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If You Are A Billionaire, Maybe Even A Millionaire, This Won’t Interest You. Everyone Else Read On!

16 Nov

 

Here’s the HEADS UP: there’s this FAB

Contest and Giveaway coming up!

(**squeals of excitement from the reading audience**)

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The giveaway will start around 12:15 a.m. on November 13th

(that’s TODAY y’all)

and will end at 11:59 p.m. on November 27th

That’s right – it will run for TWO ENTIRE weeks.

Just look at this perky poster below outlining the PRIZES!!

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Here’s the Blog’s page to enter THE MOST AWESOME BIG TIME GIVEAWAY.

And those signed print copies? Well, feast your little ol’ eyeballs on this assortment:

 

By now you’re probably sayin’ to yourself, “Self, this can’t be right. This is just too good to be true!”

Hard to believe, I know! But it’s true! (That’s WHY it’s the MOST AWESOME BIG TIME GIVEAWAY) . So get on over there any day between November 13th (TODAY) and November 27th to enter. That’s two weeks of time. Plenty of time even for a BIG TIME procrastinator like me.

G’wan. I’d love to sign a print copy for you! Cheers!

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Starting Over

5 Nov

 

Back in 2013, when I released my first novel, titled Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest, I knew so little about book publishing and marketing that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know. But I knew that I loved that title. It was unique, mysterious and always a point of conversation, whether it was at its launch party, or  book blogger interviews, or during casual conversations about my writing journey. And the subtitle surely explained what the book was about … didn’t it? (It’s an historical adventure/thriller set in the Golden Age of Piracy)

The book did really well at first. This was back in the day when the competition wasn’t so severe for indie authors. Quintspinner won over a dozen book awards and I had 49,000 downloads when I put it up for free with KDP Select. I quickly amassed 75 great reviews. So … I let it be and went to work on Deadly Misfortune, the second book in the same series.

I knew nothing about the importance of subtitles and their ability to improve a book’s chances of being found by readers in online searches. SEO was just a confusing acronym to me so I didn’t give Deadly a subtitle but it had a great cover – a floundering tall ship fighting to stay afloat in a massive rogue wave and a fierce facial image of a scary pirate-like guy across the top. THAT would let know readers what the genre of the book was, right? Right??

Then real life and several major traumatic situations got in the way of my writing and sucked the life out of me. For three years.

During that time I read a lot (A LOT, I tell you!) about the new atmosphere surrounding book publishing and marketing techniques. SEO – the enigmatic Search Engine Optimization. Book titles. Subtitles. Book descriptions. Book covers. Key words and key phrases. Split testing. Email subscriber lists. Newsletters. Lead magnets. Landing pages. Series branding. And on it went.

By then I had a major case of AFLE, a term which I freely admit I have stolen from Lynne Cantwell, an author who is a very knowledgeable and frequent contributor to the top-of-my-list-of most-helpful sites-an-author-could-ever hope-for, Indies Unlimited. Translated loosely, the letters, as Lynne explains it, stand for “another freaking learning experience”. I began to forget stuff as quickly as I read about it. My brain was overloaded. Still, in desperation, I read on. And on. And on.

Fast forward to 2017. A comment from the host of another course that I was taking broke my reading momentum with this comment: “Stop reading and start doing.”

I waffled for a month or so – old procrastination habits (excuses) are hard to get rid of. Then a financial downturn in my day job gave me a kick in the arse (nothing like financial panic to rev oneself up) and I thought that since the Universe had gifted me with extra time on my hands, I wanted to write again.

I decided that I would document my return to writing and my progress of said journey, on my blog. Perhaps some little tidbit would be useful to another author – a kind of paying it forward as a thanks to all of those learned authors whose informative blogs had kept me up to date with what I would need to do to get back in the author game. So here we go – for the next little bit, I will be sharing my actual experiences and choices.

 

As a starting point, I determined that I needed a new set of covers that would brand the series, as well as attract readers with their visuals. By now my first cover designer no longer did covers anyway, so I began to search for a replacement. I also decided that I was going to (gasp!) change the titles.

AND change the subtitle(s).

AND add subtitles where there were previously none.

I was met with severe resistance to this idea when I asked a handful of devout followers of my books to give me their opinions on my new title choices. They, too, LOVED “Quintspinner”. Why on earth, they asked, would I even consider changing it? So as not to infect them with severe cases of AFLE, I asked them to trust me and just carry on with their liked-most and liked-least title and subtitle choices.

Here was the first round of choices I gave them:

 

BOOK ONE (formerly Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest)

New title: Pirates of Blood Bay Island: A Novel

New subtitle choices: 1. Book One in the Quintspinner Saga

                                        2. Book One in the Quintspinner’s Tale

                                       3, The Quintspinner’s Tale of The Devil’s Deal ( or A Deal with the Devil)

 

BOOK TWO (formerly Deadly Misfortune)

New title: Pirates of Deadly Misfortune: A Novel

New subtitle choices: 1. Book Two in the Quintspinner Saga

                                       2. Book Two in the Quintspinner’s Tale

                                      3. The Quintspinner’s Tale of Vengeance

 

BOOK THREE (unfinished manuscript with tentative title of Tides of Eternity)

Optional titles: 1. Pirates of Peril and the Gift of Time

                            2. Pirates of Peril and the Sands of Shadows

New subtitle choices: 1. Book three in the Quintspinner Saga

                                       2. The Quintspinner’s Tale of the Far Side of Forever

                                      3. The Quintspinner’s Tale of (the)Tides of Eternity

                                      4. The Quintspinner’s Tale of The Tides of Terror

 

If you’ve stayed with me this far, that’s great. Feel free to give me YOUR thoughts on these choices. You might be surprised by the feedback I got on this first round. I sure was. Stay tuned to next week’s post for the results.

An Angry Rant from a (Very) Dissatisfied Customer

14 Jan

Hey Bell Media! And The Source! And Apple! Well actually, here’s a call out to Mr. George Cope , CEO of Bell Media Canada, and Mr. Tim Cook , present CEO of Apple. (You gentlemen DO have a Google alert set up on your names and companies, right?) You look like very nice men and obviously you are both very savvy computer/tech/ business guys to have gotten where you are, so I’m hoping you will see past my “mad” in this rant, and take notice of my complaint therein. This may be of some interest to you ….

Here’s the scoop: I am a confirmed PC user who over the past 2 years has been slowly converting to Apple, via my iphone (gift from the kids), and MacPro laptop (gift from Hot Stuff Hubby). All through this past Christmas, I was receiving emails from The Source (and I’m not gonna link that, ‘cause I’m mad at The Source, too, so won’t be sending any readers to that site via ‘the Source’s’ link!). Anyhoo, the emails were advertising the Apple 16 GB ipad mini 3 (in the new color of gold, no less) for $99! My books to this point had been available exclusively on Amazon, but I was toying with the idea of also putting them in Apple’s online store, intending to write my next book directly on my ipad mini.

I tried to order one online. Nope. Stores only.

I phoned my local ‘The Source’ store (2 of them, actually) only to be told that the special was only for a handful of select stores in all of Canada (and we’re a damn big country). However, I was told that I could have my local store order one in, as long as I agreed to sign a 2 year contract with Bell for the device. Hell, yessiree, I’ll do that!

Three weeks later, (yesterday actually) I got the call from a very nice employee at ‘The Source’ store, telling me my ipad mini 3 had arrived and that I should come on down to sign up for the Bell contract. Now, apart from my job as a writer, my day job is that of a self-employed sole charge physiotherapist in a busy clinic. This means that I had to clear my schedule of patients for a one and a half hour slot (mucho lost income) to go do this. No matter. I wanted the mini. No more lugging the comparatively HEAVY Macbook Pro around on holidays with me so I could continue to write whilst away.

Well, jumping to the conclusion of this sad story, after several attempts, the nice man at The Source was unable to get me signed up. He put in a call to some kind of Help line and was told that he would be unable to sign me up for a contract with Bell because I had not had a cellular contract with Bell within the last 90 days.

HUH???

Well, says I, I have NEVER had a cellular contract with Bell, let alone within the last 90 days, but hey, that’s why I’m here – I WANT to become a Bell customer and I’m fricking frothing at the mouth to sign a 2 year contract with them so I can have my wonderful, light-as-a-feather, portable-as-hell ipad mini 3.

C’mon, C’MON, GIVE ME THE CONTRACT – WHERE DO I SIGN??

Help line guy says, yeah you can sign her up but only for the full purchase price of the mini 3 – an outrageous sum of just pennies under $600 CAD). Not available no way, no how, for the advertised price of $99. And apparently ‘The Source’ is only allowed to sell Apple products in conjunction with Bell contracts.

Besides seeming to me, to be just short of a fraudulent marketing ploy (as there was no disclaimer or restrictions policy outlined anywhere other than to say “see local store for details”), this is an EPIC MARKETING FAILURE. Not only did Apple and The Source and Bell fail to make a sale (albeit a small one, but still…) but they now have an unhappy customer who writes. And blogs. And who has followers who will share. (You will, right?)

Now I want to compare this to Apple’s biggest competitor, AMAZON and the amazing marketing move of Jeff Bezos . Amazon has sold its tablets AT COST to customers, who then become Amazon converts and buy a bazillion dollars worth of stuff from Amazon, more than making up for the mark-up loss incurred with the sale of the tablet.

PURE. MARKETING. GENIUS.

(Hey Jeff, if you’re reading this, feel free to leave a comment!)

Just thought I’d share this tip with you Bell Media, The Source, and Apple. Give it some thought.

Oh, and if any of you afore-mentioned three want to make amends and make the $99 purchase with 2 year contract happen for me, well, I’m willing to bury the hatchet. And I’d blog about that, too.

In the meantime, I’m feeling as snarly and revengeful about this whole thing as Mrs. Hanley was when she made her infamous stew, which revolted some readers (“Eeww! I can’t believe she did that!”), and enthralled others (“OMG! I just LOVE Mrs. Hanley and this story! I can’t believe she did that!”).

The stew scene is in Chapter 73 in QUINTSPINNER – A PIRATE’S QUEST.

Quintspinner - A Pirate's Quest

Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest

 

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, why not buy the book? (C’mon, you KNOW the suspense and the curiosity is now gonna drive you crazy, don’cha?)

It’s $.99. On Amazon everywhere.

That’s 99 cents, not even $99 (dollars) like the mystical, non-accessable-to-me-ipad mini 3 offer. And I bet you’re gonna LOVE Mrs. Hanley’s stew scene!

There. I feel (slightly) better now. I’m going to charge up my little ASUS PC netbook (which is pretty portable and which has a wonderfully responsive keyboard) and then I’m off to compare Amazon tablets because I have a reading/writing holiday coming up …. Thanks for listening.

 

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