Friday, June 22, 2018

Brief Marketing Update 1

I'm doing some test marketing right now.  This post is as much about me keeping it straight as information for you guys if you're interested in marketing data.  Bear with me.

So yesterday, I had a $10 ad go out for AD.  I sold 5 books and earned just under $4. 

This morning, I posted sales links for AD to various FB groups* for free and, within an hour, sold 2 books. 

Today, two more ads go out at $6 each.  One for AD and one for NC.  :fingers crossed:

The reason the title of this post says '1' is that I'm going to try to post an update later if sales change.  If you don't see an update, there was no change.

* The FB groups posted to were: Amazon Kindle Goodreads, Indie Authors International, eBook World, Self Published Crime Fiction Writers, and Crime, Thriller and Mystery Readers' Cafe.  Since the books I sold were in the UK, I'm going to assume the Indie Authors International group gained me those sales, but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sale Time Again

Years ago, there was this furniture store that would have so many sales it was hard to discern if any of them were really special.  It was like 'oh, yawn, they're having a sale again'.  I am trying to keep that in mind when I have these sales, but it seems like the number of books I sell hinges on having 'sales'. 

So here we are again.  Another sale.  This time, the books of the 'A Dennis Haggarty Mystery' series are both on sale for 99c or .99p.  Now until Sunday. 

I know a great deal of people have purchased Accidental Death since it's release in 2015, so now's their chance to pick up the second book - Natural Causes - for cheap.  See what's happening with Dennis and Jillian and Pat. 

Accidental Death, as you may know, is particularly close to my heart.  You know, the wife of a former city manager writing about the widow of a deceased city manager.  That sort of thing.  All spun up into a hard-boiled, noir-like mystery with characters you could meet in any small town on the eastern plains of Colorado.  (Or anywhere else in America, truth be told.  I borrowed some traits from people I knew back in small town Michigan, too.)

Natural Causes progresses from there with the problems of a small mountain town instead of a small plains town, but the problems aren't that much different.  Murder, mayhem, cover up, with Dennis investigating it all and trying to stay sane.

Anyway, I hope you'll give them a try.  Or if you've already tried Accidental Death, will give Natural Causes a whirl, too. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sleeping Ugly... The Story Behind the Story

Years ago, when I was a teen, my middle brother was home on leave from the Air Force.  I remember staggering out of my bedroom one morning and hearing the words "Stop plucking your eyebrows like that.  You look like a..."  Wait... that's not the right story...

Another time, when he was home on leave, I stumble out of my bedroom and hear the words "You're not Sleeping Beauty.  You're Sleepin' Ugly."

My brother is funny that way.  And just so you know, he's my favorite brother* - witty comic statements and all.  (Actually, his witty statements are probably part of the reason he's my favorite.)

Flash forward about thirty years and the phrase came to mind one day when I was trying to decide what to write next.  Along with the phrase came the idea of a super model who gets cursed so that when she falls asleep at night, she turns ugly. 

That's clever, but not enough to build a whole story around.  So I sat down and did some thinking.  She can't just turn ugly and be ugly.  It wasn't enough.  So I made the curse not stop there.  She gets better looking throughout the day until she's back to herself by the time she falls asleep (or midnight, whichever comes first) and then BAM!  Ugly again.  Every night. 

But it's not just her.  The one night stand she was with the night the curse hit her got it, too.  Except his curse is slightly different.  He's ugly from sundown to sunup.  Which sucks for him because he works nights as a bouncer at a trendy nightclub. 

And then the fun begins.  Who cursed them?  Was the curse aimed at her or at him? 

And then, of course, I couldn't stop there.  I mean, that's probably enough of a pain in both their asses, but I threw another wrench in the machine and had the cops show up for something totally unrelated.  Or is it? 

Bwa ha ha.

And all of this came about because sometime back in the '80s, my brother was being a wiseass.  So, yeah, I'm dedicating this book to him.  Because he gave me the title, and it's a wiseass kind of book. 

I hope you enjoy it.

*Okay, so maybe he wasn't my favorite at the time.  He was just a jerk older brother then.  And that's okay.  Every teenage girl should have a jerk older brother.  It toughens you up a bit.  In fact, there's a jerk older brother in this book.  WAY worse than mine and still a jerk as an adult.  At least mine stopped being a jerk once we became adults.  (Or I got over myself and stopped perceiving him as a jerk.)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Updates and Stuffs

First off a little reminder that my Dennis Haggarty mysteries - all both of them - will be on sale starting Tuesday.  99c or .99p each (depending on what side of the pond you call home).

Next, I think the residual sales from my Kindle Countdown Deals are wrapping up.  Mind you, all but one of those sales are KU Page Reads.  But I've had almost 8K pages read this month so far and that's about 2K more pages read than last month, which is WAY more than any of the other months this year.  Sure, 8K is nothing compared to a lot of other writers, but hey, it's better than a sharp stick in the ear.

So, the final tally is $76 spent on advertising.  About $170 made in sales.  Not standing under a waterfall of currency here, but I'll take it.  I'll take every sale I can get because it means someone somewhere is reading my books.  Yay!

I updated my balance spreadsheet this past week, so I know exactly where I'm at with Outgo and Sales Income.  Yeah, it was pretty depressing.  For the entirety of this venture (since Nov 2014), I'm approaching the $10K spent mark and I'm just past the $2700 income mark.  Thank Hubs and my side job for keeping this machine running.  Without that, it would all grind to a halt. 

Editing is underway for Sleeping Ugly.  Meanwhile, I'm writing Ugly and the Beast (Yes, I finally gave SU2 a name) and it's rolling along even if I have no clue where it's going or what will happen.

If all goes according to schedule, my cover artist should start work on the SU cover next month.  Again, I am eternally grateful she could squeeze me into her schedule so I can still meet an August release date.  Without her, I'd be screwed.  And without my editor being available I'd be screwed.  I don't want to even think about THAT.

I'm still on the fence as to whether SU2 or Unequal will be next on the publishing schedule.  I suppose it depend on how SU2 goes.   If I can get it written and edited in time to meet a November pub date, then SU2 will be next.  Fingers crossed.  Whatever happens, you will see Unequal by sometime next year.  Good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Onward and upward! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Miranda Rights

Who in this country does not know their Miranda rights?  I mean, seriously.  I knew my Miranda rights by the time I was 12 - from watching cop shows on TV.  I can recite the old version of them by heart now...

You have the right to remain silent.  If you give up this right*, anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.  You have the right to an attorney.  If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.

From watching Live PD, they've added some more words to it, but it's basically the same gist.  Right to remain silent.  Right to an attorney - paid for by the state if you can't fork out the money yourself.  Easy peasy.

The police used to be able to just tell you your rights, but now, I guess, they have to read them off a little card.  They're the same either way.

Before the law enforcement official asks you any questions, he needs to read you your rights.  If he doesn't, anything you say is probably inadmissible in court. (I'm not a lawyer, I just watch a lot of TV.)  So, it benefits the law enforcers to make sure you are read your rights and understand them, so they can ask you stuff. 

So, I find it funny when I'm watching COPS or Live PD and some person is squealing about not being read their rights before they're even to the interrogation phase.  Officers do not need to read rights to put handcuffs on a person.  They don't need to read rights to detain someone.

Then again, if these people were half as smart as they think they are, they probably wouldn't be in handcuffs.  Jus' sayin'.

*That part doesn't sound right to me, but it's late and I'm tired.  I'll correct it in the morning, if I remember.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Reviews

You may have heard that some Amazon reviews are disappearing.  In their defense, they're trying to get rid of fake reviews and scammers to make Amazon a better place to shop.  A noble endeavor, but unfortunately, there has been collateral damage during this bloodbath.  Actual, legitimate reviews are getting caught in the crossfire.  And actual, real, honest authors are taking a hit.

First off, you can't review a book if Amazon thinks you're friends with the author in question.  Because, in their minds, friends can't be objective.  And to use their verbiage it might be 'perceived as bias'.  I've had some reviews I've written suddenly disappear and others get rejected for this very 'reason'.  And it pisses me off.  I am friends with some writers - BECAUSE they write good stuff.  And I review their books because the books are GOOD.  derp.  If that's bias, then I guess I'm biased toward a bunch of awesome writers I don't even know.  I'm not shining readers on.  I'm not faking my enthusiasm, so my friends can get more sales.  I'm geniunely enthusiastic about good writing.  Always.  I'm not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.  For Amazon to delete or reject my reviews is insulting as hell.  Not a damn thing I can do about it, though.

Harrumph. In case you can't tell, I got a 'you can't review this... ever' notice when I tried to post a review for a friend's book that I honestly loved.  GAH!

Yesterday morning, an acquaintance of mine posted to Facebook that Amazon had deleted ALL the reviews she's ever written.  Which explains why Accidental Death had 9 reviews and now only has 8.  I've known this gal since before either of us were published - when we were both part of a group of writers encouraging each other... so like 2006.  She made it going traditional and I'm indie, but we made it.  And now, suddenly, Amazon has decided her reviews are faked.  I hope she's contacting Amazon and pitching a fit.  It sucks for her.

But, yeah, this hurts me.  AD didn't have that many reviews to begin with and I've got a big marketing thing going on starting the 19th.  Every review counts.  And that one I lost was a 5-star.  :sniffle:

Then again, fake reviews hurt us all.  Actual fake reviews.  I'm hoping that once this storm is over, the honest reviewers can get their reviews reinstated.  I'm also hoping that once the storm has passed, and the majority of the shithead scammers are gone, the rest of us will reap the benefits.  We just have to survive this and ride it out.

Hang in there, folks.  It's likely to get worse before it gets better.  Until then, if you want to review a book but Amazon won't let you, go post it to Goodreads.  I'm hopeful this will out get fixed eventually.  Hopeful is all I can be right now.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Events and Fears

This morning I read another excellent post over at Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog - 3 Things You're Probably Not Doing on Goodreads That You Should.  And I hung my head in shame.  They're really not hard things to do and as into Goodreads as I am, I probably should've already been doing them. 

To that end, I created an event for my upcoming sale on the Dennis Haggarty Mysteries.  If you got an invite, great.  If you didn't, you can click the link and join along.  It's my first 'event', so don't be surprised if I did something wrong. 

Now, as for invites.  I sat here for the longest time, trapped in a fearful place and wondering whether I should send invites at all.  I really don't want to irritate people.  Really.  Don't.  So much so that I am loathe to send invites to anybody for anything. 

And that is really stupid on my part. 

People follow me on Goodreads and Facebook because they WANT TO KNOW what's going on with me and/or my books.  So it stands to reason that receiving an invite from me would not be irritating.  Right?

So, I bit the bullet and invited like 200 people.  Pretty much everyone I'm friends with (with the exception of one super bestselling author and one gal I know did not have a fond appreciation for AD.)  If you got an invite, feel free to share it around. 

If you don't follow me on Goodreads, please do.  I'll try to be more active on there. And I'll try not to be such a putz when it comes to inviting you to things.  Hell, I haven't even invited my friends on FB to like my Pages.  Derp.  Maybe I'll suck it up and do that over the weekend.  Baby steps.