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Make It Golden Contest – Post Your Entries!

THE THIRD ANNUAL MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST OPENS RIGHT NOW!

The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. We all know how important a strong opening line is in grabbing the attention of Golden Heart judges, and this contest is a great chance to test yours out!

Check out the past Make It Golden contests here.

Just post your romance manuscript’s first fifty words (with the word ENTRY in all caps at the top),  and you’re in the running to win the grand prize: having the Rubies pay your $50 Golden Heart entry fee!  (Full prize list and complete rules follow below).

Anyone eligible to enter the 2013 Golden Heart (see RWA’s rules here) is eligible to enter (except Rubies, of course), and the best part is, there’s no entry fee. It’s COMPLETELY FREE to enter, but only the FIRST ONE HUNDRED ENTRIES CAN QUALIFY, so don’t delay!

PRIZES:

FIRST PRIZE: $50 Golden Heart entry fee paid for you by the Rubies

SECOND PRIZE: A 25-page critique (any genre) from RITA Award winning author (and most excellent Ruby) Darynda Jones

THIRD PRIZE: A beautiful Ruby Slipper Ring Holder to remind you that you’re not alone on the yellow brick road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICIAL RULES — PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

  • Finalists and winners from last year are welcome to enter again, BUT ALL ENTRIES MUST BE NEW!
  • We will only accept the first 100 entries.
  • Due to the entry cap, only ONE entry per person will be accepted for this year’s contest. This means even if you are planning on entering more than one manuscript in the Golden Heart, or write under multiple pen names, you will have to choose which manuscript you want to enter. We want to be fair to all participants and give everyone an equal opportunity to participate.
  • Starting at 12:01 a.m. on September 24th (that’s right now!), entrants will post the opening of their manuscript, 50 words MAXIMUM, in the comments box. Start by typing the word ENTRY in all caps so we don’t miss it. Please do not leave us hanging in the middle of a sentence! Find a good stopping hook (at 50 words or less) and use that. PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR’S RULES where we were only accepting the first line.
  • The word ENTRY does NOT count towards your 50 word limit. This is just so we can identify it as an ‘official’ entry.
  • Any entries that violate these rules (go over the 50 word limit, do not start with the word ENTRY, or more than one entry from the same person) will result in being disqualified.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. EST on Monday, October 3rdENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON OCTOBER 3rd TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAVE FINALED. It is entirely the entrant’s responsibility to check the blog to see if he or she is a finalist.

The ten chosen finalists will have the rest of the day, until 12 midnight EST on October 3rd (in other words, almost 24 hours), to post an expanded entry, starting with that fabulous 50-word opening, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words. (Really, a maximum of 250. Any more than that, and we have to disqualify the entry.) Again type ENTRY in caps at the top and post your expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog October 8th.

 

Announcement: The Third Annual ‘Make it Golden’ Contest!

ARE YOU READY?

The Rubies have TWO big events coming up and you don’t want to miss out on either one of them!

First, on September 21st, it’s the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog’s THIRD birthday bash, and once again, we’re putting on a huge celebration where WE’LL be giving away the gifts! Books, critiques, gift cards — I guarantee you do NOT want to miss this!

The second date to mark on your calendar is SEPTEMBER 24th, when the Rubies will be hosting their third annual MAKE IT GOLDEN contest.

As you may remember from previous years, the MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest–the contest that brought the Ruby Sisters together when we were finalists together in 2009.

We all know how important a strong opening line is in grabbing the attention of Golden Heart judges, and this contest is a great chance to test yours out!

Check out the 2011 finalists here.

PRIZES:

First Prize: Golden Heart Entry Fee
Second Prize: Critique of first 25 pages (any genre) by RITA Award Winning Author (and our very own fab Ruby) Darynda Jones
Third Prize: A beautiful Ruby Slipper Ring Holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICIAL RULES:

  • Anyone eligible to enter the 2013 Golden Heart (see RWA’s rules here) is eligible to enter (though, of course, Rubies are not eligible), and the best part is, there’s no entry fee. In other words, it’s FREE!!
  • Finalists and winners from last year are welcome to enter again, BUT ALL ENTRIES MUST BE NEW!
  • We will accept the first 100 entries.
  • Due to the entry cap, only ONE entry per person will be accepted for this year’s contest. This means even if you are planning on entering more than one manuscript in the Golden Heart, or write under multiple pen names, you will have to choose which manuscript you want to enter. We want to be fair to all participants and give everyone an equal opportunity to participate.
  • Starting at 12:01 a.m. on September 24th, entrants will post the opening of their manuscript, 50 words MAXIMUM, in the comments box. Start by typing the word ENTRY in all caps so we don’t miss it. Please do not leave us hanging in the middle of a sentence! Find a good stopping hook (at 50 words or less) and use that. PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR’S RULES where we were only accepting the first line.
  • Any entries that violate these rules (go over the 50 word limit, do not start with the word ENTRY, or more than one entry from the same person) will result in that entry being disqualified.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. EST on Monday, October 3rd. ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON OCTOBER 3rd TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAVE FINALED. It is entirely the entrant’s responsibility to check the blog to see if he or she is a finalist.

The ten chosen finalists will have the rest of the day, until 12 midnight EST on October 3rd (in other words, almost 24 hours), to post an expanded entry, starting with that fabulous opening, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words. (Really, a maximum of 250. Any more than that, and we have to disqualify the entry.) Again type ENTRY in caps and post, your expanded entry (max. 250 words).

The three winners will be announced on the blog October 8th.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st: The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Birthday Bash!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th: Starting at 12:01 a.m., we will accept the first one hundred entries for the contest.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 3rd: Ten finalists will be announced on the Ruby blog.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 8th: WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

We are so excited for both our Birthday Bash and our Make it Golden Contest and hope you’ll join us on the blog for these amazing events!

Make It Golden Contest – Winners Announced!

Wow, finalists—you made this hard for us!!!

First, we asked for attention-grabbing opening lines, and got 100 outstanding candidates.

Then the Rubies narrowed the list to their favorite ten, and the authors had one day to give us more of the opening: a maximum of 250 words.

The entries lived up to the promise of their first lines: we were hooked, and wished we could read more of every one!

But in the end, we had to pick just three—not an easy task.  The polls kept shifting through the weekend, and in the end, TWO were tied for third place.  Which means we’ve got FOUR winners!

The two Third Place winners get a ruby-slipper journal to pen even more fabulous romance novel openings. Our Second Place winner gets a $20 bookstore gift certificate (Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice):

And our First Place winner gets the Grand Prize: the Rubies pay the author’s Golden Heart entry fee!

And as good as our First Place winner is, that’s a perfect fit, since we think this author (not to mention the rest of our top ten!) should be entering the Golden Heart prontissimo….

For maximum suspense, the winners are announced from Third Place to First….after the jump.

Make It Golden Contest – Finalists Announced!

Holy guacamole—what fabulous first lines!!

The Rubies read them all, and were amazed by the variety and creative awesomeness; we’re dying to know what happens next in all these stories!!!

Thanks to the power of voting, we did manage to narrow the field down from ONE HUNDRED to only ten.  Well, actually eleven, because voting was super-tight, and we had a four-way tie for the last three places.

Even with that extra finalist, it truly pained us to leave so many fabulous entries behind—we’d love to read expanded versions of every single one, and can’t wait to see those sentences opening your published books!

For today, though, only ten (or, okay, actually eleven) can return to the field of battle.

The Top-Ten Top-Eleven First Round Finalists will appear (in RANDOM ORDER) when you click on the double arrow button below.

If you see your first line, that’s your cue to enter your EXPANDED entry in one of the Comments boxes below today’s post. Include your first line again, then the following few sentences until you reach a *maximum* of 250 total words. Please put the word ENTRY in all caps at the top again (and, no, that doesn’t count as one of your 250 words). Remember, if you go over 250 words, you’re disqualified, so COUNT CAREFULLY!!

Expanded entries must be entered by MIDNIGHT EDT on September 27 to qualify for the final round.

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered!!!

DRUMROLL PLEASE!!!!! THE TOP TEN FIRST-ROUND FINALISTS ARE:

Make It Golden Contest – Post Your Entries!

The Second Annual MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST opens right now!!

The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. We all know how important a strong opening line is in grabbing the attention of Golden Heart judges, and this contest is a great chance to test yours out!

Check out the wonderful and hilarious 2010 finalists here.

Just post your romance manuscript’s first line today as a comment (with the word ENTRY in all caps at the top),  and you’re in the running to win the grand prize: having the Rubies pay your $50 Golden Heart entry fee. And don’t forget the nearly infinite honor and glory! (Full prize list and complete rules follow below).

Anyone eligible to enter the 2012 Golden Heart (see RWA’s rules here) is eligible to enter (except Rubies, of course), and the best part is, there’s no entry fee. It’s COMPLETELY FREE to enter, but only the FIRST ONE HUNDRED ENTRIES CAN QUALIFY, so don’t dawdle!! Multiple entries by the same author are fine, but no repeats of entries that were finalists last year.

Even though they can’t enter the contest, Rubies are welcome to post first lines just ’cause it would be fun to see them!

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. EST: WOW!!! What an amazing day, and what amazing opening lines!!  We’re definitely over 100 entries now, so the contest is CLOSED!  (We have to go through and count carefully and eliminate any entries disqualified for being more than one sentence…when that’s done, we’ll let you know where the cut-off came).  Now for the really hard part: trying to decide on our top ten!! Thanks to all who entered!

PRIZES:

FIRST PLACE: $50 Golden Heart entry fee paid for you by the Rubies!!

SECOND PLACE: $20 Amazon gift certificate

THIRD PLACE: a glittering Ruby Slipper journal

 

Official Rules of the Make It Golden Contest – READ CAREFULLY:

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday September 23, we will accept one hundred entries for the contest, each containing the FIRST line of the entrant’s romance manuscript.

Submit your entry via the “comment” box on the blog, typing in the word ENTRY in all caps at the top so we won’t miss it.

There is no entry fee. Anyone eligible to enter RWA’s Golden Heart Contest (except Rubies) is eligible to enter MAKE IT GOLDEN.

We will close to entries at midnight EST September 23 (in other words, the window is roughly 24 hours). Any entries that include words past the end of that first sentence, or any entries posted after midnight will (sadly) be disqualified.

The Sisters will read the first lines and choose ten finalists.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday September 27th. ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 27 TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAVE FINALED. It is entirely the entrant’s responsibility to check the blog to see if he or she is a finalist.

The ten chosen finalists will have the rest of the day, until 12 midnight EST on September 27 (in other words, almost 24 hours), to post an expanded entry, starting with that fabulous first sentence, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words. (Really, a maximum of 250. Any more than that, and we have to disqualify the entry.) Again type ENTRY in caps and post, along with your first sentence, the expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog October 3rd.

Golden Heart Survey Results Revealed!

Last Friday, I posted a link to a survey to gauge reader intentions for the upcoming Golden Heart contest for unpublished romance manuscripts. Today, I reveal the results!

2012 Golden Heart Survey: What are your plans?

What are your plans for the 2012 Golden Heart contest for unpublished romance manuscripts? Many members of our Ruby-Slippered Sister community are ineligible this year (congratulations to you — and you can still take the survey), but I know I’m not the only one still hunting for that book deal. So spill the beans!

Click here to take the anonymous survey

On Tuesday, 09/20, come back to the RSS blog and I’ll reveal what, if any, trends we can spot.

Now that you’ve taken the survey, what are your thoughts on it — or the Golden Heart contest in general? Do you think any categories will be added, deleted, or merged? Any predictions on which categories will receive the most entries?

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Pardon yet another interruption, Dear Readers, but here’s some more trivia about the Rubies that just might come in handy during our Birthday Bash on September 21! (Did someone say PRIZES??? ….Hmmm, we’ll never tell!!)

Shea Berkley is a kickboxer who trains with some serious MMA dudes.

2 Rubies are barrel racers

Katie Graykowski was deported from the Bahamas.

Gwyn MacKenzie had her own Professional Make-Up Artist and Dress Advisor business.

Vanessa Barneveld and a couple of friends hung out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the band’s hotel room.

Jamie Michele met Fabio when she was 15.

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MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST – Update Announcement!!

Yes, Loyal Readers, it’s nearly the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Blog’s SECOND birthday, and we’re celebrating big-time all along the yellow brick road! Our official Birthday Bash is on September 21st, and just like last year, WE’LL be the ones giving away the gifts! Be sure to grab a glass of virtual champagne and join us for the festivities!!

Then, on September 23rd, we’ll be repeating our MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST , and giving all of you a terrific chance to shine (plus have a chance to earn more great prizes!!)

As you may remember from last year, the MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest–the contest that brought the Ruby Sisters together when we were finalists together in 2009.

We all know how important a strong opening line is in grabbing the attention of Golden Heart judges, and this contest is a great chance to test yours out!

Check out the wonderful and hilarious 2010 finalists here.  (And may we point out–with a lovely little glow of pride–that finalist Arlene Hittle did indeed go on to be named a finalist in Golden Heart 2011.)

Finalists and winners from last year are welcome to enter again, BUT ALL ENTRIES MUST BE NEW!!

PRIZES:

FIRST PLACE: $50 Golden Heart entry fee paid for you by the Rubies!!

SECOND PLACE: $20 Amazon gift certificate

THIRD PLACE: a glittering Ruby Slipper journal

Anyone eligible to enter the 2012 Golden Heart (see RWA’s rules here) is eligible to enter (though, of course, Rubies are not eligible), and the best part is, there’s no entry fee.

In other words, it’s FREE!!

All you need to do to enter is follow the official rules, below:

Official Rules of the Make It Golden Contest – READ CAREFULLY:

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday September 23, we will accept one hundred entries for the contest, each containing the FIRST line of the entrant’s romance manuscript.

Submit your entry via the “comment” box on the blog, typing in the word ENTRY in all caps at the top so we won’t miss it.

There is no entry fee.

We will close to entries at midnight the same day. Any entries that include words past the end of that first sentence, or any entries posted after midnight will (sadly) be disqualified.

ONLY NEW ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED. NO REPEATS FROM LAST YEAR, PLEASE!!!

The Sisters will read the first lines and choose ten finalists.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday September 27th. ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 27 TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAVE FINALED. It is entirely the entrant’s responsibility to check the blog to see if he or she is a finalist.

The ten chosen finalists will have the rest of the day, until 12 midnight EST on September 27 (in other words, almost 24 hours), to post an expanded entry, starting with that fabulous first sentence, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words. (Really, a maximum of 250. Any more than that, and we have to disqualify the entry.) Again type ENTRY in caps and post, along with your first sentence, the expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog October 3rd.

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In other news, Loyal Readers, here’s some more trivia about the Rubies that you just might want to have handy during our Birthday Bash on September 21:

3 Rubies have fallen out of speeding cars.  

Sara Ramsey worked in India

Louisa Cornell is a retired opera singer and sang for Luciano Pavarotti.

Hope Ramsay’s books are set in a small town in South Carolina.

Ruby Beth Langston is a veteran.

Announcing the 2012 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!!

September is the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s BIRTHDAY month! Consider this your invitation to join us for a fabulous birthday bash (with fabulous giveaways!!) on the second anniversary of our blog, September 21!

As part of our celebration, we’re going to repeat last year’s wonderful MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!

Official Rules of the Make It Golden Contest – READ CAREFULLY:

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday September 23, we will accept one hundred entries for the contest, each containing the FIRST line of a romance manuscript.

Submit your entry via the “comment” box on the blog, typing in the word ENTRY in all caps at the top so we won’t miss it.

We will close to entries at midnight the same day. Any entries that include words past the end of that first sentence, or any entries posted after midnight will (sadly) be disqualified.

ONLY NEW ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED. NO REPEATS FROM LAST YEAR, PLEASE!!!

The Sisters will read the first lines and choose ten finalists.

FINALISTS SHOULD CHECK BACK ON THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 27 TO FIND OUT IF THEY HAVE FINALED.

The ten chosen finalists have until midnight on September 27 to post an expanded entry, starting with that fabulous first sentence, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words. (Really, a maximum of 250. Any more than that, and we have to disqualify the entry.)

This contest is open to anyone eligible to enter the Golden Heart, except that Ruby Sisters are not eligible.

There is no entry fee.

Part One of the contest opens 12:01 am EST September 23rd.

Contest is limited to the first 100 entries posted in the comments that day.

Ten first-round finalists will be announced on the blog 12:01 am EST Tuesday September 27th. Finalists are responsible for checking the blog to see if they have finaled.

First-round finalists will have the rest of the day on Tuesday September 27th (until midnight EST) to post the remaining words of their expanded entries. Again type ENTRY in caps and post, along with your first sentence, the expanded entry. TOTAL words may not exceed two hundred fifty.

The three winners will be announced on the blog October 3rd.

PRIZES TO BE ANNOUNCED!

Cate Rowan Talks Indie & Writing

“Rowan is definitely an author to watch!”
~  Alyssa Day, New York Times bestselling author.  

Cate Rowan is a successful Indie author whose latest fantasy romance novel, THE SOURCE OF MAGIC, releases today.  Cate has generously agreed to share her knowledge of the much-discussed, little-understood world of Indie publishing and her accomplishments in that arena. 

In addition to a Ph.D. in the biological sciences, Cate has washed laundry in a crocodile-infested African lake, parasailed over Cabo, had monkeys poop in her hair, and swum with dolphins, but she says her best adventures occur in the worlds she creates in her lush fantasy romances.  Her novels about magic, danger and passion in faraway realms have won more than thirty awards, including the esteemed Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® contest—twice! 

I was eager to discover just what magic Cate had discovered in this new realm of Indie publishing and she was generously eager to share. 

 


WIN:  Comment to enter the drawing to win 1 electronic copy of The Source of Magic or 1 3-day coupon for Smashwords discounting The Source of Magic on that site.
 

Joan:  Cate has won enough awards to make me dizzy!  Between 5 manuscripts, she’s placed or won in more than 35 contests, including a double RWA Golden Heart finalist with her previous release, Kismet’s Kiss.   

Cate, what experience have you gained from your successes with contests?  What advice would you give other authors in consideration of entering or not? 

Cate:  I’m a very practical gal, so after the first few times I entered, contests became a means to an end for me. I entered them to try to get my work in front of particular editors, so I choose contests based on the final round judges. Even though feedback and suggestions weren’t my main focus, they were a terrific bonus.
 
I never entered contests judged by agents because I wanted to enter ones in which the final judge could actually buy the book. Query letters were my solution for agents, and over the years I received six agent offers and hired three. I also sent queries to editors and didn’t rely solely on the contest circuit. Those queries got me two small press contract offers, though in the end I decided to self-publish.
 
 (Joan:  I also have to add a note from Cate’s website that states “…when NYT and USA Today bestseller Alyssa Day read the opening of Kismet’s Kiss in a contest, she loved it so much she offered a cover blurb for it.”  Definitely a fringe benefit of contests, IMHO.)

 Joan:  I have to admit, I know very little about “Indie” publishing.  Not for lack of interest, but for lack of time to investigate.  Can you give us the nuts and bolts of it?  What it is exactly?  How does it differ from self-publishing, small-publisher publishing and/or e-publishing? 

Cate:  I’m an indie author, which means I’ve chosen to self-publish my books. Some people feel that the word “indie” should be reserved for “indie publishers”–that is, small publishers outside NY–but, well, that battle over semantics seems lost already.

Joan:  I have heard very positive results from authors who have gone the indie or self-publishing routes.  What benefits do you feel you’ve experienced by going the indie route over traditional publishing?  

Cate:    

(1) Control. For example, I get to choose the title and have total say over the cover. Of course, having full control also means full responsibility! If something goes wrong, it’s up to me to fix it. 

(2) Flexibility. I actually can fix it! If I decide to tweak a wording or I spot a typo, I get to change it. I don’t have to worry about whether there will be another print run so it can be corrected. I simply do it, and the update will be available within a day at most of the e-stores. 

(3) Information. I know my sales figures at the major stores to the minute and can see if a marketing strategy is working and would be worth pursuing again. 

(4) Money. At Amazon, for example, I get between 35 and 70% of the purchase price for every copy sold. For books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, Amazon pays 70% for every US, UK or German sale, and 35% for sales to other countries. (Rumor has it that Canada will be added to the 70% list soon.) 

I don’t have tens of thousands of books available on physical bookstore shelves, but I do make a larger chunk of money per sale and need far fewer sales to make X amount of money. Many romance readers have fallen in love with their e-readers now prefer digital books, so it works out well. Although I have a print copy of my first book available, I sell about 100 digital copies for every print sale. That kind of ratio is pretty common for indies. 

(5) Focus. I don’t need to spend time seeking agents or editors now. The time I invest in my writing pays off directly in sales. 

Joan:  Who would you say indie authordom is suited for?  

Cate:  Do-it-yourselfers like me love indie–but I think every author should keep an eye on the benefits of modern self-publishing. Cover art and formatting can be done through freelancers if you don’t have the DIY gene. Established authors can make great money with their backlists and other books NY doesn’t think it can market, and newer authors (with polished and edited manuscripts, ahem!) can now reach readers directly.  

For me, that’s the very best benefit for authors–readers gaining access to the work we’ve loved and slaved over. After more than a decade of writing alone, my first fan letter sent me into joyful sobs for a good fifteen minutes. Talk about validation! And I didn’t need an agent or a publisher to get it. 

Because of the proliferation of self-publishing, I see many genres shifting and blossoming and marketing boundaries breaking down. Readers can now find a much wider variety of storylines than there used to be, and I think that change will continue. 

But I beg of all the potential indie authors out there: please don’t put your book up for sale until it’s ready! Get some professional editing, or at the very least a really thorough critique group that pushes you about things to correct and improve long before you consider going indie. Yes, you can fix things later if you must, but you don’t want to ruin your reputation with readers before you have that chance. 

Joan:  If you’re willing, Cate, would you give us more information on your sales figures for other authors considering the indie route?  

Cate:  I’ve had an interesting time with sales. (In a good way, not in a “may you live in interesting times” kind of way.) It took me a little over five months to sell 557 copies of Kismet’s Kiss and earn my first $1000. Sales were accelerating, and it took me only a month and a half to earn the next $500.And then something even more fantastic happened. I needed surgery and was going to be away from home for a few weeks, so I worked hard to get The Source of Magic up before I left. I wasn’t planning to do any marketing for it, or really even to tell anyone until today during the official release; I mainly put it up in case readers wanted it as soon as they finished Kiss. I uploaded it on April 17 and basically left it alone. It sold a few copies, probably based on the excerpt in the back of Kiss–and then somehow the B&N sales fairy blessed it. Suddenly I was selling 70 copies a day there. With no marketing at all, and no reviews up. I still don’t know what happened, but I’m grateful!

 The surge didn’t last forever, but now I’m selling four times as many copies each day as I did with just Kismet’s Kiss alone, even though I only have two books available. Put up a second book and get four times as many sales? I like that math.

 More math: As of yesterday, I’ve sold 2181 copies of my books (1330 of Kismet’s Kiss and 851 of The Source of Magic) and made close to $4000. The vast majority of those copies have been ebooks sold at $2.99, though I’ve toyed briefly with $.99 and $3.99 for Kiss. That’s fantastic to me, but if you want to see more numbers, check out those of my friend Theresa Ragan. Prepare to have your socks blown to the stratosphere!

 So even though this is the official release day of The Source of Magic, I guess it’s an early bloomer. Or a late one–see below!

 Joan:  What is it about the genre of fantasy romance draws you? 

Cate:  I’ve always loved the idea of magic in alternate worlds, not to mention the idea of how inborn magic could change the interpersonal dynamics between a heroine and hero. Plus, with fantasy romance I get to make s…, um, stuff up. It’s pretty freeing. (grin)

Joan:  What heat level would you rate The Source of Magic? 

Cate:  On a scale of 1-5, it’s a 3 or 3.5. It’s definitely not chaste, yet the main focus is on the love story outside the bedroom. That being said, the particular inborn magic of this hero and heroine, um…adds to the flavor of the love scenes. 😉 

Joan:  How long did it take you to write The Source of Magic? 

Cate:  Gosh…great question. I might need an outside verdict on that.  

It took me a week or two to write the opening chapters, which I then entered in the Winning Beginnings contest (now known as The Sheila). That was my first contest, and I was gobsmacked that Source became a finalist, and then placed second and got a request. 

I like having outside deadlines, and suddenly I had one! I got my butt into the writing chair and finished the book in about three months. I stocked up on microwave dinners and literally didn’t leave my house for a month, except to walk downstairs to the first floor of my apartment building to get my mail. When I was finally done, driving to the post office to send the manuscript to the editor was a freaky experience. Suddenly I was reminded that other people existed in the world! 

Of course, that was in 2001, and I’ve made plenty of revisions to it since then. So to answer your question, the writing time could either be a few months or more than a ten years. 🙂 

Joan:  Are Kismet’s Kiss and The Source of Magic linked?  How? 

Cate:  The Source of Magic is a prequel to Kismet’s Kiss, though both stand alone. They take place a couple of decades apart and in different settings on the same fantasy world–in a medieval “Europeanesque” realm for The Source of Magic and a medieval “Middle Easternesque” realm for Kismet’s Kiss. Because the people on this world live long lives (hundreds of years), I was able to share some characters in the two books. 

Joan:  Would you say The Source of Magic is the book of your heart?  Why? 

Cate:  Hmm, I’d probably have to give that mantle to Kismet’s Kiss, just because it’s such an unusual romance in terms of setting and storyline. But The Source of Magic was my first book, so it’s definitely my baby. Heck, if it hadn’t been for Source, I’d never have dreamed of this particular fantasy world, and now I could easily write twelve or thirteen books in it! 

I’d like to thank Cate for her insight into indie publishing and her candid information regarding sales figures–valuable information to authors which is notoriously difficult to come by–but most of all, congratulate Cate on her new release: The Source of Magic. 

Enter to win a copy by leaving a comment.  Cate will be popping in and out to respond to questions and comments.

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The Latest Comments

  • Elisa Beatty: Oh, my goodness, Kate! Congrats on completing a wonderful series!! I’m sure it’s...
  • Elisa Beatty: Thank goodness for busy muses always throwing new ideas our way!!
  • Elizabeth Langston: I agree about the first draft. It just feels like a total slog to me. I know that I have to...
  • Kate Parker: I hope readers will like Olivia and Emily as much as Georgia. And thanks for the congrats.
  • Kate Parker: Thank you, Bev, on release day congrats. It almost feels like Georgia’s graduation day.

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