Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catalog Information Sheet and Guest Notice for author, Mildred Colvin

The step I'm currently taking, after proofing my book and ordering the first 100 copies, is contacting local bookstores. I'm surrounded by small-towns. And it just so happens, that in most of these towns, there is a locally owned bookstore. Thankfully for me, these are Christian. (I live in the Bible-belt!)

I approach each store and ask to speak to the person responsible for deciding which books to carry. If that person isn't there, I leave with a business card and the particular name of whom I need to speak with. Last week, I stopped by Gospeland. The person in charge told me I needed to drop off a book for review. As soon as my shipment is in, I'll not only take her a book for review, but I will also include a catalog sheet, (that is in case a bookstore puts out a personal catalog, some of the stores I approach are privately owned and may do this, if not, I have it ready to send to catalogs---but that's a different step all together!). Along with the catalog sheet will be my press release, a copy of reviews from readers (if you don't have any yet, write a mock review),  and a schedule of my book signings.

Before I deliver my product, I'll call to make sure the person I want to see will be available. The more face time I can get, the better I up my odds. I'll dress respectable and pray that God will speak through me (so I don't mess up!).

So let's review what I have to do before my books come in:
1) schedule book signings (I now have the date of my books' arrival)
2) send out press releases to every local radio and tv network
3) put together packets of info to take to bookstores
4) decide on clothing ahead of time for signings and other book engagements (less stress)
5) remember anything I might have forgotten

No, I haven't forgotten. Here's a copy of my catalog sheet:


TITLE:  Abandoned Hearts/The Ozark Durham Series

Author:  Regina Tittel

ISBN-13:  978-1463620271

ISBN-10:  1463620276

PUBLISHER:  Regina Tittel

PAGES:  235

About the author:

Regina is a homeschooling mother of two and resides in the nearby town of, Patton. She writes to deliver a message. Each book has a purpose. In Abandoned Hearts, she wants people to understand God still desires us to be pure. Tittel takes the reader to a place of physical temptation they can relate to and shows them how to step back and why they should. It is possible to remain abstinent before marriage in this day and age. But, we need to speak up and encourage our young people, else how will they know?

Brief description of book:

Stranded by flood waters in the heart of the Ozarks, Ann McHaven is forced to stay with a rugged farmer, Jacob Durham. Her original annoyance with him soon turns to attraction. The magnetic pull between them puts her faith to the test as temptations tease her thoughts.

Independent and stubborn, Jacob’s eyes and heart are opened to all he has to lose when a fearless mountain lion turns him into the hunted. Will his life be spared long enough to restore his trust in God, and admit his love for Ann?

(NOTE TO BLOG READERS) Here would be a good place to include your discount schedule. By that, I mean, if a business is willing to order 10 books, are you going to offer them a 40% discount? How about on 30 books and so on. I won't include this section at first because I failed to ask what type of agreement to expect. If, like another store, this one wants to only take 10% of my sales, I'd be shooting myself in the foot to start off offering a larger discount. However, if they later have repeat orders and pay quickly, I might offer a larger discount if they agree to carry my book in regular stock.

Also, be prepared with business cards. The buyer needs contact information for you. They may toss your paper work in the trashcan to save space, so provide a business card for that very reason.

Now, about that Guest Notice. Stop by again on Monday and join in an interview with accomplished inspirational author, Mildred Colvin. Get over your shyness and comment, comment, comment! One of you will win a free eversion of her ebook, A New Life!
Psst, don't be afraid to ask her questions, too. Is there a particular road to publishing that's leaving you stumped? Mildred will be happy to offer her advice based on her many years of experience.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marketing in a Nutshell

Here's a check list to simplify what we've done so far and then some.

- order books to have for book signings. A good starting number is 100.
- have bookmarks and postcards made.
- schedule book signings. (Make sure you'll have you're books by then.)
- prepare press release and list of answers to presumed interview questions.)
- contact media to announce the signings two weeks before.
- prepare for the signing. (Do you need to provide a table? Make it presentable, table cloth, how to present your books, extra pens, bookmarks, etc. Also, have a poster made to post in shop at least a week prior to signing.)

Next post will cover what to do with the catalog page I mentioned in an earlier post.

Marketing, Step Three

You should also make a catalog information sheet. This is just a piece of paper that lists the title, author, suggested retail, isbn, publisher, binding, pages, weight, shipping info, terms... (Let's take a breath.)...about the author, brief descrip. of book, and discount schedule. Whew, like I said, it's just a piece of paper!

I'll try to put one together this week and post so you can see mine. Something else I did, I used excel and made an order form to include in the back of my book. That way, if someone read my book and is interested in ordering the rest of the series but doesn't have access to the internet, they can use the form. Here's a copy of mine:

Have The Ozark Durham Series sent to your home!

Price Ea.
Abandoned Hearts (avail. now)

 $ 11.95

Unexpected Kiss (Fall 2010)

 $ 11.95

Coveted Bride (Spring 2011)

 $ 11.95

Merchandise Total 

$3.99 s/h

MO Residents  add 7.225% tax 

Order Total

Name                                                    (Please Print)
City                                                          State                                 Zip                     
Signature (if under 18, a parent or guardian must sign)
Please contact me to discuss a discounted purchase for use in a youth group, book club, or other related service where five or more books are needed.
Make Check Payable to: 
Regina Tittel
(insert address here)

Notice the last line before the 'make check payable' part? I gave an idea of how my book can be used. Don't miss the opportunity to publicize different avenues for your book. Even if it's fiction, what points do you address that could be helpful to others. As you probably know, Abandoned Hearts, deals with abstinence.

Hope this helps. But that's not the actual third step. I wanted to mention, if you're wanting to list your book in some review magazines, they prefer four months prior to the release date. Are you prepared to wait that long? I may do that for my third book, but I've already publicized the second of my series due this Fall, that doesn't leave me enough time for the review magazines, though it hasn't stopped me from contacting online review sites--which you should, too. I'm pretty sure you need to have your cover ready to submit to the magazines, that's my other hold up for my second book. We haven't finished the cover, yet.

Now, set your pub date. When do you plan to start selling? We'll put this all in order with the next post. Hopefully I haven't left you feeling as confused as I often am. I promise the next post will be structured for your benefit. And please, leave a comment so I know if I'm being any help at all. We all need encouragement to keep doing what we're doing. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marketing, Step Two

Okay, so you've written your press release. Now before you get gung ho about contacting newspapers and the like, stop by your local libraries and bookstores. Get a feel for how supportive they would be to hosting a book signing for you. I recommend starting in your hometown. You're most likely to feel the most secure there.

Talk to them and gather contact information. Go home and make a list of possible book signing establishments. Make a second list of contacts for the newspapers you want to carry your press release, also the tv and radio stations. Still, don't act on this. Just make your lists.

This should keep you busy. Tune back in in a couple days for the third step. Believe me, this is the best way to do this, small amounts of information, time to complete the given task, then more information. At least, that's what works for me. No ulcers here!

P.S. Media requests at least two weeks advance notice of your book signings.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Abandoned Hearts is Now a Web Page/Support Shelley's Site!

Find Your True Beauty is a site founded by Shelley Hitz with the intention of educating young teens of their self-worth and the value of abstinence. Since Abandoned Hearts also supports the same message, Shelley allowed gave me a web page on her site. As follows:

Abandoned Hearts was written with the intention of conveying the subject of abstinence through a fictious story of romance and suspense. Readers will easily relate with Ann's plot. Having been mistreated in the past by her employer, she's become wary and distrustful of men. But when her heart responds quicker than her head around Jacob, she finds herself in predicaments she'd vowed to always avoid. How do you step away from a sensual situation that your body doesn't want to flee but your mind is telling you is wrong?

Through Ann and Jacob, the author of Abandoned Hearts shows you how. Backed with powerful Bible verses and vivid depictions of time and place, the hero and heroine's plot will continue to occupy your thoughts long after you've finished the book. Following is a short blurb about Abandoned Hearts:

Stranded by flood waters in the heart of the Ozarks, Ann McHaven is forced to stay with a rugged farmer, Jacob Durham. Her annoyance with him soon turns to attraction. The magnetic pull between them puts her faith to the test as temptations tease her thoughts.

 Independent and stubborn, Jacob?s eyes and heart are opened to all he has to lose when a fearless mountain lion turns him into the hunted. Will his life be spared long enough to restore his trust in God, and admit his love for Ann?

 Regina, how did this story come about?

For the suspense element, that was easy. My entire life, I've been interested in wildlife and am always held in rapt attention by anyone's stories relating to such. As a child, my father entranced me with his story about being stalked by a mountain lion when walking home in the dark. That, along with numerous other 'sighting' stories of those that live around me, conjured up the mountain lion that stalks the characters in my book.

The spiritual element was also somewhat of a natural occurrence. I've always felt that society needed to back the importance of abstinence and when the topic was approached from the pulpit of our church it easily made its way into my book.

What is your hope or purpose with this novel?

To spread the message to as many people as will hear. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. But God is gracious and He will show us how to step away from the things not of Him, we only have to be willing to listen. Abandoned Hearts is available at Amazon and most other ebooks sites and will be available in paperback through CreateSpace at the end of July.

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A Sample of my Press Release


ABANDONED HEARTS/Romantic Fiction with a Purpose

Patton, Missouri - July 12, 2011

Abstinence gets over-looked by supporters of 'use protection'. Yet, fifteen-million people contract STD's every single year. Author of Abandoned Hearts, Regina Tittel, shows her readers how to step back from tempting situations, before they're allowed to go too far, through an exciting romance novel.

Regina says, "I wanted to create a situation of sexual temptation that anyone could relate to. However, I didn't want to stop there, I wanted to use that opportunity to show how to step away from those heated moments when your body is pleading to stay but your mind is telling you it's wrong.

Abandoned Hearts fits into the category of 'edgy inspirational,' a genre that is on the rise in popularity.  Following is an excerpt from the back cover:

Stranded by flood waters in the heart of the Ozarks, Ann McHaven is forced to stay with a rugged farmer, Jacob Durham. Her annoyance with him soon turns to attraction. The magnetic pull between them puts her faith to the test as temptations tease her thoughts.

 Independent and stubborn, Jacob’s eyes and heart are opened to all he has to lose when a fearless mountain lion turns him into the hunted. Will his life be spared long enough to restore his trust in God, and admit his love for Ann?

Abandoned Hearts is the first of The Ozark Durham Series. Regina's second book, Unexpected Kiss, is due for release in the fall of 2011, and she is currently working on the third of the series, Coveted Bride. Her books are available through Amazon, Pubit, Smashwords, and CreateSpace. Here is what her readers have to say:

CaSondra Poulsen on June 28, 2011 :
Regina has a smooth way of writing that quickly draws you into the story. I had quit reading inspirational/christian fiction due to the predictable nature that comes with them. Abandoned Hearts has given me a renewed hope in the genre. I look forward to the next book in the series.

review is from Krista:  Sweet and Sassy!!!, June 8, 2011

I loved this book!!! It has just the right mix of sweet and sassy! The cougar scenario adds an added dimension of action and suspense not found in most romance novels! Well written and emotion driven! I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through! Can't wait to see what's coming next in the series! ####

Contact:          ReginaTittel    (contact info)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      reginatittel@gmail.com/reginatittel.blogspot.com                                                                     

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marketing, Step One

Let me share my milestones as I turn them over on my walk through self-pubbing.
One of the first things a writer should do after finishing a manuscript is write a press release. If you research romantic novel press releases, you'll see some examples online.

You prepare this to prepare for your next step, which is contacting local newspapers and such. But I won't get into that, yet. First, write a press release. Too much information all at once will only stress you. Take this advice, then check back in at a later date for step two.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do You Have to Have a APublisher to be Successful?

Some of you may be asking yourself the same thing. It is recommended that you have a publisher if you're wanting to crack open the doors to libraries, as your book can't obtain a library number without one. Also, in order to be reviewed by some select literary reviewers, you have to have more to show than your name as the publisher.

So how hard is it to become a publisher. Not hard at all. First, you may want to contact your local county courthouse to see if you need a license to operate a company from your home. Our county charges $25 a year. Secondly, register your company's name with your state. It's about that easy. More imformation can be obtained through research on the web.

Did I form my own publishing company? No. First of all, I do have a name chosen. Eventually, I may create my own company. But two factors kept me from doing so now. First, I'm a tightwad. I want to prove the easiest way to self-publish that I can. In order to start my company, I would need to buy rights to the photo I've chosen to represent it. That would cost $50. Not much, you say? Well, it all adds up when I'm also wanting to order enough books to sell and distribute locally. Secondly, if I spread myself any more thin, one of two things will happen. I'll never have time to finish the Ozark Durham Series, or... my children won't be schooled properly. (I homeschool.) I say I'd spread myself thin because I don't desire to do anything half-way. If I start my own company, I'll probably want to build on it, add other authors, yada, yada, yada.

So you decide what's best for you. Victorine Lieske helped me decide. I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a publisher name with her book---and if she can sell that many without it, we can too!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Welcome Victorine Lieske to Faith of a Mustard Seed. Soaring to NY Time's Best Selling List for six weeks in a row with her e-novel, Not What She Seems, Victorine is here to share her story with us. Thanks for coming, Victorine.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I never started out to become an author. I’ve always loved to read and I had thought it would be cool to be able to tell people that I wrote a novel, but I was never very serious about it. It was always just a fun little thing in the back of my mind. I had started writing a novel several times throughout my life, but never got more than a few pages down.

What changed?

After having four kids and a home based business, life was too busy for me to think about writing, until one day when I injured my back and literally couldn’t do anything. I was flat on my back. I wanted to read a good book, but had read everything in the house several times and didn’t feel like sending my husband to the library. I’m a picky reader. So I decided, with the help of my laptop, I would write that novel I had always wanted to write.

How long did it take to write?

I completed the first draft in a week. After completing the first draft, I felt compelled to find out if it was any good. So I found an online critique group and began to upload chapters for critique. That was the best decision I have made during my writing career. I found out that while my story had good grammar, there were basic storytelling rules or conventions that I had not been aware of. In other words, my novel stunk.

I can relate. But you didn't give up, you kept working to make it better.

I spent four years working on that novel. I submitted it twice through the critique group, and critiqued many other writers. I found out that if you put your work aside and let it sit for a while, when you bring it back out you’ll find things you can improve. I learned a lot about writing in those four years.

Did you try to secure a traditional publisher?

After I felt my novel was polished up, I began to research the publishing industry. I found out that agents got thousands of query letters each year, and took on a very small percentage of them as clients. I also found out after getting an agent the odds of selling your book to a publisher were even smaller. And if you were lucky enough to get an agent and a publishing deal, the advances for a first time author were small and most likely your book would not sell because you were unknown. And after all that, your book would go out of print in a few short months.

And that's what led you to self-publish?

Yes. In April of 2010 I found out I could upload my book online and sell it on the Kindle. Other authors were having success with this so I thought I would try it. What could it hurt? The book was sitting on my hard drive gathering digital dust.

As a debut author, how did you draw attention to your book?

I joined some forums where other authors were, I submitted my book to book reviewers, and I did some giveaways. I networked with other authors and got to know people on the forums. Sales started out slow for me; I only had 7 sales in April. However, as I got to know people and as I was able to get book reviewers to read my book, word started to spread and my sales slowly grew.

By the end of June I had sold over 600 books. In July I raised my price to take advantage of the 70% royalty that Amazon was offering, which stalled my sales, but I wanted to leave it there for a while to see if I could market and get better results. After three months and sales slowing down, I decided to try lowering the price to 99 cents. That’s when my sales really took off.

By December I was selling several hundred copies a day. In February my sales peaked with an average of 1,000 sales a day across all sales channels. In March I made it on the NYT’s best selling ebook list, and stayed on the list for six weeks. I was stunned. I had never thought a self-published book would make it on the list. I began to get emails from agents wanting to know if I had representation. I signed with Rachel Vogel of Movable Type Literary Group.

I got an offer from a publisher for my second book, a young adult science fiction romance titled The Overtaking, but I declined it because I can earn higher royalties on my own. I have recently self-published that book as well and I’m beginning to market it. My third work currently for sale is a short piece I wrote over my vacation, a young adult romance story.

Amazing story. I especially like the fact that you decided to stay on your own, how inspiring!

I'm so thankful you could join us today, Victorine, and thank you so much for sharing your journey.

For those joining us today, Victorine also has another book available titled, THE OVERTAKING. Please feel free to leave a comment for Victorine. Also, she can be found at victorinewrites.blogspot.com.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Benefit to Becoming a Blog Follower

Why should you sign up to follow a blog? If you're an aspiring somebody, it gets your name out there. Whether you want to be known as an author, a dancer, or a bear tamer, leaving a trail of interest is the way to do it.

Consider our future guest, Victorine Lieske, (who will join us next week). She started out as simply a mom who wrote a book, then became a self-pubbed NY Times Best Seller. How'd she do it? By blogging not only on her sites but others. She joined forums and commented, commented, commented.

Whenever I visit a blog now, I try to never leave without commenting on something. I want to leave a trail back to my book, my blog, whatever it is I'm wanting notice about.

If you're here because you're wanting to learn, leave a trail, let us know what drew you here in the first place. Beginning in August of 2011, I want to guest feature a member of this blog every month. If our membership begins to grow, then we'll increase the feature to every week. Let's share the limelight and help each other grow.