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Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Prepare For Your Book Release

Releasing a new book is a lot like giving birth. Your life will never be the same. The demands on your time will leave you with little time for writing or sleeping. Like expectant parents preparing a nursery, there are several things you should do before the Big Event.

Create a Media Kit
A media kit is a tidy package that contains all the information bloggers or interviewers will need to promote your book. It should contain:
1.    Your photo. Label the jpeg with your name.
2.    Your book cover. Label it with the title of your book.
3.    A short blurb about your book. (Essentially, the back page blurb.)
4.    A short excerpt.
5.    Your bio. This should be about a paragraph. Bonus points if you write it in the same vein as your book. For example, I write Young Adult Paranormal, so my bio mentions one detail from my high school years, and the fact that I am a shaman and live with a dragon.
6.    Your social media links. (No, you don't have to be on everything!)
7.    Your buy links. These may not be available until the last minute. Ask ahead of time if your bloggers would prefer you to wait and send the media kit after you have your buy links. Some will want to set up their posts and just add the buy links at the last minute.
8.    A book trailer. You may want to save the trailer and release it if sales begin to drop.

Additional Materials
1.    Author interview Q & A.
If you can afford a professional blog tour (I’ve used “I am a Reader, Not a Writer”) then by all means book one. Not all bloggers will want to do a spotlight. Some will request an author interview and will either email you questions, or want you to provide the questions and answers. (5 are a good number.)
2.    A 5 or 10s list. Lots of bloggers request these. And if they don’t, you can use them on your blog. Your lists could be about writing or books in general, or relate to your book specifically. For example Your 5 Favorite Romance Books. Or 5 Fun Facts About Dragons.
3.    Pick quotes from your book that you can use on social media.
4.    Gather advance review quotes if possible.

Social Media
You need to have some presence on the web. An author website is a must. Beyond that, decide what types of social media you enjoy. Blog. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Pinterest. Etc. Social media is necessary for book sales and an enormous time suck. Proceed accordingly. Whichever platforms you choose, google rafflecopter and learn how to do a giveaway.

After Your Book Release
Set up an author profile on Amazon by going to Author Central.
Create an author page on Goodreads. You may have to request the librarian include your new book.

Prepare what you can ahead of time. Ask questions on author loops.
Congratulations on birthing your book!

Ariella Moon is the author of the Teen Wytche Saga, a sweet contemporary Young Adult series.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If I Stay - The Inside Scoop on the Movie

Day 4

Technically, Gayle Forman’s interview occurred on Day 5. Let’s just say I’m skipping ahead to the fun stuff.

If I Stay is Gayle Forman’s heartbreaking Young Adult novel about a seventeen-year-old girl whose life is changed when she and her family are in a car accident. Nearly everyone attending Forman’s interview had read the book. The room crackled with excitement when it was announced an unnamed special guest from the movie would be joining us.

The Inside Scoop on the Movie

Gayle Forman became the Executive producer on the film. The book had been out for seven years by the time filming began. By then, the readers had become like a focus group, Forman explained. She knew which scenes they liked; their favorite lines from the book. This was a huge help in adapting the book. (Shauna Cross wrote the screenplay.)

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz had been attached to the project from the start. Having her on board helped get the movie made. The search for the male lead, however, was more difficult. But the moment Forman saw Jamie Blackley’s (Snow White and the Huntsman) audition she knew they had found the right actor to play Adam. Chloe had been equally adamant about Blackley. The young stars became close during the filming. Liana Liberato, the surprise guest, confirmed that she and Chloe had sleepovers every Saturday. Forman found it rewarding when Chloe and Liana became BFFs.

Melissa Marr interviews Gayle Forman
at RT Booklovers Convention, New Orleans 2014
If I Stay - the movie - debuts in the USA on August 22, 2014.

Buy the book

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Veronica Roth at RT Booklovers Convention

In the back of her books, Veronica Roth includes a ton of information about her international bestselling books, Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Here are a few gems you may not have already read:

1.     She has written every day since she was eleven years old.
2.     She has a cameo in Divergent. It took her five takes to remember to follow the director’s instructions.
3.     If she had lived in the world she created in the trilogy, she would have grown up Candor and left it for Abegnation. But she would have been a rebel and hidden her manuscript under her bed.

Fortunately, Melissa Marr, who interviewed Veronica Roth at RT, was forbidden to talk about Allegiant. Yay! No spoilers! I braved the chaos of the RT Bookfair to buy an autographed copy of Allegiant. Can’t wait to read it! If you haven't read it yet, here's the Amazon link.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

LGBT Fiction and Mardi Gras at RT Booklovers Convention

Day 3

If you’ve never been to a Romance Writers of America national conference or a Romantic Times (RT) Booklovers Convention you cannot conceive of the noise level of 1500-2500 people, mostly women, gathered in one spot. Hurricanes may be quieter. RT differs from RWA conferences in that RT has a party atmosphere (especially this year in New Orleans) and includes readers as well as writers. 

This year RT included a LGBTQ track, shepherded by Sarah Frantz, Senior Editor at Riptide Publishing. My take-away from those workshops was the desire for So What? novels, where the protagonist happens to be LGBTQ, and so what? I loved Scott Tracey’s comment about his Witch Eyes book (a YALSA 2014 Popular Paperback). To paraphrase, “If a character is a witch who fights demons, being gay is the most normal thing about him.” Learn more about Scott at:

Man/man books continue to be the most popular with LGBTQ publishers and readers. But as Sarah Frantz explained, female/female stories sell better to librarians and Hollywood.

Suzanne Brockmann, best known to me for her Troubleshooter Series featuring characters from Navy SEALS Team Sixteen, impressed me as a tireless, passionate, and groundbreaking advocate for LGBTQ characters. Her latest? Her family-friendly sweet boy-meets-boy movie, The Perfect Wedding. Amazon for The Perfect Wedding

Mardi Gras World Carnival
Props to Heather Graham and the nine publishing houses that sponsored this ambitious event. The logistics were daunting: transporting over a thousand people via buses, to an off-site event, then feed and entertain them, and return them to the New Orleans Marriott.

Sure the lines were endless. By night’s end I had stood in high heels for 3 hours straight, mostly in one line or another. But walking among the Mardi Gras floats was wondrous. The Mississippi River with its swift-moving barges and beautifully lit bridge was magical. Freezing, but magical.

Next up: Veronica Roth

Friday, May 16, 2014

Researching the Big Easy: Voodoo and Swamp Tours

I had one full day before the RT Booklovers Convention to jam in as much research as I could for Books 4 and 5 of the Teen Wytche Saga. My handwritten list of questions in hand, I decided to first head back to Baronne Street to see if the technical support teams for Terminator 5 were still in place. They weren’t. Thus transpired what could have been a deadly mistake…

Day 2

A smart person, upon discovering the movie crew had moved on, would have turned around and headed back to Canal Street and taken a safe route to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Cultural Center on N. Rampart St. Unfortunately, I am

1.     linear to a fault.
2.     And I realized too late that I had ventured into an unsafe part of town.

I had reached a rather exposed point of no return when I realized the error of my ways. My shamanic tracking warned me there could be trouble, but that there wouldn’t be trouble. Reasons I wasn’t too alarmed:

1.     The element of surprise. People gawked at me, a tiny silver-haired woman of uncertain age, striding in high heels as if she owned the place.
2.     I threw a massive protective spell around myself.
3.     And my dragon probably showed up about the time I turned onto N. Rampart.

The Voodoo Spiritual Temple

I had learned of the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Cultural Center through Kenaz Filan’s book, The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook, an interesting resource on the history of New Orleans and voodoo.

Priestess Miriam Chamani, Founder and Queen Mother of the temple, did not appear at first, but I sensed she was in ear shot. The clerk working the front was quite helpful, despite her initial slightly disparaging remark about a proposed plot point in book 4. (Something about real life being far less dramatic than what I had written.) Nevertheless, she warmed too me, and I left with helpful knowledge, the mambo queen’s email address, a bag of Evil Away incense (handy for the walk back to my hotel), and an unexpected treasure. I have been searching for years for the perfect shaman’s rattle. Who knew I would find it in a voodoo temple, and it would be from Ghana?

The Evil Away incense safely ushered me and my blistered feet back to the hotel in time for the second part of my research.

Captain Brent and the Swamp Tour

High on my research list was a trip to the bayou, the setting for my next book in the Teen Wytche Saga.  So I exchanged my high heels for ballet flats and headed for the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Swamp; Preserve. Good thing I hadn’t booked an airboat tour, because it rained. Hard. Where I live in the desert, if the weather report says 20% chance of rain, that means zero chance of rain. In Louisiana, 20% chance of rain means Get Your Umbrella.

For someone used to the unrelenting beige of the desert, the bayou’s lushness was a welcome revelation. High tide swelled the canal. Greenery: Cypress trees dripping with gray Spanish moss, dwarf palmettos, saw grass, water hyacinths, and more, lined the waterway, often scraping loudly against the metal roof of the boat. 

Alligators, especially active and visible because of mating season, swam alongside us. I prayed my camera batteries wouldn’t die, and my note taking would keep up with the wealth of information Captain Brent conveyed. Afterward, he and I exchanged emails, and he gifted me with a terrific article on the swamp in winter (the bayou scene in book 4 takes place around Christmas). 

Fun facts:
1.     15% of ranched alligators in Louisiana must be released into the wild.
2.     Marshland is land on top of water. Swampland is water on top of land.
3.     Alligators are cold-blooded. When it gets too cold, they will burrow into mud for warmth where the grasses afford cover, with only their snouts exposed.
4.     There are no crocodiles in Louisiana.
5. Alligators love marshmallows.

Next up: The RT Booklovers Convention begins.
~Ariella Moon