The Myths of Working from Home by Liana Brooks

If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “It must be so nice to do nothing all day and just sit at home!” I could actually sit home all day doing nothing.

America’s office culture makes most social interactions for a writer weird.

Them: “So, where do you work?”

Me: “I work at home.”

Them: “Oh, like, massage therapy or something?”

Me: “No, I actually write books.”

Them: “Oh…” *long and unhealthy pause* “Like TWILIGHT or like dinosaur erotica? I mean, not that I’m judging or anything, but is it angsty teen vampires or dino peen? ’cause I’m tweeting this and people want to know.”

Yeah, it’s awkward.

Of course there’s the people on the other side of the fence. The ones who know I write books.

Them: “It must be so great to be a writer and do nothing all day but create!”

Me: “Yeah, it’s really fun. I love my job!”

Them: “You know, I’m going to write a book too one day.”

Me: “That’s awesome!”

Them: “I can’t right now because I have a kid, and well, you probably don’t know what it’s like having kids at home. Or friends. Or a social life. But I’m way too busy to write books!”

*awkward pause as one of my four kids comes up to demand my attention*

Me: “Oh, those gosh darn kids. I can see why no one with children has ever written a book. Ever. At all. I may be lying…”

When you become a successful writer (or even a desperately-working-to-become-a-successful-household-name writer) people like to come up to you and ask what your schedule is. If you go to Google you can search for daily habits of famous authors.

10am – morning whiskey and eggs

11am to 3pm – write

3:15pm – adulterous affair with parlor maid

3:30 pm to 6pm – read newspaper

6pm – supper with other gentlemen of means

7pm – diatribe about women getting above their place and acting like humans

8pm to 11pm – objectify women and criticize their clothing

12am – try on women’s drawers

1am – dual with Lord Soinso on Parliament lawn wearing skirts

3am – fall in bed in drunken stupor

At least I assume that’s how all the literary greats lived out their days. They certainly didn’t spend them raising children, at least not according to their diaries. I dunno… there’s this assumption that men who write have a loving (possibly wealthy) wife who handles the domestic and wordly affairs while they commune with their muse (usually in the form of alcohol), and that women who write are either spinsters (looking at you Jane), childless, or older women with no familial obligations. This is based largely on the very outdated and misogynistic idea that a man’s parental duty ends at conception and that women with children can’t think about anything but diapers.

This attitude more than anything accounts for all the “I want to write a book but I’ve never found the time…” daydreamers in the world.

If you keep telling someone they can’t do something they’ll eventually believe you.

Let’s bury those myths and mountains, shall we?

Myth #1: You need to be independently wealthy to write

… lies! Most authors are either supported by a significant other or a full-time job, but very few of them are trust fund babies rolling in money. Some of the most famous authors you know were single parents and working poor when their first book came out.

Myth #2: You’ll never find time to write if you have kids

… lies! I four kids and I still find time. More to the point I make time to write. The real difference between daydream and reality here is that the people who get things done make the time to do it. If writing is important to you, you will find time to write, even if it’s sending yourself 15 minutes worth of badly spelled writing you typed out on your phone on a bumpy bus ride into work.

Myth #3: The only way to make money publishing is to know someone

… lies! Unless you’re talking about knowing yourself. That much you need to have. Know what you love, know how much work you can reasonably put into self-promotion, know your limits, and know your strengths. Line those up the right way and you can do anything.

Myth #4: There is only One True Path to publishing and it is __________

… lies! Self-publishing, publishing with a small press, and publishing with a big press are all fabulous options. What works for you isn’t what works for anyone else. What works for one book of yours may not work for your next book. Research all avenues of publication and then decide where you belong.

Myth #4: If I don’t have my family’s support I can’t write

… lies! Mostly. Listen, in April my 8th title comes out. Since 2009 I’ve published three novellas, four short stories, and in April my first novel comes out. Guess how many of those titles my parents have bought or read? Mind you, several of those short stories are free. Go on. Guess… did you guess zero?

Guess how many books my loving and supportive spouse of thirteen years has read (he doesn’t buy them because I load them on the e-reader for free)? He’s read two.

There are different kinds of support. It’s hard to write if your spouse/roommate/lover/kids/whoever shares the house with you doesn’t give you time and space to write. It’s frustrating when they question why you’re wasting your time, or ask when you’ll get a real job. But you don’t need them cheering you on. There are amazing online writing resources for authors of all ages. There are strong writing communities on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites (check out the #amwriting hashtag sometime). You can get feedback from writing communities like Absolute Write and Critique Circle.

In a perfect world your family would fully understand what you do, buy all your books, and expertly critique your work. In a less than perfect world you have to make do with what you have. Tell your loved ones that writing makes you happy and healthy, ask for 30 minutes a day (or make that time when they aren’t around), and get the rest of your support from the community of writers that is already out there and ready to cheer on new authors.

What does my day look like? It’s getting up hours before dawn (less impressive now that I live in Alaska), getting four kids out the door for school, entertaining the 3-year-old, walking the dog, dodging moose, cleaning house, running errands, volunteering for local charities, emailing people about a million crazy things, spending far too much time on Twitter (@LianaBrooks), making a to-do list before I go to bed, and carving out time to write every day, plus edits as needed. A majority of my day is spent thinking about books, but not doing any physical writing. I plot things while I clean the kitchen. I make up dialog while I’m waiting at the school carpool line. I scribble down ideas for scenes on my to-do list so that when I wake up the next morning I can write my 1000 words for the day without hesitation.

Next time you’re facing your Wall of Nope, kick it on down and remember that when you want something, nothing can stop you.

So, what are you going to create today?



evenvillainshaveinterns_600x900Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians… Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s second city so appealing—criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game.

In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging.

When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart.

Buy: Even Villains Have Interns (Heroes and Villains Book 3)


Liana Brooks would like to SCUBA dive Europa (that moon around Jupiter), but with the NASA shuttle program shut down she’s resorted to writing science fiction instead.  She likes southern beaches, warm weather, sharks, and striped socks.

Her superhero romance series started with Even Villains Fall in Love and continues with Even Villains Go To The Movies and Even Villains Have Interns. For those who prefer their romance without a side order of spandex she’s written PRIME SENSATIONS (part of the Tales From the SFR Brigades anthology) and FEY LIGHTS. Her first novel, THE DAY BEFORE, is coming out April 28th and is available for pre-order anywhere e-books are sold.

You can find Liana on the web at, on Twitter as @LianaBrooks, or on Face Book under the same name.

An Author By Any Other Name by Raven ShadowHawk

Hi folks, my name is Raven ShadowHawk, thanks for having me here today. I want to talk about pen names and how (I feel) they can (and should) be used.

First off, I suppose I should mention that Raven ShadowHawk is a pen name. Ha, so this topic is close to my heart. I should also mention that it’s not my only pen name.

OneRaven ShadowHawk

I also write fantasy under Ileandra Young and the two names are yet to meet (though I’m beginning to think a cross over is imminent). I work (write) from home while caring for my young boys (twins) and my older boy (who probably wouldn’t appreciate being called ‘boy’ as he is my partner and father to my sons :-p).


Ileandra Young

I should also mention that I have a plethora (man, I love that word!) of other names too: Leah (on my birth certificate), Trya (when I’m LARPing) Oi You (when I’m with friends), Sexy Balls (when with my old house mates – don’t ask) and Diavian / Shaniqua / Ilanyë / Lupa / Catarina / Yuvina / Minnie / Myst / Isys / Taithin / Michael (when I’m playing RPG games like Dungeons and Dragons). I have many names. Each of them has special meaning to me and that is the first thing I want to talk to you about.



Why Have A Pen Name?

Not for the hell of it, that’s for sure. Not just because you fancy a different name on the spines of your books; I honestly feel that your name should mean something. After all, it’s how you’re going to become known.

There is a (very) long story about how I picked the name Ileandra for my fantasy pennings, but the one for Raven is much shorter so I’ll tell you that. There was a man I met at university with whom I had a brief (thankfully) fling. It was intense and sexy but ended quite sharply when I told him it would be nice if he stayed the night rather than ‘partying and bailing.’ He told me I was a ‘typical woman’ and I told him to ‘get the fuck out.’ True story.

But… (!)the point of this tale, is that he used to call me his Nubian Princess (which I thought was pretty sweet). Then as he got more irritated with my insistence for an actual relationship, it became his Raven Princess (before downgrading to Typical Woman).

I liked (and continue to like) the name Raven. It has weight now, as it reminds me (on a low-key level) that all the smexxy-hot-times in the world (because they really were!) are no substitute for an actual relationship.

See? A name that means something.

Do You Need A Pen Name?

Not really. Unless you’re writing an exposé about your life with the Russian Mafia just as you’re stepping into a high profile political career. You can probably just use your own name. After all, isn’t it must easier to market/promote yourself if people know who you are? Using a pen name makes it even harder for the people who know you to find you in a saturated market, let alone the people who have no idea who you are.

Similarly if you’re writing personal, sensitive material then sure, you could use a pen name. I have a writing buddy who writes a column in the local paper. Since it’s about her life with her children, everyone has a different name to protect their identities and privacy. Not really a safety thing – it’s far too easy to find information on people these days – but if surface-level privacy is something you’re concerned about, then why not?

Is It A Marketing Thing?

I’ll be honest, it can be. Though I write with you here, now, as Raven ShadowHawk, until mid-2013 everything I wrote came under the name Ileandra Young. Now because I’ve separated the two names, I’ve made a bit of a spectacle out of it. On my blog, I refer to myself (Leah) in the third person since both I (Raven) and I (Ileandra) talk about myself (Leah) during the course of my blog posts.

Confused yet? :-p


Examples of savvy marketing with pen names range from hugely positive (JK Rowling and Robert Gilbraith) to vastly negative and fury-inducing (I won’t name these authors because they don’t deserve any attention from me for what they’re doing). Some authors use a pen name to distance themselves from the work or test the waters without the weight of their own name behind them (Stephen King, Shaun Hutson). Others use pen names to hide their gender (George Elliot, JD Robb, Harper Lee).

There are lots of reasons people feel the need to use pen names and these are just a few. I touched on this topic briefly on my own blog while discussing character names, but I would love to talk to you guys about it here. Any of you writerly types have a pen name? May I ask why? Does it have a special significance to you or, like some other writer friends of mine, is it because your true name is impossible to spell or pronounce easily? Why not hit me up in the comments and let me know?

Raven ShadowHawk can be found on her blog talking about all things writerly, or on her website. She appreciates comments and friendly discussion and takes the time to answer any and all questions.


SugarDust-200x300After an unwelcome family visit highlights romantic insecurities, Dan takes Karen to exclusive fetish club, Sugar Dust. Will the trip rescue or destroy their relationship?

Dan loves submissive women and longs to build a harem of willing females to fill what he lovingly calls his “Slave Library.” He shares his plans for sexual bliss with Karen, the first of his submissives in both his mind and his heart. But when an unexpected visit from his mother leads to uncomfortable questions about his ex, Dan realizes that past mistakes are catching up to him, faster than he can run.

The first D/s relationship to blend comfortably with her vanilla life is the one Karen shares with Dan. She treasures the freedom in the act of submission and wants nothing more than to share it with her Master for as long as possible. Why then does he insist on bringing other women into their beds? And why can’t he say he loves her?

As Dan battles his inner demons, Karen hopes a sexy mini break at the exclusive fetish club, Sugar Dust will allow them time to relax and reconnect. There she meets Beth, the personification of Dan’s past, storming in to demolish her present. Can Karen show Dan that their relationship is strong enough to break the chains of his past, before Beth drives an immoveable wedge between them with her tales of what once was?

Buy: Sugar Dust (Slippers and Chains Book 1)

What I Look for in a Publisher

Pippa Jay Author PicHi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Die-hard Whovian, Scaper, and Sith-in-training, and mum to three redhaired little monsters. I’ve not been published three years yet, but I’ve learnt a lot in that time – some of it the hard way, lol. One thing I have is a list of things I hope for from a publisher, and I thought I’d share some of the reasons I choose a particular publisher to submit to.

  1. Covers. Some might think going for a publisher with pretty covers is shallow. WRONG! As authors we know how important that cover is. It’s the first impression a potential reader gets. It’s the first thing to catch their eye. There are over 10 million books on Amazon, and more published every day. If you don’t have a cover that grabs a reader on a casual glance while browsing (and you may well be competing against favourites that reader already has), you’ve probably lost that person before you’ve had any chance to hook them. So if an author’s book or a publisher’s website full of covers grabs your attention, that’s a good start.
  2. Social media presence. I like to see that a publisher has one, and relatively active. Most publishers will expect their authors to do so – I expect the same from a publisher. Twitter is my favourite platform (BTW, that’s the best place to find me if you want to chat and hang out) so I’ll often find and follow a publisher there, and any links they post will lead me elsewhere. An active blog and FB presence is also good, plus engagement with their readers. It shows they’re committed to promoting their books and their authors.
  3. A good sales site. Something that not only looks good but is easy to use. These days people want gratification of some kind straight away, so being able to find and buy what they want with a click or two is necessary.
  4. Editing. All authors need editing, no matter how good they are. As an author I take great care in putting out the absolutely best book that I can, and a publisher that provides a good level of editing is essential. It also shows they’re just as committed to putting out a polished project as the author. I’d also advise reading a few books by a publisher that you’re interested in to get a feel for what they’re looking for and what their work is like after publication.
  5. Happy authors. You can check out Absolute Write and Preditors and Editors for any warnings or happenings with publishers, but it doesn’t hurt to talk to a few of the authors too (I know for a fact that one disgruntled author can make a publisher look bad when the other 99% of the authors are very happy there, and that ‘bad’ publishers may not get a mention on either site). Most authors will be willing to answer your questions if you approach them politely, or you can get involved with a few author groups where they discuss the publishing industry.
  6. Clear guidelines. Always, always read the guidelines carefully and follow them, otherwise you’re wasting your time and theirs. Most will answer questions if something isn’t clear, but I avoid publishers where the guidelines leave me with more questions than answers.

I look for all of these things before I submit, and I tend to follow a publisher and some of its authors around for a while beforehand. Like everything else, ALWAYS do your research! Do you have anything else you look for from a publisher?




How far would you fall for love?

Centuries ago, guardian angel Lucien committed a terrible sin. He gave into his own desires and revealed himself to the mortal woman he’d been charged to protect. By kissing her, he condemned himself. Torn of his wings and his angelic powers, thrown down into the City Below, Lucien now serves Satan as an incubus who claims souls for his master from the City Above, and who feeds on the energy stolen from his mortal lovers. Dark, sexy and charming, he’s been top of his league for decades uncounted.

Until His Infernal Highness decides to send Lucien looking for a lost angel. Lucien has no idea what he did to deserve such a punishment, and the touch of an angel could destroy him. Yet the challenge and the potential kudos of seducing one of his former heavenly kin leads him on.

But when he finds the angel, he learns he still has more to lose than his already forsaken soul.

Buy: No Angel

Please add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE, or sign up HERE for my no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news.


A new burning consumed his body. He wanted to reach out and hold her. Wrap his arms around her, and drown in her kiss. But even as he took one shaky step toward her, the light and goodness within her scorched him and he staggered back a step, one arm thrown up to shield himself.

“Lucien.” Her voice washed over him like a sweetly scented summer breeze. He dared to drop his arm and look at her again.

“Miranda.” Her name came out as a growl, and he cursed himself for it.

Her frown deepened. “Lucien, what’s happened to you?” She took a step closer and he shied away. No matter how she’d come to him, welcomed him, her angelic powers could still be deadly. “Oh, my love, what have you become?”

My love. The words cut him as deeply as the priest’s forgiveness. The pain stirred his resentment. She had been the cause of his fall. The reason for his torment. And now she was scolding him for it?

“What I am is what you helped turn me in to.” He raised his head, glared at her. “What I am is because of you.”

She shook her head. “Is that really what you think? That it’s all my fault?” Tears glimmered in her eyes. “I’ve watched you for a long time now. Waiting for the right time to come to you. I’ve seen how your existence has come to trouble you more in the last decades. How the tasks set to you have crushed what remains of your soul.”

Lucien snorted. “My soul? I lost that with my heart. And my wings.”

“No. You didn’t. You hate what you do. You sealed your heart in stone to protect yourself, but you can’t bring yourself to fully give into the darkness, no matter what.”

Lucien shuddered. “You’re wrong.”

“You know I’m not.” She took another step toward him, and though he tried to back away he found himself trapped against the brick wall. She put up her hand, palm outward, as if to touch him. His breath stalled in his chest and his whole body might just as well have become stone. He couldn’t move.

Buy: No Angel

Writing That Sequel

dawnbrowerGuest blog by Dawn Brower, author of A Crystal Angel

Over the summer my plan was to write my second cowgirl book. I started writing the series intending it to be three books. Looking back it seemed like such a good idea. Now? Well I’m thinking I’m never committing to such a thing again. Why? Well because now I HAVE to write them. Panic has set in and I’m digging in my heels. Readers are expecting me to write the next one. So what did I do? I avoided it, set it aside, and wrote a standalone book (still in the revision process) and a flirt (which is my December release). Of course this did nothing to solve my problem. I still needed to write the second book in this series. Putting it off only made it worse. The book was planned and what would happen already mapped out, so why was I avoiding it? I’d backed myself into a corner and now I needed to find a way to get out of it.

Enter November and national writing month. Write 50k words in thirty days—absolutely I can do it. NaNoWriMo gave me motivation and a goal. What better way to force myself to write something I’ve been actively avoiding. It worked. I not only wrote that 50k I exceeded it. A rough draft of my next cowgirl book got written and I had one less thing to worry about. I only hope it doesn’t take until next November for me to write the final book. I may need someone to stand over me and make me type it.

The lesson I’ve learned is I don’t want to commit to writing another series. If it happens—great, but I’m not going to dig myself into another hole. The reason being is I get tons and tons of ideas. I have at least five other books mapped out I want to write, but have to push to the back burner because of this series I planned. I’d much rather keep the readers guessing what might come from my imagination. Trust me it is extensive.

To wrap it up I’ll give you a small look into the unedited draft of Cowgirl Indulgence. The second book (Wes and Tori’s book) in my Novak Springs trilogy. Feel free to let me know what you think of Wes and Tori. What do you think Tori is going to do to Wes for invading her space?

“What the hell are you doing in my room?” A horrified expression fell across Vitoria’s beautiful heart shaped face. She stood just outside the bathroom door with only a towel draped around her slender frame. Her caramel blonde hair fell around her shoulders in wet ringlets.

Wes lounged on the bed, his back resting against the headboard and his legs crossed at his feet. He lifted his arms and folded them behind his head as his eyes travelled down Vitoria’s body from top to bottom. She sent him on a bit of a wild goose chase. When he realized she wasn’t following him anger soared through his veins. He stormed back into the airport but had no luck locating her through the crowd of people. He turned back around toting her luggage back to his vehicle. He tossed it in the trunk and started making calls to figure out where she could have run off to.

“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked.

Tori flashed him an irritated look as she made unmistakable movements to tighten the towel around her body. “Evidently not since I just asked you why you’re here.”

“I brought you your luggage. You ran off without it.”

“If you hadn’t hijacked it I’d already have it.”. “You can leave anytime.”

“And deprive you of your righteous indignation? Why ever would I do that?” Wes fought to hide a smile of triumph. He liked the feeling of one upping her.

A Crystal Angel 200x300Blurb: A drunken promise of betrothal has turned Thor’s family against him. Will Thor earn Pia’s forgiveness and find their runaway children in time for Christmas?

After a night of cards and drinking, Thor’s splitting headache is the least of his worries. When a messenger arrives with a contract for him to sign, his wife Pia discovers he’s agreed to betroth their son to the Earl of Devon’s daughter. Pia’s beyond furious and demands he fix it—or else. After overhearing the argument between their parents, the twins Liam and Lily decide to runaway in protest of the contract. Thor and Pia set out to find their rebellious children before something dreadful happens to them. Will Thor convince Pia to forgive him and find the twins before Christmas, or will their family fall apart forever?

Buy: A Crystal Angel


“Don’t see the point. Besides I think we need to discuss what I overheard.”

“If it isn’t about school, I don’t care.”

“You should, Liam. I told you it would impact your life.”

“Well, what is it then?”

“Father agreed on a betrothal contract.”

“Failing to understand how this might concern me.” Liam waved his hand dismissively and turned back to his game. “Who is he going to marry you off to?”

“Not me you, fool. The Earl of Devon sent one over for him to sign. He’s going to marry you off to his daughter, Lady Gemma Kemsley.”

Liam’s face turned stark white and he swayed in his chair. He swiveled to look at Lily as the shock settled in. His blue eyes glazed over as the astonishment of her words became clear. “Pardon me, what did you say?”

“You’re betrothed, as in when you both come of age, you’re getting married. Congratulations, brother of mine.”

Buy: A Crystal Angel


Dawn Brower holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, a Master of Arts in Education, and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Literature, History, and Sociology. She works as a substitute teacher and enjoys the flexibility it gives her to concentrate on her other endeavors.

Growing up she was the only girl out of six children. She is a single mother of two teenage boys; there is never a dull moment in her life. Reading books is her favorite hobby. There is nothing like a nice glass of wine and a good book to relax with at the end of the day.

There are always stories inside her head; she just never thought she could make them come to life. That creativity has finally found an outlet. If you want to contact Dawn you can visit her webpage at, her facebook page at, on her blog or her twitter page at

The Business Of Spinning Sexy Stories – A Slightly Different Take On The Traditional Start-Up

KL UVMy name is Kristen Luciani, a self-proclaimed fashionista and momtrepreneur of three. As a deep-rooted romantic who prefers juicy drama to fill the lives of anyone other than me, I created a fictional world of enchantment, sensuality and intrigue and finally uncovered my true passion…and a brand-new venture.

The unknown is daunting and fraught with risk.  Most people feel comfortable knowing what their future holds.  Predictability is settling.  They are very happy living and operating inside the box.  The box represents safety and security. If they stay inside the box, they can maintain.  Everything remains status-quo.  But settling inside the box means they’ll never catapult their potential to the next level.

Others want more.  Risk doesn’t frighten them, it only drives them harder.  Overcoming obstacles gives them purpose.  They are not fulfilled with the normal day to day.  Ideas incessantly swarm their minds and the prospect of implementing those ideas excites them. They are on a perpetual quest to achieve and ugly friends don’t deter them.  Admittedly, they may be a little blind to the trials and tribulations of launching an idea (yes, this is classic me!) but they are passionate and that will pave the way for their eventual success.

These people are entrepreneurs.  The rogues.  The ones who are going to shake things up and disrupt normalcy because everyone knows that’s how you evolve and improve and progress.  They want more and are propelled to chase it, no matter what the risk.

The words start-up and entrepreneur conjure up visions of geeky guys in hoodies and flip-flops – I mean, who didn’t see The Social Network?

News flash!

Entrepreneurs don’t need to have a degree from MIT or an idea for a cutting-edge app.  They need a business venture requiring some degree of investment and a hell of a lot of initiative.  And they need to work tirelessly to create demand and brand awareness so the public will embrace their idea and subscribe to the belief that they absolutely need to buy it.

There are certain qualities that all entrepreneurs possess which inevitably bleed into all their future endeavors.  Persistence, determination, faith and strategic vision, maybe a little bit of cock-eyed optimism – just to name a few.

Entrepreneurs eagerly take a bite out of the unknown and savor it, all the while brainstorming various ways to keep that taste alive and thriving.

The key components to success are consistent – regardless of your business idea.  I’m now an indie author-entrepreneur in the business of writing contemporary romance with a tinge of sexy.  Okay, maybe more than a twinge…

Now you may ask me why I think indie authors have the capacity to become hugely successful entrepreneurs.  The answer is simple.  They create a story (product) branded to fill a gap or need in the market (readership).  Because they don’t have the big footprint-slash-budget of a traditional publisher behind them, they need to be brilliant marketers and create demand for their product as innovatively as possible.  They need to invest in their own ideas and highlight awareness with potential readers.  But they have to be savvy in their efforts.  This is what separates the authors from the entrepreneurs.

Too many times, indie authors get caught up in the comfort zone where their fellow brethren congregate.  There’s a lot of camaraderie in those circles but I liken it to a funnel cloud.  It’s a self-contained environment where everyone is doing basically the same things to heighten awareness, gain new readers and peddle their wares.  What most of them don’t realize is that there is a great big world out there within their reach, right beyond the cloud.

And the only way to break out is to be innovative, to come up with alternate paths for success.  Because while it’s great to network and connect with like-minded authors, what you really need to do is network and connect with like-minded people – those who are interested in what you have to say as an author and are willing to take a chance on you as a storyteller.

Here are a few tips for indie authors who are ready to take that leap from keyboard to cyberspace.

  1. Write what you love, but remember to serve your audience – develop a product that has mass appeal and satisfies a need. It’s not all about you anymore, and if you’re going to resist that fact, cut your losses and find a new venture.
  2. Be passionate and never let rejection hold you down – there’s always a way to get your story out to the masses. You let your creative juices flow when writing; now unleash your inner-innovative to break out of the funnel cloud.  Bestseller status is not all about giveaways, swag and five-stars on book review blogs.  Those tactics, while beneficial, won’t help you come close to tapping into your potential target market.
  3. Collaborate and network with constituents – until you can make a name for yourself outside of that protective family and stand on your own two feet, you’ll never succeed.

There’s nothing traditional about success these days.  The more risk you’re willing to take, the greater the potential for reward.  If you believe in yourself and what you set out to deliver, you can convince people that you are a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, the prospect of failure is daunting, but entrepreneurs never think that way. Embrace fear and plunge forward.  Be strong in your convictions, have faith in yourself and never let anyone make you doubt your talents.  You may stumble quite a bit along the way but you’ll learn a heck of a lot.  And the success you experience will be that much sweeter.

Can you share any instances where “out-of-the-box thinking” yielded great returns as an author?  Have you gotten caught in the funnel cloud?  Do you have recommendations for an escape?  How do you get readers to take notice?

unlikely ventureBlurb:

Here’s the thing about keeping secrets…they can only protect you for so long before threatening to destroy everything you hold dear.

After learning Jessica’s been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, her fiancé bolted out of her life as if he was on fire. She finds solace in her career–no distractions or romantic entanglements there!

But the universe has its own agenda.

Three thousand miles away from home and in the most unlikely of circumstances, Jessica meets Silicon Valley rising star James Callahan and her world is instantly turned upside down. Things go further awry when she encounters a ghost from the past. That one night of reckless abandon is back to haunt her and the control she fought so hard to regain is now in the hands of another.

Plagued by betrayal and guilt over his dad’s untimely death, James left Cambridge in search of a new beginning. With laser-focus, he built a cutting edge technology company now on the brink of financial success. Romance is the last thing on his mind…until he meets Jessica.

Fate brought them together, awakening their dormant emotions. But Jessica’s scandalous secret consumes her and threatens the very happiness she feared she’d never find with another man. Can James handle the truth about her past? Or did she pick the wrong guy yet again?

Buy: Unlikely Venture (The Venture Series Book 1)