Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ebook Marketing

Today I was invited to be on a panel at my local library's author's day about marketing. For people who live and die by their ebook sales, I don't think any of this is revolutionary (yes, yes, I know I am not selling this blog post), but for people just starting, these are just the best tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

More than anything—and I cannot stress this enough—write more books. Stop stalking your sales, returns, ranking, and reviews and write.

12 Tips for increasing sales and visibility:
1.       Finish your series! The majority of the money I made in year two was made toward the end of the year. The factor that changed was I published the third book in a series. Having a complete series can dramatically change your people’s willingness to buy the books. The audience doesn’t want to wait between books. They want it all now.
2.       Don’t be afraid to publish multiple books at once. In fact do it. The more content you have available the better you will do in the algorithms which in turn affect visibility which is the biggest challenge we all face.
3.       Don’t be afraid to price a little higher. I have found certain genres do better at a higher price point. The best part about being independently published is you can test different price points, covers, and blurbs until you find the right combination that works for you.
4.       Use your books. Your novels are the best advertising for your other books that you can do. Readers are already engaged and interested in you enough to pick up your book. Make sure you have links to all your other books, one excerpt, a newsletter sign up, and web address in every book you have available.
5.       Utilize sales and free days to their highest potential. Plan them carefully, set up advertising, and make sure you capitalize of having your book on sale.
      Personally, my feeling on free days and sales is that they don't actually help a lot until you have more than one book because the sales will trickled through all of your books, so the more you have the better the results will be. You can plan a sale or a free day at anytime, but what you need to make sure you do is advertise the hell out of it. Don't leave anything up to chance. Try Bookbub, Pixel of Ink, and Ereader News Today, as well as any and every other place you can find. You want the biggest push you can give it while it is at that price. You HAVE to capitalize on these moments. They will give you momentum and visibility
        
6.       Social media is meant to be social, not to share links to your books. No one cares about the random person they don’t know tweeting out a link. No one. They do care about the fun, interactive person who has chatted with them about cat videos and made them laugh. Let your personality and interest shine through and people will respond to you. You don’t have to run around begging for attention because then you become white noise and people stop listening.
7.       Know your audience. Facebook users tend to be Kindle users so sharing Amazon links make sense. Twitter users are more geared toward iBooks. Know what your audience in looking for from you.
8.       Don’t ignore the other retailers. Amazon is massive and the majority of my personal sales. However, Barnes and Noble takes a while to get warmed up but once you reach the point that you are making sales they continue. Kobo is big in Canada and in the fantasy genre. And I believe iBooks will be Amazon’s biggest competitor in about 5 years.
9.       Capitalize on all the different markets you can place one book. Ebook, print, audio, foreign translations, etc.
10.   Don’t give up any rights the publisher doesn’t plan to use. Often contracts will ask for rights they don’t intend to use (like audio or translations). Don’t sell them unless they plan to utilize them. If you retain your rights you can look at pursuing these paths or selling them separately.
11.   Know where your advice is coming from. There is lots of terrible advice on writing and marketing on the internet. People who have no business offering advice proclaim themselves as experts. Do your research. Check sales ranks, check the content they have produced,  and educate yourself as much as possible. The truth is there are two way to publish right now. Independent or Traditional.  Neither way is bad. If someone is telling you one way is the wrong way to do it, then it is pretty clear they are feeling threatened or insecure about their own position in publishing.

And my last tip. This is a business. Treat your career like a hobby and it will serve you as a hobby. Treat it like a business and you will build a career

-Liz

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tiddly Jinx, The 4th Book in the Easy Bake Coven Series is HERE!


Tiddly Jinx is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords! 

Tiddly Jinx: 3.99


Selene Warren’s life is plagued by disaster. To fix the trouble her good intentions caused, she needs to rescue the necromancer who tried to help her, find and return the Pole of Charon, and win over the Elfish people. However, nothing ever goes as planned. The necromancer reappears in the Abyss, but is determined to be an enemy rather than a friend. The Pole of Charon can’t be tracked, yet small tears between worlds pop up and let in monsters that threaten to expose what Selene brought back. Tensions between elves and the other fae could erupt into violence at any moment, tearing apart the race once and for all. To mend the rips in the veil, Selene’s coven will have to use black magic, but that comes at a cost. Every time a spell is cast their souls are at stake. Forced to make a deal with an enemy or let the world be destroyed, all of her the lies and double crosses start to add up. The line between good and evil blurs until Selene doesn’t know which side she is fighting for.




Easy Bake Coven: FREE

For Selene Warren being a witch is no big deal. She dabbles in harmless magic with her friends and never thinks much about it. However, when a stranger who seems to know her shows up at her studio and her grandmother is brutally attacked, her simple life becomes complicated.

A world of elves, half-elves, fae—and one peculiar Sekhmet named Femi open up to her. She will discover that fairy tales are real, politics are ugly in any world, and there is a lot more to her life than she ever dreamed possible.

This new reality threatens swallow Selene whole, but with a forgotten past beating down her door, she will have to dive in to save her future.





Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tiddly Jinx Release!

This is the week. Tiddly Jinx is officially releasing on the 10th, but you might find it up a little soon on sites like Amazon and Smashwords.

In honor of this release I am sponsoring the Romantic Edge Books newsletter and one lucky subscriber will win this necklace, made by the fabulous Christine from the Book Swag Shop.

This necklace has very special meaning to me. In the third book of the Easy Bake Coven series, Pickup Styx, I describe a necklace that once belonged to Cheney's mother. Well, Christine made me that necklace based on my description and it is absolutely gorgeous.

So if you want a chance to win, sign for for the Romantic Edge Books newsletter and you will be entered to win. You will also get an awesome newsletter with a chance to win fun prizes every month and you will hear about awesome new releases.

Sign up here

Thank you and talk to you all soon!

Liz

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Middle Grade Book Release By Amanda Harms and Editor Interview


Hello all,

A brand new author and friend of mine, Amanda Harms has just released her first novel. It is a middle grade fantasy novel (think Alice in Wonderland). It's super cute and fun. We also share the editor. So check out her interview with Ev Bishop below.

Liz.


Hello Ev! Let's talk about BEWILDERED and your job as an editor. Shall we begin?

Us: So, first, can you tell us how long you've been an editor and why you chose to become one?
Ev: I don’t know if I chose editing, or if editing chose me. I’ve always been an avid, involved reader—one who enjoys identifying what I love about a specific story, but also what changes could make it even better.

At first this was just helpful in regards to my own writing, but then I met a writer who had a really great story that had been rejected eighty times.

The author had a fantastic premise and excellent mastery of the craft of writing, and we were both stumped by her failure to find a publisher.  Plus, every rejection was the worst type:  kind, and complimentary, thus completely baffling. (Why would editors and publishers say such nice things, and then decline the story?) Finally, she received a rejection that offered a clue. It said, basically, that the main character’s personality and issues, thus growth and change, weren’t strong enough.

The author asked if I’d read the novel and see if I could figure out what the comment meant, and what, if anything, could be done about it. Well, something can always be done to fix small issues when the bones of a story are great, and I was flattered to be asked for my opinion. I read the novel and loved it—but definitely saw ways to strengthen the character and make her easier to identify with. To cut a long story short, the author did one more rewrite and the story sold. She has since gone to sell more than thirty other novels!

The author is very talented and has an amazing work ethic. Her book would’ve sold eventually, with or without my input, but at the same, I did help—and loved being able to. Working with her made me realize I might enjoy helping other writers as well. That was over ten years ago, and while I’m still that original author’s editor and number one fan, since then I’ve taken on many other clients, mostly through word of mouth. I still prefer to work closely, project by project, with a select few authors.

Us: What are the best and worst parts of the job?
Ev: The best parts? I love getting paid to read and give my opinions on stories. So fun! Most of all, however, I’m honored to be trusted with the sensitive job of helping writers in the final labor stages of their creation, to help them birth stories that will go out into the world and move, challenge, educate, entertain and inspire people.

The worst part? Sometimes a story needs a lot of work, and I’m always terrified that I will discourage a writer or hurt their feelings when I share my suggestions with them. My sole goal is to help writers make their work the best it can be, but criticism, even well intentioned, doesn’t always feel good. So far, I’ve been very fortunate, though. The authors I work with are devoted to honing their skills. They seem to realize that I care deeply about their stories, and understand that even my “tough love” is love. 

Us: What do you think it takes to be a good editor?
Ev: I think the best editors read widely, without snobbery, and are passionate about stories in all their many-splendored styles and genre. They are kind and supportive, and able to look past personal preferences to discern what objective additions, deletions, or corrections would enhance the story for the target reader.

That said, responses and critiques can’t help but be subjective to some degree, and editing styles can vary greatly.  When looking for an editor, it’s important to find a good fit. Your editor should “get” what you’re trying to say, have a style of commenting that makes you feel motivated and excited about prospective changes, and noticeably help strengthen your story. Someone who is an excellent editor for someone else might not be a good one for you.

Us: Let's talk about BEWILDERED for a bit. What was your first impression of the story and characters?
Ev: My first response was, literally, a shriek of delight, followed by a permanent grin that only left my face when various parts of the plot turned sad or suspenseful. The story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland meets Harry Potter.

Us: What character is your favorite? Why?
Ev: The whole cast caught my imagination, and I hope to meet them all again. Prudence is fantastic—smart and funny, but more than a touch morose and misunderstood. I totally related to her. My favorite, however, is actually someone we don’t meet until later in the novel—the Match King. He’s horrifying in some ways, but I was intrigued from the get-go by his mechanical creations, fascinated by the past that brought him to where he ended up, and hopeful that he’ll . . . Well, I’m just going to leave it at that.

Us: What about the action? What is your favorite part?
Ev: I don’t want to give too big a spoiler, but there’s a scene where Prudence finds herself imprisoned in a dungeon. . . . As an insect-phobe, I was both creeped out and totally excited by the way she escapes.

Us: BEWILDERED was initially intended to be a stand-alone novel, but now there's a book two in the works. What do you think about that?
Ev: I am totally stoked!

Us: What do you think readers are going to like most about BEWILDERED?
Ev: I think different things will appeal to different readers. Some will identify with lonely Prudence trying to find people to love her and a place she fits in. Others will be pulled in by the adventure. Everyone will love the zany magic and fun found in the creatures and places that make up Bewilderness.

Us: Lastly, what is your favorite mythological creature?
Ev: What a great question! I’ve always been partial to griffins. Something about being able to fly, while possessing the body and finesse of a big cat, fascinates me. I don’t think griffins should (or could!) be owned, but if one wanted to befriend me and take me on quests, I’d be in. ;)

BEWILDERED
A Bewilderness Tale, Book One

Prudence Parks is perfect. At twelve-years old, she has the world in her pocket. No messy friends. No silly games. Everything is just right—until her father leaves her an orphan.

When she tumbles into a bizarre realm known as Bewilderness, nothing is as it should be. Insects talk, pirate ships sail on sand, and plants are just plain evil. After she’s banished for claiming to be human, she thinks the

worst is behind her. She’s wrong. The Match King, posing as an ally, promises to send her home if she can find the Paper Heart, an ancient treasure. Battling her sense of logic all the while, she meets a living ragdoll and her father’s doppelganger, who melts her icy heart and—to her regret—gives the Match King perfect collateral to ensure she follows through.

Prudence realizes the Match King’s plan to erase Bewilderness from existence, but now she must choose: save the world she has come to love, or find her way home.

BEWILDERED is a middle grade fantasy novel geared toward children ages 9-12. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Miracle on 34th Street. Set once upon a time in a land far, far away, this story illustrates the importance of friendship, courage, and proves believing isn't always seeing.

Purchase it online at your favorite retailer, or visit your local bookstore!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Smashwords | IndieBound | The Book Depository | Books-a-Million




About the author - 

A. B. Harms was born a writer. From a young age, she made her own picture books with crayons and a stapler. As a teenager, she won essay contests. Yet, when she began her career, being an author was the last thing she considered. Finally, after working every job imaginable from waitress to social worker and earning her degree in Psychology, she realized what she was always meant to do--write!

A. B. is from Missouri, has gone around the world and back again, and now lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family, a pet sloth, who resembles a Great Dane, and a black cat, who moonlights as an assassin. No matter where she hangs her hat, she finds herself at home down the rabbit hole.







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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My friend Olivia Hardin has a new release!

release day pbt banner"Olivia Hardin takes a character we hated in a previous book and somehow makes him a hero we love. That's no small feat. Transcendent captures perfectly the tension and temptation of falling in love in the midst of turmoil and intrigue. . .it's a story that will linger in your heart."

faery moon chapter header

"Olivia Hardin weaves a wonderfully emotional story of love, redemption, and political intrigue in Transcendent. Be prepared to transcend your own expectations."

  Transcendent small

To the Women on the Hill McKenna is a spy who sails the nightwind to keep close tabs on her people. In truth, McKenna is a double operative, an integral part of an underground rebellion. The Women are secretly bleeding the fae of their powers then banishing them to the Island Anethemusa; but the Dissenters, rebels who suffer under the crushing power of the Women, mean to put an end to their reign.

When McKenna happens upon a talking weasel, she knows she’s found the perfect envoy for her covert mission. Robin Weir’s punishment for a life of betrayal is to be stripped of his magic and exiled as an animal in a foreign realm. He’s used to dirty jobs and subterfuge so becoming McKenna’s errand boy should be a simple task.

But things heats up when Robin finds he has the power to shift into a man again. For McKenna the pet she’s invited into her home now wants nothing less than to possess her heart, body and soul. With the uprising at the ready, lives could be lost if McKenna can’t balance her separate identities of spy, rebel and lover.

Barnes & Noble Smashwords

 

And don't miss the Facebook Party and Social Share Event March 10-14! Lots of prizes and fun to be had

FACEBOOK EVENT

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Release Update

Hello all!

As you are probably aware since it is currently March and not February that I am running late on Tiddly Jinx, book 4 of Easy Bake Coven.
I wanted to make sure the book was right more than it being done according to my schedule so I was late getting it to my editor. What that means for you is, unfortunately, a tad longer wait. This is how the release schedule is shaping up right now.
Tiddly Jinx should release around April 10th.

Inferno (Jinn Trilogy Book 2) will release mid to late May
Vestige (Jinn Trilogy Book 3) will release mid to late June

So while the initial wait is a little longer than expected you will get one book a month for the next three months which isn't so bad. :-)

Also, while I am making announcements let me say there will be a 5th (and final) Easy Bake Coven book. Yay! I am going to have a naming contest for the final book soon. To fit with the pattern of names it will need to be a child's game or toy with a witchy twist (i.e. Easy Bake Coven, Hungry, Hungry Hoodo, Pickup Styx, and Tiddly Jinx). The winner will receive a character named after them, an Easy Bake Coven t-shirt, and an early copy of the 5th (unnamed) book. So keep an eye out for my newsletter announcing how to enter the contest and good luck!

T-Shirt Design
Have a great weekend!

Liz


Saturday, March 1, 2014

What's the hardest part of writing?

Traveling so much this month I had to opportunity to meet a lot of new people. The number one question people ask me when they hear I am an author is, “What’s the hardest part of writing?”

There are lots of answers I could give because they all pose their own problems: marketing, editing, time management, etc. But there is only one answer I ever give. The hardest part of writing or doing anything is making yourself do it.


It isn’t easy to sit down and write every day, but when I decided to be a writer I knew that was what I had to do. The truth is it isn’t easy to follow any dream. The first step is always the scariest one. What if I fail? What if people laugh at me? Whether your dream is to write a book, learn to paint, change careers, go back to school, or open you own business, that first step to changing your life is absolutely terrifying and the following steps don’t get any easier.

However, it is worth it. Don’t wait for the moment to be perfect. Was it the best time for me to start writing a book while I was working a full time job, working on a second degree, and trying to figure out my life? Probably not, but I did it anyway. Life probably won’t make it easy on you, but it is up to you to stop letting excuses choose your destiny. Figure out what you want and go after it no matter what hurdles you have to cross.

In the end you will be happy for the life you lived and not regret the life you dreamed of having.


 
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