Writing Adventures…by Karina Gioertz

At the beginning of last year I had only just begun my journey into the world of self-publishing and being an Indie Author. Up until that point I hadn’t ever really considered myself an Author of any kind. Mostly my focus had been on writing screenplays and dreaming of the day when I would see my words come to life on the big screen. Writing an entire book, well that seemed like a rather ambitious undertaking. However, after a meek attempt at getting my scripts out there I had to face facts. While I may be a fairly decent writer I am a horrible sales person. Not only am I awkward and uncomfortable when it comes to selling myself as a writer, I also loathe doing it. Basically I would just like be able to write and then magically have people find my work…

The first book I wrote (Welcome To The Half Orphan Club) and self-published was nonfiction and it was nearly twenty years in the making. My mother had self-published her own version of the events following my father’s death shortly before, so she was there to guide me through what turned out to be an incredibly easy process. It was then that I realized, I didn’t need to go around knocking on doors I hadn’t been invited to in the first place…I could open my own doors.

It wasn’t long after, that I decided to pull out some of my scripts and turn them into novels. It took me a while at first to find my groove, but once I got started I stayed pretty busy. Now that last year has coming to an end and a new year has begun, I’ve completed four novels and am working with the fifth.

It’s been exciting watching the reviews come in and hearing from complete strangers that they enjoy my work. In a way, this year has been all about writing and having people magically find my work. Sure, I’ve had to learn my share on marketing, but it’s been more about letting people know that my books exist rather than trying to convince anyone to buy them.

Writing has always been an adventure for me. Imaginary fun that filled the empty spaces…but the adventure isn’t only on paper. It’s part of my life (which is now the life of an Author – eek!), and I for one, kinda love it ;)

 

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Good Writing Is In The Eye Of The Beholder by Prudence Hayes

I will not deny that I don’t handle criticism well, especially in my writing.  Outwardly, I say ‘okay’, but inward there are flames galore and my heart is twisted in knots.  I have a few reviews on Amazon for my book and most are great. There is one, though, that has been chasing me ever since it was posted.  It’s like someone holding a chalkboard in their hands and following me throughout the day dragging their long nails across it.  I try and push it far back in my mind, but it has the strength to pop up and show its appearance at the most inopportune times.  Typically, it’s when I’m writing, which I then, throw my pen across the room and a downward spiral is kick started, during which I tell myself that I suck. Then, I have to talk myself off a ledge and push that bad review to the way back again.  I know; I’m a mess.

During my crisis negotiations with myself, I constantly say that good writing is in the eye of the beholder.  Just because this one person doesn’t like my writing doesn’t mean that it is horrible, it just means he doesn’t like my style.  There have been plenty of books that have been between my hands and I have had to place them right back on the shelf because I couldn’t get through them. We all have different ways in writing. If I wrote like you, I wouldn’t be me and my books would be yours not mine. 

There will be a day when a professional editor will read my books and they will probably have a field day.   I will try and take the constructive criticism in stride, even though I will be fuming inside.  I will take all the editing help that is thrown my way, commas and punctuation are a pain in my a**, but what I refuse to do is eliminate myself from my writing.  I don’t want to disappear in words that aren’t really mine and I don’t want those words to come out the way that they weren’t intended to by me. 

To some, it may be overly wordy and extensively adjective-infused writing and to others it is poetic and beautiful.

To some, it may be stark and bland and to others it is concise and to the point.  It all depends on the beholder of the book.  To each his own, I say to that bad reviewer.

Free Book Promo Success by Karina Gioertz

After recently having two very successful Free Promotion Weekends through KDP Select I am here to fill everyone in on how it went and what I did to prepare beforehand 🙂
My goal in terms of downloads was 10,000 and I am thrilled to say that I was able to surpass that number both times (The second time, I managed to double it!!) . This meant that I not only made it into the top 100 free in the Kindle Store, but that I made it into the top 10 and maintained my position there all weekend. I also landed in the top 10 of my category (Contemporary Fiction), making it as high as #3 at one point, and stayed there until Sunday night when the promo ended.
I also experienced some unexpected bonuses, such as an increase in ‘likes’ and a new review the first day the Promo started. That was just on Amazon. When I checked Goodreads, I found that the list of people intending to read my novels had nearly tripled, plus I received several new ratings just during the days it was free.
Since then I have also seen a very noticeable spike in sales! Who wouldn’t be happy with that?!
So, want to know how I did it? I’ll tell ya 🙂
About two weeks ahead of time, I submitted my novel to these sites:
Books On The Knob https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHI3UVVZdTZkWUo3d2w3aDExbXk5MEE6MQ#gid=0
Centsible E-Reads http://www.centsibleereads.com/p/for-authors.html
Free Booksy http://www.freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions
Frugal Reader Freebie Page http://thefrugalereader.wufoo.com/forms/frugal-freebie-submissions/
Pixel Of Ink http://www.pixelofink.com/sfkb/
Free Kindle Books And Tips (They require an average user rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars for consideration) http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/for-authors/
From then on, I continued working my way down the list…
eReader News Today http://ereadernewstoday.com/ent-free-book-submissions/
Bargain eBook Hunter http://bargainebookhunter.com/feature-your-book/
Kindle Book Review http://form.jotformpro.com/form/21078469493969
Ebook Deal of the Day http://ebookdealofday.com/contact/
Book Goodies (also offer great additional services to authors!) http://bookgoodies.com/submit-your-free-kindle-days/
Digital Ink Spot http://thedigitalinkspot.blogspot.com/p/contact-us.html
FreeKindBooks http://freekindbooks.com/author-submissions/
Kindle Boards http://www.kindleboards.com/free-book-promo/
Free Kindle Fiction http://freekindlefiction.blogspot.com.au/p/tell-us-about-free-books.html
That Book Place http://www.thatbookplace.com/free-promo-submissions/
Free Book Dude (another great site offering support for Indie Authors) http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html
ebook Lister http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php
Book Basset http://www.bookbasset.com/contact/
eReader IQ http://www.ereaderiq.com/contact/
One Hundred Free Books http://onehundredfreebooks.com/contact.html
Free Books Daily http://www.freeebooksdaily.com/p/contact.html
KindleMojo http://www.kindlemojo.com/contact-info/
Indie Book Promo http://www.indiebookpromo.com/submit-to-ibp-3/
Frugal Freebies http://www.frugal-freebies.com/p/free-kindle-books.html
Cheap.net http://the-cheap.net/authors/free-promotion-opportunities/share-your-deal/
Awesome Gang http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
Best eBook Reader http://bestebookreaderlovers.com/kindle-authors-how-to-promote-your-book/
Just Kindle Books http://www.justkindlebooks.com/submit-your-book/
My Book And My Coffee http://www.mybookandmycoffee.com/2012/08/free-ebook-feature-not-so-secret-emails.html

Don’t want to commit that much time or didn’t plan ahead? Go here – Author Marketing Club http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/ and simply fill out the forms below to submit to several of the sites listed above all in one nifty place. When you’re done with that, check out the site! They offer quite a bit more than just the free listings…
On the Thursday before the promo started, I visited the Indies Unlimited site @ http://www.indiesunlimited.com/ and submitted my book for the “Freebie Friday Ramp-Up.”
Then, on the day of, I listed the novel on Snicklist, Kindleboards and World Literary Cafe, as well as several Facebook groups I’m a part of. I also sent tweets about my Free Promo to all these People ~
@kindlenews
@freeebookdeal
@IndieKindle
@WLCPromotions
@DigitalBkToday
@kindleebooks
@Kindlestuff
@KindleEbooksUK
@KindleBookKing
@KindleFreeBook
@free
@free_kindle
@FreeReadFeed
@freebookdude
@4FreeKindleBook
@FreeKindleStuff
@KindleUpdates
@ebook
@Bookyrnextread
@Kindlestuff
@KindleBookKing
@Booksontheknob
@Kindle_promo
@IndAuthorSucess
@CheapKindleDly
@KindleDaily
They say that hourly tweets during the promo are best, but who has that kind of time?! I don’t. So, I used a scheduling service like Twuffer.com and spent the days before the weekend preparing my tweets. I made sure to include hashtags like #Free #KindleFreebie and #FreeKindleBook, to name a few…you get the idea.
So, yeah…that’s pretty much it. All of the marketing was completely free and only cost me my time, which was certainly valuable since it was time I could have spent writing, but given the outcome, I think it was well worth spending 🙂
~Karina

BOOK REVIEWS and BOOK BIRTHDAY CAKE by Una Tiers

 

My first mystery, Judge vs Nuts, will celebrate its first birthday, in February.  Before the release, I conjured up images of reviews raving about the magnificence of my book, written by literary scholars who begged for more. My potential reviewers included authors who write wildly popular non-fiction books about the law or famous Chicago figures.  Of course the occasional celebrity author or librarian would stop me on the street and ask about doing a review.

At the Printers Row Lit Fest in 2011, I attended a panel discussion with three women authors who talked about the low numbers of women reviewers.  My list of hopefuls were all men.  Later I approached one of the authors to thank her and asked if she was interested in taking a look at my book. I’ll come back to this.

At the early stage “book review” was synonymous with “book report.”  Reading reviews daily I understand they are opinions.  Most are generous, with gentle notation of areas for improvement while others are petty.  Reviews can cover plot, characters, pace, grammar and more.  One review blamed the publisher for faulty editing.

My understanding continues to grow along with my confusion, skepticism and evaluation of the quality of a review.  Reviews come from many sources:  readers, friends, and professional reviewers.  If you look closely, some books are reviewed by one review reviewers.  “Book cover blurbs” are short, three or four sentences that would appear on the back cover or inside the book.  These are my favorite version of a review.  The author benefits and the reviewer benefits

Amazon uncovered “purchased” reviews and announced authors could not review books of other authors.  What?  Writers are prolific readers and well suited to review books.  The “exchange” book reviews are too often meaningless.  I don’t make these pacts.  If your friend has a book, read it before you give an opinion.  We know they are wonderful, that’s why you call them a friend.

Of the two categories, requested and spontaneous reviews, I think authors need to be specific when requesting a review.  Items to consider are:  receipt of manuscript; word count; time frame; how you will use the review and what you want.  Will the reviewer post the review on their blog or website?   Invite the reviewer to tell you if they can’t meet the time frame.  If your release date is pushed back, let them know.

My pet peeve of the requested reviews are the hiders.  Those folks make an agreement to review your book and then avoid you when you follow up.  Did they hate the book?  Want it for free?  Lose it?  Change their tiny minds about doing the review?  You won’t be able to get the answer, because the hiders, well, hide.

There are also people in the ambiguous category.  When you ask them to take a look at your book they tell you they give you a dozen reasons why they can’t read your book.  I’m a little naïve, so if you want me to print it out and drive it over please tell me.  If the answer is no…

One of my favorite reviews is from Author Barbara D’Amato.  I love her writing and her review was delightful.  Her review means more to me because Ms. D’Amato went out of her way to help a stranger who approached her at a book fair, showing me how authors help authors.

Every review thrills me.  When I send a sample, and get a note back saying they started the book and are laughing, even editing becomes less painful. Reviews from other authors are awesome and the reader reviews are very special.  Some reviews are written in a note to the author and others are posted on blogs, sales sites and book review sites I’ve never seen.

Thank you to those who took the time to help me.     Best, Una Tiers.

Judge_vs_Nuts[1]

The review:

Judge vs Nuts is a hilariously funny take on judges, but also a scathing indictment of judicial politics.  Lawyer Fiona Gavelle narrates with a wonderful, self-deprecating wit, as she goes about unraveling the murder of a Cook County judge.

Barbara D’Amato

Author of Other Eyes

Buy the Book: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Judge-vs-Nuts-ebook/dp/B007BSD4RU
B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/judge-vs-nuts-una-tiers/1108946512
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=judge+vs+nuts&adult=on
Omnilit: https://www.omnilit.com/product-judgevsnuts-727807-243.html http://unatiers.com     una@unatiers.com  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55XqIbk0VY4

Judge vs Nuts, by Una Tiers was released in February of 2012 and posted on Ellis Vidler’s blog:  http://theunpredictablemuse.blogspot.com/2012/02/book-reviews-reviewed.html

This blog has been updated.