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New Year…New Goals

January 5, 2022 by in category Writing

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  

I have a very important question for you.  Are you ready to make this year your best writing year?  I hope you answered, yes.  If so, then I challenge you to take this year long journey with me.

I spent a good portion of last year getting schooled in self-publishing.  I have been a self-published author since December 2014, but there are some things I didn’t know.  Like some authors, I have yet to reach all of my writing goals.  Today, I’m going out on a limb announcing this is the year I work on making some those goals a reality.  I know it sounds like a resolution, but it isn’t.  It’s a statement of faith and a declaration that I’m ready to take my writing to the next level.

So what are the self-publishing goals I’m going to attack this year? 

Get my letters (make a list)I know it really doesn’t matter to readers if their favorite author is a bestseller, but it means a lot to the author.  At least it does to me.  In the past, I didn’t care if I ever made a list or had the title of Best Selling Author.  Over the course of time I realized, I did.  It’s not an ego thing, it’s a validation thing.  I know I’m not Nora Roberts, Terry McMillian, E L James or Sylvia Day, but it sure would be nice to be known as a best seller like them.

Triple my income…This is a big one.  I’m not sharing numbers yet.  We’ll see how this year long challenge ends before discussing numbers.  All I’ll say on the matter is if I fulfill this goal, it will be the first time I’ve earned that much money.  Last year I did two major conferences, gained a lot of knowledge and some tools on how to push my sales and exposure up a few levels.  This is the year I put all of those tools to work.  

Triple my mailing listThis is almost as daunting as tripling my income.  I have a decent mailing list of 3200+.  However, I want to push that number up.  A larger list will allow me or make me more attractive for swaps with other writers.  I was surprised how many authors are open to swaps, but size matters and I can understand.  You don’t want your swaps to be one sided.  Swaps will allow me to increase my list.  It will also allow give me some clout when seeking out anthologies to join.  Bringing more readers to the table makes me an asset and not a liability. 

Master Facebook ads…I did Skye Warren’s Facebook ads class last year and saw significant growth in my sales.  I’m doing it again this year and expect the results to be even better.  Here’s what I learned about Facebook ads…the system is constantly changing so you always need a refresher.  I did Mark Dawson’s class, which was good.  However, Skye’s class was a lot easier to understand.  Within the first month I saw results.  I was surprised how much could  be achieved with five dollars a day.  This year, I’m going to kick it up a few dollars and see what happens.  FYI, this will also help with me tripling my income goal.

Update Covers…This is one of those areas I think is constantly changing.  I am about to embark on the third iteration of covers for my series A Southern Gentleman.  Why you ask?  Because I didn’t know manchest equaled or implied sex.  I thought you used a shirtless guy to sell a book.  I didn’t realize it implied a certain heat level.  Book one in the series is sex free.  Book two is a completely different story.  

I learned a little about covers which has caused me to review all of my books and see if the covers match the heat content.  Unfortunately there are a few that need to be changed.  The other reason for the cover change is, Facebook.  They don’t like manchest…it’s too hot.  I hear you saying, “how is that possible when manchest covers are constantly popping up in my Facebook feed.”  Simple answer…the bot.  The Facebook bot randomly picks and chooses covers it likes.  Unfortunately for me, the bot doesn’t like my manchest cover making it impossible to use in ads.  I found a work around, but I don’t want to have to use it constantly.  The real solution is new covers.  To prove their dislike for my cover, they shut my account down for a moment.  Lesson learned.  So now I’m working on new covers with a clothed man.  The other thing I learned about covers in my genres (African American Contemporary and Billionaire Romance) is a woman only cover doesn’t sell as well as a man only or a couple cover.

Learn how to write a sellable blurb…What is it about authors and blurbs?  We can write a hundred thousand word book, but can’t sum it up in three short lines.  I’m not going to stress about this. I was introduced to a service that could help me.  But first I really need to figure this out.  

Use Ingram Spark…I did a little experiment last year.  I ordered a set of proofs from Ingram Spark and a set from KDP.  I loved the proofs from Ingram.  Everything I heard about Ingram was true, the quality was far superior.  I loved the books.  As much as I want to use Ingram exclusively, I can’t.  KDP doesn’t really like to share, so here’s my work around.  Set up ebook, print, large print and hardcover at KDP and likewise at Ingram.  This move with will allow   expanded distribution.  More outlets…more money.  Another step towards that increased income goal.  Another added pro to use Ingram, the proofs don’t have that ugly proof strip on the cover like KDP. 

Direct Distribution…I’m a wide author, but I use a third party for Nook and some international outlets.  I just found out doing this, has kept me from participating in Nook promotions.  Going direct will allow me to participate in some NOOK promos.  More promotions equals more exposure…more sales…increased income.

Increase my prices…I was at a conference a few months ago and this came up.  I was a little hesitant about doing this, because some of my books are less than ten thousand words.  So in a bold move…except for a couple of preorders, I made all of my books the same price $4.99.  Amazon still hasn’t updated all of the prices, but I’ve seen sales at the other outlets with the new prices.  This move taught me to get out of my way.

I have a few more goals, but these are the ones I’m going to focus on this year.  What about you?  What are your author goals for the year?

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Why Self-Publishing by Tracy Reed

December 5, 2021 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Why Self-Publishing | Tracy Reed | A Slice of Orange

 

 

Tracy is busy today. While she’s away, she thought you might like to read a post from our archives. Why Self-Publishing was originally published on Jan 16, 2015. 

 

Why Did You Chose To Self-Publish?

 

This is the first question most Self-Published Authors are asked. However, what’s really going through the mind of the person asking is, “So you couldn’t get an agent or your work wasn’t up to snuff.” That’s so not true.

I’ve learned a lot on the road to becoming a self-published writer. First, I had an agent. A well-respected agent in the world of Christian Fiction. Let me preface this by saying, she knew my writing style. She’d read the first five chapters of my book. Actually, it was a different book. [That’s a story for another time.] She got my book to ‘Board.’ Two years later and I’m still waiting to hear if that publisher wants to move forward with my book. I think it’s safe to say, they passed on it.

I need to back up. I write what is classed as Edgy Christian Fiction. What is that you ask? ECF [Edgy Christian Fiction], is fiction with Christian themes. What makes it ‘Edgy’ is that it includes elements not common in traditional Inspirational or Christian fiction. In my books, that means the kisses are a little more passionate, there’s sex between the married couples, language with a little bite, lots of physical descriptions voiced by the characters, wine, talk about abortion, divorce, fornication, lust, not liking your in-laws and anything else that goes on in everyday life. The men are hot, the women are loaded with curves and both are quick to render their appreciation of the opposite sex.

As a Christian, I wanted to read stories about women who weren’t ashamed or embarrassed to express their feelings, with strong personalities and business owners. Let’s be real, when you’re sitting down with your girlfriends talking, you’re not talking in prose. No, you’re very descriptive in your comments on how amazing Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig looked in their last movie. So why not write stories from that POV.

Generational Curse | Tracy Reed | A Slice of OrangeI feel it’s a little difficult to convey to the reader the heroine’s attraction is to the hero by not being descriptive in this manner. Traditional Inspiration Fiction, the heroine’s feelings might be described with something like, ‘His thick black hair was beautiful blowing in the wind, brought a smile to her face.’ That’s nice, but in my world, it would have a little more umph, like, ‘She wondered how his thick black hair would feel brushing against her chin as he placed hot kisses along her neck.’ Or maybe, ‘When he kissed the back of her neck, she lost the ability to stand.” Statements like this aren’t necessarily acceptable CBA approved.

In my GENERATIONAL CURSE, I wanted to tell a story about a man who never turned down a drink or a woman. But when he hit rock bottom, he went cold turkey and fell in love with God. His priorities changed and he refused to let anyone or anything destroy that relationship. The heroine, is the complete opposite. She hasn’t had a relationship with God since she was a child. And even then it was more forced. Now as an adult, the only part of marriage she wants, is a married lover. She has no desire to be with a single available man. In her mind, a married man is less complicated. But she is intrigued by the hero and he her.

In order to tell the story, I had to take the reader on a journey with the heroine. I had to show how complicated and empty her life was by detailing her relationship with her married lover. I’m sure the story could have been told without the sex, but I don’t think it would have had the same impact. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end it all makes sense.

So Why Did I Choose To Self-Publish? I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to read. I met an agent at a conference and she gave me two options: tell the story with the sex and no God or tell the story with God and no sex.

I wrestled with that statement for quite a while. But, I felt God had given me a great platform and I refused to back down. Also, I wanted covers and titles that were a little racy, another thing not really permitted in Inspirational or Christian Fiction.

So here I am, a newbie writer taking a chance writing stories with a little heat and taboo subjects. I know my style of book isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. For those willing to read something a little different, I think they’ll enjoy it.

Funny thing, a few weeks after I published my book, I got a LinkedIn request from my former agent. I’m still deciding if I should accept it.

That’s why I chose to self-pub.

Tracy Reed


Books by Tracy Reed

A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

Buy now!
A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

DESPERATE DESIRE

Buy now!
DESPERATE DESIRE

FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

Buy now!
FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

GENERATIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
GENERATIONAL CURSE

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

Buy now!
GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS
GOD’S BOMBSHELL: LIVING A BEAUTIFUL SINGLE LIFE

INTENTIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
INTENTIONAL CURSE

LOVE NOTES

Buy now!
LOVE NOTES

MISS MATCH

Buy now!
MISS MATCH

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

Buy now!
THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

UNEXPECTED LOVE

Buy now!
UNEXPECTED LOVE

WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

Buy now!
WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

Buy now!
WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE FLING

Buy now!
THE FLING

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE
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THE HARDEST THING I’VE HAD TO DO THIS YEAR

November 5, 2021 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed

Happy November…Happy Thanksgiving.

The past two years have been challenging for everyone.  I talked about this before, but I missed my writing goal for this year. But last month I was faced with the reality that I wasn’t going to meet my deadline and release date.  Let me clarify.  I could have put the book out,  The Good Girl Part Four, but I would have been shooting myself in the foot because it would have been rushed.

Part of my release process is do a simple read through when my editor returns the manuscript to me.  Then I wrestle with some of her edits.  I step away a couple of days, then return to the story and review the edits.  It’s usually during this process that more words are written and I do another mini edit.  This process can take a couple of weeks.  Then, if I can I’ll send out ARCs.  To do this step right, I need to factor in another month at the least.  Confession…I haven’t done ARCs on my last two books.  Reason, I was rushed and didn’t want to disappoint my readers by missing the release date I promised.  As it is, I’d already broken my promise not to end it with a cliffhanger.  I forgot, I’m an Indie Author and I control my production schedule.

Now I was faced with breaking a few promises.  Missing the release date.  I have pushed the release date back several times and finally settling for a more realistic date of January 18, 2022.  The other promise I broke which my readers don’t know yet is Part Four in The Good Girl Series ends on a cliffhanger.  

It was never my intention to do that, but the book was getting way too big.  When I split the book in half, the first half was at 62,000+.  The book I sent to my editor was 74,000+ words.  After tweaking and pre-editing, I had added an additional 12,000+ words.  This lets me know that if I had kept the story as one book, it would have been HUGE.  I felt that would have been too large for a romance.

The other reasons I pushed my release date back was personal.  My mother had double eye surgery and she needed my help.  Then I had an allergy attack which had me on a lot of meds.  (If you’re on my mailing list then you read the email and know what happened.)  My family and health come first.  For these reasons, I had to do the hardest thing I have had to do this year, announce the pushed back release date of a book I promised would be out this year and that wouldn’t have a cliffhanger.

What made me feel better about sending that email was that I had received one from a best selling romance author explaining why she pushed her release date back.  As writers we have to remember our health and family are the priorities.  Self-care is one of the new buzz words, but it’s also a necessity if we want to continue doing what we love.

I really wrestled with sending out such a personal email, but I felt it was necessary to explain why I had pushed the release date back.  When I sent the email I was prepared to refund any pre-orders for the book.  Thank God, only one person cancelled their pre-order and I’m fine with that.  I believe God will restore that one sale with many more.  I was surprised to receive emails from readers sending their prayers and blessings to  me and my family and fully understanding why I pushed the release date back. 

So where does that leave my book now?  My editor has it and the cancelled pre-order was restored.  It was only on pre-order at Apple Books and D2D, but now it’s also at Amazon and Kobo.  And as soon as I figure out Google Play I’ll load it there as well as Eden books.  FYI, I just received my first Eden Books pay out.  Adding more books to the site is on my To Do List.  

I’m also going to be bold and put Part Five in the series up for pre-order as well.  I’m doing a little experiment.  I’ve never had a pre-order for more than a month at Amazon.  I’ve read posts where writers said they really benefited financially and rank wise with a longer pre-order.  We’ll see what happens. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and stay safe.  See you next month.


A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

Buy now!
A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

DESPERATE DESIRE

Buy now!
DESPERATE DESIRE

FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

Buy now!
FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

GENERATIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
GENERATIONAL CURSE

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

Buy now!
GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS
GOD’S BOMBSHELL: LIVING A BEAUTIFUL SINGLE LIFE

INTENTIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
INTENTIONAL CURSE

LOVE NOTES

Buy now!
LOVE NOTES

MISS MATCH

Buy now!
MISS MATCH

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

Buy now!
THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

UNEXPECTED LOVE

Buy now!
UNEXPECTED LOVE

WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

Buy now!
WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

Buy now!
WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE FLING

Buy now!
THE FLING

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

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Are You Leaving Money On The Table?

October 5, 2021 by in category Writing tagged as , , , ,
the pink pad

Happy October and Fall.

I recently listened to Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing and Productivity For Authors. I highly recommend both books, no matter what stage or level you are in your writing career.

I have been a published author since December 2014. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that I realized I wasn’t a very good steward or caretaker of my writing career. I often tell people I’ve written several books. Instead, I should have been saying, “I’m an author as well as a small business owner.”

Listening to Joanna’s books just emphasized my poor caretaker skills. As writers, we’re storytellers first, then business people. However, if we don’t understand the business side, we’re simply hobbyist. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a storyteller who gets paid.

Let me take a few moments to chastise myself. I’ve not been as focused as I could be. I set goals and fall short. I used to create a production schedule, which I probably should go back to. I tried a Kanban board system in 2019. I liked it, but then COVID hit and I didn’t give Kanban a second thought. I tried sprinting and writing blocks, but failed to stay consistent. I’m also guilty of not having a daily writing time. Instead, I’d wait for the muse to visit me. I’m also guilty of letting distractions run rampant in my life.

It was sort of funny how I came to listen to Joanna’s books. I was sitting in the drive through at Raisin’ Cane waiting to order dinner. Don’t judge. I’m a healthy eater, but a girl likes some chicken tenders and fries every now and then. If you know anything about Raisin’ Cane, the line is always long. I didn’t want to listen to music, and I had just finished the Kevin Kwan Crazy Rich Asians series . . . the books are so much better than the movie. I was going to listen to a podcast and saw Joanna Penn’s name and thought, why not read or listen to one of her books. I downloaded How To Make A Living With Your Writing. There’s so much good information about goal setting and time management.

Joanna asked a question that really stood out: Are you were leaving money on the table? I had no idea what she was talking about, because there was no way I could be guilty of such a thing. I replayed the chapter so I could catch all of her statement. I was shocked to discover she was talking about the different ways to monetize your book. She listed the many formats she uses for her books: ebook, paperback, hardcover, large print paperback and audio.

Hold up. I know about audio, I’m not there yet. So I gave myself a pass. However, I was guilty of not doing half of the other formats. When I publish a book, I generally only do ebook and paperback. I thought about doing a few limited edition hardcovers for some of my books, but hadn’t made the move. For large print paperbacks, I have to be honest, it never occurred to me to offer them, although some readers asked me about large print.

Joanna shared that her large print paperbacks account for a huge chunk of her print sales. My mind raced as she spoke and then she said the magic words . . . “Formatting is easy with Vellum.” I was hooked. Then she said there was a large market for large print paperback. I went to Amazon and found several large print romance books available.

Back to my question, are you leaving money on the table? Did you know large print books fetch a higher price for very little work? I created a large print version of The Good Girl Part One. I love how it turned out, but there were two minor issues . . . I forgot to include my website on the back cover and I had the wrong cover dimensions. I made the corrections and put my first large print paperback up for sale. I’m also strongly considering large print hardcover. Did you know there are still quite a few people who like hardcover books? I may not be doing audio books yet, but I can expand my revenue streams by offering two versions of the large print format: paperback and hardcover.

So here are the revenue streams for my books: ebook, regular print paperback, large print paperback, regular hardcover and large print hardcover.

Let’s take a deeper look at the proposed revenue streams (before royalty split) for The Good Girl Part One.


ebook – Free
Regular Print Paperback – $7.99
Large Print Paperback – $8.99
Regular Hardcover – $20.99
Large Print Hardcover – $25.99

The hardcover prices are estimates. Looking at the possibilities, means I’ve been leaving $55.97 (before the royalty split) on the table, because I’ve only been doing ebook and regular paperback.

Imagine if I sold ten of each of these formats for this book daily. (Use your royalty split to calculate a more accurate number.) Whatever number you came up with is correct and shocking. Now multiply those numbers by your entire catalog. I did my catalog number based on my royalty split. I wanted to kick myself.

Of course, hardback copies may not be for you. But why not offer a few as collectibles–that’s still a nice piece of money. Here’s another thought, maybe you do a series hardcover. I’ve seen them on Amazon and they fetch a nice sum. The possibilities are endless.

I hear you saying, “What about audio?” I’m not ignoring audio, it’s just not time for me yet. My plan is to do audio in 2023, but until then, I’m adding large print paperback, hardcover and large print hardcover to my inventory.

So I’ll ask again, How much money have you been leaving on the table?

See you next month.

~Tracy


Books by Tracy Reed

A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

Buy now!
A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

DESPERATE DESIRE

Buy now!
DESPERATE DESIRE

FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

Buy now!
FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

GENERATIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
GENERATIONAL CURSE

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

Buy now!
GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS
GOD’S BOMBSHELL: LIVING A BEAUTIFUL SINGLE LIFE

INTENTIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
INTENTIONAL CURSE

LOVE NOTES

Buy now!
LOVE NOTES

MISS MATCH

Buy now!
MISS MATCH

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

Buy now!
THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

UNEXPECTED LOVE

Buy now!
UNEXPECTED LOVE

WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

Buy now!
WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

Buy now!
WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE FLING

Buy now!
THE FLING

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

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Labor Day Replay

September 5, 2021 by in category Writing

Happy September and Happy Labor Day. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. I apologize for replaying a post, but I’m on a deadline with The Good Girl Part Four. Interesting thing about this post is it talks about the series I’m working on…The Good GIrl. I’m also working on a couple of things I hope to share with you next month. Au revoir.

OOPS…I ALMOST DID IT AGAIN (September 2020)

Happy September. I’m pretty sure you already know what I’m going to say…I can’t believe we are nineteen days away from the first day of fall. 

Hope this makes you laugh. I was all set to talk about my experience with the review program at Hidden Gems. It wasn’t until I found my misplaced copy of my August post, did I realize that’s what I talked about last month. I had written three hundred plus words which I had to scrap. Now I’m stuck with either rehashing an old post or writing something new. I’ve opted for the latter, but find myself clueless.

The crazy that is going on in the world has sort of zapped my creative energy. I never expected I would still be working on my book. A few weeks into 2020, I had a writing plan or production schedule. I also inflicted a little self pressure to complete and publish it by a certain date. 

Now that we are almost six months into the pandemic and shelter in place order, I find myself dragging. I love the subject of my book, except for the hole I think I plugged. It’s challenging continuing a series. Now that the book is complete and I’m doing another read- thru, I find myself referring to the other two books, when all I had to do was keep a series bible. Add series bibles to the long list of things I need to do.

Week before last, I reluctantly emailed my editor asking for a new editing slot. I’m pretty sure that was a given seeing I’d already missed the date.

This has been a challenge moving on to the next project. In my mind I’m already writing the next book, but that will have to wait until this one heads to the editor. 

I really think what’s happening is I’m not sure this is the best time [or year] to release book with an alpha billionaire. Or is it? Maybe I’m overthinking that readers don’t want to read. Maybe readers really want to read romance where there are no health boundaries [i.e., Covid 19]? Maybe they want to escape to a world where things were like they used to be. I feel confident in admitting I haven’t got a clue how to write a romance with masks and gloves. Social distancing would be easy. That would involve traveling back to a time where manners and courtship were the basis for romance.

I believe it’s time for me to get out of my head and get my butt in the chair and write. I need to tell stories that make people feel good. So they can escape the crazy around them and fantasize about what was and how it might possibly be in the future. 

Here’s my new plan as I head in to the fourth quarter. Send The Good Girl Part Trois to the editor by the end of this month. The second goal is to put the book up for pre-order on all platform except Amazon. This is a plan I can still live with.

Stay safe and see you next month,

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