Category Archives: Writing

Free Book Marketing?

Deciding how to spend your marketing dollars on your indie book is tough.  After paying for an editor and book cover, now you have to decide how much to spend on marketing.  You’re already in the hole, and you wonder if your book will ever earn enough to recoup what you already have in it.  So how much more money do you spend on marketing, and will it make a difference in sales?

Well then, it’s time for some free marketing, right?

Unfortunately, nothing in life is free (Somebody famous said that I’m sure).  The majority of the free marketing sites I’ve run across require you to give your book away for free to join.  Most of them want you to have your book free on Amazon.  Basically, you have to be in KDP Select to really take advantage of these opportunities.  So it’s more like: If you want something for free, don’t write a book.  Yes, these sites are free for the reader but lost revenue for you.

The philosophy is that you need to get your name out there in order to build a following and eventually sell books.  Another philosophy I’ve heard is to price your book higher so that readers feel it has value and will buy it.  So like every other aspect of writing, there is no one path to success in marketing.

I’ve had my books on Amazon and Kobo and recently entered a few giveaways on Goodreads and Instafreebie (I also did an Amazon ad campaign).  I’ve been giving away book one of my series for several months to build readership.  I’ve given away about 600 copies of The Order of the Wolf.  I’ve also sponsored a Blog tour for my series and a book blitz for my new book release.

The net result of my efforts is three new book ratings/reviews on Goodreads, one on Amazon, and one on a review website.  I have sold a few copies of The Eastern Factor that just released, but not enough to get excited about.

My take away from all this is that people are more than willing to download a free book.  In fact, I think a lot of people are grabbing all the free e-books they can get their hands on.  Whether they read them is another matter.  I’ve actually heard people brag about how many books they have on their e-reader—more than they’ll read in their lifetime. If they read your book, they have to like it in order to rate it or buy the next book.  Finding readers to take your book isn’t so hard when you’re giving it away, but finding the right readers that will want to read more is the key.

Takeaway number two: I need to do more with ARC reviews and pre-order sales.  Much of the marketing is targeted for this period vs. after the release.

Another takeaway is that I need to have my giveaways on Amazon to harness the power of, well, Amazon.  I’ve resisted KDP Select for awhile, but I recognize that it is the best marketing platform to use when you’re trying to get established.  So this week I’m taking my books down from other sites and switching my series over to KDP Select and I am going to use their marketing features going forward.  Well, at least for the next 90 days.

I’ll admit, I’m a slow processor.  I have to mull over a problem for a while before deciding which way to go.  My wife says I’m hard-headed and will argue with a wall (I am not!), but I do eventually work out a path forward.  Let’s see where this one leads.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to get your copy of The Eastern Factor.    You’ll find it on Amazon.  And you can buy the complete Kingdom of Haven series there as well if you’re so inclined.

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Emotions Matter

We writers all have our philosophies about what makes a good story.  For me, it is all about the characters and the emotional content.  Characters matter because how interesting would a story be about a chair?

Not only do characters matter, but the reader has to feel something about the character for the story to work.  Love, Hate, disgust, sympathy—getting your reader to feel these is what makes your story enjoyable to read.  In order for the reader to feel them, your characters must show them.

In The Eastern Factor, the protagonist has issues.  He hasn’t had the best childhood, and if you read Stenson Blues, he made a mess of his first chance at love.  He’s damaged goods, and he has a hard time trusting—especially women.  So of course, one of the biggest hurdles he faces is learning to trust Neasa, the woman that becomes his strongest ally.  Here is the scene where they begin to bond (sort of):

 

Traveling in a litter makes you feel like a king. It was a heady feeling—lounging on cushions while strong men hoisted you down the street—or maybe I was light-headed from being enclosed with Neasa after our bath.

I was still a bit warm, and she smelled of some exotic spice that reminded me of the spearmint that grew wild in the woods outside Kartoba. Neasa seemed to revel in the experience, stretching on the cushions next to me like a cat and giving me a look that I preferred to ignore. Instead, I peered out through a gap in the curtains and watched the scenery go by. The fresh air on my face helped clear my mind.

There weren’t many people walking the street, and the houses we passed were more lavish than the one I had borrowed from Factor Einhardt. It seemed like a different town than the one we’d marched through earlier.

“Close the curtain, Olaf,” Neasa said. “They’ll think you’re an oaf from the west.”

“They who?” I replied as I pulled the curtain shut. “The streets are empty.” The minty smell became stronger with the curtain shut. It made my eyes water.

Neasa reached out and patted my arm. “They are watching, believe me.”

I fought the urge to pull away. The litter was wide enough for us to recline side-by-side, but with little room to move otherwise. Besides, I didn’t want her to realize how frightened I was of her.

It was hard to admit, but I finally had to:  Neasa terrified me. She was pretty and powerful and deadly—and, worst of all, she had decided that we were destined to be together. I hoped that she saw us as allies and nothing more, but I was afraid to ask. My body lay stiffly on the cushions and I stared at the curtain in front of me, waiting for her to pull her hand away.

Instead, she ran her finger down my arm. “Why are you so tense, Olaf?”

When I didn’t respond, she finally pulled her hand away and let out a sigh. “I just want to talk.”

I peeked at her from the corner of my eye. She looked back at me with a serious expression. I wasn’t sure if that was better than her teasing.

“Olaf, we are allies in this. I know that I might have …” She paused as if choosing her words carefully. “I know I startled you during the New Year celebration.” She looked contrite, almost sorrowful, with a little frown on her face and a tearful gleam in her eye. “I keep forgetting how spooked you Uplanders get when there is talk of the gods, but I’d had a vivid vision, and I could not keep it to myself.”

I didn’t want to hear about her vision again. I could feel my chest tighten as soon as she mentioned the gods. Anyone from the Seven Kingdoms would have had the same reaction.

“I’m sorry for springing this on you, but you have had plenty of time to think about it since.” She moved to reach for my arm again, but I shied away. Her hand paused, just out of reach. “Know this, Olaf. I will not try to trick you or force you to do anything. We are allies and our destinies are intertwined.” Then she lowered her hand to rest it on my arm. “Your enemies are my enemies.”

Even through my coat sleeve, her touch sent a thrill through me. It was nothing carnal, but more like a shiver of fear. I suddenly felt as though the gods were watching our every move.

The litter came to an abrupt halt and she pulled her hand free again. “We have arrived.”

 

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A Thick Skin Wins the Match

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There was an article in Archeology Magazine a few years ago about the diet of Roman gladiators and how it helped them maintain a fat layer to minimize the damage from being cut.  Basically, they consumed a vegetarian diet high in carbohydrates which supposedly maintained this fat layer.  for superficial cuts, the fat layer would help prevent serious injury.  Who knows if it’s true, but the idea has merit.  Who wouldn’t want extra protection when someone is swinging a sword at you?

This reminds me of a very true expression you hear about writing:  If you want to be a writer, you need to have thick skin.  While writing a book isn’t as treacherous as entering the Roman arena and someone eviscerating your story isn’t the same as someone trying to slice you in two, a metaphorical thick skin comes in handy for a writer (that’s why we like chocolate so much — it’s for our own protection).

I’ve worked with a variety of writing groups over the years, some online and some in person.  There are always writers who politely thank you for your input, no matter how brutal they felt it was, and then there are some who haven’t eaten their porridge.  They haven’t worked on developing their thick skin, and they are not ready to listen and learn.

Bottom line, if someone is volunteering their time to give you feedback, at least listen and consider what they are saying.  Thank them, take what is useful, discard the rest, and move on.  Getting defensive and combative is not a productive use of your time.  Of course, I can say this now, but it is not easy when you first start out and have not developed your protective fat layer. (Thick skin does sound better, doesn’t it?)

It took me awhile to realize that writing is a group activity.  The only way to improve and learn the craft is to work with other writers in one fashion or another.  It’s like sparring with your fellow gladiators in the practice yard.  The purpose is to practice and learn from each other.  It does you no good if they’re hitting you will pillows instead of practice swords (unless you do this), and if you can’t take a smack or two, you’ll never get any better.

So smile and thank the people who are trying to help you.  Eat your porridge (of course I prefer Reese’s Cups) and let those superficial cuts slide off you like so many pinpricks on a gladiator’s fat layer.  You’ll come out stronger for it in the end, and maybe even prevail in the writing arena.

And if you run across one of those bullies who likes to draw blood without trying to help you get better, just walk away.  When you meet them later in the arena, they’ll still be at the same skill level and you’ll have grown into a lean (fat?) writing machine.   And we all know how that fight ends.

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All Good Tours Come to an End

Today is the last day of my blog tour for the Kingdom of Haven series hosted by SAGE’s BLOG TOURS.  The last stop is a book spotlight and review on Hogwash.  The review is for the first book in the series The Order of the Wolf.

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You can still get your free copy of The Order of the Wolf here along with 60+ other fantasy novels in the Secret Worlds – Fantasy Giveaway going on until February 10th.

Don’t forget to get your copy of The Eastern Factor: Kingdom of Haven Book 3 when it’s released on January 30th (Like you’re going to forget when I keep reminding you).

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What’s Better than 1 Free Book?

60 Free Books!

It’s like books falling from the sky, except these are ebooks, so it doesn’t hurt to catch them (Well, I’m assuming it doesn’t hurt. I’ve never tried to catch one).

The Order of the Wolf is included in a Secret Worlds – Fantasy Giveaway sponsored by Books Go Social.  Sixty fantasy novels by various authors all in one place.

So if you’re a fantasy fiend, check them out.  If you like secret worlds, check them out.  If you like free books, check them out.  Oh heck, just check them out.

Don’t forget to leave a review (Amazon, Kobo, your grandma’s blog)  if you decide to read my book.  Reader feedback is like popcorn at the movies – you can’t get enough. (And don’t forget the Reese’s Cups)

(Okay, I just stumbled upon Grandma’s Briefs when writing this blog post, but it was such a cool site that I had to throw it in here.)

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Tour This!

Check out the next stop on my blog tour promoting the Kingdom of Haven series.  It’s posted at Ramblings of a Book Nerd.

I finished the book file for The Eastern Factor the other day, and am finishing the paperback book cover design today.  Correction, my friend Don is designing the paperback cover today.  I’m just being a pain to him with my “Can you….” questions.

Luckily, he can and I really like the cover design.

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Reality is finally setting in that book three is on the way.  Book ARC anyone?

 

 

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Kingdom of Havan — jbronderbookreviews

Check out my author interview on jbronderbookreviews.

Kingdom of Haven Series By Freddie Silva Genre: Fantasy The Order of the Wolf: Kingdom of Haven Book 1 The Order of the Wolf is set in the Seven Kingdoms, where the rulers are greedy and mercenary companies known as the Free Orders are paid to settle their disputes. As a member of The Order of the […]

via Kingdom of Havan — jbronderbookreviews

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