Monday, September 23, 2013

Author Interview - Andrea Pearson

Today we are joined by author Andrea Pearson. You can more about her here.

Q. You are the Executive Director for Indie Author Hub. What all do your duties entail?
A. I help plan conferences, make decisions, and break up fights. The usual stuff. :-) Okay, so there haven't been any fights yet... but if one does happen, I'll be ready! :-) I also coordinate projects between other members of the committee and make sure things run smoothly in all areas.

A. You have recently started writing in a genre you call "soft horror for teens." Tell us about that and how it differs from other books in the horror genre.
Q. My newest series, Katon University, is based on and influenced by horror writers of the early 1900s and late 1800s. At that time, authors focused more on creeping their readers out by using psychological things, rather than gore and violence. I'm using those methods and am gearing this series toward teen girls - there will be romance and a guarantee that the main characters don't die in the end.

That's where my books differ from others in the horror genre. It's been a lot of fun so far, and I'm very excited that the first book, At the Well of Madness, will be published later this year or early next year.
Q. The Key of Kilenya, the first book in your first series, has been in the top 100 on Kindle for free eBooks in its genre for over a year. How did you achieve that amazing feat?

A. The main thing was having it be a perma-free eBook, which means it'll be free for a long time, and the other was having multiple books in the series available. Since then, I've focused on releasing books frequently, and The Key of Kilenya has done really well as a result. It's been very exciting.
Q. What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

A. Spending time with my hubby and baby girl! :-) I'm very blessed to be married to a man who loves what I love: reading, hiking, art, biking, music, and watching movies. I get to spend time with them while enjoying my favorite hobbies. :-)

Q. I've heard a rumor that you enjoy Doritos. Do you prefer the original Nacho Cheese, or one of the other flavors, such as the Cool Ranch? And did you ever taste the limited edition Jumpin' Jack when it came out about twenty-two years ago, and what were your thoughts about it? Were you disappointed when it was discontinued?

A. Ha ha! I LOVE Doritos. If I let myself, I'd eat a whole bag in one sitting. And funny you ask about the cheese... IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO EAT DORITOS. I remember when the Jumpin' Jack flavor came out, I was so appalled by the idea of something other than cheese being used, that I refused to try them. I still haven't tried more than two other flavors: Cool Ranch (thumbs down) and the spicy flavor (fairly decent, so long as there's cheese involved. :-)). If given the choice, I will always choose nacho cheese over every other flavor. :-)

Q. I'm saddened that you never tried the Jumpin' Jack, because it was awesome. Anyway, moving on ... 
What is your typical writing schedule like, and how has it changed since you had your baby? 

A. On normal days, I'm awake about half an hour before the baby is up and get in a bunch of writing. Then she wakes up and I take care of her needs. Then I put her on the floor next to me to play while I get in another hour of writing. Then we spend some time cuddling and playing together and eventually, when she goes down for a nap, I do more writing. I get in most of my work before noon. After noon, I focus on other things: household chores, dinner, church callings, etc.

Before I had my baby, I was all over the place. :-) Having her around helps me maintain a schedule - something I desperately need in order to be functional.
Thanks for interviewing me! :-)

And thank you for letting yourself be interviewed. We appreciate all you do for our group!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Should You Have a Website or a Blog? by Tristi Pinkston

It’s important that you make your presence felt on the Internet as soon as possible. Even before you have a product available for purchase, you should let the world know who you are, so that when your product is available, your name is already familiar.

But should you get a website or a blog? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both:

On a website, you can post sample chapters. You can separate your information onto pages, which is neat and organized. You can have a store included on the site, as well as reviews, links to articles, etc. You can hold a lot of information on a site and it can be as complex as you like. You can do any design, any color, any font, and upload any pictures.

Disadvantages to a site – if you don’t know how to set it up and maintain it, you will need to hire a webmaster. It takes a little bit longer to change things on a site – everything is done in html and that requires going in a layer. There is also a charge for the site and for the domain name -- you can pay as little as $6.95 a month all the way up the scale, depending on what company you go with.

With a blog, you can do everything you could on a site. You can set up pages for your sample chapters and reviews, and you can also set up a store. It's also a place to share your random ramblings we all have from time to time. 

The advantages of a blog are pretty good. You can change things around as much as you like. You don’t have to write code. You can interact with your readers through comments. If you don’t like a blog, just erase it. There’s no need to hire anyone to maintain it – it’s very user-friendly. And in most cases, it's free.

So what’s my advice? Should you get a site or a blog? Personally, I think you should have both. There are advantages to both, and you’ll find that some people don’t enjoy reading blogs, so send them to your site. Others prefer blogs, so communicate with them that way. And whatever you do, make sure to link them to each other.

Think of your website as being like a job resume. That's where your static information will go - the stuff that doesn't change as frequently. You'll probably find that your site is a little more formal, and that you don't need to update it very often. Your blog, on the other hand, is like a personal interview. It's where you get to create the most interaction with your readership. You'll update it frequently and it will be a little less formal.

The main thing is that you create your online presence as quickly as possible so your readers know where to find you. There are few things in life (well, okay, that's a little melodramatic, but you get my point) more frustrating than wanting to visit an author's site or blog and not being able to find them. If you can be found, you can generate sales. And sales are awesome.