BUY MY BOOK…

The picture of the book is a 'Buy My Book' button!This is not an advertisement, but it is… oh just read on.  M.J. Rose pointed out the other day on FaceBook something that has been bugging me since before I started down this road.  She pointed out that most authors don’t have a ‘Buy My Book’ button in their home page, or at least not one that is easy to find.  I agree this should be one of the very first things we see on an author’s page.  The potential customer should not have to scroll, hunt, or not find the button.  My webpage (which is getting a little facelift soon) has it right there in your face BOOM!  But here on my blog… one has to look.  So I’m going to change that, I am going to have a big, at the top, in your face, BOOM, right there, button… it may or may not help but hey, it’s worth it.
Anyone who wants me to look at their site to see how long it takes me to find their link and what problems (if any) I have getting there, I will gladly help out.  That is what we are all here for.

Note ~ this is not the big thing I’m working on, or one of the little things, this is just a thing thing.

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?

Characters, my favorite part of the book…

Characters make the story, at least for me they do.  Everyone comes up with different ways to write them. Sometimes they are like Frankenstein’s monster with their bits and pieces from old friends, a cluster of flaws from people we know to make a neurotic creature, or maybe we borrowed little morsels of cuteness from a few crushes of the past to make our dream love come to life.  No matter how they’re made though they have to start with something, some idea of what’s needed, what makes them tick?  It’s the author’s job to know that and work it all out.

I love dark hair with blue eyes.  I think it’s dreamy.  My husband has near black hair and sky blue eyes.  I love his eye color.  Anyway, I’ve found that I wrote a book with way too many ‘good looking’ people.  My biggest villain, dark hair with blue eyes, my other villain, dark hair with blue eyes, my hero, longer dark hair with blue eyes, one of my main ladies, dark hair with blue eyes.  I’m going to have to give one or two of them brown eyes.

This got me wondering about how everyone else sits down to make their characters.  I feel that this is one of my biggest strong points in a story.  I’m bad at scenery, but great at the ‘people’.  I start with my idea. Then I draw (a poor sketch): One of a close up and one of them standing.  They are either standing next to a ruler or a tree to give me an idea of their height and girth.  My art could be better, but I’m an artist of words, not an artist of pictures.  On the opposite side of the paper I have a character sheet.  For those who are unfamiliar with what that is: it’s a page where info such as age, height, weight, hair color, personality flaws, rich or poor, and so on are written down.  For me the detail all depends on how important the individual is in the story, that’s how I decide how much info they are given.  For important ones I give them four to six pages and both drawings, for less important ones, two pages and one (maybe two) with very sloppy sketches, for a one time encounter just one sheet with the bone basic info.  I keep all of these in a binder just for that book. I save it, and if needed, I rewrite repeat characters from the series, put it in the folder for the next book, and write in the changes.  I use birth year and date, not age.  Ages change even with immortals so dates act best.  Also, I have found that to give them more flaws and personalities I’ll give them a little history, even if it’s not told in the book.  I feel this helps to add depth.  This is also if I ever need a little more of a reference to the individual, it’s there.  One of my characters is gay.  I don’t think it will ever come out but he just is. I need that info when I work with him so he never looks at the ladies.  Two of my characters are 1/2 brothers that are very close and one of them had a mother who was a slave, the other mother was sickly. I need this so I know why and how they both might feel in certain situations.  We never read more than one line about Mary’s sisters, but in my binder their age differences, married family, and such are written down just for reference.

I would love to hear (read) other ideas for characters and if you have any tips for landscape details, besides just visualizing, please, please, PLEASE share.

Juggling…

I have a few books that I am working on. The Vampiress Sagas, of course, is the one at the very front of my work load.  There are more though.  I have been working on a comedy sci-fi that I truly hope is funny.  Another one that I’m working on is a YA fantasy.  Then I have family life, kids with school, husband just back to work, and (for those of you who don’t know… I’m finally talking) in September I’m due to have another baby.  So, yeah, right now I’m juggling.
The Vampiress Sagas is my prime, ‘you have to work on this’ book.  There will be four in that series when it is done.  But there will also be a planned three in another series with a large amount of the same characters.  I’ve fallen in love (or a wonderful dislike) with most of the heroes, villains, and anybodies in this series that I don’t know if I will ever tire of working with them. (Ahhhh, warm fuzzies.)
The sci-fi book is my second priority with work, and the one my husband is dying to read the most.  He absolutely loves the storyline.  He loves the others too, it’s just this one makes him laugh and it tests some of my boundaries.  I’m writing this one a little differently, and working on changing some of my style… just for this book.  I work on this story when I’m in a more playful mood and just can’t settle into my vampire world.  This book also takes very little historical research.  So if I’m stuck in a doctor’s office for an hour I can just freely type without having to worry about investigating the past.
Just like with The Vampiress Sagas my YA fantasy has been in my head for years.  When I was in high school I wrote a short story of it in a journal.  I’ve also, over the years, have had several dreams with this storyline.  I work on this when I’m in a dreamy mood.  And although the characters in this book and the sci-fi one are fun, enjoyable, completely developed, I just can’t see either being more than one book worth, so no sequels are planned.
There is also an additional book that I have to start thinking about… I think it will be a novella.  My 10 year old requested that I write a werewolf book.  I’m going to need to think about it very carefully.  I’ve never planned on writing anything with werewolves.  I’ve loved and enjoyed several movies and books featuring or ‘starring’ them, I just never planned on this.  I think it’ll be a challenge, but one I’m sure I can handle.  I’m only doing it because she was a little broken hearted that my vampire book had sharks, zombies, and vampires, but not her favorite… the werewolf.  I still will not add one in my vampire world because they don’t work there, but I will write a story just for her.
My husband started back to work two weeks ago, but his students just came back last week.  He has been upset about the lack of reading that will go on this year.  His school, like so many others, got rid of their AR reading program and they are not getting another reading program in its place.  With him being the high school librarian he is going to need to come up with an incentive program for the kids or most of them will never read.  It’s really sad.  My daughters start back soon and they are both a little eager.  And everyone wishes that my due date was in July so we could have started the adjustment period with the new baby when the family was all at home.
So here I am working on three different stories, while trying to think of a fourth.  My husband and kids are getting ready for school and my baby is getting ready for her big day… the day that will always be her birthday.

Here is my little question/s for you… How many books are you taking on at once?  And if you are also adjusting to the new school year, how are you taking it?

Vampires don’t die…

I’ve been reading a lot of media lately that has made it sound like vampires are dead.  Well, the living dead maybe, but the truth is vampires just don’t die… at least not in literature or in films.  Sometimes they seem to take a nap, or not be as noticed, but over all people love them.  With a number of reasons why… There is a ‘what if’ feeling when we read about them, “What if that were me?”  There is a mystery to them, “What is their past?”  “How long have they lived?”  There is a small little mischievous wish and hope for them to be real just like there is to be turned into one.  “That would be cool, but I wouldn’t want to be their snack.”  The angelic side of everyone says, “I would never want to be one.”  And there is the disobedient side that smiles at the thought, “I would be different.  I would be nice… nice and very well off.”  Lets face it, that’s one of the drawing points to them is the idea of everlasting wealth, that and the whole not aging thing.  The wealth is just a bonus, because if one only needs to drink blood and not much can do physical harm, or cause illness to them, what does one really need cash for?  All of that money would go to play.  These are the points that draw a large amount of us to these creatures of the night.  Yes, the inability to have babies, some sunlight might be bad, maybe no reflection, and/or having an odd fear of religious symbols have drawbacks.  But when it’s looked at as a whole, never being sick again, staying young, no more blemishes, money and gold, power to control or manipulate, everlasting life, still looking normal, and/or having an awesome ability, who cares if the local village is a little nervous when you’re around.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t want to sparkle… ever (but that’s only one author’s view point), I could never take another person’s life, and I would miss my family, but to be able to sit and dream through a book or movie what I would be like as an immortal, well, I will never be tired of that.  I know I’m not alone.  Reading and watching about vampires is one of America’s favorite pastimes.  Thanks to Halloween, there is even a time of year that helps to keep them living even though they are dead.

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