Tag Archives: KDP Select

Getting books ready to publish – the long haul!

CalvinAndHobbes plastic binder

I have published four books since last July. My latest, IXEOS, just got its official launch on March 10, 2013 (although it was technically published in mid-February, just before I left for Uganda). My husband has self published two books since last October, which I helped edit and produce. I have many more in the works for this year, and it looks like I’m already bumping production into next year with the addition of a couple of titles our publishing company is going to produce. All that to say, I have learned a thing or two about the process. And the one thing I can say definitively is, regardless of how long the actual process from writing to publication takes (weeks, months or years), it’s a long haul.

I am in the midst of editing book 2 of the IXEOS Trilogy, IXEOS: Rebellion. I am writing a nonfiction book about homeschooling. I am going to start writing book 3 of the trilogy, Darian’s War, on April 1 (or thereabouts – I’ll be out of town then, so not sure if I’ll be able to start til the 4th) for Camp NaNoWriMo. Meanwhile, I’ve got two other projects from other people that I’ve agreed to publish under Ross James Publishing. Not to mention promotion and marketing and all that stuff.

So what does it really take to get a book from your head to an ebook on a reader’s Kindle, or a paperback in someone’s hands at the beach?

1. Write. Obviously, the first step to writing a book is… writing the book. There are a lot of ways to go about doing that, and I’ve explored my own personal “do it really fast” style a’la NaNoWriMo here in other posts. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, no matter whether you outline and make index cards and use Stickie notes or a dartboard, the bottom line is you have to get the first draft done. Period. Until then, researching or spending time looking at self-publishing blogs is merely taking time away from your writing. Just do it!

2. Edit. The first draft is the F.I.R.S.T. draft. It’s not the final draft, or even the middlest draft. You will probably spend more time editing than you did actually writing, and most of us don’t think it’s super fun. But it’s super necessary, so you’ll have to do it. If you aren’t a good editor, you can hire one or find a friend or family member. There are different kinds of editing, though, so make sure you’re familiar with them.

  • There are content or story editors, who aren’t so much looking at grammar as at your story as a whole, at the characters, at subplots you might have left hanging. These editors can help you polish your story into a bright and shiny gem.
  • Then there are line editors (sometimes called copy editors). This kind of editing looks at dialogue, motivation, characterization, POV, showing vs telling, etc, and makes suggestions along the way, with a summary at the end.
  • Finally, you can get a proofreader, sometimes (confusingly) called a copy editor also. This is editing for typographical errors, grammar problems, misspelled words, and the like.

Word processing programs like Word and Scrivener have spelling and grammar checking tools, and you can use an outside program like Grammarly as well. NOTE that, if you run a piece through all three, you will get differing recommendations, and each program will catch misspellings and typos that the others didn’t. You still have to read and make decisions — don’t just take the program’s word for something, especially when it comes to grammar inside dialogue.

My editing process involves a quick edit after the first draft is completed, read-throughs by beta readers (a couple of whom are great at content editing), a pen-and-paper edit followed by putting those edits into the document, then at least two more edits, followed by all three grammar programs, followed by at least one more read through. Yes, it’s very time consuming and repetitive, and yes, you still have to do it!

3. Cover art.  I use a great company called Streetlight Graphics for my cover art and formatting. I am a nightmare at Photoshop, and am not a graphic artist, so paying one to do my covers is well worth the cost. After having a well written book, probably the most important thing you can do is to have a good, professional cover. Fair or not, people will pass over a book with an obviously homemade, unprofessional cover. That’s just a fact. If there’s one thing you should pay for, this would be it. Explore other books in your genre and decide what you do and don’t like. I’m really not a fan of people on my covers, other than in silhouette (and even then I don’t love it). If I have to have a person, I don’t want a head… I think the character should be drawn by the reader’s imagination, not the cover artist. You don’t have to agree with me — obviously, many don’t. But you do need to decide what you like, and then find a cover artist who will work with you to make that a reality.

4. Formatting. I read all the time, and do not doubt that it’s true, that you can learn to format your own books for print and ebook, and that, after a few books, you can do it in an hour. As I said, I don’t doubt it, and, if I were on an absolute shoestring budget, I’ll probably try and tackle it. Fortunately, my budget isn’t that tight, and Streetlight offers a package price to do the cover art, formating and an ad piece, so I let the experts do what they do. If you do it yourself, find some bloggers who do it and ask questions. Dean Wesley Smith does his own, and you can read about it on his blog. I think you can do all the ebook formatting using Calibre, but I don’t honestly know. If my life gets less crazy, I may look into it one day… but maybe not!

5. Promotion.  When my first book, Solomon’s Throne, came out, I really didn’t do any promoting ahead of time. I didn’t know about the “start promoting six months in advance” thing, and even now, I don’t do that. I do promote ahead now, a little, but not six months, although I talk about my upcoming books on my blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter. If you have the money and can run some ads, you can do some “coming soon” promotion. A good use of funds might be a blog tour that will build anticipation for the book. My feeling on it is, there’s no time limit on books now, not like with traditional publishers who have a six-month window to call you a success or not. I published my IXEOS in February, knowing full well I wasn’t going to start promoting a hard launch of it until March. Why? Well, why not? It didn’t cost me a thing to put it up online on either Createspace or Amazon. And I had some sales just through word of mouth. My promotions started March 10, and I am promoting it hard for the first couple of months with two blog tours, a lot of advertising, and the like. Promotion is never-ending, really. So start, learn, ask questions (I’m in two Facebook author groups that are amazingly generous with information on what they’ve done that works, what was a bomb, etc, and I’d suggest joining them or ones like them. They’re Fostering Success and the Alliance of Independent Authors/ALLi.)

6. Upload the book. You will definitely want to upload to CreateSpace or Lightning Source to have a paperback copy of your book. I use CreateSpace and have had no problems with them, and they are owned by Amazon so getting your ebook up is pretty seamless. Both have a good reputation, though, so research which looks best to you, but only do one, because you only want one ISBN out there for paperback. CreateSpace takes a couple of days to get a proof to you. Many people order print proofs to go through; I use the digital online proof. Either way, check it and make sure it looks like you want it to, especially if you didn’t hire someone to format the print version for you.

Next you’ll want to upload to Amazon. Amazon and CreateSpace are incredibly easy to use. All you need are your covers, your interior files, a blurb for your description, and your author bio. They lead you through the rest. You’ll be asked to decide if you want to participate in the KDP Select program. If so, you’re done uploading, because your ebook has to be exclusive with Amazon while you are participating. It usually takes about 8-12 hours, but can take up to a day or two, for your book to be live.

If you are not enrolling in KDP Select, you’ll want to upload to the other ebook platforms. My suggestion is to do Barnes and Noble and Kobo first, because they’re easy. Smashwords will enroll in them for you, but you have more control of price changes, and more royalties, if you do them yourself. Smashwords is more challenging in terms of formatting, so if you aren’t hiring someone, make sure you follow the guidelines. I would enroll through Smashwords to Apple, because the Apple iBookstore sight is a nightmare. (I love all things Apple… except that. That is a worm-hole-filled piece of rotten fruit!)

What is KDP Select?  If you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ve already noticed that you can “borrow” ebooks. I think it’s one per month. It works like a library – you borrow a book, and, once you “return” it, you can borrow another. For authors, what this entails is:

Making your ebook exclusive to Amazon for a 90 day (or longer, if you choose) period.

Getting paid from the Select Fund for all the borrows of your book. Amazon has a fund, usually about $700,000, that is divided by the total number of borrows for the month. Each author is then paid that amount times the number of borrows they had. So if you had 100 borrows, and the fund payout was $2/borrow, you’d get $200.

Five free days are available to you for each 90 day period. This means you can offer your ebook to Kindle users for free. This apparently used to lead to a lot of follow-up sales, although the algorithms had changed a lot by the time I published my first book and I’ve never found that to be terribly true. But I’ve had a book get in the top 50 on Amazon’s free list, and that gets it a lot of exposure. I use the program as a loss leader, a business term meaning a product on which you are willing to take a loss because it drives sales to other products. Because I have two Quinn adventures, I enrolled the first one in KDPS twice, using the free downloads as a way to drive people to book two, The Hoard of the Doges. I’m doing the same with IXEOS, since it’s the first book in a trilogy. I do not recommend perpetual enrollment in the program, nor do I recommend an always-free title, but some people swear by both, so you’ll need to research and make your own decisions there. Joe Konrath has some great insights into KDPS on his blog.

7. Promotion and Marketing… Again. See #5 and repeat! When it comes to “building a platform,” my suggestion is to do only those things you love. I enjoy Facebook, and while I don’t love Twitter, it’s fine. I blog on this blog and two others which aren’t writing related. That’s it. I don’t enjoy Goodreads (I find the site very difficult to use) so I don’t use it often. I joined Triberr and couldn’t figure it out. I don’t get Google+ and have no interest in Linkedin. Find what works for you and focus on those things. Leave enough time for writing!

8. Write the next book, and the next, and the next, and keep working through this list with each one.

There’s a lot of heavy lifting (metaphorically speaking) in indie publishing, but the rewards are tremendous. We aren’t all Joe Konraths (yet!), but he shows us what is possible. The focus, as writers needs to be on writing first. You’ll sell more books the more books you have available, so always keep that your first priority. As with most things, the internet is great, but it is a huge time-sucker… Stay focused on your goal and your writing, and you’ll do great!

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Is Self Publishing Really the Wild West?

courage-picture-11

As an indie author, I try to keep up with trends in the industry. Since self publishing is so new, it seems like a “trend” is anything that’s been going on for a month or two, or at least that how it seems. There are some really good people doing some really good research into what’s happening in indie-author land, and these people are certainly more in the know than I am. You can read Joe Konrath’s blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Self-Publishing, and get a ton of really useful information, plus Joe is incredibly open about his sales figures. Dean Wesley Smith and his wife Kristine Kathryn Rush have very different ideas on self publishing than Konrath does, especially when it comes to offering (or not offering) free promotions. All of them are successful and full of information, and the indie author needs to take away what suits their personality, style, and willingness to work on areas other than writing.

I read this article yesterday written by Jane Friedman, which was posted in my Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) group, called “5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention.” One of the suggestions is counter to most advice these days — she suggests that writers do NOT work to build a platform. Here’s the pull quote:

“If you’re a totally new, unpublished writer who is focused on fiction, memoir, poetry, or any type of narrative-driven work, forget you ever heard the word platform. I think it’s causing more damage than good. It’s causing writers to do things that they dislike (even hate), and that are unnatural for them at an early stage of their careers. They’re confused, for good reason, and platform building grows into a raging distraction from the work at hand—the writing.

Therefore, build your platform by writing and publishing in outlets that are a good fit for you, lead to professional growth, and build your network. The other pieces will start to fall into place. It might take longer, but who cares if you’re feeling productive and enjoying yourself? Go be a writer and take a chance on the writing. Writing and publishing good work always supports the growth of your platform—and I’m willing to bet more valuable platform building will get done that way, especially for narrative-driven writers.”

Today, Jane’s friend Dan Blank posted this article called “The Dirty Secret of the Author Platform (Hint: It’s Difficult)” and while he doesn’t totally disagree with Jane, he says this, “No one is more motivated to communicate the value of your book more than you, the author. Why should you consider building an author platform now? Because it takes time to develop meaningful relationships and trust with others.

Should this only be pursued by serious writers? Yes, because this is hard work. Establishing an author platform is about ensuring your book is not just “published,” but finds readers and has an impact in their lives. It is about thinking about a book beyond just an object whose effect is measured by a publication date or a point of sale. That the book is something that lives in the hearts and minds of readers long after it is read.

This is what an author platform delivers.”

So… Platform or no platform? Free books or no free books? Sell only on Amazon, or put your book into every possible outlet the world over? These are only a few of the conflicting questions out there; they barely scratch the surface of the debate going on in this new wild, wild west arena of indie publishing. And don’t even get me started on the vast and varying opinions of Amazon and their ever-changing algorithms.

As a new author — my first book won’t be a year old until July — I can, at times, feel overwhelmed with all of this advice, certainty, even dogma. It’s a lot like when I first started homeschooling my kids. There was so much conflicting information out there, and everyone was sure that they were right. What I came to learn over the years is that a lot of them were right… For their own family and children. For mine? Not so much.

We have to sift through the vast, amazing, and generous treasure trove of shared information out there and seek out those nuggets that really speak to us. Just like we don’t all write the same books, we also can’t run our indie author business the same way. For some people, only listing their books for sale on Amazon works. 99% of their sales come from Amazon, the advertising and promotion outlets for any other book platform is sorely lacking to non-existent, and it’s one thing to check each day. For others, they can’t imagine not having their book on B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, iBookstore, their own website, and print copies available to drop off at libraries and independent bookstores within a two hundred mile radius of their house. They don’t look at low sales on any one channel as a nuisance, but rather see those small numbers adding up to large ones.

Neither one of these is wrong. The Amazon-only person is happy because they don’t have so much to keep up with, and (potentially) they can spend more of their time writing. The be-everywhere author is happy because there is virtually no corner of the globe where his or her book is unavailable.

The same goes for platform building. For me personally, I do three things: this blog, Facebook and Twitter. Yes, I am on Goodreads, too, but I check it about once a month. I find the site difficult to use both as a reader and as a writer, and, at least in my genres, the forums not very active. I do Giveaways on them periodically, and am thrilled they let me do that, and I accept all friend requests, but that’s about it. I joined Triberr and couldn’t figure it out. I get asked to do things on Linkedin all the time, but I have no interest there. Google+… I just don’t get it. I know there are other things that people have had great success with, but for me, either the learning curve is too high (like Triberr) or I just can’t get into it. Even the few things I do sometimes seem like too much work, so I’ve decided that I’m okay with my three things.

But if you love social media, and keeping up with a large author platform is fun for you, then you should do it! Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Marketing and promotion? Same thing. Blog tours work for me. I know writing guest posts and doing interviews is a big time committment, but I genuinely love to teach and explain and clarify, and blogs let me do that much better than a 140 character Tweet. I don’t put a lot about my books on Twitter or Facebook, mostly just status reports on new projects and word counts, cover reveals, and free day promotions. The rest is about writing. I’m not great at selling things… hopefully, I’m okay at selling myself. I do paid advertising pretty aggressively, and spend a good amount of time on it. Could I find more free stuff? Probably. Honestly, it’s just too much work, when a guaranteed feature is only $5 on so many sites. But is it the wrong way to go? Absolutely not! Free is great when you can get it, and there’s a lot of ways to do it if you’re patient and persistent.

Okay, one caveat. Please, please, please… Do not use Twitter as a scrolling billboard. Honestly. I, and most others, will unfriend you. I try to retweet a couple of things a day, and sometimes it is next to impossible to find something, anything, that isn’t an ad. Do us all a favor (including yourself) and save 90% of your ads for places ads are supposed to go!

The bottom line? No matter what you do, success isn’t a sprint. As my fortune cookie so wisely said, “Success is a planned event.” And true success doesn’t come overnight. It comes with perseverance, with days and weeks and months, and yes, even years, of consistent work. It comes with writing the best books you can write, putting the best covers on them you can find, and doing the best you can to get it in the hands of readers. Amazon change their algorithms just before you were going to put your first book in KDP Select? If you have another book coming soon, do it anyway. It won’t generate a lot of follow-up sales these days, but you’ll get some people who love your work and will buy the next one. If someone tells you not to do it, and you still feel like it’s the right thing to do, then do it! What’s the worst that can happen? You get a bunch of free books into other people’s hands, and you tie up your ebook for 90 days with Amazon. That’s all. The sky won’t fall. The indie author police won’t come to your house.

Be brave and courageous, and stay true to yourself. After all, you published a novel! How awesome is that? You’ve already done an amazing thing by following your heart. Keep doing that, keep taking the advice that speaks to you, and forge your own path. You’re as unique as your book!

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The wonderful Author Marketing Club (subtitle: Marketing makes me crazy!)

I have been doing a LOT of work on marketing, trying to get my free day promos set up, ads for days following the free days set up, ads for things having nothing to do with free days set up… Basically, I’ve been trying to get all my marketing set through January, and a good start on February — this is because a) I re-enrolled Solomon’s Throne in KDP Select due to their lovely bonus money (aka bribe), and b) I have a new release set for late January and need to be able to focus.

I linked to a lot of sites, both paid and free, in this post on marketing the other day. This weekend I’ve found another, called the Author Marketing Club. One fabulous thing about this site (which, of course, I didn’t discover until I’d done a ton of digging myself) is that you can post your free book days to other sites directly from their site. They have links to about 20 sites that feature free books, including their own. One stop shopping – and trust me, if you knew how long it took me to dig up the sites I listed in my most recent marketing post, you’d realize how valuable this is!

What are some other things you can do?

  • Upload your book trailer and get reviews on it. I am in the process of being in the process of getting a book trailer done, so this is awesome.
  • Get a crash course in book marketing. They have videos and articles posted on the site to help you start marketing, correct your marketing if it’s not producing results, and how to build your author platform. Again, if I’d only found this a few months ago, I’d have saved a TON of time!
  • Participate in forums. You can ask for reviews, and chat about tricks and tips for Amazon. Indie authors are an amazing group of people, always so willing to share what works and what doesn’t, so the more input you get, the better.
  • Have your book featured. The Author Marketing Club has an email list of some 3,000 subscribers, and you can have your book featured in those emails. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot more people than I have on my email list!

I’m new to the site, so I’m sure there’s much more to discover, but I can already see that this is going to be a valuable resource. And it’s FREE! I love free!

Let me know if you find any other great marketing sites, either for advertising books, or for how-to’s. I’m putting together my own crash course!

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Master of Marketing? Not so much…

I may not be the master of marketing, but I’m learning. Learning on the job, flying by the seat of my pants, learning to swim before I drown. And actually getting reasonably organized and coming up with reasonable plans. I know, it’s shocking!

I’ve got some free promo days coming up this month with Amazon through the KDP Select program, and, unlike my last 7 free promo days (2 weekends with Solomon’s Throne, and one with Undaunted Love), I’m actually doing some promotion. *gasp* Yes, I didn’t know what I was doing last time around — but I still got a combined 4,000 free downloads, so imagine the possibilities if I actually have this little thing called a PLAN.

And I do! It’s in writing, even, not just bouncing around my head. So I thought I’d share it with you, and then we’ll see how it all unfolds. (Please note I only linked each source once – call it lazy, but all those hyperlinks make me a little nuts!)

UNDAUNTED LOVE

I have a free three day weekend coming up for Undaunted Love, December 14-16. Now, I have learned since booking it that weekends aren’t the best days for your free promo days, but I didn’t change it, for several reasons (my week in the Bahamas that starts on December 16 being one of them). My other promos have been on weekends and done okay, so I’m sticking with it this time.

So here’s what I’m doing to market the book:

December 13:  I will update the Christian groups on Goodreads that the book will be free and the promo is going on. This is free, I just have to remember to do it.

December 14:  I have a free listing with Christian Ebooks Today, a possible free listing (one day during the three) with Pixel of Ink, a paid ($5) guaranteed listing with Bargain eBook Hunter, and a paid ad on Daily Free Books ($13).

December 15: A maybe with Pixel of Ink, a paid guaranteed listing with Pixelscroll ($5), and the Daily Free Books ad ($13).

December 16: A maybe with Pixel of Ink, and the Daily Free Books ad ($13). I will probably do one more guaranteed listing, but most only allow 1 listing per book in a 30 day period, so I’m still looking on that one.

December 17-18: (pending confirmation) I am doing the Social Media Mania with the World Literary Cafe ($40/day). I’ll lower the book price, probably to 99 cents, through December 21.

January 4: Undaunted Love (and my key lime pie) will be featured on the Romance Recipes blog.

SOLOMON’S THRONE

Because this book is continuing to do well and sales are going up, plus the fact that there’s a sequel that happy readers of this book will like, I’m putting more money into this one. As I mentioned before, I re-upped it into KDP Select through February, which gives me 5 more free promo days. I’m going to play with these a bit this time, and see what works. I’ll be updating the Action/Adventure group on Goodreads, too.

Now through December 10: My Goodreads giveaway is still going on. I’ll be giving away 20 books after I get the list of winners on the 11th.

Now until the money runs out: I have a Goodreads per-click ad running. I think this is doing well – a lot of people are adding the book to their to-read lists, and my sales are up. After the first month I narrowed the filters so a lot less people are seeing the ad, but I assume that more people who are clicking it are actually interested. At 75 cents a click, that’s important. (I put in $300, but have used less than $200 in about 5-6 weeks. The ad will end when the money’s gone.)

December 26: Free promo day. This is a gamble. I’m counting on people like me, who, if I got a Kindle for Christmas, would spend the next day getting books for it. It could be a bust, too. We’ll see! I wasn’t able to get an ad with Daily Free Books, as they were sold out (a good sign for my strategy?), but I have the following: A guaranteed listing with Bargain eBook Hunter ($5); a guaranteed listing with Pixelscroll ($5), a possible listing with Pixel of Ink, and a listing with Free Kindle Fiction.

December 27-29: I am lowering the book price to $2.99 for three days post-promo, and (pending confirmation) will have an ad for two of the three days with the Kindle Book Review as “Today’s Hot Deal” ($45). UPDATE: Those dates aren’t available, so I’ll either do 1/1 and 1/2, or move it to after my free days in Feb.

December 31: Free promo day. Daily Free Books ad ($17). If the Kindle Book Review “Today’s Hot Deal” doesn’t work out, I’ll have to fill in the space from 1/1 through 1/3 or so with something else.

January 2-16: Banner ad on Daily Free Books ($7.50/week). I did this last month, and I think I had sales from it, so I’ll try it again. At $7.50/week, why not?!

January 1-31: I am doing the Jitterbug PR Blog tour ($120 with my Fostering Success discount). I’m doing the Jive package, which is at least 20 blog tour stops with author interviews, guest blogs, giveaways, etc., plus promotion on the Jitterbug blog and a page with this great banner.

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February 12-13: Two more free promo days. I have a listing on Bargain eBook Hunter for the 12th, and Pixelscroll for the 13th. I’ll be doing more ads, but I want to see how the things I’ve got going on pan out first.

THE HOARD OF THE DOGES

I have done zero advertising for this book to date, but sales are picking up almost daily. It’s now selling consistently about 2/3 of what Solomon’s Throne is, which can only be attributed to the “Coming Soon” and excerpt in the back of Solomon’s Throne, as well as maybe some “Also Boughts” on Amazon.

January 2-16: The first ad will run on Daily Free Kindle ($7.50) with Solomon’s Throne.

BOTTOM LINE:

I have learned you have to promote your free days, but even more, you have to promote during the 2-4 days after your free days, when you’re still up on the Amazon rankings. Reducing the price during those days is a good idea, especially for a book like Undaunted Love that hasn’t found its legs yet. That one I’ll take down to 99 cents for a few days; Solomon’s Throne is selling well at $4.99, so I’ll probably have that one on sale at $2.99.

So we’ll see! If I could spend one day a week planning marketing, and only work the social media the other days, that would be great. With a new release in late January, in a different genre (that’s a whole other post!), I’ll be taking what I’m learning with all this and hopefully get off to a faster start. I am so, so, so grateful to all the other indie authors out there who so graciously share their successes and failures with us, so we can all learn.

I hope this helps, at least a little, and I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes!

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Amazon logarithms and being a ‘best seller’

As of right now, Solomon’s Throne is #5 on Amazon’s Action/Adventure list! That’s super exciting, obviously, and it’s happening because I put it as a free download on Amazon over the weekend.

Now, what that means in practical terms is that KDP Select, which is Amazon’s lending library for Amazon Prime members, allows authors to have 5 “giveaway” days during each 90 day enrollment period. When you borrow it from KDP Select, of course it’s free, but you don’t get to keep it — they whisk it away from your device when you indicate you’re done, so you can borrow another book. But with the giveaway days, you can download it to own, and it doesn’t cost you anything.

I don’t get any royalties from the free downloads, so from a purely financial standpoint, it’s a loss. (With KDP Select, Amazon has a set amount of money for the month, and divides that by the total number of “borrows” across the whole program, and then multiplies that by the number you had for your royalty.) But what it does is get my book in people’s hands. And hopefully they’ll like what they read, and want to read more. Conveniently (okay, it was planned), the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, The Hoard of the Doges, will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. What that potentially means is that all (or a percentage) of the people who download the first Quinn book for free will like it enough to want to read the next book, for which they will be happy to pay.

I have 3 more free days, and I’m planning a second free weekend either just as, or just before, I release the sequel. The sum total of the KDP borrows, the regular purchases, and the 5 free days will be in the thousands. And my marketing strategy is to have a place to point them… I’ll let you know if it works!

One of the problems of writing in different genres is the backlist. I wanted to get the 2 Quinn books out close together, so that readers who enjoy the treasure hunt/adventure would have a second book to read. But my other published novel, Undaunted Love, is a Christian historical romance.

Some of the people who read Solomon’s Throne will also like Undaunted Love – Solomon’s Throne has had great appeal to women because of the strong female main character, the marital relationship between the Quinns, and the fact that, while there’s excitement, body parts aren’t flying around. So some of those reader will like Undaunted Love. Probably more readers of Undaunted Love will like the Quinn books, truth be told. My current work in progress is a Young Adult dystopian low fantasy… It might appeal to the Quinn lovers, and probably won’t to the romance lovers. I have an idea for my NaNoWriMo book, which, if it works out, would be published next spring. It will be a Christian historical romance/suspense set in WWII. Again – those readers will like the Quinn books, and certainly Undaunted Love… But vice versa, probably not.

You see how complicated it is? I could make it easier by writing in one genre, but I can’t seem to do that. I couldn’t write another Quinn book right now – I don’t even want to think of a plot – although people have already asked me when the next one is coming. I wrote a dystopian screenplay in April, and now this dystopian YA, but I don’t want to write another dystopian for awhile. I was leaving the genre open for my NaNo idea (and also leaving open the fact that I might not have a NaNo idea!), but I think this one could have legs.

What this means is two-fold:  I have a lot more marketing cut out for me than a lot of authors who only write in one genre, get a following, and can pretty much guarantee to sell their next books to those wonderful readers. And even with that knowledge, I still like to cross genres, and will continue to do so.

What my books all have in common is good research, interesting plots, language that’s clean (even the Quinn books have only a little swearing, and nothing “bad”), and I leave the sex to your imagination. I want my kids to be able to read my books and be proud to recommend them to their friends. I want them to be entertaining, and for the reader to enjoy the plot and maybe learn something about history they didn’t know, and not feel like they have to take a shower afterwards. When someone says, “Is your book okay for a 9th grader?” I want to be able to say, “Yes” confidently.

I hope you’ll find something in my work that you like. My goal is to entertain, not write the next great American novel, but I work hard at them and try to present a great story and characters for you to fall in love with. Let me know how I’m doing!

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