My Author Ethics

DisclosuresAs a published author it is important to acknowledge that certain ethics come with the job. I pride myself in being professional with a high level of honestly, integrity and passion. I write many of my blog posts from my experience in the publishing and sales world. My publishing background has evolved from my original journey as a self-published author in 2012 to an Indie Amazon Bestseller as of today. My sales background includes ten years in sales, seven of which have been spent in the financial industry, including six years experience as a supervisor and top selling agent for the institution I worked for. I am currently a Retail Banking Operations Manager and Project Manager who develops Sales Campaigns, Initiatives and Training programs for the bank, along with numerous duties involving maintenance of 220+ procedures (writing, editing, creating and monitoring) and marketing projects. I am also studying to receive my degree in Marketing and plan on pursuing a second degree in Graphic Design.

BLOG reviewsAs a published author, my reading has taken a significant hit because of time restrictions, but also ethical issues. It’s much easier to write a review when you aren’t an author. When you are, any criticism is not taken kindly. That being said I would like to disclose the following as my strict policies for reviewing:

  1. I never accept review copies from other authors. If asked I will politely decline and advise that I will look at the book description, and if interested, I will purchase the book and review it in my own time.
  2. I will no longer post reviews of Self-Published or Independent Authors that are three stars and under. I will rate the novel as is such on Goodreads, and post that the author may contact me for a full review if they are interested. I will not rate novels under three stars of authors I personally know or have an acquaintance with. This creates a blackmail situation in which I do not wish to be involved.
  3. I will follow the following format when reviewing novels:
  • Star Ratings can and may have 1/2 Stars
  • Each Review will include an Overall Star Rating
  • Each Review will be broken down into the following individual Star Ratings with explanations for the ratings:

-Book Description: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Cover: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Plot: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Creativity: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Grammar: 1-5 Stars; 5 being error free (this will NEVER happen, not even with major pubbed books)

-Simile Use: 1-5 Stars; 5 stars being the best, meaning no similes were used. 1 meaning similes were used in excess and pulled me out of the novel.

-Description: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Show Not Tell: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best- dialogue driven without excessive and obtrusive description

Additionally, please keep the following in mind for reviews of my novels:

  1. I do not respond to negative reviews of my own novels, but I may, at my discretion, respond to positive reviews.
  2. I never pay for reviews.
  3. I do directly contact bloggers to request reviews.
  4. I will never ask a reviewer to not post a review because it doesn’t show my novel in the best light. That is their right. If they are a part of the blog tour for the release of the novel that is hosted by myself and or my publisher, I will state that I prefer the review not be posted as a part of the tour–but I do not require/condemn it.
  5. You can contact me if you would like to review any of my novels via Goodreads messaging.
  6. I may share good reviews on Social Media, but will not concentrate on them.
  7. I hold the right to not read each and every review that is written for my novels.
  8. I disclose that I do not read reviews of my novel that are personal attacks (yes, these do happen).
  9. I disclose that I do not tend to read reviews that are 2 stars or under.
  10. I respect a reviewers opinion. I acknowledge that my writing style is not for everyone.
  11. Don’t be surprised if I like a JPEG you created for your review and ask if I can use it in marketing materials, but I will always ask permission and give credit on the materials to your blog or you.
  12. I save all fan art to my Pintrest board.

ARCAny reviews posted before the release date of my novels will be of UNEDITED Advance Reader Copies (hence referred to as ARCs). An ARC is an unedited Galley that is distributed by myself and my publisher before the publication date to solicit early reviewers; this includes both electronic and paperback additions. The novel is disclosed as an ARC with with words “Unedited Advance Reader Copy” on the electronic or paperback cover. The following disclosure is issued to each receiver of the ARC from myself and my publisher:

This is an UNEDITED Advance Reader Copy that will contain grammar and syntax errors. The final version of this novel may appear slightly different in content, but plot and characters will remain the same.

E-ARCS will additionally have the following disclosure:

This novel is a review copy for your use and your use only. This file is not to be shared, forwarded, or otherwise misused under copyright law.

The paperback versions will be used for promotional purposes and will also include the word “PROOF” on the back page. This will never be sold for a profit. Additional information and format changes may occur before the final version is released.

In addition to being used to solicit early reviewers, the electronic version will be utilized as a gift to those that participate in Promotional Events before the release date of the novel, including, but not limited to, cover reveals. If you participate in a Promotional Event and are given an E-ARC, reviews are welcome, but not required.

Reviewers are asked to take into account that any copies (ARCs) given before the publishing date contain such errors.

Feature FridayI do cross promote other authors on my blog. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have read their work, but I do believe in assisting other authors in their goals. I reserve Fridays as promotional days for other authors, but may participate in tours on other days if they cannot or do not fall on a Friday. My release dates (including cover reveals) do fall on Fridays, and I will promote my own novel on Feature Fridays. Feature Friday is open to authors to approach myself for interviews, cover reveals, or other promotional items with the exception of reviews (see the above review policy).

BLOG ratingPG-18

While I have published Young Adult novels, and write/illustrate Children’s Novels, this blog will be utilized to promote my New Adult novel and other novels in the genre. Thus, the rating is PG-18 due to slight to moderate sexual content and language that may be contained in Excerpts or Teasers.

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WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on some marketing materials for Flawed Perfection. We have bookmarks done and ready, and a sticker designed to go on the front of individual tissue packs (cause it’s a real tear jerker!).

Bookmark One Front:

Sorry! You can’t see it–because it has a piece of the yet to be revealed cover!

Bookmark One Back:

bm 1 back

Bookmark Two Front:

bm2 frontBookmark Two Back:

bm 2 back darker

Sticker:Series Name

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Authors Behaving Badly

This seems to be a hot topic on Indie authors. I’m starting to see it all the time–authors calling out authors who they think are behaving badly. Here I am, and I am calling the kettle black. I’ll try my best to not be a giant hypocrite, but I feel I should voice my humble opinion–give you something to think about.

I’m calling out authors behaving badly calling out authors behaving badly. I’ve read quite a few posts lately and they all seem to be like the cartoon above, and not only that they are littered with plenty of what would require censoring. Those authors are that mad about those other authors, that they are screaming blasphemy, fist pounding and swearing–and (IMHO) say what, behaving badly! I’m notorious for hating one thing– people not owning their opinion. Here’s the thing, these posts not only say how horrid these other Indies are, but they also behave like a rule book, stating what Indies can and cannot do. Me, personally, I thought the whole reason to be an Indie was to not play by someone else’s rules. You know what? EVERY SINGLE industry has trolls in it, and guess what? Traditionally pubbed authors aren’t exempt from this either–there are plenty of them giving authors a bad name in general. The virus isn’t Indie Publishing, in my opinion, it’s human nature. Have I had run ins with authors who don’t take publishing seriously? Yes! Have I heard/seen an author say they published a book to get it out there and will just fix those nasty little errors later when enough people call them out on it? Yes! You know what, the only person those Indies are hurting are themselves. There are other Indies who are working to show their professionalism, integrity and drive every day. I see more of those than I do those Indies, because those indies are likely to publish one book, get the review beat up of their life and give up, because they aren’t serious about it. As far as I can see no one wants to put something out there and get it ripped to shreds, and you know what, NO book is perfect! Not yours who is making the Indie rules, not mine, and not traditionally published author’s. I can pretty much guarantee that every single book I’ve ever read has some mistake someone missed. Do Indie books tend to have more than others? It truly depends. Do I think you should get an editor? Sure. Do I think YOU MUST HAVE ONE? No. If you can put out a book people love and you’re proud of without one–go ahead. You aren’t making a bad name for me by publishing something with typos. I make my own name!

Am I an Indie? YES! HELL YES!

Are there some Indies that behave badly? YES!

Are there traditionally pubbed authors that behave badly? YES!

What I am truly getting down to, is this: You and you alone are responsible for your fate. Every industry has its share of trolls! By demonstrating your own integrity you are protecting your brand image, and that is the only image you can control. Let those other Indies drown themselves– and if it bothers you, don’t watch–look for the stars of the industry. The ones the readers love, and in the end publisher’s love–like Colleen Hoover. Oh, and as for those rules– I’m Indie, and I’m fabulous, and bold– I hold these rules for myself and myself only:

meYou can have whatever rules you want for you.

Selling Your Soul…

Well, not quite. I am selling great book accessories and signed copies of BOTH novels on my Etsy store at affordable prices. (Yes, Walking in the Shadows is now available as a paperback and will be available shortly as an e-book in preparation for the hurricane that is bee-lining it’s way towards CT. The last time we were hit with a hurricane we were without power for a week, so instead of making the readers wait longer, I am releasing early).

On the topic of selling your soul–marketing as an author. I see time and time again posts on forums where authors are saying that they are just not comfortable promoting their books. I’ve tried to look at it as promoting myself as a person, as an author who cares. I suppose that I am lucky that before I published I was already in sales, and doing quite well. Last year I was the top performer in sales referrals at the bank I work at. I had over 200 solid referrals, and they were referrals that were right for the customer. What I have found makes a successful sales person are several elements, but above all it’s courage and drive. Courage? Yes, you have to be brave enough to speak up and talk about what your selling, but you also have to have the courage to own up to what you are selling (there will be a post in the future “Selling VS Owning”) and then to keep going until you are successful. The best part of hearing “No” is the fact that it means you tried, and eventually that “No” will be a “Yes” . If you never try you will never know, and worst of all, you will not gain the experience that is required to be successful. This tenant of business can easily be applied to being an author; no author, at least that I know of, has ever had the first agent, the first publisher, they contacted jump all over them and make them successful. I also (possibly this is my independent spirit) don’t believe that the publisher makes the author successful; it’s the readers that they touch. You can have amazing writing skills and touch absolutely no one because you haven’t written anything that someone will care about. You can be a so-so author and write something that changes the world because you captured the human element. Writing is about being human, and touching the human soul. You can’t do that if you don’t put yourself out there and sell yourself. There are different ways of marketing one’s self as an author; there are authors that are branded by their book, and there are authors who are branded by their writing. If you are an author who only plans to write, say vampire novels, then there is no problem letting your book brand you. If you, like myself, don’t write just one genre, and don’t want to be known for one genre, then you want to brand you. You want to market you. This isn’t to say that you don’t market each novel it’s self, but you also allow people to see who you are behind the book. Now, this is my opinion, and it could very well be wrong, but my marketing strategy is based on the belief in branding myself as an author who cares and wants to inspire young writers. I can officially say that by the end of this month I have finally sold over 100 copies of In Between Seasons. I’m not sure how that measures up in levels of success. I think it’s a very slow start, but I am going to keep doing this until the wheels fall off, and I hope you will continue to join me on my journey. I am, Cassandra Giovanni, Young Adult Author, and hopefully, a successful marketing guru in the future.

Click HERE to check out the store and order one or more of these fabulous items!

Items that are available now:

Signed Copies of both In Between Seasons ($9.99) and Walking in the Shadows ($12.99)

Walking in the Shadows Bookmarks ($5.00)

In Between Seasons Bookmarks ($5.00)

Walking in the Shadows Original Matted Photographic Prints Signed ($6.00)

Between Seasons Original Matted Photographic Prints Signed ($6.00)

Walking in the Shadows Key Chains ($5.00)

Walking in the Shadows Necklace ($8.00)

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, pretty…

I’m a girlie girl–that’s really not a secret. My husband has very good taste in buying my jewelry, but sometimes, making it is just as satisfying. I have to say making it as book swag is even better! I let my girlie girlness and my creative spark combine to make these necklaces. These will be prizes for the upcoming blog tour, and will be available at my book signings for a small fee. I have started an etsy store where I will sell the book swag. As these necklaces are all handmade, each one is unique! They are each comprised of a saying from the book, a Czech glass heart and a bi-cone swarovski crystal on a ribbon. You can get yours for $8.00 and FREE shipping to the US and minimal shipping to other countries! These ship to US, CA and UK!

What do you think?

Order yours: HERE

You may be wondering where the lampwork necklaces that I posted my mother and I making are. Well, they are still being worked on, but these will be on sale in the Etsy shop shortly as well!

;

What else did I do?

Bookmarks for In Between Seasons!

What do you think?

A swag day…

So, a few really cool things happened today:

I got my shirt in (finally! It took about 2.5 weeks to come in, which I think is a bit of a long time. I’m not sure if I am going to stick with red bubble if people start to be interested in purchasing them. I’m not sure if waiting that long for a t-shirt is reasonable?)

It did come with this really cute tag, and funny saying…hehe!

So, here’s the shirt. It’s an extra small, but it’s unisex, so it’s a bit big. I might not follow the instructions, and just try it on delicate!

MORE COOL THINGS:

I just got in my laminator to make awesome bookmarks, of course. (Whoot for Amazon rewards!)

AND:

I ordered the supplies to make this for book swag. We will use sayings from the novel, red ribbon for the necklace portion, and red glass heart beads instead of pink. The setting I ordered is a bit more ornate than this one as well. I am also going to do some with pictures underneath the glass. What do you think? Swaggish?

PS. I am really good at finding wholesale deals online, so this was all very affordable–amazingly so!

You did what??(Part 2)

What adventures in marketing and book swag did I have this week? My mother and I got our flame on and made some lamp-work beads to make into necklaces. Here are some pictures of the process. These lamp-work beads are made from high quality Italian merano glass. They are to support the release of my newest novel,Walking in the Shadows, and combine the romance from the novel (the heart), the angel influence of the cover (the wings), and the darkness of the novel (the choice of colors). Some lucky individuals will one in a giveaway, and the rest will be available in our Etsy store (soon to be up and running). Pardon the fuzzy pictures, as they were taken on my iPhone.

So, what do you think? Would you like the sport this book swag to support Walking?

This is what happens when you add oxygen to the mix…GIANT FLAMES!

The funky glasses that I am wearing make it so I don’t see the bright orange flame that you see in this photograph. It makes it so I only see the melting glass and a light blue flame. It makes it far easier to shape and melt the glass.

You get the flame under control, and then you take a metal rod dipped in clay (so the glass releases from the rod easily) and then melt the glass onto it. Here my mother is adding “bumps” to the sides of the glass to create the heart shape.

You spin the hot glass until the bumps shape smoothly, then you use various tools to shape it more. It’s important to heat the glass evenly, so that it does not crack. The heart is red because of the intensity of the heat here. This glass is actually black glass. All glass will appear black when it is being heated, no matter the color.

Here you can really see how the red glass turns black in the flame. Here we are adding the wings.

Finishing the wings.

Here we are working with the clear glass, and this causes it to look like the whole rod is on fire, yet it is just a reflection.

The results!

You did what???

Everyone seems to be talking about book swag…I had no clue what they were talking about, so I used my handy-dandy Google machine:
Okay, well, I got some strange things. Swag seems to be an acronym of some sort. Like Stuff We All Get.

What I managed to somehow figure out is that book swag is merchandise that supports the novel. It ranges from tees to strange things like shoe inserts. Some authors have gone with themes that go with their novels, usually these are fantasy or dystopian writers with very complex worlds. This works for them, me not so much.

So I thought tees, and then I looked at some, and they were well, lame. I didn’t want to just plaster my book cover on a tee. I wouldn’t wear it, so why would I sell it, or give it away? Well, you might be thinking swag, that usually has to do with giveaways, but honestly tees are expensive any way you shake it, especially nice ones. So I thought, well, I can design them, and buy a few, very few at this price. I’ll give them as gifts and sport it when I go to car shows. AND now you can sport it to, if you want. I’ll also be adding some other awesome, more cost-effective things like iPhone covers, stickers, magnets, notebooks etc. The smaller things will become a part of my giveaways.

So, back to the lameness factor. I am a BIG graphic tee gal. I love tees with pretty pictures, and scroll print. Well, I take pretty pictures (if I do say so myself), my cover is a pretty picture. I love the sweet sayings on them, oh, well, I have some pretty sweet sayings. And then there’s my marketing guru inside, designing things that are, well, pretty!

Graphic tee= pretty picture

Cover=pretty picture

Graphic tee=sweet sayings

Writer (me!)=sweet sayings

SO, all in all pretty pictures, sweet sayings, and marketing guru=

What do you think? There’s only one because it took me a bit to figure out this whole tee creation thing out, but more to come soon! I promise! (UPDATE: As you can see there is more, a black version, and an iPhone/iTouch case!) You can also now see the “Book Merchandise” on my sidebar, click it and it links you to my Red Bubble store!

What’s the best part about Red Bubble?

YOU get to choose what style you want–YOU get to choose your color–YOU can even get a hoodie!

Oh, and I designed posters, and ordered some as giveaway swag…Take  a peak at these in all their awesomeness: