Tag Archives: authors

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.

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July Rafflecopter – The Great Give-Away

6 Jul

 Fussy Rafflecopter double_logos_04BAD3A669288

Ever hear of a “Snake Gun”?

snake gallery-thumbnails.php 

Ever seen one?

quetion mark gallery-thumbnails.php

Me neither.

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But I am fortunate enough to have been accepted into a rather elite group of authors “eNovel Authors at Work

(and by “elite” I mean authors who have proven to have

a very high standard of writing and publishing).

 

How did I earn such an invitation you ask?

? ? ?

 

No idea actually, but I’m eternally grateful to

one awesome lady of the pen and best-selling author, Jackie Weger,

who is both founder of the above mentioned group

AND owner of the legendary Snake Gun.

(Authors can be SUCH a rowdy bunch and sometimes deadly force

needs to be threatened and even enacted to keep us in line…)

 

Anyhoo, I digress.

In less than two years, eNovel Authors at Work has grown to 44 members from all around the world – members who write in all genres and offer fabulous reading choices to readers

(also from all around the world).

 

HOWEVER,  for the month of July,

all you lucky readers are getting daily chances

to win our BOOKS AND GIFT CERTIFICATES

(for FREE, FREE, FREE!!)

(Yup! – ahem … my little ol’ QUINTSPINNER – A Pirate’s Quest

is in the offering…)

This all happens during our promotional partnership

with another awesome site,

The Fussy Librarian.

Fussy librarian_homepageThe Fussy Librarian Rafflecopter

July 2 – 31, 2015

Oh my Gawd!

This is excitin’ stuff!!!

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And it’s only a couple of clicks away to get an entry for yourself for a chance to win books as well as gift cards!

(How easy is that, I ask you??)

 

Just click the icon or URL below for a direct link to the month’s activities.

G’wan – you know you wanna …

Who knows?

Might even be a Snake Gun in the offerin’ …

Fussy Rafflecopter double_logos_04BAD3A669288 

http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-readers/giveaways/

 

 

To learn more about eNovel Authors at Work,

please visit our website:

http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/

or follow us on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/eNovelAuthors

 

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.

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