Goodreads Book Giveaway of My YA Fantasy Novel, The Society of Imaginary Friends

The-Society-of-Imaginary-Friends300x200Enter for a chance to win a hard copy of my Amazon bestselling novel, The Society of Imaginary Friends, a young adult epic fantasy. Click here to enter my Goodreads Giveaway, which is live now through December 21, 2016. This breakthrough novel is the first book of The Conjurors Series, and retails for $8.99.

Description:

Valerie Diaz has a power that she can’t contain, and it’s killing her. Bounced between foster homes and the streets, she only has time to concentrate on staying alive. But a visit from the imaginary friend of her childhood opens a world of possibilities, including a new life half a universe away on a planet that is bursting with magic.

The Society of Imaginary Friends follows Valerie on a journey that straddles two worlds. In order to survive, she must travel many light years away to a realm where anything is possible. On the Globe, imaginary friends come to life, the last of the unicorns rules the realm, and magic seeps from the pores of all the Conjurors who live there.

But choosing to embrace her potential will set Valerie on a treacherous course – one filled with true love, adventure and perilous danger.

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The Conjurors Collection: First Three Books in My YA Fantasy Series Available for $0.99

The-Conjurors-Series-3D-Omnibus-300x200If you’re a lover of teen/young adult fantasy, check out the first three books in The Conjurors Series for $0.99 today through September 20. The Conjurors Collection, Books 1-3, is available on Amazon if you’re interested in checking it out.

I welcome all feedback and reviews, so if you decide to read it let me know what you think!

Click here to check out an excerpt from the first novel, The Society of Imaginary Friends. Below is the blurb for the series:

Belief is a powerful magic.

Valerie Diaz has a power that she can’t contain, and it’s killing her. Bounced between foster homes and the streets, she only has time to concentrate on staying alive. But a visit from the imaginary friend of her childhood opens a world of possibilities, including a new life half a universe away on a planet that is bursting with magic.

The first three books of The Conjurors Series follow Valerie on a journey that straddles two worlds. In order to survive, she must travel many light years away to a realm where anything is possible. But choosing to embrace her potential will set Valerie on a treacherous course – one filled with true love, adventure and perilous danger.

This collection includes the first three novels in this young adult fantasy series: The Society of Imaginary Friends, Knights of Light, and Guardians of the Boundary. Purchased individually, the ebooks would cost $10.

Edge-of-Pathos-300x200You can also check out the fourth and final book in The Conjurors Series, Edge of Pathos, for $4.99 on Amazon. It is not included in the collection.

How Important Is a Cover Reveal for Your Self-Published Novel?

Guardians-of-the-Boundary-300x200Later this month I will be publishing the third book in The Conjurors Series, Guardians of the Boundary. As part of my pre-launch activities, I considered doing a major cover reveal. I’ve seen self-published authors execute cover reveals with success, generating interest from their fan bases and even eliciting some pre-orders of their books.

On the other hand, if you’re like me and have only so much time to devote to writing and marketing your books, it’s important to consider where you want to invest your time. As a result, I decided not to do a big cover reveal for Guardians of the Boundary (other than this article).

Here are some questions you should ask yourself to determine whether it’s worth your time to have a cover reveal for your novel.

Do you have a large existing fan base?
If you do, then a cover reveal is a great way to keep your name and book top-of-mind for your readers. No matter how fast we write, there are bound to be gaps in time as we’re writing the next book, and a cover reveal can keep the buzz going around your name. But if you’re still developing your platform, like I am, there may not be many people who really care about your book, never mind your cover. It will take reviews, giveaways and word-of-mouth to generate interest in your book.

Are you writing a series that has garnered a following?
One of the reasons I seriously considered a cover reveal is because I’m writing a series, and I know my readers will be interested in hearing what’s coming next. It’s also a great way to reassure readers that your series hasn’t been dropped. In my case, however, my series and my personal brand as an author is still a fledgling, so I think I’ll put in the work required to execute a great cover reveal in after I’ve proven myself as an author who consistently puts out high-quality writing.

Do you have existing relationships with bloggers who sponsor cover reveals?
Many self-published authors have worked with bloggers to have their books reviewed or promoted. Some of those bloggers also publish cover reveals, as long as your cover art and blurb are high-quality. If you’ve been working with bloggers for other marketing activities, leveraging those contacts for a cover reveal may be a relatively quick way to generate interest in your book.

Are you willing to pay to have your cover reveal publicized?
There are some excellent companies that offer services to have your book reviewed or your cover reveal published on reputable blogging sites. If you are willing and able to pay a fee, your cover reveal doesn’t have to be a lot of work – someone else can line up the promotional activities for you. However, if your funds are limited, like mine, you might want to leverage this service after your book has been published, so readers can link to your book if it sounds interesting and check it out.

However, if you are interested in the next book in The Conjurors Series, below is the blurb for Guardians of the Boundary, which will be published on Amazon at the end of the month.

The battle is over. Now it’s war.

Valerie’s entire life has been spent fighting for survival. But now, the stakes have never been higher, and her enemies have never been more powerful.

The Fractus have proven that they won’t hesitate to kill those who stand in their way, including the people Valerie loves. And their path of destruction is growing—on Earth and the Globe. With Reaper always one step ahead, Valerie must find a way to change the game, or risk never catching up to an enemy with the conviction and power to upset the delicate balance that protects those without magic from being exploited.

As the Fractus grow in number and strength, can Valerie convince enough Conjurors to fight by her side against a menace that could upend the universe?

In the third novel of The Conjurors Series, Valerie has the life she’s always dreamed of—a family, a budding romance, and powerful magic that she is finally learning to harness. She also has an enemy determined to rip it all away from her.

 

How to Release (or Re-Release) Your First Self-Published Novel

Cover2When I originally published the first novel in The Conjurors Series in 2011, I had no concept of self publishing. It never occurred to me to promote my book. I simply used Amazon as an easy way for friends and relatives to download my book so I didn’t have to buy them a hard copy and mail it.

Two years later, self publishing had become a phenomenon, and my brother suggested that I market my novel and see what happened. But with a cover cobbled together using Microsoft clip art and no outside editing expertise, I wondered if my book was ready for public consumption. I’m very glad that I did some research and realized that for a self published author to be successful, she needs to have a polished product. A great story is at the core of any good book, but it’s hard to see through typos, horrific formatting, and a generic title that doesn’t provide any clues as to the content inside.

Below are some tips I would recommend any writer take before releasing a first novel or re-releasing an existing story.

  1. Invest in professional cover art. Unless you’re a graphic designer (or are close friends with one) this is a monetary investment that will pay off. It’s the first glimpse readers have of the quality of your work, and it needs to shine. I used Streetlight Graphics, and was thrilled with the quality of their work.
  2. Hire a professional editor to review your writing. I thought I had all of the expertise required to edit my own book – I was a double major in journalism and English in college, and part of my day job involves editing others’ writing. But I was astonished at how many nits my editor found in my writing. She also provided a much-needed sanity check to ensure that there weren’t any inconsistencies in the story. I worked with Shelley Holloway, and found her eye for detail was exactly what I needed.
  3. Evaluate the title of your book. I recommend searching Amazon books and using a search engine to see what pops up when you enter your title. I found that there were at least a dozen books with the title I had chosen, which would make it difficult for someone to search for.
  4. Write a blurb that’s as interesting as your novel. I was glad that I spent some time writing and having my editor review my book’s blurb as well. After your cover and title, it will make the biggest impact on whether or not readers choose to buy your book. For tips from successful authors who have done this well, check out this post.
  5. Create a web presence for yourself as an author. At the very least, have a Twitter and Facebook account that can keep fans, friends and family updated on everything you publish. This is also a valuable place to direct fans as your book attracts attention so they can hear about future works that you publish. I also recommend having a website with information about yourself and your books. A blog is great as well if you have the time. It’s an excellent way to network with other writers and communicate with your fan base.
  6. Consider releasing both an e-book and a physical copy of your book. Despite a slight learning curve when it comes to formatting for an e-book, there is no downside to making your book available in digital form. It’s free and is a great way for you to have giveaways without breaking the bank. At the same time, there is something powerful about a copy of your book that you can hold in your hands and bring to local libraries and stores to see if they are willing to display it.

So I’m proud to announce that I am re-releasing the first book in The Conjurors Series. It has a new title, The Society of Imaginary Friends (formerly Into the Dark), has been properly edited by an outside professional, and is rewritten with some of the knowledge I’ve gained in the years since I originally wrote it.

Below is a blurb about The Society of Imaginary Friends (available on Amazon):

The-Society-of-Imaginary-Friends-2500x1563-Amazon-Smashwords-Kobo-AppleBelief is a powerful magic.

Valerie Diaz has a power that she can’t contain, and it’s killing her.

Bounced between foster homes and the streets, she only has time to concentrate on staying alive. But a visit from the imaginary friend of her childhood opens a world of possibilities, including a new life half a universe away on a planet that is bursting with magic.

The Society of Imaginary Friends follows Valerie on a journey that straddles two worlds. In order to survive, she must travel many light years away to a realm where anything is possible.

On the Globe, imaginary friends come to life, the last of the unicorns rules the realm, and magic seeps from the pores of all the Conjurors who live there.

But choosing to embrace her potential will set Valerie on a treacherous course–one filled with true love, adventure and perilous danger.

The second novel in the series, Knights of Light, will be released in early March. I’d love to hear what you think about my story, and I welcome any reviews!

Attempting to Channel the Bard

NEW121I was 13 when I discovered William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it changed my life. I had always loved writing, but when I encountered his words and saw how poetry and fantasy could merge together, I knew I found something special. It’s been almost two decades since then, but Shakespeare remains the biggest inspiration in my life. The best thing about Shakespeare is that you never run out of angles to analyze, from word choice to character development to plot.

When I developed the Globe, which is the world in my YA fantasy series The Conjurors, I named most of the major countries after locations from my favorite Shakespeare plays. The atmosphere of the play that the location came from inspired how I felt about the people who lived there.

Arden is the capital of the Globe, named after the forest in As You Like It. It is the home of my main character, Valerie, when she travels to the Globe from Earth. In As You Like It, Arden is a forest, a place of possibility, where the rules that apply to the civilized world can be bent. It is a place of art and philosophy and love, which is why I made it the beating heart of the Globe.

The mountains of Dunsinane are where the villain of the story, Reaper, lurks. Dunsinane is where much of the action in Macbeth occurs, and that play has such a heavy darkness to it that I felt it reflected the depth of evil that Reaper is capable of. To me, just hearing the name “Dunsinane” sends chills down my back, and I think of ruthless ambition and decaying morality.

Other countries inShakespeareclude Messina, from Much Ado About Nothing, a land where the people have forbidden the use of magic, and Elsinore, from Hamlet, where royalty and betrayal are the obsessions of the people.

Using these plays as inspiration gives me a sense of place when the characters in my stories travel from land to land. The countries are strongly differentiated in my mind, which makes it easier to create cultures that are unique, but somehow fit together enough that it is realistic that they could all inhabit the same world.

What makes a fantasy world feel real to you?