Monday, April 29, 2019

What Makes You Take a Chance on a Book?

What is it that makes you download a book by an author you've never heard of?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  From a writer standpoint, I'm trying to figure out why people buy or don't buy my books.  Is it the title?  The cover?  The blurb?  What mysterious thing is driving sales or driving them away?

Let's take Unequal for example.  Sales of that book have been incredibly slow.  Every time I hand someone a postcard for Unequal, they ooh and aah over the cover image.  So, in that case, it probably isn't that.  I think the blurb sounds interesting and like something I'd want to investigate further, but that's probably just me.  I hand out these postcards and the oohing and aahing commences, but then I tell them the genre and their eyes glaze over.  Dystopian might not be the target genre for people around here.  Perhaps it's not the target genre for most anywhere.  But I suspected that going in.  Dystopian isn't everyone's cup of coffee.

As a reader, I've been thinking about what makes me download certain books over others.  The cover grabs my attention, for one.  Then I read the blurb.  Then I read more about the author and some of the reviews and if everything lines up just right, I snag the book.

Except there's more to it than that because I've set certain constraints.  Right now, it pretty much has to be free.  And there's the 'new to me and underappreciated' thing.  If I'm picking up a new-to-me author, the book has to have less than 50 reviews.  More than that, 90% of the time I walk on by.  Weird, I know, but that's where I'm at right now. 

And the cover doesn't always have to grab my attention in a good way.  I recently downloaded a book that's cover was...  well, let's just say it kind of creeps me out and it's not a creepy sort of book.  In that case, the title grabbed me and the blurb held me.  But the cover did what it needed to do.  It made me stop scrolling to read more.

So, here I am putting it out to all of you.  What makes you stop and take a chance on a untried book/author?

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Nothing Update

Sorry I missed posting Wednesday, but I had nothing.  And I'd hoped to be able to talk about something today, but it didn't happen.

What I had hoped for was to have this phase of the editing done before today.  Ummm... Yah.  I am like 89% of the way through the manuscript, which is more progress than I've made in weeks... errr, months... but not quite where I wanted to be. 

On the upside, this manuscript isn't nearly as terrible as I'd feared.  There's a bunch to do, but nothing insurmountable. 

I should have the last bits of this part done today or by the end of the weekend at the latest.  Then I'll have to input those edits.  Then I'll do another read through and make more notes, input those, etc.  Then I'll probably have to set it aside until I've amassed enough scratch to pay my editor. 

The hope is that while I'm setting this aside, I'll be able to write the next book.  And that once I have editing funds available, I'll be able to shoot both books through the system, so they can release within a month of each other.  But you know what they say... wish in one hand...

Anyway, I have my fingers crossed, but I can't give anyone any firm dates about anything at this time. 

Sorry I didn't have anything better to give you as far as an update goes. 

What have you got going on in your lives?

Monday, April 22, 2019

I Don't Wanna!

I don't wanna market anymore.  I swear to god, if I have to do one more post about this sale... or any sale, for that matter... I'm gonna scream.  And maybe roll around on the floor, holding my breath.

Umm, yeah.

Marketing is a pain in the ass.  But here's the deal...

If I don't market, I don't sell books.  I may only sell one or two books from my own efforts, but it's one or two I didn't sell before I carpet bombed FB with my marketing posts.  Is that effective use of my time?  Oh, hell, no.  At that rate, I make about $4 an hour.  But the alternative is making $0.  Zero bucks for zero effort.  Fair, but it ain't gonna put moolah in the bank account.

I make more money from advertising, which is minimal effort on my part with better gains, but in order to do that, I have to have the money to spent the money to make the money... Ugh, that gives me a headache.

So, what do you do when you're pretty much broke and still want to market?  You suck it up and do what you don't wanna do. 

Doesn't mean I have to like it.  Doesn't mean I won't whine about it.  But on this last day of my sale, I have to suck it up and post those posts and see if I can't generate some sales.  Five groups down, eight more to go. Then the marketing will be done for this sale.  (Because I can only post once per day per group.)

And it does work.  Maybe not gangbusters - like I said only one or two sales extra - but a trickle is better than crickets. 

So, I'll gird my loins and finish out the marketing extravaganza this morning.  Then I'll start thinking about next month's marketing blitz.  Gah.  I wish I could just pay someone to do this for me.  But that would defeat the purpose.  And you know what they say about wishing... Heh.  Wish in one hand...

Speaking of which, the wish books will be next on the marketing go-'round.  (Had to throw that last marketing thing in there.  Can't help myself.)

And now that I've given myself this little pep-talk (mental kick in the pants), I should probably quit stalling and get back at it.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Mid-Sale Update

Well, the sale is rolling along nicely.  Way better than the last two sales because I actually advertised this time.  And by the end of the day yesterday, I cleared the cost of the ad.  Yay.

But it's actually kind of sad when making more than $15 on a sale is a Yay moment.  I mean, you have to celebrate the little victories.  But when you have to woohoo the small stuff because there are no big victories, it's sad.

Anyway, this morning's marketing copy for FB is all about reaching #48 in Hard-boiled Mystery.  Breaking the Top 100 in any genre is cause for a bit of Woohoo.  This is the image I made using the cover art and a screen capture of this morning's Amazon rankings:
Which was reached by selling 27 copies of AD yesterday.  (Also sold one copy of Natural Causes at full price, which was cool.)

We'll see if I sell any books today.  I did get a couple page reads last night, so there's that to look forward to.

I made a new little graph in my sales spreadsheet to show month by month sales.  It's pretty. 
So, as of now, April is looking to be my 2nd best month so far this year.  Sell another 17 books and it'll be my best month of 2019.  Yay.

Next month is still up in the air.  Whittling out enough money for advertising should be fun.  We'll see how that goes.  I'd like to lay some bigger money down so I can get bigger sales.  I dream of being able to afford advertising at one of the big venues.  Someday.

Meanwhile, this is good. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Funny Story

So, I have another sale going on.  Accidental Death is only 99c/99p through Monday.  And I actually have some advertising set up this time.  Expect to see an ad in the Book Adrenaline newsletter tomorrow.

Funny story... When I set up the ad for the 18th last week, my brain was actually think the 18th was two weeks away.  I didn't realize I had given myself... and the venue... such a tight time frame.  So, when I never got an invoice from BA, I figured they were basically telling me I was crazy to even try for an ad right then.  Flash forward to yesterday and I get a polite notice from BA that if I don't pay their invoice they can't put my ad in their 18th newsletter. 

I swear I never got the original invoice.  I checked my spam... nope.  Checked my trash... another 'pay this or else' notice was in there, but no original invoice.  Then again, I dumped my trash, so I might've missed it.  So, I paid the invoice right then and they indicated they got the money, so everything should be in place to be in the newsletter.  AD will probably be jammed in at the bottom, but I did this to myself.  Poor planning on my part.

Next month, I promise to not have my thinker so far up my... err... armpit.

Anyway, BA is only $15, so it's worth a shot, eh? 

Anyway #2, let this be a lesson to you - don't assume your ad was rejected.  Check those folders and be alert.  There's every chance that because I get so many newsletters these days, I actually got the invoice, but deleted it with the plethora of other mail.  Derp.

As for next month, the Once Upon a Djinn books will be on sale, with an ad and everything... good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.  Not sure of the exact dates yet, but I'll let y'all know.

By the way, if you've already read AD and haven't read it's sequel Natural Causes, it's not on sale, but it's only $2.99.

Monday, April 15, 2019


I was reminded this morning (via Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog) of something that is on the list of 'things I should be doing but don't'...


If you've been in the self-pub biz for any length of time, I'm sure you've heard that you should be sending out newsletters.  Well, actually, you should be getting copious amounts of people to sign up for your newsletter and then you should send them out on a regular basis.  Whether that regular basis is once a month or whenever you have something exciting to share is up to you. 

Early on, I started a newsletter thing.  I sent it out once a month and it had stuffs about book releases and the publishing schedule and a little contest in every one.  But only a few people signed up and it began to seem like a humongous waste of time.  Plus, nearly everyone on it was following the blog and/or following me on Facebook, so they were getting hit with the same information in multiple ways. 

Anyway, I haven't put out a new newsletter in years.  It's been so long that I actually took down the link to sign up for it. 

I feel guilty about it every time I think about not sending one out.  Everyone says you need a newsletter.  Then again, everyone who says that has subscribers in the thousands.  I guess if I had thousands of people clamoring for news from me, it would be easier to muster the will to put one out.  (Not that I don't love those half dozen people who cared enough to read the newsletters I put out, but they're all getting notice of my news elsewhere.)  Not exactly sure how to get thousands of people to sign up for the newsletter, though. 

Maybe I should think about resurrecting the newsletter.  I don't know.  As a reader, I rarely even skim through the author newsletters I receive these days.  The authors I love provide me with all the info I need via social media, so I'm not sure what the point is.  Maybe that's just me. 

What say you?  If I put out a new newsletter, would you subscribe to it?  Would you read it?  Do you have a newsletter?  How's that going for you?

Friday, April 12, 2019

No Post Today

Check back on Monday.  Can't guarantee anything, but it's worth a shot.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I Don't Have It

I don't have what it takes.  There, I said it. 

When we're watching sports, Hubs often says 'okay, let's see who wants to win', meaning who's hungry enough to get the job done and win the event. 

I am not hungry enough. 

I've read the books about how to be successful at this.  I've read blog posts on what successful authors are doing.  I know what it is I'm supposed to do.

If I were hungry enough, I would do whatever it took* to generate book sales.  If I had what it took, I would be here at my computer more often and for longer periods of time, writing and editing and marketing - until book sales were streaming in.

I'd join groups and be active in them.  I'd get a membership to RWA or ITW, and be active in those.  I'd get social.  I'd do things in person - like attending conferences and holding book signings.  I'd get out there in the world.

I'd be active on forums.  Not just pimping my books there - which would make me irritating as all get out - but getting to know the people on them and letting them get to know me.  Offering advice and accepting it.  Being funny.  Being friendly. 

There are so many other things I could be doing to be successful, and I know what they are, but I am not doing them.  This is not the behavior of someone who has what it takes.

I sit and think about the things I could be doing, should be doing, but that's about as far as it gets.  So, I guess I should quit my bitching.  If I was really committed to this, I'd do more to make it happen. 

Oh, I could throw out a million excuses.  I have pay-job work to do.  Or I'm 'not feeling it'.  Or Lack of sales is depressing the shit out of me. Or I don't have the money to do what I need to do.  Wah wah wah.  In the end, though, I have chosen this.  I choose to not be 'out there'.  I choose to let things interfere with the writing and the editing and the marketing. 

And yes, I know people are out there doing everything they can do and they're still not seeing the sales. At least they're trying.  If you try everything you can, and you're still not seeing sales, you can still hold your head up. 

So, yeah, quitcher bitchin', Meissner**.  Or get to work and do what you can do... what you're willing to do... and get the hell over yourself.  Accept your fate.

Except I've never been good at accepting my fate. 

* Within reason and legal/ethical boundaries, of course.
** I call myself by my maiden name when I'm giving myself a good talking to.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Using Your Kindle For Work

First off, I'd like to say that if I'd known I'd be using my Kindle for work, I would've claimed it on my taxes.  Unfortunately, I thought that when I first got a Kindle, it would only be used for pleasure reading.  Shame on me for not thinking ahead.

And it's a good thing I have two because while I'm working on one, I can still be reading on the other. 

"Working on your Kindle?" you ask.  "P'shaw."

Yep.  I use it for work.  Writing work, that is.  Or more specifically, editing work.  When I finish the first draft of a manuscript, I email it to one of my Kindles.  (Usually the older one, which was a gift, so yeah, I probably couldn't have claimed it anyway.  Derp.)  Then I take my trusty 5-subject notebook over to my comfy recliner and while I read the manuscript on the Kindle, I make notes with my handy-dandy red pen.

Sure, I could do the same thing over here on my computer.  But using the Kindle, besides allowing me to be in my comfy chair while I work, has the added advantage of removing me from where I wrote the book and thus providing me with a little distance and perhaps a different perspective.  This makes, I hope, for an easier time seeing mistakes I might no otherwise catch.

Anything that gives you perspective is a good thing.  Plus, I can put my feet up while I work.  ;o)

So, there I am, making copious notes in my big spiral notebook.  When I get all the way to THE END, I'll input those notes.  After I input those notes, I'll email the book to my Kindle again and start the process over.

I also use the Kindles after I publish to look for formatting mistakes.  Having an older one and a Fire helps give me an idea how the book looks to other people.  So far, so good.  Every little thing helps, right?

And to think, I was a real anti-Kindle kind of gal.  Until someone gave me my first one back in 2013.  That was a real game changer.  Now, I don't think I could live without one.  Oh, I still love hardcopy books, but I'd never give up my Kindle either.  The best of all worlds.

What kinds of tips, tricks, and tech do you use to help you write and edit?

Friday, April 5, 2019


Amazon wrote back and told me everything was fine.  :shrug:  So, I proceeded with the marketing yesterday.  And nothing happened.  I'll keep trying, but I know how things go when I don't have paid advertising.

Anyway, here's what I put out to all the FB groups yesterday:
Ready for some exciting reads? Try the Serial Crimes Investigation Unit (SCIU) series. Follow Jace as she pursues a killer burning victims alive. Watch Teri as she hunts a rapist intent on playing God. Tag along with Ned as he tracks a murderer killing the elderly. Snag all the suspense, thrills, and justice right now for less than $5/£5. (Always free with Kindle Unlimited.) - with links and hashtags and junk.

Lame?  Possibly.  But I was trying something different.  I figured I'd get at least an A for effort, but I suspect I got an E because no sales. and my rankings didn't move in an upward direction, so no downloading for future KU reads either.

In other news, I got back to editing Ugly and the Beast.  It's not quite as awful as I thought.  Oh, it's pretty messed up - being a first draft and all - but I can work with this.  Then I need to get off my dead ass and write Cinder Ugly.  The money might not be there for editing and publishing, but I can have things ready for when it is there.  Sitting around waiting for the magical moment when all the stars align and their light illuminates me is for the birds.

So, it's back to work for me.  Which really bums out my dead ass.  It was really getting into not working.  But not working means not getting paid in the future.  Know what I'm sayin'?

What stuffs are going on in your world these days?  All good things, I hope.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Technical Difficulties

I was all prepared to post about the sale I'm having for the Serial Crimes Investigation Unit series, but in getting ready for the hoopla, I noticed something's not quite right.  Currently, Amazon is showing Dying Embers at $0.00. 


Good thing I check prior to actually marketing.  Fertile Ground and Early Grave are showing correct at $1.99 each, which is good, but the flagship of the series is Dying Embers.  Can't market the whole series if the first book is wrong.  And right now, I'm not sure if someone one-clicking the book will get it free or wind up paying 99c when they thought it was free.  Either way, it's a pretty bad way to have a sale. 

I've contacted Amazon.  So far, they've been pretty good about getting things fixed when I've contacted them.  Hopefully today's error will be fixed quickly, so I don't lose too many marketing days.

I assume everything is okay on the UK site.  They won't show me pricing there because it's not my country.  Which is weird because I can see pricing on the sites for other countries.  :shrug:  If you happen to be able to see pricing in the UK and see it as free, let me know. 

Ah, life and it's occasional technical difficulties. 

Anyway, if you've already read DE, pick up a copy of Fertile Ground and/or Early Grave at $2 off.  I can tell by the way page reads go that they're real page-turners.  (I always thought so, but it's nice to have it confirmed by other people.)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Contacting Readers - Yes or No?

Over the weekend, I received a reply to one of my Goodreads reviews.  Those always surprise me and I usually cringe a little before I click the link that takes me to the reply - cuz ya never know, ya know? 

Anyway, this one was a pleasant surprise.  It was a short note from the author of the book I'd reviewed, telling me the next book was about to release.  I replied for him to send me a link when it was live on Amazon so I could buy it.  (Book 1 was that good.)  He did so and I one-clicked it.  And I was happy.

Which led me to thinking that his contacting me directly was an awfully good idea.  I might never have known it was out if he hadn't given me a heads-up.  I mean, enough time had passed since the first book released that it was no longer on my radar, so I really appreciated his bringing it to my attention.  (I started reading it as soon as I finished the book I was on and I'm about 30% through already.)

All of this led me to wonder if I am missing sales opportunities by not contacting people who've reviewed my books favorably to let them know those books have sequels. 

Then, me being me, began to wonder if it wasn't such a good idea after all.  I mean, what if he'd contacted me and I'd felt like it was an imposition?  It wasn't and I thought it was awesome, but what if?  And what if I contact my readers this way and they feel like I'm imposing on them

I guess, right now, it's not that big a deal.  I have so few reviews and the reviews I have are from people who follow me online somewhere, so they always know when a new book is coming out.  But I do occasionally get reviews from total strangers.  What if they loved the first book, but then it drops off their radar while I'm getting the sequel publishable?  Could explain why my first books always do way better than the subsequent books after them. 

It's so hard to get book news in front of the right people at the right time.  What's an author to do?

So, what say you?  Do you contact readers?  Have you ever been contacted by an author?  What do you think about it all?

Oh, and in case you're interested, the books are The Krewe (Book1) and Roots of Misfortune (Book2) in the Herbert and Melancon series by Seth Pevey.  They're suspense novels set in New Orleans.  I really enjoyed book 1 and I'm enjoying the hell out of book 2 right now.