Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Word Witch Wednesday - pen name vs. real name

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but I've fallen behind with my writing schedule. Where has this year gone? I had hoped to have two books out for my pen name and two for me, but I've only gotten one out for each. So this comparison will be based just on this year.

I decided to write under a pen name with a specific audience in mind hoping it would be easier to market. And it was.

Pen name: reverse harem fantasy romance (RHFR)
Me: paranormal romance and urban fantasy (short stories of every genre)

It is easier to market a very specific genre if you know where to find your audience. I knew exactly where the RHFR audience was and what they liked.

It is so much more difficult to market yourself as an author if you write multiple genres.

Romance is one of the easiest genres to promote, because the readers aren't so discerning and eat up books fast. Urban fantasy and speculative fiction are difficult, because readers are very discerning and take their time with books.

Pen name: markets primarily on Facebook and with a newsletter
Me: Facebook, Twitter, a blog, and a newsletter

The RHFR audience is found mainly on Facebook. There are lots of groups with huge followings, and they spread their favorite reads by word of mouth like lightning. Promotion takes very little time each day. (Ten minutes usually.)

I spend way too long every weekday promoting myself. Usually it takes my entire morning. (Three hours.) I tell myself to cut back to an hour, but I feel guilty when I do. I also feel much of what I do does not make a difference, and I'm only nurturing the audience I already have. Which is important, but finding new readers is just as vital, and I don't seem to be having much luck in that area. I'm struggling with finding a way to do so.

Pen name: story is fun, light, full of tropes, and doesn't involve much thinking
Me: story is dark, snarky, twisting tropes, and full of thoughtful things

Readers love my pen name's debut novel. It has a strong heroine and involves a mix of myths. I purposely wrote it with popular romance tropes laid on thick. It was exactly what readers wanted.

My books, well, strong heroines and myths, but I try to twist around tropes. Is that why I have very little success?

Pen name: I had fun writing the book. It was easy and quick.
Me: I have fun writing my own books too. None are easy and only a few were quick.

While I did enjoy writing romance filled with tropes, it wasn't as fulfilling in the way writing my own books is. Writing my dark urban fantasy, every story challenges me. I believe with each book, I become a better writer because I push myself through these challenges.

I have considered just writing for my pen name as she has enjoyed more financial success, but I'm concerned that doing so would not help me grow as a writer. I have known some authors who started writing under pen names, and when they achieved success with them, they abandoned their own names. They also abandoned writing what they love. The quality of their stories has not gotten better, and in a few cases, it has gotten worse.

Lessons learned:
- writing and marketing toward a very specific audience is a good strategy.
- readers want the popular tropes. Don't be afraid to use them.
- some promotion is needed to the genre specific audience. (I have to cut back on the time I spend on it.)
- write what you love, even if it's not making you a best seller.

I will continue to write for my pen name. It's a nice change between the darker stuff I write for me. Yet it won't be my main focus. I still want to go the dark urban fantasy route. I know I've chosen the more difficult road. And I don't know where it will go, or if I will even get close to the dreams I have for myself, but the journey so far has been wonderful. I can't wait to see what else it has in store for me.

I'm curious about other writers' experiences with writing under two different names. Please share in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family. I'll be back in December for the IWSG!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Find Yourself Bodies in the Boatyard

Sailing into retailers everywhere! It's release day for...

Selling your house and moving onto a rundown sailboat—not a dream come true. Finding dead bodies in the boatyard—a total nightmare.
Mollie McGhie loves her beachfront cottage. When her husband announces that he wants to sell the house, downsize, and move onto their dilapidated sailboat, she’s not impressed.
When the boat starts leaking, she secretly hopes it will sink. Instead, they haul her out of the water and into the boatyard. Fixing the boat up is bad enough, but when Mollie finds someone has been killed nearby, things get even worse.
Mollie takes matters into her own hands and investigates the mysterious death in the boatyard, along with her adorable feline companion, Mrs. Moto. While she searches for clues, she meets more of the quirky characters who live in the small Floridian town of Coconut Cove, learns about sea turtles, overcomes her fear of public speaking, and, of course, eats way too many sugary treats.
Can Mollie catch the killer before someone else ends up dead?
New to the series? Start with Murder at the Marina. Find out more here.
My review: 
Mollie McGhie must share her husband with a sailboat. While he wants to move onto it and sail around the world, Mollie refuses to leave her comfy seaside cottage. With the boat in the boatyard needing work, Mollie suddenly finds herself helping with it and stumbles upon a body. Investigating the murder is tricky with all the odd folks and their secrets who live in Coconut Cove, but Mollie is determined to solve it. Yet will poking around and her love of sweets get her killed too?

This is the second book in the fun and enchanting Mollie McGhie mystery series. I was swept back into the world of Coconut Cove with the first page, loving Mollie's quirky voice. I totally empathize with her love of chocolate and cats, and her desire not to live on a little boat! She's the everyday woman who investigates not only alien abductions but the occasional murder as well. Not that the Chief of Police likes her doing so! Her husband Scooter is adorable, and I love that he adores her even if he can be kind of clueless at times. Plus the whole cast of coastal folks. I was making my own list in my head of who could be the murderer. It came together smoothly and unexpectedly with a few twists. I do like mysteries that have me wondering and not guessing correctly who the murderer is right off the bat. (I typed boat. I typed it twice before I managed bat!)

This cozy mystery is a light and hilarious read. I'm addicted. I cannot wait for more in this series.
Buy the book:
Paperback available at: Amazon

Find out more about Ellen on her website!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Of Death and Sorrow cover reveal

The final book in the dark and thrilling Of Blood and Sorrow trilogy...

There are things worse than Death...

Isn't it awesome? This magnificent cover will spur me on to get the novel finished and polish it up for spring 2019. And while that looks like it could be a different woman on the cover, that's still Erin. Oh what a tale she has to tell!

I did not design this cover. I wanted to save myself some stress this time around. One of my fabulous author friends (Patricia Lynne) recently had a couple of new covers designed by a talented woman on Fiverr. To top off the beautiful look of the covers, the pricing was WOW! So incredibly affordable. I looked up Olivia on Fiverr and sent her a request. She was eager to take the project and ta-da! Talented, fast, and professional. Authors, I highly recommend Olivia.

What a gorgeous looking trio of covers! Just a reminder that Of Gods and Sorrow is now available and Of Blood and Sorrow is free for a few more days. Both books are free to read with Kindle Unlimited.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Of Gods and Sorrow unleashed upon the world!

Stopping the undead will seem like child's play when the Cult of Ammut comes calling.

Even after losing most of her adopted family, Erin Driscol continues to console clients at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home. Keeping the funeral business working smoothly is no longer the walk in the graveyard it used to be. Grieving demons are fighting in the halls. Eyeballs are showing up in teapots. And a so-called psychic and member of the Cult of Ammut claims Erin's boss Cort is a god. All Erin wants is a friend to lean on and a sense of normalcy. But as the cult kills people and repeatedly attacks the funeral home, she must stand strong or lose Cort to the Lake of Fire.

Buy it here!

Add it to read on Goodreads.

I'm so excited it's finally here. It's been a long time coming, but in my totally unbiased authorly opinion, I think the wait is worth it. And just in case you don't remember what happened in Of Blood and Sorrow or you haven't read it yet, it's FREE for the next five days! And for all Kindle Unlimited readers, both books are available to read.

Join me later this week for the cover reveal of the final book in this amazing trilogy, Of Death and Sorrow!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#IWSG for November 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are:  Ellen @ The Cynical SailorAnn V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Optional question for November: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

I've always been creating stories, so there isn't a time in my life when I began writing. Yet my creativity has changed over the years, both with writing and the rest of my life. Doubt and fear held me back a lot in my younger days. I had a thin skin and didn't take constructive criticism very well. I hid away my creativeness like a dragon with its treasure.

Now I'm grateful for helpful criticism and I'm able to brush off the harsh reviews and comments about my work more easily. It motivates me rather than holds me back. It stretches into all aspects of my life to how I decorate my home to how I dress and the games I play.

As I mentioned last month, it's a good thing to be constantly evolving. I would worry if a person didn't change over the years. Being stagnant isn't desirable.

P.S. My mom is visiting this week and we're doing our early Christmas shopping. I'll get back to everyone next week!