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Kalypso Masters for Lost in Romance

by Louisa Klein

1) Why Romance? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
Since a teenager, Romance has been my favorite genre to read–and to
write. While I enjoy to writing realistic Romances, and certainly have no
problem seeing my characters go to hell and back as they work on real-life
problems, I need the assurance that there will be a happy ending. As I tell
my readers, with my books that doesn’t mean all of their issues are tied up
into neat little bows. Happily Ever After (HEA) takes maintenance, so
characters will continue to show up either in the background or in
additional books dealing with what life throws at them. But my readers will
know that ultimately the couple will prevail and together they will be able
to face whatever life throws their way.
2) Is there a romance author, living or dead, who inspires you
particularly?
Oh, there are many! The first Romance I ever read was Kathleen Woodiwiss’s
THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER back in the 1970s. In the 1990s, I was enthralled
with Rachel Lee’s Conard County series. She also was a fabulous mentor to
me while I was learning the craft and we recently discovered each other
again via Facebook. And when I made the choice to write Romance with erotic
scenes, I read Cherise Sinclair’s CLUB SHADOWLANDS and knew I wanted to
include aspects of the BDSM lifestyle in my books, even though the Romance
would always be the primary journey I would follow my characters on in my
books, not the sexual one.
3) Please, tell us about your latest book and, if you can, about your
future projects.
I recently published book 5 in the Rescue Me series–SOMEBODY’S ANGEL.
This book continues the journey of Marc and Angelina (the main characters
in NOBODY’S ANGEL #2), but also advances the journeys of six other
characters. I write in saga style, rather than stand-alone novels, and
readers love getting glimpses of how everyone in the “Masters at Arms”
family is doing. This book also sets up the next two books in the series.
Currently I’m working on Luke and Cassie’s story (NOBODY’S DREAM #6), which
I hope to release later this year. And while writing the recently published
book, I’ve come to realize Adam (who is the patriarch of the “Masters at
Arms” family and earned his HEA in NOBODY’S HERO #3) has some issues that
are going to need to be dealt with sooner than later. So the
as-yet-untitled book 7 in the series will be one that deals with survivor
guilt, PTSD from combat and trauma, and abandonment and other issues that
continue to plague my characters. It will tie up a number of loose ends
raised in books 5 and 6.
But SOMEBODY’S ANGEL also introduced or furthered a number of characters
who will be the stars of two spin-off series I plan in the coming years.
One will be a firefighters series with Angelina’s brothers. The other a
Romantic Suspense series of at least three books with Gunnar, Grant, and
Patrick. I see no end in sight of potential stories to write about the
people in this world!
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get
published?
My writing journey has been amazingly successful and hasn’t required
querying or hiring an agent. After writing as a hobby since high school (40
years!) I made the decision to become a full-time writer in May 2011
(having quit my day job due to stress the month before). I began writing
MASTERS AT ARMS (#1, the intro to the series) on May 3. The stars aligned
and the guest speaker at my Romance Writers of America chapter meeting that
month happened to be Donna McDonald who had begun self-publishing (indie
publishing, not vanity-press publishing) in March of that year and was
doing well already. Her enthusiasm (and success) convinced me that the
indie revolution was perfect for me (primarily because I didn’t have years
to wait to be discovered by an agent or publisher. My husband and I had
decided if I wasn’t making a living within one year, I would have to go
back to a day job.)
I had been told the most important thing was to get the first few books
out as quickly as you can, so I wrote feverishly over the next six months
and put out three books in four months that year (August through December
2011). In January, (a month after the pivotal third book came out) I
grossed five figures and my sales continued to grow throughout the year as
word of mouth spread. I made all kinds of marketing mistakes, but readers
loved the books and told their friends so, when I actually did begin
learning more about how to do things in a group of indie writers started by
Donna, I became more marketing savvy. I attended the Romantic Times
Booklovers Convention in April 2012 (my first of many conventions) and I
marketed heavily there. In June 2012, I made my first book free on Amazon
(marked down from 99 cents) and sales of my other two books exploded. My
monthly gross income doubled. I put out book four in the series in
September 2012 (which hit the USA Today Bestseller List) and sales doubled
yet again over the next two months. That year I had my first full year as a
published author, and I grossed $256,000. That never would have happened
with a publisher or agent. And my expenses (including research trips,
conventions, professional staff, editors, marketing costs to print swag and
run a few ads) was less than $50,000.
My income for 2013 increased again. Without any months with new book
release included in these figures, so primarily due to continued
word-of-mouth and one strategically placed ad, I grossed $375,000. Book 5
in the series was released in December 2013 and I hope to have book 6 out
this year. Based on the recent release, it looks like this year will show a
further increase in income. I’m giving you these figures to dispel some
myths about what indie authors are making. I have indie friends making much
more than I do, and some making much less (usually because they haven’t
gotten to that “magical” third book yet or they don’t have a free loss
leader out yet). I’m not as prolific as some of my indie author friends
either, but considering I’ve made more than half a million dollars on three
paid books over two calendar years (and may make another half a million
this year alone in my third full year publishing), I think I’m doing very
well!
Earning an income like this has been incredible (considering the job I
left had been downsized to a $16,000 a year part-time one). I’ve been
hanging around Romance writers for decades as they pursued agents and
publishers. I’m fully aware that this is NOT the normal experience for a
Romance writer.
To me, part of the reason for the success is the Ebook revolution, but
even more so, it’s the indie (self-publishing) revolution that began about
2010. For the first time ever writers were receiving the lion’s share of
the royalties for the creative work they produced. No longer did most of
the earnings go to their agents and publishers.
5) What’s your opinion about this Ebook revolution?
E-readers have opened up the joy of reading books for pleasure to so many
readers who had stopped reading years or decades ago. It’s so convenient to
read on a Kindle, NOOK, iPad, iPhone or android as you go about your busy
day. But the digital revolution also made print-on-demand trade paperbacks
available to those who wanted to have a tangible book in their hands.
What’s even better is that this Ebook revolution led to the indie
(self-publishing) revolution. Indie authors can hire their own editors,
cover artists, and formatters and have total control of their careers and
creative products (their books). This was unheard of before 2009 and
exploded in 2010. Sure, there have always been vanity presses preying on
writers (and there still are–writers beware of “publishers” charging you
to have your books edited and published). Those vanity-published books were
poorly edited and cost a writer thousands of dollars to produce and only
resulted in some small local fame as a writer.
However, with Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, authors now can
upload books for free (not counting their costs to have them professionally
edited, of course) and get their books in front of readers around the world
within hours with the click of a few buttons and the filling out of a few
screens or forms. Corresponding print-on-demand trade paperbacks also are
available at these online booksellers and via distribution channels for
libraries and bricks-and-mortar stores.
The ones who reaped the greatest rewards were the readers. They suddenly
could get books in a fraction of the time it took publishers to release
them. Rather than having the next book in a series sit on a shelf at the
publishers for a strategic (to them) release date, indie books are
available within weeks of their being edited and finalized. (The down side
would be that there are unprofessional authors publishing unedited books,
but the reviews usually reveal those to readers. Also, savvy indie authors
know to make one book at least free so readers can try an author with no
money outlay to see if they like them before they buy other books by that
person.)
Another plus to the indie revolution is that authors can write the stories
of their hearts and no longer have to try to conform to a publisher’s
guidelines which often are intended to make it easier to shelve the book in
a library or bookstore, or to capitalize on the success of the latest
bestselling trends of the book market. (By the time those books would come
out it’s a year or two later and something new is trending, so it’s not a
good model.) While I don’t write to the market, those who do are able to
get their books out quickly while the trend is still present.
For me, though, the best thing about being an indie author is because I
write a unique series of epic-novel-sized books (well, in books 3-5, at
least) that spans multiple categories (Romance, War Genre Fiction and
Military Romance, Family Sagas). Most publishers wouldn’t have touched
them. But being an indie author makes it possible for me to market to all
of those varied reader audiences by selecting multiple categories and
letting the book’s sales success get it listed on the Amazon and other
bookseller’s listings. Since the first few weeks my first book was out,
I’ve always been on an Amazon bestseller list. And Amazon’s “recommended
reads” algorithm gets my books in front of even more new readers based on
similar purchases of earlier customers.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use Social media a lot
to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to
write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are
your thoughts?
All authors need to know that publishers don’t market for most mid-list
and new authors anymore, so if they want to be a financial success, they
will need to bite the bullet and market on social media.
Lucky for me, I’m an extrovert and adore engaging with my fans on Facebook
especially. I had my first pre-fans clamoring for my books two months
before I published the first one all because of the postings I was making
on Facebook. When my sales exploded everyone wanted to know how I did it. I
didn’t have a web site, newsletter, street team (avid fans who will tell
the world about you and your books), or a publicist. (I did get those
things, but not until 7 months after my first book went out.) I responded
to them: “I just went on Facebook and talked with people.” These people
became my fans and then they told their friends and it snowballed from
there. On Facebook, I now have a timeline profile (with all postings public
for those who follow me since I’ve reached my maximum number of allowed
friends), an author page (more business related postings, and still all
public), a secret group for discussion of my series (secret due to subject
matter and spoilers, but open to anyone who asks to join it), and have
liked or joined lots of pages and groups all for the purpose of talking
with my readers and finding new ones. I also do live chats on occasion to
answer questions and just chit-chat with readers.
Twitter is more daunting to me, because I can’t write anything that short.
(Have you noticed?) And I’ve recently ventured onto Pinterest where I have
posted some of the photos that are my inspiration for the series characters
and locations.
I have put in place an amazing team to help me be in all these places and
more. Since March 2012, I’ve had a marketing assistant to handle my
blogging, web site, and newsletter, although anything posted in those
places are still my word. She just handles the formatting issues and
promotions. She also hired one of my fans to work with my street team and
keep them busy with missions and such so I can just pop in and chit-chat
with them and read about how they’ve promoted me lately. I also hired a
personal assistant six months ago who helps me handle all of the business
matters, personal and some online appearances, prize giveaways, errands,
and anything else that will free me up to have more time to write.
 
Info about the author:
Kallypso Masters writes emotional, realistic Romance novels with dominant males (for the most part) and the women who can bring them to their knees. She also has brought many readers to their knees—having them experience the stories right along with her characters in the Rescue Me series. Kally knows that Happily Ever After takes maintenance, so her couples don’t solve all their problems and disappear at “the end” of their Romance, but will continue to work on real problems in their relationships in later books in the series.
Kally has been writing full-time since May 2011, having quit her “day job” the month before. Masters at Arms was her debut novel (published in August 2011), followed by Nobody’s Angel, Nobody’s Hero, and Nobody’s Perfect. A change of plans for the series will make Somebody’s Angel, the continuation of Marc and Angelina’s romance, the next in line. “These two came up in the writing of Nobody’s Perfect and threw me for a huge loop with an issue Marc and I had no idea about before. They became a major distraction from Damián and Savannah’s story, so I decided to give them their own space to reach their Happily Ever After ending at last.” The storyline and time frame for Somebody’s Angel parallels the one in Nobody’s Perfect, which is why readers saw glimpses that there were some problems for the couple. But Damián has his hands full and wasn’t privy to all that was going on.
Kally lives in rural Kentucky and has been married for almost 30 years to the man who provided her own Happily Ever After. They have two adult children, one adorable grandson, and a rescued dog and cat.
Kally enjoys meeting readers at national romance-novel conventions, book signings, and informal gatherings (restaurants, airports, bookstores, wherever!), as well as in online groups (including Facebook’s “The Rescue Me Series Open Discussion group”) and live online chats. She hopes to meet you in her future travels!
To know more, please visit:  http://kallypsomasters.com
 
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below:
 
somebody's angel BandN
 
 
 

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