Thursday, March 31, 2011

Under the Covers

Behold the beautiful new cover for BETWEEN, courtesy of Clare and David at Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design ( This is the thumbnail for ebooks. Get a load of the print cover!

It's breathtaking, isn't it? I would totally understand if you need a minute to admire their handiwork. Whenever I'm feeling down, I pull up the file and just stare it. Works every time.

I have to give a shout out to Clare and David because working with them was a joy. I showed them the cover I'd mocked up myself and they were able to stay with my original concept, but crank it up a notch (or three) to make it look more professional. I wanted it simple, bold and attention-grabbing. Check, check and oh yes, check!

If you are in need of editing and design services, I wholeheartedly recommend Woulds & Shoulds. Tell them I sent you!

Have you connected with great freelance artists, editors, etc on the path to publication? If so, share your great finds! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Self-publishing is Exhausting!

When I read that Indie Princess Amanda Hocking had sold a 4-book series to St. Martin's for over $2 million, I'll admit that my first thought was "She sold out!" But she explained to readers that she did it because she wants to spend her time writing, not doing all the other things that self-published authors have to do.

Now that I am knee-deep in the self-pub process, I completely understand what she means. It's downright exhausting (hence the picture of our kitty Sam when he was little- isn't he cute??).

My book will be "released" on June 1 and in order to kick off a book blog tour on that date, I need to have ARCs to bloggers by the first of May. That means that the book has to be polished and ready to go by the first part of April so I have time to get a proof, check it, and do another if needed.

Formatting the book for print and ebook is an undertaking (I am currently stuck in header/footer hell), not to mention the work that goes into making an attractive cover (I will spill more news on that in the coming days). But that's not the whole of it.

The truly exhausting part of self-publishing is the marketing.

Besides blogging and Twitter, I created a Facebook author page and spent hours trying to figure out how to add "like" buttons and widgets to the blog. You can see that I have been unsuccessful in that endeavor. :(

Here are some other items on my to-do list:
  • Create a book page on Goodreads
  • Create an author page on Goodreads
  • Create an author page on Amazon
  • Create an author profile on
  • Record a reading of the intro chapters of my book for the radio spot
  • Create my own website since I now have the domain
  • Finish creating my YA author and blogger list on Twitter
  • Solicit more reviewers to participate in the book blog tour/review ARCs
  • Set up an "event" on Facebook regarding the book release
  • Set up giveaways on Goodreads
  • Post details about the release on group forums in Goodreads and LinkedIn
  • Set up a reading with my local bookstore
  • Reach out to reviewers who liked it on Authonomy, Wattpad and Inkpop
All of this is while doing the editing and production prep for the book. Don't even get me started on the fact that what I really want to do is to get the sequel whipped into shape!

Yep, I think if I were Amanda Hocking, I'd take the $2 million, too.

What about you? Are there marketing pieces on your list that I have missed on mine?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DoReMi... A Contest in Voice

The uber fabulous Brenda Drake is hosting another blogfest, this time one that focuses on voice. She has invited us to post the first 250 words of our book so readers can offer their thoughts.

What do you think? Does this little snippet make you want to read on to find out what happens?

Name: Cyndi Tefft
Title: Between
Genre: YA paranormal romance

Ravi’s lips were soft and familiar against mine, but my mind was elsewhere, obsessing about my upcoming finals. “Lindsey, you’re so beautiful,” he said, pressing me against the seat of the car. His mouth trailed over my jaw to my neck, his breath warm in my ear.

“I love you,” he whispered.

That snapped me back to reality.

Damn. I liked Ravi, I really did, but not as much as he liked me. The kissing was nice, but I didn’t feel IT, the connection, the zing. The L word? Damn, damn, damn! I didn’t want to lose him as a friend and I did love him, in a way. Just not that way.

“Ravi…” I began and he stiffened.

“You know what, never mind. Just forget I said anything, okay?” He jerked away, his voice tight with embarrassment. He turned the key and the engine roared to life.

“No, really, it’s just…”

He flicked on the high beams. “Let’s just go.”

Fat droplets of rain splattered on the windshield and built into a steady drumming on the roof. The swish of the wipers and the hum of the heater echoed in the chasm between us and I struggled to think of a way to alleviate the tension. He flipped on the radio and the sound of screeching guitars raked my nerves.

The highway was deserted and we hadn’t seen another car pass by us for miles. As he started around a corner, I touched him on the arm.

“Ravi, I’m sorry.”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Who's reading young adult anyway?

I have long wondered what the young adult readership demographic looks like, whether YA books are read more by teens or adults. Apparently, I am not alone in musing about that topic! Goodreads has put together an awesome analysis (with charts!) showing the ages of their members who have marked certain YA books as "read."

You might be surprised!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A day to throw back and it hasn't even started yet

This is how my morning has gone:

4am- Son wakes me up to tell me he doesn't have his pajamas on. This, of course, I already knew since I put him to bed in his street clothes last night after he had a humongous meltdown at the dinner table.

5am- After tossing and turning for an hour, I fall asleep.

5:15am- I'm awakened by the screeching yowl of cats having sex outside the window.

6:00am- The alarm goes off an hour earlier than usual, since I have a breakfast seminar downtown. I hit the snooze twice then drag my weary carcass into the shower.

6:30am- I get dressed in nice clothes (instead of the normal jeans and tennies that I wear to work each day), only to discover that I have no dress shoes. I gave hubby the ok to pack them for our move in two weeks. Get undressed. Put nice clothes away. Put on jeans and tennies.

6:45am- Grab my book and head to the car. Remember on the way there that I still need to look up directions to the high rise where the seminar is being held. Sit at desk, scribble notes from the computer.

7:10am- Get off the freeway into downtown. Can't find the building. Every high rise looks exactly the same and none are marked with the address. Spied the building once as I passed by, but was unable to slow down due to the crush of traffic. Can't find the parking garage. Circle around downtown for half an hour. Scream and swear at my windshield. Finally give up.

7:40am- Drive to work, park in the garage and realize that I left my book on the desk so I have nothing to read at lunch. Have meltdown of my own and consider going to bed in my street clothes.

7:45am- Type up blog post for therapy so you can all feel my pain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I totally forgot to tell you!

I was on vacation at the end of February when the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award finalists were announced.

I made it! Woohoo!

Five thousand writers entered the YA category and the first cut took it down to 1000. Scroll to Tefft to see my name listed. The next cut takes it down to 250 and will be announced on March 22.

*fingers crossed*

Yay, me!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Covers on my bed and in my head

If you follow me on Facebook, you already know I have been sick for the last several days. Bleugh... That's unfun in a big, fat, lousy, whiny, Oh-God-when-is-it-going-to-end kind of way. So I won't bore you with the details, other than to say I have been in bed for much of the last few days (hence the covers on my bed).

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about a new cover for Between and was able to do a little research online today. I can't afford to have a pro do the cover, so I have to rely on my own piece-it-together skills (until the cash starts rolling in- ha!). I found a great site I wanted to share with you, in case you were in the same boat.

You can get royalty-free images that can be used for book covers at Some beautiful stuff there (700 pages in the "playing with light" section alone!).

If you made your own book cover, share tips and tricks on how you did it. If you do graphic design and feel the need to help out poor pitiful me, all the better (said through a cloud of antihistamines, so I may have to strike that pitiful plea later).

I raise my hot toddy to you and hope you stay clear of the fug!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Step Closer to "Real" Authordom

I took the plunge today and set up an author page on Facebook. I harangued my friends and Twitter followers to "like" the page so I could get a custom URL for sharing. And they came through for me, pushing me over that 25 like minimum. So the page is

I wanted to make it just my name, but couldn't since I had used that for my personal username. I changed the personal username (which you can do once), thinking that would free up "cynditefft" for use on the Author page, but it didn't. It just put it into archives or something. Sigh...

I also spent the better part of the day trying to link Facebook to Twitter or vice versa. Even though I found exactly how to do it, neither site worked. Nor could I link Twitter to the blog. Fail!

I will give it another go (feel free to share debugging tips, if you have experienced this). Still, yay for the author page! One huge step for authorkind, ya know! :)

Web design skills- NOT!

I'll admit that I don't have the most exciting looking blog, but I do what I can to spruce it up when I can figure out how. I got rid of the Goodreads bookshelf that was there before (which didn't really work as I'd hoped), and replaced it with a book montage of my 4 and 5 star rated books from Goodreads.

Now you can see all the books that I think are definitely worth reading, with their pretty covers and all! I got the idea from Amanda Hocking's blog.

If you have a blog, what are your favorite design elements that you've added? How did you find them (or how to add them)?