Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 20 is a work day! (MIBF)

If you're going to the Manila International Book Fair at SMX MOA on September 20, hope you can check out the various events I'm participating in!


Readers Who Write is a panel organized by Filipino ReaderCon and the National Book Development Board of the Philippines. I'll be at this with authors Kate Evangelista and Alyssa Urbano, and we'll be kept in line (haha) by Gabriela Lee. Look for us in Meeting Room 7 (that's the venue based on the NBDB posting). The event is free but there's a pre-registration form online to reserve seats.

Marketing 101 for Authors is an NBDB event and I'll be talking about how I do marketing. The awesome Bebang Siy will be doing here thing in it too. This is free for authors registered with NBDB. If you're not yet an NBDB member author, this would be a good time to sign up! Look for us at Meeting Room 7.

At 4 PM, I will be at the Summit Media booth with author Chinggay Labrador to sign books and stuff! You're not required to buy anything new as far as I know so please bring anything you want me to sign. :)


And if you happen to be at all 3 events that day? I have a gift for you. For up to five of you at least. Special gifts. Not-available-in-Philippine-bookstores kind of gifts. And a you-will-have-the-first-copy-of-this gift. Please approach me at the end of the event you attend, so I can give you something, and so I know you were there. Yay see you! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How I do author marketing

How I "market" myself as an author, as of September 2014:

1. I call myself an author. I used to introduce myself as whatever job position I had at the time, and then do an "oh I write too." Now it's the other way around.

2. I keep in touch with readers. I prioritize the communication channel based on how close and personal it gets, not how many the "followers" are. So for me right now, in order of importance:

Meetups/Events
Email
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Wattpad

3. I reach out to new readers by giving away lots of free stuff. Because I write a lot and often. One free book once in a while serves to introduce me to people who might be willing to read or buy the other ten. This is super easy to do, now that I've focused on digital.

4. I don't just say "buy my book." I am routinely invited to speak about several things, because I've publicly given my position on them: Indie publishing, digital reading, copyright, romance, new adult as a category. If I sat down and planned my author career beforehand, I would have thought about this more carefully, but I don't mind this mix of topics. They're all things that I'm passionate about. It's important, I think, that as an author you be associated with something more than your book. (Otherwise you have the problem of people liking your book, but not necessarily you, and what happens when you have a new one?)

I'm speaking about this at the NBDB session at the Manila International Book Fair (1:30 PM, Sept 20, SMX MOA). Drop by! Ask questions. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How I sell paperback and print editions

Though I've focused on ebooks, I still have print editions made of nearly all of my books. The difference is that I do it through print on demand. As an indie author/publisher, this is how I'm able to provide print editions of my books with the least amount of expense and effort.

For buyers worldwide:

CreateSpace, Amazon, Book Depository. Those who have no problem buying books online can get print editions any time through Amazon, CreateSpace, and The Book Depository. I'd recommend The Book Depository for Philippine buyers because they offer free shipping to the Philippines.

Chain and indie bookstores. Yes, it's possible for my books to appear in brick-and-mortar bookstores anywhere in the world. I've signed up for a CreateSpace service called Expanded Distribution, and my titles are available to bookstores that are already using CreateSpace to purchase books. However, they still have to make the order. I haven't yet explored getting word out to the book buyers of these stores, but it's available as an option.

For Philippine buyers:

Direct from me. I try to keep a few copies (not more than five) of each title in stock, for people who for one reason or another can't find it or buy it online. (bit.ly/mvebooks)

Trusted online sellers. Like Celina's Books and Magazines.

Book fairs. I've participated in a few reader fairs and gatherings, selling books during the event.

Independent booksellers. So far only indie bookstore/bar Uno Morato in Quezon City carries my indie print editions.

Chain bookstores. You can get into the large chain bookstores in the Philippines through consignment agreements or working with distributors. I don't currently do this because working with a large bookstore will require me printing hundreds if not thousands of copies per title to provide stock for each of its branches, not to mention dealing with the logistics of sending those copies over, monitoring sales, and getting back unsold copies. I've decided not to pursue this for now. But it is possible, all the channels are there if this is what you want to do.

This kind of minimum-effort print distribution system means I don't sell thousands of copies by the way. My bookstore presence is mainly due to my Philippine publisher, Summit Books, and not my own work. So if print distribution is something you want to do for your book, you'll need to figure out what you want to get out of it. If you want to earn a lot, be ready to spend and work for it too.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How I format my ebooks

The tools I use for writing have changed, depending really on what's practical at the time. As of right now, I'm using Google Docs for web and mobile, and finalizing everything on Microsoft Word. (I even caved and pay P250 a month for fully functional Word.) 

Whatever I use though, I make it a point to write in such a way that my manuscript itself is already ebook-friendly. Not that difficult to do, since I write straightforward text with no fancy extras. Here are a few of my settings from the draft stage on:

- Single column text (absolutely no text boxes anywhere)
- Justified
- Indented paragraphs, one carriage return/"Enter" to start next paragraph
- Single spaced, no space between paragraphs
- One font throughout, if I can help it. Usually Georgia or Palatino Linotype.
- Chapter headings to the left, and styled as Heading 1 (anything I want to appear on a table of contents page is Heading 1)
- No footnotes, strikethroughs, subscript, superscript, special characters, inserted objects. (If I can help it.)

Formatting rules of course vary per book, but I try to stick to these even as I write, so it's less of a headache later on when I'm actually publishing it.

Love is the Answer (#romanceclass bundle 3)


FREE from September 1 to 3
$0.99 until end September
$2.49 regular price until end February 2015
FREE to read for Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited

Sweet, contemporary romance by Filipino authors. Enjoy three new adult/chick lit novellas in one bundle! 

FINDING X by Miles Tan 

Is there a science to falling in love? 

Carlisle Santiago is through with men. After the devastating end of a seven-year relationship, she's trying to put her life back together. What she doesn't know is that she is the subject of the patient and methodical observations of blue-haired scientist Matteo Villegas, who just wants to find love himself. She must decide whether she's ready to give love another shot or if this is doomed to be one failed experiment. 

THE REAL SCORE by Kesh Tanglao 

Caitlin's friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world's biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone--their friends and families, the media, and his fans--ever since they "went public" a couple of years back. Who wouldn't be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her. 

To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a "perfect little thing." But then something comes along and threatens it. 

In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score? 

FORGET ME NOT by Addie Lynn Co 

Rianne has lost her memory of the past two years due to an accident, but letters from a mysterious "Sparks" -- found in a pile of unread mail at home -- have been helping her cope. The letters tell her of a couple's love story, making her hope to find the same unconditional love someday. 

Rebuilding her life has been a mess though: her guy best friend is claiming to have been her boyfriend that time, but she seems more at ease with a mysterious stranger. Does she trust the past she can't remember, or take a chance with a more uncertain future? 

Cover designed by Tania Arpa, featuring Rhea Bue.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Free Right Now (August 2014 edition)

I always have a freebie out there somewhere. What's free right now?


For the Wattpad books, the last few chapters of each book are set to private. You'll be able to read them if you have a Wattpad account, and follow my account there: wattpad.com/MinaVE

Hope you enjoy the books!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nominated yay! Filipino Readers' Choice Awards 2014

Happy news!


Welcome to Envy Park is a nominee in the Romance in English category in the 2014 Filipino Readers' Choice Awards.


Queen of the Clueless and Icon of the Indecisive were nominated in the Young Adult category too!

FRCA is chosen by Filipino readers. Nominees are now part of the voting phase, and the top 3 books in each category move on to be judged by a panel -- also composed of Filipino readers. Vote for your favorite Filipino books here