Posted: September 4, 2017 | Author: kayelynnebooth | Filed under: Books, Cover Art, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Interview, marketing, Promotion, Speculative Fiction, Super Hero | Tags: book marketing, Cover Art, Cover Design, Cynthia Vespia, marketing, promotion, Social Media Marketing |
Frequently I rant about the time I have to spend marketing and promoting my writing instead of actually writing. It’s no secret that marketing is not my favorite author hat to wear, and I know a lot of other authors who feel exactly the same way. But the fact is, in today’s writing industry, the author must carry most, if not all, of the load when it comes to promoting their work and marketing their masterpieces.
Now, I’m a struggling author, just as many of you are, so I don’t have a big marketing budget and I can’t afford to hire someone to do my marketing for me. My promotions are limited mainly to social media marketing, usually the kind that’s free. Even when I have a little money to put into marketing, I don’t really know what avenues would be effective enough to be worth it.
A lot of the information about book marketing that is out there on the Internet today is geared toward marketing your non-fiction book, whether it be self-help, or how-to, or even a cookbook. These articles tell you how to show potential readers why they need your book, how your book can help them, which is great, except most of their strategies do not apply to marketing fiction.
As a result of this discovery, I’ve been doing some research of my own into the matter, but I’ve found that the effectiveness of any marketing strategy depends on many factors, and results vary from author to author. In this eight part series, we’ll take a look at my findings and interview seven different authors to learn what they’ve found to be effective in marketing their own work. All work and no play makes us all very dull writers, so we’ll get to know a little about each one of them and their books just for fun.
It’s my pleasure today to interview speculative fiction author, Cynthia Vespia. I have review several of her books, including her Demon Hunter saga: The Chosen One & Seek and Destroy and Hero’s Call, Lucky Sevens, and Life, Death and Back. In addition to her great storytelling, Cynthia is also a talented cover artist, designing most of her own covers, as well as working freelance.
Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?
Cynthia: Once upon a time I was a young mind hungry for books. I’d read Piers Anthony; C.S. Lewis; and comic books (my favorite being The Punisher). Then one day I stumbled upon a book by Dean Koontz called Intensity. To make a long story short it got me hooked and I knew then I wanted to write. My first novel, The Crescent, was written after seeing a documentary about female gladiators narrated by Lucy Lawless. I self-published it back when self-publishing wasn’t cool. It was fun to see my book in print. Flash forward to today and that same story is in pre-production as a feature film.
Along the road I’ve written several more books and short stories, each of which I’m very proud of. I received a Best Series nomination in 2009 for Demon Hunter.
Kaye: What made you decide to go with self-publishing?
Cynthia: I was published by small publishing houses but I never really saw any benefit when I could do the same things they were doing and they weren’t even really promoting me much. So much like a lot of other authors I’ve gone the indie route.
Kaye: As a fantasy writer, what kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories?
Cynthia: Honestly, the majority of my work is completely created in my head. Recently the type of research I’ve been doing is for superpowers, modeling, and locations for the Silke Butters Superhero Series. And for my upcoming apocalypse trilogy there was a lot of research regarding weapons and safe-houses.
Kaye: What’s the most fun part of writing a novel or short story/screenplay? What’s the least fun part?
Cynthia: The most fun part of writing for me is in the initial creation of the characters and their backstory. It’s like a sculptor molding clay. You breathe life into your subjects.
The least fun part is in the aftermath which is marketing and promotion. It’s so difficult to posture yourself out in front of a very large crowd of other writers all clamoring for attention.
Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?
Cynthia: Probably Sins and Virtues. I was at Alcatraz in SF and I went inside one of the prison cells for a photo. Afterwards, I felt a heavy cloak of energy from what I could only feel was a former prisoner’s spirit.
While writing Sins and Virtues I started to see visions of prison escapes that I had no business knowing about. If you read the first chapter you’ll get a taste of what I mean. That feeling stayed with me throughout the entire novel. It only left when I was done writing.
Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Cynthia: I’ve heard quite a bit of good advice over the years. I seek it out, and write it down in my journal. Lately, I’ve been falling back on one from Arnold Schwarzenegger where he said “earn it so nobody can say they gave you shit.”
Kaye: What do you see as the pros and cons of independent/traditional publishing?
Cynthia: Sadly, the pros and cons are one in the same in that everyone can publish a book. There’s a lot of good work being published that would probably never see the light of day due to the politics of traditional publishing, but at the same time I’ve seen a lot of awful books out there too.
The other things I’ve been noticing is that it’s no longer about the writing. It’s become a numbers game. How many FB followers or Twitter followers do you have? How many likes did you get? How many reviews did the novel receive? How large is your fan base?
I struggle with that because I don’t have the time to spend all day on social media when I have other things that take up my time like earning a living. There’s people now who are even cheating the system with paid “likes” etc. to bump themselves up into the top spot. To me, that’s not what writing should be about. It’s about the story, not how much attention you can get for yourself. Sorry if I’m coming off very negative but I’ve been doing this for a very long time and the business model has changed so much now that I hardly recognize why I started writing in the first place.
Kaye: What do you do for cover art? DIY, or hired out, or cookie cutter prefab?
Cynthia: I always do my own cover art. That is one of the beauties of going indie, you can have complete control over your cover. Although, I do have to point out that the comic book look of the Karma character in my Silke Butters series was done by an artist named Ka Rolding, whom you can find on Deviantart.
I also create covers for other authors too, so if you’re in need of a custom cover please look me up at http://www.cyncreativeservices.com/authorstudio
Kaye: What’s your favorite social media site for promotion? Why?
Cynthia: None…lol. I’d rather do a face-to-face event than spend time on social media promoting. But if I have to choose I like Twitter because it makes you think and be clever with your 140 characters. BTW, you’re all using hashtags wrong!
Kaye: How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself for your books?
Cynthia: All of it! I’m a one woman show. It’s honestly extremely exhausting. Like I said, I just don’t have the time needed to put in to make a dent. I even bit the bullet and hired a couple people this year and it still didn’t make a difference. But I’m trying every day. That’s all you can do is try, right?
Kaye: You participate in book events on social media often. How effective do you see Facebook release parties and cover reveals, etc… being?
Cynthia: It depends on the crowd and your time slot. I’ve had some that were very active (including my launch party for Karma) and then others where nobody interacted at all, or not until later on. I find them effective for exposure. I’ve actually gained quite a few new FB friends from events so I’ll continue to do them. But I will suggest going in with a game plan and do some interactive posts, don’t just ramble on about how your book is for sale.
Kaye: What works best to sell books for you, as far as marketing goes?
Cynthia: For me, I like face-to-face conventions. Because of the genre I write in I can easily blend into comic cons. I liken it to an actor doing a stage play over doing a movie. In that regard, they get immediate audience reaction when they are doing a play, rather than waiting for box office receipts from a movie. The same can be said about conventions. I get an immediate reaction from readers (some have even come back the next day to compliment my work) where as stuff online I don’t really see what is working and what isn’t. Also, during conventions I keep a tally on how many books are selling and my 2009 Best Series nominee Demon Hunter is still the biggest seller.
Kaye: Why do you think some authors sell well and others don’t?
Cynthia: Again, it’s all who you know. And a lot of that comes from great networking. There’s something to be said for word-of-mouth. I also believe some genres sell better than others, that’s just the way it goes.
Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?
Cynthia: J.K. Rowling or George RR Martin. I’m fascinated by the amount of detail they’ve both put into their respective worlds of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.
Kaye: What kind of Chinese food do you order all the time?
Cynthia: I don’t always eat Chinese food but when I do I prefer orange chicken and lo mein.
I want to thank Cynthia Vespia for joining us and for sharing her marketing strategies with us. If you’d like to learn more about Cynthia, check out her author profile, here on Writing to be Read, or check out her website.
Be sure to catch Writing to be Read next Monday, for Part 2 of Book Marketing – What Works?, where I will interview the co-authors of the Silverville Saga books and Wild West Ghosts, Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd, who will share their experiences in marketing and clue us in to which ones have been most effective.
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Posted: August 7, 2014 | Author: kayelynnebooth | Filed under: Book Review, Mystery, Writing | Tags: Cynthia Vespia, Las Vegas, Lucky Sevens, Murder Mystery |
“Lucky Sevens” by Cynthia Vespia
As head of security for the recreated Saints and Sinners, it’s Luca “Lucky” Luchazi’s job to keep the brass and the clients alive when a series of mysterious accidents befall the casino, starting with the death of his friend and mentor, Charles Vega, the previous owner of Lucky Sevens. But Luca isn’t feeling so lucky anymore. The casino has changed hands, changed its name and changed everything, the woman he loves won’t speak to him, and if things don’t change, he’ll be out of a job, or maybe out of his life.
Many of us have visited Vegas and seen Sin City with the cast of neon to dazzle our view. Lucky Sevens, by Cynthia Vespia, tells the story from the inside view, the angle few of us ever see. It’s the story of those that make keep the cogs moving any way they can and try not to get caught up in the machinery. When it was Lucky Sevens, run by his friend and mentor, Charles Vega, it seemed like a pretty good place to be. Now, he’s not so sure. The new boss is connected and has big corporate money behind him, the mysterious deaths that have occurred in the hotel lately all seem to be connected and black magic seems to be in the air. It’s up to Lucky to uncover what is really going on, but the question is whether he can do it before his luck runs out.
Lucky Sevens is an entertaining read that offers a different perspective on the Vegas scene, showing that it isn’t all bright lights and cash flow. Everyone wants to come out with the winning hand, even behind the scenes where the stakes may be higher than anyone realizes. Take a walk through the Vegas underworld with Lucky Luchazi, but tread carefully. You never know who’s lurking around the next corner, who can be trusted or who’s going to come out on top.
Posted: March 9, 2012 | Author: kayelynnebooth | Filed under: Book Review | Tags: Cynthia Vespia, Dark fiction, Demon Hunter, Review |
Demon Hunter: Saga, by Cynthia Vespia
Dark fiction fans who have found pleasure in the first two books of the Demon Hunter: Saga, by Cynthia Vespia, will surely enjoy Heroes Call, the third and final book. Costa Calebrese questions who he is in The Chosen One and he learns his lessons as he faces evil foes of supernatural origin. In Seek and Destroy, the lessons learned involve true love and the battles are even tougher. In Heroes Call, Costa once again finds himself with doubts about his path in life. Once again he is called to the aide of those that he cares for, but when he thinks that he has lost everything, he doubts not only his calling, but his own abilities. He begins to make a new life, only to discover that his old life will not be left unresolved. The opponent he faces this time may not be beaten with fighting skill alone, and he must rediscover his faith in himself and who he is to win. The lesson he must learn this time may be the hardest lesson of all. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Vespia’s books, all three may be purchased together as Demon Hunter: Saga at Amazon:
Posted: December 22, 2010 | Author: kayelynnebooth | Filed under: Book Review, Writing | Tags: Aunt Lou, Book Review, Books, Children's Books, Chosen, Chris Keys, Cynthia Vespia, Demon Hunter, Fiery Dragons, Fishing Trip, Ghost Stories, I'll be There to Write the Story, Laura Resau, Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station, Mishka Zacharin, Mosquito, Naked Edge, New Year's Resolutions, Poetry, Raw Edges, Reprisal!, Review, Ruby Notebook, Secret to Lyinig, Spirit Lens, The Last Lie, The Truth Comes Out, Thomas Merton, Tim Baker, Water Hazard, Writing |
New Years is almost here and what writer doesn’t include in their list of resolutions a resolve to improve their writing? In 2010, I had the privilege of reviewing many truly good reads, by some really awesome authors. With 2011 just around the corner, I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at those reviews to see what worked and what didn’t. The only problem is I don’t really have an unbiased opinion, so I thought that I’d leave it up to you. So, here are links to twenty-two book reviews, both here and on the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner. Please take a look at them, if you haven’t already, and then vote for the ones that you think are the best in the comments section. You can choose more than one, but please include a brief explanation as to why you liked each particular review, or why you didn’t, so that I can identify areas that might need some work. If you read the book, do you agree or disagree with my review? I will approve all comments as long as they are not downright nasty. Next week I will publish a list of the top reviews, according to you, the readers. I couldn’t do it without you.
“The Ruby Notebook” holds the key to many secrets
When “Mosquito” gets hold of you, it sucks you in and doesn’t let go
Anna Strong is a force to be reckoned with in “Chosen”
Storyline in “The Truth Comes Out” keeps readers guessing
You’ll think twice about water after reading “Water Hazard”
“Reprisal! The Eagle Rises” gives readers something to think about
“I’ll Be There to Write the Story” – A true tale that will touch your heart and stir your spirit
“The Last Lie”: a perplexing tale that will keep readers guessing
“Why Did This Happen to Me, Aunt Lou?” Inspires and Delights
“Killing the Cobra” is packed with action
“The Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station” is delightfully entertaining for all ages
“The Secret to Lying” holds the key to more than one secret
“Raw Edges: A Memoir”: a journey of self discovery and revelation
“Star in the Forest”, a glimpse of reality through a young girl’s eyes
Pamela Clare brings another sizzling romance in, “Naked Edge”
“The Spirit Lens”, a spellbinding tale that will captivate readers
“From the Spleen of Fiery Dragons”, by Mishka Zacharin
From the Old Blog to the New – Reviews of “Demon Hunter: The Chosen One” and “Demon Hunter: Seek and Destroy”
“The Fishing Trip: A Ghost Story”, by Chris Keys
“Beneath the Mask of Holiness” depicts the human side of Thomas Merton
“The Secret of Everything” is an absolute must read