Sunday, March 1, 2015

Goodreads Ask The Author

Good Morning. For those of you who have read my books and are wondering about certain aspects of the writing, or characters, or research, or what-have-you, I've finally opened up the Ask the Author page on Goodreads.  https://www.goodreads.com/AnneGallagher    I've set my preferences to "daily" so I will get email alerts whenever you pose a question. I will try to answer within 24 hours. When I have enough questions, I'll post them to my blog for the general readership. I'm also going to try to do a Twitter feed with this as well, but haven't worked out the details yet.

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In other news, WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST was supposed to be published today. However, due to some exceedingly worrisome wonkiness with both my desktop and my laptop, I've run into some
very nasty snags in my formatting. I've been working on this issue for the last several days to no avail. After spending more than 6 hours on the internet looking for solutions, I think I know what the underlying problem is, and hopefully, will have this book published by the end of this week, if not sooner.

**Yes, I did end up publishing this book today. It should be available on Amazon Monday, on Smashwords today, and Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and Apple by the end of the week.


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I have uploaded the first three books in THE RELUCTANT GROOMS series to Google Play. Unfortunately, they are only in PDF format. (Another formatting issue.) I'm working on having the rest of the series up and running by the end of March.

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Also, as soon as HOPE is published, I'm going to begin the work to get the rest of my paperbacks in order. I'm hoping those will be finished by the end of April for those of you who like paper between your fingers. Eventually, I'm going to offer the series in one complete set in paper. I'm looking at a few printing companies in my area to design a "box" to hold them all. You'll be able to buy them from here for less than what you would pay through Amazon or CreateSpace. I'll let you know when that happens.

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And finally, because I've been living with 1970's pineapple wallpaper and a "unique" maroon and beige color scheme upstairs in my house, for the remainder of the spring, I'm going to be remodeling, painting, and putting in new floors in my house. So if you don't see me, you can bet that's where I'll be. I've been trying to do this since I moved in 3 years ago, but writing has taken up all of my free time. Now the series is complete, I NEED to do this for my own sanity.


Thanks for reading. I'll see you soon.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When All Hope Is Lost

Good Morning. I know I said I wanted to have the new book finished by Valentine's Day, but I just didn't make it. I came down with a nasty sinus infection that sidelined me for a couple of days. Sorry.

However, I do have a new cover, my designer is just brilliant. She took my idea and made it perfectly perfect in every way.




I'm hoping to have this out by March 1st, barring any other unforeseen circumstances. I'll let you know.


Lady Olivia is a woman bereft – she’s lost the man she loved, her home of nearly forty years, and her title. Never one to back down from a fight, this time she walks away. There’s nothing left for her in London. She plans to live out the rest of her solitary life at a quaint little estate near Brighton.

Until the unthinkable happens and the man of her dreams walks through her front door.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Historical Research -- Settings

Good Morning. I haven't done a research post in a long time. I thought I would today.

When I first began writing, they used to call where we set our stories "Settings". Now they call it "World Building".

Anyway, last night I was working on WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST. Lady Olivia is on her way to Seaford, a little estate outside of Brighton. (If you haven't read THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE yet, I won't spoil it for you and tell you WHY she's going there.) Well, Olivia is on her way, and first of all, I needed to know how she got there. Naturally, by horse and carriage. But, the larger question was, which route did she take.

Google Maps showed me three. Yes, I Google mapped it. The route, as the crow flies is 55 miles from London to Brighton. I am presuming that the route she took was the road that has been in existence for at least 200 years. If not, oh well. I TRY to be as accurate as possible in my "world building". Sometimes it just doesn't work, so I fudge. It's fiction.

a pivotal scene in the book happens here
You may wonder why I bothered to Google the route at all if it's fiction. Because I needed to know how long it would take. 55 miles by horse and carriage = 2 days. Horses travel 25 miles per day. (Well, they can do more, however, we have Lady Olivia + 5 servants + luggage + a heavy coach. We don't want to kill the horses now do we?)


The other thing I needed to know was WHERE exactly my fictitious estate of Seaford was going to be. I chose a little out of the way town called Offham in Sussex about a mile from Lewes on the River Ouse. That is about 10 miles outside of Brighton. It looks like a farming community from what I could see on the satellite image from Google maps. The little white dots I saw were sheep. For all intents and purposes, it is just what I wanted. And I wanted it on a river because ... well, I can't tell you. You'll just have to read the book. (If you want to Google it yourself, go to Google maps, and in the search bar type in Old St. Peter's Church, or Ivors Lane, Offham, UK. You'll see exactly where the estate of Seaford is supposed to be.)

the pond
So, I knew WHERE it was going to be, now what did it look like? That my friends, is where I spent nearly three hours on Google Images sorting through pictures of manor houses and estates for sale in England. Nothing looked right. I didn't want it too big, nor too small. I wanted it a little run-down, but still serviceable. Olivia has to live there after all.

As a "visual" writer, (meaning I need to have a picture in my head of my characters and my settings which is why I spend so much time with Google Images) I generally can't write unless I can "see" who or what I'm writing about.

this is just amazingly pretty
Anyway, I found nothing in the "For Sale" categories. However, I found a picture from the NSG (National Scenic Gardens). From what I understand, they have walking tours of these  houses and gardens when in bloom -- and what a lovely idea. (We have those here in America, but on a much smaller scale.) I found a few pictures, which then led me to Coton Manor, Paxton House, and one other whose name escapes me.





For your viewing pleasure, here is my fictitious estate of Seaford. (Otherwise known as Coton Manor.)

Note the wisteria climbing up the front and the river walk
different view of the front gardens


























Naturally, when Olivia first arrives, it does not look like this. But it will when she's done with it.

I think that when writers write, their imagination is one thing, but having a visual back-up helps. In my instance, the wisteria on the front of the house lends itself into my storyline that otherwise I would not have been able to use this picture. Kind of fortuitous for me.

World Building or Settings, it doesn't matter what you call it, only that you know where your story takes place. (Naturally, this doesn't work for all genres, but it helps.)

What do you think of Seaford? Wouldn't you love to go there? I know I would.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A New Book

Good Morning. I know I said you probably wouldn't hear from me until spring, but...

I've been working on something. I call it the Final Final Resolution in The Reluctant Grooms series. Only my closest friends know what it is. It's a secret, and I'm not telling.

Being a romance author, I feel everyone deserves a happy ending. This story has already made me cry six times. And I'm only on Chapter 8. Be that as it may, I'm trying to hurry and finish it up by Valentine's Day, because everyone loves love on Valentine's day.

I did a mock-up cover for you to see, (my cover designer has had a nasty bout with illness for the last several weeks, and is just not up for it yet -- but when she is, I'm sure hers will be much better than mine) and I wrote a cryptic cover blurb.

Without further ado, here it is.




Lady Olivia is a woman bereft – she’s lost the man she loved, her home of nearly forty years, and her title. Never one to back down from a fight, this time she walks away. There’s nothing left for her in London. She plans to live out the rest of her solitary life at a quaint little estate near Brighton.

Until the unthinkable happens and the man of her dreams walks through her front door.

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I'm not telling you any more than that and you can guess to your heart's content.

For those of you who are Jane Austen fans, you'll notice I've taken one of her great lines from PERSUASION for the title. I think it sums up the book perfectly.

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In other news, I've updated all the novels and revamped the formatting (I hope), and am slowly working my way through the novellas. If you noticed, I've also re-published A ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION. That HAS been updated with some new scenes. 

A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT is FREE across all markets (except itunes and I don't know why) and is available here on my blog under the top tabs.

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Unfortunately, working on these books had put my timeline for the new series on hold for a little while. I know I said I hoped to have the first books out in the fall, but I can't promise anything. I volunteer at my daughter's school, and we have a big event looming at the end of January, and another in May. I'm hoping to outline the first books for the new series in between, and start writing during the summer. (By the pool would be lovely.) We'll see how that goes because you know the best laid plans often go awry.

I'll keep you updated. 

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If you don't follow me on Twitter, I wish you would. I've been posting (sporadically) on the word count for the new story (12,000 words so far considering what little time I've had to write). You can find me at gallagher_anne

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Well, that's all I have for now. 

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's That Time of Year

Good Morning. It's that time of year again when I have a new book coming out.
THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE will be available on Christmas Eve.
I've just put the finishing touches on the last edits so it will be good to go. I hope you enjoy it.

Also, because of this new book, I'm revamping the rest of the series, which means plowing through each and every volume one by one to make sure there are no plot holes, red herrings, or misspelled words. (And I do this from time to time anyway, but now that the series is done, I'd like to take the time to read it from the very beginning.)

And, once I get through that task, I am going to do the same to the paperback versions as well. I'd like to offer the complete set at some point, and now that the series is finished, I have the time to work on that aspect of my publishing career.

So if you don't see me until Spring -- you know why. I'm busy working.



PS  I haven't forgotten -- I'll also be working on the new series 
THE LADIES OF DUNBURY.
 Look for the first book in the fall of 2015.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Seduction is Available for Pre-Order

Quick post today -- THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE is available at these three e-tailers for pre-order. Coming soon to itunes, Kobo, and everyone else. It will be published on December 24, 2014.

Amazon 

Nook

Smashwords

The last book in the Reluctant Grooms Series.

American shipbuilder, Stephen Summerville has a bit of a dilemma when he meets two very beautiful English sisters. However, when Stephen is confronted with the aristocratic father he never knew, deciding on a wife seems like a small task in comparison to what he must decide for his future.


Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Writing a Series -- Marketing/Publishing Part 3



Today we're going to discuss all the ways we can market our book. To recap from my previous posts -- We have our books ready to publish, we have our covers, our cover copy, we have our future first chapters in the backs of the books. We have a blog or FB site on which we post regularly. We have some followers. We are ready to click that tab that says "publish".

No matter if you're self-publishing or with a traditional or small press publisher, you have to do your own marketing. Where do we start? With our social media sites. Social media means being social -- it's where you INTERACT with people.

Phase One -- Social Media Sites

Blog 

If you've been blogging regularly, your followers will know what you're working on, and if you have set up the email app in the side bar for fans to follow you with email in their inbox, they'll know too. I love that email box. It's so much better than a newsletter. Why pay for something, or build something, when it's built in for you. 

Also, buy links are important. I have them on my sidebar, but one fan wrote me a few months ago and told me I should have them on every single blog post I write. (Honestly, I haven't had time to set up a perma-link but I will.)

Announce the big day on your blog. If you have a few blog friends, ask them if you can guest post, or if they will help you announce it. Like a blog tour but a mini-version. Perhaps one a week for six weeks. You don't want to overwhelm people with much more than that, and assuredly, if they see your book every day for six weeks, they'll tune it out. 

Some people ask for review requests on their blog or FB pages about a month before publication. I've done that, and have not met with success. Of course, I write Regency romance, and it's a niche market, so my pool of reviewers is very low to begin with. However, a few reviews to start never hurts.

Twitter

I only announce new publications once or twice on Twitter. I don't do a massive scheduling of Tweets. (I tried it twice and my sales actually went DOWN. So I don't do that anymore.) I Tweet that it's out, and post a picture of the cover. I also say where it's published. If I'm everywhere, I say "across the board", if I'm only at Amazon or B&N I'll say that and have a buy link. Sometimes my friends take it from there and ReTweet for me and that's always helpful, but I don't expect it and don't ask for it. And then I'm done.

Face Book

I know nothing about FB, I'm not on it and have no care to be, so you're pretty much on your own there. I'll say, post once with the cover and cover copy and call it good.

Google +

I'm on this site, but don't use it very often. It's tied into the blogspot blog, so it's just an easy click away, but to me it's redundant. If you have followers on your blog, they've already seen it. If you have the same followers on Google +, they'll see it twice. If you have a Word Press blog, it might be to your advantage to utilize this option.

Phase Two -- Stagnant Media Sites

Pinterest

I love this because it's visual. If you go to my Pinterest page, I have the cover picture, the cover copy, and then pictures of who I think my characters are. You can utilize this any way you want, which is great. (Just remember to post the original link where you found the pic.)

LinkedIn

I consider this a stagnant site because I don't go there very often, only to update my content. However, I know some people who use it like Blog/FaceBook/Twitter combined. (Honestly, I don't have time to mess around with it.) I'm there if you want to find me.

GoodReads

This is another site that could go either way. I have all my books listed there, but I don't socialize. I've heard too many horror stories about trolls and bad reviews and author meltdowns. I don't have time for drama so basically stay away from there. However, if you're also doing paperback versions of your book, this is a great place to to do a give-away. They also have "Ask the Author", where a reader poses a question, and you, as author get to answer it. I have never utilized this, but I think it could be a great marketing tool.

Tumblr/MySpace/Shelfari/Wattpad/Scribd/Whatever else is out there

I have no idea how many sites you're on, but whether they're stagnant or social, you should try to update them when you have new books out.

Phase Three -- Links

Blog Links

Now, some people I know have linked their blogs to all of these sites so whenever you go to any of them, you see the post. I used to do this, but again, to me it's kind of redundant. If they've clicked the email link on your blog, they've already seen your post. And again, some readers are just that, readers. They don't care what you're doing as long as you're writing the next book. Other readers are fans who are mildly curious and will only check out where you are once. And then there are those fans who want to know everything you're doing. 

Buy Links 

I have them listed on my sidebar on my blog. (I'm missing a few and will rectify this shortly.) I also keep them handy for Twitter and I use Bit.ly for that, a shortening link service. (Why waste 140 characters when you can get it down to 20) There are others out there but I can't think of them right this second.

Back Matter

Back matter is the stuff you find at the end of the book. Generally a short author profile, where you can find the author (what social media they use), and a list of their other books. Some authors have their other titles hyper-linked to buy. However, you need to have separate back matter pages for each of the publishers you use. Amazon won't take kindly if you have links to B&N or itunes. Smashwords won't allow it at all. You can't cross-pollinate as it were.

And this now brings us to WHERE we are going to publish.

Phase Four -- Publishers

Amazon

Quite honestly, I think Amazon's hey-day is over. I'm sure you can read other author's opinions on this, but my opinion is that they set up their empire to turn traditional publishing on its ear by giving self-published authors a place to be read. The Kindle was new, and needed authors and Amazon built their billions on self-publishing. They gave us the world (great royalties, great algorithms, great author ranking) but then once they made their money, they turned to traditional publishers and gave them those same opportunities and pushed us indies out.

I told you that to tell you this -- Some authors swear by Amazon and won't use another publishing aggregate (Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, BookBaby, Google Play), but in my opinion, you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. We're writers first, wanting to get our books read. Why limit your audience? There are English speaking people all over the world who have access to different types of e-reading devices. Don't limit yourself. (And just so you know, Amazon's terms of service to some of their countries don't allow easy access to our books. I have never sold one book in Japan, Brazil, Mexico, or India. Very few in Canada, Australia, Spain, and Italy. And only a handful in Germany and France.)

Their interface is very easy to use, and you can upload a Word document, or a mobi. version. (For a mobi. version you need the Mobipocket Creator which you need to download to your computer.)
Royalty rates are 30/70%  30% for anything under $2.99 and over $9.99 70% for anything between $2.99 and $9.99 I have never used their Countdown or their Kindle Unlimited services so I can't tell you anything about that. They also have special requirements for some of their stores (India Japan Mexico Brazil) Read the fine print.

Amazon will also link your blog posts to your Author Page. And if you don't have an Author Page, set one up.

Nook

Barnes & Noble is the publishing company. Nook is the e-publishing arm of that company. You can only upload an epub version, which gets tricky, but I use Calibre which converts a prc.doc (which is what you have after you use the Mobi Creator). Now, with the latest version of Calibre, you can also make other versions of your book for other aggregators. PDF, LTF, Mobi, Epub, Plain Text, etc. etc.
Royalty rates are 40/60 same price points as above. They only cater to US and Great Britain.

Smashwords

I love Smashwords. It's the easiest way to get your books to everywhere all at once. Nook, Amazon, itunes, Kobo, Scribd, txtr, Blio (for libraries), and a few others I can't recall. This is also the easiest one of them all to use. Upload your Word document and you're done. Smashwords will convert it to every single e-book file you need. The book companies they have are global.
Royalty rates are 60% across the board. 

Smashwords has a Profile Page which allows you to create your own interview. Questions are interchangeable, and you can make up your own if you like. You can update it any time.

itunes

You need a Mac to publish with them. I know nothing else about it. I use Smashwords.

Bookbaby

I also know nothing about them. I believe they have the same stores as Smashwords plus or minus one or two.

Kobo

I am set up to use Kobo, but I don't because they only pay out every six months with $100 balance (Which they may have changed. I don't know for sure.) I use Smashwords for them as well

Google Play

I just recently decided to publish with them, but I'm jumping through hoops to get it done. Set-up is tricky, conversion for epubs is decidedly difficult, and their interface is kind of a nightmare. Which is why, I believe, no one but traditional publishers are publishing there. However, I never say die, and if I actually get a book published with them I'll let you know what I did.


Phase Five -- Keywords

Keywords are the words that you plug in on the interface when uploading your book so people can find it when they search. Some of my main keywords are "traditional Regency romance, Jane Austen, clean regency romance, historical romance". Each of my books has other keywords that are specific to that particular book -- pirates, espionage, divorce, etc. 

Some authors twist themselves into knots trying to write cover copy that also has their specific keywords in it. I don't do that. Probably because I'm overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to do to begin with. But more power to you if you can. I hear it helps in SEO. (Search Engine Optimization.)

You also want to get keywords onto your document file as well. (Notice I said onto and not into) When you open your Word document, click File and then Properties, which has a place for keywords (among other things). When using Calibre, you can also add keywords to their property page as well. I'm finding this is very important.

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Now, I've given you the basics, the rest is up to you. I'm sure if you wanted to do a search for any of the topics I've talked about you can find hundreds of other blogs and website postings to help you along your way. As we say now, " Just Google It ". That's how I found all of my information. 

Writing a book is hard work. That's no lie. There's nothing easy about it. Publishing and Marketing is even harder. My only advice is just write the best book you can. Find a couple critique partners and maybe beta readers, and allow them to help you make it even better. Take baby steps when you dive in. Once you do it a couple of times, it gets easier. And utilize your blog friends, your Twitter peeps, and FaceBook followers if you need some help. That's what's nice about social media -- it's like a giant cocktail party and you never know who you're going to meet.

And I think we're done. Questions and comments are always welcome. Thanks for sticking around.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014