Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The NEW Goodreads Giveaway Program

I got an email this morning from Goodreads with the subject of 'Introducing the New Goodreads Giveaways'.  I almost deleted it as junk mail.  Good thing I didn't.  It's all about the new super-special programs that Goodreads is implementing for giving away books through them.

And it's no longer free.

Starting in January of 2018 - so about 6 weeks from now - you can only give away books if you pay them to hold your giveaways.  Isn't that special?  I know in the email they sound super excited about it.

I remember an old saying and I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember remember it.  "Marketing is telling you to go to hell and making you think you're going to enjoy the trip."

That's about how I'm feeling about the whole Goodreads Giveaway Program this morning.  They've basically told me to go to hell and they're trying to make me think the trip will be super awesome.

Basically, you can get the Standard Plan or the Premium Plan.  Standard is $119 and Premium is $599.  But if you ACT NOW, you can get 50% off, or some such thing.  So, $60 or $300... to give away a book.

I like giving away books.  It makes me happy.  Not $300 happy.  Not even $60 happy.  Lord knows it isn't like I've seen great things come my way because I've given out a book here or there.  I got one review once from someone who won a Goodreads giveaway.  And there's one winner who immediately listed my book for sale on Amazon.  Gnarly.  I'm supposed to pay someone so someone else can get a free book they can then list for sale?  Ummmmmmmm.  No.

Anyway, they can do what they want to do.  It's their business, after all.  I think it's short-sighted and stupid, but I'm entitled to my opinion.  I'll still have my books listed on there for readers to add to their lists.  Until they start charging for that crap.

And yes, I'm bitchy about it.  It's like there a consortium somewhere thinking up ways to make the self-publishing business harder every damn day.

I have a distinct urge to run away this morning.  But it's rainy and cold.  Don't mind fishing in the rain.  Don't mind fishing in the cold.  Cold and rain?  No freakin' way.  I think I'll sort my library this morning and see what needs to be donated to St. Vinny's.

What are you up to today?  Do you enter Goodreads giveaways?  Ever won anything thru there? I have, but it's been a while.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Post Marketing Wrap-Up

Well, the sale for Dying Embers and Fertile Ground ended last night, so it's time to jot down the hard and fast numbers* for that.  Residual sales may make these go up, but I don't expect much in the way of residuals off this. 

Let's just say that while it did go, it did not go as well as I had hoped.

DE and FG were on sale from the 21st thru the 26th.  99 cents each.  I sold 7.8 copies worth of DE and 4 copies worth of FG.  (1.8 of DE sales were KU page reads.)  Net gain was about $9.

I spent $41 on advertising.  :shrug:  That happens sometimes. And sometimes it doesn't.  In September, I spent $28 on advertising and netted almost $90 - with another $60 so far in residual sales.  Different genres, different times of the year, different strategies.  I dunno.

This has been a low sales year overall.  So, my expectations weren't all that high to begin with.  

Anyway, I think DE is reaching a saturation point for the people I'm able to reach.  Everyone in that sphere who'd want it has a copy.  FG?  Well, I can be pretty sure the idea of a book with a serial rapist scares the hell out of people, and there's really no way around that without giving away the whole plot shebang and constant reassurances that I wouldn't be graphic about that kind of thing.  (Or maybe it is the reassurances that are turning people away... I dunno.)

Maybe when I put out the third SCIU book next year sales will go up for the other two.  To that end, Early Grave will be the second book I put out next year.  I have to edit it to a point where I can send it off the AWE (Awesome Wonderful Editor), and she has to finish editing what I have with her now.  So, we'll probably start her on that in February with a potential release date in May or something.

Until then, I'll keep plugging along, advertising as the fundage allows.  I didn't get a bonza return on my investment this time, but I still believe it's worth it. 

*As always, your mileage may vary. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Facebook Marketing

On Monday, I said I might do a post about the various Facebook groups I use to market my on-sale books. 

In no particular order, here are the groups - some are public and some you have to belong to (which means sending a request to the group owners before you post, so no big deal)...

Amazon Kindle Goodreads - "This group is for people who own Amazon Kindle and want to share their recommendations for books they recent read and liked, or chat about their favorite authors etc."

Indie Authors International -  "READERS and WRITERS and ARTISTS from EVERYWHERE, across borders, without barriers. EVERYONE WELCOME."

eBook World -  "This is the group where authors and publishers can share their kindle books.. For promoting kindle books or for reviews exchanging."

Self-Published Crime Fiction Writers -  "Welcome to my group.
I hope I have chosen my first guests well, and that you all enjoy the Crime-Fiction genre.
Here is a place to post any books that you would recommend to your friends of other group members.
If you are an author, you are welcome to join the group and post your Crime Fiction novels here. Please don't spam and please stick to the genre."

Free Kindle Books UK -  "...We constantly search our website for good free books and post any that we find in this group. ..."

Free Kindle Books - "Sharing *free* Kindle (Amazon sites only) books as and when we find them. Get in quick as sometimes the books are only free for 24 hours before they return to paid. ..."

Kindle Unlimited - "Kindle Unlimited is a place for author's to share their kindle books and ebooks and a place for Kindle Unlimited subscribers to find great reads. ..."

I'm sure there are more.  Scads, probably.  But these are the ones I belong to.  There have been varying results, but they're all free so it's not costing me anything but time to post to them, and you never know when someone will see your post and buy.  

As for other marketing with Facebook, I have paid for ads.  Several times.  And I never see a sale directly from any of my paid marketing efforts.  There might be residual stuff from having my book splashed on FB, but nothing I can connect directly - i.e. post ad, see uptick in sales or page reads.  I haven't done one of these paid ads in a while.  It's hard to justify them when I don't see results, ya know what I mean?

I know some of you aren't on Facebook at all.  I understand.  It's a drain. Sometimes it sucks the energy right out of me.  It's definitely a timesuck.  But, like I said, I do see sales without having to shell out any of my tightly squeezed cash.  

Twitter?  I try to avoid it.  Talk about energy-sucking.  Bleh.  But I do have my FB author page feeding Twitter.  Sometimes I even go there and post, but only during sales.  Sometimes I see sales I can directly relate to a Twitter post.  Mostly, though, it's just for the exposure.  

And that's it in a nutshell.  Any questions?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Advertising, Marketing, Etc.

Time again for a discussion on marketing, advertising, marketing venues, etc., ya know, since I haven't done one in a while.  And since I haven't done one in a while, I'm going to start over rather than add to the previous one.  The slate is clean.

Okay, so looking back, I wasn't a good monkey in keeping track of what advertising dollars went to which book.  :eyeroll:  I should fire my marketing manager, but that's me, so...  I've given myself a good talking to and put a note in my file about dereliction of duty.

Here's a basic overview of what information I did put into the spreadsheet and the budget.

Reading Deals - $29.  I paid for an ad in February.  I assume for Dying Embers, since there's a sales uptick for that book in that month.  And I have one coming out this week, also for Dying Embers

Booktastik - $10.  I paid for an ad in February.  Ditto for the book, not ditto for an ad this week. I recall not seeing a lot from this ad, but it could be my memory.

Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Bargains - $3/$12.  I paid for an ad in June. I assume for Wish in One Hand, since it was on a free promo.  I saw some sales of the other two books in the series.  And I paid for 4 ads in September.  The 4 ads went much better than the single ad - probably because the single ad was for one book only and the 4 ads were for the whole series.  This really seemed to get me some nice sales for the series.

Author Billboard - $6.  I paid for an ad in September.  Also seemed to see an uptick in sales.  And I have two coming out this week - Dying Embers and Fertile Ground.  Fingers crossed.

ebookdealsdaily - $10.  I paid for an ad in September.  I'm not sure how well this one did, since I was already rolling along from the other advertising when this ad went live.

eReaderNewsToday (ENT) - I tried for an ad in September, but they turned me down.  They did say it was because their newsletter was full for the dates I needed, so that's on me.  I should've planned better.

Which brings me around to this week's ads.  Dying Embers and Fertile Ground will both be on sale starting tomorrow and running through Sunday night - here and in the UK.  Hence, advertising.  I did a sale for AD and NC over Halloween and didn't advertise anywhere but on FB and Twitter (posts only, no paid ads).  I sold a few copies.  I should've advertised, but I put the sale together at the last minute and didn't have time to advertise.  Derp. 

As for Facebook and Twitter.  I've paid for ads with Facebook and really didn't see a return on my investment.  I haven't paid for ads on Twitter.  In FB's case, I see more activity from posting to various groups than anything else.  And I occasionally see activity from posting about a sale to Twitter.  Not huge numbers, but still.

In any case, the more I put my books out there, the more I see page reads in Kindle Unlimited. I think more people are willing to take a chance on a book when they don't have to buy the whole book - like when it's included in their monthly subscription.  Then they start to read and more often than not, they read through the whole series.  I had one person start with Wish in One Hand, read through the series, and then read all my other books one after the other.  It was awesome to watch the page counts roll along in a wave.

A final note to this post.  Recently, Elizabeth Spann Craig did a post on advertising I think y'all should read.  And in it is a link to a list someone else put together of advertising venues.  It's not comprehensive - good lord, there are so many venues, I don't think it could be comprehensive - but it's damn good and it'll save time when you're looking to advertise your books.  Or, hey, if you're looking for books to read, those lists are a gold mine.  Seriously.

Anyway, if you're out there self-publishing your work and wondering how to get noticed and get sales, I highly recommend doing some advertising.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  Of course, the more you spend, the more you can potentially make.  Still, getting the word out there helps.  Maybe Wednesday I'll list the various FB groups I post to for advertising.  And perhaps, if I remember, next week I'll post something about how this week's advertising and sale went.

Hope that helps.  If you have any questions, let me know.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Taking the Plunge

Okay, it's done.  I have sent a manuscript to my editor. 

I'd been playing with the idea of releasing something different next.  One of my dystopian novels.  And I had two books that, in my estimation, were as ready to go as I could make them by myself.  But I couldn't choose.  So, I sent an email to my Awesome Wonderful Editor (AWE), hoping she would make this easy on me. 

She didn't.  She made me choose.  =o\

This is the email that ensued...

GAH!  I've been back and forth, back and forth about this.  Blink or Unequal, Blink or Unequal...  Argh.  If I were to pick one to read, like if someone had a gun to the back of my head and said 'choose one or I'll blow your brains out', I'd probably be splattered all over.  They say if you do eeny-meeny-miney-mo, and then when you land on one, your reaction will determine what your real choice is.  If I eeny and land on Blink, I'm like 'dang, I wanted Unequal'.  BUT if I eeny and end up on Unequal, I'm like 'dang' again.  So, sitting here thinking about which one is probably cleaner, I'd have to go with Unequal - because it was written more recently when I had a better grasp of what I was doing.  But if I think about which one is more important to me, I'd have to go with Blink.  ...
Sooo, the answer is.... I'll email you something later and surprise you.  ;o)
In the end, I chose Blink... err, Blink of an I... which I always refer to as Blink in my head.  It was originally written in 2006, rewritten, revised, edited, etc. and then queried in '08 & '09, then revised some more, critted, etc. until I finally set it aside.  I still love this book and I still believe in this book, so I took the plunge and I'm moving forward with it.

Unless, of course, my editor comes back and tells me it's beyond help. 

Here's the blurb* that once landed me a request for pages from an agent...

A foundling raised in a state home, Mary Jones should be a meek servant under the Union’s dictatorship.  Instead, she has a tendency to wander where she shouldn’t, and this time it’s straight into a forbidden store run by a member of a secret society—The Order, and they need help.  Before she can blink, they decide she’s perfect for a mission they’ve planned for decades.  Now, she can either stay home where the Union Guard already has orders to kill her, or she can escape the city to search for traces of mankind outside. 
If she survives long enough to return, that is. 
Beyond the ravages of a long-forgotten war, she learns freeing her city means eradicating the Union—by herself, if necessary.  When she promised to free her people, though, she never dreamed they wouldn’t want her help.

Here's hoping, with the help of AWE, this will be alive and out in the world next year.

Like I said, it's not my usual stuff - although it does have loads of suspense.  Naturally. 

Anyway, there it is.  I'm taking the plunge.  And just so you know, if all goes according to plan, I'll for sure have a suspense and a paranormal released next year - Early Grave and Sleeping Ugly. And, if I ever get off my ass, a mystery, too - Dennis Haggarty #3.

How about you?  Have you ever taken a plunge where you weren't exactly sure what the outcome would be?  How'd that work out for you?  How worried should I be?  ;o)

*Wow, that blurb blows.  I'll totally redo it before this goes live, but I'll leave it here so you get the gist.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty

I watch a lot of true crime shows - First 48, Live PD, COPS, etc. - and they all remind us that the people involved are innocent until proven guilty.  Sometimes ad nauseum.  Sometimes when you can see with you own eyes that the person under arrest did exactly what they're being charged with.  Regardless, it is an important thing to remember.

Here in the USA, people are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Well, they were innocent until proven otherwise and were guilty when they were proven guilty.  I'm not sure what's going on now. 

Today, we have people who are being ruined by allegations of crime without proof.  It's all very fucked up.

As for the recent witch hunt, you believe the allegations or you don't depending on what side of the fence you land on.  Bill Cosby and Judge Moore vs Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey?  Who's the criminal?  Where the proof?  Hmm.  Seems like there was proof in there for one of those...

But I digress.

Sure, I'm laughing my ass off over some of this stuff.  I have to or I'll go nuts.  And I can be pretty certain here in my own home that I am correct in my assumptions of who is guilty and who isn't.  But I don't make public opinion.  Nobody cares what I have to say on the subject - and they shouldn't, because it is just opinion.  Opinion and conjecture is not proof.  And I don't have anything to do with the criminal justice system.  I just write about it.  Which is something actual criminals should thank their lucky stars for, lemme tell ya.

So, before you jump on the bandwagon - at least publicly* - remember that this is still America and we still presume someone is innocent until proof shows otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.  Which basically means I can't point at you and say you stole my Ferrari** and have the police come and lock you up on my say-so.  This 'innocent until proven guilty' thing protects us all.

Remember it and hold it tight, folks, because the next round of pointing fingers could be directed at you.

* What you say and think in your own private places is nobody's business.  Have at it.  
** I do not now nor have I ever nor will I ever own a Ferrari.  I'd someday like to have enough money to eschew the purchase of a Ferrari, though.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NaNoWriMo: Still No, But...

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year you should be at 13350 or so by the end of tonight.  I am still not participating.  But...

Last night as I was trying to go to sleep, my brain started playing with the next Dennis Haggarty book.  I already had the general premise laid out, but not enough that it was blowing my skirt up enough to write it.  Last night?  My silly brain figured it out.  I dragged my butt out of bed and wandered over here to write it down. 

You see, I had this idea that Dennis goes off to a conference of rural police chiefs, and I was trying to think of exactly which little town in CO I would drop the conference into.  Then it occurred to me - drop the conference into Last Ditch. 

Okay, that was a good idea.  Not worth dragging my butt out of bed for, though.  I'd remember that one.  What got me out of bed was the acronym for the conference... CARPAC.  The Colorado Association of Rural Police Administrators & Chiefs*.

I never would've remembered that if I hadn't written it down.  And just like that, I'm excited about writing this.  Silly what lights the fire sometimes, eh?

So, I'm still not doing NaNo, but I may be writing this month after all.  In fact, if I start this now, I could have the first draft done by the end of the year.  Maybe.  We'll see.

What silly things have lit your fire?

*Yeah, it's lame, but sometimes the hoops people jump through to make an acronym are lame, so it works in its own weird way. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Content Warnings and Age Guidelines

Let me just start out by saying I don't have either content warnings or age guidelines on any of my books. In this day and age, there are probably reasons why I should, but it's one of those things I won't do. 

The covers and the blurbs should pretty much tell you whether you're old enough to read the book, and that your children probably aren't.  Well, maybe except for the Once Upon a Djinn series, where the most R-rated thing is the swearing.  And it's not rife with curse words.  I gently sprinkle them in where they're necessary.  If you've reached an age where my books look interesting to you and you haven't encountered swearing before, you probably should put my books down and go back to your bubble. 

As for content warnings, I'm against them.  Meaty books should shock or surprise or perhaps offend you a little, and if you're reading along and come across something that you just can't handle, close the book and move on.  I did that the other day.  It was over the top - for me. 

Maybe I should put a special snowflake warning on mine.  'If you are a special snowflake, you're probably not going to like this book.'  Wouldn't want anyone to melt, doncha know.  Perhaps such a warning would've prevented a one-star review/rating here or there.  :shrug:  They are what they are.

Of all my books, Fertile Ground is the one I worry about the most.  The villain is a serial rapist and murderer.  But I think I treat the subject well - I don't actually describe the acts in depth, just the before and the after - and the heinous asshole does get a most satisfying sort of justice in the end. 

Of course, there is a lot of murder in my books.  If you're sensitive to that sort of thing, you probably shouldn't be shopping in the mystery/suspense/thriller/urban fantasy sections.

Sometimes I wonder if authors put content warnings on their books as less of a 'warning' measure and more to titillate.  Like saying 'don't read this' will encourage people to read it, just to see what the fuss is about.  :shrug:  I can't do that.  It's not me.

What do you think?  Do you put content warnings and age guidelines on your books?  Do you care whether a book you want to read has content warnings? 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


I am not writing a book this month.  Nope.  Not a gonna do it.  No way.  No how. 

Except when I was telling Hubs about how I wasn't going to do NaNoWriMo this year, I started telling him about how Dennis Haggarty #3 is pestering me in the brainpan.  And the more I talked, the more I wanted to start writing it. 

But no.  I am up to my ass right now with other stuff.  And it's Fall fishing time.  And I wanted to do ancestry stuff this month.  And I have stuff I need to be editing.  And...

We'll see.

How about you?  Are you writing a book this month?  Have you ever tried to NaNo (i.e. write a book in a month)?