Its Been A While

I didn’t want to look at the date of my last post…then I did. Um… its been so long that I’ve moved house twice and finished a whole book series! Add into that already busy mix, returning to work as a recovery room nurse after having a few years break. Lots happening, lots of stresses and joys, but here I am and I’ve promised myself to do a monthly blog about reading, writing, whatever really.

The last time I wrote I’m fairly certain I’d reached a writers block.  I knew where my series  The A’vean Chronicles was going, but I’d kind lost the  main characters voice between books one and three. It was a horrifying realisation and took me quite some time to find her again. I quite literally shelved the book for a good 6 months. Looking back, I would hazard a good guess that it was related to the immense change of returning to work. I was suddenly so much busier than normal and I do remember being very, very tired.

Fast forward to today, and what a week I’ve had with the launch of pre-orders for the final 2 books in my urban fantasy series. This series has become such a part of me. The characters are a part of my everyday conversation, it seems strange to let them go. I’m sure though, I’ll never really let them go. They’ve taught me so much in their creation. Speaking of learning, I’ve had the most marvellous experience since I last wrote. I met some of my fave author friends whom I admire greatly. They have all contributed to my growth as an author by simple encouragement, to being my beta readers, Arc readers, editor and formatter. Such a privilege to learn from those you admire.

In the coming weeks I’ll put together some book reviews to share as well as chat more about the actual release of Allegiance and Redemption. Until then, I’ll keep this short and sweet, lest I ramble which is something I’m rather proficient at.

The Avean Chronicles 3D Paperback Promo147368-304 (1)

 

 

Book Signings Are Fun 101

To any authors and readers out there who haven’t been to a book signing, please do yourself a huge favour and go to one, or two or three!

Not only are they an opportunity for authors to market their books face to face, they are a fun and engaging way to have face to face interactions with both authors and readers.

A fun and encouraging atmosphere is what awaits and all you have to do is:

A:  author: turn up with a few books and a smile, perhaps a few bookmarks to give out

B:  reader: turn up with a smile and don’t be scared to say hello to the authors who  are probably more nervous than you!

I’ve just had the pleasure of experiencing the amazing Books by the Bridge author event on Feb 18th in Sydney. Organised to absolute perfection by author Kat T Masen, this was a brilliant networking opportunity where I met authors I’d only known through social media and for the first time had readers come to me looking for my second book which was an absolute buzz.

Whilst I collected a lovely stash of  autographed books that I shall treasure from Amanda Howard, L.L.Hunter, RKRhyde and Marie Lewis, I also sold many of my books which is much more rewarding when you can do it face to face. Seeing who buys your books, talking to them and getting to know them a little is just an absolute honour.

It is an opportunity that is not to be missed if your an author. It doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise. I’ve watched and learned from other authors how to create well priced bookmarks and other book swag to give out in a way that doesn’t break the bank but also are lovely enough to make the reader, or potential reader feel valued when you offer them a gift.

They are a  brilliant occasion to reach out to readers who are new to you and ones who are fans. An opportunity to give them your best, to mingle and learn from other authors. Its a brilliant opportunity to see the marketing strategies that work and the ones that don’t and more than anything, its perfection for crafting that 10 second pitch that draws a potential reader to your table.

Book expos are fun. The hardest part is the packing and unpacking…the rest is just a whole lot of fun. If you haven’t been to one I truly recommend them as a brilliant day out.

Exciting Authory Events

I have a very exciting year so far this year. Many more events are booked in for book signings.

First up is Books by The Bridge at the Crystal Ballroom at Sydney Luna Park on February 18th.

bbtb

This is a fabulous mix of Australian and international authors ready to meet and great with booklovers of all persuasions. It has been a fabulous run up to this event as I have met some absolutely fabulous authors on social media  It will be wonderful to put names and faces together.

Melbourne and Sydney Supanova are my next stop. April and June will be very busy organising all my books and swag.  Loved Supanova immensely last year  A fun-filled, character-filled feast of everything cosplay and unique. I thoroughly look forward to attending both of these very well organised and attended events.

supanova

The last event I have booked is Riveting Reads this October, in Brisbane. This will be my first trip to QLD in an author capacity and I’m really thrilled.  I’m staying with a fellow author so I anticipate a fabulous time at this author event

 

rivetingreads

 

Until then, keep an eye on my social media sites for dates, updates and further details about these awesome bookish events.

http://www.grthomasbooks.com

IG: @grthomas2014

Twitter: @grthomas2014

FB: G.R.Thomas Books

FB: Grace Rose Thomas

 

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Well, I have to say when it comes to blogging I’m rather rubbish. I am publically proclaiming to remedy this, so you all must keep me honest.

What has happened since I last posted? So, so much.

Most excitedly the sequel to Awaken has been released and is receiving some fabulous reviews which just makes my authory heart sing.

Here is a little excerpt from surrender:

Chapter One

Chapter One excerpt

 

A door creaked open. I shut my eye again and held my breath, trying to control the panic of not knowing where I was. What the hell just happened? I attempted to fake sleep whilst straining every other sense to ascertain what was going on. My spine burned instinctively, a raw reminder of my new and unpredictable power.

Deep breath in, deep breath out, repeat.

Keep it cool Soph. My thoughts raced and my senses kicked into overdrive; taking in every smell, sound and whisper of movement.

I had to work out what was going on before my whacked out Angelic body decided to put on its own light show.

Ashes and spice. No!

   *************************

 

It’s been such a different experience releasing book 2. The support , the confidence and the enjoyment has been exponentially more fantastic. For the first time I sent ARCS out and this was a wonderful experience where readers were putting up their hands to have a copy pre-release. I can’t describe how wonderful that feeling is.

So now I am looking to book 3, the final instalment of my trilogy. I’m in the beginning stages and the ideas are firing quicker than I can type them down.

Until Redemption, book 2, hits the shelves I am content to enjoy the warm welcome that Surrender has received.

Happy reading and happy writing

 

The Art of Marketing a Book

Now don’t be fooled by the title that this is a how to. It certainly isn’t. It’s far from it actually. What it is, in fact, is my ever growing insights into the immense amount of effort an indie author must go to, to get their work noticed.

This time last year, I can guarantee you that not a soul was interested in either me or my book. I was in limbo, author no-mans land and not an olive branch to grasp.

Today, I have people reaching out to me to read my book, to compliment my work, to ask me how to write a book and offers to beta read my just finished sequel! How freaky is that? A complete 360 change from no-one to someone that might nearly be considered somewhat of an author that a reader might like to get to know 🙂

This has been achieved through no less that throwing myself out there in the big scary social media world. At first I was lost,  slowly I weaved my way into conversations that seemed fun, interesting and inspiring. From there I have had the utter privilege of meeting the most wonderful authors and readers who have not only made me laugh and smile, but also offered the hand of friendship and support.

It is an interesting balance of give and take. I find great joy in sharing the works of other authors that I love. I enjoy reading snippets of their lives and watching them progress through the same stages that I do. What do I get in return for such a wonderful interactive experience? A return of that same joy for my writing, my silly posts and the snippets of my life that I share. In developing these enviable friendships I have unwittingly marketed my book in the most positive and enjoyable way.

On the flip side is the face to face marketing. Now that is truly challenging. I have , after immense effort and many knockbacks, managed to have Awaken accepted into three independent bookshops here in Melbourne. Benn’s Books, Beaumaris Books and Farrell’s Books. I thank them so deeply for taking a risk on me.  It was such a fabulous success after so much hang-ups and “thanks but no thanks.”

I suppose my point is that you really don’t get anything without putting in . Everyday I work on promoting my book, every single day and it is slowly paying off. Not in monetary terms, because lets be honest, you only make money writing if you’re Stephen King or the like… unless you get that movie deal! The pay off is seeing your book featured on someone’s blog, a new 5 star review and just the simplicity of the fact that you entertained  someone on the other side of the world.

That’s the payoff for me for all the closed doors and ear-bashing that’s now opening up those same doors.

Updates on reading and writing

Its been a while since I’ve blogged. I’m quite slack with it, I have to admit that. However, what I’m doing when I’m not blogging is….writing! Lots of writing. I’ve recently had an explosion of inspiration and motivation that has seen me reach the final chapters of Surrender, the sequel to Awaken.

In between running a household chock-full of kids an animals, its a crazy busty schedule. I did had quite a writing lull over the recent school holidays but I’m back full force. My local cafe sets a cosy scene where I can float away o a river of coffee as I zone out of reality and into Sophia’s strange and frightening world.

For those who’ve read Awaken, poor Soph, she doesn’t cop much of a break. It’s an uphill battle the whole way. *evil laughing* I’m loving how she’s developing though. She’s vulnerable yet strong, and getting stronger with each new challenge.

I recently asked a question of my IG friends. What does an author do when a character is so alive that they are insistent on how I write them? One character is screaming at me each time I wont allow her to use a swear word. It sounds ridiculous but I actually feel like she’s glaring back up at me from the computer, hands on hips and saying “Really? You really gonna dumb me down like that?”

She’s trouble and I love her. Thoughts on appropriately placed cursing? Not that she’s going to listen or care either way!

Now to reading. Wow, I’ve read some thrilling new books, most of which are self-published indies. The highlight has been The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I loved it THAT much.  If you love dark fantasy, grab a copy like, yesterday! Another is the Colours of Immortality by J.M.Muller. If you’d like a fresh take on the Zombie/undead formula check this out too. Its totally unique. The pace is quick, no dragging boring bits and its left me wanting to know a whole lot more about this new breed of monster that she has created.

Another recent read was Hell’s Teeth by James Fahy. Not an Indie but it’s the second book of his that I’ve read and completely loved it. Again, another clever twist of the Vampire genre that strays perfectly away from the same run of the mill vampire tale.

Pretty much the most exciting thing I’ve read though I can’t even talk about. I did my first Beta Read. Simply a wonderful honour and a thrill to be the first set of eyes on the planet to read this incredible story.

Love to hear what you guys are reading and writing

 

Networking…

So, over the past year I’ve been busting my little Aussie buns with this whole social media game. I’m as far from proficient at understanding the inner workings and nuisances as one could be, yet I can now ‘tag’ on Instagram! Yay for me.

It felt like a lot of one sided conversations for a long time. There I was sending out my little comments and book promotions to the vacuum of twitter, FB and Instagram. There were times I honestly thought ,”hello, is anyone out there?”

Well, what I’ve learned is patience, a skill that often eludes me! Patience and persistence and joining in the journeys of other people, be they readers or authors. That patience is staring to pay off and in more than just getting Awaken noticed. I’m making some wonderful online friends who make me laugh from across the globe, all the way to just down the road.

Instagram by far is my favourite online play ground. What a beautiful community of like-minded individuals. The love for books and reading on this medium restores my faith for the brains and imaginations of the future, that they will be full to brimming with stimulation and inspiration to keep the written word a sacred and powerful medium.

The support I’ve received recently on these forum is nothing short of humbling and I delight in offering that back to others. Supporting other indie authors as well as traditionally published authors has given me two things:

1: people who get it, who understand the pathway of an indie author and an incredible amount of positive support that goes mutually both ways.

2: the discovery of books, great books, amazing books I may not have ever come across otherwise simply because they are self published. I’ve read, and I am currently reading some fantastic stories that just prove you don’t need to be picked up the mega machine publishing houses to tell a good story.

So, networking…its an important part of the self-publishing process. Patience and persistence are an essential part of networking. None of these will work independently of the other. The writing of the story,that’s fun, sometimes mind-numbing, but mainly fun. The networking is where you really put your nose to the grindstone as an indie author and only just now am I really understanding the importance of it.

To everyone I’ve met so far, thankyou, thankyou and thankyou. Its been fun so far.

 

The Supanova Melbourne Experience

WOW!!! I can’t be more linguistically artistic than that.

Two weeks ago I experienced two amazing things.

Firstly the official public launch of Awaken. The NERVES! It was a paper bag puffing moment when the first person approached my table. I’d practiced my 30 second book synopsis a million times and you know, I think I described Awaken 100 different ways over this two day period! *you may laugh*

I’ve never been a public person, never enjoyed being the focus of attention at all…..

Well, did this address that issue!!. I wouldn’t say I would ever deliberately put my hand up to speak at a packed house with all eyes on me, but I certainly relaxed over theses amazing two days as I talked to so many wonderful and diverse people . Some came to compliment my table decorations, some to browse over Awaken, some to purchase it, and some came over well, because they were dressed as Darth Vader!

Awaken was very well received. In these two days I sold more books in person than I have through Amazon and that was just sensational. I was so knocked out by this. It really hit home how important connecting with people is. This was further supported by all the new and lovely followers I received through Instagram and Twitter. The love and feels I have for them all is endless. I went to Supanova expecting small things. I came away from it feeling a million dollars, having made new friends, wonderful connections and learned a whole damned lot about book promoting and myself. To all who supported me, thankyou from the bottom of my full and bursting heart.

Now to Supanova itself. What an amazing event. For those who don’t know its like ComiCon. An amazing colourful, diverse pop culture event that attracts all kinds of amazing stalls. Art, film and literature. Actors visit for fan pics and autographs. There were actors from Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Arrow just to name a few. My kids were thrilled to meet some. A huge theme was Anime. The amazing costumes people were wearing just blew my mind. All kinds of genres were there both cute, gorgeous and downright scary. I met Thor, Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, The suicide Squad and the Grim Reaper who happened to be rather nice actually. Plenty of zombie contact lenses and wildly coloured hair made this an eye popping, people watching fest that was an absolute delight.

The crowds were there to have fun, good fun, polite and kind fun, not an unpleasant word or moment was to be seen or heard.

So enthralled was I, that I’m packing my car up and I’m following this show to Sydney in June. How could you not want to roll with such a fun, positive experience that doubles as a sensational book promotion vehicle.

What am I Reading?

I have a confession to make. I’m a very impatient reader. I often have multiple books on the go at once because I get too excited to start one before I finish another! Always been like this.

Generally I have levels of books. By this I mean I have my ‘sleepy book’, this is an easy read when I’m really tired. Then I have my ‘need more coffee book’, this is the intense page turner that I can’t put down. Lastly I have my ‘we’re casual friends book’, this is that book that I want to finish but meander back and forward from because its not quite drawing my in. This one always gets finished but sits at the bottom of the queue.

At the moment however I’m reading three ‘need more coffee books’ so as you can imagine, I’m rather beside myself and not sleeping too much. I have to almost toss a coin for which one I allow myself to pick up. I should be more disciplined and force myself to finish one at a time but where would the fun in that be? Right now I have multiple fantasy worlds I’m drifting in and out of!

So what am I reading?

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I LOVE this series. How superbly unique to imagine a story from random vintage photographs. The story drags me along at a wonderful pace. The characters are supremely unique and engaging. There is just enough dark fantasy in this little book to keep me looking over my shoulder. Best of all, Tim Burton is bringing out the movie this year, its a win-win for me.

Sensory Overload Book 3 of The Pria Chronicles by Shannon Rieger. A wonderful series by a self-published indie author. Firstly, I love to support fellow indie authors, its like propping up your family as well as the fact that I totally understand the uphill battle to get yourself out there. So, to the book. It’s a quirky fantasy written in multiple POV which works. A YA novel aimed probably for 13 years plus, it divulges just enough to keep me guessing so I just have to keep turning the page. I love that. The story is unique, about a boy named Michael who has the ability to sense the emotions of others and how this almost tears him apart  There’s an innocence and vulnerability about the characters as they navigate through discovering who they are whilst trying to understand the danger they are in.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I’ve only just started this so don’t really too much I can say, but its about witches and that’s good enough for me! Will follow up on this book at a later time.

So, what are you reading and what kind of reader are you?