Monday, October 17, 2011

The making of a promotional website

This is the commercial we hope will bring people to our website:

This is the video that will introduce people to me and hopefully encourage them to either go back and download my books or to download a pay per view podcast :

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heidi Hall - WriterGurl1: For Love or Legacy by Ruth Cardello - Another grea...

Heidi Hall - WriterGurl1: For Love or Legacy by Ruth Cardello - Another grea...: Somehow between finishing the first book in my new series, cleaning my windows and patio furniture, and washing my car, I managed to also f...

Another author goes FREE.

Calista Taylor and I had many discussions about whether or not she should try to go FREE on Amazon.  I'm sure she is dancing this morning as her book is #21 on the FREE list.  Here is hoping that it goes to #1!  It couldn't happen to a nicer fellow author.

When she puts her second book out (next month)...will she have the same results?  Cali is doing all the right stuff.  I'm thrilled to see it work for someone else.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Contests Contests Contests - worth it?

My first two contests were via my website for $25 gift cards.  They didn't get many entrants, but they DID generate a buzz about my book.

My 3rd contest was a blast.  People wrote scenes loosely related to my books and submitted them to my FB page for my "friends" to vote for.  I loved all the entries and my "friends" doubled.

My 4th contest is underway now....a youtube video contest.  I'll keep you updated.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Promotion that works?

People are always asking me how I am promoting my book.  If you've read this blog from the start you know some of the foundation I laid.  I tweet, I blog, I FB.

I might actually make podcasts of each and how I use them since there seems to be enough interest in the subject.

As far as I can tell, promotion isn't doing one thing.  It's about making connections, building relationships, helping others.  I'm so pleased that my journey has not only made my book visible, but it has also brought so many wonderful people into my life.

Don't worry, it has brought the boobs, we don't speak of those.

So, if you're wondering what I'm doing for  promotion...come on over to my FB page, Author Ruth Cardello and check out my contests.  I'm having so much fun with them.  Check out my tweets and how often they are about other people.  I don't have all the answers.  Heck, I just started in April, but I will gladly share what little I've learned along the way. 

A modern American publishing success story: Ruth Cardello

A modern American publishing success story: Ruth Cardello

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book 4: Saving the Sheik (Blurb)

Book 4 came to me while I'm writing book 3.  The blurb is still under construction, but I'm excited about the premise.

(insert super sexy sheik name) is fighting for the sovereignty of his small country. He needs to find some powerful allies - and fast. Attending the wedding of Dominic Corisi is as much about reconnecting with old friends as it is about celebrating nuptials. The last thing he needs right now is the distraction of a woman.

Zhang Yajun is a self-made billionaire who can’t believe she let her friend, Abby, talk her into wearing a ridiculous, lowcut bridesmaids dress. And only Maddy would have sat her at the same table as a hottest man at the wedding. Too bad his arrogance makes any civil conversation an impossibility.

When impulsive words lead to even more impulsive actions, these two will discover that sometimes the last thing you were looking for is the one thing that can save you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Heidi Hall - WriterGurl1: For Love or Legacy by Ruth Cardello - Another grea...

Heidi Hall - WriterGurl1: For Love or Legacy by Ruth Cardello - Another grea...: Somehow between finishing the first book in my new series, cleaning my windows and patio furniture, and washing my car, I managed to also f...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sales update

I haven't posted sales numbers in a while and that's because when things begin to take off you start to worry that they won't maintain and all of your energy starts to go that way.

Amazon is now where I get my most sales.  Maid for the Billionaire is still FREE and brings about 800 - 1,000 new readers to me everyday.

For Love or Legacy sells about 200/day in the US.  Sometimes slightly less.  Sometimes slightly more.  So, right now it's bringing in about $3,000 a week. My overall Kindle ranking is in the low 200s.  I don't know what they are making in the top 100....but I want to :)

I sell through iTunes via Smashwords.  My ranking is high there the romance top 10 usually....but I don't know what that means for sales. I'll tell you as soon as I know.

How long will this ride last?  I'm hoping to make a career out of this, but who knows.  I'm learning as much as I can about promotion as I go and might put up a website to tell others what I've done so far.

Either way, the money coming in is going to help this family (who lives paycheck to paycheck) put ourselves in a more stable financial place.  I don't want to get too excited, but small dreams (like being able to pay off our cars and maybe go on a family vacation) are looking possible again.

Thank you to all of those who took a risk on this new writer and have made this possible.  You've changed the life of this working mom in a wonderful way. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ok, so I've decided to go to my first romance conference and everyone tells me that I need to invest in some swag.

What is swag and why do I need it?

I spent an hour last night reading about what authors bring to their conferences and like so many other promotional techniques I wonder -- How the hell does that help you?

I get how a business card would help you.  I even get how giving pens with you information could help.  And the list of what people give is as extensive as it is fascinating:  lipgloss, mirrors, can openers, bag clips.  And then the more general swag that has the picture of your book on it.

I met a few authors recently who handed me what I now know was their "swag."  I stuffed it in my purse.  I believe some fell to the floor of my car.  I hate to throw it away since they spent money making it, but seriously...with kids....where do I put these half-naked pictures of people?

If I had more money I'd get everyone a flash drive with my info on it.  Who doesn't love those?

Maybe I'll settle for pens.

Help me out here, does swag really work?  Wouldn't just a few nice business cards handed out to those who seem to want to know  more be just as effective?

Is this like men who think more cologne is sexier?  Is less more?

I'd love to hear what you think. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Write a scene, win a new Kindle

WRITE A SCENE - WIN A KINDLE (Contest ends on September 30, 2011)

by Author Ruth Cardello on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 2:04pm
Please read the following rules carefully:

Who can enter:  Anyone who is a "Friend" of Author Ruth Cardello

When can people enter:  You can start sending me scenes as soon as you finish reading this note.  Entries will be accepted until midnight on September 25.  Entries must be sent to me via a message.  All other entries will be deleted. I will post them to a note where they can be read and commented on by everyone.

How long: Keep it short.  Entries which exceed the 1,000 word limit will not be accepted.

One entry per person.

Scene description:  The scene should be loosely related to either Maid for the Billionaire or For Love or Legacy.  It may include characters you create.  It may be an extension of something that actually happened, something you wish had happened or just a fun scene you imagine.  I reserve the right to not include any entries which offend, disturb, or otherwise annoy me.  (An example would be a scene that either paints one of the characters in a bad light, kills them off, or in general gives me nightmares.)  Keep it clean.  Keep it fun. You don't have to be a writer to just have to have a scene that others like.  Try it.

Comments:  Let's make this fun for each other by commenting on the entries.  Please remain positive...if you can't say something nice...(blah blah blah) don't ruin it for others. You can comment on as many people who enter, but you can only LIKE the one you want to win.

How to vote for the winner:  Simply LIKE their note.  You can only like one! Only "Friends" of Author Ruth Cardello may vote.  If you want your friends to vote for your entry, have them "Friend" me and then they are eligible to vote.

The note with the most "LIKES" by midnight on September 30th will win a new Kindle from Amazon and (if they would like and contingent upon my approval of the scene) the winner will be included as "extra scenes" at the end of one of the books.  Just like the movies, only you wrote the scene.  By entering the contest, you are giving ownership of your scene to Ruth Cardello.  You will not be compensated if your scene is used as an "extra."  Your compensation is your Kindle prize. I will however leave your name as a credit for the scene.

I can't wait to see what you come up with!  Happy writing!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Romance Novel Junkies: Author Ruth Cardello

Romance Novel Junkies: Author Ruth Cardello: Beneath the Sheets Quickie Q&A Author Ruth Cardello By Romance Novel Junkies . 1. What year did you start writing? I’ve been writing si...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The more you know -- Week 2 --- $6,000 sales (total)

My book was for sale for 12 days in August.  Total sales?  Close to $6000.  I'm not sure exactly what my itunes sales were, but I'm counting the reviews and I'm counting foreign sales in there.

What have a learned?  -
  • Hurricane Irene knocked out my internet access...making it impossible for me to promote and my ranking fell.  I'm still in the 200s on Kindle, but my goal for being in the top 100 just got further away.  Promotion helps.
  • Domain names are worth purchasing.  We all think we won't need them, but if you book does take off you'll want your name.
  • There are wonderful people out there who want to see you succeed.  Be careful not to be taken for a ride, but trust that sometimes they are just enjoying the ride with you.
  • Wix does not work on iphones and ipads.  Darn it, I just made my website on Wix.  I didn't know that using flash would limit who could see it.
  • Shelfari and Goodreads is worth getting involved in.  I'm exploring both myself.
  • Romance Novel Junkies...AKA a wonderful supporter of new writers.  If you don't know her and her website, you're missing out.
  • Shaina Richmond is a romance marketing genius.  If she ever writes a book on how to market your book, buy it.  I still can't believe she takes the time to help me out.  I feel like I'm taking a college course every time I speak to her.
  • Sometimes you have to follow your gut as far as when and how to release your book.  I've turned down opportunities now that didn't have the potential to pay off the way self-pubbing could.  Will it work out?  I don't know, but I'm going to try like hell.
  • Readers are amazing!  One woman stayed up all night looking for editing issues on my new book because she knew I couldn't yet afford an editor.  I fixed everything she found and my book is better because of it.  Now that is a nice person!
  • People will assume that any success you get is luck -- it is if your definition of luck is hard work, determination, and a dogged search for how to improve your chances of making it.
  • Husbands don't mind doing the dishes for you once your writing starts to pay
  • Write! Write! Write!  There is money in magnitude of material. 
  • Formatting gets easier.  I'm beginning to know how to fix the issues I see in other ebooks that have "real" publishers.
  • 70% royalties is always nicer than 20%
  • mailing lists are as mysterious to me as the global economy...but it looks like I'm going to have to learn about them 
  • Book bloggers are good....but busy.  I don't know where to find them or how...but it has been suggested that I learn.  So, learn along with me.
  • Oh, yes, and what you label your website is HUGE.  Searches are huge.  I'm still learning about this.  Really, if Shaina writes the book....I'm first in line to buy it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I didn't know

In the beginning (of time? No, just April), I didn't know how much I didn't know.  This has been a huge learning curve for me.

Did I mention back loading a book to help sales in the next?

Are you taking advantage of the book descriptions when it comes to promoting your next book?

Why does liking a Facebook fan page help anyone (ok, this one I still don't get.)

How do guest book mailing lists work?

Domain names....which ones and why?

Twitter contests...getting the word out.

So much much more to learn.  Come on with me on the ride :) 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who inspires you to write?

It was my first day in RIRW.  Fresh from a critique group where one woman had told me that my writing was so bad that it made her bang her head on the wall, I was terrified to share my writing with these women.

I sat down next to Annette.  I didn't know that she'd won various writing contest and had several books on the bestseller's list.  Oh, no, had I known that I wouldn't have shown her my writing at all.  She read my three pages and told me that she was going to risk offending me.  She told me that my writing was good enough that she didn't need to be nice to me.  Nicely, and with suggestions that no one had taken the time to share with me before, she showed me where my writing was strong and where it was weak.  I walked away from our talk feeling empowered to learn more about writing.

I've met good writers and I've met good people.  Annette is a wonderful mixture of both.  If you're lucky enough to sit next to her at a conference, you will walk away with a better understanding of the market and inspired to keep trying on your WIP.  Sales didn't come easy to her and that is part of her charm.  She fought for what she has achieved and it has given her not only the ability to savor each success, but also a keen appreciation for how new writers feel.

Check her out on facebook and while you're there "like" her page.  The magical gnomes of promotion say it helps -- although I still don't know how.

And if you happen to buy one of her many books -- you can do so knowing that you couldn't support a nicer author.

Forever grateful I sat next to her during my first RIRW meeting,
Ruth Cardello

Week 1 of Book Sales

I suppose I should wait till the end of the week to maybe I'll come back and adjust these numbers on Sunday.

For Love or Legacy went up on Amazon and Smashwords on Saturday night - how did it do?
  • On Amazon it went from (Sunday #767 on Kindle Store to Friday #181)  (Contemporary Romance #16)  I'm a numbers I'll share them #767 I had 141 downloads.  Today at #181 I have 1,344 sales.  I've been averaging 200-250 sales per day.   What does that mean in terms of money?  Since the book is $2.99...and the profit at that price is 70%... get about $2 per book.  At this rate, my book should pull in $3,000 for its first week out.  
  •  My first contest was tiny, but I think it was successful.  I only had 2 entrants in the actual contest but many people wrote to me and said that although they did not want to be in the contest they would promote my book.  Interesting.  Trust me, I'm grateful, but I'm not sure what it means.  Was my contest too complicated?  I going to host another next week and simplify it.  I'll tell you how it goes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did you read this ebook income blog?

For Love or Legacy # 195 on Amazon PAID


I put the book up on Saturday afternoon.  Since then, I've had almost 700 downloads.  Not a bad beginning.  It was enough to put me at #15 in the Contemporary Romance section and #3 in the Hot New Releases List.

So now the real promotion begins.  Those are good numbers, but how do I get the news out to my 150,000 reader base that book 2 is out?

So far I have:
  • Used my social networks
  • hosted a 24 hour promotion contest
  • used my website to get the news out
  • the most powerful help so far came from unexpected places.... connections to people I've met along the way.  Some I've simply enjoyed getting to know...some I've tried to promote as we went along.  
I'm hungry to be in the Top 100.  Ok, I'm hungry for the Top 10.  Can I do it?  For me, I have to believe it's possible or I would stop trying.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Thank you for.....
brushes via deviant art, and Obsidian Dawn. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book 2: For Love or Legacy is available!!!!!!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Promoting Book 2

Ok, so not every idea I've had so far is

The B&B...I thought it was genius.....well, maybe when I make enough money to pay for my own rooms.
This is what I'm thinking about the twitter contest:
  • increase my # of twitter followers  
  • get the word out about my book 2 being available
  • go "viral"...not totally sure what that even means, but I know I want
What I've learned:
  • Keep it simple
  • Make it fair...either visible or with a 3rd party raffle
  • Keep it short...better to have smaller prizes more frequently than one large prize
My idea:

  • use my author website page to host the contest
  • Use twitter to guide people to the website to read the directions of the contest
  • Have people list what they have done off a list of promotional ideas and post what they did on my website.  For this part I would run the contest for one day and simply award to the person who had done the most.  I could run this contest once a week.
  • I was thinking about making a page on my website....favorite quotes from the book...where you post your favorite quote and why.  This contest could be done like a raffle.  This one would run for a week.
Prizes:  I'm thinking about $25 gift certificates to Amazon.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Make money while helping me promote For Love or Legacy

This was copied directly from Smashwords.  Please check there for any updates.  I have not done this program, but it seems worth looking into.


Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program Documentation

Learn How the Affiliate System Works

This documentation is divided into two sections:

  1. For Affiliate Marketers - How to earn commissions by promoting Smashwords books

  2. For Authors and Publishers - How affiliate marketers can promote your books

1. For Affiliate Marketers

Basic program overview:
  • Earn generous commissions of 11% to 80.5% of the net sales price
  • Easy to participate
  • You receive commissions on all purchases within a 48 hour period
  • Your customers have over 50,000 ebooks to choose from

Who's Eligible to Enroll?
Anyone over age 18 is eligible. The program is ideal for:
  • bloggers
  • authors
  • publishers
  • website operators
  • online communities
  • book enthusiasts
  • online specialty bookstores
  • professional affiliate marketers

How to Enroll

To enroll as a Smashwords Affiliate, go to your Account page and click the “Affiliate System Management” link where you will need to review and agree with the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program Terms of Service.

How to Create Affiliate Links

There are three ways to create affiliate links.
Option 1: Browse the book selector to view participating books and access cut-and-pasteable affiliate links for your blog or website.
Option 2: As an affiliate, you simply append the text, "?ref=yourScreenName" at the end of any web address (web addresses are also called URLs). To locate your screen name, click to your My Smashwords page, and look in the web browser address bar. You'll see an address where the last charactes after "...view/" are your user name. ""
Once you locate your screenname, you can append it to links to the Smashwords home page, any author or publisher page, any book page, and any category or sub-category of books. You can even link to free books (while there's obviously no commission on a free book, by offering links to free books you'll drive traffic to Smashwords, and if the visitors purchase books while browsing Smashwords, you earn the commission).
To find the initial hyperlink, just go to the Smashwords home page, navigate to the link you want to promote, append your ?ref=yourScreenName code, and then that's the link you'll use.:

Example 1. Link to the Smashwords home page

Example 2. Link to Publisher page for Smashwords publisher, Excessica:

Example 3. Link to Book page for the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (even though this is a free book, it's one of our most popular books and if some clicks to this book, then purchases another book, the affiliate gets credit)

Example 4. Link to Literary best-sellers under 25,000 words
Example 5. Link to Fiction books
Option 3: When you visit the Smashwords website while logged into your affiliate account, you'll see links at the bottom of such pages, which you may copy and paste onto your own website, blog, etc.

The Cookie Clock

When anyone clicks on that URL, which you'll add to your blog, website and other online promotional locations, Smashwords instantly recognizes that that customer came from you. Smashwords deposits what's called a "Cookie" into the user's browser, which helps the site give you credit for their purchases. The cookie expires after 48 hours. The cookie's clock resets if the user clicks on your link again, or disappears if the user clicks on another affiliate's link before the 48 hour period is completed.

How Earnings are Calculated

As an affiliate, you receive a minimum of 11% of the net proceeds from the sale of participating books. "Net proceeds" = (the book's selling price minus the PayPal processing fee)*.11.


Authors and publishers can choose to "juice," or increase, the commission rate for affiliates by sharing a portion of their royalties with affiliates. Authors and publishers do this to encourage affiliates to aggressively promote and link to their books. If author decide to hand over their entire royalty to affiliates, then the affiliate can earn up to 70.5%. Some authors and publishers will do this to increase their readership. Smashwords is creating tools to help affiliates identify books that offer the best affiliate bonuses.
Conversely, Smashwords authors and publishers may opt-out of the affiliate program on a book-by-book basis.

The Monthly Committment

At Smashwords, we appreciate the time and investment affiliates make to promote our books. Therefore, we've built protections into the affiliate system so that affiliates aren't vulnerable to accidental or deliberate "bait and switches." For example, when an author or publisher publishes a book for the first time at Smashwords, they're automatically enrolled in the affiliate program. They are given a 30 day grace period in which they can opt-out at any time. After the grace period expires, they are only allowed to opt out effective the first day of every new month. Therefore, as an affiliate, you should monitor the titles you're promoting, and you should visit the Affiliate Management page on the first of each month to identify the month's participating titles as well as special "juicing" offers. Once an author/publisher juices their title, they are not allowed to reduce the rate until the first of the next month. This allows the affiliates to have some measure of certaintly about the affiliate rates for the month.
However, it's still possible for a promoted title to disappear out of the system. For example, an author could decide to unpublish their books from Smashwords. This is rare, but it does happen. It's smart to check your links periodically.

Tracking Affiliate Click Throughs and Earnings

Affiliate earnings are listed in your Sales & Payment history, available via the link on your Dashboard. (The bonuses will be listed as “Referral bonus for Book Title by Author”.)
Affiliates are paid on the same quarterly schedule as we pay authors and publishers. To qualify for payment, your accrued balance must equal USD $25.00 or more.
You may also see how well your affiliate links Smashwords are working by clicking the “View Affiliate Hit Report” on your Account page.

What Books Are Eligible?

All books that are not opted out of the affiliate system are eliligle for promotion. In most instances, it still makes sense to link to opted-out books because once readers land at Smashwords, they're likely to browse other books that can still earn you an affiliate bonus.
To sign up as an affiliate marketer, first read the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program Terms of Service. Next, visit the Affiliate Marketing Program Signup Page.

2. For Authors and Publishers

Background on the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program

In early 2009, we surveyed all Smashwords authors and publishers about the proposed Smashwords affiliate program as we were building it. Member feedback was tremendous.
1. 100% answered they were pleased to learn Smashwords was building an affiliate program.

2. 99% answered they felt the proposed 70.5%/11%/18.5% author/affiliate/Smashwords split of net revenues was fair. A couple of our authors even suggested Smashwords should take a larger cut. Thanks!

3. 90% answered they would like the personal freedom to offer affiliates an even greater incentive to promote their books by offering more of their margin to affiliates. This is why we offer "juicing."

4. 76% answered they thought program enrollment should be automatic and mandatory. Several of authors wrote they felt it was important that all authors participate to ensure maximum simplicity and appeal for the affiliates. A minority of authors felt there should be an opt-out, so authors who don't want to participate are not forced to participate.

As you can see, we listened closely to our authors and publishers because the affiliate system reflects most of their wishes. On question #4, we sided with the minority who thought we should offer an opt-out. One author put it best when he said words to the effect of, "One of the most wonderful benefits of Smashwords is that you put the authors in control over their own destinies. To not allow an opt-out would run counter to who you are, and would run counter to the free will and openness that is so much a part of Internet culture." We agreed.

What's an Affiliate Program?

In a nutshell, an affiliate program motivates third party marketers (fellow authors, bloggers, online communities, specialty online bookstores, professional affiliate marketers) to promote your Smashwords books. If they drive a buyer to your book, they earn an 11% fee. If you want to read a more detailed explanation of how *other* affiliate programs work, read this overview at Wikipedia:

What can an affiliate program do for authors and publishers? Consider it a method of expanding your digital shelf space at no cost to you other than the reduced royalty rate you receive on affiliate sales.

Amazon's affiliate program has been tremendously successful for print authors and publishers alike for the past ten years. However, in early 2009, they decided to *exclude* Kindle ebooks from their program, much to the dismay of affiliates, authors and publishers.

Please tell all of your author friends they have an alternative at Smashwords - not to mention our royalty rates are about twice what Amazon offers on the Kindle!

Automatic Enrollment

When you publish a book at Smashwords, it is automatically enrolled in the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program. You can opt-out instantly at any time within the first 30 days of publishing your book. Thereafter, you can opt out effective on the first day of the next month. However, we strongly discourage authors from opting out, because is disincentivizes the affiliate from linking to your book. We think affiliates create tremendous publicity value for Smashwords authors and publishers at very little cost.

Revenue Split for Affiliate Sales, Reporting

Affiliates earn 11% of the net price for any sales they generate, and the author or publisher earns 70.5%. The cut for Smashwords is 18.5%. For non-affiliate sales that originate at or on Smashwords partner Stanza, the author receives 85% of the net sales and Smashwords receives 15%. Affiliates only earn fees when they're responsible for delivering a book customer that purchases a participating book.
Your Sales and Payments Report, available from your Dashboard, will include a breakdown of who received what part of the total price of your book. (“Smashwords' cut”, “Transaction Fee”, and “Affiliate Referral.”)


Authors and publishers can encourage affiliates to help spread the word about their books by "juicing" the commission received by the affiliate. You do this by sharing a portion of your royalties with affiliates. You can juice the affiliate's commission all the way up to 81.5% by giving them all your royalty on a given title. Why would you do this? Because it offers the affiliate strong incentive to promote your book. The amount you juice, or whether or not you juice, is completely in your control.

Become an Affililiate Marketer, Too!

Authors and publishers are invited to join the affiliate program. To register, visit the Affiliate System Management Page and click the button at the right.
Link to your own books with your affiliate referral code, and when someone buys another book along with, or instead of, yours, you'll earn a cut! (Remember, you don't need to link directly to a book or an author or publisher to earn a bonus for the sale. The visitor just needs to add it to their shopping cart at the Smashwords website within 48 hours of clicking your link.)
You can also access the Affiliate Management System within your Account page or Dashboard.

Monday, August 8, 2011

140,000 downloads- What is working?

Two weeks ago I looked up from furiously writing Book 2 in my Legacy series and I noticed that my ranking on the FREE Amazon Bestseller list was sinking.  Suddenly I wasn't in the top 20 in the main Romance category and I had slid from a pretty stable #5 to #15 in the Contemporary Romance category. 

I don't want people to forget about Book 1 before I put out Book 2....on the other hand I won't move up my release date because the revision part is as important as the creation.  Book 2 has to be as strong as Book 1 or forget about anyone wanting to read Book 3.

So, I put aside about 30 minutes a day to promote my book again.  Doesn't sound like much?  I have a wonderful husband and 3 kids who miss me when I'm writing.  30 minutes on top of writing time is big. whatever I do has to count.

What I did:
  • A wonderful woman, Calista Taylor, designed a new cover for my book.  She is just starting to make a name for herself in the cover creation business.  Check her out.  You won't regret it.    She is also designing a website for me. 
  • I aggressively sought out people on twitter who love the romance genre and started to follow them.  Making connections.  (Hey, Twitter capped me off at following 2,000.  Who knew? They have a whole process that is worth reading about.  As I get more followers I can follow more people.  I have about 880.  I guess this is to stop spamming.)
  • I sought out authors who needed a little boost and retweeted their reviews or sent them a few kind words.  Trust me, this is the easiest part because you start to recognize people at Twitter and start to care about how they are doing.  We're all in this together.  I can't help everyone in my 30 minutes...but I'll help whoever I can.  
  • I reaped the benefit of a good review from a place I had submitted my book 2 over two months ago.  Five Stars!  I spread the word.  I might keep spreading the word for a little bit.  Yes, it's self-promotion, but it's also going to help the reviewer.  Plus, really, how many of the tweets do you miss everyday?  Unless you're only following me, it's often a hit or miss.  Maybe I'll discover this is a bad idea, but I'm going to share the review a couple more times.  Not overkill.  I shared it twice.  Maybe two more over the course of the week.
  • I always repost my comments here onto my FB and tweet them.
  • I found conversations on  twitter about how to blog better, but I don't know that I have the time.
  • I also tried to go on a fantastic blog tour...which even had a great prize...and got lost on my second blog and quit the trip.  I was thinking that they should make it easier to navigate once you're on the tour.  Maybe most people do.  Just sharing a thought I had on why that particular tour sounded fantastic but might not show the results they want.  I WANTED to go to all the sites, but gave up when it got frustrating.  That was probably common.
So, which of the list above was most effective? There is really no way to know.   All you can do is keep plugging.  I have a mental list of promotion I'd like to do when I take a break from writing.  Keep trying.

This morning I'm back on the top 20 in the FREE Romance  main and I'm #8 in the FREE Contemporary Romance list.

A little bit of promotion, a little bit of help from some wonderful people and my book is back where I need it to be for the release of Book 2.

Self-pubbing is work and it's scary...but if it is the way you choose to go, it can also be an incredible adventure during which you will meet amazing people from around the world. 

Now, stop reading this and get back to your own writing!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Cover -- Thank you Cali!
Artwork by:


A very talented friend of mine designed a new cover for Maid for the Billionaire.

Thank you Cali! That was so generous of you!

Check out her website to see how talented she is with webpage design, also.

(Little does she know that if you make one cover for're committed to doing the


Sunday, July 31, 2011

My rebuttal to romance genre bias

Sometimes you just can't keep your thoughts to yourself. Read my comments if you're interested.  I encourage you to add a comment if you're moved to.

Writing a good romance is about so much more than adding sex to a story.

As the author of "Maid for the Billionaire", I thought I should chime in on this discussion.

Lumping the romance genre into one "sex sells" clump is a mistake. People read romances for as many different reasons as they read other fiction. As in with any other genre, it would be better to suggest that the writer has a firm understanding of their targeted readers rather than suggesting that the trend is asking for authors to spice it up.

I love category romances. I've been reading them since I was in my mid teens. Presents. Desire. Sheiks. Secret babies. To dismiss my love for the genre as a love of "soft porn" reveals a genre bias. Don't get me wrong, reading soft porn is delicious, but it's not what draws me to these books.

There is an unspoken promise made between a category romance author and the readers. It sounds something like this: I will take you on a fun, emotionally charged adventure with a hero you will enjoy being with and a heroine you can imagine yourself in the place of. You will laugh and probably cry, but nothing too awful will happen. We will escape into a place so wonderful that the stress of your day will dissolve. The background will be exotic. The dialogue will be captivating. There will be sexual tension. All you have to do is let go and enjoy. Does it have to be realistic? Hell no. This is escapism. Bubble bath, glass of wine, relaxation after a tough day at work brain candy.

Erotic writers make different -- and just as legitimate -- promises to their readers.

So, please don't jump on the "sex sells" simplistic train. Not if you want to discuss the romance genre intelligently. Not all romance novels are the same. Not all romance writers are the same.

Keep an open mind and engage some of us in craft discourse. You might be surprised to discover that it's not as easy as it looks.

Increasing Twitter Followers

Maid for the Billionaire has done well so far.  Since April 21, 2011 I've had just over 130,000 downloads.  I've averaged 1 - 2,000 downloads a day.  This past week I only had 6,500 downloads so I'm starting to think about promotion again.

What have I been doing instead?  Writing, writing, writing.  Which is what people say is the best place to put my energy, but I do want Maid for the Billionaire to be visible until the end of August when Book 2 comes out.

So I'm off to find more online connections.  First goal, 2,000 twitter friends. I have a little over 800. How am I going to do it?  I'm going to seek out people who are interested in the type of romance I write...either to write it or reading it....and I'll follow them.

I try to retweet whenever I come across a tweet from an author who is promoting via a review or a contest.

I've also started answering tweets.  Making the connection more personal.

Will it work? Let's see.

Either way, I have met so many amazing people from all over the country via this experiment....actually from all over the world.  Expanding my twitter base is actually exciting.  I don't know which new readers or fellow authors those connections will introduce me to.

I've been very, very lucky so far and I am savoring and remembering to be grateful for each stage of this ride.

I'm also working my butt off on Book 2.  Whether people love it or hate it, I'll put it up onto Amazon knowing that it was the best story I know how to write....and that's all any author can really do. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This is why I love his blog -- Are you writing

When I start to drag or I get confused I head over to Joe Konrath's blog and he sets me straight with some good old fashioned tough love.

This post was an example of exactly the kick in the butt I sometimes need. 

So, I guess I'll be the bad friend and send you there.  But stay only for the length of one post and then get back to writing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Ok, my book dipped to # 13 on the FREE list last week so I decided to ramp up the promotion a bit.  I think it worked.  I started tweeting more and going onto facebook more.  Within a few days I was back at # 6.  It works.  I don't know why it works, but it does.  Don't underestimate it.  Don't fear it.  Just jump in and do it.  I have no idea if my method is the most effect but I try to 1) retweet 5-10 things one of my followers wrote about -- I figure this helps them get the word out about their projects  2) I try to find 20 or so people a day to follow 3) I try to find topics that writers or romance readers would be interested in.

I was talking to a writer this weekend who said that she finds that facebook is the most effective promotional tool for her, but she has 5,000 friends.  I don't even know how you find 5,000 people but I can imagine that if you do....Facebook seems more personal than tweeting.  Anyone know how to get 5,000 friends? lol

The word people keep tossing around lately is audio.  Everyone is asking if I have an audio book version.  Not sure how to get one, but I suppose I should try.

My next personal goal, outside of writing, is to figure out Create Space and design a cover that will work well on it.  I'd love a hard copy of my book.  One more way to make it feel real to me.

100 reviews on

I don't know why I'm so excited (maybe I like milestone numbers), but I just reached 100 reviews on (and the book is still a 4+)

I am dancing tonight with glee.  Every little step of this journey makes it feel more real and is worth celebrating.  After beginning to think that my book would never be read by anyone outside of my family and a handfull of's out there being read.

What is more incredible for any writer than knowing that your story is being read and enjoyed?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Ok, my first royalty check will be pretty amazing, too.  But for now it's enough just knowing that I can write the type of story I've always enjoyed reading.

Thank you 100 reviewers!  I'm so happy I could laugh and cry at the same time!

Numbers Numbers Numbers

I recently spoke to an author who said her favorite part of my blog was that I share my numbers.   So, here are the most recent download averages.  

Amazon US...I average between 1 -2,000 downloads a day.  As time goes on, it's closer to 1,000.  But that seems to be the number that it required to stay on top of the FREE Bestsellers list.  When I was at #1....I had more than 2,000 a day.  When I sit around's at about 1,300 a day.  When I'm in the low teens I'm usually at 1,000.  Mondays and Tuesdays the numbers dip.  Wednesday - Sunday they fluctuate.  You'd think that the best day would be the weekends but sometimes it's actually Thursday night.  I've been fortunate to have not left the top 20 since my book went FREE at the end of May.  Staying visible is a huge help in promotion.

Amazon UK ..... I have 100 - 500 downloads a day.  Usually closer to 100.  I'm off of page one of their ranking. I'm #14 in the contemporary.   When I was higher in the UK, my numbers were never that amazing.  They never compared to the # in the US.  What that tells me is that the books sitting at the top of the FREE UK list might not be pulling in huge numbers either.

Smashwords....  my total is close to 8,000 since April 21 of this year.  I think I average between 50 - 75 a day.  They aren't huge numbers anymore.  However, the exposure I've gotten I credit Smashwords.  They put my book in a large number of places and on all sorts of lists.  When I put my second book up for money I'm definitely using Smashwords again.  They have been very good to me.

Barnes and Nobel ....never put my book FREE....and my numbers have always been very low there.  At .99 cents a download, I average 1 book every two days.  Compare that to the 100 I had downloading a day at the same  price on Amazon before they made my book FREE.  At last check, my count for the month was 14 sales for July. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Maid for the Billionaire continues to rank high on Amazon

Just a quick note.  Maid for the Billionaire has been on the top 20 on Amaazon's Free list for almost two months now.  Ever since it went FREE.  It hit #1....went down to 6 for a long time....dipped to 13 recently...and now seems to be headed back up to 5-6.  I am thrilled.  I hope it stays there until I can get book 2 out.  Thank you to everyone who downloade it and gave this new author a chance.  I am so grateful for this experience.

Oh, the things I know and don't know

I met some incredible people at a writer's tea today and learned so many things.  

  • Create space on Amazon is worth looking into.  You can get a hard copy of your book in trade book size.  Apparently people don't mind spending more for this.  I thought it would be weird if I have Book 1 up for FREE and then charge for the hard copy, but a publisher said it wasn't odd at all.
  • I learned that even though I went through Smashwords, I don't have an ISBN....or learning about ISBNs is definitely something I need to look into further.  It doesn't matter so much for what I've done so far, but it will matter as I move forward.
  • I learned that you can sell different rights to your book.  For example, I can sell just the audio rights to Maid for the Billionaire.  I had no idea.  I can sell international rights.  
  • I learned that you can talk to a publisher for a long time before anyone clues you in that you're not talking to a fellow
  • I learned more about Twitter....the mysterious world of Twitter.
  • I heard about this site you can buy ready made covers for reasonable prices...
It's late so I'll share more tomorrow....but great day full of helpful self-publishing information.

Monday, July 18, 2011

120,000 downloads and writing

I haven't been updating my blog as frequently because I'm furiously working on book 2.  Thank God I have family to help with my one year old.  I write on the weekdays from 8-3.  At 3:00, regardless of how great the writing is going -- I stop.  It has been working out well.  I get a nice chunk of uninterrupted time and still have plenty of time to play outside with my family afterwards.  The weekends are all about family and friends.   I could probably finish faster if I made sacrifices, but balance is important to me. I have three children who need as much as I need to write.

Although I love my job, I'm not looking forward to going back to it in September because my writing time will drop to an hour or two a day....and become 5-7am out of necessity.  Hard to feel the romance at those

Amazon downloads are still over 1,000 a day.  I'm at about 120,000 downloads total (B&N, Amazon, Smashwords)  since April 21, 2011.

The scariest part of self-pubbing is also one of the best parts....Book 2 is being designed entirely by me.  I don't have an editor telling me to add here or take away that.

Sometimes that is

Then I remind myself that all I can do is write the best book I know how to, to write a story that I would like to read, and to pray it finds readers who enjoy the same type of over the top romances I do.
So, I'm still doing some promotion, but not as much.  I'll start it up again when I finish Book 2.

I am, however, helping to promote other writers I come across.  I have a new appreciation for how much a little boost helps.

So, if you're reading this and would like me to mention you, send me an email at and I'll do my best to get to it in a timely manner :) 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Self-pubbing questions

I recently met with some traditionally published writers who had questions about the whole Smashwords, Kindle, B & Nobel.  Before you read these answers, remember that I'm new to all of this.  Most of the information can be found by reading over each site's small print.

Question 1:  Does Smashwords take a cut of what you make on Amazon?

I would think they do since when you publish to Smashwords there is an option of having them post your work on Amazon.  You can get around this by choosing where you want Smashwords to publish your work.  I said no to both Amazon and B & N because I had heard that there were formatting issues.  Is that true?  I don't know, but I am glad that I put it up myself.  My profit from Amazon will be only my profit.  Now Barnes and Nobel never went anywhere for me.  I think I get 30 downloads a month if I'm lucky.  Maybe I should have gone through Smashwords for them.  Smashwords does a lot to promote your book with its affiliation programs.

Question 2:  Do you need to hire an editor?

I didn't, but then I'm a mother of three and Maid for the Billionaire was my first venture into publication.  It had been read by several editors so I had a pretty good idea of where my writing was.  That said, I am still finding little things that I missed and formatting is TOUGH.  If you can find a reasonably priced place that will do both for you, I'd jump at it.  It's worth it to have a polished product.  You don't want typos or formatting issues to turn people away from a good story. 

Question 3:  Can you make your own cover?

If you've read my blog at all -- you know that this is still a question for me.  There are beautiful covers sitting at the bottom of the ranking list.  There are simple covers up and down the numbers.  I'm considering paying for my next cover.  Will it make a difference?  We'll see.

Question 4:  How do make your book FREE on Amazon?

If you do a search, there are several authors who have all kinds of plans for how to do it.  Simply put, if it is free somewhere else it will likely go FREE on Amazon.  I used Smashwords as my FREE publication site and it worked out well for me.  That  said, I hear it doesn't always work and there was some debate whether it is changed by computer or a more subjective human force.  I honestly don't know.  Try something and if it doesn't more articles and try again.  It took almost a month for Maid for the Billionaire to be FREE.

Question 5:  How long should your book be FREE before you charge?

There are as many answers to this as there are authors self-publishing.  I've seen people using all sorts of strategies.  I would look at what your goal is and work backwards from that.  I'm a new author.  I like to think that I have a strong story which is only the beginning of what I hope is a good trilogy.  I probably won't ever change the price on Maid for the Billionaire.  New people are buying Kindles everyday.  They want FREE books.  Leaving MFB FREE allows me to constantly find new readers.  I've been lucky that book 1 was well received and has stayed high on the FREE ranking.  I'm writing like crazy to get Book 2 done for the end of August to take advantage of the interest in my series.  I'm not making any money now (although I did make almost $800 before it went FREE), but if I sell Book 2 for $1.99....I'll get 35% of the profit.  And then it's all about praying that a good percentage of those who downloaded book 1 will come back and buy book 2.  I really don't have much control over that, outside of promoting and doing my best to make my second book as good as the first one. 

Question 6:  What would you do if a traditional publishing house offered you money for the series now?

A bird in the hand?  I don't know.  There is a certain freedom that comes from knowing that I can write Book 2 the way I want it to be written and that it will be judged not by one woman, but by the readers.  It's also scary.  I only have myself to pat on the back or blame at the end of the day.  And the rewards?  From what I hear, Mills and Boon (my dream publisher) would have given me somewhere between $7-17,000 dollars for the sale.  Amazon is a gamble.  Maybe I'll make nothing.  Maybe $1.99 will be too much for a new author to charge.  BUT if it isn't....if people liked book 1 enough to return and buy book 2....let's crunch numbers:  I'm at about 110,000 downloads.  Let's say half of those people buy book 2.  that's 55,000 people....which would be $38,500 dollars.  Quite a difference.  Is it any wonder that JK Rowlings decided to self-publish?  The percent of profit goes up as your price does.  The type of book I write probably sells best under $2....but I've seen plenty of books priced pretty high.  Those books get (I think) 70% profit.  No, I'm not sure I would take a contract right now.  Not yet.  Not until I see how I do on my own.

If you  have any questions about the process, I'll answer them the best I can.  I am by far not an expert, but I do believe in the motto "When we work together, we all do better." 

Too many years of teaching Kindergarten? lol  Maybe.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Isn't it wonderful?

I still can't believe that I met (and am now exceeding) 100,000 download on Maid for the Billionaire.  It's truly a dream come true.  The most amazing part?  When people write to me about what they enjoyed about the book and I see that THEY GOT IT.

I think of a good category romance like a roller coaster....and as a reader I'm drawn to certain types of books because they have the turns and the flips I like.  I like knowing that nothing too bad is going to happen.  I enjoy the crazy situations the characters find themselves in, the huge fight that makes it seem like they could never get back together, and I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

I still get emails and reviews that inform me of how completely unrealistic my story is.  I laugh with glee and think to myself, I KNOW, ISN'T IT WONDERFUL?

As I revise and deepen Nicole and Stephan's book,  I hope their story finds the same acceptance.   I'd love to be here again after the August release of For Love or Legacy, announcing the same reader reaction to my second book.

On that note, back to the computer for me.....back to New York where Stephan is still being a stinker and Nicole is not going to be very happy when she finds out what he has been up to.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this journey.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the kind words.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What a thrill

What a thrill to find my book on the same page as authors I have known and admired for so long.  Makes the dream seem just a little more possible.

Now it's just hard work, determination, and a lot of writing! 

A good review

Maid for the Billionaire was just reviewed by Romantic Love Books:

I'll just show you the PROS....for the CONS you can visit the link

"Pros: This book is awesome — by far the best self-published book I’ve read to date. It’s fast paced, the characters are developed, it has a hint of mystery and suspense, and it’s well written. It’s free and clear of the majority of grammatical mistakes and misspellings common in self-published books, and it’s written at a professional level. It doesn’t read like a self-pub at all."

I am absolutely thrilled that Kristen liked my book.  When Maid for the Billionaire was turned down repeatedly by traditional publishing houses I was seriously beginning to doubt my ability to write.  I had been told that readers wouldn't like Dominic.  I had been told that Dominic was too weak of an alpha.  I like my alpha heros a bit more human than most, I guess.  I don't mind the baggage as long as they have a heart of gold.

I didn't want to change Dominic and I'm glad I trusted my instincts and didn't.  

My next hero is very different than Dominic --- and I hope he will be as well received.  He's also not your typical alpha hero.  

Thanks again, Kristen, for the nice review.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nearing 100,000 downloads -- update

Now this would truly be worthy of a celebration if my book wasn't currently FREE....  However, if my goal was to have it read, it's being read.

How would you celebrate 100,000?  A glass of wine seems too little.  A midnight streak across the backyard seems like too at 43 the youtube potential is frightening.... lol


I've backed off promoting it extensively to pour more of my energy into finishing book 2 of the series.  I gave myself the deadline of the end of August and it looks like it will be completed by then.  I have a skeleton version of each chapter.  Now comes the layering and the revisions....oh, yes and the research to support or change some of the wild ideas I had for it.

I hope those who enjoyed the first book will have just as much fun on the second wild ride.  It's equally not realistic but with some characters who are just different enough to be a lot of fun.   The entire series is about finding yourself and your family, but set in the classic category romance mayhem.    My only regret is I haven't figured out a way to work a Sheik into the series  I have a yummy one in my imagination, but he might have to wait for his own series.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I recently learned

I've learned that:

  • contests are much more complex than I thought and require more information than I presently have
  • self-promotion is a lot like leaving a trail of crumbs to your book.  All you can do is lay down as many paths and hope someone follows them back to your site
  • romance novels attract the nicest people -- I am so impressed with the quality of people mine has brought into my life.
  • I am reasonably good at targeting a tweeting audience and will have to post my method on my blog
  • like relationships, blog tours happen when you've given up on thinking they will
  • librarians also read category knew

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Pinch of Romance: Yet another reason to publish your book

A Pinch of Romance: Yet another reason to publish your book: "Since I put my romance up on Amazon, I've been getting emails from people all around the world. I recently received an email from a woman i..."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Help me design a contest prize you'd like to win

I could raffle off a Kindle as part of my promotion contest for book 2: For Love or Legacy, but -- like my characters -- I like larger than life stuff.  I get excited.  I dream big.

I have been imagining a contest that involves stepping into the book -- going where Dominic and Abby went:
  • a 2 night stay in a B & B in Boston near Newbury St that looks like Dominic's brownstone
  • a limo ride to Newbury Street for a makeover and chinese food
  • I had thought about a ride over to Southwick's Zoo -- but friends of mine have said no one will want to leave Boston to go to the deer forest
  • I had also thought about a $50 gift card for a someone could buy an outfit like they did in the book
  • I've even played around with the limo taking the lucky winner to Chinatown in Boston (Sorry, can't afford Beijing)
  • This would be purely a destination prize.  Travel would have to be provided by the winner.  And it would also be BYOB (Bring your own BILLIONAIRE...I don't have one of those handy, either
  • And, only if the winner wanted, a coffee with the author (me) to discuss...well, whatever.....books, romance, life
I'd love to hear your thoughts!  How can I make this better?  What would someone who liked the book want to see? do? 

The legalities will be figured out by working with a third party who does contests, but I need your input now!

Help me design a prize you'd like to win!

65,000 + downloads since April 21

More than halfway toward my goal of 100,000 downloads.

Being on the top of the free download list helps.  It's promotion all by itself.  Now, how to stay there is the question.  I'm at about 450 twitter friends.  I'm working on setting up a blog tour.  I put the contest idea aside from least my big one.  I am considering offering a Kindle as a prize...especially since Kindle has been so good to me.

Emails are pouring in from around the world, amazing emails from wonderful people who want to either simply tell me that they enjoyed the book or who want to offer me advice on how to market it better.  For example, my cover. 

Last year, due to buget cuts, I lost my Kindergarten position and became an instructional coach.  I like what I do now, but I LOVED Kindergarten.  Since I left, they have sliced the program down to half-day and are taking the assistants.  So, even if I could get back into a K in my district -- it wouldn't be the same.

There has never been a better time for my writing to take off.  Three years ago I didn't want a  career in day job was too wonderful.  I'm so grateful for this chance...and that this chance has come just when I need it.

I just pray everyday that I am able to take advantage of the opportunities I've been provided. 

It's scary and kind of wonderful all at the same time.

Kindergarten quote - Tooth Fairy

At my school we are still allowed to dress up for Halloween. A few years ago, I dressed up as the Tooth Fairy. The children in the classroom next door had a difficult time understanding that the it was just a costume.

A few weeks after Halloween a little girl from the other class came up to me in the hallway and asked, "How do you do it?"

I answered, "How do I do what?"

She asked, "How do you get in everybody's house? Santa has a sleigh. Do you fly?"

I finally got it.  I asked, "Oh, you mean, as the Tooth Fairy?"

She started to look frustrated and said, "I know you're the Tooth Fairy, but how do you get to everybody's house in one night? How do you know who lost their teeth?"

I couldn't help but laugh because she was so serious.  I leaned down and told her confidentially, "I am not actually the Tooth Fairy. I just wore that costume for Halloween."

A second girl joined the first and they moved a foot away from me as if I could not hear them there.

The second girl asked her friend, "How does she do it?"

My disappointed inquisitor stated, "She wouldn't tell me."

The Tooth Fairy is a tough nut to crack; unlike Santa Claus who will tell you everything if you ask him.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My novel gets mentioned on !

The Real Force Behind Ebook Sales: Heaving Bosoms

Published June 14, 2011

Male politicians aren't the only ones using tech to explore their sexual fantasies. 
Women are quietly using ebooks more and more, devouring lusty titles like "Maid for the Billionaire," "Outcast," "My Horizontal Life" and "Cotillion" -- among the current bestselling ebooks for Amazon's Kindle.
It's a trend that has made magazine publishers and companies like Barnes & Noble sit up and take notice: Women like ebooks, and women like romance novels, a lot. So say goodbye to your stereotypes. New technology sales aren't always driven by four-eyed nerds with too much disposable income on their hands. This new wave of electronic books looks like it's being driven by women who are more interested in the content than, er, screen sizes.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kindergarten quote - under there

I was out sick one day and a nun was the substitute in my classroom. While she was reading the children a story, one of the boys scooted forward and went under her long habit. When I returned to school and read the scathing note I called the boy over to my desk.

I said, "I have a note that says you crawled under the teacher's dress yesterday."

He said, "She wasn't a teacher."

I asked, "What was she?"

He said, "She was like that thing you put on a Christmas tree, but all in black."

I said, "That does not explain why you looked up her dress."

As if it were obvious to everyone but me, he said, "Sometimes angels don't have legs"

Proving once again why you should always listen longer.

Would the nun still have been offended had she realized that he thought she was an angel?

The learning curve

Adding to my list of what you need to know/learn to self-pub:
  • What is Kindle font and how do you get your MS in it? lol  I'm looking into this and will report back.  There are so many how-to sites.  I'm afraid to mess with my MS too much since that is the only small issue it has.  I did find some minor typos.  I'm almost at the point of paying someone to make sure it's right.
  •  Covers.  I'm going to look into pricing what a professional one cost.  I saw some $20 sites...not sure what one of those looks like...maybe no better than my home-made one.
  • All sorts of people will write to you once you put your book out there.  Read the snarky emails once to see if they have a point.  Read the supportive emails twice -- it helps drown out the sarcasm of the others.  And read reviews WITH a friend because you can celebrate the good ones together, pull out helpful criticism from some of the less glowing ones, and have someone there to tell you that anyone who doesn't love your story is crazy.  (Not really true, but oh so nice to hear when you get a bad review.)
  • The world is full of amazing people and self-publishing will bring them into your life. 
  • You're going to make mistakes.  It's ok.  Keep going.  Keep trying.  What does Konrath say.....What is a writer that keeps trying? - Published.  What is a published writer that keeps trying? - Rich.  I don't know how true the second one is....but I'm going to take this opportunity as far as I can. I'd love to be able to tell my kids that it all started one April when I decided to self-publish.

Monday, June 13, 2011

First negative reviews -- false advertising?

As my book increases in # of downloads, the reviews are coming in.  I treasure the good ones, but I pay close attention to the negative ones to see if there is anything I should change.

There isn't too much I can do if people don't like category romances :)  And comparing me to a Harlequin or a Mills and Boon is actually a compliment in my world.  Also, saying that the romance is unrealistic is an indicator that the reader doesn't love the same genre I do.  There really isn't supposed to be much realism in escapism category romance -- at least not the ones I choose.  I'm a proud Harlequin Presents and Silhouette Desire junkie.  I love those whirlwind romances, the larger than life alpha males, and the intense breakups that are just a speed bump on the way to the couple living happily ever after together. Throw in a Sheik or a secret baby -- and now you've really got me drooling. 

What did concern me was the person who thought I was falsely advertising the download as an entire trilogy when, in fact, it is just the first of the three books.  I'm happy that person shared their frustration, because that was not my intention and, hopefully, it was an easy fix.  I went back onto the description page of Kindle and added the dates of release on book 2 and 3.  That should clarify things as people read the blurb.

So, although no one likes to read negative reviews -- it's important to sift through what they say and decide if any change is necessary.

The second book in the series will likely never be considered for an Oprah book group must read, but it will take the reader on the same kind of larger than life emotional roller coaster ride toward a happy ending.  There will probably also be "no literary value in it" and I wouldn't want it any other way.

And if anyone wants to compare it to a Presents or Desire again -- all I can say is, "Stop it, you're making me blush."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kindergarten quote -- keeping me humble

I had just finished reading a story to the class when one little girl raised her hand and said, "Mrs. Cardello, you looked so pretty yesterday."

I said, "Yesterday? Not today?"

She studied me intently, then answered with the honesty of a five year old, "Not so much today." 

adjusting my goal to 100,000 downloads

(Free download # for this month)
27, 200 on AmazonUS
3,925  on AmazonUK

4050 Smashwords (cum. since April 21)

I've stopped looking at Barnes and Nobel.  It's just

MFB ranks #2 on the Amazon romance free download bestseller list and #4 on the general free download bestseller's list.  That's exactly the kind of visibility I have been aiming for!  The advice I found on those articles I suggested in earlier posts is working.

Total my numbers since April 21st and over  40,000 people have read my book.  That is so amazing to me and makes me hopeful that the strategy will pay off when I put my second book up at the end of the summer.  I hear that people who have done this see 1,000 SALES a day when they get to the next stage. 

My goal is to have 100,000 downloads by then.  That should give me enough of a reader base to do well if I price my book at $1.99.   I don't think I'll go higher than that.  The payout will only be 70 cents per book.....but if 50,000 people liked the book and download book two...that would be $35,000.

It's a lofty goal, but why not dream big?  Big dreams require a big investment of time and energy.  A big investment of time and energy usually reaps big results...big dreams.  You can't really have one without the other.

So, I'm dreaming big.  100,000 downloads here I come.
For now that means:
  • extensive word of mouth
  • guest blogging
  • tweeting about my book and various topics 
  • Finding followers.  I follow a new group of people each day and try to make it worth their while to follow me back.  I RT, I mention, I suggest their blogs. (I have 400 followers.  My goal is 500.)
  • my blog ...hey, I finally have people reading it!
  • I put my contest idea on hold for now, but I'm going to keep looking into the rules of it.
  • and helping other writers along the way.  Maybe I spent too much time teaching Kindergarten, but the phrase ...When we work together, we all my mantra. 
I am so grateful to all of the support I've gotten from friends and family (and even some complete strangers) on this journey.  Two months ago I was wondering if anyone was ever going to read Maid for the Billionaire.  The scariest part was waiting for the first reviews to come in.

If you're sitting on a book or a story -- come join me in this adventure.  What do you have to lose?