3 S.R. Johannes: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Soul Catcher Cover (G.P. Ching)

It's here! I can finally share with you the cover of the fourth Soulkeepers novel, Soul Catcher.

Dane Michaels has been to Hell and back and isn't interested in repeating the experience. But as a human caught up in the Soulkeeper's world, his life isn't exactly his own. No one can explain why Dane was allowed through the gates of Eden, but it's changed everything. Now, the only one who can make him feel safe is Ethan, the telekinetic Soulkeeper with a dark past and a heart of gold.

When Malini asks Dane to be part of a mission to find the last Soulkeeper, Cheveyo, more than one team member thinks she's tempting Fate. But Malini suspects Fate has had a hand in Dane's life for some time and that he could be the key to unraveling Lucifer's latest plan of attack.

About The Cover
Adam Bedore of Anjin Design creates all of the covers for The Soulkeepers Series. Book four revolves around Dane, pictured here, and introduces Cheveyo, a Hopi indian boy and the last Soulkeeper on the list Dr. Silva conjured in book 3. Cheveyo is represented by the dream catcher and adobe wall behind Dane.  Fate, also known as Fatima, plays a role in the story.  You can see her shadow hanging from the red stone in the dream catcher. (Yes, she is represented as a spider. She is a master weaver after all!) And if you think there is something up with that shadow behind Dane, you are not mistaken.  There's more to him than meets the eye.

 About The Book
Soul Catcher is slated for a March release and is the fourth book in the bestselling Soulkeepers series.

Monday, January 28, 2013

From Wattpad Sensation to Bewitched Author - Brittany Geragotelis (Special Giveaway)

For those of you who haven't heard of Brittany Geragotelis, (where have you been?:). Here's a quick recap of her awesome journey. She wrote a young adult book (Life is a Witch), uploaded it to Wattpad for free, had more than 18 million reads over 12 months. This got the interest of news media. Once a story was published about her - she was contacted by an agent and then given a book deal by S&S.

She is now releasing What the Spell - a three e-book series packaged together - a prequel to her successful book Life is a Witch. packaged as a book. It comes out tomorrow and you can preorder at Amazon or B&N

Today's awesome giveaway (US only): (enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post)
What the Spell Bound Manuscript (signed) - An early form of the book, before it was edited into its current form, and it has no cover.

A signed finished copy of What the Spell

A What the Spell lip gloss

A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut.
Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen. On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for.


Hi Brittany, thanks for stopping by. Wow this year has really taken off with you. Tell us how long you've been writing and why did you decide to start with your book on Wattpad? 

Well, I'd been writing since I was 15 and when I moved to NYC, I began my quest to get published. After a few years, I was lucky enough to get an agent. But after he couldn't sell a few of my books, he dropped me as a client. By this point, I began to wonder if I should even be writing. It's a lot of work for no one to ever read what you've written. So I took a 6-month hiatus from writing. 

But after that, I got the itch to write again and decided I needed to change things up. Instead of writing to get published (more specifically, being published by going through the process of getting an agent who sells your book to a publisher), I decided to change my focus to writing because I loved it and so that people could read (and hopefully enjoy) my stories. Around this time, I was introduced to the writing community site called Wattpad. It was described to me as a YouTube for writers, and I decided to give it a try. So, I started writing an original book that was loosely based on the Salem Witch Trials, called LIFE'S A WITCH.

Life’s a Witch is the story of Hadley Bishop, descendant of a woman executed for being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. She’s a teen witch in contemporary times and must face down an evil and supernatural presence from the past while dealing with the usual problems of a popular high school teenager.

Can you tell us what you did to grow that readership? Did you have a specific approach you can share with us?

Well, Wattpad has a great platform to begin with. They have 10 million unique visitors a month and a new member registers on their site every 2.5 seconds. People who are on Wattpad are there for one of two reasons. Either they love to write or they love to read. Some of them do both. When I began to upload LIFE'S A WITCH, it was a bit slow taking off at first, but once people began to comment, there were a few things I did to continue to get the word out there. 

One was that I responded to every single comment that was left on my page and on the stories. This is really hard to continue in present day (and four-five stories/books later), but I try my best. I think it makes my fans feel like they know me and that I'm accessible to them. And when a fan has access to you and can see you more as a real person and not just a faceless writer, I think it makes them more prone to become brand ambassadors or super fans who will tell their friends about your books if they like them. So, there was that...but I also have a YouTube channel where I do author videos where I talk about the writing process, I have a blog where I talk about my experiences writing and am active on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

By the time I'd finished uploading LIFE'S A WITCH on Wattpad, I had over 6 million reads of it. And just about a year after I began uploading the book, I had 18 million reads of it!

You must have totally freaked out. What happened after the hits started climbing? Give us the deets!

Ahhhh! Man, after I had 1,000 reads of the first chapter, I was beyond psyched! I remember thinking it was just such an amazing feeling, after SO many years of rejection, hearing that people were enjoying the story! And then the number just kept getting bigger! I million, then 6 million and just before a year after I began uploading, I had 18 million reads of the book! People were acting out scenes from the story in public, fans were calling themselves "Twitches" (a term in the book for teenage witch). And then some of my fans started asking where they could buy it, even though they could read it on Wattpad for free. But book lovers want that tangible book in their hand, on their bookshelf, so they can share with friends....so, I decided to self-publish.

An incredible journalist at Publisher's Weekly heard about my story and decided to do an article on me, and that got the publishing industry buzzing. Then, a few weeks after I self-pubbed, he did a follow-up on me. By this time, I'd gotten a literary agent, a foreign rights agent and a movie/TV rights agent. And then something was written about me in The Huffington Post and suddenly the whole publishing world was interested in the book. We ended up going into auction with four different publishers and ultimately, I chose to go with Simon & Schuster!!!

After all the success, what made you decide to sign your book with a publisher instead of staying in self publishing? 

Although I got my start by self-publishing it wasn't my sole intention. I self-published because there was a demand for my book and it wasn't happening traditionally. When I was approached about going with a traditional publisher, I weighed my options. The bottom line is that signing with Simon & Schuster offered me benefits I couldn't have gotten through self-publishing. 

One, I got an advance, which allows me to now write full-time. This was one of my biggest dreams since I was a little kid. Now I get to wake up every day and do what I love, while sitting at home and being my own boss. It's pretty amazing, and I couldn't do it without the generous advances from my books. Two, by going with S&S, I have help with so many aspects of the publishing game. From publicists to marketing, to editors....everyone is a pro at their jobs and I have access to them. Of course, I'm not their only author, so I still have to do stuff myself, but I would have had to do it all if I was self-publishing. And three....being with a traditional publisher gets me into bookstores and libraries. This, I couldn't have done on my own. But the reason I went with S&S specifically was because they're forward-thinkers. They've tried some outside-the-box ideas in the past and understand that the literary world is changing and they want to be a part of that. I'm SO happy with my decision!

What's next for you in your career? Do you plan to continue self publishing or stick to the traditional route. Maybe both?  

I won't count out anything for the future. We live in such an amazing time right now, where there are so many opportunities available to us as authors. You can go traditional, you can do self-publishing. You just have to decide which one's right for which project. There are a ton of really successful self-published authors--in fact, a large amount of the books that are on the top books lists are self-published. Gone are the days where self-published authors are automatically branded as wannabe writers who aren't good enough to be published traditionally.

Right now I'm looking forward to my traditional publishing journey with S&S! WHAT THE SPELL?, the prequel/spin-off to LIFE'S A WITCH, will be the first book in the LAW series and comes out everywhere January 29th! Then, a new and improved LIFE'S A WITCH will come out in May 2013, followed by the sequel, THE WITCH IS BACK in Jan 2014! Hopefully those books will do so well that we'll be able to do more. I also have a few other books I've already written that I'd like to try and publish. But, if those books aren't traditionally published, I'd be fine with self-publishing them. I think in the future, it won't be a matter of whether more of my books will be published, it will be how.

Okay, here are a few things to help us get to know you better. Just say "This" or "That"

Witch or Fairy (Duh! Didn't you hear? This is the year of the Witch?)

Book or ebook (Book....I love the feel of it in my hands. I love the smell. I love the pages. I love everything about it. BUT I did just get a iPad mini for Christmas, so I might have to give an e-book a try!)

Sports or art (Television and movies...does that fall under art? I'm a huge TV buff and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE movies! If only I could act, I might've become an actress! Now, I'm just hoping that LIFE'S A WITCH is made into a movie or show, too!!!)

Thanks for stopping by Brittany!

If you are interested in the giveaway, enter the random drawing below. Or feel free to ask Brittany a question in the comments!

Catch up on her books on the web:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Adult & Marketing (Author Meredeth Houston)

New Adult and Marketing

Meredeth Houston (author of Colors Like Memories)

You’ve probably heard about the relatively new genre that has entered the scene: New Adult. It’s been around on the web for a while (since 2009 according to Wikipedia), and lately it has started to really take off. TheNew York Times article in December really got a lot of people talking.

Basically, New Adult is targeted toward 18-25 year olds who are leaving home, entering college, experiencing changes in relationships, and learning what it means to be an adult. While there have been plenty of cries of “marketing-ploy” around the web, I think New Adult fits a needed gap in books I wish I’d had when I was younger. The only books I can remember reading that were set in college were the Sweet Valley University books (I am totally dating myself by admitting to reading those!). Books were always my way of pre-experiencing life changes, and I would have loved some books that talked about what it was like to share three sinks with twenty other college freshman in the dorms.

Some of the marketing concerns about New Adult come from bookstores, who are scratching their heads over what to do with these books—place them with YA, or with adult? Maybe find a way to squeeze in a new shelf somewhere? As the popularity of the genre grows, and I think it will as it draws from the older fans of YA and huge adult-loving-YA base, it will sort out.

There is also the question of whether college kids really read. I’ve heard this so many times—that people this age don’t have time to read. Considering I work with college kids every day, I can definitely say this isn’t the case. Yeah, sure they are busy and may not read at the same rate as they did in high school, but I always get an enthusiastic response when I ask what a student is reading for fun.

One of the really cool aspects of marketing New Adult is the fact that this age group often has their own source of income that they are free to use on any book they want. They no longer have to ask, or get approval from parents to purchase what they want to read. There’s been a lot said about how this allows for the steamier scenes that won’t be censored by an adult who wouldn’t want their child reading any explicit. In terms of selling books, it allows more room for targeting the audience directly, and not the parents (though they may want to read your book too!).
(Goodreads graph on New Adult growth)

Another bonus is the fact that many people this age already have ereaders, read on their phones, or computers. A lot of the early success in this genre was with self-published books, and this is testament to the fact that the New Adult age range is much more willing to pick up and ebook and read it on the bus or between classes.

My second novel, The Chemistry of Fate, will release in April and it falls firmly into the New Adult genre. In pulling together some marketing plans, there are a few things that I’m thinking about that capitalize on this market:

College creative writing classes. I live in a university town, and there’s also a junior college nearby. Both offer writing classes, and it doesn’t hurt to send an email to the professor asking if they’d be interested in a little presentation to their students about writing/publishing/something unique you can offer. (It’s probably better to do this early in a semester—just a recommendation from this professor!)

Book clubs. Maybe it was just me, but this was an area that I had a hard time with when my first book came out, as Colors Like Memories is YA. A lot of book groups (even ones I’m an active participant in!) weren’t willing to read it as it was meant for “kids.” Well, New Adult definitely allows for a broader base in that area. Also, I think more and more adults are getting comfortable with reading books with younger characters—50%+ of YA books are purchased for adult readers according to Bowker.

Word of mouth. Okay, this is a part of any marketing plan, but the thing with YA is that while there are some awesome teens that run book blogs and other means of spreading the book-love, there are a lot more college students who do so. Plugging into the college social media scene has its perks (even more than wasting time during lecture!).

Have you read any New Adult? Do you have any additional ideas for how to market to this age group?

Here are a few resources I’ve found useful:

-The Goodreads New Adult genre, to add to your TBR pile
-The twitter #NewAdult hashtag always has great links and books listed.
-There are a lot of blogs, but I’m partial to NA Alley (do see their Resources tab—lots of great links!)

Find Meredeth online:

Reference: Graph image from: http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/398-young-adult-gets-old

Monday, January 21, 2013

More book news!

Some how I missed this news with holidays and Disney trip.

Untraceable was named a Finalist in the U.S. Book News Book Awards for Young Adult!

Thanks to U.S. Book News!

I will say I was alsop a finalist in The Kindle Book Review along with the last entry - Wanted Dead or Undead. The book is a good book so if you are looking for a new zombie book - try it!

Fiction: Young Adult 
The Whitest Wall by Jodee Kulp 
Better Endings New Beginnings 

Freedom Road by T.M. Souders 

Guardians Inc.: The Cypher by Julian Rosado-Machain 

Pirate & Hoopoe by Diarmid Cammell & Karima Cammell 
Dromendary Press 

Unchained by L.B. Tillit 
Saddleback Educational Publishing, Inc.

Untraceable, Book I in the Nature of Grace Series 
by S.R. Johannes 
Coleman & Stott 
WANTED: Dead or Undead, The Zombie West Series (Book #1) by Angela Scott
Evolved Publishing

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some News and 2013 Focus

So I have some great (unexpected) news that came up over the holiday!

I have a new foreign rights agent! Yay! Jennifer Custer is with AM Heath in London, one of the oldest literary agencies in the UK. Now Untraceable and friends will be at Bologna in March and fingers crossed we can jump the pond. :)

In a way it was serendipitous as I think these things often are - Jennifer is from Atlanta and the South so she personally connected to the story when it came across her desk. She lives in London with her hubby so we also share foreign hubbys (not the same one but our hubbys are foreigners :). Also - a big thank you to the Alliance of Independent Authors because they introduced me to Jennifer. You can find out more about them on the right side of my page.

This is very important to me. For one - it is hard to get your indie-pubbed work out internationally. And two - I must say it is nice to have someone on my side again. I haven't had that for a couple years since my last agent and I parted - so this is a great change for 2013.

I've also reestablished my goals for the year.

I'm trying to balance social media with writing and giving back to the writing community. I don't want to just focus on one or the other. And as I've mentioned before, giving back in some way is important to me.


  • Write more on a schedule
  • Post blogs on a schedule - 2-3 times a week
  • Schedule time on social media when taking breaks
  • Only attend conferences I speak at or have a direct tie in to my craft or the business of publishing
  • Find ways to give back to all authors and the writing community.

Publishing Goals

  • Continue indie publishing while maybe testing out some traditional publishing options.
  • Query my shiny new project to see what publishing path is best - indie or traditional (haven't decided yet)
  • Release Unstoppable (book 3) in May (indie)
  • Finish releasing the SUFFOCATE novelette series over the summer (indie)
  • Release a fourth book in Fall? (indie)
Marketing goals
  • Reach the reader more directly - skype visits etc
  • Update my web site - lord knows it needs it
  • Continue to be authentic
  • Try to find a way to support a couple nature organizations with my Nature of Grace series
  • National coverage (have not clue how yet :)
Aggressive but doable only because my books are already planned and plotted - it's just writing and editing, which is the easiest part for me.

A huge personal goal is to establish my worth and stick to it. Without going into detail, I often accept less than what I deserve to accommodate others or I give more than is expected - so this shift in mindset is a hard one for me.

Writing Goals

From a writing perspective, I am moving in one direction for now: Contemporary Thrillers (adult and new adult)

I want to create fast-paced novels. Untraceable was not as fast-paced as Uncontrollable (in my opinion). I think that was primarily because there was too much feedback on Untraceable in the beginning and I lost confidence in my own work with my old agent.

  • Tone down my urge to add descriptions and narrative
  • Up the pacing
  • Plot in advance to make the writing part easier
  • Continue being open to feedback and learning my craft

What are your goals for writing/publishing this year? I'd love to hear them :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway - 20 authors

20 Amazing Authors plus more than 100 of the Best Bloggers have joined together to bring you 1 Amazing Giveaway!

The winner will have the option of receiving a Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

This giveaway is sponsored by these Awesome Authors:

The Essence (The Pledge, #2)Alaina Claiborne (British Agent Novel #1)Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped OutUncontrollable (#2, Nature of Grace series)Hunted (The Guardian Legacy, #3)Cliffhanger (The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries, Book 1)I Was Here—Before You CameEverlostBlood OathReaper's Novice (Soul Collector  #1)BulletproofLancaster HouseTwo HalvesMurder on Potrero Hill (A Peyton Brooks' Mystery, #1)Bellyache: A Delicious TaleKill ShotSkid Out (Heavy Influence Trilogy, #0.5)Between (Crossroads Saga, #2)Dragon Stones: Book One of the Dragon Stone Saga (Dragon Stone Saga, #1)Rapunzel Untangled

The Essence by Kimberly Derting
Alaina Claiborne by MK McClintock
Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out by Pandora Poikilos
Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes
Hunted by Ednah Walters
Cliffhanger by Amy Saunders
I Was Here - Before You Came by Camelia Miron Skiba
Everlost by Brenda Pandos
Blood Oath by T.L. Clarke
Reaper's Novice by Cecilia Robert
Bulletproof by Jeff LaFerney
Lancaster House by Taylor Dean
Two Halves by Marta Szemik
Murder on Potrero Hill by M.L. Hamilton
Bellyache by Crystal Marcos
Kill Shot by Anne Patrick
Skid Out by Ann Marie Frohoff
Between by Mary Ting
Dragon Stones Saga by Kristian Alva
Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett

Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).
Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 04, 2013

JA Konrath's Revelation

So as my first post, I'm going to talk about hypocrisy in publishing.

JA Konrath has been a pioneer in self-publishing. Those of us who have traveled down the self- publishing road know of him. His blog, his opinions, his books. He's been a man who has stood up for his right to publish. A man who has been vocal in his distaste for publishing. And a successful self publishing author (who of course build his audience with a traditional publisher).

Every year, Konrath lists his New Years Resolutions and sometimes gives his prediction for indie publishing for the year to come.

This year JA Konrath's big statement - is telling indie authors and writers to "Get over yourself and just write."


For years, JA Konrath has promoted social networking, connected with readers, supported indie publishing, and helped authors move forward in their goal of publishing.

But now that he's made it big - he suddenly preaches, "Go on your own and forget everyone who helped you get there?" which of course was picked up by MediaBistro.

I'm sorry Mr. Konrath, but for once, I respectfully disagree with your post. I dont want to start a battle with him because to be frank he would chew me up and spit me out.

But this hypocrisy is what bothers me about some big-time authors. Self published or traditionally published.

They network with writers, connect with readers, network, blog and then when they make it big (usually with the help of those people) - they suddenly decide they don't have time for it anymore.

They decide they should just focus on themselves.

All in the name of writing.

Don't get me wrong, I think we do need to focus on writing more. The craft. Creating good stories. Spend less time online. But this to me was a - forget you- kind of statement. Not in the name of craft persay.

This view is a bit distorted. A tad shady. It makes me feel like they're networking just to sell. Not to connect and learn and assist. It's a mentality of "Let's do what we can to meet as many people to get ahead, build readers, and then when we make it really big and boast about sales and money - we don't have time for you anymore."

Now JA Konrath's big revelation is that he just wants to write??

Don't we all?

I understand this view. Sometimes I just want to write. Check out. Be alone. And sometimes I do take that time. But does it have to be all or none?

I kinda feel like I have somewhat of an obligation to continue connecting with those I've met along the way. Those I've been connecting with. Those who have helped me. To respond to readers who give my book a chance. To connect with authors. But most of all, to give back to others.

Maybe this is a problem of mine. Maybe this is not the popular view anymore.  But I think it should be. Especially if readers and writers are a big part of what got you where you are today.

I understand the need to write and prioritize. But to use the system to your benefit - start a blog, go on Facebook and pretend to connect, - make it big, and then back-out or disconnect when paychecks get too big and your name gets known - is a crappy thing to do.

What Konrath forgets is there are many authors who make it big and DON'T forget their readers, still talk at conferences to help writers, and maintain connections who helped them. They are able to do both. Sometimes one may falter but they try. maybe not equally but at least a little.

I hope as I continue to grow my career and explore different paths that I continue to blog, tweet, connect, share, and help others.  I hope I don't blow people off.

I don't think it has to be one or the other. I think I can write and still make time to connect.

Will I be able to do all of this every day or as much as I have in the past? No.
Will I let people down? Probably.
But will I try? Yes.
Will I make a declaration that I no longer have time for readers, writers, or the publishing industry? Never. Because that is not what I believe.

Bestselling authors would not be where they are without the community of writers and their loyal readers.

What are your thoughts?