Please Join My Launch Team

Six days into 2018, and I’m finally solidifying my writing goals. The focus of this year will be on my Angels of Sojourn series, which includes Blood & Holy Water and four other stories.

I’m getting some fabulous covers for this series, creating some memorable characters, and trying to gain some new readers & fans.

To do all that, I need your help. I am looking for people to join my launch team. People who will help spread the word of these stories by purchasing the book(s) when they’re specially priced at 99 cents, leave reviews, or help share Facebook posts.

of sojourn

Here’s my (ambitious) plan for the year:

  • Blood & Holy Water: New Cover in Spring
  • Fangs & Fairy Dust: Publishing February 1st in the Darklight & Daydreams anthology, then republishing as a stand-alone novella in May.
  • Fur & Feathers: Publishing late spring/early summer
  • Untitled Novella: Publishing in the Unleashed anthology in August, then republishing as a stand-alone novella in December.
  • Lily & Grimm (or some other titled): Publishing late fall/early winter

And then that may be the end to this series with new things for 2019.

Please join my launch team HERE:

Here’s my tentative calendar.

January

1/15/18: Hexes and Ohs Published

February

2/1/18: Darklight & Daydreams Published (Fangs & Fairy Dust)

March April

Relaunch Blood & Holy Water?

May

Publish Fangs & Fairy Dust independently

June

Publish Fur & Feathers

July August

8/20/18: Unleashed Anthology Published (untitled novella in Angels of Sojourn world)

September October

Publish Lily & Grimm

November

 

December

Publish untitled novella from Unleashed independently.

How about you? What are you focusing on in 2018?

Sneak Peek of Fur & Feathers

Angels of SojournAs some of you know, I’m trying NaNoWriMo again this year. I know I won’t be able to hit the 50,000 word goal, but if I write half of that, I’ll be happy!

To celebrate writing my first 3 chapters of Fur & Feathers: Angels of Sojourn Book 2, I’m being brave and sharing my completely unedited, un-beta-read first chapter of my first draft.

Blurb:

Katrina Hartley is determined to protect her five-year-old werewolf son, but when the boy’s accused of a gruesome attack during the recent full moon, Katrina must clear her son’s name…only she’s not sure where the child was during the full moon. When one clue after another points towards her son, she never expected the help of a fallen angel.

After recently falling, angel Simon Parker searches for his long-lost family and his place in the human world, all the while trying to forget about the woman he loved for nearly 100 years. When a desperate mother crosses his path, he can’t help but wanting to feel useful again…even if she doesn’t want his help.


Chapter 1

 

SIMON

The moonlight filtered through the pine boughs and cast long shadows across the front of the old fieldstone home. Tucked a few steps into the neighboring forest, Simon leaned against an oak tree watching for a sign someone was home.

After two weeks of waiting, his stomach still danced in anticipation for meeting his family…again.

He pushed himself tighter to the tree, enjoying the uncomfortable sensation of the bumps digging into his back. Since falling from Sojourn six months ago, he hadn’t got used to his heightened sense of touch, especially in a spot that had held wings for over two hundred years.

The other thing he hadn’t gotten used to was not having a purpose in life. He’d always taken pride in his position as head angel advisor, but now, he was nothing but a washed-up angel in love with a woman he could never have.

And he wasn’t even waiting in front of that woman’s home. In fact, he was on the other side of the country, in Maine, avoiding her, waiting outside his old family estate and attempting to relish in the memories from when he was human…the first time.

If you call the limbo he was in being human.

Every night for the past two weeks he had been coming here under the cover of the pines and oaks, trying to get up enough courage to knock on the door. To announce that he was their long, dead great, great grandfather. His family had to still live here, as the mailbox at the end of the windy driveway still said “Parker.” A couple with mostly gray hair lived in the home now. Simon tried to find the resemblance to his wife, or perhaps himself, but failed. How would these people take his news?

When a shadow drifted in front of a window, towards a large mahogany door, Simon jerked forward.

Perhaps now was the time.

This whole dream was ridiculous. They wouldn’t know him, and how would he explain? Would he reveal his hidden wings then make them pull out some old war photos and show them the resemblance? Would they even believe him? Humans were always so skeptical – always looking for the trick.

Could he ever make up for what he lost so many years ago?

Do it. You have to. Why else are you on earth?

Taking a deep breath, he stood tall and took a step towards the small home.

From beside him, a snap came from the woods, halting his progress. He flicked his head in that direction.

When the snapping of branches and feet thumping against the dirt grew louder, Simon stepped out of the moonlight and returned to the shadow of the oak.

On a small, worn trail emerged a sprinting pup. Its front and back legs were moving fast and when the pup turned a corner toward Simon, it’s legs flew out from underneath it, sending it tumbling on its side.

“Whatcha doing?” Simon whispered, squatting down to help the pup over.

The pup flipped to its feet without assistance, and when it flicked it’s head up, the its yellow-green eyes widened at the sight of Simon. It darted around again, brushing a pine bow out of the way as it turned back into the woods down a different path.

Out from the pup’s trail came a gentle rustling of branches and shuffling of fine gravel. Simon stood and tilted his chin. Another dog?

A light shadow moved from behind the trees and before Simon could process what was happening, a beautiful, white wolf leapt into the clearing, plowing right into Simon, knocking him to the ground with a thump.

With a racing heart and all the air knocked from his lungs, for a moment all he could do was look into the wolf’s knowing eyes. As the beast leaned down to sniff…or bite his neck, he stepped into Sojourn and transported himself behind a boulder just far enough to be out of the wolf’s way.

How did humans survive without special abilities?

The wolf’s head jerked left, then right, then put its nose to the ground and followed the trail the pup had taken.

Was the big wolf hunting the smaller one?

Simon felt a tingle in his chest, the pull of a miracle.

Could it be fallen angels get miracles, too?

Even if it wasn’t possible, it had been a while since he had done something for someone else…

Ignore it. Those are only animals.

Simon returned his gaze to his family home and focused on the peacefulness of it.

But his stomach still tingled, pulling him back into the woods, away from the house.

Oh, Great Angels. You can’t ignore a miracle.

Hiding in the shadow’s of Sojorn, he transported himself along the path of the white wolf until the animals came in sight. The wolf had tackled the young one, pinning it down and growling. Simon’s heart raced at the sight of the sharp white teeth reflecting the moonlight.

Taking a deep breath, he stepped from the shadows right beside the wolf. With all his might, Simon threw his body into the animal and knocked it over while keeping his eyes on the wolf’s fangs, prepared to transport away if it went in for a taste.

The wolf shook its head, dazed, and Simon used this to his advantage. He scooped the pup into his arms, holding its snout closed with his hand, and transported…

Oh no.

He tried again, thinking of the mattress he’d been calling home for the past two weeks.

Nothing.

He didn’t budge.

The white wolf snarled in front of him as it stalked closer. Simon turned the pup in his arm, squeezing it tightly against his body with one hand. Twisting around, he scrambled to the closest pine and gripped a branch above his head. With all his might, he hefted himself up, grateful that angels, fallen or not, were stronger than humans. His feet found two limbs and he steadied himself, climbing up and feeling his fingers stick to the sap-filled tree limbs.

Beneath him, the wolf growled and nipped at his shoe. Simon scrambled to pull himself up another branch, but the beast’s teeth sank into the sole. Simon kicked it off, continuing to climb. One branch after another and he hefted himself and the pup up. When the wolf’s growls grew silent, he turned down and a rush of dizziness hit him.

Who ever heard of an angel afraid of heights.

He hugged the tree trunk tightly and turned to sit on a thick limb…and at that moment, the pup bit the lapel of his jacket.

He jerked, wanting to throw it down, but from this height, it would mean the animal’s death. Leaning back against the limb and balancing steady, he looked up into the nearly full moon and pulled the wolf back, clasping his mouth shut once again.

Once Simon’s heart stopped pounding, he focused on the sounds of rustling leaves, breaking pine branches, and something else loud, but unidentifiable from below. “Holy Sojourn. What are we going to do?”

The pup whined.

In a moment, the noises stopped and the forest grew eerily silent.

“We did it,” Simon said, focusing on the tingle still in his chest. Was saving the pup not his miracle?

He tried to transport back to the ground, but, once again, nothing happened. What was wrong with his abilities?

Simon took a deep breath, tightened his grip on a branch, and glanced down. He hadn’t climbed up far. He could get down, if only he didn’t look.

Twisting in the tree and holding on tight, he lowered one foot down, searching for a branch.

“Let him go!” came a woman’s voice from below.

Simon jumped, hugging the tree tighter.

“Thank you ma’am, but be careful. There’s a wolf in the woods.”

The woman sighed. “You’re holding a wolf. Let him go. I’m sure he wants to get back to his mother.”

His mother?

Simon glanced down at the woman, and before another rush of dizziness hit him, he was certain he saw a woman, completely naked, using a few pine boughs to shield her body.

“Oh, great miracle!” he exclaimed. “Um…I’m not coming down with you naked below me.”

A heavy huff came from the woman, “Fine. Let me get my clothes,” she said as she stormed away.

 

KATRINA

 Katrina kept one eye on the man holding her son as she edged herself to the white fence surrounding the home. She pulled the pale blue dress off a post she had left it on and pulled it over her head. “There,” she called, spinning around to the man sitting on a branch, clutching her son, and covering his eyes with his free hand. “I have clothing on, you can look.”

Truth be told, she didn’t know when she’d get used to running around in the woods naked. Did anyone get used to that? But she’d do anything to ensure her son was safe. She’d even galivant through downtown Portland bare-skinned, if that’s what it took.

As she returned to the foot of the giant yellow pine, the tree’s slightly citrus scent flooded her sensitive sense of smell. There was another scent there…one she couldn’t quite identify, yet was familiar.

“Okay, give me the wolf pup,” she called up the tree in her sweetest, calmest voice, despite the turmoil spinning inside.

She took another whiff of the air, confirming the man was not a wolf… She had gotten a good whiff when she knocked him over. He was not wolf, for sure…but she wasn’t certain he was human either. He smelled slightly of cinnamon—a scent that had been prevalent in this forest for the past few weeks.

“You better not bite me,” he warned the pup as he shifted it in his long arms.

Katrina reached her arms up. “He wouldn’t have bitten onto you if you’d let him alone.”

“I saved him from that other wolf.” The man attempted to lower himself down, but his foot missed the branch and he stood there, in the tree.

“That wolf…was his mother! Now, I’ll need to find her to reunite them.” The man hadn’t moved. His knuckles white from gripping the tree. “You’re not afraid of heights, are you? Do I need to call the fire department to get you a ladder?” Katrina couldn’t help her laugh. The big tall man afraid to be up twenty feet or so. The man swayed in the tree. “Stop. Don’t move,” Katrina yelled, thinking of the worst case. What if the man let go of the pup?

Branch by branch, Katrina climbed until she was beside the man. Contrasting with his nearly black hair, his vivid blue eyes almost seemed to glow in the dark. Did her yellowish ones look the same way? Katrina leaned forward and gave him a cautious whiff. The cinnamon scent was strong…and he had no scent that reminded her of human. The usual metallic, salty human odor was absent.

She leaned closer and gave another whiff.

“What are you doing, smelling me? You’re not a vampire, are you?”

Vampire?

What did this man know?

Katrina snatched the pup from the man’s arms and pulled away. “Who are you?”

“My name’s Simon.”

Katrina left him in the tree, climbing down as fast as she could. “No. I meant WHAT are you?”

A nervous laugh. “Just a normal guy…”

When Katrina’s feet hit the soft pine forest floor, she let out a nervous laugh. “A normal guy outside at night…window peeping.”

She dropped her son to the ground and they both took off running.

A man outside at night…who isn’t afraid of a wolf.

Who seemed to believe vampires are real.

Protect Alex at all costs.

When Katrina was certain she was out of sight, she whipped the dress over her head and shifted into her wolf form in one huge leap. When she caught up to Alex, she nipped his heels, urging him to run faster. Daylight was coming and they needed to be home before anyone spotted them.

To read Book 1 in the Angels of Sojourn series, Blood & Holy Water Click HERE.

To read Katrina’s story for free, check out Bitten in my free giveaway, Quick Escape, Fantasy Tales HERE.

 

 

Camp NaNo – My First Sequel

July’s Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I’m excited to start my first sequel! I published Blood & Holy Water back in April, and since then, readers have been asking for a sequel…so…here we go! I have a tentative cover (since, for some reason, covers motivate me to write) and a working title.

bhw ff

Book 1 (Blood & Holy Water) was about an angel who needed a miracle to earn her wings…and it turns out her miracle involved a vampire with a secret to protect.

Book 2 (Feathers & Fur) will be about a recently fallen angel who can’t help but try to do good, but when his path’s cross with a werewolf mother that doesn’t want his help, he feels lost in this new world.

I have the whole thing outlined, and know the characters since they appeared in other stories. (The fallen angel was in Blood & Holy Water and the werewolf was in my story Bitten in my Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales freebie.)

Next, I need to come up with a series title.

So, who’s in Camp with me? What will you be working on?

Book Launch Results

My Writing Journey (1)

In my post nearly a month ago, I asked, “Is there such thing as a perfect book launch?” You can get caught up by reading it HERE.

My newest novel, Blood & Holy Water, launched April, 4th. I had done a ton of research on successful launch techniques and devised the best launch I was capable of.

I promised to circle back and let you know how it went.

The good news: It was the best launch I’ve ever had! (Okay, okay. It’s only my second one.) I hit #17 on one amazon best seller’s list and #3053 in the overall Kindle store.

IMG_0723

After everything I did, here’s what my sales graph looks like for this novel for the past 3 weeks. It was priced at 99 cents for most the time. The first chart (in red) is number of units sold and the bottom chart (in blue) is Kindle page reads. (Each page read equates to about half a cent of revenue.)

book launch

On April 22nd, I raised the price to $2.99 and you can see the drop off in sales. We’ll see how this goes.

My key points I’m taking with me to my next launch:

  1. Kindle Scout: I had been on the fence about the Kindle Scout program. Overall, it netted me at least eight newsletter subscribers and twenty-nine book sales. Granted, some of these were family and friends that had voted for me, but there were still at least 29 sales from this program. Even better would have been if my novel was accepted. I still will do Kindle Scout next time…Maybe I should be embarrassed my book wasn’t picked, but I’m not. They only pick 3% of submitted books anyway.
  2. My Newsletter: This was a ROCK STAR!!! I sold another twenty-eight novels PLUS I found advanced readers to post reviews. Overall, I went live with about fifteen really good reviews on this book.
  3. Pre-publish a Paperback: MUST-DO to collect advanced reviews.
  4. Well-planned launch week. I sold 227 books the first week…though, this does not break even, it is SO NICE to see my book in so many people’s hands. My launch promotion was still spread a little thin. Next time, I’ll pile everything on 3-5 days to build up my ranking using a combo of free and paid advertising.
  5. Also, surprisingly I found Facebook ads helped for the book priced at 99 cents (though, I took a loss with each sale, I was trying to build up my ranking.) Now that my books $2.99, the ads don’t work as well.

The so-so things:

  1. My Newsletter: yeah, it also had some downsides. I felt it was a little self-promoty without building a relationship with all my subscribers first. I blogged about my panic HERE.
  2. Amazon giveaways to grow a following on Amazon: Maybe a handful of sales. This is probably’s not worth it.
  3. Goodreads giveaway to build up the “to read” list. I dunno. It only costed $8 and had nearly 700 people add it to their “to read” list. I’m uncertain if this turns into anything.
  4. Newsletter swaps/cross promos. So-so results at the expense of tiring out your own readers promoting other’s books.

The bad stuff: Do I really need bad stuff?

I still didn’t break even with money…but again, it’s still cheaper than many other hobbies…cheaper than a latte every morning.

Pre-publishing Costs: $335 ($105 of this was spent towards trying to find a cover I liked. I used fiverr, bought photos, etc because I just couldn’t find something I was happy with. This is part of the reason I’m leaning towards finding my own graphic designer for future novels…2018 goals.)

Publishing Promotion Costs/Advertising for Launch Week: $167 (I accidentally book an extra promo site for $40, as I thought I had been denied and forgot about it.) Next time: only $100!

Sales Since Launch: $208 (286 ebooks, 5 paperbacks, 21,155 page reads) PLUS extra promo for Love, Lies & Clones $24 (28 books, 2404 page reads) Total: $222

So…not counting pre-publishing costs, I made $55. When you add in pre-publishing costs, I’m in the hole…$280, which is about the same as Love, Lies & Clones three weeks after release, BUT it’s in the hands of a ton more readers! Win. Win. Win. (Since my goal is simply for people to read my stuff.)

I probably overspent on the launch…just like I did with my Kindle Countdown deal for Love, Lies & Clones. Oh well…it’s an experiment. Now, when The Secret Lives of the Superheroes’ Wives is ready to publish this fall, I’ll be one step closer to the “perfect” launch.

Thanks for sharing in my journey.

–Joy

Planning the “PERFECT” Book Launch

My Writing Journey (1)

Is there such thing as a perfect book launch?

I have my new novel, Blood & Holy Water, set to launch this week. I’ve done a pile of reading, listened to as many podcasts and webinars as I could find, and spoke with other indie authors on successful techniques.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, just hitting the “publish” button does not bring in sales for a novel. It takes some work (and, perhaps, some magic.)

I know I don’t have the secret formula here, but here’s how I lined up my release.

Pre-Launch:

  • Built up my email list / mailing list. I began my push in January, with a real focus in February. Now, I’m up to nearly 1500 subscribers. (You can see how I did this in my 1000 “True” Fans Blog Series.) I’ll email this list during my launch and cross my fingers for some interest in Blood & Holy Water.
  • Kindle Scout program. This was a way to extend my reach / distribution list in a different way. I had 1400 people view my campaign page and Amazon will send those that voted for my book a notification that it’s available at launch. I’ve already had eight people sign up for my mailing list due to the campaign. We’ll see if it helps launch day. If not, I may be done with this program.
  • I hosted a few Amazon Giveaways of my last novel. To qualify for the giveaway, you needed to follow my author page. Amazon then sends notification out to my followers when I publish new books. (You can check out how this looks HERE.) (Of note, I think they already sent out notification of the pre-order which returned 3 or 4 sales.) Here’s a post on how to set this up.
  • I started distributing Advanced Reader Copies 6 weeks ago so I’d have some reviews on launch day (social proof). This is working as I have 9 fantastic reviews up on Amazon so far.
  • Published the paperback so I can collect these reviews from my Advanced Readers. (You can’t leave a review on a pre-order.)
  • Since I have a paperback version, I created a Goodreads Giveaway building up Blood & Holy Water’s “to read” list. After publishing Love, Lies & Clones, I said I wouldn’t do this again…but I did with only one copy this time. (HERE‘s that giveaway, if you’d like to see how that looks.)
  • Coordinated my launch schedule — see below — booking places to advertise and coordinating cross-promotion. I understand, the way Amazon’s algorithm works, you want a few days of steady sales for Amazon to notice you. I chose to spread the heart of my my launch over five days.
  • Put my book up on pre-order so I can make sure the blurb, categories, etc are okay. I am not advertising this pre-order because they don’t help you out on Amazon (actually, they can hurt you if they pull away sales from launch day. I did this wrong last time.)
  • Got an Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) ad ready for the new book. It takes time to put in the 1000 keywords.

Launch:

This is what I have planned this week for my launch. I don’t know if it’ll work…I’m pricing the book at 99 cents for most (perhaps all) of April, since I’m a no-name author and am trying to build up ranking. I tried $2.99 with my other book, Love, Lies & Clones for a few days and sales suffered. I know I may be throwing money away doing this, but I’m afraid to go at $2.99. If the novel does well, I might try to vary the pricing on the days I don’t have promos. Not on this list is I’m also running a discount on my other novel, with hopes that maybe there’ll be some cross-promotion between the two.

  • Tuesday 4/4: Launch day! I’m not pushing the book yet. I want to make sure everything looks good before I go that route. I will notify Kindle Scout of the release so they can send out their email to those that nominated me. This is more of an experiment, as I want to see if the Kindle Scout Program brings book sales. (Free, so far.)
  • Wednesday 4/5: Notify my Facebook followers. Get a post ready to boost later this week. Ask for shares to extend my reach. Also, a review forum I belong to, http://www.critters.org, will send out a notification to the other members late this night. Will also use twitter, instagram, and tumblr, mostly to prepare posts for use of co-promote later this week. Alert Reader’s Gazette of Bargain. (Note, all of this is free.)
  • Thursday 4/6: Headtalker campaign (free) and Booksends / eReader IQ ($35). What (Shameless plug: You can support my HeadTalker campaign HERE, if you’d like.)
  • Friday 4/7: Bargain Booksy $40 & People Reads $9  and my newsletter goes out (1500 subscribers) and an email from a critique forum I belong to (critters.org) that critiqued the novel. Also, will start using copromote to extend my reach.
  • Saturday 4/8: Free Kindle Books & Tips $25. I will also boost a Facebook post to people that like my page, their friends, and upload my newsletter email list. http://www.critters.org will also resend my info to the group.
  • Sunday 4/9: Resend my newsletter to non-openers as a “Thank-you for your support” email. Awesomegang $10 & SweetFreeBooks $7
  • Monday 4/10: BK Knights $11. I’m participating in a cross-promotion for Science Fiction & Fantasy Books priced at 99 cents. 4/10 through 4/16.

Post-Launch:

I may add to this list as opportunities arise. I want to keep the momentum going (if possible.)

Second week post-launch:

  • Tuesday 4/11: SF&F 99 Cent Cross Promo
  • Wednesday 4/12: SF&F 99 Cent Cross Promo and resend my newsletter to non-openers through a different mail program (Mailerlite instead of Mailchimp) trying to get as many opens as possible.
  • Thursday 4/13 through Sunday 4/16: SF&F 99 Cent Cross Promo

Third week post-launch:

  • Wednesday 4/19: Multi-genre indie author cross promo 99 cents
  • Thursday 4/20: Multi-genre indie author cross promo 99 cents and a newsletter swap with another indie author

Fourth week post-launch:

  • Saturday 4/29: Fussy Librarian $22

I had heard that spending about $100 on a launch is helpful for the Amazon algorithms to kick in. (Even though that means I need to sell an impossible 432 books just to break even with this.) For my last book (Love, Lies & Clones) I spent virtually nothing on the launch and wanted to try something different with this novel. This whole thing is an experiment anyway. Maybe I’ll get it right when I release my next novel, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives.

As always, I’ll make sure to update you with results. I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect launch, and what works for some won’t work for others, but, hey, it’s fun to try. 🙂

If you’re interested in how my last launch went (for Love, Lies & Clones), you can check out my blog posts here: 30 Days Post-Launch, 60 Days Post-Launch, 90 Days Post-Launch.

I’m always looking for advice. What am I missing?

I Need Your Vote! (& How to Advertise Kindle Scout)

First off, I’m asking for a favor. If you have an Amazon login, would you head over to Kindle Scout and nominate my novel, Blood & Holy Water? Voting ends March 5th. (Thank you in advance.)

bhw-ks

Kindle Scout is Amazon’s publishing platform. It was designed to keep a steady stream of good books flowing into their Kindle Unlimited program. Authors need to have a polished book, including the novel itself, the cover, editing, etc, before they submit into the program.

Once in the program, it gives Amazon a 45 day exclusivity window to consider publishing your book. To keep the author busy during this time, they are urged to solicit as many nominations as they can. As a reward for nominations, your book gets to be displayed on the Hot & Trending list. Amazon never really says if the nominations matter, speculation is that they may matter if your book is borderline, or if you get a TON of nominations, they may look at your story harder.

Okay. Now to the fun part of this blog post!

As I promised a month ago, I wanted to talk a little on how to promote your novel on Kindle Scout.

Why promote? Besides a little push it may give Amazon to select your novel,  I look at the Kindle Scout program as pre-publishing marketing. It’s just another way to build an audience for when you publish, whichever way you do that. How else could you get 1000’s of eyes on your book? The best part? On your release day (with or without a Kindle Press publishing contract) everyone that nominated your book gets an email saying they can now go and purchase it. Did this work out for me for Love, Lies & Clones? A little. I did get a handful of purchases from the Kindle Scout email, but I think I had my pricing wrong.

In my first campaign for Love, Lies & Clones I was clueless on what this whole program was and what to do in it. I pushed my book as much as possible on my platforms on Day #1, then ran out of people to bombard with my message, VOTE FOR ME! VOTE FOR ME!

Here’s what my stats looked like. The blue bars are hours on the Hot & Trending list (Remember, Hot & Trending = more visibility and exposure for your novel. Once you fall off, it’s hard to get back on.) The orange line graph is the number of page views my novel received. Notice the dreaded middle! Ouch.

llc-ks-stats

Let’s talk strategy. Your goal is to obtain as many votes as you can. Both for raising the flag to Amazon to seriously consider your novel, but to also gather an audience for when you release (even if you’re not selected.) To make this program work for you, you want to stay on the Hot & Trending list as much as possible. If your cover isn’t good, or your story doesn’t interest people, you may be out of luck, despite everything you try. THE KEY TO STAYING ON THE HOT AND TRENDING LIST IS A STEADY STREAM OF NOMINATIONS.

When does your campaign need the most help? The middle! Take a look at the huge sag! During the middle, so it’s important to be strategic with these techniques to help raise up the page views during this time–hopefully translating into votes and hours on the Hot & Trending list. Keep in mind, this is easier said than done. Here’s my current campaign for Blood & Holy Water. I’m still trying to figure it out, but the center of my campaign looks better than it did with Love, Lies & Clones. At least there’s some hours on Hot & Trending. (Note, on day 3 of my campaign, Amazon sent out a huge marketing push for the Kindle Scout program, which created that spike in everyone’s data. That had nothing to do with anything I had done.)

ks-data

Moving on. We know promoting your Kindle Scout campaign is important. How do you do it? Here’s some ideas I used or considered. (Remember, I haven’t “won” with Kindle Scout yet, so these ideas are only ideas.)

FREE MARKETING

What worked well for me with a big impact is below. (Keep in mind, I feel I could have had better results if my audience was bigger.)

Reach out to your family and friends: I used Facebook (& this blog, of course.) My author page & my personal page. My secret was that I waited to reach out to this group when my page views started to tank and I began falling off the Hot & Trending list. These friends & family are your secret weapon. Use them strategically when you need them. (Plus, you don’t want to spam them either.) I reached out to them on 9th & 11th day of my current campaign. (See graph above.)

Reach out to your mailing list: Yeah, here we are again, talking about the importance of a mailing list. (Build your list early! I can’t say that enough. Stop everything, create a giveaway, then get back to writing that novel.) I sent out an email to my group (I split my group in two and sent the same email to half of them one week and the other half the next to spread my page views/nominations out.) This got me enough nominations to push me on the Hot and Trending list for hours over two days after each email. My first newsletter went out on the 14th day of my campaign. See how the bump in page views and hot & trending hours for the next few days on the above graph. My second one went out yesterday, I’m still waiting for results. This segmenting your mailing list is a great way to keep a consistent flow of traffic to your campaign. Perhaps, break your list into 4 or 5 segments. A little push in the beginning to get you on the list, then one each week and another push 4 days from the end?

kboards: I LOVE kboards for more reasons than just my Kindle Scout campaign. It’s a great group of authors who have published on kindle. There’s a nice thread of people connected with Kindle Scout HERE, and they’ll get you a ton of nominations at the end of the campaign. (Take a look at Love, Lies & Clones campaign ending.)

These things had a marginal impact on my campaign:

Headtalker: I’m on the fence about HeadTalker. I had a campaign, I built up a social reach of over a million people and that got me a bump on the 19th and 20th day of my Blood & Holy Water Campaign (See graph above.) Here’s a link to HeadTalker.

Twitter? Um…I don’t know about this. It works better for obtaining nominations than it does for selling a novel. What worked with my last campaign, that I didn’t do with this one, was creating an automatic Direct Message that said, “I could use your help right now. Would you vote for me?” Then following 50 people a day, hopefully, they follow back and vote for you. Why I chose not to do it this time? I didn’t want to be annoying and I wanted to be more genuine.

Copromote: I used this platform to build up “credits” before my launch, then asked other people to share my message. I had nearly 100K credits/reach built up, but this went fast–and I’m not sure of the success. I tend to share posts on twitter to build my credits and then only have my message shared on the other platforms to make my credits last longer. Maybe this brought in a few page views/votes. Here’s a link to Copromote.

Goodreads: I probably just don’t know how to use this platform in its entirety, but there’s a board I posted nomination requests on. I did have a few fellow Kindle Scout authors throw a nomination my way. I also used this to distribute Advanced Reader Copies (and sent them to Kindle Scout first, to check it out before they said they were interested.) Again, a few people went this way.

PAID MARKETING

I struggled with paid marketing. If you’re taking this as a launch platform, and wanting to get as many people as possible to nominate your book for exposure for your publishing day, then paid marketing may be worthwhile. I didn’t explore this much, but know of two ways to go about doing this.

Facebook Ads: I dabbled in this. I spent $2.60 to run my ad for 1&1/2 days. I picked to boost a post to people who liked my page and their friends. The reason I chose to do this is because Facebook only displays your page posts to a few people who liked your page. I have over 200 people there, and only then had seen my request. My boost was scheduled for 7 days at a budget of $2 per day, but I stopped it early, after 2 days because it started to show to the same people over and over. (Remember, I don’t want to be annoying.) This got me the page view boost on days 19 and 20 on the above graph though. You can boost posts to custom audiences, creating a list of people who read on Kindle and follow authors of similar stories. I had tried this with Love, Lies & Clones and felt it got quite expensive quickly…with minimal results for the price. BUT, I’m not an expert at Facebook Ads. In fact, I really don’t know much at all. Expanding and dabbling with this would be a great way to keep that steady trickle of nominations.

Author Shout: I hadn’t heard of this program during my first campaign and only discovered it halfway into my second campaign. Of the other authors I interact with, they say this has been helpful with a steady trickle of nominations. (Some authors citing about 20 page views from this program.) They have a Kindle Scout campaign that costs $10. If I would have known, I may have given this a try. Next time. Here’s a link to them.

And I’ll leave this post at that. Please ask questions if you have any and share your own wisdom in the comments.

–Joy

 

If you’d like to read more, Lincoln Cole, a Kindle Scout winner, has a fantastic reference book. It’s called “Kindle Scout Guide: How to Run a Hot & Trending Campaign and Improve Your Odds of Getting Picked” This is THE book to get to walk you through your campaign, from preparation, to marketing, to what happens next.

Also, you can check out one of my blog posts about the program HERE (Preparing for Kindle Scout) or HERE (My Nomination Request for my previous novel). Or, head over to the Kindle Scout website HERE.

 

Wanted: Readers to Review my Novel (Again!)

Anyone willing to receive a free digital copy of my novel, BLOOD & HOLY WATER, in exchange for a review or two on Amazon, Good Reads, or wherever else? I’m planning on publishing the book in April and would love to get some reviews right away upon publication.

Any takers? Comment below, use the “contact me” page, or shoot me an email and I’ll get you a copy of the novel.

I’ve been describing the story a urban fantasy with some suspense/paranormal romance.

You can read the first few chapters here to see if you like it: Blood & Holy Water on Kindle Scout

high-qualityVAMPIRES AREN’T PERFECT, BUT NEITHER ARE ANGELS.

Ava’s sick of mundane angel duties. She wants a promotion to finally earn her wings. A promotion takes more than hard work; it takes a miracle—literally. Unfortunately, her miracle’s impossible, as it involves a vampire.

Fin has no time for frivolous gestures. He’s too busy avoiding his own kind to care what a naïve angel wants. But when the other vampires uncover his deepest secret, threatening what he cherishes most, nothing can help him except a miracle. Too bad he chased the angel away.

Have a great day and, as always, thanks for stopping over & supporting me.

–Joy