Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Self-Published: Guest Blog and Giveaway with Sheena Hutchinson

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Self-Published

Publishing my second novel, Seraphina: Initiation has made me take a step back to look at how far I’ve come since the beginning of my self publishing journey. I dove right in head first, with out any real knowledge of the business or a mentor to help me. There are a few key things I wish I had someone tell me beforehand and I will now share them with you:

1.) Book Bloggers & The Power of the Internet— Can you believe when I first started I had no idea there was such a thing as book bloggers! I had no clue their reach or the fact that there were websites that gave you great book recommendations. Where was I living under a rock?  When I was trying to promote my first book, I had no idea where to turn to gain exposure. If I hadn’t flown by the seat of my pants and clicked upload so fast, I would have definitely spent some time networking and learning about online marketing first. Now, I have to say that is my favorite part of publishing, getting to know book bloggers and following their reviews of books. I learn what they like, what they hate, and what character or author they are obsessed with. It gives me great insight.

2.) EDIT, Edit and even more editing!— If you are going to spend money, spending it on editing. I used my money on the cover and my earlier reviews show it. I thought the cover was more important to grab attention, but in the long run I wish I would have invested in a professional editing service/ person. If you think about it this piece of work has your name on it, do you really want to be putting out mediocre work? 

3.) Learning how to Format for E-books—Wow, where to begin with this one. Took me a while and a ton of YouTube videos to perfect it. I’ll tell you my secret. Keep it simple, no special fonts, no pictures. We are talking Times New Roman, 12pt font, and single-spaced. Upload it to CreateSpace first and it will format it for you! You can view it online as a book and once that’s up to your standards. Then download their newly formatted file and upload it to On Smashwords you can download the Mobi, E-pub and pdf files. From there, use those files to upload to the corresponding site: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. You just saved yourself two weeks of your life—You’re welcome! 

4.) Don’t email copies of your book!! – You would think this would be obvious. But for giveaways and such it’s easier to just email a Mobi file to someone than to gift it through Amazon. (And cheaper!) But I found my book on way too many free sites to make that mistake again. 

5.) Google is your friend—I didn’t realize how much Google can actually be an asset. Google Analytics is a free service for your website. (I’m slightly obsessed with it.) Create a free account and use it on your website it will track how many visitors you get, from where, from what type of internet service, what links they clicked on—it’s amazing! Also, Creating a Google+ page is a must. Be sure to include your website and your book on your page this creates Google Authorship. Now whenever you Google yourself that should be the first few things that pop up. 

I’m coming up on a year in self-publishing soon and in that short amount of time my knowledge has tripled about this industry. I went from knowing absolutely nothing, not even what the hell a Book Blog was –to currently being on my second Blog Tour. What I have learned above all else is: it’s all trial and error. What works for someone might not jive for you. It’s called self-publishing for a reason, its based on yourSELF. It’s all on you and what you put into it. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, but in the end—it’s worth it.

Seraphina: Initiation
Seraphina Series
Book Two
Sheena Hutchinson

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Hutchinson Publishing
Date of Publication: 10/20/2014

ISBN: 1502319608

Number of pages: 200
Word Count:  60,000

Cover Artist: Andrea Garcia

Book Description:

Seraphina Cross is unexpectedly thrown into this crazy, spiritual world of Angels versus Demons. Never did she expect to meet Nate who was just a figment of her imagination until last week. Now she finds herself moving in with him because of her innate responsibility to protect her loved ones from harm.

Finally beginning to feel at home in her new house and with her new relationship. Nate begins training Sera in all that she can do, surprising even himself at times.
Just when she is starting to feel safe and powerful, the Devil finds a new way to attack her at her most vulnerable.

When her dreams are no longer a gift, can Sera control the powers needed to defeat what's coming before Lucifer fulfills his promise to her?

Book Trailer:

Available at Amazon  Amazon UK

I’m walking along the long cliff in my new backyard, enjoying the gorgeous scenery. I’m basking in the sun, breathing in the fresh outdoor air, and feeling the wind whip my hair around my face. I look back at my new home behind me and sigh as my mind automatically thinks of Nate. I lie down in the grass, feeling the wind whipping around my hair and the grass grazing my legs ever so slightly. Again I let my mind wander to thoughts of wondering if I ever would have moved out of my parent’s house had it not been for Nate. What would my life have been like? Would I have stayed at the office until retirement in quiet misery? Breaking me out of my moment I think I hear someone shouting my name. I look around, but I’m alone here in my new backyard. Where is that noise coming from? I shrug my shoulders and try to continue my thought processes, but a part of me is still on alert. There it is again, my name, Sera! I finally climb to my feet and look through the glass wall of our house. Nate isn’t there. I must be imagining things.

Maybe my senses are just extra sensitive today. I begin to walk along the cliff and I hear it a little louder now. Sera! I glance out over the cliff and the winding river below that continues far into the distance. SERA! Finally my eyes lock on something in the river below, Nate.

What I’m not expecting is the hand that’s holding his head under water is big, clawed, and belongs to none other than Gabe. Gabe, the hunk from the office that tried to kill me only a few short days ago. His eyes are no longer green, they are all black and staring straight up at me like he’s tempting me to do something about it. He lifts Nate’s head back up as he tries to catch his breath while gulping down chunks of water. Nate’s arms are flailing around trying to grab onto something to defend himself, no to avail. “Sera!” he sputters out before Gabe shoves his head back down into the water. This time I know he’s not going to let him back up for air. He will kill him. There is no time, no thinking, Nate needs me. I extend my arms out like a bird’s wings, somewhere inside me I feel like I can fly. I dive off the cliff to help Nate. I open my eyes to see, it’s working! I have wings, big white glorious wings and… I’m flying! I think excitedly as my eyes lock on Gabe’s dark ones only instead of the fear I expect to see, he laughs at me. A strange, haunting laugh like he wanted this to happen.

I land on the ground hard before my eyes fly open. Nate is on top of me screaming words my mind can’t quite make out yet. I glance around in shock, I’m outside in the grass by the cliff. Stars are sparkling above me and in a stupor of confusion my mind is trying to make out what Nate is yelling.

“Sera! What were you doing? Tell me what was that?” his hands are shaking in anger.

“What?” I don’t seem to understand, “What happened?” I ask shaking my head as I begin to sit up.

“What do you mean? You were about to jump off the cliff!” he yells putting his hands on his head and paces back and forth in front of me.

“But, I was dreaming…” I try putting my thoughts together.

“Sera, I heard you walking past my office so I followed you out here and you were about to jump! I dived at you at the last minute and caught you just in time!” He states angrily waiting for an explanation.

I’m so confused. “I was dreaming you were in the river and I needed to save you, I was flying down to save you…it was a dream, at least I thought it was…” I rub my forehead.

Processing what I had just said with his silent angry face he finally softens and states, “Let’s get you back to bed,” before picking me up and carrying me back inside the house. By the time he’s climbing the stairs, I find myself nodding back off to sleep in his arms. I can feel him tucking me in and his footsteps trace back to the door. Suddenly I’m wide-awake, frightened that I could sleep walk again.

“Wait, Nate!” I softly yell.

“Yes?” he responds over his shoulder pausing in the doorway.

“Please don’t leave. I’m scared to go to sleep.” I admit quietly. He doesn’t have to respond I know he will stay. He probably wanted to anyway knowing his overprotective self. He walks back to the other side of the room, grabs the green chair from the corner, and pulls it up beside my bed. Leaning back he puts his feet up on the edge of the bed, I can’t tell if he’s sleeping or not but I feel better knowing that he’s there.

I roll over facing away from him as I try to close my eyes. Instead of drifting to sleep again, I find my mind wandering to how I could have walked all that way unconscious, what would have happened if I had jumped? How could this happen? Is this another gift? Or is it a curse? Unable to sleep, I roll back to face Nate. The moon is shining in through my window falling on Nate’s face. His eyes are closed and he looks so peaceful, but I know he’s not going to get any sleep tonight. I find myself wondering what I would do without him. Finally, unconsciousness finds me as I’m falling asleep wondering how I won the Angel lottery.

About the Author:

Sheena is a born and raised New Yorker, even her writing can't seem to hide her hard sarcasm. She claims destiny has lead her back to her true passion for writing. 

She constantly strives to be a positive role model and writes stories that empower and inspire. Sheena always roots for the underdog, believes in love at first sight, and that everyone should have their happily ever after.

While God is currently still writing her love story, she continues to put all her effort into her writing as she is constantly getting new inspiration.

For more info, updates, and fun facts visit her website at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 13 Guest blog
My Book Fairy

October 14 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

October 15 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

October 16 Spotlight 
3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!   

October 17 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

October 21 Character Interview
Darkest Cravings

October 22 Spotlight
BabyCakes Book Blog

October 23 Interview
Eclipse Reviews

October 24 Character Interview
Author Karen Swart

October 27 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

October 28 Review

October 29 Guest blog
Eargasms Audiobook Reviews.

October 30 Spotlight and review
Michelle's Paranormal Vault of Books

October 31 Interview
Dowie's Place 

November 3 Guest blog and Review
Sister Sinister Speaks

November 4 Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt

November 5 Review
Reading Addict  

November 6 Spotlight and review
Books N Pearls 

November 7 Spotlight
Ashley's Paranormal Book Blog

November 10 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.