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Learn to Self-Publish Your Book This Month – and Have It On Sale Next Month!

September 10, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,

Just a quick reminder that I’ll be teaching “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing” starting on Monday, September 15, 2014. That’s this upcoming Monday!

It’s a 4-week online course that will help you take your completed manuscript, and format it and upload it so it’s finally for sale. Yay you! Someone asked, if your manuscript is not quite complete, can you take the class anyway and use a test version to go through the steps so you know what to do when you’re ready? Yes, you can!

The class will consist of written lectures with step-by-step instructions for getting your book ready, as well as videos showing you what to do. You may have already read dozens of blogs and books about how this person or that person created their self-published book, so you already know there is more than one way to go about this. I will show you how I do it and, as a class, we’ll all help each other as each person chooses their own tools (software, distributors, etc.).

For only $30 ($20 for OCC members), this class is a great deal! And half of the proceeds go to support the Orange County Chapter of RWA. Tell your friends and sign up today!

Have questions? Email me at Kitty at KittyBucholtz dot com. I hope to see you in class!

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 and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, “Superhero in Disguise,” are now available at most online retail sites. Superhero in the Making will be released this year.

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Self-Pub Corner: Back Cover Copy “FInalist” in I Heart Indie Contest by Jina Bacarr

August 11, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The sales pitch.

You either love it or hate it.

For your novel, it’s called the back cover copy. It can be even more difficult to write than the dreaded synopsis when you’re self-pubbing a novel. But you gotta do it.

The tease. The logline. The character descriptions.

Sometimes it seems it takes longer the write the back cover copy than the novel itself (just kidding…).

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out my back cover copy and beautiful cover from Covers by Ramona for A Soldier’s Italian Christmas is a finalist in the Novella category in the I Heart Indie contest!

Here’s the back copy cover:

He is a U.S Army captain, a battle-weary soldier who has lost his faith.
She is a nun, her life dedicated to God.
Together they are going to commit an act the civilized world will not tolerate.
They are about to fall in love.

December 1943
Italy

The ravages of combat have taken a toll on Captain Mack O’Casey, who has lost his faith after seeing the horrors of war as the Nazis fight hard to keep the Allies from reaching Rome. His beliefs are challenged even more when he loses his way and ends up in a mystical place called Monte D’Oro Rose during the cold winter of 1943…and falls in love with the beautiful Sister Angelina.

The young nun has a secret of her own, one she will die trying to protect: the lost Cross of Saint Cecelia. She must find the religious relic first before the brutal Nazi major who will stop at nothing to get it. Even murder. Sister Angelina risks her life to save the cross for the Church, but will she also risk her heart? Falling in love with the handsome American soldier is against the rules, but she can’t deny the stolen moments with him have made her question her vows.

It is Christmas Eve when these two lonely people come together on this holiest of holidays and how faith helps them overcome their greatest fears. A time when the whole world holds its breath as brave men and women fight for freedom.

And a soldier and a nun dare to fall in love…

=============

And here is the cover! Check out this extended video excerpt from Chapter One from A Soldier’s Italian Christmas


A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Excerpt from Chapter One from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

To celebrate being a finalist in the I Heart Indie contest, A Soldier’s Italian Christmas is FREE for August 11, 12, and 13th!! Grab your copy HERE.

Best,
Jina

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author
https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr
http://www.pinterest.com/jbacarr   

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My Results Using Ads and Specials by Kitty Bucholtz

April 10, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,

Most writers are curious about what is and isn’t working for other writers when it comes to selling books. I’m grateful for what others have been willing to share, so it’s only fair to share in return. Even though my results are a bit embarrassing.

I’ve only bought ads three times. I bought an ad last year with The Wordsmith Journal Magazine (online) for Little Miss Lovesick. After one month, I had zero new sales. Ouch.

In August, while Unexpected Superhero was enrolled in the KDP Select program (meaning it was only for sale on Amazon for the first 90 days), I took advantage of the program’s free days option and made the book free for five days in a row at the end of a conference I was attending. I also bought an ad from BookBub that appeared on the first day of the promotion.

There were a whopping 17,561 free downloads during those five days! Over 10,000 copies were downloaded the first day, which I attribute primarily to the BookBub ad. During the next two weeks, I sold only 24 more copies when the book went off sale (back to $3.99). Then the sales dropped back to the 0-3 per week average that has been more common for my books so far.

A month or two ago, I dropped the price of Unexpected Superhero from $3.99 to $2.99 to see if I could see a change in sales. There might have been a slight increase. At 0-3 sales per week, it’s a bit hard to say. 🙂

My third promotion-with-paid-advertisement was last week. I dropped the price on Little Miss Lovesick and promoted it with 19 other lovely romance authors and their books last Friday. I also took out a then-free ad from eBookSoda, a newer email list like BookBub that advertises free and reduced-price books. (The ads were free, then $5, and I’m sure they’ll keep increasing in price as they grow their list. The problem with this ad is that I don’t know if it went to 100 people, 1000, or 20,000.)

I dropped the price from $2.99 to 99 cents a week before the promo with Smashwords so it would be 99 cents at the other outlets by the day of the promo. I decreased the price on Amazon two days before, and it went into effect the day before. I saw that I sold one copy on Amazon a day or two before the promotion, then two more copies total during the weekend of the promotion and ad.

That’s it – 3 sales. At the high end of “usual” for me.

Little Miss Lovesick got a new (second) cover a few months ago, but it’s barely changed the sales. Unexpected Superhero got a new (second) cover at the end of March, too early to tell if it has affected sales yet. I took out another eBookSoda ad (the free ad that went to $5 when I did it this time) for Sunday, May 4 (my third choice date, Fantasy category, same as last year’s BookBub ad). I’ll leave Superhero at its current $2.99 price and see if anything happens when it’s not on sale but advertised.

And that’s about all I know so far. My second superhero book was to be ready next week for WonderCon, and which I expected to help sales of the first book. But my husband’s motorcycle accident and injuries trumped anything and everything that used to be on my To Do list. 🙂

I’ll keep you updated so you get a well-rounded view of self-publishing and advertising. (It’s less embarrassing to write about your successes, so there are a lot more of those stories out there.) It would appear that my experience underscores what other successful writers have said about success coming after you have several books out. Unfortunately, “life” has thrown a wrench in making that happen soon, but as the Brits (used to) say, Keep Calm and Carry On.

And keep writing! 🙂

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 and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story “Superhero in Disguise,” are now available at most online retail sites. Superhero in the Making will be released this summer.

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Assembling a Self-Published Book by Kitty Bucholtz

March 9, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , ,

Over the next two months, I’ll be assembling my newest book, Superhero in the Making, book two in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series. (“Superhero Books for Her!”) This will be the fourth time I’ve put a book together to self-publish, so I’m finding patterns and creating checklists.

whyWhere Will You Distribute?

I’ve found that one of the important things you need to know before you begin is which distributors you will use. For instance, while Scrivener (where I write my books) has the capability to create an EPUB file, Smashwords still required a Word document the last time I uploaded a book there in May 2013. Since I want my ebooks to be absolutely identical on any device, and because as of May 2013 all the distributors I used accepted Word files, I found it was easier to create just one file and then make the necessary changes on the copyright page. (As opposed to having a Scrivener EPUB file, a Word file, and an InDesign file and having to remember to make any little edits to all three files, at least this way I only had to remember to make the same edits in two files. We’ll see if I do it differently this time to take advantage of Scrivener creating the EPUB and mobi – for Kindle – files for me. When I created my ebook-only short story, “Superhero in Disguise,” Scrivener helped me format the files fast.)
One thing to love about the free Smashwords Style Guide is that if you are meticulous in following the instructions there, your completed Word file will upload to any of the other distributors as well on the first try. (As of May 2013, I uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords – who distributed to “everyone else.” I had no problems with B&N’s original “PubIt!” program, but its new NOOK Press messes up my books now, every time. So I now let Smashwords distribute there for me. That will change when I decide to spend the money hiring out my formatting or figure out my NOOK Press problem.)

Incompatible Upgrades

Another thing to consider is whether one of the programs you use has been very recently upgraded and other programs will not work well with it until they upgrade as well. This happened to me in May 2013 with Unexpected Superhero. Between Scrivener, NOOK Press, and an EPUB validator I was using, the Scrivener EPUB file had errors I couldn’t fix when I tried to upload it to NOOK Press. It was frustrating and time-consuming tracking down the problem, trying potential solutions, and eventually having to abandon my upload and have Smashwords distribute it. But these things happen and you need to go with the flow. (Again, unless you hire a professional formatter.)
Since my husband used to be a graphic designer and owns several professional programs, and I’ve done some newsletters using Quark Xpress, I decided to go that route for my print books. My husband and I created a template in Quark for my first book, Little Miss Lovesick, and I uploaded the final file as a PDF to CreateSpace. Again, plan for the unexpected. I couldn’t get Quark to create the PDF even though it was an option for the software. Turns out a lot of people were having the same problem. I finally had to send the file out to have it converted. Of course, then I had a PDF that I couldn’t change. Why was that a problem if my book was already printed?

A Professional Print Version

Yup, found a few typos. When I created the ebook files, I corrected any little things I saw as they came up – without thinking about it. Meaning, I didn’t make identical changes to the Quark file, which is why I mentioned above, be aware of how many separate files you have to change if you find a typo. And now, because I couldn’t get Quark to create a PDF for me, I could make my edits but would have to send the file out to be converted to PDF every time, forever. My husband and I started talking about upgrades and – voila! I got an email from Adobe about their Creative Cloud suite. Instead of purchasing the software and upgrading every year or two, you could pay a monthly subscription fee and always have access to the latest version. Not only that, you have access to every piece of Adobe software (that I’m aware of). Because my husband and I both use more than one piece of Adobe software, the monthly Creative Cloud membership seemed perfect for us.
So for my second book, I used Adobe InDesign. LOVE. IT. I sent out my Little Miss Lovesick Quark file to Nick Davies at Tinstar Design and he quickly converted it to InDesign for me for a very reasonable price. I made my minor edits in the new file and it was ready to re-upload. I also took that Lovesick file and created a master template for my future books, which I then used for Unexpected Superhero. Now my print books all have the same look every time. Definitely the professional way to go.

Writing SmileyChecklists Save Time

During the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve continued to make notes about what I do, how I do it, and what order to do it. For instance, in your print version, if you add the header in the master section so that it appears on every page, then manually delete the header from the first pages of chapters, then go through every line of the book taking out words that are split/hyphenated to the next line, it will change the way the text flows and…wait for it…your manually deleted headers will sometimes be on the wrong page. Sigh. Then you have to re-do the header.
Yes, I learned that by doing it. 😉
So now with Superhero in the Making, I’ll take my newest checklist and begin working down it in order. Any time I find something not working right, I’ll make a note of how to fix it and, if necessary, change the order of steps in my checklist. Until I decide to send out my book files to a professional formatter, this is an effective way to get my books printed so that they look absolutely professional, and I’m not re-inventing the process every time. I haven’t looked into the prices of professional formatters or know who’s the best at a reasonable price because I genuinely enjoy the book-building process. But someday I may have to let go of this part in order to get more writing done and more books out.
I hope this has been helpful to you. If so, let me know and I’ll try to post more on this topic in the future. I’ll be teaching a self-publishing how-to class online in September that you may find useful as well. I’ll let you know the details soon. Happy Self-Publishing!
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 and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story “Superhero in Disguise,” are now available at most online retail sites. Superhero in the Making will be released at WonderCon in April. 
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emaginings: Romance Boxed Sets

October 17, 2013 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life has been pretty hectic since I started down the self-published road.  I am so impressed at the energy and innovation I’m seeing in the indie author community. But now that I’m a publisher as well as a writer, it seems there’s always something to do and not enough time for everything.

My latest project was to get involved in one of the popular e-book boxed sets we see popping up at Amazon and other online retailers. I was fortunate to team up with a bunch of knowledgeable and savvy indie writers, and we published the Romance Super Bundle in late September. Our fearless leader, Amy Gamet, has been the driving force behind the project. She also created the gorgeous 3-D cover.

My contribution to the bundle is my historical romance, Rogue’s Hostage. We priced the boxed set at $5.99, but it’s currently on sale for 99 cents. We still hope it will hit one of the big lists like USA Today.

On Oct. 7, we had a dynamite Facebook Launch Party guided by the dynamic and extremely organized Wendy Ely. It was attended by a lively bunch of readers, and the messages were flying fast at times. (It was all this old broad could do to keep up.) The event page is still available if anyone wants to see what we did.

Today, one of the authors, Lois Winston, is at Inkspot where she discusses this new way I’m thinking outside the promotional box, and does it more coherently than I can. I like her analogy of promotion being like “shouting into a tsunami” though I tend to think of it more as a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

At the same time, I’m still working on re-issuing my back list. In the last week, my werewolf novella, Ilona’s Wolf: A Fairy Tale Romance, was published at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, just in time for Halloween.

Blurb:
 

Imagine a world filled with magic, a tormented knight, a damsel in distress, an evil sorcerer…

While picking herbs in the woods, Princess Ilona is rescued from a woodsman by a wolf. When the creature licks her wounds, it is suddenly transformed into a man. A very handsome, very naked man who makes passionate love to her in a glade. She has dreamed of a handsome knight to aid her cause, but a werewolf?

Cursed by an evil wizard, Rolf was trapped in wolf form until he tasted the blood of a royal. Now he must escort the princess on a hazardous journey back to the castle to stop an ill-fated wedding and face the evil wizard who placed the evil curse on Rolf.

Passion flares between them, but both know there is no future for a princess and a werewolf. Or is there? In a world where magic and passion combine, anything may be possible.

(Previously published by Amber Quill Press)

The beautiful cover was designed by Carey Abbott of Safari Heat.

What is keeping you busy and energized these days?

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont




 
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