Routines For Writer’s Ebook

Routines for Writers was a blog started by three aspiring authors who wanted to help other writers create routines to make writing easier. Since then, two of us are now published, and one went back to school!

If you look around, you’ll see there is so much great content on here, but unfortunately it gets buried in this blog format.

This summer as Kitty is teaching a self-publishing class (more info to come on that) I (Shonna) will be using the Routines for Writers blog as source material to put into practice what I am learning in her course.

If you are interested in a free copy of the Routines for Writers ebook when it comes out, sign up here and  you will be among the first to know when it is available. It will only be free to those who are on the list!

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Released Today – A Very Merry Superhero Wedding

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding book cover by Kitty BucholtzIt’s out! My new book, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, released today! Woo-hoo!!

It has been a long, exhausting, exciting two months! My writing friends, Debra Holland and Brenna Aubrey, suggested I try to get a Christmas novella out by Christmas week, and I took up the challenge.

Of course, because I normally write longer books (350-400 pages), it was really hard to write a shorter story. Haha! A novella is generally thought to be about 20,000 to 40,000 words, about 80-160 pages. This one came in at 45,000 words! I decided to still call it a novella so you didn’t wonder why it was so short compared to Unexpected Superhero, book one in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, and the other books that will follow. 😉

As of today, the book is available on Amazon for Kindle, and on Smashwords for all formats. It’s on the way to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other online retailers, and will be available in print in the next couple of weeks.

Congratulations to the 5 winners of the paperback version in the Goodreads Giveaway – Nancy A, Sandra B, Jessica L, Rachella B, and Alena K!

Here is the book’s description. I hope you enjoy it! And Merry Christmas!

A novella in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke superhero series

WEDDING DREAMS…

Tori Lewis can hardly wait for her Christmas Eve wedding to handsome Joe Clarke. But her friends and family don’t think it’s prudent to marry someone you just met. There’s something about him, though. She’s never felt safer in her life. The only question is — does she have to tell him all her secrets before the wedding?

Joe Clarke expected to be a happy superhero bachelor for years to come. But after meeting Tori Lewis on Halloween, he can’t get her out of his head. Marrying a woman he barely knows is hands-down the craziest thing he’s ever done. So how does he explain himself to a woman who doesn’t believe in superheroes?

…AND CHRISTMAS FIENDS

Meanwhile, the city is going through a Christmastime crime spree. In addition to the usual madness and thievery, a gang of robbers is targeting mall shoppers. Joe must juggle his wedding duties with his alter ego Superhero X’s commitment to protect the citizens of Double Bay.

Will it all come together without ruining the perfect Christmas wedding?

Buy it now!

The Value of Advertising a Single Self-Published Book

Unexpected Superhero by Kitty BucholtzWe’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.

The Specifics

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.)

Non-Advertisement Promotion

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.

The Finances

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.

Specific Advertisers

If you’re interested in the results from specific advertisers, these are my stats:

InD’Tale $25 ad to about 10,000 readers = 1238 free downloads that day

(NOTE: There were also 551 free downloads the day after the ad came out, and 245 on the third day, on which I also used an eBookSoda ad.)

eBookSoda $10 ad to 700+ readers = 245 free downloads that day

(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.

Ereader News Today $20 ad to “thousands” of readers = 1277 free downloads that day

(NOTE: There were another 391 free downloads the following day.)

EBookBooster $25 ad to 25 sites and potentially thousands of readers = 8 sales at 99c that day

(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. 🙂

Visit Me at Comikaze in Los Angeles This Weekend!

COMIKAZE_POW_LOGO_colorThis 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.

POWER bagsAnd 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!

Last Day to Join Self-Publishing Class

finish signHi 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.

Happy Writing! 🙂

Author/Editor Tell All with Executive Editor Stacy Abrams

Okay, this is it. It’s happening!! I tricked talked one of my editors into doing a Google Plus Hangout on Air with me this Friday, June 13, at 11:00 PST. I want to know why she pulled my book out of the slush. And about a million other things. Stacy is the executive editor of Entangled Teen. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask her, leave them in the comments and we’ll get her talking!

Here is the playback:

Blog Tour with a BONUS Author/Editor Tell All

This is it, my blog tour is in full swing. Check out these stops and be sure to enter the contest. Thanks for hanging with me all these years at Routines for Writers!
Cinderella's-Dress-cover
Prize pack based on items in the book: Signed copy of the book, bookmarks, an amber pendant, a dress-form ornament, tatting shuttle and thread. To enter, just visit any stop along the way and enter the Rafflecopter.
Cinderellas Dress blog tour prizes
Week One:
6/2/2014- Zach’s YA Reviews– Review
6/2/2014- Dark Novella– Excerpt
6/3/2014- Angelic Book Reviews– Review
6/3/2014- Pages From My Thoughts– Interview
6/4/2014- YA Book Madness– Review
6/4/2014- The Cover Contessa– Guest Post
6/5/2014- Crossroad Reviews– Review
6/5/2014- Such a Novel Idea– Guest Post
6/6/2014- The NerdHerd Reads– Review
6/6/2014- Fire and Ice– Excerpt
Week Two:
6/9/2014- Racing To Read- Review
6/9/2014- Paranormal Book Club– Interview
6/10/2014- The Phantom Paragrapher– Review
6/10/2014- Addicted Readers– Guest Post
6/11/2014- Creating Serenity– Review
6/11/2014- Every Free Chance Book Reviews– Interview
6/12/2014- A Backwards Story– Guest Post
6/13/2014- The YA’s Nightstand– Review
6/13/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book– Excerpt
6/13/2014- After the Tour Tell All–Google Hangout on Air 11:00am pst.

Cinderellas dress after the tour header

What A Debut Author Fears Most

what a debut author fears mostI thought I was afraid of public speaking. And I am. (That’s why I’m in Toastmasters.) But it turns out that’s not what I fear most about my Cinderella’s Dress book launch in two weeks. TWO WEEKS.

Saturday, I went to the Blink Tour at Changing Hands Bookstore to meet YA authors Lisa T. Bergren, Jill Williamson, Lorie Ann Grover, and Jonathan Friesen. Before the introductions were made, my launch event was listed in the announcements. Later, during Q&A, Lisa, author of 40 books was kind enough to ask me about my novel. This led to me asking the panel for their advice for an author heading into her debut month.

What Lisa said tipped over a domino that had me thinking all weekend.

She said that there are going to be people who really like my book. And people who really don’t. But the majority will be in the middle of the two extremes. She advised me to focus on the core readership and ignore the rest.

Walking with my husband that night, I told him about the event and what Lisa said. That’s when the mulling started. You know that thing authors do…when we go over every possible scenario, focusing heavily on the bad things that could happen. Note to self: You are supposed to do that for your CHARACTERS, not yourself.

Up until now, writing has been a very private activity. The only people who have read my work have been other writers, who get it. They get that it’s a work in progress. WIP. That anything and everything is up for revision. They get the striving to put the movie in my head into words that conveys that movie to another person. They get how hard that is.

Readers? Big scary readers? Do THEY get it? Do they get how hard it is to write a novel?

And then there has been the infamous Road to Publication. I look behind me and see a road littered with rejection slips. In front of me is the Cliff-of-the-Unknown.

Up until now, those rejections have been private. Shared, again, mostly with other writers who get it. Those who are also developing tough skin to suck up the rejection and keep trying. Keep writing.

Up until now, the advent of my first published novel, every book I’ve written has been rejected. Even though this book has been accepted and professionally edited, the dark cloud of rejection is not too far behind me. I still remember it.

What was once private will now be public.

I know there will be readers who reject my work publicly. They will forget that a real person is on the end of that rejection. I know this because I’ve read some reviews for other books and cringed in horror for the writer.

Book tastes are subjective. Once, I wrote a blog post about reading a book I didn’t particularly like (Too. Much. Voice). I was thrilled because it meant that even though my work was getting rejected by agents who liked their fairy tales “darker” all it would take is one editor whose tastes were like mine. It took awhile to find her, but I did. Now I’m in search of my tribe of readers.

A fear voiced loses some of its power.

That everyone won’t love my novel. This is what I fear most as a debut.

I am eager to meet my first bad review and get it over with. Like ripping off a Band-Aid!  *Please note, this is not a call for people to give me bad reviews. Truly, there is no need.*

And I am glad that—as always—I’ll have writer friends to talk it over with when it happens. The writing community is amazingly supportive. And one day, when a wide-eyed debuting author asks me for advice, I will give willingly and freely as I remember the fears leading into my own debut.

Now, if only I could nail public speaking.

One Day Sale – 20 Books for 99 Cents Each

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALI was thrilled to be invited to join a group of friends who wanted to do a fun cross-promotion for our books. For one day, today, all of our books – all in various sub-genres of romance – will be available on Amazon for only 99 cents! Yay!

If you like my books, you’ll find several in this list you would enjoy. 🙂 And if you’re reading this after Friday, my book Little Miss Lovesick (and perhaps some of the others) will still be on sale through the weekend. Plus, I’ve made Lovesick 99 cents across all retailers, so you can get it for a buck on Barnes & Noble or iTunes or anywhere you like to buy ebooks!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook or other places, would you mind passing this information along? I’d love to feel like I helped my friends find new fans. 😀 Thanks a million!

Happy reading!

Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Justice

Kitty Bucholtz, Little Miss Lovesick

Linda Carroll-Bradd, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart

Kathleen Creighton, The Prince and the Patriot

Jacqueline Diamond, The Cowboy and the Heiress

Gillian Doyle, Mystic Memories

Susan R. Hughes, A Baby for Christmas

Michelle Knowlden, Indelible Beats

Heather MacAllister, Counterfeit Cowgirl

Mindy Neff, The Bad Boy Next Door

Louella Nelson, Cora Lee

Lyn O’Farrell, Worth the Risk

Dee Ann Palmer, Where Eagles Cry

Sandra Paul, Last Chance For Marriage

Michael H. Payne, A Curial Quartet

Edie Ramer, Christmas at Angel Lake

Angie Ray, Ghostly Enchantment

Susan Squires, Waiting For Magic

Kristy Tate, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

Patricia Thayer, Colton Creek Cowboy

Three-Pass Editing System

My publisher, Entangled Publishing, uses the three-pass editing system. As I write this, I’m in the lull between first and second passes, and am busy taking care of my to-do list, so when the second pass arrives, I can dive right in.

The three-pass editing method is a great system for authors to add to their writing routines.

First Pass

THE BIG EDIT. This is the pass where the editor(s) take a look at the big-picture items. The plot, the character arcs, the plot holes, etc. This is the “dreaded editor letter” everyone talks about. It’s a developmental edit. This is the pass where you may have to get rid of an extra character or change the POV or cut/add whole chapters. Here is the video I made for my editors to show them how hard I worked on their notes:

 

Second Pass

The second editing pass shrinks down to line edits. For my book specifically, we’ll be looking at the speech patterns of my foreign speakers. I’ve got an elderly couple who fled Poland during WWII. When they first arrive in New York, their English is limited, but by the end of the novel (which covers several years) their speaking has significantly improved. Well, mostly, because one of them is suffering from dementia, and so I have to show her reverting back to Polish. We’ll also be looking at the other characters, making sure they stay consistent. And, of course, I’ll do a Margie Deep Edits pass to amp up the use of dynamic language.

Third Pass

Yikes. THIS. IS. IT. Unless I find a huge-can’t-believe-we-missed-this kind of plot hole, I won’t be making any changes. This is our final copy edit check for spelling, commas, proper grammar, etc. While I’ve done this kind of pass before sending work out on submission, I’ve never been at this stage FOR REAL. As in, I’m not revising this book any more. I think I will be both elated and incredibly sad at the end of this pass. I don’t know. I’ll have to come back and give an update.

So, there you have it. The three-pass edit. Add it to your routines!