Goodreads Giveaway for New Superhero Book

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!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding by Kitty Bucholtz

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding

by Kitty Bucholtz

Giveaway ends December 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

 

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. 🙂

I Finally Talked Her Into It! Google Hangouts On Air

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?

Kitty’s Take
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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! 😉
  5. 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.

 

 

 

20 Books on Sale Today For 99c Each!

PreLaunchImage2Hi friends!

I’m participating in a book sale today with 19 other writers. There’s a little something for everyone, and each of the books are only 99c today. Most books will be on sale today only, while some like mine will be 99c for a few days. Check them out! 🙂

Stuck With You by Kristy Tate

Calling All Glass Slippers by Jacqueline Diamond

Jack Fell Down by Michelle Knowlden

Heart’s Desire by Susan R Hughes

Emerald Fortune by Lou Nelson

Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts

A Deadly Denial by Kathy Bennett

Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz 😀

Neighbors by Michael Payne

Ghost of My Dreams by Angie Ray

Love at the Beach (3 books in 1) by Laura Taylor

Judy Uncensored by Debra Salonen

The Ring That Binds by Linda Carroll-Bradd

She Likes It Tough by Geralyn Corcillo

Shadows Till Sunrise by Chris Marie Green

The Bachelor’s Baby Promise by Barbara McMahon

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick by Donna Fasano

You Don’t Know Jack by Adrianne Lee

Big and Bright by Jan Hudson

Demon Lover by Kathleen Creighton

 

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!

Unexpected Superhero is FREE Oct 17 and 18!

Unexpected Superhero by Kitty BucholtzHi friends!

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.

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! 🙂

The Debut Book Launch Party

Debut Book Launch Party ideasShould 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.

Finding Time for Book Marketing

Thursdays with Amanda has become one of my go-to places on the web every… well, every Thursday. Amanda Luedeke is an agent with Chip MacGregor Literary and she blogs on Thursdays about book marketing. I think my favorite takeaway I’ve gotten from her so far is the Five-Thing Marketing Rule that she talks about in this guest blog. Be sure to read to the end because she is giving away a copy of her marketing book, The Extroverted Writer. *You’re going to want it.*

 

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM AN AUTHOR WILL FACE

ExtrovertedWriterCoverSmallIt happens to nearly every writer. You have a book idea. You painstakingly try to work writing into your hectic schedule by skipping yoga or unvolunteering from the PTA or waking at the crack of dawn. It’s tough, but eventually you figure it out even if it takes way longer than you’d care to admit.

And then you have a book! And yay!!! Life couldn’t get any better, because now is the part where you get to see what can come of said book. So you attend conferences and send out emails and scour publishing and agent blogs. You do all that you can to figure this author thing out and them WHAM. The word “platform” hits you in the face.

It may not always happen at that point in time…you may get your first book deal or you may receive your first royalty statement before platform becomes your nemesis. Or, it may not be until you look at your Amazon sales rankings or talk with your author friends or realize that things just aren’t going the way you planned.

But it happens…it happens to every writer at some point in his or her career. They realize that it’s not enough to write a book. They realize authors also need to be marketers.

And so you’re faced with the ultimate dilemma, because you’ve already cut out yoga and the PTA and those two precious hours of sleep. You’ve already done what you can to make writing work. And now you have to take even more time away from your family, from your hobbies, from your life, just to market this book…to spend time doing something that you may not even fully understand.

WHY I LIKE TO TALK ABOUT MARKETING

Before working in publishing, I spent some years at a marketing firm. I did social media marketing and copywriting for some major brands. So when I started working in the book industry five years ago, I quickly saw a need to address this very difficult topic. I began blogging every Thursday on the company blog, ChipMacGregor.com. I began teaching about marketing at writers’ conferences. And I wrote an author marketing book…kind of like a foundational tool for using social media to create an author platform and market your product. It’s called The Extroverted Writer.

But despite all of the tips and tricks and ideas, finding the time is still so crucial. Because if you never actually sit down and take the time to do marketing, then marketing won’t ever happen.

So what’s the secret? How can writing be doable without cutting into the other things that are so important?

WRITING-TO-MARKETING RATIO

People often want specifics…they want to know how much time to spend writing versus marketing. So to get us started, here’s what I tell authors:

If you write FICTION and are unpublished: four parts writing to one part marketing/building your brand or platform.

If you write FICTION and are published or have a book coming out: two parts writing to one part marketing/building your brand or platform.

If you write NONFICTION: one part writing to three parts marketing. (Remember, a nonfiction author’s career is entirely built on platform, not words.)

MAKING THE TIME

In practice, the ratios look like this: on the days published fiction authors can only write for 30 minutes, they need to find a mere 15 extra minutes to work on marketing. On the days they can write for three hours, then it’s 1.5 hours of marketing.

Now let’s say that they simply CANNOT find an extra 1.5 hours in their day! When this happens, they merely need to adjust their existing writing time and break it into parts. So, instead of writing for three hours, they’d write for two and market for one.

Simple as that.

BUT WHAT DO I DO?

After hearing the ratios, some writers will tell me that even if they make time for marketing, they end up staring at their computer screens at a loss for where to begin.

There are tons of books that are full of marketing ideas. Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz is one. I like to use mine, The Extroverted Writer, as another example. But for those of you who get overwhelmed by all of the options…or who just can’t figure out how to take an idea and run with it, here’s another tip:

THE FIVE-THING MARKETING RULE

Write down five things…five marketing ideas. They don’t have to be big or expensive or detailed. There just has to be five of them. Your list could look like:

1. Find three blogs that talk about a theme that shows up in my book (ex. Vikings, weight loss, love stories). Save the URLs for future marketing ideas (blog tours, guest posts, comments, etc.)
2. Tweet every day this week.
3. Set up a Goodreads account and/or author page.
4. Research to see what local reader groups are in my area.
5. Find recent Tweets that use #weightloss (or whatever hashtag would apply to your brand/book), and reply to or retweet three of them.

Give yourself a week to complete these steps. Then, write down five more.

This may seem small and inconsequential. You may be thinking:

So what if I’m commenting on two measly blogs! Who cares that I’m Tweeting! No one follows me anyway!

TRUST ME. Great things happen once you start to engage. Once you are consistent about marketing. Give it a try and you’ll realize that your five things take almost no time at all to complete. And soon, instead of doing five things a week, you’ll be doing five lists of five! And you will get more confident. You’ll see results. And more importantly, platform will start to become your friend.

***ENTER MY GIVEAWAY***

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke

The Extroverted Writer

by Amanda Luedeke

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Amanda LuedekeAmanda Luedeke is an agent with MacGregor Literary. Follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or on Facebook. Her marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

Coffee with Authors: Chris Cannon Going Down in Flames

Meet Chris Cannon, author of the YA novel Going Down in Flames (A Going Down in Flames Novel). She is one of my publishing housemates (is that what we call one another?) at Entangled Publishing. Her book came out his month and she was game to try a Google Hangout on Air with me (and our dogs!)

This is my third try at a Google Hangout on Air. I’m getting less stressed about the technical aspects, and now I need to work on my hosting skills. Where do I look? At the camera–so it looks like I’m looking at the viewer? Or, at my guest on the screen so I know what she is doing? And how do I subtly glance at my notes to see what I’m going to ask next?

If you’ve got a good hosting tip, please leave it for me in the comments!

Want to learn more about Chris Cannon?
Website: http://chriscannonauthor.com/
Twitter: @ccannonauthor