Thursday, February 28, 2013

Social Media Marketing Part 2: Fighting for Exposure

It's not even possible to put a number on the ways that there are to utilize Social Networks or the internet to market whatever it is that you do.  Basically, any time you put your name or product out there, isn't that considered marketing?

The problem is that with an infinite number of places and ways to get your name out there, which ones are the most helpful and will yield you the biggest response?  This is something I am currently trying to work through and let me tell you, there aren't enough hours in a day to figure it out any time soon.

I blog.  Obviously you know that because you are here and reading it.  I never did the paid posts thing.  For a while there was a site called "Entrecard" that was sort of like an "I'll stop by your site if you stop by mine" and it drew traffic to your site and somehow made your site more relevant in search engines.

They went away.

I have followers here but to be honest, I follow a lot of sites that I just don't get around to visiting on a daily basis.  Or weekly.  Or monthly.  Heck, I think I follow some sites that I was only on a couple of times and never went back to again.  It wasn't that they were bad sites, but I just don't have the time that I used to.

I tweet.  I have almost 600 followers on Twitter.  Apparently this is a good number.  My son was highly impressed.  So I tweet.  I put out news about my books, promotions, when I need help and people to go to a site and click LIKE for me (curse you Amazon!) but basically, I'm certainly not getting results from each of those nearly 600 people.  

I'm on Facebook.  I'm on there as both me and my alter-ego.  I have over 800 friends on there.  My alter ego has almost 300 likes on the page.  Does that amount to anything?  Not really.  I post all the live-long day about where I need a little help from my friends and you know what I notice?  People will click like all day long on a cartoon or a picture of Grumpy Cat but I can't get nearly the same amount to click on a link for me.

I did Facebook advertising.  I spent a lot of money and got little to no return.  Sure, people looked at my page but that did not equal book sales or likes on the page.  They liked my AD, just not my page.  Awesome.

The funny thing with Facebook is that in order for a page to be a somewhat successful marketing/promotional tool, you have to have a lot of followers from all over the country/world.  If your group is just people who are local to you and you are not getting any help from the locals, don't waste your time promoting anything to these people!  WASTE O TIME!  I don't have time to waste on sites, pages or whatever that aren't going to support of promote me.

I heard of this thing called laddering.  I'm not sure I understand it but it's sort of like the whole Entrecard thing - you like my Facebook page, I'll like yours.  Great, your Likes go up but again, if you aren't promoting me or my product and vice-versa, where is the benefit?  Stats only mean something if it's helping you to promote your business!  You can have 5,000 likes on your products page.  That doesn't mean that 5,000 people have purchased your product.

I'm on Goodreads, Google +, Shelfari, YouTube and more.  And you know what?  I'm spending 3 hours a DAY on getting my name and my book out there and for all of that time and energy (and in some cases, money), it is not equaling book sales.

What am I doing wrong?  We're told that getting the word out, getting your Google rank up, getting your Facebook likes up is all what we should aspire to.  But what good is that high number when nothing is happening for you?

So here's my thought...why am I killing myself on this?  Why am I missing out on family time?  There are over 1,000,000 books on Amazon that I am fighting against.  I'm in the 20,000's.  Not a bad stat after less than a week, right?  But when will Amazon fix it's issues to help their author's who are using them exclusively and put the Like button back?  

In the case of Amazon, that's a stat that I am interested in!  That stupid Like button and the ranking are a very coveted thing!  Why won't they fix it?  Why won't they help the authors whose money they are benefiting from?  Help an indie author out.  Please go to Amazon and click on the link for Ever After and leave me a comment on whether or not your see a like button.  I would love to present them with some stats.

And while you're there, get your copy of "Ever After".



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Amazon Publishing Game: Friend or Foe?

Well, here I am three days into "Ever After"'s release and STILL finding issues with Amazon.  I am NOT amused.

Don't get me wrong - I understand that this is a process and that when I wrote and published "The Christmas Cottage", it was a completely different beast.  Why?  I published a feel-god Christmas story and released it right after Thanksgiving.  As an avid reader of romances, I LOVE reading a good holiday romance at Christmas time.  So basically, the timing was beyond perfect.

"Ever After" is a new challenge.  There was no holiday that I wanted to tie in to (I don't want to write like that) and I released it just like every other author and now it has to compete like every other book with nothing to draw any particular attention to it.  It's frustrating to say the least.  What people don't realize is that, as an author,  you are ALWAYS going to want your book to be a success.  You write, you publish, you wait for success.

No one likes the waiting.


So things are moving slowly right now and a HUGE hindrance to the process is that Amazon still has not figured out or fixed the problem with the "Like" button.  I chose to publish through Amazon's Kindle Select program and so the only place you will find "Ever After" is on Kindle.  Well, how does Amazon track traffic to your page or your popularity?  

Through the like button.

Basically, you don't have to have a boatload of sales to move up the charts.  Weird but true.  But you need to get traffic to the page and have people click like.  Hard to do that when the "Like" button isn't there!

So now here I sit with a book that is competing with a million other books and a missing marketing tool.  Not a good place to be sitting.  So what am I getting by being a part of this whole Kindle Select program?  No one knows.  There is the possibility of some higher profits from some special fund that they have but I'm not seeing them doing anything to move my book to get it to have higher profits.

Correct me if I am wrong but considering that they take a HUGE part of my profits, wouldn't it make sense for them to try and SELL my book???  I don't understand it.  I want to scream; I want to have an all-out hissy fit.  It won't do any good and unless you are a writer yourself, you probably don't understand what the big deal is.

Basically, I am marketing myself/my books.  Local advertising is a waste of time and energy.  I have to be all over the internet and not just on sites visited by people that live around me.  World-wide.  Global sites.  It's not a difficult concept but you'd be surprised.  Amazon is world wide and they are limiting my marketing.  I have a fan club base of almost 300 on Facebook (thank you, Nick!) and I have gotten multiple complaints that they can't go to Amazon and like the book!  I've gotten enough comments about it that it's sincerely and issue and all I get from Amazon is that they cannot identify the problem.

Why?  Because it's like the "Like" button is basically playing peek-a-boo; now you see it, now you don't.  Two computers in my house, one has the like button, one doesn't.  At work, there are 15 computers, half have the like button, half don't? 

What in the world is up with that?  Shouldn't an INTERNATIONAL company like Amazon do a little more to support the author's whose money they are taking?

Help me, readers!  Please go to Amazon and get your copy of "Ever After" - it's only $1.99 and if you can see it, click the LIKE button!  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Amazon Issues: Trying to Keep the Indie Author Down?

I am not an alarmist.

I don't "do" conspiracy theories.

But at this time yesterday I was spouting both of those things.  

Yesterday was the release day of my third book, "Ever After".  I chose to go with Amazon exclusively and utilize their Kindle Select program where they get the exclusive digital rights to the book for the first 90 days.  I was happy to do it because when I analyzed the sales from "The Christmas Cottage", 98% of them came from Amazon/Kindle.

So what about yesterday had me completely freaked out?  

The "Like" button was gone.

At first I thought I was seeing things but then I remembered how last week when I went to check my stats on "The Christmas Cottage" there had been no "Like" button then either.  So what was up?

Let me start by saying if you are suspicious of something, do NOT go onto ANY discussion boards because THAT is where you find all kinds of conspiracy theories.  There were customers who had written articles and blogs on how this was Amazon's way of snubbing Indie Authors and making room for only the "real" published ones and I have to tell you, after messaging Amazon and emailing Amazon and chatting with Amazon, I was starting to believe it.

No one had a reason WHY the "Like" button was gone!  How could that be?  I mean, they are one of, if not THE largest on-line retailers in the world and their IT department can't figure out this 'glitch'?  Seemed a little suspicious to me.

And why is the "Like" button so important?  Well, it is a way for Amazon to track traffic to your page.  It's not the only way but it's an important way and really, in order for my stats to go up on "Ever After", it would certainly help if people went over there and clicked the "Like" button!  But they can't do that when it isn't there!

I ranted and raved to their support people and one idiot sent me a lengthy email on the function of the "Like" button.  Really?  I KNOW THE FUNCTION OF THE LIKE BUTTON!!  THAT'S WHY I'M SO PISSED THAT IT'S NOT THERE!!!  What the hell???

By 5:00  yesterday afternoon, it was back on "Ever After"'s page.  How?  Well, for me I had to log out of my Amazon account, clear my internet cache, restart my computer and then log back in.  

That only worked on my desktop.  I still can't see the "Like" button my laptop.

Come on, Amazon!  For real??  Work this stuff out!  You keep the majority of my sales on MY hard work and you can't give me my freakin "Like" button???  How about in exchange, I get the majority of my sales profits and you can take your "Like" button and...

Well, you get the picture.

And if you get the chance, head on over and click "LIKE" for me!

Monday, February 25, 2013


I am so excited.  Today is the release day for my newest novella, "Ever After"!  I thought this day would never come!  

For those of you who are new to the blog, "Ever After" is the followup to my holiday novella, "The Christmas Cottage".  In the new story, we follow up with Ava Callahan, who was the best friend in "The Christmas Cottage".  Though the two stories are related, they can each stand alone.

Here is the back cover blurb:

She walked away from her fairytale wedding in search of her true happily ever after.

She hadn't counted on it coming searching for her first.

Eight months after canceling her wedding, Ava Callahan finally has her life in order and sees nothing but blue skies ahead.  A chance encounter with the man responsible for ruining her wedding has her newly organized world in chaos.

Brian McCabe had persevered for eight long months seeking the woman he loves and his patience was about to expire.  Purposely putting himself in every path Ava was on might now always work to his advantage, but he wanted to make sure that she truly saw him for who he was.

Her happily ever after.

"Ever After" is available exclusively on Amazon/Kindle starting today for only $1.99!!!  Please go to the page HERE and get your copy and don't forget to click LIKE while on the Amazon page.  Share the link with your friends and on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you can.

Thank you for your support!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to Take a Successful Writing Retreat

I have said it before and I'll say it again, I have some amazing friends in my life.  Right now I am sitting in a cozy cottage in the woods for a weekend to total writing abandon.  I have the place to myself; no tv, no radio, no phone, no family, no laundry, no...anything.

Except I have a cell phone, a laptop, a kitchen, my iPod,  my Kindle and enough food to feel a small family of four for a weekend.  

I like to be prepared.

This is my third retreat and each time I come away feeling accomplished and refreshed and more than blessed for the time I was given.  The first two retreats I did were during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) times so I had a definite writing goal in mind.  This time around it is all about working on SEVERAL writing projects.

To prepare for the weekend I had to gather all of my files that I would need from my desktop and move them to the laptop.  I had to pack clothes (primarily pajamas because I intended to be VERY lazy and casual), pack up enough food for the weekend so that there would be no middle-of-the-night Taco Bell runs (I don't do it at home but for some reason it becomes HIGHLY appealing during a retreat!) and all of the tools I will need to get my projects done over the course of a weekend.

I left for work on Friday morning and loaded my car.  During my lunch break I ran to Target and got some last minute items.  After work I ran to the grocery store to get the last-LAST minute items I couldn't find at the Target and then grabbed some Chinese take-out and I was off.

It was pouring raining and after four trips to the car, all of my belongings were in the cabin and I was ready to retreat.  I sat down, opened my dinner and pulled up something to watch on the laptop.  Really, who needs a TV these days?  Then I got serious.  I put on my jammies and got comfortable and at 6:40 I began to tackle the first of six projects I had outlined for the weekend.  By 11:45 I had completed two of them and was ready to crash.  It was sweet to have the whole bed to myself and no alarm to set.

Saturday dawned - still raining.  There's something soothing about writing with nothing but the sound of the rain.  I set up again, had something to eat while playing some Scrabble on Facebook and then started to write. 

To my son.

Back and forth.

On Facebook.


This was so NOT going as planned.  Don't get me wrong, I had accomplished two huge projects the night before and yet I couldn't get into the groove.  I played more Scrabble with a friend, played some Solitaire, talked to my husband on the phone, ate some lunch and then said, THAT'S IT!  I'm getting serious now.  So I took out the papers that my agent sent back to me (I LOVE saying "my agent") and pulled up the file I had loaded on to the laptop and got ready to edit and...

I had uploaded the wrong file.


Okay, now I call my husband because I need to vent and we end up arguing about something completely different.  Why am I even at this retreat???  I mean, I am getting NOTHING done!  Like ever!  I finally get off the phone with him and hide the phone so that I am NOT tempted to call anyone and then cross that one project off of the list and move on to tackle another one.  "Write Three Blogs".  This is number two so hey, I'm making progress.  

I have a full-length novel that is completed to edit and I am writing another novella so that will give me plenty to do for the rest of the night.  I don't plan on leaving here until the late afternoon tomorrow so I think by the time I am ready to go I should be almost 100% finished with my list.

The most important thing to keep in mind when doing a retreat like this?  Don't sweat the small stuff.  I grabbed the wrong file, I had to move on.  There were plenty of other projects to work on and it's just a matter of being flexible and getting my brain wrapped around a different one while not eating all of the food that I brought with me.

Still in my jammies...

Still loving it...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Not Just a Romance Writer...

You know, it's kind of nice to not be locked in to any one type of writing.  For most authors I've seen them go from writing romance to writing mysteries and thrillers, from righting light, fluffy romances to more in-depth novels with a romantic element.

I'm not there yet.

For me, I have always been a romance writer at heart.  I started messing around with it in high school and then let it go for years and then messed around with it again in my thirties and now here I am in my forties and making it happen.  But along the way, particularly in the last ten years or so, I got in to TEACHING writing.  I taught creative writing to middle school kids and high school kids who were homeschooled and I loved it.

I had created my own curriculum that I used but I stopped teaching about two years ago and still had all of these lessons on my computer.  So what did I do?  Well, I decided to start self publishing them too!  They were just sitting there not getting used and so basically, most of the work was already done; all I had to do was organized the files into a workbook format and upload them to CreateSpace.

There will be a total of four workbooks in the Creative Writing Series and this weekend I released the first two - Introduction to Creative Writing and Developing Your Character in Creative Writing.  The next two which will be released next month will be The Art of Dialogue Writing and then Introduction to Fiction Writing.  Each workbook is $9.99 each and as of now they are only available through CreateSpace but by the end of the coming week, they should be available through Amazon as well.  I will put the link out there once that happens.  For now you can order Intro to Creative Writing HERE and Developing Your Character HERE

So for now, I may not be writing blockbuster novels or doing the crossover genre thing, but I'm pretty darn happy to have my light little romances out there and my workbooks.  But it doesn't hurt to dream, right?

Oh, and while I'm in self-promoting mode (and really, when am I not?) don't forget that Monday is the big release day for "Ever After" on Amazon!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Countdown to "Ever After"

So we have less than five days to go until the release of my newest book, "Ever After".  I am learning so much about publishing and marketing and promotion and I'm hoping that it will get easier with each book because right now it is still exhausting!

I feel like we are all over the web and very easy to find and follow.  That is truly the best way to market your book.  I am still feeling no love whatsoever from the local community - bookstores, newspapers, etc.  It was kind of depressing at first but then I realized that I want a much bigger audience than they have to offer and so, really, they are doing me a favor.  Plus, they are missing out BIG TIME!  LOL

I was blessed this week by two great websites.  Riley Banks did a wonderful interview with my alter-ego and published it two days ago.  It's titled "Samantha Chase gets her happily 'Ever After'".  Pretty clever right?  You can read it HERE.

Then the wonderful blog, Book Addict Mumma not only is promoting me as the author but is doing a giveaway for the set (The Christmas Cottage AND Ever After)!  You can go to the site HERE and enter for your chance to win the ebook set.

Both of these sites are amazing and it would be greatly appreciated if you shared the links with your friends, too.

So if you're thinking about doing any book marketing and promotion, where should you go?  Well here's the list of where to find me on the web (besides here at All Stace - lol):


I'll be honest with you, there is about another half dozen sites to go to but these are the main ones.  Check them out, like the pages and mark your calendars for Monday, February 25th, for the release of "Ever After".

Sunday, February 17, 2013

And with a week to go...

So I am about a week away from the release of my next book, "Ever After".  I have gone with a new approach on this one - I've done a lot of pre-launch marketing and promotion.  We're going to find out if it actually has done any good.  

I got the contract in the mail from my agent. 

My agent.

I get to finally say that I have an agent!

Anyway, I finally got the contract and I am very excited to get started with them.  I have some edits to do on the book; nothing major, just my usual punctuation stuff and some wording changes.  All in all, I was very pleased that they didn't want me to do a whole lot of changes.

I'm going on a writing retreat next weekend.  It's a time for me to just get away from normal life and just sit and write all weekend long.  I tend to get a LOT done when I go on one of these and the timing couldn't be better.  Basically, with "Ever After" getting ready to release, and the edits on the agent book, I have a full-length novel that I want to release in March that needs some polishing AND I am in the middle of writing another novella that I want to release in April.  

Do I need to have my head examined??

Just smile and nod; I know that I do.

So in the midst of this madness, I have gotten heavily into the social media.  I created a Tumblr account for my alter ego.  We're going to see if this does anything for me.  I'll keep you posted on that endeavor.  Click HERE for the Tumblr link to "Chasing Romance".

And we're off... 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guess Who Got an Agent??

Sure, it took a lot of time.

Sure, it took a lot of work.

And sure, it took a lot of patience.  But guess what?


I cannot even BEGIN to tell you the excitement and joy that I am feeling over this!  I mean, I had pretty much given up on the idea of having an agent.  Plus, after doing pretty well with the indie publishing thing, I was actually OKAY with not having an agent.

But now that I HAVE an agent?  I feel like I have arrived.  Like I am a REAL author.  I mean, someone who does this for a living, who has an amazing reputation and KNOWS what sells in the literary world, actually has faith in one of MY books!  How cool is that?  I have a contract with The Seymour Agency and I cannot be more pleased!

The book I had submitted to her was actually a top five finalist in Harlequin Desire's Editor's Pitch Challenge back in 2011.  It was one of the the MOST nerve wracking events of my life!  In the end, Harlequin passed on it and really, at the time, it was probably for the best.  But now?  To have an agent behind it to help with the submission process?  I am breathing a sigh of relief!

I have no idea how long the process will take;  I have no idea how it will all play out.  All I do know is that WOO-HOO!  I have an agent!!!

Here's the blurb for the book entitled "In the Eye of the Storm":

The storm wasn’t only raging outside…

Forced to pick up her demanding boss at two a.m. in the midst of a storm, Holly Abrams quit her job.  Not one to deal with being inconvenienced, Stephen Ballinger refuses to accept.  Forced to be alone together at Stephen’s home to ride out a tropical storm, their relationship turns from a working one to a passionate one.  Holly has always wanted her sexy boss and the weekend is better than all of her fantasies.  Stephen would do anything to make her stay, but is he using seduction to keep his world organized or is this hard-working CEO ready to put some serious work in to a relationship?

EEK!!!  I even had a plan to self-publish this one and this was the draft of the cover that now I cannot even find!  I guess it doesn't matter because I'm sure that they'll want to change it depending on what publisher we sell to.  And you know what?  I am PERFECTLY okay with that!

So be watching here for news on when this all happens!!  Pretty darn exciting!!! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Release Anxiety!

Okay, so here we are, mid-February and it has begun; the pre-launch marketing hooplah for the new book, "Ever After".  I'm not going to lie to you, I really enjoy getting the word out and seeing people share it but this is the first time that I've ever done it PRE release!

When I wrote "Jordan's Return", I sort of just published and waited.  Not a good plan.  Clearly you have to market and promote your book in order for it to sell.  Then with "The Christmas Cottage", it wasn't supposed to be anything but a way to keep my name out there until I possibly heard from the agent in New York on a full-length novel I had written.  My assistant was AMAZING in getting the word out on it and we sold 15,000 copies of it in the e-book format!

Not too shabby!

So now here we are with "Ever After".  The release date is February 25th and we want to hit the marketing bandwagon hard so that we generate excitement and get people ready to purchase.  I am not going to lie to you, I would LOVE to match the number of sales that we had with "The Christmas Cottage" and even surpass them.  Realistically?  I'm not sure that lightning will strike twice.

So what's a writer to do?

Well, we keep moving forward.  Each book is it's own entity.  I have learned that sometimes even your favorite author - whose work you love - can sometimes put out a book that is less than stellar.  I can name a few right now but I'm not going to.  That just wouldn't be right.  I'm not here to bash anyone, I'm just saying that even the best writers can't put out books that are awesome all of the time.  All I can do is sit and wait and pray that people will enjoy it.

We're hitting the Samantha Chase fan page hard; I'm hitting my own personal Facebook page hard.  I will be blogging, I will be using Twitter.  My son is making me a Tumblr page and basically, anywhere and everywhere that I can get the word out about "Ever After", the better.  You know where I CAN'T promote the book right now??  Amazon!  The one place that will be primarily selling the book will not let me do any pre-launch, pre-release stuff on it!  How wrong is that??

Won't you help spread the word too?  Tell your friends!  Share the links!  Share this post!!  Send them to the Facebook fan page.  Let's make the week of February 25th a huge success!!