Category Archives: Marketing Madness

What Publishers Might, and Might Not Do to Promote Their Books

This is a great article from Jane Friedman about how publishers look at marketing a book. We all dream of being on that A list.🙂

Check out Jane’s site if you are an author and her posts are new to you.

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Years ago, when I still worked for a traditional publisher, I wrote a blog post about the No. 1 disappointment of all published authors: the lack of marketing support from their publisher. This was back when social media was still a fringe pastime, limited mostly to MySpace. So if your publisher wasn’t investing in marketing or publicity, you probably had few available tools to market and publicize your work outside your community—unless you had funds to hire a publicist or a national platform of some kind.

Today, some form of online marketing by both author and publisher is essential for all titles, and while traditional forms of marketing and publicity are still key—everyone wants a mix of online and offline exposure to maximize word of mouth—publishers’ launch efforts may be focused primarily or entirely on online channels. It tends to be more efficient, targeted, and cost effective.

Yet authors still have very traditional ideas of what their publisher ought to do to demonstrate support for their book, even though where and how books get sold has changed dramatically in the last decade. Here are three things that you may want or expect your publisher to do—but are very unlikely to happen.

1. Send you on a national book tour

This is probably the biggest author disappointment by far…[continued]

3 Things Your Traditional Publisher Is Unlikely to Do

Ready to Win a Ton of Paperbacks? It’s the Fall YA Scavenger Hunt 2016 Go Team Blue!

Hey there!

My name is Jennifer M. Eaton and today I am hosting the YA Scavenger Hunt, where you can win a set of TWENTY paperback books!

There are six teams playing, which means you can enter to win all 120 paperback books that are up for grabs!

 

This year I have a special BONUS giveaway of my own!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift code CLICK HERE! Woohoo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you all entered to win a $10 Amazon gift code?
Awesome! Carry on to the YA Scavenger hunt!

**Hunt starts at 12:00 PST Oct 4**


YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for five days!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a purple team, and a green team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 9, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST

Today, I am hosting Carly Anne West on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Carly Anne West is the author of the young adult novels THE MURMURINGS and THE BARGAINING. She has lived in the desert, by the sea, among the trees, and a few places in between. She’s currently at work on her next novel.

Twitter: CarlyAnneWest1

  
Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author’s book on Goodreads Carly Anne West page!

About “The Bargaining”

When Penny Warren agrees to live in the North Woods with her stepmother, she thinks she’s renovating the old Carver House. She thinks she’ll finally escape the death of her best friend, Rae.
But the North Woods are lonely, and they have no intention of letting Penny escape anything.
Oooooo… Sounds Creepy.


 And here’s an exclusive post from Carly!

Hey, YASHers! Thanks for participating in this season’s YA Scavenger Hunt. I’m so thrilled to join in the fun again this fall. So, for this exclusive bonus offering, I wanted to let you in on a little of the exploration I did while searching for a setting to inspire THE BARGAINING.

whidbey-island-2 I was still relatively new to the Pacific Northwest, and while I was pretty certain I wanted the fictional town of Point Finney to emulate certain characteristics of some of the towns I imagined existed around the north and south Sound, I hadn’t visited enough of the many, many towns that the northwest coast has to offer. Fortunately, my brother and sister-in-law had already been living in the area for some time, so they were able to offer up a few places for me to start.

whidbey-island-3-jpgI was especially intrigued by Whidbey Island – an actual island floating in the north Sound (I’ve come to find there are many islands in the area). This one, though, held a certain intrigue for me. I tried SO HARD, dear YASHers, to find the pictures I took of the downtown and the surrounding farmland, patches of wooded areas, and beaches that fed my imagination. Alas, they’re lost in the Cloud somewhere. But these pics do the area more justice than I could have on my iPhone. The town is breathtaking, and the people were so nice. If you visit, the Need & Feed is a must. They make their own bread, and you can smell it for blocks. For all you writers out there, a well-known writers’ residency called Hedgebrook also calls Whidbey its home.

whidbey-island-1-jpgThe folks in Point Finney – and the secrets they’re keeping – are not at all what I found in Whidbey, and I’m just morbid enough to have been disappointed by that. I was really hoping for a dismal experience so I could work from a solid platform. Instead, Point Finney is more a reflection of what I thought Whidbey could have been given sadder circumstances … and a much deeper forest.

Good luck on the rest of your hunt!

Hugs, Carly


And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books from the participating authors! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 17. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


 

And Don’t forget

This year I have a special BONUS giveaway of my own!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift code CLICK HERE! Woohoo!

Are you all entered to win a $10 Amazon gift code?
Awesome! Carry on to the next author in the YA Scavenger hunt!


 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! [Heather Young Nichols]

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


Catch up with me on social media!

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YASH Fall 2016 Announcement! Rock on! Who’s Ready to Win a TON of Paperback Books???

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It’s coming!

The hunt begins on Oct 4th and ends Oct 9th

It’s the YA Scavenger Hunt Fall 2016!

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Now that the authors have signed up to participate in this exciting event, we’ve put them into teams of 20 by color. There are six teams total this round!

Check out the teams below to see which teams your favorite authors will be on and what their featured book will be.

I’m on Team Blue. Woohoo!
It’s getting close folks!


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Hold on tight! Details on how to win paperback books from ALL these amazing authors will be posted October 4th.

The contest begins at 12:00 PM PST sharp October 4th


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


Catch up with me on social media!

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Givaway! Enter to win $220 to buy EVEN MORE books!

220

Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win $220 to spend on books!

Fourteen YA authors, including myself, are sponsoring this giveaway for your chance to win a $220 Amazon e-gift card to restock your bookshelves this fall.

Participating authors include:

Melanie McFarlane

Suzanne VanRooyen

Dorothy Dryer

J. Keller Ford

Joshua David Bellin

Jullie Reece

Nicole Conway

Stephanie Scott

Amy McNulty

Tobie Easton

Elisa Dane

Jennifer Anne Davis

Jennifer M. Eaton

Jennifer Bardsley

***Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!***

And check out these awesome books from your sponsoring authors!

                      

 

Fine Print:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Time Period: Begins on 09/08/2016 at 12:00 AM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 09/22/2016 at 12:00 AM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)). Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA and Canada who are Must be 13 years old to enter or older. Winner Selection: The winner of the giveaway will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing.

Hello out there!cropped-cropped-website-1-1-logo.jpgcropped-fire-banner-final2.png


Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


Catch up with me on social media!

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Facebook Advertising, Take Two – Very different results.

So, I tried Facebook advertising again. I changed things up just a little. And the results were surprisingly different.

 

Facebook warns that if you add words to your picture, that you will not get seen by as many people.

I tried using the ad that my publicist created, and they showed me that there was too much writing on the ad, and a company logo … that it would only be seen by 200 people. So, like a conscious consumer, I scrapped it and made my own.

I took a picture and added three lines of copy. This is what it looked like.

1 fire paper and ebook FullSizeRender

Yes, they tell you that ads with words on them will reach less people, but since they WARNED be on the first one, I figured they would warn me on this one, too.

I went through the motions, and Facebook told me that over a two day promotion, and $2.00 a day, I would be seen by 1,800 – 3000 people. Hey, for $4.00 sign me up!

Well, this was NOT meant to be. I scratched my head, watching the numbers.

 

There were three factors involved. I’m not sure which one caused the problem.


#1: It was labor day weekend. The sale ran from 11:00 AM Saturday to 11:00 AM Monday (I was hoping people might grab a beach read)

#2: There was a hurricane coming. People bailed on the beach.

#3: I added two lines of copy, and it was obviously an ad, rather than the personal approach I first used.


I might try again with the same add photo during the week to see if I get higher numbers. That way I can rule out the hurricane (That never showed up, but the way)

As a reminder, these were the results of my first ad:


At $1 a day I received an average of 284 views per day and 8 clicks per day

At $2 a day (On a Sunday, which might have skewed things) I received 515 views and 11 clicks

If you want to be really anal, for a total of $9.00 it cost $.00359 cents per view, or $.13 per click. Personally, I don’t only value the “click” numbers, because I know how important just the face time of the cover is.


This time around, as I said, the results were much different.

Think GirlMy paid reach was 528 people over two days. That’s 264 a day. That is 20 less views than I got when I paid only $1.00 a day. NOT COOL!

I received 16 post clicks. Average of 8 a day (The same amount of clicks I got the first time around) FOR DOUBLE THE COST.

 

sadSo, overall, this one was a bust for me.

Facebook is telling me that if I add $1.00 to my budget, my reach will increase to $4.5k-10.6K. … But I didn’t reach the 3000 people I was supposed to reach the first time, so I’m doubtful.

Since it is only $1.00, I am going to take them up on the offer on Tuesday when everyone goes back to work.

Let’s see if there is any change.

This will tell me if it is the added words on the ad causing the problem, or if it was just bad timing.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


Catch up with me on social media!

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An Analysis of my first try at Facebook Advertising


Aliens, Armageddon, and Romance

Fire in the Woods is only $.99 on Ebook

For a limited time!

Amazon | Barnes & NobleKoboiBooks | Google Play


Last week, my book went on sale on Ebook for $.99. This was a bit of a surprise, and I wouldn’t have even known unless a friend happened upon it and let me know (funny how that happens in the publishing biz.)

Anyway… in a perfect world I would have had tons of marketing ready, but since my book was only going to be on sale for a week, I needed to act fast.

  1.        Instagram Posts
  2.        My Newsletter
  3.        My Street Team
  4.        Twitter
  5.        Tumblr
  6.        Facebook

When I hit Facebook, the app prompted me to boost the post. I figured, why not? It was the perfect chance to test the waters.

The process was insanely easy, and not really all that expensive.

I started with a budget of $7.00 total, for an add that would run for seven days. (A dollar a day. That’s not too bad)The results were interesting…At the end of the seven days, I had reached an additional 1,995 people, and 56 people had clicked on the buy links.

(more on WHO clicked below- stay with me)

Breaking that down, about 8 people clicked the buy link per day. NOT HUGE NUMBERS, but not that bad… because I know from research that you need to see the cover of a book at least three times before you consider buying, and then another 3-5 times before you decide to find out more or buy.

I had an “organic” reach of 150 people (that is average for me… these are the people who would have seen it in the feed without any advertising).

I asked the App to send the ad to women only in the USA between the ages of 13-50 who have shown interest in reading, science fiction, romance, young adult… etc.

Then I drilled down and found something REALLY interesting…

I looked at the demographic of the “clicks”. This was a real eye-opener. I know that my book is written for the 13-18 age group, but I went for the broader 13-50 range because I know a lot of adult women read YA as well.

But guess what?

48 of the people who clicked the buy links were in the 13-19 age brackets. My exact target audience! So sending out to a broad age range, I decided, might have been a mistake.

But the sale wasn’t over yet…

Then, I noticed that the sale had not ended on Saturday as scheduled. I decided to give my ad one last push. I was going to do one day for $1, but decided to try 1 day for $2 to send it to more people. I also adjusted the age bracket to 13-19 year olds (Sorry, adults… I was experimenting)

On that one day I received an additional 515 views and an additional 11 clicks

The final stats

So, at $1 a day I received an average of 284 views per day and 8 clicks per day

At $2 a day (On a Sunday, which might have skewed things) I received 515 views and 11 clicks

If you want to be really anal, for a total of $9.00 it cost $.00359 cents per view, or $.13 per click. Personally, I don’t only value the “click” numbers, because I know how important just the face time of the cover is.

How does Facebook stack up against other advertising?

I have purchased some other forms of advertising that cost $280 for just a few mentions. While those did provide great face time, I don’t think they were as good of a value as the Facebook ad.

So, to sum it all up, YES I would do this again, but with a few changes.

#1. I’d not shoot for such a wide age audience. If it went to more 13-19 year olds, I might have ended up with more clicks

#2. I’d taken a class on Facebook ads a few days before this happened, but I didn’t have time to create my own ad. Instead, I used just a picture of my book, and a friendly post about the sale. I’m going to experiment next time with the suggestions from the course I took. (Below is the Instagram version-same pic, same text as the Facebook Ad) Here is a link to the actual ad https://www.facebook.com/JenniferEaton.Author/

You guyzzzz! FIRE IN THE WOODS is on sale for only $0.99 on ebook at most bookish places! Here's what it's about: FIRE blurb When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel. Her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met? Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can't get caught. As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she's to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it. . . . #fireinthewoods #YA #yalit #read #reading #yalovin #bookstagram #scifi #aliens #alienated #aliensrule #book #books #bookish #bookgeek #booklove #bookaholic #booklover #bookaddict #bookhoarder #AshesInTheSky #books #reader #page #pages #paper #instagood #picoftheday #alienbooks #romance

A photo posted by Jennifer M. Eaton (@jennifermeaton) on

State breakdown… In case anyone is interested…

The most “clicks” came from California. 11 clicks from 167 people who saw the ad.

Followed by Ohio: 7 clicks from 123 reached

Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania: all 4 clicks from 50-99 reached

Most of the rest were 50-ish views with 1-3 clicks per state.

Yes, there were 24 states who saw the ad, but had no clickers. [Sad face]

If you’d like to know anything else about the experience, please let me know!

Has anyone else tested out the waters of Facebook advertising? How did it work for you?

.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


Catch up with me on social media!

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Ten Steps to Building a Killer Author’s Platform

Score!

Today I wrangled author Jennifer Bardsley to chat to you about social media. Jennifer, besides having a kick-butt first name, has an awesome media platform. Let’s see how she does it!

Take it away, Jennifer!

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The main character of my book Genesis Girl is a teenager named Blanca who has never been on the Internet.

Her lack of a digital footprint makes her so valuable that she gets auctioned off to the highest bidder.


My name isn’t Blanca. It’s Jennifer Bardsley, aka “The YA Gal” and I’m on the web all the time chatting about books on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social media can be confusing. But book marketing from the couch beats braving TSA lines at the airport to fly to a convention or conference and hope for sales. Social media can be an author’s best friend—and biggest time suck.

Here are my top ten tips for using social media in an effective way to build up the best online presence possible:

  1. Pick two platforms you love, and go from there. If Twitter isn’t your thing, it will show in your tweeting. If you’re a wretched photographer, your Instagram feed will be crap. Don’t invest effort in a social media outlet you don’t enjoy.
  2. Analyze demographics. In general, a younger crowd hangs out on Instagram and Snapchat, whereas older readers might be on Facebook. If you’re a cozy mystery author, you might want to veto Instagram and pursue Facebook instead. YA authors might want to target YouTube. Find the social media platform that best matches your intended audience.
  3. Call people by name. Effective users of social media understand the importance of building relationships. Don’t just respond with “Thanks for the comment,” take that extra five seconds to add “Thanks for the comment, Stephanie.”
  4. Crack the algorithms. Just because you have 20,000 people following you doesn’t mean that all 20,000 people will see every post. Sometimes 500 people will see that cute kitten meme you shared, and sometimes 100,000 people will see it. It all depends on how much engagement your post receives. On Facebook this means likes, comments, and shares. On Instagram the goal is hearts and comments. Crack the algorithm and both platforms will allow more people to see your content.
  5. Only talk about your own book one tenth of the time. Nothing turns off potential followers faster than blatant self-promotion.
  6. Study hashtags. Twitter hashtags can sometimes have a very short half-life and you have to keep your eye on what is trending in order to participate in conversations and stay on top of the crest of popularity. On Instagram hashtags live forever. Some hashtags like #boosktagram are so gigantic that unless you are famous you will never score in the top posts for those hashtags. Smaller hashtags like #booksandperfume might give you more visibility. On Facebook, hashtags aren’t very common and if you include a bunch of hashtags you’ll look like a noob.
  7. Don’t ignore BookTube. Any author who is older than thirty did not grow up with YouTube and might view the BookTube audience as an afterthought. But if you ask a thirteen–year-old who his favorite YouTube personality is, that teenager can probably rattle off ten people. Learn who the top BookTubers are at the moment and also make friends with the smaller ones who might be interested in giving your book attention.
  8. Understand your brand as an author. Your social media platform is not a place to share pictures of your kids, vacations, or laundry pile you need to fold. Dog pictures are okay, especially if you have a pug or poodle. Cats make great #Caturday photos. But beyond that your accounts should represent reading, writing, and things that are of interest to your readers.
  9. Ignore what I just said about not posting pictures of your kids, if family is part of your brand. Some authors create very successful brands based on snippets they share of their family life. But it has to be done in a clever way.
  10. Have fun! If social media is a chore for you, than your lack of enthusiasm will show. Keep searching until you find the social media outlet that makes you excited about logging on.

 


About Genesis Girl

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


 

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, “Genesis Girl” is available from Month9Books, with the sequel releasing in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 14,000 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Thanks for hanging out today, Jennifer!

Oh, WAIT! There’s a Giveaway until July 2, 2016 click here for a chance to win one of five copies of Genesis Girl! 

 

 

 

It’s the YA Scavenger Hunt 2016 Go Team Green!

Hey there!

My name is Jennifer M. Eaton and today I am hosting the YA Scavenger Hunt, where you can win a set of TWENTY paperback books!

There are nine teams playing, which means you can enter to win all 180 paperback books that are up for grabs!

 

This year I have a special BONUS giveaway of my own!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift code CLICK HERE! Woohoo!

Are you all entered to win a $10 Amazon gift code?
Awesome! Carry on to the YA Scavenger hunt!

___________________________________________________________

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast:

The YA Scavenger Hunt will be open from March 29th at noon pacific time to April 3rd at noon pacific time. You must enter to win before then. Good luck and happy hunting!

Green Team

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM–but there is also a red team, an orange team, a gold team, a teal team, a blue team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go tomake sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the green team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by DATE, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Clara Stone
 Today, I am hosting author Clara Stone

Clara Stone lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID. Unlike what most believe about Idaho, it’s more than a sack full of potatoes. When she’s not writing, you’ll catch Clara reading mostly YA books and enjoying time with her family. She is a proud CW TV addict.

The Dracian Legacy is her first YA paranormal romance series. She strongly believes that true love conquers all and that’s a common theme you’ll find within her novels.

Get in Touch with Clara!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Newsletter Subscription

 

***EXCLUSIVE CONTENT***

NEVER BEFORE SEEN SCENE and Casting List for FOREVE KINDA LOVE

First Meeting

Heath

ForeverKindofLove_ebooksm There’s that stench; the one where the sick are kept, where the smell of antiseptic overpowers everything. A smell so clean that even viruses tremble at its tang. I’ve never really liked hospitals, but Hudson promised to take me out for ice cream when his shift ends. And I’m not one to resist ice cream. Crinkling my nose, I scan the area, stepping toward the nurse’s station in the Operating wing.

Dawn, the unusually chipper old nurse, greets me with a smile. She’s seen me here several times.

“Waiting on Dr. Lovelly again?” she asks.

I nod, throwing a grin of my own. “We’re going for Ice cream.”

“Youngins,” she responds. “Enjoy it while you can, Heath. Once you get to be my age . . .”

She continues on and on and on about how being in her sixties ruins so many of the things in life—food in particular. It’s not like I haven’t heard it before, so my mind drifts toward the length of the hallway, while I smile and nod at her ranting.

I watch a few nurses hustle from room to room, probably making their rounds, while others linger in a corner, whispering and giggling like the girls at school do. Most of the nurses here know me, since I’ve had this standing ice cream outing with my brother every week.

Forever Kinda Love CastingI excuse myself from Dawn and walk to the waiting area where Hudson said he’d meet me. When I enter the room, I immediately notice a girl—someone I haven’t seen before. It doesn’t really surprise me to see new faces; after all, people come and go to visit. But there’s something different about this girl.

I adjust the strap of the book bag on my shoulder and walk into the room, heading toward my usual spot in the corner to start working on my homework. She doesn’t move or acknowledge me, so naturally, I’m annoyed.

Her light, yellowish-blonde hair is pulled up in a tight bun, and she runs the end of her zip-up hoodie’s sleeve across her eyes, then her nose. Her thighs and knees are bandaged in white gauze. The creamy skin on her legs is blotched with bruises, and she’s dressed like a ballerina, glitter covering her body and hair.

ForeverKindofLove_ebooksmA few doctors and nurses come by and talk to her. Once in a while, they even offer her food, candy, a pillow and comforter . . . she nods and accepts, never touching any of it after they leave.

I wonder what happened, and where her parents are.

Another thirty minutes pass. Hudson should be out in another fifteen or so. Sighing, I pack up my schoolwork before heading to the coffee shop, in need of a distraction. I order a small hot chocolate with extra whip cream. Taking a slurpy sip from the cup, I pay the barista.

As I pass the flower shop, I notice Damask roses in full bloom are on display, and I can’t stop the upward tilt of my lips. I remember how I used to bring one to my mom while she was in the hospital, and all the times it had made her smile. So I pay for a single pink rose and head back toward the waiting room, to the girl with gray eyes.

“Hi,” I say, coming to a stop before her. I drop my bag on the floor. “I’m Heath.”

Her head tilts up toward me. Her red-rimmed, glassy eyes stare back vacantly as she runs the back of her hand under her runny nose. I try not to cringe at how defeated and fallen she looks. Her cheeks are decorated with bright pink splotches and glisten with the tears that probably haven’t stopped falling since she got here. She pulls her legs to her chin and places her head on it, away from me.

ForeverKindofLove_ebooksmShe sniffles.

Okay, so maybe she doesn’t want to talk.

I sit next to her and extend the rose in a peace offering. “My mom said there’s nothing in this world that chocolate or flowers can’t cure.” I’m not sharing my chocolate. “You seem like a flower girl,” I say, pointing to the white daisies tucked into her bun.

She turns toward me again and takes the peace offering. Then nothing. Not a smile, not a thank you. Nothing.

Wow. Okay. Maybe Mom was wrong.

After few long minutes of silence, I try again. “I hear this year’s fair has a circus coming to town.”

She continues to stare at the rose in her hand.

“Do you like the zoo?” I love the zoo. Especially the lions and tigers.

She doesn’t answer me, but I continue to talk to her, mostly about the zoo and animals. I even try to animate my arms and make faces, to see if any of those ridiculous gestures will make her smile.

ForeverKindofLove_ebooksmBut nothing.

I finally give up and look away. After a few minutes, I look back to say my goodbye.

That’s when I realize that her eyes are closed, her arms are tightly wound around her knees, and her face is at peace.

No wonder she wasn’t talking, you idiot. You bored her to sleep.

I smile. At least I managed to do something. I take a sip from my cup, then another. It’s empty in no time. I shoot it into the waste basket a few feet away and mock a silent cheer when I make it in. I wonder what’s taking Hudson so long. The girl is sound asleep, leaning on me. Not wanting to wake her up, I rest my head back and sag my body, getting comfortable. Soon, my eyes feel heavy and flutter closed. Just for a second.

They snap open again at the angry voice coming from my right. I crane my neck to see who it is and feel the girl snuggling into my shoulder. She stirs a little, and her brows mush together.

“Where’s my wife? Cara. Cara!” the man screams. The girl beside me jolts out of her seat, her entire body trembling. Noticing her for the first time, he turns and marches forward, angry as a lion, sad as a big, brown-eyed yorkie.

Forever Kinda Love CastingI push up from my seat. A need to protect the girl from this stranger stirs inside, but before I can react, he’s in front of her.

“Where’s Mommy, baby girl? What happened? Carrigan, sweetheart, talk to me.” He takes her by the shoulders and shakes her out of her stupor.

Tears spill down her cheeks, and snot drips from her nose as she wails.

“Carrigan Ace, what happened to Mommy?” he demands.

Crying is her only response.

“Mr. Casper?” a woman, Dr. Park, calls from the waiting room doorway.

He turns his attention to her, his shoulders slumped. It’s like he already knows, even before the message is relayed to him.

“I’m sorry . . .” Dr. Park starts.

Mr. Casper puts his hand up and walks backward, away from us. “Don’t . . . don’t say it.” Then he storms forward, right into her face, and his voice cracks like he’s trying to support the weight of the world on his shoulders. “Don’t you say it.”

Then he turns toward his daughter—toward us. Tears roll down his cheeks, and his body goes slack in defeat as he falls to the floor, letting out a heartbreaking wail. Dr. Park calls for help, probably calling for those drugs they give people to knock them out.

The girl, Carrigan Ace, hides behind me, her body trembling as soft whimpers escape her. I take her hand in mine and step in front her, shielding her. I feel her fingers wrapping around mine. Her sobs filter into my ears and everything inside me breaks for this girl I just met.

“Ace.” I turn around and sit us down. I hesitate at first, but then wrap my arm over her shoulder, holding her hand with the rose in my other all the while. Then, I do the only thing I can think of: I pull her into me, like my brother had done with me many times after Mom died.

I take a deep breath. “Shhh, everything will be okay. I promise.”

I surprise myself when I say it.

I don’t make promises lightly. But I know, deep down in my heart, that she’s special somehow. She’s worth it.

Great stuff, huh?
Click here to get your copy of Forever Kinda Love 
 _____________________________________________

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of paperback books by me, Jennifer M. Eaton, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is ** 8 ** Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the Green team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

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Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift code CLICK HERE! Woohoo!

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CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
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It’s the Book Trailer for ASHES IN THE SKY! Catch a sneak peak at chapter two of Fire in the Woods

We’re just one day away from the official release of ASHES IN THE SKY!

AshesInTheSkyCoverYes, yes, many of you who preordered paperbacks got your book a month early, but all your eReader friends still have grabby hands. To help get you through one more day, here’s the book trailer. (After the blurb)Enjoy!
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After inadvertently saving the world, 18-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school. But when she’s offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien spaceship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she would be crazy to turn something like that down, right?
Ashes and FireBut when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David’s efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David’s advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.

Young adult contemporary science fiction (Because you can’t get enough contemporary or science in your fiction)

Available wherever books are sold

Buy Links:  | Amazon | BookDepositoy.com | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | iTunes |BooksAMillion | ChaptersIndigo | IndieBound |

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23344658-ashes-in-the-sky#other_reviews


Available wherever books are sold

Buy Links:  | Amazon | BookDepositoy.com | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | iTunes |

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23344658-ashes-in-the-sky#other_reviews

Read the First Chapter of Ashes in the Sky and a chance to win!

I’m soooo excited! Today we are revealing the first chapter of my new novel ASHES IN THE SKY, which releases March 15, 2016! Check out the full chapter below and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!
 
As most of you know, Fire in the Woods was meant to be a stand-alone. When approached to write a second novel, I really had to scratch my head. I mean, the story was
over, right?

Well, apparently I “left them screaming for more” as everyone always says.
.
I really didn’t want to deal with the direct aftermath of book one, so I decided to fast forward a few months: to a time
when things should be settling down for poor, exhausted Jess. All she wants to  do is get her life back to normal again, and to do that, she needs to get back to school.
.
Unfortunately for Jess (and maybe fortunately for us) it will be a little while before our girl has anything close to a normal life again.
 .
So enjoy Jess’s  first day back at school after saving the world. Here is chapter one of Ashes in the Sky: book two of Fire in the Woods.

Alien Kisses!
Jennifer M. Eaton

Find it: Amazon | B&N Goodreads

ASHES IN THE SKY
 
After inadvertently saving the world,  eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and  settle back into the familiar routine of high school.
 
Though when she’s offered an opportunity  to photograph the inside of an alien space ship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she’d be crazy to turn something like that down, right?
 
Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David’s efforts to establish a new home  for his people on another planet, neither David’s advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.
  
ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic Sci Fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.

 

Chapter One
Dad’s brow creased. “You don’t have to do this, Jess. We can turn around now and go home.”

His fingers rapped on the limousine’s armrest as we pulled up to the entrance of my normally quiet school. Outside, police officers and several uniformed security guards held advancing reporters and camera crews on the sidewalks.

“Relax, Major,” Elaine said, across from me. She pulled out a compact and touched up her lipstick. “Two months after single-handedly saving the world from an alien invasion, Earth’s teenage savior returns to finish high school.” She snapped the case shut. “This is the public interest story of the year.”

Dad’s nose flared. “Yes, she’s supposed to be going to school, but you’ve made it a media circus. Why’d you have to schedule a press conference in the auditorium?”

She slipped her lipstick back into her designer purse. “They would have been here anyway. The best way to calm a stalking fox is to invite him in for tea.”

“Tea? I’ll give you tea.”

I held up my hand. “Dad … ” I didn’t have to finish. I never did. Their arguments were always the same. Father protects daughter, while the publicist pushes media exposure as far as she can legally get away with—and me stuck in between.

Elaine wasn’t all that bad, as far as publicists went. Not that I’d known any other publicists, but she’d been by my side since my very first press conference, and the hundred or so more over the past two months. She could be pushy, but she understood the power of a pint of Death By Chocolate ice cream at the end of a long day, which totally earned her brownie points in my book.

Dad’s gaze returned to me. “We just got back. Do you really need to do another press conference?” The deep lines around his eyes added to the weight of my own exhaustion.

I shifted in my seat, my hands clammy against the leather interior. “If we go home, they’ll just show up here again tomorrow. Let’s get this over with. Maybe then things can get back to normal.” I grabbed his hand. “I can do this.”

Dad pressed his lips together. Of course, he knew I could do it. But knowing and wanting me to answer another set of invasive questions were two different things, and I loved every stubborn inch of him for it.

Elaine fluffed my hair and adjusted the collar of my shirt. “Show time.” She knocked twice on the window, and the Secret Service agent outside opened the door for her. She glided through the crowd with a practiced grace.

Camera-palooza erupted outside. Dang, there weren’t this many photographers when I met the president.

Dad stepped out before me, an imposing figure in his combat uniform. Having an over-protective father did have its advantages. No one was getting by this bodyguard. No one.

I closed my eyes and clutched the charm on my necklace. My mother’s strength seeped into me, giving me courage. You’ll be fine, I heard her whisper. You’re my strong little girl. Always have been.

“I’ll try, Mom.” I opened my eyes and shuddered. You would think I’d be used to the feeding frenzy by now. This was the longest fifteen minutes of fame ever.

Steadying myself on the limo door, I stood.

“Jess, look over here.” Flash.

“Miss Martinez, how does it feel to be back at school?” Flash.

“Jessica, to your right.” Flash. Flash.

The faces and camera lenses blurred. My mind filled with the phantom sounds of alien weapons. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply to ward off memories of blinding lights and screaming voices.

It was over. The aliens had left, and I was alive. We were all still alive.

The Secret Service closed in around us as Dad placed his hand on my back, guiding me to the front entrance. With a well-rehearsed smile, I made my way forward, hoping to avoid a repeat of tabloid-gate when the worst-of-the-worst photos of me turned up on the cover of the National Daily.

Dad moved beside me as we stepped over the threshold. I slipped my fingers into his hand and squeezed. One more press conference. Just one more. I could do this.

We made our way through a throng of reporters, students, parents, and teachers to the auditorium. Hundreds of voices jumbled into one chaotic roar rebounding off the lockers.

A microphone appeared in front of my face. “Ms. Martinez, how did you—”

Dad pulled me to his chest as two Secret Service agents pounced on the guy. The reporter and the agents sunk back into the crowd, disappearing like a stone thrown into water.

“There will be question and answer time after the presentation,” Elaine called as we passed through the auditorium’s stage door.

I exhaled, rubbing my arms. That had to be the worst crowd ever.

Dad circled the area behind the curtains and checked the cracks and crevices backstage. The Secret Service agents had long since given up on trying to convince him that the government pre-secured all of my speaking engagements. I used to joke about their paranoia, until someone actually found a bomb. Those guys in ugly suits quickly became my best friends.

“Did you practice your speech?” Elaine asked.

I raised an eyebrow. “No.” You’d think she’d stop asking me that. I hadn’t memorized one yet. Why would I start now?

I pulled aside the curtain and scoped out the auditorium. A sea of smiling, wide-eyed faces filled the room. Camera crews and reporters intermingled with the student body.

Going back to high school was supposed to help me get my life back.

This fiasco was not getting my life back. But maybe if I answered everyone’s questions now, they wouldn’t keep asking later.

Hey, a girl could dream.

Elaine patted my shoulder before heading out past the curtains. Her heels clopped across the wooden stage as she passed a huge poster of National Geographic’s “The Night the World Stood Still: Special Edition.”

Steven Callup’s cover photo was one of those shots every aspiring photographer dreamed of catching: perfect lighting, engaging subject, active backdrop, and undeniable emotional tone. I wasn’t drooling over this masterpiece, though; because the photograph featured me.

The flames over my shoulder were in crisp focus and flawlessly mirrored in my dark hair. The mottled hues of a fresh sunrise blended perfectly with the devastation in the background. And my God, the expression on Dad’s face as we embraced … the love in his eyes.

That night would haunt me forever. Something incredible had happened, and it had nothing to do with an alien invasion. That cover immortalized the moment for the world to see: a year after my mother’s death, my father finally opened up and started to feel again.

I released the curtain, ready to face my peers, knowing that no one gave a rat’s ass about me or my dad.

They only wanted to know more about David.

I mean, I totally got it. An alien guy crash lands on Earth and has to escape before his people wipe out humanity. Heck, I’d be interested, too. But the clincher was that David changed his people’s minds because of me. I was the heroine in the story of the millennia, whether I liked it or not.

I cringed, thinking of how many people had contacted me for the movie rights. Ashes in the Sky, they wanted to call it. What kind of idiotic title was that? Ridiculous, all of it. The world almost ended right in front of me. I didn’t need to see it again on a big screen.

As Elaine announced my name, and the audience applauded, I wondered if anything would ever be as it was before David’s people arrived.

I took my place behind the microphone and squinted into the harsh auditorium lighting. I’d been in that audience dozens of times, but never on stage. The faces looking back at me were familiar, but distant. Awestruck.

This place was my school. My safe haven. Having the media here was wrong.

I gritted my teeth and gripped the sides of the lectern. This assembly would be the absolute last time I talked about what happened to me in public. Ever.

A mop of perky, blond curls caught my attention from the third row. My BFF Maggie beamed as she gave me a thumbs-up. Part of me relaxed, knowing I had a friend near.

Maggs was the only other person who’d known about David before the Army started chasing us. She even risked her own rear-end helping us escape. She’d talked her way out of a grounding from her father, the general, thank goodness. Damn, he must have been ticked when he found out what she’d done.

Taking one last breath to steady myself, I edged closer to the mic. “You’d have to be dead not to know what happened two months ago. So I’m just going to open it up to questions.”

Hundreds of hands shot into the air.

One of the moderators handed a microphone to a bubbly girl with a blond ponytail. “Is it true that the alien looked just like Jared Linden?”

And, it starts.

“Yes. David mimicked an advertisement and looked just like Jared Linden’s character in that movie Fire in the Woods.”

Okay, that was only half of it. The truth was far too embarrassing. David pulled Jared Linden’s features from my mind. He didn’t look exactly like Jared. Just the hotter parts. The rest was an amalgamation of other cute guys he’d yanked out of my brain. There was no way I would admit to that, though.

A tall kid in a black band tee stood. “So what really happened out there? They were going to annihilate us. How’d you get them to change their minds?”

I cleared my throat. A flash of David’s smile and the warmth of his touch sent a shiver down my spine. “Luck was totally in our favor. If David’s plane hadn’t crashed, we never would have met. It didn’t take long before he realized the human race was worth saving.”

A teacher handed a microphone to a girl wearing glasses. “How long will it take them to terraform Mars?”

Ugh. I tried to think of David’s new home like Seattle or Los Angeles, but it wasn’t. It was Mars. As in: not Earth. Talk about your long distance romance.

“I have no idea how long it will take them to make Mars livable. I do know that they are running short on supplies, so I’m hoping it will happen pretty quickly.”

A girl in a cheerleader uniform flagged down the lady with the microphone. “Everyone says you and the alien were doing it. Inquiring minds want to know. Was he any good?”

Camera flashes singed my eyes as a teacher tried to pull the mic away from the girl.

“No,” a reporter shouted. “Let’s hear the answer.”

The audience murmured, shifting like hyenas waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting foal. Beside the stage, Dad’s face became an unnatural shade of crimson.

Crap.

“Well?” the cheerleader asked.

I wiped the sweat from my palms, remembering the shockwave that raged through me when David’s lips covered mine. The tabloids had reduced our relationship to supermarket trash, and Rah-Rah Girl probably wouldn’t know a real emotional connection if it bit her.

David and I shared something so deeply intimate it transcended everything. No one could possibly understand. I wasn’t even sure I understood. All I knew was that I was in love, and I’d probably never see him again.

I blinked, realizing the room had gone quiet, awaiting my answer about doing it.

My hands fisted, but I forced a smile and rustled up the rote response Elaine had prepared for me. “I heard that rumor, too, but David and I were only friends.” A sickly gash sliced through my heart. The thought of living the rest of my life with him on another planet was akin to living in the desert without water.

Was he out there somewhere, longing for me as much as I yearned for him?

My stomach fluttered. I hated how people’s stupid questions dredged up feelings I’d worked hard to suppress. I had to get off that podium.

A kid in the back stood. “How does it feel to know that six million people died while you were out there hugging dear old dad?” He pointed over my shoulder to the huge magazine cover behind me. “How does it feel to know the death count is still rising?”

It was? “Umm—”

“When did you know they were hostile?” someone else shouted.

My heart thumped against my ribcage. “I, uh—”

A reporter snatched the microphone. “Do you honestly believe they won’t come back and finish us off?”

The rumble of voices intensified. Cameras flashed as dozens of voices drowned one another out. So much for school being my safe haven.

Elaine gripped my shoulder and pulled me from the dais. “Thank you,” she said. “That’s all the questions we have time for today.”

She scooted me past the curtains, Dad following close behind. The volume in the auditorium escalated.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “We should’ve been ready for that. Next time—”

“There’s not going to be a next time.” I thrust my chin in the air. “That was my last public appearance. I’m already behind in school, and I need to graduate this year. I just want to get back to my classes and put this all behind me.”

She grinned in that syrupy way adults do when they are about to condescend your butt. “We’ll talk about this later, honey.”

Dad’s gaze seared through her before he offered me a nod of approval.

No, Elaine. We would definitely not be talking about this later.

 




 

Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA  home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.
 
Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at  helping all writers be the best they can be.
 
Beyond writing and motivating others,  she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.
 
Jennifer’s perfect day includes long  hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the  fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active  imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.
 .
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