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Can an #IndieAuthor Make It In Today’s Market?

If you work really hard, amazing things will happen. ~ Conan O’Brien

I am true blue Indie author. I have been since 2011. I am in charge of my writing, formatting, tweaking, and social media. I do hire out my edits (Faith Williams) and cover designs (Erin Dameron-Hill). I make all my own decisions: what to write, where and when to promo, and when to release my books. There are several pros about being an Indie author. The main one is that you know even before you begin your book, it will be published.

When I began this venture, I hadn’t a clue about publishing. All that I had was a strong desire to write. I understood nothing about social media, formatting, editing or trolls. I learned quickly. I have four facebook accounts under my pennames and real name. I will let you in on a secret. I’m absolutely awful at social media. I have over six thousand facebook friends I don’t know. Why? Because I was told that I needed a presence on Facebook. I have over 45,000 twitter followers. I will confess—I must be the most boring Twitter person. My whole focus is my books or someone else’s book. But I am there and that is important.

I will tell you how out of touch I am…how engrossed I am in my books. The night of the presidental election, I was shocked when Donald Trump won his first state. I thought Hilary was going to win by a landslide. I guess that’s what I get for using Saturday Night Live as my news source.

So, the hardest part for me as an Indie is keeping up with the ever changing world of publishing. I’ll delve into that more in a minute.

In the past, I will admit I have tried to get my books published by the traditional Big- 5 publishers with no success. I have even tried to get an agent. Last April, I attended the NECRWA Conference with only one intention—talking with an agent. At these meetings, you have an assigned time.  At this one, it was a fifteen minute time limit. They were running behind with the agent I was meeting with, but I was assured I would get my full time. Didn’t happen. I was trying to pitch Framed, my release last September. I wanted to branch off into contemporaries and I thought I would give it another shot at getting an agent…at getting published by a Big 5 publisher. The truth was I realized that my mother didn’t have long left on this earth. Even though she had read my books, I don’t think she considered me a true author. I wanted…I wanted her to know I was. Unfortunately, that didn’t happened.

Back to my appointment, the agent…I loved her…the 5 minutes I had with her. As with most of the times at these meetings, she asked me for a longer sample and told me to email it to her. Well…I did. I got a standard response back that if it wasn’t solicited, the email would be deleted. I didn’t worry. I did as requested, submitted as requested, but I got no reply. After I waited the required amount of time, I sent another email. Sadly, I got the same standard response and there, again, no reply. Once more, I realized I wasn’t going to get an agent. I released Framed as the second book in Boston’s Crimes of Passion. The lesson I learned—my sales pitch must be sorely lacking.

I believe trying to get a Big 5 publisher was not only for my momma, but for the acknowledgement to myself that I can truly write. Over the years, as an Indie, you are bombarded with one thing after another…external forces pounding into you must not be good enough to be called an author— like not even getting a response back from an agent. I have tried different things to get respect from the gods of writing. Some examples: I submitted Belle of Charleston for review to Publisher Weekly (Got an awful review. Said they hated the ending…they, too, ignored the warning that it was a serial). I submitted Belle of Charleston to Kindle Scout and got shot down. I asked Amazon if I could release Southern Legacy as a true serial. They said no. So I had no choice but to release it in four installments. But sometimes, they are wrong. Southern Legacy serial has become my bestseller.

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I guess you can say I’m pretty stubborn. You see, I think I’m a damn good writer.

There again, my stubborness is probably what has made the agents and Big 5 pass over my writing. I write what I feel. To make money writing historicals, you should write Regencies. I don’t write a lot of true Regencies. I have three under Colleen Connally. One of my pride and joys is Seductive Secrets. But even writing a traditional romance such as Seductive Secrets, I deviated from the formula. My secondary character…whom I absolutely love…Charles is gay. Even though the Big 5 say they want originality, they don’t want controversy. Same as when I had tried to get an agent for Southern Legacy, I got the book was too long. I understood, but I couldn’t cut the story. So, you see I brought a lot of the rejections upon myself. That is why its a good thing I’m an Indie.

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I am perfectly happy being an Indie, but the face of publishing is ever changing. Now, we are facing another change—  AMAZON

In the past, Amazon has been the reason Indies could break into the tremendously competitive world of publishing. Amazon is the reason I make money doing what I love. Now, the rest of this blog is only my opinion, but I think AMAZON has become the sixth big publisher. I think it is the most powerful force in publishing…at least from my perspective. They have their own imprints. They have changed the rules in publishing. Some that were beneficial to me, but the ones they made recently have hurt. For a while, I had all my books in KDP. Amazon made it worthwhile, but then it changed. My KDP numbers dropped dramatically. Why? I saw somewhere it had to do with the Kindle flip-page. Could be. But there was another avenue Amazon opened up —Kindle Unlimited. My books weren’t included in Kindle Unlimited. Now, I have pulled about half my books out of KDP and have gone back to the other sites: Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Everything is changing, but it can’t stop us Indies. This is only one more obstacle for us Indies to manuever around. The most important one on the business end for Indies is PROMOTING! It is a must. You have to get your book in the hands of readers and no one is going to do it for you. So, where do I promote?

First and foremost: BOOKBUB.

 

I love BookBub, absolutely adore BookBub. I can’t say enough good things about Bookbub. Even if they never took another book of mine, I will always promote BookBub. BookBub is the reason I’m still writing. Back in 2012, I got hit hard by trolls, trolls that dug their nails into my back and wouldn’t let go. I had one that it seemed like it was her mission to save the world from my writing. I don’t ever want to relive that time. I ended up having to take down the book the trolls were going after, Daughter of Deceit…aka Seductive Secrets. I took Daughter of Deceit down and put it back up under a different title and penname, Seductive Secrets. I gave it away perma-free for a time (It is now one of the books I left in KDP). This was back when BookBub was just coming up. They posted Seductive Secrets and I haven’t looked back. After a year of hell with this troll attacking me, I had seriously thought of giving up on writing. The attacks on me were horrible. I believe fully it was because the gay character in the book was presented in a positive light. I wrote Charles specifically for a special person. She said that growing up, gay characters were always portrayed in a negative way. So I wrote Charles into my next book which turned out to be Seductive Secrets. But there is a price to pay for going against the grain. You can expect consequences. I just didn’t expect the trolls to be so aggressive.

Didn’t mean to get into that…but to put it simply BOOKBUB is the best place to advertise.

But BookBub promotions are hard to get for Indies. There are some other really good places to promote. Some of the ones I use:  BookSends, Ereaders News Today, Kindle Nation Daily, Digital Book Today, Many Books, Great Books Great Deals and FreeBooksy. There are others, too. You just have to search for them.

I post books on Romantic Picks. I post my own along with other authors that I think you will enjoy. Everything I do on Romantic Picks is free for the author. It’s my way of giving back. Also, if you are just starting out, join author groups, especially Indie author groups. Indie authors are awesome at helping each other.

So, my conclusion, can an Indie make it in today’s market? Absolutely! I think the message is write a wonderful book, work hard, and believe in yourself. Good luck!

 

 

A SWEEPING ROMANCE TO WARM THE LONG WINTER NIGHTS!

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BARGAIN!!  $0.99!

Happy 2017! I’m starting off the year with a huge BARGAIN. Southern Legacy, the 4-Book Collection is only $.99 through January 14th! FOUR Books…the complete serial! This won’t happen again this year…who knows if it will ever happen again!!!

If you read ONE historical romance this yearthis has to be it! You won’t be able to put it down! Romance, Suspense, and Passion. It is one of those books that stays with you for a long time. Must Read!  ~  Romantic Picks 

Now the bestselling serial is under one title— SOUTHERN LEGACY!
Including Belle of Charleston, Shadows of Magnolia, Born to Be Brothers and the dramatic conclusion, The Sun Rises!

Set against the backdrop of Antebellum Charleston with the martial clash of brother against brother looming on the horizon–here is an absorbing, tantalizing saga of life during one of our country’s most turbulent times–Southern Legacy Series.

In a world of pageantry and show, the Montgomery family accepts the way of life that has been antebellum Charleston for over a hundred years. Two cousins, the handsome and debonair, Wade Montgomery and the bold and brooding Cullen Smythe, were born to be brothers. Raised as Southern gentlemen, their character could never be questioned–loyalty, honor, duty to one’s country, God and family. It was the tie that binds until…their bond is threatened, not only by the cry for secession but by a woman–Josephine Buchanan Wright.

Josephine Buchanan Wright is a dutiful, southern belle. Her future seems fated to the two Montgomery cousins…until all she has placed her faith in falls apart. As her life spirals out of control, she tries desperately to cling to the honor and duty that has been instilled in her. But how can she do so when all she has known is no more?

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

COMING APRIL 4, 2017!

THE DRAMATIC CONCLUSION TO WINDS OF BETRAYAL!

Winds of Betrayal is coming to its conclusion! The war is at its turning point, finding Jonathan Corbett anxious to rescue with his brave and courageous wife before its too late to save her and his sister, Hannah, finds herself facing her worst fears. Spies and Traitors; Love and Betrayal, Set Fire To The Rain has it all. It will be up for pre-order January 10th.

One thing I would recommend for those that have read the whole Winds of Betrayal series up to this point— Winds of Betrayal, The Darkness of Deception, and The Heavens Shall Fall—there is one more book that has a connection to Winds of Betrayal—The Bastard Son. You don’t have to read it, but there are some crossover characters that help lay the foundation for Set Fire To the Rain. 

Also, don’t miss out on Southern Legacy! Highly Recommended to Read! If you haven’t read it, pick up your copy! January will be Southern Legacy’s month!

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READER’S REVIEW

By Nancy on March 10, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

My first experience with Jerri Hines was reading her “Winds of Betrayal” series. I loved the series and, in fact, read the first three books again when I discovered the fourth installment (I’ve since subscribed to her newsletter so I won’t miss any new releases). Anyway, I enjoyed the series so much I decided to read “Southern Legacy” but only after the series was complete. I’m just too impatient to sit through cliff hangers and Ms. Hines gave plenty of warning each book left you hanging, which I was grateful for. It too was an excellent series and I highly recommend it do anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It’s one of those books that keeps you thinking about the characters long after you’ve stopped reading. That, to me, is a sign of an excellent story teller.
Also, coming in 2017, I’m revamping my fantasy series, Whispers of a Legend. I will be bringing it under my penname, Colleen Connally and revising each book along with publishing the next book in the series.
Also, I want to congratulate Michael P., the winner of the Kindle Voyage Contest!
Welcome 2017 with a great read!!! Happy New Year everyone! Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

SOUTHERN LEGACY, The 4-Book Collection! Special Offer—Limited Time Only!

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FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY—THROUGH DECEMBER—IT WILL ONLY BE $4.99! Four books for only $4.99!

Southern Legacy, the 4-Book Collection, now has its own cover! Absolutely lovely! More importantly, this cover depicts the essence of the book—a sweeping historical romance!

This book represents why I wanted to write. Southern Legacy is the accumulation of years of research, hours upon hours of writing, and the heart-wrenching toil of putting on paper a part of me. My love for my Southern roots is within every page. There is an acceptance of the past that came with this book.

Explosive! Action-filled! Unforgettable Romance! A story that won’t leave you after you finish the last page!

REVIEW~ C. Roberts

I wept at the end of the book for more than one reason. I was ready for the end of the series but I still want more. I loved this book the most because it pointed out the failure of resolution. It also pointed out that the north held their own prejudices. The most meaningful quote for me was when Jo reflected, “life is not about making an impact on the world as we know it, but on the lives of those you love. I wonder what impact I have made…” This series is definitely the best I have ever read regarding the War Between the States. It was gripping, romantic, suspenseful and historical. A story well-woven.

 

 

The Holidays Are Upon Us!

I was shopping yesterday. It struck me that Christmas is just around the corner. The shops are filled already with Christmas decorations. Most years, I might have complained. This year, though, I think I appreciate the atmosphere more. I want to feel the joy and happiness that the holidays bring, even if it is before Thanksgiving.

To be honest, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s about being thankful. This Thanksgiving, I’m so grateful for so much. My family. My health. Also, for having the precious time with my momma before she passed. The loss of my mother has hit me hard. She fought hard to recover from her stroke last November, but I will hold to the moments we shared during those last few months. She will always be in my heart.

I’m also grateful that I feel my writing again. It has come back.

For the holidays, I hope you enjoy the free books I have to offer you. Belle of Charleston is perma-free everywhere (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo). You can, also, get Shadows of Magnolia free if you sign-up for my newsletter.

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BUT now you can also get WINDS OF BETRAYAL for FREE—ALMOST EVERYWHERE! 

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Which means that Set Fire To the Rain is on the Horizon! I will have a release date in the next couple of weeks.

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Also, Enter my new contest  #HOLIDAY #KINDLEVOYAGE CONTEST for your chance to win a Kindle Voyage…Just in time for Christmas.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Be Safe!

 

November’s Winds

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I have come to regard November as the older, harder man’s October.

I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October.

It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer’s death as winter tightens its grip. ~Henry Rollins

I can’t believe that November is half-way done. This month has been a blur. I do have a few things going on that might hold your interest. I set The Governor’s Daughter for free and then I didn’t really promote it except on one site. But The Governor’s Daughter is FREE until November 17!

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I’m in the process of taking Winds of Betrayal off of KDP. It will be up soon on all the sites. I believe The Darkness of Deception and The Heavens Shall Fall is offered most everywhere now. Winds of Betrayal is going to take a little longer. I’m going through Smashwords again because its where it has all its reviews. So it will take a little longer to go through. But when it does it will be a perma-free book! I’m also having a devil of a time getting the print covers changed.

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I will have all the links set as soon as everything goes through Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

Don’t forget that Belle of Charleston is FREE ~ BUT you can get Shadows of Magnolia FREE as well by signing up for my newsletter.

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YOUR FREE BOOK IS WAITING!

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Belle of Charleston is FREE, but now you can get Book 2 of Southern Legacy, Shadows of Magnolia for FREE ALSO— check it out here!

A Sweeping Historical Romance!

Set against the backdrop of AntebellumCharleston with the martial clash of brother against brother looming on thehorizon–here is an absorbing, tantalizing saga of life during one of ourcountry’s most turbulent times–Southern Legacy Serial.
 
Belle of Charleston,Book One
 
In a world of pageantry and show, theMontgomery family accepts the way of life that has been antebellum Charlestonfor over a hundred years. Two cousins, the handsome and debonair, WadeMontgomery and the bold and brooding Cullen Smythe, were born to be brothers.Raised as Southern gentlemen, their character could never bequestioned–loyalty, honor, duty to one’s country, God and family. It was thetie that binds until…their bond is threatened, not only by the cry forsecession but by a woman–Josephine Buchanan Wright.

Josephine Buchanan Wright is a dutiful,southern belle. Her future seems fated to the two Montgomerys cousins…until allshe has placed her faith in falls apart. As her life spirals out of control,she tries desperately to cling to the honor and duty that has been instilled inher. But how can she do so when all she has known is no more?

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

This is a serial! The books may havecliffhangers and hooks to make you want to continue to the next book. Do notbegin if you don’t want to become addicted to the series! Southern Legacy willconsist of four books– Belle of Charleston, Shadows of Magnolia, Born to BeBrothers and The Sun Will Rise.

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GET YOUR FREE COPY OF SHADOWS OF MAGANOLIA!!!

SOUTHERN LEGACY—Now Available Everywhere!

Southern Legacy is now available everywhere and…and BELLE OF CHARLESTON is FREE!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:–This is a serial! The books may have cliffhangers and hooks to make you want to continue to the next book. Do not begin if you don’t want to become addicted to the series! Southern Legacy will consist of four books– Belle of Charleston, Shadows of Magnolia, Born to Be Brothers and The Sun Will Rise!

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FREE!

Named one of THE BEST KINDLE BOOKS OF 2015 by Digital Book Today!

Set against the backdrop of Antebellum Charleston with the martial clash of brother against brother looming on the horizon-here is an absorbing, tantalizing saga of life during one of our country’s most turbulent times-Southern Legacy Series.

Belle of Charleston, Book One 

In a world of pageantry and show, the Montgomery family accepts the way of life that has been antebellum Charleston for over a hundred years. Two cousins, the handsome and debonair, Wade Montgomery and the bold and brooding Cullen Smythe, were born to be brothers. Raised as Southern gentlemen, their character could never be questioned: loyalty, honor, duty to one’s country, God and family. It was the tie that binds until…their bond is threatened, not only by the cry for secession but by a woman-Josephine Buchanan Wright.

Josephine BuchananWright is a dutiful, southern belle. Her future seems fated to the two Montgomery cousins…until all she has placed her faith in falls apart. As her life spirals out of control, she tries desperately to cling to the honor and duty that has been instilled in her. But how can she do so when all she has known is no more?

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Somewhere between love and tomorrow is forever!

Josephine Buchanan Wright is forced apart from the man she loves. She has chosen the path of honor and duty, denying her heart its desire. Unaware of a growing threat against her, she strives to make her dying father’s wish a reality.

Cullen Smythe returns to Philadelphia and tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered heart…forget her and make a life for himself–alone. But fate has other plans for once more Josephine enters his world.

Can their love be rekindled against the forces against them? Love and betrayal; jealousy and violence–all with a war looming on the horizon, bidding brother against brother.

 

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Each has chosen a different path, Tied by the bond of brothers!

The tie that bound the cousins, Cullen Smythe and Wade Montogmery, together has been strained…stretched to the breaking point and there is nothing Josephine can do. The bond once shared, once so strong, has been lost in the turmoil surrounding their lives…none larger than the war that looms on the horizon. The war will force the brothers to choose sides. Each will defend their beliefs and loyalties with courage and valor, but each will stand against each other. The world that once was will be no more.

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From the ashes of war, can an ember of love still burn?

The final chapter of this sweeping tale finds Josephine Wright Montgomery reeling from the devastation and loss around her. Stunned, she has never felt so helpless and alone. The life she has known is gone forever. Through her courage and strength, she is determined to hold onto Magnolia Bluff, but there is more working against her than the war raging.

US Navy Lieutenant Cullen Smythe has distinguished himself with his bravery and valor in the hard fought campaigns at New Orleans and Mobile. Time and battles have done little to expunge the demons that haunt him. Nevertheless when he receives news he has long feared, he has no choice. He follows his heart back to Josephine…but will it be too late?

#HUGENEWS Belle of Charleston is Now Available #FREE!

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Belle of Charleston was released in December, 2014. Since that time, the bestselling series has been exclusively on Amazon. Today that changes. Belle of Charleston will be offered for the first time on iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble—FREE!

It has always been my intent to make Belle of Charleston a perma-free book. What does this mean for Amazon? As soon as enough readers report the lower price, Belle of Charleston will also be perma-free on Amazon as well.

The rest of the serial—Shadows of Magnolia, Brother To Be Brothers and The Sun Rises—will be offered on these sites by mid-July!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:–This is a serial! The books have cliffhangers and hooks to make you want to continue tothe next book. Do not begin if you don’t want to become addicted to the series! Southern Legacy will consist of four books– Belle of Charleston, Shadows of Magnolia, Born to Be Brothers and The Sun Will Rise!

DON’T FORGET— THE GOVERNOR’S DAUGHTER will be released on June 14th (at the moment, only on Amazon).

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Formerly The Judas Kiss and The Promise

FOLLOWED BY — THE BASTARD SON   JULY 26!

BastardSon,The

Formerly Another Night Falls