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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Guest Blog & Contest with Author Ann Marsh-Flores!

This week I have another new author here on Amberkatze's Book Blog! Ann Marsh-Flores first book came out last year. The Hunt is now being followed by Bond with Me and they both look like great reads!

So enjoy the very insightful guest blog and make sure you enter the contest!


Life as a New Author—Or, What I’ve Learned on My Summer Vacation

I’m the new kid on the block. My first book, THE HUNT, was published by Dorchester in October 2009, which means it’s been on the shelves for eleven months now. My second book, BOND WITH ME, was released by Dorchester as an ebook this week, with a trade paperback planned for May 2011. Selling the book of my heart to a NYC publishing house has been a roller coaster and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (ooh! Hackneyed phrase—do I lose my author license?). Still, here are the top ten things I’ve learned as a new author:

1. There are a thousand and one ways to spend your first advance check (multiple times). Typically, your first advance check isn’t large. At all. Dorchester’s tends to run around two thousand dollars. Of course, the fact that anyone would pay me to write fiction is fantastic—I’m not complaining. But all those people who think all new authors are going to be rushing out to be a gated mansion and book a round-the-world cruise? Not so much. Unless it’s a mansion in the middle of a crack district and the cruise ship is actually a raft. With my first advance check, I treated myself to a large box of daylilies (twice—but don’t tell my husband) and then most of it went straight to the IRS and book promotions.

2. Writing is a family affair. Of course, I suspect most jobs are. Kids lick stamps and envelopes, sort bookmarks, and kiss all the manuscripts for luck before they leave the house (yes, that’s why everything is so sticky around here). They tiptoe about the house whispering at the top of their lungs that “Mommy is writing and has a deadline!” They gleefully help spend the advance check. They take your author photo for the back of your book—and then extort twenty bucks from you every time you want to use it (don’t tell me the younger generation doesn’t comprehend DRM and copyright!).

3. Your editor is going to tell you the truth about your writing. The negotiating and the contracts and the advance check? That was the honeymoon. Revising the book is kind of like when you wake up one morning, look over at the other side of the bed, and there’s the guy you’ve been married to. Forever. He’s twenty pounds heavier. Snores. And his dirty socks are on the floor by the bed. You still love him (and you’re not looking in the mirror at yourself, right?) but, wow… the sexy newness is gone. You still love him and, damn, you’re a good team but… now it’s down to the nitty-gritty of being in a partnership and raising your kid and making sure you have each other’s back. And then, after your editor gets done excising fifteen thousand beloved words and worrying about your lack of character arc in chapter fifteen, she turns around and says “But I absolutely love this bit here!” and you fall in love all over again. Plus, she was right. And the book is better because you know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

4. You’re going to make really embarrassing mistakes. Those mistakes—if you don’t have a fantastic copy editor—are going to be on the shelf of every Borders and Barnes and Noble in the country. Fortunately, I have a very good copy editor. One who realized that the Neva is not, in fact, the river that runs through Moscow. I’m sure that, with my PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures, I knew that and just forgot. In a moment of complete and total insanity. Or the part where my hero apparently had four hands and used every one of them while embracing the heroine. Thank God, however, that my copy editor caught these mistakes before they were immortalized in print and I had to have the “Kick me!” t-shirts printed en masse.

5. Grow a thick skin. I’m not sure any author forgets The First Review. The problem with reviews is that a) they’re not written by family members who have to live with you and b) most reviewers seem to have this pesky little issue of ethics. Like, they have ethics. And they call it as they see it. It’s no problem reading the ones that are naming you Tolstoy Junior (OK—I haven’t had one of those yet—feel free to volunteer!). It’s the ones that point out some unfortunately true, insightful, and well-articulated weakness in the book that hurt. And yet it’s important to listen—when you get feedback from your boss (that’s you readers!), you have to listen. And learn.

6. Reviewers are all over the map. Sometimes, this is good. “This is the best book ever!” (Ummm, no, it’s not, and I can point you to some particular page numbers, but I appreciate the thought—it made me feel really good). “This is the worst book ever!” (Again: not. I can give you the page numbers for the sexy bits if you’d like to skip straight to the action). And, sometimes, the reviewer looks like she wrote the review in Swahili and then used Babblefish to translate it into English.

7. People are really going to read your book. Usually, that’s fabulous. Unless it includes the ladies at your church, your mother, your mother-in-law and your (male) boss. Then, you might want to rethink the sexy. Or blame it all on your editor. It took my boss two weeks to stop avoiding my eyes—and he’d been warned.

8. Nothing beats the rush of ordering your own book from Amazon. Or spotting it on the shelves of Borders. Or sending your mother-in-law into Barnes and Noble to demand they order ten more copies. Right away.

9. Readers are really, really friendly. Somehow, I thought publishing was going to be like the first day of school from some clique novel. It’s not. You all are super friendly and welcoming. As an introvert and the perpetual shy kid, I can’t tell you how much that means. I’ve had emails from people who write just to let me know that they had a really, really crappy week and then they came home and stayed up all night reading my book because it made them feel better—and all I can think is “Yes! I’ve done my job!” Because, really, when I first began to write paranormal romance, all I wanted was to escape from a really, really bad week (I’d just been laid off from my dream job at Pixar). Romance was my happy place, my escape. Finding the fabulous online communities where romance readers lurk was an unexpected bonus—you guys rock.

10. You’ve got to write the next book. Which means starting Points 1-9 all over again. Fortunately, I’m almost done with the next book in my BOND series—Zer’s story, tentatively titled HIS DARK BOND, will be published by Kensington Brava in early 2012. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about his story.


Contest Time

Ann is giving away a signed copy of THE HUNT (her first book)! Maybe you will be the lucky winner?

How To Enter

Paperback, E-book, Audio or Hardback? What do you prefer and why?

No favourite = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Sunday 5th of September 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


elaing8 said...

Great post.
I like both Paperbacks and E-books.Paperbacks because they fit better in my hand and ebooks because they save shelf space.My bookcases are overflowing and running out of room fast.So ebooks are becoming more convenient.But I doubt I'll ever stop buying paperbacks :)

tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/22460773669

Barbara E. said...

I prefer paperbacks. I like holding the book in my hand to read, and paperbacks are smaller and cheaper. At some point in the future I may acquire an e-reader, but for now, with a large TBR pile to get through, I don't need one, so I'll stick to my lovely paperbacks.

I enjoyed Ann's post, it was very interesting. I look forward to checking her books out.

Blodeuedd said...

I am a paperback girl, sure perhaps I could like ebooks if I got a great e-reader. now I have none :(
Audio, mostly the narrators annoy me

Mysteriousrose said...

I like hardback especially if I love the book so much that I will read it more than one time.
But most of the time I prefer paperback I like to have books on my shelves so I can admire the covers and so I can read when I'm in my bed.

Vickie said...

I love my paperbacks since they are easy to fit in my purse and hold in my hands for reading at night.

Audio are perfect since I have a 50 mile roundtrip commute up 6 days a week for work. Someone telling me a story keeps me mellow.

Still on the fence with e-books, but might get a Kindle from my sister since she's thinking of moving up to iPad.

Martha Lawson said...

I would love to win the Hunt! It looks awesome. I'm old school, I guess you'd say! I prefer paperbacks or hardbacks. Don't think I'd like ebooks at all!!

I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

cdm said...

You are a brave women. Congratulations on your first book. I read paranormal to escape too, especially with all the changes that are happening in our country today. Thank you for sharing "your escape" I look forward to reading your paperback.

jellybelly82158 said...

I would love to win the Hunt.
I usually prefer paperbacks. I don't have an ereader and it is a little hard reading anywhere on the computer. Paperbacks fit in my purse to take anywhere with me.

Shared on Twitter - http://twitter.com/jellybelly82158/status/22486999926

Shared on Facebook -

debbie said...

I don't mind hardcovers if the book isn't too thick. I also read paperbacks,too. I refuse to get an ereader. I love reading an actual book.

Simply Stacie said...

I like the Trade Paperback format the best.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Aik said...

I like paperbacks the most.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Asylumgirl said...

I prefer paperbacks. They're easier to read on the go. If I had an ereader, it might be different, but I think there will always be a special place for physical books that can be touched and held.


Julie S said...

I prefer paperback, it's light and something I can read in bed.


KMichelleC87 said...

I would prefer a paperback because it fits nicely in my purse so I can carry it around with me. If I cant have PB i'm just as happy with hardback. I cant focus when I try to listen to audio and sitting at the computer trying to read is hard. Also I like to read in the bathtub and that would be hard with audio or an ebook.


Andra Lyn said...

I like Hardbacks...I typically get all my books from the library ( darn economy) so that I can save on the cash. But if I found a book that I absolutely love...usually Paranormal...I will run out and buy the hardcover. Hardcovers last the longest and stay in great condition for a long time!

Unknown said...

I love both paperback and hardback books. I like holding a book in my hands. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book,. Tore923@aol.com

tetewa said...

I prefer paperbacks, as they are eaiser to hold while reading! I have a collection of signed books and you can't get that on ebooks! tWarner419@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Sorry that your book didn't arrive. Seems like the ones that you want the most are the cones that fail to arrive. Hope that your copy and the winners arrive.

I like hardback and paperbacks the best. I like to hold the book in my hand.


Anonymous said...

I follow with GFC.


Anonymous said...

I am an e-mail subscriber of this blog.


Sandy said...

Definitely a 'real book', either paperback or hardback are fine but if I have to choose ... hardback.

Anonymous said...

Hmm lets see. I like the look of the hardcover books, the price of ebooks but paperbacks are my favorite.

Included giveaway in Weekly Recap post: http://www.paranormalhaven.com/2010/08/weekly-recap_29.html

Posted giveaway on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheParanormalHaven?v=wall&story_fbid=152938388065137

Stephanie G

Paranormal Haven

Victoria said...

I don't have an e-reader yet - my Kindle is supposed to arrive today! So right now I like paperbacks best. They're easy to carry around and don't take up too much space.

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/Jovial_1/status/22535503411

Ina said...

I prefer Papberbacks - they fit perfectly in my bookshelf and I love to see them and touch them whenever I want!
greetings, Ina

jeanette8042 said...

I definitely prefer paperbacks because I like reading something in my hands that I can visually see and it's smaller to handle compared to hardbacks. Plus they're cheaper too!

throuthehaze said...

I prefer paperbacks because I like to actually hold a book and they fir better on my shelves than hardbacks. I don't have an e-reader so it is inconvenient to have to sit at my computer to read.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Paperbacks. First because they occupy less space in the bookshelves, they fit in my handbag, and of course because they're cheaper :)


Rosie said...

I like paperbacks and always will because I love holding an actual book. But I'm veering more toward e-books lately because I can carry more titles with me at one time.

rosie0512 @ hotmail . com

Anonymous said...

My preference depends on what I'm doing. I read a lot in bed, so then I prefer a paperback because they're smaller and I can hold them up in one hand without killing my arm. But if I'm reading while I'm eating, or sitting on the couch, I like a hardcover because it stays open without me touching it. :)

I don't like e-books or audio. At all. :P

All This Silence... said...

I prefer paperback because they're small enough to store easily, and they typically cost less. I'm all about cost effective!! :)

Anonymous said...

Great Interview - ty for sharing! I've not listened to but a few audiobooks as lost to know where to get a good quality etc. The two I listened to were poorly done and really took away from the books. I love both paperback and ebooks. Can ofcourse store a ton more ebooks without filling up my home and they are easy to drag with... however I just love turning through the prints and don't think I'll ever tired of that.

tweeted -http://twitter.com/pams00/status/22587092822

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

buddyt said...

I prefer paperbacks because of the lower cost but also like hard covers.

I have never really been able to get into e-books (I don't have a reader) or audio. Guess I am just an old dinosaur.

Thanks for the giveaway.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

I am a Follower via GFC

GALENA said...


sweetjudyblue said...

I would prefer a paperback or a hard cover. I like to hold my books kind of like a security blanket. It's mine until it's done. Loved Ann's post. Thank you.

mmentor said...

sign me up, please and thank you

Anonymous said...

Definitely paperback. It's just not the same when you can't bend and mark up and smell a book.

wookieecookie7 at sbcglobal dot net

Audra said...

My favorite is still paperbacks-I have an E-reader and it is awesome, but I agree with the other comments about carrying books in your purse and the smell of the books is addictive.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I actually like all formats of book-right now I'm loving my nook, because it can hold so many books!

Anonymous said...

I prefer paperbacks. They are not only cheaper, they also fit in
my purse.

SandyG265 said...

I prefer ebooks because I am running out of room for physical books

bac1 said...

i like paperback books they are easier for me to read

emmad said...

I prefer paperbacks as love having the book in my hands. But just this week I recieved my first ever Kindle and might be changing that preferenace to ebooks lol. So convienant being able to carry a library with me :)

SiNn said...

well i prefer paper back becase i love cracking open a new book tho i like the ease of e books but ill hands down always be a paperback gal


Helen said...

Usually I like paperbacks - they are convenient to carry around with me. But I could do with a audio too, for staying awake while driving the car alone

Llehn said...

I like hardbacks because my heart aches when I see lines on the spines of paperbacks.

Curling up by the Fire said...

At the moment I like hardbacks or paperbacks only because I haven't bought an e-reader. I just can't decide which one is the best for me so I'm stalling.

icewoman96 at gmail dot com

kalynnick said...

My favorite has to paperback. Not only is cheaper than hardback but it is also lighter too.

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Cathy M said...

I tend to get papberback copies of books by my favorite authors, but the majority of my book buying is electronic. Can't beat the conveniene, the price (usually),and how easy it is to carry around 100 books at a time.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Deirdre said...

Paperbacks are my favourites really, or at least my most commonly read, though I sometimes really love the feel of a hardback and the slightly bigger print! Ebooks are great for holidays!

Tweeted here: http://twitter.com/wyvernfriend/status/22926387167

skyla11377 said...

I prefer Hardback books because they are not a fragile as paperback books, they can't get erased due to a computer/ereader glitch, and an audio book just usn't as satisfing as reading a book for yourself. Just being able to hold a book in your hand can be so gratifying.

I tweeted about this giveaway on Twitter (@skyla11377).

I posted this giveaway on my Facebook page.

I posted this giveaway on my Myspace page.

BookMarc Blogpants said...

Most definitely paperback...no batteries to worry about, easy to carry around, light and portable.


Aleksandra Nearing said...

I like paperback books - light and I can easily re-sell or pass them on to friends.
aleksa91 hotmail

Kim (Randominities) said...

I prefer paperbacks. They are portable, I can take them anywhere, and they hold up pretty good.

I don't like audiobooks because I can't stand to have people read to me.

I like hardbacks, but I can't put them in my purse or pocket. They do hold up better, though. But they're also more expensive and in this economy (we're abruptly 1 income)that's the first luxury to go.

saturdaynightfever said...

Paperback; I am on the go a lot.


SalanderServant said...

Paperbacks. Easy to hold and I love their substance, the more technological variances are great but not as personal.

Tweeted here. http://twitter.com/Fatally_Flayed/status/23024103984

twinmomoftwins said...

I prefer paperback. I don't have an ebook reader yet.

Louis H said...

I prefer paperback: I like having the actual copy in my hand and it's lighter than a heavy hardback

Louis H said...

here is my tweet

Louis H said...


Read for your future! said...

I prefer hardback. They look so much nicer on the shelf.Thanks for hosting

Anonymous said...

I prefer paperbacks, they are cheaper and - more importantly - they are easier to take with me; 'cuz I never leave the house without a book.

Unknown said...

I prefer paperbacks. They are less expensive and easier to carry with me. garrettsambo@aol.com

clynsg said...

I prefer paperback, because I do not have an e-reader, would rather be able to page back and forth if I so desire, so audio wouldn't be good, and since I belong to swap clubs, postage is less for paperbacks!

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

/\Heather/\ said...

This is a tough question! Why would you make me choose?! I love them all (mostly). :-)
I think my favorites change depending on where I am....or maybe I'm a Libra and can't make a decision to save my life.
Home - hardback
Travel by plane - paperback
Travel by car and driving - audio
Travel by car and not driving - kindle

Susan said...

Paperbacks are the best, most portable and easy to take to the beach. suelee1998 @gmail.com