Jennifer Geoghan Novels

24 Oct 2015: A rose by any other name …. Would be a cabbage.

If anyone tells you that what you name your characters isn’t going to effect your book sales, they’re either lying or ignorant.

Case in point. We get a lot of books left behind where I work, and my coworkers knowing I’m an avid reader leave them on my desk to see if I want them. I had four this week and one went right into the rejection pile based solely on the fact that I didn’t want to read a romance book where the main characters names are Flint Rutledge and Dayne Templeton. I mean, not for nothing but in my opinion, those names are pretty terrible for a romance novel. Maybe it’s because I’m old school and prefer more traditional names for the characters of my books. Or maybe it’s because I have a hard time imaging Dayne (a name I feel is too masculine for the female lead) calling out the name Flint in the throes of passion.

“Oh, Flint!”

It sounds like she’s desperate to light a fire on a deserted island. Reminds me of the early days of the TV show Survivor.

Survivor-logo-2

There are a lot of books out there to read and I simply tossed that book aside because I knew reading those names would detract from what might have been a good book despite the author’s unfortunate choice of character names.

You’re probably saying I’m being ridiculous, but really I’m realistic. Do you think I’m the first person to have an adverse reaction to character names? I think not.

The case for more traditional names:

It makes the characters seem more relatable. In a romance novel, every woman wants to be able to identify with the female lead on some level.

Names can aid in character description. Let’s take Dayne for instance.

When you sane “Dayne,” the first thing I think of is a great dane, the dog. This is most likely an analogy the writer wouldn’t want you to make.

great-dane-1-645mk062411

Let’s try again. You say “Dayne.”   Now I’m thinking about the people of Denmark.

happydanes

And again. “Dayne.” Now I’m thinking about 80’s pop star Taylor Dayne, which is making me think that Dayne would have been a better choice for this character had it been her last name and not the first.

Taylor_Dayne_–_Love_Will_Lead_You_Back_(alternative_cover)

So I have to ask myself why someone would choose Dayne and Flint as names. Honestly I can only think that they wanted names that would stand out. Unfortunately, there’s standing out in a good way … and standing out in a bad way.

In the end, I think I really don’t like those names together because they are unmelodic. Flint Rutledge and Dayne Templeton are all names with hard consonant beginnings that when you same them together is choppy.  So when you’re trying to come up with names for your characters, don’t over think it, but remember to try and pick a name that aids in the character’s description, has a sound to it that is pleasing to the ear or also helps describe the character and is one that isn’t so outrageous that someone will automatically roll their eyes at it.

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

22 Oct 2015: …Oh … You write Romance books (insert sarcasm here)

Snobbery.  Everywhere you go, there it is.

Yes, on many occasions during my career I’ve come across folks that seem excited when you tell them you’re a writer, but then when they ask what kind of books you write and you reply “romance,” they sort of internally roll their eyes as if to silently say, “oh, I thought you were a ‘real’ writer.”

snob2

You’d think that I wouldn’t have come across this attitude at a writers conference, but if so … you’d be wrong.  Several times I’d fallen into conversation with person next to me while waiting for a session to begin.  I’d ask what genre they wrote in.  I got a lot of Mystery, Thriller or Suspense answers mostly.  Being polite folks, they’d then ask me what I write.  Yeah, I got some internal eye rolling from fellow writers.  As if they thought romance was beneath them or somehow easier to write than say a mystery.

Okay, I’ll admit some romance books are somewhat formulaic.  They tend to go something like this:

Typical Romance book plot movements

  • Intro Girl
  • Intro Boy
  • Neither looking for love
  • Boy and girl meet in peculiar way
  • Accident brings them together again
  • Immediate attraction
  • They start to get together
  • Something happens to make him doubt her
  • They get back together
  • Something happens to make her doubt him
  • They get back together
  • They face some challenge together
  • They overcome and live happily ever after

I should know, I read tons of these books and believe me, this formula is very accurate.

when-boy-meets-girl

Yet, I call myself a romance writer and none of my books follow anything like this lazy formula.  I write literature.  But try to explain this to those pesky other genre folks who simply read one bad romance novel and wrote off the entire genre.  Seems a bit unfair, no?

So what do we do about it?

Well, besides hold ourselves to a higher standard, I don’t suppose there’s much we can do as romance writers.  I guess that’s why I say I write romance with a twist. The twist being I don’t follow the typical formula. My books tend to be as quirky as I am, and let’s face it, I can be downright strange at times … or so I’ve been told by folks who call themselves my friends despite my odd yet endearing habits.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, writer of such wonderfully fantastic novels as If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story (yes, it’s a romance novel, but it ROCKS!) and The Purity of Blood Novel Series (Yes, romance too, but it’s totally better than those stupid mystery thrillers, No?)

If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online, by Jennifer Geoghan

20 Oct 2015: Art versus Cash … The Writer’s Heart

I think one of my more interesting observations over my weekend at the Florida Writers Association Conference here in Orlando was the difference between those who write for the love of it, for the artistry involved in bringing their stories to life … and those who write for money.  There’s this one guy I’ve seen around town before at meetings that at this conference I finally realized why I’ve never really liked him.  For him it’s all about the money.  He’d write anything for a buck and has no concern for how it’s crafted and molded to perfection.  Not surprisingly, he writes non-fiction, but he’d be willing to pump out anything for a buck.

Conceptual 3d abstract illustration.

He loves to tell you how he’s got 80 books out there for sale, but I’ve seen some of those books.  Large type and few pages, they are, his grab for the quick cash.

Me, I’m an artist with words.  I’d never put anything out there in the world that I didn’t believe would make this world or a person better for having read it.  No, I’m not Monet or Rembrandt yet, but I’m working on it.  🙂

lisasaint

As I heard several times over weekend of the conference, if you want to be rich …. don’t be a writer! 

Very few of us make it to the big time and live on the easy street where our name alone on the cover is enough to rake in the sales.  Write because you love words and the craft of molding them into characters and stories that you’d love to read yourself.  Don’t be like Mr. Cash mentioned above who says you should find out what’s trending now, write a short book in that genre, pump it out as fast as you can and cash in on the trend.  I actually saw him go up to one of the speakers before a session began and start talking about how he loved these girls who started writing books about dinosaur porn because they realized they could make a fortune selling them on Amazon.  The speaker was politely listening, but it was pretty easy to tell he was as offended by this guy as I was.  The speaker is an author who with a masters in creative writing was here to talk about selling and marketing books on Amazon, something he was doing very well.  I think it was sitting there and watching the look on his poor face as he listened to Mr. Cash rave on about how you could make money selling books on Dinosaur Porn that I realized that to some folks, the ‘creative’ part of creative writing is an elusive mystery of life they’ll probably never understand.

Really, I just find it kind of sad.  Believe it or not, Mr. Cash actually makes a living by helping writers publish their work.  I for one would rather slug it out on my own than have someone like that in my life.  I feel sad for him because he’s in an industry of passion and his passion is completely misplaced. He’ll never know the joy of a book launch where you hit publish on KDP and feel a tear in your eye because it’s like giving breath to your baby.  For him it’s about money only and there are no tears of joy there.

So, what are your thoughts on writing for the joy of it vs. writing purely for profit?

Should we be in it to be Monet, or for the Money?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

19 Oct 2015: Too bad … So sad :-(

This past weekend I attended the Florida Writers Association Conference here in Orlando.  WOW!  What a wealth of information I managed to glean.  I’ve got stuff to post about for quite some time, so hold on to your hats, folks!

While at the conference, I paid a little extra to get an appointment with a literary agent so I could pick her brain about the direction I should take my career in.  I don’t have an agent and have never tried to get one.

So here’s the bad news ….

originalTurns out an agent isn’t interested in anything I’ve already self published.  Since their job is to help get me published, in their eyes, they see my self published work as “already published.”  Dang!  Talk about taking the wind out of your sails.  So basically, if I want to get an agent I’m starting at square one.

The really bad side of this is that I need an “unpublished” manuscript to shop around to get an agent, to use to entice an agent to book me.  The agent will in turn take that manuscript and shop it around to publishers.  So the book I’m currently working on, I’ve decided to not self publish and use as that unpublished one.  That’s hard!  I mean I love this book already and really want to send my baby out into the world, but alas … the world will have to wait.

This really sucks because it could take me six months to a year to find an agent (if I find one at all) and then have to wait another six months to a year after that to get a publishing deal.  My book might not see the light of day in a bookstore for a few years!!  Yes I said YEARS!!

Sigh …

But that’s the way it is and there’s no use crying about it.  What it really means is that I need to crank it into high gear and get this book written to perfection and send it on its merry way so I can focus on another project.

So I’m curious … What are everyone else’s thoughts on this whole process??  Do tell.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood Novel Series and If Love is a Lie: A Party True Love Story

14 Oct 2015: Is your book cover in a frame at Michael’s?

What on earth is she talking about this time?  Michael’s?  The art supply and craft store?  Yep, the very same one.

Back in May I did a blog post about how the image you might buy for a book cover off some internet sight is likely to also be sold to someone else and could end up as a book cover for them as well as you.  Not cool!

I sited this photo I found while searching for my own book cover image:

Same Photo 1

So a couple of days ago I was trolling the aisles at Michael’s looking for a frame and look what I came across:

20151011_163403

Couple

So does this couple look familiar?  Yep, it’s the same couple I was commenting on last May.  Now whoever is selling these frames to Michael’s is using them as the cozy couple behind the glass.  So … this means your book cover image might be on sale at Michael’s some day!  Food for thought!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood Novels and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.

Link to the original post: Click Here

13 Oct 2015: What to do with Old Copies of your Books

While on a recent cleaning streak through my apartment, I came across the boxes of old copies of my books.  They are the paper copies that I used to edit.  I’m old school and like to hand edit my books with a pen.  Anyway, I did at time need to reference an older copy of the book and so kept these copies in a box.  Well … actually three large boxes now taking up residence in my one closet for storage.  Yet, I’m a sentimental fool and hate to toss them out.  They are the story of how my books came to be.  So I came up with the idea to do an art project with them.  Usually I paint for art projects, but this time I did a collage of my first novel, The Purity of Blood.  It’s quite large, 30×40 inches, but then again, it’s a long book!

P1040809

How did I make it?  I bought a pre-made canvas at Michael’s and some Mod Podge to do the decoupage with.  It’s basically white glue.  I used a foam brush to apply the glue to the pieces of my book that I cut out.

P1040808

P1040806I trimmed the edges as much as possible so that more of the text would show through and also picked pages that had my favorite spots in the book or really good hand written edits.  I also added in some maps of the areas my book is set as well as a few other little items of interest.

P1040807

P1040804

Yet, when I was just about finished, it still seemed to be lacking something, so I splattered red paint on it to look like blood.  It’s a vampire love story after all!

P1040812

Now I have a really cool reminder of just how much work went into that first book of mine.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood Novels and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.

26 Sept 2015: A Great Book … With Poor Promotion :-(

I read a good ebook this week on my Kindle.  Not sure how I found it, but it’s call The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneaux.

TMCmidsizeimagewebpage

If you’re a genealogist like myself as well as a writer, it’s got it all.  The basics of the story is that the man buys a vintage marriage certificate from an antique shop and decides to figure out who these people were and see if he can find any living descendants of the couple to give the certificate to.  The other story in the book takes place back in time and is the real story of that couple.   It’s a great book, but ….

When I got to the end of the story, there are no links to his other books or an Amazon author page for me to find out more about the man who wrote such an interesting story.   I have to say, I was really disappointed.   I searched Amazon and found he had no other books listed so I’m out of luck there.  Then I decided to google him.  When I did, I found he had a website after all!

http://www.themarriagecertificate.com/

I have to say, the website has some interesting background on how he came up with the idea for the book.  If I were him, I’d have written that as A Note From The Author at the back of the book and embed a link to his website as well. Even if he isn’t looking to cross promote other novels he’s written, he could have enhanced his readers experience with that added info at the end of the book and the link would have added photos of the places visited in the book.

bible-author-note-2

Like I said, I really enjoyed this novel.  The characters are very engaging, so much so that when they start to die out of no where, I was totally shocked!  Anyway, I’m posting about it because it was a great example of a wonderful book that is totally lacking in the promotion department.  It’s such an easy thing to do to embed links at the end of your novel.  Write up your author Bio and put it in the back.  Readers want to know about the person who wrote the book they just read.  If it was inspired by actual events as this book was, THEY REALLY WANT TO KNOW THAT!  Yes, he has a website, but I had to go off Amazon and my Kindle to google it.  I’m afraid that’s not quite good enough these days.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.

20 Sept 2015: Good advice from Sandra “6 Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books”

Although I read a lot of blogs on the topic of writing, publishing and publicity, I don’t share much of what I see there.  I’ll be honest and say that for me, not much of what they blog seems relevant.   Either that or their blog post is really an advertisement for something they’re trying to sell.  Today however, I came across a very interesting post with some good info I wanted to pass along.

The following is from: writerswin.com/six-magic-phrases-you-can-use-to-sell-more-books/

Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz was guest posting on this blog and here’s what she had to say:

While attending uPublishU at Book Expo America as a speaker at the end of May, I sat in on several excellent panel presentations. One that I found particularly helpful shared the results of testing that BookBub has done on the text used to describe books offered for sale in its daily newsletters.

The company did A/B testing of different text elements. A/B testing basically means that they sent newsletters with “copy A” to one part of their list and newsletters with “copy B” to another part of the list, and then compared sales results for each version. Each A/B mailing tested a different variable.

The results are fascinating – and they will help you as you write the text for your Amazon sales page, your website, your book announcement press release, your e-mail announcement, and other promotional materials that will help you sell more books, too!

Here are the lessons from BookBub’s research:

  1. Quote a person, not a publication. When adding a blurb to your description (“A must for your beach read bag!”), quote an author, not a publication. Tests showed that descriptions with an endorsement from an individual sold more books than descriptions with blurbs from the press, such as Publishers Weekly.
  2. Help your target audience see themselves in your description. “If you love thrillers, don’t miss this action-packed read!” sold more books than “An action-packed read!” In other words, tell sweet romance readers, history lovers, etc., that your book is for them. Don’t force them to figure it out for themselves.
  3. For historical fiction, add a time period. Again, you’re helping your target audience by saying, “This is for you.”
  4. Tell people you have good reviews. Citing the number of Goodreads reviews sold more books than not referencing them at all. I have to admit that this trick does work with me. I buy through BookBub regularly and when I see that there were 500 five-star reviews on Amazon, I pay attention.
  5. When you’ve got reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, reference the higher number. In the example presented, the description that referred to more than 1,000 give-star reviews on Goodreads sold more books than the description that referenced more than 150 five-star reviews on Amazon. It’s the number of good reviews then, not the site of the reviews, that matters.
  6. Include awards. If your book won an award, mention it. You’ll sell more books.

Here’s what didn’t matter:

  • Bestseller type (New York Times vs. USA Today, for example)

  • Posing a hook as a question rather than as a statement

  • Mentioning the age of the protagonist

  • Mentioning it’s the author’s debut book

I thought I’d pass this info along since as I’ve mentioned before, I’m always struggling to come up with good book blurbs that reflect the book and will also aid in sales.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.

The Purity of Blood

19 Sept 2015: More Book Covers I Like

As you know, I like to troll through ebook covers to assist me in learning what to and more importantly not to do when creating my book covers.  If I listed the covers I didn’t like, I’d never blog about anything else.  Besides, I’m not the kind of person that poo poo’s on another authors work.   So here are some covers I recently came across that struck my eye as especially good ones.

Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid:  Okay, the title lettering could be a tad bit better, but I just love how the “elemental woman” draws you in. Very clever and unusual enough to make you want to take a peek inside.

Boycotts and Barflies by Victoria Michaels

Boycotts and Barflies by Victoria Michaels

Boycotts and Barflies by Victoria Michaels:  Cinderella’s glass slipper has never looked sexier!  I’m wondering what they’re boycotting.  Are you?

The Other Side of Eve by Paul Ikin

The Other Side of Eve by Paul Ikin

The Other Side of Eve by Paul Ikin:  This kind of treatment can go so bad so easily, but not this cover.  It’s sweet in a creepy kind of way, and inviting.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson:  Book covers with smiling raccoons normally are a turn off for me, but this one really has me wanting to find out what’s going on inside this book that they’d put this little fella on the cover.

Six of Crows by Leigh B Ardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh B Ardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh B Ardugo:  I just love how the tips of the crows wings make up some kind of castle.  The title is clear and the imagery sharp.

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen:  Sometimes it’s all about how you place the title on the cover.  This is definitely the case here.

Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak

Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak

Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak:  Normally I’m not a fan of the half and half/two image book cover, but here it works.  I think it’s all in the creative way they interlaced the images and also kept the color palate simple.

The Prettiest One by James Hankins

The Prettiest One by James Hankins

The Prettiest One by James Hankins:  If you want to go simple on your cover, it’s all about creativity.  Had it just been one profiled face, this cover would have fallen flat.  This one has you taking a double take in the best way possible.

Perigord by Marc Lindsay

Perigord by Marc Lindsay

Perigord by Marc Lindsay:  I have to admit that most books in this young adult fantasy genre are duds to me.  It’s like they think kids aren’t smart enough to appreciate a good cover or something like that.   This one is simple, but the imagery conveys the atmosphere of the book without being cluttered up with other story elements as other covers do.

The Color of our Sky by Amita Trasi

The Color of our Sky by Amita Trasi

The Color of our Sky by Amita Trasi:  I love this cover.  It’s clear, concise and has an air of mystery that makes you want to see what it’s about.

So that’s it.  I’ll post another post with more covers when I come across more.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.

13 Sept 2015: What’s in a Name? And where to find one?

Inspiration tends to come in the strangest of places … at least it does for me.  While cleaning out the lost and found at work, I came across the following book.  When I curiously opened it, I discovered something I could have used a long time ago.  I’ve never had a baby and don’t plan on having one, but I do have a copy of The Best Baby Name Book in my library now!

img405Odd?  Undoubtedly so.  But when I looked inside I found a cure for that old dilemma … what to name a character.  How many hours have a sat around pondering what to name him or her.  Too many, that’s for sure.  Now I have this lovely resource to consult.

img406

Now that I’m starting to really build steam on pulling together an outline for my next novel, I totally plan on using this book to help me pick names out for some of my lesser characters.  Somehow those always seem to be the hardest for me to come up with names for.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share in case this helps anyone else out there.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood Novels and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.