Kindle Unlimited: THE MATCHBAKER

I’m so excited to announce that THE MATCHBAKER is now on sale ONLY at Amazon as part of the KDP Select Program.This means that Prime Members get special pricing, and if you’re a member of the new Kindle Unlimited program, you can read it for FREE!

Click HERE to be taken directly to THE MATCHBAKER on Amazon!

Self Publishing: The Journey of an Unknown

Hi. My name is Jerrica Knight-Catania. You may have heard my name sometime in the last 3 or so years. Or you may have no earthly clue who I am. The latter is probably more likely. I’ve never been a NYT Best Seller…or even a USA Today Best Seller. I’ve never won any major contests. No monuments have been erected in my likeness ;) I do put myself out there on social media, and I have been a best seller in every major ebook venue world wide. Yet I still show up to romance conferences and get things like, “Ummmm…I think I may have heard your name before??? What is it again?”

But here’s the thing. Fame is awesome, I’m sure. Having people know your name and start book clubs because they just HAD to talk about your works with other people is probably great. But for me, being able to provide for my family is the best gift this career could have ever given me. I get to work from home. I get to pick up my daughter from preschool whenever I want to go swimming or get ice cream. I get to go on lunch dates with my hubby, and I can take a week to go on a vacation without any rigamarole with “my boss.” Oh, and I get to daydream and make up stories for a living. Pretty sweet.

In light of recent events, I’m jumping on the bandwagon of non-famous, self-published authors who are coming clean about their journey in the self-publishing world. I think it’s important that people, especially authors and other industry professionals, realize that self publishing is a viable career, and a respectable one. Even all these years later, we’re still being shunned in this community for our decision to take our lives and careers into our own hands, rather than waiting around for an agent or editor to say, “Ok. I guess you’re good enough for me to gamble 10% royalties on.”

Just look what Steven Zacharius, CEO of Kensington Publishing had to say…

“In a perfect world (okay, in my perfect world) there would be a separate section on Amazon or B&N.com for self-published e-books, maybe even separate websites. I truly believe that it would help the reader distinguish the books as well. Readers don’t purchase books based on who the publisher is and don’t necessarily care. As a result, they might not even know if they’re buying a book that was professionally edited versus one that was self-published.”

Readers don’t purchase books based on who the publisher is and don’t necessarily care. That’s the only good line in this quote. It’s true, and it’s awesome. So, let me start by giving a big SHOUT OUT to readers out there. You all are awesome, and I hope you’ll continue to judge books based on their own individual merit and not by whether or not some big-wig at a publishing house deemed it worthy of your eyeballs.

So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What is a non-famous, self-published author, who has less than 500 LIKES on her Facebook page and less than 200 people on her mailing list selling every year? I’ll show you…

My journey began in February of 2011. I made a decent amount. A heck of a lot more than $60, which was what I had made with my small press publisher in 2010. Please keep in mind, they still had the rights to several of my books until the end of 2011, so the numbers are pretty skewed for this particular year…

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At the end of 2011, I made one of my books FREE to see how the loss-leader model worked in this industry. As you can see from the 2012 numbers, it worked WONDERS! I spent more time on the Top 100 charts in my categories than I did off of them. And I went from selling about 70,000 units in 2011 (maybe a little more, but I don’t have those numbers, remember) to selling 465,344 units in 2012.

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2012 was an exceptional year, and as you can see, many of the “sales” came from FREE downloads, but that didn’t stop me from earning more money than any of my previous day jobs would have paid me in…wait for it…5 years!! 2013 tapered off. No freebies were offered, as that tactic started to die a bit, so every bit of the 70,000 units I sold that year was pure profit.

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2014 so far has been slow and steady, but that’s what always wins the race, right? Look, self publishing isn’t for everyone. It’s not all wine and roses. We wear a million different hats, and we have to pay out-of-pocket for things like editing, covers, publicity, etc…, and the book may bomb! But that doesn’t negate the fact that in this modern age of technology, writers can reach more readers than ever before. Readers have access to thousands upon thousands of books that might never have seen the light of day if it weren’t for the advent of self-publishing.

Some may say that because I didn’t get a publishing contract from a Big 6 publishing house that I’m not worthy of having my books out there in the marketplace. Some may say that we self-pubs should be easily distinguishable from those who do have those contracts. But they can never, ever take away the hard work I’ve put into this career, and continue to put into it every single day. They can never take away my best seller rankings or the money I earned because readers – the people who truly matter — took a chance on me and *gasp* liked me!

So, thank you again, readers, for taking a chance on a no-name nobody! In return, I promise to continue to work hard for you, honing my craft and turning out books that you will love to read :)

The Wetherby Brides are BACK!!

 

TEMPTATION OF THE DUKE hit virtual shelves yesterday! Yay! Here’s the jacket blurb and links! And if you’re not caught up on the whole family saga, check out my printable reading list :)

 

TTOTD_1600x2400Sensuality: Warm (7)

Grace Clarke is no longer willing to accept the position of “poor relations.” Her sister has married well and taken her under her wing, so with her new connections, it ought to be a breeze to find a wealthy, titled gentleman to help elevate her station in life. Of course, she never expects for him to find her. Especially not in such a compromising position. But once she gets over her humiliation, she discovers that the duke next door is far more than just a duke. He’s a man that sets her heart–and other parts of her–aflame. 

Evan Gilford, Duke of Somerset, has spent the last fifteen years trying to avoid his destiny: marriage. But he can’t ignore his duty anymore, not with his guilty conscience nagging at him all the bloody time and a betrothed waiting to become his duchess. So he returns to London, only to discover that he has a new and rather enchanting neighbor who soon makes him question where his loyalties lie: with his family or his heart. 

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
SMASHWORDS

 

Prepping for the BIG DAY!

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Can I get a Hip, Hip, Hooray!?!?!? TEMPTATION OF THE DUKE is mere hours from its release! I’m very excited about this book, and I hope you are too! It’s the 5th book in a series I never planned to write another book for. But here it comes, all written and shiny and ready to meet the world. I know we’re not supposed to think of our books as our “babies” but I can’t help it. I still get attached.

If you haven’t joined my mailing list DO IT NOW! I’m giving away a gift basket tomorrow, but only to subscribers. So head to my website www.jerricasplace.com, and sign up now!

Oh, and I’ve finally created a printable booklist! Yay! Just click and print :) Printable Book List

Happy Monday!!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Ms. Franklin sang about it. We all want it. But not all of us are willing to give it.

When I was about 10-years-old, my family moved into a new apartment in the suburbs of Atlanta, and our neighbor across the hall was an outspoken New Yorker named Claudia. She had a special needs son, who, among other things, had no short term memory. And she had two dogs — keeshonds, one of which was named Murphy (I’ve completely forgotten the other dog’s name!)

We spent a lot of time at Claudia’s house, my mom and I. We would go over to watch TV and sip tea and play with the dogs. I assume we went so often because it was so hard for Claudia to get out of the house with her son.

So, one afternoon, as we sat at Claudia’s, I remember making a bold statement about something I didn’t like. Something that Claudia had already said she enjoyed very much. I have no idea what it was. Probably some type of food, or maybe music, but that’s irrelevant. What she said to me in that moment, though, was a life lesson I would carry with me to this very day, 25 years later.

“Don’t ever insult someone else’s taste.”

Now, I’m sure my mom and dad had said this to me before — maybe even in those exact words — but it wasn’t until someone else said it to me that it really made an impact. It was in that moment that I realized I had hurt someone’s feelings and had the power to make them feel small and less-than simply by voicing my opinion. I, personally, hated that feeling.

I know a lot of people in this Social Media age might say, “Screw you! I’m entitled to my opinion!” And that’s true. But do you really want to be that person that belittles people just because they have different tastes than you? Has it become cool to make people feel badly because they like something you don’t?

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m sure I’ve done my share of “OMG! That was the WORST!!!” in the company of people who might have thought it was THE BEST! We’re all human, and we all slip up occasionally. But I would challenge my friends, family and readers, to not be that person who feels the need to make other people feel like crap in the face of your differences. 

Not to say that you shouldn’t ever voice your opinion, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it. My rules:

1) Try to avoid strong words like “hate”. Saying, “I’m not the biggest fan — I prefer…” gets your point across just as well without offending, and moves you in a direction that maybe you can both agree on. 

2) Know your audience. If you know someone absolutely LOVES something that you think is lame, don’t rain on their parade. Just smile and accept them for the freak you think they are. Otherwise, you’re just being rude. 

3) Keep trying. My husband LOVES anything that tastes like a creamsicle. You know, that orangey-vanilla flavor? To me, it tastes like the Children’s Tylenol tabs I had to take when I was a kid, thereby dragging me back to unpleasant times every time I taste it. But because my hubby loves it SO MUCH, I always take a little taste, just to see if anything has changed. It hasn’t. But at least I’m willing to try, right? 

So next time you’re tempted to voice your strong opinions in the face of someone who has different tastes from you, try to hear my old friend Claudia in your head telling you, “Don’t insult other people’s taste.” 

Advice to my 20-Year-Old Self

I just read an article yesterday about what people over 40 would say to their 30-year-old selves if they had the chance. The advice ranges from “save your money” to “take care of your health” to “be kind to yourself.” All great advice, though I feel rather lucky to have had a pretty awesome 5 years since I turned 30. It was seriously as if I woke up one morning and all the crap that had plagued me in my 20s just…went away. Like it drifted off into the ether to find another 20-something to torture. 

So, I’m going to do my own Top 5, but this is going to be to my 20-year-old self, because that’s the broad who needed the most help…

1) NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. That means the good and the bad. In my 20s, everything felt so permanent. If I was feeling badly, I worried I would feel badly for the rest of my life. I drank too much, I went on antidepressants, I floundered in the sea of uncertainty, not realizing that if I just waited out the storm, things would get better. Instead, I tried to swim against the current, torturing myself with feelings of doubt and sadness. “This too shall pass” should have been my mantra. Because it all eventually did. Nothing is permanent. Life is ever-flowing, ever-changing, for better or for worse. Just wait it out and see what the Universe has in store for you next. 

2) GRATITUDE IS EVERYTHING. I’ll never forget the feelings of inadequacy that I felt in my 20s, most notably in my career. Sure, I knew I was talented, and oftentimes, I felt pretty entitled…but one thing I failed to feel was a deep sense of gratitude. Not that I didn’t say “Thank you” when it was appropriate, but there’s a big difference, in my book, between being “thankful” and having “gratitude.” Thankfulness is when you acknowledge that someone has done something nice for you — that’s when you say, “THANKS SO MUCH!” But gratitude — living in what I call an attitude of gratitude – comes from a much deeper, more profound place. It’s the place of being so overwhelmed by the life you’ve been given — the acknowledgement that it is such a privilege to be alive, to be in this skin, to be able to see and hear and touch and just live. I know for certain that if I had trained myself to do this earlier on, my 20s might not have felt so tumultuous.

3) IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL. Everything felt very significant in my 20s. Any bodily twinge sent me careening into a cesspool of anxiety and depression because I was sure I had cancer…or a heart problem…or a tumor, etc…. Every time my bank account got dangerously low, I would panic and most of the time called my dad crying that I couldn’t pay whatever $30 bill I had. Thankfully, my dad is a chill guy with a great perspective on money. He’d always say, “Jerrica, it’s no big deal. I’ll wire the money tomorrow.” Now, I have no idea what financial state my dad is in at any given time, but I do know that if his kids are in need, he helps them out. “It’s just money,” he’s known for saying, and I love that saying. Because somehow, things always work out in the end. And what I thought was a heart problem usually turned out to be indigestion. What I thought was a tumor was…well, nothing. Turned out to be psychosomatic. No joke. Just chill out. That’s what I would have said to my 20-something self. 

4) KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. I spent a lot of my 20s being angry about the opposing political party, and I shared that with anybody and everybody. That was before the days of Facebook, too, so we’re talking face-to-face confrontation here. Of course, when I did join Facebook, I used it as a political platform for a while, until I realized…I’M AN IDIOT! No one’s going to change their mind because of me! They have their own experiences that have shaped their beliefs, just like I have mine. They certainly aren’t going to say a magic word or phrase that’s going to make me eschew my life-long beliefs, so why would I think I’d have that effect on them? I would have enjoyed much lower blood pressure through my 20s had I just kept my mouth shut and walked away when politics entered the discussion. 

5) DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. My parents? No, you. My boss? No, you. My brother, sister, pastor, cousin, friend…? NO!! YOU!! Do what makes you happy. Wait? Shouldn’t I do what’s expected of me, based on my college degree? OMG! NO!! DO. WHAT. MAKES. YOU. HAPPY. PERIOD. Here’s the thing…from the age of about 3, I knew I wanted to be on Broadway. I would do anything to be on the stage. I wanted to sing, act, dance…and I would stop at nothing to achieve that. I spent my high school years eschewing my school work so I could perform professionally and took all kinds of lessons after school and on weekends to improve my craft. I studied Vocal Performance in college at a hefty price. And after that, I spent 10 years trying to get hired on The Great White Way. And then I got a national tour…with my husband…traveling all over the country…doing what I loved to do…and I was miserable. And when I got back to New York, with my shiny new Equity card, ready to take Broadway by storm, I was even more miserable. But I had come all this way! People were watching me, waiting for me to become the next Bernadette Peters or Kristin Chenoweth. And I was miserable. So, I took a break. And I got happy. I took a longer break. And I got happier. And then I announced to the world that I was leaving the theater to become a writer. A what???? It was out of left field, even for me. But it made me happy. And it still does. And guess what else…singing makes me happy too. I just couldn’t enjoy it because I was in my freakin’ 20s!!! 

So, there you have it. My advice to my 20-year-old self. Looking back, I realize just how tumultuous my 20s were. But truly, turning 30 flipped a switch, and everything I worried about in the previous decade was of no consequence anymore. Not that I didn’t have some amazing times in my 20s — I fell in love and got married to my Prince Charming, after all — but now I know an unbridled joy, zest for life and a deep-seeded gratitude that makes my life feel magical. All hail the 30s!! 

Tell me…what would you tell your 20-something self if you had the chance?…assuming you’re out of your 20s, of course :)