Bestseller

BookRix Author Sells 4000+ eBooks: An Interview with Tajell Robin Black



BookRix Bestselling Author!

Three weeks ago, we shared the interview with author Elvira Zeißler (click HERE to read the interview), the first BookRix author to sell over 5000 eBooks. Today, we’re sharing the next runner up – German Fantasy writer, Tajell Robin Black (user jadefaye), author of the Dark Fantasy series – Shadow Jewel (Schattenjuwel). Tajell has sold over 4000 eBooks and the numbers are sure to keep going up and up, especially because the next part of the series is currently in the making.

Her first book, Shadow Jewel: The Heart of Elowia, published in February 2012, has sold 3340 copies so far and the numbers are still rising! The second book in the series, Shadow Jewel II: The Heart of Elowia Weeps , published in December 2012, sold 803 copies in the first 3 months! Aside from the series, her book, The Darkness in His Heart, published in August 2012, has sold 135 copies.

Here is the humorous and informative interview by the BookRix German Team conducted with Tajell back in May, 2012, translated just for you (by RebeckDawn):

Success is relative. For me it’s been a great success just to have Shadow Jewel published. And if my books are successful, I owe everything to my readers, the Bookrix Team, and the love from the entire community.

Hello JadeFaye,

Thank your letting the community ask these questions!

1. How long have you been writing – can you remember the first book you ever wrote?
I will always remember my first time. When I was 9 years old, everything started when I wrote a short story about a stocky firefighter who was unable to save a child and his guilt causes him to break down. My teacher covered the story in red felt-tip pen markings and wrote underneath: Too long. Off Topic! And then I didn’t even get a smiley sticker like all the other kids did. That was a very dramatic moment for me.
But my first real book, if one may call it that, I wrote when I was only 14. At the time I was addicted to the vampire books by Anne Rice, and so I wrote a book about a gay vampire. The novel was totally crammed with eroticism – things like that just happen when girls in puberty write books. Now, even calling it a “novel” is absolutely embarrassing.

2. Is Shadow Jewel your first novel?
Shadow Jewel is my first published novel. Guaranteed porn free (laughing).

3. How did you come up with the idea about the stones/jewels?
I saw a film about the so-called “blood diamonds”. They are diamonds that are mined illegally, and when they’re sold it finances wars and warlords. So I actually got the idea for the jewels from a real (and very sad) story.

4. Are any of the characters modeled after “real” people?
No, I hope not, and if so, I wouldn’t admit it :) . But I did use my best friend’s name in the book – as a small tribute to our friendship.
In the second part, however, there are characters named after my fellow writers Jennifer Hunter and Andreas Fischer. Let’s see how they both do on Elowia.
It’s fun to name characters after people I know because if they do something I don’t like in real life, I can quickly rewrite their roles, and suddenly they’re nasty, ugly trolls. Hahaha – I have the power!

5. If you could actually go to Elowia and be any character from your book, who would you be– or do you see yourself mirrored to some extent in the main character, Lilith?
Oh, my God. I would definitely be Lilith. Ne is a hysterical b****. My heart really relates to the warrior, Baia, but if I could be any character, I would like to be the prince of demons.

6. How many books will there be in the Shadow Jewel series?
There are probably only two parts: Shadow Jewel II: The Heart of Elowia Weeps and Shadow Jewel: The Heart of Elowia.

*Since she answered these interview questions, she has published the second book in the series and is now working on part three – Shadow Jewel: The Heart of Elowia Awakens.

7. Did you expect this much success? How do you explain it?
Success is relative. For me it’s been a great success just to have Shadow Jewel published. And if my books are successful, I owe everything to my readers, the Bookrix Team, and the love from the entire community.

8. Shadow Jewel has such a beautiful cover – who designed the cover for you?
The cover art is a painting I made. Actually, I was really not in the mood to make myself a cover that night, and wasn’t feeling very creative, but suddenly there it was.
Since I’m often asked: It’s not Lilith, but Alrruna who is on the cover. (To see the cover, click HERE)

9. Tajell Robin Black is a pen name – where does the charming name Tajell come from?
Yes, it’s a pen name, at least partially. It also includes my real name. Tajell, by the way, comes from an absolutely unromantic place – a fantasy name generator. I only used the generator for my name and not for the names in my book. All the names have some kind of real meaning, like Alrruna. The Alruna are those who know the secret of the fairies / elves. Another example is Persuar, which is a variation of the Latin verb “persuadere” which means “to persuade or convince”. And Persuars gem can indeed be quite convincing.

10. You are very active on the internet, especially in regards to the promotions for Shadow Jewel – There’s a Facebook page, audio samples on Youtube, and you have even distributed reading samples on public transit. Do you have tips for other BX authors regarding such self-initiated marketing action?
Tips? Well, it all comes with time; lots and lots of time and patience. For an audio book, that’s only about 15 minutes long, I need about an hour to make it. I made that sample on Youtube with only one single purpose: Torment the audience with my voice until they buy the book rather than continue listening to me.

11. How did you find out about BookRix?
That was totally random. I had already signed up a few months earlier and then I saw the 2012 Ad, the one that said you could also publish your BookRix book as an e-book. I had absolutely no idea about things like ISBN, converting ePubs, etc., but BookRix helped with everything. That’s how I finally decided on BookRix.

12. Will you publish other titles with BookRix?
I think so, because until now everything has gone really well. Why would I want to change that?

13. How satisfied are you with BookRix?
Well, I can’t complain about the speed of publication and distribution. Three days after my book was published, it was available in all the major online stores. Moreover, Bookrix supported me with their Facebook / Twitter services.

14. Is there a specific book on BookRix that impressed you? If so, which one and why?
Wow, that would be unfair if I named just one here right now. There really are many wonderful books here. Many books I’ve read are by very young and talented writers and I was really impressed by them. I think we’ll be hearing from a lot of them in the near future!

15. Are you working on anything else aside from the Shadow Jewel series?
Yes, I’m still working on my urban fantasy book The Darkness in His Heart, about Kelpie, a water demon, who feeds on the souls of the people he drowns.

*Since this interview was first published, she has released The Darkness in His Heart and it’s available in all the eBooks stores.)

16. Do you write better during the day or at night?
I am a total night person, but because I have a job, I’m often found writing on my lunch break.
(Dear Boss, if you read this, I distance myself from my previous statement. Of course I spend my lunch break working hard!)

17. Is there a ritual you performing before writing – something that helps inspire you?
I listen to sad music. If I’m too happy, I can’t write because then I’ll want to be doing other things, like sitting outside in the sun and eating ice cream.

18. What do you hope to get from your writing?
?Readers?

19. What inspires you?
The music groups Janus and ASP, and of course anime. There’s no other genre quite like anime – it creates such clear illustrations of the conflicts and pitfalls of humanity. I’m not talking about the ones shown here in Germany, but of the ones that run only in Japan and have real depth. Unfortunately, German anime is miles behind.

20. Do you only read fantasy or other genres as well?
I read fantasy almost exclusively. Other genres just do not interest me. I need the magical, unrealistic feeling that opens up the imagination.
Besides fantasy I read, only as a contrast, “non-fiction” books, such as Eating Animals (you can only read this if you’re really, really brave, because this book is really cruel and intense) or The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (it’s a great book despite its pseudo-intellectual title).

21. Are there other books or authors that have inspired you?
The author, Anne Rice, inspired me before she started writing Christian novels. And my big role model when I was young was Rafik Shami. To this day I can still remember his book The Honest Liar.

22. You’re currently busy working on the second part of Shadow Jewel that will be released in autumn 2012. Do you still have time for your own reading, or are you focusing only on your writing?
Currently, I’m not reading very much because when I do read, I end up focusing on the writing style instead of the storyline. Reading then becomes more like a writing lesson, with me saying “Ah cool, so that’s how (author) writes adventure scenes”. After 20 minutes of reading, although I haven’t been following the plot, at least I’ll have 20 full pages of text examples for good writing to learn from.
Because I want to keep my own style, I have thrown all my favorite literature out of the bedroom.

23. What would be a perfect day, in your opinion?
Dream, dream and dream again…

24. Do you have another passion aside from writing?
Just in case anyone hasn’t already picked up on this, I’ll mention it again: Anime. And then of course, I have my drawing, and my little dog, Akimo, who has accompanied me faithfully through the last 6 years of my life.

25. Finally: Do you have anything important that you want to say to your readers?
Tajell loves you :) . Sorry folks, unfortunately I don’t have anything of real instructive value to share with you.
Except, of course: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all my readers who support me so much! You’re the best!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for your fans!

Stay tuned for more interviews with BookRix Bestselling Authors!

BookRix Bestselling Author: An Interview with Elvira Zeißler

BookRix Bestseller!

BookRix author sells 5000 eBooks!!!

So far, there haven’t been any big “Success Stories” with BookRix members on the English side of the site. However, things will not always be like this, as BookRix popularity grows with each day. We want to introduce you to Elvira Zeißler (pronounced Zeissler), a German BookRix Bestseller! Elvira (user elviraz) writes in a wide range of genres, from Fantasy and Romance to Children’s Books and Poetry.

Her first book, Fairy Child I (Fantasy), published in June 2012, has sold 2869 copies so far and the numbers are still rising! Her next book, The Bonding of Souls (Romance), published in October 2012, has sold 665 copies so far. And her most recent book, Fairy Child II (Fantasy), published in November 2012, has sold 1466 copies! We’re hoping that she’s going to take the plunge and start publishing her books in English too! So keep your eyes open!

Here is the interview by the BookRix German Team conducted with Elvira back in November, 2012, translated just for you (by RebeckDawn):

The many futile attempts to have my novel noticed by a well-known publisher or even an agent, were really starting to wear me down. It was a dark time and I was starting to doubt myself and my stories. But then I came to Bookrix…

Dear Elvira,

Thank you for this interview and for answering our questions. Many users have sent us questions that we’re sure will make you happy. We have picked out the best questions and don’t want to wait another moment for your answers. Let’s get to it!

1. Why did you choose to publish at BookRix?
At BookRix, I don’t feel like a lone warrior who fights in vain against the “Windmills of Publishing”. :)
Actually, Bookrix was the one who gave me the idea. Late last year, when you announced your publishing service, I first thought seriously about eBooks. Since I wasn’t even reading eBooks at that time, the idea of publishing eBooks was previously non-existent.

2. What was the first book you wrote?
Apart from short stories and poems, it was my novel, Dark Fire, which I had started when I was 17 and finally completed at 24. During the process, I didn’t even really believe that I would ever make it to the end. And yet, I kept pulling the manuscript out of the drawer to work on it.

3. How long did it take you to finish Fairy Child? (Original language title “Feenkind”)
Part One and Two of Fairy Child took me two years of intensive work. Every day after work I’d go to my PC again and write for at least an hour. The story wasn’t simply flowing out of me. Before I fell asleep at night, I couldn’t imagine what I was going to write the next day.

4. The question that all your fans are probably asking: When will the sequel to Fairy Child be released?
The eBook is almost completed, and a beautiful new cover was just added (thanks to Cassyk). Here at Bookrix, the book should be available in November, and therefore it will be in all the shops by early December at the latest.

***This interview is from November 2012. Since then, her second book has been published.

5. Where did you get the idea for The Bonding of Souls? (Original language title “Seelenband”)
The Bonding of Souls was totally “interleaved”. I had a hangover from the fantasy novel that I was writing, and suddenly I had a strong desire to get involved with a romance novel. So I wrote The Bonding of Souls.
* Laughs * No, it wasn’t quite that simple, of course. I’m always very structured when thinking about my characters.
With Valerie, it was important to me that the female readers could identify with her. And in John, it was important that he wasn’t a vampire, werewolf or angel. :o Also, you might have noticed that my romance novels are about what I’m interested in (in the fictional realm, fortunately not in the real world), like mysterious men with a certain dark side. When I brought all of that together, The Bonding of Souls emerged.

6. Some fans of The Bonding of Souls (especially the women) are wondering: Is John inspired by a real person?
The answer is both yes and no! I am happily married and my husband and John definitely share many of the positive attributes. However, he is nothing more than a role model for John or any of my other male characters; just as I am neither Valerie nor Julie Dhalia. My characters are always completely fictitious, even though they may share some properties with real people.

7. Can you explain the success of your novels?
I’m not sure, but I’d like to know so I can repeat it in the future. :) No, seriously, I’m very adamant about keeping my stories and the actions of the characters believable and realistic for the readers. This is especially true with feelings (above all – love)and it is important to me to let them grow and reveal them slowly to convey authenticity. What I do not like are big words, where you, the reader will end up feeling nothing. I always try to incorporate unexpected twists and turns as well, which sometimes end successfully and sometimes fail.

8. Your stories have such a variety of different subjects, so how do you know when it is going to be worthwhile to actually pursue a new idea?
I must admit that I (unfortunately) am not a gushing fountain of ideas, like many other authors who must often decide which idea they are now pursuing further. Before I start a novel, I consider first, which genre I want to write in. Then I think about what is commonly known about this topic/genre and try to find a gap, that is, something that has not already been written about extensively. If I then, at some point in my search, happen upon something that creates a kind of inner excitement and my imagination begins to develop a story, I know I have found something worthwhile. I’ll then take a few days to try it out and see if I can actually get together enough “story” to make a rewarding story-line with it.

9. In your books fate often plays a role – Is there a special reason for this, or is it your destiny to write about fate?
* Laughs * A good question. I haven’t really thought much about it. But if I had to choose, I would say that I have a tendency to trust reason. There are many forces that can influence our lives, but in the end our freewill decides which path our lives, and therefore our destinies, will take. In that sense I don’t believe in a fixed or predetermined fate, but I find the subject itself rather fascinating.

10. Is there a piece of text, a protagonist, or an idea that you’re particularly proud of?
All my novels have a lot of heart and soul, and of that, I’m really proud. I regard Fairy Child as my masterpiece. However, if I have to pick just one thing, it’s probably the Dark Fairy, Eliza, from Fairy Child, and the transformation that her character experiences in the Part Two. When I started to write the story, which was not really even planned, the character of Eliza just developed a life of its own, which surprised even me. :)

11. Can we expect another book series from you in the near future?
Yes. I’m writing another fantasy novel with the working title, Dragon Tooth and I hope I have it ready early in the New Year. It’s about a boy from our world who lands by accident in a fantasy world and tries to get back. This is not a new topic, but I hope that I gave him, in one way or another, some interesting and new situations. My two short stories, The Oath of the Dragon and The Song of The Ice Desert are small prequels for Dragon Tooth.
The first chapter is already on BX, but because the cover isn’t uploaded yet, the book has not yet received a lot of clicks. ;)

12. Do you do your own marketing and if so, how?
I still have a lot to learn about this area because I’m not really an active participant in social media. I guess I’m too old fashioned. :) The only things I’m doing at the moment are audiobooks of my novels. I have been adding them one at a time onto Youtube.

13. The next question is really overdone, but it’s also one of the most interesting: Why exactly do you write?
First, I just wanted to try and see if I could do it. But now, it has become an inner need. It just doesn’t feel right not to have a story to think about in all my quiet moments. I cannot imagine life without writing anymore.

14. And who are you writing for?
For me, for my family (which consists of my biggest fans), and now also for my readers. It’s an indescribable feeling when someone expresses positivity about the work that you invested so many, often doubt-filled, years of your life to.

15. Do you have an author role model?
Not really, no. There are always books or sites from which I learn something while reading and think, “Ah, so that’s how that works”. My only novel that was inspired by other books and authors is Dark Fire. I started it after I read Phantom by Susan Kay and Dangerous Liaisons.

16. Do you find it more difficult to start or to end a book?
The beginning is definitely more difficult for me. In my mind, I have to have at least the rough draft of the story completed before I start to write it at all. Also, at the beginning I put a lot more pressure on myself and have higher expectations. The reader has to be convinced that the book is worthwhile in the first few pages. That’s also why I like to start with a prologue that makes you curious, without giving too much away.
Writing the end can sometimes be really tricky, but mostly it arises as the story unfolds.

17. Are there any BookRix members who have helped you with your books?
Unfortunately, since I have a serious lack of time at the moment, I barely get to be present in the groups at all anymore. Right now, I’m basically non-existent in the community.

18. Who designed your beautiful cover?
Cassyk, A.K.A. Casandra Krammer. Because I am an amateur cover art designer, I am infinitely grateful for her skills. :)

19. What was the biggest setback to you, in relation to the tests each author must suffer, and how did you overcome this crisis?
The many futile attempts to have my novel noticed by a well-known publisher or even an agent, were really starting to wear me down. It was a dark time and I was starting to doubt myself and my stories. But then I came to Bookrix…

20. How important is contact with your fans?
I find the direct contact with my readers to be really great. Of course, all positive feedback goes down real easy and makes me happy. And I always think a lot about any overly critical comments and try to implement the feedback into my future writing.

21. Have you ever struggled with writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
I decided not to force myself to write. When I have no desire to do it, but would rather read a book or just lazily watching TV, that’s okay. As I have been writing for almost half my life, I know that there are dry patches and that the writer’s block always goes away. That’s one of the advantages of being an indie author – not having a publisher breathing down my neck! :)

22. Do you follow a strict schedule for when you write or do you only write when you really feel like it?
As I said, I no longer feel forced to write. It’s better if I “grab some” free time when I can. I notice more and more that my head starts to work immediately after I’ve had some leisure time. When I had a few days off and my daughter was still in kindergarten, I was writing almost all the time.

23. When do you write best?
Whenever I have some time.

24. If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
You mean, other than that my daughter starts sleeping in her own bed at last? :) I would wish that my novels sell so well that I didn’t have to work full time anymore and could then have more time for my family and my writing.

25. Do you have any tips to share with other authors?
Don’t let yourselves be discouraged by rejections, writer’s block and criticism. I’m sure if you really want something, you’ll find a way. Even if this path leads you away from your original plan of shelves filled with print books and suddenly your eBooks are all over the internet and media. :)

Thank you for this wonderfully sympathetic interview! We wish you continued success as an indie author, and we are looking forward to more work from your pen.

Stay tuned for more interviews with BookRix Bestselling Authors!

Water for Elephants—From NaNoWriMo to Hollywood

So, have you seen the popular film adaptation of author Sara Gruen’s bestselling-novel Water For Elephants yet? If so, you’re far from alone! Box Office Mojo, says that the Fox-distributed movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz and Robert Pattinson has taken in over $40 million worldwide so far.

Water-for-Elephants-Sara-Gruen-Book-turned-into-movieThe story of an orphaned Depression-era veterinary school dropout recruited into a traveling circus, where he falls in love with a dazzling equestrian performer, has captivated readers, movie audiences and critics alike. With 4.3 million American copies of the novel currently in print, translations into 44 languages and multiple awards, this success story is a ray of hope to every aspiring writer in the BookRix community.

According to an entry in Wikipedia, Water For Elephants first made the New York Times Best Seller list for 12 weeks after its hardcover release in May 2006 by Algonquin Books, followed by a #1 ranking of the paperback version a year later. In a resurgence boosted by the film’s debut on April 22, Gruen’s third novel is currently holding FIVE #1 spots on the NYT Best Seller List, including E-Book Fiction, Combined Print & E-book Fiction and Paperback Trade Fiction, where it has held court for 118 weeks and counting.

Here at BookRix, we find one of the more delightful aspects of Sara’s success to be the fact that she first drafted this best-seller as a participant in National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, held in November each year since 1999. Her second novel, Flying Changes (HarperCollins 2005) and her latest work, Ape House (Spiegel & Grau 2010), which has already been optioned by Ellen DeGeneres’ production company, were also penned during NaNoWriMo. In her Pep Talk for fellow participants, Sara shares humorously about overcoming the distractions to writing that life tends to bring. And in this excellent About.com interview, she ‘fesses up to locking herself in a walk-in closet to complete Water for Elephants.

Sara also had some very valuable parting advice from an interview with Luan Gaines at Curled Up with a Good Book that we think everyone should take to heart:

Instead of thinking about writing, just write. You can edit darned near anything into shape, but you can’t edit a blank page.

Love talking about books made into movies? Come say hello in our Books Made Into Movies group on BookRix, where we chat about examples like this one. Love writing fictional stories or have a memoir that you’d like to put down into words? Join the BookRix community and free the author in you! You never know if your story could someday wind up on the big screen!

Eat Pray Love – After the Movie

Inspired by Eat Pray Love - Chocolate Italian Gelato I  finally went to go see one of my favorite books that had turned into a mainstream movie this summer, “Eat Pray Love,” authored by Elizabeth Gilbert starring Julia Roberts, with Brad Pitt having released the movie under his production banner Plan B Entertainment in partnership with Columbia Pictures.

My question to our readers (and myself) was simply this: will I enjoy the movie as much as I did Gilbert’s published memoirs and will it inspire me the way the book did to enjoy life, practice healthy discipline and let myself love and be loved without hesitation?

The movie did in fact inspire me, and yes, my heart was captivated. However, it did not move me in nearly the same strength as the book did, but nonetheless I did enjoy them both.

What I missed the most from the movie version was Liz Gilbert’s clean and thorough departures and arrivals from country to country and her vivid reflections before moving to the next alluring destination. Each country held a special meaning in the book filled with life lessons and great quotes from Gilbert.

The movie had almost no transition at all between countries, and I found this rather disturbing since I wanted to say goodbye to the journey she had just been on with me following along in the audience from Italy to India to Indonesia. I guess when reading a book you usually have time to settle between big scenes, chapters or sections, take a deep breath and revel in the beauty of words and say goodbye – but in a movie no one except a storyline warns you that change is happening – and quickly!

During the two weeks between my original blog post “Eat Pray Love – Bestseller: Before the Movie” and going to see the movie with my endearing husband, I received a few thoughts from fellow EPL book fans. Two statements in particular from women who gave me a fair warning, but did not rant or rave beyond reason, should be shared here because they allowed me to walk in that theater prepared to want less than the book offers.

“Amber, I think you’ve gotten the best of the Eat, Pray, Love experience already. So savor that. I felt the same way about the book. I was especially impressed with the eloquent and accurate way Elizabeth Gilbert described the guru-disciple relationship and ashram environment in the book. The movie didn’t do this or, frankly, any of the other parts of the journey justice. It left me hungry.” ~ D. Andre

“I loved the book, loved listening to the very eloquent Elizabeth Gilbert who appeared on Oprah two times and I still hesitate to see the movie.  I think I’ve encountered only ONE woman who actually liked the movie. The rest I spoke to found it flat and someone I talked with said she walked out after 20 minutes, in time to get her money back.” ~ D. LaTourelle

Inspired by Eat Pray Love - Orchid Heart CircleI myself did thoroughly enjoy the scenery in all the “I” countries she visited, particularly the scenes where Roberts was riding her bike through the palm trees and next to the rice paddies. In those moments I wished I were riding on the handlebars getting the wind in my hair too.

Well, maybe someday, telling your true story will create a masterpiece that showers readers everywhere with some of the same hope, inspiration, vibrancy, reality or honesty that Gilbert’s story did – and then maybe someday you’ll see it on the big screen. Whether someone likes your story in the end or not, it never hurts to try writing it down and sharing it! I think even the women who were disappointed by the Eat Pray Love movie can appreciate just how monumental getting a bestselling memoir published is, and that landing a Hollywood movie deal so quickly is pretty darn fabulous.

According to an article I read by Lauren Streib with The Daily Beast, the Eat Pray Love movie has spawned a $350 million EPL industry, with $135 million generated by the original book sales and $175 million from the movie. To top it all off, the movie’s release put Gilbert’s book back onto the current bestseller list! So, if you haven’t read the bestselling book yet, now’s the time! Love, or shall I say EPL, is in the air!

Grazie, Namaste, & Terima kasih,

Amber

P.S. If you love everything EPL, check out this slideshow of EPL product sightings!

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