Monday, January 28, 2013

M. R. Cornelius - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Best Selling Author M. R. Cornelius. She writes post-apocalyptic thrillers.

Author Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction

Website: M. R. Cornelius
Author's Blog: M. R. Cornelius
Blog: Google +
Twitter: @marshacornelius 
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, I turned in my non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. Now I work at home, writing novels, ranting on Facebook and Twitter, and occasionally whisking a Swiffer across dusty surfaces. Like thousands of others, I thought I could write romance, but soon discovered I was a dismal failure. I did increase my repertoire of adjectives such as throbbing, pulsing, thrumming, vibrating, hammering, pumping . . .

I live in the country north of Atlanta with my husband, and two molly-coddled cats. My two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Losing It All. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

My next book Losing It All will be out this spring. It’s about a homeless man who helps a woman and her two young children get off the streets. (See blurb and cover below.)

You have a good following on Twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

Social media is my top choice for keeping in touch with readers. I tried to build a following on Facebook, but so many people were caught up in politics that I cut back to just friends. Goodreads is a wonderful site that connects authors and readers, but some of their features are a little hinky. And LinkedIn runs a distant fourth for me.

So basically, I rely on Twitter as my main vehicle for promoting my books. But here’s the thing about Twitter. Once you have a lot of followers, your message is only out there for minutes, and then it’s gone. That’s why you have to tweet often, and at different times of the day.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when is your next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I think the book world is going through a tough transition right now. Bookstores are closing, especially independent shop owners who are fighting a losing battle against the big boys like B & N.

This transition is bigger than the book world, too. People demand convenience. First we wanted to go to a video store to get our movies; then we wanted them delivered to our homes; now we want to stream a movie at the click of a button.

So fewer people are willing to trudge to a bookstore to buy their books. First, they wanted Amazon and others to mail them the book. But now they don’t want to wait that long, they want a digital book right now. All this to say that, no, I don’t do many book signings anymore. I tried, of course. But no one came. Whenever I talk to someone who is in a book club, I invite myself as a guest speaker. I do a lot of interviews online, and I’ve done a few podcast interviews on Blog Talk Radio.

As a matter of fact, I have an interview with Coral Russell from The Indie Exchange on March 22, 2pm EST. (Everybody cut and paste this link to your calendars - For someone who wants to get in touch, I’d say start with:
Twitter @marshacornelius
Next my website: M. R. Cornelius
Then my Author page on Amazon

Marsha contact links for Facebook, Goodreads are listed above in the contact information section.

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

My first book cover for H10N1 was a family affair. I climbed into the back of a dump truck full of dirt, and my son took a picture of my arm dangling out. I had no budget, and wasn’t even sure I’d sell the first copy.

But after that, I hired a professional to design my covers. I tell him a good bit about the book, and he takes it from there. I show the cover to my editor first, and to a few of my beta readers. Then the artist and I hash out our differences.

I can’t imagine being with a traditional publisher who shows me the cover they have chosen, and I have no say in the process.

I enjoyed the book trailer for H10-N1. (See link below.) Do you know how much impact that had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? Was the young lady Dee a professional actor? Who was voicing the lady’s voice on the phone?

Again – limited budget, and family affair on the book trailer. My husband is in television, so he hooked me up with someone interested in getting some ‘practice’ with videos. The young lady is my son’s girlfriend (who would like to be a professional actor), and the voice of the Suicide Helpline caller is me.

Because it only has had 750 views, I would say the impact it has had on my book’s success is less than stellar.

What kinds of support groups do you belong too? Do they help with writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I’m a member of the Atlanta Writers’ Club. They were instrumental in my finding an agent at one of their writers’ conferences. They sometimes have speakers who talk about marketing, which always helps.

Years ago, I belonged to the Romance Writers of America, and I’ve never met a better bunch of warm-hearted, caring people always willing to help.

Tell us your experience with the The Indie Exchange. I noticed that they have a members column. Are you apart of that?

No, I’m not a member of TIE, but I follow them on Facebook. They are a truly dedicated group of authors and readers. I can’t imagine how much time they devote to promoting indie authors. And as I mentioned before, I’ll be appearing on their podcast March 22, 2pm EST.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I have done some book giveaways on Goodreads, and that brings exposure to my books. Sometimes when I do a guest blog or interview on someone’s website, we giveaway copies of my books.

But honestly, nothing compares to the giveaways on Amazon. If I really promote the freebie, I can giveaway over 10,000 e-books in two days. Now, I know some people freak out when they think about that. But here’s what happens. During the two days that my book is free, my ranking on Amazon shoots way up. Normally, I will be #1 FREE in drama. And I can usually get in the Top 100 FREE overall.

That’s priceless, because once my book goes back to $3.99, my ranking is right up there. Now buyers see my book, and buy it. And if I can stay in the top 20, on the first page of Amazon, that’s pure gold.

Obstacles? I just need a bigger wheelbarrow to haul this money to the bank. (Ha!)

Explain to us how the Next Big Blog Hop worked and what were the results?

The Next Big Blog Hop was created as a way to get new authors seen on the internet (where everyone hangs out these days) It’s kind of a virtual bookstore event. I just posted on the blog January 23, so it may be too soon to see what kind of results I get.

Author's Book List
Losing It All

Coming Soon.

Frank Barnes is content living on the streets of Atlanta. A soup kitchen and a makeshift shanty sure beat his days as a POW in Vietnam. But Chloe Roberts can’t handle the eviction that sends her into the hell of homelessness. With no family or friends to turn to, Chloe and her children are sucked into the traumatic world of night shelters, and dangerous predators.

When they bump into each other at a soup kitchen, Frank offers Chloe a glimmer of hope that she can pull her life back together. She rekindles his lost sense of self-worth. But they will not meet again until Frank is riding high in his new life as a working stiff, and Chloe has hit rock bottom. By helping Chloe rebuild her broken life, Frank banishes the demons from his own past. Unfortunately, the past comes strolling back into their lives, threatening to destroy the happiness they have finally found.
The Ups and Downs of Being Dead
Fifty-seven year old Robert Malone is the CEO of a successful clothing store chain and married to a former model. When his doctor tells him he is dying of cancer, he refuses to go quietly. Instead of death, Robert chooses cryonics. He knows it's a long shot. His frozen body will be stored in liquid nitrogen for the next seventy-five years, and then he'll wake up in the future. That is, if technology develops a way to bring him back. He's willing to take that gamble.

What he doesn't realize is that he won't lie in some dreamless state all that time. His soul is very much awake, just like the others who were frozen before him. And like these souls in limbo, Robert begins a new kind of life outside his physical body.

He discovers that he can ride in the cockpit with the pilots, but he can't turn the page of a magazine. He can sit in the oval office with the president, but he can't prevent a child from dashing in front of a car. He doesn't work, or eat, or sleep. He can't smell, or taste, or touch. These obstacles make it difficult to experience love, and virtually impossible to reconcile with the living.

Over the next several decades, Robert Malone will have plenty of time to figure out The Ups and Downs of Being Dead.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
A deadly influenza virus rages out of control. There is no easy-fix vaccine. No eleventh-hour containment. Only death.

With no workforce, power plants are unmanned so there’s no means of communication; police and fire departments have collapsed so no one is safe; looters are scavenging everything from big-screen TVs to canned peas. When Dr. Taeya Sanchez finds herself unceremoniously dismissed from an emergency medical facility in New York, she decides to steal the hospital’s armored van for a midnight escape.

Unfortunately, Rick DeAngelo, a driver for the hospital, has already stocked the van for his own getaway.

Thrown into an unfriendly alliance, these two must pick their way across the dangerous wasteland of America in search of a safe haven. And as the miles roll by, they discover that the living should be feared much more than the festering corpses out there.
Book Trailer: H10N1
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

No comments:

Post a Comment