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NEW RELEASE, NEW PLAN

September 5, 2019 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,
Author typing on an old typewriter | Tracy Read | A Slice of Orange

Before I get into my post, I have to apologize for not posting last month.  I completely forgot.  I took a much-needed break and my mind was elsewhere.  I think it must have been the 111 degree temperature I was sitting in.  Here’s the funny part, I took my iPad and laptop on holiday with the intention of writing.  I figured, with the few days away from everything, I’d write a novella.  That never happened.  I take that back.  I did write a couple of pages, but can’t find them.  No biggie.  I had started this book a while back, but couldn’t find it.  When I returned home, I dug deep into my hard drive and found the original pages.  I was able to recall some of what I’d written on holiday and included it in the new book.

Now to this month’s post. 

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on my upcoming release, A Southern Gentleman Vol 2.  I was going to hire a publicist to help with the release, but changed my mind.  I’m not saying I’ll never use a publicist, but right now isn’t the time.  I paid a lot of money on a course to teach me to market my books and I need to make sure I’ve given it a fair chance to work.  I tried the techniques twice.  Once with some success and the second with very little success.  I need to make sure I can do this before I can tell someone what I want them to do.  

So, what’s my plan.  PRAY. Smile.  Okay, I need to do a little more.  I’ve learned a lot about marketing since I released my first book five years ago.  My very first release, consisted of me accidentally pushing the Publish Button and hoping.  I didn’t know about Facebook or newsletter ads. I did book a blog tour, which earned me a few reviews, but few sales.  I decided to go wide, so I burned or used a lot of ISBNs because I thought you needed one for every platform.  I sold quite a few print copies to family and friends.  Unfortunately, those are one-time sales, which I’m grateful.  However, I need and want fans, avid readers and followers of my stories.

I have a plan.  Now I sound like a politician. SMILE.  

I am going to take what I learned in the course, plus what I’ve learned from the various Facebook groups, blog posts and authors I’ve met and formulate a strategy.  Will it be my road map from here on out?  Maybe, maybe not. Every book is different and what works for one book, may not work for another.  Now I should a little confused.  Let me clarify.  I’m building a basic plan which I will tweak with each release as needed.

Here we go.  I’ve given myself approximately 30 days in the Pre-Order period.  During this time, I’ll send the book out to my ARC Readers and people in my various groups to read and post reviews on release day.  Next, Take Overs.  I’ve been doing a few of these for other authors with pretty good results.  So now it’s my turn.  ADS.  I’ve made a list of sites and a posting schedule.  Not only do I need ads for release day, I need them for afterwards as well.  I’m considering doing ads prior to the release day for A Southern Gentleman Vol 1 in order to draw attention the duet with new readers.

Where it gets a little tricky is Facebook.  FB ads can be tricky, so I’m going to start testing graphics a couple of weeks prior to release.  I know I’m going to do BookBub Ads,  I would love to do a feature ad, but I think I waited too late to apply for one.  I am going to try for a paid new release ad, but it might be a little late for that one as well.

All of that will be moot if I don’t do one thing…select a cover.  I hear you cringing now, but let me explain.  I had a cover, then I went into rebranding mode and it didn’t work.  I have two covers and have done a soft test.  Before I commit to a cover, I need to do a little more testing.  So far, the one I like is winning.  However, I don’t need the cover to do pre-marketing, although it would help, a lot.  Right now, I’m as busy as a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.  [That statement reminds me of one of the characters in A Southern Gentleman Vol 2]. But it’s the truth.  There’s quite a bit to do prior to release.  Grant it, I could do nothing or the minimum and see what happens, but I want to make this my best release to date.

So here’s the plan:

  • Book to ARC Readers
  • Confirm cover
  • Book Ads
  • Book Takeover slots
  • Get reviews
  • Do tease or coming soon posts to social media week
  • Push for Pre-Order Sales
  • Reader Group Release Party
  • Sell a lot of books

I almost forgot.  I have a new release date, October 8th, which means I have a few days before the plan goes into play.  

I’ll update you next month.  

Happy end of summer. Tracy.

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REBRAND: SURPRISE BOXSETS

July 5, 2019 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Happy July

OMG!  I almost forgot I needed to post.  I was watching the Hallmark Channel and recouping from Fourth of July eating.  

Before I start with this month’s topic, I want to share something with you that will be revealed in the next few days.  If you’re in my facebook group, Tracy’s Reeders, then you’ve seen the revised cover for A Southern Gentleman Vol One.  I love it and the test results were very favorable.  I’m excited to see how it performs.  

The new cover is bold, sexy and tells a different story.  I was about to upload the cover and decided to change the blurb.  The original blurb just didn’t work.  This entire rebranding process is sort of like that stray thread you try to pull, but it unravels and causes more anxiety.  I’m patient because I know this is all going to work out.  

I pushed the release date back a month because I want to hire a publicist to help with the launch.  She needs three weeks of prep and I just finished cleaning up the final draft.

So here’s the cover:

 

SURPRISE BOXSETS

Earlier this year, Skye Warren posted the Romance Author Roadmap on RWA earlier this year.  When I finished reading it, I had a plan for the year.  In creating the plan, I discovered, I had left a lot of money on the table in the form of boxsets.

I have one boxset, which is compilation of novellas centering around romance at different stages.  It never occurred to me to create boxsets within my series.  I started doing a little research and found quite a few authors had created boxsets out of some of their series.  By that I mean, combining the first two or three books in a series.

When I finished, going through my books, I came up with four boxsets.

Boxsets:

        

 

        

Falling For Her Boss: The Good Girl Part One and Part Two

Loving Her: What MY Friends Need To Know and Love Notes

Real Love : Generational Curse and Intentional Curse

Secret Love: Girlfriends & Secrets and What My Friends Don’t Know

I think this new packaging will appeal to readers not connecting with the original titles.  I’m very curious and excited to see how this works.  I’m still working on the pricing.  I have to be careful not to overcharge and work within the pricing allowed by Amazon.

I’m also not sure if I should release the boxsets all at once or one at a time.  I do know initially they will only be in ebook format with print only available on my site, eventually.  

Time will tell how these are received.

See you next month.

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REBRAND: First Release Since Rebranding

June 5, 2019 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

Happy June

I hope you are enjoying the last days of spring and are excited about summer. I love both. I’m a little reticent in my excitement, because I am so behind. As I have mentioned in previous posts. I had no idea this rebrand would take so long.

I am finally about to release a new book, the first since first quarter of 2018. The book I’m about to release, A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN Vol Two [ASGV2], I finished in summer of 2018. I received it from my editor late September or early October. I don’t remember exactly when. I elected not to release it until after I returned from the RAM conference. I knew I’d learn some things I could use, but still release the book at my projected time of December 2018. This would have been the anniversary of volume one in the series. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, because underestimate of the rebrand.

I thought the rebrand would be simple. I’d change a few things on the website, hold the new covers until 2019 and update the cover on volume one. All of which I thought wouldn’t still allow me to stick to my scheduled release date. That didn’t happen.

I could have released the book without the rebranding being complete, but I decided not to. Looking back, I think I made the right choice. I went through several covers for ASGV1. I knew changing that cover was going to set the tone for volume two. What I didn’t count on was a change in the story.

Cliff Hangers

I like writing cliff hangers. However, some of my readers don’t. ASGV2, had a cliffhanger. I liked it. In fact, I thought it was a good way to sell books, but not in all cases. FOR ME, I think it works when the next book is ready. In my case, I knew the next book, was going to be at least eight to ten months out. I was in a Facebook seminar and had the chance to ask a bestselling author her thoughts on cliffhangers. She was not a fan and said most readers aren’t either. She said readers want a HEA. I was a little dejected.

What convinced me was my manicurist. She asked how the book was coming and we got into a discussion about cliffhangers. She told me she didn’t like them and most readers don’t unless the next book is available. I was deflated. Not satisfied with those answers, I did more research and was surprised how many agreed with them.

I went back to my book, deleted the cliffhanger and all the things associated with it. When I finished, I was left with a few wholes that needed to be filled. I really thought it would have been a piece of cake. Instead, it was almost a rewrite. When I finished, I had deleted A LOT, added two characters, revealed more of my protagonist personality and added approximately 5000 words. There is a cliffhanger, sort of with another character. She has a secret, but if I choose to give her a story, I have something to work with.

New Covers

Now that I’ve finished, I’m having second thoughts about the proposed cover. It doesn’t feel right. It’s missing something. So it’s back to looking at hundreds of shirtless men. I guess I have to take one for the team. [Smile]

So what did I learn from this step in my rebranding process? Don’t get attached to your story or cover. I liked the ending and the cover I selected for ASGV2. However, after making a few changes to the story, I like it better. I haven’t selected a new cover yet, but I’m sure it will be more reflective of the story.

Target release day for A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN Vol Two, July 30th. I’ll keep you posted.

 


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

MISS MATCH

Buy now!
MISS MATCH

UNEXPECTED LOVE

Buy now!
UNEXPECTED LOVE

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

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 NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

Buy now!
THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

 


 

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Rebranding…First Quarter Recap

April 5, 2019 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed

It’s hard to believe we are five days into the second quarter.  I don’t know about you, but the first quarter didn’t quite go as I planned.  However, I think if I didn’t have a production schedule and new daily agenda, I would not be as far along as I am in my rebranding journey.  

Yes, I missed the deadline I set to release my book, but I had a very good reason.  I didn’t like the ending.  Let me back up.  I like my book.  I even feel secure in saying I love the story.  However, in the back of my mind it felt like there was something missing.  I sent it to a beta reader and she loved it.  It’s one thing for a reader to say they like or even love your work.  But if you get that gnawing feeling, then you need to address it.  

The other reason I changed the ending, was because I asked an established romance writer and a reader how they felt about cliffhangers.  Both had the same answer, “Don’t like them.”  I’ve been called out via review by readers not liking my cliffhangers.  One of them was my cousin.  I didn’t know she was reading my books until she’d read quite a few and posted her dislike of the cliffhanger.  

I thought using a cliffhanger at the end of a book was a clever marketing tool to get the reader to buy the next book.  Apparently, I missed the mark and pissed off a few readers.  

So on the eve or a few weeks before sharing my book, I decided to make a pretty drastic decision to re-write the ending.  

I had written what I thought was a nice little cliff hanger, but even I had to admit it was lacking something.  know what’s going to happen in the next book and wrote the end based on that.  But I forgot, the reader isn’t in my head.  Those words and plots are all mine.

Now I’m starting out the second quarter with a minor re-write.  If I don’t call it major, it won’t overwhelm me.  I think the ending is better and still sets up another book if I choose to continue with these characters or pick another pair from the story.

Let’s do a quick recap.

First quarter goals:

Release updated covers…6 out of 7 released [Cover seven ties into the new website and my upcoming release.]

Update website….Tweaking…launching this month

Update newsletter…Done

Bonus goals…format ebook interiors with paired down back matter [I sort of over did it on the excerpts.}  

I also reformatted the ebook lay out pushing the acknowledgements, dedication and a few other things to the back.  This gives the reader more story to sample.]

New Tagline and color theme

Graphics for new book…done

Did you make your goals last quarter?  If not, ask yourself why and what can you do to complete them this quarter.

Next month, I’ll share the new website.  It’s different, but very me.

To everyone attending Cal Dreamin’ enjoy this time hanging with your friends.  I hope you get everything out of it you were hoping for.  

See you next month.

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Rebranding…The Production Schedule

March 5, 2019 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,
Author typing on an old typewriter | Tracy Read | A Slice of Orange

This is where the rubber meets the road.  The Production Schedule can be a scary thing. It’s where you set your money plan for the up coming year. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something insane like write a title a month.  It’s another thing to actually do it. Oh man, I just had a flash back to 2016.

There’s a scripture that says to write the vision and make it plain, for in due time it will come to pass. It might feel like it’s slow, but it will happen. I did a little paraphrasing [Habbkkuk 2:2-3], but it’s true.

When we write things down, we give them life.  When you put those words on an 11” x 17” piece of paper and post it on your office wall where you see it every day, it becomes your silent assistant, constantly reminding you of the tasks at hand.

I have been using a production schedule for a few years.  The last two years, I sort of ignored it, which meant, I had subconsciously decided not to make that much money. Insert gasp and call me a bad writer. I know why I ignored the schedule on 2017, I was exhausted from 2016. But last year, I haven’t got a clue what happened nor a justifiable reason. I started the year with these grand plans of writing four books, possibly doing a couple of short stories and creating another boxset.

Last year saw me publish one fiction book and one non-fiction book. I did however, write another book which I held until after I attended RAM. I figured I’d use what I learned to release it. That was before I realized I needed to clean up a few things before I could release anything.

So here I am sixty-four days into a new year and I’ve yet to release a book. According to my production schedule, I should have released all of my new covers. There’s been a little hitch in my plan. This rebrand has taken a little longer than I thought. Rebranding is sort of like redecorating. You start out thinking a fresh coat of paint is all you need and then you realize the sofa looks horrible, even though you matched the paint against before you attacked the walls. So now it needs to be recovered. Now the carpet and drapes don’t work. Before you know it, you’re knocking down walls, ditching the carpet for hardwood floors, changing the light fixtures and buying a new sofa.

So when I changed the covers, I had to update the blurbs. When I started loading the covers to the website, they didn’t fit. The wall had to come down . . . a new website . . . a new logo . . . new color scheme. This December I will celebrate five years as a published author and so far, instead of doing special celebrations, I’m in the middle of a major remodel. Oh yeah, and I have a few books I need to write so I can make some money.

In January, Skye Warren published an explosive mini course on RWA which was a game changer for me. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It was scary, but it was also very enlightening. It forced me to look at my writing career differently as if RAM hadn’t already got my juices flowing. I did the assignments and started a new production schedule. I saw things a little differently. I didn’t realize, I had as many titles sitting around waiting to be shared.

I had decided I was going to put four titles out this year, but it was looking a little bleak while rebranding. But I when I looked at my catalog, I discovered four boxsets. I could easily call it a done deal, but I look at these titles as four unexpected new revenue streams. I attacked my Production Schedule and now it wasn’t as scary. Instead I saw the potential to make money. I haven’t released anything yet, because I’ve been busy redecorating, but the new titles are on my website as coming soon. If I stay focused, before the end of the month, I’ll start releasing titles and sharing the new covers to all the selling platforms. The new website and newsletter design will be live as well.

So here’s a peak at my production schedule.

MARCH

Release New Covers

  • The Good Girl Duet
  • Miss Match
  • The Fix Up
  • The Night I Fell In Love
  • First Encounters Of Love Box Set
  • A Southern Gentleman Vol One

New Website

New Newsletter Design

APRIL

  • A Southern Gentleman Vol 2

MAY

  • Secret Love Box Set

JUNE

  • Loving Her Box Set

JULY

  • First Love Box Set 

AUGUST

  • The Good Girl Part Trois 

SEPTEMBER

  • Miss Match Part Two

I’m going on vacation . . . this isn’t a title.

OCTOBER

  • Unexpected Love Part Two

NOVEMBER

  • Real Love Box Set

DECEMBER

  • Special Anniversary Title

I know it looks a little insane and almost as nutty as my book a month project. Keep in mind, most of these things are written or down. This is more less a proposed release schedule. Once I complete the website, all I have to do is load the files to Vellum for the box sets. I’m cleaning up A Southern Gentleman Vol 2. The other three books on my schedule are in my head and waiting to be written. There’s something I want to try with those . . . I’ll let you know if my plan works.

I almost forgot, here’s another set of covers. If you’re counting, you’re correct, I have only shared six. I’m holding the seventh, A Southern Gentleman because it’s part of the launch for A Southern Gentleman Vol 2.

Have a great month and write a lot.

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