News from the Bastion Writing Desks

Hello, everyone!

We wanted to give you an update on the No Weddings Series.

So many tasks are happening with our team members all at once…

As my husband Stone Tweeted earlier today, we sent No Weddings off to the copy editor this morning for a final editing pass before we shine it up for the two proofreaders.

This week, we also spoke with a web designer who will be revamping the Kat Bastion website to correspond with all of our genres and for both of  us as authors.

And I just got another email from Sarah Hansen at Okay creations. The plans she has for these covers are really exciting. We look forward to being able to share them with you!

Over the next two weeks, Stone and I will be working on One Funeral and Two Bar Mitzvahs in their different editing stages, and Three Christmases is undergoing its first developmental editing.

{blinks}

See what I mean? A flurry of activity is happening all over the place. We’re relying heavily on a wall calendar and to-do lists to get us through the whirlwind of plans.

In the meantime, would you like to be a part of our team? Anything you can do to help promote the books would be greatly appreciated.

We’ll keep you in the loop as things progress with events like cover reveals, release launches, tours, and interviews, so stay tuned.

Do you enjoy reading male 1st person POV romance?

We’d love for you to add No Weddings to your Goodreads shelf:

{whispers} From there, add the other books in the series too! 🙂

Thank you all for your ongoing support!

Your humble shoe and boot,

~ Kat & Stone

© 2014 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

Self Discovery: A Theme in Forged in Dreams and Magick

Hello, my friends!

On October 1st, Forged in Dreams and Magick skyrocketed up the Amazon Best Seller’s list, reaching as high as #4 Scottish. It remained in the top ten for five consecutive days and has remained in the top twenty ever since. Yesterday and today it climbed yet again, hanging out in the top ten as high as #8 with the likes of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books.

October 1st also happened to be the day when a guest post I wrote, “Self-Discovery: A Theme in Forged in Dreams and Magick” appeared on Nikki’s blog, Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind.

Why is Forged in Dreams and Magick‘s ranking important to Self-discovery?

As I briefly alluded in my Goodreads profile, the last year and half has been a time of soul searching for me. Transitioning from a creature of selfish to one of selfless. Giving before receiving. Abandoning my ego, which had a firm hold of me, and looking outward to find meaning in life. Those who have read the quotes on my Twitter timeline and in Utterly Loved can see the mantras that have come from my odyssey. They are still my guiding thoughts.

I am… Always the student, seeking to master.

Well, it’s my personal self-discovery that led me to allocate a percentage of the net profits of all my books to select charities that fight against the tragedy of human trafficking. The more successful Forged in Dreams and Magick is, the greater my ability to help those who are lost in this world find their way home again.

You are all in this with me. I thank you for your kindness and generosity. I’m thrilled Forged in Dreams and Magick is doing so well, and I hope it continues so together we can make a huge difference in this world.

Here is the link to the guest post:

Self-Discovery: A Theme in Forged in Dreams and Magick

 

Should you want to buy a copy of Forged in Dreams and Magick, below are some easy links:

 

Easy Links: Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Add to Goodreads Button

 

Thank you for your support, my friends! Every Twitter RT, shoutout, share, post, buy, review, and each time you tell a friend about Forged in Dreams and Magick helps tremendously. I’m grateful beyond words.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

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

Release Day! Forged in Dreams and Magick is LIVE!

It’s Forged in Dreams and Magick release day!

I’m thrilled to finally share my award-winning debut novel with you!

Epic action-adventure, paranormal, Highlanders, and scorching romance are only a click away!

Visit your favorite online retailer to purchase your copy today.
Please tell your friends about Forged in Dreams and Magick too!

Only $3.99 in eBook.
The gorgeous paperback is $12.99.

Easy Links: Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

Amazon Kindle
Nook
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Amazon paperback

Add to Goodreads Button

 

Release Week Appreciation Giveaways

In appreciation for your support in buying Forged in Dreams and Magick during release week, I’m offering the below giveaways:

If you purchase Forged in Dreams and Magick on release day, September 9/23, email your receipt to giveaways(at)katbastion(dot)com for a chance to win a $50 Amazon/BN/Kobo gift card.

Due to technical delays with two retailers, we’ve revised the Release Week Appreciation Giveaways. If you purchase Forged in Dreams and Magick, during release week, from 9/23 through 9/28, email your receipt to giveaways(at)katbastion(dot)com by 9/28 for a chance to win one $50 or one of three $25 Amazon/BN/Kobo gift cards.

Review Thank You Gifts

I’d to like 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.

~~~

Thank you all for your support. I hope you enjoy the story!

Oh…and the new motto adopted during the launch party at Bookish Temptations:

Keep Calm.

Grab a Highlander!

{grins}

Your humble but vibrating shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Interview: The Forged in Dreams and Magick Beta Readers

Hello, everyone!

Today, I have a special treat for you.

The driving reason for my Transparency in Self-Publishing Series over the past four weeks was to share a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the self-publishing process. Much of the information contained in those posts came from my curiosity along my journey and an absence of detailed information elsewhere.

Have you ever had a peek into the minds of beta readers?

No?

Me either.

I’m not sure anyone has ever interviewed their beta readers before, let alone posted the fodder for public consumption. So here is the first ever beta interview! {grins} I hope you enjoy!

First, let me introduce you to my beta readers, beloved friends of mine who love me, and luckily for me, also love to read:

City Beta (Heather) is an avid reader, and she’s also my critique partner. A huge paranormal fan, her favorite books involve those with a bite. 😉 We met through a common love of books at a Romance Writers of America function. When I shared the rough story idea of Forged in Dreams and Magick with her at a conference in 2010, she’s the one who said, “That’s the story you need to write.”

Swamp Beta (Misty) is an occasional reader, loving wife, and mother, who is a huge Twilight fan and talented photographer. We “met” online in 2011, and although we’ve never met in person, she’s become one of my closest friends and a fervent supporter of my writing. She beams with pride of being born, raised, and living in the boondocks of the South.

Alpha Beta (Stone) is my real-life alpha. Before reading my stories, he’d never read a romance novel. As you’ll find out below, he’s an action-adventure fan, Clive Cussler being his poison of choice. Since his trial by fire with me, he’s read and enjoyed Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard, Tangled by Emma Chase, and Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. {grins}

What is your favorite genre of Books?

City Beta: My favorite genre of books is paranormal, but I’m an avid reader of all genres. As long as there’s romance, I’ll read it.
Swamp Beta: ~laughs~ Normally I read Christian books like The Shack! But any book that makes me feel better is definitely worth my time!
Alpha Beta: Action-adventure with a bit of romance intertwined…

What was your favorite book as a child?

City Beta: My favorite book as a child was Where the Wild Things Are.
Swamp Beta: Hands down…Return of the Black Stallion. I rented it so much from the library as a child that the librarian finally gave it to me. It was a very old, green colored, hard bound edition!
Alpha Beta: Anything with “Marmaduke” or “Family Circus”…HeHeHe…

Before Forged in Dreams and Magick, had you ever read a Highlander romance? A time-travel romance? What are your thoughts about Forged in Dreams and Magick?

City Beta: Yes, I’ve read many Highlander romances.
Time travel is one of my favorite possibilities in a story, though it is hard to find one written so well.
I loved Forged in Dreams and Magick from the very moment Kat brought up the idea to me.
Swamp Beta: Nope. Guys in skirts never did anything for me. But that was before Forged in Dreams and Magick.
Nope. Time travel normally confuses me so I stay away from them typically.
Well that’s a loaded question. I think I now love guys in kilts, plaid, Highlanders, time travel, and…Cupcakes!
Alpha Beta: Highlander? Um, Nope…
Time-travel romance? Nope. Though I never read the book connected with a time-travel movie I saw decades ago, “Somewhere in Time”, it really moved me then and I remember the depth of the romance today…
What are my thoughts about Forged in Dreams and Magick? Love the story, the way it flows and the depth of characters and how they deeply care for the others within their sphere…

What were your thoughts when Kat asked you to Beta for her?

City Beta: Um, yes. I couldn’t say no to Kat. And besides, fair is fair. I read hers, she reads mine. *grin*
Swamp Beta: Honored doesn’t even begin to cover it. I know how long she has worked on this book. I know how protective she is of this story and how much she wants everyone to enjoy it. I know it was hard for Kat to entrust people to read her raw emotions in this book and be open to feedback. Isn’t that hard for every writer? To bare your soul and pray people love it? So yeah…honored will never cover it but it’s the best the English language can do.
Alpha Beta: Honored!…

What was your favorite scene? Chapter? Sentence?

City Beta: My favorite scene would have to be where Isobel is first transported to Iain.
My favorite chapter is fourteen. Where Isobel meets Velloc, her second soul mate.
My favorite sentence is: “But in the pulse of a heartbeat, the rogue wave of a new paradigm crashed upon the rocky outcropping of my life, scattering accepted principles into a million effervescent bubbles, each one bursting with every thought I’d known to be true.”
Swamp Beta: There is a blanket picnic scene to die for. Alpha Male…letting his alpha-ness (If that’s a word. If not…we just damn well made it one) down and showing the soft and thoughtful side that no one gets to see but the lucky lady! I’m a SUCKER for Alpha Males being brought to their knees!
Alpha Beta:
Favorite Scene = Several!…
Favorite Chapter = Many!…
Favorite Sentence = Lots!…

In one word and one word only, describe Forged in Dreams and Magick. Explain your word, if you’d like.

City Beta: Transcendental.
This book takes you on a journey of faith, love and self-discovery. You cannot ask for anything more in a story.
Swamp Beta: ~mumbles about how impossible this actually is~ Life-Changing (and yes I can use life and changing as one word because I put a “-” in there connecting the two! It’s like duct tape to a Southerner!!!)
Explain? Oh hell yes! Take a seat! You know those love stories that shape our culture and our views of what love -should- or -shouldn’t- look like? Stories like Romeo and Juliet, Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle, and even Sleeping with the Enemy (showed us what it shouldn’t look like) all those come to mind. Not to mention The Notebook ~swoons~ All those movies and books leave us wanting for a love like that in our lives. They challenge us to stretch beyond our stereotypes and grow as individuals. Well…that’s what Forged in Dreams and Magick is going to do for those who “allow” it! It is going to challenge the old thinking of having only one soul mate. It’s gonna make you proud to be a woman and pull for a woman who is thrown into a heartbreaking life being torn from those she loves. You’re gonna root for Isobel. Be mad at Isobel at times, but even when you’re mad at her…you’re still proud she didn’t lie down and just give up! In the end…she’s gonna challenge you to be open and love who you are and who you’re with! See? Life…changing!
Alpha Beta: “A-Must-Read!”… Um, is that a word?…

What three words describe your favorite character?

City Beta: Alpha, sensual and leader.
Swamp Beta: Dominant. Feisty (as fuck…and no those don’t count towards my three word limit cause they are in parenthesis… LMAO.) CAPTIVATING. (as in will leave you BEGGING for more of him…UGH!)
Alpha Beta: Don’t have one favorite…

Do you have a clear, favorite character?

City Beta: Yes, but like most books I fall in love with each character will always have a special place in my heart.
Swamp Beta: ~laughs and points to my answer above~ Uh…yeahhhhh
Alpha Beta: Um, Nope…Connected to various characters for their depth…

Who is your favorite character and why?

City Beta: Velloc is my favorite character. I think he meant so much to me because he was the underdog. I always root for the least likely to win the race.
Swamp Beta: I will say this…I have a new found yearning for Cupcakes! Damn! ~fans myself~
Alpha Beta: Um, a favorite in various categories would be easier for me to answer:
Perseverance = Isa
Leadership = Iain
Sacrifice = Velloc
Friendship = Brigid
Calmness = Orion
Primal = Skorpius

What themes run through the story that resonated with you?

City Beta: That love transcends both place and time.
Swamp Beta: Well alpha males ooze out of every scene…almost every page. But the thing I am most “proud” of is the strong, independent females that are a refreshing sight! It’s not your typical “damsel in distress” book. While the damsel is certainly distressed….she can handle herself quite well and it’s in -that- where we watch the Alphas cringe and learn to ~clears my throat~ UP…their…uh…game! ~winks~
Alpha Beta: Love, Fortitude, Destiny, Redemption…

What was the most memorable comment about the book that you made to Kat?

City Beta: “This book is the one. This book is the one you need to write.”
Swamp Beta: Oh Fuck. I have no clue. I imagine it’s something about Cupcakes! But if I know Kat like I do, she remembers and can tell you her favorite! Maybe she should tell you all her favorite quotes we all said! ~laughs~
***Interjection from Kat*** From my texts? Which one? {dies laughing}
“OMFGGGGGGGG! BEST. BOOK. EVER.” OR
“She had Sunshine at her beck and call LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!” OR
“OMFGGGGG I had tears in my eyes!” OR
“Your book…is the ULTIMATE ULTIMATE TEST…to let the woman you love go and be with another? No one has ever portrayed that more beautifully (if they’ve ever attempted at all.)
Alpha Beta: I am amazed I know somebody who can write with this skill, and I reminded her to never let anyone tell her she cannot write…

When, where, and how did you read the book? Like…how quick did we read and what were we doing at the time?

City Beta: This one I really can’t answer. I have read this book by email, by chapter from beginning to end and then back again. Each time the story came to life a little bit more. The characters became more compelling and every word gave the book its breath of life.
Swamp Beta: I was in my vehicle taking a 19 hour…ONE WAY…trip to pick up a Great Dane puppy! Let’s just say it was the best escape POSSIBLE for that trip!
Alpha Beta: Like….how quick did we read and what were we doing at the time? Late in the evenings while lying in bed with my Kindle glowing under the folded edge of the coverings…

What suggestions did you give Kat to improve the story?

City Beta: Show don’t tell! *laughs*
Swamp Beta: Honestly? As far as improving the story itself…I don’t think anything I suggested helped improve the story. Most of mine were mistypes or small places where I might have been confused. But being from the Swamp….that’s a constant state! Kat is accustomed to this! She has this story played out in her mind so beautifully that all my suggestions were mere grammatical.
Alpha Beta: Barely any comments other than a few word addition or changes…

Would you recommend it to others?

City Beta: I would and I have.
Swamp Beta: Yes! But I feel the need to add this small, tiny, itsy bitty, teenie, weenie disclaimer! Any and everything to do with cupcakes…I call DIBS! There…now that -that- is settled! Let’s continue! ~dies laughing~
Alpha Beta: Abso-freakin’-lutely!… Um, Abso-bloody-lutely!… Um, er, Yes!…

Who do you think would best enjoy Forged in Dreams and Magick?

City Beta: Anyone who believes love can conquer all.
Swamp Beta: Anyone who has had sex, who hasn’t had sex, who wants to have sex, who doesn’t wanna have sex (cause after this they will), Oh and…those who love Alpha males, who hate Alpha Males, who have Alpha Males, who wanna have Alpha Males. So basically, any woman who has a pulse. Read it then do all your female friends a favor…and give them Oozing Alpha Males for Christmas presents! ~whispers~ You can even probably find some ribbon in the “Brodie clan colors” and wrap it all nice and neat!!!!
Alpha Beta: Anybody with a heartbeat resonating in their chest who enjoys love, being in love, time-travel, adventure and the power of intertwined hearts accomplishing near-impossible tasks related to survival…

Who is your dream cast for the movie?

City Beta: Can I say Channing Tatum here…please. No, seriously I would love to see Chris Hemsworth as Iain. Jessica Alba for Isobel. As for Velloc…Orlando Bloom or Taylor Lautner.
Swamp Beta: Well Hollywood doesn’t have males like the ones in my mind. But I will volunteer to play the role of Brigid! And I will play that role for free. Just give me my Alpha! #ThatIsAll #LipsAreZipped ~grumbles and crosses my legs squirming~
Alpha Beta: Will have to actually look-up some names versus me saying “that guy/girl in that movie where that thing happened, remember?”…

Okay, my beloved betas, you’e been grilled enough for one interview. Do you have any questions for me?

City Beta: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
The moment I finished my first 100,000 paranormal romance draft in June of 2010, with the unique exhilaration of having created a story flowing hot through my veins, I knew.

City Beta: What is it that draws you to having a Scottish Highlander for a hero?
Due to the rugged Scottish Highland terrain, clan disputes, and invasions over the course of their history, the warriors of their time are the quintessential romantic hero.

City Beta: How did you come up with the title of your book?
Upon several days of reflection, I settled on a rhythmic sounding title that captured the essence of the story. The longer name also enabled it to be unique among book titles, which is advantageous to an author.

City Beta: If you could offer one piece of advice to beginning writers, what would it be?
Relax and have fun with every part of the process. Creativity flows from most easily when we’re in our best frame of mind.

Swamp Beta: Who is your favorite character?
Oh, wow. Each of the characters holds a special place in my heart for different reasons. I love them all!

Swamp Beta: Is there anything you had to omit due to length restrictions that you wish you would have included?
My goal was to fit the enormous story into 100,000 words, while choosing the best words and scenes to reflect emotional depth of the characters and the key parts of the story. The pacing is intentionally kept fast and tight to be an edge-of-your-seat page turner. At the end of the novel, there are a few secrets remaining about our story world and Isobel’s exact role in the bigger scheme of things, but those will be revealed at the appropriate time in the other Highland Legends novels.

Swamp Beta: What was the hardest part of the journey for you? The best part?
The hardest part of the journey was receiving rejection letters from agents and publishers in the industry. I eventually took their passes in stride, because I understand the shift in the industry has compelled them to avoid risk. My novel is not your typical cookie-cutter home run, but instead has a unique edge with a story line never before written. Those rejections led to the best part: my decision to self publish, making the manuscript into The Best Book Possible, and having total control over the timing, marketing, and pricing decisions.

Swamp Beta: What’s the best piece of advice you got from each of your betas?
All three of you gave a similar piece of advice in specific different areas of the novel. You each highlighted sections of confusion, which was key in enabling me to tighten up those scenes. Oh, and City Beta’s mantra to show and not tell! And there was something about a car snorting… {dies laughing}

Alpha Beta: You keep your stories a secret from the betas while you draft and edit. Explain your rational behind the zipped lips.
I want you to enjoy the story as readers. If you don’t know any of the details, the twists and turns are a surprise to you, enabling your spontaneous reactions. Those uninformed responses are vital to me as an author to gauge how a reader would receive the story.

Alpha Beta: What’s next for us as betas and the readers? When will we get more Highland Legends to read?
After the promotion period for Forged in Dreams and Magick (releasing September 23, 2013) and the promotion for Bound by Wish and Mistletoe (releasing November 4, 2013), I’ll begin drafting Born of Mist and Legend. I will start writing in earnest in January, so expect to have a story to beta read around April-May of 2014. I intend to release that novel in the fall of 2014. The final novel will follow a similar schedule in 2015.

Alpha Beta: Who’s your book boyfriend? You can’t name your characters.
Hmmm . . . I don’t have book boyfriends. They all pale in comparison to my alpha. 🙂  However, primal characters with hidden depth are the most intriguing to me, such as Barrons and Ryoden from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series. I’ve also developed a fondness for the more refined, but oftentimes surly master-of-art-and-seduction, Professor Emerson.

~~~

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the minds of my closest friends and beta readers.

12 more days until Forged in Dreams and Magick releases! Mark your calendars for September 23, 2013!

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover

You can add Forged in Dreams and Magick to your Goodreads to-read shelf here:

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Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, and friend me on Goodreads to catch all of the exciting events coming up with Forged in Dreams and Magick and Bound by Wish and Mistletoe!

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

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