Welcome to The Writer's Challenge

I'm updating weekly-ish and whenever something exciting happens, so please come back often, browse the archived information,
and use the search feature to find information!
Learn more about my books at ShoshannaEvers.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How Debra Holland sold 17K books in 4 months!

Hello Fellow Writers!

If you're even thinking about self-publishing, you need to read this. Amazon bestseller and self-published romance author Debra Holland sold 17,000 books in the past four months. Yes, 17K. I interviewed her to find out as much as I could about how exactly she did that!

Shoshanna: Thanks for being here! Can you walk us through how that happened?

Debra: I can give it a try. I have some ideas, but a lot of it seems like plain good luck. :)
Much of my books’ success stems from hitting two niche markets--sweet and Western. There are lots of readers out there looking for romances that are traditional. They either don’t want sexy books, or they like to read both sexy and sweet.

Western romance fans tend to pounce on a Western because they don’t get many of them. The historical Western market is particularly scarce.

Did it start slow and build or were you immediately selling well?

It started slow and built, sort of like a jagged slope. I’d be at a level, then start selling a little more, stay at about that level, then bump up a bit, level out for a week or so, then go higher.

What seemed to make a difference was 5 star reviews. For each one, my sales bumped up a bit. Although, once I got to ten 5 star reviews, it didn’t seem to make a difference any more.

The other thing that helped was making Amazon top 100 lists. That happened to Wild Montana Sky at about six weeks and Starry Montana Sky at about two months. The books have been climbing the lists ever since.

What sort of marketing did you do?

I’m doing very little. Mostly I’ve written some personal blogs--about eight, and some guest blogs--also about eight. Not too much for four months.

I’m trying to encourage other writers to consider self-publishing. Ever since I started having success, I’ve been beating the self-publishing drum. I love helping others succeed. For that reason, I’m blogging very honestly about what’s happening with my self-publishing career, including exact sales and money. Those blog links seemed to get passed along a lot. :)

My success isn’t the norm for everyone. Many self-published authors start out far slower. But remember, sales can build over years. Think long term.

I know I should do more. I’m not even on Goodreads yet. That on my to-do list. I need to submit the books to book reviewers. Also on my to-do list. But I’ve trying to use my spare time to write. I think putting out new books are the best ways to promote!

What price points are you selling your books at, and how did you decide to sell at that price point?

I’m selling Wild Montana Sky at .99 and Starry Montana Sky at 2.99. I chose .99 for the first book because I’m an unknown author, and I think readers are willing to risk trying me when the price is a bargain. I’ve done the same thing for the first book in my newly published Fantasy Romance series. Sower of Dreams is .99 and Reaper of Dreams is 2.99.

Your covers are beautiful. Who is your designer? 

My friend, Delle Jacobs did the Western covers. I chose a different designer, Lex Valentine, for my fantasy romances because I wanted a different look. I think all four covers are wonderful, and I’m very happy with them. Doing your own covers are definitely a benefit to self-publishing!

Do you have plans for future books?

I’m writing the third book in the Western series, Stormy Montana Sky, and I have two more books after that. I’m hoping to have Stormy out in November. I’m also working on the third book in the Fantasy Romance trilogy, Harvest the Dreams. If I can stay on track, I’m hoping to have it out in January.

Do you have any suggestions for writers looking to self-publish?

Learn the craft. Write a great book. Get it professionally edited. Study the market. Have FUN!

With the tragic death of her fiancĂ©, Elizabeth Hamilton believed she’d never love again. The comfortable life she’s settled into with her brother in Boston is upset when he abruptly marries. Displaced by her spiteful new sister-in-law, and hoping to find a home for herself, Elizabeth allows handsome cowboy Nick Sanders to escort her from Boston to her friend’s Montana ranch.

In Montana, Elizabeth meets attractive Caleb Livingston, a wealthy banker who strongly resembles her beloved fiancĂ©, and believes she has a second chance at love. Yet, she has to fight a growing attraction to Nick. In braving the dangers and hardships of the West, Elizabeth discovers unexpected strengths within herself--strengths tested when an influenza epidemic ravages the town. As a child’s life hangs in the balance, Elizabeth must choose between the man who has everything, and the one with nothing but his heart to offer.

Buy Links:
Wild Montana Sky Amazon: http://amzn.com/B004YKZCD2
Starry Montana Sky Amazon: http://amzn.com/B004YL2RNO


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Snowed In With The Tycoon available NOW!

Hello Fellow Writers!

Amazing how quickly a book can be published when we take things into our own hands! Following the success of my first self-publishing "experiment" Overheated - which ended up outselling all of my traditionally published books put together and even hitting the Amazon Bestseller list for Erotica - I've taken a full length erotic romance novel and self-published it on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

And the best part? I set the price at only $2.99, which is less expensive than most of my other books that are less than half as long. SNOWED IN WITH THE TYCOON has graphic sex scenes, but it's definitely "the softer side of Shoshanna Evers" - an emotional love story with hot hot sex.

Here's the excerpt.

Buy Snowed In With The Tycoon on Amazon here.
on Barnes and Noble
Or on Smashwords (for all formats)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm an Amazon Bestseller??!

Hello Fellow Writers!

Today I found out that Overheated, the short story I self-published on Kindle, is officially an Amazon bestseller. It was #61 in Erotica earlier today, now it's down to 75. The rank changes hourly and I should probably stop looking at it. But I can't help but be excited by my moment in the top 100 :)

I'm so thrilled. I keep grinning :)

(you can get Overheated for 99 cents here)

I have big plans - I'm going to self-publish another book, this time a full length romance novel called Snowed in With the Tycoon. I've gotten a lot of wonderful feedback on the book so I'm excited to put it out into the world. I was thinking I could even put the whole first chapter at the end of Overheated as a sneak peak for people.

I just got the cover art for Snowed in With The Tycoon, wanna see?

Thank you again to all of my readers. I love you all. You are the reason I'm able to write this exciting blog post!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do You Need an Author Photo?

Hello Fellow Writers!

Today I decided it's time to bite the bullet and pay for a professional author photo. I've got a snapshot I've been using, and I realized recently that it's all over the web - and the pic isn't even that great. So I may as well have a photo out there that looks good. Right?

Fortunately my kid sister is an actress and knows some good headshot photographers, and I live near NYC, so I'll have no problem getting them done. Now I just have to find the time! And then... perhaps my author photo will go at the end of my books in the "about the author" section :) I'll also need it for my Facebook and Twitter avatar, etc.

I'll post it here when I get it done.

Do you have a professional author photo? Do you want one?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quitting the Day Job

I'm over at The Losing Gamer blog today, interviewed by Jennifer Mercurio about how I balance everything.


After doing this interview, I realized I'm actually getting a bit overwhelmed by everything on my plate, and I decided to retire from nursing, at least for now, to focus on writing and my family.


I'll always be a nurse, but at least for now, I won't be working as one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bedhead Cover Art!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I just got the cover art for my erotic romance novella Bedhead, coming soon from Ellora's Cave as part of the multi-author Skin Deep series. I love this cover. To me, it shows the emotion, passion, and *hair* that Bedhead is all about it. The heroine in Bedhead suffers from alopecia - baldness. She wears a wig, and the story delves into how that element plays into her sex life.

This cover is designed by Syneca, Ellora's Cave cover artist extraordinaire, and I am so happy with it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Writing Through Emotion

Hello Fellow Writers!

Today we've got a guest post from brand new author Brien Michaels, and he'll be giving away a copy of his first book SPARKS FLY to one lucky commenter. Thanks for being here, Brien!

Writing Through Emotion
by Brien Michaels

We may be many many things in our lives, but there’s only one thing we are before we are writers. And that’s human. And as humans one thing gets in the way of our writing time after time. Emotions. And other writers can vouch for me with this. You can get everything together and be pumped and primed and ready to hammer out two thousand words or finish that WIP that’s been niggling at you for weeks now, or any number of things related to you getting words on that page.

And then something happens that just brings your entire emotional state crashing down around your ears and then you sit there, staring at that blank page getting more and more discouraged because the words won’t flow. But I think I’ve figured out a way around that…

I’m more of a pantser than a plotter so everything I write is influenced by my emotional state at any given time. So I find that when I get in one of those really funky moods, the best possible thing for me to do is write. It’s not even so much of writing the reason I’m upset, but having something else to channel all of that negative energy into is huge.

And once I’m done, I feel loads better. My characters might hate me, or some poor schmuck (on paper, of course) may be a bit dead, but at least that negativity isn’t still inside, eating away at me.

Emotion is one of the most powerful things we have as writers. We’re trying to make the reader laugh or cry or scream or all of the above, so why not do it ourselves? I actually started using my emotions to write a couple years back with this story that was (then, anyway) called Darkness Round The Sun. It was the story of two guys who fell in love with each other, even though one of them was from a family of total religious zealots.

I was totally broken, for some reason when I sat down to write the opening paragraph, and that brokenness translated onto the page and still to this day people tell me it’s the best opening I’ve ever written. I was in a really dark place when I wrote it and I think that’s one of the reasons the story is as dark as it is. But besides dark, it’s emotional. It’s thrilling and it’s heartbreaking and it may just be a tear-jerker, but it wouldn’t be any of those things without the emotion I had to work through and onto the page.

Even with SPARKS FLY, I had to work through this mass of irritation so it could be written because there was so much…crap surrounding its conception and writing. I won’t bore you with the details here, but just know that I almost gave up during the process of working on that one. The important thing, though, is that the reader is going to feel what you feel. One of my pals on Twitter told me a few weeks ago that if you get bored with your story, then the reader will get bored, ten-fold. So why not give yourself over to the emotions you want them to feel? I promise you, it’ll make the book better.


So even though the epic contest is over, I’m gonna do a giveaway here, just because Shoshanna is so awesome. One commenter is going to win a copy of Sparks Fly today. *****Just leave your email address and preferred format and I’ll choose the winner with the help of random.org at midnight.

Blurb for SPARKS FLY:

The world ended with the scream of a child...

When Eduardo Harvelle meets Lincoln James on board The Miracle, a cruise ship promising to take their all-male passengers to meet the last woman in existence, sparks fly. Literally. Sparks surround strange unexpected passenger deaths like an aura. When the corpses start turning up wherever Lincoln happens to be, all eyes turn to him. Could the only man Eduardo has ever allowed himself to have feelings for be a murderer? Or are there more sinister forces at work aboard the Miracle, and beyond...?

Sparks Fly is now available from Etopia Press as well as All Romance Ebooks, Amazon Kindle and on the Nook.

Thanks, again for having me, Sho!

You can find me online at: