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