Coming Soon: New Romance Series

FOREVER

Many of you know (that follow my blog), that I am the author of the romance suspense series, Hidden Truths. But I am passionate about all genres of romance, and although I am working on the 4th book in the Hidden Truths series (don’t worry- more books to come) … I would like to introduce you to my contemporary romance series: FOREVER. The Forever books will feature a different city around the globe with new couples to fall in love with. I am blending my passion for traveling & culture with my love of romance & writing. And I am so excited to share this with you all 🙂

Where is the first stop?

FOREVER (1)

Why Rome?

Italy is one of my favorite countries. I am fortunate enough to have family there, and I fell in love the second I stepped foot in the beautiful country.

I also believe that Rome is a magical city. Post college, I was standing in front of the infamous Trevi Fountain (where you throw a coin over your shoulder and make a wish)… and I wished for love. Shortly after I returned to the U.S. I fell madly in love (a total accidental meeting via wrong email communication… with my now-husband)–So… WHEN IN ROME… 🙂

Advertising/Marketing for Indie Authors

 

Up until a few weeks ago I was paying $50 to have Facebook ads/banners created. I am not great at graphic design, so I didn’t think I’d be capable of creating my own. But when I saw how much I could purchase images from shutterstock.com (5/$50), I decided I needed to create ads/banners/teasers on my own.

This information is probably old news to most, but if I can even help 1 person I’d love to share what I have learned. After a lot of research I discovered canva.com. This website is amazing. The price for each ad/banner/design is between $0-1. Hmm. Free/$1 or the $50 I was spending before–not a tough decision. I can create so many different ads/banners/teasers.

I spent a lot of time playing around with it, and I am still learning, but here are a few sample ads/banners/teasers I have created. Just note- be careful for the ratio of text to image for Facebook ads (I am sure most are aware of their stringent – no more than 20% text rule)…

 

A lot of the above are teasers & are used mostly for Twitter or blog tours (the ones with a lot of text, that is)… I like using quotes on these images since you’re limited on how much you can type in a Twitter post.

A couple notes on advertising:

-I am releasing the 3rd book in my series at a preorder/new release price of only $0.99. Another successful author I know does this, and I was originally hesitant, but I realized the genius in it… 1) Having an extract to my book in the back of the others with a note about the price = A lot more preorders than I got on the other books. 2) I can use all of the wonderful email marketing companies for this book even though it is a new release (as long as my previous books meet the rating requirement). I already have 3 companies lined up the week of release (and the rest cannot be submitted until the sale is within 30 days). I had a lot of success with bookgorilla, booksends, ENT, and myromancereads on my previous marketing campaigns for books 1 & 2- so, I’m hopeful for this book.

-Facebook Spending… I have only spent a few dollars here and there, but every once and awhile I’ll do a $20 ad. What I discovered is I get the same amount of clicks on a $5 ad as I do a $20 ad. As for using the Ads Manager versus boosting a post… With Ads Manager I stopped allowing Facebook to put the ad on Instagram/Right hand side/3rd party (why?- Well, I was getting charged $1 or more per click on Instagram/Right-hand ads)–which is nuts… And I’d get a TON of click on third-party ads (but the conversion rate was SUPER low). Whenever I only had the mobile/desktop option selected–> Most clicks–>Most conversions (least amount spent!)

Boosting a post- interestingly I get a lot of likes/shares/comments (less clicks on the link though!). So for the last $3 ad I boosted on my page, I had 20 likes/5 page likes/9 shares (all within a few hours)… But less sales than when I used the ads manager (which usually results in 1-3 likes though)…

Okay. So there is my 2cents in all of this. I am not sure if it helps. I do notice though when I run an ad during the week only– the sales mostly appear on the weekend. My guess is they download a sample, read, then decide to buy. Have my results been successful with Facebook ads? If I spend $20, I usually make between $25-40 (so there is a profit of $5-20, but then when I do not advertise the following week, I see steady sales, so my hope is those customers have bought the next book).

PLEASE SHARE ANY WEBSITES/SUCCESSES/TIPS HERE. THANK YOU. And be sure to add a LINK to one of your books on the market!

 

 

Happy New Years: SHARE YOUR WORK HERE!

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HAPPY 2016!!

It’s that time again.

Please share your book(s) &/or blog links now through January 5th!

For those that are new to this post: Once a month I invite fellow authors &/or bloggers to share their novels and blogs. I invite everyone to post links to their personal websites, other social accounts, or advertise a link to BUY (if applicable). Use this space to BRAG about your blog or what you have published! Be proud of your hard-work & not embarrassed to self-promote!

If you have a book for sale (or upcoming)- I will add your book to my list of “authors to read” by the genre – See example here: Authors to Read!

For those who have posted before: Feel free to advertise again. Or- if you have a different book you would like me to add to the list (or different link to buy)- please include it.

Example:

Title. Genre.  Release date (if not out yet)/ Main links to buy *I will add a portion/most of the book blurb from one of the links to buy.

*I want to make sure this platform is for everyone, not just published authors. Please share your blogs (or a fave blog post)! Thanks for your participation!

Updated List of Authors to Read by the Genre: November Edition

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41+0gSYDkZL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_51Md3NDw18L__SX312_BO1,204,203,200_51q75Hr8PfL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_51yU6dSnoAL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_51jy8q6C6EL__AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_51r4RKnvjhL__SX322_BO1,204,203,200_51ZkqpzRFPL__SX310_BO1,204,203,200_51OjhBsNo6L__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_51KkIUm79oL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_51CfUjJizoL__SX322_BO1,204,203,200_414LVMAtN+L__SX373_BO1,204,203,200_51tsMktOVpL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

*I am posting this a day early – there is still time to submit your books/blogs – the list will be updated on my homepage with any new additions from today. Thanks again for sharing! I included most of the book covers up above that have been added this month (sorry if I missed yours- quite a lot this November!)

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Each month I invite authors to share their novels (and latest works in progress) on my blog. I add them to the ‘Authors to Read’ List. I have categorized the authors by their corresponding genres. Please check out the authors at the links below:

Please share these links! Authors: If your book is listed – share the link to your genre on social media (it will help everyone in your genre out- thank you!!)

Also, each of these books is pinned to my ‘authors to read’ pinterest page, which drives a lot of traffic to this site (spreading the word for your books) 🙂

Book #2: What I am doing differently this time around . . .

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I have less than 7 weeks to meet my deadline of sending book #2 off to my editor. My goal is to complete my manuscript before my baby arrives in November. I will probably not be able to write much the first month my baby is born—so what a perfect time for my editor to critique my novel (more like a red link explosion on MSWord ).

So, what am I doing different for my 2nd book?

  • Outline sent out to my editor before I even began writing the book. For a little over a hundred bucks, my editor critiqued my 8page outline (plot/characters, etc.) + included a 3 page feedback letter. Why did I do this? Because with my first book –I had to make major plot changes after the first round of editing, which resulted in rewriting half the book to match the new plot sequence (this resulted in spending a lot more money than anticipated)
  • Writing in 1st person POV instead of 3rd, which is a bit of a challenge for me, as I have always written in 3rd person—but it creates an intimacy with the protagonist that I really like. I sent a sample scene of my book written in 1st and 3rd POV to my editor, and she agreed with me that the 1st person POV made the scene feel much more personal/more dynamic.
  • I also sent the first 10K words to my editor (and am taking a mini-writing break these few days she has it—while I continue with research, etc.) –because 1st POV is new to me, I want to make sure I am writing it properly & I am staying in the correct tense, etc. I am being much more cautious with this book (ahead of time)—in hopes of having less work later. I would hate to write 85-100k words and have messed up without knowing it!
  • So, while I have the outline and critique –I am also veering off the plot a little (not enough to change the plot), but as I write, I tend to come up with better ideas as I become deeply entrenched in the scenes (hopefully I don’t veer too much), that it results in my outline (being critiqued by my editor)- to be a waste of time!!
  • Format from the get go (not right before publication). Now that I know how to format from my first novel, it is so much easier to properly format prior to writing (will save me from a major headache later!)

What am I doing the same?

  • Sticking to a schedule
  • Having an outline
  • Using editors and beta readers
  • Using a professional cover designer
  • Using all major distributors (Amazon, Smashwords, Ingram sparks)

Any tips/advice? Please share 🙂

 

Ask the Author: Meet Allison Williford

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Allison of the “Word Nerds” blog. Her upcoming novel, Waiting for You, releases September 19th! It is a contemporary romance, and it sounds very intriguing. She kindly participated in this interview—learn more about her and her upcoming work below!! Check out her blog, Facebook page and twitter account for more information!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to become a writer? I’ve always been an avid reader. Some of my favorite books growing up were the Nancy Drew series, The Giver, and Harry Potter. I wrote my first short story when I was thirteen for our school’s art and literature magazine, and have been writing ever since.

What is the title of your current novel? When will it be released? Target audience? Genre. My current novel is titled Waiting for You and will be coming out on 9/19. I’m super excited for this one! It’s a Contemporary Romance.

Could you provide a summary or blurb about the book? “There are two things Kylie Lewis has learned: cancer and loss have the power to tear us apart, and love has the power to heal us.” – That’s my tagline. It’s a story about love, life, and loss.

What inspired your story? When I originally started writing it nearly two years ago, I actually wasn’t planning on it being a romance, but it kind of just ended up being that way. I knew I wanted to write about loss. I’ve had my own breast cancer scares (I had an excisional biopsy in 2012 and a diagnostic mammogram this past May – I’m only 28), and when I was in 4th grade, I lost a friend to leukemia. I was very fortunate that the two lumps I’ve had were benign. There’s a lot of myself in this story. I’m also very inspired by music and people who are extremely talented in music, especially people who can play multiple instruments. I’ve been playing violin since I was 8 and have performed up and down the east coast, so music has a special place in my heart.

Tell us about your main protagonist(s). I truly enjoyed writing both Kylie and Adam. Kylie is a bit introverted, but she has so much love for her mother and her best friend, Cat. She’d much rather stay home and watch Law and Order reruns or read Sherlock Holmes than go out.      Adam’s definitely much more outgoing than Kylie. He’s very playful and has a positive outlook on life despite his own loss. He’s also extremely passionate about his music.

When writing – what is your typical process? Do you plan everything out – or let the words fly with the wind? I’m sort of right on the fence. I do a mixture of both – I start out just writing and letting the words come until I have an idea of where I want to go, then I start planning out the entire story. With Waiting for You, I had one of the last scenes already written before I had even written the first chapter.

What is your preferred reading format? E-book or paperback? I have a Kindle, but I love physical books. There’s something completely satisfying and exhilarating about going into a bookstore and finding a new book – like a treasure hunt. You don’t get that with ebooks. As a kid, the library was one of my favorite places to hang out.

Why self-publishing? Originally, I wanted to go for traditional publishing, but I’m more in control with self-publishing. I have complete control over every aspect of my book. Plus, I think there’s this unspoken sense of community with indie authors. I love that.

What are your goals for your novel? For the first month of sales, I’ll be donating half the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer, so I’m hoping for good sales.

What are your favorite genres to read? Favorite authors? I love Young Adult novels, as well as Romance and Women’s Fiction. I also like to dabble in mysteries. I love Lois Lowry and J.K. Rowling.

Are you working on another book? If so- what is it about? I’ve started writing a sequel to Waiting for You, although I’m not totally sure if I’ll finish it or not. It focuses on Kylie’s life as a journalist.

Please share any links to your social media and books.

Twitter: @AlliW_writes

https://www.facebook.com/allisonwilliford1

Thanks again Allison for the interview! Best of luck with your upcoming release! Thank you for being so generous to donate a portion of the opening month proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer.

777 Writer’s Challenge

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I was nominated by Helen Jones to complete the 777 Writer’s Challenge – I am a little late on this. My apologies! Thank you Helen.

So the rules are: go to the 7th page of your current WIP, find the 7th sentence, and then paste the following 7 sentences into your blog post. You must then nominate 7 other writers to do the same.

Below are 7 lines from my current (no title yet) work in progress. Just an FYI- this is the first VERY ROUGH copy of my WIP:

“What is wrong?” His voice was laced with a seriousness that was not there earlier.

I turned around to face him, and my eyes flashed to meet his. “I signed something six months ago—some sort of document that directly states I am not allowed to divulge anything about what I do at the lab.” I sucked in a deep breath and tried to calm my nerves. “But my boss, Henry, he is missing. And the lab—the lab is empty. Like Clorox bleach empty.” I shook my head in disbelief at my own words. “I think something happened to Henry. And the other lab assistants. I cannot get ahold of anyone.”

I watched him rub the back of his neck before standing. “You will need to take me to the lab. I need to know what you were working on.”

“I can’t—I—I signed that document.” Orders from the White House.

“That is inconsequential at this point, don’t you think? This is a matter of national security. You were working on what I assumed to be something chemical-related—for the government?”

I forced a nod. Of course he was right. Who else did I have to go to? The President? I almost laughed on the inside at the thought. What the hell was wrong with me?

Before I could respond, my shoulders jerked upright at the loud pounding on the door.

———

And here are the 7 people I would like to nominate for the challenge. Don’t feel obligated to participate – but for those who do – can’t wait! Thank you!

S.J. Lynn

August MacGregor

Lisa Emme

Tamara Prokopchuk – Orange Pond Connects

Christa Simpson

Amber Dane

Stephanie Baumgartner

A Ball of Nerves . . . An Indie Author Update

 

If-you-wish-to-be__quotes-by-Epictetus-94I have not written anything in five days. I have been sick – and when you have a virus while almost 7 months pregnant—taking care of a toddler—and packing your house . . . not fun. I am moving in a little over a week, so I imagine my life will be a bit chaotic for a couple of weeks. And being sick right now is not helping. But, here I am. Trying to write. I had hoped I would have the first draft of my second novel done before my son’s arrival this fall, but I am wondering if that is a bit unrealistic.

It is hard to be motivated on one project when a million other details in life dangle before me. Not only do I have the big move coming up, but I have the official release of my first novel in a few weeks, and my nerves are starting to get the better of me. A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I was nervous. My reply, “No.” Um? Really? How did that word slip free from my lips?

YES, I am nervous! Who wouldn’t be? Of course, I am proud of what I have accomplished. Holding my paperback in my hands – and being interviewed by a local paper (see here) – were two major highlights for me last week. Crazy and amazing emotions swirled inside me that week.

Nerves though—nerves are definitely STILL wedged deep amidst the onslaught of emotions that are funneling through me at hyper speed. Maybe I should call this all EXCITEMENT? I am pretty excited about being a published author. I would love to make a career out of this, but I have no idea what the future holds. But for now I have to dream, to hope, to ride the nervous waves of energy . . . . I have to squeeze my eyes shut and try not to blush, knowing my mother is currently reading my novel for the VERY first time (it is a romance btw—nothing too risqué, but still!)

Well, I should probably attempt to get back to working on my 2nd novel, since “they” say to focus on writing and not worry too much about marketing.

But –why not do both? My Goodreads giveaway runs 8/27-9/15, so I am hoping that goes well. And I have a book blitz scheduled for the week of my release through Xpressobooktours – in case any book bloggers would like to sign up- check it out here.

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I still plan on having my ‘share your work’ post for fellow writers/bloggers next week, despite my upcoming move—so be sure to stay tuned for that.

Until next time . . .

Authors: Share Your Work!

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It’s that time again.

Please share your book(s) now through August 17th

For those that are new to this post: Twice a month I invite fellow authors to share their WIP or their current works for sale. I invite everyone to post links to their personal websites, other social accounts, or advertise a link to BUY. Use this space to BRAG about what you are working on – or what you have published! Be proud of your hard-work & not embarrassed to self-promote!

If you have a book for sale (or upcoming)- I will add your book to my list of “authors to read” by the genre – See example here: Authors to Read!

For those who have posted before: Feel free to advertise again. Or- if you have a different book you would like me to add to the list (or different link to buy)- please include it.

Example:

Title. Genre.  Release date (if not out yet)

Links to buy (if applicable)

*Feel free to include more than one work! And any other information you can think of.

20120701-232314 PLEASE SHARE 🙂

Self-Publishing Update

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I have spent a lot of time seeking advice from other indie authors on this blog, and I just wanted to provide a run-down of what I actually did in regards to the publication of my first novel – on kind of a step-by-step basis. Hope it helps anyone who is in the midst of their self-publishing journey!

Writing Process:

  1. First Draft
  2. Sent out a sample of chapter 1 to many different editing companies (they offer a sample for free) –> Found the right match with wordsru.com –>Revisions based on feedback I received
  3. Draft –> Developmental Editing (wordsru.com)
  4. Revisions of draft –> Copy/Line Editing (wordsru.com)
  5. Additional revisions/changes –> Reading fee / copy editing on new additions (wordsru.com)
  6. Final Draft –> Proofreading (wordsru.com)
  7. Two additional checks for proofing (just in case anything was missed)
  8. Final Draft –> Beta Readings

Formatting: I originally planned on hiring out for the formatting process. I was terrified of messing it up. I was going to spend the $250 or so on it – but after reading the Smashwords style guide & Createspace guidelines – I realized I had already formatted my book almost to their standards. Why pay out then? After a frustrating few days, I was able to tweak my book to meet the guidelines, and I managed to upload with zero errors for e-books in epub & mobi, as well as my paperback book. On my 2nd book – I will start the formatting process from the beginning (not at the end!)

Cover Design: I hired ebooklaunch.com to create my cover. After feedback on the first cover, I realized it was not the right cover. I paid a little extra money, and my designer was able to provide me with a new cover –and I love it.

ISBNS: I decided to purchase my own ISBNs. I bought the block of 10. It made much more sense to buy 10 then to purchase 1, especially because I used 3 ISBNs for my first novel. Originally I thought I could just use 2 ISBNs (1 for e-book, 1 for paperback). When I uploaded my manuscript to Smashwords- I read that they like a different ISBN then one used for Kindle. So, my Kindle Edition has its own ISBN. One of the reasons I wanted my own ISBNs- is that eventually I plan on using Ingram Sparks (which requires your own ISBN).

Distributors:

E-BOOK- I uploaded to Kindle directly and made my book available for pre-order. I then chose Smashwords as the distributor for my e-books everywhere else. I would have preferred to upload to itunes directly, but I heard you need a MAC to do that (and my MAC suffered a brutal death last year). I like that Smashwords allows you to choose the amount you want to have readers sample from your book – I only wish that percent was the same in all the places they distribute your book (B&N, Kobo, etc.). What I don’t like about Kindle Pre-Order –is that they don’t allow readers to SAMPLE your book at all until the day of the release. I usually don’t purchase books until I have sampled them (unless they are by an author I am already an avid fan of). I have also offered a long preview/sample of my book on goodreads (pdf file).

PAPERBACK

CREATESPACE – I chose Createspace (without extended distribution). I set my price to be the same as my competitors for a 6×9 copy. When perusing the bookstores (most books were between 8.99-10.99- so I chose 9.99). You make less money on a paperback if purchased through Amazon and not Createspace than on an e-book, but I did not want to increase the price of my book to make more (especially as an unknown author). I don’t anticipate selling many paperback copies right now, but I will use those for giveaways, etc. *I did not chose extended distribution because I am in the NEGATIVE for every book sold at my price range – and as I said, I did not want to increase my price.

INGRAM SPARKS – I will be uploading my book to IngramSparks soon (which will be my avenue for extended distribution). In order to have a chance in Hades at getting your book into any brick and mortar store – you must choose a 55% wholesale discount/accept returns. 55% discount means: the bookstore gets the book at 40% less than retail (because 15% goes to Ingram). You pretty much make no money on this though after printing costs, which is why most people choose the 40% wholesale discount –but that means (25% less than retail for bookstore, 15% for Ingram). Most bookstores will not go for that – not enough skin in the game. Considering this is my first book, and I do not anticipate getting into a bookstore (even at the 55% wholesale discount – I will probably just choose 40% and sell online).

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Marketing:

  • I went with Xpresso Book Tours for a book blitz to be held Sept 15th-18th (my book is released the 15th). There will be giveaways through rafflecopter.
  • Press Releases – I have sent out press releases to a few local places (online sites) – for an article about my novel (as a pre-order). I have heard back from one newspaper so far (out of the 4)- who have accepted my press release. I will send the majority of my press releases out post release of my book for 1 main reason. *Since the majority of clients seem to purchase e-books through Amazon (and since Amazon does not provide a sample) – I worry that this will discourage pre-order sales, so I think it is best to wait on marketing until the book is out & people can download a free sample.
  • Goodreads – will have a giveaway
  • Local Event – I will be having a book launch/release party at a local restaurant, which happens to be a supporter of my work & will have signed copies/giveaways, etc.
  • Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook
  • Author webpage

Am I forgetting anything? Any questions you want answered? Anything you did differently or would suggest? Thanks for reading! Check out a copy of my novel at: Amazon, Kobo, or B&N & download a free sample of the 1st six chapters on Smashwords or the first 8 chapters on goodreads!

*BTW- for those who have submitted work to “Authors to Read” – I am happy to report that a lot of traffic to that page is coming from pinterest – so definitely use pinterest when you are marketing your book(s)!