Posts Tagged ‘self-promotion’

Okay, so I’ve promised some hard numbers to let you all know if it is a good idea to make your first book of a series free and here it is. Due to so many different price points were experimented with, borrows, and different royalty rates, I’m only going to report the quantity sold to avoid confusion.

(Please bring your expectations down a bit before I divulge since I’m in no ways a bestseller at this point, but I’m so pleased with the progress this promotion has brought.)

Before this free promotion, I’ve sold a total of…

(wait for it)

9 ebooks of Infinite Devotion since publishing in mid-February to mid-March!

(I know pretty underwhelming.)

Since publishing Infinite Sacrifice since mid-November—not including free promotions—I’ve sold 50 ebooks.

So, up until my prolonged free promotion, that’s a total of—hold on I need to whip my calculator out to compile such a monstrous number—59 sales!

Since the free promotion began mid-March I’ve given away 7,070 copies of Infinite Sacrifice.


I’ve sold 73 ebooks of Infinite Devotion since the promotion, with an additional 2 copies of Infinite Devotion and 6 copies of Infinite Sacrifice in the UK (still hasn’t price matched there yet).


So, I’ve sold more and made more money this month than I have since November.

Plus, I’ve received stellar reviews and ratings on Amazon, Goodreads, and Shelfari. (Priceless!)


(It doesn’t take much to make me happy)

I saw increase in the second book immediately and the sales have been steadily increasing. If even 10% of the 6,700 people who have downloaded it this month alone, return to buy the second book that will be 670 sales!

Well, I probably shouldn’t count all my eggs yet, but I’m hopeful that this trend will only improve.

This only makes me wish I had Infinite Loss to release since my sales would probably double, but I can’t rush it out. It is motivation to finish it since the more books I have out, the better my sales. If sales continue at this rate (or increase *crosses fingers*) then it will chip away at the $3,000 expense of getting both books out. Once I pay that all back, the rest will be profit from then on. That is the beauty of ebooks, once you pay back your investment it can continue bringing in income without additional expense.

So will I be continuing this free promotion?

Yes, I’m going to keep this up. It’s getting my book out there.

Now if I could only make it free on Amazon UK!

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You may have noticed my new spiffy link over on the right—thanks to David Gaughran’s post introducing his followers to the wonders of Mail Chimp.

At first, I glanced over the idea of a mailing list. Why would I need a mailing list? I have a blog where I can send out promotional news to my followers. But then I put the first book of my series on extended promotion (5,000 downloads in one week!), and I realized all those people were my market. How would they know about the next release of the series?

Most self-publishers don’t have a promotional team with a brick and mortar marketing budget, who can spread the word of a new release to the world. In a year, when my third book is planned to release, my readers most likely won’t be waiting with bated breath. I needed a way for those fans to ONLY get the announcement of releases.

The majority of my blog focuses on my self-publishing journey and the struggles I face as a writer. Most fans wouldn’t want to follow my blog. They usually VISIT my website for the historical background information, book trailers, and my bio page. So, I needed to find a way to get release news to these readers.

Mail Chimp.

As usual, David Gaughran is ahead of the game. A self-published author NEEDS a mailing list. You must have an option for fans to sign up only for release news. You need to capture these readers and continue to market to them. Um, and have I mentioned that it’s free!

Go to Mail Chimp’s website and follow the simple instructions to create your own mailing list. Remember, I am NOT tech-savvy. If I could figure this out you can. Once you’ve signed up and put the link on your widget, Mail Chimp sends you emails over the next few days, slowly introducing you to how the mailing list operates. Very easy.

Just be sure to specify that the mailing list will ONLY be used for release notifications. Folks are so  spam wary now-a-days and don’t want to be notified every time your book changes price, interviews on such-and-such’s blog, or the you’ve just received a rave review. If they did, they’d follow your blog.

This is especially a good idea before a major promotion or free day. You want to hold the attention of that new market and have a way to advertise to them later.

If anyone has any questions, shoot me an email and I’ll be glad to help you out.

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Wow, I’ve never seen my book fly this fast!

Yesterday afternoon, Infinite Sacrifice took off and I couldn’t believe how quickly it’s being downloaded. It’s now #1 on both the historic fantasy and Epic free list, and #84 on the free kindle list. Best of all, I’ve sold five times the usual sales for Infinite Devotion. I can’t believe I’m seeing results this soon.

I hope it keeps up!

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The birds are chirping, the trees are budding, and I’m trying out a new promotional strategy!

Spring has arrived early and made me want to get outside more to write in my hammock. So where am I going to find that time?

Less time promoting.


I got this idea after I noticed there were a bunch of first books of a series hanging around at the top of the free kindle charts— month after month. I watched to see if they fell in rankings over time, but the downloading stayed strong and they ruled the free top ten. I also noticed that many of these authors’ other books held high positions in the paid rankings.

Then I read this wonderful guest post on David Gaughran’s blog by Sarah Woodbury. She revealed how she needed something to boost her lagging sales and stay afloat as many authors experimented with the new KDP select option. So she made her prequel free for the last four months and, wow, was she successful.

Well, that blog sold me, and it took a few weeks to make my first novel free.


  • This type of promotion works well with a series.
  • I made my first book shorter specifically so that I could have the option of doing this sort of promotion at lower cost (i.e. editors & formatters charge less for shorter books).
  • I’ve sold it for five months and made back enough that I can make it free for a bit.
  • I want (need) to write more and promote less, and being on the free list can do my promoting for me. I’ll never get this third book out if I have to keep flagging people toward my book.
  • Truth is, I want readers. I know that it’s hard to trust a book with an unknown author and, with the happy price of free, more people will pick up my first book. If they like it, then I’ve got a reader for my whole series.
  • I would like more reviews. When you have massive downloads of a book, odds are some of them will leave reviews. Like it or hate it, I just love to see what readers experience after reading my book.
  • I made my second book, Infinite Devotion, $3.99. That way, if a reader enjoys my series and writing style they will invest more. Then I can make up for the sale of the first book with a happy costumer. If someone didn’t like the series, then they lose nothing.

I’m going to see how well this works for a month and then decide if I want it to stay free for longer. I will report back here to let everyone know how it worked out.

If you haven’t picked up a free copy yet, grab one up either on Amazon or at Smashwords.

Of course, if you want to thank me for the freebie, please, please, please *kneels* let me know what you think of it on Amazon, Smashwords, or Goodreads (or anywhere else!).

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Let me count the ways…

As a reader:

1)Great resource to find books.

Goodreads is teaming with honest, detailed, and thoughtful reviews. Just clicking on all these avid reader’s profiles and seeing all the highest-rated books makes my buy-it-now-clicking-finger trigger-happy. When you see a member loves the same books you do, you’re apt to love some of their recommended books as well. This is much better than just scanning the best seller shelves and paid-for-displays in the book stores.

2) Great lists.

There’s a whole part of the site dedicated to lists upon lists of books called listopia. Lists such as Best Books Ever, Best Books of the 21st Century, Best Books of the Decade, Best books of 2012, Best Books of January, 2012. Those are just the most popular lists, but there are so many interesting and surprising categories—and if you can’t find a category than you can make a new list! What a great way to hone in on your favorite genres.

3) Great Giveaways.

Not only can you find fantastic books at your fingertips, but you can get some of them for free! Print copies! Yes, there is usually a long list of entrants for each title, but it’s so easy to enter each drawing that odds are you’ll win a few time and again.

4) Great interaction with fellow readers.

If you want to become part of an expansive book club, Goodreads is for you. You can enjoy discussing books with others without even stepping out of your house: join book clubs, reach out to interesting members, follow hundreds of reviewers. It’s wonderful to find a site so devoted to expanding the reading experience.

5) Great connection to authors.

Many traditionally published and self-published authors have their own pages on the site. This is a great place to follow your favorite author, discuss with other fans, and even communicate with the author!

As a writer:

1) Great free exposure.

Yes, FREE! Even though there is an option to pay for advertisements on Goodreads, there are so many ways to take advantage of free promotion. No, I don’t mean spamming anyone and everyone with a pulse. I mean, get your book out there via some of the ways below and let your fans broadcast you to all of their friends. Word can get around very fast on this site through adding you to their to-read lists, and posting reviews and ratings. Anytime a member posts about your book it appears on all of their friends pages. Word can spread like wild-fire.

2) Great giveaways.

Unlike LibraryThing, that allows you to offer ebook copies for giveaway, Goodreads only allows print copies. I almost didn’t list with this giveaway since having to pay cost for each copy and shipping might eat away at my profits. But I realized that I could offer only one copy for as long as I wanted and narrow the offer to within the US to save on shipping. I gave it a try and had close to 500 entrants with my first giveaway, and gained 180 interested readers that added my book to their to-read lists. I can’t tell how many of these people actually purchased my book after the giveaway, but it at least got my book out there. Plus, the winner of my giveaway read my book immediately and posted a review. Yes, it was worth it, and I’m hosting another one right now on Goodreads here.

3) Great lists.

I would love to get my series on one of these lists! It would be a great way to advertise my book. I hope if I host enough giveaways than maybe, just maybe, a reader will nominate me for one (one of the positive lists that is, there are some pretty mean categories out there—i.e. “Books I Wish I Never Read” and “Disappointing Books”).

4) Great reader base.

There aren’t many sites devoted to just readers. Many forums I frequent are geared to writers, and even though those are invaluable for advice, they’re usually too busy peddling their own books to search for pleasure reading for themselves.

5) Great demographics.

So, after you host a giveaway, you get to see this wonderful list of entrants. You can click on these to see detailed profiles listing all sorts of personal information. This is a wonderful way to see who your book appeals to so that you can focus your promoting to the highest effectiveness.

6) Great reviews.

I’ve heard that reviews from Goodreads members are more discerning and critical that Amazon’s reviews, but that is all the more reason to try to get them! People know to trust other Goodreads members and that will go far for you if you can obtain some positive reviews. (I just got my first one: “5 of 5 stars~very interesting looking forward to the next book” *Yay!*)

7) Great book club features.

I would love to think of some thought-provoking questions that will get my readers to analyze my book further and ignite some intense discussions. I wrote this series with many layers in the hopes that readers of different analytic levels would enjoy rereading to find the details, repetitive threads, character growth, and foreshadowing I’ve hidden through-out the books. Once I can catch a breath, I’ll sit down and create a book club full of such questions that will serve as a literary treasure map for interested readers.

7) Great connection with readers.

Most importantly, this is an invaluable website to actually connect with your readers. This is the whole reason why I decided to write. I love, love, LOVE to hear about what my readers think about my book. If I could sit over each person’s shoulder as they’re reading it I would (it’s probably a good thing that I can’t). I want to hear every giggle, see every smile, and feel every teardrop fall. I’m probably even more curious to hear how I might have let down or confused my reader. It’s those comments that can improve my writing skills the most. All in all, I just love any feedback. I want to witness my reader’s experience and would love to talk with them about it.

So, if you haven’t joined up with Goodreads, you are missing out. Whether you use it as a reader, writer, or both, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy all things literary. I wish I had found this site before I started filling all my free time with writing. I wish I could read all day and jump into all the intriguing discussions. Once I get all my non-fiction reading done for the series I just might take a few months off to fill my desk with top-rated novels and dive in.

PS- And if you’re already enjoying Goodreads, please friend me!

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For less than a latte, you can support a poor, fantasy-prone writer’s delusion.

Seriously though, I’m proud to say that I’ve reached all my goals thus far. I did everything I said I would, (besides losing all the baby weight), and in fact, launched on the day I chose months ago!


*Crowds cheer*

I’m so happy to say that my debut novel and first of the Infinite Series, Infinite Sacrifice, can now be purchased at Amazon, Smashwords, and B & N. There is also a print version available here.

Maya’s shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined;in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment you die.

Zachariah, her faithful spirit guide, explains the rules of the dead: in order to regain complete awareness and reunite with loved ones all souls must review their previous lives.

Maya plunges warily into her turbulent pasts as a sociopathic High Priest in ancient Egypt; an independent mother protecting a dangerous secret in glorious Sparta; an Irish boy kidnapped and enslaved by Vikings; and a doctor’s wife forced to make an ethical stand in plague-ridden England.

All the while, Maya yearns to be with those she cares about most and worries that she hasn’t learned all of heaven’s most vital lessons. Will she be forced to leave the tranquility of heaven to survive yet another painful and tumultuous
life? Or worse, accept the bitter reality of having to go back alone?

To kick-off off the launch, I wanted to host a little giveaway…

A $20 gift card from Amazon!

$20 can buy you…

…and you might even have enough left to buy a certain someone’s newly released ebook . *wink-wink*

Rules of the giveaway:

1) One point for subscribing to my blog or already being a subscriber (you guys rock!)

2) One point for twittering news of my book launch

3) One point for mentioning my book launch on your blog

4) One point for answering this question in the comments:

If we really do reincarnate, do you have a particular affinity for a time or place? Feel free to list them all.

No purchase is necessary. Please post in the comment section your total points, each point will get your name added into the random generator-thingy, and I’ll announce the winner on my blog next Friday.

Well, good luck to all you launch promoters, and I just wanted to say thank you to all my amazing, supportive blog followers for sticking with me throughout all of this.

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Maya continues to delve into her past lives after death, and strives to complete the tentative journey required to reunite with her loved ones in heaven.

She must relive and explore her former incarnations as the scandalous and misunderstood Lucrezia Borgia in renaissance Italy; a young stowaway on the doomed Spanish Armada fleet; and the rebellious Irish Robin Hood, Count Redmond O’Hanlon.

Her companions prove truer while her enemies grow stronger as her bygone adventures spin forth. This time she must experience the trials of loyalty and endure the hardships that only supreme devotion brings.

Expected to launch January 2012

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My head is still spinning!

I had no idea so much thought and effort would go into obtaining book reviews. Yesterday I decided to wade into the murky book review waters. Seeing my editor updated that my MS is due back at the beginning of next week, I’m starting to think it might be a good idea to get a couple of pre-published book reviews to include on the back of my book cover and on various websites.

The good news is there are tons of helpful sites directing writers to self-publishing friendly reviewers. I thought that was going to be the hard part. Here’s a link to the most helpful article which not only explains the in’s and out’s of book reviews it provides a long list of book reviewers.

Now the bad news, I was surprised about the media kit that is needed to appear professional. I felt the familiar panic of the querying process all over again. Each site had its own submission guidelines, each one warned that you might not get reviewed due to the influx of submissions, and you might go to all this trouble and get a scathing public review. Deep breaths…deep breaths….

Additionally, many of the sites offered expedited reviews or guarantees for a review if you paid different amounts. I never factored in this expense so this sent my head spinning. I know that a good review or a great blurb could do wonders for my series but at what price? One that was especially high was the Kirkus Review but it looked like a fantastic site and I liked the idea that you had the option of not publishing a negative review. It still doesn’t promise a good review so it is a bit of a gamble to put down that kind of money for something you might never make public. Also, the idea of expediting is very attractive since I have set a publishing deadline and if I would want these before or on launch date I just might need to pay for it. Some sites say it might be months before a review appears, if ever.

Another factor I’ve learned is that most sites clarify they want the book published so they can provide all the links for their readers to purchase. I’ve only seen the pre-published ms option in a couple of payment cases. It might be awhile before I have the book formatted and in ebook reading capacity, so I’m worrying about being able to get a review before print date. I’ve found that most request print copies even if you also have it in ebook format. This will step up the costs even more with printing and shipping, nevermind the time delays in waiting until it’s been published.

Some sites clarify that they require the current years publication date and that’s making me second guess my November launch date. If I have a 2011 date will that mean I can only apply for reviews within that last month? Is this a good reason to launch in January?

Well, I hadn’t planned for this in my budget. I expected to be able to send out pre-published e-copies with a simple cover letter to various free reviewers who would select your book within a few months. Just getting this media package will take me some time, and the press release seems even harder than the query letter.

These are the things I have to sit down and consider carefully:

1) How early do I need a few reviews?

2) How much am I willing to pay for them?

3) Will I even have time to do all of this as I’m scrambling to publish?

4) Do I want to take the gamble of paying for reviews I might never use instead of just waiting for free ones?

5) How many reviews do I want to pay for in the hopes that one of two will come back positive?

6) How much do I hate the idea of assembling this media package!

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