Just came in from enjoying some fresh evening air scented with the gardenias blooming in the yard. The evening moon is a silver boat about to begin its voyage across the azure ocean of sky. And just as I was drawing in a deep breath of that fresh perfumed air, guess what I heard? The first Cicada call of the season. They’re back! And I’m glad… Hope y’all’s evening is full of magic! ~Belle
TinasBookReviews: April Indie with Belle Whittington & Cicada! Enter to win the GIVEAWAY!
Today I have Belle Whittington author of Cicada in the spotlight!
Welcome to the blog Belle, What inspired you to write CICADA?
There’s not any one thing that inspired me to write Cicada. I find inspiration in everything around me, and there are a lot of cumulative memories of inspiration from over the years that all culminated
Growing up in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, afforded me summers full of adventure with my friends. I call on those adventures and memories a great deal for my YA stories. Cicada has a lot of the energy of those childhood adventures spun throughout. One of them is something that actually happened to me when I was thirteen years old. I was on one of my adventures in the woods with my dog, Dusty. We made our way through the woods to a neighboring pasture and crawled through the barbed wire fence. When we got to the top of one of the rolling hills in the grassy field, I realized I was standing in the middle of a giant circle imprinted in the pasture grass. No one had ever told me about crop circles at that time in my life, so I just thought it was an odd occurrence that there was a strange circle in the tall grass. Now that circle is forever memorialized in a YA novel, Cicada!
Indie publishing- Why do you think it’s becoming so popular?
Traditional gatekeepers (agents, etc.) have long held the power of setting trends of what was published and when it was published, thereby deciding for the masses what would be in vogue in the writing world. The pendulum has swung toward the readers and book bloggers/reviewers, who are now the new gatekeepers. I think Indie Publishing is becoming so popular because authors finally have a venue to publish their works without having to conform to what the traditional gatekeepers want. Indie authors are now able to offer readers a wider variety within each genre, which is better for the reader. Also, there are so many viable options for indie publishing available now, allowing authors to create quality books for readers. That’s my two-cents-worth!
CICADA has become a movie, who is playing your main character and why?
Oh, I really do love this question, because I actually have in mind a list of actors who could easily step into the shoes of my characters. By no means did I pattern my characters after these actors though. However, I feel they would fit the parts very well! How about I go a step further and show you who I think could fill all their shoes? Drum roll………..
When it comes to making it big in self-publishing, we all know it takes sales to make your e-book climb up bestseller lists. But how do you know what you should price your self-published story, whether your long and complicated epic is actually a trilogy disguised as one book and if authors who change the prices of their books frequently earn more or less for their troubles? Yesterday Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords.com, an online publishing platform for authors and publishers, gave RT convention attendees a look at how to make “Money, Money, Money” at the panel by that name.
During this RT-exclusive workshop the founder of the self-publishing platform talked about the factors that impact sales, all based on the statistical data mined from the site. As of this week, Coker told us that he was drawing on the data of over one hundred ten thousand e-book authors’ sales. Here is a taste of some of the data that he shared about the analysis of Smashword’s figures — and what it says about how you can have financial success with your self-published books!
Nine Writers and Publicists Tell About Readings and Book Tours
Author readings and book tours are not an essential component of the writing or publishing processes, and so these events have long been associated with a kind of miasmic purposelessness. Go to your basic reading and sit in the back row, where if you squint, you will see above the head of almost everyone involved—the writer(s)/reader(s), the audience, the publicist, the bookseller, the sales clerk(s) who set up the chairs and must wait around to take them down before heading out to an indie-rock show, the local reporter doing a trend piece on the decline of readings—a clump of thought bubbles bumping up against each other like trapped balloons, all imprinted with slight variations of the same theme, namely: “Why are we here?”
Writers (and to varying extent, their publishers) have long struggled to justify the relevance of readings, both to themselves and to prospective audience members. In 450 BC, for example, when Herodotus (a.k.a. “The Father of Lies”) published his nine-volume epic The Histories and soon after announced his intention to read from his work at an outdoor café/independent bookstore in Halicarnassus, he sent out the following message by runner: “You guys, I’m reading on Tuesday night—hope you can make it!—there’s going to be free booze ☺” To which his best friend nevertheless responded, also by runner: “Sorry, I’m going to be out of town ☹” which (although the record is unclear) we can assume was a lie, given that the event in question conflicted with a much-anticipated television broadcast of Sophocles’ Ἠλέκτρα.
Yet writers continue to promote their events, with or without the help of their publishers—and occasionally, the stars align and the event in question is deemed a success, or at least not a complete disaster. Here with advice, lessons learned as well as horror stories of readings and book tours past are authors Shane Jones, Laurie Weeks, Charles Yu, Tao Lin, Sheila McClear, Jon Michaud and myself; publicists Lauren Cerand and Brian Ulicky; and event organizer Jennie Portnof.
Over the weekend I was looking for a book on Amazon and I could not find what I was looking for. I was searching for a newly released title, so I expected that the Amazon Search may not pull it right up at the top of my inquiry however, I was more concerned for the long-term search results for this book as the author had not associated any keyword “tags” for his title. I don’t want to name names, but I will tell you this. The title I was looking for is one of the only books on the subject matter that covers an historic event that no one else has written about. Huge marketing opportunity for this book and the author did not include the name of the historic event in his marketing copy or in his Amazon keyword tags. It got me fired up.
In mid-December 2011, 17% of American adults had reported they read an e-book in the previous year; by February, 2012, the share increased to 21%.
(Click for readable size)
Noting “a spike in the ownership of both tablet computers and ebook reading devices” in the holidays, Pew’s people get at a broader implication of just how fast digital-content consumption is growing by combining survey respondents who say they read books, news, and/or periodicals in digital formats of one-kind or another:
Altogether, 43% of Americans age 16 and older have read long-form writing in digital format as of December 2011 – either e-books or newspaper or magazine material in digital form.
"This or That" Character Interview with Everett ~ Patricia's Particularity
Coffee or Tea: “Sweet Iced Tea,” Everett smiled. “Blair’s grandma makes the best!”
Winter or Summer: “Summer. That’s when the bugs are out!” Everett’s eyes were wide behind the thick lenses of his glasses as if the interviewer should have instinctively known the answer.
Classic or New Music: “Classic music, I guess. Willie Nelson’s my favorite. Although, I’ve discovered a new group recently,” he shrugged and scratched is head.
Magic or Reality: “Without a doubt, the answer is Magic. There are different types of magic, you know. On one hand you have the magical fireflies that light up the night. On the other, you have intelligent beings from other planets. What? Why are you looking so quizzical at that statement? Of course there are aliens in outer space!” He looked at the interviewer as if the person had lost her mind.
Twilight or Harry Potter: “Harry Potter, of course!” Everett snorted and pushed his glasses up his nose.
Movie or Shopping: “I prefer going to movies at The Grand with my friends…especially with Blair. We share a bucket of popcorn, and sometimes we talk during the movie. Yeah, movies with Blair are the best,” Everett smiled and a hint of a blush flashed across his cheeks and nose.
Cat or Dog: “Well, I prefer bugs. But if I have to choose between the two of these, I would choose a dog. Blair could always use a dog at the ranch with the cattle. In fact, I’ve been meaning to get her a puppy for quite some time, but I haven’t. Maybe for her birthday this year,” he pulled a tiny notebook from his back pocket and scribbled a reminder on the small calendar inside.
Day or Night: “Can I choose both? Yeah, I’ll choose both.” Everett leaned his chair back slightly and rested against the wall with his hands locked behind his head. “Next question!”
Audiobooks or Music in the Car: “Music in the car. Well, I don’t have a car, but I like listening to music when we’re cruising around in Andrew’s truck. I’m saving up for a moped, though,” he yawned and looked at his watch.
Tattoos or Piercings: “Neither. Look at me. Do I look like someone who would have a tattoo or piercing?” He snorted a laugh as he held his arms out to prove he had no tattoos.
Truth or Dare: “I’m not easily scared, so I choose dare,” a broad goofy smile crossed his face. Then he looked at his watch again and stood up. “Well, I’ve gotta get to work at Kroger or I’m gonna be late. Thanks for the interview,” he shook the interviewer’s hand and left the room. Just like that.
Summertime for Blair Reynolds and her friends had always been carefree and fun…until the summer they happened upon something that was not human. As they band together in a fight for their lives, Blair’s true love becomes something more than human. Something unnatural. And their survival depends entirely upon their ability to keep a secret.