Promotion, Real Life, Reflections, Writing

A Year of New—or How I Hope to Stay Sane This Year

I believe 2014 may be a year of new for me. We’re only a week into the year and I’ve already started writing a new book—in a genre I’ve never written before. I don’t want to jinx it by telling too much too soon, but I’m excited about it, even though I know how much work I have ahead me. And I don’t mean just the writing, editing, and revising. I’ll need to maintain a different mindset to write in this genre.

KG_crocus That’s all right, though. I need a new mindset for this year. A positive, I’m-going-to-enjoy-life-no-matter-what outlook. I need to focus on what I CAN do, who I CAN be, and build my self-esteem. And that requires changes in many areas of my life.

In my writing life, that means I must STOP comparing myself to other writers. Bye-bye, tons of frustration and disappointment. And I can’t afford to waste time like I did in 2013. I now have two books to write and edit this year. (The book I hoped to revise will have to wait for 2015.) I absolutely have to get organized and assign priorities.

I’ll elaborate on some of these points in future posts. Being a writer in the digital age is both a blessing and a curse. Maybe if we talk honestly about it, we’ll help each other enjoy more of the first and suffer less of the second.

So, that’s my plan to make it through 2014 saner than I did in 2013.


But first, I have to finish up one “old” thing—it’s coupled with a new experience, though, so that’s good. I’d planned to stop actively promoting my first two books, but I’d forgotten that a few months ago I requested to be put on the waiting list for a promotion with eReader Buddy. My name finally came up, so I decided to pair that promotion with a new tool for books in KDP Select. So for the next couple of days, The Brevity of Roses ebook will be on deep discount at $.99 and then rise in price twice over the next days until it’s back to the regular price. That’s called a Kindle Countdown Deal at Amazon. I’m interested to see how it works.

Linda

Image courtesy of Karpati Gabor / Morguefile.com

Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Promotion, Writing

It’s all about exposure, baby!

Some of you may have wondered why I would give The Brevity of Roses away for two days last week. It was exciting, to be sure. It’s amazing to think that thousands of people can now read it, of course, but that’s not all I expected. I knew the giveaway would increase the book’s visibility on Amazon while it was free, but what about after that period?

I believe Brevity is a good story and its reviews confirm that, but only a limited circle knew about it. People can’t buy a book they don’t know exists. As an independent author, specifically one with no influence or marketing budget, I’ve had a major challenge getting Brevity noticed, so when I heard about the KDP Select program, I had to consider it.

In the first three months after Brevity’s publication, 74% of e-book sales were through Amazon, and that increased to 91% during the last seven months. That fact weighed heavily in my decision because to enroll your e-book in the KDP Select program, you have to remove it from all other distributors. Obviously, for me that restriction was practically a non-factor.

Also, enrollment in the program makes your book available to the Amazon Prime lending library, and each borrow earns the author a percentage of a monthly pool of funds. I would earn less for a loan than for a sales, but far more than zero.

So, did the giveaway give my book more visibility on Amazon? Heck yeah! It rose to #4 on the Kindle contemporary fiction chart. Did the promo result in increased sales after the free period? You betcha! It maintained a rank of #22 in all fiction sales for eighteen hours. It’s also racking up borrows.

From others experience in the KDP Select program, I expect my current sales rank to gradually lower over the next few days, but not return to what it was before the giveaway. As people read Brevity, they’ll tell their friends about it. Some of them will leave reviews at Amazon. Word of mouth will continue to give the book exposure. I deem this experiment a success!

Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Writing

Wow! The KDP Select Giveaway Experience

I’m excited to say my first KDP Select giveaway experience was a success. It thrilled me, amazed me, astounded me, and left me dizzy. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have thought I’d been hitting the wine bottle after reading my frequent updates, but I promise no wine was involved. I was just giddy from following the download numbers for The Brevity of Roses.

I apologize for the length of this post, but some of you may be considering such a giveaway for your book, so I think it’s important to share my experience. Also, some of you invested your time to spread the word or cheer me on, so I thought you might be interested in the results.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to check the rankings at the Amazon stores in other countries, but I didn’t, so all the action I’ll cite was for Amazon US, and all rankings were for free Kindle books. Here’s how it went. The ebook’s price was supposed to switch to free at midnight PST on Wednesday, but I stayed awake until 12:30 am and it hadn’t changed, so I went to bed.

My promo blitz began when my pre-scheduled blog post published at 5:30 Thursday morning. When I woke about 7:30 I announced the giveaway on Facebook and Twitter. I forgot about Google+ until later. I had not arranged to have the giveaway promoted at any free Kindle book sites.

However, I want to say right here that I have the greatest “tribe” of supporters ever!!! So many of you shared my announcement on Facebook, Twitter, and I don’t know where else, that I don’t think I needed any help from strangers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Seriously, THANK YOU.

I was afraid to check the stats at first, so I didn’t see them until 8:30 Thursday morning. At that time, Brevity had been downloaded 665 times, and I ranked #30 in contemporary fiction and #60 in contemporary romance. (I forgot to note the overall rank.) I thought those numbers were great. Little did I know.

All day Thursday, Brevity climbed in the ranks, taking a big leap around 2pm that first day. From 6-7pm PST, it reached its peak download speed, averaging 12 copies per minute! By 7pm, 6,623 people had downloaded the book. It ranked #5 in contemporary fiction and #6 in contemporary romance. The overall rank was #25, and it sat at #24 in Top 100 Kindle ebooks, and #20 in Top 100 Fiction.

I was exhausted from all the excitement and last checked the stats at 11pm before going to bed. At that time, it had moved up one notch in all those ranks, and had been downloaded 8,014 times! I truly couldn’t believe that.

The second day, I started tracking stats at 7:00 am. The first stats I recorded were 9,023 downloads, it ranked #5 in contemporary fiction and #5 in contemporary romance. The overall rank was #17, and it was #16 in Top 100 Kindle ebooks, and #14 in Top 100 Fiction. That meant Brevity finally appeared on the first page of free downloads. Yay!

In all, Brevity maintained its ranking at #5 in contemporary fiction and contemporary romance for nineteen—19!—hours! I can’t tell you how unbelievable that was to me. Trying to wrap my little brain around that literally made me dizzy. By 2:30 PST on Friday, the book had been downloaded 10,733 times! And then, in the next hour it took a mystifying leap to #3 in contemporary fiction and held that spot for five hours.

As the timer ticked off the final hours, Brevity descended a bit, settling back in the #5 spot in contemporary fiction, dropping to #12 in contemporary romance, then rising again to #8, and staying there to the end. The final tally for US downloads was 12,604. Add to that 1,184 in the UK, 58 in Germany, 2 in France, and 1 in Spain for a total of 13,849 downloads worldwide!

Since these were free downloads, I earned no royalties from them, but the EXPOSURE, oh my! I feel like Brevity finally got a chance to be a contender. Of course, the lure of FREE means that not everyone who downloaded Brevity will actually read it. But even if only 30% read it, that’s nearly 5,000 more readers! Can you imagine?

One thing I’d been warned about beforehand was that I might see a few bad reviews after the free promo, I don’t know why that should be, but on Friday morning when I saw that my review count had increased by one, I was afraid to look. My fear was unfounded; it was a lovely 4-star review. A bit later, I received an email from that person saying she’d bought the book on Thursday and stayed up until 2am Friday to finish it. Now, wasn’t that just the cherry on top?

Author, Family, Fiction, Imagination, Inspiration, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Real Life, Short story, Writing

Bluegrass, Super Secret, and Select

I’m happy to report that I haven’t posted since Thursday because I’ve been writing fiction. If you follow my Facebook Author Page you know that I was working on one of my “down home” stories, with a bluegrass accompaniment to set the mood.

That story is one I’ll include in my story collection (yes, that project is back on the table) and eventually will be part of a larger work, probably a novel in the form of connected stories. The house pictured here inspired the concept. My great-great-grandfather, or maybe his father, built that house. It grew from the original settlement, a log cabin in a little holler beside a crick. I’m imagining the stories of some of the people who called that place home.

A couple of other writing-related projects occupied me. One is Super Secret … and Super Cool. Yes, I know that’s a tease. 🙂 You’ll hear all about it in time, but I’ll give you a hint: it involves a new face … of a sort.

The third writing-related project was researching the KDP Select program recently implemented by Amazon. In short, authors can enroll one, some, or all of their e-books in the program to have them included in the Amazon lending program. In that program, Prime Members can borrow the book to read on their Kindle. Also, through the KDP Select program, the author can mark a book FREE for a limited time.

I think the real benefit of that option is potential sales of an author’s other books after someone downloads their free book and likes it. Since I have only one book published, this program would not benefit me now, but I’m watching how it’s working for others. So far, I’m definitely undecided whether I should take part in the future.

The downside to the program is exclusivity. While your e-book is enrolled in KDP Select, it can’t be available anywhere else—not for sale, not for free. (This refers to e-book only.) So, each author has to consider how this might affect their sales. In my case, so far, 85% of my e-book sales have come through Amazon. Since the free Kindle app is available for PC, Mac, most Smartphones, and the iPad, the KDP Select exclusivity eliminates mostly those who own the Nook reader.

So there you go, my essay on how I spent the last five days. What have you been up to?