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Wasabi and Romance: Camy Tang Interview

I’d like to introduce you to the wonderful Camy Tang!

Camy writes romance with a kick of wasabi – whether that kick comes from the sass in her chick lit or the danger in her suspense novels. The wasabi also references the Asian American characters in her novels.

This post has been a long time coming, since I lost access to this blog for many months. So Camy’s book Formula for Danger has been out for a while. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Someone wants dermatologist Rachel Grant’s latest research, and they’ll do anything to get it. Including trashing the plants needed for her breakthrough scar-reducing cream—and trying to run Rachel down. Desperate for help, she turns to Edward Villa, the only man she trusts. But the greenhouse owner knows too much about Rachel’s research, and now he’s a target, too. Break-ins, muggings, murder…the would-be thief is getting desperate—and getting closer. Edward vows to protect Rachel at all costs. Yet with time ticking away, Edward knows they have to uncover the madman shadowing Rachel before their chance for a future is destroyed.

Camy just self-published the fourth book in her Sushi Series, Weddings and Wasabi. Isn’t the cover amazing? Here’s a quick synopsis:

After finally graduating with a culinary degree, Jennifer Lim is pressured by her family to work at her control-freak aunty’s restaurant. But after a family dispute, Jenn is determined to no longer be a doormat and instead starts her own catering company. Her search for a wine merchant brings John into her life-a tall, dark, handsome biker in form-fitting black leather, who’s Hispanic to boot. It would be wonderfully wild to snag a man like that! Shy engineer Edward tentatively tries out his birthday present from his winery-owner uncle-a Harley-Davidson complete with the trimmings. Jennifer seems attracted to the rough, aggressive image, but it isn’t his real self. Is she latching onto him just to spite her horrified family? And if this spark between them is real, will showing her the true guy underneath put it out? And what’s with the goat in the backyard?

Her next book, with Zondervan, is due this November. It’s called Protection for Hire, and Camy had this to say about it on her blog:

I loved this book because it enabled me to channel my Nikita-Alias side in writing the heroine, who is ex-Japanese mafia. She finds Jesus in jail and now is trying to use her skill set to help people rather than breaking kneecaps.

Here’s the book blurb:

Tessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa’s abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son. But there’s a problem or two … or three …. There’s Elizabeth’s abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There’s Uncle Teruo, who doesn’t understand why Tessa’s new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there’s Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn’t know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars. Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch. Factor in both Tessa’s and Charles’s families and you’ve got some wild dynamics—and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.

Now for my interview with Camy!

What do you wish you knew about promotion before your first novel came out?

That you don’t have to do EVERYTHING people say you have to do, and that you can instead focus your time, energy, and money on what your particular marketing strengths are.

Which has worked best for spreading the word about your novel, online promotion (website, email lists, social networking) or offline promotion (direct mail, booksignings, media ads)? Why?

It’s hard for me to tell how my promotion is going because there’s no direct correlation with sales. However, for the past year, I’ve been praying more about my promotion and marketing and paying more attention to what God has been telling me to do or not do, as opposed to simply doing what I thought would be best. It has reduced my stress levels because I’m trusting Him to manage my sales. Let’s see how my sales go! LOL

If you could only promote your novel in ONE way, which way would you choose?

My strength is in online marketing, so I’d focus on that. I enjoy blogging and I’d probably spend more time doing that if I only chose one marketing tool.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to promote a novel?

I don’t think this is really crazy, but I did put my book covers on those big magnets to put on car doors and sent the magnets to my parents in Hawaii. They’ve been my best promoters by far, so I figured I’d send some promotional dollars their way and see if it helps. 🙂

Tell me about your latest novel. Does it have any special challenges for promotion or interesting marketing angles?

My September [2010] novel is a romantic suspense titled Formula for Danger. I wanted to try something different for this book as opposed to the usual blog tour, so I’m doing two things:

1) I started a Street Team and I’m offering Formula for Danger copies as prizes rather than giving copies away on blogs during a blog tour.

2) I’m going to focus my blogging on “DVD extras” about the book that might make people more interested in it, and hopefully go out and buy it. 🙂 The DVD extras were actually really fun to come up with, so at the very least, I’ll really be enjoying my blogging during September.

A final fun one: What fictional character (film, TV, or literary) do you feel is most like you? Why?

Chloe from the TV show 24. She’s uber geeky, not always up on her social skills, but she also has a heart of gold. At least, I think I’m like that. My husband had a rather fixed smile on his face when he agreed I have a heart of gold. 😉

A bit more about Camy:

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious mutt, Snickers. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. She belongs to several writers’ groups including American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and she won first place in the Debut Author category and second place in the Chick lit category of the ACFW Book of the Year awards with her novel, Sushi for One?. Find her online at:

Her website

Her blog

Wide Open Spaces: Mary Connealy Interview

Wildflower Bride smTo kick off this series of posts interviewing some awesome novelists, I’d like to welcome Mary Connealy! Mary writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is the author of the Lassoed in Texas series: Petticoat Ranch, the Christy Award-nominated Calico Canyon, and Gingham Mountain. Her newest series is Montana Marriages:  Montana Rose, The Husband Tree, and upcoming book three, Wildflower Bride. A stand-alone romantic comedy with cowboys, Cowboy Christmas, released in September. Black Hills Blessing, a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, is in bookstores now.

What do you wish you knew about promotion before your first novel came out?Black Hills Blessing sm

Well, the main thing was what a surprise it was. I just had no idea it would be such a big part of getting a book published. I’ve tried very hard to do my share of promotion, but I really didn’t expect it to be so many hours of my time. I’ve found I enjoy it though, so a NICE surprise.

Which has worked best for spreading the word about your novel, online promotion (website, email lists, social networking) or offline promotion (direct mail, booksignings, media ads)? Why?

I felt like so much of what I learned came through ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers. I learned so much about all of those things from that group. I do a large amount of promotion online, through my blogs and a newsletter and social networking, I consider it all part of the job. I also do book signings and I’ve done radio and newspaper and magazine interviews, but those seem to be far more work for the people you reach.

If you could only promote your novel in ONE way, which way would you choose?

Blogging I suppose. I have three blogs and between them we are getting up to six thousand hits a day. I don’t think I get any better connection in any other way.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to promote a novel?

Hmmmmmmm…Crazy, huh? Well, I’ve given speeches to school groups and I throw candy at them. Not TOO them, you understand. At them. Lots of excitement there, sometimes that gets a little bit crazy. I went to Husker Harvest Days in a town about five hours from my home and gave speeches to a mostly empty tent for three days. I followed a cowboy poet who just PACKED the place. A lesson in humility. I wish I could tell you I did something like rented a plane to sky write my book’s title across the sky, but nope. Nothing that exciting.

Tell me about your latest novel. Does it have any special challenges for promotion or interesting marketing angles?

I’m in the middle of a new series. I had so much fun with The Husband Tree that most of the promotion for it is just pure fun. I love this book. And the third book in the series, Wildflower Bride, is coming soon. The challenges are, I guess, keeping it all together. Keeping up with all the things I want so badly to do to give my books the best launch possible.

A final fun one: What fictional character (film, TV, or literary) do you feel is most like you? Why?gilligan

I should probably give this more thought, but the first think that popped into my head was Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island. The dorky, funny one who always messes up. That describes me pretty well.

A little bit about The Husband Tree:

Belle Tanner buries her third worthless husband and makes a vow over his shallow grave. She’s learned her lesson. No more men.

Silas Harden just lost his second ranch because of a woman. The first deserted him when times got tough. Now he’s had to quit the whole state of New Mexico to avoid a trumped-up shotgun wedding and the noose of matrimony. He’s learned his lesson. No mHusbandTree smore women.

Belle needs hired hands to move a cattle herd late in the season and there’s no one around but seemingly aimless Silas. She hires him reluctantly.

Silas signed on, glad for the work, though worried about a woman doing such a thing as hiring drovers, only to find out he’s the lone man going with five woman, including a baby still in diapers. After the cattle drive is over, he might as well shoot himself to speed up the process of being embarrassed to death.

A fast approaching winter.

The toughest lady rancher you’ve ever seen.

A cynical cowboy who has to convince five women he’s right for their ma . . . and then convince himself.

And one thousand head of the crankiest cattle who have ever been punched across the backbone of the Rockies.mary_pic

Find Mary online at:
Petticoats & Pistols
Her Blog
Her Website

Pros and Cons of Blog Tours – Part 3

The third (and final, at least for the purposes of this series) type of blog tour I’m calling a Progressive Tour. Rather than focusing on a specific day, or three days, or week – like the previous tours we discussed do – this tour can stretch out for weeks, even months.

How progressive tours generally work is you ask bloggers if you can write a guest post for their blog. You create a schedule so you have a guest post appearing on a different blog every (or every other) weekday for a set time period. Each post is unique and based on the blogger’s needs. Many ask interview questions. Some may want to review your book. Others may be more writer-focused and would like you to share some tips.

This type of tour requires a lot of work, but since the posts come out gradually you don’t need to write them all at once (though it’s helpful if you do have them finished before the tour starts, or at least a general idea of what you’ll be writing about). You’ll also have more time to comment and interact with readers of each post.

If you have your own blog with a good amount of readers, you’ll want to keep them informed about the tour, which can get a little tricky if you’re not used to posting every day (it’s a great way to help you get started with that, though!). You’ll want to create a teaser blurb for each post, and link directly to the post after it’s live. You’ll also want to include a “master list” post that shows all the stops on the blog tour.

Camy Tang is a talented author who has progressive tours down to a science. Here’s the master list from the blog tour for her latest novel, Deadly Intent.

If you choose to do a progressive tour, remember – every day of the tour you’ll need to:

  1. Post on your blog with a teaser blurb and permalink (no, you can’t schedule this because you need to wait until the post goes live to get the permalink)
  2. Update your master list post with the permalink
  3. Visit the blog after the post has been up for a little while to thank the blogger and respond to comments

So which kind of tour is right for you and your novel? I don’t know – maybe you’ll be adventurous and try all three! But I hope these posts will help you make an informed decision based on how much work is involved and how you want to reach readers. I wish you great success in your novel promotion!

Pros and Cons of Blog Tours – Part 2

The second kind of blog tour I call Participation Tours. Like cookie-cutter tours, they focus on posting about your book on a certain day or series of days. However, bloggers don’t have content to cut and paste (though some still paste information like back cover copy), so the posts require significant more work on the blogger’s part. Media copies are usually still provided, and you may be asked to provide unique content for specific bloggers.

You can see that this type of blog tour may get time-consuming, especially if you’re getting interview requests from ten different bloggers that all need them within the week. Usually, however, this type of tour has a smaller number of participants than the cookie-cutter tour.

Another aspect (not always present) of a Participation Tour is linking to other bloggers on the tour. While this would make little sense in a cookie-cutter tour, in a Participation Tour every blog has unique content. There is often a list of links to the other blogs on the tour at the end of the post, and bloggers are encouraged to comment on other posts in the tour.

This type of tour may not generate the sheer quantity of Amazon links that cookie-cutter tours do, but it outclasses them in quality. People will be actively discussing your book. One drawback to this is that their opinions may not always be positive. They (usually) invested time to read your book, and if they hate it, they’ll let you know. Or at least point out a few things that may make you squirm.

Don’t response in anger if a blogger doesn’t like your novel. If you can’t reply civilly, ignore the post. Often, if the remarks are unjustified, other bloggers on the tour will come to your defense.

If you have the time (and if you don’t, try to make it!), comment on all the tour posts, thanking the bloggers and addressing any questions that may come up. You may want to wait until the day or two after the tour so others have time to comment first.

I belong to one Participation Tour group, the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour.

Seekerville: Publicity 101

Seasoned literary publicist Sabrina Sumsion has an excellent post on publicity this week on Seekerville:

Publicity 101

Pros and Cons of Blog Tours – Part 1

Within the past 5 years, blog tours have become an increasingly popular form of novel promotion. I myself am a part of three tour groups that focus on Christian fiction. There are many different types of book blog tours, and groups tend to focus on one in particular.

Each of the different types of tour have their own strengths and weaknesses. Which ones you (or your publisher) decide to schedule for your novel will depend on what kind of publicity your book needs.

The first kind of blog tour (or blour, as author Brandilyn Collins deemed them) I’ll call a Cookie-Cutter Tour. Blog tour participants simply have to cut and paste content telling about your book into a blog post on a certain day or week, and hit publish. Often the tour group leaders encourage individual reviews and content, but it’s not required. The publisher or author agrees to supply media copies for the participants to review if they choose, along with content for the blog post. Some groups (like the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance) charge for this service, others (like FIRST Blog Alliance) do not.

Cookie-Cutter Tours generate a lot of links to your book’s Amazon page and your website within just a few days. Their effectiveness to create buzz is, however, hindered by the sameness of the posts. Buyers usually need a number of exposures to the product (in this case, your book) before they will purchase it, but those exposures need to be varied. While each blog that hosts your book on a tour gets the message out to more potential readers, in truth there’s a lot of overlap between blog viewers. If a blog viewer sees an identical post about your book on blog after blog, he or she will tune it out quickly. It will be like viewing the same commercial a dozen times in a row.

So if you choose to book a Cookie-Cutter Tour for your novels, for the most impact try to find a diverse group of  bloggers without much viewer overlap.

Marketing Seminar Just For Novelists

Seasoned agent Chip MacGregor is offering a two-day intensive seminar – solely for novelists who want to learn how to promote and market their novels. Because, face it, most marketing instruction is aimed for non-fiction authors. Novelists tend to yawn when they’re told to develop side products for their books and to write articles so they’re seen as an expert in their field. That’s one reason I started this blog, to shine a light on the few bits of marketing advice fiction authors need. And now, there’s a whole seminar about it!

Actually – two! One in Dallas and one in Indianapolis.

Go to Chip’s blog to find out more. And take note of the special offer to save $199 on the seminar (that’s 40% off!).

How to Get Amazon Reviews for Your Novel is the one site where reviews have a direct impact on sales. Some glowing phrases and lots of stars and you’re set. No reviews and people will hesitate. A few disparaging remarks and one or two stars and people will move onto the next book. So how do you get good Amazon reviews?

I’m skimming by the fact that you must have written a good book. Your book is published now; so you can’t change anything about it.

Some authors give away copies of their book in exchange for reviews. This is great, especially if you have a group of influencers who love your work.

You can also link to Amazon’s page on your blog or website and ask readers to write a quick review if they liked your book. Most won’t take the extra step to click over to a different site, though. So how to reel in readers already on Amazon?

One excellent way is AmazonConnect. This allows you to directly connect with your readers right on Amazon. Cheryl Kaye Tardif wrote a great article to help authors get started on AmazonConnect – you can read it here. Bea Amor also shares how you can utilize the program and other services Amazon offers for authors.

How do you get Amazon reviews?

Interview Questions: Rough Draft

I want to interview some authors about their promotion methods, and I thought I’d ask all of you if you have any questions for them. Here are the questions I have so far – post any more you think of in the comments!

What do you wish you knew about promotion before your first novel came out?

Which has worked best for spreading the word about your novel, online promotion (website, email lists, social networking) or offline promotion (direct mail, booksignings, media ads)? Why?

If you could only promote your novel in ONE way, which way would you choose?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to promote a novel?

Tell me about your latest novel. Does it have any special challenges for promotion or interesting marketing angles?

A final fun one: What fictional character (film, TV, or literary) do you feel is most like you? Why?

How Blogs, Articles, and Social Bookmarking Feed Each Other

I wrote an article on how I use social networking to generate ideas for Xomba articles. This post twists around to another effective way different types of web content interact – with traffic benefits!

This journey began, yet again, with a Facebook ad. It’s amazing – amid all the incredibly stupid and misleading ads on Facebook, I found two awesome ones.

This ad led me to I really wasn’t looking for another writing avenue – I had Bukisa and eHow, both of which had yielded less than a dollar each for the time I invested (admittedly not much, but still several hours each). I had just deleted all of my articles on AddsYou (50ish) because of the low traffic and the developer’s preoccupation with his new TwitPic clone. I had four primary blogs and countless smaller ones, all of which I was consistently ignoring. I had my languishing WIP, a fantasy started years ago and mired somewhere along the way. I had (and still have!) a somewhat mundane job with an awesome company, and it looked like I’d be keeping it as the company’s imminent demise was averted. My passion for the written word was slowly drifting away.

Then, there was Xomba. The 50-word Xomblurbs intrigued me. I could sneeze 50 words. However, I didn’t join that day, but spent my breaks and that evening reading about others’ experiences with the site. I knew I wanted to sign up under someone’s referral so they would make money from my posts, and I settled on one writer whose articles about the site were particularly helpful, and who seemed friendly and approachable.

I wrote several Xomblurbs, including several that linked to blog posts on this site. While Promote Your Novel is all about promotion, truthfully I haven’t done much yet to promote this site. The reason for that is because I wanted to wait so I could put up more content. I didn’t want to get hundreds of visitors to a blog that only had one or two posts, and have them leave and never come back. So before I posted about it on Xomba, my highest day was two visitors. Most days were zero. After posting on Xomba, there were visitors every day, and a significant increase.

I took one aspect of writing for Xomba and wrote an eHow article about it. That was less than a week ago, and it’s already my highest-earning article on the site. I included my referral link, and am getting one referral a day.

So I blog, then bookmark the blog post on Xomba with a Xomblurb (I plan to later expand to other sites like InfoPirate). That earns me money, and also brings traffic to my site. I then write an article on the process of using these sites and earn more money and traffic.

I can finally see the process begin to snowball. Not a lot, but I’ve got from a marble-sized ball to a golf ball. I just need to remember to keep adding more snow (content) and not let what I’ve had melt away in the sun.