A new pet peeve (as if I needed another one)

R. Leonia Shea

I’ve been trolling Amazon reading book blurbs from other indie authors and I have noticed a trend that disturbs me. Does this trend appear to be working? Will people buy their books because of the burning questions? Is there a better way to write a blurb?

Are you getting my point?

As I sigh dramatically, I wonder how much effort it really is to take a moment and tell about the book rather than asking a question you think the reader will be dying to find out – my conclusion is: Not much effort at all.

As a reader, I read because I like the description – not because I need answers. The questions are not questions I would ask the author about their book.

Will they get the crooks or die trying?

Will the cake fall and ruin her career as a pastry chef?

I really don’t care because…

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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 Fuzzy Navel: A Thriller by J.A. Konrath

The title is certainly accurate – Fuzzy Navel is indeed a thriller from the first sentence to the cliff hanger ending. Konrath explains it should take you about 8 hours to read it – I think I read it in about 5 hours – while doing a few other random things between chapters. It’s a quick read, but completely satisfying and packed with “what now?” moments that keep the pages flying.
What I love about Konrath’s writing is this: Right in the middle of a serious situation he comes out with something so clever and well-written that you laugh out loud – only Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Novels have been able to make me do that consistently.
There are some really sick twists in this book – but they all make sense and the pace moves along so quickly that you don’t get to dwell on them (or feel guilty that you were kind of glad the twisted thing happened).
And that cliff hanger ending? Don’t worry about that – Konrath is such a master story-teller that he leaves you hanging just enough that you want the next book IMMEDIATELY but the story you finished was wrapped up so neatly that you don’t feel cheated in any way.
This was an AWESOME read (and I don’t say that lightly).