Escape Into the Life of an Italian Village – Read Santa Lucia Today!

Who doesn’t like pretending they are somewhere else for a little while. And a hilltop village in Italy sounds pretty good right about now! Get your own cappuccino or glass of wine and embrace a vacation of the imagination. 

About the Book:

An Italian café. A barista with an eye for trouble. And a village determined to create as much as possible.

Chiara has presided over the espresso machine at Bar Birbo for as long as anyone can remember. In Santa Lucia, this is the only place to go for a cappuccino served with a side of gossip.

The town’s residents rely on each other and feel almost like a family, but their secrets are kept well hidden.  While romance is in the air for some, the truth behind the love affairs is far more complicated than anyone can imagine. 

When everyone has ulterior motives and unspoken desires, it’s only a matter of time before things finally come to a head.  And unfortunately for the townspeople, the revelations could prove deadly.

Can the residents of Santa Lucia survive the inferno of their own making? Or will they burn in the flames?

Reviews:

Santa Lucia is a wonderful, sprawling, satisfying novel….This was my favorite novel of 2017.” — Caseful of Clues

The fictional Santa Lucia features a cast of characters embroiled in the kinds of conflicts, secrets and mysteries not uncommon to small town life anywhere–from love affairs to tragedies. But Damiani also brilliantly weaves together the rich tapestry of a modern Italian hilltop town, which often includes immigrants such as Santa Lucia’s Fatima from Morocco.  

“Damiani has followed up her beautifully written memoir, “Il Bel Centro,” with her debut novel, “Santa Lucia,” set in a place that bears much resemblance to real-life Spello, Umbria, where the author spent a year with her family. 

About the Author:

Michelle Damiani is a writer living in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is the author of “Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center”, a memoir of living in an Umbrian village with her three kids and two cats. To encourage other families to leap into the arms of an international adventure, she gathered 36 traveling families to share their practical tips and experiences and wove them together in “The Road Taken: How to Dream, Plan, and Live Your Family Adventure Abroad.” Her life in Italy later inspired her Santa Lucia series. Three of the four novels, “Santa Lucia”, “The Silent Madonna”, and “The Stillness of Swallows” are currently available. When not planning her year traveling around the world, you can find her at www.michelledamiani.com.

Now hop on that vespa and escape your four walls for a little while, we know you will love it! 

Ciao! 

This Week! (& Last Week!)

It’s been awhile since we’ve updated everyone on our recently published audio. This post is to serve as an update for the last couple of weeks, but things are going to be a bit different…

We’re going to start re-directing you to where the audio books can be purchased!

Without further ado, here they are!


Bree Livingston

Her Second Chance Billionaire Boyfriend


Eva Chase

Falling For Gods


Ivy Layne

Unraveled

Compromising the Billionaire

The Counterfeit Billionaire


BJ Harvey

Third Strike


London Lovett

Death in the Park


RK Lander

Path of a Novice

Simplicity & Books

Keeping up with book trends and sales? Don’t worry. We are too. There will always be highs and lows, one extreme to another. This isn’t really a trend but just a little something we noticed in the office. Everything is so simple.

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Sure, writing the book isn’t simple…getting the book to be noticed by an editor/publisher isn’t simple…the process of production isn’t simple…but when the final product of the book is in the author’s hands or a trusty reader’s yearning finger tips…do they just look at the cover and think, it’s so simple? We’re referring to the cover art itself. And because we came across a list of books in which the title said, “Most Beautiful…”, we thought it was about time we sit down and chat about cover art. Again.

Calling something beautiful is subjective to the writer of the article. Some of the titles on this list have been hyped up and plastered all over the internet, they were bound to become bestsellers. But there was one common thing among the covers we needed to stress. They’re so simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity but the simplicity of these books has helped bump up sales revenue. Many fiction titles are beginning to look…uniform. Once again…there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s getting money in someone’s pocket, regardless.

We’re not here to dictate what you should do with your book. But if you find yourself in need of change and you could envision a bit of abstract art or an object as the cover of your book, then maybe it’s time you send out a few emails to the cover designers out in the world. You may appeal to a new crowd looking for the simple covers that get them wondering what the heck the cover is trying to tell them.

Thank goodness we live in a digital age where all we have to do is delete and upload a new image.

It’s Like A Dating Profile

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Let’s be honest, this is probably your face trying to narrow down the perfect author bio AFTER you wrote the perfect manuscript. NAILED IT!

Writing an author bio that intrigues people enough to invest in your product will serve as the bridge between you and your readers. Everyone can write the, “I grew up with my nose in a book…” and that’s where I found my inspiration to write type of thing. What people really like to see and remember is you- the actual witty and accomplished person that you are.  Your fans love your writing and they want to love you too.

So, let’s talk about some points you may want to consider sprinkling into your bio to make your fans giggle a little.

Don’t bore your fans with some jargon that doesn’t explain who you are outside of your writing life. If you aren’t a writing prodigy who rose to fame by writing a life-changing, coming-of-age novel, then I can safely assume you probably haven’t quite graduated to a full-time author quite yet. Tell your reader what you do by day and unveil your nighttime persona. Sometimes people like to see how dedicated others are to their craft, and we all know working full time can be tedious to a writer’s habits.

If you’re trying to reel in a new reader – it might be cool to give them a taste of your writing through your bio. Describe yourself the same way your narrator might, or make yourself into another character in your story (except that you’re not involved in the plot, just an innocent bystander). Paint a pretty picture (or ugly one, we won’t judge) of who you are or who your pen name is. Fans and readers alike would love to know the nitty gritty details.

Some people like trivia. Add a bit of trivia to your bio. Just like John Scalzi’s bio. It’s worth checking out.

I’ve heard here-and-there how readers like to see the relationship the author has with the publishing industry if that relationship exists. If you’re working as an editorial assistant and hid your manuscript in your file cabinet (with other author files, whoops!), I bet someone will get a kick out of knowing where your manuscript was written. Oh, and apologize to Sue or Greg (your boss, duh) about not turning your project in on time. They deserve the apology!

Writing Revelation

Sarah Waters:

“Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel,  I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce…Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.”

Audiobooks Making International Waves

Audiobooks are a great source of extra income for many authors, an extra revenue stream that otherwise wouldn’t be there. The audiobook market within the United States is a booming industry, increasing each and every year. Putting their success here in America aside, the possibilities for the future of audiobooks is still endless. According to an article in The Japan Times, audiobooks in the U.S. account for 10% of book sales- amounting to a $160 billion industry. But, this isn’t the case internationally. For example, in Japan the audiobook industry caps off at $5 billion. On the international scene, audiobooks have so much left to do and leave so much to be excited for in the future.

Audio publishers, like Audible, are just beginning to figure out how to be successful overseas. Recently, Audible launched an international initiative in countries just like Japan. In these countries they offer unlimited audiobooks for a monthly fee. The pay per book model that we have in the United States and the United Kingdom just doesn’t work in most other countries. There just isn’t enough awareness or accessibility to audiobooks that are needed for such a model. So, publishers are starting to get creative.

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The use of smartphones and their apps are greatly changing the audiobook landscape in countries like Japan. These apps offer easy access to audiobooks that once wasn’t there. In Japan, many people use public transportation and are looking for things to entertain them on their long commutes that don’t pack a lot of weight- downloadable audiobooks are the perfect answer. Febe, a downloading site, was launched in 2007. The site offers over 19,000 books on a variety of topics and genres. Since it’s launch, the number of users has increased from 2,000 to about 180,000- proving that if the content is there and accessible, people will use it.

There is still a long way to go with cultivating a real audiobook culture overseas, but the future is very promising. Audio publishers have found that the key to stimulating interest in audiobooks abroad is to use famous people, poets, or authors as readers. Since it’s a relatively new market, there needs to be something that pulls the listener in to giving the whole audio thing a try. This poses a slight problem because production costs of making an audiobook are already pretty high, let alone needing to commission a celebrity to do the reading. High costs along with low recognition of audiobooks are audio publishers two biggest obstacles when thinking of expanding abroad. But if the audio trend does catch on, the risk will be well worth the reward.

10 Publishing Trends for 2017

Another year is upon us. We all have a new “to-do” list, a new set of goals, and new adventures awaiting our arrival. Thanks to our friends at Written Word Media, they are making this year a little bit easier on us already. They have compiled a Top 10 publishing trend list for 2017 and I have to say, they are spot on. Take a look at the list below for things you should be looking out for to make this year your most successful yet.

2017

  1. Fiction sales are driven by e-books. The large majority of adult book sales are digital, especially for fiction. So, if that’s the genre you write in you will want to focus most of your marketing power there.
  2. Indie authors and small presses will keep growing. It’s no secret that the “Big 5″‘s market share continues to drop year after year. But, it’s encouraging to know that over 50% of the market share is made up of small presses, indie authors, and Amazon imprints. The good news is that you can drive your own success this year. The bad news is that simply pricing your e-books low won’t alone garner yourself a readership. With all indie authors and small presses pricing their books low nowadays, marketing and visibility is really going to be key this year.
  3. Amazon imprints are dominating. I am getting more and more requests from my authors to submit their work to Amazon imprints. In fact, for many of them it’s the only publisher they would be willing to sign with and I don’t necessarily blame them. In 2016, 7 out of the 10 Kindle bestsellers were from Amazon imprints. If you can’t actually be published by them, Written Word makes a good suggestion- market your books with theirs since they give their own books preferential marketing spots.
  4. Kindle Unlimited will keep expanding. More and more readers are seeing the benefit of the Kindle Unlimited program and Amazon markets the program tirelessly. This will likely affect single unit e-book sales and force more authors to become a part of the program.
  5. Crowding is changing the game. One of the benefits of digital publishing and digital bookstores is that there is endless bookshelf space. Your book can sit up on that “shelf” as long as you want it to. Now, new books not only need to compete with other new books, but with older ones as well. If you have successful backlist books, don’t neglect them- redesign the covers, write new summaries/blurbs, get new reviews, and focus some new marketing dollars/strategies on them too. The more books you have available and easily accessible, the most chances you have at succeeding in a vast e-book world.
  6. Audiobooks will only get more popular. If I haven’t told you this enough already, I will say it again- the audiobook market is continually growing every year. You should always try to make your books available in as many formats as possible.
  7. Marketing will determine success. If you don’t market, then you can’t expect to succeed. The digital age is making it easier than ever for the average person to effectively market their own books. E-mail marketing has always been a popular and effective marketing tool. Also, websites such as BookBub, Freebooksy, and Bargain Booksy are excellent tools as well.
  8. Facebook ads will decline. Facebook ads have become extremely popular in 2016. Their popularity and higher demand has led to higher costs for these ads, which in turn hurts your return on investment. Don’t be afraid to try other advertisement tools this year as well, like Amazon ads.
  9. International audiences are a great place to focus for growth. A great way to expand your audience this year is to reach out to international markets as we are seeing an increased involvement in their readers year after year. International rights can be scary waters to navigate, but the potential is well worth it. There are so many readers outside the US and UK, it would be a shame to not tap into those resources.
  10. Authors will continue to help each other. There is very little in life that can done alone. We are seeing more and more authors banding together and that won’t slow down in 2017. Many authors are starting to co-write books or create box sets together. It also warms my heart to see an author blasting their own social media sites for another author friend. Work on expanding and creating an author support system for yourself this year. After all, we are all in this together.

Here’s to another crazy, but successful, year. Write on!

A Bright Future for 2017

I cannot believe how quickly 2017 is approaching! I feel like I was just basking in the summer sun, toes buried in the sand, watching the ocean waves roll in. Or maybe that was just last nights dream? Either way, 2017 will be here before we know it- literally. This morning, I was browsing through some recent publishing deals and let me tell you, 2017 is going to be an awesome year. We are leaving behind one successful publishing year and rolling seamlessly into another one. Below are a few of my favorite books to look out for in the new year by major publishers:

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THE BAD MOOD AND THE STICK by Lemony Snicket, with art by Matthew Forsythe (Little, Brown Children’s) to be published in Fall 2017.

THANK YOU FOR COMING TO HATTIESBURG by comedian/actor Todd Barry- a memoir/travelogue (Gallery) to be published in March 2017.

SWEET  BABY JAMES: A POP-UP LULLABY by singer/songwriter James Taylor- a three dimensional picture book with scenes that bring the lyrics to this popular song to life (Blue Rider Press) to be published Fall 2017.

TEAMMATE by  David Ross, former Chicago cubs catcher (Hachette Books) to be published May 2017.

NO MIDDLE NAME: THE COMPLETE JACK REACHER SHORT STORIES by Lee Child- which will include all Jack Reacher short stories and a new novella (Ballantine Bantam Dell) to be published in May 2017.

WHO THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA: AND OTHER QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD HAVE ANSWERS TO WHEN YOU WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE by Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Obama White House deputy chief of staff for operations (Twelve) to be published in March 2017.

In order to keep on writing, we need to keep on reading.