Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Fear as a writer…

Good morning! Hope all is well with everyone as we start this Thursday morning or afternoon, wherever you wonderful people are ūüėČ

Fear, everyone has felt fear at one time or the other. Don’t lie, you know you have. As a child, we had fear of strangers and storms. As adults, we have many fears. Maybe we fear financial issues, for our children, the future… etc. There are a lot of fears in this world, but I want to talk about the fear as a writer.

The moment I hit submit on Ghost Lover, the first book I published in May 2012, I was sweating. My palms were damp, my heart was racing, in easy terms, I was a mess. What if nobody likes my writing? What if this is a mistake? What if… What if… What if… Then the emails started coming from readers that fell in love with Jared and Jessie. The fear was alleviated for a moment, then came the next book and the next.

Does my fear ease with each book I publish? Some, but not completely. I’m always afraid of the unknown. Even though my books are poured over and over with edits and rewrites and such, I still have that fear that I’m sending out my work with flaws. Even the best-edited book has flaws and I have to remind myself of that. My fans are so precious and let me know every day the pleasure they get from the words I put on the page, but still, I feel like I could’ve added more to the story, went over it one more time, or even changed something.

Then there’s the fear of not selling a single book, yikes…. Yes, that’s a fear. In January, my sales went on a downward spiral and I had to catch my breath. After an amazing end of 2016, it was like a kick in the gut. But, as I sought out other authors to see if it was happening to them, they confirmed that they too were seeing a sharp decline in sales. Even the authors that normally sell thousands of copies a month were down to hundreds. Although that should make me feel better, it only made my fear worse. Had people stopped reading? LOL! Yes, it was an irrational fear, but it still came through this ditsy blonde head.

Then, the sales started to rise. Yes, my fear was going away, but then a new fear arose. Could I do more to keep that from happening again? The truth is, no. We can’t control what people do or trends, so, I picked myself up off the pity floor and moved forward.

So, as a writer, what do you fear?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

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Don’t put all your eggs…

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Good Monday morning! It’s chilly here in Georgia and great writing weather. Saturday I managed a little over 3600 words, even with cleaning the house and planting mums. It was a productive weekend, to say the least.

Ok, you’ve written your book, now it’s time to publish it. As a self published¬†author, you have so many choices. I’ve talked to authors that only place their books on Amazon, which is alright if you just want to get in with the Kindle reader, but there are so many other places to put your book, so why not?

You may be new to the publishing world, so I’ll enlighten you on some places that are great for self published¬†authors:

1: Amazon – without a doubt, most authors go here first.

2: Smashwords РThis website offers a one stop shop. Your book can be placed with Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and a multitude of other places just through Smashwords.

3: All Romance Ebooks – They offer your book on their website and in many different formats.

4: Barnes and Noble – Through Nook press, but I usually just go through Smashwords to get here.

5: Kobo – Again, I use Smashwords to get here too.

6: Google Play – I have some of my books here, but I’ve never done well on their pages.

7: Createspace – You need to get your book into paperback form and here’s where you can do that.

8: Draft to Digital – This site will get you on a couple of different foreign site.

9: Apple iTunes – If you use a mac, then this option is available straight to the site, but again, I use Smashwords.

This is only 9 of the many sites, but it gets you on the road to discovery and if you spread out your wings, readers will find you.

I hope this helped. If you need help getting your book formatted or the word spread, let me know. Horseshoe Publishing helps authors get their books ready for these sites and Fresh From the Book helps you spread the word.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Just a little Monday promo – Highlander’s Heart will be only .99 for a short while! So fall in love with a Highlander…¬†myBook.to/HighlandersHeart

 

 

 


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March Madness Sale!

Every week day in March my sight will be having a different sale!

stephaniehurtauthor.com

Don’t miss out on these deals!

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What’s in a review?

I’ve blogged about reviews before and each time I get a lot of response from fellow authors. Reviews can do a lot for an author. They can cause readers to flock to your book, run away from your book or make them unsure. I’ve been reading several posts from fellow authors regarding the trend in reviews and in some ways its not good.

As I’ve said before, if you’re thinking about reviewing a book, please read the book first. It’s so evident to an author when a reviewer hasn’t even read the book.

Let’s take a look at some of the things fellow authors have told me about some of their reviews that either made them laugh, cry or smile. Some may have caused all of these emotions.

1: I really enjoyed this book but I’m giving it a 2 star because I didn’t like the characters name. (This author was shocked when she saw this review. What’s funny is, even though it’s a 2 star review, which should be bad for the sales, the reviewer told readers it’s a good book.)

2: This book is horrible. Why did it have to be so unrealistic? People just can’t do this in real life. (Ok, this one made me laugh out loud. The book being reviewed was a Paranormal book about mythical creatures. I do give the reviewer credit, people really can’t do what the characters did in this book because they aren’t real. This author’s book sales actually escalated after this review.)

3: Why? Please stop this. I didn’t like this book at all. (This reviewer went on to email the author directly and tell her to stop writing. The author smiled as she was telling me about this review because she actually has hit the bestseller list in several countries with the very book this reviewer slammed. Her response was “It takes all kinds to make up the world”. By the way, this book is free and the reviewer did not pay for it to begin with.)

4: Great book. I can’t wait for more from this author. Waiting impatiently for next installment. (This author was thrilled with this review. It was her first book and she was afraid it wouldn’t do well.)

5: I loved the book, but could have been a little more descriptive. The writing was good and the character development was well received. (This was a constructive review that was helpful to the author. She said that actually she went back and edited a couple of areas of the book to correct these issues.)

This was just 5 of the responses I received after my last post on reviews. We rely on reviewers to be honest about their reviews of our work. The sad thing is many people out there are not very nice when they review a book. They strive to make the author look bad. What’s really sad is that a post I read a couple of months ago, several authors were slammed repeatedly on Amazon and the reviewers were not verified purchases. The wording went along the same line and did not mention anything from the book. The reviewer was slamming the author themselves. It’s sad but true.

My advice to new authors or even veteran authors that haven’t developed a thick skin is this. Use the reviews wisely. If the review is structured and they explain the flaws they see, then maybe check the flaws out. It could help. But if they’re nasty and scathing, just let them roll off your back. It’s hard, but as a published writer, you’ve opened yourself up to the public and sometimes they aren’t very nice.¬†

So, tell me your experiences with reviews. How do you react? Just remember, smile you’re a published author.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 

 


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Picking the right cover photo

I know I’ve harped on this before but I can’t stress enough the importance of a great cover. I was looking at some of the new books on Amazon and to tell you the truth a couple of the covers were non imaginative. They were just bland and didn’t exactly go with the book description. But of course there were some that I was just stunned at the creativity and dare I say ‘beauty’.¬†

Your book cover is the first thing potential readers see. If you go the extra mile it will help you tremendously. Like right now I’m scanning photos for my newest work in progress. I have in my mind what I want and it has to be perfect. I’ve looked at thousands of photos and let me tell you, it’s a lot of work, but the payoff makes it worth it.

If your cover doesn’t fit the book, why even go there. If you write a Christmas romance and put a Easter bunny on it, well you get the picture. Don’t give away too much with your cover either. This means don’t put a picture of the ending on the cover. If all the way through the book you keep the reader in the dark about if the couple is going to marry or get pregnant, you might not want to put them in a wedding dress or looking pregnant. But then again that could increase sales. Sometimes it’s a catch 22, you just have to know how to make it work.

Also, one last thing that’s a huge, big piece of advice. For next to nothing you can purchase a picture from a reputable site and make it really pop. Don’t just pull something from the family photos and make it work, unless it really goes with the book. I use several sites, but my favs are bigstockphoto.com and istockphoto.com. There are several, but these are the two I use.

As always, good writing and may God Bless You…

By the way, don’t forget that my publishing service designs great covers. Check out the tab above for Horseshoe Publishing…


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Crazy Maybe, Thankful Definitely…

How many writers have been told they’re nuts? I know I have. It’s almost hilarious the looks you get when you say you’re a writer. Some give you a sympathetic look. Some give you that ‘you can’t do anything else with your life,’ look. The one I love is the one where they look like ‘you’re nuts.” Ok, well maybe I am, but it’s something I love.¬†

Now anyone can say they’re writers, but how many can say they’re published writers? The first question usually asked is, “How’s that working out for you?” I always laugh and say it’s going wonderfully for me. I can finally say what I dreamed of years and years ago, “I’m a published author and am making money with my dream.”¬†

As for the “you can’t do anything else with your life”, well if you’ve read my bio you know I do a lot with my life. We are only given one chance at the pie so why not dip your fork into every slice you can. I run a successful accounting business which I built through experience and passion for the work. I’m a Children’s Ministry Director and dearly love what I do to minister to children. Then I get to do what only some sit and dream about. I get to put my dreams and thoughts into writing. I get to put romance, love, tears, heart and other emotions into someone’s life through my words. It’s a very humbling feeling to hear from my fans. Good or bad I have some faithful fans that ask when’s the next book coming out, where’s this character going from here, and so many more questions.

So where am I going with this post? I’m so thankful for the fans that support my writing. I’m thankful for the ones that write the adoring reviews and emails that I love reading every morning. This past year I’ve made friends all over the world and it’s been a very exciting time in my life. So, without further ado, I want to announce a huge sale. I’m doing a sale that will start today and run throughout Novemeber to show my thanks to all that follow me and even those that don’t but might start later.

The sales will be on all my stand alone books, not the bundles as they’re already reduced based on the amount of books included. You can find them at¬†http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Hurt/e/B00850W7U8¬†and¬†https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StephaniePayneHurt¬†and¬†http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Stephanie+Payne+Hurt.

Soon they will show up on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony and the other sites where my books are located. It usually takes about a week for the prices to show up on these sites, but the above link should start showing today and tommorow. So thanks and if you feel like it, give a review. I love to hear your thoughts.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Contests, New Releases, and just WOW…

Well, as promised in my blog last week, I jump. I entered the So You Think You Can Write Contest at Harlequin. This has been a year long process of do I want to or not struggles. Suddenly two weeks ago I started feeling the tug and coincidentally I saw a post that entries were being accepted. That was the sign I needed to jump. Here’s the link:¬†http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts-sytycw-2013/finding-the-right-time/¬†So go over and read my submission and let me know what you think. I’m really excited about this entry.¬†

Image“Victoria” was officially released today. That’s an exciting thing also. I tried out the preorder with Smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Apple iTunes. We will see how that goes because as you know those sales won’t show up for a little while. It you get a chance go over and check out this book. It’s also available on Amazon, CreateSpace and Allromanceebooks.com.

As with everything I do, I stay busy. Late last week “With All My Heart” was released in audio form. That was exciting, but what was really exciting was Apple iTunes picked it up immediately upon release. You may be saying, well iTunes is affiliated with Audible. The exciting thing is my other audio book that is out has not been picked up yet by iTunes, so this makes me wonder at the picking process.¬†

I had another author ask my opinion of audio books and my opinion is they’re great. My sales have been good and I’m excited about the rest of the books that are in production even as we speak.¬†

As Rosie Amber and I wind down our Romancing September Across The World Blog Tour, I sit to ponder the results. We were able to meet 30 talented authors in 30 days. As bloggers and readers alike we were able to see a small part of their lives and books for a moment. It went really well. If you haven’t check them out, just go through my last 30 days posts and you can see my side and the link to Rosie’s side.

So as I leave you today, think about the day. It’s Monday, a new week to make a better you. God made you in His image and that means do your best at everything you do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…