A New Meme & Catching Up

Wow, the last week has gone by in a blur of electricians, stucco men, and dental appointments. The good news is, my dentist said everything is healing just as it should, but will continue to be painful for a while yet. I can live with that, as long as nothing’s wrong.

The other good news is that MUCH progress on our home repairs is being made, but we have some time to go yet, even though it has been THREE months (and five days, but who’s counting?) since Hurricane Irma came calling. The roofing won’t even begin until after Christmas, so it’s bound to be 2018 before it gets finished up. And just think. Many, many people were left far worse off than we were. So in the spirit of being grateful for what we have, I’m reminding myself how lucky we were.

Today is the first day since the storm I’ve actually been able to start back to work on my 4th Wake-Robin Ridge book. We are waiting on inspections, so there was no hammering and drilling and sawing going on. Yay! I hope to pick up speed on this one as repairs get completed and my jaw stops throbbing.

Last, I’m sharing a meme I made some time ago for a sale. I changed the bottom wording so I can use it at will, and thought I’d use it as another example of a simple graphic made from a portion of my book cover, with a quote from the story added. Hope you guys are giving serious thought to using more images with your books. It’s eye-catching and fun, so give it a try!

Have a great weekend, everyone, in case I’m not around much. Mark and I are still tearing out plants killed by the storm, and doing some long overdue work inside, as well. This ol’ place is getting quite a facelift. When the new roof and new paintjob are done, it’s going to look brand new, just like it did in 1978, when it was built. (Wish I could say the same for me! 😀 )

I’ll be checking in as I can, and I hope you are ALL getting caught up in the magic of Christmas!

Bob the Skull says, “Ho, ho, ho? Has anyone seen that
Dresden guy in the last 3 years?”

That Darkest Place

An Interesting Concept for Releasing a Series/Trilogy

One of my sister authors at misterio press is doing an all-at-once release of a new trilogy. Thought you all might be interested in how she’s doing it.

Binge Reading – No, It’s Not What You Think

by Kirsten Weiss

Call it the age of Netflix.

It’s spoiled us for the wait – no longer do we have to hang on an aching seven days to find out what comes next on our favorite TV show. With shows produced by Netflix, we can now binge watch the entire season over a weekend. (And yes, I’m guilty of this – Longmire! Stranger Things!).

So when I heard about “binge reading,” I decided to take the plunge with my new Doyle Witch cozy mystery series. Fortunately, my patient editors at misterio press were willing to take this journey with me, because a lot ended up happening in a short span of time.

The concept is simple – launch all the books in the series at once… Read More




What makes a book a bestseller?

teasersquare600After two years of pounding the keyboard and putting out indie fiction, I finally hit what I consider a bestseller. Half Wolf had 6,000 combined sales and borrows during its first three months of life, and the sequel seems to be enjoying even better reviews (and, hopefully, sales).

While my figures still don’t hold a candle to those of some authors, I thought it would be worth mentioning what I did differently in case you want to follow suit. Here’s a quick rundown in what went into my bestseller.

  1. Studied the genre harder. I read widely and often and write what I love to read. That said, I noticed repeated criticisms of my Wolf Rampant series surrounding lack of sex and action scenes. At first, I turned up my nose and said, “Hmmph! That’s what makes me an indie author — I can write what I want!” But then I decided to give it a whirl. And I have to admit I feel like the resulting book was more powerful for the inclusions (even though those component are still below average on a modern chart).
  2. Paid for an amazing cover. I have basic photoshop skills and thought I could make my own covers…and I did manage to make passable ones. Then I upgraded to hiring a cover artist…and was amazed at the difference in sales. Rebecca Frank is, unfortunately, now booked months in advance and no longer accepting new clients. However, I highly recommend shopping around and paying for a top-notch cover to match your top-notch book, hitting all of the same genre buttons to signal exactly what’s inside.
  3. Workshopped my blurb to death. Seriously, I think about ten people helped me make approximately 100 revisions on my blurb. Even before that, I studied the blurbs of the bestsellers in my genre, noting word count and other factors. Overall, I spent nearly a week on the project! But the result is tight and humming with life and it sells books.
  4. Launched with forethought. A lot more goes into a sticky launch than just telling your fans and waiting for the sales to roll in. If you haven’t read it, I recommend Chris Fox’s Launch to Market as a primer. I used a spreadsheet and every bit of social capital I’d built up in recent months on my launch and it was very much worth it.

I hope that gives you some ideas for pushing your next book into the stratosphere! And, if you’re curious, Half Wolf will be free Saturday and Lone Wolf Dawn is already marked down to 99 cents for launch week. Feel free to lurk and see whether my second launch does as well as the first.

#Smashwords and KDP Questions


Question for you authors who publish on Smashwords, or on  Smashwords AND KDP, combined. I’m planning to move my first Wake-Robin Ridge novel from KDP Select to “regular” KDP, so I can permanently reduce the price on the book. I want it to be a “funnel” book to the Wake-Robin Ridge series. I realized that taking it out of Select means I can open it up to other “venues.” I’ve heard good things about combining KDP with Smashwords, and thus getting the book wider exposure.

How many of you have tried this, and can you share your experiences with us here on The Write Stuff? Thoughts, anyone?

Amazon ebook giveaways: Hot or not?


There are lots of ways to give away free copies of your books in hopes of drawing in new readers. All have pros and cons. For example, Goodreads is quite effective at getting your giveaway in front of at least a few hundred new eyes…but you have to mail a physical book, which increases costs dramatically. Free ebooks are a great magnet to get folks to sign up for your email list…but you have to find the people to dangle that magnet in front of on your own.

While I’d like to say the new entry on the scene — Amazon — solves all of those problems, I can’t because you’re still in complete charge of driving traffic to your giveaway. Still, this new ebook giveaway system seems like a great way to add to your Amazon Followers’ list while possibly also promoting your existing titles at a very low cost. Basically, you buy the books you want to give away from Amazon and that’s the total cost of the promotion. If you lower the price of your book to 99 cents for a couple of hours and set up the giveaway during that period, your expenses will be bargain-basement low. (Here’s the long version of how to set up and promote an Amazon giveaway.)

Amazon Followers

To me, the value of an Amazon Giveaway is potentially pretty high because it can be used to increase your Amazon Followers. If you haven’t noticed this button, it’s now below each author’s profile picture on their Amazon page and in the bio section of each book page. Although Amazon’s implementation is still a bit hit or miss, they (usually? sometimes? if you sacrifice a goat?) give authors the opportunity to write a personal message to followers when a new book goes live. Many readers (like me) who have busy inboxes and would never imagine signing up for author email lists will click “follow” on Amazon because they know they’ll only get one notification when a new book is available.

Granted, you have to figure that people signing up to follow an author due to a giveaway will be less responsive to those Amazon nudges. However, even if those follows mean nothing, there’s another benefit of the Amazon giveaway. You’re given the opportunity to write a message of your choice to both winners and losers. Why not suggest that the losers borrow the book for free with Kindle Unlimited? Or perhaps sign up for your email list (with a link) and get two free books?

As you’ve probably gathered, I’m always willing to try new things once. And the jury’s still out on whether my giveaway will be worth it or not. After emailing my list, I went from 0 entries to about 300 entries, with more slowly trickling in. My understanding is that folks with a twitter following will have much better results since people actively follow the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag. Maybe one of you tweeters will make a giveaway and test that hypothesis out and let me know? Good luck with your next giveaway!

Facebook ads for books

halfwolfThe hottest topic around the writers’ water cooler in recent months has been using facebook ads. The upshot? You can get email list subscribers for as low as 35 cents a pop by giving away free books. Then it’s a simple matter of massaging your new readers to turn them into buying (or at least reviewing) fans.

If you want to learn more, I recommend checking out Mark Dawson’s free video series for a basic introduction. You’ll have to commit significant time to tweaking, though, and will also want your website to be in top-notch shape before beginning. So I only recommend embarking on the project if you’re willing to take some concerted effort away from writing to make it happen.

Is it worth it? I’d say so. Building up my email list helped me launch my newest book into the 3,000s on Amazon as well as track down 15 five-star reviews during launch week. (Okay, setting the price at 99 cents for the launch period has helped too.) Now I’m trying to continue that momentum with a simple boosted facebook post (a technique that can give you even cheaper results than a fancier facebook ad if you get enough people to like and comment on the post).

Want to help out? I’d love it if you liked, commented on, or shared my new-release facebook post. Remind me when your next book is live and I’ll do the same for you. Thanks in advance!


#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Timmy White


FFGB Graphic

Today, our guest is Timmy White, and his post is on how to use blogging as a successful marketing tool. I think there’s a lot of good information in this, and I hope you all find something you can take away. Don’t forget to share, please. Now, here’s Timmy!

How to Use Blogging As a Razor Sharp Marketing Tool

Many contemporary authors think it’s a waste of time to write something that won’t be published into a financially-rewarding book, but guess what: blogging is an incredible tool that can help them attract a greater audience.

Here is a valuable piece of information: George Martin still maintains his LiveJournal page. It’s called Not a Blog, but of course it’s a blog! His faithful readers are always happy to find out what he’s up to, so the author keeps them hooked with bits of information related to his interests, thoughts, and work.

If you still haven’t achieved fame of Martin’s caliber, that doesn’t mean you won’t attract readers who would be excited about your work. The competition in the blogosphere is huge, but it’s still easier to attract online audience than real readers that would buy your first editions.

Needless to say, you need to form a specific blogging strategy that would lead you to success. These tips will help you gain more attention among potential readers:

Pick a Niche

What will you write about? The most obvious choice is ‘writing about writing’, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Blogging is a very versatile category that enables you to publish short stories, brief thoughts about life, elaborate lifestyle improvement tips, and anything else that comes to your mind. However, you need to pick a particular niche and provide related content that your audience will become used to.

If you don’t know what niche to choose, think about your unpublished novel. If, for example, it’s a story about a murder, you can maintain a blog about serial murders and the psychology behind their actions. You don’t have to think of an entirely new category that’s never been elaborated by another blog. You just need to write better than anyone else in the niche. Continue reading