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Building A Mailing List

July 5, 2016 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , , , ,

Happy Summer to everyone. I hope you had an amazing Fourth of July.

Before I get into my post, I want to give a brief update on my 12 TITLE IN 12 MONTHS Project. Last week I soft launched my June title, THE FLING.
Here’s the summary:
Selena Crawford and Reuben Porche [por-shay] are lonely work-a-holics in need of a vacation. When both are forced into taking a vacation, they get a little more than the luxury Anguilla resort offered on the website.

This is a story that came about while I was trying to figure out what to write. When I started my project, I had a few of the titles written…the two Alex books, Love Notes, and The Good Girl Part Deux. There are two books I am probably going to use for the fourth quarter that were previously written. Otherwise, the rest of the titles are new. I’m excited. Praise God, because I am on track to completing my project. Once the project is complete, I’ll do a project summary post

Onto my post. There’s another project I’ve been working on this year…increasing my mailing list.

Like quite a few new authors, I didn’t have a mailing list when I started. Let me backtrack. I have another business with a mailing list. However, I didn’t want to use that for my writing career. It was important to me to keep both entities separate. That decision meant I had to build my mailing list from scratch.

When it comes to building a mailing list, I’m sure I’m not alone in how I got my first subscribers…my family and friends. I’m very grateful for those early subscribers, however, I needed and wanted more subscribers. I set a goal of getting my list to 1000 subscribers by the end of this year. [As of this post, I’m at 780…YAY!]

One very important fact I keep in mind is that I have only been writing a few years and only published 18 months. It’s very easy to get caught up in the numbers. I’ve heard writers spouting out the size of their mailing lists and finding myself a little embarrassed at my small list. But I can’t let those numbers intimidate me because I’m still growing my base. Another reason for my 12 Titles project.

I came up with that project because I wanted to add to my inventory. I also thought the additional inventory would insight people to subscribe to my mailing list. If I had known earlier that I wanted to self-publish and how important a mailing list is, I would have concentrated on building my mailing list in conjunction with writing my first book. No use in crying over non-subscribers.

Now that I realize I need subscribers, I’m on a mission to hit my goal by the end of the year, if not sooner. So what’s my plan? Or what have I done so far to get subscribers?

FREE BOOKS. That’s not a typo. We’ve all heard this before. You need to give something away to lure readers in and turn them into subscribers. I have to admit; I didn’t think this would work until I tried it. I’ve heard several writers say they have a title that’s Perma Free. The thought of giving away something I worked hard to create, didn’t appeal to me. Especially when I only had one published book. I looked at it as cutting off a possible revenue stream. But that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

I may have mentioned this before. When I began editing THE ALEX CHRONICLES: WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW, I deleted the first six chapters. I felt it was too much tell, not enough show. However, I thought there was some good stuff there. I was talking to Kitty Bucholtz about wanting to get something else out there before my next book, and she asked me if I had any discarded chapters I could turn into a novella. I instantly remembered those deleted chapters.

I tweaked them, got a cover and voila! I had a Perma-free book. I was ready to try this Freebie thing. I fondly refer to my freebie as “The Prequel”. I have to be honest, I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work, but I was willing to give it a shot. I sent the freebie to my mailing list as well as posted it on my blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. I also made it available wide…on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Draft2Digital.

As of writing this post, I have given away over 5000 copies of my prequel since it came out in October 2015. When I made peace with the idea of giving this title away, I never thought I’d give that many copies away. To be honest, I really haven’t given the book much thought. The reason for the laissez-faire attitude is because it’s a loss leader so to speak. I did discover that in some countries, it’s not possible to get the book for free on Amazon, so I’ve had a couple of paid downloads.

I’d like to say that all five thousand downloads became subscribers, but that’s not so.

SUBSCRIBER CAMPAIGNS. Since I put the Prequel out in October 2015, I’ve added 739 subscribers. Of course, you have to take the good with the bad. Since I began cultivating this list, I’ve had 52 unsubscribe. I tell myself not to freak out when someone unsubscribes, and then I ask God to replace those with people who really want to read my stories.

So far this year, I’ve participated in a few Subscriber Campaigns that have paid off very well. The Romance Readers Spring Fling and a couple of Instafreebie giveaways. These events are responsible for almost 700 subscribers. Again, I wasn’t a huge fan of the freebie, but it’s paid off. I should have kept better records as to how these free downloads affected my other books, but I didn’t. I do know there was sales activity around the same time as the free downloads. I recommend the freebie as a great way to add subscribers. So much so, that I am working on another freebie for later in the year. I have to admit; I got the idea from Beth Yarnell. It’s a sampler. I’m excited to see how this will affect my subscriber list.

FACEBOOK ADS. This is an area I am really excited about. Kitty told me about Mark Dawson’s Facebook Ads course. If you haven’t downloaded his free videos, do so immediately. And if you can take his course, jump on it. I used the three videos to set up my first Facebook Ad. I’ll preface this by saying, it ran it the same time I participated in an Instafreebie campaign.

I ran the ad for five days, at $5.00 per day. It was clicked on by 709 people and 46 subscribed to my mailing list. YAY! Not bad for a first timer. This got me to thinking. I’ve done blog tours in the past, and I have nothing but love for the blog tour companies. However, I never got any subscribers and saw very little sales action. I resolved myself that the blog tour was just to get my name out there. But after I watched Mark Dawson’s videos and did a five-day test run, I think I’ll channel the blog tour money into Facebook ads.

I spent approximately $150 on each blog tour, and that included two raffle gifts. One to a blogger host and the other to a reader following the tour. The tours lasted about four weeks each, not including weekends, and it doesn’t reach nearly as many people as the Facebook ad. When I set up my Facebook ad, it had a pool of over 300,000. I hope I read the report correctly. Either way, that’s a better response than I got from the blog tour. And that was just over a five day period. Imagine what it would have been had I did it for a month. [I’ve only done blog tours with my full-size novels.]

This month I’ll be trying the Facebook Ad again, but a little differently. I’ll let you know what I did and what the results are.

So what have I learned about building a mailing list? It’s not as difficult as I thought. I’m so excited about the things I’ve learned and the results so far in building my writer mailing list, that I’m going to try it with my lingerie business. I’ve created a little how-to guide as a freebie. I hear you now saying, “What do I need to know about lingerie that would fill a book?” You’d be surprised at what you don’t know. I know I was. Anyway, I’m very curious to see the results of my experiment.

Have a great Summer.

Tracy Reed

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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How Kindle Scout set me off on the Road to Oz…I mean, Monterra by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2016 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever slipped on a pair of shoes that fit perfectly?

Soft, dreamy leather. Straps not too tight.

Heels not too high. You don’t want to feel like you’re about to go over a cliff.

I have.

And get this, it’s a glass slipper. 

When I entered my Civil War time travel romance, LOVE ME FOREVER, in the Kindle Scout program*** I didn’t realize there was a technicolor ending in my future.

I went to Oz.

I mean, Monterra.

When Sariah Wilson asked romance KS winners if we’d like to write in her Royals of Monterra Kindle World, I jumped at the chance. I love princess stories (check out my Princess video!) I wrote ROYAL DARE about Princess Violetta, who appears in Sariah’s ROYAL DATE. Violetta has a drug problem so I sent her to rehab. But getting clean ain’t easy…even for a princess

Can she make it through rehab?

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing Royal Dare is the fact that several addiction recovery

sites have discovered the novel and follow me on Twitter. I hope Violetta’s story encourages those who need help to seek it out.

I loved writing in Sariah’s KW so much, I decided to write another story, but on a much lighter subject.


ROYAL MAGIC will launch with Sariah’s next Royals of Monterra book, ROYAL GAMES.

Royal Magic is the story of a girl from South Philly with a dream to become an aerial silks performer, but there’s a dark secret in her past that keeps her from her goal.

Until she’s invited to perform at the arts festival in the kingdom of Monterra for the royal family in Fairy Tales & Magic: Magic, Music & Monterran Cuisine. There she meets a handsome, mysterious magician who’s not what he seems…

Royal Magic will launch along with Sariah’s Royal Games and new Royals of Monterra stories from other talented writers on July 8th!’

I’m almost finished with the cover, so I’ll update this page as we get closer to the launch.

I’m enjoying my road trip to Monterra and plan to do more Royals of Monterra books after Royal Magic. And to think it all started with Kindle Scout…


***You can read my previous posts about my experience with the Kindle Scout program by clicking on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5

The Princess and the Stilettos for Valentine’s Day from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

The Princess and the Magic Shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.


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How to Start an Online Course in Two Steps by Kitty Bucholtz

June 9, 2016 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz tagged as , , ,

You probably know that I’ve been teaching online classes for about eight years now, maybe longer. I absolutely love to teach! The “usual” tech for doing this for the last decade or more has been to have your students sign up for a Yahoo Group that you create, and then you send them emails with the lectures, the students email you questions, and you email the group back with your answers.

That was a great way to do it for a while. But I wanted to add more to the classes – audio and video and live Q&A interaction. Enter the new online class platforms.

There are a lot of websites, platforms, plugins, and course-building sites out there now. A lot. I’ve tried a few, but I’ve recently moved everything to CourseLauncherHQ. I want to tell you a little about it in case you’ve been thinking about creating an online course that’s hearty enough to satisfy the needs and expectations of your 21st century audience.

[Note: I’ve recently applied to the affiliate program for CourseLauncherHQ. That means that if you use this company to launch your online course, and you use a link I gave, or you give them my name as the person who referred you, I may get some kind of affiliate commission. Please understand that if I make a mistake here about what they do or don’t do for clients, that is my mistake. I don’t work for the company, so I may not explain everything 100% correctly. Whew! Now that that’s done, let’s continue!]

The basic two steps for creating an online course are 1) pick a platform that allows you to focus on teaching, not having to learn a lot of new technology, and 2) design your course lessons. In this blog post, I’m going to focus on step one.

First of all, the best part for me about CourseLauncherHQ is that everything is already included and integrated. All the parts are already working well together. The learning platform is LearnDash on a WordPress site, and students can pay using PayPal and/or credit cards (using WooCommerce). Then the email list is integrated into both the landing page (where people first learn about your class) and the classroom itself (after people pay – therefore separating your email list into two parts automatically – potential students and paid students).

The second best part is that the customer service is amazing!! I feel I’m pretty tech-y, but I’ve never used any of this tech. Sometimes a little knowledge can be worse than none at all. But every time I have a question, someone answers. If necessary, they arrange a video call with me to answer my questions. I can pay extra for them to do everything for me, but even though I’ve chosen to learn to do most things on my own, if I “break” my site by doing something ignorant, they’ll fix it for me! The class sites are all backed up every night so no data is lost!

And in the class they just started on Monday, you can learn everything you need to know and get your site up and running – and even start getting paid if you get students to sign up – in just four weeks! That’s what I did in December, and I’m going through the new class again now to make sure I don’t forget anything when adding in my class that I’d originally hosted on another site.

The best way to understand all this is to read the information on the page here, CourseLauncherHQ. If you decide you’re interested, you can still get into this class through next Monday, June 13. And if you mention my name, you can get in at the discounted pricing of $1597. I know, it’s a lot of money. But when I tried to put together all the little pieces myself last year, I spent more than that and had no one to help me when I screwed things up. Plus there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee!

This may not be at all what you’re interested in doing, but I didn’t want to not tell you about it and find out later (especially after the price goes up) that you could’ve used this information. Or maybe you have a friend who needs to know about this. Anyway, now you know. 🙂 I hope you find it helpful!

Kitty Bucholtz



Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story “Superhero in Disguise” and the new short story “Welcome to Loon Lake” are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

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Upcoming Round Table Chapter Meeting

June 6, 2016 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing tagged as , ,
by Linda O. Johnston
Did you realize that today is 6/6/16?  That’s right–sixth day of the sixth month of twenty-sixteen.  Lots of sixes–which are hopefully good luck despite their possibly bad reputation when grouped in sets of three.  I like sixes anyway.  And in addition to my romances and other mysteries, I happen to write the Superstition Mysteries.
But, boy, this year is certainly going fast–nearly at the halfway point.
As I mentioned last month, I missed several OCC meetings early in the year.  I did attend the one in May–and now I’ll be there for the June one, too.  A bunch of published authors have been recruited to lead discussions at various tables at the afternoon meeting, and I’ll be at the one where we’ll talk about traditional publishers.
Yes, I’ve been at this a long time, and although I’ve done a bit of self-publishing, including republishing some of my earliest backlist as e-books, mostly those published by Dorchester, I still remain mostly traditionally published.
And enjoy it.
For my mysteries, I’ve written for Berkley Prime Crime and am now being published by a smaller publisher, Midnight Ink.  I’m fortunate, since both have worked out well for me.
For romances, I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Harlequin series romance.  In fact, my next published novel, due out in August this year, will be COVERT ALLIANCE, a Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
I guess I’m qualified to talk about traditional publishing!   And I hope those of you who come to the meeting will join me at my table, along with Tara Lain, so we can talk about the pros and cons of it.

See you there!
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June 5, 2016 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

I was searching for a subject to post about this month and sort of drew a blank. In my last post, I gave you an update of my 12 Titles in 12 Months project. I no longer refer to it a challenge, because it’s a fun project.

In the past five months of this project, I’ve learned I can make deadlines and stick to them a lot better than in the past. I’ll be honest, there were a couple of times I didn’t think I was going to make my deadline.

Here’s my process and why using Vellum is good for me. When I complete a book, I do a read through and then pass it on to my number one Critic, my mom. Once she’s done, I make the corrections and then forward the book to my Beta Readers. When they’re done, I review their comments and make the necessary corrections. Then forward the book to my Editor. Depending on how long the book is, it could take her a couple of weeks to edit it. Then I review her edits, do another review and prep the file for the formatter. Depending on how long my book it, this step can take me a while.

Once I’ve done my reviews, it’s on to the formatter. Again, depending on the length and her schedule, this can take as much as five days. Then I review the file and if there are typos or glitches, I carefully log them and send the file back to her. There have been times I’ve over thought things, or missed something as simple as a line I forgot to move up. That simple error means I have to send the file back to the formatter. She’s really good about turning around the file for something so small quickly. All of these steps eats away at my time.

Now that I’ve added VELLUM.PUB to my team, I’ve also bought myself some time and breathing room. I don’t feel as pressured. I think some of the typos or glitches were a result of trying to make those deadlines and scared to have to go back and make changes. I am in love with this software.

As an indie or self-pub author, I’m always looking for ways to save time and money. I was introduced to, by my friend Kitty Bucholtz. When I took it for a test drive, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. In less than an hour, I had a fully formatted book. That hour includes set up and launching to the various outlets. It happened so quickly, that I thought I had missed or forgotten something.

After playing with it a week, I finally released my first formatted book. My new release, INTENTIONAL CURSE. Once I reviewed the Kindle file, I was very impressed. It looked just like what my formatter was doing for me. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t every use a formatter again, it just means I have another option.

My formatter is amazing and very patient with me. However, because I use a MAC and she uses a PC, there would be slight challenges when it came to fixing typos or glitches on my part. I always felt bad having to go back and tie up her time for small typos [a letter or period in the wrong place.] For ease, I would give her a detailed list of typos and their location so she could find them quickly.

My formatter is cool about making the corrections and turning the file around quickly. I don’t know about anyone else, but even now when I go back and read some of my earlier releases, I’ve stumbled across an errant typo. I have a couple of books I found typos in that I have to send back to her for changes.

However, with, there’s no charge to go back and make a change or correct a typo.

Another added advantage to using, I’m able to add fancy chapter headings, first paragraph design, section breaks and one of my favorites, images. In INTENTIONAL CURSE, I included the covers of the books I excerpted., also allows you to add purchase links for each format or outlet you use.

So far, there’s nothing about this software I don’t like. It’s easy and painless to use. With my formatter, I get one free set of corrections and I’m charged for any additional corrections. The cost is also amazing and is based on title, not word count or outlets. One title, is $29.99, Ten titles, $99.99 and unlimited is $199.99. To be on the safe side, I bought the ten titles to start.

I also, found their response to customer service emails to be fairy quick. One of my concerns or questions, was if I liked it could I upgrade. I was told that I could. Another plus. [I will be going back and upgrading to the unlimited plan.]

This tool is perfect for me, because I like knowing I can go back at anytime and make changes without an additional cost. It also gives me an extra week in prep time. In the past, I would book my editor at least a month before sending the file to the formatter. And book the formatter, about two to three weeks before release day. Once the formatter completed my files, I took a week to ten days, to review the file and make any corrections. Then if it was clean, I set it up for release. Now, I’m able to breathe a little before formatting. I don’t feel as stressed as in the past.

I formatted my recent release, the night before and then I reviewed it the following morning. This delay was because I was sleepy, otherwise, I may have released it immediately. For the record, instant release is an option now, because if needed, I can go back, make the necessary changes and get the revised file up immediately.

If you haven’t tried, I recommend you give it a try.

12 TITLES IN 12 MONTHS…update

Okay, so I didn’t think I was going to do an update on my project. Last month I didn’t include a cover tease for the August release, because I wasn’t sure about the cover. Up until a couple of days ago, I was going to change the cover. But something amazing happened, I finished the title. YEAH!!! And when I played around with the cover, the proposed new cover one, became the cover for part two in the series.

I was a little nervous about this title because it seemed like I had gotten stuck. When I started writing this, I new it was going to be either a novelette, less than 20,000 words. But around 14,000 words, while I was praying one morning, I got a revelation that I should switch from first person to third person POV. I wrestled with this for a couple of days. Finally, last Thursday, while sitting in the salon, I started re-writing my book. By late Friday night, I had re-written the 14,000 words. In fact, by the time, I finished re-working the original pages, I ended up with an additional 1,000 words and renewed excitement about the story.

I’m so excited because, a week later, I finished the novella. And when I did, it left the door open for a novella series and a new set of characters for me to love. YEAH!!!

I’ll check in with you next month.

Tracy Reed
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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