Tracey Garvis-Graves's Blog
July 25, 2014
July 15, 2014
May 11, 2014
April 29, 2014
Today is the release of the trade paperback of Covet, with the beautiful new cover! Will I be at Target tonight, taking a picture of it on the shelf? You bet I will (plus we’re getting low on paper towels and laundry detergent, so I’ll be there anyway).
Here’s a quick recap of where you can buy it:
Barnes & Noble
Wal-Mart (select stores)
Canada – Indigo, Chapters, & Amazon
And don’t forget, the e-book of Covet is still on sale for $5.99 through May 21st.
When Covet was released in hardcover, many of you sent me pictures of yourselves holding the book. I loved these “in the wild” photos and hope you’ll send them again (please direct them to email@example.com). If you do, I’ll send you a signed bookplate created by Bookplate Ink. It will look like this:
A bookplate is a fancy name for a sticker that you can peel off and affix to the inside cover or title page of the book (or wherever you want to put it).
My publisher has decided to up the ante a bit and has generously offered to send a copy of the trade paperback of On the Island (signed by me!) to the first thirty people who send in a picture of themselves with their copy of the trade paperback of Covet. Everyone who sends in a photo after that will also receive a bookplate.
Disclaimers: You do not have to buy anything. This is meant to be along the same lines as last September’s hardcover launch of Covet when I sent out signed bookplates. Basically, if you’ve been planning to buy the trade paperback of Covet and you pick it up sometime in the next week or two, I’d love to see a snapshot of you holding your copy (and you’ll receive a bookplate and signed copy of On the Island).
I will post your pictures on my Facebook author page, so smile pretty.
April 23, 2014
I’m sorry I’ve been missing in action lately. I recently finished writing my newest book and will have some exciting things to share with you in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime, I’m excited to talk about the upcoming release of the trade paperback of Covet. In case you haven’t seen the new cover, here it is:
Isn’t it gorgeous? I wouldn’t have believed that Penguin could top the beautiful concept they came up with for the hardcover edition, but I think they have. I just love it.
The trade paperback will be released on 4/29/14 and will be available at the following retailers:
Barnes & Noble
Wal-Mart (select stores)
Canada – Indigo, Chapters, & Amazon
In conjunction with the publication of the trade paperback, the e-book will also be going on sale. From today through May 21st, you can buy the e-book of Covet for $5.99. If you haven’t yet picked it up, now would be a great (and economical) time to do it.
Here are the participating retailers:
I need your help in getting the word out about this e-book sale, so one lucky winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:
To enter, all you need to do is follow the instruction on the PunchTab giveaway below (and make sure to share your activity on your Facebook timeline). If you win, I do need to be able to verify where you shared the information. This giveaway is open to EVERYONE. I don’t care where you live, I’ll get the prize package to you. The giveaway will run from 8:00 a.m. CST 4/23 through 8:00 a.m. CST 4/25. One winner will be chosen.
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU *MAY* HAVE TROUBLE ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY USING A MOBILE DEVICE.
February 14, 2014
Today I’d like to talk about something that’s become quite worrisome to me. I’ve already touched upon this subject here, in my FAQ, but I want to go into it in more detail.
I’m still receiving e-mails from authors with this question: Who did you use to self-publish On the Island? As I’ve said before, I didn’t use anyone to self-publish my debut novel. I published it myself (which is why it’s called self-publishing) and the book was later acquired by Penguin as part of a two-book publishing contract. But initially, when the book was self-published, I acted as the publisher and I was responsible for all the things a traditional publisher would have done for me. I spent time searching for – and vetting – a freelance content editor, copy editor, and formatter. The names of everyone I used can be found in the link in the first paragraph of this post.
I paid each of these freelance professionals a flat fee, which we agreed upon in advance. There were also written contracts provided (where applicable), so that everyone knew the fee and the completion date of the service provided.
Once everything was complete and my book was ready to be published, I uploaded it to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I also published via Smashwords, so that my book could be available through Sony, Kobo, Apple, and Diesel.
Cost to UPLOAD: zero dollars. I paid nothing.
The reason I’m writing this post today is twofold: First of all, if you’re going to self-publish, you don’t need to pay anyone to do this for you, especially if they’re also going to take a percentage of your royalties. Self-publishing is not nearly as hard as people want you to think it is. It takes work, and there are a lot of steps involved, but it’s not hard. If you’re ready to publish (or query agents), the really hard part – writing your book, revising it, sharing it with betas, revising it again, self-editing, and polishing – should already be done. If these steps haven’t been taken, your book is probably not ready for querying OR publication. Get a critique partner, get some beta readers, spend more time learning the craft of fiction writing, or whatever it is you need to do to write the best book you possibly can. Second of all, when you pay a company to publish your book for you, this is called vanity publishing. You will pay for your own editing, cover, marketing, etc…Print distribution will probably be of the print-on-demand variety, which I don’t have a problem with, but you’re still paying a company to publish your book for you.
And some of you are paying a lot of money to let them do it. When you stumble upon my self-publishing FAQ and then write to me, heartbroken, because you’re out hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars, I feel horrible for you. But if you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to make good business decisions and that includes educating yourself about the business you want to be a part of. Read everything you can about the publishing industry, so that you can make informed choices. There are tons of great articles and blog posts out there, so spend a little time every day learning something new.
So, is it bad to pay a company to do your editing, your cover, your formatting, etc…and then publish your book for you?
I think it is.
Paying freelance professionals on a per-job basis makes a lot more sense. And making sure that you’re the only one who will receive royalties (other than the cut the retailer will take) is always a solid business plan.
These links are a GREAT place to start if you want to learn more about how to self-publish your work. And remember, you can upload your manuscript to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for FREE.
There’s something even more insidious than the vanity publisher, and it’s what I call the “predatory publisher.” With the explosion of self-publishing, more and more writers are throwing their hat in the ring. Unfortunately, that means that these “predatory publishers” are also popping up all over the place. What usually happens is this: An author submits their manuscript and an “offer” to sign the author is made. Unfortunately, what the author finds out later is that they can’t get the publisher to pay the royalties that are due to them. Now they’re in a really bad situation. Also, it is a huge red flag if a publisher is willing to sign you without reading your manuscript. Think about it: why would they buy something they know nothing about?
All of this can be avoided by doing a few things:
1. Self-publish without outside assistance. I’m not talking about your editor, formatter, cover designer, etc… you’ll pay them a flat-fee for services rendered. I’m talking about someone who wants you to pay them money to publish your book and/or also wants a cut of your royalties.
2. Google is your friend. If you’re thinking about signing with a publisher, do your due diligence. There are a lot of really good publishers out there – big, small, and in-between – but check them out. If you don’t have an agent, consider hiring an IP attorney to look at any publishing contract you may be considering.
3. Go to Preditors & Editors (click on the link here). I like to think of P&E as the Better Business Bureau of the publishing world. Go to the section marked ‘Book Publishers’ and check yours out. If it says NOT RECOMMENDED, there’s a reason and I’d steer clear.
So, to re-cap:
1) You are perfectly capable of self-publishing your manuscript on your own, and uploading it to retailers will cost you nothing.
2) Do your due diligence when signing with ANY publisher, and if you don’t have an agent make sure you consult an IP attorney.
3) Never pay a publisher to publish your book for you. You can do that on your own.
Along these same lines, I’d like to caution you when choosing a copy editor.
Because everyone is a copy editor these days.
While I’m certainly glad that there are plenty of available resources, you need to make sure your copy editor is qualified. Ask them if they follow the Chicago Manual of Style or APA. If they don’t use either, or they don’t know what you’re talking about, they are probably not qualified. And just because someone is a voracious reader doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re capable of editing your work. Copy editing is a learned skill, and good copy editors are constantly honing theirs.
Other people who are not qualified to edit your manuscript: your sister, your best friend, your mom (unless they’re actually copy editors). Time and time again, I see copy editing confused with proofreading. While copy editing includes finding typos in a manuscript, copy editing involves a qualified professional showing you all the places you screwed up. A good copy editor will know that your compound modifier is missing a hyphen. A copy editor will tell you when it’s okay to split an infinitive, and when it isn’t. A copy editor will know if you are using simple past when you should be using past perfect (and vice versa). I have learned something new every time one of my manuscripts has been copy edited, which in turn helps me to become a stronger writer. A good copy editor can teach you so many things.
So just be careful, okay?
I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, but I do want you to do your homework because I don’t like it when people are taken advantage of. I’ll be happy to answer questions in the comments sections, so please feel free to ask.
Now let’s go write!
February 6, 2014
Congratulations to Jennifer Patterson, Alexis Ciman, and Cindi Ponkey Hartmann! You have each won a signed copy of Patience Bloom’s awesome new memoir Romance Is My Day Job. Winners, please send an e-mail message with your postal mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is the official publication day of Romance Is My Day Job, so if you didn’t win you can find the book at the following retailers by clicking here.
February 5, 2014
I’m on the home-stretch with my new book but wanted to poke my head out of the writing cave for a minute to tell you about a great book I read. You may have heard me mention before that it’s hard for me to read fiction when I’m knee-deep in writing a book. I find it difficult to have another author’s voice in my head, so I usually take a break from reading, which I hate because reading has always been a part of my daily routine. That doesn’t mean I don’t add more books to my TBR pile, because I certainly do. When I turn in a manuscript I always look forward to going on a giant reading binge.
However, I can usually read non-fiction and memoirs while I’m writing, so I’m always on the hunt for a good one. My editor knows this, and I was thrilled when she asked me if I’d like to read a not-yet-released memoir.
My enthusiastic response: gimme, gimme, gimme!
Here’s the description:
Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor? A surprising and exhilarating look into Patience Bloom’s unexpected real-life love story.
At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like the heroines’ on the page: That shy guy she had a crush on wouldn’t just take her out—he’d sweep her off her feet with witty banter, quiet charm, and a secret life as a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Bloom kept reading books that fed her reveries.Years later she moved to New York and found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true—on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired. She nearly gave up on love.Then one day a real-life chance at romance made her wonder if what she’d been writing and editing all those years might be true. A Facebook message from a high school friend, Sam, sparked a relationship with more promise than she’d had in years. But Sam lived thousands of miles away—they hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years. Was it worth the risk?Finally, Bloom learned: Love and romance can conquer all.
I loved this book. I mean, really, really loved it. I read it straight through in one sitting.
I feel like I know Patience now, in a totally normal and non-stalk-y way.
Isn’t Patience the coolest name, ever?
And aren’t you DYING to know what happened between Patience and Sam?
I will be giving away three copies of Romance Is My Day Job, signed by Patience Bloom. The giveaway will run for twenty-four hours, so I’ll pop back and announce the winner tomorrow after 8:00 a.m. CST.
***Please note that this book is a US release, therefore the giveaway is only open to readers in the US. I’m sorry about that! Also, you may not be able to enter the giveaway using a mobile device.
January 10, 2014
I wrote a post a while back for Penguin UK and I thought I’d share it here, too. My UK editor wanted to know if I could explain the reasons behind the songs I’d chosen for the Covet playlist. In case you’d like to know, here they are!
1. “Her Diamonds” by Rob Thomas – The opening line of the song is, Oh what the hell she said I just can’t win for losing. When I first heard those words I thought they perfectly captured how Claire was feeling when she tried to help Chris through the stress of losing his job and the depression that followed. She wanted to help, but nothing she said or did seemed to be right.
2. “Daniel” by Elton John – Somewhat self-explanatory, since Daniel is one of the main characters in Covet. But because of a decision that was made in the book, this line especially hit home: Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much.
3. ”Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police – At one point in the drafting of Covet, I had Daniel tell Claire that he’d assigned this ringtone to her. It was a not-so-subtle way of letting her know that he thought she was pretty special. The song is performed by The Police (get it?). I later took it out of the book, because it seemed a bit juvenile, but I love this song and it remained on the playlist.
4. “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson – *Sigh*. These three lines say it all: Don’t you wanna stay here a little while? Don’t you wanna hold each other tight? Don’t you wanna fall asleep with me tonight?
5. “Bring It On Home” by Little Big Town – I love this song. I listened to it over and over while writing the ending to Covet (so it really should be last on the playlist). The theme of this song, at least to me, is that home is where you need to be when things are really tough. It’s where your spouse is. It’s where problems can be fixed. When things are at their worst you still have each other, so don’t shut the other person out.
When your long day is over
And you can barely drag your feet
The weight of the world is on your shoulders
I know what you need
Bring it on home to me.
I also love these two lines:
Baby let me be your safe harbor
Don’t let the water come and carry you away. Claire was very close to being swept away, and Chris had some work ahead of him to convince her that he could be that safe harbor for her.
This last one just makes me teary-eyed because of what it conveys:
You got someone here wants to make it alright
Someone who loves you more than life right here. It reminds me of what Claire and Chris have at home.
6. “The First Cut Is the Deepest” by Sheryl Crow – The opening line of this song is, I would have given you all of my heart. This is especially significant because Claire tells Daniel, “If things had been different, I would have given my whole heart to you.”
7. “Good Is Good” by Sheryl Crow – The song opens with, Good is good and bad is bad, You don’t know which one you had. I chose this song because that line sums up how conflicted Claire was throughout much of the book. She knows she is lucky, and that she has a lot to be thankful for, but there’s a part of her that wants and needs more. But she doesn’t want to rock the boat too much and risking losing it all.
8. “Say” by John Mayer – Oh, this song.
Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .Say what you need to say.
Claire had tried to talk to Chris in the past – and been shot down – so she stopped trying. Chris internalized everything and never shared the way he was feeling with Claire. Their lack of communication almost ended their marriage.
9. “Mockingbird” by Rob Thomas – These two verses highlight the way Claire felt when she knew the marriage was on shaky ground. She knew something had to change, but she needed Chris to work with her, not shut her out. This one was one the darkest times for her.
Here we stand
Somewhere in between this moment and the end
Will we bend
Or will we open up and take this whole thing in?
Maybe you and me got lost somewhere
We can’t move on and we can’t stay here
Maybe we’ve just had enough
Well, maybe we ain’t meant for this love.
10. “Whatever It Takes” by Lifehouse – This whole song applies to Claire and Chris’s marriage. I can picture him saying the words in the first verse to her, and her saying the words in the second verse to him.
I’ll do whatever it takes
To turn this around
I know what’s at stake
I know that I’ve let you down
And if you give me a chance
Believe that I can change
I’ll keep us together whatever it takes.
She said if we’re gonna make this work
You gotta let me inside even though it hurts
Don’t hide the broken parts that I need to see
She said Like it or not it’s the way it’s gotta be
You gotta love yourself if you can ever love me.
So, there you have it! I played that playlist so often my kids know the words to every song (my daughter has become quite the Rob Thomas fan). I love being influenced by music when I’m writing a book.
Here’s the playlist for my new book, which I’m sure I’ll be adding to as I go along. All of the songs are relevant to the story in some way (I’ll be sure to explain why I chose them after the book has been released). If you’re on Spotify, please follow me.
Happy Friday, all!
October 18, 2013
Happy (fiction) Friday, everyone!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what I’m working on now, so I thought a Fiction Friday post would be the perfect way to let you know.
When I’m in the drafting stage of a new book I don’t usually talk about it that much. It’s not that I’m trying to be secretive, it’s just that for me, the drafting stage is a very solitary endeavor. I might bounce things off members of my writing group, like POV questions or other technical things, but for the most part I spend a lot of time in my own head, just thinking. What I’ve found is that if I try to tell someone what my book is about before I’ve finished writing it, it will sound kind of stupid. I have a tendency to leave out key things when I’m describing it and there will inevitably be a lot of, “Wait. There’s something else that happens before the part I just told you about.” The end result is that the premise will sound like it’s all over the place.
Then, the person I’m telling it to will look at me like this:
And then I’ll want to do this:
So that’s why I don’t usually share much about the manuscript until it’s done. Not even my husband really knows what this next book is about. I mean, he knows the high-level plot points, but that’s about it.
But here’s what I can tell you: My new book is a contemporary romance (it could also be described as commercial fiction or possibly even romantic suspense). There is a mystery element with this book because the inciting incident (the event that sets the plot in motion) involves a crime being committed. The victim of the crime is the female protagonist’s grandmother (who has raised her). The male protagonist is a crime reporter. So these two characters will be spending quite a bit of time together, and the way their relationship will develop reminds me a bit of T.J. and Anna. By that I mean that their relationship develops alongside other things that are also happening. But unlike T.J. and Anna, these characters are fairly close in age (he’s thirty-five and she’s thirty). The female protagonist also has a three-year-old son from a previous marriage, which gives the story a bit of a Jerry McGuire feel that I especially love. I still don’t have a title, and I don’t have a publication date or any publication details. I will share all of these things when I know them. For now, I’m just focusing on writing the book.
The book I’m going to write after the one I’m writing now will probably be categorized as women’s fiction (like Covet is). I love the song “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg. Here’s part of it:
Met my old lover in the
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the
And I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the
face at first
But then her eyes flew
She went to hug me and she
spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.
We took her groceries to the
The food was totalled up and
We stood there lost in our
As the conversation dragged.
We went to have ourselves
a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at
the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.
We drank a toast to
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
But neither one knew how.
That, in a nutshell, is the premise of the book I’m going to write. I don’t have a title for this one either, but I have a loose outline and a document full of notes.
So there you have it! I’m very excited to share these upcoming books with you. Please remember that things can and do change, but this is where I’m at today.
Have a great weekend, everyone!