Monthly Archives: May 2013

Marketing experiment – the next 6 months

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I just got back from a week and a half of the beach, and it was much needed! When I left, I was feeling really burned out. I had just finished all but the production of my 6th book in 10 months, as well as having both my kids graduate (high school and college respectively). We’re also now 3 weeks away from a wedding. (My uncle sent me an email and said, “I just can’t picture you as a mother-in-law!” WHAT??? That was my first semi-freakout. Mother-in-law? Me? Wow…) I was ridiculously tired, not sleeping well, and my brain was mush.

Other than spending a few hours on getting some marketing stuff booked for June and putting together the last post with all my links, I really didn’t think about writing much. It was pretty great, to tell you the truth! I’ve always been kind of obsessive about doing and learning things, so it’s not really surprising that, once I discovered my  passion for writing novels, I went somewhat nuts with it. Now that initial frenetic pace has passed by, I am finding my way back to my normal type-B personality. I’m happy to have it back. I feel much better!

Once my brain started working again, I had an idea. Well, several, but here’s the one this blog is about. My marketing experiment. From now through October 2, I have a lot going on, so I decided to take 6 months and do try something. (The great thing about ebooks is that they never go away. I don’t have to get all my sales in the first 6 months or year like with traditional publishing. I can play around a bit!) Here’s what I came up with. I’ll let you know how it goes!

KDPS – I have used KDPS (Kindle Direct Publishing’s Select program) for each of the first books in a series. The theory is to give away a lot of books, which hopefully will drive sales to book 2. This worked well with Solomon’s Throne, and I’m doing it with IXEOS as well, although the release of book 2 was delayed a bit. I tried it with Undaunted Love as well, although there wasn’t a 2nd historical romance. By the end of February, all my books were out of KDPS so that I could put them on other venues. The problem is, 99% of my sales are from Amazon, and I lost the borrowed book royalties I was getting from Solomon’s Throne. So the added venues was doing nothing for my sales. So my plan is to re-enroll the books over the next couple of months, after previous commitments are met. I am not sure if I will enroll my book 2’s (The Hoard of the Doges and IXEOS: Rebellion), but all the rest will be part of the KDPS family.

PROMOS – One thing this will do is greatly simplify my marketing efforts. I hope to advertise my free days on BookBub (they have to approve your ads, and have rules about how many times a book can be advertised per 30,90 and 120 days), and use eBook Booster to consolidate my advertising efforts for the free days with one paid source. For my two book 1’s, I may also add FreeBooksy, which I’ve had great success with. And that’s pretty much it. There is a lot of advice to hit promos hard right after your free days, and for a lot of people that seems to work, but I’ve never had success with that, so I’m not going to do that for these 6 months. I’ll keep track and see how the sales are right after the free days.

PR – I use Jitterbug PR for public relations stuff. Alicia does a great job getting reviews and blogs, tweeting and Facebooking new reviews and releases, and organizing other things. This is an expense that crosses all my books, and something I can increase during a release month (Darian’s War will come out in the fall).

So there it is! This period will end at the holidays, so I certainly will have time to tweak things before the Christmas shopping season. Also, Amazon is always tweaking their algorithms and other things, so if something changes that I can’t foresee, obviously I’ll adjust my plan. But knowing how much I have going on, this plan really settles my mind. I can finish writing Darian’s War, plan to do NaNo in November, get everything else done, and still breathe. It’s more along the lines of Joe Konrath’s advice than some other, more aggressive marketing gurus. I don’t think anyone is right or wrong; getting different information that we can all take and use as best suits us as indie authors is an amazing gift. For me, right now, this plan seems right. I’ve been doing the more aggressive plan, and it hasn’t really paid off in terms of sales (they’ve been steady, with no spike from any ads or promotions). So I’m going to go the other way, with a steady but less aggressive approach.

We’ll see what happens! And I’ll let you know.

Also, meanwhile, we’ll be having a great array of guest bloggers this summer, along with my regular posts. In order to keep the blog active while I’m involved in all that life has for me this year, I’m excited to be able to bring you some great authors and bloggers to fill these pages. I hope you enjoy it and support them! Thanks for reading Words on the Page.

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Filed under Writing

Marketing & Promo Sites

BookBub www.bookbub.com
email list by genre price varies
NOTES: can’t be free w/in 3 mos, 10+ reviews, 4* min
Book Nerd Tours www.booknerdtours.com
Blog tours, blast, reviews price varies
NOTES: 30-45 days out
Book Tweeting Service www.booktweetingservice.com
Book tweeting starts $29/1 day to $125
Indie Book Promo www.indiebookpromo.com
side banners, free day $25-50
promo, “cheap reads”
under $2.99 promo
Christian eBooks Today www.christianebookstoday.com/advertising
banner, feature, solcial $10 and up
media, author page, read
& review
Book Blast Promotions http://bookblastpromotions.blogspot.com/p/tour-blast-pricing.html
(I Am a Reader Not a Writer)
book tours, blasts, reviews varies – $90 and up
NOTES: GREAT for adding
to Twitter and FB following
Jitterbug PR http://www.jitterbug-pr.com/blog-tours/packages/
Blog tours varies by length
NOTE: Also does PR by the hour
Digital Book Today http://digitalbooktoday.com/join-our-team/
week book display $30 and up
week book feature
social media blast
“great reads”
guest interview
guest blog ost
Free day promo
New book release list
Promo sale price book
eReader News Today http://ereadernewstoday.com/bargain-kindle-books/
Bargain Kindle Books 25% of earnings
NOTE: 10 reviews, 4* min, less than 99c
Kindle Books & Tips http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/for-authors/advertising-information/
featured book featured = $75
free book free = free on request
NOTE: 8 reviews, 4* and up, only bk 1 in a series
AuthorsdB www.authorsdb.com
author database free
Book Basset http://www.bookbasset.com/authors/submissions/featured-author/
Featured Author $15
NOTES: up to 5 books, @ least 1 free
paid have to be less than $2.99
only 1x per 30 days
World Lit Café www.worldlitcafe.com
social media blast $20 and up
Author feature
New Release launch
Gaining review
Kindle Fire Department http://fireapps.blogspot.com/p/app-developers-authors.html
Feature $50
Kindle Boards http://www.kboards.com/blog-ads/
spotlight post $50 (3+ reviews)
Book Discovery $15 (Family friendly)
Full Banner $40/ day
Featured Book $35/ day
Free book promo free (min 4*, 20 reviews)
Bargain book promo $20
Shelf Unbound Magazine www.shelfmediagroup.com
1/4 page ad $350 for 2 (recent deal)
Book Gorilla http://www.bookgorilla.com/advertise
email blast by genre $30-100
starred book extra $100 by approval
NOTES: Max price $3.99
FreeBooksy http://www.freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/
Feature $50 Feature
Feature Plus $100 Feature Plus
Daily Free Books http://www.dailyfreebooks.com/promote-your-kindle-book.html
Book of the Day (US) $17/day
Banner (US) $7.50/7 days
Listing highlight (US) $7.50/year
Banner Forum (UK) Sat-Fri $13.50/7 days
Banner Forum(UK) Wed-Tues $13.50/7 days
Banner Free (UK) $7.50/7 days
Free book of the day (UK) $17/day
Listing highlight (UK) $7.50/year
Free Digital Reads http://freedigitalreads.com/author-submissions/
free promo free
NOTES: must be 4-5* rated, free in both US and UK
5-7 day notice
eBook Booster www.ebookbooster.com
submit free bk to 50+ sites $45
Pixel of Ink http://www.pixelofink.com/sfkb/
Free promo day free
NOTE: Not currently taking paid guaranteed ads
Kindle Mojo www.kindlemojo.com/kindle-services/
Twitterblitz (free days) $35/day
List on blog free
Prime Tweets $35
Indie Book of the Day http://indiebookoftheday.com/authors/bargain-bookshelf-promo/
Bargain bookshelf, bargain $50 for 1 book, $40/ea for
scout listing, promo, 2 or more
dedicated post, social
media boost
eReader Utopia www.ereaderutopia.com/index.php/author-corner
feature deal (2.99 or less) $15
basic (random) free
guaranteed post $5
NOTE: submit book(s) to data base, them submit deal,
steal or new release
eBook Lister www.ebooklister.net/page.php?p+19
Daily Focus eBook $15
Top 5 “bargain ebooks” $10/day
Top 10 “bargain ebooks” $5/day
Submit free or bargain free
NOTES: 1x per 30 days
Book Goodies www.bookgoodies.com/get-featured/
1 week in 1 category $25
2 weeks in 1 category $40
1 week Home page $45
2 weeks Home page $65
Book Goodies Kids www.bookgoodieskids.com/contact-us/
listing, interview, reviews
Author Marketing Club www.authormarketingclub.com/members/advertise/
Featured book of the day $35
Featured sponsor less than $1/day
NOTE: doesn’t have to be free; not sure length of
sponsorship commitment
YA Promo Central www.yapromocentral.com/submit-to-yapc/
free days free
gold $50
silver $35
bronze $25
guest post $10
release day promos $8
book blurb $8
feature excerpt $8
sidebar ads $15/mo
eBook Impresario www.ebookimpresario.com/advertise/
free book listing $10
Bargain book listing $20
NOTES: 10 reviews, 4* or more, $2.99 or less, only
1x per 30 days
Book Daily www.bookdaily.com/authorresource/blog/post/1325647
Emerging Authors $50
The Cheap Ebook www.thecheapebook.com/authors/
99c deal post free
deal post over 99c $15/3 days
Romance Recipes Blog http://romancerecipes.wordpress.com/contact-me/
About book + recipe free
Bargain eBook Hunter www.bargainebookhunter.com/guaranteed-free-placement-form/
free promo guaranteed $10/title
bargain guaranteed $10/title
free no guarantee free
NOTES: 3 days notice for bargain, 1 week for free,
 books 99c to $5, accepts nonfiction over 100 pages
Pixelscroll www.pixelscroll.com/feature-your-product/
free promo no guarantee free
99c promo no guarantee free
bargain promo no guar. free
free guaranteed $10/title
99c guaranteed $10/title
bargain guaranteed $10/title
NOTES: 1 week notice free, 3 days bargain
Kindle Book Review www.thekindlebookreview.net/advertise-here/
Twitterlicious $40
Hot new release 440
Monthly sponsor $40
banner $149
ebook video jacket $149
freebie alert $5 or free
tweet pkg add-on $10
Blog Ads Book Community web.blogads.com/advertise/book_hive
Bookmooch $70+
Sci-fi bloggers $19+
LA Observed $15+  (also nonfiction)
The Millions $10+
The Book Smugglers $40+   (YA, scifi, fantasy)
Digital Novelists $10+
Smut Book Club $10+ (rom, YA, new adult)
BookTrib $45+
Literary Kicks $30+
Mommy Says Read $10+
Parnormal Cravings $9+
Cuddlebuggery Book Blog $10+ (YA)
Fangs for Fantasy $20+
Anna Reads $9+  (YA)
Reading Teen $10+  (YA)
Good Books & Good Wine $10+   (YA)
Me, My Shelf and I $9+   (YA, family friendly)
Chapter by Chapter $9+  (YA)
NOTES: many more than I’ve listed!

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Filed under Publishing, Self publishing

Guest Blogger Victoria Grefer: The Three “P’s” of Creative Writing

Today I’m excited to welcome my author friend Victoria Grefer to Words on the Page. Victoria has a great blog on writing, The Crimson League, and she posts something informative and entertaining every day (yes, every single day!! I know, right?!).  I’m thrilled to have her join us. Make sure you check out the links at the end of the post so you know how to follow her on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Victoria's great fantasy, The Crimson League.

Victoria’s great fantasy, The Crimson League.

 

The Three P’s of Creative Writing

 

 I’ve done quite a bit of writing through the years. I’ve drafted handful of short stories, some of which I like more than others, and five novels I really like, though not all of them have turned out to be “good” novels.

 

 I’ve discovered that successful writing requires a lot of things, a number of which are related to mechanics. A good author needs grammar, a knack for pacing, solid character development, and a cohesive style that’s all her own. The mechanics of writing, however, are the surface-level requirements, and they aren’t what I want to reflect on today.

 

 You see, mastering the mechanics requires many things from an aspiring writer emotionally. The building blocks of creative writing have building blocks of their own, and those are the things I want draw attention to, because it’s often tempting to focus on the mechanics—on wanting to improve our writing, on recognizing where we lack—without thinking about the mindset we need to make improvement possible.

 

 On that note, I want to give you my three P’s of writing. These are emotional goals to set for yourself, because they are at the root of all completed novels and all authorial success: perspective, pride, and perseverance.

 

 

PERSPECTIVE

 

 Perspective is always key. In fact, writing quality fiction requires various kinds of perspective.

 

 First, you need to adopt an outsider’s perspective, as much as you can, and evaluate your work in an unbiased manner. Don’t put on rose-colored glasses and gush over your work, and don’t become defensive when you get constructive feedback from beta readers and editors. Their comments, advice, and respectful criticism are the best tools you could have to improve your writing.

 

 Secondly, you need to keep your progress as a writer in perspective. You should recognize that other writers may be further along the road than you, so it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to them, their success, and the quality of their work. They may be twenty years older than you and have been writing for fifteen more years than you have. Expecting yourself to “match up” to that is unreasonable and detrimental to your motivational mindset.

 

 Remember that writing is a skill that takes time to develop, and each milestone you reach, each step along the way that constitutes an improvement, is something to be celebrated. Don’t expect to jump from stage one to stage eight, and don’t be upset you’re not at stage ten yet. Try to be excited that you’re advancing steadily from stage two to stage three.

 

 This leads to:

 

 

PRIDE

 

 Develop a healthy pride in your potential and in the accomplishments you have under your belt. That first draft? It’s a genuine accomplishment, so don’t cheapen it because it’s not great, or not something you think you can ever publish, no matter how much work you put into it. You need to keep your confidence up to keep stretching and growing your skills.

 

 Whatever you do, don’t be ashamed of your work—and especially your early work—because it needs improvement. Writing’s never about being perfect. It’s about continual development.

 

 

PERSEVERANCE

 

 You will never be motivated to keep developing if you can’t keep your eye on the prize. Know what you want to achieve with your writing, and shoot for that goal. Advance with baby steps if you have to; that’s still advancement, right?

 

 Perhaps you want to write something worth publishing: great! Perhaps you never intend to publish and you write for yourself, as a hobby, to relieve stress and provide yourself a creative outlet. That’s perfect too. You can celebrate the joy of finishing a chapter, of getting that outline done, of connecting with and learning from your characters.

 

 The trick is to keep writing, and reading as well. Remember how writing’s all about continual development? You can’t grow if you aren’t writing. Which leads to the fourth P, the P all the others lead to.

 

 

PRACTICE

Write. Just write. Maybe you’ll reach your ultimate goals, and maybe you won’t. You won’t, for sure, if you don’t keep writing. You’ll have no chance.

 

 

If you keep things in perspective and realize that writing a novel is a long, hard journey that involves stops and starts and blocks for everyone; if you take pride in your small accomplishments and advances; and if you persevere on the days you don’t want to write and through periods of self-doubt that perspective and pride will help to minimize; then you will keep writing. You will practice, and practice some more. While in this case practice can’t make perfect, it can most definitely get you where you want to go.

 

 

BIO

grefer

Victoria Grefer is from New Orleans, Louisiana. A lifelong student and avid reader, she has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English and a master’s degree in Spanish literature from the University of Alabama. She has taught Spanish and tutored, and now is establishing herself as a freelance translator and perhaps editor as well. She is the author of the Herezoth trilogy, sword and sorcery fantasy beginning with The Crimson League and ending May 31, 2013 with The King’s Sons. She blogs daily about creative writing and marketing fiction at www.crimsonleague.com.

 

 

She is soon to release a writer’s handbook entitled Writing for You: A Novelist’s Guide to the Craft of Fiction, addressing aspects not only of mechanics and style, but the emotional barriers that can impede aspiring writers (and even experienced ones) from making progress with their work.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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Approaching burn-out…

so tired

I got my final draft in for IXEOS: Rebellion today at noon. It was supposed to be sent in over the weekend. I definitely misjudged how the graduation weekend would go with my daughter and family, but also, I’m just burned out. This book will be the sixth I’ve published since July. Now, I didn’t write them all since July, but I’ve written half since then, and all of them since November 2011. My brain is staging a protest.

So I am officially on sabbatical. My daughter just graduated from college, my son is graduating from high school tomorrow, and my daughter (yes, same one) is getting married on June 22. I had planned to write this month, but I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me. I know the story. It will get told. Just not right now. Right now, I’m going to enjoy spring (if it ever comes) and summer, my kids, the wedding, some travel… I’m going to refresh and relax and READ, and take walks and go to the beach. I’m going to refill the well, which is pretty darn dry right now.

I will be blogging, but I’ve invited some people to guest post over the summer. I hope you’ll stick around, but if you decide to take a summer sabbatical, enjoy it! Sometimes you just realize that life is short, you know? This normally-type-B gal has been playing type-A for too long now. It’s time for some fun, rest, and maybe a few frozen fruity drinks from time to time.

(However, all that being said, IXEOS: Rebellion will be coming out next month, and I’ve got some fun stuff planned, including an IXEOS survival pack giveaway worth $170. Stay tuned for how to enter!)

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Filed under Publishing, Writing

Amanda DeBord – Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Please welcome Amanda DeBord!

When I first started hearing the buzz about this new guide, Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, I was a bit skeptical.  Not like you think, though.  I knew some of the people involved and had (obviously) heard of just a few others ifyouknowwhoi’mtalkingabout.  I had no doubt the final product would be high-quality.  No, my skepticism was over my understanding of the venture.  We’re putting out a book with advice from Neil Gaiman and Orson Scott Card and … me?  Surely there must be some mistake.  Just take a minute to read the names at the top of the list.  What are these people doing, giving advice, anyway?  It’s not like they actually try at this stuff.  I’m pretty sure Neil Gaiman just wakes up each morning, and the Gods of Awesomeness have delivered his latest product tooth-fairy-style on a golden platter on his nightstand.  Right? 

So, I’m only being a little silly here, but I think you know what I’m getting at.  When I first started to take seriously the thought of myself as a writer, one thing constantly frustrated me.  No matter how happy I was with a piece I’d written, no matter how close to flawless I felt I’d gotten, there was still something intangible between my stuff and their stuff.  I wasn’t a “real” writer.  I was just someone who wrote.  There was something missing there – some spark, some specialness that was the secret handshake to the club where the real writers hung out.  We are not the same people. 

It wasn’t long before I found myself taking part in some critiquing circles, and found myself doing some editing, which is all just fancy forms of one of my favorite past-times: giving advice.  “You know what I’d do with this character if I were you?”  That sort of thing.  I got advice myself, too.  From writers better than me.   From writers worse than me.   And it all helped.  Still does, in fact.

That’s just the thing.  All writers are readers at heart, and we all struggle with the blank page.  Just like you.  Sometimes the stories come fast, out of nowhere, and really do feel like they’re laid like mysterious packages on our doorstep.   With others, we battle with every word.  Sometimes, we read an essay by Orson Scott Card and it inspires us to try something new.  Sometimes, we break out that dusty old Strunk & White and remind ourselves just how to use a semi-colon.  Sometimes, we read a round-table interview with Amanda DeBord and it helps us understand why that editor was being such a jerk, and why we really shouldn’t send her hate mail.  They’re all building blocks.   

And, all this advice from all of these people, top of the page to bottom shows you something very important.  We are all the same people.  Forgive my hubris, and realize the hidden message in what all of these great writers are saying in their essays in this book: This is what worked for me.  I’ve struggled with what you’re struggling with, and here’s the lantern that lit my way. 

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