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May 5, 2017 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Facebook Ads| Tracy Read | A Slice of OrangeI am a huge fan of Facebook [FB] Ads.  Having said that.  Let’s get started.

Like most Indie Writers, I am my own marketing director and publicist.  Ultimately, I am the only one getting the word out about my books.  No matter how many people I bribe, I mean beg to post on their social media or who voluntarily spread the word, getting the word out is on me.

I have been fortunate to participate in book promotional events


I have been very fortunate to participate in a couple of book promotional events that helped build my mailing list.  As well as, using Facebook ads.

The first time I placed a FB ad, I didn’t expect thousands or even hundreds of subscribers.  I was just hoping someone clicked the ad. Facebook Ads | Tracy Reed | A Slice of Orange

I thought my first FB ad, did decent…reach 3,050, subscribers 46 and $23.47 over a 5  day period.  The second time I placed a FB ad the reach was 2,589, number of subscribers 81 and  $53.49 over a 7 day period.  [I might be off on my duration by a day or two.]  Again, I thought those were good numbers.  I tried it one more time.  This time the reach was 3,609 with 144 subscribers at a cost of $74.47. [Each ad was done with a different book or a free book.]

Reality Check


I recently got a reality check when it came to my results…these were not that good.  Another thing I didn’t do, was keep good records.  All I was looking at was how many subscriptions I got and not going over budget.

I recently completed Mark Dawson’s course on Facebook Ads and realize I could have done better.  [This isn’t a post for the course or Mark Dawson.]  Some of my classmates have been posting their results and even the examples in the lectures, revealed, I could have done much, much better.

I finished the class excited about correcting my mistakes.  I know I can’t fall prey to the writer’s golden rule, “Don’t compare your progress/success to another writer.  I hear myself saying the words and see them in this post.  Yet, I can’t help but compare my results to much more successful writers.

Facebook Ads 2 | Tracy Reed | A Slice of OrangeI ran a couple, okay a few ads and the results were horrible.  See for yourself.


Reach  Clicks

1,416         50

3,307        43

1,318         32

686            29


No, those aren’t my Amazon rankings, but the results of my FB ads.  I got so frustrated.  I ran these numbers by my accountability group and in the FB group for my class.  Check out the ads throughout the post and tell me, what the problem is, because I’m stumped.

My numbers were doing so badly, I would change ads in the middle of the day or only let the ad run a day, maybe two.  I finally settled on one ad and then I pulled the rest.  I let that ad run three days, but the numbers never got any better.

I posted my issue on my class group and someone in my FB group came up with the only thing that made since…reviews.  I have a nice library or catalogue, but I don’t have a lot of reviews on the books I was trying to sell.  True, there are a couple of ads that are bad, but the reviews is the thing that really made the most sense.  I also changed the audience, but the numbers didn’t improve.

The ad with the reluctant heiress, is the one I finally settled on.


Apparently, reviews play a much bigger part than I knew.  Let me back track, because that makes me sound ill-informed.  I know reviews are very important.  It was just when I ran the ads to increase my mailing list they really didn’t matter because I was looking to increase my mailing list.  Not sell books. Facebook Ads 4 | Tracy Reed | A Slice of Orange

Again, not to push Mark’s course, but in the course, he shared a way to build a mailing list via an email sequence.  [I’m in the process of setting up an email sequence.  I’ll post about that later.]  I thought I could dive right into the ad game without expanding my mailing list.  My mailing list is over 2,100.  Like most writers, I’ve had some unsubscribe, which is cool.  I’ve also had some join organically.  However, I need to bump that number up.  Let me rephrase that, I want to bump it up.  A larger list, can improve my sales numbers.  More possible readers equals more possible sales.  Which can also mean a bigger pool or source of reviews.

I am determined to correct my epic FB ad fail and start over.  Step one, increase my email list.  Step two, set up a new FB ad attached to an email sequence.  Step three, get some reviews.

I plan to put my new plan into action on next week.  I’ll update you next month.

Tracy Reed | A Slice of Orange


Tracy Reed

Sophisticated Romance


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The Artist’s Way

May 4, 2017 by in category The Artist Way by Gillian Doyle tagged as ,

Artist's Way | Gillian Doyle | A Slice of OrangeIn the mid-90s, five of my OCC friends and I formed a study group of THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron. It had been seven years from my first sale, and I had all but given up on the second sale. It was time to work through the emotional blocks and self-sabotage or call it quits. During the 12-week AW course, I sold again. Seven months later, my third sale. Seven weeks after that, my fourth sale. I thought my dry spell was over for good.

But things didn’t work out that way.

Most highly creative people can also be highly sensitive with extreme highs and lows. I am one of those types. I slipped away from OCC and into another valley of depression. When I came back up out of it, I volunteered at the chapter. If I couldn’t write—let alone sell another book— at least I could contribute to the support of other writers. According to Cameron, this is living as a “Shadow Artist”— someone who needs to be in the presence of other artists/writers when she can’t allow herself to express her own creativity.

I found myself back on the OCC board as Past President Advisor, and each subsequent year I buried myself deeper and deeper into the role of the Shadow Artist until it was my full time occupation.

Then, as OCC president, I asked then-program director, Bobbie Cimo, to find out if Julia Cameron would be available to speak to our chapter. Cameron was signing her latest book, The Writing Diet, at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood. Although we couldn’t work things out for her, she strongly recommended Kelly Morgan, who has been an Artist’s Way workshop facilitator for 12 years.

That September, Kelly was the OCC afternoon speaker. There were some aspects of AW that I remembered but Kelly reminded me of so many more that I had forgotten. Most of all, she reminded me that there is a way back to the joy of writing, of creating art. I needed to enroll in her next AW workshop as part of my recovery.

Now, more than halfway through the course, I have been on a phenomenal journey so far. I don’t know where the road will lead, but I am learning more about my own creativity, what I do to sabotage myself, and the steps I can take to get back on track.

For those readers here who are actively pursuing their creativity without obstacles or self-doubt, this new column about the Artist’s Way may hold no interest. For anyone else who needs a little help in pursuing their creative path while Life goes on around them (and tugs them away from the computer or canvas): Welcome Aboard.

There are many books about creativity and I may mention them from time to time, but I am focusing on the Artist’s Way in these once-a-month blogs here at A Slice of Orange. I hope it will encourage your own creativity.

The Artist's Way | Sue Phillips | A Slice of Orange

Gillian Doyle

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1950s Life & Times of the Rich and Famous in Los Angeles

May 3, 2017 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Writing tagged as , , , ,

1950s Evening outWhile researching the 1950s, we came across memoirs of Los Angeles. Since our Private Eye character, Skylar Drake, moonlights as a stuntman for the movie industry, the Hollywood scene during that time is an intricate part of each book.

The regular family life of the rich and famous was not at all typical of everyday life. In fact, it was pretty exhausting! The executives were in constant fear of making the wrong decisions and losing their position (lots of backbiting). There were endless days of being “on” for the public. They were forever giving lunches, dinners, and cocktail parties at their homes for celebrities or visiting dignitaries. Their dinners were lavish and beautiful, as were their homes. Entertaining was constant with little private time.

The regular family life of the rich and famous was not at all typical of everyday life. In fact, it was pretty exhaustin1950s Goetz Dining roomg! The executives were in constant fear of making the wrong decisions and losing their position (lots of backbiting). There were endless days of being “on” for the public. They were forever giving lunches, dinners and cocktail parties at their homes for celebrities or visiting dignitaries. Their dinners were lavish and beautiful, as well as their homes. Entertaining was constant with little private time.

I found stories of lunch with Barbara Hutton (heiress of the Woolworth’s chain) at the lavish garden of Merle Oberon, or a candle light dinner at the home of Edie Goetz, (daughter of Louis B. Mayer, co-founder of MGM.) And don’t forget entertaining royalty, moguls, and titans of the day. You couldn’t just throw hamburgers on the BBQ, Merle Oberson 1950swhip up a potato salad and lounge by the pool!Tent parties in which the pool was covered to create a dance floor were a regular Saturday night event in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  On Sundays,

Tent parties in which the pool was covered to create a dance floor were a regular Saturday night event in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  On Sundays, church was not like your typical worship services. The Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills was nicknamed Our Lady of the Cadillacs duBill and Edie Goetz 1950se to the expensive cars that filled the parking lot for 10 am Mass.

Incorporating Skylar Drake’s assigned visits by his agent or the studio or working security into the stories has been fun. We’ve enjoyed dressing the characters, describing the gardens and homes, and the food served by the rich and famous of Los Angeles, 1950s.



Authors Janet and Will 1950s Partners in CrimeJanet Elizabeth Lyn


My husband, Will Zeilinger and I, co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Our third book in the series, Desert Ice, was released in January of this year.

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An Interview with Author and 2017 Rita® Finalist Beth Yarnall

May 2, 2017 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , ,

I’m so excited to interview Daphne du Maurier winner and Rita® finalist, Beth Yarnall, on A Slice of Orange today. She writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and the occasional hilarious tweet. A storyteller since her playground days, Beth remembers her friends asking her to make up stories of how the person ‘died’ in the slumber party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, so it’s little wonder she prefers writing stories in which people meet unfortunate ends. In middle school she discovered romance novels, which inspired her to write a spoof of soap operas for the school’s newspaper. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

For a number of years, Beth made her living as a hairstylist and makeup artist and even owned a salon. Somehow hairstylists and salons seem to find their way into her stories. Beth lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their rescue dog where she is hard at work on her next novel. For more information about Beth and her novels please visit her website-

Jann: Welcome Beth to A Slice of Orange. What was it like to receive “The Call” that Atone is a Rita Finalist for Romantic Suspense?Atone | Beth Yarnall | A Slice of Orange

 Beth: Well, first of all I missed The Call. Then I missed the second The Call. I totally forgot it was Rita®/Golden Heart day and slept in. When my phone rang I looked at the display and thought ‘I don’t know anybody in Louisiana.’ It was Farrah Rachon calling me to let me know I was a finalist. Poor thing had to leave me a message. So The Call was really a Call Back. Talk about a duh moment!

I almost couldn’t believe it was real. I really didn’t think this book had a shot because it’s first person present tense and most romantic suspense books are third person past tense. When I was writing it nearly every scene scared me so I knew I was writing something that was deeply emotional that ‘went there’. I’m honored to be included in the amazing list of authors in my category.


Jann: Where did your idea for the Recovered Innocence series come from and what are your plans for the series?

Beth: The idea came with the first line of the first book, Vindicate. That line is—I got my driver’s license on my sixteenth birthday so I could visit my brother in prison.

I often get ideas for a book in the first line and I knew there was a whole book in that sentence and, eventually, a whole series. I plan on writing more books in the series. The idea for the fourth book in the series has been floating around in my head since I first started writing the series. I’m trying to work it into my writing calendar.

Jann: Have you found your dress and shoes for the Rita® ceremony yet?

Beth: I did find a dress. I actually bought two online because I couldn’t decide. After trying them both on I know which one I’ll be keeping and wearing Rita night. You’re going to think I’m weird because I’m more concerned about the jewelry I’ll wear with the dress than the shoes. That’s still up in the air as are the shoes. But hey, the hard part is over. I have a dress!

Jann: Let’s talk about writing.  Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?

Beth: Hoe your own row. It’s my mantra. Hoeing is head down, back to your goal work. If you’re doing it right you can’t see how far you’ve come or how far you have yet to go, but most importantly you can’t see how far ahead or behind others around you are. I just try to keep my head down and work and not get distracted by how much better another author’s career is going or how far behind I am from X or Y author. I try to keep my focus on my goals and work steadily toward them.

Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Beth: BICHOK=butt in chair hands on keyboard. There’s really no magic formula. There’s only getting words on the page.

Jann: Do you listen to music when you write?

Beth: Yes. I have a writing playlist I listen to through noise cancelling headphones. Sometimes I’ll create a playlist for certain scenes. If I want a lot of angst I have a punk rock playlist. If I’m trying to get into a love scene I have a playlist of very sexy songs. But mostly I write to the main writing playlist.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Beth: Oh my gosh no. I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all simultaneously. If it weren’t for deadlines and my inborn stubbornness I’d jump from one shiny new idea to another and never finish a book. I have being a Taurus to thank for making me stubborn enough to not let a book defeat me.

Jann: What are you currently working on and when can we read it?

Beth: I’m working on the first book in a new romantic suspense series. The series is about a rag-tag bunch of FAR FROM HONEST | Beth Yarnall | A Slice of Orangeex-spies and Special Forces folk who do mercenary work for hire. The first book, Far From Honest (on preorder now), is about a burned ex-spy who has to convince the reporter who broke the story that got him burned and his best friend killed to give him the name of her source. She doesn’t know what her story did to him and he doesn’t know how she ended up in the small town The Gods of Redemption call home. They spend the whole book lying to each other and trying to keep their hands off each other. There’s lots of chemistry and the lies they tell only ramp up their sexual attraction. It’s been lots of fun to write and is scheduled to tentatively release in January of 2018, but my publisher is looking to move that date up.

Jann: Where can we get your books?

Beth: Anywhere you buy books. All of my books are widely available.

Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?

Beth: The best place to find out what I’m up to is my website—

I’m also on Twitter—@BethYarnall






I would like to thank Beth Yarnall for taking the time to tell us about receiving The Call and her writing. If you have comments or questions for Beth, please use the comment form below.

 Jann Ryan

Jann Ryan | A Slice of Orange


Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.

Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.

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Happy May Day!

May 1, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , ,


Happy May Day!

This month on A Slice of Orange, Jann Ryan will interview Rita nominee, Beth Yarnell. Debut author, Jenna Barwin will be featured in a Pick Six Author Interview, and New York Times Bestselling Author, Kat Martin will be doing a guest post. Of course, all our regular authors will be blogging, and The Extra Squeeze Team is looking for questions from you.

A Slice of Orange (the all new and revised) is celebrating its one month anniversary. If you’re new to our site here are some great posts you might have missed from last month:

Jann Ryan’s An Interview with Carol L. Wright

Tari Jewett’s Accidental Writer

Sally Paradyzs’ A Slice of Nature

Veronica Jorge’s Fireflies

Geralyn Corcillo’s Harvest of Friends

Our featured May author is Linda O. Johnston.

Linda O Johnston | A Slice of OrangeLinda first novel was the 1995 Love Spell time travel romance A Glimpse of Forever. Since then she has published over 40 novels—mysteries and romances, including paranormal romance and romantic suspense.

Linda has two new books out for 2017. May 8th will see the release of BAD TO THE BONE, the third book in the Barkery & Biscuits Mystery Series. On June 1st, her book PROTECTOR WOLF (Alpha Force) a part of the popular Harlequin Nocturne series of paranormal romances will be published. Both books are available for preorder.

If you’re in the San Diego area, Linda will be at the Mysterious Galaxy Birthday Bash on Saturday, May 13th



$11.35eBook: $9.49

Who killed Wanda Addler?

More info →
Buy now!


$5.75eBook: $4.99
Series: Alpha Force
Genre: Paranormal
Tags: 2017, Paranormal

What Happens Under a Full Moon…

More info →
Buy now!

Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange



Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor. 




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