It’s Friday and I’m feeling generous, so I thought I’d share with you one of the new teasers from A REAPER MADE! This scene is where we – and Grace – first meet her mentor Tully and he explains what it means to be a Reaper. Click to enlarge 🙂 Hope you enjoy – more to to come soon!



Get It Together: Your Amazon Author Page

Let’s talk about a great marketing tool that’s right at your fingertips: your Amazon author page. 

There are several ways to enhance your Amazon author page. Let’s also go ahead and assume you’re going to use these same techniques for a Barnes & Noble author page – in any case, you need to be sure you’re using every tool you have available to ensure your readers can not only find your books, but find your other stuff too. Along with your website, your author page is one of the few places that readers can see ALL your stuff in one place.

Not only does the author page showcase your titles (including ebook and paperback, plus audio if you have it), you can display your other marketing weapons. Your bio, social media pages, Twitter and blog updates and video book trailers if you have them (let’s assume you do). You can also encourage folks to “Like” your Amazon page, just like they would with Facebook.

One of the best parts of the author page is that readers can sign up to be notified when you have a new release. This is great because it’s a built in resource – not only do you have a potential customer, but it might be one that isn’t on your newsletter list or hasn’t kept up with you on other forms of social media. Amazon takes care of it for you with a quick email to them. Pretty savvy, no?

I also really like the “Customers Also Bought Items By” because readers who land on your author page can see authors with similar titles. Not only could YOU, the author, visit those author pages to see their work and read customer reviews (i.e., find a potential list of reviewers for your own title due to similar interests), but your name can be listed in other author pages, too. It’s another way for readers to find you if they’re perusing for reads that they think they’ll enjoy. I mean, they enjoyed AUTHOR X, so why not try out one of your books if they’re in the same field?

Even if you’re still building your book list and/or only have one title, Amazon is going to give you this author page for your own use. Why not make it as informative as possible? It’s surprising how many authors don’t use this page as a marketing tool – if you’re not, I highly recommend you go ahead and build it. It’s another free resource that will only enhance your online author presence.

Amazon KDP Select: How I Got Over 20K Downloads

Last month, I made GIFTED, A DONOVAN CIRCUS NOVEL, free for 3 days to celebrate my new release WITCH HEARTS. I spent weeks beforehand preparing a strategy, figuring out how to promote it, and goals that would hopefully be achieved during it. The hard work paid off, because I had over 20,000 downloads, stayed at #5 in the Top 100, and even got new reviews out of it. (Update: I have received 13 new reviews, which is definitely awesome!)

Put simply, KDP Select is a program authors can sign up with through Amazon for Kindle. You are enrolled for 90 days (and automatically re-enrolled once it’s over, so if you only plan on using it once, pay attention to your days) and your ebook can only be available on this platform. You get 5 promotion days to use throughout the 90 day program. You can use them as you see fit – 3 days and 2 later, 1 and 1, etc. Most authors recommend using at least 2 days in a row and I would have to agree – if you’re trying to get as much bang for your buck as possible, 1 day won’t cut it. (And while you could schedule all 5 at once if you wanted, you probably want to stash a day or two for later. Remember, you’re enrolled for 90 days, whether you use them or not. And no, KDP Days do not roll over to the new 90 day period.)

So I signed up for the KDP program and scheduled out my 3 free days for GIFTED. Many people differ on when to host your days, but from my research, you get better sales days (actual purchases) on the weekend, so perhaps in the middle of the week would work better. Because WITCH HEARTS released on a Tuesday, my free days for GIFTED ran on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday was my biggest download day as that’s when my scheduled promos through various sites posted them. I still had plenty of downloads Wednesday and Thursday, but there was a distinct plunge of downloads by the last half of Day 2.

Because I can’t get too technical with my numbers (Amazon doesn’t like you revealing exactly how many downloads you got), instead I wanted to offer up the links I used to research as well as submit my free days. You’ll have to be willing to put in the work, but I have yet to meet an indie author who isn’t already quite prepared for that 😉

The biggest thing I did, at least in my opinion, was submitting my book for a BookBub submission. Many authors worry about the cost, as it can get a bit pricey. However, I found their customer service to be excellent and the results from their marketing absolutely boosted my downloads and ranking (I hit #5 of Top 100 Free bestselling books and stayed #1 in SF/Fantasy and #1 in Fantasy Adventure for all 3 days). I originally submitted GIFTED as a Fantasy novel and was ready to pay the $90 fee. To my surprise, I heard back from a real person who looked over my listing and suggested a better placement in YA – a $40 fee. The fact she helped me to put my book in the correct spot even while knowing it would save me money was a HUGE bonus to using them. (It’s not often you find businesses willing to part with extra dollars!)

Anywho, the email that went out about GIFTED on the first free day compared the story to The Hunger Games trilogy, a comparison that both tickled and terrified me. Regardless, I will absolutely use BookBub’s resources for all future advertising, especially on free KDP days. It’s worth the price, assuming you’ve got a decent marketing budget.

The Author Marketing Club has a page here for authors looking to submit their free KDP days for promotion. If you scroll down and click on the list of logos, it brings up a window where you can enter your information – just make sure to do it ahead of time, say at least a week, so you’re guaranteed to have it listed (plus, it’s just polite AND keeps you from going crazy at the last minute).

I also used a bit of marketing help from thedesertgirl on Fiverr. For $25, she promoted my days to several sites I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I was happy to pay the small fee for her to handle it, since the day my sales started all I had to go was log in to see she’d tagged and promoted me with several book listing sites. I will definitely use her again for future free book days.

I  took out a Facebook ad too, promoting a post about the free download days. I think I put in maybe $25 – I got a ton of new fans for my author page and feel confident it converted into at least a couple handfuls of the 20K+ downloads.

I would absolutely recommend checking out these links for other advice too. They not only list great links for where to submit your listing, but also offer tips on when to choose your days, how to promote through social media, and more.

Laura Howard – Finding Bliss – KDP Select Layering Strategy

Interviews with India Authors – My KDP Success Story

World Lit Cafe – Maximizing Free Days on Kindle Select

A Place for Aspiring Writers of Fiction – Benefits of KDP Select Days

Before your days, make sure to submit your listings to all of the sites you can find like these (Pixel of Ink, Free Booksy, etc.). I also have amazing friends (authors and readers alike) who shared out my posts on Facebook and Twitter, hosted me on their blog for the day, and/or promoted it however they could. Next time, I hope to better implement a hashtag on Twitter (#WitchHearts/#Gifted) that will catch on with any of my communities.

On the day of, make sure you’re posting on all your networks! Use your Facebook fan page to your advantage and talk it up. Same goes for Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Write up a blog post announcing it and make it live that morning so it reaches your fans and followers early. Ask your fellow writing groups and author contacts to share it out  (and make sure to offer to repay the favor for them). And for all that is holy, thank every. single. person. who shares, RTs, and helps to promote YOUR product. We wouldn’t get far without them.

WITCH HEARTS: A Second Promo Photo + Cover Reveal Date

My official cover reveal date for WITCH HEARTS is in ONE WEEK: Monday, April 8th!! I can’t wait to show it off and I’ve been overwhelmed by the supportive response I’ve gotten from bloggers and authors volunteering to help release it on their blogs. I’m so excited for next week, but until then I wanted to tide you over with another photo. (I’ll also be releasing a third photo after the cover reveal – you know, to get you in the mood.)

A couple weeks back, I released the official back cover synopsis for WITCH HEARTS, along with a promo photo to give you a better idea of what to expect from the book. Today I wanted to give you another shot that pairs with what you’ll read in the novel.

WITCH HEARTS features a powerful witch named Ruby who is stalked by a serial killer. She must do everything in her power to save herself, practicing to her altar – both in her home and in the woods – in order to stay safe. A lot of the story takes place in a special spot in the woods and I tried to recreate what Ruby would have there (to the best of the supplies in my house, that is!).

Wiccans often practice in nature, as they find it comforting and the easiest way to feel at one with their religion. In my witchy world, Ruby practices with candles, her spellbook, an athame, small cauldron (it’s a little dark but that bowl behind the candles), and sometimes her tarot cards. But will all her practicing keep her alive?