Nancy Richardson Fischer's Blog

January 9, 2013

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year:-)  Long time, I know... it's hard to blog when you're also editing (Book Two, The Key to Tartarus) and starting to conjure a new novel.  But here I am, in 2013, excited to let you know what's been going on with Pandora's Key, The Key to Tartarus, and to thank all of you for your support:-)  And I don't thank you lightly - you guys make writing so much fun and incredibly rewarding.

December and January were fantastic months for Pandora's Key!  On Kindle alone PK sold over 1200 ebooks in December and reached #5 in its category of Fiction/Fantasy/Contemporary and #601 overall for ALL Kindle books on Amazon!!  As Pandora's Key started out #330,000+ for Kindle ranking we've come a LONG way:-)

This month, Pandora's Key is already having terrific ebook sales - YAY!  As an author, that's so incredibly exciting because I'm writing stories that I hope readers will enjoy and it looks like people are really enjoying Pandora's Key:-)

On another front, one of the biggest changes for me is that I'm now represented by an amazing agent named Fiona Kenshole.  To have a partner in this process has been one of the greatest gifts of my year.  Fiona is incredibly smart, savvy and supportive and I truly believe that she will help me bring The Key Trilogy to an even larger audience and that her editing expertise will make each successive book better.

And that's my biggest goal of 2013 - to blow all of you away with Book Two of The Key Trilogy, The Key to Tartarus!

I have a few other goals, too.  One is to say three genuine, nice things to different people every day.  There are so many negative, sad, and scary things happening in the world.  I can support legislation by our government to try to make a difference in things like health care and gun control, but on a much smaller level I can also try to brighten a person's day.  Another goal is to figure out a way to use my book sales to help support causes I really believe in:-)  And finally, I'm hoping to do more Skype in the Classroom calls as it's so much fun to meet my readers, answers questions about the trilogy and give away little secrets from the next book.

So here's to a new year filled with adventure, excitement, fulfilment and fun for all of us:-)  Wishing you a fantastic 2013!!!!!

xo
nan




 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on January 09, 2013 09:49 • 58 views

October 30, 2012

Dear Everyone,

If you've been following this blog, my apologies for being such an infrequent blogger!  I think if I was a mathematician, firewoman, or cupcake maker by day I'd be much more likely to need a writing outlet by night to download my ideas, dreams and schemes.  But I'm a writer so by the end of the day, especially if I'm editing or outlining a new book (Book Three of The Key Trilogy is coming along!), I run out of words.  Seriously, I can't even find them to speak!

Anyway, enough excuses, right?

So I want to catch you up on all things Key Trilogy.  BUT, I don't want to bore you so here it is in a nutshell...

1.  Pandora's Key broke the top 20 on Amazon Kindle in the fiction/contemporary/fantasy category.  And PK was ranked #1060 overall (that's for all Kindle books).  When I self-published PK in December 2011 I was ranked #330,000+ and didn't even rate a category ranking so that's a pretty big leap:-)

2.  Pandora's Key sold almost 2000 ebook copies in September on Kindle alone.

3.  A new and very savvy PR agency called Arts Seen and Heard PR in Portland, OR took me on.  As a result I've done radio and podcast interviews, been in several newspapers and even had a story in The Oregonian!

4.  Thanks to Jax Botteril, who started Skype's SITN (Skype in the Classroom) program, I'm going to be chatting with young adults from all over the world who've read Pandora's Key and loved it:-)  This is by far my favorite thing to do - hear from readers and learn what they liked and what they want more of in each successive book.

5.  Best news last...  I now have a literary agent!  Her name is Fiona Kenshole and she's really wonderful.  Fiona was the Publishing Director of Oxford University Press Children's Books and the former Vice President of Development Acquisitions at Laka Entertainment (they make movies!).  The cherry on top?  Fiona loves Pandora's Key:-)  I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together!!

Sooooo....  good stuff, right?  I feel incredibly happy and grateful for all of it.  That's what happens when you self-publish--the great things that result matter even more because you work ten times as hard for them.

People keep asking me why I want to return to traditional publishing and it's definitely not because self-publishing was a bad experience.  It was hard, lonely at times, but always fulfilling.  Self- publishing allows an author to test their book, create a platform, and develop options.  Most of all, once you've self-published you never take the good stuff for granted:-)

So why try to return to traditional publishing?  I guess the main reason is because I'm a social creature and a team player and I miss working with agents, editors, and marketing teams.  Believe it or not, I like expectations, deadlines, and pressure!  I also really want to see Pandora's Key in more bookstores (especially in other countries), and to give Evangeline the chance to have a bigger following because I think her story matters.

In the end The Key Trilogy is about fulfilling your own destiny, becoming the hero in your own life's story, and hope.  These aren't new concepts, but considering all the atrocities people around the world commit against each other, and a political climate that's embarrassing for all involved, I think that's a message worth sharing.

xo
nan


[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on October 30, 2012 10:30 • 48 views

June 4, 2012

Hi Everyone,

So guess what?!  Yesterday Pandora's Key won first place in the IndieReader Discovery Awards (IRDA) for YA Fiction!!!  The winners were announced live at the Book Expo of America (BEA).  Seriously - PK WON!!

I want to thank the IndieReader panel for all the time they spent reading and reviewing submissions for the IRDA's.  Your work in support of Indie Authors is really important and much appreciated.  I also want to thank all the readers, reviewers, and bloggers who have supported Pandora's Key.  Without you, it would be super hard (if not impossible) to garner attention for independent authors and their work.  You guys are AWESOME!

But here's the thing I most want to say...  When you're an indie author it is incredibly... quiet.  Other than the phone ringing, the dog barking, or conversations with my husband, there's not a lot of interaction.  I write this blog when I'm not working on a book.  And I message my Goodreads and Amazon buddies (without them I'd feel very isolated).  But it's quiet because writing, in general, is a solitary profession.

When you don't have a traditional publishing house behind you, or a marketing team and PR specialists to chat with, it's just you, your ideas, and the tap-tap-tap of the keyboard.  And a lot of times that's AOK with me:-)  But once in a while, especially after a negative review (and just like every author I get those... that's why ice cream comes in so many flavors, right?), I crave some sort of independent validation of my writing.

And that's what awards provide an author.  A panel of professionals with amazing credentials, who don't know me, decided that Pandora's Key is a great book.  I can't possibly express how much that means!  For my fellow indie authors - I get it, and I'm hoping that today you receive an amazing review from a terrific, impressive blogger, or reviewer, or that you win a contest that makes your day:-)

xo
nan[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
3 likes · like  • 
Published on June 04, 2012 14:04 • 84 views

May 31, 2012

Hi Everyone!

Sorry it has been awhile since my last post.  I want to welcome all the new followers to The Key Trilogy's Fanpage on Facebook.  I've noticed that a lot of you are from the Middle East - how cool is that!  I'd love to hear how you found out about Pandora's Key and the parts in the novel that resonate with you!

On another note, I'm doing a blog tour on Goodreads this month.  I've never done one before, but I've been told by the moderators that Pandora's Key has been the most popular tour to date!  I just hope that the blogger/readers really enjoy PK because, at the end of the day, that's why I wrote the book.

I do have to admit, though, that it's nerve-wracking having so many potential reviews about to hit Goodreads.  I take all the great 4 and 5 star reviews as a HUGE compliment, and I get super BUMMED when someone doesn't enjoy PK.  Thankfully there have only been a handful of negative reviews, and it's impossible to please everyone (that's why they make so many flavors of ice cream), but I feel like I wasted the reader's time and let them down when they don't enjoy my story.  So for anyone who didn't love PK, let me just say that I worked super hard and tried my best and if you let me know what books you love, I'll try to recommend something that fits the bill!!

And finally, I just want to thank everyone who has been supporting, reading, and telling their friends about Pandora's Key!  Kindle sales have been steadily rising, as have Barnes and Noble, and everyone's super kind offers to help promote PK have been enormously appreciated (ie. Hazel:-).

Have a great day!!!!

-nan[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on May 31, 2012 08:18 • 46 views

April 29, 2012

Hi Everyone,

First, a HUGE thanks for both reading Pandora's Key and telling your family and friends about it!  Together we've sold more than 500 ereader versions of PK this month alone.  That's so cool - especially considering that there's no big marketing or PR campaign to help with sales.  Just you guys!!!!

Second, if you haven't checked out Ellen Degeneris' "reading" of Fifty Shades of Gray, sent to me by my Goodreads friend, Maghon, then click this link:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjeffer...  It's hysterical!

Third, if you weren't sure why I wrote the last blog, here's a simple clarification. I've seen authors get really upset by unkind reviews.  And I've seen readers get really upset when they feel ripped off by their book choice.  I'm just saying that it's all okay - authors and readers can learn from every situation and make better choices next time. Start with the assumption that no one is trying to be a jerk and everything after that will fall into place:-)

Fourth, check out RadioActive Bookworm's: The Young Adult Challenge Group on Goodreads.com.  Her site is devoted to reading and talking about YA books and her first giveaway is Pandora's Key!  I'll be doing a Q&A with readers at the end of May:-)  So if you want to join a super cool group and potentially win a free copy of PK, go to: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/6...    and join!

And finally, I hope everyone had a lovely Sunday.  Henry and I went to the park with Boone (our Vizsla), met some friends and their kids and enjoyed the sunshine.  Lucky girl, lucky dog, fabulous friends, great guy:-)  Yay!

xo
nan[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on April 29, 2012 17:38 • 55 views

April 28, 2012

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick note to my fellow authors...

You can't please everyone, okay?  I mean, you do your best, right?  You spend hours, days, months, years writing a novel with the best of intentions: to write something that entertains, matters on different levels to different people, is exciting, fun, sweet, dramatic, powerful, unique...  you get it, I know.

So here's what I think. Revel in the people who get what you're trying to do.  Learn from the people who don't - if they make sense.  If not, then learn the most important thing... you can't please everyone... so make yourself proud:-)

I've been thrilled with most of the reviews I've gotten for Pandora's Key.  Kirkus loved it, Publishers Weekly did, too.  Better yet, Danna, Taylor, Anna, Kay, Sandra, Glenda, Jack... they loved the story.  They were caught up, surprised, and sometimes ever transported.  And the few readers that weren't?  That wished they hadn't spent 99 cents?  That's why they make chocolate and vanilla.  And sometimes people pick flavors that don't suit them.  I've done it many times!  And it's okay.

Authors, embrace your fans, learn from them just like you learn from the people who didn't enjoy your story.  Take it all personally and try to be better because then, no matter what, you will be:-)

xo
nan[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on April 28, 2012 21:58 • 41 views

April 21, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd post my review of Fifty Shades of Gray today.  The reason is that this book is getting tons of press and accolades and I totally disagree!  So if any of you plan to read this book - and please, it's not for teens!!! - maybe my review will give you insight before you decide to buy the book...

Review:  Fifty Shades of Gray (I gave it 3 out of 5 stars)


Thank God I'm done with this book!!  Where to begin this review?  Hmmm...  There's so many reviews, so much hype, and so many accolades, that my opinion about this book doesn't matter much... but since I have such a strong opinion, I've decided to share it anyway.

This is not a book I'd recommend to many of people.  Part of this is because of the strong BDSM theme.  Part of this is because, while it's well-written (and it is), I found it too disturbing to recommend.

Let me state, for the record, that I am in no way prudish about subject matters or my choice of reads.  While I didn't read reviews before I began this book (so the subject matter was surprising), I'm okay with how explicitly sexual the story was and had no issues with the racier passages taken out of the context of the age of the protagonist, believability, etc. which I'll explain below.

If you haven't read the book, note that there will be SPOILERS below and skip this review if you plan to read Shades...

Here are my issues with Fifty Shades of Gray (and some of them are personal, but that's the nature of reviews)...

The idea that a (beautiful) college graduate - that would make her about twenty - has never had a single sexual experience in her life (nor wanted one!!), is willing to throw herself into a non-traditional relationship with an older/insanely experienced man with such ease.  I found this unbelievable on a basic level and that colored the entire story for me.  In addition, the choice of a virgin for this story just felt like it was made purely to titillate.

The insanely creepy nature of Gray's overpowering control issues.  The level of his insanity, too me, was so over the top and made him entirely undesirable as a love interest.  The character of Gray lacked subtlety or any redeeming characteristics (beside money and a helicopter).  Without a flawed but empathetic love interest, the story just didn't hold together for me and felt unbelievable on a basic level.  If I don't care whether the girl gets the guy because the guy is so unredeemable, then I'm not hooked into a narrative about a girl getting the guy.

I love stories, even if I don't like or agree with specific characters and their actions.  It's not like I thought Humber Humbert was a great guy who deserved twelve-year-old Dolores (Lolita).  But that was a GREAT book!  I love character development, journeys, impressive arcs.  But for me, in the end, I was left with a feeling of manipulation and a high level of disgust for the story, which I think preys upon a sense of depravity I can't condone, even in a book.

I want to make clear when I say "depravity" that I'm not talking BDSM.  I'm talking about a strange desire to see women degraded that pervades a lot of our society.  Whether it's taking away women's right to choose how to govern their own bodies, watching violent pornography, or going to strip shows (and telling yourself that the gals there are doing what they want to do with their bodies when in fact a huge percentage of them were molested and abused as children).  I've never considered myself a feminist, but in the end I can't support a book that felt like it took us gals down another notch.

*I realize some of you might disagree with the last sentence given the book's ending, but that ending didn't justify the degradation that preceded it and it's clear to me that things aren't over because, after all, there is a Book Two.  And when I say "degradation" I also don't mean the specific "acts," I mean the reasons that Gray, as a character, would commit those acts, and a young girl's willingness to accept that type of treatment.  Many of you might say this is exactly what made the story so interesting, but the author didn't delve into Ana's psyche and why she was willing to go down that road.  The author focused much more on the BDSM - which felt like a cheap trick to hook readers with detailed sex scenes.

To summarize, I felt like this book took something from me instead of giving me the gift that always comes after reading a great story. I gave this book 3 stars because I can't fault the writing. But in the end, the premise was unbelievable and the outcome just made me sad, because there's a second book and I know where it's heading and that a lot of people will flock to read it...
[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on April 21, 2012 17:55 • 36 views

April 18, 2012

Hi Everyone,

An ENORMOUS THANKS for helping Pandora's Key DOUBLE its Kindle sales this month!!  Thanks so much for passing on your love of Pandora's Key to your friends and family and for reading Evangeline's story.

Here's some exciting news...  Yesterday I worked with fab cover artist Claudia McKinney on the new cover for The Key to Tartarus, Book Two of The Key Trilogy.  Claudia came up with something haunting, ferocious and a tad creepy and I love it and hope you will, too!!  Not sure exactly when The Key to Tartarus is going to be released, but I'm thinking late summer...

And on another note...  I'm starting to conjure Book Three and have an inkling that it's going to be quite the whirlwind of a story;-)  Evangeline has already come a long way toward understanding and maybe even accepting who she is, but in Book Three she's going to be challenged like never before and the stakes will be HUGE.

For all you romance lovers, I don't want to spoil things but the temperature between Raphe and Evangeline will hit an all-time high!!!  And there might be another guy in the mix, too...  After all, the descendant of Pandora is a pretty incredible catch;-)

Have a great day!!

xo
nan[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on April 18, 2012 10:11 • 53 views

March 26, 2012

This month, on Kindle alone, Pandora's Key has been purchased by 111 people!  And the month is not over...

I just want to thank all the readers of Pandora's Key for recommending it to new readers, and all the new readers for buying a copy of my book.  You have no idea how happy this makes me!!

Seriously, authors work in a vacuum.  We come up with an idea alone, we write alone, we edit alone, and when we decide to self publish a book we feel very (VERY) alone!!  When people buy Pandora's Key, I feel like out there, in rooms, apartments, houses, trains, planes and cars, I have new friends reading a story I worked really hard on to bring to them.  Really, it makes the angst and hours worthwhile:-)

So thank you for reading Pandora's Key!  I'll be working on The Key to Tartarus' cover in mid-April and can't wait to bring you the second story in The Key Trilogy.

:-)
nan[image error]
 •  flag
3 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on March 26, 2012 18:03 • 110 views

February 25, 2012

Hi Everyone,

THANK YOU for being so supportive of the new cover for Pandora's Key.  The feedback has been resoundingly positive and I'm relieved and super happy:-)  I feel like the new cover really reflects the feel of Evangeline's journey and every time I see it, I can't believe it's my book!

I've just finished my first run-through of the edits my FABULOUS editor Emma Dryden did for The Key to Tartarus, Book Two in The Key Trilogy.  WOW!  Emma is amazing and I'm so excited because the idea of writing a mediocre second book is HORRIFYING and I can say now that The Key to Tartarus is (in my opinion) shaping up to be super cool!  There's more adventure--more romance--more at stake (believe it or not!) this time around.  And the best part is that I can't stop thinking about Book Three and how I'm going to do the trilogy and Evangeline justice.

On to, "a small step."  So I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  Amazon accepts 5,000 entrants in General Fiction and 5,000 entrants in Young Adult Fiction.  The first cuts were just announced and I made it to the next round.  That means I'm one of a thousand entrants in my category.  Doesn't seem like much, but we authors take validation anywhere we can get it!

Anyway, next Amazon will winnow the entrants down to 250 based on judges reading an excerpt of the book.  On March 20th Amazon posts the quarter-finalists' excerpts online (www.amazon.com/abna).  After that it's up to Publishers Weekly to rate and review each manuscript.

Whew, that's a lot of hurdles to get past!!  Once the top 50 are chosen, Penguin has a judging panel and they'll decide who wins:-)  I'm not expecting to win (though I want to win, I do, I do!) but I'd really like to move farther in the competition.  And the reason I think I can is because of all of YOU who love Pandora's Key and give me a shot on confidence every day.

YOU make me want to keep writing.  YOU make my day when you write a note on my Facebook Fanpage, give me a 5 star review on Amazon and Goodreads, or Skype with me about Pandora's Key and share your thoughts.

THANK YOU!!!

xo
nan[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on February 25, 2012 16:17 • 57 views