Happy pre-spring. It’s almost time to shed the winter gear and replace it with light weight fabrics.
A couple of months ago, after I completed my Goodreads reading goal for 2017, I got the urge to read one of my own books as a reader…a fan. It was never my intention to “edit” it. But sixty plus pages into reading the print copy, I spotted a typo. I was all set to ignore it. But then I spotted another one. When I finished, I had eight typos. Crap.
I like the story and wanted to continue reading the series. The second book was worse. It felt like the typos wouldn’t stop coming. I couldn’t believe I released a book with so many typos.
This little exercise made me aware of something…not every book is free of mistakes. As a creative, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I could have been so careless…unprofessional…and a host of other adjectives I care not to use.
So here’s my question. Have you ever read your own book for pleasure? Did you enjoy the story as much as when you wrote it?
This wasn’t the first time I’d read one of my books, but it was the first time, I experienced this many typos. I have no idea how I missed the typos.
Something amazing occurred from this exercise. I saw my growth as a writer. Of course I’m going to fix the typos. But although it’s only been a little over a year since I wrote the books, I was tempted to go back and mature them up. By that I mean, I could have gone in and changed the writing style to be reflective of my growth as a writer. But if I did that, it could effect the tone of the book and the series.
Did I enjoy the story when I read it again? Yes, I immediately wanted to read the next book in the series, which I did. I can honestly say, it’s horrible. Because the story was written when I started writing. It’s filled with so many mistakes, it’s embarrassing. Here’s the sad thing, when I wrote it, I thought it was good. Fast forward and I couldn’t even finish reading it.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished reading the books and I am faced with the inevetible…end the series. Or re-write the book.
What would you do?
A California native, novelist Tracy Reed pushes the boundaries of her Christian foundation with her sometimes racy and often fiery tales.
After years of living in the Big Apple, this self proclaimed New Yorker draws from the city’s imagination, intrigue, and inspiration to cultivate characters and plot lines who breathe life to the words on every page.
Tracy’s passion for beautiful fashion and beautiful men direct her vivid creative power towards not only novels, but short stories, poetry, and podcasts. With something for every attention span.
Tracy Reed’s ability to capture an audience is unmatched. Her body of work has been described as a host of stimulating adventures and invigorating expression.
Happy Valentine’s Day. And if you’re flying solo, Happy Galentine’s Day.
Let’s do a little replay. I wrote this blog post back in 2015 and thought the subject was worth revisiting. Enjoy the month.
I want to talk about the preconceived notions people have about Christian, Inspirational or Faith based books. When someone hears a story has one of the three aforementioned tones, they immediately shut down thinking the story is going to be sweeter than cotton candy dipped in chocolate and covered with gum drops.
There’s CIF [Christian, Inspirational, Faith] fiction that falls into that description and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s written extremely well and packs a message for the reader. However, it’s the misconception that all CIF books are like that which provokes a closed mind to experiencing some really great stories. [I swear I’m not preaching.]
When I decided to start writing, I’d dabbled a little in high school and college. Even so far as to writing a couple of plays. I found them later and felt they’d be a good base for a barbecue fire. When I read them again, I realized, although they were poorly written, they had a few things in common. The characters were all Christians but in real life situations. Let me explain. In a lot of CIF books, the story centers around the church with conflict between the pastor, the board, the choir director, pastor’s family and some evil person not affiliated with the church. There’s nothing wrong with those books. I’ve read a few and like them, however, they weren’t the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.
I have always loved God, fashion and cute guys. I liked “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Bergdorf Blondes,” “Elements of Style” and “The Debutante Divorcee.” These were characters I could relate to. The books are filled with the most incredible fashion and very handsome men. The only thing they didn’t have was a faith based theme. It was reading these books that it occurred to me, why not write a book with similar content, but add a little CIF to it.
My first attempt at writing a book sounded very much like ChickLit. I was fine with it until my beta readers ripped it to shreds. After a lot of re-writes, I finally had a book I was pleased with. Problem was, it wasn’t considered acceptable. Why not? Response, Christians don’t act like that, Christians don’t care about designer clothes, Christians are happy being upper middle class at best, Christians don’t get challenged, tempted, have racy dreams or wicked thoughts, Christians only have sex for procreation and on special occasions. And there is no way a Christian would get divorced, commit adultery, fornicate, swear, drink wine or dance.
Needless to say, I was stunned at the comments because I know a lot of Christians that have experienced and or faced a few of those things. So I set out to write books for “my people.”
It ticks me off when I hear people say no one will read books about Christians [or people of other religious beliefs] in real life situations. I want to read about “my people” dating, regretting, marrying, divorcing, falling in love, wearing designer clothes, traveling and being pursued by wealthy men. I don’t want my heroine to be naive and deceived by an evil protagonist whose only objective is to steal her virginity or corrupt her. What about the sexy, fun Christian girl who works hard and falls for her boss, or divorces her cheating husband or who used to be a little slutty and is now in love with God struggling not to slip back into her old ways. These are great stories and if they’re written well, you can take the CIF elements out and they’ll still be great stories.
My next book is a take on Sex And The City. It’s five successful women all searching for love while wearing amazing clothes. I hear you saying that’s not possible because that book was all about sex. Not really, the core of that book was friendship. Sex was just one of the supporting characters, much like the clothes, men and New York.
I think it’s a little more challenging to write a CIF book because you have to determine how far is too far. Although I want my books to have a little heat, I’m very careful about crossing the line. I want my kissing scenes to be as passionate as those found in traditional romance. Although most of my characters are Christians, I don’t want their passion or desire to be watered down. I have chosen to share my characters thoughts. If my heroine finds the protagonist hot, she’s going to say so. And if he’s having a lustful thought, I want you to read it. These little nuances make the characters feel real…just like in traditional romance.
So back to the original question, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? Not really, just different levels of intensity.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet because, I know you are probably swamped with holiday preparations and those end of year releases. Congratulations to everyone and their releases this year and the many that will be born next year. The gift of writing is an amazing blessing and one we should never take for granted, but honored to share.
Last year, I took on a huge project, 12 Titles in 12 Months. The reality was, it was thirteen titles. I often forget about one of the books, because it’s not available to the public, because I use it for my lingerie business.
To this day, I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking taking on such a huge project. Trust me it wasn’t for vanity. However, there was a book I really wanted to include in the challenge but it just didn’t happen…DESPERATE DESIRE. Cori, I refer to my books by the heroine’s name. It’s like men with their cars. I think it makes them seem more real.
So, Cori’s story is the third installment in the Generational Curse series. It was my intention to share her story this month, on the anniversary of her sister Kyla’s story, Generational Curse, but life happened. I heard someone say, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.
Once I got over the disappointment of my plan not coming to fruition, I pushed the release date back a month. The push back was very necessary, because I needed to make a few changes. I write books that have a faith message and/or Christians struggling with their walk. Cori and her husband are Christians, however he’s having an affair and she’s contemplating doing like wise. As if that wasn’t tragic enough, I gave her a few vices, erotica, weed and expensive whiskey. So when I looked at the original cover, it didn’t work.
I got the original cover image for this book a few years ago. No, that’s not a typo. I originally bought the image when I was shopping for images for book one…Generational Curse. I wanted a consistent look with the series and the original was nice. I ran it through a series of changes in Photoshop and it was done. Then something happened, I was working on the website for my other business and found myself with an image I could no longer use. I didn’t want to just cast the image to the side, but thought it would make a nice cover. I did a little tweaking and when I finished, I knew that was the image for Desperate Desire.
Although this book is part of a series, it has the personality of a stand alone. The original cover was similar to it’s predecessor, however, the new one really spoke of the heroine’s personality and her journey to discovering love. Next month I’ll do the cover reveal and share more of Cori’s story.
So as I prepare to celebrate the holidays, I’m also celebrating the third anniversary of my first book, GENERATIONAL CURSE and preparing to release my nineteenth title. Wow…now ain’t that something.
I want to thank Marianne Donley for the cool graphic she put on my last post. I thought it only befitting to use it again this month on part two.
Where do I start? Last month I was in the midst of launching a book with a new campaign strategy. I want to make it perfectly clear, I am not trying to sell you on one of Mark Dawson’s courses. Although, I do like the results I got on my last launch.
So here’s what happened.
In the past when I launched a book, I didn’t really do any kind of pre-promotion. I would book a couple of ads, alert my mailing list, put the book out at full price and hope for the best. This time, I sent the book to my ARGroup, asked for reviews, forgot to book the ads pre-launch and launched it at 99¢.
My ARGroup had 20 people, but one dropped out after she read the book. Yes, I was a lot ticked off. But I went back to her acceptance email and remembered, she wanted me to pay her. I sent her a nice email expressing my sadness in her leaving the group. However, someone else joined. I had a little glitch getting the book out and pushed the date back. I got excited when some of my ARGroup emailed asking when could they post, because they really enjoyed the book. That made me feel good.
Every step up to the release day, I kept the group informed. I sent the new cover, asked them if they would buy a copy to help me in the rankings and graphics for the book to keep them engaged in the launch process. I wanted to make sure I kept the momentum going.
Launch day, I had 7 US reviews and 1 international. That was a first for me. I’ve never released a book with reviews. I was hoping for ten, but this was great.
As for sales. This was the first time, I sold 100 copies in the first week. For some people that’s probably what they do in the first day, but for me that was huge. I missed the top 100 in one of my categories by 24 on launch day. I have had books release with a top 100 category ranking, but none with a sell through like this one.
Promotion wise, I forgot to book ads for the launch. I was upset at first, and then I remembered, I wanted my list to have first dibs at the special price. I waited about ten days before putting the price up. I hoped for the best and was treated to a continued stream of sales.
It wasn’t until after the soft launch that I ran two facebook ads. I mentioned earlier that I had already made some facebook ads. When I tested the ads, the feedback wasn’t great. However, I used those for my social media and mailing list reminders. And used the ads below for FB instead.
In the beginning the male ad was doing very well. Then the female ad clicked and took off. At the end of the month, the female add had out done the male. Let me back up, when I noticed the way the ads were going, I was very tempted to shut down the male ad, but I didn’t because something happened. I did something else I had never done…I used an affiliate link. I put an affiliate link on my book on my website and used that as the link in the ad. I started getting sales which I knew were from the FB ads. However, I wasn’t sure which ad was producing the sales. That’s why I never shut the weaker ad down.
I think this was the first time in a while all my titles had steady sell-thru at the same time. It’s exciting to see a sales report with numbers not zeroes next to all the titles. Again for some of you this is your normal, but for me, it wasn’t. YEAH!!!
I was very pleased with the results and believe if I had done everything according to Mark’s suggested plan, I would have done even better.
Let’s see what happens with my next release. Happy Thanksgiving.