If I knew then…

I’m not the kind of person who indulges in regrets. But sometimes 20/20 hindsight can help us plot our future paths so that A to B doesn’t detour around Q. It can also help others. So, what have I learned about self-publishing in the last six months?

Self-publishing or indie-publishing is a tad misleading. Indie authors frequently exist within a strong network of other authors, readers, editors, cover designers, reviewers and social media experts. We are ultimately responsible for the books we put out, their quality and timeliness, but we work with many people. We learn from many people.

Find a place where you feel comfortable and sit back and listen. Ask questions. Share your experience. But mostly listen. A lot of what you hear will be opinion, so filter and learn. Marie Force’s Self-Publishing Yahoo loop is good, as is Kindleboards. If you have any favourite places for indie discussions, please share in a comment.

You must listen to your market. Know who you’re writing for, and go and read their reviews of books similar to what you’re writing. Hang out at review sites and Facebook pages with them and you’ll discover what they love and hate, and what they’ll share, share, share.

Discoverability will obsess you. Advertising (yes, paying to promote your book) is becoming standard. Free books still work some magic in terms of getting your work found. There is no guaranteed method for success. You need to get your keywords right so that a search for books like yours finds yours.

Include images in your promotional activities. This may mean teasers, photos of places in your book, and the cover itself. The images should make a promise that the book delivers. If you’re like me, learning the language of images may take a while (I’m still struggling).

Be very wary of putting all your eggs in one basket. It’s like farming. If you’re a monoculture, one cataclysm wipes you out. Resilience is built by having more than one string to your bow. Bob Mayer coined the term hybrid author four years ago, and it’s become a standard way authors describe their mix of indie and traditional publishing. Each supports the other. If you go all out down one path, know the risks as well as the rewards.

In fact, that’s the big lesson of self-publishing: know what you’re doing and why. Self-delusion and self-indulgence might be fun places to visit, especially when you’re tired or overwhelmed, but this is a business you’re running. Have clear goals, strategies to reaching them, and back-up measures for when it all goes wrong (as it does).

Pomegranate Week

pomegranate

Some people think it was the pomegranate, and not the apple, that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. If it was, then I have to admire Eve’s determination in chewing through that skin! It’s tough.

A Pomegranate Week celebrates the sweetness hidden inside tough circumstances — and hidden inside us!

All of us learn through life how to protect ourselves. But sometimes we become too good at curling up, turning inward, hoarding our better selves. In a Pomegranate Week we need to risk smiling, risk being generous, risk splitting our tough skins to let others enjoy some sweetness. And if someone takes that risk before you, be appreciative of their courage and the joy they’re sharing.

The sting in a Pomegranate Week is having expectations. The snake in the Garden of Eden slithered around promising all kinds of good things. Life is more complicated. Being brave and generous doesn’t mean that karma immediately rewards you with the same. Be sweet, anyway.

Azalea Week

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You need to make a statement this week. An Azalea Week rewards definite action. Be bright and bold in your wardrobe choices. Wear some power colours, some deep greens and hot reds and oranges, some vivid blues. Walk and stand and occupy your space so that you radiate the belief that here you are and here you belong.

But an Azalea Week isn’t about aggression or attention-grabbing behaviour. It’s about being brave so that your courage triggers others to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.

Bright colours and good posture remind us that we have a place in the world, an important and respected place. Maybe you use singing, dancing or something else to do that. Do whatever you have to do to start some positive energy, and then, go out and share it!

New Release: Summer Kiss

I’m excited to share my newest Texas Kiss with you. Summer Kiss is live! and for this weekend only, it’s also FREE! So grab it now on Amazon (or Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, or Amazon Australia).

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Freedom! For the last eleven years, schoolteacher Tessa Fraser has been raising her much younger brother with the help of their grandmother. Now her brother is eighteen, headed for college, and Tessa is finally free to indulge her adventurous spirit. Only, Sheriff Caleb Gascoyne has other ideas.

Fishing at midnight, Caleb never thought he’d catch the woman of his dreams, but Tessa is sweet, funny and sparkling with the joys of summer. She’s a world away from his old life when he served his country on secret missions overseas. But she wants freedom, and he’s just settled back into Gascoyne Junction.

Tessa knows Caleb is used to far more sophisticated women than her. She’s spent her whole life in the Texas Hill Country, while he’s travelled the world. Never has she regretted her lack of sophistication so much as when confronted by an honorable, old-fashioned cowboy-sheriff who just won’t be tempted into a midnight kiss.

For fans of first kisses and gorgeous Texas cowboys.

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Clean Romance on Kindle Unlimited

Clean Romance is a category of story that isn’t necessarily Christian (non-preachy, at least), but does close the door on sex scenes, minimise bad language and violence, and generally guarantee its readers a story that they wouldn’t be horrified to find their twelve year old niece reading. That said, some twelve year olds are more sophisticated in their reading than me!

Clean Romance, kindle unlimited,Thanks to Kindle Unlimited I’ve been writing some Clean Romance stories and finding readers who love them. Kiss Me, Quick (A Cowboy for Valentine’s Day) started me on this adventure — and it was readers and reviewers who identified and enjoyed it as a Clean Romance. Thank you! Sometimes the hardest thing for an author is discovering how to market her books; that is, who will enjoy them.

Clean romance, Kindle Unlimited,After discovering Clean Romance, I then wrote First Kiss where my shyly daring heroine paints a Texas cowboy’s horse pink — brave woman! I realised that I loved writing these stories where the dance of courtship has to be shown subtly and sweetly. It means a lot of concentration on character development so that the growing relationship is believable, and most especially, the happy ever after.

clean romance, kindle unlimited I recently finished a third Texas Kisses romance, and Summer Kiss will be out next week (and FREE on Amazon May 15 – 17). As soon as Amazon gives me a buy link for it, I’ll post it here on my website, and on my Facebook page. This was an adorable story to write. It opens by a river at night in the Texas Hills Country where a small town schoolteacher is planning a summer of freedom until she bumps into the new sheriff who is gorgeous enough to derail a thousand plans!

Many of my other books include characters who aren’t so scrupulous at closing the bedroom door when things get frisky 😉 and those books are fun to write, too. But Clean Romance is heartwarming, enjoyable, and definitely part of my future.

Do you have any favourite Clean Romances?

New Release: Love, Coast To Coast

coastal romance, romance novellas,Love, Coast To Coast is out today. It’s currently LESS than 99c which seems insane value to me — that’s 5 coastal romance novellas for less than a dollar. When I saw the discount this morning, I needed another coffee. What a shock! If you haven’t snapped up my coastal romances before (this is a bundle of previously published stories that Escape Publishing put together), then I suggest you grab this now. As in right now before the price goes back up! coastal romance,

Travel coast to coast with five romantic tales from Jenny Schwartz, the master of Coastal Romance, now available as one digital volume.

In Mistaken Engagement, after a disastrous fake engagement, the Australia Day long weekend down at Grace’s family beach house is the perfect time to show everyone that Grace and Saul are friends, with not a broken heart between them. But can a fake engagement become life-changingly real?

In Memories of Love, when her family home burns down, it’s the final heartbreak for Rita Jorden. Her boss, Ivan Novak, steps in, offering her his home and his help. But Ivan has his own demons, and although he’s interested in Rita, there’s darkness in his past that could cause her harm.

In Second Chance Island, Laura Robertson is working at a tropical resort on the Great Barrier Reef, biding her time and nursing her wounds when her ex-lover Phil Cooper arrives on Topaz Island. She’s spent her whole life fighting to save the reef, and her time on Topaz Island fighting for her self-respect. Does she have enough left to fight for a second chance?

In Ice-Breaker, Kiara and Selwyn’s first encounter is dramatic, and their attraction instantaneous. But Kiara has commitments, dreams, and plans – and Selwyn doesn’t fit into any of it. But he’s not willing to give up on the chance at love, so he plans a second encounter just as dramatic. Maybe all they need for a chance at real love is a break from real life.

In No Resuce, after a tragic incident, Miri Blair has escaped to Sydney, and the anonymity of a friend’s apartment. Then, one day, she finds herself acting out a Romeo-and-Juliet balcony style scene with Sergeant Tad Robertson of the Water Police, who dares her to risk living again. Will she have the strength to move away from her past and towards a future with Tad?

contemporary romance, coastal romance, romance novellas, Australian romance