Friday, December 30, 2011

Buy paperback copies through Multiply

Paperback copies of my ebooks are now available for purchase via Multiply. Was able to set it at the same price, P350, because Multiply isn't charging fees for sellers yet. So if you ever wanted your own paper copy of Fairy Tale Fail or Love Your Frenemies, now might be the time to click. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mysterious mailing list invite

So last night I spent the wee hours creating a mailing list. I have something new to announce soon, and if you've ever contacted me through email, chances are you're already on it. (If you prefer not to, it'll be easy to unsubscribe, I'm sure.)

If you want to be part of it and possibly get to call dibs on whatever new thing I come up with, here's a tiny form...

Thank you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Recap: 4.5 out of 5!

At the beginning of the year, I wrote some goals for myself as a writer. How did I do?

1. This year I will write more.
I did! I finished two (as yet unpublished) novellas this year, and outlined two more. I also did concept work on a new series that I fully intend to outline. There was also the "CM project" which I quit halfway in, and eventually cannibalized. I could have done more, if not for having a baby and maintaining my day jobs. Getting my smartphone, Lucas Android, helped with the outlining at least. With it I've been able to record my ideas, and even lining up at the supermarket cashier is productive time. Score: 1 point.

2. This year I will publish online more.
Love Your Frenemies was my only indie online publication this year. I wish there had been more, and there would have been more if I had my way on everything. (Which I don't.) Score: 0.5.

3. This year I will help people get published.
I did! Some on Amazon, others elsewhere, but definitely I did my work in this area. I apologize to fellow novelists who've contacted me but I wasn't very hands-on about. I decided that I wouldn't be too involved in work that's similar to mine, but I do hand them off to capable editors and publisher people. Score: 1.

4. I will buy less paper and start going digital.
I did! Read close to 50 books this year, and over 40 are ebooks. Even when supporting Filipino authors, I bought ebook versions of their work. Score: 1.

5. I will try writing something new and different.
This is probably what I'm proudest of -- because I quit on it so many times in the past few years. But yes, I tried something different, but hopefully remained myself throughout. Score: 1.

2011 was kind to my books too. My Imaginary Ex returned to the bookstores, and was my most-mentioned book on social media this year. Fairy Tale Fail surpassed its older sibling (MIE) in units sold, and continues to be my overachieving baby. No Strings Attached is the most-appreciated-by-women-of-a-certain-age book, I must say, based on emails and other feedback I've received. (No I will not say what age.) Love Your Frenemies is so far the youngest, and the one I had least expectations for (because it was so difficult to write) -- but the generally positive response to it has been the most satisfying I think.

The work hasn't ended yet for me, as I'm still preparing the release of Interim Goddess of Love. It's fun work though.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Survey giveaway winner #1

I recently invited readers of this blog to answer a short survey about how they found out about my books. I offered a giveaway didn't I? So now the first winner is...


Choose one please:
1. Fairy Tale Fail paperback
2. Love Your Frenemies paperback
3. Free copy of my next book (when it comes out)

Those who already answered the survey will still be part of future giveaways. :) Thank you for participating! And if you haven't yet, drop by and submit your answers anytime.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where in the world

A few posts ago, I put up a chart showing where my ebook sales were coming from. Looking at it, one might think that because Amazon is responsible for the majority of sales, then my main audience must be mostly American, or international. Also, my #2 retailer is Barnes and Noble, which sells ebooks only to US residents.

Here, have another graphic. This is the breakdown by country of the visitors to my blog:
Based on this, one might think that the people most interested in me and my books would still be Filipinos. Or Philippine residents. Or people using Philippine-based ISPs.

For the past few months I've been looking at all of these charts and lists, trying to figure out who my audience is, and where they are. I don't have a definite answer for that yet, and until I do, I won't rule out anyone, anywhere.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies - tiny paperback versions available now

Smaller versions of Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies on paperback are now available! They are about 4.25 x 6.75 inches in size (I think) and more closely match the books published by Summit Media. I tweeted a pic of all of them side by side here.

The tiny versions are P300 per copy. (Add P50 for shipping within Metro Manila.) Ebook version is free if you buy it. If you already have the ebook, you can opt to have me send your free ebook copy to a friend. :)

For now, you can order by emailing (, tweeting @minavesguerra, leaving a comment on the Facebook page ( or this post, or hollering at me on the street, if you happen to see me.

Thank you!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Buy Fairy Tale Fail on Goodreads

Fairy Tale Fail is now available on Goodreads too!

Pie Chart: My ebook retailers

This week, I checked my 2011 stats from my various ebook retailers and was pleasantly surprised to see that Barnes and Noble sales have been picking up. What "picking up" means I'll let you imagine, given the big-picture pie chart of where my 2011 sales have come from.

But since I am all about making sure that everyone who wants to spend $0.99 to read me can do so conveniently, I have added Goodreads to my retailers. Starting today, epubs of both Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies will be available at Goodreads.

Thank you, blog visitor, for your support so far, and if you think I've left out any major ebook retailer just let me know.

Buy Love Your Frenemies on Goodreads

You can now buy Love Your Frenemies on Goodreads! Priced $0.99, it can be downloaded as an epub or read via the Goodreads Reader. Here's a preview:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Draft done, can rest a bit

So, YA. The past few years I've been struggling to finish one, even though for years all I could ever write was stories for young adults.

The breakthrough came only this year, when I figured out that though my novellas were published as contemporary romances, I patterned them after the young adult romances I read so much of in high school. So I wrote the same way, I just made everyone younger.

And it seems to have worked. (Yay!) The "IGoL project " draft is finished! Its proper title is Interim Goddess of Love and it's off to editing now. Hope we can release it within the year!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reviews: Love Your Frenemies

A collection of reviews of Love Your Frenemies from all over. (If I missed yours, let me know!)

PS - Some may have spoilers.


Reviews: Fairy Tale Fail

A collection of reviews of Fairy Tale Fail from all over. (If I missed yours, let me know!)

New Kindles! How excited am I

I'm happy to report that as far as indie digital publisher/authors go, I am a walker and not just a talker. Meaning, I read ebooks and own e-readers. We had to temporarily move when I had a baby this year, and that meant being separated from my paper TBR pile, but at least I had my Kindle. And Kindle for PC on my netbook. And just a few weeks ago, my Kindle for Android and Kindle Cloud Reader.

For the first time in years, majority of my reading time I've spent using a device. (33 out of 37 books read so far this year! That is a record.)

We're considering getting both the Kindle Touch (for the husband, so he'll have a dedicated reader) and the Kindle Fire for me. Why get the tablet when my other devices are just fine? Watch out, rationalization ahead: I want to see how the tablet's color, multitouch display, size and other new features affect how readers will experience my books. I formatted them with Kindle's e-ink grayscale display in mind. Maybe I should think in color now, especially as I plan for future work? Maybe I should add special features?

(Finish the book first, girl. Finish it!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Writing fiction is real work

If you're a Filipino writer, reader and/or publisher do head on over to Charles Tan's essay "Fiction, Speculative Fiction, and the Philippines." It's a buffet of issues related to writing and publishing fiction in this country, and at some point he mentions my books. (Spoiler!)

From his essay:
"...but there's also a point where I wonder if the author and the book is getting attention locally precisely because it's not published here (the premise of the Manila International Book Fair panel after all is "Life of a Novelist: How to Get Published by the World's Largest English Language Trade Publisher"). That raises a lot of questions: Do local authors have similar opportunities? Another is how local readers are receptive to books published locally vs. those published in the US/UK, as one of the questions posed by Filipino Reader Con was whether local readers read Filipino Literature."

I attended the MIBF talk featuring Alexander Yates and Samantha Sotto, and am glad that their published novels are now examples of a) an American writing about the Philippines and b) a Filipino not writing about the Philippines (strictly speaking).

My experience as an "indie"/Kindle/Smashwords publisher is different, because my question is not "Will this be published?" Publication is a given, as long as the book is finished, and properly edited. The effect on me of not having that burden is that I can concentrate more on the story, on creating something that I myself would want to read, and that my circle of editors will think is worth working on.

If I have a concern, it's more of "Will people buy this?" Since most of my sales from the self-published books are coming from outside the Philippines, I don't just worry about being accepted by Pinoy readers, I have to think about everyone else too. And that's when I put the publisher's hat on, and tell the writer part of me to look at reviews of previous work and study what people liked and what they didn't. The process involves some analysis, some psych profiling, and lots of outlining, so it's not just me sitting by my window waiting for inspiration to come. (Although that plays a part too.)

Anyway, I guess my answer is -- yes there are opportunities for local authors. Even more so if they're looking for opportunities to be read, and not just to be published.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Post-ReaderCon 2: Bloggers make people buy, it's true

I wish I had thought of this prior to the ReaderCon, but anyway, better late than never.

I hope, in the interest of learning more about the impact of word of mouth and book bloggers on book sales, you (visitor to my website) take a minute to answer this quick survey:

1. How did you find out about me, Mina V. Esguerra author of chick lit/romance novellas?
(Was it through a blog? Amazon? A bookstore? An article in the newspaper or news site? Your friend? Who was the friend?)

2. Did you buy my book/s?

(Which ones? Ebook or paperback?)

If you haven't yet, do you plan to buy in the future?

(It's OK to say no. I'd like to know why though! I hope you share the reason.)

3. Have you told anyone else about my book/s?

(I'd appreciate any other details -- which book, why that friend, how did she/he like it.)

Please leave your responses in the comment section below, or email them to (Should I offer a prize? Maybe I will.)

I'm starting this survey because I was surprised (surprised!) to hear Chachic (of Chachic's Book Nook) say that she didn't know if her book blogging had an impact on book sales. I was all, are you kidding?! Of course your blogging has an impact! In my own experience, I know for sure that her blog and others who have reviewed my books have directly contributed to actual sales.

But of course I happen to be publishing those two books too, so I get to see the figures. I see, for example, that on the day or week of Chachic or Tina or dementedchris (to name a few) mentioning my books, I get purchase notifications from Smashwords. Some people who have emailed me to buy the paperback versions actually said that they heard about the book from these bloggers. And when I read a post from someone saying she bought my book because she has "heard so much about it" I assume that she means the blogosphere, and if she means actual word of mouth then I assume that this person got his/her info from the book blogs. (Reviews on Amazon count too, and people like Laura and Vicki Tyley are part of this too, but that is maybe another topic.)

So yes yes, definitely yes -- if you're not a household-name author like me, book blogs count, and are probably responsible for a significant chunk of sales. If you answer the survey, maybe we get to find out just how much.

Post-ReaderCon 1: Where I talk about being a reader and a Slayer

In 2001, I co-founded the online email group for Philippine fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (PinoySlayer). It was an active fan group for years, and even though the show has ended, the core group still gets together for other things. Prior to that I had been watching the show for years, participating in international forums and fannish stuff like that.

One of my longest posts ever in a Goodreads forum was on the topic of readers in the Philippines. I wanted to provide a counterpoint to the view that some readers seem to have, that they feel they are alone as readers because they can't talk about their books to friends or family, and don't see people reading in public.

Short version of that post: I am not a social reader. My extended family has at least one regular fiction reader per family, but we don't talk about books when we meet. My husband and I don't read in public transport. He doesn't read in a coffee shop too because he considers his books precious and will not take them out and place them in close proximity to that many beverages. We both don't blog about books. He doesn't even have a Goodreads account.

So, to casual observers, we probably won't look like readers. But there is a difference between, say, the person who watches and enjoys Buffy the Vampire Slayer if it happens to be on TV, and the person who loves it so much that she starts an online fan group (and buys merchandise, and reviews episodes, and buys DVD boxed sets even if she has taped all the episodes on VHS, and invites strangers to her house to watch the series finale... you get the point).

Some people aren't as ready to be social about their hobby as others are. Does that mean they love it less? They buy books too, but don't necessarily go on shopping sprees. How many books do you have to buy a year to be considered a "real" reader? What if you only borrow?

This by no means dimishes what the book bloggers and book clubs do -- in fact, I think that non-social readers rely on what the more social readers are doing. They also want to know they're not alone, but sometimes would prefer to lurk and privately agree or disagree in discussions, instead of participate.

The Filipino ReaderCon is a great first step though to get these readers to de-lurk, come forward, and participate in a non-intimidating way. And if you're this kind of reader you may have to step up at some point, like I did when I wrote that post, so your own issues are heard too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Paperback shipping delays - and my apologies

If you ever emailed, tweeted, messaged, and asked me in person about the paperback editions of Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies lately:

1. HUG. Thank you.

2. This is the story: I ordered a big batch, I did. In June. But this time, I sent it to family in the United States, hoping for it to be sent here along with a box of other things on its way here. It is not here yet. (Sorry!)

3. Update: I ordered a new, smaller batch of Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies this week. It will be shipped directly to the Philippines. It will now be a race between the big box and the little box, but I hope this means that within a month you will get your copies.

So that's the story. I feel like I owe everyone hot fudge sundaes...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 5: What I expect from ReaderCon

The 1st Filipino ReaderCon is coming up!

My reading has not been a social activity lately. It was, back in high school, when I would actively promote (push) books to friends. In college, I told the entire story of Carl Sagan's Contact -- with difference-between-book-and-film commentary -- to a friend who preferred that to actually reading the thing. (That was a very long lunch.) Now, even though I read new books, I rarely discuss them or write reviews. But maybe a session or two at the ReaderCon will get me to "make it social" again.

I'm also expecting to learn more about what Filipino readers want, which I'm very curious about (as an author and publisher).

See you on September 14!

Friday, September 2, 2011

ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 4: Philippine Lit

"Reading" to me means mostly novels and novellas, and these are the Filipino authors/novelists I've read since 2004 (when I started my book list).

Arlene J. Chai
F. Sionil Jose
Abi Aquino
Tweet Sering
Carla M. Pacis
Tara FT Sering
Bob Ong
Maya Burgos Cruzada
M.D. Balangue
Zara Irigo
Anna Ishikawa
Katrina Ramos Atienza
Abi Malonzo
Faye Ilogon
Jose Rizal
Miriam Delos Santos
Marla Miniano
Melissa dela Cruz
Vince O. Teves
Miguel Syjuco
Andrea Pasion
Maya Calica
Claire Betita
Marian Pinera
Martha Cecilia
David Hontiveros
Samantha Sotto

Graphic novels: Budjette Tan, Carlo Vergara

Not all of them were published in the Philippines, and not all of them have written specifically about the Philippines. My goal however has been to read more novels by Filipinos, and this list will keep growing.

My rather biased recommendation though is my husband, Michael AR Co. He hasn't (finished) a novel yet, but I'm a genuine fan of his work.

Visit the Filipino ReaderCon site!

Friday, August 26, 2011

ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 3: Being a reader in the Philippines

This week's Filipino Friday post is about the pros and cons of being a reader in the Philippines.

When it comes to book buying I'm a bargain hunter, and I like that I can get cheap books here. This of course depends on reading taste, and the books I read are the ones that tend to show up in Book Sale eventually. I've gone into really nice bookstores in other countries and chose not to buy a thing, because upon conversion I knew I'd get a better deal back home. (The exception is my copy of ...Kavalier and Clay from the Strand, more of a souvenir.)

I like that Filipino readers talk to each other about books. My 2011 reading list has titles I discovered because of the local book bloggers I follow.

I don't like that some ebooks are more expensive or not available to me at all because I'm in the Philippines. I know there's distribution drama behind it, but come on.

I wish that we had a really nice and accessible library, but I have to admit -- I had access to a fairly good one in college, and all I did there was use the Internet kiosks. I work in a place with a really good one now, and I'm there only to buy stuff from the coffee shop. I'm a reader but I'm the type who would rather own than borrow, and if a book is too expensive then I wait for a sale or tell myself I can live without it. I visited the New York Public Library and spent some happy hours in the ones in Singapore and Hong Kong, but I don't think I'll be spending much time browsing there on a regular basis if I lived in those places.

But maybe if the books were sent to my house? Like a Netflix for books? Years ago my husband and I started a service kind of like this -- we sold a book cheap, sent it to the buyer, and after a certain amount of time they could send it back and get another one. (Or not send it back at all and it's like they just bought a book.) We stopped doing it because it was time-consuming, and courier services didn't offer cheap pickup and delivery then as they do now.

Is there something like that here now? Because I'd definitely try it.

Anyway, the Filipino Reader Conference is happening on September 14. Babysitter's been booked, so I think I can go. See you all there!

Friday, August 19, 2011

ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 2: Your Reader's Story

When I was a kid, my mom used to read me stories from Children Everywhere, volume 3 of the Childcraft series. This was probably the first book I read, when I actually could read for myself.

We might have given away our Childcraft set when we moved out of the house, but I saw a Children Everywhere in a Book Sale in 2005, and I bought it.

Stories I love from that volume:

Sorry for the photo quality. These were taken in 2005, and I can't find the raw files anymore.

My next leap was when I discovered YA. I was at a friend's house and saw her copy of Sweet Valley Twins #2, Teacher's Pet. And from then on I followed that franchise, Twins to High to a few books in University. My reading life began here, and this particular branch led to Sweet Dreams and contemporary romance stories.

I talked about it in my Inquirer interview. (PS - Why did I do that? I should have come up with a fancier origin story for my reader self.) What I did not mention, but also really happened, was that I borrowed the Nancy Drew story Mysterious Mannequin at the same time.

I was eleven. Nancy Drew is not at all scary, and yet I put this book front-cover-side-down every time I took a break from it. This led to more Nancy Drew hardcover mysteries, a handful of Hardy Boys (Boyses?), to "harder" stuff like Christopher Pike and RL Stine.

And then, a slump. I blamed it on the tons of required reading in college. I took a Great Books class to feel good about reading again, but speed-reading through Faulkner's Light in August (because of a presentation I had to make) and four other books in one semester was not very fun.

I got over it after taking a chance on The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

It was beautiful, and stayed with me long after I finished it. This started the branch that led me to more Indian lit (Jhumpa Lahiri et al), which has since become part of my yearly reading lists. And I discovered that I apparently like Booker winners and finalists.

Posted this in support of the 1st Filipino Reader Conference. Off to read the other posts...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Readercon Filipino Friday Week 1: Introduce Yourself

Participating in Filipino Friday to show my support for the Filipino Reader Conference!

Hello, everyone. I'm Mina, and I'm a trying-to-get-my-groove-back kind of reader. In high school, I would get two new books on Sunday, finish those by Tuesday, and spend the rest of the week re-reading my favorites until the weekend came around again. Today it's rare if I get to finish a book in one sitting, and I still hope to get around to reading 50 a year. *shakes fist at age, work, and other distractions*

My comfort zone in reading -- contemporary, romance, procedurals, maybe a legal drama or a mystery here and there. If it seems all over the place, it's because I can't stand reading one similar book after another. (I feel I have to "cleanse my palate.") Favorite books (also a mixed bag): Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Interpreter of Maladies, Inherit the Wind, Time Traveler's Wife, Tina Fey's Bossypants, Sweet Dreams #176 Wrong-Way Romance, Life of Pi, Atonement.

For years, my comfort read was Michael Crichton. Not sure why, but picking up one of his books would help me through a reading slump. Pirate Latitudes is still on my shelf, unread. I need to find a new comfort read-author.

So far, some favorites this year that I haven't mentioned yet -- The Hunger Games, and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's good to go out sometimes

A busy week, in terms of writing. (And everything else, but that's another story.)

On Saturday, I attended my first Goodreads Filipino Group meetup. I now understand why these things can last for hours and hours. It was too bad that I only had a couple to spare, but I'm glad that I was able to meet them. (And Tina of One More Page, finally!) I also confessed then and there that I was a lurker, or at least a drive-by poster, and hope that I can find more time to discuss things. In case I haven't stressed it enough, I am very grateful for their support.

I was also able to meet author Samantha Sotto, whose novel Before Ever After has just been released. She is smart and lively, and I like her -- even if she favors the Tenth Doctor over my Nine and Eleven. (At least we don't have to share.)

On Monday, I spoke at St. Scholastica's College Manila (for something else, not an author thing) and offered freebies to students who knew the titles of my books. Lo and behold, we have winners! I've got your names and will email you soonish, promise.

Today, Thursday, I finally finished another draft, something I've been calling the TKoG project. I will let it sit and stew for a bit, before sending it off to the editor.

I'm actually glad that's somewhat over, because I am so excited about my new project. I'm calling it IGoL, and until recently I was too chicken to write it. I hope I hope I hope this works out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Three stories that explain Mina

Recently I was asked two questions that left thoughts bouncing around in my head for weeks.

"What is your favorite book?" and "Do you have a mentor?"

I answered them simply and quickly when I was asked, but of course with time I managed to figure out why I was still thinking about this: The answers are related.

To answer the first question, I said that my favorite book was Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors collection of short stories. How strange, the reaction was, that someone who identified herself as a chick lit author would have this kind of book as her favorite. I guess it's possible to have a writing personality that differs from my actual personality, or maybe I'm just waiting to let the darkness out.

The answer to the second question is that I didn't/don't have a mentor. (I didn't undergo the kind of training that allows one to meet mentor types.) What I have are stories that stayed with me. You could say I was influenced by them, and maybe my love for them explains why I write this way, what I've written -- and what I intend to write in the future.

Wrong-Way Romance (Sheri Cobb South, YA Romance)
A Sweet Dreams novel? Don't scoff at what is my favorite of the series, and still is one of my favorite novels today. It's sweet and laugh-out-loud funny, and has a plot that isn't about moving away or terminal illness. I like my love stories with bite instead of sap. Because of this novel, or was I like that all along? I can't tell anymore. (PS. Follow the link to Amazon and see how expensive a copy of this can get. If you find it in a Book Sale, consider it treasure! Or send it to me as a gift if it isn't your thing!)

Witch (Christopher Pike/Kevin Christopher McFadden, YA Fantasy/Horror)
I've been called out for writing that is more terse than flowery, and maybe that came about because of the Christopher Pike novels I collected in high school. Witch I single out because it is a heartwrenching story (for a fourteen-year-old definitely), even when told with his clipped tone and short sentences. It's not a style that's inherently better than any other, but I happen to prefer it.

Snow, Glass, Apples (Neil Gaiman, from Smoke and Mirrors)
Neil Gaiman's take on Snow White is special to me because this is how I think. That probably doesn't make any sense, but that story is perfectly logical to me, and none of it is a surprise. When I'm writing and find myself stuck, I remember this story and it helps me move on along. Unlike the first two examples I've named, the traces of this haven't shown up in anything I've done. This is a side of me I still have to develop, and exploit.

What are your stories?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How I did it

In case you saw the article in the Inquirer and needed to know how to self-publish on Amazon, here's a quick rundown of how I did it:

1. I finished the manuscript.
Fairy Tale Fail was in revision mode for a year. Eventually I got it to a "final" draft.

2. I sent it to an editor.
I asked a friend who worked as an actual editor to review the manuscript for me. Her feedback covered grammar points and also the substance of the story, which every manuscript needs, I think.

3. I created an account with Amazon's Kindle Digital Publishing site.
Anyone can set one up. Just go to

4. I formatted my own edited manuscript into the Kindle format.
Amazon's KDP site provides a formatting guide. It will take some trial and error, if you, like me, formatted your draft to look like it's printed on paper. E-readers offer a more flexible reading experience for people, allowing them to change the font or the line spacing at will, so I had to learn not to force my font and spacing and margins on them. It took me a while to get used to this, but now I write drafts in a Kindle-ready format.

5. I asked people to design a cover and edit the book description.
Again I asked for help from people who could do this better. A friend who is into photography provided the photo based on the concept, and my husband laid out the "cover." (Tip: Make sure your name, or the book's title, is visible even when it's thumbnail size.) He also rewrote my description, as I couldn't get it down to a short and punchy paragraph.

6. I set the price for it.
Amazon will let you set any price you want for your work. But if you want to be bought, you'll have to check out what people who would buy your book are buying, and how much they're paying for similar stuff. Because of this, I had to change my price a few weeks after I first published, and offered my early buyers my next book for free. The price change led to an increase in sales that more than made up for it, I think.

The pricing issue is tricky because Amazon adds a $2 surcharge to purchases made with Philippine-based accounts. So automatically, the people I thought were my main audience had to pay more for the book.

7. Once it was published, I made sure certain people knew it was out there.
Admittedly I haven't marketed Fairy Tale Fail as well as I could have. There are lots of tools other indie authors have been using that I haven't even tried. But I did join forums for indie authors, spruced up my blog, set up a Twitter account and Facebook page, and told my friends and a book blogger about the book. This initial push is important because first the book needs to be bought. Once it's bought, it'll have an Amazon sales ranking, and then it starts becoming part of Amazon's recommendation feature. Which was the turning point, I think, and compensates for the lack of marketing on my part.

And that's it! Follow these steps and you'll find yourself at the end of it an indie author/publisher. :)

OK, so these steps may make it seem a bit too simple. It's not. It's work, and if you've poured your heart into your manuscript already then you may feel too exhausted to even think of starting this. But notice that most of these steps -- if not all, if you're super-talented -- can be done by you. All these tools are there and waiting, you just need to be ready with that manuscript already.

Full disclosure: A company I am part of now helps authors publish digitally. But I make sure that authors we work with know that they can do this on their own, so this post is nothing new.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As seen in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine

Yes, that's me! I was featured in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine. (See: "Pretty in Print") Many thanks to Ruel De Vera at the Inquirer.

A happy welcome too, to the people who are visiting this site because of the link at the end of the article. I got the comments, tweets and emails, and will reply to some of them soon. Expect a post about self publishing digitally coming up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Imaginary Ex on your iPad

You can now buy My Imaginary Ex as an ebook for your iPad, PC or Mac! It's via Zinio, and is available for $3.99. Unlike the Kindle version of my ebooks, this one looks exactly like the print version -- typeface, tiny illustrations and all. (It even has the blank pages that are put in when preparing a paperback.) It's as if you got it off a shelf at a local bookstore. :)

Zinio also offers magazine subscriptions and I understand that it works very well on iPads. I have an account, but their reader's been buggy on my PC.

Very excited about this, because this is a title that was previously unavailable internationally. I don't think it's on the Kindle or Nook stores yet, but still, yay for being on Zinio!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Love Your Frenemies: Proof!

It's here!

Snail mail rarely surprises me with an early delivery, but here it is -- the proof for the paperback of Love Your Frenemies, weeks before I expected it.

I didn't add any "special features" to this edition, so if you got the ebook then you pretty much have all the words, just not on paper. What's different this time though is that it's on cream-colored paper, which was a new option that I didn't have when I prepared Fairy Tale Fail's paperback.

I'll be reviewing this proof in the next few days but so far it looks good (paper looks great, margins are better compared to FTF pb). If you want your own copy, email me at minavesguerra at gmail dot com. It'll be part of the first batch that's shipped to Manila in a few weeks. Or sooner, if we have another happy snail mail surprise.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fairy Tale Fail paperback giveaway - And the winner is...

Celester Mejia! Send mailing address to minavesguerra at gmail dot com please. :)

Thank you to everyone who participated, and to all those who write and share about having discovered Fairy Tale Fail.


This is how it happened:

Entries -

1 Christine Frencillo
2 Celester Mejia
3 Celester Mejia
4 Celester Mejia
5 Elaine Yeung
6 Raphael Mones
7 Raphael Mones
8 Chachic's Book Nook
9 Chachic's Book Nook
10 Chachic's Book Nook
11 Chachic's Book Nook
12 Chachic's Book Nook
13 Chachic's Book Nook
14 Lily Mae Dlr Sandoval
15 Lily Mae Dlr Sandoval
16 Celester Mejia
17 Chachic's Book Nook
18 Marie Mones
19 Mariz Galang My review for 'No Strings Attached' Under the name Riz =)
20 Mariz Galang Another review, but under the name 'Lore' for my real name 'Lorenza' :))
21 Lily Mae Dlr Sandoval
22 Lily Mae Dlr Sandoval
23 Christine Frencillo!/mstine15/status/59062723048251392
24 Lily Mae Dlr Sandoval
25 Lily Mae Dlr Sandoval
26 Tricia Gervacio

And this is what selected...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fairy Tale Fail: Some facts and figures

On this day (or yesterday, in US time) in 2010, Fairy Tale Fail was made available for purchase on the Amazon Kindle Store. Some facts and figures related to this book:

  • Is Fairy Tale Fail based on the unbelievable true story of someone you know: Yes
  • First draft was finished in: September 2009 (Sooo different from published version)
  • Why is this plot familiar/derivative: Its structure was based on about 20 of the 31 narratemes (in proper sequence) of Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale. Chapter headers explaining this were removed later though.
  • Does the office building in the novel exist: Yes it's in Salcedo Village.
  • Did you name this character after me: If I went to high school with you, yes.
  • How many people did it take to put this together: 4. Me (author), an editor, a photographer, and a cover designer.
  • Did you pay any of them: Not at the time, but now my editor and photographer are getting a percentage of anything the book earns. The cover designer (my husband) legally owns half of anything I make anyway.
  • Ebooks sold in 1 year: Over 4,000
  • Paperbacks sold so far: Over 30

    Thank you, friends and readers, for making this such an excellent year. There's a lot still to be done to promote awareness about the book locally, but I'll find time to do that eventually.
  • Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Giveaway: Fairy Tale Fail paperback (Philippine residents only)

    This weekend marks the first year of Fairy Tale Fail's publication! It was originally an ebook on, but now it has a paperback version, which isn't available in local bookstores.

    To celebrate, I'm giving away one Fairy Tale Fail paperback to a Philippine resident. Details here on Facebook. You've got until April 23 to participate!

    Thank you for supporting Fairy Tale Fail this year! And I hope in the years to come. :)

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Where to find the books

    I've encountered this question enough times that I think it deserves its own post: Where can I find [your book]? This might sound strange, but by now I have four novellas out, and you likely won't be able to see all four side by side in the same bookstore. I appreciate so much the messages from people who've maybe read one and want to know where the others can be found, so here's a cheat sheet.

    The "traditionally published":

    My Imaginary Ex is published under Summit Books. It's in paperback for P150, and in theory can be found in bookstores like National, Powerbooks, Booksale, etc. But this first came out in 2009 and by now is a bit hard to find. But at least it's listed now on National Bookstore's site, so in case you can't find it on your regular mall trip there's another option for you. Buy the ebook for the PC, iPad, and Mac via Zinio.

    No Strings Attached was also published by Summit Books, and is also in paperback for P150. This is fairly new, published late 2010, and usually the bookstores have it on stock. Check out National, Powerbooks, Booksale, Fully Booked and your nearest mall magazine stand. You can also order it online via the National Bookstore site, and possibly have it shipped outside the Philippines. Buy the ebook for the PC, iPad, and Mac via Zinio. And now there's a Kindle edition!

    The "indies":

    Fairy Tale Fail is self-published, and you will not be seeing this in local bookstores but if you've got a credit card (and you don't mind reading ebooks) then this will be easier to find. It's on Amazon ($0.99 US, $2.99 Asia-Pacific), and can be read not just on Kindles but on PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Blackberry phones and Android phones. So go ahead and read it with your gadget of choice! If you have Paypal then it's easier (and cheaper) to get it from Smashwords. If you have a Nook, you can also get it from Barnes & Noble and Goodreads. If you prefer the Apple iBookstore, it's there too. Get it on Flipreads if you're in the Philippines and prefer paying through non-credit card means.

    If you MUST have the paperback, yes it's available on Amazon ($7.99). But if you're in Metro Manila or the Philippines, you can also order one from me (if there's stock) for P350, just visit my Multiply store.

    Love Your Frenemies is also self-published, and you can get the paperback from Amazon ($7.99). Or me, for P350 plus shipping. Get the ebook from Amazon ($0.99 US, $2.99 Asia-Pacific), Smashwords ($0.99), Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, the Apple iBookstore and Flipreads. In the Philippines? Get the paperback from my Multiply store.

    Interim Goddess of Love is available on Amazon ($0.99 US, $2.99 Asia-Pacific). Buy the tiny paperback from Multiply (P300).

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Important meetings (bloggers and editors)

    On Saturday, I met a group from the Filipino Book Bloggers. I'm no stranger to the internet friend meetup, but this was I think the first time that I showed up anywhere as an author. Apparently there isn't much of a difference, as I jumped into the conversations and gave my two cents on things, just as I would have, and everyone else did the same.

    Chachic and Ruby have recaps of the stuff we talked about.

    On Monday, I had lunch with Ines, my Summit Books editor. This marked the first time we had actually seen each other in person, despite working together on two novellas (and a third one way back when that no one will ever see). It was great to finally meet her, and we chatted over dimsum like old friends.

    At the Book Bloggers meetup the conversation briefly turned to editors and their role in the process. Apart from checking my grammar and fixing my sentences, Ines points out weak spots in the work, and we work together to make it better. This is an important role because sometimes a writer can change her mind about an event or character, and even if the major text about it has been edited, ghost references could still be present in the manuscript and bother people who aren't aware of the history. As the first pair of fresh eyes to usually see anything I write, she has that burden.

    On Fairy Tale Fail, my editor friend Louie did the same thing. She said things like "this name is too modern for a guy that age" (which I thought was brilliant) and she too had to find those remnants of plot points dropped and make me clean it up.

    For Love Your Frenemies, my editor was Mike, my husband. His comments required the most rewriting, but that might be true of any editor who would read LYF because of the difficult main character. In the end I compromised -- I added a few things he wanted, but not everything. Although he was fine with how it all turned out. :)

    All in all a good step, I think, choosing to spend time with book bloggers and my editor. My books are out, and having a good run, because of them. Next time I should bring food as a token of my gratitude.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    February Report Card

    I should learn to make cuter charts!

    This is the report card for my ebook sales over the past year, now taking into account sales from Smashwords, Sony, and Apple. (Yes, I now have a sale from Apple!) I also changed the way I track this so I can compare Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies over time. As it turns out, Love Your Frenemies did great in Week 1 -- much better than Fairy Tale Fail's Month 1.

    But in FTF's Month 1 I was just figuring this out, so of course LYF has an advantage.

    Looking at this makes me want to write more.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Highlights from LYF's first week

    It's been a busy and happy week for Love Your Frenemies.

    It was reviewed by Tina (One More Page), Lee (From Page One), Chachic's Book Nook, and dementedchris via Smashwords. It's now on Goodreads and Shelfari.

    Not bad for a "launch" with a marketing budget of zero. :) I also got a few requests for a paperback version of Love Your Frenemies -- the answer is yes, there will be, but not soon. May take months, because the paperback process includes shipping proofs from the US to Manila and that takes weeks.

    Other fun things:

    If you haven't read Fairy Tale Fail yet -- Chachic's Book Nook is hosting a giveaway of it. It's an international giveaway and runs until March 11.

    Thanks to Charmie, Joyce, Irene, Vhienfaye, Raissa, Ula and Georgette for visiting the Facebook page this month!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Love Your Frenemies

    Love Your Frenemies

    Kimmy Domingo was the kind of girl everyone hated and envied -- until her fiancé dumped her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her. A year later and she's back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can't miss.

    Kimmy's home because she's ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love.

    Buy it now from Amazon ($0.99 US, $2.99 Asia-Pacific) and Smashwords ($0.99 anywhere)!

    You don't need a Kindle to read this! Just install any of Amazon's free Kindle apps on your device of choice (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7) and you're ready to go. Smashwords has an HTML version that allows you to read the book on any web browser!

    Just to get a few things out of the way:
    - If you're reading this and think the name of the lead character is familiar, yes, it is because she is that bitch from my first novel.
    - You can go ahead and read it even if you haven't read My Imaginary Ex. (Different time, mostly different people.)

    I will be sending free copies of this to people who bought Fairy Tale Fail when it was $1.89 US ($3.89 Asia-Pacific). If this is you, send me an email, maybe with a proof of purchase if we've never interacted before, and tell me which email address to gift it to and which format you prefer it in!

    The cover was designed by my husband, Michael A.R. Co. That lovely (in my opinion) background color is something we call "chocolate-box red."

    Glad that I'm finally getting this book out. :) With this, I close two personal writing challenges, and can now concentrate on whatever's next. This is for you, my Evil Stepsisters.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Updating assumptions, it's all right to be wrong

    Some assumptions I had about my ebook experiment in April 2010, and where they stand now.

    1. I will do this just to get my name and work out there, because who really makes money off their writing?

    February 2011: Wrong, apparently. I actually can make money out of this, if I'm willing to work on getting more titles out and communicating with the readers.

    2. My audience for the ebook will be Filipino-Americans, more than anyone else, because who else would be interested in stories set in the Philippines?

    February 2011: Wrong again. I can't tell based on sales alone, but the reviews, responses and feedback I get have come from all over and not really from a particular cultural community. (Although I do suspect that the audience is mostly women.)

    3. I don't need to release a paperback version, because why would someone spend more when they can already get the same thing for less than 50 pesos?

    February 2011: Not necessarily wrong. FTF ebook has outsold FTF paperback by such a wide margin that the comparison isn't even fair. But the effort put into having a paperback version is still worth it because there are a few hardcore paper lovers out there who would spring for it, and they shouldn't be ignored. And CreateSpace has at least made the process easy, and I didn't have to spend so much having a few dozen copies printed.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    The languages we speak

    From Elaine Yeung's review of No Strings Attached: "In addition, it is quite hard to picture a Filipino setting where all the characters speak in perfectly straight English."

    Elaine brings up an excellent point, which I wanted to blog about, in case an international reader wanders over.

    I made a deliberate decision when I prepared my very first manuscript for publication that I would write it mostly in English. In reality, middle-class twenty-something women living and working in Metro Manila would be at least bilingual, speaking Filipino and English (or "Taglish") with ease at home, at work, with friends. But this doesn't yet capture exactly how we speak -- I know people who speak Bisaya, Ilonggo, and other regional languages at home. The slang I speak with close friends can be hard to understand, and I know because I have to translate sometimes for my husband later, even though we heard the exact same thing at dinner.

    It's difficult to get that absolutely note-perfect, for me. International readers would notice that I do have the stray Tagalog word here and there, though, because I chose to retain some "untranslatables." Maybe it provides a hint of local color to some, but it doesn't do justice to the way we actually do use our native languages. I really just use them to avoid a more awkward English translation, so I say "kuya" rather than "older guy who isn't related to me but could be older brother also" or "bulalo" instead of "beef bone marrow soup."

    The decision to go mostly-English has to do with a lot of things, but first of these is that if I did it any other way, I wouldn't be able to finish anything. I've tried, and the pressure to "get it right" just kills every draft, every time. So, kudos to writers who can craft characters and give them the right slang and language and make it sound real.

    The upside of my earlier decision? The stories produced in this way found an international audience. I wonder if it's possible to have both (the correctly-represented languages AND the international audience) but since I haven't successfully finished an attempt, I don't personally know.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Sneak peek: Love Your Frenemies

    An excerpt from the latest book project, soon available on Amazon and Smashwords.


    Those who wanted to see Kimberly Domingo get hers had a lot of good stuff to choose from in the weeks and months that followed my non-wedding.

    It started when I found out -- through a phone call in the early afternoon, to my cellphone, which I had taken while sitting at my workstation. It wasn't an office with a door, and my cubicle walls looked and felt like plastic reinforced by a layer of thin carpet. Yeah, no soundproofing when I started raising my voice.

    "You're kidding me, right?" I tried to whisper, but as my former fiancé firmly explained to me that the wedding wouldn't be happening, my voice started to get loud and shrill. "What about the caterer?"

    "We won't get our deposit back, but at least we haven't paid them in full yet."

    "But my lola's already on her way!" Eighty-five years old and as we were speaking, flying in from California.

    "I'm really sorry, Kimmy. But we really can't do this."

    "You know what we can do? We can just shut up for a second and think about this. What happened?"

    He was calm as he explained to me what his decision was, and what needed to be done. He had an answer for everything I threw at him: he was prepared to call all the companies we had booked to announce the cancellation, as well as all the guests, and was even offering to pay for a few things that I had advanced from my own account. And that I would have the money by Monday.

    "Shit, Zack, I don't fucking care about the money right now! What the hell happened?"

    I can't remember exactly what he said. I was in a rage, and when the phone call ended I was suddenly aware that I was in my place of work, and everyone probably heard that.

    I don't remember the rest of that day. My mother told me that I came home late, but by then she already knew, because Zack had contacted her with his apologies. I have a vague memory of not wanting to go to work the next day. I remember crying into her lap, wiping tears onto the floral-patterned fabric of her nightgown, first with loud, angry sobs, and then hiccupping like a child. I had never felt like that before, ever.

    Humiliated. That was the word.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Let's not forget email

    The last post was full of shoutouts to people who talked about my books on the internet. I try to round those up and link as often as I can, especially now that I've admitted that I'm out there reading them too. :)

    Now I'd like to devote some space to thank those who've emailed me directly recently, for one reason or another. Through them I've learned that:

    - Ruel De Vera (hi, Ruey!) has read at least two reviews of my books for his class. I wonder if he has identified me as author from the last name and the choice of genre. (ie CHEESE)

    - It is possible to meet "a Dante" in Boracay, if Dante were a Geneva-based Italian/British banker and REAL.

    - I talk a LOT about college in my books, despite the characters all being in their twenties. It's like I have a college fascination or something.

    - Atom Araullo is someone's idea of "a Dante." Not the guy I modeled the character on, but that is brilliant.

    - Though I never named the church where the Ellie and Don scene happened, I did base it on a real one, and someone got it right.

    Also, I was asked if I have ever written about me. No, never. I write about other people. Not that my own life is blah. It's quite nice, actually.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Around the net

    A roundup of recently-discovered links related to my books. Thank you, internets, for these little surprises.

    Dementedchris over at Ficsation reviewed No Strings Attached: "There's a studied air in the way this whirlwind romance is written..."
    - Singled this out because this captures how I felt when I wrote it. I don't want to talk about it too much, don't want to affect how people read and interpret it. But, yeah, this.

    Holly at Book Harbinger got copies of My Imaginary Ex and No Strings Attached in the mail, courtesy of Chachic. I love Manila-themed stuff, and I want that little wallet!

    Lee at From Page One reviewed My Imaginary Ex, Fairy Tale Fail, and No Strings Attached. Also, he interviewed me! That's a lot of stuff.

    Jenn, Michelle, Joane, Jo Mar, Fay, Ei, Gem, Ramon, Elaine, Tina, Marimel, JaNille, Jen, Desiree, Olib, Cecille, Princess, and Renz dropped by the Facebook page.

    If you've got a Kobo Reader, Fairy Tale Fail is in Kobo Books.

    peachblossom021 on Tumblr posted some quotes from No Strings Attached (spoiler warning!).

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Filipino book readers, yes, do convene!

    If you happen to wander over to this blog because you're a Filipino reader, I hope you click next to fantaghiro23's Filipino Friday post asking for suggestions related to a Filipino readers convention. It's an exciting idea!

    As a reader I'm not very "social" about my hobby. I rarely blog or write reviews, am not as active as I could be in readers' groups... but I buy, borrow, and read just as passionately. I'm sure many people are like this too, and our tastes and interests are probably not counted because we don't speak up as much. Anyway -- if you're this kind of reader too, I hope you drop by that post and suggest something that'll make a Filipino Readers Convention great for you. :)

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    FTF Kindle Report Card: An update

    I posted a few months ago this Kindle report card for FTF. At the time I was amazed at October's figures, but this update is just to show how November and December totally kicked October's butt. (And January 2011 has so far kicked December's.)

    Fairy Tale Fail isn't a bestseller yet, not by Amazon's standards. On any given day it can be ranked anywhere between #1,800 to #8,000 on their list. I'm thankful for the buzz that book bloggers and reading groups have given it, which likely help -- along with Amazon's recommendations feature -- in keeping the book alive and thriving as it nears its anniversary on the Kindle store. I'm aware that book sales dip in the months after the initial launch and marketing push, but that's not necessarily true now. At least, not for Fairy Tale Fail.

    The point of this? Go finish that novel and publish it on the Kindle. Do it do it! And when you do, don't be discouraged when the first few months are tough. It'll get better.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Coming soon: Love Your Frenemies on your e-reader!

    Not exactly the first announcement, as I've said it already on Twitter, but here it is: my next novella, Love Your Frenemies, will be released on the Amazon Kindle Store first, and then Smashwords, and then Sony, Apple, Kobo, Diesel, and maybe Barnes and Noble. A print version (most likely through CreateSpace again) will come at the very end of that process.

    At this stage I'm working on the cover with Bianca Pascual, who was responsible for the pretty of Fairy Tale Fail's cover. The undercurrent of anger in this manuscript is giving us a bit of trouble in the kikay department, but we'll work it out.

    (If you ever want to try to publish your own work, I hope you have friends who can help you out at various stages. If you don't have any, find some new artsy friends now!)

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    2011 for me

    Some resolutions:

    1. This year I will write more.
    That includes finishing the SG project first (and putting up a sneak peek on this blog) within the next few weeks. And picking up on the CM project that I abandoned a few months ago. I will set aside time each day to write, and I will finish things!

    2. This year I will publish online more.
    The CM project, once finished, will definitely be for the Kindle. The SG project is still on the fence, depends on what happens with LYF. I think I've spent too much time on Amazon with just one title to my name. If there's more, I should just publish it all.

    3. This year I will help people get published.
    After guiding my husband Mike to putting his book out on Kindle, I've started talking to a few more people I know have book projects but are too scared/overwhelmed by the editing and publishing process to do anything about it. My cousin has a lovely, inspirational project in mind, and I've committed to help edit and publish it -- as long as she finishes writing the book.

    4. I will buy less paper and start going digital.
    Thinking of buying a Kindle. Already subscribed to Cosmo Philippines on Zinio. One factor is that I don't have space to keep anything, and the other is I want to encourage digital publishing on different fronts.

    5. I will try writing something new and different.
    Not making promises here -- I tried, and gave up. But maybe I'll resolve to give up later rather than sooner!