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Editorial & Giveaway (US/Int): Elisabeth Naughton on traditional publishing and chasing your Indie dreams
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Editorial & Giveaway (US/Int): Elisabeth Naughton on traditional publishing and chasing your Indie dreams

by davincikittieJune 30, 2013

Please help me welcome best-selling author Elisabeth Naughton!

Thanks for inviting me to stop by today! This is a fantastic time to be an author with more and more opportunities opening up in the digital age. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll give you a quick background.

I started writing with the goal of being published back in 2002. I hold a BS in Science and a Masters in Education and spent 9 years teaching middle school science. When I first decided to pursue publication, I had to relearn how to write. Oh, I’d always been good at writing…but in a technical way. Writing fiction is a completely different beast. I joined writers groups, met critique partners online and practiced, practiced practiced. In 2008 all that hard work paid off and I sold my fifth manuscript to Dorchester. That book – STOLEN FURY – was a 2007 Golden Heart Finalist (the biggest romance contest for unpublished romance writers) and was eventually published in early 2009. It went on to be a 2010 RITA finalist in two categories – Best Romantic Suspense and Best First Book. For those who don’t know what the RITAs are, they’re like the Oscars of romance writing. I didn’t win my categories (neither did Nora!) but that book catapulted me onto the publishing stage, garnered numerous rave reviews and award nominations and set forth my path in the romance writing word. I wrote four more books for Dorchester—two more romantic suspense novels in my Stolen Series, and two paranormal novels in my Eternal Guardians series—before Dorchester announced in late summer 2010 that it was suffering financial difficulties and was changing its publishing platform from mass market to POD and ebook. For a new author with a handful of books out, this was a devastating blow. Luckily, another publisher picked up the next three books in my Eternal Guardians series, but with Dorchester’s future uncertain, I had no idea if the five books I’d done with them would get tied up in bankruptcy court and if readers would continue to able to get them. Considering I’d just started a long-running series, I was more than a little shaken.

The next year was not easy. My new publisher asked me to rewrite book three in my Eternal Guardians series – TEMPTED – as if it were a book one, in case the first two books in the series disappeared. I did, but was hopeful things would work out. It took over a year, but eventually Dorchester relinquished the rights to my books and I was then faced with the decision of what to do. My current publisher offered to republish books one and two, but at a fraction of what I knew they were worth. Self publishing was just on the uptick, and I’d been following the careers of a few Dorchester authors who’d branched out and were doing well. I decided to take the plunge. So in December 2011, I self published both MARKED and ENTWINED and decided to see what happened.

[quote]WAIT FOR ME is THAT book we’ve all written. The book of your heart.[/quote] That was the best decision I ever made, hands down. My sales didn’t take off right away—book three, TEMPTED, had only just released with my new publisher—but slowly I began to see the numbers rise. By March 2012 I’d made way more money self publishing those books than I ever had with a traditional publisher. I caught the fever. I self published the Stolen Series (which I’d also recently gotten the rights back on) and a single title called WAIT FOR ME. WAIT FOR ME is THAT book we’ve all written. The book of your heart (though that sounds so cheesy, but it’s true). It’s the story you’ve lived with in your head the longest and the one that likely got you writing. It might not have been your first book, but it’s definitely the book you come back to time and again. I’d sent it to a few agents a few years before, but all told me the same thing: it was too category, too long, too “romance cliché”. I had no idea if readers would like it, but I figured, what the heck? I had nothing to lose by trying.

The first few weeks WAIT FOR ME was out, I was just happy readers were leaving good reviews. It did okay sales wise–not great because it wasn’t part of a series, but not too bad. I changed the cover from a pink hue to a purple hue (FYI: pink covers don’t sell well), and sales ticked up a little. I blogged about it, promo’d it to my fans. Almost everyone who read it loved it, but it still wasn’t getting the exposure I wanted. Then in December 2012, because I loved that book so much, I decided to make it free. I wasn’t looking for anything but a few more reviews, really, but what happened totally blew me away.

[quote]because I loved that book so much, I decided to make it free. I wasn’t looking for anything but a few more reviews, really, but what happened totally blew me away.[/quote]

The free sale ran from Dec 15-Jan 15, and in that time, WAIT FOR ME shot to the top of the Amazon free list. Reviews poured in — almost every one glowing—more than a thousand. Non romance readers were reading it and loving it. I even had interest from Hollywood on movie rights! Sales of all my other books were rising. And then I decided to move it to the paid list. I was nervous…would it totally drop off? Would readers still be interested? I didn’t know what would happen. But to my surprise, it shot to the top of the Amazon paid list and hovered in the top five for two months. I hit the USA Today List, the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers List, Digital Book WorldBestseller List, IndieReader Bestseller list, and the book spent five weeks on the New York Times list. To this day it’s still my bestseller, and new readers are continuously reading it and leaving reviews asking when the next book comes out, so many that I’m currently working on the sequel, HOLD ON TO ME, which I’m hoping to release later this year. To my surprise, my “breakout book” wasn’t a book I wrote for a publisher. It was actually a book I was told no publisher would ever want. And it’s the book that pushed me to an all new level as a writer.

There are a lot of authors self publishing these days. As the initial wave has broken, we’re seeing more and more authors jumping on their surf boards to see if they can catch the wave. And it’s exciting that in this day and age, authors have choices. But from a reader’s perspective, it’s not always easy to find great Indie books when there are so many low priced books to choose from. What stands out to readers are good stories, professional covers and reviews. I’m of the belief that a well written book will always be found, it just might need a little help. Authors who are writing amazing stories, playing with price point, giving away books for free so readers can sample them, and experimenting with cover and back copy are the ones who are going to survive in this changing market. The ones who aren’t will see their visibility and sales drop off.

[quote]There are a lot of great Indie books out there to be found, many you might not expect.[/quote]

The dreck will always drop to the bottom and the bubbles will always rise to the top, just like good books will always have a place in the hearts of readers. If you’re an author, look at all your publishing options, think about where you want to go and how you want to get there, and then go for it, whatever that choice may be. I did and I’m happy I took the chance. If you’re a reader, sit back and enjoy the ride. There are a lot of great Indie books out there to be found, many you might not expect.

I’m giving away a print copy of WAIT FOR ME to one lucky commenter today. Ask me anything about writing, publishing or my books to be entered!

~Elisabeth

Read more about the Eternal Guardians series…

Marked (Eternal Guardian #1) by Elisabeth NaughtonMarked (Eternal Guardians # 1)
By Elisabeth Naughton

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.

As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Find More Info On: Goodreads

Purchasing links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords | BAM | Indie Bound 

 

Tempted.indd

Entwined (Eternal Guardians #2)

By Elisabeth Naughton

Forces of daemons are gathering and have broken through the barriers of the Underworld. Now more than ever the Eternal Guardians are needed to protect both their own realm and the human world. Zander can’t afford to think about what might have been with the bewitching physician he once regarded as his soul mate. But with eternity stretching out before him, he also can’t fathom spending his life without the one woman who makes him feel most alive. Perhaps he’s found his weakness, after all . …

Find More Info On: Goodreads

Purchasing links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunesSmashwordsBAM | Indie Bound

Read our review of Enraptured, Eternal Guardians #4, here!

About the Author:

author Elisabeth NaughtonI was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.

Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.

My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.

Author Links: Website/BlogTwitter | FB Author Page | Eternal Guardians FB Page | Goodreads

Giveaway (US/Int)

Elisabeth is giving away a print copy of Wait for Me to one commenter on today’s post! To enter to win, leave a comment asking Elisabeth anything about writing, publishing or her books, then fill out the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Indie Week giveaways and spotlights

Check out our special spotlight of Elisabeth’s indie sensation, Wait For Me, here! That’s also where you’ll find today’s Indie Week Sponsor mega-givewaway entry form.

Want to see the GraveTells Indie-Pendence Week 2013 schedule? Click the badge below!

GraveTells Indie-Pendence Week 2013

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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
57 Comments
  • Lori Meehan
    July 1, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Great post.
    What is up next for you Elisabeth?

    • July 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Hi Lori,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I have many projects in the works…so many my head spins a little just thinking about them! Right now I’m finishing a novella for the Wicked Firsts Anthology I’m doing with NYT and USA Today Bestselling Authors Cynthia Eden, Katie Reus, Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright and Joan Swan. I’m also working on the sequel to WAIT FOR ME, titled HOLD ON TO ME, due out later this year, the 7th Eternal Guardians book–TWISTED–and a brand new romantic suspense series for Montlake. The first book in that series–EXTREME MEASURES–should release sometime in early/mid 2014.

  • July 1, 2013 at 8:15 am

    What was your most challenging book to write?

    • July 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Oooh…good question.

      Every book is challenging in different ways. WAIT FOR ME was difficult because it was so emotional. In my Stolen Series, STOLEN SEDUCTION was frustrating because my hero didn’t believe he deserved to be happy. But far and away the hardest book was ENSLAVED, the fifth book in my Eternal Guardians series. The heroine in that book is a cutter, and the hero was imprisoned and tortured in every way imaginable. The challenge with that book was keeping both of their issues from overpowering the love story and making it entirely too dark. I’m all for a dark story, but that one could have gotten way out of control. In the end, I pulled back from showing a lot and instead let bits and pieces of both their backstories come through in dialogue.

  • Liz S
    July 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I downloaded Wait for Me because I really enjoyed Marked. Now I have to move up to the top of my TBR pile. Thanks for sharing your publishing adventures.

  • Donna Reynolds
    July 1, 2013 at 8:25 am

    What made you want to write your fist book?

    • July 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

      I’d always been a voracious reader but didn’t consider writing as a career until I took a leave of absence from my teaching job. A few months into my leave, I realized I needed to do something to keep from going nuts, so I started writing. By the end of my leave, I realized I wanted to pursue writing as a career full time, so I left my job and never looked back.

  • Vickie Milizia
    July 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I would love to know who the cover models are for your books. I love the tats, r they real or added to the model for the purpose of the books.

    • July 1, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Aw, thanks, Vickie! I do have fabulous covers. I have to thank my cover designer, Patricia Schmidt for that!

      The answer to your question is…it depends. Sometimes the models come with the tats and I work them into the book because I always want the cover to be a part of the book, not something that was just slapped on because it looked good. the cover model for my upcoming novella FIRST EXPOSURE in the Wicked Firsts Antho (due out Aug 19, 2013) has the real tats you see on his arms on the cover. I really liked the pose and look of the models together, and the rugged/tat covered guy totally fit my hero so we used him “as is.” Sometimes my cover designer adds the tats. None of my cover models on the Eternal Guardians covers actually have the Greek text tats on their arms. My cover artists is able to add that in when she’s designing the covers.

  • Kirsten
    July 1, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Have you always written since you were little?

    • July 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

      No, as I said above, I didn’t start writing until I took a leave from my teaching job. I was actually 30 when I started writing–pretty old when I look at my writing friends–but not that old in the grand scheme of things.

  • Mel Bourn
    July 1, 2013 at 8:49 am

    What do you find to be your biggest challenge as well as greatest reward as a writer?
    Mel
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

    • July 1, 2013 at 9:56 am

      My biggest challenge is time. I have to give up a lot of fun time to work. When my friends are having parties and get togethers or just sporadically plan a get away day at the beach, most times I can’t participate because I’m working. But I love what I do so it’s not a total sacrifice on my part. I do struggle balancing home life with work life though. It’s something I’m constantly juggling.

      The greatest reward is when I hear from a reader who was totally touched by my book. I mentioned above that ENSLAVED was a really hard book to write because of the dark subject matter. After it came out a reader sent me a long letter about her own personal struggles and how she’d so closely identified with the characters that the book gave her hope. I was crying by the end of that letter and was reminded that THIS is why I write. Yes, my books are fiction, but at the end of the day, if I’ve made one person smile or feel good or have given them a tiny thread of hope, then I’ve done what I was meant to do.

  • Jackie Woodland
    July 1, 2013 at 8:55 am

    What inspires you for character s ??

  • Evelyn
    July 1, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Was it difficult to change from being a teacher to a full time writer? What would you say to a first time writer?

    • July 1, 2013 at 10:07 am

      When I was teaching, my biggest pet peeve was students who didn’t–or couldn’t–write in complete sentences. I taught middle school science, and though we were learning about atoms and covalent bonds and plate tectonics, I always required my students to write in complete sentences on labs or tests. To me, if you know the answer but can’t explain it in a coherent way, then really…what’s the point? My students always complained, “But it’s science, not Language Arts.” And I’d say, “Tough. Learn to write it in a way I can understand and you’ll get the points.”

      Writing is a huge part of everything we do, especially today in the digital age where we talk less and less in person and on the phone and spend more time emailing and communicating via social media. The actual writing wasn’t a problem for me when I finally sat down to write that first book because I’d always excelled at writing in school myself, it was making the jump from technical writing to fictional writing that I found to be the biggest challenge. For new writings I would suggest finding either a local or online fictional writers group. I learned so much this way–what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong–and I also learned a great deal about the publishing industry as well. I also met my critique partner that way. Joan Swan and I have been critiquing now together for going on ten years. Writers groups–in my opinion–are invaluable.

  • Modina
    July 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Elisabeth what is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?

    • July 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Hm… new writing is my least favorite part. Especially love scenes! A writer friend and I were just chatting about this today. Love scenes are so S-L-O-W for me to write! Give me an action/death scene over a love scene any day of the week! LOL

      My favorite part of writing is editing. I love tweaking ugly scenes and making them shine.

  • Filia Oktarina
    July 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Great post. I don’t know what to say.
    I read about your publishing WAIT FOR ME, it sad sales wise–not great, but you never give up to promo’d it to your fans. You’re really great!!
    Now i’m hope to read WAIT FOR ME, i sure this book was a great read.
    So what will you do next ?

  • Eva Millien
    July 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I love the Eternal Guardians books. Are you going to be writing more paranormal books in the future. Thanks for the giveaway. I am looking forward to reading “Wait For Me.”

    • July 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Hi Eva,

      I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the Eternal Guardians books! Yes, I’ll be writing more. I can’t leave any of my guys hanging!

      Next up is Nick’s book. TWISTED will release sometime in early 2014 (no specific date yet). His story is turning out to be EPIC…and a total game changer for the series. Stay tuned…

  • Joanne B
    July 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Is there any genre that you’d like to write but haven’t yet? Is it because of time constraints or no ideas?
    Can’t wait to rad Wait For Me. It sounds fantastic.

    • July 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Hi Joanne,

      Yes, I’d love write a YA. I have an idea that my 14 y.o. daughter has actually helped me flesh out. It’s action, a little paranormal, a whole lot of teenage angst. The problem right now is exactly what you mentioned–time. I have so many other projects in the works that it’s hard to find the time to write that one. But I”m not giving up on it. I’m hoping to tinker with it soon.

  • Julie Duffy
    July 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Do you have a favourite genre to write?

    • July 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      I love both paranormal and romantic suspense. There are elements to both that I love and switching between the two keeps my brain fresh.

      I love to read good, sexy, unique historicals but can’t write them to save my life (nor would I ever try…LOL).

  • July 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I don’t have a question but I’d love to tell Elisabeth that the Eternal Gardian series is one of my all time favorite books to read!

  • Pam Rushen
    July 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Which Guardian is your personal favorite?

    • July 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      The guardian whose book I’ve JUST finished is always my fav. Usually because during the writing of that book he is my LEAST favorite person on the planet!

      Actually…I don’t think I can pick just one. They’re all special to me for different reasons and choosing one over the other would be like picking a favorite child. I can say that a few really impacted me as a writer…Zander, Demetrius, Gryphon…because they were so dark. Nick too…tho his book isn’t done. 🙂

  • Sophia Rose
    July 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I was one of those peeps who took advantage of your putting WFM up on Amazon for free. I hadn’t heard of you as an author and thought ‘why not? Its free’ and I loved it. Now I’m reading planning to read Marked next.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • July 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks, Sophie. I’m so glad you enjoyed WAIT FOR ME enough to try my other books! My paranormals are a little different from my romantic suspense books…a little darker, a little grittier, a little sexier…but if you like my voice (and Greek mythology) you’ll probably enjoy the Eternal Guardians series.

  • Mary Preston
    July 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Elizabeth, going into a series do you know how many books there will be?

    • July 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      With the Eternal Guardians I knew there would be at least seven–one book for each guy–but along the way I’ve written books for characters who were not the original seven Argonauts, so it’s blossomed from there. I do also have an idea for a spinoff series so I’m hoping to expand the world even more. So I guess the answer is…not really! LOL

  • martha lawson
    July 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Wait for Me sounds terrific!! I love these kinds of stories. I can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance.

  • Kai W.
    July 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I have alot of catching up to do with the Eternal series. I fell behind my reading.

  • felicia sidoma
    July 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    How hard was it for you to write and get published?

    • July 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Hard. Nothing in life is easy, but if you’re persistent enough, keep developing your craft and never give up, nothing is impossible either. It took me five years to sell my first book. A lot of people would have given up long before that.

  • July 2, 2013 at 5:01 am

    I had no idea she self published the first two books, I always think of her as a big NYT bestseller so it is nice to see how she published independently as well.

  • Beth H.
    July 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Hi Elisabeth!!

    I was wondering if any of your characters are based on people you know in real life?

    Thanks for sharing and for the awesome giveaway!!

    • July 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Beth,

      My characters all come straight from my brain. That said, I’m sure some have traits/characteristics of the people around me, but no character has ever been based solely on one person.

  • Melissa Crisp
    July 3, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Roughly when can we expect Twisted and Hold On To Me? I love the E.G’s and Wait for Me was so different from those that I couldn’t believe you wrote it too. But I did love it.

    • July 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Melissa,

      TWISTED will be out in early 2013. I’m not sure exactly when yet. And HOLD ON TO ME should release later this year. Again, not sure on exact dates. I had to stop work on HOTM to finish a new RS series I agreed to write for Montlake. That first book (EXTREME MEASURES is the working title) will release *hopefully* in spring of 2014.

  • July 4, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Elisabeth, thank you so very much for being one of our featured guests this week and for sharing your personal story with us. You definitely kicked off the event with a bang!!

  • Jenny Phillips
    July 5, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Hi Elisabeth,
    My question to you would be, do you find that some characters talk to you more and distract you from others you want to progress forward in a story?

    • July 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Yes! Usually it’s the character who will get the NEXT book. Impatient those characters can be! It’s highly distracting, especially when I’m stuck in a book.

  • felicia sidoma
    July 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Do you have a muse and if you do can you tells us

    • July 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      I joke about having a muse, but no, I don’t believe my creativity comes from a fickle muse. Writing is hard work and it’s a habit. When you’re writing every day you can keep writing. When you take a break, just like any habit, it’s hard to get back into. (Like eating healthy or drinking eight glasses of water per day, etc.)

      When I get stuck in a story it’s not because my muse isn’t cooperating, it’s because I’ve taken the story in a way that doesn’t work.

  • Shannon Squires
    July 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Do your characters/story ideas hit you out of the blue when you’re in the middle of something else or do you purposely construct them as you write?

    • July 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Story ideas come at me all the time in different ways. For example, I’m currently reading a Christmas novella for a friend (it will release in October), and in the middle of it I had a Christmas book idea that would fit in perfectly with my Eternal Guardians series. I didn’t *plan* to write this story, but now that it’s there I can’t stop thinking about it!

  • August 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Congratulations to Donna R on winning the print copy of Wait For Me from Elisabeth!

    We want to give a HUGE shout out Elisabeth Naughton for taking time out of her hectic schedule to be one of our featured guests and for stopping in to chat with everyone who commented. <3

    Thank you also to everyone who came out and participated in supporting Indie!

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