Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Blog site and new website

I moved my blog over to my newly integrated website, so check out the new design, and browse my website while you're there:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Surprise: Quinn's Undying Rose is released early!

Thanks to the hard work of my editor and my proofreaders, I'm happy to announce that Quinn's Undying Rose is out a few days early!!!

So, without much further ado, here are the links to Quinn's Undying Rose at the various retailers:

Barnes & Noble


It will still take a few days for the book to be live on Apple iTunes, and the paperback should be available at Amazon within about two weeks.

Once you're read Quinn's Undying Rose, I would love it if you could leave a review where you purchased the book.

Thanks a Million!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Excerpt of Quinn's Undying Rose (Scanguards #6)

Quinn's Undying Rose will be released around September 15th, but here's a little excerpt:

Quinn slunk into the passenger seat as Oliver took the driver’s seat of the SUV and started the engine.

“Wish you could stay longer,” Oliver said as he pulled onto the unlit country lane, leaving the house behind where the inner core of Scanguards had been celebrating yet another blood-bond.

Only vampires and their mates had been invited—well, and Oliver. Not to forget a few dogs: Zane had brought Z, and Samson and Delilah had brought their baby daughter Isabelle’s little puppy too. If they weren’t careful, Scanguards would turn into a circus.

“Gotta get back to New York. Besides, what would I do here? Watch how Zane makes puppy eyes at Portia the same way his dog does?” Quinn chuckled. “Better get out of here. Whatever’s going on here might be contagious.”

The human kid next to him gave him a sideways grin—yeah, he was a kid, barely in his mid-twenties, and while Quinn too looked rather young, he carried the experience and memories of two centuries on his shoulders. Two very long and lonely centuries, despite the fact that he’d never been alone and had always surrounded himself with the hottest pieces of ass available. But being surrounded by others hadn’t chased away the emptiness in his heart. He’d felt it physically tonight. Seeing so many of his friends happily tied to their blood-bonded mates had driven reality home once more.

“Like you would ever settle down,” Oliver claimed. “Hey man, the life you’re living—that’s what I want. Women left, right, and center. You’re doing it right.”

Quinn caught his admiring look and forced his usual charming smile onto his lips. He’d perfected it over the last two hundred years, and by now, even he couldn’t tell how fake it was. If that wasn’t an accomplishment in itself!

“Hey, kiddo, I just make it look easy. Being a playboy takes a lot of work—and energy.” He winked, forcing his thoughts about his past to retreat into the dark recesses of his mind.

Oliver burst out in laughter. “Right! I don’t mind that kind of work.” He wiggled his eyebrows in Groucho Marx fashion. “And energy I’ve got plenty of.”

“The young!” Quinn rolled his eyes. “No appreciation for the art of seduction. It takes skill and cunning to coax a woman into your bed.”

“It takes money, good looks, and a big dick!”

Quinn couldn’t help but chuckle. “Well, that certainly helps. But then of course that leaves you short on two things.”

Oliver turned his head away from the winding road ahead of him.

“ ‘Cause the looks you’ve got!” Quinn added.

His young colleague snorted, showing his outrage. “You haven’t seen my dick!”

“Yeah, and by the grace of God, I hope I never will.” Quinn laughed, unable to contain himself.

Oliver glared at him. “I have what it takes!”

“Whatever you say, kiddo!” His eyes started tearing, and he could barely get the words out without bursting into laughter.

“You don’t believe me? What? You think cause you’re a vampire and I’m not, I don’t have the equipment?”

Quinn shook his head. “I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.”

“Well, is that it? You think you’re better at it because you’re a vampire?”

Quinn decided not to let Oliver goad him into a comparison of their two species. With a grin on his face he winked at him. “Once you’ve been at it for as long as I have, I bet you’d be even better than me. I think you’d be a natural.”

A proud sheen of excitement radiated from Oliver’s eyes. “You really think that?”

“Sure I do. I’ve seen how girls look at you.” He ruffled his dark hair, which as usual stood in all directions as if he’d just gotten out of bed. “Of course at this point they all just want to tame your wild mane. But trust me, that’s an advantage: you reel them in with your innocent, cute-boy looks, and badabing-badaboom, you’ve got them in the sack.”

Oliver grinned from ear to ear. “Yeah!”

He looked so innocent and fresh-faced, Quinn felt his heart clench for a moment. He’d been like Oliver once: full of excitement for his life ahead. Full of hope. In love. And then he’d lost it all: his life, his hope, his love.

He cleared his throat, desperately trying to push down the rising memories and reached for the first words that came to him. “You should come visit me in New York. We can hang out and pick up some babes.”

“Really?” Oliver’s voice was full of awe as if he’d just been presented with the keys to a Lamborghini. “You mean that? Man! That’s awesome!”

Quinn sighed. Now he’d unleashed something in the kid that would last at least until they reached the airport, where a private Scanguards jet was waiting to take him to New York. Better that than wallowing in his own thoughts. And maybe a visit from Oliver would be fun. Jake, who was currently holding down the fort in the New York office of Scanguards, could join them, and the three of them could go hunting.

He could teach the kid a thing or two, just for the hell of it. When he was older, he would understand that it wasn’t about how many conquests he made, but who he conquered.

“Why don’t you talk to Samson and ask him to give you a couple of weeks off? I’m sure he’ll be okay with it. Now that Zane’s all domesticated, I really have nobody else to go partying with.”

Oliver’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “You mean I’m going to be like Zane? Like I’m taking his place?”

Quinn howled. “You’ve got to be kidding me, Oliver! Nobody can be like Zane!”

“But I’m taking his place, aren’t I?” he hastened to repeat.

Quinn gave him a slap on the shoulder, secretly happy about the kid’s enthusiasm. Nevertheless, he couldn’t stop needling him. “Those are big shoes to fill. You’re up for that?”

“You say when and where, and I’m your man!” Oliver proclaimed, beaming at him.

Quinn nodded, his head turning sideways, when he perceived something in the corner of his eye. His head whipped toward the dark road in front of them. Shit!

“Oliver! Watch out!” he yelled.

Oliver’s head snapped to the obstacle in front of them: in their lane, cones cordoned off equipment for road work, resting there for the night, but the flashing lights that usually accompanied such blockages weren’t flashing—they appeared dim and barely recognizable in the dark night. To the right of it there was no outlet: a wall of rock rose next to the shoulder.

“Fuck!” came from Oliver’s mouth.


Just as Oliver yanked the steering wheel to the left to avoid the excavator, the light of another car speeding toward them, blinded them. In vampire speed, Quinn jerked the wheel back to the right, just as Oliver slammed on the brakes.

The tires screeched, and the back of the car fishtailed out. Loose gravel from the construction site suddenly made the tires spin without finding purchase. The car advanced, virtually unimpeded, heading straight for the excavator. Wildly turning the unresponsive steering wheel and pressing down the brakes, Oliver tried to avoid the inevitable. With a loud thud, the car crashed into the side of the small excavator, which toppled to its side. Only now, Quinn noticed the crane next to it.

The power of the impact deployed the airbags, but the windows blew out and with horror, Quinn saw how Oliver was thrown out of the car. He hadn’t worn his seat belt.

Quinn was held back by his own seat belt, the air bag suddenly obstructing his view.

He fumbled for the release of the belt and realized that it was jammed. He forced his fingers to turn into claws, but just as he sliced through the material, he heard a snapping sound and looked around him when he perceived a movement outside the passenger window. As he whirled his head to look through it, he saw a large plate of steel, suspended from the beam of the crane, swinging toward him.

He froze in mid-movement. Shit! There was no way out of this. The steel plate would decapitate him. It was over.

His life didn’t flash before him; maybe it wasn’t that way for vampires. Only one thought filled him now. He was finally going home.


With a last breath, he sighed.

Rose, we’ll be together again. Finally.

Then he felt the impact as the car got hit. He was knocked sideways, hitting the steering wheel to his left. All went black.

Copyright 2012 (c) Tina Folsom

Friday, June 22, 2012

Paperback Giveaway - various romance authors (ALL BOOKS GONE NOW)

Since I rarely keep books due to shelf space issues (and since I have many of them on my ereader anyway), I am giving away a few paperbacks I have read already.

First come, first served: simply leave a comment on the post on my blog (not on the goodreads site please, since I won't see that in time), and say which book you want. I will confirm by comment on the post whether you were the first to claim the book.
Then email me at with your mailing address and the book title again.

US Addresses only please - I'll pay the postage.

So, here's the list:


Friday, May 18, 2012

Sex Scene Saturday: Amaury and Nina

 Update: the Winner is Dee!

Sex Scene Excerpt of Amaury's Hellion (Scanguards Vampires #2):

“Careful, Nina. You don’t want to piss me off even more,” he warned, his voice tight. “I’m telling you one last time: strip.”
His command made Nina shiver. She hadn’t imagined this would happen, at least not this way, not here, not with him being so angry. Least of all had she imagined that it would turn her on like it did. Just the way she felt unprepared for the shame and guilt that flooded her. What kind of woman was she that she felt aroused by a man commanding her to strip? Had she no self-respect left? Or was it proof that her sexual history had tainted the way she saw sex, that anything twisted, anything violent was the norm for her?
With shaking fingers she tried to open the top button of her jeans, but failed. A second later she felt his warm hands on hers, assisting her. The button sprung open.
“Pull the zipper down.” His hot breath teased her neck. “Slowly.”
She did as he asked, unable to fight him or herself.
“Now, push them over your hips.” Was his voice getting hoarse?
“Please, don’t do this,” she pleaded with him, making one last attempt to stop him.
His lips grazed her neck, then nibbled at her earlobe. “You’ll have to learn this lesson. Do it.”
A few moments later, she’d stripped out of her jeans. She felt naked in her small panties. Amaury’s thighs brushed against hers. Strong, powerful muscles.
“Do you remember what you did to me last night?”
“Yes.” Her throat was dry. She remembered all too well.
“No, you don’t. You’ve never felt as frustrated as I did last night. May I demonstrate?” He didn’t wait for her permission.
His hand stroked her hip before he slipped it between her legs, touching her through the fabric of her panties. She sighed involuntarily. His touch wasn’t rough as she’d expected, but gentle, teasing. Had he not come to punish her after all?
“I was so fucking hard for you last night,” he continued whispering into her ear while his finger ran along her folds. “I was in agony with wanting to be inside you.”
Her breath hitched at the thought of it. He wanted her—he still wanted her. The thought elated her.
Amaury’s hand drew up and briefly slipped over her clit, before he let it slide into her panties. Nina held her breath as he traveled through her curly mound of hair, then stroked lower. The heat shooting through her core made her exhale sharply. When his finger touched her naked sex, she realized she was wet and yearning to be taken by him.
“I wanted my cock in you last night. To fill you, again and again. I wanted to eat your pussy and make you come with my mouth.”
The images he was projecting together with his probing finger at her core, made her break out in an instant hot flash. His mouth nipped at her earlobe, not helping either. Instead of trying to stop him, she tilted her pelvis toward his hand. This was madness. But she didn’t care. He was different from other men. He hadn’t come back to hurt her, he’d come to give her pleasure.
“I wondered what you would taste like,” he said and dipped his finger into her. Her hips bucked toward him, wanting more, but Amaury instantly pulled out and away from her. She looked up at him and saw how his finger came to his lips, and how he sucked it into his mouth, licking it clean.
Nina gasped and felt her knees buckle. He was seducing her, plain and simple, and she had no defenses. They had all crumbled, and she hadn’t even seen it happen.
“Amaury, please …” She had no idea what she wanted to ask him or tell him. Her brain was mush. His scent was all around her, enveloping her in a cocoon of desire.
Maybe he had understood what she was unable to tell him, because his hand came back, and again he slipped it into her panties. He penetrated her once more, then withdrew instantly and pulled his finger up and over her clit, circling it slowly.
“And I was wondering what it would feel like if you came for me, if your muscles clenched around my cock, milking me, making me spill inside you.” Amaury spoke slowly, his voice husky and calm at the same time. This was not the voice of an angry man. He wasn’t hurting her with his touch. Instead he was tempting her to surrender to him.
Her hand had a mind of its own as it suddenly reached for him, finding his swollen shaft hidden behind the fabric of his pants. She felt how hard he was for her. Before she could enjoy the heat under her palm, he gripped her hand and pulled it away.
“No touching. Tonight, I get to touch you, not the other way around.”
Nina looked into his eyes and was drawn into the blue of them, their depth, their beauty. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him, touch him, feel him inside her.
“Kiss me.”
He shook his head and went back to his task of touching her. His thumb stroked over her center of pleasure, first very lightly, almost as if by accident. But she knew nothing he did was an accident. While his lips kissed alongside her neck, a neck she offered him without fear he would bite, his finger slipped into her tight sheath. Slowly and steadily he drove deep, then withdrew. Every time he plunged deeper she tried to hold onto his finger by tightening her muscles, but every time he withdrew, leaving her wanting.
“More.” She didn’t care that she begged. She was beyond foolish pride.
“So you like that?” His voice hummed against the dent at the base of her neck. “Tell me what you want.”
She moistened her dry lips. Finally he’d give her what she needed. “More.”
“More of what?” Amaury withdrew his finger completely.
“Please. More. More fingers. Deeper.” She was unable to form a coherent sentence. All she could think of was the pleasure he gave her with his touch.
“Like this?” He drove two fingers into her channel.
Nina bucked against him. “Oh, yes!” Her muscles pulsated around him as she tried to stop him from withdrawing. But she couldn’t prevent him from his intent to leave her bereft.
“How about your clit? Do you want me to touch it?” His hand hovered and she tilted her pelvis toward him. But he pulled back. “You have to ask for it.”
“Amaury, please, touch me.” She would say anything to have his touch back, to have him finish what he’d started.
He didn’t make it easy. “Where?”
“Touch my clit.” Her breath was ragged, her voice low.
A second later, Nina felt his thumb stroke her where she needed it most. She leaned her head against his shoulder, breathing in his male scent. She needed this man, this vampire. There was no reason to deny it. He awoke everything female in her. When she was near him she felt like a bitch in heat. She was disgusted with herself for her weakness, but she couldn’t fight against it any longer.
Amaury knew exactly how to touch her, how to create all those delicious sensations in her body that rendered her nearly delirious with pleasure. Without a doubt she wanted him, couldn’t wait to feel his strong body claim her, brand her. And she knew it was how it would be: a fierce claiming, a powerful possession. Because he had the power over her body to make her surrender to him.
And surrender she would, not caring what he would do once she did, as long as his body was there to soothe her need, to fill that gaping void, to quell her thirst for more.
“Make love to me,” she heard her own voice beg.

About the book:

Vampire Amaury LeSang is cursed to feel everybody's emotions like a permanent migraine. The only way to alleviate the pain is through sex. When he meets the feisty human woman Nina, a cure for his ailment seems within reach: in her presence all pain vanishes.

Unfortunately, Nina is out to kill him because she believes he's involved in her brother's death. And she would succeed if only Amaury's bad boy charm didn't play havoc with her hormones and catapulted her into his arms and his bed every time she was near him.

As every kiss brings them physically closer, danger is lurking and threatens to destroy the little trust they have in each other.

Comment and Win:

Leave a comment with your email address and you will be entered to win an e-copy of Amaury's Hellion. Open Internationally. Contest closes on Wednesday, May 23.

Links to Sex Scene Excerpts by other Authors:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sex Scene Saturday: Aiden & Leila

Update: the winner is Kim H. ! Congratulations!

Sex Scene Excerpt of Edge of Passion:

“So that’s what this is about: you hate me because I’m human, because I’m not as strong as she was.”
He pressed her harder against the wall, his fingers digging painfully into her flesh.
“I told you to keep Julia out of this. This is about you deceiving me.”
She was beyond fear now. Whatever he did to her, it didn’t matter anymore, but she wouldn’t go down without a fight. “Do you think she’d be happy knowing what you’re doing to yourself? How you keep blaming yourself day after day?”
A flash of pain sparked in his eyes, but a second later, he had himself under control again.
“You don’t know anything about me!”
Leila shook her head, remembering the glimpse of his soul she’d seen the night they’d made love. She understood him better than he thought. “I wish I didn’t. You know why? Because then I could just walk away and not care. But you’ve shown me too much of yourself. I can’t pretend not to feel your pain. I can’t pretend not to want to help you.”
“Help me?” He stared at her with incredulity. “You’re the one who’s in need of help, not I! I’m not the one the demons are after, I’m not the one who’s got a price on her head. And you want to help me? Get real, Dr. Cruickshank!”
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, unable to yell any longer. “I wish I could make it all undone, Julia’s death, your hatred for humans, us meeting ...” She closed her eyes. Would she really want to wipe any memories of her time with Aiden from her mind if she could? It took only a second for her heart to find the answer. “No. I take that back. Us meeting, I wouldn’t undo that.”
When she opened her eyes, she collided with his heated gaze.
“God damn it!” he cursed and sank his lips onto hers.
She felt his anger in the way he kissed her, rough, hard, as if he wanted to punish her for what she’d said.
His hands let go of her shoulders, then went down to her jeans. He dug them into the waistband, but instead of simply opening the button and lowering the zipper, he tore at the fabric and shredded it like it was paper, making her aware that he could tear her body just as easily if he wished.
She gasped into his mouth, both shocked and excited at the same time. Cool air wafted against her naked skin before his hot hand was between her legs, sliding over her sex, just as he ripped his mouth from hers.
“I tell you how you can help me,” he bit out. “By spreading your legs for me.”
His eyes still held some of the anger in them that she’d seen there earlier, but now they were glazed with lust and desire, and she knew instinctively that he wouldn’t hurt her.
Without giving it a second thought, she unbuttoned his pants, lowered the zipper and pushed his jeans down to his thighs. Before she could do any more, he lifted her, spreading her legs wide.
Without a word, he plunged into her, his cock harder than ever.
As he thrust into her wet heat, Aiden knew what he needed now was to show her that he couldn’t be played with. He had to make it clear to her that she would be punished if she ever hurt him again.
When he looked at her face, he saw how she’d leaned her head back against the wall, her lips parted, her eyes half closed.
“More,” Leila panted.
She showed no sign of distress despite his rough handling of her. On the contrary. Her legs wrapped around his waist, urging him on to fuck her harder, to go deeper, to take more of her.
Unable to resist, he took her lips again, this time with more passion and less anger. Gods, she tasted good—so good he couldn’t imagine ever giving this up, ever giving her up. Despite everything, despite the fact that she was human, she’d held her own when confronted with his fury. She hadn’t backed down, just as she didn’t flinch now as he drove even harder into her.
“I need you,” he mumbled against her lips before he delved his tongue back into her, thrusting it in the same rhythm as his cock.
He wasn’t lying this time: he needed her. She gave him the strength not only to face the demons that were after her, but his own personal demons, the ones that had been haunting him since Julia’s death.
Breathing hard, Aiden released her lips and trailed hot kisses along her neck.
“I want you, Aiden, I want you so much,” she let out, and it sounded like a sob.
He looked back at her eyes and saw a multitude of emotions brimming there. “You have me, baby,” he whispered back and gently captured her lips, stroking his tongue over them.
When she sighed contently, his entire body filled with a newfound sense of strength. His balls tightened at the same moment, and he felt his orgasm overwhelm him. Unable to hold it back, he brought his hand between them and rubbed against her clit as he drove into her one last time. As his knees nearly buckled, waves of pleasure crashing over him, he wasn’t sure where his orgasm ended and hers began.
Breathing hard, his heart racing, he leaned his forehead against hers. “No more lies. I need the truth now.”

About the book:

Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Cloak Warriors like Aiden have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. But the demons might soon have a powerful tool in their hands to seduce humans to the dark side. And the person to provide them with this elixir is the human scientist Leila. Unbeknownst to her, the drug she's developing to cure Alzheimer's Disease has the unexpected side effect of weakening the mind's resistance to the influence of demons.

The Council of Cloak Warriors is divided, some of them believing the only safe way to eradicate this threat is to eliminate its inventor; others are bent on protecting the human scientist. Aiden is a loyal Cloak Warrior who accepts the assignment to protect her, despite his own beliefs that humans can't be trusted. However, when her life is endangered, his beliefs shift, and he's drawn into a battle whose participants are unknown: is he fighting the demons or his fellow Cloak Warriors?

Forbidden desire flares between Aiden and Leila as they are forced to rely on the only people they can trust: each other. And even if he can save her and defeat their enemies, a union between them might be the most dangerous undertaking of all.

Comment and Win:

Leave a comment with your email address and you will be entered to win an e-copy of Edge of Passion. Open Internationally. Contest closes on Wednesday, May 16.

Links to Sex Scene Excerpts by other Authors:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Fling Blog Hop - Giveaway!

 Update: and the WINNER is: burbanette

What's to win on this blog?

If you are in the US, you can win an autographed paperback copy of Edge of Passion (Cloak Warriors #1), and if you're an international entrant, you can win an e-copy of the same book.

All you need to do is to leave a comment with your email address, and write US or International in the comment. The winner will be drawn on April 28 - and the paperback will be mailed after May 9th (since I'm currently traveling in Europe).



... up there with the likes of J.R. Ward and Lara Adrian ... - Book Devotee Reviews
Just perfect. I can not wait till the next Cloak Warriors installment comes out!! - Bitten By Love Reviews
... Awesome new series & so different than anything I've read in a while... - Goodreads

USA Today called Tina Folsom an e-book rock star!

Product Description

From the International Bestselling Author of the Scanguards Series:

Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Cloak Warriors like Aiden have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. But the demons might soon have a powerful tool in their hands to seduce humans to the dark side. And the person to provide them with this elixir is the human scientist Leila. Unbeknownst to her, the drug she's developing to cure Alzheimer's Disease has the unexpected side effect of weakening the mind's resistance to the influence of demons.

The Council of Cloak Warriors is divided, some of them believing the only safe way to eradicate this threat is to eliminate its inventor; others are bent on protecting the human scientist. Aiden is a loyal Cloak Warrior who accepts the assignment to protect her, despite his own beliefs that humans can't be trusted. However, when her life is endangered, his beliefs shift, and he's drawn into a battle whose participants are unknown: is he fighting the demons or his fellow Cloak Warriors?

Forbidden desire flares between Aiden and Leila as they are forced to rely on the only people they can trust: each other. And even if he can save her and defeat their enemies, a union between them might be the most dangerous undertaking of all.

Any fan of J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole, and Lara Adrian will love Edge of Passion!

 Spring Fling Blog Hop

Friday, April 6, 2012

Are translations the next frontier in e-book self-publishing?

In October 2010 I was interviewed for my hometown newspaper back in Germany. I had just started to make money in self-publishing, but had no idea that only two months later, things would really turn in my favor, making me into a ‘self-publishing e-book rock star’ as Joyce Lamb from USA Today  calls me.

One question, the journalist from the Bayerwald Echo in Cham, Germany ask me was, why I didn’t write my books in German. At the time, I laughed and told him that there was no way I would find the right words in German. After all, I now think in English - living in English-speaking countries for over 25 years can do that to anybody!

But the idea of having books out in German didn’t quiet down. At first, discouraged by the high prices some translators were quoting, I decided to contact foreign rights agents to see if they would consider selling my self-published books to foreign publishers. That way, I wouldn’t have to take on the daunting task of finding a translator, an editor, and proofreaders. Alas, no foreign rights agent wanted to touch me.

A few months passed before I decided to just jump in and do it on my own. I searched long and hard for translators in three languages: German, French, and Spanish. It took me a while to put the right teams together. After all, you can’t expect a translator to turn over a perfect product: there’ll always be words and sentences that could be translated to sound better, there’ll always be typos and grammatical errors. 

It was lucky that at least with German and French (which I speak fluently, but not perfectly), I could check up on the accuracy of the translations myself. In German, I do even more: I now edit the text that comes back from my translator. And I think this really helps: my voice comes through in the German editions of my books, turning my books into what I want them to be. And this might be one of the reasons for my success in Germany: so far, I’ve published the first three books in my bestselling Scanguards Vampires series in German, and all three of them have hit the Top 100 Kindle Bestseller list on 

That’s something I never expected. Now, my income from from three books alone is a nice salary on its own. And if the French and the Spanish markets develop in the same direction, I’ll be ecstatic.

Germany is one of the largest romance market in the world, and US self-publishers should not ignore this market, nor the rest of Europe or Latin America. There are untapped areas here that have still not been exploited. Publishers are slow to move into those areas, but self-publishers can act quicker. And maybe it’s time they should.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

German Edition of Gabriel's Mate hits Top 100 Kindle on Release Day!

This is so exciting and totally unexpected: I released my third German book in the Scanguards Vampires series on Kindle overnight. Less than 24 hours later, it has hit the Bestseller list in the German Kindle Store on Amazon. That's the ENTIRE German Kindle store, not just Romance!

Now, all three German Scanguards books have hit the Top 100 Kindle Bestseller List in Germany!

My translator is already busy working on book four, which I hope to release in June this year.

Many thanks to all my loyal readers in Germany!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Life of a Self-published Author: Rewards and Challenges aplenty

Self-publishing is a curse word for some, the holy grail for others. 

These days you can’t swing a dead cat at a party and not hit a self-published author. Everybody has a book in them, and now, thanks to retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo, an independent author without an agent or publisher can put their masterpiece up for sale. There are no more barriers of entry, no gatekeepersexcept the readers themselves. The readers are the ones in charge now.

But it is really all that simple?

When I started self-publishing in 2010, I thought it was just a matter of uploading my books and waiting for the money to roll it. Little did I know what kind of work was involved in the process. Sure, many authors upload their books and then sit back and wait. But are those the ones who are successful? I doubt it.

Digital publishing has offered great new opportunities to debut authors and seasoned ones alikeif they know how to harness the possibilities that are suddenly opening up in front of them. Of the thousands of new authors who now self-publish the books they had hidden in their closets for years, only a handful will make it. And it is easy to see who those few are: hard working authors, who will go the extra mile and spend the extra hour it takes to produce the best product possible. But that’s not all of it. Once the book is done, selling it, promoting it will become a daily task, while at the same time the author’s creative side already works on the next book.

I self-published out of frustration, because no agent or publisher even wanted to read my books. And sometimes the best ideas are born out of desperation. I wanted to be an author so badly and wanted to share my stories with readers that I decided I would go down that route and dip my toe into self-publishing even though I didn’t know the first thing about it. But I learned everything I needed to know about publishing by trial and error, by observing what others did, by emulating successful authors. The result was astounding.

Suddenly I have fans, readers who email me or post on my Facebook page, telling me they are happy that I shared my stories with them, when really, I’m the one who’s ecstatic: there are people out there who read my stories, who get drawn into the worlds I’ve created. And they want more. They are not just readers, they are true fans who go out of their way to tell others about my books. I now have an almost 80-reader-strong Street Team that touts my work and gives out signed bookmarks and trading cards. They do this simply because they care about my books and want me to succeed. This would have never happened, had I sat around and waited for a publisher or an agent to take an interest in my writing. Readers are taking charge and telling authors what they want, and we’d better listen! 

But before we get to the point where the reader will see the finished book and click on the “Buy now” button, there is lots of work to be done, many things that go into self-publishing that aren’t evident on the surface.

Writing the best book you can is only the beginning, because while the content is vitally important, if the packaging doesn’t fit, nobody will ever get to see the inside. Because in sales, packaging is everything. It’s what attracts the reader to your book in the first place: the cover, the kick-ass blurb, and the price. Suddenly the author, the artist, has to become a sales person, a business woman in order to bring her product to market.

And that’s not the only hat a self-published author will wear: in the one and a half years that I’ve been self-publishing my books I’ve been everything from PR specialist, cover designer, accountant, contract negotiator, website designer, marketing manager to publisher. A one-woman enterprise. The responsibilities rise exponentially, and while I still had  a full time job when I wrote my first books, by the time I published them in mid-2010, I had to quit it in order to devote my time and energy to my new business: being a self-published author.

The challenges are multifold: as the author you always need to concentrate on writing the next book and keeping your fans happy, so they’ll continue buying your books. At the same time, you have to balance your creative work with the demands of the publishing side, with promoting the books you already have, with finding new retailers that want to sell your books, with attracting new readers. Concentrate on one, and you’re neglecting the other. It’s a constant struggle between the business side and the creative side, and you can’t allow either one to get the upper hand.

But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. The rewards of being a self-published author are huge. Not only are the potentials for making a very nice living virtually limitless, but the freedom that comes with it is what makes it really worth it. You have no publisher who tells you what you can write, nobody to hold you back when you want to publish three books a year instead of the one your publisher would have been able to release in the same time. You can quickly react to the demands of a changing market: we’re seeing this right now with many SEAL romances surfacing after the SEALs received huge press for their mission in Pakistan. Self-published authors can take advantage of time-sensitive subjects like this.

Self-published authors listen to their readers. As my series about a group of Vampire bodyguards progresses, I get more and more reader emails asking for a book about one character or another they have grown to love over the course of several books. Without a publisher breathing down my neck, I can make the decision about whose book to write next, and I take reader’s interest into account. In the end, they are the ones who I serve as an author.

There is pressure though too. The worry that this gold rush will one day dry up, makes a self-published author realize that she has to get more and more books out now while the iron is hot. The danger of neglecting quality can surface at this point, and it’s vitally important to not let the rush to the finish line compromise quality. Because what readers expect, no matter whether from a self-published or a traditionally published author, is this: a damn good book. And I do my best to deliver every time.