Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CROW'S REST book blitz!

Today I’m part of the CROW’S REST blog blitz and giveaway, celebrating Angelica R. Jackson’s YA novel!

Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers—and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone—some thing—has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel and get him back plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

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Buy Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo Books 

Check it out! Crow's Rest is on sale for $0.99 through July 31!

ARJ’s Top Ten Urban Fantasy Influences
1. The Borderland series, which starts with an anthology of the same name edited by Terri Windling, and moves on to some novel-length works like Elsewhere by Will Shetterly. It may have actually established the "collision of the strange and the everyday" definition in my mind.
2. Ariel by Steven R. Boyett is a cult favorite from 1983, which takes place in a post-Apocalyptic landscape--where the Apocalypse was caused by technology failing and magic returning to our world.
3. Books by Charles de Lint, who made Urban Fantasy popular with his Newford stories. I recommend starting with Little (Grrl) Lost for the younger YA set, or Svaha for older readers.
4. Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Fiest is a great example of UF that straddles the line into horror.
5. The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone, which starts with Three Parts Dead, is a great example of what makes UF so hard to compartmentalize--this fantasy novel takes place in an urban environment where the natural laws on the existence of magic are completely different from our world, and yet aspects of the city and its denizens still seem so universal and relatable.
6. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black can stand in for the vampire books that are sometimes labeled "paranormal" (with or without "romance" added to it), sometimes fantasy, but in my mind are UF.
7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is another that fits the above description (but not with vampires).
8. Gail Carriger's YA Finishing School series, which begins with Etiquette and Espionage, is another world that could equally be described as steampunk or UF. 
9. Cassandra Clare's books, especially her Infernal Devices series, also straddles that steampunk/UF/paranormal line.
10. Christopher Moore’s books, which are shelved in general fiction in most bookstores, although they have elements of magical realism, urban fantasy, fantasy, mythology, and horror to various degrees. My favorite is his A Dirty Job, and there’s a sequel to it coming out in August.

About the Author:
In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here. She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband and two corpulent cats in California's Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too.

Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill sanctuary.

She blogs at Angelic Muse, and is a contributing member of Operation Awesome and the Fearless Fifteeners.

Author Links: Website  Goodreads  Twitter  Facebook   

I whipped on over and got my 99-cent copy of CROW'S REST...how about you? 
How many of Angelica'sTop 10 urban fantasy novels have you read? I've just read TWO, #6 and #7.

Book Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book Launch Prep 101

Now that I’ve reached 55 days prior to the release launch of my debut YA sci-fi novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, I’m a busy little chicken. If you haven’t already experienced this, here’s a checklist of Stuff You Can Do to help you prepare for launch day, compiled from various sources. These are roughly in order of 6-8 months out, to the actual book birthday.

Banner printed at Vistaprint for signings; image used for Twitter/FB headers

1.  Make an author website. This is a must. Readers, bookstores, etc. will want to check out your online presence. You don’t have to spend a lot; my site is simply Blogger, refashioned into a website. Cost: roughly $12/year for GoDaddy hosting. carolriggs.com
2. Get good-quality author photos taken. Also a must. Everyone wants to see your face to connect a real person to your name—NOT the cover of your book.
3. Write up a marketing plan. What will you do in what month? Sketch it out so you have an idea of your game plan ahead of time. Consider holiday tie-ins or work-arounds.
4. Join and participate in various social media sites. Check out Twitter or secure a Facebook author page. Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Pinterest are also ways to connect (hint: see followers as people to interact with, not potential buyers). Learning to navigate these sites is easier if you aren’t under a time crunch; join early and build friendships/followers.
5. Make crucial connections. Scope out: potential reviewers, published authors to request blurbs from, and blog tour sites. Get to know your local librarians, teachers, and bookstore personnel for potential speaking opportunities. 
6. Reveal the cover of your book. Your publisher may have a hand in this, or you may need to organize a reveal tour with your blogging and writer friends. 
7. Design promo materials, and research sites to purchase them from (moo.com, Vistaprint.com, overnightprints.com, gotprint.com, etc). This can include postcards, bookmarks, business cards, flyers, banners, personalized book bags and mugs, t-shirts, pins, and pens. Hire someone or ask a friend if you don’t feel qualified to design these. Include your book title, cover photo, ISBN, release date, website URL, and your name.
8. Plan your launch event. Where do you want it held? Do you want a full-blown party with catered food? More low-key with just drinks and cookies? Consider display, too—you might consider a stand to ensure at least one of your books is presented vertical, to catch people’s eyes. You may need a folding table and chair, a drape to cover the table, a bowl of candy, or a vase of real or silk flowers. Many bookstores work 4-5 months ahead, so book your event as soon as possible.
9. Consider creating a newsletter. Interested people can sign up on your website or other social media. This lets them know of upcoming sales, giveaways, promos, and events. You can also begin collecting people’s email addresses for a contact list—people who want updates, or friends who want to help promote.

Glossy 2x6 bookmarks from overnightprints.com
10. Draft Facebook updates, Tweets, and other shout-outs ahead of time. Include purchase or website links, catchy phrases, review snippets.
11. Compose guest and interview posts; record radio podcasts or videos. These don’t all have to occur on the actual day of your launch. Content ideas: character interviews, publishing journey info, fun facts, bonus scenes, related nonfiction ideas or book themes, etc.
12. Make a book trailer if you wish. Your publisher often does this (mine does). You can post this on youtube, your website, or share on Twitter/Facebook/other social media.
13. Organize a book launch tour, plan giveaways. Your publisher might help you with this (mine did). Goodreads offers giveaway opportunities, as do many review blog sites.
14. Send out ARCs, or Advanced Release Copies. Your publisher may do this for you. These are usually sent to high-profile book bloggers or reviewers, and trade reviewers like Kirkus. ARCs can also be used as giveaway and contest items.
15. Send out postcards to libraries, groups, and book stores. Introduce yourself with a hand-written note, inviting them to consider your book. If you wish, offer yourself as available for events or to sign their stock of books when you’re in the area.
16. Start inviting people to your events. This includes online Facebook “parties,” bookstore signings, book festivals, and library or book club appearances.
17. On your book’s birthday, send out those Tweets, Facebook updates, Tumblr photos, etc. Engage and have fun.
18. Continue the promo. Enjoy the launch parties, attend signings, make connections, offer giveaways, and keep your eyes open for further fun opportunities to showcase your book!

If you’ve already had a book published, can you add any helpful thing to this list?
Do you have a book coming out soon, and if so—how ready are you with prep/marketing?
If pre-published, what are some of the things you’ve already done to establish yourself as a writer, and get your online presence or platform in place?