Thursday, April 30, 2015

What to release next...decisions, decisions

Follow Your Heart received a great review from (yay!), and has garnered wonderful reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Publishers Weekly is considering it for review via BookLife, which could go either way. But these days most authors can't rest on any laurels and need to keep producing books for their readers.

The questions are, what kind, what length, and with what frequency?

I've been toying with the idea of writing a novella or an entire book telling Joanna from FYH's half-sister Margery's story, in part because I've had feedback that she's an interesting character and because I love the time period and setting. I have another medieval ready to go, and manuscripts in other genres from a medieval paranormal I'd like to create a series around to a humorous women's fiction that has a romantic comedy sequel. I'm particularly fond of a paranormal time travel to Elizabethan England that I think also has series potential....

Plus I have a partial of a romantic comedy I really want to least once a week something reminds me of the premise and urges me to get back to it. Yet much advice steers newer authors against genre hopping so readers know what to expect. Will readers follow if I release in multiple genres?

I see a lot of other advice that every three months is a good new release time period. On the other hand, I don't want to overwhelm potential readers. And obviously new content takes longer to create for most of us. I don't want to over think the process and become stymied, but at the moment my gut doesn't feel clear enough to trust so I can move forward.

A good thing about self-publishing is that you can try whatever you want whenever you want. If it doesn't work, you can try something different. But you can't reclaim the time and money invested, and so want to make the most productive decisions possible.

I'm going to set a goal: I'll review all of my options, and narrow them down to the top three over the weekend. Then one week from today, I'll make a decision. There. I feel better already!

Thursday, April 23, 2015 Follow Your Heart is a must-read romance

"Kaufman can certainly write an entertaining suspenseful romance and brings us a happy sigh-worthy story in Follow Your Heart," writes Michelle Monkou at

I so appreciate the reviews Follow Your Heart has been getting. When I released this book and At His Command, I admit to some trepidation over what reviewers might say. Would they like the books or not? But it didn't occur to me to wonder what each reader might see in and take away from the story.

As reviews accumulate, I've been pleasantly surprised and intrigued by what each reviewer chooses to include in the summary and say about how the book impacted him/her. Several have commented how FYH has plot twists that surprised them.  So far that's my favorite reader takeaway. Another favorite was from an Amazon reviewer, "The love between the two main characters was wonderful."

The risk of putting out books or any product, including yourself, is that buyers/customers/clients won't like it. If they don't, you might wonder if the hard work, time and perhaps money you've invested weren't worth it. You might think, "What did I do wrong?" "What can I do better next time?" Or, "It's just that person's opinion. Others will like it."  And today's dislike or approval is so much more public than even a few years ago.

I'm doing a Goodreads giveaway for FYH, if you're interested:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Follow Your Heart by Ruth  Kaufman

  Follow Your Heart

  by Ruth Kaufman

 Giveaway ends May 22, 2015.

 See the giveaway details
  at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Will AHC and FYH get more good reviews? Stay tuned.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wearing the Actor Hat

In addition to being an author, I'm also an actor, and mostly do on-camera and voiceover work. While I love theatre and there are so many great productions in Chicago, low pay and high time commitment (perhaps four nights a week from 7-10pm) make it a less viable option for me (assuming I'd even get cast).

Acting can be roller-coastery. Yay, I booked it! Nice, a former client offered me something out of the blue. Oh well, I didn't get this or that or that. Hmm. What a slow week. Or two. I have to keep the faith that more opportunities are on their way. I do my best to keep a lot of things in the pipeline, but just as you never know how many books you'll sell, you don't know how many auditions you'll get or if the client (and their client) will choose you even if you do a great audition.

Naturally, when it rains, it pours. Monday I had a voiceover job about 40 minutes from me at 3pm, which wasn't confirmed until late morning. It was what's called an explainer video: I'd narrate an animation informing company employees about something. Two clients listened via phone, offering direction. It went very well, and only took about half an hour. That night, I was the speaker at my local RWA chapter's meeting in a different suburb. And had two voiceover auditions waiting when I got home.

I record, edit and home and send the vast majority of VO auditions as MP3s. The turnaround is often less than 24 hours. Yesterday I had two rush auditions, which is rare. One arrived just before noon and was due at 4pm. The other came just after 3pm and said due now (very rare). If you're not available to record, you miss the opportunity.

Tuesday morning I had to be an hour and a half away by 8:30 (the same day FOLLOW YOUR HEART  released--so I'd arranged help get the word out) for what's called an industrial--a corporate film.

It involved five people and a very long script with some complex corporate speak. The best way to cover this much copy is by using an ear prompter. You record your lines on a small tape recorder that has an earpiece similar to the kind TV news anchors wear. Then you hold the recorder or a remote in your hand or hide it in your sleeve, press play, and repeat the lines you hear in your head.

This is a learned skill. I've practiced by repeating what classical radio hosts say, and took a class. You have to appear natural and engaged in the scene, not like a deer in the headlights listening to what's going on in your head. If the recorder doesn't start in the right place, or you stumble or mishear a word or two, you lose your place and have to start over.

With five people, the pitfalls multiply. You have to record together as precisely as possible. Someone counts down, "3-2-1," then on 0 we all pressed record (or play) at the same time. Even then, different recorders play at slightly different speeds, so keeping up can be a challenge. Fortunately we made a great team. We were released around 7:30pm, so I didn't get home until around 9pm. A long, productive day!

In other news, FYH is being featured today at

What's next on the horizon? Stay tuned....

Monday, April 06, 2015

Excerpt: FOLLOW YOUR HEART releases 4/14!

In my 4/14 release FOLLOW YOUR HEART, she's a glass-painter making her way in a man's world. He's on a quest to redeem his family name and estates. When unexpected passion makes their marriage of convenience inconvenient, will his secrets tear them apart?

I hope you'll enter my Goodreads giveaway, which ends soon. Or you can preorder here

In the meantime, here's a brief excerpt from the middle of 
Chapter 1:

Too late. The glazenwright entered the hall as Lady Anne reached around his neck to bring him down for a farewell kiss.
            Avoiding her mouth, his lips met her parchment-dry cheek. He caught sight of the glazenwright. A woman glass-painter? Chagrin filled him as she stopped short, taking in the scene before her. She put a roll of documents on the table and pushed back the hood of her cloak.
Adrian straightened, his desire to leave evaporating despite the awkward situation. The glazenwright was beautiful, with a delicate oval face, high cheekbones and a small, straight nose. He knew he was staring, but didn’t want to stop. There was something compelling about this woman aside from her lovely face, which was all he could see. Her heavy, serviceable black cloak and headdress concealed the rest.
Her expression captured him. Not the simpering moue of court women, nor the lustful gleam of barmaids or the respectful, downcast eyes of servants. She radiated a quiet confidence he found enticing.
Their gazes met and locked. Hers conveyed curiosity and mayhap a challenge. He couldn’t tell if she recognized him or what she’d gleaned of his relationship with Lady Anne. Surely she’d be appalled if she knew. After a long moment, she looked away.
“My pardon, Lady Anne. Your servant bid me enter. I can wait or return another time,” she said.
            Accustomed to Lady Anne’s shrill waver, Adrian absorbed the pleasant, soothing tone of the guest’s voice.
            “No, no, now is fine,” Lady Anne replied, her hand sliding possessively down Adrian’s arm.
            He stepped back abruptly to detach the clinging fingers.  Lady Anne should know better. The servants might suspect something, but no one else needed to know. That wasn’t part of their arrangement.
            Distancing himself from Lady Anne allowed him to return his attention to the glazenwright. She was staring at him again. If only he could see her hair...was it the same shade of red as her delicately curved eyebrows? He cursed the fashionable concealing headdresses of the day.
            Her skin was fair and smooth, her lips delectable, a tempting rosy red. Her large eyes were green. Bright green. They pierced him with a keen alertness that made him wonder if she could see into his soul.
She must be intrepid as well as ambitious: a woman working as a glass-painter. He wanted to know more about her.
He wanted her.
If only he was like other men. But he couldn’t risk getting close to anyone. Because a secret encumbered him, so unfathomable it could destroy him and possibly anyone he cared for.
What would being free feel like? Being loved by a woman like her? 
Alas, he’d never know.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Publishers Weekly reviews At His Command!

"Court intrigue, battles, romantic rivalry, and political maneuvering make a colorful backdrop for this satisfactory debut." That's what Publishers Weekly said of my first medieval AT HIS COMMAND in its review on March 27.

If you didn't know, Publishers Weekly is a highly respected international website about publishing that features book reviews. Even getting a review is a big deal because they receive so many submissions. (I tried to find an estimate, but kept coming across, "Due to the volume," etc.). PW's BookLife, a site for self-published books, debuted in 2012.  

Submissions are free, so last December I decided to submit AT HIS COMMAND-Historical Romance Version via BookLife's form. I don't know how they decide which books to review, but hoped that the fact AHC had won RWA's Golden Heart award would help. 

I received a form email saying the consideration process takes 6-12 weeks, and they're unable to respond to messages about reviews status because of submission volume. Then I got an email saying they were considering AHC for review, along with, "While this is no guarantee that your book will receive a Publishers Weekly review, you have cleared an important hurdle."

On January 20, they said, your "BookLife project (At His Command-Historical Romance Version) has been selected for review by Publishers Weekly."

I was thrilled, but also a bit nervous. Having your work reviewed by one of the premier publishing publications on the planet can be risky. What if they don't like it? What if they don't have even one good thing to say?

I checked the site from time to time, but didn't see my book. On March 31, there it was! Right on BookLife's home page. I happened to be working with a friend. I gasped as I clicked on my cover and read the review out loud. Whew. They'd been complimentary overall. I had a great quote I could use to help promote my writing
. PW review my next book, FOLLOW YOUR HEART, releasing April 14 available for preorder now)? Stay tuned....