Writer Thoughts Thursday: Writer Anxieties

Writer Thoughts Thursday: Writer Anxieties

kTHicdtAEvery day I am, for a brief moment (thank goodness), plagued by anxieties about my career as an author. As a poet, it’s just beginning, but as a novelist, it’s stalled due to the closing of AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., forcing When Stars Die to become an orphaned book. Along with these anxieties, jealousy briefly pricks a minute hole in my heart.

I am not bitter that AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. had to close its doors. What I hate is that my novel has yet to find a home, despite every publisher I’ve sent it to requesting a full, then rejecting it. It’s like holding out a bag of Swedish Fish to me, then yanking it away. I received an acceptance–finally!–but the contract fell through, which was very unfortunate. Yes, my novel is with a publisher who allowed me to skip the entire process, which looks promising, but it’s still part of the waiting game I wish I no longer had to play. It’s been four months since I requested my rights back and my book removed from all retail sites. Other AEC authors decided to self-publish their books, and one received a contract from a publisher about two months ago. This is where jealousy pricks my heart and makes me wonder when or if my book will ever find a new home. I hope the publisher it’s with will take it. I sense promise, but I also cannot presume anything, just because the publisher took charge of the book instead of the acquisitions editor, who is actually the one who rejects or accepts a book.

It’s especially difficult when you detail the journey of your book, and when you talk about your rejections, those who have read and loved your book reassure you that your book will find a home–and then you wonder. It isn’t enough to have a decent amount of ratings on Goodreads with an overall good rating; the publisher still has to love your book to want to work with it. So this is just a lesson that you’re always in the same boat as unpublished authors. Always. Unless you’re Stephen King or some other massively popular author.

Unfortunately, rejection is part of the game. To me, it’s simply harder when you have two houses who wanted your book, one it was published with and another that didn’t work out. I would feel differently if When Stars Die had never been published, but I don’t, so I feel like the waiting game is much more agonizing than it is for unpublished authors. It’s especially agonizing, as my options for publishers are limited since not every one will take on a previously published book. I am exceptionally grateful for those that do. All beautiful, well-loved books deserve a second chance. I also keep in mind that publishers who accept books are probably just as anxious for writers to accept their contracts as the authors are for waiting to hear back from a publisher.

Luckily, I am keeping busy by writing, so it’s not as if I’m sitting around doing absolutely nothing. I’ve finished the revisions for 39 poems I’m including in my collection. I have chapter one outlined for the novella that will begin this collection. I have two places in mind to submit it to. I have two poems being published and appearing May 2nd. I’m also slowly copy editing a finished novel with two publishers–thus far–in mind to submit it to, though one publisher doesn’t want simultaneous submissions, so that will be my first publisher of choice. Reading helps, too, and I have been reading plenty of novels and poetry.

All I can do is keep carrying on. No matter what happens, When Stars Die will see itself back in print. I will not let The Stars Trilogy die.

Author Updates and Helpful Links and Advice for Writers and Readers

Author Updates and Helpful Links and Advice for Writers and Readers

GoodreadsAs you can see from the picture above, a Goodreads giveaway ended for me about a week ago. I also received more entries for this one, and over 1200 adds on Goodreads. Both these figures are an anomaly. The average entries are about 800 (including other countries added), and the average adds are about 8%. Mine was more like 50%. I do believe the cover alone lured in readers, and probably the description, too, but I’d mostly like to think Viola Estrella for creating such an amazing cover in the first place. The giveaway wasn’t helpful at all in terms of sales (I receive monthly reports), but hopefully all of those people who added the book will eventually get to it. I will be writing a post on conducting a successful Goodreads giveaway campaign on Sunday.

My post on Creating Effective Action Scenes is also still receiving attention on Tumblr. It has 704 notes and might have more by the time you read it. So if you want to learn how to create an effective action scene, this is the post to go to! I am also trying to draw more attention to two recent posts on there. But I believe my action scenes post is very popular because it’s more bite-sized than my two recent ones, although 88 notes and 50 notes isn’t too terrible. Tomorrow’s Tumblr post will be about the correct usage of commas, so that one will be bite-sized. My blog has also gained about 200 more followers because of these posts for a total of 940 followers. I would have much more than that if I had kept diligently posting.

If you are interested in using Tumblr as a platform, read this article, which, from my stats alone, is a very popular article on my blog.

When Stars Die also has 69 ratings on Goodreads, although Goodreads claims I received a review on March 3rd, which would make it 70. However, it hasn’t registered in the filter for some reason. It’s a nice little milestone for me.

I am also on the reading-out-loud phase of The Stars Are Infinite, meaning I am getting close to re-sending it back to my publisher. For now, enjoy When Stars Die. It has 30 reviews with a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.

Helpful Articles for Writers

An Anon on Tumblr was having plot problems because this person couldn’t figure out how to interweave varying plot ideas. I simply told Anon to outline and found this article about the various types of outlines you can do. So if you wish to start outlining your novels, here is “Choosing the Best Outline Method for You,” an article at Writer’s Digest.

Here is interesting article I found on Twitter: Emergency Phone Apps to Save Your Heroine’s Life.

If you have a Tumblr, follow thewritingcafe. If you don’t have a Tumblr, I recommend that you get one. I feel like it is a must-have social marketing platform, and it isn’t too difficult to use once you get the hang of it. thewritingcafe exists to re-blog helpful articles found around the internet for writers and authors.

You can follow my author page to receive scores of updates from me. My author page is linked to both my Twitter and Tumblr.

Links for Readers

Readers, if you don’t have a Goodreads account, get one. This is such a great place to discover books your bookstore may otherwise not carry. Not all traditionally published books end up in bookstores, even if they are from the Big 6. There is limited shelf space in bookstores, and all books deserve a chance.

For voracious readers, I encourage you to buy an e-reader device. Not all books are released with print versions, so you could be missing out on some great stories by not having one. You can also get a Nook or a Kobo or some other type of device to suit your comfort levels.

Get on social media to discover new books. Twitter and Tumblr are two places I recommend. You can interact with authors you adore on these websites, and what reader doesn’t want author interaction?

Follow my personal assistant’s blog for poetry.

Friday’s post will involve something in the world of publishing. I wanted to end this with a picture quote from When Stars Die, but WordPress is not allowing me to insert any more pictures for some odd reason. So I will just end it with a regular quote from my novel instead.

“However we die…I will make certain we all die free.”

Creating an Effective Goodreads Ad

Creating an Effective Goodreads Ad

When I began my Goodreads ad campaign, I wasn’t happy at first. I had trouble trying to get clicks. I thought I had created a good one, and I thought my cover alone would draw people into seeing it. Well, I found a thread on Goodreads with one man claiming that it does work. Many others replied, absolutely unhappy with their experience. I think I may have even commented, too, telling everyone that Goodreads ads were a waste of time. But because I had sunk 50 dollars into the campaign, I was determined to make it work. Even if no sales resulted from it, people are at least still looking at it and maybe adding it. So I decided to change the description entirely. Here is a screen capture of everything I did to create the ad that is earning me clicks now. Out of the 50 dollars I have spent, 23 dollars have been used since January. I consider that a victory, as many people struggle with trying to get clicks at all. GoodreadsAdIgnore the Campaign Goodreads Giveaway part. That is over with, but the destination URL simply takes you to the book, not to the page where you can sign up for the giveaway. Instead pay attention to the ad description. This is what will earn you more clicks than anything else. My original ad description was simply a rip of some sentence from the synopsis of my book. That wasn’t earning any clicks at all for the week it had been put up. However, once I changed it to this description, it slowly began to receive clicks. The description is short to the point and shocking. Witches are worse than murderers? That’s a big shock factor. Finding out her brother is one and they have to flee or risk dying? That’s another draw-in. These words alone convey a few things: This book is going tell a story about witches who live in absolute fear because they know they are going to be ruthlessly killed upon being discovered. The heroine, Amelia, is completely selfless and will do anything for her little brother, so it’s a story of sibling love. The cover helps as well. I shrunk this screen capture, but if you have ever found this ad on Goodreads, you would be able to read the entire title, along with my name.

Here is another picture detailing what also helped.

GoodreadsStatsI have two ads running. You can have multiple ads running, if you want. Notice that my click-to-rate for the second ad is 0.04%. You want it to be 0.05%, but my goal, really, is to use up ALL of my funds, as many writers who use Goodreads ads can’t even manage that. But look at the genres. The first ad might not have a high CTR because it targets less genres than my second ad does. However, my first ad yesterday received 5 clicks, and my second ad received 0. That was a CTR of 0.09% from yesterday. Each click also uses 50 cents, which is the minimum you should be using. This could affect how often Goodreads is willing to show your ad. I have also allotted a cap of 10 dollars a day. This may also reflect views. However, the views are very arbitrary. I have tried looking up why this may be, but I have found nothing.

Here is a line graph detailing my views:

Line ChartAs you can see from the line graph above, it takes a lot of views to receive a click. You can also see I have certain days where I peak and other days where I don’t. I can’t explain why this is. For three days now I have had clicks because of all those views you are seeing from the 25th to the 27th. But today, it doesn’t appear I’ll have any clicks, so my Goodreads daily report will probably show 0. It’s a very strange pattern for me. For 3 days I’ll have clicks, and then for 2 or 3 days I won’t have any. I cannot explain why this is, but it’s a miracle I’m receiving clicks at all, as many, many users of ads do not receive clicks…never.

All in all, I know I have created an effective ad campaign due to the usage of my funds. Will I do another ad? Probably not. It’s great for exposure, probably great for getting people to add your book, but I can get people to add my book through means that don’t cost money, like Twitter, Tumblr, and this blog, as well as the myriad of interviews and guest blog posts I do. Not to mention I still have some print books left that I can use to do a giveaway on Goodreads to celebrate some sort of milestone in my author life. I’ll probably do another giveaway once my publisher gives me the contract to The Stars Are Infinite ;).

I hope this helps. Any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments or e-mail me at thedancingwriter@gmail.com.

***News***

  • Every Friday I will be doing a post on publishing, whether it be publishing news or a column from me responding to articles about publishing–with statistics, of course.
  • Every Wednesday I will try to do an author update post about what is going on in my author life–something inspirational–ending it with a picture quote from When Stars Die.
  • Pau has been live-tweeting my book, and here is her review. I normally don’t post reviews others have done, as I am an EXTREMELY modest person, but because she live- tweeted it, I decided to go on ahead and give her blog a nudge. I want to warn you that there are spoilers in the latter half. Follow her on Twitter! She’s fantastic, an avid reader, hardcore lover of books, and I appreciated all her live tweeting. It was fun to read her reactions as she was going through my book.
  • I am also going to try to do one Youtube video per week. I haven’t decided what I want my theme to be. I may answer questions people have posed in the past, or I may do something else entirely. Currently I am watching John Green’s Youtube channel to gain some inspiration. I would also love to do something with my ballet, like detailing my journey as an adult dancer while I’m simply practicing by myself. However, that would require my fiance to attend my dance class at least once a week to record my practicing.
  • I’m pretty much going to blog on here every other day so I can also blog on Tumblr.

Authors Commenting on Own Reviews

Authors Commenting on Own Reviews

untitled (14)Recently an author commented on a review I wrote on a book this author had written. It wasn’t mean or anything, but I found it a little unprofessional. The author wanted to clean up some misconceptions I had, ones that were based on my own experiences with what happened in this particular book, so they weren’t exactly misconceptions. The author simply had a different experience from me, but my experience was more common, not just with me, but among a variety of other people, so I wouldn’t exactly say I was misconstruing anything. I know I’m being vague, but this is to hide the identity of the author and the work. Even so, the author appreciated the review and thought it was the best one. And I, of course, replied, taking the author’s own experiences into account. But it was still unprofessional, considering the author’s experiences were rarer than this author was led to believe. Doesn’t make them any less legitimate, but when I comment on something in a book that seems inaccurate in terms of realism, I often go by the average experience, not the exceptional.

In any case, I do comment on reviews, but it’s simply a thank you if it was given as an ARC. It is never to correct things I feel they didn’t get, or even correct things they might have gotten completely wrong. Reviews are for readers, not writers, and because there is this ability to comment on reviews, let the readers do that. Let the readers clear up misconceptions, or agree or disagree with the review.

That’s the great thing about Goodreads. It opens up a discussion on these books, a practical forum, and I like that, so hopefully When Stars Die will get to the point where readers do want to open up with discussions on these reviews. I won’t be reading them, of course, but it will just be a neat idea to think that readers want to talk about the book in some way, be it negative or positive.

Now I’m going to admit that I take 3 star reviews and use these reviews as my invisible harshest critics to help shape the sequel of a book I’m doing in a series. Yeah, beta readers and crit partners are great, but most of them look at the manuscript as a writer, not a reader, and I want to think about readers when writing. To be frank, I wasn’t thinking a whole lot about readers when doing revisions for When Stars Die, besides the edits given from AEC. I wasn’t thinking, ‘What would they like? What would they want to see? How would they react?’ It’s still creating my story, but I also believe thinking about readers ultimately creates a book that you’d love even more. So I hardcore think about readers during revisions, which is what I did with The Stars Are Infinite and am now doing with All Shattered Ones, which isn’t in The Stars Trilogy. It’s a standalone contemporary fantasy. So, if anything, 3 star reviews have taught me to really, really think about readers.

In any case, I posed this question about authors commenting on their own reviews, and here are some answers:

Tanya Gaunt: “Reviews are what readers do authors get feedback.”

Nazarea Andrews: Unless it’s a ‘thank you!’ I don’t. Even from friends, I stay away.

Maria E. Wilson (My PA Extraordinaire): “Unless it’s to say “Thank you for taking the time to review my novel.” I don’t think authors should comment. If a reader wants to talk to you about your book, they will contact you. The reviews are not there for the authors, but for other readers.”

Nazarea Andrews (again): Fwiw I don’t use reviews as a crit for how to go into my next book. That’s what CPs and Betas are for. IMO.

Glenn Harris: “Other than a simple thank you, an absolute no-no. If it’s a bad review, you sound defensive and if it’s a good one you sound self-congratulatory.”

Rashad Freeman: “It’s a lose lose.”

Megan Moffat: “It’s awkward and I hate it. I had an author comment on a review before when I gave their book one star. They weren’t very happy to say the least and basically tore me down, saying I didn’t know anything, didn’t understand their work, demanded more answers as to why I gave it the rating I did, etc. I have never replied and don’t intend to. I found the author’s comment rude and intrusive.”

Sebastian Starcevic: “Even saying “thank you” lets all the reviewers know that you’re there watching, assessing what they post. Just stay away. You seem obsessive otherwise.”

Joey Paul: “I agree with other people saying that it’s not something you should do as an author. Read the reviews, sure, smile when you get a 5 star and frown when you get a 1 star, but do not, under any circumstances, comment. It will only end badly.”

Barry Koonstachin:Under any circumstance, an author should never comment on the reviews of his/her book.”

Wendi Starusnak: “I don’t think they should… it seems unprofessional in my opinion.”

Kimberlee Fisher Sams: “Fine, as long as they’re either basically saying “thanks for the review” or “glad you enjoyed the book”, or correcting blatantly wrong information (ie “You must be thinking of a different book. My book, “blah blah title”, does not contain a single swear word. My editor and I are meticulous about this.”

DeAnna Chapmann Kinney: “I’ve done it, but only if it was a great one and I just had to thank them for it.”

Gregory Lamb: “It can be a slippery slope with lots of unintended consequences.  Letting the readers have a dialog without interference is the strategy I go by.”

Cheer Stephenson Papworth: “Just be very careful!  Stay classy!”

Hopefully I spelled all these names right. Let me know if I haven’t. Some were a little difficult.

What do all of you think about authors commenting on their own reviews?

Next post will be an interview I did with Jenny Torres Sanchez, author of The Downside of Being Charlie and Death, Dickenson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia.

Interview With S. Katherine Anthony

Interview With S. Katherine Anthony

1396550_229150593932519_1495400091_n (2)Hello, everyone! I would like to introduce you to author, S. Katherine Anthony, who won When Stars Die’s cover art contest some time ago. Let’s begin with the synopsis, and then we’ll kick off with the interview.

Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.
Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.
A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

1. First and foremost, tell my readers about you (well, everything you’d like to share).

– I am a book-a-holic who runs away from baby spiders!

2. Tell us about Kinetic, your inspirations, the story itself, the characters, anything that will draw readers’ attention.

– It follows a broken-hearted Luminary, Annie Fox. She works as a crime-fighter and uses her “special skills” to kick some serious butt. Annie will have to struggle with the fact that her ex-husband, Nick Logan, is now the evil she is supposed to bring down. The problem is, if she even gets close enough to him, she will hand him the weapon that will allow him to destroy everyone she loves: herself.

3. What sets Kinetic apart from others books in its genre?

– Well, it’s a New Adult Urban Fantasy for starters, with some light sci-fi. But the whole premise is based on Annie’s ‘special power’ so its definitely action packed. There are several other characters and each of them come with their own ‘gifts,’ this makes for some interesting group dynamics.

4. What inspired the gorgeous cover art for this book, and who had a hand in it?

– The actual “Kinetic” power of Annie inspired the cover. At first glance it might be hard to understand but once you read the book, you’ll go ‘uh-huh!’ I would tell you more but then I would be giving a lot away 😉

5. How many rounds of edits did you go through to get this book in tip-top shape?

– Oh goodness, I had a lot of rewriting and revisions. I lost track of how many times but it was over fifteen times, for sure. I wrote the full first draft and let that sit for about a month then ripped it apart. I repeated that several times then sent it off to betas and ripped it even more. This final book is version number 3,499… ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating but it sure feels like it.

6. What made you decide to self-publish this book?

-I chose to self publish simply because I love having the control. Originally, I was afraid to write my books because I didn’t want to deal with the query stress, the “change this or else” aspect of it, or the rejections. But once I was researching it (yes, I still intended to pursue it), I found out about self-publishing and loved the idea, so I went for it.

7. So, what is your favorite wine?

– Anyone that will get me tipsy? 😛
I like both red and white, but lately I’ve been enjoying Pinot Grigio.

8. What books inspire you?

– I’ll keep it simple and just stick to the seven Harry Potter books.

1473900_229150487265863_171561424_nAuthor Bio
S. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!

Links:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18072566-kinetic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-Katherine-Anthony/403554526400225
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SKathAnthony
Blog: http://www.skanthony.com

My next post will be on The Fussy Librarian. It is an amazing resource for writers and readers, one I would argue that is better than KDP and BookBub, as, not only it is free, but it sends you one update each day with two books. Yes, two books only so you’re not inundated with so many decisions.

Awesome Cover Reveal: Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson

Awesome Cover Reveal: Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson

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Goodreads Link:
Synopsis: 
Two nightmares. One memory.
“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”
Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.
Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.
Fact #5 Jessica Taylor moved to Kansas from Atlanta—a move that the author did herself in 1999.
Thank you again! And, if you celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!
Shannon A. Thompson
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):

authork

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?

Review of Juniper Grove Book Solutions and YA Bound Book Blitzes

Review of Juniper Grove Book Solutions and YA Bound Book Blitzes

Unknown-1 Unknown Yeah, yeah, I said I was going to do a post on marketing, but I thought it was more pertinent to do a review of these two things that I used to help gain exposure for my book. Both services were $30.00 each to basically blitz my book.

I will start with Juniper Grove Book Solutions first. Juniper Grove Book Solutions was a one day blitz that included 17 bloggers (they do 15-20 bloggers). On the first day of the blitz, I was not paying attention to exposure because I had other things going on that day, like school and a launch party later that night; however, when I looked at what type of exposure it had created the next day, I discovered 81 Goodreads adds. I also discovered that there were about 400 entries–I believe–into winning an e-ARC of my book, When Stars Die. As the week continued, I discovered that the exposure was still continuing because I managed to receive about 15-20 Goodreads adds a day for about a week. So instead of the blitz feeling like a one day deal, it felt like an entire week. At the end of the e-ARC giveaway, I had over 1200 entries, which was astonishing to me.

I will be using their services some time in December to help blitz the e-book giveaway of When Stars Die. This made me realize that A LOT of people were interested in reading my book–which in turn made me realize just how much buzz and exposure Juniper Grove had created–except, this time, I will be giving away a $25.00 gift card instead.

As for YA Bound, as I said, this was also a $30.00 blitz. The website recommended that I do it for a week for increased exposure; however, on the first day of the blitz, I noticed very little exposure because there wasn’t much of a jump in my Goodreads adds or Twitter followers or even Facebook likes (which I use to assess the amount of exposure my book is receiving). I also didn’t see too many bloggers doing the blitz that day (which could be inferred from the Tweets that the bloggers do to help advertise the e-ARC giveaway of When Stars Die). However, I did notice the second day that exposure was picking up to include about 15 Goodreads adds per day. I was pleased with this, as it did continue throughout the week.

Even so, there was one day where the exposure was pitiful, and I found out this was because the blogs that were blitzing that day had pathetic exposure themselves, having only about 5 people who were following their blogs. I was very displeased with this and felt shorted as an author. Even though it was only $30.00, the week-long tour promised increased exposure, and I didn’t exactly see that. At the end of the tour, I had about 900 entries into the e-ARC giveaway, which is good, considering it will be going on for a month. However, compared to Juniper Grove Book Solutions, I felt I had far more exposure with When Stars Die with Juniper Grove–and that was only one day! Keep in mind, too, that YA Bound brings on far more bloggers on board, the website promising 70-100 bloggers, compared to the 17 bloggers I had for Juniper Grove. I even had excerpts of my book posted with YA Bound, which I did not do for Juniper Grove.

I suppose I was satisfied with YA Bound, but I do not think I will be using them for blitzes in the future; however, YA Bound does do free cover reveals for YA books, and I know I will be using YA Bound for that.

Even if you’re traditionally published or with a small press, I do recommend Juniper Grove to really increase your exposure, along with the marketing plan your publisher has laid out for you. I think I will also be using Lady Amber for the e-book release of When Stars Die. Exposure doesn’t mean sales, but it does create a brand for you, so that the more people see your book, especially the cover, the more likely they are to prioritize your book when choosing which books to buy.

UPDATE: I have changed my mind about YA Bound. They are a good service to use. The adds I was seeing were adds that occurred on the first day of the print giveaway, which was VERY successful with exposure.

 

Proper Etiquette for Writing Reviews on Goodreads

Proper Etiquette for Writing Reviews on Goodreads

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First off, I know I said I was going to do a post on my love for marketing my own book, but, well, I decided this one needs to take precedence.

I was reading the reviews on a favorite book of mine that I received as an ARC from Spencer Hill Press, and my heart broke into a million pieces upon reading one review. I will not name the book or author, as I don’t want to embarrass her, but hers is a book I hold dear to my heart because SHP publishes books that bigger houses may not pick up because they are so different and new. While it’s the only book I have read from SHP, I will be following them to see what other books they produce. In any case, I fell in love with her book upon seeing the cover and reading the description. I didn’t even care about the reviews because it is the kind of book I read: dark and eerie. That’s my thing. And I totally GOT the book. I have some strong literary analysis skills, and while the book wasn’t perfect (what book is), I was able to analyze the characters and situations to understand why they did what they did–and it all made perfect sense, given the threatening environment they’re in. I so wish I could name the book and author, because hers is a book I support fully, but I sadly can’t.

But the review I read was so nasty and so despicable, and while it attacked the book, the attack on the book also attacked the author, and I was so enraged that I felt like posting a response, but I held back, knowing it would do better on my blog.

This reviewer was deplorable. It isn’t that she gave it a 1 star–my book has several three star ratings, but they are so thoughtful and so considerate and they’re rooting for me to grow as a writer, which warms my heart. I even asked one reviewer for some tips on making the sequel shine.

Her review was not thoughtfully written, and, in fact, it was nasty–and included an AGGRAVATING gif. I hate gifs posted in reviews on Goodreads, even if the review was good. I don’t fault her for her opinions, as I felt they could have been written in a more thoughtful, intelligent manner, but then she said this at the end of her review: Fuck you, book. To me, this is also an attack on the author as well, as she is the one who wrote this book, who worked hard on it, who poured her heart into it, who wrote the book she wanted, and that SHP worked really hard on it for her too. Behind every book is a human being who worked REALLY hard on that book, and I feel like sometimes reviewers forget that. You take a risk when you buy a book, knowing that you might love it or hate it, so take some responsibility, too.

I don’t like, *ahem*, asshole critics. I HATED Simon Cowell on American Idol. I don’t know why so many loved him. I also hate some of the critics on some of those cooking shows. Sure, hate can sometimes inspire one to get better, but for many, it just tears them down and makes them want to give up on the one thing they love. Constructive criticism, people. Is that so hard?

So the ‘fuck you, book’ doesn’t sound too bad, but then it gets worse with the people replying to the review. I’m not going to quote them word for word. Some said they wanted this book burned. Another comment in the review said the book was so stupid, that it made her teeth hurt, and a commenter wanted to keep this review, even though he/she had never read the book. Someone wanted all the characters to die–in fact, the person’s brain broke just reading the review! Some thought the review was hilarious. Others thought the book would give cancer to those who read it (ableism much?). Some wanted the reviewer herself to burn the book, even though this commenter HADN’T READ IT! So many people who replied to this ONE STAR review had never read it. I think one star reviews should be taken with a grain of salt more than the other stars in the rating process, simply because most one star reviews are poorly written and are filled with so much assholery that I’m surprised people take the review itself seriously. This is why I often retreat to three star reviews, because they are mostly unbiased.

I’m not saying people aren’t allowed to post one star reviews, but I think they should do so intelligently and explain, really explain, why they feel the way they do about this book instead of forgetting that there is a human being who wrote this book. Like I don’t like Twilight, but I would never go on there and be so mean and nasty about it. In fact, I just rated it a one star and left it at that because sometimes it is hard not to get nasty when you feel like you’ve wasted your time reading a book you didn’t enjoy. So if you feel like you are going to get so nasty that you inevitably attack the author, DON’T WRITE A THING.

When you write a review, especially if you have some criticism to give, make it constructive. Make it so that it encourages the author to become better, even if it is a one star review. We writers do want to get better with each book, and readers need to realize this. As I’ve said before, I’m taking my three star reviews of When Stars Die and applying them to the sequel so that the sequel is MUCH better than When Stars Die–that’s the hope, but I know I can’t please everyone. If I read a book, and I didn’t ever want to read a book from that author again, I would still want the author to keep writing, and I would hold on to the hope that the author got better so that maybe one day I could go back to him/her and see what he/she has out now. Stephenie Meyer is my least favorite author, but this doesn’t mean I want her to quit writing. I hope she continues to get better, in fact. She deserves the success she has gotten because she did work REALLY hard on that book, and I know that because agents make you edit the crap out of your book. Editors at houses make you edit the crap out of that book. Even if the book still doesn’t seem publishable, editing, at the end of the day, is a little bit based on opinion–except for the grammar parts, of course.

So how do you feel about nasty reviews?

Tomorrow, I’m going to blog about how much an indie author can make, because, while I love this blogger, I also laughed at her “realistic” numbers she was posting, and I have something to say.

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.
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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/oneclickchick?sk=app_228910107186452&app_data

http://onemorechapterreviews1.blogspot.ca/p/book-auction.html

https://www.facebook.com/hookedonbooks05?sk=app_228910107186452&app_data

https://www.facebook.com/brandylrivers?sk=app_228910107186452&app_data

https://www.facebook.com/GrabowskiKy?sk=app_228910107186452&app_data