Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Can We Get Any More Awesome in this Room? IWSG, Writerly Wednesday, and a Blogfest

You don't have to be crazy to get how stoked I am about everything that's happened lately. It's humbling and oh so amazing. There are people, REAL people, who like my book and email me about the sequel, and beg me to make it as awesome as the first, and who write reviews and rave on their blogs or facebook (without me even asking!!!), and squee every time I post a writing update...

As amazing as this trip is, it leaves me with one HUGE worry. If this book is that good, am I sufficient enough to market it, or am I squashing it before it gets out the door for lack of a larger marketing team? 

Don't get me wrong, I love my publisher. (Like the bleeding-heart kind of soul-mate love.) Before launch, we made a very clear plan that we'd wait until the first series and serial story were published and then make a HUGE campaign push (we're talking EPIC here), but I worry that putting off the push is shooting myself in the foot. Still, I don't have the time or energy to do it all, darn perfectionist that I am. 

Whatever happens, I'm in for the ride -- or better yet, I'm driving and wondering if someone else should have been put in charge of this crazy train. Teeth rattling, I'm hitting every bump and unsure of the road ahead. Where is my crystal ball?

Enough of that. Who's ready to win a book and test your lie detection skills?

Writerly Wednesdays here are for readers and writers. Get to know authors, test your human lie detector skills, and WIN books. 

A few weeks ago Rachel Morgan shared two truths and one lie about herself and those who guessed the lie correctly were entered into a random drawing to win a book of their choice from her Creepy Hollow series.


The options were:

1. Rachel has read every Harry Potter book at least 8 times.
2. When she was little, she had an imaginary friend who was sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl.
3. To relieve exam stress, Rachel and her high school girlfriends used to hit the middle of the school field and scream. 


And the lie is: 

#1. As much as we all want it to be true, Rachel is not quite that much of a Harry Potter fan. 

Way to guess those of you who got it right! You are officially human lie detectors. And the is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Linda

Congrats, Linda!

And now for this week's special feature! I'm so excited to share Julie Flanders and her amazing new release with you!

A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul. Why? ... Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.


This one is at the top of my TBR list, precariously teetering over the edge. You can buy it HERE.  
Ready to meet Julie?

Julie Flanders is a novelist and freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a life-long love affair with the ocean and has spent more summer vacations than she can count on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. When not writing, Julie can be found playing with her pets, reading, cheering on her favorite sports teams and watching too much television. The Ghosts of Aquinnah is Julie’s second novel. Her debut novel Polar Night was released in February, 2013 by Ink Smith Publishing.

The Ghosts of Aquinnah was released on December 5, 2013 by Ink Smith Publishing. It is available in both paperback and ebook formats. For more information, including purchase links, please visit Julie’s website here.

You might stumble across her munching on Muenster pretty much anywhere. (A cheese after my own heart.)

Julie gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Can you figure out the lie? Those who do will go into my magic hat for a chance to win her eBook. Eek! How cool is that? You have until Tuesday, January 14th at 1 p.m. EDT to guess--and be sure to come back for the answer on January 15th.

TRUTH OR LIE

1. While work as a psychiatric social worker, helping with assessments for the county jail, she was nearly strangled by an inmate who was having a psychotic episode.
2. She was in drama club as a teen and loved performing in plays and musicals.  
3. Julie desperately hates pie and can’t understand why anyone would choose it for dessert.


And if that wasn't enough awesomeness, check this out!



My very first blogfest! Meet my AMAZING co-hosts: Pk HrezoTammy Theriault, and Michael Di Gesu. Is this a party, or what? 

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

So here's where you come in: If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, who would you beg your parents to set you up with? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.) Who and why? That's what I want to know on February 10th, so think about it, sign up on my linky list, and make sure to include the hop image in your post.

Oh, and be sure to grab my button and post it on your blog, share it with everyone and let's make it a party! Yay! I can't wait to hear all about your dream matches!

P.S. If you're a coffee drinker, you have to get over the Michael's blog, now! 


Okay, which is the lie? Have you signed up for my ROCKIN blogfest? (And if not, are you crazy?!?) What marketing worries do you have or have you overcome? Have you read Julie's super amazing book? Have you read any truly amazing books recently?

132 comments:

  1. Okay, I think #2 is the lie. :)

    Crystal, enjoy the ride! It's already awesome and it's only going to get better. Word of mouth - something you already have - is what sells books. You're going to be fine. :)

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    1. I sure hope so, but goodness, I wish I didn't like to obsess and stress about it. Guess I need a hobby. Oh wait... =)

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  2. Timing for promotion is a hard one to figure out at times. You have to give it attention while balancing writing and life. It helps if you have a theme or clear goals of what you intend or need to do. Once you have that then plugging in the needed action becomes easier. Just don't become so focused that you burn yourself out. Make sure you have some time for you.

    Julie hates pie? How can you hate pie? lol!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. Awesome advice, Sia. What would I do without a veteran like you to sooth my fluster-a-tive-ness?

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  3. I still have a long way to go before I have to worry about marketing. It sounds like you're off to a good start. I'll definitely be getting your book once my Kindle comes! :)

    I really want to join the blogfest...I just have no idea who I would want to be set up with! I'll have to think about it...

    Sarah
    (January IWSG Co-host)

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    1. Yippee! I had no idea initially either, but it came to me. Even my hubby had to approve. =)

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  4. Oh Crystal, this is so awesome!!! Congratulations!! I'm so glad to hear your book is being received so well. And I love following along on Julie's tour :) I'm going to guess #3 is the lie!

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    1. Thank you--for both me and Julie. Have I told you lately how much I love your smile?

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  5. Thanks again for featuring me today, Crystal! I am sending you a big basket of virtual cheese!

    And I think you are totally brilliant when it comes to marketing, but I understand your worries about a larger marketing team. Sometimes it would be nice to know we have something like that in our corner. But you're done so well so far that I know that will continue!

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    1. Wahoo! Virtual cheese. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

      Aw, thanks for that, Julie. You totally rock.

      Delete
  6. I'm going with #2. And I think your blogfest is a way cool idea!

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    1. Made more awesome only by you being a part, eh?

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  7. It's a funny thing, isn't it? You'd think getting published, (and it doing well!) would make us less insecure! But somehow it doesn't work that way. There's always a new set of insecurities biting at our heels. :-P

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  8. Throwing in my two cents on the marketing bit...get the sequel written before the big push. I threw myself into marketing and it but a dead stop on my writing. My brain just couldn't focus on both. Now I've quit marketing to try and get back into the writing. It's been almost a year since my first book was released and now I KNOW I shot myself in the foot by not having the second and third book at least in draft form before marketing. People WILL forget about my story by the time the second book comes out.

    *sigh*

    Good luck with all you are doing!

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    1. See, I've heard it's best to work that way. Fortunately I already had book 2 written before book 1 came out, and book 3 is plotted in depth and ready for execution soon...as soon as I pull my head out of this marketing insanity. Thanks for turning me around. =)

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  9. I'm still struggling with deciding how and what to do about marketing. This is all tough, I like the idea of making an EPIC campaign for the series and serial story ;)

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    1. Oh the things to come... *rubbing hands in anticipation*

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  10. Congratulations on all the terrific feedback you've been getting. Wonderful feelings! Best wishes on promoting it and getting that sequel out.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Great to meet you, btw!

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  11. I wish I knew how stoked you are, and I wish I was receiving as much positive feedback with my new release too, but alas I am a small, unknown author and I know I have to work my way up to it. But I personally think you're doing a great job marketing your book! I wish you even more success!! :)

    I am going to go out on a limb and say #3 is the lie. haha

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    1. Thanks, Chrys. I received some incredible advice before getting started that went a little something like this: "Your book is 5% of the work. Your marketing, if you want to succeed, is the other 95."

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  12. You deserve to be every bit as proud and thrilled as you are, I can imagine how hard the marketing side of the release must be but sounds like you have some great support to help you along.

    I'll say the lie is #2

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  13. I think you did an amazing job with your blog tour. I'd give it a rest and then look for totally different markets like book review blogger to do a new blog tour.

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    1. Aw, thanks Natalie. Couldn't have done it without you. And yes, that's what I'm doing now. (It's like you're inside my head, or marketing plan, or something. Are you psychic?)

      Delete
  14. Congrats on the positive feedback from readers, it must feel so great! That is something I know I'll enjoy when my book is out.

    http://lucindawhitney.com/2014/01/miscellaneous/insecure-writers-support-group/

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    1. Something to look forward to, eh? It's definitely worth the work.

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  15. I feel you on the marketing thing. My publisher is very small and I end up doing the majority of the work. I just know I need to get it out there more but I need time to write too. It's pretty scary and exciting and brain numbing all at the same time.

    Stay the course. You have a plan. Keep writing.

    Congrats to the winner!
    Heather

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    1. Heather, you need a shiny assistant to do all your leg work too? ;)

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  16. I'm so happy for you! You give the rest of us hope. :)

    I'm going to guess that number three is the lie.

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    1. Hope is an awesome thing. Like cheese. But not quite as tasty. =)

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  17. I'm looking forward to seeing how big this marketing scheme you're planning is going to be.

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  18. So much here my tired head is spinning Crystal. I see I missed IWSG . Whoops. Too busy having fun in Spain. I'll have to check and make sure Moonless is in my kindle. I am reading Julie's book along with a few others. :)

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    1. Denise! No head spinning allowed. Go lay down and come back when your brain isn't addled by amazing foreign adventures. (Of which I am SERIOUSLY jealous.)

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  19. Just do everything you can to market it and don't worry about what doesn't get done.
    For Julie's lies, I say the second one, because I remember her telling the story about the first one.

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  20. I think the lie is no.#2

    You've worked SO hard and pulled off an AMAZING blog tour!
    And I think your best marketing tool is your bubbly spirit and networking skillz!
    And no matter how huge this proposed marketing drive is, word-of-mouth is like wildfire... there's no stopping it!

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    1. I have a bubbly spirit? Does that mean my personal brand of cheese is holey? Okay, I'll take it. (Jarlsberg is EPIC.) I think the problem with fire is that you have to keep feeding it, or it starves. It takes a while for it to go wild. But we'll get there! It will happen!

      Delete
  21. Yay for Julie! I'm going to have to go with the pie-hating being the lie. ;)

    That's awesome you've gotten such good reviews and emails! I would agree about the big push being after the series. People are much more likely to buy all of them at once.

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    1. True, true. I've binge read a few series myself, just because I read the first one and loved it, then couldn't stop. Best way to do it.

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  22. There is absolutely nothing as harrowing as marketing, but I do know that having more than one book out is a HUGE help when it comes to selling books. So waiting for a big push is not a bad idea, just one of many strategies.

    Good luck and enjoy this part!

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    1. Will do, Rena. And when people ask why I'm kicking back and grinning like a loon, I'll tell them, "Rena told me to." =)

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  23. Crystal, I just love you. Your enthusisim always makes me smile. I am so ecstatic that you're getting all the rabid fan love you deserve- it's just wonderful. Knowing nothing about publishing myself I can offer no advice, only faith that things will work out as they should and your writing will get to all the readers who will love it so much. Keep writing, that's all you gotta worry about right now.

    I love Julie but could not possibly guess the lie, I'll leave that to a better detective.

    I'm signed up for the blog fest and super psyched!

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    1. Aw, Bev! You're the best! Thank you for the amazing words--and I CAN'T WAIT to read your blogfest entry. Yippee!

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  24. Maybe your book should come with cheese?

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    1. Right? I mean, other than the delivery charges for refrigeration, how could I possibly go wrong? =)

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  25. I think Julie's lie is #3.

    Congrats to you with the success of your first book!

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  26. I guess 3!

    You are magnetic and wonderful. You're going to do great in marketing.

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    1. Loni, you're so sweet! (Are you trying to say there are iron shavings clinging to my face?) ;)

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  27. Enjoy the ride Crystal and don't become complacent in success.

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    1. True, true. Feed the fire. Fire? FIRE!! Oh, I love fire.

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  28. I'll go for #3. As for the blogfest, I would love to join in, but I have no answer to your question. Should be interesting to read others' posts, though.

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    1. Hah! You've got some teenage student who's totally crushing on you and wishing you'd write about him. Kidding, kidding, but your last post has my mind going all kinds of strange and random places. =)

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  29. Woot! Woot! For Julie! And for those awesome reviews and readers, too! :)

    I tell every writer, it only takes one or two random people who really "get" your story and say so in a public review to put this in your blood for life. :) Here's to many more!

    All signed up for faux matchmaking.

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    1. SO TRUE. It is addicting, right? And dude, you totally did sign up! Yay! I'm excited to see what you come up with. =)

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  30. I think it is wonderful that you have a book that you published... don't be afraid... go out and push that book as much as you can... that it so exciting :)

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  31. Hey, Crystal, stop worrying about the book marketing and just give it your best shot.
    I'm guessing that No. 1 is the lie from Julie. All signed up already.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. But it's so instinctual to worry! Okay, fine. I'll go eat cheese instead.

      Delete
  32. Yay for your awesome fans and for fabulous reviews and readers begging for sequels! That is so cool.

    Congratulations, Julie! I think the lie is #3, but don't enter me for the book cuz I already bought it. :)

    I have totally signed up for the blogfest - sounds fun!

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    1. It's going to be amazing, this blogfest. So glad you're playing!

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  33. I would never have guessed that the Harry Potter one was a fake!

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  34. I can imagine it'd be so easy to stress about how well your book baby is doing out in the wide world- I kno I would! But it sounds like it's out there making itself known. :) Looking forward to the blogfest!

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    1. One day at a time. Can't wait to read your dream match, Leandra!

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  35. Im thinking #2, dessert pie is weird :P

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    1. LOL! Is this where I admit I'm not a fan of pie?

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  36. Julie's book sounds great...I'm not so sure which one is the lie, though. :(

    You will be fine with whatever comes next with your awesome book! You have a plan and great people and most important, your awesome writing stands on its own!

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    1. Aw, you say the nicest things, Michelle. That's why I trick you into coming back to my blog. Yup. With cheese. You may not have noticed it because it's invisible, but it's there, and believe it or not, it's addicting. ;) (Whew! I got up way too early this morning--can you tell?)

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  37. How exciting and fantastic for you! I can understand your concern with the marketing push - it's scary and so easy to guess and second guess and third guess, but I tend to think, if you've made a plan for good reason, stick to it and let the cards fall where they may. I also believe that good stories find their readers one way or another in time... good luck and hold on tight!!

    As to the question - honestly, if I lived in that era I'd probably come over all As You Like It and dress up like a boy and have adventures - my parents have crap taste in men ;-)

    Claire

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    1. Claire, you totally have to come play with the fest. Your answer would be epic.

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  38. don't worry girl....hang on and you got this!!! ok, so I'm gonna say the lie is #3

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  39. Try not to fret and just enjoy the ride! You've earned it!

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  40. There's nothing like having other people buy and read your book. It makes the story and characters feel so much more real. And from what I understand, it is generally better to have more than one book out there before you start the big marketing push. Gook luck!

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    1. Thanks, Ken. You're right. And when you're right, your right, right?

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  41. Wow. Congratulations on the book and all your fans. That is so thrilling. Marketing is important to get the books sold, but it sounds like your book is moving ahead anyway. Good Luck!
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

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  42. Ride that marketing wagon like there's no tomorrow. Best of luck to you! :)

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  43. I totally thought I'd commented here, I definitely read it. I personally think no marketing is ever good enough unless you're JK Rowling... when people are bending over backwards to make films and action figure tie-ins! If you discover the secret, please share it :-)

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  44. I am so happy to hear that your book is off to a great start. That is a great way to start off the new year.

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  45. Hi, Crystal!

    WHOA... calm down girl... Your book will GET WHERE NEEDS TO GO! Some things shouldn't be rushed... just relax and ENJOY THE RIDE!!!!

    Congrats again to Julie!. I FREAK every time I see the cover and blurb. I can't help how happy I am that Julie chose ME to design her cover and write her blurb..... SO COOL!!!!

    REALLY looking FORWARD to the release party on FEB 10! With you and awesome co-hosts PK and Tammy!!!


    My badge is up and so is my linky for the COFFE BLOG HOP... when you get a chance drop by!

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    1. Trying to relax now. Trying.

      Feb 10 is going to rock, and here's to your rockin coffee hop!

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  46. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, so even a huge push a little later will have a huge impact. It will keep the ball rolling. You want that!

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    1. So true. Words of wisdom... Gracias mucho!

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  47. It's great to hear all your good news, and I love that you've found a publisher who's really backing you and helping. Sometimes, that makes all the difference. Yay!

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  48. Sounds like you've got a great publisher - and I love that they have a plan! Not everyone gets that and I'm sure it'll be great! :)

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    1. Then they should make one themselves, eh? ;)

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  49. I can't recognize a lie. That's why I was married so many years.

    Love,
    Janie

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  50. I'm reading Ghosts of Aquinah now. It's really good!

    It's awesome that your publisher has a plan. Lucky you! Your rocking with your book!

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  51. Make that, "You're." I seriously need more sleep!

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  52. I think #3 is a lie since disliking pie is involved.

    Congrats to Linda.

    Yay for fanmail. :)

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  53. So cool to see you featuring Julie! I think I'll guess #2 is the lie...

    As for marketing, there's always something to fear no matter how soon or late you promote something, so don't let your worries get the best of you!

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  54. I hadn't downloaded Moonless but I have now. :)

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  55. So glad you're riding high, Crystal! You deserve it!!

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  56. Hmm... Julie hates pie is a lie, right?
    As far as publicity for books, you'd probably have doubts either way (whether it's better to rely on your pubber or best to make a push for it yourself). I do.

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    1. She's a pie hater. Can you believe it? And you're totally right. I would have doubts either way.

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  57. I am guessing that Julie doesn't like pie. I have The Ghost of Aquinah on my TBR list and look forward to reading it. It sounds so good!

    I am not sure what the best way to market is- but your publisher sounds like they have a plan and since they have experience I would imagine they know what works. The good news is it sounds like you are getting lots of reviews and the word is out about your book. I have heard about it all over the place! Yeah!

    Wishing you much success!
    ~Jess

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    1. Guess we're doing our job then, eh? Yikes. You just never know how far you're reaching. Thanks for the wishes, Jess!

      Delete
  58. I'm gonna guess Julie's #2, about drama club, is the lie. Though I worry what it says about me, that I find strangulation-by-inmate more believable! o_O

    Mazel tov on your success, Crystal!

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  59. holy cranial capacity crystal!
    so much excitement and wonderful happenings!
    i cant wait to hear how your marketing goes, i have no idea how do it. totally winging it!

    and julie was never in drama club! thats my guess!
    happy weekend!

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    1. I'm totally winging it too! And awesome guess. =)

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  60. Epic is good! Epic push even better!!! So of course you are on tenterhooks and totally raring to go!! You are Crystal Collier! Hear you ROAR! :-)

    Wishing you an almighty-ly and amazingly fabulous 2014!! Take care
    x

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    1. I roar? *gulp* I thought I just spewed cheese and pounced while my enemies are distracted. =)

      You rock!

      Delete
  61. That's awesome you're getting such great feedback on your book! Yay, you! To be read is the main object of writing. Cheese to ya!

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  62. Congrats on all that wonderful feedback. I wouldn't worry too much about the marketing plan. It sounds solid. Long term plans work better, imo.

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    1. Thanks, Lynda. Too true. Guess I just need some patience, eh?

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  63. Yay for Julie! I think your advertising/marketing situation would drive me to bursting, but I've heard that the more you have out there, the more people will find your work, so an epic push once you've got more out there makes sense. Hang in there!

    The Warrior Muse

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    1. So true. Here's to being bold and making noise, eh?

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  64. Tough question. I guess you can stay with your current publisher and hire a PR firm to help out with the marketing, but I also believe that you can realize a lot yourself if you put a lot of work into your marketing. Word-of-mouth might do the rest for you. Have a lovely Monday.

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    1. It's true. You can do a TON yourself--but should you? I mean, you have to stay sane, right? ;)

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  65. It seems impressive to me. But then, I am a bit of a slug with zero marketing ideas. But I do know it's a good book. In my ill downtime, I got to read the first half! There are some bonuses to feeling like death!

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    1. LOL! Elizabeth, every time you say something like that I just kind of laugh. You are not a slug, and you are definitely inspiring.

      Way to stay positive in the face of death, and I hope you've been enjoying the book. Yay!

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Hit me with your cheese!