Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Alaskan Catch: a Romance Novel with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
The Alaskan Catch
By Beth Carpenter

We hope you enjoyed the tour and getting a taste of Alaska! If you missed any
of the stops you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What inspired you to write THE ALASKAN CATCH?

One thing I hear over and over in Alaska is, “I came for the summer and never left.” I wanted my heroine, Dana, to feel that connection, to recognize that Alaska is a place where she can become the person she wants to be.

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

As Sam tells Dana, “You can paddle your own boat or you can throw up your hands and let the current carry you wherever it will.” Find your river and keep on paddling.

Brooke Blogs - Excerpt

“I don’t feel sorry for you.” Dana gave a wry smile. Maybe she did feel bad for that boy whose mother deserted him, but not for the man he’d grown into. “In fact, if I’m honest, this weekend when I saw you and Ursula hug, I was a little jealous. I’d love to have someone in my life who was that glad to see me show up.”

Nicole's Book Musings - Ten Reasons to Fall in Love with Alaska

1. The Views Need I say more?

2. Summer Daylight In Anchorage on June 20th, the sun rises at 4:19am and sets at 11:40pm. In between it never gets completely dark.

Becky on Books - Review

"The Alaskan Catch is a sweet story about family, finding your own path (“paddling your own boat” as it’s put one more than once here–both figuratively and literally), and learning to put your trust in unexpected love even when it seems contrary to the plans you thought you had. Besides finding each other, Dana and Sam also find out some hard truths about their families’ histories during the course of the story, which each has to deal with in their own way. Neither is exactly on the path they thought they’d be by the end of the book, but since they’re on that new path together, it makes all the difference."

“Hold it right there.”

Sam blinked. He knew he was tired, but was he hallucinating? A woman wearing flowery shorts and a pink tank top stood in his living room, near the hallway. She couldn’t have been more than five-two or three, but the red gun in her hands more than made up for her petite size. Especially since the hands seemed to be shaking.

Heidi Reads... - Review

"What an adventure! I loved all the details of Dana's adventure in Alaska. There was a mystery of old family secrets, a friendship-to-romance relationship, exciting excursions, and descriptions of amazing landscapes and wildlife."

Hearts & Scribbles - Character Interview

Today, we’re talking with Dana Raynott, the heroine from THE ALASKAN CATCH.

Dana, what brought you to Alaska?

I came looking for my brother. When I was sixteen, he and my father argued and Chris left home. My father would never tell me what they fought about. Recently my father died, and left Chris some money in his will. I thought it was the perfect time to track him down, get a few answers, and hopefully reunite our family.

"I really enjoyed this new Harlequin Heartwarming book by Beth Carpenter! It had a bit of everything in it- adventure, mystery and romance. I loved the Alaskan setting with so much of the story taking place outdoors with the beauties of nature on full display."

underneath the covers - Even Shopping is Different

My first ever Harlequin, THE ALASKAN CATCH, takes place in my hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage is a typical American city in a lot of ways, but with its own personal style. For example, we have an international airport, a small plane airport, and a float plane airport. A wayward moose can throw a real wrench into rush-hour traffic. Many of the pedestrian overpasses are specifically designed to accommodate sled dog teams.

And then there’s shopping...

"This book has a great story-line of friendship, mystery, forgiveness and love. I would recommend this to anyone. The kissing scenes are very modestly done. You cannot help but to fall in love with Alaska and the characters."

"I’ve been a Harlequin fan since high school and I think this is a great addition to my collection. By the time you finish, you will understand why Harlequin has added to their Heartwarming series. . . . Toward the very end, Dana says something to Sam that sums things up nicely – this book was a great adventure. It also left me looking forward to reading more of this series. "

Books to Read Next - Excerpt

He frowned. Dana wasn’t helpless. In fact, two days ago, she’d threatened to shoot him. It was highly unlikely she’d come to any harm on a nice day downtown, surrounded by people. And yet here he was, worrying about her. Maybe Chris was right—Sam hadn’t been out with a woman for too long. He needed to get a grip.

"The Alaskan Catch kept me grinning throughout each chapter. Sam and Dana are so sweet together, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them all along the way. Their backstories are poignant and compelling, and the more they (and we) discover the more compelling it becomes. An awesome dog, vivid supporting characters, and breathtaking kisses scenery (ok… that first kiss is pretty breathtaking too) round out the mix and may have you booking your next vacation in Alaska!"

So, you want to date an Alaskan. Who wouldn’t? You’ve seen the pictures of hunky wilderness firefighters and fishermen. In Alaska, there are around a hundred and seven men for every hundred women. But women in Alaska have a saying. The odds are good, but the goods are odd.

"The book has some suspense and mystery to it and also adventure. Once you start the book it is hard to put down. . . . I really loved all the characters but I think Sam and Dana were my favorite. I definitely recommend this book. I have found another great author."

"Beth Carpenter has earned herself a solid spot in the heart of the Harlequin Heartwarming author line-up with her debut novel in the line! It brings us secrets and despair, gorgeous countryside and the hearts of good, solid people to overcome the turmoil brought forth when lives are turned upside down with shocking revelations. The characters are down to earth, real and well developed and the plot takes us along for the ride of a sweet love story that stands the test of time and tribulation. Looking forward to seeing more from her!"

Harlie's Books - Excerpt & Review

Sam had purposely chosen not to reveal Dana’s last name yet. He wanted Ursula’s unbiased evaluation of her character first. And while he hadn’t talked to Ursula alone, it was obvious the two women clicked. It may have been when Dana offered to make the cornbread, or possibly when she complimented one of Tommy’s whirligigs, but at some point today, Dana had won Ursula over. He wondered if it would stay that way once Ursula knew her last name.

"I loved how Chris, Dana and Sam’s past were intertwined. I’m not going to say anything else because it’s the crust of the book. Hats off to Ms. Carpenter for her originality. Brilliant, actually. And also, that not everything was done in Alaska. Dana still had some things to take care off back home with her new found strength. Oh yes, Dana had some growing to do in the book. It was subtle but in the end, it was well worth it."

Paulette's Papers - Six Ways to Test Your Courage in Alaska

Dana Raynott, the heroine in THE ALASKA CATCH, plays it safe. She’s always done exactly what her father asked her to do, even if it wasn’t what she wanted. But after her father’s death, she travels to Alaska to find her long-lost brother and spends time with his best friend, Sam. In this new place, with Sam by her side, she discovers reserves of courage she never knew she had.

Want a challenge? Here are six ways to test your courage in Alaska...

"A heartwarming novel about creating your own future and not living in the crux your family has left for you. This novel has a lot to learn about appearances not always being what they seem and just possibly our parents have learnt from something in their own past to guide them in the directions they try and push us into following. Everything in life is not as you expect it to be."

"This is my first story by Beth Carpenter, but it won’t be my last. I loved the way the author wove an enticing story of romance and suspense, set in the beautiful backdrop of breathtaking Alaska. The characters were realistic and engaging. They had me cheering for them all the way to the end.
I would highly recommend, The Alaskan Catch to anyone looking for a great romance."

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...

The Alaskan Catch
(Northern Lights #1)

by Beth Carpenter
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
August 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Where life's currents take you…

Dana Raynott just traveled 3,600 miles to reunite with the brother who changed his name and fled to Alaska nineteen years ago. It's impossible not to be moved by this wild, breathtaking state, even if Dana's no closer to finding the answers she came here for.

Her brother's best friend, Anchorage engineer Sam MacKettrick, might be able to help her. He's strong and kind—a six-foot, irresistible blend of diverse cultures. He's also haunted by a tragic family history with a startling connection to Dana's past…

About the Author

Once upon a time ...

when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She's still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.

Tour Giveaway

Taste of Alaska Prize Pack (US only), which includes:
  • Alaska cross-body bag
  • Wild Smoked Alaska Salmon for Dip
  • Alaska Wild Berry Company Bering Sea Salt Caramels
  • Gold Nugget Chocolate Chunks
  • Raspberry Herbal Tea
  • Salmon Jerky – Teriyaki and Original
  • Three Bears Postcard
  • Alaska Sourdough Starter
  • Moose Notecards by Alaskan Artist Vonnie Gaither

$25 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally)

Ends August 22nd

Sunday, August 13, 2017

For Joy's Sake: a Romance Novel with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
For Joy's Sake
By Tara Taylor Quinn

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

Welcome to the For Joy’s Sake book tour! I hope you’ll follow along, visit some great book sites, find entertaining and worthwhile reading material along the way, maybe win a prize or two! More than that, though, I hope you find some joy!


Angels with Attitude Book Reviews - Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 1

HER BREATH CAUGHT in her throat, Julie Fairbanks crouched on the floor, hugging her knees, staring at the television screen. The baby who’d been born in a man-made bubble town, who’d been raised and surrounded by people who were only there to keep up appearances, was a man himself now. And about to break free...

Nicole's Book Musings - Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 2

Lila offered her tea. Julie accepted. And watched the older woman bring out the exact brand and flavor she preferred. In some ways they were so much alike, she and Lila.

And yet, Julie knew next to nothing about the other woman’s circumstances, other than that she’d been the managing director of The Lemonade Stand since day one.

Beck Valley Books - Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 3

“I hear that Chantel is pregnant.”

“Three months!” Julie grinned. Her sister-in- law, who now shared the family mansion
with Julie and Colin, had come into their lives as an undercover cop pretending to be a
member of their privileged society, and had become her best friend. “I can’t wait to have a
little one in the house!” These days, that new baby was the first thing she thought of when
she woke up in the morning.

"A heartwrenching story that brings an innocent little girl’s plight to life. Strong characters unite to help ease her trauma and learn truths about life and each other that will bring a closeness that both truly needed. It was great to see Julie again and see her working towards the healing she has so desperately deserved. Really enjoyed visiting The Lemonade Stand again!"

Brooke Blogs - Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 4

She didn’t like how Lila’s statement made her feel. As though she, Julie, wasn’t quite done with moving on. As though she was still broken.

The truth was, she’d never be done with it. Not really. There was no way to erase what had happened, and no way not to be affected by it.

But she was able to live more normally now.

 Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 5

“I wanted Chantel and Colin to be able to welcome guests into their home as a couple. More specifically, I wanted Chantel to feel like the hostess, the woman of the house. Since she came into our lives on a lie, she still sometimes feels like an imposter, like she’s not really one of us, especially when there’s a gathering that includes people who don’t know the details. It can be hard for her. As if making the transition from street cop to detective wasn’t difficult enough, she’s living in a society that’s completely unfamiliar to her. If I was there, people would naturally turn to me as the hostess and...”

It was the reason she’d given her brother and his wife for skipping out on the high-dollar evening they’d been planning for several months. They hadn’t been happy with her proposed absence, hadn’t thought it necessary, but they’d accepted her choice. Because her reasoning was valid.

“But why are you here?” Lila asked.

Julie frowned. It wasn’t unusual for her to be at The Lemonade Stand. In a volunteer capacity with the children, but also hanging out with the women. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s Friday night. You’re twenty-eight years old. Independently wealthy and lovely. You could be doing any number of things for fun and relaxation. Okay, so you wanted to be away from your home for the night. You could’ve booked yourself into a resort spa. Gone to the theater. You could have been on a date.”

Julie didn’t respond to Lila. She couldn’t.

Inside her, everything was tense. Poised for escape.

“We need you here, Julie. You know that. And we all want you here. You bring a nurturing and understanding and compassion that’s special and very, very precious to these women. And to the staff.”

Julie raised her eyes to Lila’s. And was scared by the concerned crease in the other woman’s brow.

“But we aren’t being a friend back to you,” Lila went on, “we aren’t good for you if you’re using us as a hideout.”

Ironic, considering that the Stand existed so women had a place to hide and be safe while they healed.

“If you need to be here, you are welcome. Always. I don’t ever want you to need to come to us and then change your mind. Or your course of action. But if you need to be here, then we need to be doing something to help you.”

The band around Julie’s chest relaxed a little.

“It helps me just to be here,” she assured the other woman.

Wishful Endings - Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 6

All of them mourned for the lives they’d lost. For the dreams they’d lost. For the sense of security that had been taken from them. They yearned for real homes. Yearned to be in control of their lives again. And they lived in fear, too.

Julie wasn’t afraid of being attacked again. She had a lovely home that she cherished, a bed of her own that she’d be returning to that night.

"I am in wow. This one left me speechless. I absolutely adored the story of Julie and Hunter. I think I fell for little miss Joy the most. . . . Get this story today. You will not regret it. I could not put this book down!!!"

Becky on Books - Review

"Once again Ms. Quinn has given us a story that is intense–all three main characters: Julie, Hunter, and little Joy–have significant issues that are keeping them back in some way so that they need to work through to get their lives back. . . . Watching all three characters grow and heal, though, definitely gives us enough story that we don’t mind romance taking a bit of a back seat. The incorporation of Julie’s children’s books into the healing that all three do adds to the magic of the story–absolutely loved it!"

underneath the covers - Excerpt: Chapter 2, Part 1

JULIE STOOD UP in Lila’s parlor, wishing she could escape into any of the antique paintings on the walls depicting faraway places. The way she escaped into her own paintings in her home studio. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here tonight…” As she heard her own words, she heard Lila’s earlier ones, too, about not ever wanting Julie to feel that she shouldn’t come to The Lemonade Stand.

Lila wasn’t telling her to leave. But Julie would rather leave than hear what Lila was telling her.

Book Lover in Florida - Excerpt: Chapter 2, Part 2

“Needing to be in the company of others who are going through some of the same struggles you face, who’ve been indelibly hurt by those they trusted, is normal,” Lila said.

Julie felt better for a moment.

Was something wrong? Or not?

Harlie's Books Review & Excerpt: Chapter 2, Part 3

"Julie’s love story was a long time coming but for me, it ended as an HFN. . . I felt like the book ended too soon. I needed more, much more.

Overall, Julie’s story is good. And I’m glad that Hunter is her man. But I just felt the ending was a bit rushed and seemed incomplete. Otherwise, another awesome installment revolving around The Lemonade Stand."

“I hope you consider all of us here your friends,” Lila said, finally picking up her cup of tea and sipping. “But I’m not just talking about friends. Look at Sara and Lynn—” full-time counselor and resident nurse at the Stand “—they’re both committed to this place and have personal lives, too. They have spouses and children.”

Colorimetry - Excerpt: Chapter 2, Part 4

The threat of tears nearly strangled her. Lila was wrong. In the end, everyone was alone. Alone in your mind. In your secret places. Alone in a pain only you could feel. In a fear only you could fight.

No one else could know what it felt like to live with your own inability to trust.

Harlequin Junkie - Excerpt, Q&A & Exclusive Giveaway

He knew nothing more about her now than he had when they’d first met.

Except that she was soft-spoken, often quiet, but when she had something to say he wanted to listen. She wasn’t pushy or aggressive, and yet she always managed to make things happen. She dressed more conservatively than any other woman he’d ever wanted to date. She’d never once mentioned that she lived in a mansion or that her trust fund was worth more than he’d ever had in all his investments combined. Her long dark hair was always contained. She had a smile that could melt ice.

And a scent that he dreamed about, waking up on more than one occasion expecting to smell it on the pillow beside him.

Oh, yeah, he had it bad.

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?

I am currently working on final revisions of an Indie published novella from this same Where Secrets Are Safe Superromance series. The novella is part of a 10 book anthology releasing in October, Falling For You, that is written by 10 bestselling Superromance authors, using towns from our Superromance novels!

I’m also writing the last Where Secrets Are Safe book...

And don't forget to enter the giveaways below, if you haven't already...

For Joy's Sake
(Where Secrets Are Safe #12)

by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
August 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

There's something about Julie

Hunter Rafferty is committed to two things: his bachelor lifestyle and his career as an event planner. But working with Julie Fairbanks on a fund-raising gala is quickly becoming the best part of his day. He can't stop thinking about the mysterious beauty—despite her refusals to have dinner with him.

Everything changes when seven-year-old Joy comes to The Lemonade Stand, a shelter for victims of abuse. To help Joy overcome her trauma and the mystery surrounding it, Hunter and Julie push beyond their boundaries, confronting their own past pain…and feelings for each other.

Other Books in the Where Secrets Are Safe Series
(Books released as of July 2017. Each can be read as a standalone.)

About the Author

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Domestic Violence Shelter Drive

As Tara supports speaking out against domestic violence and supporting those who have been abused, both through her books and in her community, she would love for you to join her in donating items to a shelter in your area. Find out more here.

Tour Giveaways

1 winner will receive ebooks of Where Secrets are Safe series books 1 - 13 (open internationally)
1 winner (per the four tour segments) will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)


1 winner will receive 25,000 Harelquin My Rewards Points, equivalent to 5 books (US and CAN only)
1 winner will receive 5,000 Harelquin My Rewards Points, equivalent to 1 book (US and CAN only)

Both Rafflecopter giveaways end November 30th, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

"I Wrote a Book! Now What?" - From Rough Draft to Publication and Beyond in 16 Steps

So you've written a book. Congratulations! 
Assuming you want to take it to the next step and not leave your characters locked away in your computer for only a few of your close friends or family members to meet, you're probably wondering what to do next with your new masterpiece. Publication may be your dream, but how do you get there? It might seem like an overwhelming process.
I've been there too! Here are some suggestions and resources that have helped me, and that I hope will be just as helpful to you, in your journey into publication as a new author. (For your convenience, all links open in new tabs.) I've tried to list them in an order that makes sense, but in some cases, you may prefer to skip around or just plain skip some that might not apply to you.

1.) Banish those Assumptions

Maybe you already know how publication works and what being a published author is like. Or maybe you just think you do ....

Ten Things That Might Surprise an Unpublished Author

This little article by Denise Moncrief may burst your bubble. But it's always better to know the truth so we can figure out how best to deal with the reality, right?

2.) Outline and Structure Your Novel

If you really have finished writing the book, this step probably won't be necessary. But if you're wondering if all your scenes are truly in the best order or whether the progression of your plot makes sense, here are a few helpful links you'll want to check out. (Or bookmark them for when you're ready to start planning the sequel!)

A Quick-Start Guide to Story Structure Methods

Janeen Ippolito lists and explains a number of different ways to outline a story's structure. She includes diagrams and links to books that go into more detail about the different methods.

6 Ways to Outline Your Novel Faster

K.M. Weiland presents six quick suggestions for story outlining. Unlike the ones in Ippolito's list, they aren't really complete methods as such. They're more like possible angles of approach.

Personally, I can highly recommend two books about plot outlining that I now use with every novel I write. Clicking on the pictures below will take you to the Amazon pages where you can find out more about the books and order them if you'd like to. I promise, they're worth it!


3.) Choose a Title

Perhaps you already have a title for your book. But if you haven't decided on one yet, here are some suggestions to consider.

How to Choose a Book Title That's Perfect for Your Story AND Good Marketing!

K.M. Weiland explains why the right title matters so much and puts forth three ways to pick a good one.

How to Choose the Right Book Title

Anne R. Allen presents three different ways to choose the right title. (She also has an interesting list of famous books and their little-known original titles.)

20 Book-Title Hacks for Any Genre

David H. Safford suggests a whopping twenty different ways to come up with a good book title: everything from making it a story symbol to using a famous quotation.

3 Book Title Mistakes that will Murder Your Marketing Efforts

Using the right or wrong kind of title can have a big impact on how many people buy your book. Dave Durden explains how. 

4.) Start Building a Platform

An author platform is important for anyone who wants to sell books to more than just their personal friends and family. Even if your book isn't ready for publication yet, it's never too early to start building your platform through your website/blog, on social media, etc.

Building an Online Presence: Websites, Blogs, and Social Media for Authors

This is a collection of information about starting a website or a blog, along with different types of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, and LinkedIn) and how authors can use each one. There's even a link to an article about what to do if you don't have (or want) a social media presence at all.

5.) Join an Author Group
I cannot overemphasize how much this will help you. If you don't have a physical group of local authors to be a part of (or even if you do), find an online one (or two, or three, or four ...). Try searching Facebook for "authors" or "author group _____" (your genre). If you end up in a group without much interaction, or where people spend most of their time just advertising their books to each other, find a new group. Joining some excellent Facebook author groups has helped me more than anything else as an author. They are a great place to share ideas, ask questions, and support each other in our journeys as writers. You can also ask around in author groups for beta readers, editors, cover artists, etc.

The following groups may or may not be a fit for you and your books, but here are a few that I have personally found helpful. Below each one, I've included excerpts from the group's description on Facebook. If nothing else, they'll show you some examples of what's out there.

Clean Indie Reads

Finally! A book / author group that isn't just a post-and-run! We are here to offer real, useful support. Welcome to the workplace that feels like home.
CIR is a group for INDIE AUTHORS of FLINCH-FREE FICTION (no explicit sex or violence and limited swearing). We’re here to support each other in the whole process of writing/publishing/marketing quality indie books.
Use this Google spreadsheet of service options to see if we're a good venue for you. 

Iron Sharpening Iron

This group is a place for open exchange for authors, would-be authors, or just fans of Christian speculative fiction. Here we exchange ideas, brainstorm, swap experience and advice about navigating the difficult road of being a Christian author in a predominantly secular genre.
Before requesting to join, please be aware we have three requirements for joining, which you will be asked to affirm:1) That you are a Bible-believing Christian2) That you are (or are working to become) a Christian Author, or are an enthusiastic fan and reader, in the Speculative Fiction genre3) That you are willing to try and be an ACTIVE member.
This is a CHRISTIAN group run by biblical principles. The idea behind the group: Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another." It is not by placation and empty praise that we learn and grow, but it is by godly brothers and sisters, practicing "truth in love" that we can learn and grow together to improve our collective witness for Christ in the literary world. May the Lord bless you all in your work.

Christian Indie Authors
Christian writers with works not openly Christian are welcome! Please alert us to language, sex, or violence when sharing or asking for a review. Liberty in Christ can give different standards. Share what you can.
Please don’t post and run. Take a moment; offer assistance to a fellow Indie. Share a book; answer a question. We are a family.
To share blogs etc you must be an active member. What is active? It's talking. It’s taking a few seconds to share a post. It’s being a part of our family. Not everyone is going to post. We have members 
who just read.

Christian Indie Authors Tweet Exchange

There will be a daily thread for you to post a direct link to your tweet (promoting your book). If you need directions on how to do this, please see the file titled “Directions.” After you have posted your link for the day in the thread, please follow everyone else’s link that they have posted and re-tweet for them. You will have to be logged into Twitter to do this. Please check back during the day so you have re-tweeted for everyone. Please limit your links to 2 per day. Happy retweeting! Hashtag is #CIANCW

This might be helpful, too:

60+ Facebook Groups for Authors - Promote Your Books, Blogs, and More
Shelley Hitz lists groups of readers, groups of writers, groups specifically for sharing discounted books, etc.

6.) Enlist Beta Readers

Beta readers are people who read through your book before it is published for the purpose of giving constructive feedback.

All About Beta Readers: 7 Ways They Can Improve Your Book

In this thorough article, Anne R. Allen talks all about why beta readers are necessary, where to find them, what kinds of people are likely to make good beta readers, etc.

Revise It! Recruiting and Using Reader Feedback

Janeen Ippolito lists different types of readers, along with suggestions for recruiting the most helpful ones and utilizing their feedback.

What to Ask Your Beta Reader

It's helpful to give beta readers questions to answer as they read your manuscript. Author Valerie Comer has a great list of questions. You'll want to add to them with specific questions about your own story and characters.

5 Steps to a Thorough Book Edit

Once you hear back from your beta readers, try implementing Liberty Spiedel's suggestions for how to utilize their feedback.

7.) Edit and Proofread
There's way too much to say about these essential steps to put it all here. 

Editing and Proofreading: DIY Tips and Professional Resources

This blog post is a compilation of the best editing and proofreading advice I've found, along with links to some professional editors' and proofreaders' sites. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF SKIPPING THESE STEPS! No matter how good a writer you are, your manuscript still needs to be edited and proofread.

8.) Decide if You Want Illustrations
I don't mean a cover picture (we'll "cover" that separately, pun intended). Not all books need inside art, but if you're writing certain genres (like children's fiction or some types of nonfiction), you'll probably want some. Many authors also like to have pictures of their characters to use in blog posts and promotional materials, even if they don't end up in the book itself. 

Awesome Illustrators: A Collection of Artistic Resources for Authors

Here's a list of some illustrators who have been personally recommended by authors I know. You can see some samples of their artwork under their names, along with links to their websites. Of course, a web search with your specific genre will turn up many more.

9.) Decide Whether Your Book Needs a Map

Most books don't. But if you're writing historical fiction, fantasy, or science fiction, it might be helpful (and fun) to include one at the beginning. Several of the illustrators at the link above also do maps. If you prefer to make your own, check out the links below.

Fantasy MapMaking Tutorial

In this video, Jessica Khoury shows how to make your own map. It's part 1 of 5, so don't forget to go on to her other 4 videos when you're done.

10 Rules for Making Better Fantasy Maps

Lauren Davis has some great points that you should keep in mind before you start.

10.) Create a Cover (or Hire a Cover Artist)

Obviously, every published book (ebook or paperback) needs a cover. 

The Perfect Cover for Your Book

In this blog post, I include links to dozens of helpful resources about cover design. Whether you plan to make your own cover or hire a professional, you should be certain you know these basic principles. Do you have an artistic friend you hope will help you out? Don't assume they'll be awesome at making book covers just because they're an awesome artist. Pass on this info to them to make sure they know what's expected in book cover design. I've also included a list of professional cover artists and the websites where you can check out their services and contact them.

11.) Decide How to Publish Your Book

Do you plan to self-publish, or do you hope to have your book traditionally published by a major publishing company or small press? Warning: for a new author, landing a contract with a major publisher is almost impossible. Getting a small press interested is a little more likely but can still be quite difficult. Self-publishing is easy, as long as you're willing to put in the work. 

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Which is Better?

This article by Gary Smailes is long but well worth the read. Basically, it tells everything you need to know about how both options work, including their pros and cons. It also talks about agents. I highly recommend reading it before you make your choice.

Whatever you do, DON'T fall prey to a "vanity press" promising to publish your book for you! These are organizations that charge unsuspecting newbie authors huge amounts of money - often thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars - and in return may provide them with an ebook and hundreds or thousands of paperback copies that the author is usually responsible for selling. Most authors only make a fraction of their money back and end up with a basement full of unsold books gradually yellowing with age. If in doubt about whether a publishing company is reputable or not, it's a good rule of thumb not ever to go with anyone who makes you pay upfront for their "services". Reputable publishers make their money by taking a percentage of what you make in sales after the book is published, not by charging you for their work.

Beware of Sharks in Publisher's Clothing

Judith Briles explains how to spot and avoid such publishing predators.

12.) Write a Blurb

You will need a blurb to go on the back cover of your book. Even if you only plan to publish an ebook, the blurb is the description that will go on Amazon or other retailers. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a blurb is simply a summary of the story - there's much more (and in some ways, much less) to it than that!

How to Write a Book Blurb (and a Synopsis, Logline, and Tagline)

In this blog post, I've compiled a list of resources for blurb writing. You'll need to have your blurb ready before you go on to the next two steps, so these should be helpful.

13.) Format and Publish Your Book as an eBook

There are a number of platforms out there for publishing ebooks. To start with, you'll definitely want to make your book available on Amazon, since it's the biggest by far. (However, I suggest not actually completing the publishing process until you've considered item #13 on this list.)

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Sale on Kindle without Hyperventilating

Hey, it can be a stressful process! When I was new to indie publishing, I couldn't find a single list of all the steps to take for formatting an ebook. I had to scour the web for each step, and it wasn't easy! So I combined everything I eventually figured out into one list, which I still refer to every time I publish a new book. I hope it's as helpful to you as it is to me.

Wide vs... Narrow?

Amazon offers various incentives to authors who agree to make their books exclusively available on its site. Choosing to also sell one's books elsewhere (such as such as through Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Google Play, or Apple iBooks) is known as "going wide". In this article, J Philip Horne discusses the pros and cons of each choice, along with more information about what's involved.

Distributing Your Books

You can go wide by distributing your book individually to each retailer, or you can upload them to a distributor that will send them everywhere for you and consolidate your earnings. Here, J Philip Horne talks about the pros and cons of both methods.

Smashwords vs. Draft2Digital

Smashwords and Draft2Digital are the two biggest ebook distributors. Dave Chesson compares them with a handy chart and links

Aggregation without Aggravation: Pronoun and PublishDrive

Pronoun and PublishDrive are two more major ebook distributors. David Kudler compares them here and also includes links to both sites.

Smashwords has a short ebook that you can download for free with information about how to format your manuscript before uploading it to their site for distribution. Clicking on the picture below will take you to the book's Amazon page.

Depending on where you want to upload and sell your ebook, you may first have to save the file as a mobi or an epub. 

To save your file as a mobi (needed for publishing as a Kindle book) or an epub (needed for publishing on most other platforms), I recommend using Calibre. Simply click on the link above and download the program (for free). You'll need to save your Word doc as a PDF first, then use Calibre to change it to a mobi or epub. There are places online to convert documents similarly, but some of them mess up the formatting, title, etc. Calibre is reliable and highly recommended by many professionals.

14.) Format and Publish Your Book as a Paperback

There are several POD (print on demand) companies out there that are easy for authors to use, but you'll want to pick just one. CreateSpace and Ingram Spark are the main ones. (Again, I suggest not actually completing the publishing process until you've considered item #13 on this list.)

DIY: Print on Demand 101

Daniel Lefferts and Alex Daniel talk about 6 POD companies and the differences between them.

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Paperback Publication through CreateSpace

My personal experience is with CreateSpace. In this blog post, I offer step-by-step instructions for how to format your manuscript to make a professional-looking paperback, and then how to upload and publish it through the CreateSpace website.

15.) Plan Your Book Launch

Sending a new book out there into the world is a big deal! But don't plan on just clicking the final "publish" button and sit back waiting for the sales to roll in. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. You have to put the word out about your book, and ideally, that process should start before the book is published.

You should try to get people to review your book as soon as possible after it's available for purchase (the day of, if possible). To do this, you will need to contact possible reviewers beforehand and offer them a free (yes, free!) copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. (I recommend offering digital copies only if you're on a tight budget, but be aware that some reviewers will only accept paperbacks.) Asking around in your author groups often works, but for long lists of book bloggers, check out these two links (of course, make sure you only contact reviewers who have expressed an interest in your genre):

The Book Blogger List

The Indie Reviewers List

5 Steps for Crafting the Perfect Book Review Pitch

In this article "BookGal" has some great tips for actually contacting reviewers.

Book Review Banzai
Jason B. Ladd offers an entire course on how to get far more book reviews than you would get just by contacting reviewers the normal way. I've taken the course myself, and I can recommend it. Or, if you don't have a lot of time on your hands, you could just read his book by the same title and apply the principles he explains. (Clicking on the picture below will take you to the Amazon page where you can read more about the book or purchase it.)

Creative Book Launches that Command Attention
In this article, author Angela Ackerman suggests a number of fun approaches and strategies to launching a book in a way that will attract attention and generate sales.

Ten Tips to Have a Successful Book Release Party on Facebook

Many authors use Facebook to hold fun events on their book's release day. Victoria Holt gives a clear and succinct list for how to make that work, and work well.

Marketing Your Book with Press Releases

Another book launch strategy some authors use is to send press releases to newspapers and other publications. Connie Dunn explains how it works, where to find periodicals' contact information, and how to compose a good press release.

How I Put Together My Great Big Blog Tour and Giveaway

Personally, I like setting up blog tours for my new books. This method works best if you already have connections with bloggers who write about book-related topics. If you have joined any author groups, as suggested in step 5 above, some of your fellow authors will probably be willing to host your book. In this post, I explain the method I used to put together one particular blog tour, which I combined with a giveaway to attract more interest.

How to Create a Global URL for Your Book

When you start sending your book's Amazon link to newspapers, reviewers, potential buyers, etc., there's an important point to consider. Amazon has different stores for different countries. When you make your book available on Amazon, it will automatically show up in Amazon's online store in Italy, Japan, Australia, and Brazil (to name a few), along with the one in America. But your book's page in each of those stores requires a different link. So if you're in the US and you give your link to someone in, say, Canada; and if that person clicks on it to take a look at your book, they will see an error message that tells them to log into the Amazon Canada site instead of the Amazon US site. But once they log in, they will no longer be on the page where they can see your book. Of course they can still find it by searching, but not everyone will bother to do that, and you may lose sales to international readers. To solve the problem, you can create a "global URL" that will take anyone who clicks on it to your book's page in the Amazon store that matches their geographical location. I have included screenshots with these step-by-step instructions to show you how to do that.

16.) Celebrate! But Keep Marketing

If you've made it through this list (or even most of it), congratulations! That's an amazing accomplishment! You have brought a book into the world and worked hard to achieve a goal that to many people is only a distant dream. Now go out and treat yourself to something special. You deserve it!

But ... don't rest on your laurels. In order to get consistent sales, you will need to continue marketing your book indefinitely. Make a plan and keep following it!

71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book

Kimberley Grabas has a great list here. Many of her suggestions don't cost anything.

Author Marketing Checklist

The Author Marketing Club has a great list of things you can try. Some of them are ones I've already mentioned in this post, but there are plenty of new ones. Best of all, each item on their list comes with a little video that shows you how to do it.

The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing

Diana Urban has a very thorough list here. Like this blog post, it's made up mainly of links to helpful articles and resources. Hers are divided into categories like "before you publish", "after the book launch", etc. Again, some of them have been covered here, but not all.

Wooing Book Buyers to Get Your Book Into Stores

Want to see your paperback for sale in actual brick-and-mortar bookstores? Amy Collins explains how to make it happen.

Working with Bookstores
Once your book is in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, how do you get customers to notice it and buy it? Amy Collins offers some great suggestions.

Free Promo Sites for 99 Cent Books

One of the best ways to get potential buyers to notice your ebook is to temporarily discount it (or even to make it free for a few days at a time). You can do this on your KDP Bookshelf. But you'll want to make sure to advertise your discounted or free book to some of the sites that alert readers of good deals. In this post, I list (to the best of my knowledge) every single book promo site out there that will promote your discounted ebook at no cost to you. I have created three more posts with similar lists for free books and for sites that charge for their services; you'll find them at the top when you click on the link. (I update the lists often, so keep checking back!) 

I hope this post has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments. 
I wish you all the best in your journey as an author!