Monthly Archives: October 2013
Author Spotlight! Abby L. Vandiver
I have a very special guest today, Abby L. Vandiver. Her book, In The Beginning, has been an Amazon best seller! Thank you for joining us today!
Abby L. Vandiver is a nom de gare.
In the Beginning: An Amazon #1 Best Seller
Not fast paced or action pact, In the Beginning is thought provoking and a page turner. Set in 1997, it follows Biblical Archaeologist Justin Dickerson, who is unhappy with her life in general and has decided to run away from her problems. Intervening, her mentor asks that she go with him to the Fifty Year Jubilee commemorating the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. There she finds that in 1949 Jerusalem some of the 2,000 year old manuscripts, hidden in clay pots in the caves of Qumran, may have been destroyed.
Justin, obsessed with this revelation, is determined to get to the bottom of the deceit. Uncontrollable emotion takes hold of her, and family and faith help guide her as she unfolds the truth of Earth’s ancient mysteries discovering what really happened In the Beginning . .
Purchase In the Beginning:
I’ve only published one. In the Beginning is my debut novel. It is not fast paced or action packed, but it is thought provoking and a page turner. It has been compared to Dan Brown’s books, but I wrote mine six years before he emerged and also to the Indiana Jones movies. I find the comparison to that adventure series very complimentary. In the Beginning follows Justin Dickerson, a Biblical archaeologist, on her quest to discover what lies hidden in 2,000 year old manuscripts. What she finds, however, are the answer to Earth’s ancient mysteries.
What motivated you to write your book(s)?
I really don’t know what made me write the book. I remember I had just lost my job and instead of thinking I should fine tune my resume and look for another job, I decided I would write a book.
What do you think your book(s) offer to your readers?
I think that my book offers a fresh, unique look at the age old mysteries that surround our ancient ancestors and what they were able to accomplish, such as building the pyramids, brain surgery and the carvings into the Nazca Plains in Peru. I think that my book is one of a kind in its premise and I wonder if any readers of sci-fi can prove me wrong!
Who is your favorite character from your book? Why?
My favorite character is Justin, the main character in In the Beginning. I made her a lot like me so I can really relate to her. In the book she suffers from depression but I think she really shows strength (albeit while acting a little crazy) by accomplishing all she does. Depression can be a very debilitating illness, but she figures out the secrets of the universe, sort of speak, against all odds.
Do you prefer pen/paper or the computer when you write?
I like writing it out the best, I think. I like to fill up notebooks and scraps of paper with all my thoughts on the book. But sometimes I scold myself about that because it makes me do double work. The time I spend on writing it out long hand I could spend typing it into the computer. But I still do it.
What do you do to get yourself to focus when you’re writing a scene? (music, location, etc)
I may have the radio or TV on, but when I write I zone out. I am certainly not one to have any kind of ritual when I write. I really just stumbled on writing as a profession. I had never thought of it until recently. So no mood, lighting, or magic needed. Just when something pops into my head, I write it down.
Do you prefer reality or fantasy?
Definitely reality. But not non-fiction. I just like books, whatever the genre, to be plausible. To be as much like reality as they can.
Who are your favorite authors?
Me. (Can I say that).
Out of all of the books you’ve read, which books have “stuck” with you?
It’s a book called The Mirror. I must have read that book more than 30 years ago, maybe longer. I can’t tell you who the author is, but all I know is I can remember that book like I read it yesterday. It’s about a girl who looks in the mirror and is pulled through it, back in time and becomes her grandmother as a young woman. I just love that book.
What type of advice would you give other indie authors?
GET A PROOFREADER! (I know the name of a good one if you need it). It is so hard to catch your own mistakes. I learned that the hard way. Get someone to look over your manuscript, because for some reason, which I don’t agree with, reviewers are assessing your book with misspelled words as a factor. So, be circumspect.
Have you had any regrets regarding this writing/publishing/marketing process? Is there anything you would do different?
Nope. Not one thing.
Since you started this journey in writing, what are some positives and some negatives you’ve encountered?
Yes, just like in any experience there are good and bad things. One of the negative things is people basing their judgment of my book based on their beliefs. My book is just for fun. I am not purporting any secret agenda or trying to prove a point. I just want people to sit back and enjoy the book. One of the positives is all the great authors that I’ve met.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to go to the movies, and I love to shop and travel.
Tell us your most memorable or proudest moment.
When In the Beginning became an Amazon #1 Best Seller. You can’t beat that feeling.
Tell us something interesting about you that your readers may not know.
That just like Justin in my book, I suffer from depression.
Finally, if you could say something to your readers, what would it be?
BUY MY BOOK!!!
Thank you for joining us! It’s always a pleasure to have another author on my blog, especially a number one Amazon best selling author!
Author Spotlight: Joe DeRouen
I am excited to introduce Joe DeRouen, the author of Small Things (volume 1) and Threads (Small Things) as my guest today.
Joe was born in Carthage, Illinois, and currently lives in Rogers, Arkansas with his artist wife Andee, their son Fletcher, and their cats Lucky, Milo, and Camptown. Joe is a freelance writer and a substitute teacher at Benton County School of the Arts. In addition to writing, he enjoys purchasing (and occasionally watching) copious amounts of Blu-Ray discs, listening to music, playing video games, and collecting Mego action figures from the 1970s. Small Things is his first novel. Threads, the sequel to Small Things and the second book in the trilogy, will be published sometime in late 2013. You can write to Joe at Joe@JoeDeRouen.com or visit his website at JoeDeRouen.com.
Mr. DeRouen books:
Synopsis: It’s a hot June morning in a small Midwestern town when fifteen-year-old Shawn Spencer arrives at the church for his best friend Tanner’s funeral. Though his drowning was officially ruled an accident, Tanner’s sister Jenny swears she saw something rise up from the Carthage Lake to pull the struggling teenager beneath the surface. Shawn doesn’t believe in monsters… but he will… The real threat, however, lies in the man behind the monster, a mysterious old man who has vowed to settle an old grudge and regain something that was stolen from him decades earlier. To survive the dark days and nights ahead, Shawn must not only decipher what the man is after, he must move past his own grief, fears, and insecurities, and learn to trust in Jenny, the disgraced town sheriff, and, most importantly, in himself. The Small Things trilogy spans forty years and three generations in a tale of murder, betrayal, corruption, sacrifice, love, redemption, faith and magic that culminates in a showdown that will pit the very forces of heaven and hell against Shawn and his family in a battle for the future of mankind and the world itself.
Synopsis: History is changing around nineteen-year-old Ben Spencer, and he’s powerless to stop it. His sister has disappeared, his family thinks he’s schizophrenic, and, worse yet, the girl he’s madly in love with won’t give him the time of day. Enter the mysterious Michael, who, years earlier, helped Ben’s parents defeat a powerful sorcerer bent on destroying them and reclaiming a relic stolen from him years before. With Michael’s help, Ben will travel back in time, to 1977, and attempt to set the past straight. But will he undo himself and the woman he loves in the process?
1. Briefly tell us about the book(s) you have published.
Small Things is a dark urban fantasy set in a small mid-western town in 1975 and tells the story of Shawn Spencer’s investigation into the death of his best friend Tanner, and his coming to terms with that fact that monsters are real and the humans behind them are even more terrifying. Threads, my second novel, is a sequel to Small Things.
2. What motivated you to write your book(s)?
I was tired of carrying the stories around in my head.
3. What do you think your book(s) offer to your readers?
Hopefully, a good story!
4. Who is your favorite character from your book? Why?
Probably the emotionally damaged sheriff, Fred Ruskin, who years before the book takes place, lost his wife and daughter to a serial killer. There are many obstacles on his road to redemption, and we’re not sure whether or not he’ll get there until the very end.
5. Do you prefer pen/paper or the computer when you write?
Computer, by far! Even I sometimes have a hard time reading my own handwriting!
6. What do you do to get yourself to focus when you’re writing a scene? (music, location, etc)
Mainly, just my computer and a quiet room. If I’m writing something that’s set in the past (and some of my books are) I’ll usually listen to music from that time period.
7. Do you prefer reality or fantasy?
Can I cheat and say both? As far as writing goes, I enjoy fantasy, but fantasy grounded somewhat in reality. It needs to have characters that the reader can relate to.
8. Who are your favorite authors?
Ken Grimwood, Charles de Lint, Jonathan Carroll, and of course the incomparable Rod Serling.
9. Out of all of the books you’ve read, which books have “stuck” with you?
Replay by Ken Grimwood. I’ve read it probably a dozen times over the years.
10. What type of advice would you give other indie authors?
Don’t give up, and write because you want to write, not because you want to get rich and famous.
11. Have you had any regrets regarding this writing/publishing/marketing process? Is there anything you would do different?
I’d be an instant, overnight sensation, and be rich and famous. 🙂
12. Since you started this journey in writing, what are some positives and some negatives you’ve encountered?
Promoting myself. I’m absolutely awful at it! That’s the negative. The positive was how fiercely loyal fans can be if they enjoy your writing. I’ve met some amazing people, simply because they loved my work. There can be no bigger compliment than that.
13. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, watch movies, listen to music, and more importantly spend time with my 11 year old son and my wife.
14. Tell us your most memorable or proudest moment.
Honestly, writing and publishing Small Things.
15. Tell us something interesting about you that your readers may not know.
I often have dreams that come true!
16. Finally, if you could say something to your readers, what would it be?
Buy my books! 🙂 You won’t regret it!
Thank you so much, Joe, for being our guest today. We wish you best of luck with all your future endeavors! 🙂
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
Ok, now that my book has been published, what does it mean? Can I just focus on writing my sequel and hope that people miraculously find out about Chaysing Dreams and buy it?
I learned very quickly that my work is just starting. Every evening after my “day” job, my time is focused on marketing for Chaysing Dreams and writing the sequel. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE writing the sequel. I look forward to that because I’m really enjoying the way the story is developing. Plus, I love getting lost in my characters’ world.
The marketing? I’ve got two words. IT SUCKS! But, I know I have to stay positive about it. I mean there’s no way out of it so I might as learn all that I can and keep putting my best effort.
So what have I done so far for marketing?
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JalpaWilliby I’m not quite sure how much twitter truly helps. Sure, you can market all you want, but how many people really are reading your tweets? I mean I have almost 700 followers now but most of them are authors like me. They’re doing the same exact thing as I am, trying to promote their own books. We’re all on the same page. So does twitter help? We’ll see, but for now, I’ll keep using it and hope for better results.
- Facebook: Ok, so I started Facebook account for my author page and for Chaysing Dreams. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chaysing-Dreams/570671096296291 Please hit the like button when you visit my page. Would really appreciate it. J
I think Facebook has been pretty effective. I try to post something every day- something interesting about the book. It could be the most recent review, author features, teasers, pictures, etc- anything to keep the hype up. I’ve also joined some groups on Facebook who help promote the book. I try to post something on their sites either every day or at least every other day. Some of these groups have thousands of followers so I hope that they see some of my postings. I also try to pay attention to other postings, especially of fellow authors. I then try to either share, like, or comment. This way, I’m helping them out as well.
- Website: Yes, it’s crazy, but I have my own website: www.jalpawilliby.com On my website, I’ve posted the synopsis, author bio page, some reviews, and some excerpts. I also try to write on my blog- the topics have varied all over the place. I should probably be blogging more, but honestly, I have no idea how people find the time. I’ve featured authors, I’ve written about autism, about kids with special needs, and a lot about my book. I’m not quite sure if I’m doing this right, but the neat thing is that people from all over the world have hit the website to learn more about Chaysing Dreams: US, Britain, Russia, India, South America, Canada, Philippines, China, Australia. It’s pretty damn cool. I think eventually I’ll need to hire a web designer to really get this site going. But for now, I’m making it work for me.
- Reviews: The more reviews, the better. Of course, I’ve asked my friends and family to write the reviews after they read the book. But, I’ve also sent the book out to book reviewers and fellow authors- just to get an objective, honest, and impartial review. And to my surprise, almost all have come back with five star reviews and one was a four star review. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful at the same time. So I post these reviews, hoping that people read them and want to read more about Chaysing Dreams. For me, every review is important and I take them all seriously. As an author, I can’t describe the feeling of seeing a five star review. I’ve also begun reviewing for other authors. Sometimes we trade each other’s books for an honest review. It’s good I started doing this because I’m meeting some pretty amazing people who are more than willing to give me guidance if I have questions. **If anybody out there has read Chaysing Dreams, I’d love it if you’d post a review for me on Amazon and Barnes and Noble- also goodreads if you have an account with them.
- Book Release/Book Signing: I hosted a book release/ book-signing event. That was really neat and I was truly touched at the love and support everybody showed me. We had a lot of fun and we got some cool pictures with the banner of Chaysing Dreams. I think this was good because nothing beats the personal touch; It makes all the difference in the world when you talk to people face to face instead of online or through social media.
- Visuals: I really try to use visuals to promote the book. I post the picture of the front cover of the book everywhere. I think human senses really respond to “catchy” visuals. I also use the pictures of the bookmarks, business cards, and others reading Chaysing Dreams. That’s my favorite. I can’t even describe the joy I feel when I get a pic of people reading Chaysing Dreams.
- Trailers: Ok, I believe trailers for books are very important. Again, it’s that whole visual thing. I am currently trying to get an official one released through Outskirts Press for Chaysing Dreams. And, I received an awesome surprise when Swooning Over Books sent me a fan made trailer! Honestly, I was so touched. They read the book, reviewed it, and sent the trailer. I’m telling you, I’ve met some pretty cool people through this crazy journey of mine. I wouldn’t mind getting more fan made trailers… hint, hint! 😉
- Awards/Recognitions: I’ve recently sent Chaysing Dreams out for a few competitions/Awards. Those results won’t come until next year but hey, you never know until you try.
- Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Kindle/Nook/iBooks/Outskirts Press: I have Chaysing Dreams listed on all these sites. Stop by these sites when you get a chance.
- Sales: As far as sales go, I believe it’s done the best on Amazon. If I count all of the sales, including what I’ve sold myself, all of the print books, and all of the eBooks, I’d say I’ve probably sold approximately 200 by now. The book was released around mid-August. So I guess not too bad. I have a feeling that it was mostly friends and family that have bought it so far though. Now, I have to figure out how to get to the strangers- how to convince them to buy Chaysing Dreams. I guess it’s about patience. (not my strongest virtue) But I know I’ll just have to keep trying to put it out there. The goal is to try to sell 1,000 books to help break even. So, I’ve got 800 more to go. Trust me, the cost of publishing adds up- especially if it’s by somebody like me who has to hire a professional for everything. I hired an editor, the photographer, the graphic designer, and paid extra for the customized cover of the book. (never mind the cost for all of the formatting for the print book and eBooks) Yeah, remember the goal is to sell a thousand to at least break even. So tell your friends and family and spread the word! Why do I continue to work hard on the marketing? Because I believe in the story. I put my heart and soul into Chaysing Dreams and I feel that I have to do what I can to get the word out. It’s not going to be noticed miraculously. As much as I love to live in my fantasy world, I am still sane enough to recognize that it just doesn’t work like that in reality. 🙂 If anybody has any other bright ideas on marketing, please feel free to share. In the meantime, to all who have supported Chaysing Dreams and helped in every which way, I’m humbly grateful. You guys are my true inspiration.