Exciting Highland Legends News!

Hello, everyone!

So many exciting things have been happening at the Kat Bastion Writing Desk, I’m not sure where to begin.

Heartfelt Appreciation

Most important on my mind is an expression of thanks to you all. I’m deeply grateful for all of your RTs on Twitter, your blog posts, your reviews, your buying Forged in Dreams and Magick in digital and/or the GORGEOUS paperback, your reading the story, your reviews on social sites and where the book is sold, and your sharing your excitement about it with your social media and your friends and family. I cannot express in words the heartfelt appreciation for all you do to support me, including the wonderful comments. I’m deeply grateful.

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

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Amazon Best Sellers Lists

Due to a sudden explosion of purchases today, through all of the collective support you’ve shown, Forged in Dreams and Magick has skyrocketed up the Amazon Best Sellers lists. As of the writing of this post, Forged in Dreams and Magick sits at #6 Scottish, #7 Medieval, and #8 Time Travel. Just…wow. Thank you.

Forged in Dreams and Magick Finally on Nook!

Eight days after Forged in Dreams and Magick’s release, the title is finally available on Nook!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Release Week Giveaway Extended

Now that the Nook version of Forged in Dreams and Magick is available, the thank you giveaway has been extended through midnight EST on Thursday October 3rd, 2013.

If you’ve purchased Forged in Dreams and Magick, during release week event, from 9/23 through 10/3, email your receipt to giveaways(at)katbastion(dot)com by 10/3/2013 for a chance to win one $50 or one of three $25 Amazon/BN/Kobo gift cards.

Review Thank You Gifts

I’d like to send a thank you gift to you for reading Forged in Dreams and Magick and posting your review to the online retailers. If you post a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and/or All Romance eBooks, please email info(at)katbastion(dot)com your review link and mailing address.

You will receive the first of two beautiful bookmarks in the Highland Legends series. The second will be available at the release of Bound by Wish and Mistletoe. Collect them both to receive an exclusive outtake, the letter Isobel wrote to her professor, on parchment paper, signed by Isobel.

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on Goodreads

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe is up on Goodreads! There is also a giveaway. Enter to win 1 of 5 signed copies!

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Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on NetGalley

Bloggers and Reviewers! Bound by Wish and Mistletoe has now joined Forged in Dreams and Magick on NetGalley!

Request your review copy of
Bound by Wish and Mistletoe on NetGalley!

Tour Sign-Ups for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

Bloggers! The AToMR Tour sign-ups for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe ARC Tour and Release Event are up! The tour is during release week, November 4th through 9th.

Sign up for the Bound by Wish and Mistletoe AToMR Event here!

Easy Purchase Links: 

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Thank you again for all of your support! I hope you all enjoy the epic action-adventure romance in both Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Transparency in Self-Publishing Series: Marketing

Good morning, everyone!

3 weeks until the release of Forged in Dreams and Magick! {{{vibrates}}}

Okay, on to the actual post. What?
That was a stellar marketing plug. ;)

Today’s post should truly be entitled “Author Platform, Social Media, and Promotion. Oh. My.”

Last week in my Transparency in Self-Publishing Series, I talked about the fourth, but no less important, element in the components of a successful book, The Price of a Book. Those elements in a nutshell are a great story, compelling description, eye-catching cover, sweet-spot price.

There is, however, a fifth element:

Marketing.

In The Price of a Book, when I referenced the college class taken the last semester of obtaining my BSBA, I neglected to mention the emphasis of my study. I had no idea at eighteen what I wanted to do with my life, but I had a natural inclination toward business. At that tender age, I knew myself very well and accurately guessed my Type-A side would purr like a kitten with business. But what about the creative within me? It may have taken me another twenty-plus years to finally let the author prowling within me out of her cage, but I listened to the vibrations deep in my heart even back then.

So it should come as no surprise to any of you what major I chose.

Marketing.

To say I’ve been thinking of marketing ever since I’ve been writing would be inaccurate. Observing how anything is brought to a consumer in a target market is something I’ve done intrinsically for decades. Only when I’d finished the draft of my manuscript, and had something to sell that a reader might actually be interested in, did I let my attention drift toward marketing in the book industry.

I’m no expert. In fact, on an interview last month with Debra at Words from across the Ocean I shared my motto. Formulated on the powder-covered slopes of a ski run, but deeply branded as the underlying philosophy to my life, it’s a phrase I repeat to myself often:

Always the student, seeking to master.

As someone constantly learning and evolving, below are marketing nuggets of thought and insight I’ve discovered along the journey thus far . . .

Write It and They Will Come

Can you just slap your book up onto Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo the moment the ink dries on the page? Sure.

The more important question is . . . should you?

Well, if you subscribe to the “if you build it, they will come” Field of Dreams notion , I hope you’ve erected a shining new baseball field in the middle of a spiritual cornfield gateway.

Not sure? Pray for a miracle then. Or keep reading . . .

Ethics in Marketing

One enormous issue I had in my marketing classes involved the ethics of marketing. I’m sure it had a heavy hand in my choice NOT to take a job in marketing or sales.

To be a master in marketing, you must convince a consumer who had no idea about your product that they need your product and want to buy your product, whether or not they actually do. That my friends, is Marketing 101.

The crass way it’s looked at in business is underscored by a phrase I heard later from a co-worker who said she knew she’d done her job right when she could “tell someone to go to hell and make them look forward to the ride.”

Further underlining the success of marketing in our society is the dumbed-down commercials on television. Although we mostly mute them now, whenever a marketer has chosen to emulate idiots as consumers, I always say to my husband, “Gee, I wonder who their target market is.” It sure as hell wasn’t us!

In case you hadn’t picked up on my brief soap-box sidetrack with derision-filled undertones, I don’t subscribe to those notions . . .

Your Book as a Product to Sell

Instead of hawking something you don’t believe in, create an item of worth before you ever think of selling it.

Let me repeat that.

Create an item of worth.

I could be soap-boxing it again, but the point is valid. The book industry is crowded with lots of authors churning out books to make a dollar. It’s fueled by success stories of those who slapped together a book filled with bad grammar, poor editing, and thrown out there, but lucky them, its subject matter is so HOT it sells like a new shipment of Cabbage Patch kids days before Christmas in 1983 to a pack of rabid wolves.

If your ear is to the ground on Goodreads and Twitter, it’s happening in real time. Readers describe these successful and addictive books as literary crack.

But if you’ve paid attention to any get-rich-quick scheme, they are short lived. The consumer moves on when the novelty wears off. Readers are no different. Grumblings of reader dissatisfaction are happening right now on Goodreads and Twitter. Bloggers are tired of reading the same old story regurgitated a billion . . . {coughs} . . . different ways. Fifty might just be their limit. ;)

Even so, reader frenzy is at an all time high. They are hungry and wanting the next great read. But in a field of new authors all wanting some of the money pouring out of the progressive slot machines, how will your book get noticed?

I have no crystal ball for you, my friends. All I can share with you is my belief.

When you put yourself out there, it’s forever. You’ve immortalized your words. When you pull forth something from the depths of your heart and soul, take the time to make the package you present to the world reflective of your work of art.

I believe writing is our immortality.

And with that thought in mind, if you hadn’t already picked up on my message, I will say again to all you authors out there, coming from not only an author, but from a reader who is looking for your book . . .

Create an item of worth.

Where, When and What to Start Marketing

Everywhere, early, and you are the correct answers.

Marketing begins within your spheres of influence. It’s all in who you know, your reach. That, my friends, is your author platform.

But with the advent of social media, our potential reach is astronomical. As I’m only one person, I started out with one social media platform at a time. Just over a year ago, I joined Twitter. A few months later, I created my Facebook author page and my TalkToTheShoe blog. At the end of last year, I joined Goodreads. Each platform has it’s nuances, and I’m still learning on both Facebook and Goodreads, but if you spend smart time there forming connections and reaching readers, the efforts you put forth will reap benefits in the long run.

With all good things, however, there are limits. We only have so much time as a writer. As a fledgling self-publishing writer, you wear all the hats. Be sure to allot plenty of time to get it all done. Don’t be in a hurry to have it all now. Lasting connections take time to grow. Give yourself all the time needed to plant a healthy garden, and the seeds you sow will flourish.

Here’s a little nugget for you, though. You aren’t marketing a book. You’re marketing a brand.

What is brand and when do you begin marketing it?

Your brand is who you are. It’s definable and oftentimes indefinable. Brand is everything you put out there about yourself. It includes your image, your product, your beliefs and ideals. Your brand is how you represent yourself to the public and to your market. Your brand actually creates your market, because it draws people in to you. Those who like who you are and how you represent yourself. Consumers who share similar likes and beliefs. Readers who absorb every word you say, because your writing touches their soul.

Brand takes a while to create. Be true to yourself, express who you are and how you want to portray yourself, and your brand will shine through.

My brand is that I’m an award-winning paranormal romance author. My bio shares that I’m a “poetic warrior” and I donate proceeds of the sales of my books to charities that fight human trafficking. My shoe avatar is my public “visual” image; people recognize my shoe everywhere I go: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, my blog, comments on other blogs. A blogger friend of mine shared that when she was talking about me to her husband, he said, “The Shoe Girl” in identifying me. Yep. That’s me. Mission accomplished.

As you can see, opportunities abound to connect with others and present ourselves to our future readers. Start early and lay foundations. When you finally bring the book to market, you will have made wonderful friends, connected with great supporters, and gained faithful readers who can’t wait to read your upcoming books.

Social Media and How to Correctly Use It

Every social media platform is different. I think how you use each depends on what you want to say and how you can say it there.

Twitter

Twitter is a real-time interaction tool. It’s your fifteen seconds of fame. And in that fleeting moment when you’re trying to express yourself, if your followers don’t see you, you’re gone. Right?

Well, almost . . .

I’m dedicating an entire section on Twitter here, because there are smart ways to use the platform, and unfortunately, too many authors fall into the wrong ways.

Don’t abuse Twitter.

Twitter is the most amazing interactive social-media platform. Seconds after posting a Tweet, someone can talk back to you. You can have a conversation. If you’re lucky, like me, you make wonderful friends. Daily.

You won’t make friends on Twitter if you hawk your wares like a cheap booth vendor at a carnival. Vying for attention by blaring in an egotistic manner to “buy my book” will get you unfollowed. Fast. DM automated links to new followers to see your website (which sells your book)? Yep. Unfollowed. Schedule automated Tweets every few hours with links to where your book can be bought? Yep. Unfollowed.

The above described Twitter behavior is actually defined by Twitter as spam and can get your account suspended. Links in every Tweet and RTs only of people who have links in their Tweets? Also become spam from you when you’re RTing it on your timeline.

Have you ever heard of the term “flier blind”? When everyone pins bright flyers up on the bulletin board, soon people walking by stop seeing the flyers.

Your spammish buy-my-book Tweets are annoyingly bright flyers and your followers stopped paying attention the moment you posted your first one. And second one. And they unfollowed on the third one, if not sooner.

Engage on Twitter

Talk to people on Twitter. Tweet interesting or funny things about yourself. Engage others into conversation.

{whispers} Make sure everything you Tweet is in line with that “brand” thing we talked about earlier. No one wants to hear about your bathroom habits unless what you’re selling is something greater than Charmin, and you simply must describe its softness. But seriously, use your personal filters, people.

Speaking for the naturally shy crowd, I know from experience how hard it is to engage people on Twitter. It’s so much easier to wait for people to talk to you. Sometimes I catch myself lurking or talking without engaging. When I realize my shyness is ruling my Twitter behavior, I push myself to step outside of my comfort zone and talk to people on my timeline.

Do some people never talk back to me when I put my tender heart out there to speak to them? Sure. But many others do respond. When I reach out, I often express myself through humor, charm, or a caring sentiment, and I find being true to myself pulls others into conversation.

Sell Your Book Softly

Even with my marketing degree, I’m still uncomfortable “selling” my book. Perhaps it stems from the moral dilemma I had back in college of “convincing” someone to buy something they hadn’t known they needed. Even though I want them to discover my book and realize they needed it all along, they just had no idea until they stumbled across my masterpiece. :)

In looking for the best way to use Twitter to sell your book, what I’ve learned from reading articles and watching the behavior of best-selling authors is that selling your book softly results in many people taking notice.

How do you sell your book softly?

Talk about your book occasionally and mention it in intriguing ways to your followers. Use the RT feature to tout what others are saying about your book.

When you get a great review, share it with your followers. But do so only once or twice in any given day with the same review.

The rest of your Twitter timeline should be filled with you engaging your followers. When you use Twitter to truly connect with your followers, the rewards of building lasting relationships on Twitter’s real-time platform will grow exponentially and eventually transform into buzz about your book.

Blogging and Facebook

My blog, Facebook, and Goodreads are the only other social media I’ve ventured into and will likely be the only places I go.

Why am I limiting myself to only four social media platforms?

Because I’m an author, and writing is what I want to focus the majority of my time on.

I’m also a Type-A perfectionist who seems inclined toward obsessive-compulsive behaviors when it comes to social media. The tendency manifests itself into adult ADD of the worst kind.

Sound familiar? Before you know it, you only meant to be on social media for ten minutes, and by the time you made the rounds, it turned into two hours.

Yeah. So I try to blog once a week. Try to go to Facebook once a week to post that blog and reply to comments.

Goodreads? Well, that, my friends, is an entirely different matter. Goodreads is the newest frontier to me on social media . . .

Goodreads

I’m still learning the ropes over at Goodreads, but I’m liking very much what I’m experiencing over there. Goodreads is a mecca of a reading community where you can connect with other readers. In real time!

Goodreads seems very promising if used in an engaging manner to find readers with similar interest as yours.

So far on the marketing front, I’ve run a giveaway on Goodreads for signed copies my book of romantic poetry for charity, Utterly Loved. I’m now running a giveaway for signed copies of Forged in Dreams and Magick and intend to run one for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe starting later this week.

In addition to the giveaways, Goodreads has a nice “event” feature to broadcast to selected friends, or all of your friends, upcoming events such as cover reveals, blog tours, signings and releases.

Finally, and I can’t believe I have to say it again, Goodreads is a reading community, so be sure to engage people. Like their reviews. Comment on their postings.

What not to do? Send a message to a new friend that accepted that says “buy my book.”

Yep. I kid you not, happened to me a few days ago. As I’m carefully selecting and requesting friends who read and love the same books I read and love, I get a friend request from a male author. Seconds after I accept, I get a message from him that says “buy my book” in great detail and at exhaustive length. Baited, and unable to let it go, I engaged him in a conversation which resulted in him admitting that he doesn’t read in my genre and I don’t read in his. It wasted both of our time, and I unfriended him at the end of that conversation. We had nothing in common. Not even our marketing approach.

I’m no expert, but I am a consumer. I am a reader. I will respect my fellow readers on Goodreads. I’m there to share and talk with others about books I love to read with readers who love to read the same genres of books.

Am I going to let all of my Goodreads friends know when I release my debut book in three weeks? Absolutely. Will I let my blogger friends know when my holiday novella also goes up on NetGalley or when the promotional and ARC tour opens for the holiday novella? You bet I am. But as I’m only releasing two books this year, and the third not for another year, my event announcements will be rare and only done when appropriate.

Again, I’m a big proponent in selling your book softly.

Book Tours, Book Reviewers, and NetGalley

Four to six months (or earlier) before your expected book release, schedule a promotion and ARC review blog tour. Choose a tour company who has a large reach to the reading market you’re targeting. Having an expert handle the connections for you, and their instructing you on how you can help them help you, is worth every penny an expert tour company charges.

Once you secure a blog tour, reach out to other bloggers and book reviewers who might not participate in blog tours, or might not have noticed the tour invitation email. They may want to participate in the tour (I had many who decided to sign up for an AToMR Tour for the very first time because of my direct contact) or they may want to review the book directly. Either way, after you’ve carefully read a blogger’s review policy and tailored a contact specifically for them, even if they don’t accept your ARC for review right away, they will now be aware of your book for the future.

NetGalley is a surprising find. After checking with a couple of blogger friends on how they use NetGalley, I bit the experimental bullet and paid $399 for a single-title placement in their catalog with surprising results. My book has now been requested by over 100 reviewers, media professionals, booksellers, educators, and librarians. I’m still getting requests daily. But the gold-mine result to me is the reviews that are already on Goodreads because I chose to place my title on NetGalley. The continued exposure I receive by having it on NetGalley for its six month period more than pays for itself in marketing dividends.

For an additional $50 per title, I’ve also chosen to place both upcoming titles, Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe, in NetGalley’s Roundup email, which will feature about ten titles and be sent to all of its 93,000+ members.

KDP Select or Not?

The choice to become involved in KDP Select or not is a greater discussion than bears relevance within this marketing article. I am, however, making mention of the choice here, because the choice IS a marketing decision. It is also a distribution decision, a pricing decision, and an entire whole-business decision that I think should not be taken lightly or without great research and thought.

Just like with my decision about price having the reader in mind from the very beginning, so should your marketing. That said, KDP is a decision about your reader. It is making the decision about who gets to read your book, or more importantly who does not.

What the heck is KDP Select? Yes. Perhaps I should back up a second and insert an unbiased, but summarized and therefore understandable, definition here.

KDP Select is a feature a self-publishing author is offered on KDP when publishing their ebook. Amazon’s KDP lures the self-published author to their KDP Select program with the promise of a share of a pool of cash entitled the KDP Select Global Fund, which is $1.1 million for September 2013, when readers borrow books from their lending library. Plus they entice the author by offering to make the book available for free to readers for a limited time, which is a marketing tactic in and of itself. KDP also sells the author on having an expanded reach by distributing your books through their lending library.

Is there a catch? You bet. And it’s a costly one. You agree to exclusivity with Amazon’s KDP Select for your ebook for a period of 90 days.

Is that of benefit to you or your potential global readers? No.

Do you realize that Amazon holds approximately 60% of the market in reader purchases? That other 40% is an enormous slice of readership pie.

The methods some authors use with regard to the free feature vary, and I suppose may work for some authors, but at what cost to benefit ratio?

I’m going to end my discussion about the Select program here, because articles about the KDP feature abound if you look for them. My research on the subject existed mainly because I couldn’t understand why anyone would exclude a reader base. Surely the dollars they receive vastly outweighed the readers lost, right?

I couldn’t tell you. There was no definitive answer. In fact, some of the authors who addressed the reader exclusion called it a trade-off, but seemed to be relatively satisfied with their monetary results.

Ultimately, I believe I read those articles with a biased eye. When I keep the reader in mind with both price and marketing, I mean all readers. Although my mindset pertains to Kindle readers, as well it should with their lion’s share of the market, it also includes the equally important readers of Nooks, Kobos, Sony, and Apple and other tablet products. They make up 40% of the readership. If you exclude such a large share of people, especially when you’re making the first impression of releasing your book, you’ve limited your potential readership by sheer definition.

My opinion on KDP Select? It benefits KDP.

Marketing into the Release

Come along with me on the final journey into the upcoming release week and beyond . . .

Today marks exactly 3 weeks until the release of my award-winning debut in the Highland Legends Series, Forged in Dreams and Magick.

The marketing foundation has been laid. Lasting social connections have been made and are continuing to spark anew. A promotion event and ARC tour is scheduled. ARC copies have been sent to reviewers. Early reviews are posting on Goodreads, and thankfully they’re coming back in the 4, 4.5 and 5 star range. Reviewer requests for ARC copies that continue to come by email and on NetGalley are still being accepted and fulfilled.

Interviews, guest posts, and promotional posts are being written over the next few weeks, and I’m softly touting those reviews on Twitter in addition to supporting other authors and laughing and chatting with friends, readers and new followers.

In two weeks, the promotion event begins, with bloggers sharing carefully chosen excerpts, interviews, and a guest post or two. Copies of books will be given away.

I plan to visit every participating blog to comment and/or RT their post on Twitter, thanking them for their support and sharing in their excitement.

During the release week, while the ARC review tour is happening, I plan to comment on their blogs and thank them for their time in reading and reviewing the book.

Everywhere I can, my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, I plan to comment, laugh, celebrate and commiserate right alongside my readers.

I write for the love of writing, but every decision I’ve made along the road to publishing has been with the reader in mind, and I intend to be and remain as connected to my readers as possible.

Also, mark your calendars! A special book launch party will happen on both Twitter and on a beloved blog, who has been a fervent supporter from my very first blog posts. I hope you join me for the upcoming event hosted by Bookish Temptations, scheduled Saturday, September 21st, 2013 at 7pm EST. Stay tuned for more details!

My husband reminded me to slow down and enjoy the promotion and launch of my first book, as it only happens once. Enormous gratitude to all of you for enjoying the incredible once-in-a-lifetime journey with me.

I hope you enjoyed today’s foray into marketing.

Do you have any thoughts or comments with regard to book marketing? What elements do you enjoy as an author or reader?

Thank you all for your continued support. Until next time . . .

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Transparency in Self-Publishing Series: Extraordinary Book Bloggers

Wow. I am overwhelmed with how amazing the welcoming group of book bloggers (and reviewers) are.

I don’t even know where to begin with the gratitude I feel toward such a generous breed, but like all good stories, the beginning is usually a good place to start.

An Incorrect Prediction

The past is not always an accurate predictor of the future.

At the writing conferences I attended in 2010 and 2011, several workshops on social media wrinkled their noses at blogging. Back then, apparently something I’d not even become familiar with had already run its course. The prediction and advice with regard to an author blogging was: don’t bother.

Blogging was old hat. Not beneficial for an author’s career. A waste of time and effort.

Boy, have things changed. Rapidly.

Thankfully, I chose to look beyond the dated advice of a few and created my own blog in July of 2012. Meant to be a means for sharing publishing adventures and news about my upcoming books, it has grown into an opportunity to reach readers, other bloggers, and make connections and friends.

Fast Forward to Present day

Book blogging today has become a vast network of readers and reviewers connected by one thing . . . a love of books.

A vibrant community of book bloggers has blossomed, flourished, and continues to grow. Not only are book bloggers a trusted source of reviews and book recommendations for readers (and us authors who love to read), for many readers, book bloggers are the only source of recommendations for both self-published and traditionally published books.

The Brave Solicitation

As the upcoming release of Forged in Dreams and Magick approaches, I’m having more and more interaction with book bloggers. Initially, as a naturally shy person (yes, believe it or not it’s true), I felt enormous relief when I’d secured tour and promotion slots with AToMR Tours to gain reviews and exposure for before and through the release. After all, I didn’t have to ask all these people I don’t know directly. AToMR Tours would do it all for me.

Which they have and did, an invaluable service that I’m immensely grateful for.

But . . . I decided to become the brave warrior I depict in my novel and throw myself out there to solicit book bloggers who might not work with AToMR Tours. I crafted a professional letter, but tailored each email to the individual blog I was soliciting. If their interests in books fell in line with my own, I sought common ground with them in the very first paragraph of the email.

A Humble Approach

My request to the hundred and fifty (or so) bloggers I contacted was very humble. Because I was asking busy people, most who have kids and/or jobs and a TBR (to-be-read) book pile that rivals Mt. Everest, for something very valuable—their time and opinion—I was thankful they were even reading my email. I’d be thrilled for them to request my book.

In fact, after carefully reading each and every site’s review policies and scanning through their blog (which took 5-10 minutes, and I believe is the very least a requesting author should do when asking for hours and hours of their time reading your book and crafting their review of your hard work), I didn’t expect a response from many of them. Some specifically stated they would only reply if they were interested.

In anticipating my book request being among thousands they read through with bleary-eyed apathy, I set my expectation bar low.

The Unexpected Response

Replies began to populate my inbox. And it was not only what the overwhelming majority said but how they said it that surprised me.

First of all, a few responded with a line or two telling me how they really loved the book description, but were too buried under books that they were already committed to reviewing to have the time to review mine. I appreciated their even taking the time to respond.

A couple of the blogs said they wouldn’t have the time to review, but wanted to help me with the promotion of my book.

{blinks}

This was my first clue that I was the new kid on the block. I ask them for a favor, and even with their busy schedules, they want to help me. Incredibly grateful for space on their calendar, I resoundingly replied with excitement that I would love to included in a guest post or interview (or whatever they’d suggested) and thanked them for the opportunity.

Those that did reply requesting an ARC copy to review?

Thanked lil’ ol’ me for giving them the opportunity.

Thanked lil’ ol’ me for thinking of their blog.

And many? Asked me to also provide them with links once the book goes live to share and help promote the release to their social media networks. And they hadn’t even read my books yet.

Again, all I have to say is . . .

Wow. I am overwhelmed.

Above and Beyond

A small group of bloggers I’ve become close to over the last year (about six or so) have always cleared a place on their schedule for me. You know who you are, and I love you for all that you’ve done and continue to do to support my writing endeavors.

With other bloggers, we’d followed each other on Twitter for over a year, and although we’d only talked once or twice, the moment I struck up the heart-racing conversation with my request, they pulled me into their welcoming arms like I was long-lost family.

{takes a deep breath}

Wow.

And now that some of those bloggers have reviewed my book? They’re touting it on Goodreads, Twitter, their blogs, and even on other author’s blogs. And together we chat. And laugh. And commiserate. And swoon. It’s so amazing how coming together through a book can bond book lovers. I’m overwhelmed daily by the generosity of strangers who embraced me so readily as a friend.

Wow.

Speechless in Gratitude

Yep. This writer has gone speechless. The repetitive monosyllabic word “wow” keeps coming out. The medical diagnosis for my condition is “mind blown”, but I’m pretty sure they don’t make a pill for being humbled by such awesomeness, and frankly, I wouldn’t want the cure.

I guess that’s what happens when in today’s self-centered society, a class of people show you their hearts first. In my experience, book bloggers are leading by example, rewriting history about how people should treat one another. With kindness, acceptance, and grace.

~~~

So when eloquent words fail, and you try to describe how you feel the best way you can, sometimes simple words become the best.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being the generous-hearted souls that you are.

In my opinion? Book bloggers are awesome! You all rock!

Your greatly humbled and appreciative shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Highland Legends Series News

Hello, everyone!

There is a great amount of Highland Legends Series news to share from the Kat Bastion Writing Desk . . .

Promotion Event: Forged in Dreams and Magick

Although the Review Tour sign-ups are now closed, the AToMR Tours Promotion Event for Forged in Dreams and Magick will remain open through September 25, 2013.

If you want to participate in the two-week Promotion Event, please sign up here on AToMR Tours. Many choices will be available, including excerpts, interview, guest posts, and each blog can offer an eBook copy giveaway in addition to the larger Rafflecopter Event Giveaway.

Forged in Dreams and Magick on NetGalley

In case you missed the earlier news, Forged in Dreams and Magick is now up on NetGalley. If you’re a reviewer, bookseller, librarian or member of the media, NetGalley is a great way to access ARCs (advanced reader copies) for review.

Please find Forged in Dreams and Magick here on NetGalley.

Six Weeks! Times Two!

The countdown has begun! Mark your calendars!
{whispers) And earmark a few dollars in your budget. :)

We’re only six weeks away from Forged in Dreams and Magick‘s release on September 23, 2013!

Another six weeks after that? Bound by Wish and Mistletoe, the Highland Legends Series’ holiday novella releases November 4th, 2013!

{{{vibrates}}}

Excitement on Goodreads

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Forged in Dreams and Magick

Early reviewers have given Forged in Dreams and Magick 4 and 5 star reviews/ratings. (Two of the six are NetGalley reviewers.)

Read this wonderful review by Artemiz. {smiles slowly}

Outlander meets J.R. Ward’s Covet

Add Forged in Dreams and Magick to your Goodreads with the button below:

Add to Goodreads Button

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for the Goodreads Giveaway. There are five signed copies up for grabs!

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

Bound by Wish and Mistletoe was added to Goodreads today!

Want a bit of Magick and a lot of Highlanders in your Christmas this year? Slide Bound by Wish and Mistletoe into your stocking.

Description of Bound by Wish and Mistletoe:

Desperate to honor a life-long promise, Susanna MacEalan escapes her abusive clan with the fierce determination of never falling under the power of a man. Ever.

Aggravated by shallow-hearted pursuing lasses, Robert Brodie, commander of his clan’s elite guard, has foresworn scheming women. Forever.

When magick transforms Brodie Castle into a Christmas wonderland, the two despondent souls find solace in a most unexpected place . . . each other’s arms.

Amid a whirlwind of escalating events, Susanna’s traumatic past threatens Robert’s ability to protect the one woman meant for him. In a harrowing moment when all seems lost . . . hope, faith, and love prevail, transforming silent prayers into wishes granted.

Add Bound by Wish and Mistletoe to your Goodreads with the button below:

Add to Goodreads Button

Cover Reveal for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

Mark your calendars! The Cover Reveal for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe will be on Friday, August 30, 2013.

Sign-ups for the Cover Reveal are here on AToMR Tours.

Promotion Event and Review Tour for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe

Mark your calendars! AToMR Tours will be organizing the Promotion Event and Review Tour for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe, which will take place the week of its November 4th release.

Stay tuned for sign-up information.

{folds up the hefty Kat Bastion Writing Desk newspaper}

That’s all the news for today. Plenty of exciting tidbits, don’t you think? I can’t wait to share more as events progress.

Oh, and remember to follow me on my social media channels so you don’t miss a thing:

 Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thank you for your continued support. It’s greatly appreciated.

Until next time . . .

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Up on NetGalley! First day results…

Hello, everyone!

I’m thrilled to share some great news. Forged in Dreams and Magick  was uploaded yesterday on NetGalley to a wonderful first day response!

Enormous thanks go to my friends, Kristi from Kindles and Wine and Annie from Under the Covers Book Blog, for giving me phenomenal feedback on how they each use NetGalley.

In the coming months, I’ll be posting some of my behind the scenes planning and results in my book-publishing odyssey with a series entitled Transparency in Self-publishing. For now, I’ll share a small taste of my research and first day results of my foray into NetGalley.

So far, after 21 hours of the title being active, I’ve had 29 requests from a fabulous mix of people:

3 Booksellers
~ (2 large US booksellers, 1 large British bookseller’s reviewer)
4 Librarians
~ (who read to recommend books and purchase for their libraries)
1 Reviewer for a book-promoting radio station
1 Editor-in-chief from a national best-selling magazine
20 Reviewers of all levels of reach
~ (many belonging to book clubs and book groups)

Without knowing what to expect from taking the plunge and experimenting with NetGalley, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. My goal with NetGalley was to reach new audiences through potential influencers in their fields, and it seems my title has interested a wide variety of the very people I hoped to reach.

I’m staying grounded with the results, as their request only means Forged in Dreams and Magick captured their interest. My wish is that they will read and enjoy the book. Should they enjoy the book, I’m hopeful they will review it and buzz about it within their spheres of influence.

We shall see what happens, and I will keep you all posted!

Meanwhile, if you’re a reviewer, blogger, bookseller, librarian, book club or book group participant, media professional, educator, or anyone who enjoys reading books and sharing your thoughts about them with others who enjoy reading books, I encourage you to join NetGalley.

If you’re interested in sensual romance, an epic-adventure romance, Highlanders, paranormal romance, time-travel romance, the enigmatic Picts of ancient Scotland or a fresh and unique story, please check out:

Forged in Dreams and Magick on NetGalley

If you would like to participate in the Forged in Dreams and Magick promotional tour and/or ARC tour please see the sign-up forms in the link below:

AToMR Tours Forged in Dreams and Magick Tour and Promotion Event

I would also love for you to add Forged in Dreams and Magick to your Goodreads shelf here (plus there’s a signed-copy giveaway too!):

 

Add to Goodreads Button

 

Also, be sure to friend me on Goodreads from the link above, follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook to catch all of the exciting things coming up on other blogs with Forged in Dreams and Magick!

Thank you for all your support, my friends. I cannot wait to share my exciting world of Highlanders and magick with you.

Until next time . . .

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Highland Legends Series ~ Upcoming Book Titles Reveal

One week, my friends…

The Highland Legends series is coming…

On Monday, April 1st, 2013, all four titles of the Highland Legends series will be revealed.

I’m thrilled to have some of my favorite bloggers help participate in the reveal next week.  A big thank you in advance to all of them:

Bookish Temptations
Under The Covers Book Blog
That’s What I’m Talking About
Scandalicious Book Reviews
Literati Literature Lovers
The Book Queen’s Book Palace

Do you follow their blogs?  You should.  Fabulous book reviews, author interviews and chats, giveaways and much more await you from romance readers just like you and me.

Until the release of the foursome {smirks} a week from today…

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

On the Road to Published…

Hello, everyone!

In recent weeks I’ve been posting weather reports on Twitter from the Highlands.  Every morning before dawn, I race into the woods after my favorite alpha male characters and their feisty heroines, inking their adventures into stories to share with all of you.

If you hadn’t already noticed on either my website or my spirited Twitter posts, I write time-travel paranormal romances set mostly in the medieval Highlands of Scotland.

This fall, I’ll be bringing you the first story in the series.
{vibrates excitedly}

The 2013 Calendar

First Manuscript

The first award-winning manuscript in the series is nearly ready to publish.  Starting next week, I’ll be glued to my keyboard as I incorporate the insightful suggestions made by my beta readers.

In mid-April, the manuscript is going to a wonderful freelance editor.
{cringes, imagining a chainsaw ripping into my work of art} 

A creative summer will be filled with final edits, final proofing, cover art, and arranging a promotional tour.  

The first book is tentatively set for a September 2013 release date.

Holiday Novella

My early morning Twitter weather reports from Inverness, Scotland?

They’ve prepared me for the daily plunge into the snowy forests of the Highlands in a holiday novella I’m also penning for the series. 

Incorporating characters from all three of the longer novels, the novella will release in November of 2013.

Second Manuscript

Furious drafting of the second manuscript has begun.  While chasing after my characters to document their wild adventures, I’ve been typing two to three thousand words a day.

I anticipate an early 2014 release for the second book.

About the Stories

I’ve had such a blast combining my favorite genres–paranormal, romance, and the medieval Highlands–into my writing.  All the stories feature strong characters who go on a journey of self-discovery, finding unexpected love amid their turbulent adventures.

Many themes center on the difficulties in overcoming issues of trust and the rewards of learning acceptance.  Redemption will play a large role in the second and third novels of the series. 

Some of the stories will also highlight the great tragedy of human trafficking set within the timeframe of the stories.  The characters struggle with the grave injustice brought into their lives and learn to survive and thrive in spite of the darkness of their world.

The completed series will tell the stories of three siblings whose lives and clan are affected by a very unique kind of magick.
{refuses to give away spoilers} ;)

ARC Reviews and Blog Tours

Are you a book reviewer? 
Do you love paranormal romance, time-travel, or Highlander romances?

I’ve begun a list for ARC copies.  If you’re a book reviewer interested in reviewing the book for its release, and we’ve not yet spoken, please contact me via Twitter or by email.  I’d love to add you to the list.

If you participate on a blog or with a magazine and wish to be a part of any of the promotional tours, please email me your information and ideas.  I’d love to start building that list and calendar as well.

As I mentioned, I’m anticipating a release of the first book sometime in September 2013 and the novella sometime in November 2013, but will know firmer dates as the months progress.

Donations to Charities

In recent months, traveling along my own road of self-discovery, I’ve become a more selfless creature and strive to continue toward that end every day.

Both World Vision and Covenant House support efforts to fight human trafficking.  In November of 2012, the romantic poetry collection of Utterly Loved, with inspiring foreword by the incredible author and humanitarian Sylvain Reynard, was published to support those worthy charities.

With every other book I publish, a portion of the proceeds will go to an ever-growing list of charities in the hopes of raising awareness and increasing support for those that are lost in this world and in need of our love.

Final Thoughts

Now that I’m chronicling a rowdy clan of Highlanders, my weekly blog posts will transform into spontaneous musings.  I’ll occasionally wander out of the forest for a signal on my electronic devices.

My goals for the year are to get that first book into your hands by early fall and release that novella by the holidays.

Meanwhile, be sure to follow me on Twitter, where I try to say hello at least once or twice daily; “like” me on Facebook; and “friend” me on Goodreads.

Thank you for every bit of enthusiasm and support that you’ve given for my writing and for the charities I support.

Until the next blog post…
{disappears into the Highland mist, notepad and pen at the ready}

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

The Writer and The Industry – David and Goliath

The Writer and The Industry – David and Goliath

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

This week another deal was struck, causing major ripples with readers, writers, and reviewers. Oh. My.

Penguin’s imprint, Berkley, purchased Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series, including a first printing of 500,000 copies of each book, and the purchase of world and audio rights. The deal inked went into seven-figure territory.

Reynard’s writing began as fan fiction. Thousands of readers loved his books enough to rave about them. And they told two friends, and so on. Sound familiar? Fifty Shades ring a bell?

{stands up and applauds the authors} Good for them. I whole-heartedly support the successes of writers in this difficult to break into industry.

What does this amazing deal mean for us writers?

Nothing.

…and everything.

The publishing industry suffered upheaval in the last few years with self-publishing and e-books shaking the brick-and-mortars. Those that rely on the success of the authors don’t take chances. They want dead-ringers. The beast is an animal we wish we could tame. Alas, we cannot.

The formula hasn’t changed for a writer. Write the best story possible. Get the story out to agents and publishers. Catch someone’s eye… and away we go.

Ahhhh… but therein lies the secret of success. We must catch someone’s eye.

What did Sylvain Reynard and E L James do differently than so many others? The Marketing Fanatic in me is fascinated by their stories.

They started small. They used networking, websites, and social media to gain exposure for their work. When support for their writing flooded in from fans, they were encouraged to reach a broader base through publishing.

Isn’t that what we’re all doing?

Are there critics upset about the wild successes of an author’s quick rise to fame? Of course. There will always be naysayers. Debates and discussion are fueled by opposite points of view.

What does all the excitement mean to me?

{smiles wide}

A grass-roots writer rising up into the big time means that the world is filled with possibilities. Starry-eyed writers, working diligently as they spin stories flowing from their hearts, can have their books published and share their dreams with everyone who wants to escape in them.

There is plenty of room in the industry for the big successes. Some are literary masterpieces and some are wildly popular due to their raw cult appeal. Some are game changers.

Reynard and James are not pioneers in breaking out due to their preliminary accomplishments. Amanda Hocking and John Locke are recent indie-author icons. Don’t forget James Redfield who self-published The Celestine Prophecy, selling 100,000 copies from the trunk of his car—and then the publishing world took notice.

It matters not to me the reasons why someone garnered all the successes that came their way. I’m thrilled and motivated by their rags-to-riches fairy tales. My role as a writer, beyond writing the best novel possible, is to support other authors. I celebrate their successes and support their dreams.

They are my successes. They are my dreams.

I am David. The barrier into the industry is my Goliath. All it takes is one small effective stone to bring that giant to its knees.

{looks at the stone sitting on my desk}

…the ripples of casting that stone … go on infinitely.

I look forward to the day when our time comes, my friends.
Keep believing. Keep writing. Keep supporting.

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion