As regular readers my know, my first book continues to win prizes but it’s not not selling like I’d hoped.
Feedback from experts suggested that my original cover wasn’t working for me.
A local bookseller had an issue with the snake. “People are afraid of snakes,” she said. “They won’t pick up something with a snake on it.”
A couple of author friends who sell a lot of books had a more basic criticism. “Your cover doesn’t say romance.”
And I never did like the fact that it was so hard to read the title.
When I had that first cover made, a marketing friend who had read an early draft suggested going with an “object cover”—that is, a cover with an object rather than a person—with the intention of trying for cross-genre sales. Continue reading
There’s a new Twitter marketing strategy that caught my eye recently. List a bunch of tropes that describe your book, and then add the links for purchase or preorder.
Jackie Lau caught my attention with the ice cream, and the foodie six-year-old was a joy, and not just a plot moppet.
I haven’t seen this before, but then again, I don’t get around much, so maybe it’s a thing. Maybe everyone is doing it, and I just haven’t seen it before. But . . . it looks like a really good idea, and I’m going to pretend that you are as in the dark as I was.
I first noticed when Jackie Lau did it for Ice Cream Lover. Jackie just showed up suddenly on my phone Twitter feed, and I was in the mood for ice cream and romance . . . and that’s how I ended up following her. She had me at ice cream; add in an #AsianRomCom, and I bought her book. And boy, it was good! Ice cream, sexy scenes of the like I’ve never seen in romance before (do note: I don’t get around much), a bi-cultural heroine and Continue reading
Recently, a friend messaged me about a bookstore in a nearby town that she thought would be willing to stock my book(s), so last Tuesday I went to visit New & Olde Pages Book Shoppe in Englewood, OH.
I explained why I was there and the proprietress said, “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
I pulled a copy of The Demon Always Wins from the small box of books I’d brought with me and held it out to her.
“That’s a problem,” she said. Continue reading
The second book in my Touched by a Demon series comes out today!
It’ll be a cold day in Hell before artist Keeffe Blackmon gives up the statue created by her late mother, a world-famous inspirational sculptor. Keeffe’s not selling—not even to a man as rich as devil’s food cake and handsome as sin—the gorgeous but morally repulsive billionaire Seth McCall. That is, until Keeffe decodes a fiendish contract and discovers she has just one month to prove she’s earning a living with her art or lose her sculpture forever.
Demons will ice skate on the Lake of Fire before Satan puts Abaddon, aka Bad, the demon of sloth and Hell’s brainiest minion, back in charge of Hell’s technology hub. But when Satan’s stooge McCall fails to acquire the powerful statue, Bad seizes his chance. To win back his job, Bad offers to possess McCall and, with the unbeatable combination of McCall’s good looks and his own smarts, melt Keeffe into selling him the sculpture.
As Keeffe races to complete a mural in McCall’s McMansion and earn the cash she needs to keep her statue, the billionaire blows hot one minute and cold the next. It’s almost as if he’s two different men: one a jerk, the other sweet and nerdy—and hot as Hell.
Aboveworld for the first time, Bad finds out his heart is even bigger than his brain. He is entranced by Sedona’s stunning landscape and seduced by Keeffe’s passion for art, life and the man she thinks she sees in McCall.
Bad may be the smartest demon in Hell—but is he smart enough to win Keeffe’s trust and ice Satan’s devilish plan to destroy Sedona?
You can check it out on Amazon in either ebook or print format.
The second week of November was a week of firsts for me as an author:
- My first opportunity to meet with a book club (who had all read my book!)
- My first author signing event
- My first piece of fan mail (okay fan email) from a total (well, near-total) stranger
The book club invitation came from a former co-worker. I thought it would be fun, but it turned out even better than I expected. It turns out that there’s something really gratifying about people liking your book enough to want to know how you came up with the idea and wondering about all kinds of details you wove in.
They also invited me to read. After a short discussion, we settled on the first scene from The Demon’s in the Details, the second book in the series, which comes out in January. They must have liked it, because they invited me to come back once it’s out.
The next day, I attended my first author signing event. A little town about twenty miles south of where I live holds a Christmas Festival each year, including a parade and lots of vendors. The historical society arranges a signing event for local authors–first come, first served. As soon as I saw the notice on Facebook, I hopped right on it. Continue reading
Saturday, September 1, was my debut book release. It went well–I even received this lovely bouquet of roses from my daughter, congratulating me on achieving a life-time dream.
Because I’d badgered, I mean, encouraged people to pre-order the ebook, my royalties report on my Amazon Central Dashboard looked like this at the end of the first day:
People kept warning me that marketing a book is really time-consuming. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them, exactly. More that I didn’t know enough about what I’d have to do to understand how much time we were talking about.
Let me educate you:
- You need to grow your platform. That means:
- Aggressively friending people on Facebook.
- Inviting all those brand new friends to Like your Author page
- Dealing with the sudden onset of people, in turn, friending you, many of whom I suspect are Russian trolls and Nigerian princes.
- Which means reviewing profiles. Despite your best efforts, some of the ones you accept will immediately attempt to contact you via Messenger to a) offer you a business opportunity (Buy My Jewelry! Day Trade at Home!) or b) request money for their charity.
- Searching out people to follow on Twitter.
- Following them back (which requires looking at their tweets to be sure you’re not following a known psychopath)
- Being winsome on Instagram. (That’s much easier. See flower pics below.)
- Participating in any other social media you can tolerate. (Hasn’t happened–I’m already well over my tolerance limit with Twitter, which a writing friend likened to an “angry kaleidoscope.”
- Collect as many invitations as you can muster to appear on blogs, with the understanding that each of them is going to want a completely original blog post and a never-before-seen snippet from the book. Thus far I’ve written:
- A recipe describing Belial, my protagonist, for the Alpha Male Cafe over at I Smell Sheep, a paranormal romance blog. That one will appear on September 9.
- A post titled, “When the Drapes Don’t Match the Carpet,” on the importance of covers conveying what’s inside the book for Fresh Fiction, appearing September 13
- A Q&A for the USA Today HEA blog for September 6th (including a pic of me with my 90’s hair, if you’re interested. I must say, I had a bucket of hair back in the 90’s.)
- An interview with Belial for D. Lieber’s Ink and Magick blog that begins with the phrase, “Welcome to Ink & Magick. I’m your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you today?” Date yet to be determined.
- And we’re working on several more. For that reason, I share with you a half dozen of the bazillion wildflower pictures I’ve taken over the past few years.
Because somebody needs to remember to take time to smell those beauties.
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how self-publishing your first book is kind of like making your first pancake–it may turn out just fine, or it may be a scorched, runny mess, depending on how good a job you do of making the batter, setting up the griddle, etc.
I managed to get The Demon Always Wins set up for pre-order on Amazon on July 31. As of last night, I had 59 pre-orders. That may not seem like much, but according to Kameron Hurley, the average self-published book sells only 250 copies in its lifetime. And while the average traditionally-published book sells 3000 copies over the course of its publication life, 250-300 is the usual first year total.
So, with two-and-a-half weeks remaining till my book actually becomes available, I’ve already hit 22% of average lifetime sales for self-pubs and of first-year sales for traditional books.
There’s a wonderful indie comedy from 2003 called Pieces of April about a young woman who invites her suburban family to her walk-up apartment in the Bronx for Thanksgiving dinner, only to have her oven go out Thanksgiving morning. I saw it years ago, but there is one line that stuck with me.
Asked by some friends about her relationship with her parents, April says, “I’m the first pancake.”
The film goes on to explain that the first pancake is the one you throw away so the others will turn out okay.
The Demon Always Wins is starting to feel like the first pancake. Continue reading
As I’ve mentioned a few (hundred) times recently, I have a lot of writing balls in the air right now. Partly this was intentional: I knew the writing and editing tasks for my multiple books in my Victorian Romance series would have to overlap to meet a rather aggressive publishing schedule (set by yours truly, so no one to blame but myself for that). Partly this was unintentional: I got behind schedule on a few different things, shifted some dates, zigged when I should have zagged, and suddenly multiple deadlines converged and…well, here I am.
Last week, I asked for your help for a 50-word pitch and 250-word opening sequence for Take the Money and Run, my Women’s Fiction manuscript. This week, I’d love some feedback on a totally different task for a completely different book, the back cover copy for Too Clever By Half, the kickoff novella of my Harrow’s Finest Five series. I’ve been working on this slippery sucker for a while, and now it’s time to get it nailed down so I can get my cover completed (and then share it here!). The goal of the cover copy? Convince a reader to pick up the book from a bookshelf or click on the ‘look inside’ option online. In brief, the cover copy should include a high-level hook, introduce you to the protagonist(s), introduce the conflict, and make you eager to read more.
Your task today, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me whether this cover copy does that for you. The more specificity you provide about what you like, what you dislike, or what makes you say ‘oh hell no!’, the more I can improve it. So leave your thoughts and – really importantly – your first reactions to reading this in the comments, please and thank you!
Two fierce competitors engaged in a battle of intellects might just be outwitted by love… Continue reading