Jun 222012
 

I’m feeling pretty lucky today. I haven’t been eaten by vampires. If you want to stay safe also, I suggest you check out 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire. Best of all Joleene Naylor is here to share some wisdom with us as she celebrates her new release!

 

The Power of the Freebie

First I would like to thank Reena for hosting me and my giveaway (see details at the end of this post) on the eighth stop of the blog tour celebrating the release of my newest book in the Amaranthine series, Ashes of Deceit. Reena is a not only a sweet heart but a wonderful author (check out her books if you haven’t before!)

Most of the stops on this tour have been geared towards readers, but today’s is more for fellow indie writers. Writers are always looking for promotion ideas. I’ve seen suggestions that range from the practical to the bizarre and back again and, while I am not a million book selling author, I am clearing a couple hundred sales a month. I’ve tried many of the suggestions – a facebook author page, twitter, blogs, blog hops, blog tours (though this is my first), free ebooks etc. etc. But the one that seems to work the best for me are my Vampire Morsels.

Since I write a series, I have a “universe” rich in side characters and bit players. The vampire morsels are short stories (between 3,000 – 5,000 words) about some of those side characters, which I then upload to Smashwords (and through them Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc) as freebies – but not to Amazon because they don’t support free without hassle– and I’m fairly certain this is why I sell more books on Barnes and Noble than I do Amazon. In fact, I’ve gotten emails from readers stating that they read the free stories first and liked them so much that they went on to buy the novels – which aren’t free.

Why does this work better than, say, giving away book 1 in the series for free? It seems that there are different mindsets about what is worth money and what isn’t among readers who download freebies. As with any kind of marketing, different tactics work on different groups. For the sake of simplicity, I am breaking it up into three categories. (Like anything this is not written in stone and does not apply to everyone or every situation).

The Free Hoarder: I am one of these. I used to download a lot of free ebooks – in fact every free ebook someone sent me a link to – but truth is I rarely got to them (and still haven’t) because I’d usually rather read that book I paid for – after all, I wouldn’t have paid for it if I didn’t REALLY want it (yeah, I’m a cheapskate.) and now, let’s face it, with Amazon’s KDP select promo weeks, there are free, full length ebooks EVERYWHERE, not to mention those that were free to begin with. So you give away a hundred free books, but how many of those actually get read?

The Why-Should-I-Pay-if-It’s-Free?: As I mentioned above, there are a LOT of free ebooks, so even if someone reads all the free books they download, you now have to deal with “assigned worth.” Everything – housing, food, clothing, books – are only worth what someone is willing to pay, and with a glut of freebies, some readers don’t see the point in paying. “Why buy when you can have another one for free”? Sadly, it is an economically sound idea. So, unless your book REALLY strikes a chord with this reader, chances are that, even if they liked it, they will simply download another free book by another author rather than buy your other books.

The Some-Things-Are Worth-It Reader: People have long given little worth to the short story (despite the fact that it is often harder to write!) One complaint I see on reviews of paid short stories is that readers are “angry that I paid for this! It’s not even a full book!” Which means that, in these readers’ minds, a full book is worth money, but a short story isn’t. So, while they don’t want to pay for your short story (heck, you can find those on blogs nowadays!) if this reader likes the free short story, they’re more likely to buy the full length book because they believe that the full length book has a monetary value.

The question is, what group do you want to cater to? That depends on your goals. Ruth Ann Nordin made an amazing start for herself with free full length books – which later led to headaches and complications when she wanted money because she was no longer targeting the I-Want-It-Free-group – where she’d built up a huge fan base – but was suddenly targeting the I-Will-Pay-For-It group and the I-want-it-Free readers only sometimes turn into the Here’s-My-Money kind of readers.

If the short story is long enough, it will give readers a taste of your style, and if you can make it tie into your newest book, even better, but I don’t think it’s necessary. While I’ve had readers say they were “curious about the characters” and so went on to the full length books, most just say “I liked your style/sense of humor/etc.”.

That’s not to say that as a romance author you should promote your books with sci-fi stories because while they like your style, they also like the genre of short story or else they wouldn’t have read it. My Amaranthine series has sex, violence, and romance in it (heck, there’s even a bit of a murder mystery in Ashes of Deceit) and so I have tried to come up with short stories that reflect these various “topics”, if you will, because a reader who did not get what they expected is very often an unhappy reader. And unhappy readers leave unhappy reviews.

And if you get enough of those, all the free promos in the world won’t save your book.

And now for the giveaway!

(Yes, I recognize the irony of this, but I’m counting on you to be that reader who breaks out of the mold and goes on to love the rest of the series!) One lucky commenter will receive a coupon code for a free ebook from Smashwords. Since this is a series, the winner may choose which of the books they would like to receive:

Book 1: Shades of Gray - Katelina’s “friend-with-benefits” is murdered for stealing something from a coven of vampires. Hunted as an accomplice, she must rely on Jorick to survive. But what happens when her knight in shining armor turns out to be one of the monsters?

Book 2: Legacy of Ghosts – For Katelina and Jorick, peace is hard to come by. Kateesha plans to fight the same battle as Jorick’s fledgling, but a common enemy isn’t enough to overcome previous betrayals. Drawn into a deathly conflict, Jorick and Katelina must overcome old regrets, or lose their future to the ghosts of their past.

Book 3: Ties of Blood – A trip to Katelina’s home starts a chain reaction; she and Jorick meet Verchiel, a too friendly vampire, then the police arrest Jorick for kidnapping. Worse, The Guild wants to question them. Will Malick, the head of the vampires, punish them? Or will the mysterious vampire following them do the job first?

Book 4: Ashes of Deceit – Katelina and Jorick must rescue a captured vampire and discover who kidnapped him and why. The truth isn’t easy to find. As Oren’s attack on the Guild draws closer, Jorick and Katelina are led back to the Citadel. When the flames of war ignite, can they rise from the ashes, or will they be consumed?

Follow the tour for more chances to win!

(here’s the link to my blog post with the dates/links to other posts -http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/my-first-blog-tour/ )

You can find more of Joleene Naylor and her vampires at her website: http://JoleeneNaylor.com or check out her blog at http://JoleeneNaylor.WordPress.com or her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joleenenaylorbooks.

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Jun 082012
 


Welcome to the last stop on the Desires Unleashed Blog tour! Today D.N. Simmons joins us to share a bit about her work. But first, a bit about her latest release. :)

iconDesires Unleashed is the first novel in the riveting, highly-addictive and sexually-charged Knights of the Darkness Chronicles. Experience the heart-pounding thrill of the chase in this electrifying page-turner as you uncover the mystery behind the series of gruesome killings that have been terrorizing the citizens of Chicago.  

When a grisly decapitated corpse pops up on a Chicago Street, drained of blood, the highly-trained, government-funded special police force assigned two of their best detectives to the case. S.U.I.T. Detectives Warren Davis and Matthew Eric delve deep into their investigation to discover just who or what is leaving mutilated bodies in public places. They soon realize that the killer or killers is one step ahead of them and if they are going to stop the menace before another innocent human is viciously attack, they are going to need help. 

Natasha Hemingway liked her life just the way it was… normal and supernatural-free. The vampires and shape-shifters were just where she wanted them to be–far away from her. All was going well until an unfortunate accident landed her in the hospital. It was then that she discovered she had an ability that could help her save countless lives. All of a sudden, she finds herself thrust into the dangerous and alluring world of the supernatural and into the arms of two very sexy and deadly vampires.

Original, gritty and sprinkled with just the right amount of humor and wit, the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles will suck you in and take you for a ride you won’t forget. You don’t want to miss out on this amazing series.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || The Book Depository || Amazon

Hello,

I’ve very happy to be here and really excited to meet all of you. My name is D.N. Simmons and I love to write about sexy, dangerous and powerful beings. My series that’s available now is called the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles and it features vampires and shifters living openly with humans. With each new book, the characters evolve as well as their relationships. Also, there’s not a second where there isn’t something going on. The KOTDC is riveting, dark, sexy and bold. I really wanted to give readers something new and exciting to delve into in the urban-fantasy/paranormal romance genre.

What can I say? I love to entertain. As a token of my gratitude to you for hosting this wonderful blog tour, I’d love to give away five free digital copies of my novel, “Desires Unleashed: Knights of the Darkness Chronicles”. It’s the book you can sink your teeth into (pun intended) that kick-starts the adventure.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.
D.N.

Find D.N. Simmons Online

Giveaway Time!

To enter, please leave a comment along with your email address.

Miss a Stop? Check out the Rest of the Tour

What days would you like to post? Please enter your blog name Please Choose your first choice of a post. Please enter your website URL
June 4th Live To Read ~Krystal (print review) Review http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/
June 4th Wickedly Bookish Bio/Book Synopsis, Guest Blog, Giveaway http://wickedlybookish.blogspot.com/
June 5th My Secret Romance Review http://www.mysecretromancebookreviews.com/
June 5th Words I Write Crazy Review http://writingcrazyme.blogspot.com/
June 5th My World Bio/Book Synopsis, Interview http://stephsgrn.blogspot.com/
June 6th Red Headed Bookworm Bio/Book Synopsis, Interview http://redheaded-bookworm.blogspot.com/
June 7th ¡Miraculous! Review thestephanieloves.blogspot.com
June 7th My Secret Romance Bio/Book Synopsis, Review http://www.mysecretromancebookreviews.com/
June 8th Ramblings From This Chick Bio/Book Synopsis, Guest Blog, Giveaway ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com
June 8th The Readers Roundtable Infinity & Beyond Bio/Book Synopsis, Guest Blog, Giveaway http://infinityandbeyond.thereadersroundtable.com
June 8th Ramblings of an Amateur Writer Bio/Book Synopsis, Guest Blog, Giveaway http://reenajacobs.com/blog

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Jun 062012
 

Welcome one and all! It looks like we’re coming to the end of The Binding Blog Tour, and we have a special treat. It’s been forever since I’ve had an author post which fits along the Authors Helping Authors line. Today, Author L. Filloon shares some excellent tips on publishing.

 

Two nights after her eighteenth birthday, Lily is attacked while out jogging, but is saved by Tharin Lunar, a Sidhe prince. When she discovers that her attacker is her own brother, Lucas, who disappeared four years ago, Lily refuses to believe that her brother would truly hurt her and becomes determined to find Lucas and bring him home. Lily finds that Lucas’ disappearance is somehow tied to Tharin; so when he informs her that she is his betrothed and must return with him to Velesi, fulfill a treaty between their families and unite the two strongest clans through their marriage, Lily agrees. However, she is not going to Velesi for a wedding, but to bring home her only family, Lucas.

On their journey to the borders of Velesi, the realm of the Thirteen Clans, they are pursued by a Sidhe assassin group call the Ange, meet with an ogre crime lord that ends badly, deal with a sleazy troll motel manager, and when they discover that there is a bounty on their heads, they must keep one step ahead of every assassin, bounty hunter and low-life criminal from Velesi.

Protecting Lily has become the biggest challenge of Tharin’s life. Lucky for him he has help in the form of his twin brother, Tolan, Lily’s best friend Julia and his three bodyguard cousins.

Available at Amazon

And now a few words from L. Filloon!

When I was writing The Binding, like many new authors, visions of literary agents breaking down my door tagged along as I worked to complete my first book. How crushed were those dreams when after sending out sixty-five, that’s right, sixty-five query letters to both large and small agencies, only to be rejected…from all of them. Granted, with the exception of one, they were all very polite about their decision to decline. Many were form letters, a few were short and personal ones with some encouraging words, and even less were those who offered a short review and suggestions along with more encouraging words to ‘keep on writing’.

The task of continuing to send out samples of my manuscript to agencies, and eventually directly to publishers, was daunting. I was ready to throw in the towel. Then one day, out of the blue, an article came by my desk about an indie author by the name of Darcie Chan. In it she tells of going the conventional route as I did, but to no avail (I believe she sent out just as many query letters). Then she read about self-publishing through Amazon-Kindle.com. Within the year, her book that no agent or publisher wanted sold over 250,000 copies as an eBook through Amazon-Kindle.com.

With new hope, I decided to go the route of the self-published indie author and connected with Amazon-Kindle.com. There was no live person to deal with just a registration on their site, a few questions to answer, a download of your work, press ‘OK’ and your book is made available to millions. That’s the easy part.

Without the guidance of an agent you are just one more unknown author trying to swim your way through a sea of unknown authors all trying to get their book to be seen. Amazon-Kindle gives you a temporary cover for your book until you are able to download your own. Without an amazing-awesome-eye catching cover, your book can go unseen for centuries to come until some poor, bored, future human-android just happens to be dusting off a relic of a computer, comes across your book and even then just reads the cover, loses interest and puts it aside unread. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply in the literary world. Be sure to get your cover ready before you put your book out there.

Another reason an agent or publisher may be good to have is the dreaded editing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone over your manuscript, there is always one (or twenty) typo, one grammatical error, a misuse of tenses, and so on. Even best sellers that have gone through traditional publishers have come through with an error or two. You can ask your Drama teacher (as I did) to help edit, you can ask your best friend who insists that she can do the edits, you can even ask your sister who although she has your back, rolls her eyes because it is another story that you’ve written that she’s read over the 40-something years she’s known you. You can even ask another author or blogger to give it a try, it doesn’t matter. Unless you have a group of professional editors who specialize in editing, you will find that your work will be criticized not for the storyline, not for the characters or their development, but for the lack of editing. Trust me on this one…after a few of these criticisms you start saving your pennies to hire a professional editor for your current and future work. They are not cheap.

The marketing part was trial and error for me. When you self-publish you are your own marketing director, sales director, publisher, social media guru and publicist (thankfully, I was able to connect later with a great indie author publicist, Stormi Johnson http://lightningbookpromotions.com). You start by visiting every site that has to do with authors and how they can get your book “out there” to the millions of readers just waiting for to grab hold of your book. You sign up with networking groups with other authors who ask “if you like my book, I’ll like yours”. There is the Twitter and FaceBook, Wattpad, Blogger, WordPress, and LinkedIn to name a few. Then there are the sites to help sell your work such as Smashword, Barnes & Nobles, Readstreet, BookDaily and, of course, Amazon. Plus a few other dozen or so sites all geared to help you sell your book. The only problem with this is that most of your connections are with other authors, of ALL genres. And, unless you have actual readers, your book is going no where.

I was fortunate. As mentioned above, I met Stormi Johnson. Although I continued to market on my own, Stormi works at getting my book read by bloggers who review books with large followings. Before I knew it she hooked me up with interviews, reviews, being a guest blogger, and my favorite, character interviews. She was able to connect with reviewers who were interested in my genre and would give the book a fair, unbiased review. She connected me with a cover designer who charged a reasonable fee to design the current cover for The Binding, which actually helped with sales. Before I knew it, the reviews were coming in. Decent reviews that caught the interest of readers of my genre and my sales increased.

If you can make that connection with someone who is familiar with the self-publishing world, do it. It makes a big difference in getting your work noticed.

In the recent months I have received decent reviews on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads. With the constant exposure through these sites and those I’ve mentioned above, my following grows everyday. I’ve learn much in the past several months in regards to self-publishing. While currently writing the follow-up to The Binding, would I self-published again? Armed with my new found knowledge of the self-publishing world and with the support of family, friends, my publicist and a professional editor…yes, yes I would.

About the Author

I was born in Samoa, spent my 6 to 11 years in Hawaii (Oahu), grew up and finished school in California, and lived my adult life from the age of 30 in Las Vegas, and here is where I have been since. I have been writing since before I even knew what writing meant. The Binding is my first novel.

Find L. Fillooon online!

Did You Miss a Tour Stop?

May
28th Sara @ So Simply Sara
29th Jamie @ Jamie Be Musing (guest post only)
30th McKenna @ Young at Heart
31st Claire @ Claire Reads
June
3rd Kelly @ Radiant Shadows
6th Shan @ Teatime Books

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Jun 012012
 

When I read the blurb for The Hand of God by Tim Miller, Dexter came to mind. Then I read Mr. Miller’s guest post (tee hee… I got to read it before the post went live), and my thoughts filled with Pulp Fiction. So before Mr. Miller shares a bit with us, I’m going to share a little kinetic typography video from Pulp Fiction.

Charlie Sims is not your typical preacher. God has called him to rid the world of sinners. One corpse at a time, he carries out his brutally selfless work until a more powerful preacher appears who will change his life forever. A battle ensues for the fate of mankind. 

Charlie’s devout beliefs are shaken as he finds himself hurtled into a battle for the end of the world where nothing is what it seems. A violent tale filled with death and chaos, the lines between good and evil are blurred and eventually demolished.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || The Book Depository || Amazon

Thank you to Reena for having me as a guest today.  Your hospitality is very much appreciated.  Today I’m here to discuss my recent book, The Hand of God.  Many folks confuse this for a “Christian” novel, but it is far from it. There are many religious and Christian themes however.  So I’d like to talk about some of those things. For those who haven’t read it, The Hand of God starts out with Pastor Charlie, a mild mannered preacher, who also happens to be a serial killer. He’s a serial killer because he thinks he was sent by God to do his work by cleaning up sinners. Throughout the book there are many twists and turns. The story is written from Charlie’s point of view, so we can get a good look inside his head.

As the story unfolds, Charlie learns many things about his own beliefs and religion itself. Having studied religion and Christian ministry myself, I find the subject fascinating. What Charlie learns in the book is what many of us learn every day. How many of us have ever been determined to get a new job, or attend a new school? What happens when we reach that goal? Quite often, things turn out much differently than we expected. Maybe its harder work than we thought, or maybe the institution itself isn’t what it was cracked up to be.

I know when I joined the Marine Corps how excited I was. I had read all about it was all about brotherhood, teamwork and hard work. Once I’d been in for a year or so I saw how it really was. Things were more about politics, who you know and physical appearances. This was disappointing to me, but a hard lesson.

So now we have Pastor Charlie and his religion. There is no one thing I can think of where people believe they are more sure of anything, than in any religion. I worked in ministry for a while so I saw this first hand. Every person, even among Christians had varying levels of beliefs, and every single one of them thought they were absolutely 100% right and there was no room for debate. I knew one preacher who was so determined, that to disagree with him was not just a friendly disagreement, but it was to spit in the face of God himself.

So my question is, the Marine Corps didn’t live up to my expectations, I know many for whom marriage did not meet their expectations. I’ve even heard pro football players talk about how the NFL was nothing like what they had expected. Knowing these things, is it not possible that whatever religious beliefs we might hold, that things might not always be what you thought? I mean, you read the Left Behind books, and they lay out their interpretation of Bible prophecy step by step. If you talk to the authors, they are 100% sure this is how things will unfold. How are they so sure and what if they are wrong? What if we’re all wrong? I know we can’t all be right. I know if there is a God, he doesn’t always do what we expect. Case in point:

So as we can see, we may get our prayers answered, or what we wanted, but not in the way we expected. As the plot twists unfold in the Hand of God, Charlie discovers this on several levels. Although in realizing his beliefs and religion isn’t what he thought it was, he finds a new strength within himself. A strength he never knew he possessed and that may have no limits. This can be true of each of us. Even though we may have no religious beliefs, or maybe they don’t live up to our expectations. That doesn’t make us any less powerful. Just like Charlie, we can all learn to tap into that part of ourselves, to release our strength.

About the Author

Tim Miller has studied various religions, as well as psychology and has worked in several fields involving the study of human behavior. After serving four years in the U.S. Marines, Tim spent six years working as a corrections officer. Tim also worked as a technician in a psychiatric center. The Hand of God is Tim’s first novel in almost ten years. He currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with his fiance and their children.

Tim became a fan of horror as a teenager. At the age of fourteen he would often read Stephen King books while listening to Iron Maiden on his head phones. He would write short stories to entertain himself and his friends. In 2001, Tim Published his first book, Without a Trace, and then Out of Nowhere a year later. These were mystery/suspense thrillers, but frightening enough in their own right.

After a ten year break and writing two inspirational books, Tim is back at it writing horror with The Hand of God. It is the first book in the series about Pastor Charlie, the preacher/serial killer. Tim is currently working on the second book in the Pastor Charlie series.

Find Tim Miller Online

Website

Twitter

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 Posted by at 12:01 am