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Winners of the Name the Nameless and Empower the Powerless Contest

15 Feb

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(via weheartit.com)

Thank you everybody who played along. There were some amazing suggestions for names and powers. I won’t lie though, a couple of those Talents were amazing. I wish I’d thought of them myself because we’re talking epic on a hero level.

I tallied all the votes and it was clear that Andrea has the best social connections (and possibly blackmail on a lot of her friends) because she actually won every poll. But in order to spread the love around a little more evenly, I picked the next highest votes for the categories she didn’t win.

Here are the winners of the contest:

FEMALE NAMES:

Windle Tempest- suggested by Andrew

Silver Whittaker- suggested by Jennifer

MALE NAME:

Everett William- suggested by Clarissa

TALENT:

Organic magic and the ability to communicate with living things- suggested by Andrea

And that should be the end of things, but because I’m a writer and writers be crazy, I’ve decided to use the next female runner up name for my upcoming short story, Hunter & Prey that should be coming out sometime later this week.

BONUS WINNER:

Quinn Flowers- suggested by Tess

To recap, the winners will be receiving free copies of I Wish and Your Word is My Bond for themselves and a friend. They will also get to write a blurb that will appear in the front of YWIMB and on a static page here on my blog that includes a self promoting link to any site you want. If you’re drawing a blank on what you’d like to link to, you might consider your own blog, your web site, an Etsy store, Facebook, Twitter, a recently published book of your own… really anywhere you’d like to drive a little traffic. Tess will also get the blurb and link, but hers will be in the front of Hunter & Prey as well as here.

And because at the time I put this contest together I hadn’t finalized any plans for the short story collection, I’m going to go ahead and throw that into the mix just for funsies. That will be available sometime early next week so you’ll have to wait just a bit longer on that one.

If you’ve won, please send me an email at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com. Here’s what I’m looking for from you:

* What format you prefer your books in (epub for Nook or .prc for Kindle) you’ll need to side load these onto your devices and I can help walk you through the process if you don’t know how.

* The email of your friend, if you know it. If not, you’ll have to ask them to contact me directly.

* What format your friend prefers (or have them tell me if they are writing to me directly).

* Your blurb and your link. Your blurb can be a little bio or the story of your inspiration for the name. Try to keep it to about 3-5 sentences so that I can fit them all on a page.

If you have any other questions, let me know and we’ll figure it out. Thank you all for making this contest a success. I wasn’t sure if I could pull something like this off, but the response was freakin’ awesome!

KDP Select- a week later

12 Feb

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(via weheartit.com)

There was a snafu earlier this week with a lot of free downloads showing up days after my promo ended. For about an hour I thought I’d gotten featured in a popular newsletter or on a blog somewhere. I started to get suspicious when, after just under 600 “sales” showed up in half an hour and my book didn’t budge from it’s spot in the rankings. A bit of research and I found out that everyone had the same surge and most, if not all of them, were free downloads. I was hugely disappointed, to say the least. It messed up my numbers and now I can’t say with any kind of certainty how many sales I’ve had. Somewhere in the 600-650 range is all I know. It’s a combined total of 17,275 between free downloads and sales.

Another bummer was seeing how many of my paid sales were paid out at the 35% royalty rate. I lost out on around $200 because of that. Maybe I should just do the math in my head as 35% so that I’m pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed.

I spent 5 days on the top 100 Teen bestseller list. That was exciting and definitely something that I can contribute directly to my time in the Select program. My highest rank for the week was #358. Now I’m sitting at #2424. That’s a bit of a slide, that’s true, but it’s still higher than I’ve ever hit with anything I’ve ever written.

It’s had an impact on the sales of my short stories, I believe. Now it’s true that I only started selling them about a week before I went free so I don’t have a lot of comparison data to draw from. But the fact is that I’ve sold almost 70 copies of $.99 short stories across 3 titles, with a 4th added yesterday. I’ll have a 5th short story and a collection going live sometime today or tomorrow. I’m excited to see how those do. 4/5 of the shorts I’ve written are erotic horror which is a totally different genre than I Wish. I’m curious to see if there’s much overlap between them.

And finally, I’ve gotten 9 new reviews since I went free. I got my first 2 star reviews (2 of them), but also some great 4 & 5 stars. I’ve got a 4.4/5 star rating with 35 reviews. Not bad at all. Even my “bad” reviews generally compliment the story, if not the writing. I think of that as a great thing since my technical skills will only improve with practice, but if you lack the ability to come up with an intriguing story line, you’re going to be hurting.

Indirectly related to sales, is the fact that my social presence has increased dramatically. Before I went free, I had more search hits looking for Addison Moore’s series (“Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1)” (Addison Moore)) in a given day than I did looking for me or my book. So that’s been nice. My Facebook and Twitter have seen some growth too.

I saw an increase in my sales from my adult title as well, although nothing as dramatic. I didn’t record the sales numbers, but I saw the results in the 6 week sales total. It went up by $100 between last week and this week so there was measurable increase in sales on that front.

I guess the bottom line here is that even if you don’t have dramatic success with Select, you’ll probably have at least a slight increase. If you do get lucky then you can see some really dramatic gains to sales numbers, reviews, and social media traffic. It’s a gamble though so weigh the pros and cons carefully before you commit. 3 months is a long time to be locked into one store if it means you’re giving up significant income elsewhere.

Friday Freebie: Free books by Cole and Schmidt

10 Feb

I have another great free book to share with you guys. From the author of the Bloodstone Saga, Courtney Cole, comes the first book in an exciting new YA paranormal series, Soul Kissed!

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Question: When your mother is a powerful witch and your father is a soul-sucking vampire, what does that make you?
Answer: Cursed.

With all the beauty and charm of a Siren, but cursed as a blood-sucking succubus, Empusa longs for love and a normal life. Neither of these can ever be hers, because the only thing she brings to anyone she loves is death.

Em lingers in the mortal world, hiding from her father and existing in a lonely life. Until she meets Brennan. With golden hair and a radiant smile, he captures her heart and awakens it from slumber.

But Brennan is more than he seems. And in a relationship where life itself hangs in the balance, is love ever really enough?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Another free book has been brought to my attention. This one is by Cheri Schmidt, the first book in her Fateful series. It’s a YA vampire love story. It looks like something that might appeal to fans of Twilight.

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A huge fan of Jane Austen, Danielle hopes to find her own Mr. Darcy when she leaves Colorado to attend art school in London. Of course she knows it’s silly to wish for that, naive even. But she’s met enough males who lacked respect for women, a growing trend it seemed. And at nineteen…well…. However, on only her second night there she gets lost and is threatened by a stalker who proves to be immune to her martial arts training. Before she is completely overpowered, she is then saved by Ethan Deveroux.

While Danielle does find the romance she seeks in Ethan, he’s no Mr. Darcy. Her hero is held by a spell which fractures their chance at a happy ending. During the day Ethan is closer to mortal than immortal and can date her like any other man. Yet, as the sun sets, the powerful magic of an ancient curse returns and the evil of that spell is revealed. When that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends because Ethan Deveroux is a vampire.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Name the nameless and empower the powerless- a contest

7 Feb

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In the Witches of Desire universe the women are in control of everything. There is a strict power hierarchy. Every Family is run by a Matriarch, the oldest living member of their family. Her first daughter, called a First Daughter, is her successor. All other daughters are referred to as Second Daughters. Second Daughters are the the bottom of the social totem pole. Even men, who don’t have Talents, have more status than even the most powerful Second Daughter. In charge of everyone is the Coven. It’s made up of the Matriarchs of the 13 most powerful Families in Desire.

Every witch has a distinct Talent that she can perform. Her Talent is often related to the Talents of the other members of her Family. For instance, Thistle’s Talent is the ability to manifest anything she can imagine by speaking the words “I wish…”. Her grandmother can force her will on anyone who reads what she writes and her mother will never forget anything that she’s ever read. They all have power over words, either written or spoken.

Now that you have a little background, here’s what’s up. I was sitting here working on my outline for Your Word is My Bond (random trivia: the titles of all 3 books are based on Talents of different characters. I Wish is obviously about Thistle’s ability and YWIMB refers to Ramona’s power over people) and I thought it would be fun to collaborate a little.

What I’m proposing is that you guys help me pick 3 names and a Talent. Now we’re not talking about throwaway characters here. These are going to be major players in the story. The names and Talent can be anything you can dream up. I mean we’re talking about a story where the main character is named Thistle Nettlebottom, so no worries. Well, within reason. I can’t get behind something like Boner McCocksmith, I’m afraid.

Rules:

The rules are simple. I’m looking for 2 female names, 1 male name, and 1 Talent.

Leave me a suggestion anywhere you feel comfortable, in the comments here, on my Facebook wall, on Twitter, or in an email (wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com). You can suggest 3 names and a Talent or any combination of them. Name the characters after your dog, your kids, your best friend, or your math teacher. You can even suggest your own name.

I will compile all the suggestions into 2 polls on Facebook, one for names and one for Talents. Anyone can vote on their favorites so feel free to share the poll and encourage ballot stuffing. In the town of Desire anything goes and I think it’s only fitting that the same be true of these polls. The Coven would approve.

Suggestions need to be in by the end of the day on Friday. I’m going to start compiling polls on Saturday and voting will end on Tuesday. I will announce the winners on Wednesday. I need to find out who my new characters are so I can make any changes to the plot necessary to accommodate them.

Prizes:

If your suggestion wins, you will receive a free copy of I Wish (you know, the book I keep talking about nonstop) for yourself and your shadiest partner in crime.

You will be given an acknowledgement in the first pages of Your Word is My Bond with a paragraph or two to tell the story of your name if it has a special significance and a link to your blog, book, or whatever crazy site you want. I will honor any link within reason (nothing offensive or adult in nature), so I’m asking that Stephanie Meyer not apply because I’m afraid that I can’t get behind vampires as sexy. Vampires are zombies with better PR, people!

I’ll also set up a static page on my blog with that same information. Imagine the publicity that will bring you. 10s of hundreds of people will look at your link! What a deal!

You will also receive a free copy of Your Word is My Bond for yourself and the same shady friend. Or a different shady friend, if you’d rather. It’s up to you. I won’t judge. Loyalty isn’t the strong suit of my witches, guys. Sorry!

So to sum it up, I’m giving away 8 copies of I Wish, 8 copies of Your Word is My Bond, and 4 deeply personal acknowledgement blurbs with totally self serving links. So start suggesting. And tell your friends so they can make suggestions too, but only if they swear you’re the one they want to share their books with.

KDP Select; 2 genres, 2 outcomes Part 2

7 Feb

In part 1 I discussed how I Wish was doing in the day immediately following coming off the free list. Yesterday marked the end of my second full day of being paid. It was significantly better than the first. At one point my stats looked like this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

They’ve dropped some since then, but not so much that I’d complain. It’s interesting to me to note that the categories change from time to time. I thought you could only be in 3 categories at a time, but it actually appears you can be in several, they’ll just list 3 at once.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I’ve noticed that I sell a lot more books in the evening than I do during the day. But then so does everyone else because despite selling as many as 65 books in an hour, I didn’t move at all. Here’s the breakdown so far.

Day 1 – 48 sales, 22 lends

Day 2 – 234 sales, 56 lends

Day 3 (so far) – 223 sales, 19 lends

Total – 505 sales, 97 lends

And I feel like it’s significant enough to mention again, I’m priced at $4.99. I am so glad that I stayed the course on that because if I had dropped my price to $2.99 or $.99 I would have attributed all my sales to the price rather than whatever book mojo I have going on right now and wouldn’t have considered changing it back at all for fear of losing sales. Maybe I would have a higher rank if I dropped my price, but I’d be trading on my belief that a book is worth more than a pack of gum. It’s just reassuring to me that people are still wiling to pay book prices for a book.

I’m not trying to start a pricing debate or anything. I just think it’s interesting enough to bear mentioning. When conducing your own KDP Select experiments, you might consider a higher price point.

Is KDP Select a magic bullet? Well, it certainly was for I Wish, but I don’t think it’s universally true as evidenced by the other book I have in the program.

I put one of my adult titles in Select and immediately started the free days. I let it run last Wednesday and Thursday and then took it down for the weekend because I read somewhere that those are the busiest buying times. It’s free again now and will be until Wednesday night.

To say it’s not doing as well as I Wish would be a gross understatement along the lines of saying that trying to hug it out with an angry grizzly bear while kicking her baby in the face is a good idea.

This title had a lot of early success, selling hundreds of copies a month, but it’s tapered off until recently it’s only been selling between 10-20 copies a month. It’s the first in a series so it seemed like a prime candidate for the program. After 3 full days in the program and including any sales (because I haven’t been tracking it very well), it’s sitting at 607 downloads. It’s enough to put it at #510 in the free store and #61 in the erotica category. I think if I hadn’t already seen what free could be like in ideal circumstances, I’d have been delighted with this progress.

So far I haven’t seen any huge surge in sales. Not of the book itself this weekend and not of the other titles in the series. I’ve still got a couple of days of free left before I can say for sure what might happen, but it just doesn’t appear that it’s going to take off the way I Wish did. I’ll admit that I’m surprised because it’s always sold so much better than I Wish and you always hear how sex sells. At this point I’m having hard time even giving it away.

Conclusions:

  • The Select program can launch a book to high sales, but a lot of factors have to align to make that happen. Being picked up by sites like Pixels of Ink is huge.
  • Don’t put a book in if you are selling well outside of Amazon. Unless your book takes off, and it might not, you’re going to lose all that income and alienate those reader.
  • There are a lot of things to be gained (aside from sales, although that’s an awesome thing too) from going free no matter how you achieve it. I’m on a lot of new Also Bought lists, I’ve gained 6 new reviews, and I have almost 16k new readers who now have the chance to become invested in my series and buy the next two books. If I’m lucky these new readers might blog about me or recommend my book to their friends so the possibility exists now that I could go viral. Realistically I know that won’t happen, but “might” is so much more attractive to me than “never”, which was the case before.
  • If you only have one book and know that you’ll be releasing another soon, wait for that before you go free. I’ve had so many hits on my blog from people looking for Your Word is My Bond. If they are willing to go to the trouble to search for it, they were probably also likely to buy the book. Except, surprise! The book isn’t available yet. D’oh! Seriously, wait. You’ll be happier if you do.

It’s too early for me to say what I think about the KDP Select program. It’s been helpful to me and to many others and if you have nothing to lose by enrolling than why not? But it’s a total crap shoot. Nobody knows why some books take off and others don’t and it’s impossible to predict if your book will be one.

I am a little worried about what the influx of free books will mean in the long term. As customers become accustomed to having all they can read for free, they might save their purchases for a few of the heavily hyped traditionally published books that they’ll never get for free. A savvy shopper will be able to figure out that their favorite author has all their books enrolled in the program and will sooner or later have them all available for free and just wait until a free day to pick up their entire backlist.

I do think that in a few months so many books will be in the program that it’ll be next to impossible to get any attention for your titles that way. At that point you’ll be locked into the contract with Amazon and unable to sell anywhere else. When my 90 days is up, I’m planning to pull I Wish from the program and sell at every online retailer available, something I still haven’t done with my shorts even.

Don’t be blinded by my numbers. They are amazing, but they won’t last. It could be a year from now (I wish!) or next week (way more likely), but sooner or later my sales will normalize and I’ll go back to selling at a steady, realistic pace again. Hopefully that pace is significantly higher than it was before, but eventually even the best seller slows down as everyone who cares to read it, already has. It’s so important to plan for the long term.

You can’t live forever on a single book. The only way to have a secure future as a writer is to keep writing. I’ve said it before, but it’s so true, you don’t need to have a bestselling book if you’ve got 20 moderate sellers working for you. However it goes with I Wish, I plan to finish the Witches of Desire trilogy. And then I’ll tackle some of these other projects on my plate. And when those are done, I’ll find something else to do.

I’ve let myself spend the past few days ogling my stats because it’s felt like I’m a poor kid who just won the lottery. I can’t believe it happened to me. But now it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got words to write and an outline to finish so I can start putting words on paper for book 2. It’s tempting to try to market my book to death, but I’m trying to content myself with knowing that I’ve done as much as I can at this point. The best thing I can do for my career now is to let it go and turn my attention to the other books that need to be written and let those books be promotion for the first.

I’m off to write now, but amazing things have been happening to me that I’d love to share so before I go I’ll leave you with these two screen grabs.

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Seeing this really excited me. I think it’s that little green arrow telling the world I’ve been hanging out in that list for the past 2 days, but maybe it’s the fact that I’m ranked so high in such a broad category. Do you have any idea how many teen books there are out there? And I’m #22? Freakin’ crazy, man.

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Or how about seeing that I Wish is the 4th most popular children’s ebook. The top 3 books above me? Also happen to be the #1, #2, and #3 bestselling books on Amazon right now. And next is me? Hell yeah, I’ll take that.

KDP Select; 2 genres, 2 outcomes Part 1

6 Feb

First of all, let me just tell you all a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to those of you who downloaded a copy and those who helped to spread the word. I had more success at this experiment than I had any right to hope for. It was truly one of the most magical experiences of my writing career so far (second only to finishing writing my first novel, selling my first copy, and getting those first few reviews/fan letters asking me about the sequel).

As of the time I’m writing this I Wish, these are my stats:

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These are by far the best numbers I’ve ever had on I Wish. Prior to this I think the lowest I’ve ever gotten was in the #7k range. So let me give you a quick break down on how this went down.

I joined Select around the end of January. I wasn’t sure what to do about my free days and based purely on the fact that I liked the sound of “Friday Freebie”, I decided to set my first free day for the first Friday in February so that I could see the difference in income from January to February. Obviously I wasn’t expecting huge successes. Actually, let me tell you exactly what I was hoping to get out of the program.

Before I put I Wish into the program, it was bouncing around between lows of the #200k and highs of around #50k. Last month I sold 23 copies of the book in the US store. That’s not even 1 copy a day. I have a screen shot from a little while ago I can add for perspective.

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I tried to figure out why people weren’t buying my book. The reviews I’ve gotten have all been very enthusiastic. So I concluded that the story wasn’t the problem. It was getting people to READ the story that was giving me issues. I knew it was the cover holding me back. I made it myself based on a few books that had a wonderful use of white space. They were clean and appealing to me. Oh yeah, and they also looked like an entirely different genre than I was trying to sell. Oops.

I looked at some websites to see what kinds of covers were hot for YA paranormal and came across the “pretty girls in beautiful dresses” trend. Love! I found a photo of my own pretty girl in a beautiful dress at 123rf and my love went to work. A new, more appropriate for the genre cover deserved a chance for some exposure, I thought, and that’s when I started to consider the Select program.

Deciding to pull my book from other stores wasn’t a hard choice. I’d only ever put it in B&N in the first place because when I was getting started we hadn’t ever tried to format per Smashwords’ requirements and it was extremely intimidating. Last month I sold 8 copies of I Wish through B&N. I figured surely my experiment would yield enough exposure to sell an extra 8 copies. The way I thought of it, it was like paying $30 for advertising. Maybe it’d pay off, maybe it wouldn’t. It was a gamble, but I didn’t feel like I had much to lose.

My hopes for this experiment were small. I hoped to increase my sales which shouldn’t be hard since I wasn’t even moving a copy a day. Really my hopes were set on building a loyal fan base who will happily buy the other two books in the Witches of Desire trilogy. That’s it. I’ve heard of great things happening for people who do the program, but that wasn’t what I was expecting by any stretch.

As I said earlier, I put my book free on Friday. When I woke up I’d had a couple of hundred downloads. I was thrilled. I had a second book come off free the day before and it didn’t have these results. I’ll post more on that tomorrow. But suffice it to say that my expectations were extremely low.

Sometime around late morning my sales took a sudden noticeable uptick and I was having books download 30-50 a minute. Every time I hit the refresh button there were more downloads. That’s when I realized that this might be a bigger deal than I hoped. I decided to make some efforts to promote my giveaway.

I posted on Twitter several times, blogged about my free book, made sure to update FB. But my downloads were bigger than all of that could account for. I mean, I’m awesome and all, but c’mon. It turns out that Pixel of Ink found me somehow. I mean, if I’d been more organized or had bigger dreams I might have thought to contact them in advance of my promo, but it never even occurred to me. I can almost surely attribute my amazing showing on the free charts to them.

I was glued to my computer all day. I watched my rank drop to the #2k range and was thrilled. Then it dropped to the top 1000 and I was even more thrilled. Then I made the top 100 best seller list and I thought I might throw up. I was literally so happy that my body thought the appropriate response was to vomit.

Around 7 or 8pm EST I was sitting at #11 and I decided that since it was going so well, I’d go ahead and extend my promotion another day. I was doing well and I figured I’d see if I could get any higher on the list. By midnight I had 8k downloads and was sitting at #9. I broke the top ten.

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When I woke up on Saturday I was in the #5 spot and that’s where I spent almost the entire day. I never moved up any higher than that. I started to drop in rank around 6 or so in the evening so I decided to pull my book early so that I could leave on a strong note, hoping that would help my paid rank.

I pulled my book at 8:30 and my rank immediately went to #158k on the paid charts. About 100k places lower than it was before I started. I was a little bit agitated. At this point I’d had 15,853 downloads and spent 24 hours in the top 10 free books, most of that time at #5 and this was what it translated into? I also couldn’t see myself on anybody’s Also Bought list. I tried not to freak out too much, but it was frustrating for sure.

About an hour later my rank fixed itself and I think I was in the #4000s? I can’t remember and I didn’t seem to take a screen cap of it to reference. At any rate, it was a lot more reasonable to me than 150k.

I made 30 sales on Saturday night after coming off free. I also started getting borrows for the first time. I think there were 18 of those. I went to bed excited to see what Sunday would bring.

The answer, I found out, was an extremely slow, frustrating day. My sales from the night before positioned me at in the #1400s, but my sales had slowed down. It was still more than I’d sold before, but nowhere near the velocity of the night before where I’d sold 30 copies in around 4 hours. It was something like 20 copies between midnight on Saturday and 10pm on Sunday. I was really bummed, but still, I’d succeeded in my goal of getting my book into more hands.

I’d started watching a few other books that’d been on the top ten list with me to see how their rank was after going to paid. 2 of the books were priced at $.99 so I figured they were bound to make a lot of sales since it was such a low risk to take on a new author, but the 3rd was priced around $4.50, I think it was. I don’t know because the price dropped to $.99 in the first hour or two. And, predictably, the rank dropped significantly too.

I toyed with the idea of dropping my price at that point too. I hated to lose the momentum I’d built up and all day long my rank was slowly slipping from the #1400s to a heartbeat from #3k. Seriously, I think I was at #2950 by the end.

Basically it came down to the question of whether I was willing to drop my price down to $.99, something I told myself I’d never do again, or lose my rank and fade back to obscurity. I decided that since I’d accomplished the goal of reaching a wider audience, I’d just trust that they’d come back for Your Word is My Bond and I’d take whatever sales came to I Wish on my terms and if that meant that I’ll never see the top #100, I’d live with that.

But then around 10:30pm, like magic, my books started moving. I was up until 2 am last night and I sold 65 copies during that period. It was about 4 copies every 15 minutes. My mind was blown. Did I mention that I sold these copies while maintaining my price of $4.99? As of right now I’ve broken the 16k mark. I’ve sold 162 copies and had 51 lends. Of course, I’ve also had 52 returns. I started getting them while my book was still free. I have no idea why anyone would return a free book, but I’m here to tell you that it happens.

It also had a bit of spillover on my 3 short stories. I’ve sold a combined total of 21 copies of those since Friday. That was unexpected, but nice. I’ve basically sold enough short stories to buy some tacos. That’s a good day.

It’s far too early to draw any conclusions. My sales seem really slow again right now compared to last night. So it could mean that I’ve peaked. Or maybe they are transitioning to work right now. Or maybe the people who love my book the most are night owls. There’s no telling. But if this is it, if I’m done selling, I’ve still accomplished my mission of increasing my exposure and starting a loyal fan base for the rest of my series and made more in 2 days than I have in the entire career of this book. I’m pretty happy about that.

I’ll post part 2 of the great KDP experiment tomorrow, in which we’ll look at another title I put up which is not having anywhere near the same level of success as I Wish has had. In the meant time, I gathered up a bunch of articles about different authors and their perspectives on KDP Select.

Does Amazon’s new KDP Select program work?

How KDP Select saved my book

From Mania to Reality: The results of my Amazon Select experiment

Very early results from KDP Select

KDP Select free promotion results

Results of KDP Select Promotion Yseult 20 in historical fantasy

So [innocent whistling], about that KDP Select…

KDP Select promotion wrap up

KDP Select free promotion discoverability experiment part 1, part 2, part 3

Unintended Consequences

The joys of KDP Select: Patrice Fitzgerald’s story

KDP Select, Amazon rank and the secrett of why Select members have an advantage

David Wisehart’s 9 day experiment

Is KDP Select salvation or damnation for indie authors

Another chance to get free books from Emerson & Abel

4 Feb

Due to the overwhelming success of my time as a free download, which I’ll share in detail in a couple of days, I have decided to extend this promotion through Saturday. I’m sitting at #5 on the free list, which is blowing my mind. So if you didn’t get your free copy of I Wish yesterday, no problem! Feel free to spread the word. I’d love to share my world with as many people as I can.

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All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hot-wire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Charlotte Abel’s books are also still available so be sure to grab copies of the first two books in her witchy series. When it comes to paranormal, witches are obviously pretty close to my heart. ;)

wpid-enchantment_charlotteabel_small-2012-02-4-08-07.jpg

While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact sh’’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with“”dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys”” She ca’’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
Ther’’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. I’’s not worth the risk…. until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death is’’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

wpid-taken_charlotteabel_sm-2012-02-4-08-07.jpg

Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Friday Freebie: Books by Emerson & Abel

2 Feb

Have you been interested in reading I Wish, but were a little unsure about whether you wanted to pay full price to try it? Now’s your opportunity to try it for free on Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can download free apps for your computer or phone through Amazon’s site.

wpid-cover_v0-5_web-2012-02-3-00-01.jpg

All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hotwire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Also available for free today are two books by Charlotte Abel. I don’t read a lot of fiction for fun these days, but the premise is so cute I grabbed copies for myself. Check them out if you haven’t already.

wpid-enchantment_charlotteabel_small-2012-02-3-00-011.jpg

While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact she’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with “dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys.” She can’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
There’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It’s not worth the risk … until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death isn’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

wpid-taken_charlotteabel_sm-2012-02-3-00-011.jpg

Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Pricing a novel and some links

13 Dec

Dean Wesley Smith has an interesting post that covers pretty much exactly what I was saying yesterday. Of course he speaks from volumes of experience so it’s worthwhile to read his blog.

David Gaughran and Mark Coker both address Amazon’s KDP Select. I’ve opted not to do it at this time, although not for the listed reasons so much as I think that an exclusivity contract would bone my non-Kindle using readers. I’m not willing to do that, although if David is right and the reading world is heading toward subscription based services for reading, I might not have a lot of choice since Amazon pulls in the lion’s share of my sales.

Actually, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more debate about the KDP Select program. It seems like it would be one of those things that polarize the indie community, but if it’s being discussed, it’s not on the blogs I follow.

In unrelated news, I’ll be raising the price of I Wish… to $4.99 sometime in January. It’s my personal belief that a novel should be priced higher than $3 or, god forbid, a dollar. It might hurt my sales numbers, but I’ve done some changing in the year that I’ve been at this.

When I first started last January I came into indie publishing with no prior knowledge. I hadn’t even *heard* of it before then. I fell in love with the concept of being my own boss and threw myself into the process with a lot of enthusiasm, but no real idea of what I was doing. I read everything I could find on indie publishing, of course, but 99% of what you find is based on conjecture and guesswork. It’s impossible to do exactly what someone else does and expect the same results. No two authors have the exact same path to success. Hell, an author can have two books and not expect them to sell exactly the same.

I felt pressured to price I Wish… at $99 when I first published it. I felt like that’s what every other paranormal YA author was doing and that I HAD to in order to compete. I tried that for a month before I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. My sales were better than a lot of indies have the first month, I’ll grant you that, but they weren’t so great that I could justify the price. I priced it at $2.99 and that’s where it’s been sitting ever since.

The thing I’ve come to realize is, much as I don’t believe self promotion is a necessary evil that every indie must spend countless hours working at, I don’t think you need to price your books incredibly low in the hopes of moving huge numbers in a short period of time. I’d rather price my books at point that I feel is fair market value for my work and wait for them to find their audience.

When I first published I Wish… I was obsessed with checking my sales numbers. I mean I’d do it every 20 minutes. Now, I think it’s been 3 months or more since I’ve looked at any of my numbers. If I were to try a new method of promotion I’d be a lot more proactive so I could determine if it was having any effect, but otherwise, there’s not a lot of point to it. I should probably check at least once or twice a month to make sure the sales are matching what I’m being paid for, but so far I haven’t bothered.

There’s a pretty common saying in the indie world “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”, but until you’ve been doing it for awhile you won’t believe it. It’s true though. It’s tempting to spend all your time trying to turn your one novel into a best seller. And why not? Writing a novel is tough. It’s easier to focus all your attention on the one you’ve written than to write another one.

As for me, I’ve worked through that stage. I don’t care about having best selling numbers, although that would be incredible, don’t get me wrong. What I want to do is create a sustainable livable income by writing. I’m well on my way thanks to the short fiction I write under my pen name, but in 2012 I’m going to add significantly to my novel length works of fiction. I’ve set up a production schedule, which I think I’m going to blog about tomorrow. By doing that I have a good idea of what projects I’ll be working on and when they should be done. According to schedule I should have 6 novels written by the end of 2012. That’s 8 titles total with I Wish… and the omnibus edition of the Witches of Desire trilogy. All priced at $4.99 (except the omnibus which I’ll probably price at $9.99 to take advantage of the 70% royalties, but what a good deal for my readers). I might have a livable income from my novels alone by the end of next year, but if I keep that pace up for a few years (6 books a year), I’d have 30 new titles in 5 years. All earning $3.50 a sale. Even if I don’t sell thousands of copies per title per month, I’ll still have a pretty nice chunk of money coming in.

The alternative, which is the route I was heading down, was to spend all my time marketing my one book which I sell for a dollar or two. And then where would I be in 5 years? Maybe I wrote 1 book a year for all those years so I end up with 5 titles that I sell for a buck each in the hopes of securing high sales ranks. Or maybe I’d price the later books at $2.99. And maybe I’d sell more copies per book, but a huge amount of my time would be spent promoting my books instead of writing new ones. Lots of people would know who I was, but I wouldn’t have very many books to sell them so my marketing wouldn’t do very much good in the big picture because they’d run out of things to buy and soon forget me while they move onto other things to read. So when I do finally get a new title out there, I’d have to REmarket it to those same people who haven’t thought about me in the last year.

Neither approach is right or wrong. I’m not judging anyone, nor do I expect to be judged for my choices. I’m just sharing the conclusions I’ve reached based on my own personal experience. This is why I plan to price my books higher than most and why I won’t be doing the same level of promotion that I did with I Wish…

Some thoughts on promotion

12 Dec

I go back and forth in my mind about the need to promote my books. When I was first getting started, it seemed like every indie out there stressed the importance of promoting your books extensively. A lot of times to the exclusion of writing more books.

I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I think a lot of people are trying to apply traditional publishing logic to the indie publishing world. It’s my understanding that traditional publishers expect a certain number of sales in a ridiculously short time frame (6 weeks, I think I’ve heard) and once that time has come and gone, you’re old news. It puts a lot of pressure on a writer to work their asses off trying to generate as much publicity for their books as possible to move as many copies as they can during that period of time.

As an indie, I’m not under any of those time restraints. Unless the self publishing market changes radically, it’s possible that every single story I post will sit there for sale until I die and hopefully beyond. At some point interested readers will find my books and buy them. In fact, they’ll buy up every title I have for sale. They’ll tell their like minded friends and I’ll find success.

In theory aggressive promotion speeds up that process and you can start building up a fan base much sooner, maybe even within weeks of publishing your first book. The problem with that theory is that there’s no sure way to make that happen. For every Amanda Hocking who says it was mostly luck that got her books reviewed by some important book bloggers, there are who knows how many hundreds or thousands of aspiring writers who will never get any recognition for all their efforts.

However if you were to spend the time you’d invest with promoting your books writing new ones, you’d have something tangible to show for your efforts. Something with a monetary value.

With that in mind, I think I’ve decided to skip promotional efforts. I’ll do the things that I enjoy like blogging and twitter, but any marketing I do will be a consequence of that, not a reason for it. I’ll still do anthologies and guest posts when asked because I’m still a huge believer in indies supporting each other whenever possible, but I won’t seek out those opportunities. I’d rather focus on things that have a measurable reward.

I can definitely appreciate the reasoning behind those who do heavy marketing. A lot of people do see an increase in sales from those pushes and I do go back and forth in my mind about it. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. This isn’t something that’s set in stone for me. I’m always willing to entertain new tactics, but at this point, I figure I’ve only got so many hours in a day and it’s too easy to lose them in a world of nearly limitless marketing options.

What are your thoughts on marketing? Are you a promotional addict? Any promotional tactics you swear by? I’m honestly really curious about different perspectives on this topic.