUS edition which collects the five WOOL books into a single volume. This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

And BTW, he's like the nicest guy! Now here's Hugh.

Hi Hugh, thank you so much for stopping by. 

Can you tell us about you and your indie journey to publication?

I've been a voracious reader all my life. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina, the son of a school teacher and a farmer. I tried to write my first novel when I was twelve, and it was just awful. Not that it mattered: I lacked the dedication to finish the work. Over the years, I've probably started a dozen books before losing interest.

It wasn't until I started reviewing books for a popular website that I learned the dedication of writing on a deadline. I also got hooked on the immediate feedback from readers (possibly why I love getting e-mails and reviews so much). While covering book conventions for this website, I heard successful authors repeat a mantra over and over: If you want to write, what's stopping you? Just sit down and write.

This really hit me hard. I had this childhood dream, and it was perfectly attainable. It didn't matter if what I wrote was garbage, what mattered is that I finished a novel just to say that I had. So I sat down with renewed spirit and wrote my first book. To my surprise, it didn't stink as much as I feared it would. It even got picked up by a small publisher, which meant working with a professional editor and not having to pay a dime to print the thing.

After taking this first step, I was hooked. I kept writing, and when the contract came in for the next book, I decided to try publishing on my own. I wanted to be able to get stories out as fast as I could write them and also maintain control over the entire process. 

Things were growing steadily until WOOL came out, and then they went into overdrive. What started as a 60-page novelette turned into a serialized adventure that stormed up the bestseller lists. It's been a wild ride ever since, one I keep expecting to come to a stop, but it still finds some way to press on. Recently, we announced both a movie deal with Ridley Scott and a hardback release from Random House in the UK. All from a short story that I didn't even promote when it came out.

I love seeing indie authors take off and all because of reader's word of mouth! What are the top three things to think about when writing a short story series?

First, plan ahead. Make sure you know where the overall story arc is going so you can foreshadow and plan appropriately. When writing a novel, you don't publish the first chapter until you've already written and revised the final chapter. Writing a series does not usually afford this luxury, and you don't want to make it up as you go like the writers of LOST did. Readers are savvy. They can tell in an instant when a creator doesn't have a handle on their own material.

Secondly, keep up the pace. If you are giving readers less to read, you better dole it out more often. A short story a month or a novella every two months feels about right. You want to keep your material fresh and your name visible.

Finally, listen to your readers. I check out every review and read every e-mail. With a series, you get a rare opportunity that a novel writer misses out on: you get feedback that you can actually use for future "chapters." I've heard from readers that some issues are unclear, or some characters need more attention, and I definitely allow this to guide my writing. It's like having beta readers help you steer your work so that it's as awesome as it can be.

Since you have become so successful, can you share some of the marketing tools or secrets you used to get the word out?

I've tried everything, but nothing works like word of mouth. I Tweet and use Facebook and participate on writing forums. I blog and do interviews, Skype with book clubs and speak to classrooms. But honestly, nothing will drive sales and continue to drive them quite like word of mouth. And how to achieve that is a mystery to me. I think the story has to be not only good and well-told, it has to be interesting, puzzling, engaging. It has to be addicting. And there's no way to really sit down and guarantee you'll achieve that. Even the masters write duds. All of my books aren't jumping off the digital shelves with the same vigor. So maybe this is the answer to marketing yourself: Write a lot and don't write the same thing over and over. Spread yourself across genres. Write works of varying lengths. You never know what's going to take off, so diversify, give yourself a chance, don't buy multiple lottery tickets with the same number and expect your chances to budge an inch. 

Now, I know you just signed with Kristin Nelson at Nelson Agency. I think she is the dream agent of many authors :) How is it to work with an agent after being independent? 

Agents rock if you get the right one. Kristin Nelson has got to be the best agent in the business for authors with self-pubbed success. I don't think there's any doubt. I've heard it from editors at major publishers, from authors, and even from other agents. What Kristin has done for me is allow me to thrive where I'm already having success while branching off in ways I never would have imagined. We've signed over a dozen foreign publication deals in the past few months in addition to that major Hollywood deal with Ridley Scott, Steve Zaillian, and 20th Century Fox. I never would have managed this on my own.

Co-agents are also key. Jenny Meyer, Kassie Evashevski, and Gray Tan have all done amazing things to get WOOL into the right hands. If you self publish and you begin to have some real success, start reaching out to agents who support hybrid authors, those who want to go the traditional route as well as stay indie. It's the best decision you'll ever make as an author.

So what is next for you? Will you stay indie, go traditional or both?

My next work is a horrible little zombie book told from their perspective. I'll be begging people to not read it. Seriously, it's awful. After that, I'll return to the silo with the second of the prequels. Once I wrap up that series, I've got a new one I'm dying to start. There's just so much to write and not enough time! And for the first time in my life, I've got a legion of fans hounding me for more, so it isn't just the pressure I put on myself anymore. Not that I would have it any other way. 

Thanks Hugh.

You can find him online at Facebook, Twitter, and at his web site.

Today I'm giving away the whole ebook of the WOOL series called Ominibus. You will be able to choose your format. To be eligible, you must leave a question for Hugh, fill out the Rafflecopter form, and be a follower of my blog . There are also several ways to get extra entries if you like.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Author/Blogger Bashing is Not Cool!

Okay so I rarely get pulled into the nasty debates online. Whether it is about self pubbing or blogger reviews. Unless someone is dissing a friend? I try to stay out of it. Why? Not because I am a pushover - trust me - but because it's not worth my time to defend my choices or my writing or fuel a fire that is already blazing out of control.

I'd rather spend that time doing positive things like writing, helping people, or building relationships with readers.

I also try to never get pulled into the blogger debates with authors. Why authors are commenting on bad reviews or if bloggers are being too harsh.

You see - no matter what you say - you can't control what other people think. No matter how much evidence you have to support a point - they will always think what they think and show something contrary. Words don't change people. Actions do.

So my philosophy is to always TRY to be positive, treat everyone with kindness, and make my own way with integrity. I voice my opinion without taking others down. And sometimes I turn the other cheek b/c it's just not worth it. I don't need anyone else to see my own point or wave a big flag when I pass by. It'd be nice but I don't need or seek that.

But this debate on Goodreads has gotten under my skin. And I don't blame bloggers for getting peeved.

I feel the need to speak out. Why? Not because I have much of an opinion on the actual "crime committed" by some poor blogger. And not because I have any ill feelings toward the author who is bashing them.

I need to speak out because I love bloggers and want to stick up for them!

I'm tired of the media grabbing hold of a story that rakes bloggers across the coals.

And I am SOOOOOO tired of hearing authors - indie or traditional - complain about book bloggers. I'm tired of reading stories about unethical bloggers. Im tired of authors calling bloggers bullies b/c they give a bad review.Because for every jerky blogger there are 100 bloggers doing the right thing in the best way. Bloggers are not all one person (believe it or not) and holding the masses responsible for a few jerks isn't right and isn't fair.

You see I would not be here if it wasn't for book bloggers.

Seriously, bloggers (fellow bloggers as well as book bloggers) gave me and my book a chance when no one else would. Not only that, but bloggers as a whole have been huge supporters to me and very loyal. They have gone out of their way to be relentlessly behind me and Untraceable.

Now before you say "oh, well no wonder she likes bloggers...blah blah." Let me just say - I've had my share of bad experiences just like any author. I've had a blogger flake. sux. I've gotten a bad review. sux again. I even had one blogger personally attack my character, which somehow ended up as a personal attack on me as a person and a writer. Did it hurt? Yes. Did it make me mad? Kinda. Did I cry? Probably (Ok yes, but I'm sensitive.)

But who cares? Just because someone lashes out to you is not a reason to lash back.

Out of the few bloggers who havent been professional or objective, out of the few who seem to bully online -  there are hundreds that are awesome. Many that have supported me so that's what I focus on. Those are the bloggers I focus on.

Now I don't think many people remember this fact about bloggers because we are all so used to the blogging world by now - we take it for granted. So we expect bloggers to do certain things. To act a certain way.

But newsflash!  Bloggers do not HAVE to say jack about you or your book.

That's right. Shocking. They don't have to support you. They don't have to read your book. They don't need to post about them. And, they don't owe you or any writer anything!

BTW - the majority of them never see a cent - never get paid - for reading or writing or posting reviews. The majority of them are either in school or have a full time job and still find time.

Book bloggers read and review books because they LOVE books. Because they WANT to help out the authors they love. They want to read as many books as possible. They want to review. They don't want to let anyone down. They want to be behind making a book or an author a great success. Just because. They get nothing for it.

Okay sure, they get some free books. But who cares? They DESERVE those books for all the hours they put into blogging. Most of them read about book every day or 2! I read 1 a month if I'm lucky! Some stay up late to finish b/c they said they would. Most post book reviews every single day. Not just on their blog, but they take time to post them on other sites too like Amazon, Goodreads, B&N etc. These posted reviews are not for them! It is solely to help the author generate buzz. To give the book a boost. To help get a book in the hands of readers. Book bloggers spend hours and hours and hours out of their daily life reading and blogging and posting interviews and helping with cover reveals.  They drive hours to support authors at signings. They go out of their way to promote books.

And to be frank - we authors LOVE this. Especially indies because we get very little press. Bloggers are all we have really. Besides a few ads and a few prayers of book reviews. The bloggers make it possible for us to build a name. So indies especially appreciate every single review or comment or post or shout out we get. I know I appreciate every single review. Good or bad, I don't care. And I wil thank every single blogger for their reviews out of pure appreciation. Because I know that blogger took the time to read my book, to think about it, and then take the time to post about it.

So good or bad, I know touched them in some way.

Then, some traditional author comes in and complains about an blogger's review because it's negative (join the crowd! Even Hemingway gets bad reviews!) and then an indie author comes in and starts bashing book bloggers because they either don't read her book, won't respond to her, or because the bloggers don't review her book fast enough. Then a random blogger starts a mob online and editors and agents pipe in.

STOP IT!!!!!

Seriously, if you don't like a blogger(s), then don't use them again. Don't send them free books. Don't contact them. Don't promote them. And don't tell your friends or editors to use them.

This thread going on at Goodreads is on verge of bullying. Not to mention, since an indie author started it, somehow it's giving indie authors a bad name now. You see, for some reason, indie authors get stuck with a stigma that we are bitter or have a chip on our shoulder. Most of us don't. But a few do and those are the ones that make it hard for indies to break out. They are the ones that shut doors others open.

Now, because one indie author is complaining, it will make it even HARDER to get bloggers to open up their blogs and give indie books a chance.

So for an author - indie or traditional - to go out and actually threaten to publicly post a "war criminal list" of bloggers they don't like is asinine. What -  are we in some kind of oppressive society or medieval ages where a public thrashing or scarlet letter helps. The only purpose could be in the hopes of tapping into some kind of mob mentality, which is stupid, immature, and again - let me just say - down right cyber-bullying. Which is something all of us writers - especially YA - are outwardly against.

This bullying mentality upsets me more - because a lot of the bloggers I interact with are teens! And let me say for the record (no matter what that author thinks), I respect the teen bloggers just as much as any blogger. I find them intelligent, passionate, and downright smart. When I was a teen, I would not have been organized enough to even run a blog. Let alone read and post reviews like most of these teen bloggers do. So I would never bash a teen blogger  not only because they are teen and I am an adult but because they are freekin' audience! Why in the world would I want to disrepect them in any way?

They are why I write!

So why is it we have to go after teen bloggers now? The ones trying to juggle their own bullies,  school work, parents, hormones, boys, and yet somehow still find time to do positive things - like studying, reading, and reviewing books.

Here's my advice to authors

1) Stop complaining and just write. This goes for indies and traditional authors getting caught up in these debates about bloggers, about self publishing, and about negative reviews. If you spent half the time writing that you do arguing online and bashing other people's decisions, you'd get a lot more done and you'd become an even better writer.

2) Cut the book bloggers some slack. Seriously. Some of these bloggers get about 300 books a year! Most don't even take indie books because they are so swamped with traditional books. Does it suck if you don't get reviewed? Yup. Does it upset me when someone calls my character a B%$#@? Uh huh. Does it hurt when someone says "no I don't review indies" just because I am not with Harper Teen? Obviously. I'm only human.

But am I going to lash out about it? Nope. Not worth my time and I am a better person than that.

3) Please read the blogger policies. Most of the bloggers I have worked with have NEVER promised me a review unless they signed up to be on a blog tour. And even then, some had to bow out at the last minute. Because guess what, they have real lives and real jobs so shit happens. Life happens. Things change. Tragedies occur. It sux, but it's life. Bitching about it doesn't help anyone. Not to mention, some bloggers may not post reviews because they might be negative. So they may be giving you a break. So - if you haven't gotten a review, don't jump to any conclusions about them being total slackers. You never know the reason why they didn't post anything (and to be frank you may not want to.:)

4) Indies - lets stop getting pulled into these online debates. It only hurts us - as a group - in the long run. The best way to move forward is to take a step forward. On your own. Not expect others to follow. We do not need to defend the steps we've taken nor do we need to tromp over people in the process just to prove a point. Treat others as you want to be treated. I mean please, I learned that when I was only 3. Being negative - esp online or in open forums - is NOT attractive and does not make people want to support you or your book. No matter how good you or your book are. I'm not saying, be a wimp and let people walk all over you. Do you stick up for yourself and your friends if they are wronged? Sure, but look at the way you are doing it first. It is really helpful?

My advice to book bloggers

1) PLEASE don't get baited into these stupid arguments. These people are trying to get your attention and good or bad, it gets them noticed.  Being a parent, I know this to be true. If my kid wants attention, he or she will get it one way or another. Good or bad. Any response will give them what they want. Attention. I've seen authors get tons of publicity for saying mean things - all because everyone talked about it and it went viral. Why even give them the press or satisfaction?

2) PLEASE don't lump all of us indie authors into one category. Just as each of you should be judged on your own blog merit and ethics, we indies ask you do the same for us. One author does NOT speak for many. So please don't close down your blog to indie books because of one indie author.

3) Try and be respectful in your reviews - good or bad. It's totally fine if you don't like a book. I don't like many. We love it when you make intelligent comments on characterization or lack of plot. And some of the time, you are dead on. It's the mean "personal attacks" on an author that aren't effective. Other authors notice those personal remarks and make sure to keep those bloggers off the list. Don't be THAT blogger.

4) Be clear in your review policies. Authors would rather you say you cant review a book then say you will and not. Be sure you state what they can expect.

Look, every author gets a crummy review or gets snubbed at some point. That's life. That's part of writing. Take the good with the bad. You have to accept the rejections and bad reviews and "nos" along with the praises and fan letters and yes's. I'd rather get a response or a crummy review than no review or no response. At least something I did stirred some passion in someone or at least I know where I stand. If you cant take it - don't get into publishing because this is tough biz with tons of nos and rejections and disappointments. If you think you will write and not get a bad review or never get snubbed by another author or a blogger, you are wrong. It happens. 

So if you have a beef with a blogger - please don't take it to the Internet. Just deal with it professionally and courteously. (I'm sure there may be exceptions to this but I can't think of one right now). Personally attacking someone or publicly humiliating someone online is just not cool. It's BULLYING and we all know some of the serious consequences of that especially in the YA world. You never know how you can hurt someone. And over a missed review? A bad review? It's just not worth it.

No matter who we are - bloggers, indies, authors, editors, agents - it's about showing mutual respect to each other and acting with professionalism.

I believe you get what you give in this world.

So can't we all just get along? We are all on the same side of this - we just love books.

I say, Stop the Blogger Bashing.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Cover Love Giveaway!

In celebration of the Uncontrollable cover release I am holding a giveaway for SIGNED copies of both Untraceable and Uncontrollable! Just enter the rafflecopter below!

a) Tweet, Blog or FB

  • You can post the cover on your blog, FB, or tweet it. 
  • When you do - fill out the rafflecopter below. 
  • You get one point per channel above (total of 3 points here)

b) Pinning on Pinterest (extra 2 points)
  • Sign up for Pinterest if you are not on it.
  • Create a “Nature of Grace” board
  • Pin BOTH Nature of Grace covers- Untraceable and Uncontrollable - on it
  • Pins must include a link to this contest (so the post you are reading right now) within the description 
  • You must fill out the rafflecopter below
  • If users have trouble entering by rafflecopter email kate@srjohannes.com with the appropriate links
  • Contest ends July 27th, 2012
  • Winners will be announced on the July 31st, 2012

Note: for every point - you get one entry!

COVER LOVE Prize: Contestants can win a signed ebook or paperback copy of Untraceable AND Uncontrollable (Outside US will receive ebooks)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The interest of Pinterest in Marketing

Ah my new love!

I love Pinterest ! If you are on, come connect with me! I love learning about people from their boards! 

It's so fun, I'm also doing a pinning contest for those pinners who pin both Untraceable and Uncontrollable covers on their boards. :)

I also just created a Nature of Grace board with all my images of Mo and Wyn and things in the book. You can follow that board individually. Let me know what you think or send me some images you think should be there!

Pinterest is fun (wait did I say that already?) It's a huge bulletin board and gets rid of those pesky bookmarks on my browser that I hated so much.

Pinterest - what is it?

Pinterest is the newest social networking site. It is more visual and image based that Twitter or Facebook used by primarily women at this point. 

It encourages you to find and pin everything dang cute things to your boards. It is kind of a modern way to bookmark stuff you love or find interesting. On Pinterest I am the best dresser, the best cook, and the wisest person! 

Repinning, following, and organizing is fun and easy. There's that word fun again. 

Besides being....fun...you can use it to build a platform.

Benefits of using Pinterest

·      Find people who like the same things as you.
·      Gives insights into people’s personal likes and dislikes.
·      Creates easy bookmarks to things you love.
·      Helps you find out what is trending and what is popular.
·      It’s fun.

Tips for using Pinterest

·      Always embed links so people can go  to whatever you are pinning.
·      Be sure to pin your own original stuff as well as repin others.
·      Download the pin icon to make it easy to pin wherever you are.
·      Create boards and use interesting titles to attract attention.
·      Create a book board for yourself.
·      Tag friends in posts to create community.
·      Use keywords in descriptions and hashtags.
·      Make sure you know what you are repinning.
·      Make sure you have descriptions.
·      Try to space out pins so you don’t bombard the boards with one topic.
·      Use likes as placeholders so you can find something again.
·    You can follow people or individual boards. This helps you target  who and what you want to watch.
·      Don’t forget to categorize your boards.
·      You have 500 characters in each description box. Use them.
·      Highlight text before pinning to add to description box.
·      Link Pinterest to other accounts.
·      Pin coupons for your book.
·      Create group boards with multiple contributors.
·      Watch for copyright issues.

Pinterest pet peeves

·      Populating description with the actual post. Create summaries.
·      Forget to include links or descriptions.
·      Not grouping into boards.
·      Pinning everything.

sign up here

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

OTBS PW Review! (And The Marketing Benefits of Reviews)

This was a pleasant surprise this morning from Publisher's Weekly :)

"Johannes kicks off the Starling series with this fresh novel about an angel’s peripatetic path to earning her wings...A humorous addition to the angel story genre. "


On the Bright Side
S.R. Johannes

Coleman & Stott (www.colemanandstott.com), $8.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-9847991-3-8
Johannes (Untraceable) kicks off the Starlings series with this fresh novel about an angel’s peripatetic path to earning her wings. Though the backstory is sad—14-year-old Gabby is killed by a drunk driver—humor prevails as Gabby grapples with the task assigned her in heaven: acting as guardian angel to Angela, who is dating Gabby’s former best friend and secret crush, Michael. Several chapters are named for the rules that Gabby, as a “Bright in Training,” breaks repeatedly and comically as she humiliates Angela in hopes of sabotaging her relationship with Michael. Along the way, Gabby risks banishment from heaven to return to Earth and set things right with Michael and Angela, and has a charged encounter with the devil and his henchmen. Gabby’s repartee with her celestial best friend and fellow BIT, Jessica, as well as with her cranky mentor, is studded with puns: at the angel induction ceremony, Gabby tells a “paparazzi dude” that she’s wearing Dolce & Nirvana, while her friend brags about her Vera Wing dress. A humorous addition to the angel story genre. Ages 12–up.

In PW's Select program, you can purchase a spot to be listed in the PW catalog. It is a supplement bound into the issue that is distributed to many publishing and book industry professionals. PW selects a few of the books (about 20%) from each issue to actually review and OTBS got chosen!

Some may ask why these reviews are important. From a marketing standpoint - they can be critical.

In addition to rewarding and validating, reviews can help any author - especially if you are indie. It adds credibility in the hopes of helping to overcome the stigma of indie pubbing.

Some benefits:

Adds credibility
They can entice readers
Highlights a book that normally might go unseen
Boosts author's confidence (which we all need :)

Submitting for book reviews:

Hone in on the right ones for you
Make sure you read guidelines
Be professional in your submission
Do it in advance
Many small sites offer review. Don't be a reviewer snob.

What do you think about reviews? Do they help or hurt? Do they influence readers?

Monday, July 09, 2012

Cover Contest Time!

Summer is just heating up and before you know it Uncontrollable will be out to the hands of readers everywhere!

In anticipation for the release of Uncontrollable on Sept 24th , I am throwing a contest!

"Make your own Cover" Contest

  • Join Pinterest (if you haven't already
  • Create a Nature of Grace board
  • Pin both covers
  • Create your own cover for either book
  • You must fill out the rafflecopter below
  • If users have trouble entering by rafflecopter email kate@srjohannes.com with the appropriate  links
  • Contest ends July 27th, 2012
  • Winners will be announced on the July 31st, 2012 (there must be at least 5 entered to win package)
"Make your own cover" Contest Prize: Contestants win a Nature of Grace prize pack! Untraceable, Unspeakable, Uncontrollable, and book swag. Winner will be promoted on social media outlets. (outside US will receive ebooks)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you waiting for? Start pinning!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Uncontrollable Cover Reveal!

Uncontrollable (Book 2 in The Nature of Grace series) is set for release on Sept 24th. 

To be honest, I wish it could have been sooner but I really can't seem to get books out as fast as others. I guess I personally need to take more time and sit with my stuff before feeling comfortable in releasing it. :)

  • Here is a teaser of the first chapter if you missed it.
  • Here is where you can add Uncontrollable to your Goodreads. (so you don't forget me)
  • Here is where you can sign up for blog tour or interview if you havent already.
Be sure to come back Monday for a Cover Contest that runs through July with tons of prizes! :)

Now for the summary for Uncontrollable:

As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 

And possibly, by more than one person.



"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!" -Kimberly Derting, author of the The Body Finder series (Harper Teen) and The Pledge series (S&S)

"This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page." - Kirkus Reviews

"Johannes has done a marvelous job of creating a suspense-filled mystery with surprises that keep you guessing all the way to the end. Untraceable is a thoroughly engrossing and riveting page-turner."- IndieReader

2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Quarterfinalist (under the original title of Grace Under Fire) - Judges Reviews:

"This story starts out with a bang...it reads like the young woman were narrating it to a friend, and had the ring of a young person's style and intensity. Grace sees authority people, or at least those she knows, as a bit bumbling, which is true to age. Authentic representation of youth in action also. Original in premise and style, and good use of background...Good story!" - Sue Grafton, author of bestselling Kinsey Milhone series

"This murder mystery features a teenaged heroine, but she has the self assurance of a woman twice her age. The prose is very descriptive...and the dialogue is genuine. The setting of small town North Carolina and the surrounding woods is appealing. The story moves along at a brisk clip, and it feels as if we already have some important clues. We look forward to seeing what's in the case file and what Grace and her motorbike, Luci, will be up to next." - Sue Monk Kidd, author of Secret Life of Bees


Now for the cover :) ....