Sunday, January 14, 2018

5 gifts for readers to give to authors

Authors love it when readers buy our books. It's expensive to be an author, probably more than you would think. We're business people. Manufacturers of stories. We want our customers to enjoy our products--books--and we know that, for readers who have a serious "book addiction", it can be expensive for you, too.

So I'm going to suggest 5 things you can do that have no cost but your time. And they're easy. All they take are a few words or the click of a mouse.

Tell a friend. If you enjoyed a book, tell a friend who might enjoy it, too. Let them know why. You could say things like...

  • I know you love American history, and this time-travel story is so well-researched.
  • I have another Pride & Prejudice retelling to recommend.
  • I think you'd really like this new mystery author, with all his twisty plot points and none of the gore.

Tell a teacher or a book club.  Do you know any people in book clubs? Any middle or high school English teachers? They are looking for good books to read or for their students to read. Suggest the books you love, especially if the books have lower "discoverability." Hundreds of thousands of titles release each year. Books from authors with a big fan base will be noticed. Books with big marketing pushes behind them will be noticed. But many great books will get lost in the noise. So if you enjoyed a small book, a quiet book, a book that deserves to be noticed more than it has been, recommend it to people who are actively seeking new and amazing stories.

LIKE a positive review. This one is so easy. Go on a site with reviews, such as Amazon or Goodreads. Find a positive review that seems to reflect a story well, and click LIKE. Simple, no cost, and helpful. That positive review is more likely to be seen now. That's because the number of LIKEs influence where the review appears by default. Reviews with lots of LIKEs "float to the top." You could really be helping an author by helping that good review to leave a first impression on potential readers.

Request it from the library. Libraries have limited budgets, so they have to make careful choices on how to spend them. They have to predict what their patrons want to read. If you request a book, you are telling them what you want to read--and they don't have to guess any longer!

Be social. Let us know you're there. Send us a fan letter through email; we all have contact forms on our websites. LIKE us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Find us on Bookbub or Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletters. With all of the way there are to control what you see on social media, you won't get overwhelmed with content. (Well, there is a gotcha with Facebook. FB generally only sends an author's postings to 10% of her followers, so you might not see them often.)

There you are. 5 ways to give back to your favorite authors--and they don't cause anything but time.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fun with SWAG

Do you like to get Stuff We All Get (SWAG) from authors?

I do. I love to pick up bookmarks, pens, jelly bean bags, etc. It's fun to take a few things home and think about meeting the author. But, I must admit, most of it ends up in the trash pretty quickly.

I have a new YA releasing in February, and I'm in the process of creating some SWAG as giveaways. As I was trying to decide what to order, I thought I might ask readers!

So here's your chance. Tell me what you think about SWAG. You can comment here--or fill in an anonymous Google form survey.

In the past, I've given away bookmarks, trading cards, lip gloss, recipe cards, and temporary tattoos. At a recent author event at a local high school, I put out several hundred bookmarks, trading cards, and tattoos--and they all disappeared within seconds. While I suspect most of it made its way into the trash can by nightfall, that's okay. My website had a lot of hits that day, so that's a win for me!

Most readers will likely say that free books are great SWAG. I agree! But let me make a comment about the free thing.

Although a book might be free for the reader, it is not free for the author. We have to buy the books we give away. And, yes, we'll probably get them for a lower price than readers, but it's still not cheap. Here are some ballpark figures to buy and deliver a book to a reader (with a US address):

  • Paperback - $10
  • Hardcover - $15
  • E-book (traditional) - $10
  • E-book (self-pubbed) - pennies

For international readers, the shipping cost is crazy. 30 - 40 dollars (USD) is not uncommon. I still try to hold giveaways for international readers, but they will often get books shipped to them directly from, which means it won't be signed.

Bookmark for WHISPER FALLS and I WISH

there you are--some quick insights into SWAG and giveaways. If you have some ideas to share, please comment or fill in the survey. Thank you!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tuesday is Happy Book Birthday to Whispers on the River

December 19th is the book birthday for Whispers on the River.

It's been 3 years since Whispers from the Past (Book 3 in the Whisper Falls series by Elizabeth Langston) was published. I actually had the idea for the story then, but had to put off writing it until this year. So here it is, the 4th Whisper Falls book:

Forced to leave her childhood home, Abigail Clarke flees to the royal capital of North Carolina. She soon finds that there are few jobs for a girl who’s only been trained to be a gentleman’s wife or a healer. Starting over as Abby, she lies her way into a position as a maid in the royal governor’s household.

But her healing skills—and her magical talent for knowing—have drawn the attention of the governor’s stepson. Nathaniel Eton is charming, mysterious–and completely forbidden to a servant. Yet Abby can’t resist her fascination with him…until his secrets threaten to put the fragile, new life she’s created into jeopardy.

This book is set entirely in 1771; it is historical fiction with just a hint of magic. This book is in a form called a companion novella: companion--because it features two secondary characters from Whisper Fallsnovella--because it's a short novel, only 150 pages long. It is a "fish out of water" tale, with a Cinderella-like romance.

Whispers on the River releases Dec 19 on Amazon and Kobo. It releases Dec 26 on iBooks and B&N.

The pre-order price is 99 cents. It'll go up to $2.99 after releasing.



Have a happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cookie exchange and giveaway for the holiday season!

My author-friends at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood are having another fun event to celebrate the holiday season.

It's a cookie exchange. You can visit each of our websites (10 in all!), collect a holiday cookie recipe, and maybe enter for some great prizes and giveaways on each website. Once you can match a cookie name to its author, you can enter for the grand prize--$100 gift card to Amazon.

The cookie exchange will run from Dec 8 - 12.

I'm giving away an ebook copy of The Possibility of Somewhere.

Join me on the hop!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday is here--and The Possibility of Somewhere is on sale!

From Black Friday through Christmas, The Possibility of Somewhere (e-book) is on sale for $2.99 .

It's a great time to read this modern-day Pride&Prejudice between Eden-- a poor white "trailer park" girl-- and her academic rival Ash-- the son of wealthy, Asian immigrants.

Tell your friends. Or send it to them as a gift.

Here is what people have said about The Possibility of Somewhere:

"Julia Day's modern day tale of Romeo and Juliet meets Pride and Prejudice will touch your heart." - Katie McGarry, bestselling author of Pushing The Limits

"How do I explain the total awesomeness of The Possibility Of Somewhere??? ... Eden & Ash rule my ships!" - Laura's Book Addiction

"To some extent...Eden reminded me of myself. I grew up in trailer parks more often than not, had little money, wanted to go to college, was fairly good with grades but not as good as Eden, and I had and still have to this day problems with socialization. She is wary of others, keeps to herself a lot, and while our reasoning may be different, the results are the same..." - Brandi's Book Blog

"An engaging read...full of drama..." - School Library Journal

"The Possibility of Somewhere is a stunning novel. I have not heard people talking about this book nearly enough. More people need to read The Possibility of Somewhere. It is breathtakingly fantastic." - Michelle at Book Briefs

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Free books - so many ways to win!

I'm part of a 16-author Halloween giveaway. Now through October 31, join us for fun goodies, giveaways of books, and the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

As part of the Trick-or-Treat fun, I'm giving away a print book; one winner will choose between a hardcover of The Possibility of Somewhere, a paperback of Whisper Falls, or an ARC of Fade to Us.

So check out the details on my Trick-or-Treat blog hop page.

Also, for a limited time, Wishing for You (e-book) is free at most online retailers. Download it today at: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, or B&N.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Always there in my books

In 2017, I've written a series of posts with titles that begin "Always there...". The posts feature story elements that I always include in my books.

I introduced this set of posts by saying, "when authors write young adult novels, there are many aspects that we're all trying to achieve: a well-written story with a good plot, sympathetic characters who struggle with relatable problems, and interesting settings. I have other elements that will always be there. Some appeared without me really thinking about. Others--I [intentionally] decided to include in every book or series..."

There are 9 Always There posts now. I'll list them here, so that you can see the elements that I want all of my books/series to have.

Something that seems to be in all of my books is Sports. This is an interesting choice for me, since I am really not much of a participant or spectator of sports. I do watch the Olympics, and I occasionally watch a pro football or baseball game on TV. But really, sports is not important to me or my immediate family. It's kinda strange that it's featured in my books:

  • Whisper Falls - Mark is a mountain bike racer.
  • I Wish - Eli and Scott are soccer stars. Kimberley and Sean are ballroom dancers (and dance IS a sport.)
  • The Possibility of Somewhere - Eden was on the track team until it became too expensive for her to participate. Ash is involved in all kinds of sports, like surfing and golf.
  • Fade To Us - Micah is into fencing and swimming. Brooke and Micah love to go running and hiking (especially together). And, of course, there is baseball. They are both huge fans, and Brooke's mom is a lady umpire.

So, yeah, lots of sports. I like researching it and writing about it. I'm just not interested in sports outside of fiction...