I Lost Book Fat!

ILostBookFat

Tried of your book sitting around on Amazon’s virtual shelf? 

Is your book sales lazy?

It’s time to get that book into shape!

That’s right, I lost some FAT in a key area of my book… the DESCRIPTION! I think it goes without saying, your book description is a pretty important element of gaining a potential reader’s interest. Think about it, when you shop for your next pleasure read, what do you go to first? I bet you said the back cover! Your book’s description should be second only to the cover in terms of interesting and even with knowing this, I made some major mistakes with the setup of my original description. This is the original description that was available with my first novel ‘Golden Heart‘:

After the mass murder of the Dashiell family line by the demons from the nearby dark lands, the people of Locklynn find themselves for the first time without a Heavenly appointed Priestess. In the absence of divine leadership, Clayton Harwell has risen to power as a black hearted tyrant whose only concern is passing on his new found power to his sons, Cyril and Drake. At the center of Heaven’s powers on Earth, and the center of his lust for dominance, is the Golden Heart. An artifact bequeathed to the Dashiell bloodline, one which only they can barely stand to touch. All others face the Angel’s incinerating fury, including Lady Alexandra Harwell, Clayton’s own wife.

In the middle of the fighting is Marleah Craft, a rebel leader and unwitting heir to the Dashiell bloodline and all the powers of Heaven that goes with it. She is torn between liberating Locklynn of the Harwells and her desire to remain the woman her mother, Clare Craft wanted her to be.

A stranger starts to become more than a friend, a friend turns out to be an enemy, death turns out to not be so finial, and a brothel becomes an unlikely sanctuary as Marleah fights against her destiny and her own identity. Can she be a Craft and a Dashiell at the same time? Does she even want to be? In the end she will have to decide… who does she want to be?

Could you get though all of that? To me, this falls into the ‘doesn’t look long, but reads loooong’ in other words, it’s chock full of fatty fluff. It appears to have a decent length to it, but it feels like you just wasted a good 5 minutes of your time, and I bet it didn’t hook you into the story all that much either did it? Don’t worry I won’t blame you for thinking this way, because while its taken me a few months to realize it, I see it now too.

This original version of my description also fell prey to the trap of saying too much without purpose. For example, I have no good reason why I mentioned ‘Lady Alexandra Harwell’. She isn’t a main charter, and while her part in the book plays it’s role of showing you what a tyrant Clayton is, you have no reason to care about her in the description.

There’s all around room for improvement here. So I picked up my laptop one day, and typed up something new. Here is what I plan on using now:

A nameless baby is given to a dying solider.
An orphan is found in the early frost, clutched in the arms of a dead man.
A mother is killed before she can raise a daughter.
A woman finds family with a band of rebels.
The Dashiell family was killed years ago. A black hearted tyrant is in control of Locklynn, and he intends to keep his power in the family. The rebels mean to take that power away, and helping to lead the revolution is Marleah Craft. She must face death to learn the truth, that there is more at stake than freedom in the outcome of this war… and she just might be the tide that turns the fighting to the rebels favor.
The key to her past, and Clayton’s lust for dominance, is the Golden Heart.
A stranger starts to become more than a friend. A friend turns out to be an enemy.
Death turns out to not be so finial, and a brothel becomes an unlikely sanctuary as Marleah fights against her destiny and her own identity.

A little better? I hope so! This new description has cut down on all that ‘fatty’ information that made the first beefed up and boring. I feel that this version has made it look and feel like time well spent reading. I added a beginning hook that would (hopefully) act like a series of points that keeps the eye following along. The idea behind this is if the reader has stayed on through those first few interesting sentences, they will stay through the rest of the description as it runs right into the main points.

Here I tided up the main points, you get history and setting in a quick snippet, followed by who the main character is and what/who she will be dealing with in the story. Then I wrapped it up in the same fashion as I started it, but this time instead of trying to draw a reader into the description, I tried ending with a hook.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Book Fest Bust

I had my first author signing event over the weekend and it didn’t go quite as planned… It was an experience worth having, lessons were learned and new emotions were defined. Here’s the blow by blow of my experience:

  • After spending weeks and plenty of money preparing for the event, the day had come at long last! I hardly slept the night before, feeling like a kid the day before they go to Disney world. The boyfriend-turned PA and I got up long before sun rise and started our 3 hour drive to Hamilton Ohio, for Book Fest @ Ice Fest.
  • We arrived in the busy little town and had to circle a few times to find the parking garage, because there wasn’t any signs. Then we trekked back over to the event location, which was Ryan’s Tavern (super cute place!). The book signing was taking place on the 2nd floor, there was only one sign inside of the location that advised customers where to find authors. Once on the 2nd floor, we were on our own to locate our table space.
  • The area was rather large but all the author tables were crammed close together. We found my name tent and started our setup.
  • The event took place between 10am and 4pm, and they served a pre-purchased lunch right to our table!

Here’bookfestbustPicedits what I learned sitting there:

  • No one helps you. The other authors are happy to chat, but for sales you are on your own.
  • Since the draw to this event was more of an “add on” to the Ice Fest, the customers weren’t there as ‘readers’. They hadn’t come to buy books, in other words.
  • And they didn’t buy books. I didn’t get to sell one book. I did get to pass out some cards and bookmarks.
  • MOST of the other authors didn’t sell anything either, but a 1-2 was average at others. Meanwhile, one girl, seated directly across from me, sold A LOT of one of her books. This resulted in a new emotion for me, book envy.
  • I did receive lots of compliments on my cover design and my advertising poster at the front of the table.
  • When the event was over, we packed up and did a ‘walk of shame’ back to our car with everything we had brought in tow.

I’m gonna be honest, for all those authors looking to start their involvement with signing events. Don’t do what I did. Don’t make your first event an “add on” event. Pick one that has a target audience of READERS, instead of one that’s made up of people passing time while they waited on a table for lunch. Anything can happen, you could be the girl who sold lots of books, or you could be me and have to settle for living on compliments.

Cheers, to lessons learned ❤

Is Facebook Dis-Liking Your Author Page?

Facebook is moving to end the “free ride” for advertising. The social media giant has already introduced ‘targeted ads’ that can be dislikeFBpurchased and used to share your brand across the network. However, many have continued to use free resources to build their followers and rack up the likes.

Facebook has been the ideal place for Indie Authors to setup a page, share it around, make announcements and host giveaways to promote their work. Anyone who followed the page would then get the updates in their news feed, makes total sense right? Facebook has decided to refocus the site on the regular person, cutting out the reach that brand pages have to appear in their news.

What this means for Indie Authors? That exciting announcement that your next book is coming out will only reach about 1-2% of the people following you. That’s about 1 or 2 people out of each 100 of your followers! Unless of course you pay for their advertising.

Their reasoning behind the move is that the regular Facebook user doesn’t want to see businesses self advertising, they want more family photos and YouTube videos of cats… But in argument to this, if they didn’t want to see your Author page posts, they wouldn’t have started following you in the first place. Personally, I have a more then 200 friends and family on my private page, but I only see the same people’s posts over and over again… and a never ending supply of ‘suggested posts’ as well. I’m not seeing this ‘increase’ in personal posts that’s suppose to be the reason for cutting back my Author reach.

While Facebook holds that this is meant for those business giants like Nike who have 22,432,821 followers and over 56,858 views on any given day, it’s us little guys who will be taking the hard hits. Those giants have massive marketing budgets and will likely not think twice about throwing in big bucks to keep their ads going, while we on the other end are often trying to GIVE our books away free in the merger hopes of earning a few favorable reviews. Facebook is becoming a virtual ‘dog eat dog’ competition.

On the topic of the pain to us little guys, an article on Slate.com goes on to say that “So far, the data suggest that they’re being spared the worst of it: It’s the pages with the most likes, upwards of 500,000, that are seeing the biggest drop-off in reach.” However, have you taken a look at the ‘views’ of your most recent posts? If I have a mere 150 followers, why does my $0.99 sale post only have 25 views? I doubt it’s because 125 people decided to not check their Facebook news feeds.

In many ways I feel cheated, I’m a new author, I just released my first book in October, (ironically the same time FB started their scale backs) and am just now jumping on the social media bandwagon to market my humble book. I missed a lot of this ‘free ride’ enjoyed by others. For myself, and the many others just starting out in this already difficult self-publishing business, it’s going to be an up hill battle to get any kind of social media traction.

Begrudgingly, I have to admit agreement with the articles finial sentiment, that “Facebook likes are only as valuable as the actual sentiment behind them. That is, unless people genuinely like your posts—in the original sense of the term—getting them to hit like on your brand page isn’t going to do you a lot of good.” It’s not going to do us any good either to have 100k followers if only a handful are actually interested in what we have to say.

The only thing left to do in this situation is decide how to react, I’ll have to do some thinking on that matter, and if you have an idea about it please feel free to comment. Facebook is a boat that pretty much all Indie Author’s use, and we are all gonna have to paddle to stay afloat in the changes.

Holiday Shopping, Indie Author Style!

Ah, it’s that time of year again, the holidays are well under way! Time to be merry, drink all the sherry, and shop til you drop! The boyfriend recently asked me what I want for Christmas… well let me just say, it sucks when you’re an adult, because when people are offering to buy you things, instead of listing the ‘I wants’ you go for the ‘I needs’… and this year is no exception, except that I’m a new indie author on top of everything else.

As such I thought about the things I need as a indie author, and a few things I would want as well, and have come up with this, my Top 10 Holiday Indie Author Gift List!

Holiday Promo2

1. WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Auto Backup

Show the author in your life how much you value their work; give them the gift of peace of mind with BACK UP hard drive!

2. Aqua Notes – Waterproof Notepad

Got an author who loves writing in the tub? Aqua Notes, being under $10 makes a great stocking stuff that’s sure to get a laugh!

3. Oster Rechargeable and Cordless Wine Opener with Chiller

For the author who like to toast a little inspiration! Affordable and classy! Just make sure you bring a bottle of their favorite wine along!

4. Umbra Aquala Bamboo and Chrome Bathrub Caddy

This thing is just too awesome! Complete with a wine glass holder, this little in tub desk does it all!

5. Dragon Naturally Speaking

This software is like magic! Give your poor author’s hands a rest, letting them tell their stories out loud by dictating them to the dragon!

6. PicMonkey Photo Editor & Collage Maker, Royale Digital Membership

PicMonkey has become a staple for easy editing online, while the free features are great, the Royale membership is where it’s at! You can even now buy the membership as gift from Amazon!

7. Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

First, because writers are readers, and second to stay organized! This is latest model with the big screen and mayday support! Plus, you can edit and view Office documents! And it’s lighter than a laptop!

8. Death Wish Coffee, The World’s Strongest Coffee

Authors other favorite drink… coffee! Death wish coffee has double the amount of caffeine of a standard cup of coffee and it tastes amazing!

9. Favorite Indie Books

Show support for the indie publishing world by buying a copy of a favorite indie author’s work! Many even offer signed copy options from their websites or reach out to them on social media!

10. Gift Cards!

There are MANY other elements that go into indie publishing, gift cards are the fancy way to give cash, and also help us ‘starving artist’ types keep goals we might set on the back burner while we prioritize our money elsewhere, like food and bills…

 

And there you have it! My 2014 top 10 indie author gifts! Have anything to add? I would love to know about it! Add it to the comments!

Happy Holidays!

“Decide, What’s It Gonna Be…”

I have officially joined the ranks of the published! I have my very first novel out in this big, wide world of publishing! It’s all very exciting, however…

When I started this journey it was because I had discovered KDP and the awesomeness that is self publishing. Since I was a young kid I’ve been playing make believe in my head and creating stories. At last, here is was, a chance to PUBLISH! That once unobtainable dream was now not only possible, but, relatively easy. So about  a year ago I sat down at my laptop and started to write… I wrote some crap, I wrote some things that got me really excited, I put writing on the back-burner for days or weeks at a time, and I spent some nights awake and writing with fury. In one word, it was difficult.

My biggest enemy was myself. I doubted if I could do this, if I should even attempt it. I saw early on that to fail, is to fail BIG. Because it’s so public, after bragging to family and friends, starting this blog, my own author Facebook page, it would be well known if I failed.

At the end of all this I realized I had two stories almost complete, two very different genres, but there they were, the fruits of my halting labor. Now what? I had come to a turning point, either I finished one or both, and take the plunge into writing, or I give it up. I couldn’t stall anymore, they were sitting there, staring back at me from my screen, saying “decide, what’s it gonna be…’

I’ll be the first to admit, I almost said no. I almost buried the whole thing right then and there… Obviously, that’s not what happened and now ‘Golden Heart, Heaven’s Chosen, Book One‘ is a real thing. Today, I have a book two in the works, I’m gonna finish work on the other series, I spend hours looking up promotion ideas and applying to signings, and I’ve talked one of my best and brilliant friends into becoming not only my editor but branching out to others. I even have a REAL paperback copy of my book featured on my bookshelf to show for it! It’s not been easy, my book hasn’t been out long, I’m not an overnight millionaire, but just getting this far is success to me. Success for beating my doubt and living a dream.

Hey, no one said chasing dreams would be easy!

I still spend long hours having no clue what I’m doing. I have fits of doubt that sneak up on me and panic attacks about the magnitude of what I still want to accomplish. They say (that all proverbial “they”) that once you reach your goal it’s all down hill from there, meaning the journey is suppose to get easier. It doesn’t. Writing and publishing is more like a whole bunch of hills stacked just so you can reach a peak but still have to continue the climb. Going down hill as a writer means that you gave up. I can see that now. I can see the next peak and I’m ready to stow doubt in my back pocket and head for it.

Me and my doubt are on good terms now. I understand it’s role in all this, even if I occasionally lose sight of what that means. So I’ll leave you my dear readers, who I thank so much for taking time to read my humble rantings, with this… That if you’re doing NaNoWriMo or just working at your own pace, you accomplish your journey, don’t let doubt make you lose sight of the next peak, be able to say you PUBLISHED with PRIDE! ❤

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