Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
October 9th, 2012

Blogging Today Only!

Just a quick shout to let you all know that I am guest blogging today on Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf as part of her There Are Witches in the Air October event. Find out how the Wiccan New Year served up inspiration for my novel’s heroine, Memphis Zhang.

All month long, Melissa is featuring novels about witches. How spooky is that? There’s also a chance to win a copy of The Flower Bowl Spell in eb00k form. I hope you’ll head over. Cheers, and happy reading…




August 13th, 2012

Holding Pattern

Ever since I got back from a week of camping (bliss: no cell phone or Wi-Fi access!), I haven’t been writing, or promoting, or much of anything. I’ve been reading, trying to find a book that will hold my attention and get me jazzed, but that’s been tough too. As far as writing goes, I’m at a bit of a standstill. I finished a draft of a children’s chapter book, and my first readers (my kid and the husband) gave it a thumbs up. My writing group will critique it later this week, and I’m going to a workshop in a couple of weeks at Book Passage with Amy Novesky, so I hope to get some good insight there as well.

What I Did on Summer Vacation
What I Did on Summer Vacation

Here’s the brutal truth: sales have slowed way down on The Flower Bowl Spell. I know I can only hold myself responsible for that. Most sales have been to friends, family, and the occasional acquaintance. I doubt a total stranger has bought the book (not counting the freebies downloaded during E-book Week on Smashwords back in March). If I could “break in” to the stranger market—sounds weird, I know—then maybe sales would take off. But for now, I’m dialing back promotion because it hasn’t really paid off. I did two blog tours this summer, working my butt off writing guest blog posts and answering interview questions and visiting the host blogs. Yet there wasn’t a pick-up in book sales.

Consequently, at this point I can’t justify the cost (editing, book cover) it would take to put out a second book. I’m in a wait-and-see mode. A holding pattern.
Part of this limbo has to do with my non-author life. My kids are about to head back to school, which means soon there will be more of a routine in place for us all (although more stress as we navigate homework and after-school activities, among other things). Another part is my freelance-writer life, and thank goodness it’s alive and kicking to help with the bills, etc.

Things are bound to change—of course I want to put out a second book! Most likely it will be a short-story collection, because that’s what is the most ready and polished. I also hope to query agents about the children’s chapter book sooner than later. I would love for it to be out there, published by a traditional press that can support it as a series.

We shall see. Time will tell. It always does.

July 22nd, 2012

Bewitching Blog Tour Update

There’s been a scheduling change to the last few days of my Bewitching Blog Tour, so I thought I’d just let you all know. Here is the rest of the schedule as of today:

July 22 Guest blog and review
A Chick Who Reads

July 22 Guest blog and review
Black Hippie Chick’s Take on Books & The World

July 23 Interview
Mary’s Garden

July 25 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit

July 30 Review
Books, Books, and More Books

Thanks, and please pass this on to friends and family who might be interested. I’m not sure how effective this has been as far as new sales go. There’s definitely been a lot of ebooks given away, and positive reviews but not many (any?) new sales. Is that over-sharing? If you’ve done a book blog tour, has it helped your books’ sales?

March 14th, 2012

Kobo Readers, anyone?

Thank you to all who downloaded a copy of The Flower Bowl Spell from Smashwords last week during Read an E-book Week. I really hope you enjoy reading the book, that it keeps you up at night thinking, Well, just one more chapter…

Since then, things have been quiet. I probably shouldn’t share this because it’s kind of negative, but I haven’t had one sale on Amazon this month! And I have no idea how things are going over at iBooks, B&N, etc. I do know the book is finally up at Kobobooks, so if you have a Kobo Reader, go for it! And to buy one, click here.

In the meantime, I am nearly done getting the book ready for the paperback version. So, so close. I hope to have it done before heading out with the family for Spring Break, but there’s also a giant freelance project looming over my head…and a little one…Ah, life!

February 24th, 2012

Last days at $0.99

Two things have been on the old noggin lately, with regard to this publishing thing. The first is about the price of my ebook. I’ve kept it at a low $0.99, but it’s come to my attention that there is a glut of these $0.99-ers out there that are, ahem, not of the greatest quality. Most are self-published with ugly covers, poor editing, and plot holes. I found this out because (second thing on the noggin) I’ve been trying to drum up interest from book bloggers to review The Flower Bowl Spell. I found a great blog—naturally—about book bloggers called The Book Blogger Directory, and it has been my main resource. So, going down the list, starting with those who like reading paranormal and urban fantasy books, I find that I’m stopped short almost immediately by the fact most of these bloggers are refusing to accept self-published books. At least one gave an explanation having to do with the reasons I already listed (crappy books) plus the fact that dealing directly with authors can be an unpleasant experience. Some bloggers have been “attacked” by authors after they received a poor or critical review.

Now, I totally understand the frustration of these bloggers. It is completely unacceptable to engage in any kind of threatening dialog with anyone, really. It’s unprofessional, and well, just plain crazy. But, as one other blogger pointed out, it’s not just indie authors who get defensive. Traditionally published authors are just as capable if they so desire in tracking down a reviewer and going off. So, those bloggers who are shutting out indie authors are really shutting out their chances of reading some possibly excellent fiction. Like mine. And that is where I as an indie author get frustrated. I knew it would be tough to get reviews. Remember, I did this 12 years ago, although I was querying the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, not Urban Fantasy Vixen blogging off of WordPress, or whatever. It ain’t easy to get a bite, it’s a ton of “leg work,” and much of it feeling like a frustrating waste of precious time, which is why I’ve begged everyone I know to write up reviews of the book (and yes, one person even gave it 4 instead of 5 stars on Amazon. That is OK! I want you to be honest.)

So, back to Thing One: An indie author pointed out on another book blog I found, called—surprise!—Book Blogs, that he has decided to set the price of his ebooks higher than the $0.99-ers to distinguish his work as being better—well-written, well-plotted, well-edited, with a pleasing-to-the-eye cover—and therefore worth the extra money (he was going with $1.99). I discussed this with my writing group, Kill Your Darlings, last night, and my esteemed colleague Mark pointed out that he agrees. “It’s kind of like iPhone apps,” he said. “The ones that are free are probably not as good as the ones that are $1.99, and even the $0.99 ones aren’t going to give you that much more than the free ones.”Like a a more expensive app, my soon-to-be higher-priced book will give the user/reader a better experience than a cheap one.

Tomorrow is the one-month publishing anniversary of The Flower Bowl Spell. To celebrate, I will raise the price to $2.99. So get it now, while it’s still a bargain!

February 7th, 2012

Olivia’s author interview with Dina Santorelli

Blogger Dina Santorelli, who is a fellow freelance writer working on a novel, posted her interview with me this morning on her blog, Making ‘Baby Grand,’ the Novel. I have been following this series of author interviews as well as Dina’s weekly writing tips, which I think are just so helpful. You can read my interview by clicking here. Cheers!

February 3rd, 2012

Premium Status and Kindle Love

The good news: The Flower Bowl Spell got Premium Status approval from Smashwords. Whoo hoo! [fist pump] That means they will ship it to Apple (iBooks/iPad/iPhones), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Sony (Sony eReader), Kobo, and Diesel for purchase through those channels.

The bad news: It won’t be up for sale at those places for two to three weeks. Boo hoo! [pout] Smashwords has the book in its shipping queue, they only ships on Thursdays and Fridays (today is Friday, and it didn’t ship), and then it takes another one to two weeks for the book to be available with those purveyors of fine e-lit.

The good news: You Nook, Kobo, and iPad users can upload the book NOW from Smashwords‘ website. You can then download it to your readers. You can find directions on how to do this here. Even Kindle users can do this, although I did upload it separately with a different ISBN (actually, it’s just Amazon’s ASIN, but what do you care really?), so Kindle users can get it NOW on Amazon.

Did I mention it’s 99 cents everywhere! That’s $0.99, in case you missed it the first time.

Next on the agenda: Uploading the paperback version to CreateSpace, wrestling with my website, and drumming up interest from readers/buyers other than my family and friends. Oh boy.


January 31st, 2012

Flower Bowl Spell up on Kindle

Mission accomplished! My goal back at the end of 2011, was to get The Flower Bowl Spell up for sale as an eBook in January, and I did just that. (Pat on the back.) The book went live on Amazon yesterday. I downloaded it, noticed a couple of glitches (e.g. my author photo wasn’t showing up), and got some help on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum. People  in the community were really great, patiently walking me through how to create a zip file on Word (I’ve often opened zip files, but never knew I could make one without special software. Sometimes I’m an unintentional Luddite).

Anyway, my next goal, to be accomplished in February, is to get the book on CreateSpace so those who don’t have eReaders can buy it. I’ll look into the Expanded Distribution plan, which means bookstores and libraries could order it too, as far as my understanding of it goes. Also, I’ll need to start promoting it, looking into book bloggers and reviewers who might give it a chance. If you know of a reviewer, website, blogger, etc., who might be interested, please share!

In the meantime, if you have already bought a copy, thank you so much! That’s $0.99 well spent, to be sure!

January 25th, 2012

A typo already??? Uploaded to Smashwords today!

Drum roll please…So, I just uploaded the novel to Smashwords this morning. I should shout hurray, right? Not so fast.

First, I’m not providing a link to the book (although if you go to Smashwords and search Olivia Boler or The Flower Bowl Spell, you’ll find it) because I immediately found a glaring typo in the dedication—a period next to a comma [.,] that is not in the original document I uploaded. What the what??? There’s another huge typo at the very end in the title, About the Aauthor. Yes, it reads “Aauthor” on my eBook files but again, NOT on my original document. I haven’t gone over the whole thing with a fine-tooth comb, so I shudder to think what I’ll find inside the doc once I do.

[NOTE: I am adding this paragraph after I initially published this post, but don't want to bug you all unnecessarily with a whole new post. I figured it out! Before you submit your Word document to Smashwords, you need to ACCEPT ALL CHANGES in the document! This is very, very important, otherwise, typos you think are fixed (even after you've hit SAVE) might show up in the eBook files Smashwords creates!]

Also, I am waiting to hear back from Smashwords about my “Premium status” in their catalog. that could take a week or two. I’ll keep you all posted.

But typos are the least of my problems right now. I am trying to revamp my website,, on my own. Let me just say, I am not a web master. Ha! That’s certainly clear, since my already long neglected, decrepit website has completely disappear. Which is why, again, I am not linking it up here. I have lost hours since last night trying to figure it out on my own, the whole FTP, PHP, blah blah blah. Oh, these are the times independently publishing is so daunting, and I wish some kindly editor had just taken on my book and dealt with all this minutiae herself.

OK. Got to call tech support, get groceries, and upload to Amazon. What are you doing today?

January 24th, 2012

Olivia Boler gets a 7×7 Link Award nomination. Yay!

The 7×7 Link Award

I am happy to tell you, fellow bloggers, that my little blog that could has been nominated for a 7×7 Link Award (apparently not related to 7×7 Magazine). Thank you, The Flying Yenta, for this exciting nomination!  And I love your blog, too!

So, there are three requirements of the award, and here they are along with my fulfillment of them:

I. Share something about yourself that others don’t know.

Man, this is hard. I have so many personal secrets…just kidding. Not really. Um, something you don’t know that I’m not too embarrassed to share. Well, if you know me, you know that I am half-Chinese. If you don’t know me, then you think I’m “Mediterranean” or Latina or Jewish or Native American, etc. But no, I’m Chinese. My father’s Caucasian genes (mostly Austrian and maybe Italian with some English, Irish, and French) just really dominate. And here’s a bonus share: Even though it’s so uncool to do in my PC San Francisco community of foodies, etc., I sometimes take my kids to McDonald’s. Gasp! What can I say? I love me some french fries!

II. Link seven posts from your blog that you think are worthy.

1. The Scary Next Step

2. Can you feel the excitement???

3. The nit and grit of indie publishing—edit, draw, format, shoot

4. Getting down to the funky business of writing

5. Reading your stories aloud is a good thing

6. So, Olivia, what do you write?

7. Flower Bowl Spell cover revealed!

III. Nominate seven other bloggers that deserve the award and haven’t received it yet.

(Note: I’m not sure if these blogs have or haven’t been nominated. If they have, then they are surely deserving of a repeat nomination.)

1. Kana’s Chronicles —  Kana Tyler is “a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon (“bookworm” doesn’t cover it), a raconteur, a minister, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a cartographer, a joyful wife, a mom (and Granny), an island-girl at heart… A list-maker! :)” And she’s generous with her freelance writing tips. Thank you!

2. Olivia Everett — The blog of Karla Mouncey-Jaggers who is writing a series about Olivia Everett, “as she fights her way tooth and nail through the vampire politics that saturate London.” What fun!

3. Peter DentonPete is a writer chronicling his creative writing progress, which is so inspiring!

4. Making Baby Grand, the Novel — The blog of Dina Santorelli, who gives us regular writing tips as well as super-duper helpful and fun debut novelist interviews. I love it.

5. Sue Healy — She had loads of success with her writing in 2011, and she has writing advice and wisdom we can all use. Excellent stuff.

6. The Bird Sisters — The blog of author Rebecca Rasmussen, whose debut novel, The Bird Sisters is a soaring achievement (pardon the pun!). Read it!

7. Siobhan Fallon — Of course I have to include Siobhan Fallon, one of my bestest writing friends (and just plain old friends) whose debut short story collection You Know When the Men Are Gone, published by Amy Einhorn Books (of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help fame) is taking the critical world by storm making major “Best of 2011″ lists left and right. So go buy it now!

Yay, recognition! It’s good to know I’m not writing into a black hole. Thank you, blogging community!

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