Monday, 30 December 2013

The Mysterious Success of a Stay-At-Home-Mom Turned Romance Author

Happy New Year Everyone!

2013 is winding down and I wanted to take this opportunity to show my gratitude for the amazing support that I've received with my debut novel, Break in Two. Since I released it on November 6th, it has held the top spot in the Western Romance Category on and almost everyday. More recently, it has spent a few days at #1 in the US in the same category. I've received over 500 reviews between the various Amazon sites and Goodreads, almost all of them very kind.

I've had a lot of people ask how I managed to pull this off. While luck has been on my side, it really comes down to hard work and research actually. For the entire month of October, I slept only 3-4 hours/night while trying to finish editing my book and researching how to market it. Not exactly a sexy answer, but it is the truth.

For those of you who are launching a book soon or are looking to increase sales, I hope this will save you some time!

These are the 10 best things that I did to gain exposure for my book:

  1. Nick Wale of Novel Ideas: I happened to read an interview featuring Nick on Simon Duringer's blog ( in the late fall. I decided I wanted someone as forward thinking and successful as Nick in my corner, so I contacted him right away. He has managed to have several interviews put in various blogs around the UK and North America, he featured me in his monthly e-zine, "Novel Ideas", and gave me loads of tips/hints for my launch. All of his continued hard work on my behalf has put my book in front of countless people, getting my book off to a great start. He is also a genuinely caring person who is really passionate about seeing indie authors succeed and doesn't believe in charging an arm and a leg for his help. So even if you have a tiny budget for marketing your novel (like $30), get a hold of Nick.
  2. Blog Tour: I was lucky enough to get Book Enthusiast Promotions to host an Author Spotlight for me. They have a HUGE reach in the romance world and the cost was very reasonable for the value. They will be hosting a Blog Book Tour for me from January 20-24th as well, which should help to keep my sales going for a while!
  3. A Great Cover: My husband and I designed the cover together. We found the graphic on Shutterstock and then chose the font based on an article I read about fonts for book covers ( I wanted something beautiful, compelling and professional. I also wanted something that people would be happy to have on their shelf. I think we managed that nicely.
  4. Social Networking: Now, I only joined Twitter and Facebook in June and started trying to network with other authors and bloggers. I have found this an extremely welcoming and helpful community. There are dozens of Facebook Groups, Google + groups, etc to join in order to help promote your novels, ask for reviews, get advice, etc. I haven't spent too much time trying to post links to my book around the groups since it launched - just a little at the beginning. I don't honestly think it's all that effective to promote your book to a bunch of other authors who are also trying to get people to buy their books. It makes more sense to me to use social networking to make connections with people who you can share ideas with and form friendships in order to support each other. I also try to keep my posts either helpful or entertaining.
  5. Facebook Author Page: I created a Facebook author page and use that to pay for advertising around Facebook. I am able to 'target' my ads to my audience. I have boosted posts when I launched the book, when I lower the price of my book and also to get more readers for my blog as well. I generally spend about $10-30/day on boosting posts for a few days. I like that you can see how many people see the post and how many click-throughs so you will know if the ad was effective. 
  6. Goodreads Profile: The serious readers of the western world go here to find their next book, discuss books, keep track of what they've read and what they want to read. I set up my author profile, giving as much information as I could and linking my blog to my author profile. The site is easy to use and allows you to provide a lot of information about yourself and your work. You can join groups that are specific to your genre and add your book to their "to read" shelf in some cases as well. 
  7. Host a Goodreads Giveaway: The day my book launched, I set up a giveaway for one signed copy of my book. I quickly had hundreds of people sign up to win the prize, many of whom added my book to their "To Be Read" file. This helped my book gain exposure on this important site. (On Nick's advice, I have started another giveaway again.) Here's an article on How to Host a Goodreads Giveaway:
  8. Amazon Author Central: Take a few minutes to set up an Author Central account and definitely add as much content as you can to it. I think it really helps give you a polished look and will add that always important content to your Amazon Author Page. Here is a terrific video on how to increase your sales on Amazon. I've watched it several times and employed most of her advice.
  9. A Professional Author Photo: this helps people feel connected to you. Photos that hide you or look like you took them with your webcam in a dimly lit room, don't have that same professional feel. When people are going to spend their hard earned money and valuable time reading a book, they want to feel like it is written by a real author who really cares about the quality of what they are putting out there. 
  10. Book Trailer: Nick came up with a most beautiful trailer to promote by book for Christmas. It is SO well done that I put in a Google ad on Youtube to promote it for $10/day for a few weeks. We had a very high rate of people watching 100% of the video (some weeks as many as 19% watched to the end which is almost unheard of). There was a link at the end to my Amazon page to buy the book. I didn't see all that many clicks through but I really believe it helped in the 'long game' of marketing this book. It was seen by over 70 000 people in my target audience.
So that's it for now. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! Please share your best marketing ideas in the comments section below as well so we can all gain from each other's experience. I'm a complete newbie at all of this, so I know I have a TON to learn still. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, who has supported me, bought my book and reviewed it! Your kindness has meant more than you could ever know. You amaze me.

All the best to you and yours in 2014! May it be your best year yet and may they all get better from there!!


Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Sexiest Christmas Shopping Guide EVER

Hello Fellas!

For those of you who don't know me, I am MJ Summers, best-selling contemporary romance author. I have a naughty and nice present for those of you who are desperately seeking the perfect gift ideas for your special girl this Christmas.

I have selected the sexiest gifts that are sure to put a smile on her face (and yours). All of the legwork has been done for you. No need to get out of your chair even! Just click on the links below and wait for the UPS truck to arrive.

Now most of these things are to be opened at your own private holiday celebration. Get one or two items, or splurge on them all and let the fireworks begin!

Kama Sutra Massage Oil
The creme de la creme of massage oils. They have it perfected. Delicious scents and flavours, luxurious feel. Prices range from $10 - 25 depending on what you choose.

Luxury Plush Blanket 
This one goes hand in hand with the massage oil. Put this over your bottom sheet using the oils. Not only will it protect your sheets, it will feel amazing at the same time. Click here for blankets priced from $49 and up.

This product is featured on in a beginner's guide to erotica. The We-Vibe is considered the vibrator for couples and can greatly enhance your sexperience together. Prices range from $49 to $150 depending on which model you choose.

A Sexy Novel - Break in Two 
This season's must have novel to set the mood. With over 120 reviews on and a 4.5/5 star rating overall, you can see that women (and men) are LOVING this book. I have even had women email me to tell me that they learned some new moves to try out with their husbands. (It also has a super romantic Christmas 'ahem' climax).
Get the book. Pour her a glass of wine, go have a shower and see if she can make it past page 53 without giving you the nod. 

Available only on Amazon, you can choose print ($12.49 USD) or kindle version ($3.89 USD). You can gift a kindle e-book quite easily. 

This can be intimidating for a lot of guys, so I'm taking the guess work out of it for you with my Lingerie Buying Guide: 
  • Get the Right Size - Take a quick peek in her underwear drawer to find the sizes of a few of her bras and panties. Write it down. Most lingerie shops and websites have sizing charts to ensure the proper fit. 
  • Get Something She'll Feel Beautiful In - you might like to see her in a set of pasties and a leather thong, but she might be feeling overexposed and self-conscious. If she loves the reflection she sees in the mirror, she'll feel much less inhibited. Start by thinking about the parts of her body that she complains about:
    • Does she hate her tummy? Choose a baby-doll fit or a merry widow (with ruching if you can find it - ruching hides all kinds of flaws) 
    • Does she wish she had bigger or perkier breasts? Go with something with a push-up bra built in (teddy, nightie, baby-doll, merry widow)
    • Does she try to hide her thighs? Go with a slightly longer nightie. 
Where to buy lingerie: 

If you are in the US - Victoria's Secret has got it what you want. An excellent selection that won't break the bank. 

If you are in Canada - la Vie en Rose is the place to go. Their lingerie fits beautifully, feels nice, is well-priced, covers what she wants to hide and shows off what you want to see. Perfection. 

Visit my Pinterest Page for examples of my favourites. You can't resist, can you? 

I hope this is helpful for you and that you have the most romantic holiday season of all time. 

Be sure to check out the rest of my posts to find out What Women REALLY Want for more tips on how to be the most romantic guy on the block (ie. the one who is always gettin' some). 

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Your Sexiest Christmas Ever (Part 1)

The holidays are upon us and with all the hustle and bustle, it's easy to forget all about romance. I totally understand - you're thinking about shopping, cooking, in-laws, wrapping gifts, attending Christmas parties and school plays. You might even have rolled your eyes or laughed at the idea of the 'sexiest Christmas ever'. But this time of year can be wonderfully romantic if you put yourself in the right frame of mind.

I want to invite you to squeeze in some time for romance and - of course - for sex. I have a few ideas to help you get through your Holiday To-Do List quickly so that you'll have time to cuddle up in front of the fireplace with your sweetie and share a bottle of wine.

  1. Get things Done Ahead of Time: Nothing robs you of your mojo like rushing around like a maniac. Try shopping, wrapping and doing other prep as far ahead as possible, so you can take your time. 
  2. Go for a shopping date. If you have kids, get a sitter and make an evening of it. Have your list ready to go and hit the stores together. You can have fun with it if you are in the right frame of mine. Try to keep your patience and enjoy being a team. Reward yourselves by going out for a quiet dessert or maybe even a movie if you finish early enough.  
  3. You Do NOT Need to Be Sober to Wrap Presents: Make an evening of it. Grab a bottle of wine, put on a romantic movie that you love and start wrapping. If you do it a few days ahead of time, you'll know you are getting ahead of the game at the same time. 
  4. Lower Your Standards: Does the house need to be absolutely spotless to have people over? What if it was just 'good enough' but you were in a great mood? I think it might be worth it.
  5. Hire it Out: If your budget isn't stretched too far this year, consider having someone come in to clean your home right before Christmas. This can save you many hours, leaving you more relaxed. The last two years, I have ordered Christmas dinner from a catering company. It isn't that much more expensive than buying all the ingredients and I was able to spend Christmas day with my kids and my husband instead of in the kitchen. On Christmas night, I didn't have achy tired feet and the feeling like I missed out on all the fun. I got to be part of it too! I let go of my ego attachment to serving a wonderful meal and just decided to enjoy. I'm planning to do it again this year. (I'll make the big meals again when my children are older).
  6. Delegate: If hiring it out isn't for you, maybe you can delegate. Are there other people in your home who can help with the preparations? If you are having relatives for a meal, can they each bring something to take the pressure off you? Don't think you have to do it all on your own, only to end up feeling resentful when the big day arrives. 
  7. Take care of Yourself: What do you do to show self-care? Sleep enough, eat healthy, exercise, maybe go for a message if you can? Do those important things that keep your energy levels up and put a smile on your face. 
  8. Date Night: Make a list of romantic things you want to do with your significant other and make them a priority. Go for a drive or a walk in the evening to look at the Christmas lights. Book a dinner out or have a candle-lit dinner at home. Pick a favourite movie to watch together. Snuggle up on the couch under a cozy blanket and just be together. Even if you just find the time to do one or two romantic things together in the next few weeks, it will go really far for creating wonderful, warm feelings and memories. After all, isn't love what the holidays are all about?
Okay, so that's it for tonight! The babysitter just got here and my husband and I are off to do our Christmas shopping date.

Coming Soon:   Part 2 of Your Sexiest Christmas Ever - and it's About to Get Hot in Here...