I’ve been thinking

There’s never been so many opportunities for authors to have their voices heard. Withmasks the advent of electronic publishing, came the opportunity for talented individuals to create their own publishing companies and writers who didn’t want to go that route could publish their own work. For several years, I enjoyed quite a lot of success being published by small press. The market was filling with unique perspectives and topics “the Big Six”, those massive publishers mostly headquartered in New York, would never touch. Gay romance authors burst into the market with their books like a firestorm, and I’ve enjoyed being part of that.

What changed? With so many new people writing romances, came a tremendous focus on self-promotion using electronic tools that went from email to virtual chats to blog talk radio in what seemed like overnight. Promotion strategies switched up as quickly as the tools we used. The sales opportunity pie got increasingly smaller.

Why? The free market – and I mean free.

Pirates are still happily stealing from us and there are authors who think having their book on a pirate site is a good thing…if someone steals one book but they like it, the reader will come back and and buy a different book.  I’ve always wondered what thief would think this way? Authors and publishers have not banded together like the music industry has to catch the people siphoning off all these books for a “donation” and punish them. There’s no recourse for us except to complain. The DCMA (a stop and desist order) is laughable. The pirate takes the book down, today and puts it back up sometime in the future when you’ve forgotten to bird dog the website.

Amazon has a stranglehold on the market. Any author who wants to sell is pretty much forced to go there. Myself included. They have all the marketing and sales tools you need (many are free), they are honest about your sales reports and prompt with payments. But, how categories on Amazon has so many free items offered? Authors offer their books for free. Then the author is thrilled to announce they are #1 in free downloads. So they’re the best at giving away something for nothing. Okay. I’m in it to earn a little coin. I feel like our romance books are loss leaders for Amazon and we’re letting it happen.

At the same time, Amazon cuts your profit opportunity. If you don’t participate in their Kindle Direct program you can earn a 70% royalty, which sounds good until you realize your book won’t be distributed as widely as when you do participate. So, you sigh and sign up and get 30% profit. About the same as many publishers offer, I might add.

On our way to being noticed and bought, many of us, myself included, have worked on some really creative marketing strategies. Initially, we did things like offer our books for free for a limited time, or mark them down to $0.99 for a weekend, or bundle them into anthologies with other authors, all with the idea of getting the reader to try something we’d written for a low investment. If they liked the book, they’d come back for more – something that wasn’t sale priced.

What I think we ended up doing is conditioning American readers to believe that electronic romances aren’t worth more than $0.99. If I’m trying to sell a book at a higher price point, it’s going to be tough. There’re just too many that are free or under a buck. Why should a reader bother spending more when they don’t have to? For some reason, the convenience of buying and reading electronically has devalued, in the minds of the reader, the work we and our publishers put into the book. I haven’t questioned whether I want to intentionally, permanently devalue my work, too. I don’t.

To be fair, readers have always been fickle. They might love one book you wrote and hate the next even if it’s in the same genre. It’s always been a tough business, but I never thought it was only about money. I thought, foolishly perhaps, it was about the quality of the story and that like anything else you buy, the consumer would see the value and be willing to pay a reasonable price. It’s hard to believe that’s true today.

Here’s another case in point. I invested in a blog tour for my newest romance. It’s eight stops over seven weeks. I am really happy with the blog organizer and the various hosts – I’m appearing at blogs in the U.S. and the UK. I get a handful of comments at each post, which I genuinely appreciate. In this tour, readers have an opportunity to win a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card. At this moment, I’ve gotten at least 1,242 entries into this contest. Amazing, isn’t it?! And I’ve sold no books.

I averaged a 2-hour investment into each blog, and I spend time visiting at each location, responding to guests and promoting the event. I am contractually obliged to do these things and I’ll continue to do so, but I’m not the only one scratching their head and wondering what is it going to take to change this free or dirt-cheap mentality. We all don’t  buy only at second-hand shops, and I’m quite certain we’re not all thieves, so why won’t readers buy electronic romances that cost more than a buck?

Anyone else thinking about this, too? And so you know, any perspective is welcomed here as long as it’s respectful. I don’t tolerate that at any level and I’d love to start a conversation.

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Release Day!

TourBanner_OneNightInMinneapolis (1) Release. A favorite word in romance, no doubt. It signals an ending of some type, hopefully the euphoric type. For authors, it means “beginning”. One Night in Minneapolis begins today. In the span of 24-hours, Vince and Skylar are going to take you on their journey that is jam-packed with memories, laughter and sizzling hot sex.

Skylar is the one who got away, and Vince has never gotten over failing to win her back from a high school jerk named Ethan. Ten years later, they will all come face-to-face at their high school class reunion on home turf – Minneapolis. But it’s no longer a turf war. It’s not a game, and Skylar isn’t a prize to be won. However, Vince makes a deal with Skylar to give her 24 hours of mind-blowing sex and fun that’ll have to sustain her for a very long year of deployment.

What’s Vince like? He aims to please, even if it takes him out of his comfort zone. He’s considerate, funny, and a businessman who isn’t afraid to challenge Skylar even though she comes with some pretty imposing credentials. A confident man in the sack and out. I bet you’re already in love, aren’t you?

Skylar is a Marine Major who’s used to being in control. She intends to enjoy her time with Vince to the fullest. Her adventurous nature is just what’s needed to keep the heat turned up high. That tough military veneer serves her, and as it turns out…well, you’ll have to read One Night in Minneapolis to learn how she handles all the erotic naughtiness Vince plans and her confrontation with the past.

You’re also going to meet Ethan and his wife, Marcie. Ethan was the guy Skylar was expected to marry. Marcie is the woman who got him down the aisle. And I bet you’ll want to punch them both in the throat by the time those two are out of the story. I know I did.

I hope you’re excited to read my 20th book, One Night in Minneapolis – the setting is fabulous, I might add. U.S. readers can buy One Night in Minneapolis here. UK readers click here! Enjoy special pricing until May 1.excited

No party is complete without a prize!  One lucky person will win a $15 Amazon gift card during my Goddess Fish blog tour . Read more and answer a question to join the fun.

Today, April 26, I’m at Fabulous and Brunette Please come say hello!

I’ll be making these stops over the next seven weeks! Stop in to show some love and learn about One Night in Minneapolis and me. Each stop is unique!
OneNightinMinneapolisbyMargieChurch500

May 3: Christine Young
May 10: Spunk and Hunks
May 10: EskieMama and Dragon Lady Reads
May 17: Books, Dreams,Life
May 24: Romance Novel Giveaways
May 31: Sharing Links and Wisdom
May 31: Dawn’s Reading Nook
June 7: BooksChatter
June 7: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

Thanks for helping me celebrate!

Margie

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What’s in a POV?

POV…point of view. In a writer’s world, that’s who’s telling the story (at least at the moment). When I start writing a new piece, that’s the first thing I have to decide. In romances, you’re usually sharing two points of view through the story but one always seems to have more visibility than the other. That tells me who really owns the story.

Most romances I’ve read and written have the female as the lead storyteller. One Night in Minneapolis is told from Vince’s perspective. I found it interesting to switch it up and write from the guy’s perspective. It gave me a chance to create a guy I really like and that, if I were single, would date. He’s smart, funny, romantic, good looking and great in the sack. He’s not afraid to speak his mind when Skylar challenges him. If their relationship were given a chance to develop, I bet there would be some pretty amazing fireworks.

As it is, Skylar and Vince only have 24 hours together. That how the City Nights Series rolls. But what an amazing 24-hours they are.

You can take advantage of pre-release pricing (and know you’ll get the book the minute it comes out on April 26) by clicking here.

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you One Night in Minneapolis.

Margie

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One Night In Minneapolis

OneNightinMinneapolisbyMargieChurch500Marine Major Skylar Landis is a  bound for the Middle East for a year. Vince Andersen’s job is to provide a 24-hour hook up at their ten-year class reunion that goes beyond their wildest fantasies.

One Night in Minneapolis isn’t vanilla sex. It’s very hot but romantic. Vince is the guy you want to date! Enjoy humorous moments and patriotic overtones in the story.

A lot of us have gone to class reunions that were duds. One Night in Minneapolis will make you want to be on the planning committee for your next reunion.

Pre-order this hot story until April 26 and download it immediately from there after.

Get One Night in Minneapolis from my fabulous publisher, Tirgearr Publishing and on Amazon.

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Starting again

destiny When I look back over the past two years, I see someone – me – treading water. I have struggled in a lot of aspects of my life. When your life’s going pretty smoothly and you’re healthy in body, mind and spirit, you can push your muse. But when things aren’t the way they should be, you have to have some other priorities. Forcing myself to write romantic fiction wasn’t part of that equation.

That’s not to say I was entirely absent from the writing scene. I  regained rights to several of my books and put Hard as Teak and Wet back on the market after Ellora’s Cave closed. I also endured the financial losses after the closing of Booktrope and All Romance Ebooks, and the daily pirate sites have their hands deep in all our pockets. None of these things really inspired me to dig in and write some more.

But Tirgearr Publishing was patiently waiting for me to finish One Night in Minneapolis for their City Nights series. I promised myself I’d finish that novella by Thanksgiving come hell or high water. And I did. I thought the story was pretty solid but more than anything, I worried it would be rejected and they’d waited so long for it. Recently they sent the contract. Yay!!! Which I promptly signed cuz Tirgearr is a wonderful, wonderful publisher and got the book in cue to release Wednesday, April 26.

It feels good to know something brand new is finally coming out with my name on it. Not recycled, not re-released. New. And I hope when April 26 rolls around you’ll buy One Night in Minneapolis. When the cover is done, I’ll be sharing it and the book blurb. Suffice it to say it’s a hot story about two former classmates that have a very sexy adventure  at their 10-year class reunion.

cloudsI still have great friends and fans on Facebook, and I truly thank you for hanging in there with me.

I’ve begun another writing project. It’s not a romance but it’s something that speaks to my heart and when it’s done, I hope it’ll speak to yours.

Until the next time,

Margie

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Hello? Is there an echo in here?

I can’t believe tdidn't see thathe date on my last post. My sincere apologies for not updating this blog more regularly. I won’t make excuses but I will say that I have been working a crazy nighttime shift until just last week. A 2 a.m. wake up call really does some ridiculous things to your life. For those who follow me on other social media, you know I’m talking about the recent refueling outage at the nuclear plant. What an amazing experience that was despite the hours. Few people in the world ever get to go on the refueling floor during an outage and I was one of the privileged. It was fascinating, intimidating and impressive all wrapped into one. To see the blue glow of the new fuel cells and get it on film was something I’ll never forget. Then I went back up there a couple weeks later when the reactor vessel was resealed under about 80 feet of lead and concrete, and stood on top of the spot that had been open and glowing with energy. That was a little unnerving but totally safe.

So, that’s done and I have adjusted to daytime hours again. Except for the traffic and radio chatter. The commute was a lot more pleasant at 3 a.m.

What am I doing with my books? excitedI have signed with Booktrope. My short story Cream on the Crop is in the early stages of production. What does that mean? I am doing a final Booktrope_logo_coloredit before I submit it to my editor. I’ve got a book marketing manager and cover artist on the project. Although this story was previously published, it was buried in an anthology that never did well. I’m really stoked to give it to you as a stand-alone title that I know you’ll enjoy. A few things about Cream on the Crop – well the title is wonderfully naughty, isn’t it? For a BDSM romance that takes place on a horse farm…I love it, don’t you? This also has some other cool elements – it’s bi-racial – gotta spread the love! It’s also a ghost story with political overtones. Lots packed into 20,000 words but you’ll enjoy them all.

As you can imagine, work like this detracts from creating new work. I have to admit that I am terribly frustrated about my progress in getting words written. My fiction writing career has changed so dramatically since I began working at the nuclear plant. It can’t be helped and I’m trying to find some reasonable balance between my job, my family, and fiction writing. The days of writing 5 books a year are in the rear view mirror for me now. Anyway, I’m trying to manage the business of books and write. That’s all I can say.

I had to force myself to come in from the garden early this morning. The sun hasn’t been out mucpurpleconeh this summer and you can almost hear everything growing once it does. I have a pair of bluebirds nesting in one of my garden birdhouses and they were not too happy about having the human out there watering.

I hope you’re planning some fun this summer.We are going fishing for a few days on Lake Michigan. I’m really looking forward to that! I love to fish and the king salmon should be running. I’ve also never been to Door County and it’s supposed to be beautiful. We plan to bum around Sturgeon Bay and see some of the lighthouses and orchards.

In September, I’m going to visit my friend who lives in Orlando. She used to work at the plant and having her leave has been hard for me. She’s moved onto a spectacular opportunity. I was flattered by an invitation to join her, but my family doesn’t want to move. So, I’ll look forward to a long weekend together and that will likely be the extent of my vacation plans until the holidays.

I’ll try to do a better job at blogging at Romance with SASS. Thanks for being a friend and a fan. I can’t wait to show off the cover for Cream on the Crop. I know it’s going to be all kinds of provocative naughty!

Best,

Margie

If you’re looking for a great book, please visit my Amazon page to discover what I have available right now. Three more books are in progress and should be out later this year.

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The beast of winter

Winter’s got us in its grips and since I’m stuck in the house – more or less – I’m working on characters. I’m  spending time re-evaluating the characters I’m writing, and I’m looking at review comments. Some authors don’t read their reviews. I try to. You are the people I’m writing for and if I’m not making a connection with you something needs to change.

annoy the writerI consider what you say and look for weaknesses in my story and character development I could avoid in future works. I write characters with flaws and behaviors that sometime annoy readers. I like to build characters who could be real and I often use traits of people I know in that process. That is my style.

Ultimately when I write “the end,” I think I’ve done my best to deliver something you’re going to love. I can’t please everyone. I have to believe in my talent and be true to the story.

Some reviews hurt. Some make me smile. Remember that when you’re writing the review. There is a real person behind that work. Be fair, balanced and truthful. Can’t ask for more than that.

I’m hope you’re living in a place much warmer than me. And if you need something to while away the long winter, please check out my books. There’s a variety of straight, gay, BDSM, menage, poly, women’s fiction and new adult. Some scorching hot and others less so. I hope you find something you like.

Thanks for being a friend and a fan.

Margie

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