Just For Fun

Bestselling Indie Author: Liliana Hart



Author Liliana Hart

Author Liliana Hart

All of us at BookRix are self publishing enthusiasts, so when we hear indie author success stories, we’re elated! We recently read an interview on Alli with indie writer Liliana Hart and loved how honest and upfront she is. Unlike some other independent writers, Liliana approaches book writing with a “strictly business” attitude that we find admirable. Her determination and hard work have paid off, and now her mystery and romance books can be found within the bestseller lists of the New York Times and USA Today.

Despite her busy writing and traveling schedule, Liliana was able to carve out some time to answer our questions about the start of her writing career, how she uses social media and what she’s learned over the years.

When you wrote your first book in college, did you consider publishing with a traditional publishing house or were you drawn to self-publishing from the start?

When I first started writing, self-publishing wasn’t even available as an option. There weren’t eReaders and Amazon was a new company. Traditional publishing was all I knew and I worked toward that goal for several years. I never had a problem finding an agent. I’ve had four in my career, each one contributing in some way to my overall success. And though I had several books that were very close to being acquired by publishing houses, it never happened. Once self-publishing came along and I discovered I could have success and make a good living from it, I stopped trying to go the traditional route. Though I no longer seem to have any problem getting offers from traditional houses now that they know I can make money and sell a lot of books.

We love that you dedicate time to write, even when you’re not feeling creative. Would you encourage other indie authors do approach it the same way?

Absolutely. This is a business. It’s not a hobby. If I only wrote when the mood struck I’d never get anything finished. If writers want a career and they want to be taken seriously then they’ll treat what they do with respect, just like they would any 9 to 5 job. You have to sit in the chair with your fingers on the keyboard. Every. Day. Even if you’re writing crap it’s better than nothing. You can always go back and fix crap. You can’t fix nothing.

Addison Holmes Series: Book 3

Addison Holmes Series: Book 3

Your reviews on Amazon are all 4 and 5 stars. Do you think these have helped increase your book sales?

I’m not sure. I think people probably read them before purchasing, but I don’t know that they make that big of an impact. I’ve got great fans, so I always appreciate the positive reviews, but I never pay much attention to them. And if I’m being honest, I think the one star reviews can sell a book just as much as a four or five star review. The things some people hate are often things other readers love, and one star reviewers are much more vocal about giving that information in the review—not that I want an onslaught of one star reviews, but I think you have to have a good balance of good and bad reviews to appeal to a broader audience. I think word of mouth is far more important than any Amazon review.

Which social media outlets do you enjoy using to promote your work and engage with readers?

I love social media. I enjoy getting the chance to interact with my readers on a daily basis, and I love getting their comments and seeing their posts about my books. I use Facebook and Twitter mainly, and I make it a point to post at least a couple of times every day, even when I’m traveling or in the middle of a deadline. I also use Google+, Wattpad, Shelfari, and Goodreads. It’s all about being visible and giving people the opportunity to recognize my name when they’re browsing books on Amazon or one or the other sites. It’s a subconscious thing for them to see my name and think, “Oh, I recognize that name. She must be a big seller, so I’ll give that book a try.”

J. J. Graves Series: Book 3

J. J. Graves Series: Book 3

Which series do you feel most proud of and why?

Gosh, that’s like asking me to choose a favorite child. I’m not sure I can do it. I really love writing the Addison Holmes series. I have a blast writing them from start to finish. But I’m probably most proud of my J.J. Graves series. I love the way that series is evolving and the character growth I’m able to weave into the stories.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your writing career?

To never quit. There have been times I’ve wanted to—when the writing got too hard, or back when I was going toward the traditional path and couldn’t sell. If you want it bad enough you’ll keep going. Just write the book. And then write the next one after that.

If you’re a sucker for romance and mystery books like us, check out these bestsellers by Liliana. Whiskey for Breakfast is the second book in her Addison Holmes Series and is available now! But when it comes to a series, you always want to start at the beginning. So download the first book, Whiskey Rebellion, for free on Amazon Kindle Edition by clicking here (we did!). Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, the 3rd book in her J. J. Graves series, will be available on November 5th. So now is the perfect time to catch up on Dirty Little Secrets (book 1) and A Dirty Shame (book 2).

Thanks again, Liliana. You rock!

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We love indie publishing

Tell a Lie Day



People lie every day. It’s nothing new. And we often times justify them depending on the situation. Allow me to give you a scenario: You’ve had a hellish day at work, and you’ve just sat in horrendous traffic commuting home. All you want to do is get sit down, eat dinner and relax. But then you remember its Thursday. Aren’t you supposed to be hosting dinner for your mom and dad? Ugh. How can possibly entertain them when you’re feeling so drained? You pick up your phone and are delighted at the sound of your mom’s voice on the answering machine. Great! Now you won’t have to answer any questions. At the beep, the lie begins: “Hey mom, hi dad! I’m so sorry for the late notice, but I’m still at the office and I have no idea what time I’ll be home. Let’s schedule dinner another night next week. I miss you!” And just like that, you’re off the hook and you feel great. This is what many refer to as a white lie. You’re in the clear, no one got hurt. It was simple! So… why do you feel guilty the next day when flowers arrive at your office with the note: “You work so hard, honey. I hope your boss recognizes your efforts as much as I do. Love, Mom”.

Cringe.

For the record, the aforementioned story was not my own. But it happened to a close friend of mine last year and when she told me, I felt guilty and I hadn’t even done anything. It also made me thankful that I took an honesty oath with myself a few years back and have managed to avoid those types of blunders that seem to happen every so often when people lie.

With that being said, today is Tell a Lie Day, and I’ve been trying to think up a juicy one since I had my first cup of coffee this morning. So far I’ve got nothing good, but the day is still young. If you have any good ideas you’d like to throw at BookRix, please share with us in our comments section. If not, take a look at today’s reading recommendations below. They both share a connection. Can you guess?

Lies.


It’s International Children’s Day: Happy Birthday, Hans Christian Andersen!



When Hans Christian Andersen passed away in 1875, he left behind a legacy that only grew larger over time. His stories and poems appealed to large audiences across the globe and is still widely read and respected to this day. His talent, combined with his fan reach, inspired the production of various animated films, motion pictures and plays.  April 2nd is recognized as a celebration of his life and works which inspired the creation of International Children’s Day. On this annual celebration, the focus is on children’s literature where writing activities are encouraged, competitions are held and book awards are announced. If you are interested in participating, check your local listings for events and shows you can attend.

Although I have always been fond of Hans Christian Andersen’s works, The Little Match-Girl remains my favorite. Over the summer, 20 years ago at least, I checked out a series of books at the Library. Between the pages of a Nancy Drew mystery, I found three printed pieces of paper stapled together and folded in half.  On those sheets was the story of The Little Match-Girl, but the authors name had been excluded. Despite finding the story sad, I loved it immediately and read it several more times. In those days you couldn’t scan a document. So I sat at my dad’s typewriter and typed out each word so I could return the Nancy Drew book as I had received it while keeping a copy for myself. Years later, I came upon a copy of Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen and saw The Little Match-Girl was included in the book. I had loved so many of his other stories and never knew he had penned my favorite one. And on that note, I’d like to share this little animated gem with you. (You’re welcome.)

In celebration of National Children’s Day, we’d like to recommend these stories from our BookRix library (the first one includes The Little Match-Girl).

Adventure, Humor, Children

6 Tips for Overcoming Writers Block



Dont let writers block get the best of you

Don't let writers block get the best of you

Awhile back you decided to write a book. So you created an outline, focused on character development and toyed with the plot.  You made some writing headway, but somewhere between Chapter 4 and Chapter 7 you lost your way. Don’t beat yourself up. Being plagued by writers block is relatively common and it can be difficult to get back on your creative track. Here are some tips to help get your head back in the writing game.

Messy workspace, messy mind

Having a buildup of clutter surrounding your writing area can be more detrimental than you might think. Take a look at the area you write in and make an effort to clean up shop. Some simple organization can have a huge impact on your thought process

Manage Your Time Effectively

We’ve all got things to do. Pay bills, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. That’s life. But the same way you carve out time to eat and make your appointments, you need to make time for your writing. Commit to a time each day and stick to it. Treat it with the same seriousness as a job.

Go Offline

Laptops can be a blessing and a curse. They’re portable, sleek, and far more effective than typewriters. But let’s face it, when you’ve got writers block, the internet is the biggest distraction of all time. Whether you’re checking your email, ordering new ink cartridges (they’re on sale!) or reading CNN headlines, you can veer off track without even realizing it. Prevent the issue before it starts and turn your wifi off during writing hours.

Writing Exercises and Brainstorming

Writers block can make you feel like you’re trapped in a box. So step outside of it completely and work on a writing exercise. Not sure what to write about? Try some of these.

Work Out of Order

When taking a timed test in school, chances are you skipped the questions you had difficulty with in order to answer the ones you knew. So try applying this tactic with your writing. Skip ahead to a section you’re excited to write about and then circle back. It helps clear your head and also keeps you focused on your story.

Mental Clarity

Sometimes the best way to achieve mental clarity is to step away from your desk and get some fresh air. We’re not saying you should spend the day at the beach, but a 30 minute walk or bike ride can certainly clear the mind.

Proof Me, Bro



If you’ve ever weight trained, or know someone who has, you know the first rule: Always have a spotter. A spotter’s job is to support the person lifting weights. If the lifter is unable to physically handle the weight, the spotter is there to help. Having this type of assistance is a safety precaution that can eliminate injuries. This same principal, although slightly different, applies to writers. They should always have a proof reader. Sure, a writer isn’t going to tear a ligament by not having second set of eyes scan their work. But they could easily damage their reputation with undetected written mistakes if they opt out of having their book proofed. So why throw caution to the wind on something your as precious as your notoriety? Simple: You don’t.

It’s not uncommon to get apprehensive at the thought of having your work critiqued. But before unnecessary anxiety sets in, remember that almost every reputable author has an editor. Someone to add an apostrophe, mark a run on sentence, or simply tell you the dialogue needs work. Whatever the case may be, it’s worth it. When you write a story, the content is coming solely from you, so of course all the pieces come together and make sense in your mind. But to a third party, it might need some clarification. Ultimately as the writer and creator, you have the final say in the changes you incorporate. A proofreader’s goal isn’t to change your vision, but rather to ensure it’s received in its best form. It’s just one more step towards getting your book ready for publishing. So reach out to someone you trust (friend, family member, work associate, BookRix member, etc), and ask them to lend you their expertise.

….and while someone is proofing your work, why not shift your focus to BookRix Author Patrick Sean Lee and delve into The Redemption of Marvin Fuster. Clever and well written, a very enjoyable read.

Get Happy, Get Healthy



When I saw today was National Health & Fitness Day, it took me back in time. Like many people, I wasn’t a big fitness fan. It’s rough making a commitment to the gym. Who wants to sweat , intentionally get out of breath and feel sore the next day? Not me. But those years of being able to eat a bag of Doritos for breakfast with a chocolate shake without consequence were long gone. These days just looking at a cheesecake added weight to my waist and thighs. I’d never been a big salad person, I like meat and carbohydrates! Don’t get me started on cheese, delicious dips and fried food either. Getting older sucks.

I refused to buy bigger clothes, so instead I bought a gym membership and was excited to start. The first day I walked on the treadmill for twenty minutes and rewarded myself with a burger and fries for lunch. I’d earned it, right? After two weeks of doing that, nothing had changed. I’d actually gained a pound and I was still sluggish and tired. When I joined the gym, they offered me 3 free personal training sessions but I ignored them. After zero success doing it on my own, I decided to give the training a try. The day I trained with Daniel was one I’ll never forget. He had me doing jumping jacks between arm bars, squats and lunges between sprints on the exercise bike…the brutality went on for an hour and it was torture. The following three days I could barely move. I decided the gym wasn’t for me and threw in the towel.

About a month later, I was at a bridal shower where I met my now good friend Meagan. Somehow the topic of working out came up and I divulged my story about Daniel the boot camp master. Meagan admitted that my experience was a sour one, but told me working out didn’t have to be hell. Within twenty minutes, she convinced me to work out with her. That following Sunday we met up and she showed me a few things. Meagan, who used to be a Pilates instructor, explained a few simple stretches and put me on the elliptical for 20 minutes. My heart rate went up, but I didn’t feel like dying. After that, she showed me some low resistance arm exercises and a few machines that worked my legs and abs, all with minimal or no weight added. We were done in under an hour and to my surprise, I actually felt pretty good. The next morning, I woke up feeling great. I slept solid the whole night through, which is rare for me. Meagan also sent me some links to healthy cooking sites. Who knew heavy cream and pesto had so many calories? *shakes fist*

It’s been 18 months since my first workout with Meagan. It was a little difficult getting into a routine and making time for the gym. But she told me it takes 21 days to form a habit and after that it would become second nature. Once again, she was right. This also applied to healthy eating. I still splurge every now and then on pizza or a delicious bacon burger, but I don’t feel guilty. Most likely because I cook almost every night and have incorporated well balanced meals into my diet. Small changes in portions and ingredients make a huge change. I may not look like Jillian Michaels, but I can wear a swimsuit in public now and feel confident. I couldn’t have said that two years ago! I also have more energy, my skin is clear, and I’m not hiding behind baggy clothes. It’s truly an awesome feeling!

If you’re looking to make some healthy lifestyle changes, don’t do what I did and go overboard on your first attempt. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Set realistic goals and push through it. If you’re looking for a little motivation, you should look into No More Aerobics by Paula Williams. She’s been a personal fitness coach for over 30 years and offers great advice about getting in shape and getting your life on track.

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