Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blood Knot Blog Tour - Guest Post with Author Tracey Cooper Posey

Before we get started, I wanted to welcome Tracy to my blog and give her a BIG thanks! I recently reviewed Blood Knot and she was extremely friendly and helpful with answering my questions. One of the things I love most about reading and blogging, is being able to meet amazing authors, like Tracy, who care about their readers and TALK with us. You can find find Tracy on Facebook - friend her... she's an Aussie so she's AWESOME to talk with!

The Buffet That Is Romance and
How You Can Eat From It All

How you shop for romance novels and how authors write and sell them is going through a fundamental revolution right now.  I thought that, instead of doing a fluffy, feel good post promoting my novel, I would instead lay out how you, the reader, will benefit from the massive changes that aren’t just coming down the pipe...they’re already here.  They just haven’t popped into gear all over town yet.

I chose Belinda’s blog to do this post because I love and adore Belinda’s taste in books.  She gets romance, she understands sexual tension, what makes a good romance, what passion really means, and she really understands story.  Belinda is also open minded and able to experiment with new genres and sub-genres...as I have personally experienced.

If you’ve been reading The Bookish Snob for a while, then you are a reader just like Belinda.  You get this stuff, too.  So you’ll like what I’m about to tell you, if you don’t already know it.  Most of what I’m about to say you’ll understand intuitively.  It just makes sense.  But it takes someone saying it out loud to make it jell.

The publishing industry is transitioning from paper books to electronic books.  Soon, paper books will be like candles:  they’ll still exist, but they’ll be expensive specialty items, while the majority of the world uses eBooks by default.  Already, eBooks outsell paperbacks and many publishers are already considering paperback rights to be subsidiary rights to eBook rights.

But the next big revolutionary step is that authors are shrugging off royalty-paying publishers altogether, and moving to self-publishing, using a number of platforms that let them publish eBooks directly to on-line booksellers like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and All Romance Ebooks.  They’re becoming independent authors.  

This second revolution is the one that is causing the most angst in the industry right now, because it will topple the centuries old power structure that used to exist, where publishers used to dictate which books got published, usually with two year production schedules for each title.  Now, authors publish their books as fast as they can write them, which means you, the reader, get to pick from all the books that are written, instead of just the books the publishers think you might like.

The other benefit of this revolution is that authors are pitching their prices very, very low. $2.99 and 99 cents are common prices. Free is not unheard of.  Indie authors can afford to set these prices, because they are getting the lion’s share of the profit from each sale.  Legacy publishers can’t afford those prices because they have huge expenses to off-set, and they are struggling to come to terms with the whole idea of “cheap equals more sales”.

Indie authors who have several titles out there already have noticed a buying pattern emerging:  Readers will buy one “test” title.  Then they’ll come back and buy every single title the author has released, in one buying session -- because the prices are so low.  Or they’ll buy all the titles in one series, in one hit.  Then they’ll come back and buy the next series, later.

This group-buying and author-buying trend points toward the future.

So does indie-publishing in general.  Because Amazon, Smashwords, and other on-line bookstores have virtual bookshelves, there is no competition for space.  An author doesn’t have to get “permission” to upload.  She just uploads.  As long as her book is correctly formatted, and she follows a few simple rules, she can publish any novel she cares to. 

This has huge implications for the future of popular fiction, and for you, the reader.

Whereas once upon a time, the bookshelves at your local store were strictly limited to “romance” and maybe “fantasy”, and you had to carefully comb through them to find the authors you knew, or an imprint you knew that published the sort of books you liked. However, with virtual book sellers, the game has changed.

Indie authors can publish any sort of cross-genred, out-of-genre, weird-mixed, wonderfully inventive, whole-new-unique-to-her-genre romance they want.  It can have fairies and giants, krakens and mushrooms, as long as it has a happy-ever-after and a to-die-for hero (perhaps the only two constants of a romance, these days.)  Her romance doesn’t have to fit into a pre-defined category anymore. 

Of course, it helps that her romance be well written, or no one will read it.  But that’s one of the joys of the indie publishing game.  We enter it at our own risk.  If an author can’t write for peanuts, she’ll soon find out -- the hard way.  Readers get to tell her with their wallets.  The indie publishing scene is a perfect feedback mechanism, because authors get their feedback directly from the readers via sales and/or communications like blogs and emails.  (But sales are more truthful.)  No gatekeepers like agents and editors exist to filter and distort the information.

So what will happen to the romance industry in the near future?

Here’s what I think will happen.  Here’s where I can see it going.  Here’s where I think you, the reader, get to have it all.

More and more authors are going to go indie.  And they’re going to realize they can write the books they really want to write, instead of staying in the straight jackets that the publishers, marketers and brick & mortar booksellers have insisted on for years.

That means the romance field is going to explode with interesting and varied romances the likes of which you have never seen before.  The shackles will be off authors’ imaginations, and you are going to have a buffet of romances to choose from, and not too many signposts to guide you.  If you thought the explosion of eBooks from epublishers made it difficult, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

That means you will need to rely more and more on blogs like The Bookish Snob to find out about new and great authors.  Word-of-mouth about hot new series and titles will become the best way to find out who to buy next, because there will simply be so many authors out there, you won’t know who will be a good fit for your tastes, after you’ve bought up every title of the last author you fell in love with.  Amazon’s “if you like this, you’ll like that” links will help, but they won’t always tell you if the author they’re recommending can’t spell worth a damn or if the novel is full of grammar mistakes and typos...or if it’s just plain bad.

This is where you adding reader reviews and ratings becomes incredibly important, too.  If you’ve never bothered before, think about starting now.  Soon, readers will be the only guide for other readers.  Belinda is a reader, just like you, but she’s providing her opinion in a structured and professional way.  She doesn’t get paid for it, but she does it anyway.

The romance industry is already huge.  It’s about to become a giant industry, because romance authors, who were at the forefront of eBooks and e-readers, are also now embracing indie publishing with a vengeance, too.  With their imagination, and with all the paranormal and fantasy worlds to explore, and the historical and romantic suspense fields to re-invent, mash-up, and re-live, you as a reader are in for thousands of special treats.

You just have to learn how to find them, because authors won’t be able to reach out and be heard across the whole industry.  It’ll be too damn big.  You’ll have to meet us half-way.

Here’s some tips on how to discover new-to-you authors that don’t suck:

 1.  Leave reader reviews (not just ratings) on Amazon for books you have read.

Amazon is fast becoming command central for books.  Some indie authors are unable to load their books onto other booksellers -- I struggle to get onto Barnes & Noble, for instance, because they make it difficult for non-US citizens.  But Amazon hosts everyone.  If you write your review for Amazon, you can copy and paste it to your favourite bookseller, too.  Why review and not just a rating?  Reviews tell other readers more about how the book “feels”. Ratings just tell them if the book is okay or not.  As authors start writing harder-to-define unique romances, the reviews will be critical to readers trying to figure out if a book is for them or not.

2.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Keep reading your favourite authors, of course.  But every third or fourth book, try a new author.  Most authors these days have free or cheap books on offer, or substantial samples you can download.

3.  Follow the “You might like this” links.

 Every now and again, follow the recommendation links on the bookstore sites, to see where they lead you.  If the book looks intriguing, and the reviews aren’t enough to assure you it’s worth buying, try Google-ing it to see if you can pick up some word-of-mouth or more reviews on-line, or information about the author.

4.  Listen to Belinda!

Belinda and other review blogs like hers are constantly tapping into the romance scene for new and upcoming authors.  Make sure you’re getting a good cross-sample, though, and your review blogs aren’t talking about the same dozen authors over and over again.  Also make sure they’re not purely focused on New York publishers, or dead set against indie authors (some are).  Check their review policies to see if you’re going to get prejudiced, filtered or restricted news.

5.  Use Google Alerts.

If you have a favourite type of romance -- “MMF time travel erotic paranormal romance”, for instance, or “medieval historical romantic suspense,” why not build a Google Alert for it?  (http://www.google.com/alerts)

You can narrow down your preference for romance to a very specific term or terms.  Make sure you put your term into quotes if there are multiple words, or you’ll get hits for everything that has each single word in it.

The alert will report back to you each day on blogs and sites, including Amazon book pages, that contain your terms.
In this way you’ll find new books that fit your criteria.

But you’ll also find blogs that constantly talk about your favourite types of books, too.  You can bookmark them and go back to them, and find like-minded authors and readers, who will most certainly let you know about new books that you would like to read, too.

Thanks for stopping by Tracy!

To read my review of Blood Knot, click HERE

I've won a number of awards, including Australia's Emma Darcy Award (the equivalent of the Golden Heart) and was most recently nominated for the CAPA's Best Erotic Paranormal and Favourite Author categories.  You can find out more about me and my books here.


Winter, a professional thief who can manipulate others’ biologies by touch, accidentally “healed” her former partner—and former vampire—Sebastian, whom she secretly loves. Her healing created a symbiotic pairing between them that neither of them wants. 
Nathanial, a sexy thousand-year-old vampire and Sebastian’s ex-lover, talks Sebastian and Winter into stealing evidence that will expose all vampires to the world. But Nathanial is a puppet-master who doesn’t believe in falling in love with humans, leaving Winter unsure of his real feelings for her once he seduces her, or how he feels about Sebastian, the former vampire-now-human whose life he has turned upside down once more. 
But the evidence they steal is hot property.  The future of all vampires is on the line and others will stop at nothing to get it, leaving Sebastian, Winter and Nathanial with no allies but each other.  They must trust each other to survive.  Only...can they?
An Excerpt From: BLOOD KNOT
Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2011
All Rights Reserved.
[For readers who are following my blog tour, these excerpts are consecutive -- each excerpt follows the last one.  Check on my blog for details of previous excerpts, and subscribe to my blog to learn about future blog tour posts and the excerpts that go with them. http://tracycooperposey.com]
He gasped and shuddered. “Winter…” And she watched his pupils dilate. He turned to her in a movement almost too quick to follow, reminding her that not so long ago he had been a vampire. His lips and his body pressed against hers and Winter sighed. He was as perfect as she had always imagined. Hot and hard and eager.
His hand slid under her hip and held her against him, so that she could feel his pelvis and his hard, erect cock pushing against her abdomen.
Sebastian thrust his tongue into her mouth with a hungry moan. He rimmed her lips before thrusting again, a mini-promise of what was to come.
The pulsing need was threatening to drown her again, so Winter pushed more of it into Sebastian. She wanted to be aware of every moment of this.
He groaned, arching against her. His pelvis ground into her with good, hard pressure as he reacted to the need she was feeding into him.
His fingers scrabbled at the buttons on her shirt. Then he simply ripped it open. She heard the little disks land softly on the hardwood floor across the room. Sebastian cupped her breasts in their lace bra with trembling hands. “I want this too much,” he said, his voice hoarse. “I have no finesse left to spare this time.”
Confusion touched her. He wanted this? Or was she making him want this? Had Sebastian wanted her to begin with? She would never know now because if she asked, she would have to reveal what she had done.
Guilt speared her.
Sebastian looked up at her face. His expression hardened and he reared up and to the other side of the bed, so that he wasn’t touching her. “No!” He took a breath, and another. “You were…you made me do that, didn’t you? When you touched my back.” He wrapped his arms around his middle, like he was suddenly cold. “I should have remembered what it was like straight after I fed, when I was younger. The need for sex.” He grimaced. “Jesus.” He looked away.
She sat up. “It wasn’t quite like that,” she said.
“You didn’t do anything to me at all, then?” he shot back.
When she didn’t reply, he climbed off the bed. Fury radiated from every stiff angle of him. “You could have talked me into it, Winter. Just you. Seduction works, you know. Manipulating me doesn’t. Fuck!”
She scrambled off the bed to follow him and almost ran into him when he turned to face her again.
“Two years I spent talking about Nial and his ways, Winter. About how he pushes people around and uses them. About why I left him. Didn’t you learn anything from that at all?”
“I didn’t mean to do it, Sebastian.”
“It just slipped out or something?” he said caustically.
He rolled his eyes. “Will you at least close your shirt?” He turned and stalked into the main room.
She tied her shirt closed and hurried after him. “I’m sorry, Sebastian.”
“No, you’re not.” He said it flatly. “You’re just like Nial. You’re only sorry you got caught.”
“Damn it, Sebastian. That’s not fair. You’re angry and you want to punish me, fine. But that’s over and above.”
He pushed his hands into his jeans pockets. “You’re a thief, Winter. Your whole life is defined by secrecy. Getting caught is just a job hazard for you, one that you’ve got pre-built responses for.”
It hurt, more than she thought it would, because the accusation was coming from Sebastian, of all people.
“You’re a thief, too,” she reminded him.
“I didn’t get a choice,” he said bleakly.
“You think I did?” she cried. “You think I sat in junior high dreaming about growing up and breaking into bank vaults?”
“So you were in Serbia during the war and had to steal to survive. My father was a belted English earl, Winter, and I slept on ermine and silk until he learned I was a bastard. Then I got tossed from the family at thirteen to fend myself and my mother with me. Ireland was a hard land in which to be penniless back then. My mother lasted six months. I survived because a con man took a fancy to me.” He shrugged, his face hard. “We are all a product of our times.”
“And you’re as secretive as me,” Winter accused. “You lied about the dating thing, Sebastian. You just didn’t want me finding out you were a vampire. You never had any intention of telling me, did you?”
He hesitated. “Not at first.”
“At first?” she repeated. “Then when? When I tripped over your victims? We were two years working together. How long were you going to leave it?”
Sebastian’s hands curled into fists in his pockets. “Vampires have been necessarily secret for millennia. It’s not that simple, Winter. Every extra person who is aware—”
“Bullshit,” she shot back. “You’re just hiding behind that as a shield. What is the real reason why you wouldn’t tell me, Sebastian?”
“You’re a fine one to talk! You never said a word about your talent for adjusting people’s biologies, and that directly affected our work!” He yanked his hands out of his pockets. “All that crud about serums and hypnosis and blather about domination. You didn’t trust me enough to just tell me the truth. You had to get me out of the way with stupid excuses and nonsense for two fucking years, Winter, so you could simply put guards to sleep. So you haven’t told a single soul about your talent before. Why couldn’t you tell me?”
Winter tried to find an honest answer in the face of his fury. “I suppose…I felt I didn’t know you well enough.”
He made a sound that was something like a half-laugh, but it was skewed by an emotion she couldn’t name. “You can strip down in front of me for a job without blushing, but you don’t feel you know me well enough. Brilliant.” He shook his head. “That’s just…the best news I’ve had all day.” He crossed to the apartment door, his long legs moving in easy strides. “Don’t call me, Winter,” he said at the door. “My new blood pressure can’t take the challenge.”



marybelle said...

Yes, we Australians are rather awesome. I enjoyed reading your post!!!


June M. said...

I think it's cool that so many authors are going to indie publishing. If it is an author that I am familiar with, I would definately buy from them. Unfamiliar authors, I would have to be able to sample a good part of the book before buying. I would really like free sample books, and if I like their story, I would be one to buy the whole series or all of their books.

manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Ladybug07999 said...

*WAVES* Hi Tracy!!!

I for one am HAPPY the shackles are coming off . . although, this also means they can stay ON should one like them too :D

Blood Knot was an awesome read. If you have an open mind, I say DIVE in, you won't be disappointed.

Belinda said...

I LOVED Blood Knot. I went in expecting something and walked away dazzled. I really liked the points brought up in this post and I'll admit - I'm one of the readers that will "test". I'll see if I like what you've written and if I do? I'll buy everything you've written.. most times in one sitting if I have the money. Even though I've paid up to $25 for a book, I appreciated the cheaper aspect to buying ebooks. I can buy more, read more and experience more when books are not so expensive. Great thoughts!

Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

G'day Marybelle!

I'm a Sandgroper. You?

I'm glad you enjoyed the post.



Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

Hi June:

Most of the publishing platforms that Indie authors use encourage them to offer at least 15 percent of their books as free samples. Amazon and Smashwords do, for example.

So if you can't get a free sample from another bookselling site, you could try to find the book at those sites and get the sample there.

You can download the Kindle software for your PC and read the sample on your desktop. This is what I did.

Now I can access the ebooks at Amazon even though I don't own a Kindle. It's great -- I can take advantage of the ridiculously cheap prices there, plus sample new authors, even if I choose to buy those authors at another bookseller, in a different format.



Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

Hi Ladybug!!

Can you see me up here in the snowy north? Yeah, we had *another* dump of snow. Grrr.... Hopefully, this is the last one until fall.

Thanks for the plug, honey!



Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

Hi Belinda,

Thank you for hosting me today and letting me chat with your readers. I appreciate the opportunity.

Actually, yes, your buying pattern is becoming very common, now that prices are dropping so low.

A lot of authors are bewailing the drop in prices of fiction. They feel like it is devaluing their work. They spend weeks, months, a year on a book, and then have to put a 99 cents price tag on it? You can understand how that makes some authors break out in a sweat. But indie authors have found that these very low prices make their fiction MORE accessible to huge numbers of readers who wouldn't have bought their books otherwise.

My own sales numbers in the last month is proof enough to me, too. I have published 37 books now. The last two were self-published and available at $2.99. Many of those books are available on Amazon as ebooks, but at standard ebook prices via royalty-paying publishers. My two self-published books outsell my best-selling royalty-published ebook by 8-1 (and the second one, FATAL WILD CHILD) has only been out for four days. And I'm not even counting sales at any of the other booksellers. This is just Amazon. The other booksellers are comparable, or better.

So readers are reading more books at these lower prices. It makes fiction more attractive. It means that when you read an interesting storyline, you can go "hmm, that sounds interesting. I'll buy it!" Instead of "That sounds interesting, I should put that on my wish list for when I have the money..." and when you have the money find the book has been pulled off the bookshelf, because paperback books have a 30 day shelf life.

It's a whole new world!



Paranormal Opinion said...

This guest post is great! I think it's so fun to find new-to-me authors. With self-publishing becoming so common, I am finding so many authors that I haven't heard of before. I love how quickly indie authors can put out new books. I hate having to wait a whole year to read the next book in a series. Blood Knot sounds really good!

Linda said...

Great blog, Tracy! I think you covered it all. We are part of an exciting new publishing "world" and posts like yours help to get the word out to readers who will benefit from the ability to purchase enjoyable books at reasonable prices.

Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

Hi Paranormal Opinion!

Thanks for stopping by. You've actually mentioned a point I failed to raise except indirectly -- thank you!

Yes...indie authors can put titles out very quickly indeed. Legacy publishing production times can be anywhere from nine months to two years -- usually leaning toward the far end of that scale. Even epublishers these days are looking at year long production schedules.

An indie publisher can publish as soon as she completes, edits and formats a book, and gets a cover in place. The production schedule is telescoped down into a matter of weeks, if not days, after the tale is written, and the more of the production the author does herself, the shorter the production cycle becomes.



Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

Hi Linda:

Thanks for visiting.

Yes, it's going to be interesting watching the publishing scene over the next few months, isn't it?