WITCH HEARTS – KDP Select Days Led to Bestseller List (Holy Eff!)

First off, I have to thank everyone who helped promote the 3 free days I hosted WITCH HEARTS on Amazon’s KDP Select Program. It’s something no author (indie or otherwise) could do without the help of others and I am grateful and humbled by the amazing support given to me over these last few days.

I make no secret in the fact that I’m a huge Amazon KDP advocate. If you’re an author curious as to the why (as well as if you’re on the fence about KDP), scroll down.

So, on to the great news. WITCH HEARTS had so many downloads that it hit #1 for 2 straight days in the Top 100 Free Kindle ebooks in Paranormal Fantasy. To me, that’s huge because the longer you stay in the top (read: the first page), the more exposure and downloads you get. It hits that particular genre, which is terrific because those readers looking specifically for those types of books are definitely my market.

Witch Hearts at #1 in Kindle Free - Paranormal Fantasy

Witch Hearts at #1 in Kindle Free – Paranormal Fantasy

Even better? My book hit and stayed at #7 on the OVERALL Free Kindle Bestsellers, which is of course terrific to reach an even bigger audience. When you enroll and use your KDP days, your goal should be to hit that top 10 and stay there for at least a few hours. You get more downloads and exposure from people who might not think to go all the way down the rabbit hole into genres. No screenshot for that one, but here’s the really awesome news that came from the first batch of goodness.

Thanks to the publicity and downloads, the book (as well as the other two Donovan Circus books) have continued to sell even after the KDP days ended last night. Because of those sales, it’s bumped up my ranking and is currently #83 in the Kindle BESTSELLERS list under Ghost Fiction. (UPDATE: At 10pm this same evening, I rose to #31. Holy eff.) For those of you who think that it’s not important to hit that because it’s genre and not overall, I’d argue that this gives me the boost I need for exposure. It helps in those Amazon secret sauce algorithms, not to mention it’s just a great reason for me to boogie in my chair as it’s the total highlight of my week (and perhaps even my writing career thus far). While I won’t be putting “Best Seller” on my covers just yet, it’s a great thing to be able to say I hit that list. What author wouldn’t want that kind of cool news?

Witch Hearts at #83 in Kindle Bestsellers Ghost Fiction

Witch Hearts at #83 in Kindle Bestsellers Ghost Fiction

This is why I’m such a huge fan of the Amazon KDP Select program. Sure, there are pros and cons to it like everything else, but for those authors on the fence or wondering why they should participate, this is a great way to explain – because I don’t really make that many sales off B&N or KOBO (less than 10 a month), I see no reason to pull myself from those and be exclusive on Amazon – for now. I’m not a big name and because I get the majority of my sales from Amazon anyway, I’ve got no problem hanging out with them for at least 90 straight days in order to get my free or discounted days. In the marathon that is a writing career, 3 months is nothing. Why NOT be a part of something that can get you such exposure?

Fact is, with the 3 KDP days I set up (complete with submitting to website and including an ad from BookBub for their Supernatural Suspense readers – $40!), I had approximately 18,500 downloads worldwide (the majority coming from the US, though a surprising amount from Canada and UK). That’s over 18K people that now have my book on their Kindle who didn’t have them before. Sure, I’m aware that not all of those people will read the book – but they could if they wanted to now that they downloaded it.

I’ve already gotten 2 new reviews and downloads have now rolled over into actual sales. And not just for WITCH HEARTS, but for both Donovan Circus books, too. While that could be coincidence, it’s more than likely readers see the author name and want to give them a chance. With GIFTED at only 99 cents, there’s not a lot to lose, you know? That gets them in the circus world and hopefully they enjoy it enough to try BURNED and maybe want to keep up with the series. KDP has given me readers for my other books, too!

All in all, if you’re an author looking for reasons to be in KDP Select, I say go for it. There’s nothing to lose but 90 days and again, in the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing. If it doesn’t work for you, go ahead and see how you do over at B&N, KOBO or any other outlet. That’s totally cool. I’ve found a plan that works for me (for now) and I’ll work it with everything I’ve got! Thanks again to all of you who helped make this possible. I’m humbled beyond belief, as well as can’t stop dancing in my seat. I appreciate it more than words can say.

YA Storytellers Fun Friday: Romantic Excerpts

Today’s Fun Friday with the YA Storytellers is all about Valentine’s Day. We’re showing off romantic excerpts and I want to share a scene between Ruby and Cooper from my second book WITCH HEARTS.

Be sure to see all the other exciting things going on with these great authors over at the YA Storytellers site!

I don’t think a lot of detail is needed to see what’s happening between Cooper and Ruby, but just in case: Courtney, Ruby’s best friend and Cooper’s little sister, was murdered by a serial killer for her witchy powers. When  the killer sets his sights on Ruby, Cooper will do anything to keep her safe, including temporarily moving into her apartment. Cooper is also a witch who has a special talent with dreams.

Hope you enjoy the romance! I’m celebrating the day of love  snowed in at home and loving every moment 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!

WITCH HEARTS

Coop scooted next to her, situated it so that they sat face to face, touching knees. He took one of her hands and cupped his free hand around the back of her neck. Inches from her face, he whispered, “Close your eyes.”

Ruby did so, tried to keep her breathing even. Her concentration might be shot with him this close to her. She’d never felt so aware of her own movements, her desire making every inch of her skin tingle. His warm hands on her, her eyes closed, the tension held steady as he remained where he sat. After three agonizing seconds, Ruby gave up. She leaned in, pressed her lips against his and melted. Cooper pulled her in and held her tight, deepening the kiss.

Then Ruby opened her eyes and found herself still inches away from Coop. His hands still on her neck and hand, he stared intently at her, as though nothing had happened. Then his right eyebrow raised up in a way that said he knew, but she didn’t follow. If they hadn’t kissed, had she hallucinated the whole thing?

“I just showed you one of my dreams through touch,” he said, not moving. Ruby forced her gaze away from his long eyelashes as she comprehended.

“You dreamt we kissed?”

“You’re not surprised I can show you a dream?” he asked. “I definitely thought that would be the bigger question here.”

“Oh, that part’s cool and all,” she hastily replied.

The damage done, that old smile crossed his face, his tone coy. “Do you want to kiss me?”

“No,” her answer came without thinking, “I want you to kiss me.”

Without hesitation, Cooper leaned in, pressing his lips to hers and Ruby, for lack of any other words, saw fireworks. His warm hands brushed through her hair, pulled her into him. His facial stubble scratched her skin as his lips burned a trail down her throat and back to her mouth.

A groan left him as he pulled away. “This isn’t how…I only want to protect you. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened. I can’t lose you, too.”

She ignored him, leaned in to kiss him and he pulled back further. She pursed her lips. “You can’t keep watch on me forever. You’re not responsible for me – I’m not your sister.”

“Oh, believe me,” he whispered back, his low tone sending shivers up Ruby’s spine, “I’ve always known that, now more than ever.”

His green eyes drank in every inch of her face and the fire in Ruby’s belly took over. She’d waited long enough; the words spilled from her lips before she could stop herself.

“Are you sure you want this?” she asked, a bit breathless.

“Ruby, I’ve never wanted anything more in my entire life.”

His hands were on her face as he kissed her, then quickly moved down her body. A little sigh escaped her. He responded by picking her up and carrying her straight to the bedroom.

My Book Trailer for BURNED

Over break, my husband surprised me one day with a book trailer he’d put together for BURNED. He even made original music to go with it! (I love the circus feel to it!) Now that he’s officially done, I wanted to show it off to you (because I am far too impatient to simply wait to post it later this week, obviously).

It’s only a minute long, so check it out now! And to grab a copy of BURNED, you can visit the Amazon page here. Hope you’re having a terrific day!

Established Stories: When You Publish the Next Book in a Series

BURNED is in the hands of beta readers. I received a mock up of the cover (and screamed like a Joss Whedon fangirl). And we’re creeping closer to the entire book being a real deal. As in, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO READ THE DAMN THING.

So obviously, my reaction is to let the anxiety take over and make me panic. And it’s not necessarily because I’m putting yet another story into the world. It’s a new feeling, deeper than the usual nerves that go with anticipating readers’ reactions. I’ve finally figured out why: BURNED is the second story of an already established world, something I’ve never done before.

With GIFTED, I was introducing readers to a new world. It set up canon, explained storylines, and gave insight to characters who go from strangers to friends. It could’ve gone anywhere, because no expectations sat waiting in the wings. Whatever I made up in that story worked because it was a brand new adventure, both for my protagonist as well as my readers.

BURNED, however…this one’s different from the first two I’ve published because it’s the second in a series. There’s already a history, a backstory that readers will (hopefully) remember. The challenge is now not only creating an original plot with new villains, characters, and settings, but also keeping that established canon from previous novels. Like, you have to remember the Donovan tents were particular colors, or this character says this catchphrase, or wait a minute, how could THAT happen when THIS was explained a specific way in the first book? And on and on. (There’s of course the obvious advice to have spreadsheets and documentation on the details of your series. For example, I’ve got a spreadsheet of characters and their gifts, as well as their job in the circus.)

It’s important that the writer creates a new story in each book. Even if there’s an overall theme or plot (like you know over 5 books that “evil must be defeated”), there should be enough differences in each story to keep the reader entertained. New characters, minor plotlines, and different settings can help with this. You don’t want it to feel stale, the same old story retold in different ways. The point of a series is to move the story forward, but not forgetting canon so that readers still care about what happens because they’ve stuck with you this long and want the best for their favorite characters.

It’s also reassuring to readers that you are introducing new stories within each book despite it being a series. Remember that overall arc I mentioned? Sure, Lucy and the Donovan gang will face battles. But she will still have daily circus duties, problems with boys or friends, butt heads with skanky hoes (you’ll see in BURNED), and fear for her life in different ways. War might be on the horizon, but each book will have a different villain and plotline. And then of course you have to make each plot different from the previous ones so readers don’t get bored. Mix it up so readers are on the edge of their seats no matter which book they’re reading. 

The only thing you DO have control over in going forward is produce good work – better work each time, really. While I will continuously add new guys, I know how to keep my established characters familiar to readers. They grow comfortable with the ones they know and are eager to meet new ones. And the best part is, readers will keep coming back for more because they grow familiar with your writing style, your story, and your characters, yet know they’re in for a different adventure each time. 

Now if I can just keep my breakfast down at the thought of publishing yet another book. That’s something we’ll probably never get used to.