Category Archives: Publishing

Everything You Expect From A Vampire Book!

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I just found out I have another review for Raising A Vampire! This time the reviewer is from closer to home (Aberdeenshire). Boris must have seen my add on a local Facebook page 🙂 . Here’s what he said:

4.0 out of 5 stars Bloodsucking, romance and betrayal

“Set a few years after the first book, Kate and Charlie’s daughter Sue is now 8 years old but looks twice that age. Sue’s true nature is revealed when she defends her mother from an attack. Soon they find themselves held prisoner in a facility especially designed for suckers. There’s bloodsucking, romance and betrayal: in short everything you would expect from a vampire book.”

Glad you enjoyed it, Boris, and thank you so much for the review!

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Launching Your Book (Online)

I have just published my second book on Amazon. The first book disappeared into the Amazon abyss in no time. I was a complete novice then and didn’t advertise. This time, I was going to shout it from the rooftops and make my book get to #1 in its category on Amazon! Right? Wrong. Here’s what I learned from this experience.

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  1. Don’t go on a two-week holiday during the month before the launch

    There is so much that needs to be done in the weeks before your book goes ‘live.’ Communication with your launch team members, finalizing your text, organizing advertisement. Don’t waste that time by not being there.

  2. Don’t launch your book when it’s not in tip-top shape

    I was still changing words, sentences, paragraphs the day before the launch. I’m still not done. Try to make sure the book is exactly what you want it to be before even contemplating putting it out there. It’ll save you a lot of stress.

  3. Don’t assume your launch team has read your book

    I knew some team members had other books to finish first, but I assumed they all would have read it by the time the book was due to be published. I reminded them a month before launch and a week before launch. I didn’t want to be too pushy. It only takes about four and a half hours to read it, yet, when I contacted them personally the day before the launch to tell them their review was wanted in a day’s time, there were still those who hadn’t even started reading. You need to contact them sooner, individually, to make sure they read it. Or scrap to them from your ‘people to count on’ list.

     

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  4. Don’t assume your launch team members read your posts

    I knew there were a few people in my launch team new to the whole experience and I wrote a post with guidelines on how to write a review. Don’t assume they read it. Or follow it. Even when I posted where and how to find the place on Amazon to write the review, people still contacted me to ask how to do it. Just smile and explain it to them, again. When they write a review and give away the plot, contact them asap, drop to your knees and produce those crocodile tears, anything, to make them take that one sentence out of their review.

  5. Don’t order a BargainBooksy promo if your book is free

    I made that big mistake. I thought BargainBooksy and FreeBooksy were two completely different entities. They’re not. BargainBooksy contacted me on the day to say they couldn’t run the promo as my book was free and not between $0.99-$2.99. They offered to switch me over to FreeBooksy, but FreeBooksy couldn’t run my promo on any of the days my book was actually free. Day 1 wasted.

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  6. Don’t assume all launch team members are there for you

    There are some people that are there for you every step of the way. Love them to bits. And then there are those that join your team and are never heard of again. Why they joined the team, I don’t know. I understand that everybody lives busy lives, but when you sign up for a launch team, people count on you. I know I’ve been one of those, and I still feel guilty about it, even though I always tell people I’m a very slow reader. What I don’t understand it that they don’t reply after you contact them personally. At least a word of ‘Sorry, I was busy’ would be nice. Now I keep wondering if they got hit by a train or something.

  7. Don’t use Fiverr if you don’t know how it works

    It was the first time I used Fiverr. I did so much wrong. I  ordered a promo by a girl that said she needed three days to set it up (I opted for ‘the whole hog’ package). I didn’t realize you actually had to order it three days before you wanted it, not 5 days in advance. I managed to contact the girl and ask if she could do it later, on 1 or 2 September. No problem, she said, not mentioning what day she was actually going to do it. I had to try and get a response from her again. I finally did. 1 September she said. Okay, sorted, I thought. She didn’t do it on 1 September. She contacted me on 2 September to ask for the text of the tweet (I thought I had given her enough info (and money) for her to sort this. For some reason or other she didn’t run the promo on the 1st and assumed the 2nd would be okay. Not. I never got my money back as Fiverr keeps it’ in my account for future use.’ As if I ever want to go through that again. Lesson learned. Day 2 wasted (and my money).

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  8. Don’t assume your launch team members write reviews that make your book rise in the Amazon ranks

    Even though the word ‘launch’ should make it clear that a launch team is there to help your book upward, some people have a problem understanding the system. They insist on rating the book according to how they compare it to other books they’ve read. Obviously, I can’t dispute their rating, but being in a launch team is not about ‘them.’ Team members are there to help the author rise in the Amazon rank to be seen by more people and hence be able to get more people to see and read your book. You can ask team members to contact you if they have a problem giving it four or five stars, but like I said before (see point 4), not everyone reads your posts.

  9. Don’t think Facebook ads are your savior

    When I already missed two days of advertising, I quickly made a video for my book and advertised it on Facebook (it took me half a day to make, more time of my promo time wasted). I still have no idea how it works, but I paid over £20 for five people to click on the ad. There is no way I can check if they bought it afterward. I stopped it as soon as I realized that this was a very expensive way of advertising.

  10. Don’t give up!

    Even though your ranking will plummet into the abyss immediately after the free days ended (I ranked #2557 the day after the promo), don’t give in. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Keep promoting your books and keep writing more! Remember that perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose 🙂 .

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Reading image by Thought Catalog

Running image by  Clem Onojeghuo

PS: The header image was taken at a book fair in 2016, showing my first book

Grit, Sweat, and Love

You can’t stop this train!

The launch and promo of Book 2 of the Suckers Trilogy are over and I’m exhausted. It is done. People can finally enjoy the fruits of my grit, sweat, and love of the past six months. Would I do it again? Of course! Just different…

I’m not a religious person, but I love this song. It’s so empowering. Grit, sweat, and love by the Brothers Bright. Get out of my way, you can’t stop this train!

From a young age, I have always used music as a way to steer my emotions. It calms me down when I am upset, it stimulates me when I need more energy, and it is a way to express my feelings ad hoc. Red Hot Chilli Peppers music has been blasting many a time from my student flat.

After the launch fiasco (see my next post), this song is just what I need to persevere!

 

Train image by Romain Peli

My Book is NOW FREE on Amazon!

Another Great Review!

Check out the review Luna Rugova wrote about Book 2 on Luna’s website!

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Get your copy here!

 

 

 

FREE Book Available!

My Book is FREE from 31 August to 2 September!

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You can get it on Amazon here!

I made some Twitter ads that I’m rather proud of. Here they are:

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Let me know which one you like best!

 

My Book is Soon Live on Amazon!

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I finally did it! The second book in the Suckers Trilogy has been handed in and will be published on Amazon the 28th of August! I’m so glad it is done. I need to tweak the blurb still, but the manuscript is as good as it can get.

Now to work on advertising…

 

Keep Calm and Write On

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As I am preparing for my first ever book launch and realizing how little I know and how unprepared I am for this process, articles like the one below give me hope.

By the way, I still post articles to my Flipboard magazines. The article is from my Writer’s Corner, but check out the new articles in Pretty Pictures, Sci-Non-Fi, Heath Herald, and Focus on Filming.

Writing Insights Part One: Becoming A Writer by The Wayfinder

Image: A Divine Humour (Creative Commons)

Header Image: Thought Catalog

I’m still alive!

I just wanted you to know I’m still alive. In case you wondered.

Holiday

I’m sorry for not posting for over a week now. I actually have been on holiday, but my dear husband didn’t want me to announce that while we were away. As I had just read the news that a famous football player had been burgled after he posted an image of him and his family skiing in Europe on Instagram, I agreed with him. We didn’t get burgled.

Where did we go? Tuscany, Italy. It was beautiful there, albeit a little hot. At some point, we had the car registering 45°C! We went there with my husband’s family and had a great time.

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In the meantime, we’ve been back for a week now and I’ve been working day and night on my Book 2 promotion. It is so much harder than I expected! Nothing seems to work with me.

Word

I have been struggling for about two days to get my three books (the Prequel, Book 1, and Book 2) to look the same (formatting-wise). I have been wrestling mostly to get the header and footer lines on the same height. Not that eBooks need headers and footers, but I had them originally formatted to be printed books (something that I’m going to postpone for now). Somehow, Word totally ignores you when you hit the ‘delete header/footer’ button. Yes, the text/numbering disappears, but the actual header/footer stays. So annoying. It took me forever to get them exactly on the same height (and not a mm off). If anybody else struggles with them, don’t hesitate to contact me. I think I can say I’m an expert now 🙂 .

Twitter

Next, I’ve been really pissed-off (pardon my French) with Twitter. I used to have an account called @JackyDahlhaus. Somehow this got deactivated due to spamming (accidentally, according to Twitter). I had no clue then and opted for another handle; @DahlhausJacky. As I’ve recently been looking into spreading ‘my brand’ over the social media, I was advised to have my brand name the same everywhere. Hence I needed to change my Twitter handle to my first one. I contacted Twitter and asked them to activate @JackyDahlhaus. ‘Sure, no problem,’ they said. And they did.

That’s when the problems started. As they activated the first account, they deactivated the second account. I lost all my followers (about 2500+ of them). No problem, I thought. I’ll just build it up again from scratch and get ‘real’ followers this time. People who actually read and like my books, not sexy snap-chatters, car sales people, or phoney army guys wanting ‘a friend’ and the likes. But when I tried to use the old account, it needed an email address first. I typed in my email address. ‘Sorry, this email address is already in use,’ was the message that popped up. Duh, of course it is, as it is attached to my second account. As this was now deactivated, I can’t get in it to remove the email address there. I have to wait thirty days to have it activated again. I’ve tried in multiple messages to Twitter to make them see the issue here, but all I get is automated responses with suggested actions that don’t help. Aaargh!

I have solved the problem for now with another email address I had made a while ago, but didn’t use. I’ll do for now. I just have to wait thirty days before I can have the other account activated again and remove my email address. would have been nice from Twitter to warn me to do this before they deactivated it.

Photoshop

Photoshop is another one of my peeves this week. It’s a great program and I love it, couldn’t do without it. Sometimes it drives me round the bend though. It’s not their fault, it’s my fault. I’m just not always as focused as I need to be and then I suddenly can’t find my images anymore. Or the black background of one book is not as black as the others, even though it’s made with the same ‘stock’ image. Or I can’t change a component of an image for no apparent reason. Very frustrating.

I’ll Live 🙂

I hear you think ‘She’s losing the plot!’ Not to worry. I’ll trundle on and make the most of it. I see this whole promo exercise as another learning curve. It’ll make it easier next time!

What Price to Set Your Book?

This week I tried to find the answer to this question; what to price your book? How do you value your work? Of course, I have worked very hard to write my books so I find them invaluable. How do readers value them though? What price will they pay to read it? This is what I’m trying to find out in this article.

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Some say that when you compare a book to a cup of coffee, the price of a cup of coffee is overrated (as it often costs more than an eBook). The coffee was made by the barista within a few minutes while it took a few months (if not years) to write your book. This, however, is a distorted and simplified vision. The coffee beans were grown in a field, nurtured by the farmer for weeks if not months as well, harvested, dried, roasted, and transported to where you are, and prepared the way you like to drink your cup of coffee. All the people involved in this, the farmer, the coffee roaster, the transporter, the barista, all need to get paid. When writing a book, it’s not much different. Apart from the writer, there is the editor, formatter, cover artist, and publisher that need to get paid. Yet people are willing to pay more for a cup of coffee than they are for your book. So how to price it in order for them to buy it?

If you have a publisher, you are very lucky. They will deal with the whole ‘selling of your book’ stuff. Not all publishers put in the same effort, though, and I’ve heard stories of authors that still need to do a lot of the advertising themselves. Most of us, unfortunately, have not been so lucky to find a publisher willing to take our book on. We’ll have to do the hard work of trying to sell our books ourselves.

You can’t get around Amazon as it’s the book seller nowadays. You don’t have to sell on Amazon, but with the reach they have at the moment, you’d be stupid not to. When you do, you’ll find out that Amazon makes a distinction between books priced under $3.00 and those priced $3.00 or higher. For the former, you only get 35% profit, the rest is pocketed by Amazon. For the latter, you earn a whopping 70% of the sale. It is tempting to price your book this high so you will earn more profit. Unfortunately, the effect is that not a lot of people will buy your book as they will find it too expensive. There is such a large offer available on the internet nowadays, with many books even offered for free, that most people don’t even want to pay for books at all anymore. True readers know that ‘you get what you pay for’ though and are willing to spend that little money to get something worth reading and only go for the free offers from tested (and liked) authors.

When I put my book on Amazon, I opted for the cheaper version. As I’ve only got one book to sell at the moment (soon three), I want people to try it out and get hooked. I’m no longer with KDP Select anymore, as I would like to try and sell my book elsewhere than just Amazon, so I can’t offer it for free (if I wanted to). Amazon will price match with other publishers (i.e. free), but you’ll have to ask them as this isn’t done automatically. I looked around on Amazon and it seemed that $0.99 is the absolute minimum that books are priced for when not offered for free and that’s what I priced my first book.

I wondered if I was selling too cheap so I did a (very small) study of vampire books on Amazon and came to the following conclusions:

  • There is no correlation between the number of pages and the price of the book. The number of pages varied from just over 200 to over 450, not including prequels (which are normally a lot shorter). The prices varied from £0.99 to nearly £5.00, some whole box sets were offered completely for free, but the price didn’t correspond to the number of pages.
  • Most stories are part of a series, with the first book priced cheaper than the subsequent ones, which are not always the same price. I find this strange, but perhaps the number of pages were not the same (I didn’t look into this, yet).
  • Price is not an indicator of the quality of the writing. Some were highly priced, but had bad reviews regarding grammar, punctuation, and formatting. One of the higher priced books had the worst reviews.

When taking into account these observations, I can only conclude that there is no real guideline to follow. Authors just do what they want. I’d have to do more research to find out what the results of these prices are (resulting in more/less reviews) and finding out what quality their writing is.

Authors of other genres have told me not to sell my work too cheap and never to give it away for free. True, it has cost me a lot of time, effort, and money and it is of good enough quality to ask for more rather than less. I like to think that my books are of better quality than some trash you find out there that make your toes curl with every misplaced comma, spelling error, and formatting faux pas. Nevertheless, I think I’ll keep my first book priced at £0.99 and will ask for more than that for Book 2 and 3 of the trilogy, but stay under the £3.00. I don’t have a following yet and I don’t think my work is of such high quality ( I know my work will never be literature)/number of pages to ask for more (it won’t be epic stories either). We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you up to date 😊 .

Memes

I don’t have a lot of memes this week. I’ve been too serious 🙂 .

Photo by Aris Sfakianakis on Unsplash