Monday, May 25, 2015

Small Press & Self Publishing

Let me start out by saying that both have worked out well for me and which direction you go with your book depends on a lot of factors. I going to give it to you straight. I report, you decide, LOL.

Eternal Press is the publisher for both of my first two books, Jade & Jane. They have been easy to work with and nothing but supportive in my experience. As a new author I can't thank them enough for accepting my manuscripts, paying for cover art, editing, and formatting. and getting my book out there. I had no idea starting out how difficult this process is until I recently self published my first book, Jewel.

If you are pretty much broke like I was and know next to nothing about the publishing business then I would say Small Press is a good way to go. It didn't cost me a dime with Eternal Press and they took care of everything. When I get those quarterly royalty checks it is pure profit less any promotions I have run and of course, the cost of swag and author copies for those promotions. Eternal Press does some promotions as do most publishers, but one thing you learn as a new author regardless if you go with a publisher or not is that you do the majority of marketing yourself.

If you self publish you pay the cost of your cover art and any professional edits you have done. I have been pleased with my covers done through my publisher as well as the ones I have had done and paid for myself. The publisher takes a chance on you, hoping you will sell enough books to cover their costs for the cover work and editing, their promotions and advertising of the books they publish, and any overhead involved in this process. Eternal Press has a 60/40 split on net royalties for eBooks so on a $5 book sold through Amazon, Amazon keeps $1.50, Eternal Press keeps $2.10, and I get $1.40. My guess is that you will need to sell a couple hundred books before they hit the break even point (after that they are in the black) and many new books simply don't sell very many copies. So they are taking a chance each time they give an author a contract. The advantage for you is that first $1.40 for that first eBook sold is already profit for you.

If you self publish, you are taking the same chance your publisher took on you. You will need to sell enough copies of your book to meet any costs involved with your cover art, editing, and formatting before you realize a profit. Of course, your royalty on each eBook sold is higher so on that same $5 eBook you get the whole $3.50. So if you spent $350 you will need to sell 100 copies before you are in the black.

When you self publish you take on all the headaches involved in the editing, formatting, and cover art but my experience is you have more input and involvement in the process. Still, I found I was banging my head on the table on many occasions and it can be very frustrating and time consuming getting all the details complete. If you don't care for this type of thing then Small Press is definitely for you.

There are a few advantages to self publishing other than the increased royalties per book sold. First there is the time lapse. It takes time to find a publisher that likes your manuscript enough to offer you a contract and from there a good bit of time from contract to actually seeing your book published. Eternal Press is one of the faster ones, my books were seven months on Jade and ten months on Jane from contract to published work. My understanding is that one to two years is not at all unusual for this time frame. If you self publish you can do it much quicker (that doesn't mean better, btw) but if you are not a very patient person, it can seem to drag on forever waiting for your publisher to get to your book. Just remember you are not the only author waiting for the same thing. Honestly, they have more experience in this than you will have and should normally have less mistakes in the process.

By far the biggest advantage I have found in self-publishing is seeing your sales real time without having to guess by the Amazon sales rankings how many books you sold that day.  You can see what promotions worked for you and what didn't. I can tell you that for me, I tend to sell more books when I tweet or post excerpts. For Norma Jean's School of Witchery, Book One: Jewel this is what that looks like.

If you are with a publisher, you don't have access to this information. Instead you only have your sales rankings to try and figure out what you may have sold. For the same book and time period that looks like this.

That's a lot less illuminating and certainly not as exciting as the first graphic. For Jade, that has been out 1.5 years it's very difficult to get a good handle on sales. With royalties running on a two and three month delay, it can be very frustrating trying to get a handle on sales.

The other advantage to self publishing is pricing, although this can also be self-defeating in a way because of the temptation to deeply discount a book in order to get a few sales. For me, the only pricing I have changed is the paperback price, originally $12.99 that I have lowered to $9.99 trying to get a few paperback sales. I have not had much response to this yet and I have not experimented with the eBook price at this point. I value my work and I will say that I don't intend to do any huge discounting any time soon.  My publisher offers both Jade and Jane 50% off using the discount code provided in the calendar on their website which I think is a pretty good deal. There is no split with Amazon if someone takes advantage of this and I make almost as much on each book sold direct through Eternal Press that I do through Amazon.

Eternal Press also gets the book to more retailers than the three tier system I elected with Amazon, including places like B&N and iTunes, and I have had sales at both places show up on my royalty statements, so that can be a big advantage to going with a publisher like Eternal Press. The other great thing is that you are part of a team and the authors help each other out with promotions, tweets, and spotlights and they are great people to interact with.

What's best for you depends a lot on your personal preferences. For me I plan on continuing to both self-publish as well as use Eternal Press. I hope you have found this post helpful and look forward to your comments.

Update, October 2015
Eternal Press has been sold to new owners. I will always be grateful to them for taking a chance on a new author. The new owners (Caliburn Press) promise better contracts, quicker turnaround, and more marketing and promotion. I look forward to working with them in the future. I'll keep you updated....

Update, March 2016
It's been a bumpy transition but things are starting to smooth out. One great thing is that the new owners have lowered the price of the eBooks for Jade & Jane down to $2.99. That has helped sales, in my opinion. They are working on a better and more reasonably priced platform for the print copies as well. I will keep you updated.

I have also discovered a website called Novel Rank that gives you a good estimate of your sales based on Amazon rankings. It doesn't claim to be 100% accurate but at least gives you an idea of how your non self published books are doing (chart for Jade)...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Author Spotlight: Frantiska Oliver

I See You is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal book by Frantiska Oliver. If you get a chance please read some of the amazing reviews for this book on Amazon, 4.9 stars with 24 reviews.

Description:  With shape-shifting abilities, Haven sets out on a path of revenge against child predators, while she searches for the monster who ripped away her innocence, murdered her trust and abused her body. Hoping one day she will come eye to eye with the man who stole from her the only thing that cannot be given back or replaced. But, when she discovers Cassidy and her mysterious Uncle Bryce, Haven’s world of secrecy is exposed. Her solitude life is challenged and the protective walls she built around her scarred heart begin to crumble. Tossing her into uncharted territory and reminding her of forgotten dreams. Struggling with the haunting memories of her past, the inability to trust and the hideous reality of abuse, Haven is thrown into a battle she never expected to fight and feelings she didn’t want to face. But, one question remains. Can a damaged shifter learn to trust and love again? Or, will it destroy what little is left of her shattered heart and allow the shadows of her past the control they relentlessly seek? 

About the author:  Frantiska Oliver currently resides in Texas with her husband, Billy, and their two children. Along with being a full time mom, she is also a part-time veterinary technician and will do almost anything to help an animal in need. Her love for fantasy and science fiction books inspired her to write her first debut novel, Never Forget the Past. Still to this day, when the sun sets and the stars appear, you will find her on the back porch with a notebook and pen writing about the adventures manifesting within her head. To learn more about Frantiska, please visit

You can follow Frantiska at the following links:

Get your copy here:

This sounds like an amazing book. I hope you will give it a read!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Marguerite Maggy Jones: Author Interview and Spotlight

I am very pleased to be featuring Maggy Jones on my blog today.  She is also an Eternal Press author (Go Team EP!) and she has been a real joy to get to know.  She believes in helping other authors as much as promoting her own book and is very active on social media.  Full of energy and aiming for success, I know you will want to get her book!

A stairwell provides refuge from a predator and is the place where fascination leads to something more with a man with golden eyes. 

Jesse Ash takes the stairs at work to avoid a predator and sees a man with golden eyes. He confronts her on the stairs and talks her into joining him for the evening. A game leads to sex and a relationship. His identity is revealed. 

Travis Daniel owns the stairwell and the company. When the predator resurfaces and Travis' ex shows up, their relationship is challenged. Jesse is tested to the limit. 

They must rise above the circumstances to find justice and love.

Ash on the Stairs is an erotic suspense and can be purchased at the following links:
Eternal Press


1. Is this your first book?  What made you decide on erotic suspense as a genre?
Ash on the Stairs is my publishing debut. I, like so many writers, wrote the book I really wanted to write and couldn’t get any publishing interest in it. I did get someone to tell me it needed work and to find a critique group or an editor. I joined a critique group. While I worked on that manuscript, I challenged myself to write an erotic romance to get my foot in the door. As I wrote Ash on the Stairs, the plot grew and twisted away from the standard boy meets girl and they live happily ever after. I knew I couldn’t write it any other way than with all the sub plots.
2. I always wondered what it is like to write an erotic novel. What do your family and friends have to say to you about this?
Writing an erotic novel was difficult at first. Simply describing a sex act is not erotic. How you describe it is. I am fortunate to have a critique partner who was brutally honest. As a result, I wrote scenes that do not require BDSM to be hot.
Erotic romance/thriller and my family, you ask. My family is behind me all the way. I endure kidding at family gatherings. At a recent family dinner, one of the older male relatives told me he reads in bed at night before he goes to sleep. He said he took his copy of my book and went to bed. He declared he read the first page and had to put the book down, go to the kitchen, and get oven mitts before he could hold it to read. That’s my family. My friends just shake their heads and ask where they can buy it and will I autograph it. One friend bought it, in spite of it being erotic, skipped the sex scenes, and loved the story. That’s my friends.
3. Who are your favorite authors and what books influenced you growing up?
I grew up reading everything including the dictionary and encyclopedia. One of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. He saw what we were heading for and wrote about it in The Pedestrian and Fahrenheit 451. We now have wall sized televisions and a person walking down the street is suspect. Thank goodness we haven’t banned reading. Obviously he influenced me strongly. My favorite go-to author for a laugh-out-loud is Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum novels. When asked if I could live in a book, which one would I pick, I frequently answer, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I learned a lot about how to tell a tale from Tolkien; how to tell it in such a way as to draw the reader in and make them believe.
Oddly enough, I used to read very little romance. I’m reading more now that I write it.
4. Any plans for a sequel? What are you working on now?
I do have a sequel for Ash on the Stairs in the works. It is set in the Galveston, Texas area and has a kidnapping in it. My twisted mind is still working out the details.
The other book I mentioned is being published by Eternal Press later this year. Slant Well is a contemporary fantasy tinged with magical realism. A strong romantic theme runs through it, but is secondary to the murder and mayhem surrounding an illegal slant well, the Federal Oil Reserves, and a goddess.
5. It's so hard for new authors to get readers to take a chance on them. What can you say to readers here that might convince them to try your book?
Aside from the fact that you can read the first four chapters for free on Amazon?

Ash on the Stairs grabs you and carries you along through almost non-stop action as Jesse Ash and Travis Daniel build their relationship while they solve a corporate theft and deal with a sexual predator. The antagonist is introduced on page one and as Jesse says, “It always comes back to Jack.” This is one time you don’t want to know Jack.

Connect with Maggy at the following links:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cover Reveal for Ghost School

Norma Jean's School of Witchery, Book Two: Ghost School
(Coming soon)

Get Book One Here:
Amazon Link

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cortina Jackson: Author Interview and Spotlight

Continuing my feature of spotlighting and Indie Author on a weekly basis, today we have Cortina Jackson.
Cortina Jackson is the author of On Earth As It Is In Hell.

Description:  What once was thought of as a conspiracy is now moving to reality, as new world agenda’s are exposed. In great detail, the layers of the character’s lives are peeled away, revealing graphic circumstances that will change them forever; for there is a worst fate that could be faced. 

However, the story does not end without the deep, dark, underworld being revealed. Does Hell exist? Who is worthy of its torment and destruction? In this tale, you may be surprised! The story will captivate you, encompass you, and almost consume you before releasing you to your own thoughts; which may be scarier than fiction. 

Riveting, intriguing, controversial, terrifying? Hell…Yes!

Get it on Amazon HERE

Book Trailer:


I see this is your first book. Tell me what you are working on now. 

I am currently working on the next novel; this will be a spin off to the first one. The book currently is, “On Earth As It Is In Hell” the next one will be a collection of short stories about people who experienced the direct impact of Hell on Earth. I am still working on the title, but I am leaning towards “The Walk Through Hell” I may have a contest to have people to help me come up with a great title.

What is your writing process? Do you plot everything out or do you write by the seat of your pants? Do you have a set schedule or goal for writing?
I set my space up with a small light that overlooks my computer keyboard. On a little table next to my computer, is a small table where I set one bottled water, and one cup of coffee. I have a small fountain that I plug in, so that I can hear the trickling of water.  I burn essential oils, and I set the music channel on Spa Jazz. The scene must be set this way, in order for me to write productively, during my writing periods.
 I do not set a schedule. Whenever I have a thought about a scene in my book, I write it by hand immediately, until I can no longer write. Later on, I set up my scene and began typing it in my computer. It is at this time, that other thoughts will enhance the scene, and bring everything to light perfecting what I have written.
Tell me about you publishing experience. Did you try to find an agent/publisher first or did you always have it in mind that you would self-publish.
I tried to find an agent or publisher at first. I bought a copy of the Writer’s Market and solicited everyone by sending out query letters and correspondence. I spent hours every day doing this. I received lots of rejection. It was discouraging at first, but then I picked myself up and thought,” I will not give up, I will do it myself.” So I self-published, did the cover of my book myself, bought my own ISBN numbers; everything, and now I am marketing and promoting myself.
What have you learned during both your writing and publishing of your first book that you wish you had known going in?

I wish that I had joined a writer’s forum, and began networking. I am in many writer’s groups and chat rooms now; and I learn a lot of information about great websites to go to, publishers, writer’s contests etc. It is so helpful getting insight from 50 other people who may struggle with the same issue that I do.
Maybe it is best that I did not know that it would have been this hard; otherwise, I may have made excuses, and gave up before I could even begin. Now I am dedicated and will move forward no matter what.
I see your book is one of those that is almost unique in that it is hard to place it in a set category or genre. For new readers reading about your book here, what would you like to say to them that might convince them to read your book?
You are right; this book is very unique, making it hard to place in a category. It has been attempted in Christian fiction; however, what is important for people to know is that this isn’t a book that will fit in this category solely. The book has been compared to “The Devil’s Advocate,” and “Constantine,” both starring Keanu Reeves. “On Earth As It Is In Hell” is sexually explicit, it is graphic, it is scary at times, and would most definitely fit into fiction thriller.
The book is for skeptics and seekers. It is entertaining and foretelling. For those who enjoy a good action thriller like, “Final Destination,” it is perfect. For those who enjoy a plot twist with lots of action, it is perfect. For believers and nonbelievers of Hell, it will appeal to all; because it is not a book to shove religion down your throats, it is a nonstop action that will leave the reader to decide if they think that it is real or not; but no matter what the readers feel about Hell, they will be entertained by the character’s interpretation of Hell. Hopefully, the reader will embrace it, and make decisions that will be beneficial to their own lives, as they see elements in the book that are relatable.

Bio:  Cortina Jackson is the doting mother of two sons. She received her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, and has over 15 years of law enforcement experience. With Cortina’s experience and knowledge in law enforcement, she has seen firsthand that; oftentimes, life is scarier than fiction. This has given her a basis for the material in her writing that often seems too detailed to be true. Cortina currently resides in McKinney, TX where she is working on her second Master’s degree and her next novel; and she is enthusiastic about sharing her passion for writing with you.

Contact and Social Media
Twitter @tinathewriter