Publishing ain’t easy.

And neither is marketing. Actually, I think the problem is primarily with marketing. Marketing is hard. As much as you (or I) go into publishing thinking…. I’ve got a good cover, a decent blurb, amazing (if I do say so myself) content…. people will find me. And then those people will tell other people and then they will tell other people…. and yeah. That doesn’t happen. Or at least it hasn’t happened for me.

Publishing, and marketing, both to me are very much like screaming into a void. You spend days, months, years, whatever working on this book baby… finally get to the point where you release it into the world…. and nothing. And I don’t mean nothing by not getting any sales. It is getting read. I mean nothing by… no one says anything. Is it good? Bad? Is there a super embarrassing typo on page 198? I don’t know. I don’t think so?

Back to marketing. What I have found interesting so far is how time consuming marketing is. So far my (haphazard) marketing plan consists of this.

  1. Facebook groups
  2. Book bloggers/reviewers
  3. Amazon ads
  4. Instafreebie/bookfunnel groups

Facebook groups: I did these for awhile (read: about a week) and then stopped. I don’t think I will go back to them, at least not to any of the ones I have found so far. They can work. IF you find a super involved non-spamming group specific to your genre. Then they are great because you can talk directly to your market. Ask them what they like, think, want, whatever. Finding them though. That’s a whole different thing. Unfortunately most (book) groups seem to have devolved into promotion overload where I honestly think the entire group is just a bunch of authors promoting their books to each other. Not effective.

Book bloggers/reviewers. I have been doing this. I will keep doing this. Slowly. Very slowly. It is super time consuming. And it’s a lot of work for possibly very little return. Some respond, some don’t, some agree to read your book and never download the link, and if they do give you a review…. it might be awhile. I view these as an investment. It might not pay off right away, but it could. Actually that sounds more like a gamble. Either way. I like blogs. I like having people read my book. And it’s a bonus if they review it. I won’t spend a ton of time doing this, because you know I still need to actually write, but every so often I’ll throw an email or two out there.

Amazon ads: Now these…. are practically painless. Pretty easy to set up, pretty easy to get going…. the problem really lies in understanding them. There is a delay in reporting so it can be hard to correlate your ads to book sale results and while there is a lot of information out there on making your ads more effective… it’s seriously is like taking on a second job to figure it all out. Personally, I set a few up, have them running and will revisit the issue once I have a few more books out.

Instafreebie/Bookfunnel: Now these are my favorite. Super easy. Pretty successful…. and unfortunately super hard to find all of a sudden. Like anything good (or free) it wasn’t long before authors figured out that they could charge for setting up promos or events. Or they could start to become more selective about what they were willing to include. This made it a lot harder for me to find them. Sadly. Because otherwise they were working great.

So that’s my marketing run-down. It really does come with it’s own crazy learning curve. One I’m still working through. In the meantime. I primarily am focusing on getting the second book ready for release (started on the cover the other day). I don’t want this first book to drown… but at the same time this is a series. This isn’t the only launch I will have and not the only opportunity to market a new release.

In the meantime…. if you happen to know where there are a bunch of thriller readers hanging out who might be interested in a futuristic, historical, dystopian, political thriller…. let me know… or let them know I guess…..

Also…. if anyone reading this has read my book and liked it. I would be super appreciative if you could consider leaving a review (assuming you liked it. If you hated it, well, maybe an email? ;)) Apparently one of the biggest issues I have with sales right now is the lack of reviews. Which are apparently super hard to get. Who knew….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published.

 

Yeah. I did it.

Well. I guess it’s not really a secret considering the fact that I set up a pre-order…. but it’s never guaranteed until it’s actually done… if you know what I mean.

As far as random details go.

The book went live at 9PM PST on 7/26/2017. Which was earlier…. way earlier than I expected. What was expected though…was nothing happened. 🙂 To be fair the list of people that knew about the book was limited.

By mid-afternoon on 7/27/2017 I had 2 page reads. Now, thats not 2 full book page reads. Nope. just 2 pages. Which… is either the ugly page flip issue rearing it’s head or someone(s) downloaded the book, opened the first page and then went on their merry way. I’m hoping for the best (option 2) but expecting the worst (option 1).

Later, on 7/27/2017, I sent out a “hey I just released this book” email to my email list. So far it’s done well. My open rate is at 19.2% with zero unsubscribes or bounces…. hopefully that trend continues. I really have no interest in inundating people with emails. My email inboxes are sitting at 10,651. Yeah. Seriously. And yes I know it’s disgusting. I try to clean it out….obviously not successfully… but anyways I don’t want to flood someone else’s inbox. So limited emails.

As of now. 2 people have bought the book. Or 1 person bought the book twice. Who knows. And I actually have a ranking. I am way more excited and confident about this book than I was the last one. Which really helps. I don’t feel like I need to sell this book. I just need to make sure it gets enough exposure and the rest will fall into place. At least that is what I keep telling myself. At any rate it doesn’t really matter. Book one is out. Now I need to focus on finishing book 2 and getting that out… and then book 3…book 4….5…6….7. You get the idea.

At any rate. I am happy that it’s published. I realized in the process how much I don’t know about marketing… but it will get figured out. Half the fun in this process is the learning curve.

If you are interested in reading the book, you can buy it here 

 

Setting up a pre-order.

I did it. I set up a pre-order. In case you missed that from the title 🙂

Anyways. Here’s the why and how.

One. Why.

So my actual publication date is 7/27/2017. That is the date that the book will be live. It’s a short pre-order. Pretty much the shortest duration allowed. But by having this time period it allows me to set up things like amazon ads, set up promos, fix or set up my amazon author page. Basically house cleaning. If I don’t get any buys during this short pre-order (which I don’t expect to) it’s not that big of a deal. It won’t significantly impact my launch rank in 4-5 days. I think*.

Two. How.

This part was easy. It’s exactly like publishing the book, you just pick a future date.

I know that hitting that publish button is different for everyone. Some people feel excitement. Some people relief. For me it’s very anti climatic. Very hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait. #isitthursdayyet?

In the meantime. I’ve done a couple of things 1. second guessed myself a million times and 2. considered moving up the publication date. My willpower to wait is staying strong (barely). I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not about book 1. Not really anyways. It’s a great book (I think) and I am very proud of it. But it is not a stand alone book. It is meant to lead a series. And in that sense this is not a sprint, it is a very fast marathon. Fast, because of those 30,60, and 90 day cliffs. So in T-2ish days the first book goes live… and then…. then I try my very hardest to completely ignore it and focus on getting the next few books out. Wish me luck. I think I’ll need it (in more ways than one :)).

PS. You can check out the preorder here.

 

 

 

 

Advanced copies.

I’m looking for Alpha readers. Which is apparently not to be confused with Beta readers. Though if you ask me, Beta reader sounds better. Sorry I couldn’t give you the better title #nexttime. Anyways. The book is (as I mentioned before) 99.9% complete. I want to publish in July (making it a bad time to mention that the month is already half over). So, I’m looking for some final eyes to read it over. It has gone through professional editing, but like any book, I am sure there are still mistakes. Just last night I found the following “It was barely large enough to fit what looked to be an unconformable bed. Which, for those of you who don’t know (like me, I didn’t know) it is an actual word. Just not the right word. Also, I should note that the bed is part of a hospital scene. Just in case your mind had started to wander.

Back to Alpha reading. I’m just looking for overarching observations or anything that would be particularly embarrassing if it was made public. You know. By publishing. And… honestly that’s it. A quick email back with your thoughts and I will be happy. I am hoping to hit that all important publish button by the 27th. So if I can get feedback before then, great!

If you are interested drop me a quick email at writesarawrite(at)gmail.com. Subject heading Alpha team and I will set you up with a bookfunnel link. (Hopefully, probably, most likely, I just signed up for the service, so technological issues aren’t outside the realm of possible). Or you can comment your email and interest below. On the off-chance that there is a huge amount of interest (one can hope), I will limit the list to 20.

And if you need a refresher about what the book is about…. here is the blurb/cover.

She’ll do anything to unearth the secrets.
They’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

Smithsonian archeologist, Roslin Williams gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to excavate the areas where The White House once stood. When she uncovers an Air Force One plane containing human remains and a mysterious briefcase, she’s determined to dig up any information on the airplane and the secrets behind it.

However, the dangerous powers behind this age-old scandal have plans of their own. Keeping facts buried is their number one priority and Roslin is getting in their way. With an assassin closing in, to silence her once and for all, Roslin teams up with Special Agent Mark Appleton to unravel this ancient conspiracy. But with time running out, will they unearth the truth before they’re the next buried fatalities?

 

The-White-House-Files_ebook

 

 

 

Waiting…. to publish.

They say that waiting is the hardest part. I for one, completely agree. I am 99.9% ready to publish. I have a professional, genre appropriate cover. A book that has gone through 3 separate edits. A blurb. A tag line. I set up my book in kindle, figured out my keywords, price, genre……

And yet. For all of that I still feel completely and totally unprepared. Book 2 isn’t done (22,500 words and counting), I have no idea where to market the book at, how to set up ads, I don’t have a street team, or ARC’s or…. well you get the idea.

Partly, all of this is okay. I do think a lot of it will work itself out. Book 2 will get written (progress is going well), and it is much easier to market a book that is already published than one not published yet at all. All that to say though, my biggest concern is that I won’t give my book the opportunity it needs purely because I don’t know how to market it correctly.

Bad writing is one thing. A boring book, a plot full of holes, unbelievable characters. All of this I can understand. I spent time learning this, I did the bad drafts, the horrible first books that desperately need a rewrite (or a rock, to hide under). Marketing though, not an area that I am as familiar with. I can learn, and I plan to, but in the meantime I feel unprepared. I don’t know if there is anyway to prepare other than to jump in, feet first. I have been standing on the sidelines, reading the forums, asking questions, looking for any piece of advice that might apply. It’s answered a lot of questions, but there are still gaps, ones that I don’t think will be answered by anything other than….. hitting that publish button, seeing what happens and reacting from there.

My goal, was and is, to publish this book in July. A goal I fully plan on making. So whether or not it is this next week or the week after, either way… it’s going to happen.

So anyways. Thats things lately. If you have been wondering what I’ve been up to lately…. it’s primarily involved stalking facebook author groups, writing, and laundry. So. much. laundry.

Chapter One.

The White House Files Excerpt

Sweat dripped down her brow, urged on by the relentless sun that beat down. She rubbed her hand across her forehead, depositing a trail of dirt in its wake.

“Zoom in,” the director said, shoving yet another camera in her face. “Excellent, Roslin excellent. Serious face, just like you are working.”

She wanted to scream that she was working, but she had learned the hard way that any outbursts were seen as viewer bait. Last time she had said something her face had played across every feed for a week. She had endeavored to be as boring as possible since. Maybe then they would take that camera and shove it where the sun didn’t shine. Or at least aim it at her face a little less.

So far it hadn’t been working.

Picking up the trowel she resumed scrapping away at the layers of sediment. She had been digging down inch by inch for days, trapped in her own personal roped off box. It was an archeological dig of utmost importance, one that she had only ever dreamed of being a part of. To be here, now, in the shadow of one of the most influential and iconic buildings in American history, was one of the greatest moments of her career. One that was only slightly marred by the cameras that were now tracking every move she made and broadcasting it across the world.

“Again Roslin, be one with the dirt, feel the dirt,” the director exclaimed excitedly.

If that had been the most aggravating thing that he had ever said, she would have had more patience for it. But it wasn’t, not even close.

Roslin still found the idea that anyone would want to watch her work strange and unnerving. Never mind the fact that for being billed as a reality feed, it was anything but realistic. She would never normally wear make-up, have her hair done, or be wearing an outfit this constricting and uncomfortable on a dig. They had taken something that she had loved to do and instead turned it into some sadistic form of torture.

She drew the trowel across the scarred earth again, more aggressively this time than she had intended. A sharp screech reverberated as the metal from the trowel came in contact with something just below the surface. She instinctively drew her hand back as a rush of adrenaline poured through her.

This was it, this was the moment she lived for. Around her a flutter of activity commenced as cameras zoomed and lighting was adjusted. An eerie silence fell over the site, even the director who hadn’t stopped talking since he arrived was quiet.

“Just dig Roslin,” Martin finally said breaking the silence.

She looked up, her eyes burning, there would be no mistaking how she felt about his suggestion that she just dig.

“We need to photograph the site,” she protested, “record the position so we can reference it later.”

“It’s being recorded, what more do you want?” he said pointing at the cameras.

“It’s not the same,” she protested.

Roslin may be smarter, more experienced, and more knowledgeable than Martin, but he was the boss, and he was used to getting his way. Martin was also several years Roslins’ senior. As a result he frequently reprimanded Roslin, convinced that only he knew best.

Roslin on the other hand regarded him as a pretentious sleaze who was at best lazy and at worst a tyrant. He had the appearance of someone who had once been deeply handsome with dark tan and chiseled features. If the stories were to be believed, with it had come the partying and philandering across town, a different girl every week, sometimes every night.

The years of excess now showed in the perpetually puffy and just slightly droopy look of his face and body. Much to Roslin’s disgust and surprise, the womanizing hadn’t slowed down with his changing physique. If anything it had accelerated in the years that she had known him.

“To follow protocol,” she said evenly refusing to move, “we need to do this right.”

“It’s an order Roslin, not a suggestion.”

“No,” she responded flatly.

“Fine, I’ll do it myself,” he said as he stepped forward.

“What are you doing?” she exclaimed. “You’ll destroy the site.”

She looked around for a sign that anyone was going to do or say something.

“Anyone?” she asked, desperately looking around in vain.

She had known before she had even asked that no one would step in to intervene.

Martin puffed his chest out as he moved in to continue. He had won, and he was going to make sure she knew.

She felt helpless as she watched Martin scrape the trowel aggressively through the layers, pushing the dirt back haphazardly.

As angry as she was, she couldn’t help but to push forward with everyone else, craning to get the best vantage point. She was as excited as anyone else to see what was going to be uncovered. The air hung with a palpable anticipation. Even though they had been digging for weeks, they had discovered absolutely nothing until now. It was the dig of the century. To be given access to the site where the White House had once stood was the kind of thing that made careers.

She gasped as the final layers of dirt were swept aside and an image came into view. Around her echoed the surprise of others

“Is that-”

“It can’t be-”

It was though, she was sure of it. The circular impression, the border of stars, the eagle depicted in the middle clutching arrows and olive branches.

“It’s the presidential seal,” she said definitely.

Not only was it a presidential seal, it was one of the best preserved presidential seals that she had ever seen. Not many had survived.

“What is it on?” a voice asked.

Roslin peered in closer, looking past the image for the first time to the surface below.

“It’s a door,” she said, breathlessly.

“Well then let’s open it,” Martin said as he grasped the handle and pulled.

Editing.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike editing? Yes? No? Well, I’m not sure if I have or haven’t but yeah, editing is not my favorite. In a way I like parts of it. I like that feeling of all of the little pieces coming together. When all of the words feel just right or the plot twist you had planned falls into place perfectly. Thats the good part.

The bad part is when the massive amount of words seems overwhelming. When you change something on page 98 and your 99% sure that because of that you also have to change something on page 35, no wait, maybe it was 42, no, maybe- well you get the idea. It’s tedious, and meticulous and for whatever reason I really struggle with doing it in a purely electronic format. I prefer hardcopy, red ink in the margins editing… which would be fine if it wasn’t slightly less expensive to routinely print out sections of the book for editing. Let’s not even talk about the number of trees that end up being sacrificed for the cause either.

Needless to say I am trying to become a reformed, more environmentally conscious editor. Trying being the operative word there, but hey progress is progress right. Unless you are completely sleep deprived in which case you are probably like me and not making any progress at all.

In other (not editing or writing related news) the instafreebie experiment was a success. Or at least I think it was. 856 samples were downloaded, I ended up with slightly less emails because initially I had made it 100% voluntary. The logic there was that I didn’t want to force anyone to sign up for emails that they weren’t really interested in. My email inbox is seriously out of control so I felt like I would be a hypocrite destroying the inboxes of others. That said, the opt in rate was low. Less than 10% low. I don’t plan on doing newsletters, or any type of regular emails. The only emails I plan on sending is to announce a new release. Personally, I don’t have an issue with people who want to unsubscribe. I’m slightly concerned about having a high unsubscribe rate initially which apparently the mailing list companies frown on (though I for the life of me do not understand why… people unsubscribe… people subscribe…. whatever). In the world of scam/phishing/junk emails… an author newsletter doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But hey whatever. It’s enough to make me considering manually sending out emails. Almost.

Anyways. Back to editing. T-13 days to meeting a deadline.