My First Author Visit at Grovetown High School’s Creative Writing Class

My First Author Visit at Grovetown High School’s Creative Writing Class

ImageI had my very first school visit today as an author, and it was so exciting and fun. Time went by so fast that I couldn’t believe it. I had an entire agenda planned out, but I couldn’t get to all of it, like reading an excerpt from my book and having a Q&A session, but at least I got to the important parts.

I’m going to talk about what I did for those curious about how to do an author visit, or for teachers who want their authors to visit and what they can do to prepare. Keep in mind that I did this for a creative writing class, so your presentations are going to differ depending on what type of classroom visit you’re doing. For example, I will be doing a visit in February to an economics class about marketing and branding, using my book as an example.

  1. I did a presentation on The Realities of Publishing, using this cute Pusheen cat to the right to add some spice to the PowerPoint. These are high school kids, and I didn’t want to bore them with some flat PowerPoint with nothing fun to spice it up. I talked about everything, from the expectations they need to have, to the pros and cons of being with big presses, small presses, and self-publishing, and I was pretty even-handed with all subjects. Unfortunately, I was really hoping to have a Q&A session so I could clarify anything the students had questions about during this presentation, but, well, it was a fifty minute class, and it’s so much shorter than it seems. I felt like I had been there for ten minutes! Even my mom was surprised by how fast I came home.
  2. Next, I did a fun dialogue activity, and the kids seemed pretty excited about this because the teacher did say they have problems with writing dialogue. There were 26 kids in the classroom, so I divided them up in pairs of 2. I admitted that I didn’t know how successful the activity was going to be, but they had fun. Basically, they were going to make up two characters. One partner would be a character, and another partner would be the other one. They were to discuss the types of characters they wanted to be, and the scenario they wanted their characters to be in, such as a party or some other event. Then they were to write one line of dialogue each–silently–and pass it on to their partners, getting in as much dialogue as possible in 10 minutes. This was actually a really funny one because I heard the kids putting up some funny scenarios–like doing jello shots– but the point of the exercise was to get them to write the dialogue how they would say it, read it aloud, then I would take it and read it sentence-by-sentence out loud, and then give them advice on how to make it more effective. Hopefully it was a little bit effective in getting them to understand what they could and couldn’t use in dialogue, but it is a process.
  3. Last, I gave the teacher a classroom copy of my book and a stack of flyers/business cards (courtesy of AEC Stellar Publishing Inc.) that she could pass out to her kids the next day. The business cards are so that the students can e-mail me about anything they want to. One student already swiped up the classroom copy, as well as a flyer that can also double as a bookmark, and the teacher is excited to give out the flyers tomorrow.

All in all, I would say it was a success. Now I’m going to give you tips on how to be a good presenter/public speaker. Image

  • Prepare a month in advance. I started preparing last November, especially with creating the PowerPoint. I went through several drafts of this, trying to find the perfect design that would be both attractive and fun, and trying to create the slides with the information to make sure the students would understand it. I also created an agenda, too, for the order I was going to do everything in. I couldn’t get to it all, but I did get to the important stuff.
  • Try to have some formula for the presentations. I didn’t fully use the speech formula I learned in my communications class, where you have the introduction mentioning your various points you’re going to talk about, and a conclusion summing up those points. I eschewed that entirely, especially because of time, so I went right on to talking about what the whole presentation was about. I simply said that I was going to talk about the realities of publishing, some things to consider when starting the publishing process, then went on to talking about the advantages and disadvantages of large presses, small presses, and self-publishing. Since I already had bullet points, I felt no need to have note cards, so I improvised the examples I provided for each bullet point. I hate note cards. They’re so limiting and don’t really show my personality. They can be very boring, too, because they don’t always allow you to establish a sort of connection with your audience. A lot of public speakers, to me, can be very dull because they stand behind a podium, read from notes, and look up from time-to-time. I don’t like to be that way.
  • DON’T BE SHY! Apparently authors are notorious for being shy, but not me. I love speaking in front of crowds. As I said before, there were 26 kids in this class, more than I thought there were going to be, but I didn’t feel pressured at all. I felt really relaxed and just had fun with it. You should have fun with it, too. At any presentation, the people there want you to do well, because if you’re not doing well, they’re not going to have a good time themselves. So these people do not want to see you fail, so keep that in mind. Even if you stumble on your words, just keep going. If you’re prepared for the presentation, then there should be no need for worry. I was certainly prepared–candy included!
  • If you’re a teacher, let your students know in advance that an author is visiting. This can get the students excited, especially in a creative writing class. Don’t schedule a visit within a few days because this leaves no time for neither you nor author to prepare. As an author, even if I have everything prepared a week in advance, I still like to go over everything to make sure everything is solid. So schedule about a few weeks out to a month.
  • If you can, give your students some background on the book the author wrote. This can make the kids even more excited and MAY potentially boost your sales. But, really, it’s promoting you and your book, but is really just a way to get yourself out there more–sort of an ego boost, to be honest. One successful school visit can lead to another. I don’t think Grovetown High School is going to put me anywhere else, but I do have a speaking engagement at a public library, a possible school visit from having a connection from someone who teaches at the school, and another school visit–and if that visit goes well, I WILL be getting recommendations to other schools. I’m also hoping to get into doing Skype visits for classrooms across the nation.
  • If you can, especially if you have the visit scheduled months in advance, have your students read that author’s work. Students can then prepare questions about the author’s work and how said author went about writing it. People think anyone publishing a book is cool, especially kids, because they really will feel like they’re meeting a celebrity, even if you have not reached celebrity status yet.

That’s it! If you have any questions for me, feel free to e-mail me at

***In Other News***


AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is holding an e-book launch party on Facebook. That can be found here. Prizes will be given away, including a Kindle Paperwhite.


The e-book of When Stars Die is already out, but it “officially” releases tomorrow. You can currently find it on Amazon and Smashwords–Smashwords contains all formats, from Mobi, to EPub, to PDF, among others. It’s $3.89, so it’s very affordable, and you can read a 20% sample of the book.


Amazon Versus Brick and Mortar Bookstores

Amazon Versus Brick and Mortar Bookstores

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Photo credit: theunquietlibrary)

As I was perusing Facebook yesterday, I came across a status from John Green’s author page that said that the print version of The Fault in Our Stars was written by Holt McDougal, an author who actually creates math textbooks–so, obviously, John Green is still the author of TFiOS. One can find the blunder here, assuming the blunder is still present by the time you read this. Nonetheless, believe me when I say that possible drones changed the author from John Green to Holt McDougal on the print version, which, I must admit, is quite amusing. Who knew John Green was secretly THE Holt McDougal, who writes math textbooks to aide students in their mathematical pursuits?

Going through the comments was amusing to me, but one comment that troubled me was a commenter who said that people should not support Amazon and should instead flock to their local bookstores. Now I agree we should support our local bookstores, but bookstores are not any more innocent than Amazon. For example, upon distribution of a new book, that new book has roughly fifty days to sell out. Since the average sale of a book in bookstores is somewhere between 200-500, one can assume that the shelf lives of many new books expires, and so those books go back to the publisher, never to be seen on bookstore shelves again. One can argue that these books just weren’t good enough, but having a great product isn’t enough. Many publishers will neglect the publicity of newer authors in favor of pushing publicity upon their best authors. Oh, certainly these new authors receive some form of publicity, as being in a bookstore is publicity itself, but bookstore publicity has obviously proven that it should not be the only form of publicity.

In fact, many newer authors I have met online that come from traditional houses are not in my bookstore. They may be in others’ bookstores, but these bookstores are often larger and can take in more books. But, again, if a book doesn’t sell out within that 50 day time frame, it gets axed.

Before Amazon and the e-book, the books that were axed gave their authors no chance of being discovered or being publicized ever again, unless that traditional house was willing to take on another one of their books. But I have read stories of authors who were published by big houses, just weren’t doing well at all in terms of sales, their books went out of print, and then they inevitably moved to self-publishing, where they found more success.

Now that Amazon and the e-book exist, books that are removed from bookstores now have a chance  on Amazon, both print and e-book alike. So, they have an infinite “shelf life,” so to speak, especially through the e-book version. Not only this, but authors frustrated by the submission process to literary agents or editors of large houses can now turn to self-publishing. One used to have to go through a vanity press to receive self-publication, and would have to go door-to-door (kind of in a figurative sense) to get discovered. The only book that was successful in this endeavor is The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. Otherwise, most other books didn’t have a chance. Oh, certainly authors could go through Createspace and Lulu, but the price of the print book is often high and unaffordable for many book buyers–after all, books are an impulse buy, not a necessity for many people. Amazon now owns Createspace, so a lot of self-published authors do use Createspace for both print and e-book–but it’s really the e-book version of a book that outsells the print version due to its cheaper price.

Amazon has also given rise to small press publishers, who are able to devote publicity to their authors. And there are some successful small publishers out there devoted to even their newest authors. This allows readers more books to choose from and I’m certain readers delight in having many, many books to choose from now.

All in all, it does bother me when people protest buying books on Amazon, because Amazon has made self-publishing a very viable option for many self-published authors. This attack on Amazon, to me, is almost an attack on self-published authors, who can now make their dreams of publication come true. It is also an attack on authors published by small presses, which either do not put books in bookstores–yet!–or only put the books of a small percentage of their authors in a store. It has also allowed books to be affordable to many readers through the Kindle and its e-book. I can buy books like candy now, and I love that. Reading has never been more pleasurable for me.

I say support Amazon, because the supporting of the book side of Amazon is the supporting of many authors who can become successful through Amazon alone.

The Dangers of Making Your Amazon Ranking Graph Public

The Dangers of Making Your Amazon Ranking Graph Public

First off, the opinions I’m about to post are in complete disagreement about why I think it’s unprofessional to show readers your actual Amazon ranking graph that conveys the ups and downs of your ranking. Perhaps I wasn’t being clear enough with what I meant, but in this post, I WILL be clear.

Shoshanna Evers: I disagree 🙂 I see it as authors being excited about their readers! Without our readers, there would be nothing to celebrate! (Though she actually sees my point)

Lauren Hammond:  I don’t. Especially if it’s done out of excitement. It’s an accomplishment.

Kendra Ayers: I think it’s fine. People are proud when they see ratings and reviews go up or are positive and it encourages sales and more reviews I think. Authors should be proud of all of the hard work they’ve accomplished.

Raymond Vogel (My Awesome Publisher): Well, it’s kind of the only way to capture the Amazon ranking at the moment you achieve some level of success worth remembering… on the biggest book selling place in the world.

Gwyn Diller: I think a good author has earned bragging rights. I, personally, wouldn’t see it as unprofessional. Everyone likes recognition, it’s human nature to want to “show off” in a sense. We all are allowed to pat ourselves on the back every once in a while for big accomplishments.

Okay, now for my opinion. Keep in mind, again, that I argued against some of these points on Facebook and Twitter, and I may have misspoken so that the posters didn’t fully grasp what I was trying to say. Still, this post will be open for comments, and I look forward to your views!

So I was perusing Facebook and saw that one of the authors posted her ranking graph–she took a picture of it. Now it’s fine to take a picture of your graph as your own personal accomplishment, but keep it to yourself. In any case, if you don’t know what it looks like, this is it (this is not the author’s graph. It is a random one):


I wanted to comment that she shouldn’t be showing her readers this, especially because her ranking was rising, but I decided to take it to my Facebook author page to see what others thought–without pointing back to her. She deserves to remain anonymous, as she is a fan of mine. As you can see from above, all disagree with me, so let me explain.

First off, I now understand how Amazon rankings work, so I’m going to explain that here. Say you sold 100 books in one day. You may fall down to 10,000, perhaps lower. However, you don’t sell anything for the rest of the week, but your ranking can still be fairly low because no other books have yet to sell more than you in a short period of time. I know someone who was at 80,000 on his launch day, and he was 80,000 for the rest of the week, though he sold no more books after his launch day: he let me in on this so I could figure out ways to help him in terms of sales, but I ultimately had to realize that sales are the business side of things, not marketing, and I am not business-minded.  Now let’s say another person also sold 100 books, but he sold it over a one week period. His ranking will be higher than the person who sold 100 in one day, but they still sold the same amount during that same week. Rankings are calculated based on how many books are sold during a set period of time. The shorter the period, the lower the number. Following me? If not, feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Here is another example. Say you are ranking at 100,000, which means the 99,999 books ahead of you are selling more. However, if for some reason a large amount of people below you sell more than you in a short period of time, and you drop to 1,000,000 during that same day, this doesn’t mean you didn’t make any sales. You made sells, but a crap ton of people below you suddenly sold a lot more than you did in a much shorter period of time–it’s very unlikely, but it’s an example. So this is why I think the obsession with the Amazon ranking is silly. I can guarantee you mine is probably very high because my book is out of stock on Amazon. But there is Barnes and Noble and Books A Million, too, as well as that one store in Tennessee.

Now on to readers. Readers can look at a book’s ranking on the book’s page. Just because a book says 1,000,000 does not mean it didn’t make any sales that day–it could have, but by some wild fluke a crap ton of books that were originally below it sold a ton more in such a short period of time. For the readers who understand Amazon’s algorithm, this number may not mean much to them, especially if the book has a decent amount of ratings. However, if you suddenly post your graph of your fluctuating rankings, the behind-the-scenes stuff, readers now have access into roughly how many sales you MAY be making, and for those who understand the algorithm, this may be a big turn off to them because now they know how your book may be doing in terms of sales, especially if your rankings are poor. They then may think your book isn’t worth buying because they’ll think it’s not selling much because it sucks.

Even with great, fluctuating rankings, I still think that is none of readers’ business. If it were, this graph would be accessible to them on the book page, but it is not. It is for the author and the author alone–and publisher, if you have one. I personally don’t check rankings because all I can do is keep writing and do my own marketing to the best of my ability: a ranking won’t change how aggressively I market. Thus, this is where I think it is none of readers’ business to even receive a glimpse into your ranking graph. Am I saying the Amazon ranking is pointless? Not at all. Books who stay consistently low are obviously selling, but just because another book’s rank is constantly fluctuating doesn’t mean there are no sales–it just means your book is selling over a much longer period of time. You can sell 1,000 in a day or a year and never sell any more after that day. See what I mean?

Now either yesterday or the either day, I posted how many adds I had on Goodreads for When Stars Die–it is more than 500, and the number just keeps rising. One poster pointed out that this was hypocritical of me because I didn’t have any problem posting my adds, but I have a problem with people posting their ranking graphs. Now I can see where the poster is coming from, but there is one flaw in that argument–adds do not means sales. I can have 10,000 adds, but my book may not be selling at all, for whatever reason, be it monetary issues for readers, too many books the reader needs to finish before buying another, prioritizing certain books above others, ect. But these adds do mean that readers WANT to read my book. So these adds in no way give readers a glimpse into the sales of my book at all. It’s just a cool thing that exists to show the exposure of my book. At least, for me, it does.

I understand the poster put up her graph because she wanted to show her fans that she was determined to lower the number, but book selling is not an easy thing at all. As I said in one post, it is not like selling Coke, and we need to remain realistic over how many books are expected to sell. I don’t know the business side of books. I don’t know why some books sell and others don’t, even the books with great publicity. The problem nowadays is that publishes are giving out extremely large advances to books they think will wildly succeed, but then some of those books turn out to be a flop–so not even the greatest of publicity can mean sales.

Now let’s go back to the ranking on the book’s page. If you’re ranking at 1,000, I see no problem in you taking a picture of that and posting it for your fans to see, as they have access to this number already, and it can be a way to thank your fans–and sometimes we authors do deserve to have some bragging rights. But the behind-the-scenes stuff is for the author only, or for the author and publisher only. Again, if it were readers’ business, it would be accessible to them, and it’s not. So keep your graphs to yourselves and remain professional about your sales as an author. To me, if you post your ranking graph, you might as well tell readers how many books you’re selling, because some might be able to calculate that from the graph anyway. Again, NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. Readers DO NOT need to know this kind of stuff.

So what do you think about authors posting their rankings graph? Do you think it’s okay and cool, or, like me, do you think it’s unprofessional?

Marketing After a Book’s Release

Marketing After a Book’s Release

Preface: I just want to give all of you a bipolar update, basically. It seems my mood has stabilized, and there is a summer going on in my head. I will admit that yesterday I was manic, but I believe I induced that mania by eating too many espresso candy beans, so I’ll have to be wiser about caffeine in the future; however, it wasn’t dangerous mania. It was more of the go-go-go type of mania, where slowing down just annoyed me, and I just wanted to listen to loud music, talk all the time, move constantly, and act, well, like a teen on meth, basically. But, for once, I did not crash from this mania. I generally crash into depression, but I just slowly wound down, got tired–for once, not irritable–and just went to bed knowing I was no longer manic but feeling like I could wake up early and not sleep in. And I did wake up early: 8:30. I could have woken up earlier, but I’ll probably have to cut down my sleep meds, as I had to raise them because depression makes it difficult to sleep, even with meds. I think the higher dosage also makes me dream tons load, but I was actually dreaming good dreams last night, instead of nightmares. I am so getting off topic, but one of my dreams was about this ensuing flood that was coming, and the water level kept rising, but, for some reason, I felt so heroic throughout the whole dream because I was the one leading everybody to higher ground. In any case, without further ado, here is my post about marketing…finally.

marketing-mix-four-ps I thought this would be a cute graphic to start off with.

I consider myself a very marketing-minded person. I realize that marketing books is an enormous passion of mine. I love it. It’s fun. My publisher can do marketing and take care of the business aspect of things, too, and I can do marketing myself because When Stars Die is my baby, so why wouldn’t I be happy to market it?

In any case, let’s start with those four words over there. My publisher took care of basically all four of these, but especially price and place. He set the price of my book based on what he believed to be a competitive price, and people don’t seem to mind this price because, again, the book is out of stock. He also chose the places this book would start at, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble–online. But he also chose his wife’s store to put AEC’s books in. He is also encouraging me to go to The Book Tavern downtown to establish a relationship with the business owner so he isn’t making a cold call about getting my book in stores. There are also some other things about place, but those are a surprise and a work-in-progress.

I mainly provided the product, but my publisher also helped to whip that product into shape. A product’s quality is the NUMBER ONE thing when it comes to marketing, and without my publisher, the quality of my product wouldn’t exist. If you have a crap product, no amount of publicity is going to help that thing. He also helped with promotion, through press releases, encouraging of ARCs, social media, an anthology, among a few other things. But for the promotion, I just took off from there like a steam train because it’s my book, I love it, I love my fans, and I want to be out there, out there, out there. I am proud of my book, and so of course I’m going to parade it around like it’s my kid who just won a Nobel prize for discovering magnematter (a total hint at Raymond Vogel’s ‘Matter of Resistance.’ Seriously, people, get the book).

First off, marketing a book is not like marketing Coke (not the drug, you gutter rat). When you see an ad for Coke on television, you aren’t going to immediately go out and buy a Coke. However, if you see the ad enough times, your brain subconsciously picks up the messages within the advertisement. Your brain registers how great Coke is, what it can do for you, this for you, that for you, ect., so the next time you go to the store and want a drink, you’re more apt to pick up a Coke. Now we all have our drink favorites. I prefer Sprite myself, but if there is Coke in my fridge and no other drink, I will drink that Coke, and I’ll eventually find myself wanting another Coke. For example, I bought some berry vodka a few weeks ago (I don’t think I’ll ever be drinking alcohol again. I think even a little alcohol will sink me into a depression), and I bought Coke for it because I REALLY wanted Coke after having drank it so much from it being in my parents’ fridge. So, essentially, because Coke is primarily in my parents’ fridge, that fridge is basically advertising Coke to me constantly, which sounds silly, but the more you see something, the more apt you are to buy it because you’ve heard so much about it. So even though ads have become white noise to us now, our brains are still picking up on these ads, and whatever ones our brains remember the most, those ads are likely going to be the products we buy. We may think we buy something simply because we’ve been perusing the shelves and have seen it, but most of us have likely seen it in an ad first. I know my favorite clothing line, Princess Vera Wang, is at Kohls’ stores, but I first saw it in a magazine and thought the clothes were cute. So it’s now my favorite clothing brand.

Unfortunately, advertising books is not like advertising Coke. For one, you don’t see ads of books on televisions or billboards, unless you’re James Patterson. You may see them on Google, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, but you’re likely to not even click on them. They’re just white noise to you. So why are ads still being used? Many try to use ads for branding, trying to treat it like Coke, but since these ads are primarily online, no one is going to click on them. Perhaps 1 out of every 100 or 1000 will do it, but those ads are VERY avoidable. Apparently Google ads will work, if you know how to use them, but for those of us who can’t pay for someone to teach us how to use them, we can think of more creative, fun ways to create exposure. We as people don’t like ads. We hate them on our Youtube videos, so we skip those. If we can skip an ad, we will. However, it is primarily the big books that get the ads, so advertisements probably work for those books because they remind people that this popular author’s book is coming out, but ads won’t work for someone who has just started out, like me, so I have to think of other ways to promote myself. Books are not like advertising Coke because, for one, reading is down, competing with other popular forms of media, and people are mainly buying books now through word-of-mouth, or for books that are similar to the previous books they’ve just read.


So what did I do to advertise my book before and after its launch? I set up a cover reveal with Lady Amber, did a bunch of interviews, sent out ARCs, and my publisher sent out some press releases before the book. Now the marketing for the sequel of the second book is going to be MUCH stronger before the launch, but this post will primarily concentrate on what I did on the launch date and after.

So on the launch date, as you know, I bought a blitz from Juniper Grove. This created enormous exposure for my book, and, really, as a first time author with a first book out, you want exposure, exposure, exposure, so that way you can build yourself up like Coke. My publisher also sent out a press release that received enormous attention. There was also a basic press release from YA Interrobang, where my book was with the likes of Veronica Roth’s, Allegiant–so, in that way, I was very lucky. I also won a free three-hour launch party, so I was also lucky, but I won’t have to worry about finding launch parties in the future. So all of this happening on my launch day just skyrocketed exposure to ungodly degrees that I can’t even tell you how many people must know about my book–or, at least, remember it.

But, after the launch date, I also bought a blitz from YA Bound, which still kept the exposure going. It also helps that I have an e-ARC with them for a month, so the adds have been continuing on Goodreads, even though they have been small–however, I have near to 500 adds, and I expect this number to REALLY rise once the e-book is out. What helps exposure even more is having only ONE print book to give away on Goodreads. You should only ever have one on Goodreads so you can use the rest of your print books for more exposure elsewhere. I gave away two print books during my launch party, one will be given away on a blog with good exposure, and another one will be given away during a radio interview I have in December–so, exposure, exposure, exposure. I also have a lot of interviews and guest posts happening during this month, and hopefully I’ll have a radio interview at the end of this month, if things go according to plan. I am also going to go to my local bookstore downtown and talk to the owner about getting my book in that store, and I will then refer him to my publisher. Also, I know When Stars Die was bought at my publisher’s wife’s bookstore, and the person who bought it loves it, and my publisher told me she just couldn’t stop gushing about it, so that really helps.

Another thing I’m doing to keep this exposure going is library visits and school visits. They are not set up yet, but a creative writing teacher at a high school where I live does want me to visit her creative writing class. Another teacher who I knew in my high school also wants to set me up for his economics class (about branding and all that, especially as it relates to my book), and two other English classes. He also wants to refer me to other high schools in the area. My publisher will be giving me materials to help me out with these things. And I should be having a book signing whenever, a radio interview in January, a big read-long on Goodreads in January, among a myriad of other things I’m going to continue to do to keep my book out there and continually increase exposure. And if all goes well, things for me are only going to keep increasing from here. I know it’s a lot on me, but it’s the job of an author, too, to keep marketing. Even if you’re with a big press, you need to also keep marketing your book thereafter. It is YOUR book, after all, so why wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to get it out there? It’s silly to just stagnate.

One last word: Spamming your book will not work. I see lots of others do this on Twitter and elsewhere. Also, I have noticed Facebook author groups where advertising is encouraged do not work. I don’t think they will ever work, so don’t even try. You need to be a lot more creative in getting your book out there. Hopefully I’ll eventually attend conferences and all that, as I know that will help, too.

Do you guys have any questions for me? Also, for readers, what has made you buy a book? 

Amazon’s Erratic Sales Ranking

Amazon’s Erratic Sales Ranking

Recently I found this article on Google titled My Amazon bestseller made me nothing. I found this article because I noticed my book is now out of stock (I think that’s a good thing? It’s only been out for two weeks and already its out of stock), and I simply wanted to know what that meant in terms of Amazon. Of course, I found no answer, but perhaps some of you authors could elaborate. Nonetheless, I take it to mean people have bought my book. In any case, basically what happened is that Patrick Wensink sold 4,000 copies of his book, published by a small, press, and was immediately launched on the bestseller’s list, competing with such titles as The Hunger Games, among a few other pertinent books; however, his book was only on the bestseller’s list for a week. His basic complaint was that he only made 12,000 dollars, as he makes 3 dollar per book, but, honestly, that’s more than the average advance a larger publishing house would give, so I’d say he did pretty good for himself, even if he was only on the list for a week–granted, taxes had to be taken out, but that is besides the point. So what happened was that his sales rank plummeted–which, in Amazon terms, is a good thing–and afterward rose thereafter, as his publishing house did not take advantage of this opportunity to keep the fire going, so to speak. So the fact that his ranking rose is pretty much his publisher’s fault. 

I say this because his book was competing with titles that sold WAY more per day. For example, Colleen Hoover’s book, Hopeless, sold 2,000 books per day, and his book was competing with that, and I think had a lower ranking than this book. So the fact that he sold 4,000 books in a short time and then lost his bestseller status points to the fact that the Amazon bestseller status means absolutely nothing, unless you can remain on it for a good amount of time and continue selling books at least in the thousands. You get on the bestseller’s list on Amazon for selling a lot of books in a short amount of time. For example, selling 300 books your first day can launch you at a very low ranking, making Amazon’s sales ranking a very confusing algorithm that can mislead you and your readers into thinking you sold way more than 300 and so are going to make a lot more money than that. So, essentially, while I would love to make 12,000 dollars, perhaps Wensink’s complaints aren’t entirely laughable, because, being in bestseller status, you think you would make more, but Amazon’s algorithm is very poor, and thus it doesn’t take much to reach bestseller status like it does for The New York Times. BUT, if you can consistently stay on bestseller status, then it will mean something. Selling 4,000 books, especially from a small press, is actually VERY good, considering the average book, for a first time author, even with a major house, can only sell about 500—and this was his print book, mind you, not his e-book.

Again, I don’t look at my ranking. I just wanted to see how many reviews I had and noticed my book was out of stock, so I thought that was pretty cool. 

I wrote this post for those wringing their hands over their rankings. Stop. Don’t even look at your rankings. You can still sell 4,000 books, even if it is over a long period of time and not the short period you often expect, and you’re still selling more than the average first time book, and your ranking may still be high. We all want to make money for our writing so that way we can become full-time writers, but for many of us, it’s going to take a certain amount of time to do so. Don’t get discouraged about your Amazon ranking. At this point, it essentially means nothing, really. I found my ranking to be in the 70,000s one day (on accident, as I was trying to figure out how to do my author bio), but Amazon told me I had sold nothing, so they take FOREVER to update on how many books you actually sold. Granted, I go through a small press, and so the numbers actually go to the actual place that prints the books, so I don’t even think what Amazon says is important to my publisher–and that’s fine with me. Whatever. 

So I hope all you writers find this useful, and if you, as readers, take the Amazon ranking into account when buying a book, realize it essentially means nothing, though it can be important. However, I think Amazon’s algorithm is very flawed and it should take A LOT more books to be put in the bestseller’s status; however, I also read it doesn’t take much anymore to reach The New York Times Bestseller status, because there are authors who are only on it for a week, and they’re automatically branded bestsellers and so this is printed on their next book for marketing purposes, which is understandable. 

Tonight, I will be writing about the marketing I did for my book because I think it is a good follow-up blog post to this one. 

When Stars Die Launch Review and October/November/December Tour

When Stars Die Launch Review and October/November/December Tour

So the exposure for When Stars Die has been absolutely insane, proving that I have had a successful launch. I don’t know what my ranking is on Amazon right now, but that is something no author should concern him/herself with. I did everything I could for exposure, and so did AEC, and that’s that. All I can do is keep writing from here, and that’s it. Plus, I am almost done with the sequel to When Stars Die, The Stars Are Infinite. So here is the launch day in review.

See how many people the press release alone has reached? And the last time my publisher told me about the reach stats, it had reached up to over 13,000. That’s tons of exposure right there, and that’s not even including the fact that a few people put the press release on their blogs. Now exposure doesn’t translate to sales, but I am primarily seeking exposure right now, especially because I do expect the e-book launch to be very successful.

Then there was the launch party I won from Lady Amber. Here is a FB pic from that:

Screenshot (23)

If you can see it, 182 people came. That doesn’t sound like a lot, considering over 1,000 people were invited, but this launch party was hugely successful because I was busy the entire three hours. There were hardly any lulls where I wasn’t interacting with all the people that came. So I made a lot of fans and received a lot of Goodread adds and Amazon Wishlist adds. One of the stipulations to winning a print book was to share a press release I created of my book and AEC Stellar’s anthology. A lot of people shared this. I do recommend Lady Amber for launch parties, but in the future, I MIGHT be doing the launch parties myself, along with the PR people from AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc.

The next thing that happened was a book blitz from Juniper Grove Book Solutions. I HIGHLY recommend them, as I received a lot of amazing exposure from them. There were over 1,000 entries for the e-ARC of When Stars Die. Over 1,000. Imagine if I gave away a Kindle or something. I will be using them for the book blitz for the e-book, as well as Lady Amber, and perhaps another tour site. So here is the banner from that.

I also have another book blitz going on by YA Bound. I will post a review that mainly reviews the overall exposure I received from it, as I use these blitzes primarily for that.


I also have a super awesome pic a customer took of my book when she bought it from my publisher’s wife’s boutique, Fluente Designs. She also updated me to tell me that she loves the book so far.


And another super cool that that happened that gave me a lot of exposure was that I appeared on YA Interrobang as one of the book’s launching this past week—along with freaking Veronica Roth’s book, Allegiant. Here is a pic of that, courtesy of Tumblr.
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My Facebook page also went from 540 something to 967, and my Twitter page went from 1100 something to 1,360. My Goodreads adds, too, went from 150 to 358 (I think. That’s just an estimate. Goodreads is slow to update), and over 280 people have entered for a signed, print book of When Stars Die, and it hasn’t even been a month yet, which is how long I’m keeping the giveaway open. AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. also has some surprises planned within the coming months, but I have to keep those hush-hush.

AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. also released an anthology called 2013: A Stellar Collection. While it can be downloaded for free on Smashdowords. I HIGHLY recommend you buy it, as all proceeds go toward marketing, which essentially means the money is flowing toward us.

My short story included in this is titled ‘I Am the Bell Jar.’ It is about two mentally ill teens trying to make a disastrous relationship work, only for it to end up in tragedy.


Another thing AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. has released a short story by author, Ryan Attard, whose book, Firstborn, will be released in December. I highly recommend it. The voice is very strong, as is the story, and will make you excited about his upcoming book.


So here is my book tour schedule. Some of them have happened already, but I’m going to list them anyway, simply because I haven’t shown them yet due to the sheer volume of interviews and guest posts I’ve been doing. I’m also supposed to receive more interviews and have ANOTHER one to do. There are also some interviews I’ve done that I have not received responses for yet, but I’m going to keep bothering those people until I have a response.

Jacinda Buchmann TBA

The Hive Book Reviews NOW

Booker Like a Hooker-Guest Post on When Stars Die and AEC Stellar TBA

Cover Contest  Nov. 2

Greg Lamb Interview TBA

Pau’s Moving Castle Nov. 3

Jessica Haight Nov. 17th

Young Adult Book Addict Dec. 14th

Sorin Suciu Nov. 15th

Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews Signed, print giveaway Nov. 12th

The Book Pound Nov. 1st

We Do Write Nov. 4th

4cover2overt NOW

The Corner Club Press Paranormal Issue– Nov. 20th

Whimsically Yours Nov. 2nd

Falling for YA NOW

Bookaholic-ness  Guest Post on The Inception of When Stars Die NOW

Read Your Writes NOW

The Bookshelf Sophisticate Guest Blog Post on The Stars Are Infinite NOW (Scroll Down)

The Flores Factor Nov. 1st

YA Unscene Delete Scene from When Stars Die  NOW

Mich Bookshelf  NOW

Beauty and the Bookshelf NOW

Moonlight Gleams Bookshelf Guest Post on Inspiration for When Stars Die TBA

Carol Ann Kauffman NOW

Cocktails and Books Oct. 30th

Book Bliss  Nov. 2nd

I am going to get on a blogging schedule from now on that will include updates on AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., my book, any thoughts on publishing and writing, and personal posts from me.

Tomorrow’s post will be about how, even during my launch week, depression has been trying to drag me down and what it has been doing to my thoughts regarding my book–among everything else.

Last, here are links to giveaways you can enter to win some AEC Stellar e-ARCs.

When Stars Die Release and Cover Art Contest!

When Stars Die Release and Cover Art Contest!


Welcome all my Stars! Today is the official release day of When Stars Die, and I hope you all will consider buying a print version of it. It’s a very beautiful book, gorgeous and everything. The cover is matte, so it has an extremely nice feel to it. Click on Amazon or Barnes and Noble to order it or at least add it to your Wish List. For those who want the e-book version, you will have to wait for some time in December. I will keep you all updated on that. I plan to have some book blitzes, a blog tour, and a hopeful promo release party either created by me, or created by a hosting PR. Because of this, I would love it if you added me as a friend on Facebook.

A decent amount of people have added it on Goodreads, so I encourage you to add it there, too, as I will have a print giveaway going on for one copy. Signed too!


Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

Also, here are all my current media links of interviews, guest posts, and a few reviews:

AEC Stellar Publishing Press Release

AEC Stellar Publishing Author Page

Charles Yallowitz

Spot Light: Amber Skye Forbes–The Dancing Writer

Author Interview: Amber Skye Forbes

When Stars Die and the Motif of Stars: Guest Post

The Book Town: Interview of Amber Skye Forbes

Reading…Dreaming: Author Interview (When Stars Die)

Charlotte’s Tangled Web of Books: Author Interview

Unputdownable Books: Guest Post

AEC Stellar Publishing Press Release

Above the Sea Fog: Amber Skye Forbes

Guest Blog Author Spotlight

Spotlight: An Author Interview With Amber Skye Forbes

Guest Blog Book Spotlight

ZB’s Blog of Awesomeness: Special Guest Amber Forbes

Sharing Mondays 

Author Spotlight, Amber Forbes

When Stars Die Spotlight

When Stars Die and Its Concept of Witches

When Stars Die (Books-New Release)

Review of When Stars Die

Once Upon a YA Book–Book Review of When Stars Die

Young Adult Book Madness–Book Review of When Stars Die




 Some of the covers are smaller than others, and I didn’t do this on purpose to say that these covers are lesser than others. In fact, the covers I did make smaller are covers I thought would still be able to jump out and catch your attention, despite their size. But here are the authors you will be voting for:

Waterborn by Kimberly James

Like Falling (Surfacing Book One) by Jaden Wilkes

The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles Yallowitz (Cover Designer: Jason Pederson)

Ashes and Ice by Rochelle Maya Callen

Awakening (The Watchers Trilogy) by Karice Bolton

Cole by J.B. Hartnett

The Scriptlings by Sorin Suciu

Illicit Magic by Camilla Chafer

Blood Slave by Travis Luedke

The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Paul Baer

Kinetic (The Luminaries) by S.K. Anthony

Now Vote For Your Favorite One

The contest will end in two weeks, on November 5th!

When Stars Die Promo Feature Party Hosted by Lady Amber

When Stars Die Promo Feature Party Hosted by Lady Amber

WhenStarsDie-3-1Hello, everyone! Lady Amber is hosting a promo release party for me tomorrow on Facebook from 6 to 9 PM EST. Click here to join. This is a 3 hour release party.

Here is the agenda for this promo release party:

  • Once every hour I will ask a question for your chance to win an e-ARC of When Stars Die, if you don’t happen to have an e-ARC already. If you do, Lady Amber will also be releasing other non-WSD prizes.
  • I am also going to give away 3 signed, print copies of WSD, so the requirements to win these are going to be a bit more difficult. 
  • I also plan to add review quotes for the book.
  • I will also add fun book quotes.
  • I encourage you all to ask questions, as I really want to interact with you and add you as a friend on Facebook for a release party I will do for the e-book–or hosted by another PR agency. 
  • I also encourage you to enter the Goodreads release giveaway for one print copy of WSD. The contest isn’t up yet, but will be released tomorrow. 
  • There will be other release giveaways.
  • I will give out my thanks to people who have helped me along the way.
  • I will talk about the WSD characters and the direction the sequel is headed.
  • I will talk about other planned books, as well as speak about the anthology my publisher is doing. You can buy it on Amazon, or download it for free. I ENCOURAGE you to buy it on Amazon, as all proceeds go toward marketing funds for AEC Stellar. 
  • I will also add a link to Goodreads lists, and you can vote on my book on any pertinent lists that you think might help with its exposure.
  • I will also create a sort of press release (and this will be to earn a print, signed copy) that I want you to share across all marketing platforms. So, obviously, whoever shares the most will win the book. And if there are several people who have shared the same amount, the first one will receive the copy. 

So there is the agenda for tomorrow’s release party!

***In Other News***

Here are all the blogs that will be featuring my book blitz. This is my way of thanking them for participating. It is done by Juniper Grove Book Solutions. I will also be having a massive book blitz/book tour/hopeful promo release party for the e-book version because e-book versions usually sell much better than print versions by a long shot. I really see my first book as a promotional tool, so any exposure I receive is good exposure. 




My Reaction to Constructive Criticism from Reviews

My Reaction to Constructive Criticism from Reviews

When Stars Die has had mostly favorable reviews, but it has also had some not-so-favorable reviews, but they were written in a way that was very considerate of my feelings and had some valuable criticism. While I may not agree with it currently for When Stars Die, I think the advice is very valuable for the sequel, Stars Will Rise.

Let us begin.

1. If you are not a published author, I advise you that once you are published to take into account every bit of criticism you receive through your reviews. I told myself I was never going to read my reviews, but, well, Goodreads changed that, and it’s like it’s impossible to not see your reviews on Goodreads, especially when you’re curious about how many people have added your book. But I have read the reviews, and while some of them stung slightly, they were also very valuable. While many seem to like Amelia, a few think she falls flat. Even though I may disagree with this, I can work extra hard on the protagonist in the next novel to ensure she doesn’t fall flat. Others think the book also starts out on a slow pace, and I can see that, but the pacing doesn’t seem to have affected their overall enjoyment of the book. However, I am going to use this criticism for the next book to ensure the pacing is faster.

2. If you are a published author and haven’t yet read your reviews, I would.You want to become a better writer, don’t you? Oh, certainly your editor can help you become a better one with each book you write, but editors are human too, and if you’re working with the same ones, they eventually get used to your style of writing. Readers, on the other hand, are a mixed bunch who will likely never get used to your style of writing. Many of them who offer constructive criticism are doing so objectively, and that constructive criticism can really help you develop future books. IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER WRITER!

3. Criticism is inevitable. It isn’t just inevitable from your publishers and editors and whoever else works on your book, but it’s inevitable from readers. Those who take the time to write a review deserve your attention. Take each one into consideration, and please, please, please, use it as a stepping stone to further your career. I think the more authors consider the criticism from their readers, the better they’ll become. I see a lot of authors stagnating in the quality of their writing because they don’t seem to consider the criticism they’re given, so each book they write has roughly the same ratings: 3 point something. Try to strive for a 4 star book. Or a 5 star book. When Stars Die is currently sitting at 4.21, and I hope it either stays that way or rises, but if it doesn’t, I want to ensure that Stars Will Rise is even better and is a 5 star book. Or at least a 4 point something.

4. Appreciate the criticism you are given. I greatly appreciate the people who took the time out of their day to read my book and review it. Even if it was okay for them, or they couldn’t finish it, I still appreciate that they read it and wrote a review. I don’t ever want to get to the point as an author where I’m jaded when it comes to writing and taking criticism. I want to make sure I am grateful for every little thing that happens in my career. I am grateful for every review written, every interview I’ve done, every reader comment on my book, and even my Amazon ranking (which I’m doing my best to stay away from. I just accidentally saw it when copying and pasting my book cover from it for an interview).

5. This one doesn’t have much to do with criticism, but I think it’s important nonetheless. Do not get obsessed with your Amazon ranking. If you can, avoid it entirely. First books, on average, sell about 500 copies. I don’t know how many books I’ve sold. All I know is that when I checked my ranking a few days ago, I was sitting at the 400,000 mark. Now I’m at 180,000 and am ranking somewhere in the 1,000 for either paranormal or romance. And, as I’ve said, I accidentally saw this. I was not deliberately looking for my ranking, but it nonetheless spurred my confidence. All you can do as an author is keep writing, keep seeking interviews for your book, and, if you can, pay people for book blitzes if you’re not into the whole e-mailing everyone for an interview and such. I am currently having Juniper Grove Book Solutions doing a book blitz on my release day. I am also having a three hour promo release party that I won from Lady Amber. Along with my AEC book tour, I should receive some fairly good publicity. I do not mind spending money to make money on my book. I see my first book as a promotional book. I’m also going to have another book blitz at the end of this month from YA Bound. And I think I’m going to continue seeking monthly blitzes to keep my book in the know. I am certainly having a large book blitz once the e-book comes out. So I am doing all I can do to get my book out there, so stressing about the Amazon ranking is absolutely pointless. Do all you can do and do not look at that dang ranking. MANY FIRST BOOKS OFTEN DO NOT SELL WELL, SO WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AT THEIR RANKINGS, THAT DETERS THEM FROM EVER WANTING TO WRITE. DO NOT LET THIS BE YOU.

***In Other News***

When Stars Die will be in a store. I found this out through Shannon Thompson’s blog. Fluente Designs will be holding this book in store, so if you live in Tullahoma, Tennessee, I suggest you check them out!


As I’ve said, Juniper Grove Book Solutions will be doing a book release blitz on October 22nd, the day of my release.

At the end of this month, YA Bound will be doing a week-long book blitz of When Stars Die. 

As I’ve said above, Lady Amber will be hosting a three hour promo blitz for my novel, When Stars Die, on the release day. It will be held on Facebook, and I hope all of you will participate. I will be giving away two signed copies of When Stars Die, as well as a few e-ARCs. There will also be other prizes, so it promises to be a lot of fun. I will keep you updated on all of this.

You can add When Stars Die  on Goodreads. It’s been getting some adds everyday, which is pretty thrilling because it means people are finding out about my book somehow.

You can also order it on Amazon, which I totally recommend doing so. The physical copy is beautiful. It is a matte cover, so the feel is very nice.

And, last, I have a Media page on my website, which contains all my interviews and guest posts, and a review or two. I am going to have a splurge of interviews and guest posts coming at the end of October and early November, so it will sort of be a mini book tour, and I’ll keep that scheduled.

That is all I want to say! I’m eventually going to start scheduling daily posts, hopefully once my mental health begins to balance out.

When Stars Die Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

When Stars Die Available for Pre-Order on Amazon


It’s available for pre-order now, so pick yourself up a copy! It’ll be released on October 22nd.

Synopsis: Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?