How I sold 1,000 books over the holidays #marketing #bestseller

For those of you interested in the facts and figures of paid promotions, I’m sharing details of my latest successful promo over on my blog.
Hop across, take a look and tell me what you think.

deborahjay

Here is my promised share of how I sold 1000 books and became a bestseller (in Canada and Australia, at any rate) over the 10 days of the Christmas/New Year holiday. Settle in, folks, this is going to be a long post.

First up, what I did was nothing ground breaking, just plain old advertising and spreading the word.

For a bit of background, the book I promoted was THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in my Epic Fantasy series (only 2 books out so far, 3rd one is underway).

I know it can sell in quantity – when it came out, it was an Amazon Top 100 Hot New Release, selling 1500 copies in the first 6 weeks. That was back in 2013. I’ve written and released several other books since then, including its sequel, THE PRINCE’S SON.

I haven’t promoted TPM in over 12 months, and sales had…

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#$0.99 #SALE – THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in THE FIVE KINGDOMS #EpicFantasy series

Hi Marcia and all – waves from the UK.

I hope you all had a great Christmas? For me it’s all about joining up with the family and taking time off work without feeling guilty. The best thing is, after Church, my sister-in-law cooks the best ever goose with all the trimmings – a huge blessing as any of you that have read my bio will know that I can’t cook!!!

There was a tinge of sadness this year as this was our first Christmas without my father, who died in July at the grand age of 98, but my mother, at 97, is still with us 😀

I set up a WORLD WIDE SALE for the Christmas period, $0.99 (or the equivalent) for my award-winning first in my epic fantasy Five Kingdoms series, THE PRINCE’S MAN, and as it’s gathering pace, I’ve decided to let it run on into the new year. So until January 4th, if you haven’t already indulged, why not grab a copy at this tiny price?

New Year sale

Available at:      AMAZON       B&N        APPLE      KOBO

Please share!

 

Authors, do you use editors? Proofreaders? I have a guilty secret… #amwriting #amediting

I published this little confession on my own blog (https://deborahjayauthor.com/) last week, and it garnered so many interesting points of view, I thought I’d bring it over here too…

Since I joined the Indie publishing scene back in 2013, I have read SO many times the

advice, nay, instruction, ‘thou shalt not publish without having your work professionally edited/proof read/beta read’.

But I have a guilty secret…

I don’t use editors or proof readers.

Gasp! Isn’t my work trash?
Well, apparently not, if my reviews are to be believed. Here is a snippet from a recent review, from an Amazon Vine Reviewer, no less:

“This is a good, entertaining read with lots of originality. And THANK YOU to the author for the lack of errors and grammar that mar so many books these days!”

Okay, I admit to working with a writer’s group. They get to see my first draft and pick up on any obvious procedural errors (like the 36 hour day I once managed to write in), and suggest ways of strengthening the plot.
Then I finish the novel and have 2, or at most 3 beta readers. Only if they all say the same thing about any part of the book do I make any changes.


And after carrying this guilty secret with me for years now, I was hugely relieved to read this post from well known author Dean Wesley Smith:
https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing-beta-readers-help-you/

This makes me feel SO much better about my writing. It’s how I began, how I’ve continued, and how I intend to continue.
I DO think editors etc. are an excellent idea for writers at an early stage of their careers, when they still have much to learn, but I’ve been doing this job professionally (writing non-fiction for magazines and books) for decades, and while I’m always learning more, I have a fair bit of confidence in my own ability to tell a tale, and tell it in reasonable English. If I break a grammar rule, I (probably) meant to!

How about you writers? Is there anyone else out there who shares my guilty secret. I know a small handful of other. Are there any more?

Writers, have you discovered the Pomodoro technique? #amwriting #timemanagement

Are you a full time writer?

I’m not, so like a lot of others, I have to fit my writing time around my full time business. And my business is VERY full time – I train and judge competition dressage horses at National and International level. It’s a fabulous job, but very time consuming, not to mention sometimes exhausting.

This is me in my day job

When people glibly tell me that there is always time to be found in the work day, I know they have NO idea what my life is like. I can often be on the road by 7am, and not home until 10pm, having been either driving or working the entire time. Please tell me where I am supposed to find time to write in that schedule?

I’m not complaining, no sir, I’m just making a point. Not everybody’s life lends itself to a regular writing routine. Mine certainly doesn’t.

So what is my point?

Well, I recently followed a short writing course, largely because it had a great module on plotting (guess who is trying to learn more about plotting vs pantsing?). But what it also had, was a section on time management.

My first thought was, ‘here we go again, I’ve heard it all before’.

But I hadn’t! This course introduced me to the POMODORO TECHNIQUE.

If you haven’t come across it yet, it is a time management approach developed in the late 1980s, and named after the Pomodoro kitchen timer.

 The reason I found this so useful?

Because I have always felt that there was no point starting to write unless I had at least a clear hour available. Anything less than that seemed to me to be unproductive, and I hate to get started only to find I have to give up.

The nub of the Pomodoro technique, though, is that you work for exactly 25 minutes. Not more, and not less.

If you have that magic hour free, then you can fit two sessions in, with a small gap in the middle for coffee making or similar.

I guess, now I think about it, that this is at least partially based on the knowledge that we (humans) can only concentrate fully for 20 minutes at a time, so the 25 minutes stretches that just a touch, followed by the short break, and then back for another 20 (or 25) minutes work.

What it has meant for me, personally, is that my next book is coming along much quicker than previous ones, because I can often find 25 minutes spare, where I might have to wait days to find one of those precious hour gaps.

It has enabled me to give myself permission to write for just 25 minutes, and without guilt that I didn’t get that full hour of work in.

Crazy, huh? But it’s working for me.

I’ve finally realised that my one hour rule is yet another of those dreaded procrastinations we writers are often so prone to.

How about all of you, how do you manage your time?

Even if you are a full time writer, with all the guff that goes with it these days, how do you arrange your productive writing sessions?

Does anyone else have a favoured minimum writing time?

Deborah Jay

Mystery, magic and mayhem

Join me at:

http://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: http://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

 

 

 

 

Nottingham University #ShortStoryCompetition #winner – yours truly!

I want to share my exciting news with you lovely people – there’s a complete story to be read at the end of the post, so please, hop on over! BTW, I’m not telling what genre the story is, as that would give it away…

deborahjay

A couple of months ago, my University (Nottingham) newsletter announced a short story competition for alumni. How could I resist?

The story was to be set on one of the campuses, and had a limit of 2000 words. Quite a challenge for someone accustomed to writing fantasy novels of epic length, but I decided to have a go, and chose a setting I knew well – the Sutton Bonington campus library, where I studied for so many hours, writing assignments for my mammalian physiology degree.

Drawing on my experiences writing for various magazines, I found hitting the word count less difficult than expected, and in due course, submitted two stories (the other set in the student’s bar – perhaps one for another post…), and then forgot about it.

A week or so ago, I remembered it, checked the Uni boards but found no mention of the competition, and chalked it up to experience, then forgot about it again.

So imagine my surprise…

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#ExcerptWeek – The Spy and the Lady – a Five Kingdoms short story by @DeborahJay2 #EpicFantasy

THE FIVE KINGDOMS epic fantasy series (think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings) has a new entry!

To fill in some of the gap between books 1 and 2, THE PRINCE’S MAN and THE PRINCE’S SON, I have embarked on a series of short stories that I am giving away FREE to my mailing list subscribers.

THE SPY AND THE LADY is now available.

Ex-spy, Rustam Chalice, never could resist a lady in peril, and this one’s up to her pretty eyelashes.

Getting into the outlaws’ camp isn’t so tricky, but how come the rogues don’t seem that motivated by promise of a rich ransom? And why does the lady not appear enthusiastic about escaping?

Excerpt

“Unhand the lady, you ruffians!”

Was that pompous enough? Exiled spy, Rustam Chalice, slipped into the role of arrogant nobleman with the ease of donning a cloak. When he’d ridden into the forest clearing, he’d had nothing more on his mind than reaching a lower altitude before nightfall. Crossing paths with the motley group of armed men and their captive–a statuesque beauty—was sheer bad timing.

Or was it?

Perhaps the goddess hasn’t finished meddling with my life yet.

Rustam and the outlaws studied each other warily. On foot, the eight men presented a limited threat. Even so, Rustam’s pulse raced. The boredom of days of aimless wandering vanished in a heartbeat, and excitement zipped along his nerves for the first time since he’d been forced to abandon his old life.

A rescue attempt also promised a diversion to take his mind off a certain lady he would probably never see again.

Weapons drawn, several of the men edged toward Rustam. He flourished his sword randomly as discouragement. The magnificent black mare beneath him sidled away from the swishing weapon, and Rustam reassured her with a light touch of his hand. “Easy, Nightstalker,” he murmured. “I haven’t lost my mind, I promise.”

Two men slipped away between the straight pine trunks that rose to majestic heights above the mountainside. Another man grabbed the prisoner by one arm, as though he feared she might try to escape. Quite where he thought she would go, on foot, leagues from anywhere—not to mention the question of what she was doing here in the first place—puzzled Rustam.

One of the bandits, a particularly skinny specimen, stepped in front of the others. “And why should we do that?” he asked.

“I’ll run you through if you don’t, that’s why,” Rustam declared with another wild swing of his blade. “Your weapons are puny, and I am an expert swordsman.”

Rustam winced at his ridiculous claim, but he wanted a moment to think. He could ride away now, follow the group at a safe distance and take time to plan a rescue. Probably the sensible thing to do. But now the outlaws were aware of his presence, they would be on guard, making such an approach trickier.

Working from the inside—now that was more his style.

Nightstalker jigged nervously and bunched her hindquarters, readying a vicious kick intended to maim the two men creeping up behind her. Choice made, Rustam reined her to one side, breaking her concentration. The battle-trained mare’s hooves could be deadly from many directions, and Rustam didn’t want to anger the bandits by dispatching any of them. He wanted to get captured, not killed.

* * * * * *

If you want to read more, sign up to my (infrequent) newsletter HERE and download your FREE copy.

If you already subscribe, I will be delivering complementary copies soon.

About Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she also shares a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award and was an Amazon Top 100 Hot New Release.

You can also stalk her at:

http://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2

http://www.pinterest.com/debbylush/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: http://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

 

 

 

#Win this bundle of #FANTASY books


This is a quick hijack of The Write Stuff for the fantasy readers amongst us…

How would you like to win this fabulous bundle of fantasy books? Oh, and it includes one of mine (The Prince’s Man).

You can enter the competition HERE, and also find free stuff from the authors of these books and more.

Competition runs until April 14th, but why hang around, go, enter now!

Lovely people, please share this competition using the buttons below, or any other way you care to use – the more entries the better!

How to open a link in a new Window – and why you should #Blogging

Hi folks – I see too many bloggers who risk losing their audience by NOT using this one simple step on their WordPress blog – don’t be one of them!
If you AREN’T already using this simple tool, skip over to the full post for easy to follow steps to keep your readers on YOUR blog.

deborahjay

We all want people to read our posts, don’t we? Why else would we devote so much time to blogging?

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So in amongst your material, you include helpful links to other articles.

What you may not realise is that more often than not, once a reader clicks away from your page, they don’t come back.

Particularly if you’ve put a link fairly early on in your post, you may have inadvertently lost that reader to someone else’s blog.

Don’t get me wrong, sharing readers is great and part of the fabulous ethos of the community of bloggers and writers, but what if there was a way to keep your reader on your blog at the same time as sharing someone else’s post?

Well, strangely enough, there is!

I learned this way back when I first started my extensive research before ever dipping my toe into the deep water of indie publishing and blogging…

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THE PRINCE’S SON – Gold Star #Winner! #TheBookDesigner #ebook #cover awards

Thanks for sharing all those beautiful fantasy book covers, Marcia, and while we are on the subject of book covers, I have some great news!

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eca-dec-2016-goldstar

Yay!

We won a gold star!

If you haven’t yet discovered TheBookDesigner.com and Joel’s monthly ebook cover awards, I can only say: “Why not?”

It’s probably the most regular education on offer for learning about what does, and what doesn’t, work for ebook cover design. Every month, around 100 people enter their ebook covers, in all genres, for Joel’s uncompromising view. I suggest learning – a lot – before putting your cover up for scrutiny, and the simplest way to do that is to subscribe, and each month study the covers and read Joel’s advice (and criticism).

He selects two winners each month – one fiction and one non-fiction, and the covers that were considered for this accolade but didn’t quite make it, are awarded a gold star in recognition – and this month that’s what THE PRINCE’S SON earned!

I’m thrilled with Joel’s comments on the cover: “JF:Gorgeous and dynamic. Looks like a winner.”

You can find this month’s…

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#FREE gift – SPRITE NIGHT – a Caledonian Sprite short story #UrbanFantasy #ScottishHighlands

As a late Christmas (or early New Year) present, please help yourself to a FREE copy of my Caledonian Sprite short story, SPRITE NIGHT.

rsz_rsz_sprite_night_complete

If you have yet to meet sassy Cassie, the Scottish water sprite with a passion for the environment (not to mention the odd hunky Highlander), now is your chance.

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This 8000 word story is a stand alone read, though it follows on from events in the full length novel DESPRITE MEASURES, described by one reviewer as ‘a unique eco-urban fantasy’.

So if you love the Scottish Highlands (yes, Marcia, men in kilts!), the environment, strong characters and a bit of magic, then bag a copy while it’s FREE this week.

Here’s a little taster…

The inn was typical of its type; old, creaky and in need of renovation, but warm with hospitality and a reputation for excellent food and choice of single malts. One of the more frustrating aspects of my human body is that consuming food or alcohol is a futile exercise; I can eat, but solid food needs disposing of—let’s not go there—and alcohol, whilst I can take pleasure in the taste, has no effect on my metabolism.

Companionship though—that I can, and do, enjoy.

I pushed open the swing doors to the lounge and glanced around. Most of the crowd were locals I’d come to know over the past few weeks, but a rather delectable-looking stranger sat in the snug beside the chimney. My body perked up with interest.

Right now, my DNA stores were high, and gathering more would be an indulgence, but this guy had the makings of a pleasing dalliance, with or without extra benefits. His shaggy brown hair melded into a luxuriant beard, above which shone a pair of the brightest blue eyes I’d seen in a long while. He was dressed in a heavy woollen sweater with a thick, quilted jacket and thermal beanie discarded beside him on the bench.

Never one to stand on ceremony, I sauntered across the room and put a hand on the chair facing him. A pleasant waft of pine aftershave tickled my nose, evoking images of wide open spaces and forest, meeting my approval. He nodded in response to my raised eyebrow, and I pulled the chair out, dragging it across the bare wooden floorboards with a squeal.

He winced. “Dear God, lass, d’ye like to torture your men even before ye’ve been introduced?”

Blurb

When Scottish water sprite, Cassie, joins an anti-fracking protest, she doesn’t expect to find herself at odds with a druid. But with time running out for the local environment she can’t afford to be distracted by the handsome hunk of a Highlander.

Intent on sabotage, Cassie is unprepared to be caught in the cross-fire of a magical battle. Can she avert catastrophe? Or will she become the very agency of an ecological disaster?

Download from Amazon,  or leave me a message below if you’d like a different format and I’ll send it to you directly.