Category Archives: Indie Author

Review of A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book 1 by Elizabeth Hunter

Who knew Vampires and Librarians could be so engaging? I just finished this book, and while it took me a while to read (it’s rather long at 274 pages) it was a very good story with well drawn characters and a few moments of suspense that made it hard to shut off the light! Giovanni is a rather odd character and for the first few chapters I had my suspicions about him but I wasn’t sure where Ms. Hunter was going with some of the odd traits. B. (short for Beatrice) is one smart cookie with a quick sense of humor and a nice shot of sarcasm and she was instantly engaging as a main character. There’s a solid story that drives the action – and the supporting characters are also very well developed. There’s even a slightly psychotic villain and I have to say I love a bad guy who “giggles” – it gives him just that touch of madness that makes him completely unpredictable.
There was one section in the book where I thought “Wait, isn’t that wrong?” and I flipped back a few pages to check the continuity, but it didn’t impact the story at all. I only mention it because one glaring “oops” in a book generally makes me love the story less but it didn’t in this case. That must mean the plot was tight enough, the characters believable enough (and yes, Giovanni is as dashing as his name would lead you to believe; but he’s also adorable in that boyish way that is oh-so-attractive :)) and the action paced well enough that I couldn’t even remember the stumble once I moved beyond it.

Ms. Hunter draws her scenes with such clarity and attention to detail that the “movie in my head” plays without interruption. This story is well written and well edited and I just looked on Amazon and it’s FREE right now. Pick it up – it’s a really good read!

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A little something for my writer friends

Here’s a very inspiring article from Indies Unlimited that seems to ring true for me. It’s the top ten things an author should or shouldn’t do and if nothing else it reaffirms some of the decisions you must make as an indie. Give it a read.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/10/01/top-ten-things-an-author-should-or-shouldnt-do/

In defense of a free promo…

I’ve been at this writing thing for a while now and I’ve seen the posts from other indies saying that those of us who do free promos are killing the market, insulting other indies, and a host of other bad things that are degrading to our craft. I disagreed back when I ran my first free promo and I continue to disagree, but this world of self-publishing requires constant evaluation and new strategies.

Yes, Amazon changed the rankings so a free promo doesn’t get you the surge in rankings that it used to – but it still gets you a boost in terms of publicity. Or maybe the postings from the free sites that list your book gets you a boost – either way, it seems as if a good free promo ultimately sells more books and that is what we want as writers, isn’t it?

But what about the people who are called “free loaders” – the ones who download every free book that comes their way? They don’t bother me in the least – I consider it a public service to run my books for free. If there is someone who loves to read, who can’t afford to buy books on a regular basis then they can feel free to download one of mine and maybe I’ve helped them satisfy their craving for a new book. It didn’t cost me anything to do that and the fact that someone is reading my work makes me all warm and fuzzy despite the fact that I won’t see a dime from the sale.

Besides, I have received a few reviews from people who have downloaded my books on a free promo – that is worth way more than the small royalty I make when I sell a book!

There’s another strategy that indie authors might find useful for free promotion: the blog tour. I’ve done a few and I love the experience – not only do I get more traffic to my own blog because of the daily posts, but I definitely see a surge in sales following the hop.
Recently, I combined the two strategies – I ran a free promo on one book and the following week did a blog tour promoting the second book in the series – I’ve had pretty good results (daily sales of most of my books!). Now, I’m looking for something to do this week to keep the trend going. Since I’m drafting my next book right now, this is a perfect time to market – when I’m writing the whole marketing aspect is neglected because words on the page are more important to me than posts on the web.

So get out there indies and promote, promote, promote (and for heaven’s sake – throw something up for free – you might win two new fans!)

Review of Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let’s Get Publishing) By: David Gaughran

For all of you indies out there – here’s the reference you need to figure out everything you need to know about choosing the right categories, figuring out the complicated rankings on Amazon and some great pointers on marketing and strategies to maximize sales. Let’s Get Visible will give you clear answers to some of those questions you feel stupid asking without you ever have to admit that you didn’t know them out-loud! It’s a beautiful thing.

I listened to this in my car on my way to work, and then took notes when I got home. I had a few “a-ha!” moments and I’m not new to self-publishing. David Gaughran did the research and I’m eternally grateful I don’t have to. He knows what he’s talking about, so just take his word on it, okay?

What I learned: marketing! categories! sales rankings!. I changed my categories, laid out a marketing plan for my upcoming book (Fortunes Bought & Sold – due out June 15th if you were wondering) and best of all, realized that some of the things I’ve done with my own books were right (Go me!).

If you’re undecided on where to put your books (Amazon, Smashwords, KDP, etc.) this book gives you both sides of the argument so you can make the decision that’s right for you. It really is a must-read for indies even if you’ve published a few books already.

Amazon Categories & Tags

Now, it’s been a while since I went into my book details on Amazon, but I did it tonight and was amazed that there are tons of new categories! I re-tagged my books with what I consider to be more appropriate categories and thought I’d take a second to recommend to other authors that they go in and check their categories.
It could be that this change was made AGES ago, but I just noticed it and wanted to share.

Interesting article on ebook pricing!

Here’s the link to a good article on ebook pricing for indies.

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/what-is-the-value-of-an-ebook-hint-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-the-cost-of-paper-and-ink/

Are you pricing your books under or over market value? Have you considered the angles? I know it’s something we struggle with as indies – are we undervaluing our work or are our lagging sales the result of overpriced books? This article gives you a few thoughts to consider. Enjoy!