Category Archives: Blog Post

Cover Reveal: The Truth of Things by @tashalharrison

Categories: Blog Post, New Release and tagged , , , , , , ,

So excited to be doing my first cover reveal for Tasha L. Harrison! She’s been writing the kind of smut I’ve been missing in my life XD So I answered the call when she needed folks to spread her new cover to the world!

Without a moment’s hesitation….

“Where I come from, cops aren’t super heroes.”

Photojournalist and wedding photographer, Ava Marie Greene, doesn’t ever want to fall in love and not in the I-just-haven’t-met-right-man kinda way either. Ava is a hopeless romantic, but too much hurt and disappointment has her hiding behind the camera. Through her lens, she sees the truth of things, the difference between real and fantasy, and she thinks she has a good handle on it until she has a run-in with her friendly neighborhood policeman, Levi Raymond.

“Not all cops…”

A tad arrogant, and a bit of a cornball, Ava knows that this Levi could make her second-guess every thought she ever had about cops. She tries to make it clear to Officer Friendly that she doesn’t need saving, but he when Ava finds herself on the wrong side of the law, will he be the hero she needs or toe the “thin blue line?”


So those drooling over the cover, here are ways you can get the latest scoop on when it drops.  #TheTruthofThings pre-order goes live August 15th on Pronoun to support a September 5th release date. To get updates when it drops, follow her Author Page on Pronoun, or if you’re interested in getting an ARC copy for review, subscribe to her newsletter, or join Tasha’s FB group, The Filth Mob, they get first dibs.

I’m joining today, hope to see you there!

Check out the For the Love of Books Giveaway 2/12-2/20!

Categories: Blog Post, Events

Check out the For the Love of Books Giveaway 2/12-2/20!

Over 20 Romance Authors…

These authors have come together to offer you a quick, convenient way to get to know them, their new releases, and special deals…all in one place!

Even better, we’ve pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win Amazon Gift Cards just for checking us out on Instagram!

http://steamybookbargains.com/index.php/for-the-love-of-books-giveaway/

Why Book Reviews Matter! Part Two-The Financial Side

Categories: Blog Post, Update, Writer Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Okay so *cracks knuckles*.

We promised we’d make a post about how both retailer site reviews help on the creative side and another on the financial side of things. Both are and should be important because, let’s face it, writing isn’t all about creativity and entertainment, it’s also a business and a ton of writers make their livings off writing alone.

There are tons of reasons why reviews impact your favorite(or not so favorite) book financially but for time purposes, Libertad and I wanted to sim it down to five solid reasons why reviews are so important on retailer sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Itunes and why you should consider leaving some on your favorite authors books like now!

1.You’re a bargain reader

Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bargain reader. I’m more like likely to splurge on books that are 2.99 and under, especially if the author is new to me. A book priced at .99 cents is excellent and free is especially great if it’s the beginning to a series but did you know that authors need at least 10 reviews averaging of at least a 4.0 to spread awareness about their .99 cents and free books discounts? I know you’re all going “what does that mean?”

Well, it means that a lot of times authors(us especially) really want to discount their books at .99 cents or even free but can’t because it’s super hard to get that first ten reviews when you’re relatively new. That means it takes us about a month or two to be able to advertise our discounted novel with book discount sites like Bookbub when we’d really love to be able to start doing it from the very beginning.

If you’re someone who loves supporting your favorite authors but are on a tight budget, consider joining their ARC team and leaving a review on their book’s release day. Even if you’re not technically buying the books, you’re still a very valuable asset to your favorite writers when you help them out with ARC reviews that you post on retailer sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. People tend to skip books with no reviews and will often only take a chance on them if they’re in KU.

Even we have our favorite authors( Guinevere loves Delaney Diamond and Kahillah Fox while I adore Victoria H. Smith and Rebekah Weatherspoon y’all, just sayin) but with how often we both read(especially since we prefer audiobooks) when one of our favorite writers discounts a book we just thank the heavens! It’s a beautiful way to still support your favorite author on the financial side. The more reviews a book has, the more times we can give it away at a lower price point to entice new readers like yourself. So overall, leaving reviews is a win-win situation for both parties!

2. Target Audience

Target Audience is key for knowing who to market a book to. Writers are often told to write, creating a fictional avatar, or “their biggest fan”, because it’s easier to market to one person than a random sea of people.

That helps for morale as far as writing the book, but in promoting a book not so much. Sometimes your intended audience is not always who ends up being your target audience.

One of biggest examples follow our first three series’ and I’ll give examples for each of them(even though the NA is similar, so I’ll combine those two).

Our very first published novel was The Mark of Noba. We made a lot of mistakes in promoting the novel, because we were being too broad of what kind of audience we were trying to capture for it. Since it’s a YA novel with elements of science fiction AND fantasy, we were never really sure what category or audience would enjoy it better, so we always went with its time travel aspect.

Take in mind, for years we’d been told its Urban Fantasy. We thought it had an UF feel, but our stubborn ways hurt it more than helped. We always thought our interracial couple on the cover was killing its visibility, but when a prolific author in the indie community gave her take on our book’s cover, as well as the reviews that weren’t always positive voicing such, we knew it was time to rebrand it.

We ended up reformatting the book, as well as changing elements to amp up the fantasy factor a bit. We went with a custom photoshoot to capture the two main characters in a way stock art wasn’t giving us(and we still went with our interracial couple) and redid the cover.

Since it’s re-release, its stayed in the top 100 of some of its major categories on Amazon, all because we decided to promote it as an Urban Fantasy as opposed to a YA Time Travel book. Reviews helped us brand the book to the right audience, otherwise we would’ve been promoting it to the wrong people until this day.

Now I know you’re thinking, I write/read romance! How does that help me?

Learning your target audience through the help of reviews is very, if not more helpful in romance than any other genre. First off, the rules to romance are very simple.

  1. The romance must be the biggest part of the story
  2. It must happen in a HEA or HFN
  3. Must end emotionally satisfying

Pretty simple, right? But even after knowing that, there are a couple dozen subgenres in romance, proving that romance isn’t one size fits all.

Our New Adult series’ Bookish Friends To Lovers as well as Friends That Have Sex are also interracial romance books. For marketing purposes, Interracial Romance I’m going to refer to interchangeably with Contemporary Romance, because to me they’re the same thing, same tone, just assume if I’m talking about CR, I’m referring to IR in the same thread. Back to the post, both series feature characters who fall for someone of an opposite race, despite that not being the biggest part of the plot.

We were lucky enough to get two Bookbubs last year that were within weeks of one another for both series—one paid, one free. Book Two from the BFTL series got approved in African American, while F*THS got approved in New Adult.

Take in mind, both of these series’ are New Adult. Both of these series feature Black women. Both of these series feature interracial couples. But they also both have controversial topics to bring up in romance.

Same Page, book one featured a guy who’d had a relationship with someone outside of his long distance girlfriend and marijuana use; F*THS featured a girl battling Hodkin’s Lymphoma who wasn’t likable, with marijuana and LSD use. Both were friends to lovers books, both had topics readers either cheered or jeered.

After putting them on promo, you can expect a handful of new reviews, both good and bad. Especially with a discount book list as big as Bookbub. After you shift through some of the reviews, you notice who enjoy the books more.

So even though they’re still interracial books, and we’re still going to promote them that way, the New Adult audience expects a little more edge/angst than traditional contemporary romance. So now we know, without a doubt, that Same Page and F*THS are definitely New Adult.

3. Sales

Believe it or not, the amount of reviews a book has(especially verified purchases) a slight impact on how your book ranks on Amazon. And since Amazon is where a lot of authors make a huge percentage of their sales, that’s really super helpful.

I know when we get a new review, we notice our page reads and sales go up a little, sometimes a lot. We’ve heard it may have a lot to do with Amazon’s algorithms. I know a lot of authors fear getting ones and twos, but we can be the first to tell you we’ve gotten a plethora of ones and two and not once has it impacted our sales. Amazon tends to push the books they think are selling so new reviews on top of a book that’s already slightly selling, means Amazon will push it in front of people more.

Visibility is key when finding new reads and you can’t find your next favorite read without visibility. Reviews aren’t the only factor in that, but they do contribute a little to the way Amazon pushes it in front of the right readers, that means you!

4. Credibility

Sometimes it’s not even the amount of reviews a book has. It’s about if there are enough reviews to give an insight of what people liked and disliked about a story. I don’t know about you but when I see a book in my “Recommended For You” emails and they get a click out of me, I’m always a bit disappointed when every review I see is a 4 or 5 and all the reviews say is “This author does it again”, but doesn’t tell me anything about whether I want to pick it up or not.

Which review tells you more about your next TBR:

Amazon Reviewer:

I loved this book so much! Characters were great! Pick it up right now!

Or

Amazon Reviewer:

This book had so much going on that it held my attention. Not a fan of cheating but the hero won me over and I really rooted for him and the heroine even though he was cheating on his gf to be with her. This book isn’t for everyone, but the chemistry is crazy good and I gotta say, this is my first time sympathizing with a cheater. I kept thinking there’s no way he’s going to….but then he did. I hated myself for liking him but he was so damn sexy!Ugh!

Which review would you trust? Both are short and slightly praising but one is more informative.

That’s how a ton of the reviews are like for our first NA romance Same Page, Book 1 of the Bookish Friends To Lovers series. The second review tells everyone who might want to read it that there’s cheating in the book. If you don’t like cheating, this review just helped you decide that it isn’t for you. See how much weight the power you readers have? You help each other and this is especially important when there are so many other books out there that have the themes you’d rather read about.

Lesson of the Day:

Reviews, especially honest ones, give books credibility. It lets the next person browsing their recommended list that all the reviews aren’t left by just friends and family, lol. Although I wish our family did this because we have a huge one!

5. Proof that your favorite books are profitable

How many times have we all heard the lie that books about non-white, non-straight people don’t sell. Personally, we’ve heard it too many times to count. And they’re often from readers or writers that would never read or write about a brown person to begin with.

My sister and I write multicultural YA urban fantasy and contemporary, as well as New Adult and Contemporary Romance. All of our heroines are of African descent, ranging in culture. Nigerian-American, Cuban American, Haitian American and in one of our African American Romances we planned to release this year, a heroine is even Afro-British, London accent and all, of Ghanaian ancestry. Writing inclusively isn’t really a choice. It’s our lives. So when people say diverse romance or diverse YA doesn’t sell, here’s what we hear: We don’t fall in love. We’re one-dimensional and worse of all, our stories don’t matter.

(This one features an Afro-British Ghanian Heroine with and An Afro-Boricua hero!)

Mainstream books(books with solely white characters) tend to have thousands of reviews, whereas many African American, Multicultural or Interracial romances are just pushing a few hundred. I know for a fact that our books don’t get reviewed as much as they get read. Since many of our titles are in Kindle Unlimited, it’s tough to see your book being read over one hundred times in one a day and for every one hundred maybe one will review it. We get it, ain’t nobody got time to leave a review for every book that they read when there’s barely enough time to start the next book in queue. But leaving a review whether you loved or hated it proves someone was interested in it enough to buy it, canceling out the background noise that inclusive book can’t or won’t sell. Reviews help prove these haters wrong!

If you haven’t read Part One, The Creative Side of this post, be sure to check it out here. You’re sure to reach a few *a-ha* moments from there too!

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When you can fix what you broke…(A tale in self publishing)

Categories: Blog Post, New Release, Update, Writer Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’ve been going through the motions of what it’s like to be self published, and we’ve learned a few interesting things along the way.

Disclaimer:

All our experience is with Independently publishing books, and this post isn’t meant to scare folks away from going a more traditional route.

But back to the post. What if you had a project you were interested in exploring, spent months with blood, sweat and tears, and money you could never get back, but it didn’t connect with people?

Would you throw in the towel? Or would you research where you went wrong to fix the problem?

We’re releasing an Erotic Romance named “F*THS”. It was meant to be a lot of things. It was supposed to explore themes that are typically shunned in Romance, including friends with benefits themes we got to explore in Same Page, but with people who were single.

The main character Theodora King, like us is Afro-Latina(our first venture making an Afro-Latinx character, yay!) but entertained two love interests. This is what the original cover looked like, which we loved!fthsBut as we put it on Amazon for pre-order, we noticed very little, if any connected to the cover highlighting a girl with two love interests. Romance readers can be very protective of monogamy, and polyamorous relationships are often shunned unless they’re intentionally meant to be Menage a Trois story.

We admit, the main characters are both bisexual. Both are attracted to emotionally, sexually and psychologically to folks who identify as a man or woman(cis or trans). It could’ve easily been geared to be a Menage book for that reason, but there was a fear the audience we were writing it for would feel alienated.

After all, the main female character does gear more toward one than the other. And most of her open door love scenes were only with one.

Same Page, despite how readers responded to the blurb and cover, one-clicked like it was nothing. Two attractive people on the cover sparked an interest that having three people on a cover did not.

When we realized that, we took F*THS down(and lost our pre-order privilege, but hey…)and went back to the drawing board.

We heavily emphasized the relationship between the two main characters more, and while it garnered a less brave story, it allowed the audience we’re writing it for to seek it out more. All of these changes were literally made overnight. All of it required reworking chapters, a new blurb, and a new cover.

Traditional publishing is awesome. The resources in comparison are unmatched. But they want books to win. They spend a ton of money trying to make something win. Storify-ed conversations about diversity in romance by Alisha Rai and K.M. Jackson highlight it better than we could, especially since they’re traditional/hybrid authors.

Diversity in Romance-Why it matters

We Need Diverse Romance

But we’ve since redid the cover to reflect the changes:fthis(1)The cover has a sleeker look, different models, and an interesting design. I can’t say whether it’s better or worse, but it’s definitely been better received.

I hope to be braver, and be able to introduce relationships that aren’t always monogamous. Being polyamourous isn’t negative, it’s just modern society isn’t used to a relationship with more than one person.

Maybe these changes were for the better =D

We received our first advanced review, and it was well received. All the fears we had are still there.

Fear of an Afro-Latina character who doesn’t have long cascading hair, or looser curls, with much darker skin. Fear of two characters who identify as bi-sexual. Fear of friends with benefits stories. Fear of creating a Black woman with a chronic illness. ALL of these things were the things some of the advanced reviewers connected with. There are other topics in the story(along with a cliffhanger, which folks hate!) they wont connect with. So we’re preparing ourselves for those who wont connect to it now XD

But we regret very little about self publishing. It’s not every day you can fix something you broke…

You can request F*THS on Netgalley =D Click the link or book above for details!

Not on Netgalley? Shoot us an email at rebelliousvalkyriepress at gmail dot com! We’d be happy to provide advanced copies to those willing to provide reviews for it’s release!

The Color of Love Blog Hop

Categories: Blog Post, Events, New Release, Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

fireplace in the room panelled in wood

Oh how excited we are to participate in our first Color of Love Blog Hop. We’ve been following it for a few years now(Libertad even one a grand prize one year, talk about luck) and it was an exciting moment to finally be an author on the roster of such seasoned writers as well as some of our favorite Romance bloggers.

Look of that list of people below and would you look at the prizes being offered! Anytime you have a giveaway featuring a Kenya Wright, Laurel Cremant or L.Penelope(sorry for fangirling but we totally met her this October and she was everything a fangirl could hope for) book you know you’re in for some excellent reads.same_pagefthis(1)

We ourselves are offering Same Page, an erotic romance, which will be out December 8th everyone, squee. And another Erotic Romance titled F*THS, which is slated to release February 10th 2016. Multicultural and Interracial Romance are definitely our absolute go-tos in terms of buying taste so trust me when we say, we’re visiting everyone’s spot(And so should you…)and showing their blogs a hell of a lot of love! Be sure to check out all the other ladies on the hop. Discovering new authors are the absolute best!

Interested in any of our up and coming releases? Consider signing up for our newsletter for our NA and Adult Romances here. Like YA too? The newsletter to our YA new releases can be signed up for here. Happy reading, everyone!

GRAND PRIZES

We’ve upped the ante on prizes! Here’s what’s up for grabs

Prizes Gift Cards E-books
1st Prize $75 6
2nd Prize $50 5
3rd Prize $30 5
4th Prize $15 5
5th Prize $10 5
6th Prize $5 5

 

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

New goals, New Ideas and New Releases!

Categories: Blog Post, New Release, Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow I can’t believe it’s been a whole 2 months since our last post. Proud to say it’s for good reason! We’ve been writing up a storm! Our first release The Mark of Noba, has been our greatest accomplishment to date.

9781943773015

While it’s easy to feel like YA is a hard market to release a book in we’re so glad we allowed it to be our first born and our introduction to the world of writing but for the year 2016, we were planning a crap load of adventures and we hope anyone who’s with us supports us in our new venture in Romancelandia.

So what is it about romance that made us want to write romance? Hmm…it’s a number of things.

For one, Guinevere and I are not seeing the women and men we want to root for in romance. And that’s just depressing.

There’s no shortage of billionaires, bikers or alpha males but what if the kind of stories you desire are about real people going through real relationship problems?

What if the kinds of characters we want to read feature Afro-latinas, American Africans or black women outside the typical African American experience?(Hello Afro-Brits anyone?)?

What if just maybe we want to read about men and women who have regular jobs and aren’t making people sign a contract just to “be” with each other?

I’ve been reading a ton of romance lately and sadly I’ve found very few authors who have several stories I flat out love. But I have faith and with 2016 we hope to bring you 11, YOU READ RIGHT, 11 new stories with romance as it’s center focus ranging from YA, NA and even adult reads.

We know, we know 11 books? That’s one hell of a goal but the truth is, we’ve had these stories hanging around for years and now finally have the courage to release them, including The Mark of Noba’s awaited sequel The City of Fallen Stars, which will be available Summer 2016.

TCPFSTYPO

(Don’t you just love the cover? Tetra is spitting something fierce, compay!)

But omg, how could I forget December 8th we’ll be releasing our first real life New Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance(sorry kids this one does include sensual themes so if The Mark of Noba’s more your cup of tea, you might wanna skip this one.) called Same Page. SEE!

same_page

Check out the blurb:

Naima vibed with Timothy from the first moment they met. Attraction wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did with no time to turn back.

Timothy knew better. But that kiss made him forget about his girlfriend and he would do anything to get another chance to kiss those lips.

Can two close friends be on the Same Page in this “Brown Sugar meets Love Jones” Interracial Erotic Romance!

This one has us shook to be out there because it doesn’t follow a typical romance theme of two unattached people falling in love without problem. It actually centers on a situation I’ve been in myself, falling for the right guy just not at the right time. I’m sure some folks can relate but I know others are against altogether, either way when we decided that romance was a venture we wanted to unlock, we asked ourselves:

Do you want to trail blaze or do you want to follow the obvious tropes?

Ding, ding, ding! We took the first one for $700, lol. So we hope and pray you’ll take this journey with us!

What are some of your goals for 2016?

libbysig

 

Our first post! So excited!

Categories: Blog Post, Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

*Waves* *Blows kiss*

For those of you guys just tuning in, you may know us on Twinja Book Reviews where we celebrate diversity in speculative fiction with all age groups and YA/NA of any genre.

Or you may know us(highly unlikely lol!) via Rebellious Cupid Book Reviews where we celebrate diversity in the Romance genre, as well as it’s subgenres in YA/NA and Adult!

We’ve recently justified getting an author website, separate from our review sites, so we continue to review, unbiased and honest.

But now that we’re authors, clearly we need a website!

The tabs and posts will go through some major face lifts over the new few weeks, but we hope folks enjoy what they’ve seen of the site so far!

We’ve even got a few WIP covers in our slider!

I think we’re more appropriately Romance writers, because most our works deal with Romance in ways the plot wont allow the story to be told without it, but we love having fun and writing Speculative Fiction too!

The Mark of Noba is our first release, and we think it appeals to YA audiences, and can cross over to folks who like YA. It’s a mix of Portal Fantasy and Science Fiction/Time Travel, heavy on the fantasy, but we pride ourselves in making folks laugh, so we hope people also find it funny!9781943773015

Everything we write may not appeal to every audience and we’re okay with that! We’re bloggers too, so we know not every genre appeals to every reader, but we try to write inclusively, with more than one marginalized group in mind, so we hope that shows, and that we always learn from past hiccups!

We’ll try to have all the tabs updated with the appropriate information on them soon! We’ll even write about our spooky new release coming soon!

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