Back in 2011 when I was new on the Indie circuit, Smashwords was a dream come true. There was an aggregator that would distribute my books to retailers other than Amazon. I thought, “Yes! Upload my book and let them take care of it!”
In the five years since I’ve found Smashwords, I realized something: It hasn’t gotten any easier. The smallest thing can kick out your manuscript. No table of contents, no links to other retailers, no advertising free books on other sites… The list goes on and on. Not to mention, if you upload an EPUB file, they don’t convert it for you to a MOBI file. This means that all Kindle readers can’t download your book. In order to get a MOBI file on Smashwords, you have to upload your book in a Microsoft Word document. That’s its own sort of issues. I hate Word. I only use it when dealing with editors for the track changes.
I’ve started writing under a pen name and unlike Amazon, you have to create an entirely separate account on Smashwords for your pen name. This means logging in and out just to check your sales. It’s annoying and antiquated.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re asking yourself, “Why didn’t she switch to something else?” The answer: I didn’t know there was another option. Not until I read Nick Stephenson’s Reader Magnets, a quick PDF on how to grow your reader email list, did I realize there was another option. Draft2Digital.
Though Draft2Digital doesn’t have the reach of Smashwords, I still think its better. They still give you about 60% of your royalties (after taking their cut and the retailers taking theirs). Also, they do a lot of your book formatting for you. Take a look below.
Draft2Digital took all the guess work out. You could write a story in Word, upload it, and let them handle it. The fourth step is formatting a paperback, which apparently they take care of as well and then distribute it to Create Space. All my books are already paperbacks–and that was a formatting nightmare. I will definitely give Draft2Digital a chance on my next book when I need a paperback.
Though I appreciate all that Smashwords has done for me, I feel like it doesn’t hold a candle to Draft2Digital. Smashwords also pays quarterly versus monthly.
Now it’s just a waiting game to see if Draft2Digital lives up to its potential, but I’m hopeful.
I’m just gonna say it. I’m not on Facebook. Not really. Facebook scrambles stuff. Facebook decides for people what they’re going to see. I hate it. It bugs me. It’s a necessary evil for authors, apparently, so I do have a Facebook author page. I’m much more active on Goodreads and Instagram (sammgarman. Don’t forget to forget to follow me on Amazon so you get notified of new releases.
“You look different,” Aidan said, looking me up and down. “You’re in exercise clothes. I didn’t know you owned exercise clothes.”
I shrugged. “I went for a jog.”
“Okay, not so much a jog as a brisk walk to Peter Pan*. I ate three donuts and a Bavarian eclair.”
“Did the sugar help your writer’s block?”
“No. But it gave me the energy to clean the apartment.”
“The true definition of success.” His brow furrowed. “Did you know you have chocolate frosting in your hair?”
My hand went to my pony tail. “Where?”
Aidan chuckled and came to me, reaching out to touch my bangs. “How? I mean I know you, but how?”
“Sibby’s Law. Duh.”
“Right,” he said, drawing out the word, a cute little grin playing on his lips. “You’re fun.”
“You,” I said. “So. Do you have to go back to the bar, or do I have you for the night?”
“Caleb’s got the bar handled. I’m all yours.”
“Yeehaw. You ready for Thai take out and power watching Game of Thrones?”
“You want dinner after three donuts and a Bavarian eclair?”
“That was an appetizer,” I said.
“How are you not eight hundred pounds?” he wondered.
“You know, I ask myself that every day I wake up and have Lucky Charms for breakfast.”
“You lead a charmed life, don’t you?”
I jumped into his arms, forcing him to catch me. I rubbed my frosting bangs all over his face. “Damn right I lead a charmed life!”
*Peter Pan Bakery, only the best bakery in the history of the world.
When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.
When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.
Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.
When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.
The gorgeous cover and the interesting blurb drew me in immediately. I read the sample and was hooked. Unfortunately, those were the highlights of this book for me.
What we have is a classic case of great premise, terrible execution. First of all, I didn’t connect with ANY of the characters, not the romantic leads, not the grieving parents, not the cold sister. They all just seemed very flat and 2-dimensional, very cookie cutter, put into these boxes of how they were supposed to act and feel over Jade’s disappearance. Even the kidnapper–who we only get brief insights to–didn’t feel like a real human to me.
That was another thing. This girl is gone for a decade. A DECADE, and very little of the book even touches on what Jade’s time with her kidnapper was like. I felt like I would’ve connected more with Jade and her struggle to heal if I had some more backstory.
The author could’ve made this girls’ time in captivity really awful and gruesome. Don’t get me wrong, being chained and collared for ten years is terrible, but she wasn’t sexually or physically abused in any way. I’m not saying the author should’ve gone in that direction (because it would’ve been an obvious choice) but it just felt like the author didn’t go balls out and really f*ck this girl up. It would’ve been really difficult to read and process, but I think it would’ve made for a stronger story line.
This was a ‘love conquers all’ story. The boy-next-door and the love of Jade’s life, Torrin, never stopped searching for her or trying to get the police to reopen the case. Though he never gives up hope that she’s alive and waiting to be found, he still decided to enter the priesthood. Almost from the minute she gets back, he’s willing to throw out his vows and repledge his life to Jade. It was just so ‘I want there to be this big shock value’ moment, but I didn’t get it. I never understood his motivation. He hardly ever talks about religion, all that’s mentioned are his good deeds for the community. He could’ve done all that and not become a priest. I know his taking the cloth was supposed to be this great obstacle for Jade and Torrin to be together, but I found myself shaking my head and asking WTF on more than one occasion (BTW, if you want an illicit love affair about a priest, check out The Thornbirds. OMG!)
This book really didn’t work for me and I wanted it to. There were beautiful words and sentences but it wasn’t enough to deliver a heart-wrenching story about a woman’s survival.
What I’m reading now: Slave to Sensation (Psy/Changeling Series Book 1) by Nalini Singh
We made it! Release day for Season of the Sun is here!
When I wrote Dandelion Dreams, I didn’t intend to write a sequel. I thought that was it. But the characters weren’t having that. They wouldn’t leave me alone. All of sudden, the story felt unfinished. I waffled back and forth about releasing the sequel. I worried I hadn’t done it justice. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Dandelion Dreams and Season of the Sun aren’t two separate stories. Season of the Sun is just the continuation of a character finding the joy in life. I hope you enjoy it.
Smashwords is doing this really cool thing called Read an EBook Week. “Read an Ebook Week is an international celebration of ebooks in which thousands of authors, publishers and retailers feature free and discounted ebooks to help promote the joys of e-reading to the world’s readers.” (Smashwords website)
Because Season of the Sun comes out this Friday (the sequel to Dandelion Dreams), I have discounted Dandelion Dreams to $1.50! What a steal, right? This is a Smashwords only deal.
Kai Ferris is a broken man running from his past. He drowns himself in bourbon and faceless women to escape reality.
Sage Harper suffers from her own tragedy and leaves behind a mediocre existence for a new beginning.
Through a chance encounter, Kai and Sage meet. Together, they embark on a journey of healing, and through their epic love they discover the beauty and fragility of life.
Buy here. Make sure you enter the code RAE50 when you check out!
And spread the love about Read an Ebook Week. Help authors find new readers!
Dear Grey’s Anatomy,
You know what this is. This has been a long time coming. This is the dreaded break up later. And for the first time in a long time, when I say “it’s not me, it’s you” I really mean it.
At this point in our relationship, I’m more angry than hurt. In the last few years, you’ve really screwed the pooch. Where did it all go wrong? The early years of Grey’s are responsible for some of my best ugly cries. Ever. EVER. (Uhm, Denny anyone?)
The first time I remember being truly angry at you was when you jumped the shark and had George and Izzie hook up. I mean, seriously? Seriously. For three seasons they’re besties and completely non-romantic. You were making characters do things they’d never do. Strike one.
Somehow, the show managed to survive the loss of George and Izzie. I get it. People want to move on, people have creative differences, people want to work on other projects. I’m even okay with how you took care of their character arcs.
Lexie and McSteamy. Amazing. Wonderful. And yes, of course you had to split them up a bunch because, hey that’s good TV. But you killed them off and changed the chemistry of the show irrevocably and forever. I really had no idea how the show was going to go on. They were such a central part of the show. They were everything Meredith and Derek weren’t. Light hearted, funny, and still soul mates. And, by the way, I hope whoever did make-up for that season was fired. You dyed McSteamy’s sexy salt and pepper hair one shade of brown. You didn’t even give him highlights. Strike two.
Okay. Breathe. My rant is almost over. Not.
The back and forth between Christina and Owen was stupid. He didn’t get her. Period. I really thought I was watching the same fight over and over. And he totally knew she didn’t want kids. Christina said it, in front of him and Teddy in surgery, so for him to blame her for not being truthful was a douche move. The tension between Derek and Meredith over both of their careers and kids had me tearing my hair out. And then you had Meredith’s husband and best friend leave the show! Strike three.
That should’ve been the equivalent of the guillotine. There is no recovery from that, but somehow Grey’s is still limping along. The heart is gone. It’s season 12 and it’s become a soap opera. It’s ridiculous and I refuse to let it take up space in my DVR. Pull the plug already! (HA—see what I did there?)
Fan no more
P.S. You should’ve had Arizona die in that plane crash. Sorry, Jessica Capshaw, you’re lovely, but the character you play sucks. A lot.
P.P.S. Fuller House—if you fail to deliver, I might have to break up with all TV. No pressure.