Monthly Archives: February 2013

We’ll be off the air for awhile!

At the Arise Africa babies home, where we are building a primary school

At the Arise Africa babies home, where we are building a primary school

I leave tomorrow for Uganda, and will be gone for 2 1/2 weeks. If I can, I’ll post, but I don’t always (usually) have power or internet. So if you come visiting the blog and see that it’s been awhile since there’s been a new post, never fear! I’ll be back!

If you want to see what I’m doing, try this blog or Facebook page. I try to get information to my daughter to post, even if I don’t have power (texting always works great there).

See you when I get back!

My son and friends. He's not going with me this trip - sad!

My son and friends. He’s not going with me this trip – sad!

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Filed under Writing

Kindle Promo Gone Wild, conclusion



My two-day Kindle promotion was a wild ride! I started the saga here, so I won’t recap all that. But yesterday was even bigger than the first day!

I didn’t stay up until midnight on Tuesday to see what my exact total was. From the download rate, I’m going to guess that I was somewhere around 3800 as the calendar rolled over to day two of the promotion. I didn’t have a huge number first thing in the morning (I think it was about 4200 or so), but I ended the day and the promo with 7909 downloads. That’s about 4100 for day two!

This is by far my biggest promotion, and really came completely out of the blue. I did have one other ad than I’d mentioned, which I hadn’t noted in my calendar, and that was from Books on the Cheap. A commenter here pointed out that I’d been featured on the site on Tuesday, and at first I thought they’d just picked it up from Amazon.  But going back over my notes, I’d done a paid ad there. So Books on the Cheap and FreeBooksy were my two ads, and I will be doing those again next month for Ixeos, for sure!

I have no idea how this will transfer to sales, although sales of The Hoard of the Doges, the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, picked up significantly yesterday, selling 1/3 of my monthly total on that book in one day. That’s the point of doing the Solomon’s Throne free promo in the first place — to drive sales to the sequel, plus get word of mouth advertising and reviews — so I was happy that people were looking for my other books without even having read the first yet (I assume!).

I will be following the same pattern for IXEOS. I had already decided to do that, but this last promo has definitely solidified that decision. (Joe Konrath has a great blog post today on his recent experiences with KDPS free promos that I’d highly recommend! He’s the master!) I’m going to work today to get that set up, as my KDP enrollment technically started this week, even though my “hard” launch of the book isn’t until next month. That means I really have 2 months in which to get my 5 free promo days in, rather than 3. No biggie, except I obviously want to get the advertising in place, and that has to be done ahead. Guess which sources I’m going to use??

Yesterday I had an “argument” (okay, not really an argument… let’s say a difference of opinion) about giving away books. I’ve written posts here, like this one, talking about the business of writing. My conflict with this new indie author was basically about how to run a business although that’s not officially what it was about. She said she had run one free day (she changed the price herself, she didn’t do it through KDPS), and at the end of the day rushed to change it back out of fear it wouldn’t get back to costing money soon enough. She had 150 downloads. She’s sold about 10 books so far.

Now, I had months at the beginning where I barely sold books, and that’s not at all what this is about. What struck me is that she was “afraid” of her book being free. She obviously didn’t do a lot of promotion regarding the free day, as her downloads were low, I assume because she didn’t actually want anyone getting it for free. She told me that we shouldn’t *ever* put out books for free really, and that KDP’s five free days in each ninety was way too many. People would get “too used to free books” and never buy books again.

Obviously, I have a different take. First of all, I want as many people reading my books as possible. Doesn’t every author?? Second, every business in the world (except maybe Apple) has sales. They use them to draw people to their store or site, where it is likely that the customer will purchase more than just the sale item. Businesses give away free stuff all the time, too. Buy a phone, get a charger. Open a checking account, get a picnic basket. Buy a car, get a free guitar (Volkswagen did this a few years ago with their Bugs). This isn’t some kind of new and strange marketing plan. It’s a solid business model, using what’s called a “loss leader” to bring in additional sales. (Like the $300 60″ flat screen tv that Best Buy sells on December 26…)

In my admittedly limited experience of about six months as a published author, I have seen this strategy work. If you only have one book published, it may not be the time to do it, although enrolling in KDP Select still allows your book to be borrowed (for which you get paid) and that’s a good deal, too. But if you have more than one book, it is a smart move. (Again, read Joe Konrath’s article for his numbers. He has over 50 titles and has sold over a million books… He knows what he’s talking about!)

I didn’t really argue with this author too much. First of all we were on a public forum, and that wouldn’t have been appropriate. Secondly, the whole point of being self-employed, which indie authors are, is that you make your own decisions and feel your own way. Other indie authors are incredibly generous with their experiences, though, and I always try to glean what I can from the. The bottom line, which is how I ended my last post to the gal, is that there’s no right or wrong here.

My personal preference is generosity. I love that there are now about 12,000 people who got my book for free. I’ve done free promos on my Facebook page and Goodreads, too, and send out dozens of autographed print copies to people who were gracious enough to give this new author a shot. Giving away free ebooks costs me nothing, while giving away print copies costs me about $10, but I’m still happy to do both (no, I won’t be giving away 7909 paperbacks!).

I want people to get to know me. I want people to get to know my books. They’re not for everyone, but there is a group out there who will like — maybe even love — them, and that’s who I want to reach. That’s who I want to get to know. As a new and independently published author, the best way to do that is though generosity in all things: my books and my time. It suits me, so I don’t find it difficult. Some people will, and that’s okay. They can find their path to success all the same, it just won’t look like mine. And that’s the beauty of this whole indie experiment anyway, isn’t it?


Filed under Writing

Kindle Promotion Gone Wild!

I will admit to being completely gobsmacked by my latest Amazon “free day” promotion. This is the last for Solomon’s Throne, as it will come out of the KDP Select program on February 27.  I may or may not put it back in when I get close to having the third Quinn book ready to publish, but that’s more than six months away and I want to try it on some other platforms in the meantime.

ANYWAY, I scheduled the last promotion for yesterday and today. I ran one ad for both days on FreeBooksy, and another just for today on Pixels of Ink. The FreeBooksy ad was $50, which is at the top end of my tolerance to promote books I’m giving away for free. (I almost forgot about the promotion altogether, since I’m running around crazy this week getting ready to go to Uganda on Friday!)


Click on the picture to find the book on Amazon!

Yesterday morning, at 8:00, I had 36 downloads. That’s pretty par for the course. The most downloads I’ve ever had in one day was about 1250, and they usually pick up in the mid-morning and go through after dinner. I didn’t check again until about 1:00, when I had 944! I started texting my daughter and husband at that point, and the count was going up ridiculously fast.

  • By 1:45, I had 1345.
  • At 4:30, I was over 2000.
  • 9:00 rolled around and it was 3125.
  • When I went to bed, it was over 3500, and I was #84 on the Top 100 Free Kindle books list.
  • My daughter emailed at 2:00am (college student) that it was #67 on the list.
  • Right now, day 2 at 10:20, I’ve had 5012 downloads and am #49 in the Top 100 Free Kindle books chart — in the top 50!

Keep in mind that the best total for a promotion that I’ve ever had, and that was with a three day promotion, was about 2200. I can only attribute it to a combination of the FreeBooksy ad (obviously a great use of $50!) and getting onto the Top 100 list so that it was visible to more people. It’s also #2 in Action/Adventure, which gets it in front of people, too.

The Action/Adventure genre is teeny tiny compared to romance and YA. Miniscule! In looking over the Top 100 list, probably 75% of the books are romance. Another 7% or so are non-fiction. The rest are mixed, largely murder mysteries but also a kids book and a puzzle book. So for my tiny little a/a book to get this far is really exciting. I feel incredibly blessed!

I’ve enrolled IXEOS into the KDP program. The first free promo days will coincide with my blog tours in March, and then I’ll do another in April, just before IXEOS: Rebellion is scheduled to come out. And obviously, I’ll be advertising on FreeBooksy again!

Thanks to all of you who have downloaded the book! You have certainly made this an exciting week.


Filed under Writing

IXEOS is available now!

If you have a Kindle or Kindle app, you can download IXEOS right now! (The print version will be available later this week.) Click the cover and it will take you right to Amazon!

IXEOS 800 Cover reveal and Promotional


Filed under Writing

A word about IXEOS

Calvin & Hobbes, always on an adventure!

Calvin & Hobbes, always on an adventure!

A new genre adventure is about to begin! As some of you know, to date I’ve published 3 books in 2 genres. I have two “cozy adventure” treasure hunts (what that means is that they’re clean and fun, and you don’t have to worry about anything embarrassing or gross) called Solomon’s Throne and The Hoard of the Doges. I also have a Christian historical romance set in the Civil War that’s also a mystery. It’s called Undaunted Love.

But now (maybe even today — we’ll see!) I am about to set off into a whole new genre: Young Adult sci-fi fantasy. With a lot of dystopian and a little romance thrown in. I’m really excited about IXEOS and the two books that will follow, IXEOS: Rebellion (April) and Darian’s War (June). I have had a complete blast writing them, for one thing, and I think the plot is fun, unique and interesting. There are lots of characters doing really cool things and trying to save the world. That’s what we all really want, isn’t it? To be the one to save the world?

IXEOS 800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Here are a few of the main characters from IXEOS:

Neahle McClelland.  Neahle is 18 when she gets lured to Ixeos, and she doesn’t feel like she has any special talents to offer the outsiders. She does feel like she might have something to offer the young French rebel leader, Gilles, though.

Clay McClelland.  When Clay arrives in Ixeos with his sister Neahle and his cousin Marty, he’s not excited by the adventure. He’s just plain mad. But he soon finds out he has a big part to play in freeing Darian, the rebel leader who’s been in prison for fifteen years.

Marty McClelland. When it came to looks, God didn’t take a lot of time on Marty, at least in comparison to his cousin Clay. But He made up for it in brains, because Marty is a primo hacker. When he finds out he can hack to his heart’s content on Ixeos, he thinks he’s in heaven. His fellow computer geek Marissa isn’t so bad, either.

Abacus & Vasco. These brothers were the first to arrive in Ixeos from Earth and are the leaders of the outsiders. Abacus is the planner and commander-in-chief, and Vasco is the adventurer. Together they’ve been fighting the Firsts and helping the rebels for over twenty years.

Landon. Landon is the man who got all the outsiders into this mess to begin with. No one knows how he brought them to Ixeos, but they sure know he won’t let them go home. With mysterious powers and a mission to free Darian and drive out the Firsts, he is the sole recruiter of his reluctant outsider army.

The situation on Ixeos is dire:  a humanoid alien race has taken over the planet, killed most of the humans and enslaved the rest. Small pockets of rebels inhabit the cities, but on their own, they can’t defeat the Firsts. Landon has brought teens from Earth to help, and with this ragtag army they will free Darian or die trying.

The book will be out this week — I hope you’ll pick up a copy and let me know what you think!


Filed under Publishing, Self publishing, Writing