It’s hard to believe that it’s coming up on the one year anniversary of the release of Silenced. I joked that after writing The Intoxicated Books, I didn’t plan on writing another series for quite some time, claiming a serious series hangover.
In all honesty, it was more of an author hangover.
I’ve never been a mainstream author, shirking most of the popular conventions of the self-publishing industry and more or less doing whatever the hell I want. I’m good with the fact that I’ll never win any popularity contests, and I’ve embraced that. You may have noticed that by taking a quick peek at my cover art, which lacks the usual hallmarks of almost kissing lovers or bare chested specimens of hotness. Or you flipped to the first page and realized that each book in the series began with a poem – never again on that one, because my poetry days are over.
With that in mind, I didn’t pay for advertising for the release of my fifth book. I quietly distributed it to some trusted friends and blogger types, and sat back and sort of disappeared. My work was done, and I had lots of other things to attend to.
The past year of my life has been largely spent living in a sort of dream world. Sure, there were some difficulties along the way, but by and large everything has changed for the better. Since I’ve been away, I’ve relocated to beautiful North Carolina, where we had the windows open in January. My husband and I built the house I had admired online from six hundred miles away, and now I get to live in it. And I also scored on the working from home front simply by becoming a trailing spouse. Life is good.
I’ve largely been an observer in the writing community for the past twelve months, and what I’ve seen doesn’t exactly fill my heart with joy. There’s a lot of negativity and anger on both sides of the equation. Readers are complaining about pricing, cliffhangers, series being too long or too short, you name it. Authors are upset about exposure, sales, reviews, whatever. The foul smell that has risen from the depths of social media in general has permeated what used to be my happy place, and I don’t like it.
While both sides have some valid points, every time I open up Facebook or Twitter, it seems like all the content I see is depressing instead of uplifting. True, life isn’t ever going to be perfect, but it seems like by and large we are forgetting what brought us to this party to begin with. Books. Characters. Stories that keep you reading way past your bedtime. Plots that stick with you long after the last page has been read.
Readers love to consume them. Authors love to create them. Right?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am extremely blessed that I don’t have to do this for a living. I have a fabulous job that pays the bills. Writing is fun for me. While I take it way too seriously to consider it my hobby, it’s not responsible for paying my mortgage, or my electric bill, or for my groceries. If I don’t feel like writing for a weekend, or a month, or a year, I just don’t.
Case in point: Chasing Echo was started over a year ago, so a preview could be included at the end of Silenced. I’d originally planned to release it in December of last year, but that didn’t happen. I’ve tinkered with it off and on over the past few months, but it’s really only about halfway done. So I pushed the release date back to September 2017, because I can. No big deal. No pressure.
I realize that I’m lucky to be able to do that. I know there’s plenty of other authors out there who have a strict release schedule, and a decision like that just wouldn’t fly. I’ve seen apologies posted on Facebook for books being delayed a couple of weeks – like writers are afraid that they’ll lose their fan bases if they don’t deliver on what was probably an unrealistic goal in the first place.
Nobody said a damn word when I changed the release date for Chasing Echo, even though it was already up for preorder at most retailers. Of course, since I didn’t publicize that purchase links were live, no one probably knew. I didn’t receive any hate mail, or lose any followers, or have anyone give me any grief.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me if my income depended on my writing. If by not making my original release date, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for Christmas presents, or put gas in my car, or so many other things. I’m so glad I never have to find that out.
Realistically, even though by some people’s accounts, I’m successful at this writing gig, I know for me it’s never going to be something that I can do full time. I’ve grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle that is in part supported by my 9-6. I would have to consistently sell tens of thousands of books annually in order to replace that income, and that’s never, ever, going to happen. I don’t see myself selling tens of thousands of books total before I die, and I’m only thirty-eight. I hope I have a lot of time left to keep writing and keep selling.
So my take away from all this as I re-enter the fold is to keep doing this thing that I love. To keep creating on whatever timeline feels right, and not worry about what impact it has on the bottom line. For me, there is no bottom line, and there won’t ever be.
I began writing when I was young, much like the cliched story that most of us author types tell. It took me until 2012 to have the guts to actually do it for others to potentially read. But ultimately, I do this for myself. Somehow, I’m fortunate enough to have amassed a readership, however small, because of it.
So my promise to you is that I’ll keep doing it my way. The positive way. The way that my stories and my characters deserve. And I can assure you, what you’ll get will be something worth waiting for.
It’s that time again. With slightly less than two months left before the release of Silenced, I’m gathering up a list of people who are willing to read and review.
It’s always been a bit difficult to find people who will commit to jumping into the current book of a series when it’s already well on its way to completion. Though the last two books that were released were technically able to be read as stand alones, it’s always been my opinion that the best experience comes from reading the series in order, from start to finish. With this release, I’m requiring that those that receive an ARC do just that.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that the first book was released with a whimper. No build up, no marketing whatsoever until it had already gone live. And the promotion that I got once it was already for sale was minimal at best, though I did pay for advertising. Books two through four were handled by another promotional company, and the results were slightly better. But after a harrowing roll out for Changed which cost me hundreds of dollars and left me in tears, seriously considering deleting a manuscript that most of my readers ended up loving, I knew I could do better.
My answer? Like it is with most everything on this crazy self-publishing journey, I’m doing it all my own damn self. I’m not paying a tour company this time. I have done some advertising, shelling out a minimal amount to promote the special preorder price for Silenced during a group Facebook event. I’ve done my own giveaway. I’ve guest hosted a few takeover slots. And yes, I have directly contacted bloggers – some old standbys who it was really a formality to ask them – as well as some new faces that I’m excited about teaming up with. Once I have the paperback version ready, I’ll also do a Goodreads giveaway too.
The fact of the matter is that by driving my own train, I’m in total control. And as such, I’ve seen marked improvement over the results that I got when I let someone else take the wheel. Right now, I’m sitting on over twice as many Amazon preorders of Silenced (with nearly two months to go before release) than I had of Changed total. And the numbers at the other retailers are just as strong.
No, I’m nowhere near the point of ever reaching a bestseller list, but it’s convincing enough data to wonder why I didn’t decide to do this my own way ages ago.
Which leads to this. I want you – yes, you – to read and review Silenced. Haven’t started the series yet? No problem. There’s plenty of time to catch up and read the new book before February. I’ll even send them direct to your Kindle email address one at a time. All you have to do is promise to read the first four books in order from beginning to end, answer one trivia question per novel to confirm that you did, and you’re golden. All ready to get your ARC and post an honest review to Amazon and Goodreads.
Ready to sign up? Click the link below for more details and to get started.
Tonight I finished writing Silenced .
As with any of my previous four books, coming to the end of a novel is always a double-edged sword. A feeling of accomplishment mixed with a bit of sadness that this story is over and these characters that have grown throughout the course of the book are sailing off into the sunset one last time.
As most of you know, this is the fifth and final installment of The Intoxicated Books, so for me this is a big deal. Most of these characters have been a figment of my imagination for about twenty years, and however silly it sounds, I’ll kind of miss writing for them.
My goal was to finish writing the book sometime in November. I’d say that wrapping things up on the first of the month pretty much shattered that goal. I wanted to have a finished – but not perfect – manuscript when I uploaded the preorder to Amazon. And to be honest with you, I wouldn’t be embarrassed if this version I just finished went live. I’m a pretty clean writer, and my final copy never looks that different from the rough draft.
Admittedly, I have an unorthodox approach to publishing. I’m of the rare breed that likes to finish very early, read it once, then set it aside for a while and start writing on the next book. About a month after the first read through, I go back and read again to make any other changes. My sideloaded mobi copy gets highlighted and notated, then I go back to the Word doc and change the real thing.
I usually have ARCs ready well in advance. Not that many people care about them, but I do have four or so people in my back pocket who will read and review for me. Once that’s done, I focus my attention on formatting the print copy and of course, writing the next book.
This time will be different. I’ve already decided that I won’t be doing a massive release day rollout, or a preorder event, or a blog tour, because I don’t really feel like I’ve benefited from them in the past. In fact, my paid marketing tactics for book four left me so upset that I seriously thought about erasing the entire novel (which I loved), cancelling the preorder and never releasing it to the public. With that horrible aftertaste in my mouth, I can’t treat any future books in that same manner. I have a couple marketing ideas that I’m tossing around, but nothing set in stone. Whatever I do end up doing will be controlled entirely by me and distributed by me, because I’ve learned it’s a good idea to trust only myself.
And in addition to me embarking on writing completely different characters, I’m doing something else unprecedented shortly.
I’m taking a break from writing romance.
Chasing Echo is by no means a romance book, but it’s definitely a love story of sorts. However, I’m categorizing it as Contemporary Literary Fiction. I can’t even realistically call it Women’s Fiction, because it will be told entirely from the viewpoint of the male character.
Because I think ahead, the next two books on my plate after that will more than likely be Women’s Fiction, and that will mean that I won’t be writing anything of the Romance genre for at least a good two years. Maybe longer, because I have some pretty decent concepts for Chick Lit tales as well.
Why? I’m tired of sex.
I’ve always been an outsider in the Romance genre, because my series has been notoriously difficult to categorize. People looking for an alpha male, mommy porn novel are bored to death. People looking for a clean romance are turned off by my foul language. And The Intoxicated Books are probably the closest things to romance that I’ll ever write. I do have a very loose concept for a new romance series, but that will be very, very far off, if in fact it develops into something more.
I’m having so much fun coming up with ideas for standalones that the thought of being bogged down in another series doesn’t appeal to me at this point. I’ve blown my series wad with these characters, and I can’t imagine anyone else taking their place.
Like I’ve said many times before, I write for selfish reasons. I don’t write what sells, but some people end up buying it anyway. I write stories that I want to read, tales that I don’t feel have been done before in the way that I can do them. And true to life, most of what I write does have romantic elements. Relationships permeate your entire life – for good or bad. And I think that comes across in what I create.
But the idea of writing full on romance, or even masquerading like I do, feels like a lie. And the only thing I’ve wanted to do during this journey is be true to myself.
As most of you know, I set Intoxicated to permafree at all retailers back in May. I’m always looking to get the word out to new readers, so when my author friend Zoey Derrick came up with the idea for a group of us to help promote our freebies and rock-bottom sale priced books, I was totally on board. I am so excited for my book to be included in this list of fabulous reads.
This event will take place between September 1 – 7, just in time for you to start reading over the Labor Day Weekend. Because, face it, not all of us are party animals.
But wait, there’s more! We’ll also be having giveaways and other fun stuff all week long.
There’s a Rafflecopter going up with some great prizes, plus some flash giveaways over on Facebook.
For the complete list of authors and books participating, please check out http://zoeyderrick.net/summer-blow-out.
Join us and get to filling up your Kindle for those cold months ahead. I know I will be! 🙂
I’ve been away for awhile.
During my respite from blogging, I’ve actually been living out my author dream pretty well. Just like the words of wisdom that I read from some other blogger sometime quite long ago, many authors start to hit their stride somewhere around the fourth or fifth book. I’ve found mine and it’s a beautiful feeling. For some reason, it’s the sweet spot and if you’re doing things right, by that point you should be pleased with your sales figures. If you’re not, it’s time to re-evaluate what it is you’re writing and how you’re promoting yourself.
I’ve always been a genre bender. I’ve always had difficulty categorizing what exactly the hell it is that I write. It’s easier to list off what I don’t: paranormal, historical, fantasy, sci-fi. For The Intoxicated Books, I settled on classifying them as contemporary romance.
But I’ve always known they were different. They don’t fall into the typical romance book mold, even though there’s plenty of falling in and out of love. But there’s humor and heartache and family drama too. And there are definitely some romance buzzwords that don’t show up in my writing, though I certainly am not afraid of the F-bomb. As such, readers looking for a cookie cutter alpha male story with hot, hot sex aren’t going to be impressed. That’s perfectly fine.
That’s part of the reason that I decided to market Book 5 in the series in a completely different way, if at all. It’s something that has been brewing in the back of my head since the debacle that was the release of Book 4. The moment that I realized without question that I didn’t fit in where I had placed myself. The moment that I realized that I didn’t want to play the competition game. The moment that I decided it wasn’t fair to myself to pay someone else for a marketing campaign that left me in tears and wanting to cancel the entire damn thing. Though Book 4 is quite arguably my favorite in the series (but I say that about all of them when I write them), for a few weeks I absolutely hated it and regretted ever writing anything.
Marketing your books shouldn’t make you feel like total hell.
So I stopped, and then the magic happened.
Of course, there is always room for improvement, and no one ever sells as many copies as they ultimately dream of. But my expectations are reasonable, and I’ve always been very clear that I do this on an extremely part time basis. I don’t spam book links to various social media accounts, nor do I even post everywhere frequently. Yet most days, I get paid sales on at least one platform. Sometimes I get more paid sales than free downloads. And I realize that by accomplishing this, I’m doing better than a large percentage of self-publishers. I’m not greedy; I’m humbled that I have found repeat readers. Readers who get hooked on the first book, who maybe did pick it up as a perma-free, and who dutifully come back and purchase the remaining books in the series. I’ve even gotten preorders for Book 5, which doesn’t come out until February, simply by having it available at most retailers already.
And you know me. I am always thinking ahead. Book 5 is over halfway done on the laptop, but complete in my head and I’ve moved on from those characters. They write themselves for me, after having been with them for the better part of twenty years.
I was sitting on ideas for about 7 standalone books, along with a very basic concept for another series. They range in flavor from chick lit to steamy romance, but never to the point of erotica. I might read it, but I don’t see myself writing it. And considering that I will have to start writing one of them to put a teaser chapter at the end of Book 5 before it goes live, I knew I needed to make a decision on which figment of my imagination was going to come next. I had almost decided on one of them; the one most fully formed with a title, tagline, entire plot and a cover vision.
Then Tuesday happened and another brand new idea took precedence. In the span of twenty-four hours, I had all of the above plus character names and a half-assed blurb jangling around in my brain. I was writing scenes and dialogue, envisioning the beginning of the book in my screenplay-esque way. And I knew without a doubt that it would be the next book going up for sale.
Guess what? It’s not a romance. Sure, there will be romantic elements. But this will be dark and depressing, a haunting novel that will hopefully stick with readers much the same as it’s consumed my thoughts lately. It’s the story that I feel I need to tell next, genre be damned.
Call it women’s fiction, or literary fiction, or whatever you’d like. And take the plunge with me if you want to. For I don’t write for sales, I write for myself. And maybe I’ve found that being a little off and unpopular is exactly where I want to be.
If you’re really observant, you’ll catch the title here, hiding somewhere on this blog. But that’s all I’m ready to say at this point.
So I was messing around on Google, which I don’t do nearly as much as my husband thinks, and I came across a hit several pages into the search results for myself that piqued my interest. It involved the eFestival of Words and my very own novel, Shattered.
Having working knowledge of eFestival of Words and respecting some of the authors who have been nominated/won their categories in previous years, I was more than intrigued. So I clicked on the link, learning that the nominees for 2015 had recently been named. In order to access the complete list, I had to register for an account, which I did.
Lo and behold, somehow Shattered has been nominated for Best Chick Lit / Best Women’s Lit.
Okay, so I understand how the nominating process works. People with ties to the publishing industry (authors, editors, bloggers, etc.) nominate their peers in order to celebrate the best in indie publishing. All nominations are made anonymously, and authors cannot nominate a work that they are intimately connected to. So no, I didn’t toot my own horn.
Which means that someone out there somewhere respects my work and that’s extremely flattering. Or they had absolutely no idea who to vote for in that category, so they just named me instead.
In any case, of the three books that were eligible for the nomination (Changed was released too late for consideration), Shattered is the one that I would never have guessed would be chosen. While I’m proud of all of my books, I realize that Shattered is the red-headed stepchild of the series. It’s forever lurking in the shadows of the first book, which it’s a companion to. Though some have read and enjoyed it as a standalone, it really isn’t. And it doesn’t pack the emotional punch of the third novel, which can be read on its own.
What comes next in the grand scheme of things is that a committee selects the finalists in each category, then those finalists are voted on by the general public beginning July 1st.
A number of factors are considered in choosing finalists: book cover, book blurb, quality of reviews and social media presence among them.
I realize that Shattered doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Why? Because what works for me as an author bucks tradition. I am the epitome of someone who does everything wrong according to conventional wisdom.
1. Book cover – I love my covers personally, but they don’t look like other people’s covers. No half dressed man candy, or couples almost nearly kissing. Granted, in the Chick Lit / Women’s Lit category, there’s a bit more leeway on this than in the broader romance genre. My covers are artsy and definitely recognizable as being tied to the series, but some people hate them.
2. Book blurb – Okay, Shattered probably has the best blurb (in my opinion) of any of the books in the series. But blurbs are harder for me to write than the actual book, so what do I know?
3. Quality of reviews – Out of all four books I have released, Shattered has the fewest reviews on Amazon. On Goodreads, it has a few more than Designed. They are all honest and genuine though, so that’s a plus.
4. Social media presence – Yes, I have a Twitter, Facebook, Tsu, Google Plus and Goodreads account. I have a blog (duh). Google me and tons of stuff pops up. But my experience with all of this is that the less I post, the more I sell. No kidding. This past month, I’ve been virtually silent and it’s been my best month yet. And forget about a street team or a PA.
So, I’ll take my nomination and run with it, being happy that I can forever associate a fleeting token of recognition with something that I wrote. It’s really more than I ever expected, or than most authors like me ever get.
This past week, Amazon price matched Intoxicated, making it free across all platforms. All in all, it wasn’t as lengthy of a process as I expected it to be. I believe that I started on 5/7/15 by changing the price at Smashwords, then waiting for the trickle down effect to take place.
Every day since the book went free at some of the bigger sites (iBooks, B&N, Kobo), I clicked over to Amazon to see if they noticed. I reported my own lower prices quite a few times, even though I’ve heard that it’s not effective if the author does it. I did enlist a few friends to help, but I’m not positive that more than two other people reported the lower price.
The tipping point in my eyes is when I uploaded Intoxicated to Google Play as a free download. Not because I plan on selling tons of books there, or even uploading the rest of the series there, but solely because I stumbled across advice that suggested this was a surefire way to get Amazon to make your book free. And the logic makes sense. After all, Google is, well, Google. Imagine when the search engine results pulled up for your book, showing free at Google, and paid at Amazon. With the way Amazon dominates the ebook market, it’s not good for them to be publicly undercut.
Sure enough, within two days of my book going live on Google Play, it was also free at Amazon. I had achieved success, and didn’t even know it until I saw the first three free downloads hit on my dashboard, a lovely green color among the (very) sporadic red line of paid sales.
As I expected, perma-free works better on Amazon than it does on other outlets. Though making it free at other retailers has guaranteed at least a few downloads per day, the response elsewhere has been nothing like over at Amazon. It was fun the first day to periodically check my dashboard to see the downloads climbing by what I considered to be leaps and bounds. Mind you, I did nearly no promotion of this – just a simple tweet, a Facebook post, and a mention over on Tsu, so most of the downloads came from people stumbling across it themselves.
For the first two days of free at Amazon, I did so much better than I expected. Intoxicated hit right around sales rank 1,200 of all free books at its peak (at least what I witnessed) and was also (just barely) in the top 100 of both the Romance and the Women’s Fiction categories. Pretty good for an experiment.
The interest has subsided since, which I fully expected. I’ve submitted it to a couple of free book websites for editorial consideration, as I’m hoping I can get some promotion at no charge. I’ve just started a targeted Facebook ad for the next week, but am not throwing a whole lot of money at it. So far, I am the only click, because I couldn’t stop myself from trying it out to make sure the damn thing worked.
What’s my goal here? Ultimately to get people to take a chance on my series by reading the first one for free. And the early results are promising. Prior to Amazon setting it to free, I’ve had a few paid sales of Book Two at the other retailers. And a purchase of the rest of the series at Smashwords, each subsequent book selling two days after the last. And since going free at Amazon, I’ve gotten one new review of Intoxicated, and paid sales of Book Two each day.
Still not setting the world on fire, but it’s a start. I’ll take it.
After a lot of debate, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and price the first book in my series at perma-free. I know that starting out, I was hugely skeptical of this practice, and I’m still not entirely sure that it will work out for me. But it’s worth a shot, right?
Besides, Intoxicated is the book that I always give away if I’m doing a mass freebie. It’s the one that I want people to start with, because all the others come after it chronologically, even if they focus on different characters. And it’s the one that’s been pirated, so there’s already plenty of free – unauthorized – copies floating around. Why not make it legit and have a way to actually track how many downloads I get?
As you might already know, Amazon does not let you price your books for free. Sure, they have their free days for those that are exclusive, but the list price has to be 99 cents or above. The only way to get a book perma-free there is by price matching.
So I’m enlisting the help of all of you if you’re fair game. It’s easy to report a lower price to Amazon; you just scroll down on the book’s page until you find the link to “tell us about a lower price”. Then you click, copy and paste the other retailer’s link, and specify what price is being charged there. Repeat for each retailer and you’re done.
I’ve changed the price to free at all retailers that I control. Smashwords, iBooks and Kobo had it free within hours. Barnes & Noble will have the price updated shortly. Now we’re just waiting for Amazon’s algorithms to kick in and price match.
Here’s the links you’ll need to help out. And by all means, if you use one of the other retailers anyway, be sure to download your own copy. I’ll add B&N when the price change is effective, and I’ll definitely advise when we’re successful over at Amazon.
Update as of 5/11/15: B&N is now free (it was a penny over there for a few days), and I lowered the list price at Amazon to 99 cents, but I still need your help in getting it free.
Thanks for your help!
Is the series king?
Common wisdom in the fiction world tends to back this up. And it’s certainly understandable. If your readers grow to love your characters, what better way to keep them excited about your next book than to continue telling tales with the people they are comfortable with? Provided that the stories are still fresh and that you aren’t dishing out too much of a good thing, this can be a useful tactic to keep your fans where you want them – poised over the one click button.
Series also provide for some unique marketing opportunities. You’ve probably heard the oft-repeated gem that some authors swear by: offer the first book for free. Obviously, this works much more effectively if you’re already a few books in and can hook your readers into continuing on right away. Even if your first book isn’t perma-free, you might still enjoy this “I’ve got to know what happens now!” phenomenon. Chances are, if someone raves about the first book, they’ll eventually pick up at least the second one. Maybe they’ll even get around to reading it one day.
Something that isn’t talked about quite as much? The difficulty that comes with gaining exposure for subsequent books – especially when you’re relatively obscure. When you’re trying to gather reviews prior to release, it can be a daunting task to try to convince someone that: a.) It’s worth their time to read Books 1-3 in order to catch up and be in the loop, or b.) You don’t have to read the other books to enjoy this one.
In my series, I took a hybrid approach to this. My books do go in order, building one upon the other. I think it’s because of their genre. Since I categorize them as a mix between contemporary romance and chick lit, they deal with relationships – both romantic and platonic. Things that occur in Book One still get mentioned in Book Four. Characters grow and react to things that have happened in the past. It’s not like a mystery – for instance – where the character development isn’t the point, it’s the plot. That being said, while Books One and Two are joined at the hip, Books Three and Four could be read as standalones.
I’ve had readers successfully pick up the series at both Book Three and Four (and a couple even at Book Two) and be perfectly happy with the experience. Most of the time, they indicate that they are so intrigued by the hint of what came before that they need to go back and read the others. Which is a win in my book for sure.
Occasionally, I do hear from someone that wishes I would have held their hand a little bit more and led them through the forest. These are the people who I haven’t won over, who won’t continue on (or go back) for whatever reason and that’s fine, too.
In a perfect world, readers would start at Book One and go forward in order. That’s the ultimate experience, no matter what book I’m marketing that day. And if you listen to the fans that have read from the beginning, they’ll tell you the same thing.
I’m not the type of writer who wants to bore people with 100 pages of backstory in every book. And considering that there are now four of them, that’s over 1,200 pages and 400,000 words to recap.
For that reason, my marketing plan for Book Five will be drastically different. It can’t be a standalone by design, since it’s the end of the series. For it to make any sense, you’ll have to read all the others before it. Which renders a blog tour relatively useless, because there have only been two blogs that have featured reviews on every single book. I’ll likely open up ARCs to those readers that have read and reviewed all the others and call it good.
Me being me, I’m already planning out what happens next. After this series is said and done (with a companion book very likely), I’m moving forward with a few true standalones, which I plan on marketing the hell out of.
My hope is that the standalones will impress new readers enough that they’ll check out the series. And read it from the beginning.
Several months ago, in the infancy of the launch for my upcoming release, I joked that this book may just be the death of me. Honestly, I didn’t know how prophetic those words would be.
This time out, I had some new ideas – things I wanted to try. I’ve been around the book releasing block a few times now and have established some opinions as to what I think works and what doesn’t. And, with Amazon finally allowing self-publishers the opportunity to list preorders, I had yet another tool in my arsenal.
Excitement reigned in the early part of this year as I sat with a newly finished book on my laptop and visions of a marketing plan dancing in my head. Like the previous installment of my series, this novel can be read as a standalone. It also builds quite nicely upon the rest of the action, so those who are reading in order will be pleased as well. Unlike Book Three, this one is not dark and twisty and profound. This one is light, naughtier than I’ve ever gone before, and snarky with a fair amount of angst for good measure.
It’s also my favorite of the series. Then again, I say that about all of them when they first come out. Quite honestly, though, it was the easiest one yet for me to write and format in all of its versions, and that in itself is endearing.
I’ve already covered here the Facebook strategy that I used to try to drum up early reviews. This was marginally successful, though I didn’t give out anywhere near the 75 copies that I had limited myself to.
I also offered ARCs to the Facebook group that my tour company runs. The usual suspects read and reviewed, for which I am grateful, but no new interest.
In addition to the Release Day Event that has become a tradition since Book Two, I also scheduled a Preorder Blitz that happened at the end of February. And this is when the headaches started happening.
I’ve had the beginnings of a Goodreads comment war on an early review that literally had me in tears. No, I really wasn’t personally involved, but still. I’ve had winners of my preorder giveaway that did not claim the ebooks that I gifted to them on Amazon, though the money has clearly been debited from my account for the purchase price weeks ago. I’ve had a winner who wouldn’t respond to me at all, but accepted the prize without as much as a “thank you”.
To which end I threw up my hands in the air and asked myself why I bother with any of this anyway. Not the writing, but the marketing part.
I have always written my books first and foremost for myself. I don’t write to make sales. I don’t even publish for the tax write-off that I’ve been able to get from two straight years of business losses. I write because I love to do it. I love creating and the entire frustrating process of seeing a story through to the time it goes live and gets printed in a paperback version.
And if some readers want to join me along the way, then that is great, too.
I’m seriously considering not doing any presale marketing for my next book. Just quietly put it out there for sale and see if anyone notices.
It will help save my sanity.
And, after all, it worked for Beyonce.