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 much.....plus 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 yet....lol  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 romance...lol...who 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 mall...so 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 ...lol)
  • 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 now....at 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 writing...my 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 Foxnews.com !


The Real Force Behind Ebook Sales: Heaving Bosoms

Published June 14, 2011
| FoxNews.com

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 sad...lol

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 succeed.....is 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?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kindergarten quote - Just when you think they get it

My class had been working on graphing all sorts of information for weeks. We voted on our favorite cereals, tv shows, games. Each time we took a poll, we would convert the information into a graph. I felt confident that they all understood the idea that information could be shown in this form.

I asked my students, "How could you show me the following information? Fifteen students like hamburgers.  Ten students like hot dogs."

One little girl raised her hand with confidence and asked,  "You want us to giraffe it?"

10 Five Star Reviews and 10,000 more downloads

Amazon US  21,516 (Free downloads...minus the original 800 that was paid for before it went free) #2 on the romance free download list today.  #6 on the general free download list.
Amazon UK   3,515
Smashwords   3,946

** Only concern the reviews brought up is that I have a Kindle format issue.  That might explain why 1 out of 1,000 people return it.  I'm not sure how you figure it out and I'm afraid to reupload it while it's doing well.  I might have to look into hiring someone.  I'll keep you updated on what I find out.

**Book 2 is coming along, but won't be out until the end of summer.  I've wondered if I should put out a book I have that is not in that series.  Questions, questions.  This is the scary part of self-pubbing.  These are my decisions -- good or bad, right or wrong -- it rests on me.

Here are my reviews: 

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, June 6, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Can't wait for the next one! The story was fast paced and funny and not nearly as predictable as I expected it to be. There was a great character setup and by the end of the book I'd fallen for all of the characters and I can't wait to discover the rest of their stories.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars This Was A Great Read, May 6, 2011
atedogs (Gilbert, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
I am very hard on authors but I really really liked this book, I had wished it was even longer. The story keeps your attention keeps you interested and you are always wondering what's next. I still don't like men that are rich and have to have their own way and are pushy but in this case it worked. Enjoy. Althought the cost is worthwhile on Amazon I got it free on another website.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!!, May 18, 2011
C. Taylor (Northern MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
I highly recommend this book, and can't wait to read the remaining books in the series. Couldn't put it down, and loved that the characters were so well developed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Maid for the Billionaire was made for me!, April 25, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
I said one more chapter then off to bed, but I could not put it down. It is a captivating storyline. I would recommend this book to my friends. I am looking forward to book 2. Any format issue mentioned was slight and insignificant and took nothing away from the book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-Paced, Satisfying, And Above All, FUN!, June 7, 2011
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Ruth Cardello has a blast writing alpha male billionaires (and the smart women who love them), and it shows. Dominic has both heat AND heart, and Abby is more than a match for him, even if it takes her a little while to see this for herself. Can't wait for the next book in the series!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, June 4, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Everything the other reviewers said and more. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. I'm a very fast reader and get bored quickly. But not on this one. I read every page. I can't wait until the next installment! I'll be looking forward to more from Ruth Cardello.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Looking forward to the collection!, June 10, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
Out of all the books that I have downloaded to my Kindle this is the first review I've ever made simply because this book was a page turner I could NOT put down. I started reading this morning and just finished. One of the best romance books I have read in a LONG time! AND it was FREE!
When I first started the book I was a little irritated at the way the lettering was showing up on my Kindle (format) and was thinking that this would typically be another romance book where I knew exactly what would happen. HECK NO! I absolutely loved the fact that there was a creative twist thrown in that I wasn't expecting. Although we all knew that they'd end up together, it kept me guessing how.
I am extremely excited to read the rest of the collection and I will literally be checking every day to see if a new one is out!
Way to go Ruth Cardello! I am looking forward to more of your books to add to my Kindle! :) KEEP 'em coming!!! (Please and Thank You!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, June 10, 2011
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
I laughed, I cried, I immediately looked for more by this author. She better write faster. I need the next story. A good R rated story, not XXX.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, June 10, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
This is one of the better books I have had the pleasure of reading lately!! Completely captivating, I found myself laughing out loud more than once. I can't wait for the next installment :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars please amazon: i want the rest of the series!!!, June 10, 2011
This review is from: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection) (Kindle Edition)
great story and wonderful writing! cannot express my wish urgently enough-- please make the rest of the series available soon!
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Kindergarten quote - compliments

My class was writing lists of all the things they like.  

One boy wrote:

I like dogs.
I like Mrs. Cardello.

When he gave me the list, I laughed - I couldn't help it.

He considered my response for a moment and explained, "I almost put you first, but I really like dogs."

Kindergarten quote - Don't fix it

I saw one of my male students squirming in his seat one morning.  Sometimes Kindergarten students soil their pants and are afraid to tell you.  Sometimes they have underwear situations they are unsure of how to handle in public.

I asked my student if he had to go to the bathroom.

He said, "No," but continued to squirm in his seat.  I went back over and asked him if he was ok.

He pointed to the front of his pants and said, "Something is wrong down there."

I thought his underwear might have shifted or he might be uncomfortably positioned.  I simply said, "Oh, honey, if you're not comfortable just go in the bathroom and fix it."

He shook his head vehemently and said, "My dad said you don't fix it. You just ignore it and it
goes away."

It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about.  Finally, unable to think of anything I could say to a child that isn't mine, I said, "Your dad is a very wise man."

#1 on the Amazon free romance list

14,000 + downloads since Thursday night when my book went FREE on Amazon.  I don't know how long a book stays at the top.  This is probably a spike because of the price change.  I just hope it's there long enough for me to get to a printer this morning :)


Thursday, June 9, 2011

# 2 on Amazon's bestselling free romance list

Uggggg.  Come on #1!!!!  I'm so close!


More than 9,000 downloads in 24 hours on Amazon

Yeow!  I just cleared 10,000 downloads on Amazon US and people are still downloading at a rapid pace.  I don't know what is more amazing....knowing that 20,000 have read my book in the last month or thinking that maybe....just maybe....I'm doing this right.

Two months ago less than 10 people had read my novel.  Now people from all over the world have and are sending me emails.

I'm not going to slow down on my promotional ideas -- but I have to say this feels good.  This feels really, really good. 

Kindergarten quote - Gingerbread man

Every year we make a gingerbread man with the class. Of course, when we are baking him a teacher accidentally peeks in and he escapes. He runs around the school, leaving clues for the children to track him down. When we finally catch him we eat him just like the fox did in the story.

Last year when we brought the captured gingerbread man back to the classroom one little girl started to cry.

I said, "Oh, honey, don't cry. We're just about to have a little party. Don't you want to eat the gingerbread man with us?"

She made a sincere plea for the life of a cookie. "Can't we let him go? Hasn't he been through enough?"

We invited our third grade buddies over to discuss the fate of our gingerbread friend. After much debate it was decided that cookies cannot live in the wild. They are meant to be eaten. They actually prefer being eaten to getting soggy out in the rain.

The sweet little girl who had wept for the gingerbread man said,"Ok, then can I have the head?" 

Totals after day one of being FREE on Amazon.com

AmazonUS  (4,000) ^ 3,200 since it went FREE last night (for the month)

AmazonUK  2845 (Free)  #8 on the  Free Romance bestselling list (monthly total)

Smashwords 3882 (since 4-21-11)  (Free) 1 @ .99...only 1 sale since I changed the price to .99
Barnes and Nobel 2 

Not sure what to do with Smashwords right now.  Do I want to make it free again for about a month to optimize exposure?  Do I want to leave my first book free indefinitely so that there will be a higher interest when I put the second book up at the end of the summer?

I'm doing a lot of reading on the subject, but it looks like people approach this in a lot of different ways.  For now, I'm going to leave Smashwords at .99 so I can petition Amazon to raise the price if I decide to later.

I recently read that it's a compliment if they make you FREE.  I don't know if that's true at all or if it's a computer that does it...  Just one more thing to learn along this journey.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Novel now FREE on Amazon. Will it work?

Here we go.  My original goal was to have Maid for the Billionaire go FREE on Amazon.com  It's the reason I put my novel on Smashwords for free.  

The goal is to make it to the top of the Bestselling FREE list...to be seen and read...and to create a base of readers who will be ready to purchase the next book in the series.

The only drawback is that I was already selling 100 books a  day for .99...and that would have been a nice chunk of change by the end of the month.

Everything I've read said that this is what I want.  They say my sales will go up afterwards. 

We'll see.

I'm still tweeting and still planning promotion ideas -- but I'm interested to see how this turns out. 

I had sold 800 books for .99 by 4:30 today.  About 1,300 people downloaded my book as soon as it  went FREE.

Biting my nails.  Cross your fingers for me.  Will Maid for the Billionaire make it into the single digits on the bestseller's list?  I quickly went from 94 to 48 with the spike.


Kindergarten quote -- my totem

This one was shared with me by a fellow Kindergarten teacher:

It was the end of the day.  The teacher was pleased with how her class had done that day so when they all lined up to go home she decided to give each child a sticker and a few words of praise.  She started at the front of the line and moved her way to the last child in line.  When she returned to the first child, he was dancing and pointing at the front of his pants.

The teacher asked the little boy what was wrong.

He said, "I stuck it on my totem and I can't get it off!"

Five year olds are impulsive and quick.

Parents -- totem? Really? lol   

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June book sales - averaging 100 a day

June 1 - June 7 (6:30 am)

687 on AmazonUS (.99 with 35% commission = $200 + )
2222  on AmazonUK (Free in the UK)
2  on Barnes and Nobel (.99 with 40% commission)
0 on Smashwords.com -- since I changed it from free to .99

My sales have been pretty consistent for almost two weeks now.  

What I'm doing for promotion:

  • tweeting daily and several times a day -- up to 220+ followers -- I try to find good quotes or promotions from other people to retweet to help them
  • blogging here and on A Pinch of Romance -- also, added different content
  • I haven't done as much stumbling, but I plan to when I have more time
  • I submitted MFB to a review blog and am compiling review blog sites
  • I'm telling everyone I know about the book online.  
  • So far, I'm only at the research stage of my contest.

It's so nice to be able to say that my writing is bringing in money.  My husband has always supported my writing...but it's wonderful to see my writing starting to support us back :)