Category: Pink Pad by Tracy Reed

Tracy Reed's column
Home > Columns > Pink Pad by Tracy Reed

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 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

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 GOOD GIRL PART FIVE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART FIVE

THE GOOD GIRL PART FOUR

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART FOUR
1 0 Read more

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 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

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 GOOD GIRL PART FIVE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART FIVE

THE GOOD GIRL PART FOUR

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART FOUR

0 0 Read more

To Cliff-Hang Or Not

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

To Cliff-Hang or Not

It’s August. Wow.  So far this has been a busy summer.  We have been cleaning our backyard, a task we’ve put off since we finished the last round of renovations.  We’re hopeful we’ll get it cleaned up so we can spend at least one weekend outside lounging.  I have this fantasy of sitting outside with a glass of wine and a charcuterie board reading and writing.  I’m very hopeful this will happen this summer.  I may even open one of the bottles I brought back from France.  

The other thing I’m hopeful will happen this summer is the completion of my book The Good Girl Part Four.  Man, this book is turning out to be way more than I expected.  

Mid way through writing The Good Girl Part Trois, I felt myself rushing to finish.  I was so confident I told readers that I would have everything tied up with Part Trois.  The joke was on me.  It’s amazing how characters have the audacity to tell you when their story is finished.  These characters made it very clear they were telling the story and not me.  

I figured I’d go with the flow and once I realized there was going to be another book, I told my readers.  I even promised it wouldn’t be long before the next book.  Again, the characters put me in my place.  

I have been working hard to bring this series to an end, but it seems like it’s not done.  As much as I don’t want to admit it, there just might be a fifth book.  I was faced with the possibility of a fifth book a few weeks ago.  So far The Good Girl Part Four is 97k+.  I was shocked.  I haven’t written a book that big since my first book.  And that was the first draft, which I later attacked with an electric saw.

So here’s my dilemma.  Keep writing and see where the story ends or end book four with a cliffhanger like the other books in the series.  Where I am in the story right now, I feel there’s a good six thousand more words…at least.  That would make the book well over 100k words…way too big, I think.

I’ve been kicking around the possibility of a fifth book long before the word count got this high.  When I was selecting cover images for the series, I held back one just in case.  So finding a cover won’t be an issue.  I’ve even been thinking about possibly using “book five” as an entry to a spin off series featuring Gabriella’s brother.  If I do that, it would allow me to tell a little more of Gabriella and Phillippe’s story as well.  

If I go with this plan, Part Four would definitely end with a cliffhanger.  Adding a fifth book to this series would throw a monkey wrench in my publishing plan for the balance of the year.  I really wanted to finish Unexpected Love Part Two this fall.  I also wanted to write a holiday novella.  Neither of which seem possible if I add a fifth book to The Good Girl Series.

The upside to adding a fifth book is I would have about a third of it complete.  I did a read through and found a good spot to end Part Four.  In doing so, it would give me a strong opening for Part Five.  Because of where Part Four would end, I’d have about thirty thousand words to start Part Five.

As a reader, I’m of two minds when it comes to cliffhangers.  If I like the characters and the story, a cliffhanger will not stop me from reading the next book.  I have bought (at full price) into series without thinking about the price.  I can think of three series right now where I purchased deep into the series without giving any thought to the price.  Not only did I buy the books, but because I really enjoyed the series, I told others about the books.

I think if your readers are used to your giving them cliffs, it’s not a problem.  However, if you’re new to reading an author and are presented a cliffhanger it can be annoying especially if the next book isn’t available.  In the case of The Good Girl Series, each of the books ends on a cliff so I might be able to get away with this series plan.

Cliffhangers are a subject riddled with debate in the world of romance fiction.  Everyone loves an HEA (Happy Ever After).  In my writing world HFN (Happy For Now) and Cliffs are common.  No matter how hard I try, cliffs seem to be inevitable and dare I say, my writing style.

What would you do…end book four with a cliffhanger and write a fifth book or make part four a super novel?

2 0 Read more

The Value Of A Free Promotion

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

Happy July.  I hope you had a safe Fourth of July.

Last year before the pandemic I made a bold decision.  I wasn’t going to do any book signing events.  Let me clarify.  I wasn’t going to do any signings out of state and very few local events.  For me, it was cost prohibitive.    It isn’t my attention to sound pretentious, because I’m far from it.  

I do signings so I can meet and gain new readers.  I discovered I was doing more selling and not getting sales.  More specific, I was trying to convince people to buy my books.  I know that’s part of the process, but it was a little disconcerting when you see most of the other authors in the room making sales, earning out their fees and you’re going home in the deficit.  In some cases, not even getting new additions to my mailing list.

Of course there have been some incredible book signing exceptions.  My favorite book signing event and one I hope to participate in again is the LA Times Book Festival.  I love the diversity and atmosphere.  I’ve met some amazing authors and the readers are fantastic.  I met a reader who asked if I’d come to her book club meeting.  I told her if she invited me and I was available, I’d attend.   Ironically, she invited me to her book club a month before the shelter in place order hit California.  I had a good time at the meeting talking about a variety of subjects including my book.  Plus the food was amazing.  But here’s the icing on the cake.  One of the club members was someone I grew up with.  We hadn’t seen each other since we were kids.   Some of the ladies from this meeting are part of my reader group and mailing list.

Fast forward the pandemic and things changed.  There were no signing events.  I felt sympathetic to all the authors who had put out money for events that were cancelled or postponed.  I saw the occasional virtual signing, but let’s be real most of those events yielded few if any additional readers.  I set a goal to increase my mailing list.  That was one of the main reasons I did signings.  Now because of the pandemic I was forced to stand by my decision.

I searched for paid promotions and found a service I liked.  I did pretty good…up a few hundred new readers.  But shortly after the promotion the freebie seekers left. 

I have worked hard to grow my list.  It’s not huge, but respectable…3700+ and an average open rate.  I think I’ve lost about twelve percent pre-pandemic. 

I started participating in group promotions and that’s when things changed for my mailing list.  I started last year with 2379 readers.  Hallelujah.  However, prior to the pandemic at the list peak it was approximately 3000+/- readers.  In a matter of a couple of years, I’d lost about twenty percent of my readers.  I was upset, but found solace in knowing that was normal and there’s a good chance they were freebie seekers.

I set a goal to get my list to 3000 and started looking for promotions. I did a couple of paid free giveaways and newsletter swaps.  Those events added over 1300 readers to my list.  But like any free promotional event, there’s some loss.  So far, I’ve lost less than 200 readers, putting me around the 3700+ readers.

The other reason I am a huge fan of the freebie promotion and newsletter swap, is reviews.  I have asked my readers to leave reviews and some will.  I’m glad they bought the book, but it would be even better to read a review or even post a star rating.  After my first newsletter swap, I noticed a few new reviews on the book in the promotion.  But I really saw an uptick in reviews the second time I did a newsletter promotion.  I talked about this before.  I paid a service for reviews which was good.  I got forty plus reviews.  However, with the newsletter swaps the book I put up has more than tripled in reviews.  I’m on my way to my first 100 reviewed book.  Did I say that correct?  

Another plus to a freebie giveaway promotion or newsletter swap event, backlist sales.  I talked about this strategy before.  For me, it’s a matter of selecting the right book for the giveaway.  Let’s be real none of us wants to give away a book, but if me giving away a book hooks the reader they’ll keep buying until they’ve completed the series.  And if I’ve done my job well, they’ll pick up one of my other series.  When you look at it that way, heck yeah, I’ll give away a few books.

Heres some numbers.  Last year, I gave away 7416+/- books, but I gained 500+ new readers.  So far, this year I’ve given away 14276+/- books and gained 400+ new readers.  Plus, I earned reviews on all the books in the promotions and backlist at Amazon and Apple Books.  The pièce de résistance of this, during those events my books shot up the ranks…top ten in their categories in the Kindle Store, US and a few foreign markets.  I think the thing that surprised me the most was hitting the top 100 Free Romance in the Apple Books store US and Germany.  

I’m convinced because of the number of downloads and ranking, it effected the Amazon algorithm in my favor helping me sell my back list.  This jump in free downloads has increased traffic at Apple Books as well. 

If you ever get invited to a newsletter swap giveaway or a paid freebie promotion, do it.  The benefits far out weigh the imagined loss in revenue.  

Enjoy the rest of the month.

0 0 Read more

Let’s Talk Print

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

Ingram Sparks for Prints

Happy June.  Let’s get right to it.  Let’s talk about print.

I finally took the plunge with Ingram Sparks.  I have been reading a lot of things on blogs and Facebook groups, plus a few YouTube videos about the service.  I have to be honest, the main reason I hadn’t tried Ingram was the set up price.  Let me preface this by saying, I dipped my toe in the Ingram water with a personal project and one for my lingerie business.  I liked the results, but they were mostly 4-color images.  These were my fiction babies and I would be sending them out to strangers who had no problem criticizing their print quality.

The other reason I finally took the plunge with my fiction is because I was a little disappointed in my last proofs from KDP.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a fan of that black bar wrapped around the cover.  I wanted to see what a reader would see.  I also didn’t like the new order process.  Unless I did something wrong, I didn’t like not being able to order author copies until the book was live.  What if I wanted to make changes, what if I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, I love selling books via Amazon, I just don’t like the proof policy. 

Discounts

I had used my Ingram NANO discount for my other projects and when I was ready to do these proofs it had expired.  A friend told me to check the Ingram Facebook group and other author groups for a discount code.  I went hunting and found a code.  Hallelujah. 

I never would have said searching for a discount would be easier than reformatting my books.  Take that back.  It would have been easy if I hadn’t wanted to add fancy chapter titles, but it was so worth it.  Even with the fancy titles, it still didn’t take me as long as it had in the past to format a book.  I am so grateful for the template I got from Kitty Bucholtz.  Now I use it for projects that require a lot more graphics and odd size books.  But for fiction, I’m a Vellum girl.  By the way, Kitty turned me on to Vellum. 

Concerns

The thing that really had me concerned were the covers.  I was prepared to have to do at least two or three proofs.  Why so many?  My covers have African Americans and it’s a little tricky getting the skin tones just right even with me submitting CMYK files.

I triple checked the interior files and was pleased with the digital proof.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the set up process with book one.  I accidentally selected white paper instead of cream.  I also had an additional page in books two and three and one typo.  I was so upset with myself.  However, I was elated with the finished product.  These books are so pretty.  Believe the hype.  Ingram is amazing.  I love my covers.  The colors are perfect.  I only had to do one cover test. 

Comparisons

I compared the Ingram books against my KDP books and there is a definite difference in the quality.  My books look very professional.  I know I sound like a novice first author, but it’s the truth.  I love my proofs. I have a few things to clean up before ordering author proofs and making the books available for sale. 

Bonus

A bonus to working with Ingram is more exposure.  I’m pretty sure I knew this, but it didn’t click until recently.  Using Ingram Spark means my books are available to small and independent book stores.  Which means I’ve just opened myself up to another revenue stream.  

A con against Ingram, due to COVID, their phone lines are down.  Customer service is via email.  They’re pretty good about responding in twenty-four hours.  One other con, shipping.  I thought since I was ordering three proofs at the same time, they were shipping from the same location.  In my mind that would have been one shipping fee and one handling fee.  Nope.  The books arrived the same day, but from different locations.  Con/Pro, I paid the same amount for one beautiful proof as I did for the multiple proofs form KDP.  

The next thing I’ll be trying is a hardcover book.  It’s safe to say I’m hooked on Ingram Spark for my print books.  

See you next month.

Tracy

The Good Girl Series

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

THE GOOD GIRL PART FOUR

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART FOUR

THE GOOD GIRL PART FIVE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART FIVE
0 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>