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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.

 

Work, Work, Work … (or “Getting Research Material For Your Novel – Part One”)

25 Sep

Hiya! Those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter, here on this blog, or who have read my novels in my Quintspinner series (you’re my – ahem –  favorites by the way) will know that the series is set in the historical setting of the West Indies of the early 1700’s.

Tropical sunset - Romance at its best.

Tropical sunset – Romance at its best.

Tropical islands. Shipwrecks. Pirates.

All of those things that bring to mind to romance and excitement of Pirates of the Caribbean or of the old Errol Flynn movies.

 
When I considered writing the series, that’s about all that I had in mind. I didn’t realize that the historical genre is considered by many in the writing sphere to be one of the hardest genres to write in, as it requires not only a great story and captivating characters, but also an accurate portrayal of life in the time era in which the writer has chosen to set his/her story. And what did a prairie girl like me know about sailing the seven seas? Well mostly that I liked being on the water and that I wasn’t particularly prone to sea sickness. However, it did soon occur to me that I had had more than just a few real-life adventures of my own to draw from, and since I am frequently asked about such events, I’m going to share these stories in a mini-series right here!

 
ADVENTURE #1 – THE ORCA ENCOUNTER (Or “A Whale of An Adventure!”)

 
“Whale Watching off the Sunny Coast of Vancouver Island” the glossy brochure proclaimed. I thought that sounded like the perfect blend of holiday and excitement, and of course, it promised to provide the mandatory (in my mind) educational component. Our family of eight and a friend of my stepson’s were all going to be on Vancouver Island for a week in July, and I was looking for quality ways to spend our time there.

 
“Quality,” in my mind, meant something new and different, usually something that the kids would never have done on their own. Whale watching from a dinghy seemed to fit the bill.

 
Pods of Orcas, commonly known as “Killer whales,” swam around the tip of Vancouver Island, a few miles off shore, every summer, and enterprising sailors turned the opportunity into a summer tourist bonanza. Pictures in the brochure showed a boat tethered at the pier, full of smiling people looking up at the camera — it certainly was no action shot, but it was something that all of us could do together, given that there was a wide range in the children’s age from eight to sixteen.

 

 
My sons groaned and rolled their eyes when I handed out the tickets. “Do we have to do this?” they whined, “Couldn’t we just meet you back here in a couple of hours? What fun is sitting in a smelly boat all afternoon going to be? I betcha’ it’ll stink like rotting fish. You won’t like that, Mom. And look, it doesn’t even look like there’s enough room in it to get up and move around.”

 
“Attendance is not optional,” I replied, “These are not ordinary whales, you know. These are Orcas.”

 
“Yeah, but there’s no guarantee we’ll even see any,” my son pointed out, “It says so in this stupid pamphlet right here.” And he stabbed his finger at it.

 
“I don’t see why we had to get up so early just to come here,” my stepson complained, “when we’re just going to fall back asleep during the boat ride anyway.”

 
“If nothing else, time together in this small, smelly boat will allow all of us to bond, my darlings,” I replied with a tight smile, hoping that the look in my eyes would tell them that the discussion had ended.

 
At the dock, the oversized Zodiac raft looked safe enough. It was no more than a glorified dinghy with a couple of small motors attached to the back and four wooden seats spanning its width. We were fitted with bright orange full-body life preserver suits by the “captain” and his helper.

The family gathered to embark on "Whale Watching. " The body language just screams "excitement " doesn't it?

The family gathered to embark on Whale Watching.
The body language just screams “excitement”, doesn’t it?

“Phew!” my daughter gasped, “These smell worse than the boat, and they are way too hot!” She pulled hers off her shoulders and peeled it down to her waist.

 
“No one goes,” the captain bellowed, “until everyone has their suits on, right up to the last snap and zipper!” My daughter reluctantly pulled hers up again.

 
“Thank God, no one will see us in these things,” my stepdaughter, pouted.

 
This “Whale Watching” expedition was quickly turning into a teenager’s nightmare – being forced to wear really uncool clothes, having a crabby guy in charge who yelled at them, and having absolutely nothing to do but sit still, crammed together shoulder to shoulder while listening to him for the next two hours.

 
The nine of us, as well as three strangers, climbed into the boat, all decked out in the snazzy, tangerine full-body life preserver suits. We joked about being “astronauts” and “Pillsbury Dough boys in Hallowe’en costumes,” and the boys jostled for the outside seats on the benches.

 
Outside the harbour, the captain opened up the motors and we tore into the ocean waves, all of us bouncing wildly about in the boat. This part of the ride was exhilarating enough that even my teenagers, who were usually too “cool” to get excited about much, hung on for dear life.

 
We were about a half an hour into our boat ride, with the shoreline having disappeared from sight, when our captain yelled, “There they are!” He pointed to the ocean horizon where we could just make out several spouting geysers amid tiny points of black dorsal fins.

 
He carefully maneuvered our boat through the four-foot waves, to a spot just ahead of the traveling pod and then killed the motor. He explained that it was provincial law that boats had to maintain a certain distance from all known marine life when their motors were running. Sitting with “dead” motors allowed us to be legally closer to the whales.

 
Even the boys were paying attention now. One Orca surfaced about 20 feet from our boat, spouted and dove. Everyone in the boat cheered with excitement. Even from 20 feet away the Orcas looked enormous.

Whale #2
It dawned on me that Orcas were fierce carnivorous predators, known to hunt in packs, and here we were, sitting a mere two and a half feet above the ocean’s surface in an inflatable boat!

Without warning, our boat shuddered and the starboard side shot out of the water. Grabbing the seats to keep ourselves from sliding sideways, we screamed as a mountainous wall of glistening black dorsal fin rose out of the water, tilting our boat and pushing the starboard side even higher.

One second later, a waterfall of freezing ocean water crashed down upon us, nearly swamping our boat, as the huge Orca spouted and then dove under the boat, bumping it again as it passed beneath.

“BAIL! For God’s sake, BAIL!” the captain roared at us, and we desperately grabbed for the plastic containers tied to the seats. Ocean water sloshed up to our knees. The captain started the motors and we bailed as fast as we could.

He steered the boat back in the direction that we had come from and we roared away from the spot. We were all still shaking from the adrenaline rush when, a few moments later, the motors whined, sputtered, and died.

“Oh no! We’ve sucked in kelp! The motors are plugged!” the captain yelled. He radioed our position to the coast guard while we continued to madly bail out the boat.

Drenched as we were, and in the ocean wind, our hands soon cooled to the point that it was difficult to hold onto the bailing containers. The orange suits that we had earlier joked about were now conserving our body temperatures, as we sat huddled together, awaiting rescue.

As the captain continued to work feverishly on the motors, we were blown towards a rocky crag that rose out of the water. Land! Even though it was covered in sea bird droppings and smelled horrible, it looked good to me, but not so to our captain. “If we hit that, it’ll puncture the boat and likely capsize us,” he warned. “Be ready to jump into the water!”

As we veered towards its edge, a seeming miracle happened: one motor sputtered back to life. Ever so slowly, we made our way around the rocky crag and back towards the shore.

An hour later, we spilled from the Zodiac and onto firm dry land, our eyes stinging and our faces coated white from the ocean salt. Back at their office, as we wearily hung up our orange suits, I noticed their motto printed in large black letters on a wall poster. It said, “Our Adventure Tours – More Than You Could Ever Hope For!” No kidding.

Stay tuned for next week’s installment:

Up Close and Personal With Creatures of the Deep

 
(Ahem, attention please: the above is a true story. You’ll find several similar adventures in my Quintspinner series, most of it fictional, except of course, for the parts that are real. You’ll have to figure out which is which for yourself. And you can get started on that adventure right here! http://amzn.to/1kLuqi9

G’wan. You know you wanna’. It helps me fund my next fishing trip. Thanks for reading.

Blame It On Google (or What Was I Thinking??)

21 Jun

A few years ago, my life of being a sole charge physiotherapist and EMT in a remote rural community was pretty normal. The usual assortment of injuries (bruises, broken bones, sprains, etc.  – my patients’, not mine!) filled my days until a very unusual item came up in a Google search for a medical condition: women pirates.

What the heck? I didn’t even know that there were such things. Curious, I clicked on it and began to read. Well, it turns out that not only were there such characters, but there were many of them, and the lives and adventures of most of them were very well documented. In particular, I read about Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who, stranger than fiction, both disguised themselves as men, and quite by accident, ended up sailing on the very same pirate ship in the 1700’s through the West Indies. I read on, learning that these two ladies were described as being more determined and fearless than most of their male crew members, as they fought and pillaged their way up and down the Caribbean coastlines. Now this was good stuff – treasures, sea battles, brutal medical procedures, hurricanes, and swordfights!

I was hooked.

Being that these two female pirates were already well documented by writers who were much better writers than I, I didn’t dare try to retell their stories, but I thought that I could write my own story filled with characters from that era and lifestyle, and just let my imagination go wild. And, oh yeah, maybe throw in a few historical facts now and then, just to add realism. Boy, was I misguided!

It took only one sarcastic comment from an acquaintance to set me straight: “You are a prairie girl. You don’t sail. You don’t fight. You’re not even a history buff. What on earth makes you think that you could, or even should write about that stuff?”

Sometime during the pity party that I immediately had for myself, my hurt feelings morphed that comment into a challenge. I began to research. Several months later, I had ordered in so much reference material, that I was on a first name basis with every librarian in our library, and had tables ( yes, tables!) full of binders, notebooks, scraps of paper with details that I felt I needed to know. I also visited several marine museums, and did short sails, even attempting once to haul the main sail up on a tall ship, but failing miserably; I talked with sailors, strolled through historical sites, hoisted real cannonballs, and made my own grog out of dark rum. (After all, I wanted to involve all my senses, right?) And I began to write.

A little pirate fun during a research trip to the Caribbean

A little pirate fun during a research trip to the Caribbean

I became immersed in life in the 1700’s. In my mind as I wrote, I saw my characters, felt the tilt of the ship’s planks beneath my feet (ahem, … there may have been a little of that grog involved there), and at one point, while writing a sea battle full of cannon and musket fire,  I thought I could actually smell the smoke. Turns out it was just my neighbor’s barbeque.

Nevertheless, a few months down the literary road, QUINTSPINNER – A PIRATE’S QUEST was published. The story ended up having both a strong female and male protagonist (I am mother to two daughters and four sons and I had to keep peace in the family.) I held a book launch party complete with a pirate theme, sea shanties, author reading and book signing, sea food platters, and a surprise enactment of one of the book’s scenes by a local drama group, all looking and acting very pirate-ey. The launch party lasted several hours and attracted over 150 people.

A "Captive Audience" at the Pirate Book Launch Party

A “Captive Audience” at the Pirate Book Launch Party

I just wanna be a Pirate.

I just wanna be a Pirate.

Proper lookin' Pirates at the Launch Party

Proper lookin’ Pirates at the Launch Party

Then, much to my surprise and delight, my novel went on to win multiple awards, including Best Historical, Best Commercial Novel, Best Beach Read, Best YA, and Book of the Year awards. At one point, I was in contact with Tyler R. Tychylaar, Ph.D, historian, and noted historical author, and we discussed writing in the historical genre. He stated that it was generally agreed that the historical genre is the hardest one to write in because of the amount of time and effort that the research requires, above and beyond producing all of the ingredients that make up a great novel.

I hadn’t given a shred of thought to this when I started out. I wrote only for the sheer joy of storytelling, and the fun of weaving historical fact into a tale of adventure. But when Quintspinner neared  the end of an acceptable length, there was still oh-so-much more story to tell, not to mention the rest of the yet-unused, often juicy, historical details that my research had unearthed, just sitting on those tables, whispering to me. And those whispers most decidedly told me that it was going to be an historical series that I was writing.

“What??” That was the logical side of my brain chiming in. “What are you thinking? More historical? The hardest genre to write in, remember?”

And then I heard my heart and imagination reply simultaneously. “No worries,” the two of them soothed as I was swayed.  “Remember how much fun it was? Why not help yourself to a mug o’ the grog and let the storytelling begin!”

Now a year later, DEADLY MISFORTUNE, Book Two in the Quintspinner series has been published and it too, has won an award in Best Historical division. And fearlessly sailing forward, just like Anne Bonny and Mary Read, I am already writing Book Three and still enjoying every detail along the journey.

(Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest will be free on Amazon June 21st – June 25th, 2013.)

http://www.amazon.com/Quintspinner-Pirates-Quest-Dianne-Greenlay/dp/1460951921/ref=sr_1_2_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371351532&sr=1-2&keywords=quintspinner

Friends and a Book Review

15 Mar

The Camping GuySee these two guys in this picture? Well, they are Earl, an experienced outdoorsman, and Johnson, a hapless city slicker, who end up spending a weekend camping together. Guess which one is which? If you care for a bit of a laugh, you can read their story here: http://amzn.to/WBQT4x Here’s the description:

“I opened my business magazine, and that’s when I saw the ad.

Executive De-stressing. Get away from it all.

Guided one-on-one wilderness camping.

Our motto is “If you’re not living on the edge,

You’re taking up TOO MUCH ROOM!”

Call Earl – the Camping Guy!

So I did, and I signed up on the spot. I’d never been camping before. I was really looking forward to it and Earl – well, Earl, he was quite the guy.”

Reminiscent of television’s and theater’s The Odd Couple, The Camping Guy follows the misadventures of Earl, an experienced woodsman, and Johnson, his inept city slicker client, as they spend a camping weekend in the wilds of the Rockies. What was intended to be a de-stressing weekend soon turns into a distressing one, as these two mismatched campers find themselves engaged in unintended and hilarious situations.

 Male bonding has never been more funny, nor more dangerous!

(For those of us with short attention spans, here’s that link again: http://amzn.to/WBQT4x)

And still on the topic of friends, I have a lot of friends.

Well, that is to say, I’m talking about my virtual ones. Not unlike the imaginary ones of one’s childhood, I suppose, but this time, these are real people – virtual only in that they are my online friends. Social media allows, nay, DEMANDS this. Somewhere in this vast wonderful world, these friends of mine, they walk, talk, write stories, and blog. It’s a whole new world out there, folks. And the wonderful thing is, these people are interesting, lovely, funny, obnoxious at times, but mostly genuine and caring. And I’m all of the above, right back atcha’! So from time to time I read my friends’ books. And although I have an opinion on most things that I read (don’t we all?) on occasion, (like now) I also have the time and mental energy to write a review.

Shame on me.

I should be leaving a written review on everything that I have read and enjoyed. (You see, I don’t have the spare time to spend on those that I haven’t enjoyed – in fact I probably didn’t even finish reading anything that I didn’t enjoy.)

But these days I am making an attempt to actually read through my WTBR pile (“waiting to be read”) and so today I am sharing with you, the following review of Seumas Gallacher’s THE BLOGGER’S GUIDE TO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It’s a goody! (His book, I mean, not my review…) and you can purchase it here: http://amzn.to/WtKLhO

Mr. Gallacher’s “Guide” is a collection of his blog posts, expounding on his views about the world of writing. He covers topics from writing rules (splitting an infinitive, anyone?) to conventional wisdom on marketing (just go for it!) to the experience of being in Face Book jail. Each blog is set within the imaginary framework of an insane asylum, his premise being that writers are all a wee bit crazy, and each post ends with Matron’s imminent arrival (I became quite fond of the old gal by the end of the book.)

Self-described as an “old Luddite” and a “crazy Scotsman”, I would add the adjectives of “witty, sarcastic, and a joy to read”, but especially “prolific”. (He aspires to write a minimum of 3 blogs per week, as well as continuing to churn out best-selling novels and successfully marketing the hell out of them. Go Seumas!)

My favorite musings of this clever word smith is the post in which he mirthfully describes acquiring his computer skills (Computer Hell for Dummies.) As one who began my own journey into writing and publishing not knowing how to even cut and paste, I loved this selection.

All in all, this Guide is clever, sassy, and downright enjoyable. Every word of it. Buy it. Read it. Laugh out loud till your cheeks hurt. Oh, and watch out for Matron….

Spreadin’ the Authorly Luv (A Short Cut to Book Marketing)

5 Mar

QuintspinnerAs promised, in my last post, here are the nuts and bolts of my last promotion on KDP Select. Keep in mind, that at this time of writing, Amazon has announced changes to its affiliate program – those sites sending buyers over to Amazon’s free ebooks will no longer be paid for referrals above a certain number ( I think it was 20,000) and for the uber-large, super popular sites like Pixel of Ink, and eReadernews etc, this will probably affect the way they support authors wishing to be featured on the sites’ free pages.

Anyhoo, for now, here’s what I did to bring my KDP Select numbers up from around 2000 to over 14,000 free downloads of Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest. (Wanna see what those 14,000+ picked up? http://amzn.to/SvbVyx ).

From an original list supplied by best selling author, Martin Crosbie (http://martincrosbie.com/), here’s my list and notes(bolded) of sites that I accessed:

EBOOK PROMO sites that I used for Quintspinner for March 1st and 2nd KDP Select days.

Thanks to the Kindle Boards, we discovered a long list of places where self-published authors can promote their eBook for free.

We’ve collected more information about the sites in a simple directory below, linking to the submission pages for these eBook sites. If you are an avid eBook reader, these sites are great for finding new books to read as well….

Free Sites for eBook Promotion

Did free May 15/12. Pd is $15 or $5.Addicted to eBooks: “This website is perfect for readers like me, who want to watch their book budget. This website also allows the author to rate some of the content of their book. I want to know before I buy if a book the level of profanity, violence or sex in a book. I’m excited that authors can now rate their books for the readers.”

No cost. Applied Feb. 15/13 AppNewser Free eBooks of the Week: Our editors pick a few free eBooks every week. To submit email your pitch to appnewser [at] mediabistro [dot] com.

Has logos for several sites. Entered separately on this list. Author Marketing Club: “No longer do you have to dig up your links to the best places to submit your books. We’ve put them all together here for you in one spot. Just click on the logos below to load each site’s form, fill in your details, and you’re done.”

Pd $5 for “free ebook” and $5 for March 8 “Bargain” listing ; Pd $5 for Pixel Scroll March 1. Bargain eBook Hunter: “If your title is currently FREE on Amazon, we want to know about it! Simply use the Contact Form to let us know about your free title and we will consider listing it on our site. There is NO COST to you if you contact us and we choose to post your free book.  We accept all genres except erotica.”

Emailed her. She featured me. Books on The Knob: “Bargain reads, free ebooks and book reviews for the Amazon Kindle, nook, Kobo, Sony and other ereaders, Kindle Fire, nookColor, Kobo Vox, and other tablets, along with some games, music, technology and computers tossed in now and then.”

For NOOK only. Didn’t use. The Cheap: “This website was created in an attempt to let other Barnes and Noble NOOK users know that there really are plenty of deal priced books for NOOK readers. Here at the Cheap we, a group of deal scouting women, inform you of free and low-cost books. These change frequently so please be sure to check in often. We do our best to share only legitimate offers.”

Applied for free listing. Requires 18+ reviews and 4.4 rating. Has top 100 Best Free Kindle Book List and requirements may arbitrarily change to 20+ reviews. Digital Book Today: Includes both free and paid options for writers looking to promote.

Applied Feb. 25. eReader News Today: Features bargain Kindle books and free Kindle books.

UK site. $4 for day 1 and $2 for each day after that. Donated $8. Had to send info via email.  Flurries of Words: “we have both FREE and PAID advertising options (apologies but we do not accept porn or erotica books). There are currently five FREE advertising options available: 1) Free Book Find (for permanently or temporarily free books) 2) 99 Cent Book (for permanently or temporarily 99 cent books) 3) Bargain Deal (for books over $0.99 but under $4.99–either permanently or temporarily) 4) Indie New Releases (for books newly released within the past 30 days) … 5) BOOK OF THE DAY”

Submitted to Free service. Also has $50 or $100 choices which I didn’t use.  FreeBooksy: If you find an ebook you think our Freebooksy readers should know about please let us know in the form below. And if you are an author and you want to tell the world about your free ebook fill out the form in the Authors section and we’ll take a look at your book.

Frugal Reader: “Please use the form below to submit your FREE books to be considered for a featured FREEBIE post. Submitting your novel does not guarantee that your book will be featured. Please allow as much lead time as possible as I know these are limited time offers. Please note that I feature most genres, and while I may feature romance titles that include sexual scenes, I don’t feature titles that strictly fall under the erotica genre.”

Goodkindles: “we are a place where you post your own article about your title and can reach the readers. We do not review your book – we give you a platform to tell everyone what do you think is most interesting about your book and what you think will interest readers so much that they will go and buy your book.”

Kindle Daily Deal: “Let’s get the word out about your wonderful books on Kindle to my 13,000+ followers. I am a fellow author and I’d love to help promote your books. I enjoy reading as much as writing, and feel it’s important to support my friends. Currently, this service is FREE to you, but in return for adding your book(s), I’m hoping you reciprocate by buying my latest book containing funny essays about relationships…”

Applied for free listing. Free Kindle Books & Tips: “If you are an author and would like to have your book promoted (for free) on our site, please fill out the form below: your book must be free in the Amazon Kindle Store and must have an average user rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars for consideration.  Please note each book submitted cannot be promoted due to space limitations on a particular day, but if your book is selected we will contact you at the email address you provide below.”

$6 for 2 days. Pd via Amazon. Free eBooks Daily: “I love to hear from authors and readers! If you have a comment, suggestion, or free ebook you would like listed or if you just want to say hello, feel free to send me an email.”

GalleyCat Facebook Page: You can post your book in our New Books section, an easy way to share your book with our readers.

Indie Books List: “If you submit an excerpt with less than 1,500 words, we will delete it. Due to the high number of submissions we receive, we may not have time to email every person who submits a shorter excerpt to ask for another one. Please – look at your word count before uploading. If you would like to be considered for both Indie Books List, and Only Romance…you must submit using each site’s submission form. There are now two separate submission forms, when there used to be just one.”

Meet Our Authors Forum: A place on Amazon where writers can talk about their work.

Applied for the free listing. Pixel of Ink: “If your book will be listed as Free ($0.00) on Amazon.com in the next 30 days, then please let us know by filling out the form below. Pixel of Ink may attempt to feature your book

Set up membership . Applied for free listing.  World Literary Cafe.(link from Author Marketing Club)

Pd $5. For March 8th week listing. IBD (link from Author Marketing Club

Pd. $10 to be featured March 1st Awesome Gang. (link from Author Marketing Club)

Free listing for “free ebooks” for March 1 and 2 The eReader Cafe (link from Author Marketing Club)

List ON THE DAY THAT THE BOOK GOES FREE. Snickslist.com (link from Author Marketing Club) (will also be listed on YourBookAuthors.com)

Pd $35 for 2 weeks on Home Page Feature and $10 for free days (March 1 and 2) Book Goodies (link from Author Marketing Club)

Didn’t use as was too expensive Kindle Daily Nation.

Sent a request. Never heard back. eReader IQ

Couldn’t find signup The Digital Inkspot

Didn’t use www.dailycheapreads.com  as it looked like they post about free ebooks on Mondays and I found their site on a Tuesday, and my promo was running Friday, and Saturday.

I bought a www.BookBub.com  ad for March 2nd. Originally I asked for a listing under Historical Fiction ($140) but they emailed me back and said their editorial staff thought it would be a better fit under Action and Adventure ($60). Went with Action and Adventure.

Got a feature on www.FreeBookDude.com . They vet who they choose to promote but promote very well.

So, there were some twitter sites as well, that were part of the above sites promo deals – I retweeted those as well.

NOTE: setting this up is, at first overwhelming, and yes, it IS TIME-CONSUMING but to be successful, you have to invest the effort. I spent 2 full evenings emailing and filling in forms to get this promotion underway. Martin had done most of the work, in amassing most of these sites in an orderly manner, and he so generously and freely shared his lists. That’s the wonderful thing about Indie authorship in this day and age. We are all in it together. Helping each other out with lists, advice, tweets, etc. I’ve been a recipient of all of that authorly love. I’m just paying it forward. Hope you find this useful. 🙂

A 12 Step Program for Authors

3 Mar

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Hello, my name is Dianne Greenlay( remember me from my last post, way back, last fall?) and I am a techno-nimcompoop.

Well, I have just released another novel (released three new books, actually, but more about that further on.) and I have not been gone far, just been quietly in the background, soaking up all of the good advice from other authors’ blogs. And now it’s time to pay back.

One of the topics that is often discussed in the online world of authors is whether KDP Select has lost its effectiveness or not. I have used KDP’s free days twice in the past for my novel, QUINTSPIINNER  http://amzn.to/SvbVyx and had lukewarm success with that. There were 2100 downloads the first time and slightly less than that the second time. These results may have been due to my aforementioned state of nincompoopedness about such things, or maybe the type of story (but who, I ask you, who wouldn’t be interested in an edge-of-your-seat historical action novel with some hot romance thrown in?)However, never one to say “Whoa” in a tough spot, I have just come off of a two day promo ( my remaining 2 days) and THIS time I had over 14,000 downloads of QUINTSPINNER, and for the time it was free, it ranked #1 in the Free list for Fantasy, #3 in romance, #3 in action/adventure, #1 in Sea Adventures, and #1 in Teens. In view of this, I offer to share the following:

What I did:

  1. Read about successful authors and their thoughts on their blogs, like Debbie Young http://offtheshelfbookpromotions.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/how-to-sell-more-books-write-more-books/ and those who had amazing numbers of downloads with KDP (ie Martin Crosbie, BEST-SELLING author of MY TEMPORARY LIFE http://bit.ly/13yMhDE) , and Joel Friedlander’s one stop shopping advice blog Carnival of The Indies  http://bit.ly/XMMgs1 , and I often asked their advice.
  2. Followed said advice (mostly). I looked up an extensive list that had been passed on to me, of links to promo sites, and made my own list of notes as to which ones would be a good fit. Some sites require at least eighteen 4 and 5 star reviews (had that J), some require a couple of weeks’ lead time while others only a day or two.
  3. I did a promo push about 2 weeks before my KDP days, registering my free days on a mixture of free exposure sites, and also spending $150 on the paid-for sites. Some of this money went towards booking a couple of upcoming paid-for spots for book two in the Quintspinner series, DEADLY MISFORTUNE http://amzn.to/SvbVyx .
  4. Tweeted and retweeted the free announcement and links over the two days, probably annoying everyone of my twerps, but what the heck – I really wanted to make this work.
  5. Checked my download numbers compulsively. (I am a great believer in the power of positive thinking and I think I may have actually willed the numbers to keep going up.)

What I didn’t do:

  1. I didn’t do much Facebook connecting. I know there are many lovely and kind authors out there but it seems that most of my FB connections are just that – authors, not readers – and we all try to buy each other’s books, but really, my Kindle is nearly maxed out with books that I struggle to find the time to read, and I’m sure that I’m no exception (in between my day job, my writing time, and book marketing time, reading time for myself is a very guilty pleasure these days).
  2. I didn’t blog (it had been so long since I had been on my own blog that I forgot the darned username/password combo.)
  3. I didn’t have an email list. This is one thing that EVERYONE says is a “must-do” so I hopefully will have one built up for next time. (If you are reading this, there’s a ‘follow me’ button on the right hand side of this page. Go on. Sign up. You know you wanna’ …)

What I should have done:

  1. See afore-mentioned email list.
  2.  I wished that I had had more consecutive days to run the promo, but I didn’t want to commit to another 90 days with Amazon exclusively. The number of downloads built slowly at first, but rose faster, the longer I was into the 2 day promo. I wonder what the final numbers would have been if I had run it for 3 or even 5 consecutive days. I would recommend trying a long stretch of being free.
  3.  I wanted to change my book’s description through Author Central but couldn’t do it during the promo (system won’t let you). It did let me edit when the promo was over (better late than never I guess) and I added what I thought was a more engaging and intriguing style of description, and I also broke the former description into 3 smaller paragraphs. Way more inviting to the eye.

What I’m going to do:

  1.  I’m going to drop a quick thank you note to all of those who tweeted and posted on my behalf, even to those whom I paid (Hey, I’m Canadian. We’re polite to a fault.)
  2.  (Baker’s dozen here) I am going to move on. This means promoting my one act script (it’s a comedy) A One Act Script and short story form of THE CAMPING GUY Short Story Version in a new genre for me (humor) and get busy writing the final book (Book Three) in the Quintspinner series. Hit those links and maybe have a gander, would ya? (I said I was polite but not necessarily humble…)

Next post, later this week: I will post all of those clickable links that I used in my promo, for you. Right here. I promise.

Books vs. ebooks – the Hypocrisy of It All

4 Aug

My name is Dianne and I am a hypocrite.

That’s right. You see, I love books.

Totally addicted to them. Love the feel of one in my hands, love drooling over the covers in a bookstore (figure of speech, guys, ok? I don’t actually get the covers wet). Spend money I don’t have on more books. I have books squirreled away in every room of my house ( ’cause you never know when you will find yourself with a few minutes to read …). I love the feel of the paper, love the faint smell of books ( they do have a slight scent, you know, especially when new…), love being able to see how far I’ve read and how much I have left in the story. My WTBR pile lines one wall of my bedroom in a rather precarious design that is two books deep by 7 feet long, 2 feet high…

BUT I am also an author and believe that if you want to be successful in this new world of publishing, you MUST embrace ebooks. And so, I have a Sony ereader that Hot Stuff Hubby, who is not by nature a gift-giving sort of guy, surprised me with to celebrate the publishing of my debut novel, amzn.to/ORNZDL

An awesome cover designed by Derek Murphy at http://bookcovers.creativindie.com/

I also have the Kindle app on two laptops, one net book, AND my Samsung tablet. Yes, I confess that I am reluctantly becoming an ebook convert. Not totally, though. I’m a fence-sitter with this. (Not a comfortable position to be in, really…) but here’s the thing – there are pros and cons to both, and in my opinion, here they are:

Books

  • Pro – As mentioned above, I like being able to visually assess my progress through a book, marked by a cute little bookmark popping out of  the pages, marking my place.
  • Pro – Back Page Cover Copy. So interesting! This is what eats up my browsing time in a book store.
  • Pr0 – easy to read in full sunshine.
  • Pro – easy to read on a sandy beach or in the bath. No worries about permanent destruction should I drop a book in either of these locations.
  • Pro – easy/fast to go back a re-read a favorite/puzzling  section again. ( I often mark book passages with color coded sticky notes, especially if a book is instructional – hey!  – whoever “gets it”  when reading a list of “how-to” for the first time?)
  • Pro – I can loan out my faves to friends for an unlimited amount of time.
  • Con – Books are heavy. They take up room in my suitcase (who doesn’t read while lounging on a sun splashed holiday??) and the weight of them alone pushes me close to the airlines’ maximum allowed luggage weight.
  • Con – Paper books are not as green (environmentally friendly) as a digital file. And I love trees. Can’t bear to cut one down and so I never dwell on the amount of them that are killed to supply our greed/need for paper products. (more hypocrisy, I know)

Ebooks

  • Pro – each one can hold thousands of books in a space of no more than 6″ x 9″ by 1/2 “.
  • Pro – obviously, weight of a life-time supply of ebooks is no concern at all.
  • Pro – BIG PRO, actually – enlargable font. Oh, yeah, these old eyes LOVE that!
  • Pro – kinda … – ereaders have the capability to bookmark places, too. I just don’t find this as convenient as the real  physical thing.
  • Pro – again, kinda … – lending of an ebook is possible between people who have ereaders of the same type, and you can get thousands of ebooks on loan from libraries now, too.
  • Pro – ebooks have brought authors and readers closer together in the new world of self-publishing, where readers, not multiple layers of agent, editor, publisher and associates, decide on access and availability, and yes, the success, of a story with the reading public.
  • Pro – purchase is spontaneous and instantaneous. With the click of a button.
  • Con – purchase is spontaneous and instantaneous.  With the click of a button.
  • Con – it’s so easy to ignore/forget/overlook all those WTBR ebooks that I have downloaded into my Kindle library or onto my ereader, unlike my physical WTBR pile that reminds me that it’s still there, every time I stub my toe on it, or accidentally knock it over, sending a small avalanche of books skidding across the room.
  • Con – although battery life is improving with each new generation of ereader, electricity is still needed to recharge, and for a traveler like me, not all countries/places have easily accessed or appropriate voltage to do so. I hear there are solar powered rechargers available now but I don’t have one. Maybe I should put the bug into Hot Stuff’s ear …

So how about you? Which side of the fence do you park your bum on?

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