31 days down!
We did it! We're on day 31. Not only did we do the first month of 2022, but I completed my first ever challenge. Just in case you weren't following along on social media, I thought I'd drop the challenge here by day as well!
That's a Wrap!
Each year - pre COVID and even in 2021 - I attend a variety of book signings and book conventions. I love getting to meet readers in person and chat books. I especially love getting to meet readers who’ve read the books and want to talk details! In some instances, I’m able to reconnect with readers year after year and it’s wonderful!
While I love attending all signings and convention, there is one that I cherish most of all. This is because out of all conventions, the authors and readers at this one are my family.
And that convention is LLS (and all it’s sister versions)
First and foremost, LLS is about allowing readers and authors the ability to connect. It’s 3-5 days of pure nerdy, literary bliss. It’s a time to chat over meals, lose yourself in playful craft time and enchanting readings.
For me, it’s something more. It’s a group of people who fill my soul with joy. They push me to be better every single day.
from readers who support me throughout the year to readers who are dear friends - these are not just people popping by my table to grab a book and a photo. These are men and women who are by my side, in my inbox, at coffee dates with me, and being part of my life.
The authors I have met over the years are some of my closet friends. We don’t just see one another at LLS. We plot books together, we create box sets and co-author sets together. When we’re down, we call one another. When we need help, we’re a message or call a way. When we need someone to tell us not to buy the new cover…we’ll, we’re not there for that :)
I cannot think of a day that has gone by since joining these events that I’ve not spoken to at least one of my LLS family. Most days, it’s wake up to bed time in chats, on the phone, and pretending we don’t have hundreds or thousands of miles between us.
In 2020 when my mystery illness prevented me from attending, a reader made a photo of me that was passed around. And of course, my author bestie took me everywhere.
Going to conventions is a grand event. It can also be scary if you’ve not been to it before. That’s where I’m coming in now. If it’s your first year at LLS as a reader or author, comment on the blog and I’ll have something special for you as a way to say hi and like to my favorite group of people.
I can’t wait to see you all! There’s less than 6 months to go!!
If you’ve read a few of my books or have perused titles on my site or Amazon you’ve probably realized one thing - a good chunk of them take place in New Orleans. What you might not know is why.
Yes, 95% of my New Orleans books are supernatural and there are arguably maybe two places as comparable as the Big Easy as settings for the things that go bump in the night.
While the ghosts and lore are a wonderful reason to unleash witches, warlocks, vampires and more on the city in my worlds, it’s actually not the main reason.
When I write, I want to transport the reader to the setting. When it’s a fantasy world, this is actually much harder. When it’s a place I love, it’s like cuddling up in my favorite sweatshirt.
I live and breathe New Orleans. From the dark corners to the food, and the true Mardi Gras spirit to the areas of the city that don’t often make it into stories, I want to explore it all.
A book set in New Orleans is more than booze and darkness. It’s gumbo weather warnings and teasing national news people who can’t come close to pronouncing the crazy rivers and towns down there. It’s making sure the local voice explodes on the page from small details you can’t get without immersing yourself in every section of the city from the West Bank (that is, yes, on the East bank) to the constantly flooding Mid City and fancy Upper Garden District Plantations sitting in plain sight.
The pure magic when you eat your first spoonful of gumbo, or crush a beignet in your mouth while watching people wander down Decatur is blissful. The accidental find in the French Market that leads to the perfect necklace or knick-knack is one you should always experience in your life. The unadulterated rush when a float rider locks eyes with you and tosses you anything is joy-inducing. Those feelings, those emotions, come out in stories when they're set in New Orleans.
Yes, admittedly whenever I write In the real world I use places I'm fond of, but there's no place like home, and to me, New Orleans is home. It's the place where I find myself, again and again. It's the place where my characters find themselves, and their forevers, as well.
And just in case I haven't gotten to sappy with you, here's a random slideshow of some of my all-time favorite New Orleans moments.
What's your favorite place to read about? Bonus points if it's New Orleans!
Let me start by saying thank you to everyone for trusting me with your stories - I can assure you, none of us are alone. Unfortunate as that is, there is some solace we can take in that.
Throughout the last two weeks countless authors have gone down for reasons both similar to mine, and utterly different. There is still no admittance from Amazon on a bot issue or change in anything regarding rules. There is no admittance of fault, but many apologies.
Now, onto what I've been looking in to. Let me start by saying that I am in no way leading a charge, and I was looking into options so authors as a whole could learn what's going on. There will be no screenshots because this was a call - so apologies for that.
In terms of seeking legal representation: Due to Amazon's ability to terminate essentially on the spot and give no information, there is very little that can be done.
A damages claim can be filed by any author who lost significantly, but keep in mind Amazon knows you're earnings. Someone like me didn't lose a lot on Amazon royalties because they reinstated everything. I lost about $200 in earning on the new release, but it's impossible to calculate the backlist since sales vary so much month over month, plus around $400 in booked promo. It wouldn't be in my favor.
This is not to say it's not the benefit of other authors, but ensure that if you seek legal representation, that all earnings and expenses are on the table before going through with what might cost you instead of earn you (and that's if you get anything because Amazon could win if it goes to court)
In terms of a petition: Petitions are wonderful, but they're just a share of voices. For petitions to work, the entity receiving the petition must care. AKA, authors banding together isn't going to change anything. It would take readers - and millions of them - to maybe, just maybe open any sort of change.
Regarding Class Action Suits: This could not be taken on by any author who received access back into their account and all earnings. This would need to be only by those who've lost their accounts permanently.
The number required for a class action suit is (25 is sufficient), but given our "injuries" are not medical, a larger group would be needed. A lawyer would need to be found, and then the process could begin to see what could occur.
So what can we do now?
This part is easy to say, but of course, not as easy to do.
Authors: Go wide. KU is sexy, I used it for a lot of my earning, but you are beholden to Amazon and this danger then. If you're concerned about making it wide, I understand as I'm terrified.
Start saving. If you say "I can't save any money", then you're likely at a point in your career where Amazon isn't help too much. I say this because I've been there. marketing is essentially and even $50 a book goes a long way.
Begin campaigns - newsletters, blogs, social posts - letting your readers know the end of KU for your books. That will get those who only will read on KU time to read, and prepare them to purchase on other platforms.
Launch slowly, grouping series together as best as you can. Treat it like a new release. Find bloggers, find newsletters, share on social. Getting an entire series up will help with read through.
It will not happen overnight. For most of us, Amazon was not overnight either. It sucks to start over. I've been wide for almost 8 days and I've made 1 sale...1. It's exciting and depressing all at the same time, but it is a start!
Authors with account issues: keep making noise. Focus your efforts on Twitter. No more than 2 hashtags per post to keep their algorithm feed working and tag @amazonpub, @jeffbezos and @Amazonkdp.
I am still working on getting answers and accountability with the nice man who called and emailed me. While I can't reach him via email, I can callback that number and will be doing so weekly. I might not post updates if there's nothing to post, but I am not letting this just vanish into thin air.
Readers and Bloggers: If you are interested in being part of a review team for wide books for me, please fill out this form :) I'm sure other authors will have similar requests.
Readers: While buying outside of KU may not be possible, know that authors understand. We respect this and understand as we're all readers on budgets, too.
If you are in the position to buy new books on a different platform, support your authors and their new releases on other platforms. It will help them build things back up.
If you are super able to help and buy the old books on a new platform, that can help launch algorithms and backend metrics that I won't bore you with.
Lastly, reviews. If you can post reviews to new platforms you would do authors an invaluable service. I know it can be a pain to post in multiple places, but reviews unlock promotions and sales - because most people want to see what they're getting in to :)
Author are you still reading?
If you're still with me, I wanted to let you know there are a lot of fantastic resources for going wide. Admittedly, I do nto have approval to share these, so my apologies to people running these groups if you get an influx of join requests :)
Wide for the Win
Fiction Writing and Book Marketing for a Six Figure Author Career
If anyone is aware of other resources, please share in the comments. I will update as I can!
I will always be here to help in any way I can. What I've learned could be useless in a month, but I will try! We've got this. It's not going to be an easy road for those of us without agents and housing, but we should never give up on our dreams. <3
It's official, we've survived another year. Whether you kicked 2021s butt, survived nicely, or possibly took a little beating (like I did), you made it through! You're here, I'm here, and it's time to have fun <3
My favorite moment was seeing my kiddo realize we were driving into Disney World as a surprise for his 5th birthday. Drop me a comment with your favorite moment from 2021 so we can celebrate together!
2021 was a rough year for me personally. My mystery illness remained undiagnosed, but I spent so much of the year on medication that altered my mood and alertness that finding motivation to write was hard - even with the stories screaming. Add in a 70-hr a week job and a toddler home full time thanks to COVID and the fingers weren't tapping away on the keyboard like I would have liked, but I am fortunate enough to have still released!
Now for the good stuff! While I'm trying not to set release dates for 2022 just in case my muse works in a different order than anticipated, I do have a freaking awesome lineup that returns me back to my productivity level pre mystery illness in May 20201
Check out all this romancy goodness!
The Race - Steampunk
To Love a Guardsman - Military (in Cupid Wore Dogtags)
Life in Reverse - Paranormal
Slay Bells Ring - Paranormal Christmas
Trapped in Wonder - Fantasy
Magic Cursed - Dark Fantasy
Double Linked - Paranormal
Christmas and the Lamp - Christmas
Surprise YA Fantasy (in a mythical creatures boxset)
The Christmas Suit (a Christmas at midnight short in Suit Porn only available at LLS!)
Surprise Fantasy RH
Then, if there's time, I'm hoping to get to release:
Cost of Magic - Fantasy
The Flames they Found - Fantasy
I know what you're thinking - how is she going to do that after 1.5 years basically not publishing? Well, the good news is 4 of them are already written and just waiting for their time in the sun...err ereader library.
So let's survive and thrive in 2022 together!
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!