What I Learned from Going Free

Summer still sizzles on in the month of August. It’s been approximately 2 months since the launch of my free book run. With all free book runs they eventually run their course. After getting encouraged by a blogger to share what sites I found to be most cost-effective in promoting my book, logically this topic would be my next post. While I admit I don’t fully understand all the variables that factored in, here’s some of the overall lessons I gleaned as I share my results during and after the free run. Continue reading

Before the Legend Going Free!

Free Promo 4

T.G.I.F.

The countdown begins. The eBook for Before the Legend is officially going free starting today. The free promotion is from June 12th-14th and 16th. Download your free copy on Kindle today here.

*P.S.

On Sunday starting at 12pm CST – 10pm I’ll be taking reader’s questions in a Q&A session on Goodreads. Don’t won’t miss the latest updates or changes? Follow me on my Facebook page.

-Happy Friday

Prepping for Free Promotion

Key word to this promotion. Free. Well at least mostly.

After mulling the idea of a cinematic trailer, I finally set to work to release a brand new book trailer for my 4th book, Chasing Blue. It was a lot of work but I believe it was worth the effort and I hope you guys enjoy it. The trailer comes at a time where I’m also prepping for my free run for Before the Legend. From Friday June 12th to 16th, the eBook will be going free on Amazon for Kindle.

Considering I’ve done a free run before, I already have an idea of what to expect. When I first tried it last year, I had a measure of success considering I wasn’t enrolled in KDP Select and had to wait for Amazon to price-match when I dropped the price to $0 via Smashwords. The first day I had hundreds of downloads, and eventually rose to #1 briefly in my respective category. I attribute the success largely to FreeBooksy, although I did use Pixel of Ink too to promote my free run (they are no longer accepting free books at the moment). It also helped I chose a category with fewer works to compete with (eg. Juvenile Fiction / Legends, Myths, Fables / Greek & Roman), which is a tip I picked up from reading David Gaughran’s book Let’s Get Visible. That was the first time my book got that much attention and considering my sales rank rose exponentially that gave me a boost in visibility in an already flooded book market.

However like all good things it must come to an end. One of the biggest challenges I faced when doing a free-run the first time around was keeping the momentum going. After the first two days the number of downloads dropped drastically. By the end of my free run, my sales rank continually slipped until I was no longer in the top 3 spots. By the time it was over, I probably had sold one book.

I think this is a problem a lot of authors out there face when doing a free run. So what to do about keeping the momentum? To be honest it’s extremely difficult to maintain a high sales rank and eventually land on the best sellers list on Amazon during and after the free run. Free runs attract anybody, even people who will download your work whether there genuinely interested in the genre/work or not. I have to shamefully admit I have hurried up to download a free book only to still not have read it. It happens. You buy it out of impulse. That’s part of the sales catch to free runs. The offer is “too good to pass up.” And of course it doesn’t make it better I don’t own a Kindle and my Kindle previewer on my laptop decided it doesn’t want to work anymore. But I digress. So what is an author to do to maximize the success of their free run during and after?

Preparation is Key

To maximize results I needed an actual plan before launching head first into it, which is part of the reason I postponed it to time where I can plan who and how to promote the book promotion. On Digital Book Today, author Ruth Francisco shares some really great strategies to take before, during and after you start your free run. Here are some of the big ones I plan to use…

Before the Free Run

  • Try to get a couple of reviews before starting your free promotion. Having honest feedback already, helps readers to make an informed decision about  your work, giving you an added advantage. There is no magic number to the number of reviews to have although the author states having 6.
  • Days before the free run consider upping the price. That way readers feel like they’re getting a bargain.
  • Timing is important. Wed, Thurs, and Sunday are usually good days. I plan to test out staggering my free promotion perhaps space out the days.
  • Start contacting sites that will promote your free runs. Most sites prefer at least a week’s notice. Some sites like  ENT (Ereader News Today) will need to be notified a month in advance. So plan accordingly.

During the Free Run

  • Alert your followers on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter etc. about your free run.
  • Add a comment about your free book to the Amazon Kindle Forum. The author suggests doing this early in the morning the day your free promotion begins.

Post Free Run

What are some things you can do after the free run to lift your sales rank after the dreaded drop?

  • Try gifting a few copies to readers. In turn it will help boost your sales rank which tends to slip after a free run.
  • Run $.99 promotion. Although I plan to spend very little on advertising during my free run. A little advertising could be a good idea especially the days after your free run.

Well these are the tips I’ve gathered. For those like me that don’t feel like dishing out a whole bunch of money for a “free” promotion here are relatively free sites that you post your free book to.

I might add some more to this list. As always check their policies. Some sites due to high demand may charge you to guarantee you a reserved spot. In addition if you want to be featured be prepared to pay extra. Although just to be listed it should be free. Feel free to add free sites you found in the comments below.

 

 

 

Writing With Heart: Creating the Emotionally Engaging Character

josois:

It’s always been my aim to make readers care about my characters as if they’re real people with real hopes and fears and this post brings that vision to greater clarity. I think writers out there including myself can take away from the concrete ways presented here to make our characters more emotionally engaging.

Originally posted on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors:

Someone recently asked me about writing with emotion.  This is really about creating the emotionally engaging character because if you don’t write emotion into your character, the reader won’t connect with that character on an emotional level.  It’s hard to explain the difference between a great story and an emotionally satisfying story because the distinction is subtle.

ID 31772681 © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com ID 31772681 © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com

Write With Your Heart = Showing

Emotion-driven writing isn’t about telling your reader what your character is feeling.  Something like, “She was afraid she’d fail the test” is telling the reader what the character is feeling.  It’s also more than simple actions like gulping or trembling or crying.  Those things are all about writing at the head level.  It’s skimming the surface of the emotional journey your character is going through.

Emotion-driven writing is delving deep within the character and being right there in the moment, going…

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Self-Promotion from an Introvert

I return from my extended absence in the blog world to share this simple truth.

Books don’t sell themselves.

Unless you’re an established author with a team of professional marketers working with your respective publishing company, it will fall on your shoulders to do your own marketing/promotion to get sales. Even for authors that choose the traditional route they realize the need to make a concerted effort to self-promote their works. How much more so self-published authors who have no such backing! I realized first-hand just how much time, effort, and money goes into marketing/advertising. When I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, I came to the conclusion that putting too much money into marketing was futile. It occurred to me that one of the best ways of self-promotion that I was overlooking was word-of-mouth. Sounds simple. Problem is I’m an introvert. Outside my family and network of friends on social media, few people know anything about my book. And by no means did I have the winning personality or charisma of a sales person.

Last year, I began mentioning my book to co-workers who for the most part were impressed to find out I was a published author. Usually I’m a quiet, reserved person especially in settings outside my comfort zone. So when I casually mentioned I had published a book at my last job, my co-workers were surprised and amazed that they were working with a published author. I swear the next day my sales ranking jumped! Not to #1 of course. I’m not that popular. But the little bump in sales was enough to make me realize the power of word-of-mouth. I would need to harness that arsenal for self-promotion.

Since that experience I have informed several of my co-workers in my new job, including my boss, about my book, Before the Legend. It was nice and scary at the same time getting attention from my boss who wanted me to discuss about my book and who or what inspired me to write my book. As many introverts can attest to, we don’t like being put on the spot, especially in crowds. We’re not anti-social but you do approach social situations differently as an introvert. While extroverts thrive in social settings and love meeting and networking with people, personally I excel in smaller settings or best, alone with my thoughts. While I do need social interaction like everyone else, I do need longer time to ‘recharge’ as I put it. Otherwise too much can feel overwhelming or exhausting at best. I can’t count how many times my sister is talking my ear off and all I want to do is immerse myself with my writing. I lost count.

Tips For Self-Promotion

As an introvert it’s important to recognize your strengths. As a close friend so aptly described me, I’m introspective. This quality can serve to my advantage when it comes to self-promotion. As educational consultant, Shakti Gattegno puts it, “Self-promotion starts with self-reflection, which requires observing oneself in the lighting of awareness and without judgment.” (Self-Promotion for Introverts, Nancy Ancowitz). I’m a thinker versus a talker. So thinking or giving forethought about my approach will serve me well.

  • Learning to talk about my book with confidence and poise in front of others is a challenge but it’s teaching me a valuable lesson in being prepared. Preparing my thoughts ahead of time is critical and will help me to choose the right words to convince others why they should check my book out. This is useful advice for any writer whether you’re pitching your work to an agent, getting ready to meet the press, or discussing your work with a group of colleagues. Some of the things I want to hone is the pitch or hook of the story. A brief but attention-getting intro is the aim to attract potential buyers.
  • Another thing that helps with self-promotion for introverts is if you can get others to promote you. In the example with my boss, his openness in bringing up the fact I’m a published author to fellow coworkers is actually doing me a favor. Fans of your work or reviewers are like extra mouth-pieces to spread the word about your book. While you don’t want to pressure them (it would produce the opposite effect) if possible, encourage a willing fan or contact to spread the word to their circle of friends.

I realized there isn’t much advice out there for self-promotion for introverts especially in the area of book promotion. But this topic has definitely aroused my curiosity in learning more about the strategies for self-promotion and tailoring suggestions that suit me. People in general are starting to realize the inert talents/strengths that introverts possess. Extroverts may have it a little easier, but introverts too can be adaptable in the area of networking. If face to face meet-ups seem daunting there’s the networking aspect online to tap into (social network, online groups on Goodreads, Google, etc.) Truth is there is no one way to do it. While I want more attention for my book, I have no desire to be famous. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about the latter but I think as an introvert, don’t discount me quite yet.

*Update**

I think it’s time for a little friendly promotion. I hope to do a free-run sometime either in April or May so stay tuned for any updates. You can catch the latest announcements/updates on my Facebook Page.

Quotable Quotes

“Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none.”

That quote comes from Lois Lowry’s, Gathering Blue. It’s such a simple, yet powerful quote that I thought I’d discuss what that quotes mean to me but also quotes in general that I’ve found endearing or memorable.

Generally no one in their right mind wants to be in pain whether it’s physical or emotional. All of have experienced pain in some degree at one point or another. It’s become a part of the human experience due to imperfection. Yet for millions worldwide, pain is a chronic affliction. Although I don’t experience pain on a regular basis I know several that do including a loved one who has been battling multiple health problems in the past year with no cure let alone closure from the medical community as to what exactly is causing her endless list of symptoms. When I read Gathering Blue, the 2nd time around earlier this year, I had a greater appreciation for the story of Kira, the main character who was crippled from birth who has a remarkable talent that saves her life. Although my sister doesn’t walk with a limp like Kira, her health problems at times can be debilitating. Therefore the quote at the onset took on added meaning to not only myself but her as well.

My Interpretation

Trials can either make or break us. Her quote reminded me that hardships can make us stronger depending on our attitude. When I reflect on it, it really takes a strong person to put up with chronic pain, because I don’t know if I would fare any better if I were in her shoes! It takes true resilience to persevere despite being in a situation that is beyond your control.

It was one of the few quotes that I took away from the book, but it was a profound message that I hope other readers will get from it as well. Of course there are other quotable quotes from other fiction works that I liked. I know I’m being biased but here’s a collection of my favorite quotes from my story series.

******

“Do not forget to put it here where it never gets lost,” his mother said, pointing to his heart.”  – Before the Legend

“Remember, you are never alone in this world. Never.”  – Before the Legend

“I suppose we both got what we wanted. While some built great roads, we built great walls. – Chasing Blue

“I had to make more than an impression. I had to win.” – Chasing Blue

“It was not about being on this ‘side or that side.’ It was about what was right. That was the side I choose. Even if that put me somewhere in the middle.” – Chasing Blue

I might add these quotes and more on each of the respective pages for each story in the future. Now I got a chance to share some of my favorite quotes. What quotes made you laugh, left a profound thought, or made a memorable statement? I would love to hear your favorite quotes in the comments!