Monday, May 01, 2017

Self-Publishing Insights

I thought it was time again to share about my experience with self-publishing. I sent The Bend into the world on Feb. 17. Recently I decided to go Amazon exclusive and take advantage of one of their giveaways. I priced my book free for four days, heavily pushing it on all my social media for two days and let it ride the other two days. I ended up giving away 1800 plus books.

Hopefully doing the giveaway will increase exposure and sales. What I've found so far: I still continue to sell books at full price. But mostly my pages with the KNEP program where I get paid approximately a half a cent a page has soared. I don't know what is normal but readers are borrowing my book through Kindle Unlimited. That usage translates into books sold, and my overall rating numbers improve.

What else do I wish I had done? Probably advertise my sale on a site where you pay a fee and they send the book to their list of people who like my genre--like BookBub--but I wanted to save $$ and see what happened with my own social media.

Also with 1800 people now having my book on their Kindle device--there is opportunity for increased reviews. And that's what all writers need for books to sell.

Because I don't want to be a nag, I have limited my subtle encouragement of posting a review on Amazon to a now-and-then gentle reminder and a little begging. I need at least 50 reviews to be considered serious. As of this writing, I sit at 28. A tough pull. Even a bad review is something but it's only been a week. I'll update you again in the future.

Next I played with my categories on Amazon--realizing The Bend is not Women's Fiction but more suspense and thriller. Changing categories to bigger categories can change your ranking but I feel it is better that future readers can find the book.

I'm enjoying my self-pub journey. I've made mistakes--and learned from them.My next book will come out stronger, with my marketing plan intact. In the meantime, I'm thankful for the reception of this book, the readers and friends who have encouraged me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FREE EBook until 4/22 on AMAZON

I decided to celebrate April --taxes done, selling our home, husband putting my newest book THE BEND for free on AMAZON until April 22. If you enjoy clean suspense, now is the time! Just go here to get your free copy.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Six weeks post release of THE BEND

It's been a journey--releasing my first book. The additional edits, begging for reviews, worrying about the marketing choices.

Will I do it again?

I'm leaning toward yes but with better preparation. When I used Amazon this time, I did not immediately use all their promotion tools. I should have pre-released at a lower cost and then a month later done the countdown to get my book out there at a better price to boost sales.

I will also not set a release date until the entire book is beyond perfection. At least as good as I can get it with even more eyes on it. A mistake here or there kills me.

I never thought I would self-publish. The stigma is still there but I'm learning that many of my friends buy from BookBub where you can get free or cheap books from new authors. That course of action--setting a lower price on my book initially to garner more readers might be an option to consider. I too use BookBub now that I have a Kindle and have found authors I might never have read before. It is hit and miss.

Life is all about the curves, the mountains and the valleys. If we don't start walking and choose a course, we won't ever see or learn anything.

What's your next goal?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Why do we writers write?

Here are my facts:

Traditionally published book 2015 with medium-sized publisher--sold almost 500 books made a little over $100 in royalties so far.Took two years to be published and write. Paid editor $$$+

Self-published book two weeks ago--sold over 50 books and have made more in royalties than above. Took over a year to write, a month to publish, paid editor $$$+

Article for magazine this fall--took ten minutes to write--earned $100 for 1,000 words. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul --took ten minutes to write--earned $200.

So why do we write with these kind of facts? In my ten plus years of writing, I know of only a handful of writers who made it with a big publisher and/or got a three book deal. When I owned a bookstore and attended conventions, I dreamed of becoming one of the writers people stood in line to get an autographed copy of their book. In reality, I knew that dream would never materialize.

But is it the dream that keeps us going? Surely not the time or money.

For me it comes down to this: I have stories I want to share. I want to take others on the emotional journey I have gone on. I want one or two people to think about what I wrote and maybe it will make a small difference in their life.

Is it enough and is that dream satisfying enough? 

Go back to the top of this post and spin your own numbers. But maybe you will be one of those who breaks through, makes a ton of $$ and I stand in line for your autograph. I hope that is true because it offers still more hope to many.

I write. I share, It's what I do. 

And it's enough. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ten Lessons I learned from Self-Publishing

It's been four days since I released my first self-published book. I can probably count on one hand, maybe two, how many hours of sleep I've had since. I thought I'd share a few tips from my learning experience.

1. Never set a release date until you have gotten the final copy approved by KDP or CreateSpace. If not, you will count the hours, minutes, seconds, hoping to get a good copy uploaded and approved by the date.

2. Forget sleeping on the night before release. I was at my computer at 2 am worrying about a wrong last name in the description. 

3. There will be mistakes in your manuscript. A friend shared with me how I had used two wrong words in mine two days after release. Ugh. I wanted to die. I had gotten my book professionally edited but all the reviewers and myself had missed those words. Perfection is not the goal. You might never get it perfect.

4. Learn formatting before you play with the sites' programs. I taught myself a crash course in indentation too late. I still have not figured out how to flush even the margins on a paper version.

5. Buy a hard proof copy. I bought four. I ran out of time for the final and fifth and just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

6. Realize not everyone will love your book. Already one friend told me she bought it but was afraid of the content as she is sensitive to it. That's ok. Brown shoes and black shoes. 

7. I thought when I updated my book on Amazon Kindle, my readers would get updates too--not happening. So learn to be ok with your original draft, do the changes and upload another.

8. Don't check your sales stats every hour, They will play with your emotions and you don't need that on top of your crashing self-confidence. Just let it go. 

9. Be happy you did it. Even if only for a few minutes each day. Many people won't ever publish a book in their lifetime.

10. Ask your readers to post reviews as quickly as they tell you they liked your book. It can't hurt. 

This journey has just begun for me. I don't know if I will ever do it again but glad I gave it a shot. I do know that the stress is the same for traditional and self-publishing when it comes to hoping people like your story. In the end, story trumps everything.

Friday, February 17, 2017


 THE BEND releases on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords TODAY. If you enjoy clean suspense, give my book a chance. If you love it, please share a review afterwards. Thank you!

Monday, January 30, 2017

What I'm learning about Self-Publishing

I took on self-publishing with hopes I could birth a book that sat on my computer. I didn't realize that although part of the process would go smoothly, other parts would not. 

I started with Kindle Publishing--an easy process once I uploaded my edited book. The program virtually did everything for me. I then let my followers know my eBook would be available on Kindle. I decided to set a designated pre-order date to allow me to build an audience and create advertising. Part of me wishes I had not done it a month out, but as time passes, I'm glad I've had that time.

Why? Because readers asked me for a paper version and Nook version. 

Uploading the book to Barnes and Nobles was not as simple as Kindle. It took more work but when the final approval came through, I did a fist pump. 

But doing paper? I checked out CreateSpace and Kindle's version and finally, last Monday decided to tackle CreateSpace. Let me say, I learned more about laying out covers and my Word doc than I ever knew before. I am very techie challenged but persevered. I had to resize and design my cover, change the spacing and special effects on the book--I dreaded their emails telling me what my book needed still. On Friday, I ordered a proof. 

After determining from where my book would release, I dove into advertising. I began with Facebook and created a short video on an independent site. Facebook lets you set a price limit so I started with ten dollars and ran the video. Then I did a simple post announcing the Pre-Order status. My thoughts are I must get people to know about me and then my book if I hope for sales. I used to do advertising for my bookstore and do believe in constant marketing with ads within a budget. 

I've got 18 days until release. It's unknown territory and might flop. Or it might not, You don't fail unless you stop trying. I have not stopped yet.

I hope you never give up on your dream and give it all you've got! Life is short. Dreams color our lives. This is my dream--produce and present a book you will remember long after the lights go out.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Celebrating my Second Novel


Kate Snow is tired of running from her past. Ever since her near-death experience, she sees details in photographs other people can't. At first, she saw it as a gift, but she’s no longer sure if it’s a blessing or a curse. She wants to forget about being the Miracle Girl—the lone survivor of the explosion that killed everyone she loved. With hope for a new beginning and anonymity, Kate accepts a job as a photographer for the daily newspaper in the rural town of Bend, PA. Her first assignment thrusts her into the mysterious disappearance of three women and the discovery of a clandestine women's compound. Uneasy and uncertain who to trust, Kate turns to Seth Abrams, the paper's reporter.

Seth's one desire is to capture the big story that will catapult him to journalistic stardom. Bend's cult-like doings provide the perfect opportunity—until Kate, the new photographer, scoops him. When Kate reveals her secret to him along with her fears about the town, he must choose to help her or use her—and her gift, as his stepping stone to fame.
Will Kate and Seth team up to protect the people of Bend? Or will Kate fall victim to Bend's darker side?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

ENTER- The Fear of Submitting your Book

It's one word. One push of a button. One second of my time after all I've done to prepare.

My finger wavers over the key. If I push the button, my book  gets published. Self-published. I've written the cover blurb at least a hundred times. I've revised the cover over and over, seeking advice from other writers and friends. My story has been edited by Beta readers, critique partners, my ex-agent and a professional editor.

I should be ready.

But is any writer ever ready for what comes after they submit their work to the world?

The other day, I read a few nasty comments on Amazon about one woman's book. I endured a bad one myself on my first novel. But this is different. I don't have the backing of a publishing house. I have me. Only me.

The me who did my best to present the best product I can at this point in my writing career.

My husband reminded me how he bid jobs in construction for so many years. Some of his customers loved his work, others complained. He couldn't please 100 % of the people 100% of the time.

I won't either.

Yet still...

I've set the release date. My mother's birthday and the day my father died. Perhaps I chose that date so I can remember it but perhaps to remind me it's just a button. A push of the finger.

So much more in life is important.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

When Self-Publishing Looks You in the Mirror

I can't believe I'm writing this post. Maybe I am because I want to make 2017 count. Maybe because I wasted time last year or maybe because I made major writing changes in the past six months. Who knows but as I type these words, part of me is screaming to run.

For over ten years, I've been against self-publishing. I felt it was only a last resort, not a viable option. I'd seen too many books with poor editing, misspelled words, and horrible plots. I didn't want to be one of those writers.

Was I a snob or what? Only Traditional for me. An agent. A publishing house. I wanted to be a real author. How else would I be valid?

Oh, I had it bad. 

If you read my last post, you remember I parted ways with my agent and have grown tired and frustrated and disillusioned with the writing process. My first novel was published traditionally. Since then, I've had what you call close but no cigar moments.

I realize a lot of factors come into play with the acceptance of any book, article etc. I also realize how scary it is to think your book is good enough to send out  without a team of experienced publishing people behind it.

But I also hope one or two more people might want to read what I have to say. That's all. I'm not expecting an avalanche of readers. Already did that and have found if you don't do the marketing, not much happens. So either way, it is work.

After spending so many hours, months and years in the publishing industry, starting with buying and selling books in my bookstore, noting what sells, what returns, and then finally writing myself, I'm not a newbie. I understand what it takes to sell. 

Not trying is giving up, though. 

Last night, a good writer friend and I played with a sample cover to start the process. I've written a suspense book and asked for her input as she was my beta reader. I told her I had a year to do this. I need that time to learn, ask questions, push my fears aside, and pray.

Publishing this book might be the last book I ever publish. Or not. For now I'm taking that first step. A baby one. Of course. But at least I'm doing and that's what counts. 

In the meantime, between panicking over this post and process, I'm writing a story for my granddaughter like I said I would. A romance. A modern-day find-your-prince book.

Just can't stop writing. Hope you don't either.