Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving


It's been a big few months for me. There's been a lot of hard work and emotional ups-and-downs that I rarely bring up online. You might not believe it, but I'm actually a very private person :)

In the spirit of American Thanksgiving I want to say Thank You to all the readers who took a chance on our box-set, DANGEROUS ATTRACTION. Yes we had one week at 99c, (that's how we hit the USA Today bestseller list for two weeks running, and the New York Times this week). The box-set is now just $4.99 and readers are still picking it up--Thank You. Especial thanks to readers who write genuine reviews, even the ones who don't like my story (shocker I know :)) (Yes, I'd prefer everyone lied and gave it 5-STARS but some people are too damn honest. It makes the world go around). And thanks to all my other readers who've given me an incredible year as an author. 

I want to say Thank You to my writer friends, new and old, best-sellers and struggling. Writing is a a long hard road and no one knows the intricacies and struggles involved unless you're living it and every situation is different. There's such beauty in creativity--don't let the world suck it out of you.

Thank You to my family and friends who often have no clue what I'm talking about. Your genuine happiness is appreciated and more than makes up for the glazed expressions I induce when answering that simple question: How's the writing going?

"Happy American Thanksgiving" to my friends south of the border! I'm craving turkey in a BIG way. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

HER SANCTUARY--once again available in digital and print formats

Did I remember to mention I re-released my very first book, HER SANCTUARY, and it also contains a sneak peek of Marsh & Josie's story, HER LAST CHANCE. That book releases December 23rd, 2013. 

"Suspenseful, riveting and explosive, this reader absolutely loved this story.”
~5 ANGELS-FALLEN ANGEL REVIEWS

Blurb:

Running for her life, ex-FBI agent Elizabeth Ward escapes to Montana with a new identity. She craves peace and solitude, but instead finds handsome rancher, Nat Sullivan.Nat is trying to hold his ailing family together, while struggling to keep the ranch from bankruptcy. The last thing he needs is a beautiful stranger reminding him there is more to life than work.But Elizabeth isn't what she seems. And when a murderer and rapist track her down to the remote ranch, they all find out about the power of revenge.Revenge or Redemption. Which would you choose?

Amazon: http://bit.ly/TAAHSUS
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/TAAHSUK
Kobo: http://bit.ly/TAAHSKobo
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/TAAHSBN
iBooks: http://bit.ly/TAAHSiB
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/TAAHSSW


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My 99c Box Set...

There's a lot of online debate these days about the 99c price point devaluing an author's work, and some derisive statements in general about box sets being sold for 99c. Some people suggest box sets are tawdry and full of sub-standard stories. Tawdry and sub-standard are subjective concepts that I can't speak to, plus it depends on the box set so... *shrugs*

The price is ridiculous. I'm effectively selling a book that it took almost a year to write for 10c--and actually I'm personally selling it for 3c because the retailer keeps the rest. That is ridiculous, except...

At RWA this summer one of the key catchphrases was 'discoverability'. How does one author stand out from another? There are so many books out there right now, how do you get your story in front of a reader? The general consensus from this year's conference was to be prolific (not always possible to pull that bunny out the hat), write quality work (I try), and a certain amount of luck (let's put everything on red shall we?). There are promo strategies that authors can use, but the bottom-line is there are no guarantees, and things that worked a year ago don't always make a bump in sales today.

What can we do?

The most commonly used idea is lowering the price/having a sale for a few days. It has worked in retail for years so why not ebooks? The trouble is now many readers probably expect an ebook to go on sale at some point and therefore wait before buying it. But this isn't unique to ebooks. I often wait for cheaper mass market paperbacks to come out rather than buying the more expensive hardbacks. I also wait for some of the big pubs to drop the ebook prices because, crap, I'm not paying 11.99 for an ebook! Or I'll borrow it from the library. But the problem is that 99c sales no longer make much of an impact for indie authors because everyone is doing it. Making something free only works (sweeping statement) if it's the first book in a series and not always then.

So what is an indie author to do?

I was approached in late September about being part of a box set of Romantic Suspense stories from a group of best-selling writers. Someone else had had to withdraw from the project for personal reasons and they needed another author (I was never the first pick at sports either :)). I jumped at the chance. My ebook would still be on sale as a single title for $3.99 and strangely people are still buying it in the same numbers as before even though it is in the box set for less. But by joining the box set I also had the chance to reach more readers, maybe find a few fans, maybe hit the lists (hello USA Today!) and to learn a hell of a lot about promotion from some really savvy authors.

If you think something sells itself because it is priced at 99c, think again.

I should say that again, louder...

If you think something sells itself because it is priced at 99c, think again!

So why did I believe in this box set? Firstly, we promised readers it would only be on sale for one week at 99c and we kept our promise. It will never be 99c again, nor will it ever be free. It's still a bargain at $4.99 and will only be available until the end of February. So if I'm devaluing myself it's for a short length of time. I have value. My work has value. But having a great book that no one knows exists doesn't get you anywhere, so this box set marketing idea really worked for me. The stories within the set range from traditional RS stories, to CEO billionaire stories with a sprinkling of RS, to military romances (my story is the least traditional I think; it is kind of a military RS/spy thriller). The heat levels range from sweet to scorcher.

I don't think all readers will love all the stories--they are just too spread across the reading spectrum. I do think most readers will enjoy most of the stories and every single book in the collection is worth at least 99c, so they got a bargain. I hope, no, I believe, that most readers will be pleasantly surprised by the collection.

So did the strategy work for me?

Well I can't speak about gaining readers overall yet, but this particular 5-STAR Amazon review gave me hope because it sums up why many of us might purchase a box set at a cheap price. It's a sampler of work. An inexpensive way of perhaps finding an author you'll love (and all readers want to find authors they love)

"I bought this by accident, then read the description.... Ex-military guys embarking into the civilian world. Being raised an Air Force kid, then joining the Coast Guard after high school, thought I'd read a couple novellas before relegating it to cloud storage; however, this is staying accessible. I have not yet read all nine, but the story I'm on now sort of demanded a review from me. He's SAS hunting a Russian spy/terrorist and she's a wildlife biologist trying to save the snow leopard, and when these two meet...? You'll have to read it! Well worth the money. Thank you, authors for sharing your tales with us!!"

So was it worth it for me overall?

Financially I made back my investment and then some, but it hasn't made me rich. However, I've learned a lot. Actually being involved in this box set taught me more than I ever wanted to know about certain things. I experienced the usual outpouring of support from the author community (especially indies), which was lovely. I'll console myself about any negativity with my amazing friends and hopefully a few new readers.

Did I devalue myself and my work by being part of this box set? No. I did not. If the box set was forever at 99c then the answer would be different. As I said earlier, we had specific criteria and I like the timeline we developed. If only a quarter of buyers actually read my story in the box set it will still be a significant number of potential new readers. Will box sets work for other authors? Hard to tell. Again the market is becoming saturated. Plus, you can't live off that kind of royalty unless you are selling millions, and if you are selling millions you probably don't need to find more readers using this strategy. That's all it is, a strategy, to be used like a honed tool rather than an all encompassing blanket when selling your work. There's a lot of exhausting effort involved that many authors would rather use writing. I had no idea it would be such an intense experience. All ten authors spent at least four weeks promoting the hell out of our box set on a daily basis. I sweated for this project; I dreamed about it (I never told anyone that before). That's not even counting the work each author put into getting their own book into shape, organizing the legalities, finances, formatting, dealing with the retailers, banner design, book cover design, blurbs...you get the picture. So much effort. I can hardly believe it when I think of all the steps, all the intricacies. But working so closely with a bunch of great authors forged some wonderful relationships that I hope will last for years.

Okay, writing is what I'm concentrating on right now so I better get on with it. Wish me luck!

(PS. I'm not sure why Blogger is splitting my words at the end of lines. I've tried everything to strip it and fix it but, alas, Blogger has confounded me again. I'll try again tomorrow. That often fixes Blogger!)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Win an iPad Mini!



iPads iPads everywhere. Don't forget to enter our raffle. There'll be a ton of prizes given away at the end of the week, including gift certificates and an IPad mini http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODQ5OWRjYmYxNmVkNTE3OTljMmQ3Nzg5ZWJmOjA=/

And since somebody asked for the iBooks link for Dangerous Attraction, here you go: iBooks: http://bit.ly/1cmZDsi

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dangerous Attraction--out now!

The box set I'm involved with released last Sunday and is 99c for just this week (it won't be 99c again and nor will it be free ever!! Price goes up Nov 17th, just so you know :)) It's even cheaper in the UK! 77p.

Dangerous Attraction is already an Amazon Top 20, iTunes and Nook Top 100 Bestseller!

Thanks to all our fabulous readers who've already bought it--leave us a review to tell us what you think! I hope you enjoy and I hope you find new favourite authors from this fabulous group of writers. 99c for 10 books. 
Less than a chocolate bar. Gift it to friends or family for Christmas, they'll love you forever :). 
Today's my hard sell ;) Can you tell?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Cover Reveal for HER LAST CHANCE (Marsh & Josie's Story)


 So what do you think? Should have this one ready just before Christmas! Will update with buy links when I get them. 

Blurb:

Eighteen years ago the Blade Hunter found his first victim on the streets of New York City.
 
As a child Josephine Maxwell was attacked and left for dead. She learned the hard way that life is a constant struggle for survival. She can’t waste time pining over a man she can’t have. Now the killer has returned, and the only person who can save her is the FBI agent she deceived and betrayed six months ago.
 
Now he’s back to finish the job.
 
Special Agent-in-Charge Marshall Hayes has made it his life’s work to fight on the side of law and order, even though it cost him the only woman he ever loved. The return of a serial killer gives him the excuse he needs to force his way back into her life. But in order to catch the killer and safeguard Josie's life, he has to break all the rules and risk losing his heart again. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

The old and the new...


My print proofs of HER SANCTUARY arrived. They look and feel wonderful. DS declared the new cover best because the people on the old cover look like they're cheating. Okay then. I've edited the book very lightly. It's the same story. I did include a sneak peek of Marsh and Josie's story in the back. I'm doing a cover reveal for that tomorrow! I'll post the links when the book is up for sale :)