Not because I’m single and haven’t been on a date in four years. On the contrary, being single these past four years has been a choice. It’s allowed me to focus on my children, my work, and myself.
It’s been strangely gratifying and liberating and yes, even FUN.
Which is what I feel sad when I see people feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day. This is especially true of young women, because in previous generations, it was common to equate a significant other with a sense of self-worth. But now? In 2012?!
Girls!! The world is your oyster! You can do and be anything you can possibly dream or imagine. You can do it on your own terms, without rules dictated to you by society or family or a spouse. You can choose someone to be a partner, not because you NEED one, but because that particular person adds something special to your world. Something no one else can bring to the table. And you know what?
You can buy your own damn Valentine! Because — and I’m letting you in on a little family motto that I frequently repeat to my children and all the young people in my life –no one can take care of you like you.
Let me say that again; NO ONE CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU LIKE YOU.
You know what you need and when you need it. You are uniquely equipped to care for yourself, be gentle with yourself, be GOOD to yourself, and that’s true whether we’re talking about a box of your favorite chocolates, a cup of tea, a bubble bath, a girl’s night out, a movie curled up in bed with ice cream, an awesome book, a walk in the woods.
Only you really knows what YOU need.
So this Valentines Giveaway is all about YOU loving YOU. As I do every year, I’m going to help get you started by offering up this awesome Be Tempted to Love Yourself Valentine’s Day Prize Pack.
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS ARC (advance reader copy)
A Victoria’s Secret set with makeup bag, body spray, bath gel, and body lotion in Pure Seduction.
A vanilla candle
Nail polish in High Roller
A box of Lindt Chocolate truffles (there are some GOOD ones in there!)
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS bookmark
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS postcard with message from moi
A bath loofah
I hope whoever wins will use these goodies to plan a special day or night just for herself, complete with pampering and no-guilt consuming of chocolate.
You can take a bath, cue up a chick-flick (or an action flick, if you’re like me), paint your nails, and eat chocolate to your heart’s content! And I hope anyone who DOESN’T win will be inspired to do something nice for yourself not just on Valentine’s Day — but anytime you need and want the TLC. Because you deserve it!
And if you’re a dude, you can add this stuff to the already awesome stuff I’m SURE you’re doing for the special woman in your life.
Entering is easy! You get one point for the following;
Leave a comment sharing something you do to take care of you
Post a link to the contest on Twitter (1 entry for each tweet)
Post a link to the contest on Facebook (1 entry for each post)
When you’re done, email your total number of entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Giveaway is open to entrants in the US and Canada and runs now through Sunday, February 12th at Midnight EST.
Love this week’s song, nominated by one of my dearest friends, Winsome. Winsome and I have been friends since fifth grade when we would sit on her canopy bed with the curtains drawn and listen to Devo and The Knack.
How fitting that she would be the person to nominate a song! Love her to death! She’s the one who taught me how to swim in the ocean and that clam chowder always tastes better on the pier after a long day of swimming.
And I have to say that I’ve never been a huge fan of Incubus, but this is very different for them. Really like it! Thanks, Winsome!
Also want to let you guys know that for tonight only there’s a promotion on Twitter to win one of the last three A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS ARCs. All you have to do is tweet with the hashtag #atemptationofangels between now and Midnight. You can enter as many times as you like, one entry for every tweet with the hashtag.
So I was going through the Superfan entries, trying to decide whether to use the Random Number Generator to come up with the 50 winners or whether to try and choose them, and you know what?
There’s NO WAY I could choose either.
Your messages to me were so heartfelt. Many of you have been with me for years. You’ve convinced friends to read my books. You’re tweeted about my books. You’ve posted Facebook statuses about my books.You’ve left glowing reviews on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads.
Basically, you have done everythign possible to support my dream of writing for a living.
In my book, you’re ALL Superfans. Which is why I’m giving Superfan prize packs to every one of you.
You heard me! EVERY ONE OF YOU. If you left a comment on the Superfan Giveaway post before Midnight EST last night (Friday), you get a Superfan pack. All you have to do it email your full name and address to email@example.com. We’re going to reach out via email to those of you we don’t hear from, but with so many winners, it would greatly help us if you could just send your email info.
It will take a few days for Rebekah to pack everything up, but we’ll get everything out to you asap. Thank you for all you do to support me and to spread the word about my books. I appreciate it — and you — more than you know. I can’t wait to share the A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS release with you very, very soon!
Today there’s about six weeks to the release of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS.
Six weeks! Didn’t that go by fast?!
Last week I introduced you to Helen, TEMPTATION’S main character and heroine extraordinaire, and gave you a tiny teaser.
This week, you’ll get a much bigger excerpt of the book and a little intro to Darius and Griffin Channing. Which is good preparation, because NEXT week you’ll get to meet Griffin up close and personal.
In the meantime, the Superfan Giveway is live for about 24 more hours. 50 of you will win TEMPTATION prize packs just because I love you.
It took her a few minutes to dress and find the staircase lead-
ing to the main floor.
The house was eerily quiet as she made her way through
the halls. She was used to the rushed voices of her parents,
the ticking of the grandfather clock, the scuffle of the servants
above and below stairs. Even in the dark of night, her home
had rarely been silent.
Here, there was not a sound until she reached the bottom
of the stairwell.
Murmuring drew her down the hall to the library door. The
marble was cold underfoot, but she was glad she had left her
shoes behind. They would have made too much noise on the
The voices grew louder as she came closer to the library.
She stopped just before reaching the doorway. The hall, spare
and without furnishing or ornament, did not leave many
places to hide. Glancing around, she settled for a deep shadow
in the corner where the hallway met the entrance to what
looked like the kitchen beyond.
Aided by the utter silence of the house, she picked up snip-
pets of conversation from the library.
“She has the pendant. She’s one of us, Darius. Why are you denying
She could hear the frustration in Darius’s voice, even from
afar. “Because I don’t want it to be true. She’ll be nothing but a bur-
den. She hasn’t even reached Enlightenment.”
“It doesn’t matter. We have to protect her.”
“We can hardly protect ourselves, Griffin. She would be safer in
hiding while we find out who’s responsible.” There was a shuffle
from within the room, and she leaned farther back into the
shadows, still listening as Darius continued. “Let’s go see Gali-
zur. He probably already knows, but we should be sure.”
Boot steps sounded across the carpet, and she pressed as
far back into the shadows as she could, holding her breath and
willing herself to become invisible, yet again.
The brothers crossed the threshold of the room, turning,
and passing her without a glance. They did not head toward
the front door but to the back of the house. She waited a few
seconds before following in their footsteps. She had never fol-
lowed anyone before, but it seemed only wise to keep as much
distance between them as possible.
The click of the door somewhere beyond her line of vision
freed her from the shadows, and she hurried through the door-
way which did, indeed, lead to a cavernous kitchen. There was
only one exit. She made her way to it with as much speed as
possible. It would not do to lose the brothers in her worry
over being caught following them.
The door opened to the back of the house. She had the
sense of a garden or grounds beyond, but it was too dark to
make out anything other than the steps leading downward.
Taking them as quietly as possible, she continued down a path-
way at the side of the house. She could not be certain this was
the direction Griffin and Darius had traveled, for they were
already out of her line of sight. But the only other possibility
was the backyard, and she was quite sure the brothers were
not taking tea in the garden.
The path led her to the front of the house. She saw the
streetlight under which she had stood some time ago, trying
to decide whether or not to ring the bell, and stood back from
it, not wanting to be seen. She had a moment’s panic as she
surveyed the streets, black save the pools of light seeping from
the streetlamps. What if she was too late? What if they were
already out of sight?
But no. As she looked to the right and spotted the broth-
ers making their way down the smoky walk, relief flooded
through her. She followed them down the street, trying to
maintain enough distance that they would not see her shadow
or hear her footsteps, though this was likely an unnecessary
precaution. She noted with satisfaction that her bare feet made
nary a sound on the stone.
It was not easy, trying to keep up with the long-legged
stride of the two men while trying to mind landmarks so
that she would not be lost on her way back to the house. She
was skirting a light post when a dark figure appeared out of
nowhere, standing in the shine of the lamp.
“Oh, my goodness!” She clamped a hand over her mouth
even before the words had escaped entirely.
“You must be joking.” Her shock at the sudden appear-
ance of the figure was outdone only by her surprise at the
dry—and now slightly familiar—voice that came from its
She leaned toward him, peering through the fog. “Darius?”
He sighed, tipping his head so that she could make out his
features. “You shouldn’t sound so surprised, given that you
were following us. Unless you’re in the habit of following
She shook her head. “But you . . . I . . . That is, I was fol-
“I think that has already been established.” The voice came
from behind her. She knew without turning that it belonged
She blinked a few times, trying to clear the fog that seemed
to have drifted from the street to her mind. “I was following
you. That means you were in front of me.”
Darius folded his arms across his chest, his expression
growing as dark as the streets around them. “That’s generally
how following someone works.” His gaze drifted to Griffin.
“She is a clever one, brother.”
“No need to be snide,” she snapped. “You know what I
She looked up the street where they had been walking only
moments before. She knew they had been there. She had seen
them. And yet now Darius was right beside her as if he had
appeared out of thin air.
This week’s song, Habits by Maria Mena, is brought to you by Travis who recommended last week when I did my shout out on Facebook. It’s so simple but so beautiful. Really love the piano and the woman’s voice. It reminds me a little of Allison’s in A Fine Frenzy (one of my favorites!).
Hope you guys enjoy it!
And don’t forget that the Superfan Giveaway is up and running through Friday. 50 of you will win, and this is a no strings attached giveaway. Just my way of saying thank you for all you do to support me.
It’s finally time! And I shouldn’t say finally, because usually I do one of these a year, right before each book releases. But Circle of Fire released just six months ago, and here I am, preparing for the launch of another book.
Which means another Superfan giveaway! WOOT!
Those of you who have been fans for awhile know what this is, but for those of you who are knew to my posse, let me explain;
You all know that I do a TON of giveaways. I enjoy doing it and like connecting directly with readers, so rather than spending money on formal advertising, most of my personal marketing budget goes into awesome swag which I then give away to you guys here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Most of the time, those giveaways require that you do something to win, i.e. change your Twitter picture to a book cover, tweet the link to a contact, refer a friend to my website, etc., because well…. it’s promotion! That’s kind of the point.
But I happen to think I have the best fans EVAR. So once a year, I do a no strings attached giveaway in which I give away 50 (yes, 50!) Superfan prize packs just because you’re awesome and do so much to spread the word about my books throughout the year.
This Superfan giveaway is all about A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS.
Each winner will receive;
6 Temptation Bookmarks (1 for you and 5 to give away, leave at your library or bookstore, etc.)
Signed Temptation bookplate (to put in your book when you get one or give away to a friend)
Gold angel wing picture frame
Are You Tempted? candy tin with chocolate hugs or kisses
Signed postcard from moi
Entering is easy! All you have to is leave a comment explaining why you’re a Superfan. Please make sure your email is valid so we can send you a notification if you win. Following me on Twitter and leaving your Twitter handle helps, too, because when all else fails, I can send you a message there letting you know you’ve won. At the end of the contest, we’ll choose 50 winners to receive prize packs.
That’s it! This giveaway runs now through Midnight EST Friday February 3rd and is open to fans in the US and Canada. And while you wait for the winners to be announced, why not mosey over to Goodreads and enter to win the A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS ARC up for grabs from Penguin/Dial?!
Thank you again for all you guys do for me. It’s only through your support that I’m able to do for a living the thing that I love most.You make ALL the difference.
Lots going on as we gear up for the release of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. I don’t want you guys to miss out on anything, so I’m trying to update you once a week or so.
Last night I gave away three ARCs (advance reading copies) of the book in a heated 4-hour Twitter giveaway. I’d noticed a bunch of bloggers asking other bloggers if they had a copy to give or trade, and I felt bad, so it was a spur-of-the-moment thing that resulted in over 650 entries.
I was (happily) blown away and announced the three winners this morning. If you’re not following me on Facebook and Twitter, please do! Sometimes I’ll do spontaneous giveaways on one venue or another.
You can still claim your signed, limited edition bookplate and TEMPTATION bookmark by emailing a copy or photograph of your preorder receipt or order confirmation for the book to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is good only through the end of the month (though if I have enough left, I may offer it again during the first week of release), so hurry!
You can enter to win an ARC of TEMPTATION on Goodreads through my publisher, Penguing/Dial. If you have a Goodreads account, it’s literally the click of a button to enter. If you don’t, registering is easy and Goodreads runs TONS of books giveaways at any given time in every genre.
Lastly, we have lots of fun stuff coming up! The Michelle Zink Posse Pack Giveaway will go live very, very soon, and fifty of you (yes, 50!) will get special prize packs from me just for being so awesome. In February, I’ll have another giveaway in conjunction with YALitChat (to include an ARC of TEMPTATION) and my famous annual Be Your Own Valentine Prize Pack which includes all the makings of an awesome Valentine’s Day – like Victoria’s Secret goodies and CHOCOLATE! Plus, of course, more TEMPTATION swag.
And tomorrow, you’ll get to meet Helen Cartwright, the main character and heroine of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. I’m super excited for you to get to know her.
So lots of awesome stuff in the works! Stay tuned.
This week’s song was recommended by Sara. It’s tres sexy!
Hope you guys enjoy it. And don’t forget you can still claim your free limited edition A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS bookplate and bookmark by sending a copy or photo of your preorder receipt or order confirmation to email@example.com. This giveaway ends at the end of the month so hurryyyy!
This week’s song is brought to you by JP, a reader who recommended it last week on Facebook. I love Imogen’s sound – it’s so restful and unique – but I hadn’t heard this one before. I especially love that slightly Celtic violin piece toward the end.
It’s that time. Those of you who have been fans for awhile probably know exactly what I’m talking about; the bookplate and bookmark giveaway for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS!
I started giving away free bookplates with Prophecy of the Sisters, because I got so many emails asking if I could sign books, and while I’m always happy to sign books, it does get expensive and time-consuming shipping everything back and forth. Bookplates are a great way to have your book “signed”. All you have to do is peel off the sticker on the back and place it in the book right where you’d normally have a signature. Bonus; there’s plenty of room for me to write a personal message.
Eventually, I started giving bookplates away free for anyone who preorders and again around the holidays for people who want to give my books as gifts. It’s been a big hit with readers, and I think the TEMPTATION bookplates will be even more so because, you guys… these are GORGEOUS.
Custom designed to work with the cover, interior art, and a symbol that plays prominently in the story, these bookplates are a limited edition. This year I’m also giving away one of my famously gorgeous bookmarks. Thick, glossy, and complete with a pretty little tassel (and who doesn’t like tassels?!), they are really beautiful.
As an added bonus, three readers will be chosen randomly from everyone who submits a receipt to win a BE TEMPTED t-shirt.
My daughters are wearing theirs all over the place – the true test of t-shirt viability, because believe me, they aren’t wearing them if they’re not cute, and it doesn’t matter WHO wrote the book.
Claiming your bookplate and bookmark (and entering to win a t-shirt) is easy! Just send a copy of your A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS receipt (picture, scan, photo from your phone, whatever!) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your mailing address and the name of the person you’d like the bookplate addressed to, and I”ll get your bookplate and bookmark in the mail to you. This DOES include previous preorders, so if you preordered a month or three or six ago, you can absolutely get a bookplate and bookmark plus be entered to win a tee.
The preorder giveaway is valid for US and Canadian residents from today through Tuesday, January 31st at Midnight EST.
Thought I’d give you a quick update on current and upcoming giveaways for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS.
You can enter the giveaway for a Be Tempted t-shirt five bookmarks, and a nail polish here through Midnight on the 15th.This giveaway is done in partnership with YALitChat, who also gave me a marketing grant last year that continues to pay for the shipping of prizes for contests and giveaways.
Starting Monday, January 16th, I’ll be giving away a signed TEMPTATION bookplate plus a bookmark to anyone who preorders and emails me the receipt (online or otherwise). This will run for two weeks and I’m super excited about the bookplates because they are GORGEOUS!
After the preorder giveaway, we’ll go right into the MZ Posse Packs Giveaway. Those of you who have been fans for awhile might remember this as the Giveaway Formerly Known as the Superfan or No Strings Attached Giveaway where I give away 50 (yes, 50!) prize packs to the first people who leave a comment explaining why they are a Prophecy Superfan.
No tweeting, linking, or any other kind of promotion required. This is my opportunity to say thank you for all you do to supprt me throughout the year.
But since this is for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS (and the prizes were chosen accordingly), I had to make a decision; continue calling this giveaway (which I run right before the release of every new book) the INSERT-BOOK-TITLE-HERE Superfan Giveaway, or come up with something more universal. Since the Zink posse is commonly referred to among publishing peeps as the group of people I usually have in tow at events (namely, my teenagers and sometimes some extras), I decided to make you ALL part of my posse. So from now on, this prize will be called the MZ Posse Pack.
There’s one more difference; this time it won’t be the FIRST 50 people to comment who win. It just gets too tricky to choose a time of day that’s fair for all time zones, so I’m going to choose 50 people at random from the comments.
But still! 50! That gives you great odds of winning, so stay tuned for these giveaways, which are really just the beginning of the ramp up to the release of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS.
I’m a big believer in making one’s own traditions. For a long time, I struggled to put together Thanksgiving dinner by 2pm because that’s how my grandmother and mother did it. I cooked desperately on Christmas Eve while finishing up last minute presents for my children because in our family, the big dinner was on Christmas Eve followed by a big brunch and leftovers Christmas Day.
I finally realized that those traditions didn’t work for me and that it was okay to create my own. Now, we have Thanksgiving around 7pm (or whenever it’s done), Chinese take out Christmas Eve, and a moderate breakfast Christmas day followed by a semi-big dinner that night.
It works for us! I’m SO much less stressed, and my kids (always rebels… wonder where they get THAT from!) love that we do something quirky like Chinese on Christmas Eve while everyone else is doing the traditional thing.
This year, we’re taking our unconventionality one step further by donating our time (as a family) to a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day and having our celebration Friday or Saturday. We’re all really looking forward to it!
Two tears ago I started a professional tradition by giving away signed, personalized bookplates during the holidays. It started out as a way for me to say thank you to my readers and ended up being a big hit not only for them, but for people who wanted to make an extra-special gift of one of the Prophecy books.
And I never like to mess with a good thing!
So starting today the tradition continues. Here’s how it works;
If you’re in the US or Canada, send your requested number of bookplates (up to three) to email@example.com with the name of the person you’d like them each made out to and your mailing address. If there’s something special you’d like me to know about the recipient (they love to read or love fantasy, for instance), let me know and I”ll try to personalize a message for them. Please put “Bookplate Giveaway” in the Subject line so my poor assistant doesn’t have to hunt through her Inbox for them. Once I receive your request, I’ll send you the limited edition bookplates, custom designed to match the interior of the Prophecy books, in time for the holidays.
Follow the same instructions if your outside the US or Canada with one exception; you must send a self-addressed stamped envelope to me at P.O. Box 136 Burlingham, NY 12722.
I hate to make my international readers pay for postage. You guys mean so much to me and I really try to do as much as I can for you, but international postage for all my giveaways has become a big drain. I have to be selective about which giveaways I can open up to International readers. In this case, it seems most fair to offer the bookplates but ask International readers to cover their own postage.
I’ll honor bookplate requests from now through December 7th. A separate bookplate giveaway will begin after the new year for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS preorders, and if you didn’t see the custom bookplates on Facebook a few weeks back, let me just tell you they are GORGEOUS! So definitely stay tuned for that one.
I’ll be sending the holiday bookplates out in batches as I receive them. The earlier you get them to me, the sooner I can get them in the mail to you!
As readers, I’m sure you all know how quickly the publishing landscape is changing. The rise of online shopping and digital ebooks has changed the marketplace forever. But while some believe we’re doomed, others see it as the opportunity of a lifetime.
As with most things, my views are more philosophical.
Things change, that’s the truth of it. If I could hide out in a house with an abundance of beautiful old lamps, candles, and music from a Victrola, I might. But that’s just not our world, is it? With that in mind, I’ve always believed it’s better to embrace change. Only by embracing it can you help shape it. Otherwise, you’re dragged kicking and screaming into it long after all the decisions have been made.
Maybe I’m an optimist, but I believe there’s room for both self-published works and traditionally published works. As with the battle between Indies and big box stores like Borders and B&N, it was only after Borders closed that I think many of us realized we were all on the same side.
The book side.
I don’t believe authors are going to stop making money (or even that publishers will stop making money, if they can adapt and harness these changes). I hate to see self-published authors and online-only merchants like Amazon vilified, because the truth is, writers want to write for a living (who can blame them?) and online retailers have fulfilled a need that was obviously there. If it wasn’t Amazon it would have been someone else.
I like to think there’s a way this can all work together. The publishing cycle for traditional publishers is notoriously long. I see tremendous opportunity for authors to fill in the gaps of their publishing schedule by producing shorts stories, writing outside their brand, etc. This is good for publishers, too, because it keep an author’s readership interested in between books. In addition, digital content offers some very cool opportunities to make reading appeal to younger generations that have been so saturated with digital media, they have trouble sitting still to read a book.
Would I like it if all young people just LEARNED to focus. Sure! In my perfect world, we could all go back to a time when kids had very little to do but play outside and read. But that’s not going to happen. There’s no going back. We can only go forward.
So the idea of offering up illustrations, music, sound effects, video and other digital content and maybe sucking in a whole new group of reluctant readers? Well, I think that’s a win.
The one gap in all of this is the Indie. I think we MUST find a way for Indies to make money on digital books. I don’t know what the answer is (I keep wondering if there can’t be coded gift cards or something that Indies can sell but that’s probably a whole other post), but I would hate to live in a world without Indie bookstores and I have to believe there’s a way to make them a part of this change.
As all of this has unfolded, I’ve had to change, too. My dad gave me a Kindle as a gift, and while I still read a lot of paper books (and I buy anything I really love for my physical library), I have to say that I’ve come to love the things that ereaders bring to the table. I love being able to carry all my books in one little device. I love being able to try new authors without plunking down $20-$30 per hardcover (and then going out and buying their paper books for my shelves). I love supporting traditionally published authors in the digital formats (authors make more on their digital copies than on traditional ones).
And I’ve been giving some self-pubbed authors a try, too. I was curious; Was the quality THAT different from traditionally published books (answer; as with published books, there are good ones and bad ones)?
One of those authors is Katie Klein, author of Cross My Heart, The Guardian, and Vendetta. I met Katie on one of the many author forums I belong to and was intrigued with her story. I purchased Cross My Heart for my Kindle and was surprised. Because I kind of loved it, and this was a book that had been rejected by seventy-something agents.
I thought you all might be interested in what went in to Katie’s decision to self-publish and how the journey has been different from her traditionally published one, so I was super happy when Katie agreed to an interview. As part of this discussion, I’m giving away one copy (for Nook, Kindle or whatever) of Katie’s books – your choice! – to three winners. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Giveaway runs from now until Friday 10/14 at Midnight, EST. Winners will be chosen at random from the comments.
And if you’d take the quick poll at the end of the interview, it would be awesome (though no required to win).
Without further ado, here’s Katie!
You also write and publish traditionally under another name. What led you to consider self-publishing under a pseudonym?
At the time, I felt like I’d hit the end of the road. I’d recently parted ways with my literary agent, and began querying new agents with The Guardian. After a few misses I started querying again with Cross My Heart. Seventy-five rejections later I’d had enough. I knew that epubbing was a viable option thanks to the Kindle, and I figured I’d upload it and let the market decide if it was “too saturated” or not. The pseudonym was for protection: I assumed this little experiment of mine was going to be an abysmal failure, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself if it didn’t work out.
How does the self-publishing process differ from that of a traditional publisher?
It’s time-consuming. I put a lot of work into designing covers, formatting the books, and keeping my blog updated. My husband keeps my website going, but otherwise I am, quite literally, a one-woman show.
The best parts? No “waiting rooms.” I work on a story, and, when I think it’s ready, I upload it. I also love the control I have. No tears shed over editorial demands or cover angst. The bad news? If something’s not working, it’s all my fault.
What has been the greatest challenge of self-publishing?
Time management, without a doubt. It’s up to me to keep the readers happy and coming back for more. This fall, especially, I’ve struggled with staying active via social media, balancing the day job, and squeezing in writing time. I don’t think this is limited to self-pubbing, though. I think all writers are desperate for “more time.”
What has been the greatest surprise?
The greatest surprise is how awesome readers have been. As a traditionally published author, I was very low on people’s radar, it seems. People have totally embraced Katie, though, and the tweets, email messages, and reviews have been so positive and inspiring. The readers confirmed that I made the right decision to put my work out there.
Another huge surprise is the number of ebooks I sold this year. Since January, I’ve sold more than 15,000 copies of my ebooks. I never expected Cross My Heart to take off like it did, and it spent over 100 days on the Amazon Teen Top 100 this summer. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was all very surreal.
Teen readers have been slower to jump on the ereader bandwagon than adults. Why do you think that is? Do you see it changing?
To be honest, I was kind of slow jumping onto the e-reader bandwagon. I finally bought a Kindle this past spring (which I love, btw). I still read more print books than ebooks right now, but the Kindle has been great for travel and trying out new indie reads. I do get fan mail from teens, so I know they’re out there, but I think we’ll see even more teen readers after Christmas. The basic Kindles are coming WAY down in price, so I predict a popular Christmas present, and the Kindle Fire seems appealing as an “all in one” device, too. I know plenty of readers who were “anti-ebook” until they saw how easy and convenient the Kindle was. Once teens realize there’s a device out there that gives them access to books almost instantly, there’s no going back.
In your perfect world, what would the future of publishing and self-publishing hold?
I’d like to see everyone getting along. The “ebook revolution” happened so quickly (yes, a lot of romance and sci-fi readers have been reading ebooks for years, but they didn’t really hit the mainstream until a year or two ago). I think this left a lot of publishers and agents reeling, and everyone is still trying to find their place. A lot of traditionally published writers are uploading backlists or publishing books outside their genre, and unpublished writers are finding readers for the first time. We’re no longer dependant on “New York” to get our books in reader’s hands. In a perfect world, authors, agents, and publishers are working together to bring new and exciting works to readers in a variety of formats.
I’d also love to see a shift where the author is given precedence again. I’ve heard too many stories of writers being manhandled and mistreated by their publishers (both big and small). Without the author, there are no books, and some pretty important people have forgotten that. Authors are artists, too, and all artists deserve to be compensated fairly for the work they do. I want to see all aspects of publishing tip back to the author’s favor.
Any predictions for the self-publishing market over the next 12 months?
I think it’s impossible to predict anything when it comes to self-publishing. We had no idea the Kindle was going to revolutionize the way people read books, and that epubbing was going to be accepted so quickly. In the midst of the “gold rush,” though, we also couldn’t predict the changes that Amazon would make to their site to keep their bestseller lists moving. We’re already seeing a shift, and Indies are going to have to work as hard as traditionally published writers to keep their books in front of people. This is a big change from six months ago, even. Right now, I’m focusing on the upcoming holiday season. This will be my first full season of sales, so I’m interested in seeing what happens.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of self-published books?
That they’re poorly formatted, rife with errors, etc. Yes, those kinds of books are out there, but they usually fall flat pretty fast. You can tell by a cover and a description whether or not a book is for you, and the Kindle “sample” feature makes it easy for you to test the first few chapters before you buy. Don’t write off a novel because it didn’t make it past the “gatekeepers,” because there are some real gems out there.
What advice would you give to traditionally published authors who are considering self-publishing?
For All Writers: Do your research. Know what you’re getting into. It’s okay to set certain goals, but make sure they’re realistic. You CANNOT predict what sales will be like from month to month, so don’t even try. You will have ups and downs: expect the downs. Never upload a first draft of ANYTHING; part of writing is revising. Make sure you’re submitting your best work: your reputation is on the line. This isn’t a way to “Get Rich Quick.”
For Traditionally Published Writers: Fill your literary agent in on what you’re doing. Make sure you check any contract clauses that would prohibit you from epubbing works under your current name. Be prepared to use a pseudonym (and keep it quiet) if you have to. Check to see if your agency has an epubbing division, and ask what your agent expects in terms of compensation (if any), if you choose to go through them. Consider the pros and cons carefully, though. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but there’s nothing your literary agency can do for you that you can’t do yourself when it comes to self-publishing. Paying a flat fee for something like editing or cover design is much better than paying an agency royalties on a work for the rest of its shelf life (which, for ebooks, is FOREVER).
What can we look forward to from Katie Klein in the future?
More books! I’m currently working on the final book in my urban fantasy series. Ideally, I’d like to have it available in early 2012. After that, I plan to go back to YA contemporary romance. We’ll see how things go, I guess. I’ve always said that as long as readers are enjoying my books, I’ll continue to write them. I’m not against going a more traditional route, but the right opportunity hasn’t presented itself, yet. I’m happy epubbing for the foreseeable future.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS!
Tonight’s prompt is inspired by the season. And kissing.
But before we get to the TNW rules, I want to announce the winners of the Library Giveaway. I know I said I would give out five sets of the Prophecy Trilogy to five UA and/or Canadian libraries chosen at random, but I’ve made a command decision to give sets of the book to ALL the libraries that were entered.
Our kids need books! And I don’t mess around when it come to kids and books.
It isn’t exactly an Oprah-sized giveaway (I’d do it if I could!), but it’s something I can do.
So if you were a librarian or someone who entered on behalf of of a library, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with “Library Winner” in the Subject line. Include the name and address of the library getting the books and a name to whom I can address the package.
Each library will get one complete set of the Prophecy Trilogy. We have two different editions of the first book; the original hardcover (it doesn’t match the other two, but it’s a hardcover so it might be more durable) and the paperback you’re all familiar with. Please specify in your email which edition of the first book you’d like sent to your library in addition to your copies of Guardian of the Gate and Circle of Fire.
I did choose five additional winners from those of you who helped to spread the word about the giveaway. Each of the following Twitter users will receive the Prophecy book of their choice;
Congrats to all! Email your choice of Prophecy book and your mailing address to email@example.com with “Library Winner” in the Subject line.
Rules for the prompt and Thursday Night Write are as follows; use the above prompt to write whatever comes to mind, giving yourself no more than 30 minutes (no cheating!). Then post no more than 500 words of it for comment. If you leave a piece, you have to comment someone else’s piece. Thems the rules!
This is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Having only 30 minutes doesn’t give you time to overthink, and sometimes that’s just what we writers need to shake things loose. Writers of all ages and experience are welcome to play.
As many of you know, I’d just started a library giveaway a couple of days before my site went down. It was impossible to gather and track entries without the website, and since my server host hadn’t backed up my data, I lost everything.
But like many in this economy, libraries are struggling. Faced with budget cuts and severe restrictions on their spending, many of them are currently imposed with buying freezes, which makes it impossible to add new books to their shelves.
So I’m going to try this again by giving away a complete set of the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy to five libraries in the US and/or Canada and a choice of any one of the Prophecy books to five readers who spread the word about the library giveaway.
Here’s how it works;
If you’re a librarian or library representative, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS LEAVE A COMMENT HERE ABOUT WHY YOU’D LIKE TO WIN THE BOOKS FOR YOUR LIBRARY. You may enter on behalf of a library as long as the mailing address for the books, should you win, is a library or school.You don’t have to post your library’s address on your entry (you can send it to us if you win) so long as the address we ultimately mail the books to is a school or library.
I’m also going to throw in some color-coded wristbands and bookmarks for each of the Prophecy books that you can use as giveaways or reading incentives for your kids.
If you are NOT a librarian or library representative and would like to enter to win your choice of Prophecy books, Tweet and/or Facebook something like the following;
Michelle Zink is giving away FIVE sets of the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy to libraries in the US and Canada! #michellezinkloveslibraries http://michellezink.com/library-giveaway-v2-0
This is important; you MUST tag me on Facebook (Michelle Zink) or Twitter (@michellezink) AND include on Twitter the hashtag #michellezinkloveslibraries and you must include a link to this page (Twitter will shorten it for you so everything should fit). Your entry will not count if you don’t include these things because we want libraries to be able to find the page to enter and it will be next to impossible for Rebekah to count your entries without the tags and hashtag.
You get one entry for every time you Tweet with the hashtag and/or post to your FB status. Contest runs from now until next Wednesday, October 4th at Midnight EST. Library and reader winners will be announced together the following Sunday. This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada.
I apologize to those libraries and readers who had already entered this contest before my site went down. I’m deeply sorry to make you repeat the effort, but I think this is an important giveaway and I didn’t want to blow it off because of the site outage.
I can’t believe 2012 is finally here! It seems like just yesterday that A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS sold to Penguin, and 2012 seemed so far away.
Now, we’re less than three months from its release!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this book with you guys. I think it’s an awesome mix of the dark, complexity in Prophecy with faster pacing, a lot more action, and a lot more sexy! To celebrate, I have a TON of awesome stuff planned for you guys, starting with this kick-off giveaway in partnership with YALitChat.
Starting NOW, you can enter to win five TEMPTATION bookmarks (they’re gorgeous, complete with gold tassels — and who doesn’t love TASSELS?!), a nail polish, and a black BE TEMPTED t-shirt. Every month through March I’ll be doing a giveaway in partnership with YALitChat — each with different prizes. In addition, I’ll soon be kicking off my bookplate giveaway in which EVERY person who preorders A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS (or has already done so) can get a personalized, limited edition A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS bookplate.
See? I told you this was going to be fun!
March’s YALitChat giveaway runs now through Midnight EST January 15th. To enter, all you have to do is be awesome (this is a requirement of all YALitChat giveaways, to which I say, “Duh. All MY readers are awesome.”) and leave a comment saying why you can’t wait to read A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. You should be able to find at least one reason in the summary below;
Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance
When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.
Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.
And check out YALitChat for more contests, writing forums, and giveaways!