From Corporate Editor to Indie-published Historical Women's Fiction Author

UPDATE:  Lisa is giving away her book to one lucky winner who leaves a chosen randomly of course, but be sure to leave your email address :)

Today we have a guest interview with award-winning author, Lisa Costantino, who's recently published her debut women's historical fiction book, Maiden's Veil.
As an editor and an author, Lisa faced the challenge of striving for perfection in her book while making it still feel fresh and alive. Here lyrical passages truly use language to its fullest potential! So it's a must read if you love women's fiction and you want to see a great representation of historical literary fiction. Fortunately, her book is currently on sale, so check it out:

Lisa also offers editing services to authors looking to submit a manuscript to traditional publishing and/or to go indie and self publish their work. And since she's been down both paths, she can tune into issues most newbie authors miss. I know because she edited my book, An Eye For Danger. Feel free to reach out to her when you're ready to polish your manuscript, especially if you're writing in literary genres:
But enough's Lisa...
1) What inspired you to write about pagan fertility rituals, weaving, and the oncoming industrial revolution in the 1700s?
Maiden’s Veil was born from a trip to England to attend some of the traditions celebrated every May. There’s a sizable number of pagans in the UK, and a number of events and festivities that have been carried out for centuries. Once I overheard someone in a pub say they felt like the Lady of Shalott, an idea began to form. I wanted to write about being trapped in a web of one’s own making, and the time period and setting added to the sense of not being able to move forward.
2) Which character do you feel is stronger in the end, Jess or Clarinda, and which one of them is most like you?
Jess is the stronger, because she is able to forgive herself, whereas Clarinda cannot. As for which one is most like me—well, I love to wander through England like Jess, but I’m stubborn and defiant like Clarinda. It’s a tie.
3) If there was going to be a sequel, which is not common for literary fiction, whose story would you most want to move forward with?
Oh, I couldn’t imagine a sequel, but Clarinda seems to be every reader’s favorite character, including mine, so I’m working on a YA novel about a younger version of Clarinda. It’s not a prequel, but rather a story of a young Clarinda in, say, an alternate universe. I love herbology, and the research involved in writing historical fiction, so the time period and the self-sufficiency aspects of Clarinda’s story will carry into my next book.
4) You've won acclaim with this book... how does that put more pressure on writing the next novel?
It’s not the acclaim that’s adding pressure as much as the need to produce another book in a timely fashion. Can someone sell me more time in the day? : )
For tapestry weaver Clarinda Asher, the consequences of her participation in an ancient ritual terrified her remote English village enough to banish her to a lonely hilltop. Centuries later, Jess Barlow and Owen Calder rediscover and perform the Maiden’s Veil, igniting another firestorm as the ritual’s power is resurrected and they set out to complete the task Clarinda began 300 years before.
Lisa Costantino fled the relentless sunshine of southern California to settle in the lit-friendly, rainy Pacific Northwest, where she established herself as a travel writer, book reviewer, and content specialist, while also writing fiction whenever she could find the time. Maiden’s Veil is her first published novel.

Top 10 Marketing No’s-No’s for Authors

Today's guest post comes from the formidable marketing team of C. Morgan Kennedy and Therese Patrick, who offer great tips and tricks on building your brand and book promotion at When they taught at the Emerald City Writers Conference last year, they offered a truly effective workshop on building a author marketing plan, from web site to attending cons to promos, that blew me away. So these ladies know what they are talking about. Without further ado....

Top 10 Marketing No’s-No’s for Authors

1.       No Pink Fluffy anything. This is a pet peeve of ours and it extends to pink-fluffy personas. Unless you write about pink fluffy kittens and unicorns, please leave them off your website, business cards, and other professional communications.  Authors, no matter how cute or perky they may seem, do not owe their success as authors to their looks or personality. Writing GREAT books and letting the world know they exist is the key to success.

2.       No Apologizing. A post that begins with some form of, “Oops!” needs to include a call to action and reason – like “I forgot to let you know my novel is free today! Get it before midnight!” Never apologize for a late blog post because no matter how loyal your fans may be, most will not plan their day according to whether or not you posted a cute tidbit.

3.       No Whining. No one wants to hear about how much you hate promotions, or how tough it is to be a writer, or how many people have not liked your page.  You can write for fun all you want, but when you choose to try to sell your books…well now you’ve entered into a business venture.  Suck it up and do what it takes to be successful or resolve to “let the chips fall where they may” without complaint.  You can’t continue to do nothing and expect to have a best seller.  Plus, do you really want to be perceived as one of THOSE negative, whiney authors?

4.       No Dirty Laundry. You are an author, you write books to entertain and inform readers. So unless your topic is stain removal or chiropractic adjustments, keep the soiled undergarments and skeletons in your closet.

5.       No Rants. Keep your indignation and politics private unless you are an authority who has the power to create change with a rant so stellar it causes peace to break out in war torn countries.

6.       No Shotgun promotion blasts. This refers to authors who load promo materials into a shotgun, climb into the back of a pickup, and tour social media sites blasting “buy my book.” If you are offended by the gun analogy, refer to this point as “No Blind Bowling”.  Target your marketing for specific audiences and your efforts will pay dividends.

7.       No Purple Promotions. This applies to descriptions of your friends’ books as well. Reviews are important but don’t trade gushing praise for each other especially if you haven’t read the book, or wouldn’t buy it if you didn’t need a review of your book.

8.       No Menopausal Meanderings. This applies to men as well. Unless your core audience is menopausal women...otherwise create blog posts, newsletters, and other marketing messages that are suitable for your audience.

9.       No Fad Following. Every year there’s a new gimmick for promotions that costs more than it sells. If you do invest cash in a promotional tool MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS ON IT! Make sure it represents the same colors and themes of your website and business cards.  And have FUN with it.  Consider how this new thing fits into your overall marketing strategy.  If it makes sense, do it.  If not, don’t waste your time and money.  For example, when author trading cards first hit the scene a few years ago, a lot of our author friends scrambled to have them designed and printed.  Trading cards only make sense, if you frequently attend READER functions.

10.   NO Using Marketing and Promotions as an EXCUSE that you are too busy to WRITE. ONLY 10% of your writing time should be used for marketing and promotions.  Remember, you are a writer FIRST and great books will keep your readers coming back for more!


C. Morgan Kennedy has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from Otterbein College. Marketing and Entrepreneurship were her MBA focus.  Throughout her fifteen year career in Corporate America, she has worked in international and large account sales, corporate training, and product marketing. She is currently a Product Marketing Manager for a $20 million global product portfolio. Ms. Kennedy is based in Portland, OR.

Therese Patrick is an active member of RWA for ten years. For Rose City Romance Writers she was a past treasurer, on the newsletter staff, and has been a coordinator with the Golden Rose Contest teams since 2003. A former Business Operations Consultant and Technical Writer she was part of the start up team for a national electrical services company. Ms. Patrick is a mother of four daughters, lives in Oregon, writes contemporary romance and memoir. She is an active blogger since 2009 and is marketing both her fiction and memoir.