Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Perfect Book for Mother's Day

Author Tristi Pinkston announces the publication of her tenth book, Women of Strength, a nonfiction inspirational book geared for the LDS market that is perfect for Mother’s Day gift-giving … or as a very thoughtful present for yourself on any occasion. She’s holding an online book launch on her blog all day on Saturday, March 24th, and you are invited! Every two hours from 10 a.m. to midnight, Tristi will be holding mini-contests, answering trivia questions, and giving away great prizes. Head on over to http://
www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com to enter and to have a great time!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Caller ID book bomb and a ton of freebies!

Do you like suspense novels? Do you like when they have a romantic edge? My friend Rachelle Christensen's second romantic suspense novel, Caller ID just came out and she's holding a book bomb TODAY!

What's a book bomb, you ask? It's when a whole bunch of people work to promote a book so the sales raise it from relative obscurity on Amazon to a level where it gets real attention. And the beauty of this is that when you buy Rachelle's book today, you also get a ton of free downloads, but the offer is only good today. Here's the note from Rachelle along with the list of free offers:

I have a special offer for you—it’s only good for today—Thursday, March 22, 2012. Purchase CALLER ID from Amazon.com using this link. Then email RachelletheWriter@gmail.com with your order confirmation/receipt. Once Rachelle receives your order details, she will email you an amazing selection of over 20 free gifts.

 Here’s what’s in store when you purchase CALLER ID today:
(All items will be emailed to you from Rachelle after she receives your order confirmation.)
  • Connie Sokol, author, speaker and life coach is offering two free podcasts: Get Fit & Fabulous: The Difference 100 Calories Makes, and, Joy in Womanhood: The Power of Sitting with Yourself. Visit www.8basics.com for video segments, blog posts, products, and more.



  •  Three free ebooks from award-winning author Karen HooverThe Sapphire Flute ( Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga) Seven Keys and seven guardians born to save a dying world.  AND
Chased by dragons. Saved by a Pegasus. Sharing his mouth with a wizardly spirit.

  •  A free download of JordanMcCollum’s writing guide. Writing emotions in fiction is tough, but an emotional connection is what readers really want in a book. Give your readers a deep emotional experience and you'll hook them for life--and you can learn how in her guide, Emotion: it's tough

  •  Free YA suspense novel Watched by Cindy Hogan--*Change. She longs for it. A murder. She will never be the same. 

  • Heather Johnson from Family Volley.blogspot.com, shares with you 5 powerful tips for keeping your marriage strong. Including the "anatomy of a successful date night" and tips for better daily communication. Free download.
  • Free ebook by Shirley Bahlmann-- "Holy Cow, the Udderly Astonishing Power of Dairy in your Diet" is a friendly approach to what dairy can do for you and your waistline! See more books at http://shirleybahlmann.com 

  • Favorite recipes from acclaimed author Josi Kilpack and her Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mystery series, plus Josi will share her top tip for writing success!

  • Need help with professional website design and online marketing that's cost effective? Moller Marketing is offering a free ebook on Building a Professional Online Presence (with a Website that Gets Found), Market Research Made Easy, Online Keyword Research Choosing a Domain Name that Sticks (Not Stinks), and Your Ecommerce Business Priority List
  • Free sci-fi novella--The Bearer's Oath by Angie Lofthouse, originally published in Mindflights Magazine. 

  • "Bless Your Heart" cookbook filled with information about how to live a low-sodium lifestyle for optimal heart health. Author Tristi Pinkston brings you over 80 truly delicious recipes that will make your mouth water - not fall asleep from boredom. You'll be inspired to shake up your menu and take charge of your health.
 

  • Holding On My latest short story: Since high school Abigail has always known what the man of her dreams looks like: tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. But she never expected the man she’d been having a relationship with in her sleep to walk into the espresso bar where she worked.
  • “Subway Survey” is a sci-fi short story by Michael Young that originally appeared in Allegory Magazine about an alien race testing out new technology on a group of hapless subway riders. 

Why a book bomb? A book bomb is when a large group of people order a certain book on a specific day on Amazon. This pushes the book's popularity up the Amazon ranks, which in turn gives the book more visibility to Amazon shoppers. That’s the goal today for CALLER ID. 

So feel free to pass this on to your friends and shout it out on FB, Twitter, etc. We’d like as many people as possible to benefit from these bonus gifts.

 Remember this offer is only good for purchases made on Thursday, March 22, 2012! *Even if Amazon runs out of stock--you can still order because more books are on the way from my publisher. Email Rachellethewriter@gmail.com with your order confirmation/receipt when you purchase CALLER ID.

Monday, March 19, 2012

New out this week: my typesetting book and a short story

For the past several weeks I've been working on a new project--non-fiction for a change. For anyone who doesn't know, I typeset  ebook and paper books for people who self-publish, but I've had several people express an interest in being able to do this for themselves, most notably an author with nearly twenty out-of-print books she'd like to make available to her readers again.

I'd been considering writing a manual on how to do this in which I would help authors avoid mistakes that almost every indie-writer makes when they do the typesetting themselves. The project came together pretty fast, and I'm pleased to say that my new book, POD Like a Pro: An Author's Guide to Typesetting and Formatting a Book for Print is now available as an ebook. I just ordered the proof copy of the paper version, so it should be available on Amazon by early April. The book covers EVERY step from setting up the page size to picking fonts, getting your headers and footers straight to making your text line up properly at the bottom of the page. It includes lots of screen shots of the tool boxes in Microsoft Word so you can be sure you're making the right adjustments and exactly what to do. The book also includes a full glossary of printers' terms you might come across on POD websites or while getting quotes if you plan to do a large printing to get into stores. The ebook can be purchased for Kindle, Nook, or from Smashwords.

While I was putting off the final edits of the book above, I wrote a short story this week (5,500 words) which is also available online. Holding On is based on a story idea I added to my extensive files of ideas years ago and it was a ton of fun to write! Here's the blurb:

Since high school Abigail has always known what the man of her dreams looks like: tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. But she never expected the man she’d been having a relationship with in her sleep to walk into the espresso bar where she worked—with another woman on his arm.

Lance has no idea Abigail isn’t just a figment of his wild fantasies, so finding her in the flesh is a dream come true—literally. If only he could get his unwanted date to unlatch her claws from his arm. When he leaves the shop that afternoon, it’s with the intention to return in a few hours, but when a business emergency comes up and then the shop is gutted in a fire, he’s left with no way to contact Abigail, and no mater how hard they try to remember when awake, their dream conversations never seem to get around to that.


It takes months and some heavy ingenuity to find Abigail, but when he does, will she still be waiting for him? 


This is also available on Kindle, Nook and from Smashwords.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My surprising experience with ebook pricing

For the past year or two there has been a lot of hype about how you have to price your ebooks low in order to gain readers. Make the book inexpensive and more people will give it a chance. I gotta say that didn't work for me. At all. I started my ebook adventure last May when I self-published my third novel, Blank Slate. I had two traditionally published books out at that point, but neither was available in ebook format. Since then--because I nagged my publisher about getting them out there--the first book is just recently available on Kindle, and oddly my second one is out for Nook. I don't understand publishers....

I'm going to share actual sales numbers, even though they aren't at all pretty. I'm never going to be Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking, but I think what I learned is applicable to all kinds of books--including those that are already selling way better than mine.

Anyway, when I released it, I priced my 85K word novel at $1.99 and sold a handful of books in May, June and July. I don't think I ever broke double digits those months, and then August through November I sold 3 or 4 per month. Understand, that if you price the ebook at less than 2.99, you only get a 35% royalty on the sales. When you reach $2.99 you start getting 70%, which means I was getting 70 cents per sale at $1.99. Before Christmas I decided to raise the price to take advantage of the Christmas sales bump everyone talked about, and so I could get the higher royalty amount of $2.10 per sale.

Indeed, there was a little bump. I sold twelve or thirteen books over the two weeks right after Christmas--and then I only sold two more in the next three weeks. Yeah, that was discouraging. 

During this three weeks I loaded my novella, Shear Luck to all ebook platforms for 99 cents. It got some face time on people's blogs since I launched it simultaneously with my fourth novel, which my publisher released in early January. In the same three weeks that I sold two copies of Blank Slate, I sold fifteen of Shear Luck.

During January I started reading blog comments from authors who said they had raised their prices and seen an increase in sales. I thought, heck, it can't get any worse, so I decided to play with prices. I raised them both $1 and did nothing else. I didn't post any links to them, I didn't talk about them online, I just bumped the prices a dollar.

Over the next three weeks I sold fifteen copies *each* for Blank Slate and Shear Luck at the higher price. Needless to say, I was shocked, and totally thrilled. I decided to try again, so I raised them bother another dollar.

In the past three weeks I sold twenty-five copies of Blank Slate, and nineteen of Shear Luck. Apparently this sales increase is related to people thinking that the book must be worth the higher price and worrying that if the book is priced too low, that there's something wrong with it.

I know, these aren't life-changing numbers, but I've done no publicity whatsoever--Blank Slate has been out for nine months. I'm basically making nothing on my traditionally published books by the time they've been out nine months, even if I killed myself to spread the word and do signings, giveaways, and presentations all over the place--and I've done plenty with my traditional books. And it's kind of fun to look at my sales numbers and calculate royalties, then look at BookScan numbers (for the paper sales of my traditionally published books) and realize that I made about the same, and sometimes *more* in royalties on my self published things without nearly as much time or wasted money for publicity. And that the royalties will continue to come in. (And yes, I know Bookscan only reports about 75% of sales, I compensated for that in my estimates.)

Now I can start tweaking things in the background like the back cover copy or putting a new cover on Blank Slate, getting a few more Amazon reviews, but put most of my focus on my upcoming projects because I'm a writer and--get this--writers write. We're not writers because we spend a thousand hours hawking our single book, we're writers because we're actively writing. I know, amazing isn't it, that I'd want to spend my time doing the thing I love instead of driving all over the state and hassling people about buying my books and posting reviews?

Now, back to writing. =)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I've been interviewed by I.B. Nosey!

When Intrepid reporter, IB Nosey interviewed me, I wasn't sure what to expect. Luckily it turned out far more entertaining than I am in real life. Check it out!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Malaprop anyone?

My husband sent me this from Ars Technica. I had to share because it was such a terrific example of homonyms, misuse of phrases, and malaprops. It made me smile.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Author interview and giveaway with Rachelle Christensen

Rachelle Christensen is a long-time writing friend of mine whose second romantic suspense book, Caller ID is being released later this month (though it's probably already trickling into some stores). I thought I'd ask her a few questions about herself and writing so you can get to know her better. Keep reading because there's a terrific giveaway listed at the end of the post:

Rachelle, this is your second novel. Can you tell us a little about the publishing process?

 I’m going to cheat here and give you a link to a timeline I blogged about. It’s a good insight into the process.  http://blog.mormonletters.org/?p=3703

*Being a stay-at-home mother of four must keep you very busy. When do you find time to read and write?

I’ve learned the magic of a minute. Seriously, I work in snatches and I read in snatches and I read pretty fast. My husband says I’m always busy and I don’t know how to relax. But that’s just because I have to be crocheting or sewing if I watch a movie with him. It is a priority for me too, and that makes all the difference. It’s important for me to find time to read and write because I love it.

Much of your book takes place in the mountains. Do you have a certain location that your family likes to go to camp or recreate? How long have you been going there? 


Yes, we love to head up Payson canyon and camp at a pretty little spot near the lakes. My in-laws have been going there for decades and I love to go with them because they have a well-stocked trailer that has a bathroom, and you know, bathrooms are kind of nice to have in the woods.

If you were going to hold a clandestine farm in the woods, what would you grow there, and why? Hmm, how about money trees? Really, I love gardening, but my garden is so small—not really, but when compared to my mom’s ½ acre garden it looks small. I’d love to have more gardening space to plant a bunch of zucchini and banana squash, so maybe I should look into this idea a bit more, huh?

You should try trellising on your back fence, I bet you could fit in a lot more. What other writing projects do you have coming up? I just finished writing/editing book one of a new “Wedding Planner Mystery” series. I had so much fun writing this novel and getting to know the characters. The title is Diamond Rings are Deadly Things and it’s set in Sun Valley, Idaho near where I grew up.

That sounds like a fun story idea. I can't wait to see it.

And now: To celebrate the release of CALLER ID, Rachelle is hosting a contest for a new Ultra Flip Video Camcorder (4GB memory, Records 120 minutes Value $149.99) and other great prizes. You can enter to win between now and April 14, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified April 16, 2012.
For how to enter, click here. You can also check out the book reviews, other author interviews and get more chances to win by visiting the other stops on her blog tour here.

To learn more about Rachelle and her books, you can check out her website or friend her on Facebook. Her books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or many local bookstores.

Also, check out her book trailer below. It's terrific!