Releasing A Book In A Trump-tastic World

Publishing is a world of constant peaks and valleys. It’s one of the things that makes this industry tough to live in–one month you’re making a living wage, the next you’re eating tuna from the can for a week solid just to keep the lights on. For those of us who live here full time, be it writers, agents, editors, or even publishers, we come to expect this. We know there will be lean times and we plan for them as best we can. One of the things that can cause a nose dive in sales (both retail and sales to publishers) is an election.

Basically, every election year we have a solid three months where the public is bombarded with campaign ads, speeches, political rallies, and sometimes even a scandal or ten. It eats every second of our existence both online and IRL. This isn’t a bad thing. It means we’re engaged and attentive to the process of our government and that’s hugely important. But it’s also why smart folks never release new books near election time (unless they are about the candidates). Because–to be very blunt–there’s no room in the media for it. And without media attention, it’s nearly impossible for a book to really take off (unless it’s by an already hugely popular author like Dan Brown or JK Rowling–and sometimes even then it can be tough).

But usually the election comes and goes, the new president takes office, and things begin to settle back into normalcy. Book sales bounce back, publishers begin acquiring again, and the media once more looks to the arts (books, music, etc) to entertain the masses.

Only this time, that never happened. 

This time, after the election the media became even more engrossed with the president and the new administration. Here we are, nearing the end of 2017, and it’s almost impossible to get any buzz going about anything not political. We are overwhelmed with various social movements and online political trends, and it certainly doesn’t help that every day the commander-in-chief tweets his morning BM and manages to say something that causes at least some kind of stir (Covfefe, anyone?).

Even the few amazing (and socially timely) books that did release this year didn’t get nearly the attention they deserved and therefore didn’t achieve nearly the sales they might have otherwise. Any other year and people would still be buzzing about these, but as it is, they ended up with moderate coverage and humble success compared to what they might have gotten even a year ago. Why does that matter? Because publishers rely on those huge blockbuster books to fund the other, smaller releases. It’s how they can afford to invest on a new author or a quirky title that may or may not find an audience. And without it, those smaller books (and by extension authors) dry up.

Not to be all doom and gloom but it seems even mother nature was stacked against us this year with record breaking storms and countless voices crying out for help and aid. I watched as authors, some who I know are struggling themselves, worked tirelessly to raise funds for those in need, and I’ve never been so proud of my community. I have spent a great deal of this year feeling bereft, wanting to help but unsure how, wanting to scream and rage and also to curl up in a ball and cry. But I took those feelings and did what I do best. I made them into words. I put those words on paper and held them out for the world to see.

And I was very, very lucky.

When you release a book, it’s always a gamble. Will people respond to the book, will they see it, will it matter? There’s no way to know. You do your best, you exhaust every avenue that might help people discover your book, but at the end of the day, there’s no guarantees. There’s just you and your book, and more and more book promotion feels like screaming into the wind.

Assault scandals, social movements, political protests, are all very important things, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t be focusing on them. We SHOULD know from day to day whether North Korea is threatening to nuke us (again). We SHOULD be using our voices and taking stands against injustices.

But in a Trump-ed up world, is there no room for anything else? 

It can’t be healthy for us to be so hyper focused on those negative things that we muffle the sound of emerging art, becasue art is too important for us to allow it to be blocked out. Books and music are a few of the outlets that offer an escape, albeit a brief one, from the constant noise of the world. Our job as writers is to inspire, entertain, and even, on occasion, to challenge the way you think. I, for one, believe that we still need that as a society, otherwise I wouldn’t do what I do. I’m sure we aren’t the only industry impacted by all this, but unfortunately it does make me wonder.

Without the support of the media, can books even survive?

This year we’re seeing across the board drops in book sales, both digital and print. Bookstores are scrambling to maintain their increasingly precarious footing while even digital giants like Amazon are having to reevaluate their sales platforms (and what they pay authors). The competition to get crucial advertising is at a frenzied high, often pitting authors and publishers against eachother in a dangerous game of bidding for shelf space and buying blog posts. Is it any wonder that authors are desperate and feeling the crunch? That indie authors who were once able to rely on their income are now retiring from writing to return to the work force? Just last week I had dinner with an (NYT Bestselling) author friend who admitted that though his publisher was sending him to London for a book event in November, that he was going to have to start driving for UBER at night to make ends meet once he got back.

Color me depressed.

Now, as we head into what is traditionally a ‘busy season’ for book sales (at least print sales), It will be interesting to see if we are able to finally begin pulling out of this rut which has lasted far too long already.

So, for those authors who are struggling, who are scraping for any media attention and visibility they can get, I say…

I honestly don’t know what to say.

I hope that it will get better for you. I hope it will get better for us all. I hope that someday we will again live in a world where we get as much good news as we get bad, have as much fun as we have worry. I hope that people who need your books will find them and that you will continue finding new avenues and means to connect with readers.

And I hope it happens before we all starve to death.


YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

You are currently hunting on TEAM ORANGE

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, a blue team, a purple team, a green team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 10/8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

On to the hunt! 

Today, I am hosting LM Preston on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
LM. Preston was born in Washington, DC.  She loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl.  A Techie and Educator for over sixteen years, she started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids.  She has an obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds.  She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing. In addition to being an author, she’s also a Moderator for, 2012 Vice President of Mid Atlantic Book Association and 2012 co-chair for the Maryland Writer’s Conference.
Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about Fierce Tides, Book 3, in the Purgatory Reign Series here! (Psst, its only $.99 right now!)




Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You’ll have to keep searching.Somewhere on this Scavenger Hunt I’ve hidden an exclusive excerpt of Canary Club AND the top secret title for the next Canary Club novel. Also, to enter the giveaway, you need to know that I have 181 chickens! It’s my favorite number!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author,




Cover Reveal- A SHINE THAT DEFIES THE DARK by Jodi Gallegos

A Shine That Defies The Dark

by Jodi Gallegos
Published by: Changing Tides Publishing
Publication date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance


Gripping, romantic, and evocative of its time— A Shine that Defies the Dark is a spellbinding story of one woman who will stop at nothing to survive during a tumultuous time in American history.
After a six-year exile, Ophelia Breaux and her mother are overjoyed to return to the Louisiana bayou. But it seems the ghosts of the epic feud that drove them away still haunt Plaquemines Parish, and with the Great Depression sweeping the nation, the two soon find they can’t make ends meet.

Seeing no other option, Ophelia’s mother takes the drastic step of sharing her bed with the town judge in exchange for a reduced rent. The judge has had a life-long obsession with Momma, and Ophelia is desperate to end this arrangement and get her away from him.

When Remy Granger shows up, Ophelia knows it could mean more trouble—and that’s the last thing they need. Handsome and dangerous, he’s the first boy she ever kissed, and a member of the most notorious family in southern Louisiana—but he’s also got an opportunity for fast money in rumrunning. Ophelia goes all in, and it turns out she may have a knack for the business. But she’s going to have to run even faster if she wants to save Momma… dodging the cops, rival gangs, and her traitorous heart at every turn.

Add To Goodreads

Jodi is a YA writer, black belt, registered nurse and case manager for a busy home health agency. She lives with her husband, three sons and an evolving herd of undisciplined animals in Colorado. She has a well-earned fear of bears, but tolerates the Teddy and Gummy variety. She has been obsessed with books, both reading and writing them, for most of her life and prefers the written word to having actual conversations. The most current projected completion date of her To Be Read book collection is May 17, 2176.

Author links:

Happy Release Day WHITE LIES by Julie Wetzel

Title: White Lies
Author: Julie Wetzel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Marya Heidel at Strong Image Editing
Publisher: Changing Tides Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
When her identical twin comes down with stomach bug, Molly finds herself suckered into a huge favor. Impersonating her twin for a romantic dinner… With her sister’s amazingly hot boyfriend.
After a minor accident has Molly spending the night in his arms, she swears off ever again standing in for her sister. But life rarely turns out as planned…
When a chance meeting changes everything, Molly is faced with the hardest decision of her life. Should she keep her sister’s secret and continue pretending to be her twin, or follow her heart and tell the man she’s falling for the truth about her deception? Both choices will lead to the destruction of a relationship. But how do you choose between a sister you love and the man of your dreams?

Originally from Ohio, Julie always dreamed of a job in science. Either shooting for the stars or delving into the mysteries of volcanoes. But, life never leads where you expect. In 2007, she moved to Mississippi to be with her significant other.
Author Links:

HUGE YA CONTEST~ The YA Scavenger Hunt

For all of you who love finding new reads, I have just the thing for you. The YA Scavenger Hunt is coming, and yours truly is going to be part of it. If you’ve never heard of it, the hunt runs twice a year in the spring and in the fall. During the hunt we showcase new and upcoming YA releases, give out tons of prizes, and release special bonus material. Sound interesting?

This Fall we will have one hundred forty authors split into seven teams of twenty. Each team is assigned a color (you can find me over on TEAM ORANGE). The blog hop begins Oct 3rd and runs through Sunday, Oct 8th. It’s easy to play. All you have to do is either start on Colleen Houck’s blog or head directly over to the YASH website. There you’ll find a list of all the authors participating as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you’re hunting for and to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered. Collect the numbers hidden in each post (not too well hidden, we WANT you to win!) and add them up to enter! Easy peasy!

Are you ready to see all the books featured this season? Here they are!


This giveaway starts sooAre you as excited as I am? Best part, this giveaway is open internationally, so everyone can enter! A few lucky people are going to walk away with a LOT of amazing books! Which ones are you looking forward to?


Cover Reveal~ BRAVE by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I’m so excited to bring you the newest cover reveal for not only one of the most talented authors I know and one of my favorite series, but she’s also one of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, Jennifer L. Armentrout. Without further ado, let’s be BRAVE.

Series: The Wicked Trilogy, Book # 3

RELEASE DATE: December 11th, 2017

Available Formats: Paperback (U.S./Canada) and E-book


About BRAVE:

Ivy Morgan hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.

It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine… and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.

Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart.

If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves–and, ultimately, to save herself.


Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen

Pre-order here!

And did I mention there’s a giveaway? Yep. Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if that wasn’t cool enough, she’s also hosting a virtual book signing!

To celebrate the upcoming release of BRAVE (book 3 in the Wicked Saga), Jennifer is offering an exclusive virtual signing! Through this virtual signing, you will be able to order SIGNED & PERSONALIZED copies of WICKED, TORN, and BRAVE!

And best of all — This is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! Click here for more info and to submit your order! 

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.





BookExpo Signing and Speakeasy Party!



Hey there lovely people! I’m excited to announce I finally have my schedule for BookExpo 2017! I will be signing copies of CANARY CLUB at the Midpoint Trade Books booth #2539 on Thursday 6/1 at 2:30pm! 




And that night, after the halls of the Javits have closed up, I’m heading over to a notorious NYC speakeasy for some fun, and I want YOU to join me!

I will be hitting up THE BACK ROOM at 8pm Thursday night for some prohibition era shenanigans at the club that inspired the book! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ATTENDING BEA TO JOIN US! Myself and some feisty dames from my publishing house will be getting our flapper on till after 10 pm, so stop by and see us! Listen to some great tunes, kick back some giggle water, and floor flush the night away with me! I will also have some special goodies for anyone who RSVP’s by commenting on THIS POST. It’s going to be the bee’s knees!

See you there!


A New Look And A New Name

Hello interwebs! It’s been a heck of a month here in book land. I’ve been gearing up for the Canary Club pre-launch (the 3-6 month marketing period before a book releases) and some really cool things have been happening on that front. If you are interested, the best place to keep up to date with it all is over on my FACEBOOK PAGE, only becasue things are happening too often and too fast to put it on the blog every single day. But highlights include my upcoming feature in Publisher’s Weekly (in MAY, the Book Expo edition) and the new book trailer which just dropped!

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What I want to discuss today is the changes coming to my website and to my overall brand. (Not sure what an author brand is or how to create one? Check out my post HERE.) Now, I’ve worked hard to build my author brand over the years and I have created a recognizable author presence with it. So when I say changes, I do NOT mean a complete overhaul. When people see my name on a book, they (mostly) know what to expect. I write in many subgenres but all under the umbrella of YA/NA, so people don’t come in expecting lit fic or horror or any of those things. I worked hard for this, and the last thing I want to do is confuse readers or disassociate myself from my brand.

But, and this is key, a good brand should be fluid. It should be able to grow with you as you grow. Sometimes as we write and publish more, who we are and what we’re writing evolves. A great brand evolves with you. Which is why its key to do routine brand maintenance and updates. Just as you should be refreshing your website design every year to two years, you should continually be reevaluating your brand. Does it still fit? Are you sending the message you hoped to send with it? Is it functional for you and your readers?

If not, its time to do a little tweaking.

If you haven’t changed your website design (not just updating content, but the actual layout and images), its probably time to do a little tweaking.

Now, my only word of caution is this, you want to avoid changing things so much that you change your BRAND. You don’t want to go from a brand like this to a brand like this. You see what I’m getting at? Again, your brand isn’t just your logos and colors and fonts, its YOU, its what you write and how you present yourself to your readers. If you go from being a fun loving, cat meme posting YA author to a naked dude posting, steamy erotica author, that changes your BRAND. Its a fundamental change of what people expect from you, both online and on the page.

However, updating your site is important, so how do you do it and keep your brand in tact? A good example can be found here. Scroll down and see what Lauren Oliver’s site USED to look like, then click the link to the current site to see the update. She has updated her brand to include not just her teen books, but her adult and young reader titles as well. But, it hasn’t changed so much that she has confused her fanbase or muddled her brand. She’s changed her logo, evolved it. But you still know what you’re getting when you navigate to her site (or to any of her online accounts) which is key.

So on to what I’m doing here. Over the next week, all my online accounts, beginning with this website, will be changing. We have created a new logo and will be changing up the basic design of it all. The logo change comes for a number of reasons, partly becasue I’ve outgrown the current one, and partly becasue it was brought to my attention that another author is using it as well. This happens, especially when you’re dealing with stock images. No need to get upset about it (though I may have whined to my graphic designer about it for a day or two), best to just move on and focus upward. The new logo is everything I love, its sleek, a little edgy, and full of subtext. Plus, when I asked my fans what they thought of when they thought of me, the overwhelming response was “royalty’ or “crowns”. So, we went with a crown. But not just your basic, run-of-the-mill tiara. I wanted something a touch more unique than that…

The Old Logo

And the new logo:

New Logo

What I kept was the fonts, the basic color scheme, and the tag line. In my banner I also kept the clouds and the very whimsical vibe (which is just my personality), and I plan to carry that over to the website as well.


This is the mock up for the banner, it may be tweaked a bit still…


You may (or may not) notice one other change. I dropped the D in my name. So why was it Sherry D. Ficklin in the first place? Well, when I began publishing many years ago, the first thing I did was google my name, to make sure some author wasn’t already using it. And to my surprise, there was. A wonderful lady with my name was the author of several nursing articles and journals. She occupied the first full page of google search results. Not wanting to be confused for her, I added the D to my name. But now, nearly a decade later, even if you search just Sherry Ficklin, I occupy the first 30+ search pages. So, I figured it was time to let it go. It doesn’t help that some of my books are listed on retail sites as simply Sherry Ficklin, as well as my website being (with no D.) So, with very little fanfare, I leave my middle initial by the wayside and simplify my branding.

Make no mistake, updating can be tricky. Deciding what to keep and what to change, wanting to be on trend but not ‘dated’. Not to mention the expense of ordering new business cards and new banners, etc. My advice is this, get your fans involved in the redesign as much as possible. Talk about it online, show them logos and get their input. Make your tedious upkeep an fun event for them to be a part of. Remember, your author brand is one of the few things in this industry that really does get to be all about YOU, so don’t be afraid to let your personality show!

Canary Club Official Teaser Trailer

The Canary Club

By Sherry D. Ficklin

Coming 10/16

From Crimson Tree Publishing

Don’t miss the book that’s sure to be the bee’s knees!

“Bad Luck” Benny is more than just a fella from the wrong side of the tracks.Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen–even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head–and worse still–falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her past mistakes may come back to burn them both.

Two worlds collide in this dazzling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.

Pre-order your print edition NOW on Amazon! 

Visit the official website

BookExpo2017~ Changes and Canary Reservations

The main floor of the Jacob Javits convention center is seen during the Book Expo America in New York, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Hey all! It’s almost that time again. Of course I mean BOOK EXPO AMERICA (though they have dropped the “America” and are now just BookExpo). For those of you who have no friggin idea what I’m talking about, BookExpo is the largest publishing trade show in North America. It’s back home in NYC this year after a jaunt to Chicago in 2016, and publishers, authors, and media peeps are gearing up for the event.

Firstly, let me make a few things clear about BEA. Firstly, its not a reader con. It is for “Industry Professionals and Media ONLY”, meaning that to attend, you have to be a publisher, author, blogger, librarian, store owner or buyer, agent, etc. Its not open to the general public. HOWEVER right after BEA is BookCon, which IS a public event anyone can attend. Either way, tickets are spendy and the event is a 3 day gauntlet of forthcoming titles. Publishers are showing off the books releasing in the next few months (normally fall/winter releases are featured, but sometimes new releases and even next year’s books can show up). At BEA, all the books are free. You just ask for one (or in some cases, you just take one from a huge pile). At BookCon *some* books are free but most are for sale. (this distinction is part of the reason they have fully separated the two events, to keep the general public from scooping up free ARCs meant for media and bloggers only).

Secondly, BEA is not for every author or every book. In fact, its so expensive to attend (and don’t even get me started about how much it costs to have a BOOTH there) that for most indie authors, it’s a huge black hole of time and money.

So what’s the point? Well, the point is to get your title in front of people who either want to order it for their shelves (book stores and libraries) or to sell foreign rights (so many agents and meetings happen on the trade floor) or to get ARCs in the hands of reviewers.

This year, BEA has come down on a rule change when it comes to the bloggers they allow into the event. Before now, you could just say you’re a blogger and get in. But now they have staff who are carefully vetting each blogger who applies, to make sure they are who they claim to be and that they are BOOK bloggers. This is a double edge sword because it might prevent smaller bloggers from attending, or it might discourage first timers from even applying. But in a digital world, how many people DON’T have a blog of some kind? When publishers are forking out thousands of dollars not just to attend, but to print all those books being given away, they want some guarantee that their books are landing in the right hands.

(If you are curious about the rule change, its explained fairly well HERE)

Where you can find me…

Now, I’m going to be there this year signing copies of my new novel, The Canary Club, with my distributor, Midpoint Trade Books (they have a huge booth, it will be hard to miss, I promise). But, as we get ready for the event, I want to make sure that we have enough copies for everyone who wants one (and the more accurate I can be, the better since my publisher has to pay for those books, even though YOU don’t!) AND to make sure no one who wants one ends up empty handed. This was an issue with Queen of Someday when we took it to Book Expo a few years back. We had many bloggers show up late to the signing to find that they were already all gone. So, in an effort to keep this from happening again, we created this handy reservation form.

It’s super easy, just fill it out and I will hold a copy for you, plus I’ll shoot you an email letting you know where and when you can pick it up at the event! Again, this is ONLY for BEA attendees, but this way no blogger leaves disappointed. I mean, You’ve spent a lot of time and money to go to this event, the last thing I want is for you to miss out–and there is so much going on, missing out on a book is a VERY easy thing to do!

If you are attending as an author or blogger or whatever for the first time and are looking for some tips and tricks, I recommend going over my past BEA posts. They are SUPER helpful, I promise.

And until next time, my nerds. Happy travels!

Book Expo America Survival Guide pt. 1

Book Expo America Survival Guide pt. 2

Book Expo America Survival Guide pt. 3

Book Expo America Survival Guide pt. 4