Wolves, Audio, and The Imp

Just a quick post to update everyone about distribution! First, the Northern Wolves Series is now available at all retailers. For links on Juneau to Kenai, Rogue, Winter Fae, and Bad Seed, click HERE. I also plan to put together a box set with all Northern Wolves books in it and make it available by the end of the month in both e-book and paperback! Right now, the Northern Wolves books are in e-format only, but I plant to have a paperback version for the box set.

Cornucopia (Half-breed Series, book 3) is now available in Audio! We’ll begin production of books 4 and 5 in this series in the spring.

No Man’s Land (a novel in the Imp World) is currently removed from sale for a short stint in a box set that will be available exclusively to Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited. Stay tuned for more information on that project.

Queen of the Damned (Imp Series 9) is coming! The preorder is up at all retailers and the paperback should release at the same time. Audio for that book will start in February, so expect it to be in Audible and other audio retailers March-ish. For links on the e-book, click HERE and scroll to the bottom.

Stay warm, and read on!

The Power of The Cover

One of the first things new authors learn is how important their book cover is in attracting readers. It’s got to look professional. It’s got to stand out, but still communicate the genre norms in a recognizable fashion. It’s got to look good in thumbnail.

What people don’t always tell new authors is that there’s a learning curve in discovering what works and what doesn’t. Be open to feedback from others about your covers, and don’t be afraid to rebrand. I did. Twice.

Here’s the first cover for A Demon Bound. It was early 2012, and the world wasn’t filled with all these amazing freelance cover artists like it is now. My Photoshop skills were nil, and my goals were modest. I wanted to publish my book so friends and family could read it. Deep in my heart I hoped it would take off, but I was a realist. I didn’t have high hopes.

What I did have was a boyfriend who did photography professionally, knew Photoshop, and offered to do my book cover. I was a babe in the woods, but I still had enough sense to scroll through the Amazon bestseller lists in my genre and show him what I thought would work.

He hated those covers. Here’s where I made mistake #1 I didn’t trust myself. And mistake #2 I took cover advice from someone who didn’t read, let alone enjoy, the genre I was writing.

I let The Boyfriend take the reins and watched while he did a photoshoot, then created a book cover that had a whole lot more to do with noir/thriller than urban fantasy. There was no fantasy element. It was monochromatic. The book sold 5-10 copies a month after my family and friends bought theirs. Books 2 and 3 had similar covers. Reviews loved the book, but in 2012, when indie authors were flying high, I couldn’t get off the ground.

First Rebrand: These are so much better with fantasy elements! Sales picked up immediately. But there’s still a problem. Do you see it? Can you tell?

This artist creates gorgeous artwork and covers, and her strength is in making them look ethereal and magical. Guess what this series isn’t? Ethereal and magical. It’s about a foul-mouthed imp anti-hero with tons of violence and laugh-out-loud quirky humor. The model also is very young, and in spite of the artist’s efforts, she’s far too young to represent my main character. Now, in all fairness, this artist has done some great edgy work, but that isn’t her default, and I wasn’t able to communicate exactly what I wanted, because at the time I didn’t know myself what would work best.

Once again, mistake #1, I didn’t trust myself. I knew when I got the proofs that this model looked too young. I knew that some of the series covers seemed far too young-adult, and not edgy enough, but I figured this wasn’t my area of expertise and just went with what the artist put together. They were gorgeous. The books were selling well, but I knew they could do better. And the nail in the coffin was when I entered a website contest, and the feedback came in. The judges said that I should remove my erotica titles from the website, because they were out of place with all my YOUNG ADULT books.

My covers made it look like I was writing sweet, magical, young adult fantasy. Which meant the readers who wanted edgy f-bomb heroines weren’t picking up my book at first glance. Which meant that I probably had a lot of confused young adult readers buying my book.

Second Rebrand: NOW we’re smoking! Clearly adult, edgy model. These are urban fantasy covers. And the uptick in sales shows that I’m finally hitting the mark. So don’t be afraid to rebrand with new covers. And if you ever ask for a cover critique, put on your big girl panties, and try not to let it sting if people tell you they’re horrible. Don’t have the money to spend $400 or $600 on covers? Save. Get the best cover you can for now, and save. Trust me, the right cover will earn that back lickity-split.

Spend Black Friday with a couple of books

I’ve got some preorder links for you all for November!

City of Lust will be released on November 15th!

Italy is for lovers—unless those lovers are on opposite sides of a 900-year-old family feud.

Mastering the intricacies of winemaking isn’t the only challenge Amber is facing on her and Irix’s trip to Northern Italy. Two prominent families with secrets of their own are on the edge of war, and a young romance might be the spark that ignites their hostilities into flame. Romeo and Juliet ended in tragedy, but Amber and Irix are doing all they can to ensure this young romance has a happily ever after and that these two families come to a peaceful resolution of their ancient grudge.

Amazon UK

And Ten Lows A-Leaping (a holiday short story) will be released November 24!

Beatrix has to work on Christmas Day.

There are no holiday’s off for a Guardian Angel tasked with ensuring demons don’t crossover from the Gates to Hel, even when you’ve got PTSD and are subject to panic attacks from that time last year when a psychotic demon slaughtered two angels in front of you, destroyed the mall where the Gate to Hel was located, and left you pinned to the rubble with a steel beam through your wings.

The only way Beatrix is managing to get through each day is the little gifts someone keeps leaving for her. The countdown to Christmas is on, there’s no telling what gift her Secret Santa will leave when the number reaches one.

Amazon UK

Before you ask: Yes, Queen of the Damned is coming. No, I don’t have a preorder link yet. Yes, I’m still hoping to get it to you all by the end of the year, but there’s some holiday issues at the various retailers that I need to work around. I’ll be sending excerpts and little teasers of both City of Lust and Queen of the Damned to those who are signed up to my Debra’s Demons group, so hopefully that will keep the torches and pitchforks from my door!