A day in the DESIGN CHAIR

Whoever thought writing a book was time-consuming has never had to market a book, much less two multi-book series and a poetry book!

Today I set aside my writing so I could devote much-needed time to the design chair. Below are the new social media ads I’ll be running on FB over the next three weeks. I’m also doing a bit of digital housecleaning today. This internet health-check includes all my social media sites, my author’s website, and the multiple sites selling my books. Luckily, I do this chore once a month to keep the information circulating about me as current as humanly possible. This includes…but is not limited to… book blurbs, author bios, book pricing and discounts, award updates, and a reasonably decent author’s picture.

I’m also taking a little time this afternoon to unsubscribe to newsletters and promotional materials that are clogging up my author’s Gmail account. After leaving Tumbler years ago, I still get a weekly email from them. Why is that necessary?

On the Promotional Front

The Fate of Wolves (ebook) is just 99-cents this month across all platforms. You can find it and all my other books listed on my Books2Read Author Page.

https://books2read.com/ap/xbop4a/Tarrant-Smith

How to get a free ebook!

I have a few Amazon gift codes for Kindle copies of The Love of Gods and my latest, The Souls of Witches. If you’ve been wanting to read one of my books, live in the United States, and would like one of these codes…please email me at tarrantsmith@gmail.com. I will reply within 24 hours. (As always, honest reviews are appreciated but not required for obtaining a gift code)

Once the codes are gone, they’re gone. 😘 So hurry!

At last count, I have 8 Gift Codes for The Love of Gods and 5 Gift codes for The Souls of Witches.

What’s Coming?

I am well into writing The Heart of Monsters. This will most likely be book 5 in the Legends of the Pale Series. To help myself get on with the writing of it, I’ve made a promise to my editor to get the finished manuscript to her by the first of October. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be able to set the release date just in time for Christmas this year.

I’m looking at cover art possibilities now. By Mid-Summer, I’ll reveal a finalized cover so we can all look forward to holding it in our hands.

On the Poetry Front

Yes, I am still writing poetry and have laid out the framework for a second collection. I even have a working title: Whimsy, Hearts & Zen.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, The Chalkboard!

-Tarrant

Good Things are Happening in 2021!

Hello everyone. Thank you for stopping by my blog, the Chalkboard. Because everyone I know is on a budget these days, here’s a list of the upcoming book promotions I have in the works. (Because there is no reason not to read a great book!)

Here’s your insider Promotion Information:

  • The Love of Gods (ebook): Currently discounted to .99 cents until Feb 28th
  • The Fate of Wolves (ebook) Just .99 cents for the Month of March!
  • The Dreams of Demons (ebook) Just .99 cents for the Month of April!
  • All the Darkly Series Paperback book prices have been dropped to $12 (down from $16) This will be the last year to purchase this series in paperback. At the beginning of 2022, I plan to briefly pull this series from the marketplace, change the covers to something more salacious, and then only offer these books again in an ebook format.
  • End of the year (2021) paperback giveaway for any author copies of The Darkly Series I still have just laying around the house. A girl can only carry so many books in her car and to book signings.
  • Enchanted Darkly (ebook) Just .99 cents from March 1st to June 1st.

Also… The Souls of Witches is receiving some great reviews from Amazon readers!

Thank you to all the readers who have taken the time and effort to leave me a review. Not all reviews need to be as detailed as the ones I’ve shared with you today. Sometimes, all it takes is a brief comment left behind for other readers to find. Something along the lines of…”Loved this book” … “Enjoying this Series.” … “Quick read and well worth your time” are just some of the possibilities. Amazon and other online booksellers just want honest reactions to the products sold on their platforms, not comprehensive book reports like we all did back when we were in school.

And for those who have already devoured book 4 in my Legends of the Pale Series, be assured that I am working on books 5 and 6. With diligence and luck, one of these novels will be published this year.

-Tarrant

The 99-Cent eBook Dilemma

Book Marketing Plans

Photo by Vivek Kumar on Unsplash

After packing and then hauling my laptop all the way down to the Dominican Republic for Christmas vacation with family this year, I ended up not writing a single word. While planning for my trip, I truly had thought I’d write at least a little bit. I’d just assumed that I would sneak off to jot down a few notes, maybe a paragraph…probably not an entire chapter, but something nonetheless. After all, I have two manuscripts in progress and two entirely new books outlined just waiting in the wings. And I told myself logically, I have a self-imposed publishing schedule to keep. A schedule where I’ve started to miss the deadlines marked so thoughtfully on my Google calendar. So, it made sense to carefully fold my laptop between the bathing suits, shorts, and sundresses because all my writing of late has been geared toward making my deadlines, expanding my brand, and growing my literary empire. But in truth, I didn’t even crack the laptop open to check my emails. I can, of course, do that on my phone.

Okay, don’t laugh. I do have dreams of one day being a best-seller. Though, when or how that will happen is still a mystery to me. I did the usual steps of cultivating book reviews and gathering awards for my website to bolster my own validation and to give my career as an indie author legitimacy. But, I struggle almost daily between the dilemma of giving my work away because I want to be read by a wide audience and valuing my time and talent by keeping my books priced (ebooks at least) just under well-known authors like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Karen Marie Moning, and Patricia Briggs. These are other paranormal romance authors who I read, love, and want to one day be listed among.

So which is it? Do I spend a year or more writing, crafting, editing, producing, and designing a product only to slap a 99-cent price tag on it so readers are more likely to take a risk by purchasing a work of an unknown author? Or do I value the time and effort that went into bringing a book to the marketplace by keeping my ebooks at $3.99 and hope that the right book-influencer stumbles across it? Then reads it. And hopefully, tells others how awesome it is?

Do I write to be read? Or, do I write to make a small income?

I know I’m not the only indie author to struggle with this dilemma. The prevailing thought is that in giving our work away we gain access to more readers. But, this strategy also hurts the ebook marketplace as a whole. How are any of us going to make a living if all ebooks, except for the publishing industries’ chosen darlings, are just 99-cents? That’s less than the price of a cup of coffee. And, there’s also that lingering assumption by readers that 99-cent ebook isn’t well-written. If it were, then why is it so cheap?

It’s a catch 22. I’m damned no matter what marketing plan I choose and that best-seller label seems even further away every year.

So, I find myself stumbling back to my original question. Why do I write? Is it because I must write. Would I be writing if I weren’t publishing? Well, the resounding answer is YES. I’ve been writing for my entire life. So why do I find it so hard to just lower my prices? After all, I’m not living off my writing right now. After Covid, my book sales are in the toilet. Why not just say fuck it and give the books away. At least then they’ll get read by someone. Anyone.

Here’s the rub and my other problem with the 99-cent plan. The few times I’ve discounted my books to that low, low price, I didn’t see the upswing in sales that the marketing “experts” promised would happen. And when I look at friends of mine who are authors trying to earn a living by keeping their ebook prices at the standard average of $3.99, I felt like I am betraying them in some way. Call me crazy. (I’m beginning to think anyone who publishes in today’s industry must be just a little nuts.)

Unlike most of my posts, this entry doesn’t have a tidy conclusion. This is me thinking out loud and sharing thoughts that plague so many other authors. If you have a suggestion for escaping this catch-22, please feel free to leave a comment below. I welcome your wisdom. And of course, look for me to run the occasional discounted price on my catalog of titles throughout the coming year. Cause when in doubt, choose the middle ground.

Thanks for listening.

—Tarrant

Latest Review! 🥰

Reviewed By Tammy Ruggles for Readers’ Favorite

The Souls of Witches by Tarrant Smith is a well-written page-turning paranormal romance novel. This selection is from the series Legends of the Pale about paranormal characters and communities living and struggling on the outskirts of society in a place called The Pale. Members of these unique communities include werewolves, demons, witches, and other supernatural entities. Smith has created a plot that will pull you in like quicksand–the dangerous but irresistible romance between a demon/demigod hybrid named Lars and an unassuming but independent kitchen witch named Rowan who lives a quiet life and knows what she wants and doesn’t want out of life. She never thought she wanted or needed her “other half”–a soulmate. Are the two destined to be together? How will they overcome the darkness that threatens them and their differences? There are secrets buried in the past, and if Lars chooses to be with her, it may cost her life.

Come for the plot, stay for the characters and emotional love story. This author makes it easy to sink right into the story, beginning with brief character sketches at the beginning to get you familiar with the players. This is greatly appreciated. As the story begins, you will immediately recognize that this writer is talented, knows how to put a story together, and pull emotions from the reader. The attention to detail is impressive, the inner dialogue balanced with narrative and exterior dialogue, and the imagery is cinematic. You are in Rowan’s world all the way, made tangible by thoughts, descriptions, and her personality. As you read, you get the feeling you’re reading about real people with real lives (albeit paranormal ones), not characters in a book. When Rowan’s world collides with Lars’ at the witch’s ball, we are treated to romantic chemistry that throbs like a heartbeat. There are some strong, steamy sex scenes for those who like a little heat, but with genuine longing and connection too. I like the way Lars’ character develops over time and the inner turmoil he wrestles with. Rowan grows too, but Lars’ changes are profound. The backstory is crucial to this series and its characters. This is a world you can easily get caught up in, and Smith should be applauded for world-building skill, which is the foundation of a series like this. If you can’t believe the world, nothing else matters. But Smith masters it. The Souls of Witches by Tarrant Smith is the perfect example of a must-read paranormal romance.

One more Book Signing!

I do miss doing these signings. I hadn’t realized how important it was to meet face to face with readers until Covid-19 happened.

First, let me say that the Madison Artist Guild Book Signing Event this past Saturday was a great success. Fellow author Crystal Jackson and I were all masked up and careful to maintain a safe distance from each other and shoppers. I saw people I hadn’t seen in a very long time. And I had the opportunity to chat with a few new readers who are just discovering my books. The entire day was a blast!

Stop by and say hello!

Which brings me to my next scheduled signing. I have high hopes for it as well because it too will coincide with Madison’s Downtown Shop, Sip & Stroll. I’ll be so happy to hang out at my favorite store, In High Cotton. Whether I sell a single book or not, I’ll probably purchase a gift for someone on my Christmas list while I’m there.

A big thank you to all the people who have purchased one of my books this year. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I loved writing them.

See you soon. May 2021 be your best year yet!

-Tarrant

The 4th Book is Nearly Here!

Lars and Rowan’s story is unlike any other I’ve tackled. And, of course, Rowan is a Kitchen Witch like myself so this means that her view of the world and her place in that world is very close to my heart.


Well, technically it’s here now!

To actually order my author copies from Amazon, the paperback has to be live on their site already. So, I hit that scary publish button after receiving and approving my book’s physical proof… and there you go. The paperback can be ordered immediately (so can my author copies), but the ebook format won’t be downloadable until Saturday, November 21st. Which is the official release date.

Universal Sales Link for The Souls of Witches: Click Here !

For writers who are currently writing their first book or indie publishing for the very first time

You need to be aware that getting your book into print is just the beginning of a very long process. To get your baby seen and in the hands of readers, there’s a slew of marketing and book buzz that should be going on well in advance of your ultimate release date. And I’ve been doing that.

  • Through consistently timed author website posts and Facebook posts.
  • By over-sharing updates on this book’s editing process, cover reveals, proof reveals.
  • Doing general series-marketing so readers know that they will soon have another set of characters joining the Pale.
  • Sharing an excerpt from the book in my weekly podcast. Click Here to listen.
  • And utilizing basic word of mouth – talking up the book with anyone who’d listen.

Now that the book is available for purchase and download (soon), I will have to ramp up my promotional buzz on all my social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Substack). This will include a few eye-catching graphics and more snippets from the book itself. I’ll also set up a few January book signings to celebrate its holiday release.

So, please look for the book.

Lars and Rowan’s story is unlike any other I’ve tackled. And, of course, Rowan is a Kitchen Witch like myself so this means that her view of the world and her place in that world is very close to my heart.

I hope you enjoy, The Souls of Witches. I truly enjoyed writing it.

First Podcast…Ever!

Hello my lovelies,

The first Tales of the Pale podcast has been posted on Substack. Please check it out and be sure to share it with your friends.

https://tarrant.substack.com/p/tales-of-the-pale-vol-1

Building an Email List

Okay, building a mailing list was one of those things I should have done at the beginning of my self-publishing journey. But I didn’t. I’m not even sure why I refused to ask for emails from readers who enjoyed my books. All I can say is that in 2010, back when ebooks were starting to really take off, it was just so incredibly easy to attract readers on Amazon. If it had been harder, I would have thought seriously about nurturing a mailing list.

In 2020, Amazon’s platform is filled to the brim with competing titles, and readers are inundated with choices. The choices potential readers are typically shown are weighted by Amazon’s ever-changing algorithm. Established writers with name recognition and publishing houses behind them have an easier time of it. Indie authors, however, have to really get into the nuts and bolts of tag words, editorial reviews, verified reviews, and the number of times a reader finds a review helpful to get any tangible traction in this very competitive field.

Hence the importance of a currented mailing list. A list I don’t have.

I’m told…an author’s email list should be comprised of past-readers, potential readers, readers who enjoy your blog post, your social media followers who find you witty or just want to support you, and your immediate friends and family.

I don’t have that list. But I now have a way to begin one.

Let me tell you about Substack.

Whereas Patreon is geared toward everyone who produces art content in various forms, Substack seems specifically geared with writers in mind. The Substack platform is similar to Medium in that you can write articles, fiction, or poetry and publish it yourself. The difference in Medium and Substack is how you are paid. Substack offers an email subscription set-up for readers who’d like to support you as an author.

(Follow me on this short side tangent for a moment and it will become clear why I moved to Substack.)

Medium recently changed its payment paradigm. It when from claps, reads, and highlight-engagement to the overall read-time of a published piece. This rather simple change affected lots of Medium writers who saw their monthly revenue drop. (Like off a cliff.) The switch also changed what writers chose to produce. Suddenly longer how-to articles seemed to be the way to go if you wanted to get paid. I tended to write poetry on Medium so overnight I stopped making back my $5 membership fee plus enough for a few fancy coffees. Instead, I was making nothing and paying Medium $5 a month despite working just as hard as I ever had.

Enter Substack.

Here’s my Substack page: https://tarrant.substack.com/

Like Medium, there’s no limit to how much work I’m allowed to produce. I own the rights to all my writing. But unlike Medium, I don’t have to pay a monthly fee to put my work behind a paywall. If I want to get paid for my efforts then I can offer readers a paid subscription for anyone willing to sign up for my weekly newsletter/publication, Tales of the Pale. It can be a little as a few dollars a month if I want. It’s my choice to charge or keep everything free. Substack will simply take their cut from any money that comes in for my particular publication. So that’s pretty simple. And of course, this system works well if you, as an author, have a large following and already have a substantial mailing list to start with.

However, I’ve got two pressing issues at the moment. Firstly, I need to build a mailing list from scratch. That’s not easy. Second, I’m not sure I’d ever produce enough extra-valued material to justify ever asking anyone for $5 a month to receive my exclusive newsletter. (I’d be better off creating a Go Fund Me page, I think. lol)

So, what I’ve decided to do is use Substack as a platform to create an email list I can use to build buzz for my paranormal romance series. I have already imported all my writing from Medium into Substack. They made this so easy to do.

Here’s the cool part… I also get to produce my own podcast using this platform. That’s right, a whole new medium to master. Whoo-who! For the first few podcasts, I plan to do readings from the books. I might even produce a short story or two just for my weekly Newsletter/Publication. I could interview myself. Interview a character. Reveal a newly-written poem. The possibilities are endless.

I truly am excited about Substack. The first issue is 10/23/20 Click here to subscribe to the (FREE) Tales of the Pale.

And the Winner for the Romance Category is…

“Tarrant Smith.”

I did a double take. “Who? I thought Georgiana Fields..”

“No she’s the finalist. You won.”

“Oh!?

I stood. I was flustered and totally unprepared. I had come to the awards dinner last night under the assumption that my competition would win the category. I had come to the event prepared to congratulate her. And I was happy about it. She’s fabulous!

To make matters worse, I got emotional as I stepped on stage to accept the 2020 Independent Author of the Year Award in the category of romance. It was for my first book in the Legends of the Pales Series, The Love of Gods. To those that know me, none of this will come as a surprise. I’m usually wound pretty tight where events are concerned, book-related or not. Faced with friends and family who’d come to support me, I cried at my very first book signing. (Ugly cried. Red-faced, runny-nose, and fanning my face cried.) And when I read my work to the Madison Writers Group the first time, I had secretly fortified my courage with two large glasses of wine. (That first reading was awful BTW!)

As for last night’s event, I had consumed only a glass and a half of wine because I’d promised my husband that I would face the night relatively buzz-free. I did manage to recover and utter a coherent thank you as I hurried from the stage to keep from embarrassing myself any further. I do remember wishing I had had the foresight to invite my editor to the dinner. Not that she can edit me in real-time, but it might have helped.

I went to bed happy but exhausted last night.

Then, this morning I watched the video my husband had taken and the Live Feed Vickie had posted on the Southern Pen Bookshop Facebook page. Oh, boy! Basically, I am too busy critiquing what I looked like and how I sounded to bask in the glow of my achievement. Why didn’t I wear my hair up? And that dress! It makes my knees and legs look ugly. I should have worn the longer rose dress and a shorter heel. Do I look chunky? I sound way more Southern than I thought. Of course, none of my craziness matters to the people who love me.

Deep breaths.

Obviously, I have some self-image issues. Thank the gods I can write!

Why can’t we as humans, as women, and as writers just enjoy the good moments when they happen?

When I figure that out, I’ll let you know.

-Tarrant

New Fall Promotion!

On Friday, September 18th
The Love of Gods
will be discounted to

$ .99 (Ebook)

This special price will continue until Oct. 31st –

If you’ve yet to try this Paranormal Romance series, now is the time. Book 1, The Love of Gods, is the perfect introduction to a complex and oftentimes dangerous world known as the Pale. Follow the exiled god, Lugos, as he solves the mystery surrounding a prominent witch’s death and uncovers the truth behind a rumored shifter-plot. Navigating the various supernatural communities and their politics is always tricky. But this time, Lugos will have to do it while protecting the woman he loves.

The Love of Gods is a 2020 Georgia Independent Author Award Finalist and received Literary Titan’s Silver Book Award in 2019.

Promotion starts Sept. 18th!

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/mZByNy