• Category Archives Haunt My Heart
  • Haunt My Heart gets a makeover. #coverreveal #PNR #ghost #romance

    This little project has been on the back burner for a while now and last week, it finally happened. Haunt My Heart got a makeover thanks to Jaycee at Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs. 

    It’s the same great story but with an updated look.

    It’s available now in ebook and print.

    If you’ve already read and reviewed Haunt My Heart, THANK YOU! I’d appreciate it very much if you could share this post with your reading friends as well 😀

    If you haven’t read Haunt yet, what are you waiting for? Did you know Haunt has 44 reviews and 4.7 of 5 STARS? Get it now on Amazon.

    Amazon 

     

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Pinterest Book Board http://www.pinterest.com/medley3/haunt-my-heart-novel/

     

    Let me know what you think of the new cover 😀

     


  • A souvenir turns out to be much more in Haunt My Heart

    Haunt 1

    Since Haunt My Heart is FREE now through Halloween, I thought I would share some excerpts this week to get you into a haunting mood. Don’t worry, my ghost hero is good.

    Haunt My Heart is the story of a hexed Civil War soldier who gets a second chance at life and love after he’s freed from a fetter in modern-day Fredericksburg, Virginia.

    It all starts when Sarah finds a ring on the grounds of Chatham Manor after a night of ghost-hunting. She takes home much more than a souvenir.

    Excerpt from Haunt My Heart:

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - Copy

    Ellie opened the driver’s side door, and Sarah waited for her to crawl across the seat of the old Mustang and pop the passenger-side lock. The broken power locks were one of many deficiencies in the classic car. Sarah retrieved her betraying phone from her pocket and powered it up as Ellie shuffled about inside the car.

    As she checked her phone display, a glint of light on the ground to her right caught her eye. Aiming her screen at the ground like a flashlight, she bent low and searched for the source of the flash. Just as she began investigating, though, she heard the lock pop, and Ellie pushed the door open. The door hit Sarah in the head, knocking her to the cold, hard ground.

    “Sorry,” Ellie said, scrambling to catch the door before it slammed closed again.

    Sarah mumbled a few choice obscenities and rubbed her head. She reached down and ran her finger over something half-buried in the ground.

    “What is that?” Ellie was hanging out the car, her body stretched across the seats.

    “I don’t know.” Sarah turned the flashlight of her phone up to full beam and picked at the object in the frozen turf. “Do you have a pen or something?”

    Ellie scuffled around inside the dark, rolling landfill that was her car—the interior lights long burned out—and produced a screwdriver instead. “Will this work?”

    Sarah took the offered screwdriver and dug at the buried treasure. After breaking it free from its cold grave, she examined it by the light of her cell phone. “It’s a ring.”

    “Let me see.”

    Ellie scrambled back into the driver’s seat. Sarah joined her in the car, then shut the door against the cold.

    “Hold the light,” Sarah said, digging a Kleenex from her coat pocket to clear as much of the mud from the ring as possible.

    The ring remained caked with mud, which filled the engraved edges, but the stone cleaned off easily enough. The set, a square cut black onyx, glinted. The cold metal of the band warmed in her hand.

    “You know what that is, right?” Ellie asked.

    “A ring?” Sarah couldn’t keep the sarcasm from her voice, not after the night she’d had.

    “An artifact.”

    “No. Someone just lost a class ring. Like one of the sorority girls.”

    “Does that look like a woman’s ring? No. No is the answer. That is a man’s ring. An officer’s ring or something. That could be a real-life, true-blue Civil War artifact.”

    “I doubt it. And if it is, we’ll return it. This is a national park. There are rules.”

    “I say finders keepers. Let me see it better.”

     

    Want to read? Haunt My Heart is FREE on AMAZON now through Halloween

    Haunt 3D copyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

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  • TRICK or TREAT! Haunt My Heart is FREE for the first time ever!

    TRICK or TREAT!

    FREE on Amazon Kindle for the first time ever!

    HAUNT MY HEART
    DOWNLOAD HERE 


    Free now through midnight Oct. 31.


    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again? 

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    HAPPY HAUNTING!

    If you like Haunt My Heart, please leave a review on Amazon. Many thanks!


  • Money, money, money – the results of self-publishing one month recap

    It’s the one-month birthday for Haunt My Heart. In the spirit of full disclosure to everyone following my publishing and now my self-publishing journey and in the hopes of inspiring, informing and encouraging new authors with the truth… here’s what happened this month.

    Beware–the truth is in here.

    Thing started out pretty good (in my humble opinion). Of course, I only have my other author friends’ experience to compare it to. All in all it was better than some, worse than others. Still here’s what happened and how I did or didn’t influence it.

    The numbers

    I uploaded Haunt much too early on January 3 because I was anxious and unsure how long it would actually take to appear on Amazon. Official release day was January 5. I went exclusively with Amazon and enrolled it in KDP, which means it was also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (the subscription program).

    Here are my Amazon sales rank results.

    Haunt Amazon sales rank month one

    It started out pretty strong. I didn’t do pre-order sales. It was REALLY hard to not do pre-order sales because I LOVE having those sales links. it makes it tough to do a lot of pre-promotion without sales links too but I wanted to biggest initial bump I could get. Right or wrong, I chose no pre-order. The highest sales ranking Haunt achieved was 24,881 on release day.

    Here’s my actual sales chart.

    haunt book sales month one

    I had a good bump the first evening after it went live and then the day after my Facebook book launch event. That other spike on January 16 was a result of the blog post I did The cost of self-publishing one book. That post got 1,149 hits to-date (547 on Jan. 16) and people went crazy over it. Mostly good, some negative. That post helped me to sell five books that day so, yay!

    month to date sales Haunt on Amazon

    I was a little underwhelmed with the Kindle Unlimited borrows. I mean, it’s FREE to subscribers. I thought it would reach a LOT more readers than it did. I’m not sure how to increase the exposure there. I started posting daily (for a week and a half) in six different FB Kindle Unlimited groups. I think that has gotten me maybe one borrow a day.

    No one likes to talk about the numbers but authors want–no–need to know. I don’t know why it has to be a big secret. We can learn from one another. It doesn’t have to be a competition. It should be a cooperation.

    Anywhooo…(steps off of soap box)…

    The money

    So, how much did all this amount to in hard-earned cash?

    This screenshot is my e-book sales.

    haunt royalties first month

    This screenshot was my print copy sales.

    haunt print copies royalties units sold month one

    Honestly, print doesn’t hardly seem worth the trouble EXCEPT for the ability to order your own copies for sale at book signings, conventions, promotions and to giveaway to family etc.

    $10.24 was the lowest CreateSpace would let me sell it for. $10.99 is pricey to me for a print book, but several people had insisted they really wanted my book in print. Ten of them bought it from Amazon.

    I did sell around 21 copies out of my car, at my in-person book launch and at my husband’s workplace. I sold those for $10 each so I pocketed around $5.50 a book on those sales, which was a better royalty BUT none of those sales counted toward my Amazon sales numbers. They could have really pushed up my rankings. Would it ultimately have made any difference? Gotten me onto any Top 100 lists? Would those same buyers have gone to Amazon to buy instead of buying my in-person signed copy? Probably not.

    I also gave away 15 copies to friends, family and for prizes.

    I gave away or sold the first 50 books I ordered and reordered another 40 for book signings etc. through the year.

    The review game

    Working with my street team, author network and some random strangers, I managed to accrue 18 Amazon Reviews and five on Goodreads. Of those reviews there were:

    Reviews for Haunt My Heart: 16 – 5-Star, 1 – 4-Star, 1 3-Star

    The 3-star review was from a random stranger who commented my book could have benefitted from some extensive editing (not for typos but for content). I refer her to this post The importance of beta readers and editing for self-publishing. You can’t please everyone 😀

    The promotion & marketing

    I couldn’t afford to spend much on promotion and marketing. What I did do was the following:

    • Facebook Book Launch event the night of release day online and in-person at a local coffee house FREE
    • Facebook post boosts with sales link $25
    • One day book blitz with Bewitching Books (around 20 blog posts, spotlights, interviews) $40
    • Guest posts/spotlights on author friend’s websites (around 20 posts) FREE
    • Posted daily for about two weeks in six different Kindle Unlimited Facebook groups FREE
    • Tweeted hourly for the first week, then backed off. I try to tweet a few times a day now $10 for Hootsuite but I’ve unsubscribed now. FREE
    • Random posts on Facebook until I annoyed all of my friends to death FREE

    The results

    So the grand total royalties for my first month of self-publishing Haunt My Heart?

    $246.87

    The irony of all of this is that as I was working on this post I received my third royalty statement from my traditional publisher. Since publication last March (for two books), I’ve made $287.01 with a traditional publisher.

    I’ve nearly made that in one month all by myself.

    The future

    My second self-published book, Reap & Repent, will release on March 2. Repent was first published last March with Harlequin. I’ve since had the rights reverted back to me to all three books in my Reaper Series. I’m excited about the opportunity to regain control of my writing and my career.

    I’ll never give control away again.

    Viva, Indie!

    Want to read Haunt My Heart or Reap & Repent?

    Haunt My Heart is available on AMAZON now in e-book and print.

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Reap & Repent:  Book One – March 2015

    Repent600x900Reap & Repent blurb

    They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

     

     

     

     


  • A roundup of Haunt My Heart posts you may have missed

    Whether you’ve already read the book or are interested in how it came to be, here’s a roundup of Haunt My Heart posts you may have missed.

    Happy reading!

    How a ghost hunt became a book

    A ghost at Chatham Manor? The Lady in White and Haunt My Heart

    Fallen and fettered in Haunt My Heart

    Could magic win a war? Witchcraft and grimoires used in battle in Haunt My Heart

    Secret codes and magic texts in Haunt My Heart

    Ghostly encounters and spooky spectrums: A Civil War ghost gets a second chance in Haunt My Heart

    Ghost scripts in Haunt My Heart: Love letters from the other side

    Supernatural weapons and magical battles: Behind the scenes of war in Haunt My Heart

    Virginia is for lovers. Haunt My Heart heats up Fredericksburg

    Haunted Objects and Horrifying Hexes Haunt My Heart

    A souvenir turns out to be much more in Haunt My Heart

    Want to read? Haunt My Heart is available on AMAZON now in e-book and print.

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.


  • #8Sunday Sentences from Haunt My Heart: Some days, nothing goes right.

    This week’s selection is from Haunt My Heart, which is available on AMAZON now in e-book, print and FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Haunt My Heart is the story of a hexed Civil War soldier who gets a second chance at life and love after he’s freed from a fetter in modern-day Fredericksburg, Virginia.

    Our heroine, Sarah, is in a tight spot. Have you ever been in a situation you didn’t know if you’d get out of? Comment below :D

     

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - Copy

    Thinking of that led her straight down the squirrel path in her mind to their night together. Or few hours, if she wanted to get technical. She’d had the best sex of her life with a virtual stranger and was now a prisoner with her supposed ghost lover in the back of a Men-in-Black car being taken to a secret government location.

    Yeah. That seemed about right.

    What she wouldn’t give to have Ellie here right now. She’d have this mess sorted in no time. Sarah fingered the necklace around her throat.

     

    That’s all until next week, folks. Thanks for visiting.

    Click on the WeWriWa link to check out the other participating authors. So many tasty samplings!

    Want to read? You can get Haunt My Heart here: Amazon Kindle     


    3D Haunt my HeartBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.


  • The cost of self-publishing one book: By the numbers.

    my bookshelf with Repent and HauntHaunt My Heart is in the world and exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Haunt is my first independently published book and I’m pretty dang excited!

    The best thing about indie publishing is that you get to make ALL of the decisions.

    The worst thing about indie publishing is that you have to make ALL of the decisions.

    There were a few trying moments. My friend and fellow author Cara Bristol talked me down from more than one ledge. Ultimately, it was the best decision I’ve made so far in my publishing career.

    I honestly thought that publishing with a big-name traditional publisher would sell more books for me via their brand than I ever could  on my own. This past year has proved to me that’s not necessarily true.

    I know lots of authors don’t like to talk about the financial side of things, but I think it’s important for aspiring authors to know what they’re getting into. Sure, there are a few publishing miracles and books (and authors) that rocket to the top of bestseller lists but most of us are here working in the trenches just trying to tell our stories and get them read.

    As a reader, I never considered what it took for a book to make it to my shelf or e-reader. Now that I’m on the other side of that curtain of Oz, all has been revealed.

    I kept a list of expenses thus far for Haunt My Heart and share them now.

    What self-publishing costs. Breaking it down…

    Haunt expense wp

    So, $1,315 to get this one book published in digital and print. I suspect it cost around the same for a traditional publisher. Obviously some books have a much bigger budget and get tons of marketing/advertising/special photo shoot covers etc., which would have to be added in. I’ll spend more on marketing myself over the coming weeks and months.

    I snarkily mentioned that the actual writing of the book is incalculable. Maybe not entirely. Haunt My Heart is 68,000 words. I average–during active writing–500-1,000 words an hour. Let’s say then, Haunt was written at an average of 750 words per hour.

    68,000/750=90 hours of active writing x $20 per hour (day job wage) = $1,813

    Of course that doesn’t count the undocumented pile of hours it took for research, editing, more editing, marketing and promoting. That truly is incalculable.

    Still, you get the idea of what goes into a book in time and money.

    What can you expect to make? By the numbers.

    The next questions everyone wants to know is how much am I making per copy. Well, let me tell you, for my traditionally published books, I’ve earned less than a hundred dollars for all of the combined editions and incarnations this past year and sold a total of 420 copies since March 2014.

    Do that math…don’t worry, I’ll wait 😀

    Now, it’s true I had very little upfront financial output for the traditionally published books. The burden of publishing costs lay with the publisher. I also did not receive any advance money. What I did get was the coveted CALL, and FANTASTIC editing. Those things were very valuable and overall it was a good experience. I have no regrets and how have three well-honed stories.

    I bought some promotional cards, banners, advertising etc. for each of those publications. Plus all the other ‘stuff’ it’s taken to be published. I also attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention two years in a row to network and market myself and my book. That cost me around $1,500 per convention. I’m skipping it this year.

    Since I began this journey in July of 2011, I’ve kept receipts of my expenditures. Nearly all of them. And now that I’ve finally received a paycheck, I can deduct my expenses from my taxes. Wonder how much those receipts have added up to?

    Are you sitting down?

    $7,156.35.

    So now, perhaps you’re wondering–I know I would be–how much I expect to make with my indie published book.

    For the print copies I’ll make approximately $2.48 per copy sold on Amazon at $10.99 each. For the e-book edition, I’ll make $2.75 cents per copy sold on Amazon at $3.99 each. I make considerably more selling print copies out of my trunk and at appearances. For each hand-sold book at $10 each, I pocket a little over $5. BUT, those hand-sales do not help your Amazon rankings one iota. So there’s the rub. Earn more, but hurt your algorithm potential.

    See why I’ve gone indie?

    The benefits of exclusivity.

    For Haunt My Heart, I’m going exclusively with Amazon and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) for the first ninety days. Maybe longer. The immediate benefits I see are these:

    1.  Haunt My Heart will be available through Kindle Unlimited‘s download service.
    2. Ninety percent or more of my readers are reading through Kindles or Kindle apps (or could).
    3. I have more of an opportunity of exposure through Amazon marketing and lists

    For each KU (Kindle Unlimited) download for which the reader reads at least ten percent of the book, I’ll get a royalty of approximately $1.50. KU downloads are ‘free’ to KU subscribers ($9.99 a month subscription for virtually unlimited reading from their available selection).

    In conclusion, to ‘break even’ on Haunt My Heart, I’ll need to sell approximately:

    531 print versions… or

    479 e-book versions…or

    878 KU downloads…or

    263 hand-sold print copies…or

    some combination of those three to recover the costs of publishing. That doesn’t include any profit or compensation for the time I’ve spend writing/marketing/promoting/ or thinking about this one book.

    I’m not quitting my day job. Not just yet. In my mind, the end goal is clearly to write and publish for a living and replace my day-job income.

    I turn 50 in 2018.

    I’d like to spend the second half of my life doing this crazy thing for a living from the Big Cedars.

    For a girl who’s adverse to math, that’s a lot of numbers. I hope it helps guide you on your writing journey. And may the words be with you.

    Have you ever tried or succeeded in working your dream job?  What happened? What’s your second act dream?

    Want to read my first self-publishing effort? Lucky you! You can get it here: Amazon Kindle     

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

     


  • EVENT: USE YOUR WORDS Friday, January 16

    Join me to tomorrow night in downtown Springfield with three local authors for a ridiculously fun night of romance books and improv. Improv actors will be using selections from Haunt My Heart among others to perform skits. It will be mortifyingly hilarious.

    Don’t miss it!

    Join the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE!

    Use Your Words Jan 16 (1)

    You can get your very own copy of Haunt My Heart here: Amazon Kindle     


    3D Haunt my HeartBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.


  • Contest! Review Haunt My Heart and Win!

    Do you feel lucky?

    I’m running a contest through Friday, January 23.  Get your copy of HAUNT MY HEART and post your honest review on Amazon and Goodreads for your chance to win e-copies of Reap & Repent and Reap & Redeem.

    reaper books

     

    I’ll use Randomize.org from all posted reviewers on Friday January 23. That gives you two weeks to read and post.

    Lucky you! You can get Haunt My Heart here: Amazon Kindle     

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.


  • 5 Lessons From Self-Publishing

    happy first birthday

    Today is the one-week birthday of HAUNT MY HEART, my first self-published book.

    It’s not, however, my first book. My publishing career began last March with the release of Reap & Repent and continued in July with the release of Reap & Redeem by Harlequin E. I was pretty excited to sign with a big-name publisher even though it was a new, digital-only line.

    Let me tell you. I’ve learned a lot in this past year, which is exactly why I self-published my ghost romance, Haunt My Heart.

    1. The best thing about self-publishing is that you get to make ALL of the decisions.

    After spending a year at the mercy of a very, very, speed-of-silence publisher, not having to ask anyone for permission, or an ARC, or a cover pic, or a timeline is nice. Self-publishing is sort of like being a construction contractor. You hire all out all of the work. Since those subcontractors work for you, you have the power and set the deadlines. Yeah. That’s really nice.

    2. The worst thing about self-publishing is that you HAVE to make all of the decisions.

    Sure, you get to hire out all of the work (Or do it yourself. Don’t.), but the problem is deciding who to choose. I googled until my eyes crossed, consulted with other authors I trusted, and agonized over each decision. Was this the right cover artist? Should I try to format it myself? Can I afford to pay an editor,  and then a copyeditor too?

    It comes to the point where you just have to take a leap of faith and forge ahead. Not blindly, you’ve done some homework, but if you second guess each step, you’ll be paralyzed. Make a choice. Just do it.

    The cool thing about being an independent author is if you discover you did make a mistake, you can fix it. Immediately. Without an email committee of gatekeepers to struggle through.

    3. Money is not the root of all evil. Access to real-time sales statistics is.

    Amazon shows me the money. And the stats. And the rankings. Dear sweet and fluffy lord.

    After having very little insight into real-time sales and royalties, self-publishing is like being paroled. Or I assume it is. I’ve never been in actual jail. (No, that trespassing ticket didn’t count.) I published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct and CreateSpace where you can see if you’ve had a sale practically minute-by-minute…or not.

    I swear if Amazon ever makes an author app that dings or sends  a notification for each sale and/or review, I’m sunk. I’m already addicted to obsessively refreshing the page on my phone and laptop. Yeah. It’s bad.

    I’m the poster child for Pavlov’s dog.

    4. Marketing is annoying. For you and for me.

    I hate being THAT person on Twitter and Facebook, but if I’m not tooting the Haunt My Heart horn, who will? A big-time publisher sure didn’t. If someone knows of a better way, I’m all for it. The hardest thing about publishing is building a platform and finding your people. I’ve been following the Field of Dreams philosophy so far. If you build it, they will come.

    5. You can make money and still not make a profit.

    There are some amazing self-publishing success stories out there. Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey, Jacinda Wilder…you know the names. Of course, the dream is it could just as easily be YOU. Lightning could strike.

    After my first week of sales, I’m pretty pleased. No lightning strikes, but I have earned 4.5x as much in one week being self-published as I did in two quarters with two traditionally published books. Yeah. That math makes your head hurt doesn’t it.

    That said, I’m a long, long way from profitability.

    But, I’m in this for the long-run, and I know you have to plant a lot of seeds sometimes before you can reap a harvest.

    Good that I know a thing or two about reaping.

    Want to read my first self-publishing effort? Lucky you! You can get it here:  Amazon Kindle     

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

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