Monthly Archives: September 2014

Fun Friday: Question of the Week: Win a Free Book!

Dr.Seuss.2Week 2 and counting in our Lachesis Publishing‘s QUESTION OF THE WEEK!

Every Friday we’re asking a question on our LACHESIS PUBLISHING BLOG. You have until midnight tonight (EST) to leave a comment to get your name put in a draw to win a free e-book! The winner will get to choose one e-book from our site (winner’s choice!) and we will send it to him or her. On Saturday morning, I’ll post the winner’s name here and on our Lachesis Publishing facebook page and contact him/her on facebook as well.

This week’s question is:

What is your favourite Dr. Seuss book?

TO ANSWER THE QUESTION VISIT THE LACHESIS PUBLISHING BLOG! CLICK HERE.

Good luck and happy reading!

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Filed under FREE BOOKS, free e-book, FUN FRIDAY, Question of the Week

So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 11: Agent or No Agent?

Today we chat with the wonderful and amazing Michelle Grajkowski who is the founder of the dynamic 3 Seas Literary Agency.

Michelle and KelseyAbout Michelle:

From the moment Michelle Grajkowski first opened the doors to the 3 Seas Literary Agency in August of 2000, she has been living her dream. (What could be better than surrounding yourself with amazing authors and their exciting and imaginative books?)

Since then, she’s successfully sold more than 475 projects into all the major publishing houses. Her clients include New York Times Bestselling Authors Katie MacAlister, Cathy McDavid, Kerrelyn Sparks and C.L. Wilson. Michelle primarily represents romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction. She is currently looking for fantastic writers with a voice of their own.

When not curled up with a great manuscript, Michelle loves to spend time with her husband, children and her two crazy puppies, who refuse to grow up, Libby and Gizmo.

Tell us about 3 Seas Literary Agency and how you launched. (bad pun 😉

Well…  I really came into agenting in a round-about way!  When I was in high school, my aunt published 3 books with Harlequin.  She dedicated one of them to me, and I was hooked. I really thought I wanted to be a writer. So, I attended the UW Madison and majored in Journalism, all the time thinking I would write. But, while there, I was working as a student for the UW Hospital in the Purchasing Department and discovered my love for business. I knew I wanted to go into sales, so I changed my focus from writing to marketing and public relations.

Right out of college, my first job was selling computers to the education market in the state of Wisconsin. I loved selling – the networking, communication, problem solving – everything that came with the career, but I HATED computers.

Flash forward a year –  my aunt had suffered a health scare (and thankfully is OK!), but to get her back into writing, my mom, my grandma, my aunt and I all formed a critique group, and I started writing a romance. Let’s just say I got through one chapter . . . Anyway, I loved going to the meetings. I loved editing, brainstorming, critiquing – everything that goes into writing, but the writing itself! I told my family I would rather sell their stuff than to write my own.

And, thank God for my aunt – she told me people actually do that for a living.  I knew right then and there that agenting was the career for me.

So, I joined RWA, read the RWRs from cover to cover, learned who was buying romances, took a trip to New York and met with all the major houses while I was there. I asked them if being an agent in Madison, Wisconsin would be a problem, and thank goodness they all responded with a “no.”  They said with email, phone and FAXES (am I dating myself or what?!) that an agent could agent from anywhere – as long as they had an eye for talent and an understanding of the business.

client breakfast 2The rest, as they say is history! I officially opened my doors to the 3 Seas Literary Agency in August of 2000. Seven years later, my amazing Aunt Cori joined my agency as an Agent.

My business truly is a family affair!  My grandma helps with office work, my mom with my computer needs, and in January, I hired my husband as my full-time business manager. He has his MBA and retired the beginning of this year after 24 years in the military. It’s been a remarkable journey, and I’m so blessed to have built a successful business that my family is such a huge part of!

Who are some of the authors that you represent?

3 Seas represents about 60 authors, including Lachesis’ own JoMarie DeGioia. Personally, I also represent NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors Katie MacAlister, Cathy McDavid, Alexis MorganKerrelyn Sparks and C.L. Wilson. The agency also represents award-winning YA authors Jennifer Brown and Natalie Richards. And, recently, I just sold an amazing non-fiction project, PENGUIN’S CAN’T FLY, to St. Martin’s Press by nationally renowned motivational speaker Jason Kotecki. As a whole, we mainly represent romance, women’s fiction and children’s books (YA and Middle Grade), but we also represent mysteries and thrillers as well as select non-fiction titles. Our client list can be found on our website, www.threeseasagency.com. We are also active on Facebook and Twitter.

What can a literary agent do for authors that they can’t do for themselves?

This is such a great question because our role ever-changing.

As an agent, I handle each one of my author’s careers individually, and I try to cater to their individual needs. Some of my clients call with a nibble of an idea which we brainstorm. I love, love, love to brainstorm! From that point, my authors will send me their proposals and full manuscripts, which I edit and critique.

It’s an agent’s job to know the market, to know the key players and to help our authors make the best deal possible for their individual career. So, I spend a lot of time developing relationships on all levels.

An agent also needs to understand publishing contracts. It’s our job to make sure our clients are signing the best contracts possible. I send my contracts to my attorney who reads over all the fine print and together we negotiate boilerplate contracts so the terms tip to favor my authors.

We also help with marketing and publicity ideas, and use social media to get the word out about new releases, etc . . .

The most important value that an agent brings to the table, though, is advocacy. I love each and every one of my clients and am there to fight for them however they need me. If they have an icky copyedit, I call the editor to discuss it so they don’t have to have that conversation first. If there is an issue with the cover, I try to smooth it over and fix it with the editor. If royalties don’t reconcile, we are there to work with the accounting department to fix the errors.  And, if an author receives a rejection or a not-so-happy review, we are there in their corner, lifting them back up and making sure everything will be all right.

I love my job – I love advocating for my clients and helping them reach all their goals and dreams.  It’s a blessing, and I feel so lucky to be able to work in such a fun, creative business.

What do you think the role of the author is, once his or her book is released?

That’s when all the fun begins!!  Social media has changed the game face of publishing forever.  Readers are reaching out to authors in so many more ways than was possible even five years ago. It used to be that readers would send paper fan letters by the bundle! Now, with social media, a reader can interact with her favorite authors in real time! As an author, it’s so important to make those connections – through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs. It can be really time consuming, but building that relationship is so important. As we continue to see the number of books published continue to rise, it’s so important to have a presence on the internet so when an author has a new release, they have fans ready and engaged to purchase the book. Even more importantly, their fans will have a platform themselves to tell their friends about the book! Word of mouth is the best way to be discovered!

In your opinion what does it take to become a bestselling author?

First and foremost, an author must have a compelling voice! Readers all want the same thing – to be carried away to a new world. To feel like the characters in the book are alive, are their best friends, are people they can relate to, even in a different place or time. They want to feel – to be emotionally invested, whether it’s through humor or pain, they want to feel.

The second step is to find a strong publishing house that can help promote your book – to get it into the hands of readers through strategic placement, marketing and pricing promotions. A strong publisher who can help create an amazing package – from the editing to the cover to the cover copy.  A strong publisher who utilizes the media and their readers to help bolster the discoverability of their authors.

And, finally, it all circles back to marketing – an author needs to put themselves out there, to really reach out to the fans, and to discover new readers through blog tours, Facebook posts, book signings, events, conferences, writing groups, book clubs, etc.  There is no one-size-fits-all marketing plan – and you don’t have to do everything.  But, you need to figure out what works for you and for your fans and to reach out in the best way that you can.

What are the top five things that every author should do when submitting a manuscript to an agency or a publisher?

1)    Be Professional!
2)    Adhere to the individual submission guidelines.
3)    Address the e-query to the specific person you are querying to.
4)    If this is your first manuscript, don’t query until it’s complete.
5)    Put in your query any important information, like contest wins, published books and other credentials.

client breakfastYou attend many conferences and take pitches all the time. What are some definite Dos and dreadful Don’ts when pitching?

My favorite pitch goes something like this:

“Hi, I’m Aretha Author and I write historical romances. I love to write American set historicals, and am a huge fan of Gone With the Wind. Today I would love to tell you about my latest project, Scarlett’s Revenge, a 100,000-word Civil War set historical romance where, even though Scarlett goes hungry again, with perseverance and a sexy little red curtain dress, she rebuilds her childhood home of Tara, and reclaims her lost love – Rhett, who frankly, my dear, does give a damn.”  (OK, that’s a huge run on sentence, but you get the point!)

From there, I love it when the author takes a break and we start to converse.  I get to ask questions about the story and the characters, and she jumps in with concise answers, leaving us with time at the end to discuss other things, like career plans, successes, etc.

Here’s the thing —  you have 8-10 minutes to “pitch” your book to an agent or editor at a conference.  And, honestly, most of the recent authors I have added to my list I have met at conferences. Not because their pitch was perfect. But, because during that pitch I had time to ask questions and to get to know them. For me, my relationship with my authors is crucial. I want to feel a connection to my clients, to really get to know them and to develop trust and a solid foundation. This pitch appointment is the first step.

I know it feels like everything is riding on this quick little appointment, but it’s not. Most agents that I know request everything they are pitched because honestly, some of the worst pitches are the best books! We can’t tell what your writing is like until we read it.

Another way to look at this is to put the power back into your court. As much as you want to find an agent, we want to find an author to add to our list. Try to think of this as an interview. YOU are interviewing US. Can you work with the person you are pitching to? Do they make you feel comfortable? Do they have the type of personality that matches yours? Take the time to get to know the agent. Pitch them the book, tell them about your career goals and successes. But, leave time to ask questions – about anything. The business, what they are looking for, if they are enjoying the conference . . . just anything pertinent. After a couple of hours of straight pitches, I promise, the conversation will be super appreciated – on both sides!

Does chocolate go with every book?

Doesn’t chocolate go with everything?  J

OK, one of the downfalls (or I guess huge benefits) of my husband being my business manager is that he feels like one of his duties is to keep my candy dish on my desk full!  It’s truly a double-edged sword. My heart loves him for it, my hips are another story. 😉

Favourite spot to read a manuscript: office, couch or bed?

My favorite spot is my front porch!  It’s so relaxing hearing the birds singing while I’m reading and sipping tea. I almost feel guilty doing my job – almost!  J

Where’s the strangest place you’ve been pitched?

Luckily I haven’t been approached in many strange places.  But, the strangest query I ever received was an email query that was written in a very pale pink script font which I couldn’t read at all on my screen. So I had to copy the entire email into Word, change the font color and the font in order to read it.  I don’t recommend that as an attention grabber when trying to find an agent or an editor!

Thank you so much for sharing your insight with us today!

Contact Michelle at Three Seas Literary Agency on their web site: www.threeseasagency.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, Lachesis Publishing, Literary Agents

What does chocolate and J.K. Rowling have to do with writing romance novels? A lot!

more-than-charming-500x724Today we chat with JoMarie DeGioia and find out more about her writing. JoMarie writes historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. And her books are always on the steamy side. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the love lives of four male friends in Regency London.

What was your favourite book as a child and why?

51KB0SR7CZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ramona The Pest! She’s spunky and eternally optimistic. I never really thought about it, but that’s how I try to live my life.

Who was your favourite teacher growing up and why?

My third-grade teacher Mrs. Bayas. She was one of the few lay teachers at my Catholic elementary school, so it might have something to do with the fact that she dressed like my mom and not in a habit, lol. And even though I blamed her for noticing I needed glasses, she gave me a love of reading.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Why?

more-than-passion-500x724I was always writing, even as a child. I didn’t know it would be my chosen career, though. That came when the story for More Than Passion was in my head when I woke up one morning. It was when my second daughter went into kindergarten, which apparently gave my mind the freedom to imagine again.

Who in the writing/publishing world do you admire and why?

I admire J.K. Rowling for persevering and giving us the incredible world she created. She’s a legend in her own time, along the lines of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. She’s classy and positive, and what’s not to admire?

Tell us about your daily writing routine – what do you typically do every day?

I try to produce between 2-3,000 words per day. Weekdays, usually. With a weekly total of at least 10,000. I usually write after doing my social media stuff in the morning, emails, Facebook, etc., then dive into my current project after reading through the last session’s work.

fanpop.com

fanpop.com

What is your favourite snack or guilty pleasure food that you (may or many not 😉 indulge in when writing?

Begins and ends with chocolate for me. That’s why I try not to have it in the house very often!

What does “writing voice” mean to you? Describe your own writing voice.

I’ve been told my voice is spunky and sassy and, at times, humorous. Deep point-of-view is my goal, so if the scene calls for passion or danger, I like to think I convey that as well.

What do you want to accomplish in the next five years in your writing career?

I would love to have a body of work people enjoy in several genres. I’ve been fortunate enough to have readers contact me about my books and that’s the most rewarding! I hope to be an author people can count on to entertain and excite, no matter the genre.

Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook and on twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

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Filed under Bestselling Authors, Lachesis Publishing, REGENCY HISTORICAL, REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS, ROMANTIC FICTION

A serial killer is on the loose at a family reunion. Who will be his victims?

WEEKENDS COVER 2Happy Monday! Have I got a book for you! Gritty and dark! A serial killer is on the loose at a hotel where a family is having a ten year reunion. Lots of tension, lots of family politics, and of course, murder!

Today’s Sneak Peek is from the mystery/suspense Weekends by Lindy S. Hudis.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

An innocent-sounding family reunion at an exclusive California beach resort turns into a weekend of murder, deceit, exposed secrets and unexpected intimate encounters.

John Peterson has it all: He’s a respected, successful Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer with a loving wife and grown son, the strikingly handsome young film director Joe Peterson. John also has a secret and he decides to gather his disparate family members at the elegant Hotel Del Moor in picturesque Linda Bella, California for some luxurious fun, togetherness and re-connecting before revealing his secret. Unbeknownst to the family, a brutal serial killer is lurking in the midst of all the wondrous festivities.

EXCERPT:

The man woke up next to victim number twenty. He had tied her firmly to the bedpost by her wrists and ankles, then passed out. She was nude, her eyes red from crying, her face had a petrified look on it. Her nose was also swollen and bloody from the repeated blows to the face.

He met her at a local watering hole. She said her name was Lisa, and she was beautiful – just the type. The man smiled, nodded, and feigned interest in her pathetic little life. As she was babbling on and on about how she was an aspiring actress, he reached in his front, right pocket and pulled out his trusty pills. He plopped them into her drink when she wasn’t looking. He sat back counting the minutes until the drug took effect.

Getting her out to a taxicab was so easy, the cab driver just figured she was some drunk bar slut, and she was. The man ordered the cab to take them a sleazy, roach infested motel in Alphabet City, a seedy neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Once there, he took the young woman, tied her up, and raped her until the sun came up. As she started to come to, and realize what was going on, she started to cry out for help. In New York, a woman can scream and scream until her face turns blue – nobody would ever come. That was the beauty of all this, the man thought. Just in case she did holler, he duct-taped her mouth shut.

Now it was morning, and the man was bored. He got up, showered, and dressed. The woman looked at him, frightened and confused, as he pulled his jeans on. He checked his watch and realized he needed to move quickly. “See ya.” He sneered at her, and promptly walked out the door, leaving her tied and helpless. The man had a plane to catch.

Connect with Lindy on Facebook or Twitter.

You can purchase Weekends at Lachesis Publishing for .99 cents or on amazon for only .89 cents.

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Filed under Lachesis Publishing, MYSTERY, SUSPENSE THRILLER

Question of the Week: Free Book Giveaway!

We’re starting a weekly giveaway at Lachesis Publishing.

Every Friday we’re asking a question. You have until midnight tonight (EST) to leave a comment to get your name put in a draw to win a free e-book! The winner will get to choose one e-book from Lachesis Publishing (winner’s choice!) and we will send it to him or her. On Saturday morning, I’ll post the winner’s name on our Lachesis Publishing Blog and on our Lachesis Publishing facebook page and contact him/her on facebook as well.

This week’s question is:

What was your favourite book that you read in high school English class?

You have to go to the Lachesis Publishing Blog to answer.

Good luck and happy reading!

 

 

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Filed under FREE BOOKS, free e-book, GIVEAWAY, Lachesis Publishing, Question of the Week

Top 3 Reasons Why I Read Romance Novels by Elaine Cantrell (contemporary romance author)

her-kind-of-man-500x724Reading is so much fun. If I’m in the mood for a good book, chances are I’ll pick a romance novel. So what’s the appeal of a good romance? Why do some many people read them?

1. I think that first of all, most folks are fighting some kind of battle in their lives. Maybe, like my heroine Kara in Her Kind of Man, they’re in a relationship that went bad, and they’ve lost the one they love. Whether it was by divorce, death, or just walking away, it tears a huge hole in someone’s heart. Maybe the problem is health-related. Someone has to accept that there are now limitations placed on them. Have you ever dealt with unemployment? How do you feed your children with no11168092_det paycheck? True romances always have a happy ending which gives us hope that tomorrow things will be better. We can believe that ‘this too shall pass.’  Remember what happened at the end of Gone With the Wind?  Scarlett lost Rhett and collapsed in tears, but then she decided to go home to Tara where she can think of a way to get Rhett back. Human beings are designed to hope.

2. I also think that romances possibly satisfy our craving for justice. In the real world, things don’t always end happily. Children are abused, the missing teen is never found, or our possessions are stolen. In the vast majority of romances you know the bad guys are going to get what’s coming to them. Heroes and heroines sometimes face determined villains, but you can rest easy in the TheFlameAndTheFlowerknowledge that the bad guys will never win.

3. Last, I read romance because I’m a romantic at heart. I just adore a good love story. The first romance I can remember reading was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Anybody ever read it?

Readers, what about you? Why do you read romance? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Connect with Elaine Cantrell on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS, ROMANTIC ELEMENTS

So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 10: Give It Away!

7-Key-Things-Every-Great-Facebook-Contest-NeedsSomething I’ve noticed about authors who do really well. They give stuff away. Books, swag, their time, etc . . . Many authors who are bestsellers run regular contests and giveaways. Yes, it gets people to pay attention because who doesn’t want free stuff? Especially free books! But what it also does is show us how important readers are to that author. A contest is an opportunity for interaction with readers or potential readers. It’s a way for the author to connect with and stay in touch with people who are already devoted fans. But it’s also a great way to welcome and encourage new readers. That’s why contests and giveaways are great.

So, as an author what do you give away? Easy enough. Start with your own books. Or, if you’ve been to a conference lately you’ve most likely accumulated swag (other books, book marks, hats, bags, pens, etc . . .) Yes, you can give away books written by other authors. But isn’t that counter-productive? Nope. If you are familiar with those authors and you’ve read their books it shows good will and you still get to interact with your readers because you are running the giveaway.images

What if you want to try something different? No problem. Go to your local thrift store and look for some interesting trinkets that either connect with your book or series or relate them to something you love like antique pill boxes or spoons. Or go to a used book store and find some well-loved (dog-eared) copies of some of the books that first got you hooked on romance or sci-fi or horror and give those away as part of a “nostalgia” contest.

You can also give away your time. Offer up a “coffee date”  for one lucky reader and perhaps two friends if it’s a city you will be traveling too or a fan conference or event where readers attend. Yes, you’ll be footing the bill for the coffee and treats. 😉

If cost is an issue – give away the name of a character in your upcoming book – name that character after a reader! Give away a skype session with you and your fans! Ask your reader who they want the next hero and/or heroine to be in your ongoing series. The winner gets a mention in your acknowledgments! There are a lot of things you can do that are different and unique and bring you that much closer to your fans as well as intrigue potential new readers.

The most important thing about contests and giveaways? Do them often! Once a month is great but at least a few times a year. And especially when you have a new book coming out! When you have a new release out – give away the previous book you’ve written or the first book in your series. But do it regularly! That’s it for today! Remember – everyone loves a giveaway!

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, contests, and giveaways!

Remember, in celebration of our 9th Anniversary, Lachesis Publishing is offering 50% off all our books (except for the .99 cent titles and the freebies of course! 😉 ) Check out our great titles!

 

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, GIVEAWAY, Lachesis Publishing