My strongest weakness…

Advertizing ideas…

I stink… no let’s face it; I suck at selling my book.  I can talk another person’s book up to perfection and sale it.  Some books I can do that with that I have never even read.  I used to all the time, that was my job at B&N.  It’s why I was moving up so quickly.  Yes, I did read a number of them but not all of them.  I had the experience from the years in the library to look at a person, talk to them for a few minutes, and give them a book that was made just for them.  Moms that had sons that would never read would come back, thank me for giving them just the right book, and ask for more.  I can’t tell you how many unwanted hugs I was given working there, but I still can’t sell my book.  I know it better than any other, but I still can’t sale my book.  I feel like a street walker when I try.  Please, don’t take that wrong those of you who can.  I have witnessed hundreds of people sale their book with class, grace, style, and a lovely smile, but I still can’t sale my book.  I’ve thought about giveaways but it frightens me… I could do it, but I truly want everyone to win.  I want everyone to smile and be happy with the outcome.  So people of the blog reading world, how do you sale your books without feeling like you’re selling yourself?

This is so lame that I have to write this…

NOTE, before anything else is said, I want to say this ~ I love children’s books and I have two YA books in mind with outlines written.  I think very highly of authors who write children’s book because they help teach and grow young minds, and without that step no one would be reading any higher.  With this post I just wanted to make clear the age group for this book so no one buys the wrong type of book, plus I don’t get bad reviews and I do get sales.  My cover and subject matter would not interest most young children.

When my book (The Strongest Fire) first came out, one of my family members did not get a lot of info about it and started talking and sharing with others about how I wrote a ‘children’s book.’  They did it on the web and to most of my family (before I had a chance) and some friends.  They made it sound like the interest level of it was for about 8 years old.  This wasn’t, and still isn’t, good for my sales at all.  It’s falsely advertizing what my book is, making it sound like something it isn’t, and hurting my sales not just some online but with my family that doesn’t have little ones.  My book is for older teens and up.  My husband (who, as most of you know, is a high school librarian) says it’s what’s called an ‘adult for young adult’ meaning that adults, college age students, and older teens will more than likely enjoy it.  The person who advertized about The Strongest Fire did not talk to me first nor did they have permission, they had nothing to do with this book or any following/future book, and in over stepping every boundary they are still hurting my sales.  Also, they did not get any of the book information from me.

The reason I am posting about this now instead of when it first happened is I tried to rectify the problem back then, discreetly, and I thought I had. But I am still having people ask me how my “children’s book is doing.”  I’ve had a couple family members and one inquiry (non family related) ask in the last month or so.  I am posting about it here in the hopes that I will reach a few people that were falsely told and I hope I don’t have to send out a correction e-mail to all of my family members.  Also, my book was just advertised in Publishers Weekly, with seven other non-children’s books.  They tried to place it with a group of books that would interest some of the same age groups.

To those out there who think that they are helping, get all the facts first (and permission) because you might be like the current flowing in the wrong direction.  Now the ‘helped’ person is fighting with their oars against the tide and their progression has to do more with repairs than getting anywhere.  This is upsetting, wrong, frustrating, time consuming, and hurtful.  It is also more like what an enemy would do, not a friend, and definitely not a family member, even if they thought their intentions were good.

The sad, and upsetting, truth is, if this person had been interested in ‘helping’ with my sales the least they could have done was take 15 minutes of their time, look up my website and learn more about my book… but they didn’t until they had already spouted all the falsenesses about it.  And I really did not want to ever have to write this post.  It sounds bitter and harsh, two things that I am not.  But I am being forced to either correct this, or not have the right types of sales/any sales at all.

I was just e-mailed my Press Release…

The Strongest Fire
Book One of the Vampiress Sagas

On New Year’s Day in the year 1000, a young widow is suddenly plunged into the vampire underworld. In The Strongest Fire (published by iUniverse) by Sarah Winters, Mary must learn to adapt and survive in her strange new existence.

Having lost both her husband and young daughter to untimely death, Mary is used to being alone. But having gone to live with and help her brother and his wife raise their 12 children, she is rarely all by herself. One cold night, though, when she isn’t sheltered under the watchful eyes of her father and brother, Mary is accosted by a vampire named Barnabas. His bite changes her life forever.

Barnabas explains that he is very selective about choosing people to join his band of the undead. He learned of her by keeping tabs on his family; Mary’s deceased husband is one of Barnabas’ descendants. Her great beauty and emotional strength appealed to the vampire, who determined to make her his own.

Now Mary must learn to survive in a new life that isn’t really life at all. She is taken to Barnabas’ ship to join his band of sea-faring vampires as they seek adventure in such varied places as Ireland, Africa, Iceland and Greenland. The all-male crew of vampires welcomes Mary for the most part, but her adjustment is not easy. In addition to learning to live without her family, Mary must also get used to her new cravings, which she has to sate exclusively with fish.

Winters’ novel is written for the most part for a late-teen and adult audience and anyone interested in vampires and medieval times. Readers will enjoy this adventure-filled story that takes a slightly different approach to the typical blood-thirsty vampire tale.

About the Author
Sarah Winters grew up in a military family and spent the first five years of her life in Washington, several cities in Germany, Texas and California. She continued to live in different cities and towns along the coast of California before finally settling in the south of the state. Winters is currently a stay-at-home wife and mother. She hopes to continue writing more novels.

The Strongest Fire: Book One of the Vampiress Sagas

{insert shameless plug here}…

When is plugging your book too ‘used car salesman’ like?  This is a tough question that most of us authors deal with on a regular basis.  Most of us have read articles that say things like, “Don’t just say ‘my book’ always say the title and say it as often as you can”  “Advertize on every site you can think of”  “Mention your book everywhere”  “Bring it up in every conversation that you possibly can”  “Be seen reading it… everywhere”  “Brag”  “Boost”  “Show people a copy”  “Never go out without a copy”  “Always type, write, use your full name whenever and wherever possible” and many more things similar to all of these.  I try to leave my name and a nice link to my blog or website’s and on people’s blog because most sites offer a link back if wanted.  I figure since the feature is subtle and they’re for all of us to use… why not?  But I’m not very good at always bringing up the title.  And I don’t feel comfortable parading up and down the mall with a flag with a picture of my book taped to my back, while my book is in one hand and I’m yelling from a bullhorn in the other, all the while demanding that people read it.  That would get attention, but it’s just not me.  As a matter of fact, I just told some of my friends and the other good friends don’t know yet.  Why?  Because I don’t feel comfortable rubbing what I’ve done in other peoples faces.  And I’m writing this blog because I feel like I just used a famous person’s thread to shamelessly plug my book… but now I feel shame.  I feel guilty, even though it was slightly relevant, I still feel like I shouldn’t have even commented on their Facebook thread.  So when, where, how, and who do authors use to drop their name in the bucket with all the other authors out there?  I wish I had an answer we could all use.  I know that I don’t want to lose my tact, grace, and dignity plugging my book and I feel like there should be a nice way to properly advertise to others without feeling dirty.

Things I can do that don’t make me feel gross…
1. I leave comments or blogs with a link back to here
2. Talk about fellow authors work (I like this one, some books out there should get read)
3. Post on my own site and blog
4. Read my book in waiting rooms (why not, I read other peoples)
5. Have the title engraved on my license plate frame (I’d rather that than any other add)
6. Advertising in magazines and announcing in the local paper
7. Reviewing other’s books (I haven’t done this one yet)
8. Make a hoodie (or t-shirt) on Café Press or Zazzle with the title of my book on it (did that last night)
9. Donate a copy to the library, or multiple copies to multiple libraries

Who, what, when, where, and how do you feel comfortable plugging you book?  Also, please feel free to leave any and all shameless plugs in the comments to this post.

I’m an author, Jim, not a used car salesman! < — Shameless reference to Star Trek 😛

FYI ~ The Strongest Fire: Book One of The Vampiress Sagas is still being sold for a very reasonable price on B&N and Amazon.

Barnes & Noble Link

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Strongest-Fire/Sarah-Winters/e/9781440183218/?itm=2&USRI=the+strongest+fire

Amazon Link

http://www.amazon.com/Strongest-Fire-Book-Vampiress-Sagas/dp/144018321X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

The soft cover is out! Plus a little sample of the book…

Great news!!!  The soft back is out!!!  There has been a delay (due to a holiday rush for titles at the printer) so the hardback will take longer.  When I get the phone call about the hardcover (if I’m not so excited I can’t think) I’m going to try and remember to buy the Kindle/Sony Reader thing.  That has not been done yet.  Here is the link to iUniverse http://bit.ly/5iwjQY and Amazon has a spot for it, but it’s not out there yet http://bit.ly/7WLX1J .  😀

Here is most of the first chapter…

 The last time I spoke with my brother that night was not pleasant. To make matters worse, he was right.
“Brother, this is silly!” I said as I followed him out of the house. He carried the two youngest children in his arms. “Why take the children in the dead of the night to a cold church and pray? If you believe so strongly that ill will fall on the world, we can all pray in the warmth of our home and not jeopardize the health of the children!”
“Sister, I will fight you no longer.” His voice rose as he lifted the children into the back of the wagon and handed them to his wife, who was already inside sitting in the hay in a nest of all of her children. “You stay if you will, but the more of us there are praying in the house of the Lord the stronger our voices are, and we will be heard.”
“William, God hears us all. We do not need to shout at Him. He is neither thickheaded nor deaf.” I was trying my hardest to be heard, to get through to him. “What good will come to the world if you and the babes die of cold and disease being out in such a harsh night as tonight?” I was hoping to feel needed and wishing that I could persuade him to stay. “And with your wife ready to bear you another child any day?”
“For the last time, Mary, Bridget and I are taking the children to church. Father is there waiting. The Lord will protect us in his place of sanctuary. If you choose to whisper for help, alone in the dark, then you are free to your solitude but we are going!”
He rode off with the children and his wife in the back of a hay cart. That poor pony, to have to pull all that weight and Bridget big and round again, I thought. I walked into the house saying to myself, “If God had only made man less thickheaded, we would all be warm and safe. I pray for you and your family, William … I pray.”
Once I was back inside, I shut the door. The room seemed empty with no one in it.  The seats that surrounded the fire were vacant, even though the fire was still burning strong in the center of the room. I started to walk to the fire for warmth but stopped when I heard my name. “Mary.”
It was a man’s voice, but it was not my father or my brother. I looked around to the dark shadows at the corners of the room. I turned back to the fire thinking that the night wind might just be playing a trick on my ears. But as I turned to walk to the fire, the figure of a very large cloaked and hooded man appeared and blocked my way. The fire was behind him, making it even harder to make out any details in him other than his size. Even though the fire was strong, I could feel his coldness and could tell he was unique. “Hello, Mary, I have been watching you for a while now … You are very hard to get alone,” said a deep voice. It was so hard to tell if it was the large man in front of me or if there was another person in the room. I looked around to see if he was alone or if there were others. “I stand before you … You are not blind, and I am not hiding … this time.”
“I am always alone,” I said a bit bewildered as I heard my own heart beat in my head. It was echoing in my ears. I wasn’t as scared as I should have been, but I did want away from this man.
“Hah, never fully alone. There is always your father or big brother keeping an eye on you,” he said as he was pulling the cloak down from around his brow. “You are very lovely. My great-grandson picked well when he chose you for a bride.”
I squinted my eyes to see if there was gray in his long, dark beard. I saw none. I had heard of men who lived long enough to see more then two generations of their families, but I had never met one. “My husband never spoke of any long-lived family,” I said. I was wondering if the apocalyptic night had brought madness to this man. The belief and fear of the end being near was causing people to see and hear strange things. For some reason, I felt that he was telling the truth … but I was hoping he was a crazy liar and soon would be off to church with the rest of the known world.
“Oh.” He started to move and shift his weight. I wanted to run, but with his intimidating size, if he caught me … well, I had a better chance talking in hopes that he would just leave. “He would have had to have met me to know of me.” Now he was pacing like my brother and father did when they were feeling long-winded.
When I saw men do this, I usually worried, This speech is going to take all night. But this time, I was happy and hopeful that this speech might just take all night, so that he would still be talking when my father and brother returned.
“The truth of the matter is I am dead and alive.” Now I really was beginning to think this guy belonged in church to be healed. “You are my prey. You are my victim. I have kept close trace on my children and their families. When I knew that I had lost a grandson and then his daughter, I wanted to know who was left. I wanted to see you. And when I did, I knew I had to have you.”
“I may be kept by my brother and father, but I am not a pet. I was not picked from a tree like a fruit by your grandson. I accepted your grandson as my husband when he asked my father. I agreed that it would be a smart choice.” I was getting upset. I could hold my tongue for those I loved, but strangers … no. I would speak my mind even if I was fearful. What did I have to lose that was not already lost from me? “If you are as old as you say, then why do I see very few signs of age? Your beard is dark, your face has no cuts or deep wrinkles, and the hair on your head looks to all be there.” Even my father, who was fifty-eight, was aged enough to have wrinkles. His hair was coming off his head quickly, and the strands staying on his head were not thick and red but fluffy and silver. This man must be mad. He had now walked to where I could see his face much better. The light was behind me now. He looked to be near thirty, near the age of my brother. This man might be a few years older, but not much.
“I am flattered that you studied my looks and my face so carefully in this light, too. You must have been studying me very hard. It shows me you are interested … that you cared to notice me. I have studied every aspect of you as well.” His eyes slowly looked down from my face all the way to the floor. This made me feel even more uncomfortable. “And in very fine depth,” he said with a not-so-innocent smirk as his eyes went back up to look at my face again.
“I do not enjoy you near me, sir. Please leave.” I was hoping that might make him leave, but I had very strong doubts.
“Your spirit is as lovely and as fiery as your hair.” He touched and twirled one of my red locks around his gloved fingers. I did all I could not to flinch at his closeness. “You are one of the only people I have seen in all of my days who has eyes the color of emeralds sparkling in the sunshine, hair as red and as curly as fire … but your pale white skin doesn’t have one freckle … or blemish … You are truly lovely to look at.”
I was hurt. My daughter, the child I loved so very much, had freckles, and I loved them.
“Do you always converse with your victims, sir? Why not just kill me instead of cutting me with your words? Just cut me with your knife and leave.” He let the lock of my hair drop back down and looked into my eyes with little interest in what I had said.
“You are my first real victim ever. I have never wanted to have anyone last forever before, not even my kin. But if you were my cattle … you would have never seen me coming.”
This was getting too odd. Cattle? Food? And to last forever? Was he going to kill me or imprison me? Then he started to circle me like a bird that has found its prey.
“You are an emerald.”
His compliments made me feel unclean. Why hadn’t I gone with William?
“Before I do this, I want you to know I do pick my fruit from the tree, and I only pick the best. In my day, I was a treasure hunter. I did not take it all, but I did take the most precious.”
I was confused. What was going on?
“You are strong. You are healthy. You can stand the cold of the night. You can be alone without madness. You can let go and still love the ones in your past. You can be full of fear and still be rational and sturdy. You are lovely, and you are now mine …”
His teeth grew into fangs. I was very cold. And I was lost to the waking world forever.

Note (Dec. 9th) ~ The hard cover is now out and the book should be available in about a month on the Kindle and Sony Reader.  There is no news yet about the Nook going with my publisher.

For those who read wish lists…

I was once pestered and bothered about what I wanted for Christmas.  I never ask for anything because I’m very content with all I have.  But a dear friend and a few others would not leave me be one year.  They asked me to make a list of the top 5 things I really wanted for Christmas.  Because I didn’t want them to waste their money on me and because I felt I needed nothing I came up with this list…
1. A pocket of endless twenty dollar bills.
2. A real fairy.
3. A life-size castle (tax free) with a massive amount of land attached.
4. To wake up 20lbs lighter without having a sickness, amputation, or liposuction … just to wake up naturally thinner.
5. For everyone in the world to be happy, healthy, and love each other.
I have added a few things to my list over the years and randomly pick one when someone asks me what I would like…
6.
The winning lotto ticket, but no losing ones since that’s a waste of money.
7. For everyone in the world to treat others how they want to be treated.
8. For all lost, kidnapped, and missing children to return home safe.
9. For me to not have to look up how to spell “neighbor,” “definitely,” or “torture” every time I want to use them.  I have no idea why these words are hard for me but I would love to spell them right.
10. A 2006 Alpha H1 Hummer.  Those babies cost about $400,000 when they were new and are supposed to be the best.
Of course I do have a new wish right now (as everyone knows) … I would love for The Strongest Fire to be out before Christmas.
So there are a few things on my list that are a little selfish.  But the top three I truly hope for are number 5, 7, and 8.
I would love to read other peoples wishes, so if you have any you’d like to share, feel free to list them.  🙂  Or if you have any cute ones from your children, or ones from when you were a child… those always warm the heart.
I just love wishes.

 About the book.  I just opened an e-mail that said…

“Hello Sarah,
Our print data specialist informed me that there has been a back up at the printer for title to go LIVE, so there has been a delay in getting your book files set up.
I am very sorry for this, and wanted to let you know that I am in discussion with your book consultant about expediting your shipments and getting the books to you as soon as humanly possible once the files are set up.
Your book consultant, XXXX XXXXXXXX, will be contacting you very soon regarding your timeline.
Once again, I am very sorry for this delay; thank you so much for your continued patience, and I hope you have a wonderful day.”

I will let everyone one know what is going on, when I know what is going on.

I typed all of this very early yesterday but never got around to posting it.

The Strongest Fire: Book One of The Vampiress Sagas…

Stop.
I would like you to think of yourself for a moment before you begin to read the story of my younger life. I want you to think of who you are and the changes that would happen to you if you were transformed into an immortal being. Think carefully about what you might do if you had to drink blood in order to keep your sanity. You are unique. I am sure you would do things that I could never think of.
But what if you did not want the changes or you were forced to be somewhere you did not desire to be, how would you react then?
This story, told from my memory, and written in a language not my own, is the second chapter of my life. The first is short. I was born. I grew up. I married. I had a daughter. My husband died. My daughter died. All of this occurred in a twenty-three-year time span.
This is my story, my eternal life; this is how I reacted…
Mary