Hi friends! I hope you’re having a great week! Maybe I can make it a tiny bit better. Would you like to read Little Miss Lovesick for free? You can if you download it from the Kindle Store either for your Kindle or your Kindle app on your computer, smart phone, or tablet.
I’m running a promotion this week, Tuesday through Saturday, to help readers who like sweet chick-lit romantic comedies find my book and give it a try. What I’m really hoping is that readers like you will leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you like to leave and read reviews. This helps new readers to see what other people liked and disliked so they can decide if it’s a book they would enjoy.
Would you do me a favor? Please share this post with the social media buttons below. I’d be so happy to know you wanted to tell your friends about Little Miss Lovesick. 😀 And let me know if you liked this one. I’ve had two people tell me this week that they enjoyed it so much they want to read more set in the same area (my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan). Wow! Thank you, friends! If there’s a character whose story you’d particularly like to read, let me know. Maybe I can do that for you. 🙂
And if you’re interested from a writer’s perspective of how the various promotional strategies performed, let me know in the comments below and I can write a post here sharing what I did, how much it cost, and how well it worked.
Who is in the mood for some Cinderella fun? With the new Disney movie coming out this weekend I’m seeing Cinderella everywhere. So I asked my publisher at Entangled Teen if we could join the party and put my book on sale. They came back with the idea for a one-week 99 cent sale.
So, how is the sale affecting sales? Well, I don’t have access to the timely stats like the self-published authors do, but people are scooping it up. My book has popped back up on a few Amazon lists, where it used to be when it first released back in June 2014. That’s a good sign.
A sale is a great way to get your book in front of readers again. It’s a marketing campaign. Instead of purchasing advertising, you are cutting the price!
At 99c potential readers are willing to take a chance on a new author, and at a limited time, they have to act quickly or lose out. So what are you waiting for? There’s a buy button on the sidebar that will take you to your online bookstore of choice. Sale ends on Monday. Enjoy!
Creating videos is something that takes practice. There are so many little steps to remember and if you don’t produce regularly, you forget! Like when I upload a video to Youtube, which of the kazillion export options is the one I’m supposed to use? And whoops, now that the video has gone public and started getting views, I realize I used the old “outro” without the preview of the last video. Oh well. An annotation can still do the job, just not as elegantly.
For my Cinderella Interviews series, I’ve been using Google Hangouts to interview other authors who have written Cinderella fairy-tale retellings. In this latest example, Marissa Meyer was passing through town on her Fairest book tour so I took the Cinderella Interviews on a special road trip to the Lunar Ball. It was a fun way to shake up the series and refresh some of my video-editing techniques (as well as my on-call teen son’s editing skills.)
I bought a new camera and this was its first test. However, I about had a heart attack when I went to play back the interview and the time stamp showed 30 secs. What? It was supposed to be a few minutes!!! Did I do that thing that all dad’s do: press record at the wrong time and only record my feet after the interview was over? *dies*
But no, the interview was there. I could breathe again. I must have misread the time stamp.
I’m still learning to use the camera, and I was very pleased with the quality of the video. However, when I uploaded it to Youtube, it lost some of it’s crispness. I’ll have to play with my export settings and find the one that works best with my new camera. Baby steps.
Hi friends! I’m working hard to get out my new novella by Christmas. It’s called A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and it’s about Tori and Joe’s Christmas Eve wedding – amidst a Christmastime crime spree. (Like any Christmas, right?)
While it’s part of the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, it’s not book two. If you’re familiar with Unexpected Superhero, it starts with Tori finding out that she has a super power when she returns from her honeymoon. Much as I want to keep the books focused on urban fantasy, I like playing with the fun romances among the characters, so I’m writing novellas and short stories to sprinkle throughout the series that are more like superhero romantic comedies.
The first short story was “Superhero in Disguise” about Tori and Joe’s fun romantic meeting on Halloween night. A Very Merry Superhero Wedding picks up a week before they get married on Christmas Eve. And here’s the cool part – you can win a free copy!
I’ve created a Goodreads Giveaway for readers in the United States (I’ll try to do an international one later) to have a chance to win five (5) copies of the paperback when it comes out at Christmas. You can click on the link below to sign up. Good luck!
We’re all trying to figure out what kind of advertising and short-term discounting works to increase sales and readership. I am at the beginning end of the self-publishing curve with one stand-alone book out, and one series with a free short story prequel and a book one. In October, I did several different things and tracked sales daily. Here are my results.
I put Unexpected Superhero (book one of a series) back in KDP Select for 90 days in July, ending October 21. I used my five free days in October with three days on a Wed/Thur/Fri and two days a week later on a Fri/Sat. It was also on sale for three days for 99c at the end of the month (Oct 31 – Nov 2).
I used advertising on several of those days. I purchased the InD’Tale Bargain Book Ad for $25 on October 8, the eBookSoda ad for $10 on October 10 (the first and last day of the first free period), then Ereader News Today for $20 on October 17 (the first day of the last free period).
On another author’s recommendation, on October 31 I used Ebook Boosters’ $25 service where they submit my book’s 99c sale information to 25 other free-newsletter sites (sites similar to BookBub and eBookSoda). I didn’t try to figure out for sure which sites picked up the book, but I know it went out on at least a few email newsletters that day. (I was at a convention all weekend so I didn’t have time to do Google searches or keep track of Amazon rankings.)
Additionally, I participated in an author book swap with 19 other authors on November 1. We all put one book on sale for 99c, then blogged, Tweeted, and posted to Facebook about all 20 books, and we all bought each other’s books. (So that accounted for 19 out of 25 sales on book swap day.)
I mentioned all of this to my newsletter list (122 people) once at the beginning of October on the day the book was first free, and on the last day of October when the book was 99c. I did one guest blog, and wrote three other blogs on my own two sites.
I also was at Comikaze, a comic book and pop culture convention, October 31 through November 2, and I told attendees that the book was 99c on Kindle that weekend.
Altogether, I spent $80 on advertising. Royalties from Amazon (the only place the book was for sale) were about $38 for 27 sales in October plus about $30 for 15 borrows from the KDP library, and about $20 for 32 sales in the first week of November.Financially, I broke even, about $8 ahead.
But keep in mind that I had 3710 free downloads as well. If those downloads translate to reviews and newsletter signups, that’s worth the cost of advertising. A bigger newsletter list means more sales when new books come out. I’ve had about the same number of newsletter signups already that I had after a BookBub ad last year yielded 17,561 free downloads of the same book. Last year’s free downloads added about 35 new reviews over two to three months. It’s too early to know how many reviews I’ll get due to the 3710 free downloads last month.
While traditional wisdom is that advertising with so few books out isn’t worth your time and money, check out the difference in sales and in reach between the month before the sale, the sale month, and only one week after the last sale.
September (with no sales or advertising) – 6 purchases, 6 borrows, 0 free, about $27 in revenue
October (with three sales and lots of email ads) – 27 purchases, 15 borrows, 3710 free, about $68 in revenue
November (1 week only, end of last sale) – 32 purchases, no borrows or free (not in KDP Select anymore), about $20 in revenue
While my numbers are small, the percentage of increase is excellent. Because last year’s BookBub ad was for a free book, the reviews were easily worth the $90 I paid for the ad, but there was a very small sales tail after the five free days ended. I believe I sold 24 books in the month following. I ended up with a negative net income that month despite the wild “success” of so many people choosing to download the book.
This time, I spent nearly the same amount of money, reached fewer people but over several different audiences instead of one, and had a positive net income for the month. Also, my book was being promoted over the course of three weeks rather than five days. I will likely derive value from that later since people need to hear about a product a certain number of times before they decide to buy it.
If you’re interested in the results from specific advertisers, these are my stats:
(NOTE: I used eBookSoda in April and May of this year, and had 0 sales and possibly a few sales, respectively with books priced at 99c. I emailed them and was told Little Miss Lovesick was advertised to 681 subscribers in April with 37 click-throughs to retailers, and Unexpected Superhero was advertised to 714 subscribers in May with 43 click-throughs to retailers.
(NOTE: There were 10 more 99c sales during the 3-day sale, and a lot of word-of-mouth promotion as well.)
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. This is data based on having only one book in a series and advertising that book without the next book out yet. I’ll let you know what happens when I do this again when book two comes out.
Meanwhile, please leave a comment with your thoughts, or your advertising experiences. Your input could be very helpful for others contemplating advertising and short-term sales. And please share this post on social media so it can help your friends who are trying to decide if they want to try some of these things. 🙂
For months now I’ve been trying to get Kitty to go On Air with me. She’s a natural-born teacher, so I think she could do a lot with video to help other writers. And today was the day! I don’t know if she got tired of me hounding her, or what, but we went live together for the first time.
With Google Hangouts on Air, you don’t have to have any fancy equipment or programs. All you need is a YouTube account (if you are the one doing the recording), webcam, and the free Google Hangout app installed on your computer. The On Air part of Hangouts starts recording when you hit the Broadcast button and automatically adds the video to your YouTube channel.
You can get even fancier by creating an Event, where you can invite people to watch live. I tried that once when I interviewed my editor and it was a little nerve-wracking. I knew people were watching (you can see a count of the numbers) and comments were being added, but being so new to Hangouts, I wasn’t adept enough at multi-tasking to engage the audience. Something I’ll need to practice.
So at the end of this post is our first Video Chat. We talk about Hangouts and I show off a little bit of VideoMaker FX, which is the program I used to make our snazzy “intro” and “outro.” I thought it was a lot of fun, and I’m game to do some more. Kitty?
I have to admit, I’ve been wanting to try this for a year or so, but I was either genuinely too busy or sometimes I just chickened out. It’s hard to see yourself on video and not focus on all the things you don’t like! Haha!
But we decided, if we didn’t completely embarrass ourselves, we would make the video live (not delete it, which is always a tempting option), and give you some notes about how to get started yourself. These are the things I learned while doing the video and after watching it a couple of times.
Don’t talk or laugh or say “Uh-huh” or make any noise when the other person is talking if we don’t want the video to flash back and forth between us all the time. Sometimes it’s a nice editing cut without having to actually edit it. But too much is just distracting.
Don’t move my hands in front of the screen. They show up as a blur, also distracting. I don’t know what that means for me for future videos since I talk with my hands!
Don’t move my head around so much. In my normal relaxed state, I move a lot when I’m talking (see note about my hands). Shonna looked much more professional sitting still. Though I’m not sure how to look relaxed and also be still. Haha!
If I think there is any chance that “let’s play around with making a video” will become “let’s post this video on our web site,” I need to do it AFTER I’ve colored my hair! 😉
Get new glasses! LOL! The reason I’m moving my head at such funny angles is that I need new glasses and I haven’t gotten around to making an appointment. Wow, do I look fairly ridiculous!
After reading my take on making our first Google Hangouts on Air video with Shonna, you may come to a variety of conclusions. One, do a couple of trial recordings before actually posting a video that everyone can see. Two, make sure you do a video with someone less put together than yourself so you come out looking better. (Shonna won, I lost. 😀 ) Three, just don’t try it at all. [Shonna’s note: It is awkward to see yourself on video. I read Kitty’s comments here and went “What is she talking about? She’s being way too critical of herself.” I always feel like a bit of a dork on video. The key is to not over-think it or you risk paralyzing yourself and never doing another one.]
You can choose number one or number two, but don’t choose door number three!
Let us know what you think of our first video. Chances are pretty good we’ll try to do some more.
This weekend I’m excited to participate in my first Comikaze Expo, Stan Lee’s own comic book and pop culture convention. And I heard my table is even going to be near Stan Lee’s booth! STAN LEE, you guys!! Woo-hooo!!
If you can make it to the Los Angeles Convention Center this Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday, you’ll find all kinds of fun. In addition to Stan Lee, you might see Elvira, John Barrowman, Kevin Smith, and so many more writers, artists, actors, producers, and more. Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of the graphic novel POWERS, about to become a TV show on the Playstation Network, sadly cannot make it. He was my personal favorite draw, but he just announced it on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
Kids 12 and under are free, and there is going to be trick-or-treating in the convention hall on Friday for them. A safe place to bring your kids that will also be fun for you! Tickets are still available.
And please come by my table and say hi! I’m in space AA-1116, near the center of the convention floor, just off the red carpet. (I’m in the directory under my company name, Daydreamer Entertainment.) I’ll have my new book bags available for the first time, as well as the print copies of Unexpected Superhero and the prequel short story, “Superhero in Disguise.” We’ll even have cool new T-shirts available to order. 😀
I hope to see you this weekend! And Happy Halloween!
I thought you might want to know that I was able to make Unexpected Superhero, book one of the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke urban fantasy superhero series, FREE today and tomorrow, October 17 and 18, 2014. It’s only available on Kindle and in paperback right now, but I hope to have it up in all other ebook outlets by the end of next weekend.
I know some of you have read it and some of you haven’t had a chance yet. So today’s your lucky day. 🙂 I’d be grateful if you would share this post with your friends, Tweet it to your followers, whatever works for you. Thanks so much!
And if you have a chance to read it, I’d love to hear what you think! 🙂 CLICK HERE to check it out.
Hi friends! Just wanted to let you know that today is the last day to join the class I’m teaching, “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing.” You can sign up here or read more about the class.
We started this past Monday, September 15, and the class will run through Saturday, October 11, 2014. It’s $30 for the four weeks, and it’s run via Yahoo Groups. That means you never have to be online at a certain time. You can read the lectures as they come in your email, and participate in class discussions via email at any time during the month.
The class is set up so that you learn about all the decisions you have to make to self-publish your book, doing it all together as we go along, and then having your book ready to upload by the end of class. You can also go through all of the steps with a test copy of your book and just don’t hit “publish” at the end. That way you have someone helping you figure it out as you go, and you can use your notes to finish publishing your book later when it’s ready.
If you have any questions about the class, feel free to leave a comment or email me at Kitty AT KittyBucholtz DOT com.
Should you or shouldn’t you host a book launch party? I have to admit, as a debut author, this was the promotion event that scared me the most. Yet, it was one of the first events I scheduled. As soon as I had a pub date, I introduced myself to my local independent bookstore and asked about setting up a launch party. Looking back, it was one of the best things I could have done for my career.
Seriously? One of the best?
For me. Yes.
My book launch party was a domino that knocked over a whole lot of other dominoes. Dominoes I had no idea about until they started moving.
1. Introverts Anonymous
Being a shy introvert is a huge hurdle. At a launch party you have to stand up and give a speech. Just you. About you and your book. Breathe. Deep. Don’t. Die. I have spent pretty much my entire life until now avoiding such a scenario. Fear of public speaking–I got it bad.
Right after talking to the book store folks, I joined Toastmasters. I have love/hate feelings towards this group. Toastmasters is effective. It plain works. However, you have to make it work. The more you throw yourself into the roles, and sign up to give speeches, the faster you progress. Yes, to get over the thing you fear, you have to do the thing you fear. Over and over and over again.
My particular Toastmasters group is amazing. They have a mix of veterans and new members. The feedback is insightful and the support is solid. What’s to fear, right? *laughs awkwardly*
I wish I would have joined years ago. Through my weekly experience at Toastmasters, I had enough practice before my launch party that I wasn’t throwing up as I had feared. And I had enough presence of mind that I only forgot 1/3 of my speech.
And here is one of the surprising dominoes: Having a launch party forced me to practice public speaking, which has led to an increase in confidence about being a professional writer.
2. Old-fashioned Networking
Are you burned out on social media? It’s time to get out of the house and meet some people face to face. Because I introduced myself early enough to the bookstore, I got an invitation to a YA event months before my book came out. Changing Hands Bookstore introduced me as a “preview” author and I got to practice being on stage with a group of other YA authors at YAllapalooza. (see #1 above; groups are good)
At this event, I received another invitation, and this one completely caught me by surprise. The books and authors manager for Phoenix Comicon was in the audience at YAllapalooza and approached me afterward to talk about being on a panel at Phoenix Comicon the weekend of my book launch. *blink* *blink* YES! How amazing is that?
Surprising Domino #2: Making yourself visible leads to other opportunities.
3. A Time to Celebrate
If you are a debut author, don’t stress out about bringing in a crowd. No one knows you yet, except for the people who have supported you along the journey–your friends and family. They are going to be 99% of the people who show up to your event. (See #1 above–fear not. These are your people; they know you; they support you, don’t be afraid of talking to them!)
More than anything, this is a time to celebrate. You finally have your book! Add a few special touches to make the event memorable for you and fun for your friends, and you can call it a success. Here is what I did. Maybe it will give you some ideas:
I added a fundraising option to the night. My novel is YA and I didn’t expect all my friends to be interested in a novel aimed at teens, so this gave them another option for participation. I invited the director of Dress for Success Phoenix to come and talk about the organization and that night we collected handbags for donations. The Phoenix Art Museum was hosting a traveling dress show at the time, and they donated admission tickets for a drawing.
My friend and our daughters made a cupcake pull-apart dress cake to match the theme Cinderella’s Dress. It turned out even better than I had imagined.
I used the first book I took out of my box of books as a guest book. I signed it to myself, then had everyone at the event sign it, too.
My main character learns the art of tatting lace, so my uber-talented friend who taught me how to use a shuttle and thread brought a display of some of her work and demonstrated tatting while I signed books.
I made simple tatted bookmarks to hand out as rewards to those who asked questions during Q&A time. As for other swag? Most advice I’ve read says stick with bookmarks. They’re cheap and easy to hand out. And they’re cheap. *did I already say cheap?*
Recently, I interviewed Austin Aslan about his debut launch. He did something I’d never seen in a book launch, which I thought was a great idea for bringing the group together and I wish I’d thought of it! You can watch here:
So, the debut book launch party. Is it worth it? Yes, I think so. In addition to the above, it marks a milestone in your life. It’s a big deal. So make it one.