Tag Archives: free

Follow me on BookBub for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift certificate!

Yes, that’s right – I am holding a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $20 Amazon electronic gift card. Why am I doing this? As usual, there’s method to my madness, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself…

I want to get a BookBub promo, come hell or high taxes, and I am hoping that getting followers on their website would help me do just that. BookBub rejected Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) for the 4th time, despite it gathering over 40 reviews and currently ranking in top 100 of the entire Free Kindle store. The high ranking is due to a promo, which netted almost 2,000 downloads in two days. I will have a review of all my May permafree promos after the end of this month, but for now, thank you eReader News for this:

Ranking on 22 May

Still, to get to my goal of 100,000 downloads by the end of the year, I will need to catch that elusive BookBub promo prize. It alone can potentially net me 20 thousand downloads for a very reasonable $70 (chicklit category is the smallest one). So instead of wallowing over another rejection, like I’d originally planned, I’ve made an action plan of how I can win over those stern BookBub editors. I find action plans in general soothing, but this one, in particular, is Aloe Vera for my burned ego.

This is what I’ve done or will be doing over the next month:

  1. Enticing people to follow me on BookBub with Rafflecopter giveaways. Yes – more than one. I’m starting with a $20 certificate and will report on how many, if any, followers I will get. If it’s successful, I might try a $50 gift card next time.
  2. Revising my book covers to look like a series. This seems to be one of the factors people mention – professional-looking covers with great typography. I will be keeping my designs almost the same, but taking the “rip” effect across the series and getting a professional to help choose the typography.
  3. Re-editing Shizzle, Inc yet again.
  4. I’ve revised the blurb for Shizzle, Inc and the editor will check it as well. If anyone has any comments on the Shizzle, Inc blurb, I’d appreciate them!
  5. Already added Indiot to my BookBub profile.
  6. Updated my bio everywhere, including my Amazon Author Page. What do you think? It used to be one pathetic sentence…
  7. Already added a”follow me on BookBub” button to the right-hand side menu on this blog, using these directions and my own image widget directions.
  8. Added a “follow me on BookBub” link to my email signature. I don’t use it that much, but why not? Set it up once and never have to think about it again. My signature also has links to both of my books on Amazon now.
  9. Created this ClickToTweet link, which I can add to posts, author bio, etc. You can create your own on Click to Tweet website, free of charge.
  10. Will get even more reviews via the continuous free giveaway and using a NetGalley co-op.

There. I can apply to BookBub again on 10 June, and you better believe it – there is a reminder in my calendar to do it once a month.

I have a gut feeling about it. It could turn out to be gas, but once again – time will tell.

27 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

Give it away, give it away, give it away NOW!

How you guys doin’? I’m flying high – not only cause life on [read: near] the beach is sweet, but because my latest promo is doing even better than I expected. In my last post, I bemoaned the lack of sales, which was all my fault, anyway. All writing and no marketing makes Ana a poor-selling author. I didn’t moan for very long, though, before I decided to do something about it, namely stage a massive, promoted free giveaway.

The last time I made Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) free was in September, about two weeks after it was released. I didn’t advertise it, other than on the blog and Twitter, as it was intended to be just a thanks to my followers. With no sequel in sight, giving it away made no sense. Over the two days, about 150 people downloaded it.

This time around, the sequel is so close, I can smell it. Okay, so it still smells a bit raw, but at half-edited 63K words, I’m very close to the finish line. In fact, the plan is to pre-release it in just about a week! So I’m now ready to do what a bunch of authors have done before me – give away the first book in the series for free. I will make it permafree as soon as Indiot is available, but for now, I tried a KDP 5-day free giveaway.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I made an arbitrary goal of giving away 3,000 books over the whole period and sneaking my way into top 100 Free in Kindle store. I advertised it as follows:

11 April: Reading Deals – $15.

12 April: Kindle Nation Daily – $99.

13 April: eBookasaurus – free; Manybooks – $25; AskDavid – free.

14 April: AskDavid – free (they tweet multiple times).

15 April: none.

So what did I get for my investment of $139?

Well, it’s not even finished yet, but I’ve already given away 3,100 copies!

Screenshot (43)

Of course, a lot of people just stuff their Kindles with freebies, so I’m gonna assume that most of these copies will never be read. Of those that will, some will probably not get it and hate it – that’s just the risk I have to take. But then! There will be others, who will get hooked on Isa’s escapades and will buy the next installment at the full price of, say, $2.99. If it’s 10% of the above, I would make my money back, and then some. Will it work? I will let you know, of course…

And how about the rankings? I have a new addiction, a tracker tool supplied for free by Kindle Nation Daily:

KND tracker

You can see that Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) has come close, oh so close, but those thousands of free books were not enough. After this experiment and a lot of stalking of my competition, I am convinced that the only way to get onto the first page of Free Kindle Store is with BookBub. Trouble is, apparently everybody already knows that – the competition for promos with BookBub is fierce. So far I’ve applied twice and was rejected as many times, but from reading other people’s blogs, it seems that the ratio of applications to successful placements is close to 10:1. Those same people have reported anywhere between 20-100 THOUSAND giveaway copies as a result, so I just need to buckle up and keep trying. In the meantime, I’m thinking of printing this for my inspiration board:

Sales rank 108

I know that some of you are against giving your work away for free, and I completely understand why – common sense tells me not to give away something that cost me $3,000 and two years to make. But I slap it back down because the big picture demands that I do just that. Time will tell if it will pay off.

Hey, Ana Spoke from September 2016, what do you think? Have I made the right choice?

 

34 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Shizzle, Inc.

The coolest marketing idea yet!

Well, at least I think so! What makes it so good is that it should help me solve several problems most start-up authors face, namely:

  • How do I get more reviews?
  • How do I generate pre-release buzz?
  • Ho do I get people to sign up to my email list?
  • How can I do that at low or no cost?

Are you excited yet? Do you want to know what it is? Okay, okay! It’s simple:

Create a permanent ARC list.

What’s that, you ask? Let’s start with ARC – Advanced Review Copy. If you want a detailed explanation, have a look at Between The Covers. It’s basically a copy of the book made available to reviewers before the release. Using ARCs to promote your book is a well-known marketing strategy, and other blogs, such as Savvy Writers and eBooks Online or Finish Your Book have posted detailed instructions on how to do that.

Oh, you say. So then what’s so special about your idea?

Glad you’ve asked! The one thing I could not figure out was whom should I send these ARCs? I’ve even started compiling a list of book review blogs, but it turned out that lots of them have gone quiet. It was frustrating to spend so much time looking through their posts to try and figure out if they’re active, if they have a following, and how to contact them. Then it hit me.

I already have reviewers.

I have my own group, who have discovered me, bought Shizzle, Inc and posted reviews. They’ve been asking for a sequel, which means that they are the most likely people to read and review any of my future stories. Eureka!

Get to the point, you say? Okay, okay! Here it is:

If you have written a review of Shizzle, Inc and have posted it on Amazon.com or Goodreads, or both, I will send you an electronic copy of all my future books for free.

I’ve created another MailChimp list using the steps explained in my previous post. To sign up, click the link at the top of the sidebar or click here. You will need to provide a link to your review – sorry, this is the requirement to get on this super exclusive list. I reserve the right to delete any applications without a valid link. I also reserve the right to stop offering subscription to this list, so get in early!

I know what you think, how crazy am I to offer the books for free, in perpetuity. I don’t know if this is crazy or genius – time will tell, I guess. My hope is that it will get me the reviews and the buzz I need to get the momentum going. It’s also a great way to say “thank you” to the people who have taken time not only to read the book, but to help spread the word. Thank you, guys!

The sequel to Shizzle, Inc will be published in May – I will email copies with Uncorrected Proof watermark to the ARC list in April, while the sequel is on pre-order.  Let me know what you think of this plan 🙂

 

20 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Win a free book!

New Goodreads Giveaway – a signed copy for anyone in the world! Plus, results of the previous one and a nifty spreadsheet to boot…

Hi, everyone! Just a quick one to let you know that you can enter on Goodreads to win a free AUTOGRAPHED copy of Shizzle, Inc! This time, I’ve opened the giveaway to the entire world, but it will run only for two weeks. I have updated the link in the sidebar, too.

And just in case you are wondering, here are the stats for the last one, which was for 5 unsigned copies for US, UK, Canada or Australia residents only:

Length: 22 days

People requesting: 815 (although it now says 813)

New added: 353

New additions on “to read” shelves: 342

I have calculated that each added “to read” book cost me about 12 cents. So far they have not converted to “currently reading”, although there has been some activity in the end of December – I may be bold and attribute 5 sales to this giveaway.

True to form, I have started a spreadsheet to keep track of the data – I will try to figure out the following:

  1. Any impact on sales
  2. Any impact on new reviews
  3. Cost per “to read” addition

Isn’t she beautiful?

Goodreads giveaways

You can download: Shizzle Goodreads giveaways spreadsheet if you’d like to track your own giveaway data.

As always, your experience and opinions on Goodreads giveaways value for money is welcome!

30 Comments

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Who will win a free cover design for their story? Cast your vote!

Happy New Year everyone!

Just a quick post to announce that the contest to win a free cover design has now closed – I have received nine submissions. Please review them carefully below or on the original post and cast your vote (it’s the same polldaddy poll on both pages): 

Only one vote per person/computer is allowed. Voting will close on 24 January.

CONTEST ENTRIES (in the order received):

1.Ninja at Law by Jim Peacock

Ninja at Law (Ages of the Seed, vol. 2)

Life at the tail end of the 24th cee is fairly righteous. The advent of Stringtech mere centuries ago revolutionized the world. Hunger and disease are concepts of the past. Free energy is here for the taking of it and mankind enjoys an unprecedented period of largess, peace and growth.

Tobe Sparkles is about to fuck all that up.

2. Head on a Grave by Terry Nelson

While on vacation in 1927, Hollywood screenwriter Chet Koski and his wife Eveleen, both amateur sleuths, antagonize a divided small town, unravel a kidnapping, discover a timber scandal, and Chet fears his cousin may be a killer. These things happen when finding a head on a grave.

3. The Nightmare by Amir.H.Ghazi

When fourteen-year-old Allen Foster is diagnosed with parasomnia, a sleep disorder evoking vivid nightmares, he begins journaling each haunting dream on the advice of his psychiatrist, keeping the notebook safely hidden in a floorboard — that is until a new family moves into the Maine house. When Rita, the daughter of the new owners, discovers the book and begins experiencing Allen’s old nightmares, she tracks him down in an effort to rid herself of the misery, only to find he has no memory of writing them.

4. Mark My Soul by Abby Cashen

An age old tradition. A few offline cameras. Shadows in the alley. 

Lance works in a busy city, watching out for disturbances and things out of the ordinary. He has no idea just out strange things have gotten until he looks into a missing child case and discovers dark secrets in the shadows. Inhuman creatures seem to appear out of nowhere and are devouring the city. And the only way to stop them…is a tradition no one believes in anymore.

5. The Puzzle by Nick Langis

It knows your darkest thoughts, your deepest secrets, and your hidden desires. All you need to do; put the puzzle together. Richard and Vivian Cordova discover the puzzle when they move into their newly bought home. One thousand pieces wedge their way between the newlyweds putting their vows and their lives to the test.

6. Confessions of a Good Mother by Kathi Tesone

Diana, a lonely and neglected, middle age, wife and mother decides to end her loveless marriage of thirty years. On her own for the first time in decades, she struggles to adjust to her new single life, dating and overcoming a devastating diagnosis of  mental illness. Can she learn to love herself so she will be ready to find love with the right man or will she continue to get the thrills her illness demands by engaging in increasingly risky behavior? Will she get the help she needs to live a more fulfilling life before her mental illness wins and she decides to commits suicide?

7. The Hiding Place – By J.K.Tevis

The bugs were unmerciful in their quest for food. The ants were the most vicious. Her hiding place was their home and she was an intruder. The dried blood on her feet seemed to have driven them into a feeding frenzy making it look as though she wore a pair of black boots. Even though the earth under her was cool the sun had turned the fallen stones over her into an oven. As she drifted in and out of consciousness she kept remembering her mother’s last words…. “RUN,THEY’RE HERE !”

8. Chrysalis by Sharon Gerdes

Joyel is a weapon, a genetically engineered ten year old. When the ruthless faction leader Anson kidnaps Joyel she must fight to save her soul. Anson spends ten years brainwashing her, demanding that she view him as father, embrace a new identity as Joy, and to kill for him. But Joy is determined to be subject to no man.

Cutting is how Joy copes with the years of abuse, etching her hatred of Anson into her skin until the time to mete out revenge has come. Despite her rage, now twenty-year-old Joy struggles to strike out against the man she calls father. Discovering Anson’s plans to restart the genetic program she was spawned from in order to raise an army forces Joy to act. To no longer be a pawn, she must kill Anson and destroy the monster she has become. If she doesn’t, she will never be free.

CHRYSALIS asks which is more important: to know who you are, or to whom you belong?

9. Ember’s Heart by Charcam Olson

For Ember Rehksskari, a hated dragon and last princess of a fallen kingdom, there are two kinds of place in the world: those where the people will try to kill her, and those where they’ll try harder. Yet, fleeing from the second to the first, she may just find a third.

The kingdom of Salshira has no interest in hosting a dragon, any dragon, especially not one pursued by the Vohrskrain, but Ean Tavarin, crown prince and engineer extraordinaire, has a plan to make a home for this one…if he can deal with a best friend who wants all dragons dead, a father looking out for the rest of the kingdom, and a romantic interest he didn’t know he had.

It really shouldn’t be this hard to make one damsel safe!

But if Emperor Vohrskrain has anything to say, none of them will be until Ember is dead.

35 Comments

Filed under Win a free book cover!

Goodreads Giveaway! Win one of five paperback copies of Shizzle, Inc!

Have you noticed a new button on my sidebar? Right there, at the top?  Click on it, or enter here for your chance to win a free paperback copy of my book! I’m only announcing this giveaway now because there have been too many other exciting going-ons, what with a bestselling author stopping by, and Shizzle, Inc being available on every platform imaginable…

The giveaway has been live for less than 15 hours at the time of this writing, and already 131 people have requested it!

Goodreads giveaway

Wait, it’s now 135! Blink, and it’s 137! And over 80 of them have added it to their “to read” shelf! How exciting!

Truth is, I’ve been excited about this giveaway for months, after reading various author’s testimonials on how effective they are to promote new books. So I can’t believe that I’ve posted it without doing all that much research or even reading the giveaway guidelines. (I know! So out of character!)

Better later than never, so I’ve done some research now and have learned this:

  1. There are claims that it doesn’t matter how many books you give away, you would get the same result with 1 or 10. I’m going to experiment with this – already got a spreadsheet going…
  2. Supposedly it is better to give away autographed books, rather than just free copies, even if you’re a nobody. This will be tested in future experiments. For now I have just done copies, which I will order and ship directly from Smashwords – doesn’t make sense to ship them from US to Australia and then back…
  3. Open giveaways to all countries. For now I’ve just done US, GB, and Canada – as it will be cheaper and easier to just order a book and have it shipped to the winner directly. Next one will be open to all, I promise!
  4. You may be able to create a special image for the giveaway. I don’t know how to upload it, from memory (which is not very good), it automatically takes the image of your paperback cover. But I will try next time.
  5. Schedule them ahead of time! It takes several days for Goodreads to review and approve your ad.
  6. Make your ad exciting – add quotes, awards, whatever. Add a link to a newsletter sign up, your website, etc. Market all the ways you can hook them up on your blog, series, whatever.
  7. Best one! Schedule the giveaway BEFORE the paperback release! Create the buzz for the launch day! I will schedule the next one as soon as I have the first draft and cover ready.
  8. Longer is better – mine will be for just over three weeks, but you could do it for three months, or even longer – there will be bigger numbers of people requesting, which will make your book look very appealing indeed. I’ve looked at the “top requested” giveaways, and they all run for three months or so.
  9. You can only do it in the six months after the paperback release…I only saw it on a blog, and can’t find any reference to this rule on Goodreads. In fact, Goodreads state that you can give away “new copies of an older book”, whatever that means.

If you have any other tried and true (and recent!) advice – please share! I’m gonna go check the stats…oh, look, 141 requests!

27 Comments

Filed under Shizzle, Inc., Win a free book!

Win a free book cover custom designed by Ana Spoke!

UPDATE: please review the entries below and then vote for who you think should get a free cover design:

Only one vote per person/computer is allowed. Voting will close on 24 January.

 

Omg, you guys – I had the most genius idea ever. You’ve been so nice and supportive while I’ve been going through the ups and downs of trying to hire not one, but two designers, getting sorely disappointed and then designing both the ecover and the wrap myself.  Just to remind you of what I can do, here is the wrap:

Shizzle paperback final for production

A lot of you took the time to comment on the process – thank you again! Several of you have also mentioned hiring me as a designer. To be honest, I don’t want to branch into that – it’s a stressful job, takes a long time, and just thinking of taking somebody’s money and then disappointing them gives me the heebie-jeebies. So I just answered those comments with jokes. Sorry.

But then I had a light bulb moment. Sure, I don’t want another job, and I don’t have the time to create covers for all of you, but I can do one, for free! Then my marketing brain jumped on it, and I came up with an awesome win-win idea: a free contest!

So here it is: until the end of the year, I will accept pitches from anyone who has written a book, or has an idea for one, or wants to publish their NaNoWriMo creation. You don’t have to have the book ready for publication or even written – perhaps having a ready cover hanging over your desk will keep you motivated to finish that dream project?

Here are the rules:

  1. Write a pitch. Imagine that you are submitting your book to an agent – write a blurb/pitch that will hook the reader. Remember, people will vote on it (more on that below).
  2. Post the pitch on your blog or website. If you don’t have one, post it in the comments below.
  3. Let me know about it – in a comment below, with a link to your post.
  4. Make sure to post it any time before midnight on 31 December!

That’s it! After the contest closes, I will create a voting page which will be live during January. Everyone and anyone will get to vote on your pitch. The voting will close on 31 January and the winner will be chosen based on the number of votes – I will stay out of it!

The winner will get the following:

  1. A shot of endorphins at the news of having won a contest.
  2. One custom cover (ebook or paperback wrap, your choice), including:
    1. Up to three initial concepts to choose from (or your concept, developed).
    2. Up to three images from Shutterstock, your choice (regular license, up to 500,000 prints). You get the images to keep.
    3. Detailed design with up to three “fixes” (sorry, I will have to draw a line somewhere!).
    4. Final, layered Photoshop file uploaded to Dropbox – unlike designers, I won’t keep it to myself! This way, if you ever want to tweak a word, or add a “bestselling author” stamp, you can easily do it yourself or get someone local to do it for you.
    5. My relentless perfectionism.
    6. A free value of (according to quotes I got from designers) up to $750!
  3. A special blog post on my site, announcing the final design, with a link to purchase (if available).
  4. That warm, fuzzy feeling of accomplishing a goal.

I hope you are as excited about this as I am! let me know what you think 🙂

CURRENT ENTRIES (in the order received):

  1. Ninja at Law by Jim Peacock

Ninja at Law (Ages of the Seed, vol. 2)

Life at the tail end of the 24th cee is fairly righteous. The advent of Stringtech mere centuries ago revolutionized the world. Hunger and disease are concepts of the past. Free energy is here for the taking of it and mankind enjoys an unprecedented period of largess, peace and growth.

Tobe Sparkles is about to fuck all that up.

2. Head on a Grave by Terry Nelson

While on vacation in 1927, Hollywood screenwriter Chet Koski and his wife Eveleen, both amateur sleuths, antagonize a divided small town, unravel a kidnapping, discover a timber scandal, and Chet fears his cousin may be a killer. These things happen when finding a head on a grave.

3. The Nightmare by Amir.H.Ghazi

When fourteen-year-old Allen Foster is diagnosed with parasomnia, a sleep disorder evoking vivid nightmares, he begins journaling each haunting dream on the advice of his psychiatrist, keeping the notebook safely hidden in a floorboard — that is until a new family moves into the Maine house. When Rita, the daughter of the new owners, discovers the book and begins experiencing Allen’s old nightmares, she tracks him down in an effort to rid herself of the misery, only to find he has no memory of writing them.

4. Mark My Soul by Abby Cashen.

An age old tradition. A few offline cameras. Shadows in the alley. 

Lance works in a busy city, watching out for disturbances and things out of the ordinary. He has no idea just out strange things have gotten until he looks into a missing child case and discovers dark secrets in the shadows. Inhuman creatures seem to appear out of nowhere and are devouring the city. And the only way to stop them…is a tradition no one believes in anymore.

5. The Puzzle by Nick Langis.

It knows your darkest thoughts, your deepest secrets, and your hidden desires. All you need to do; put the puzzle together. Richard and Vivian Cordova discover the puzzle when they move into their newly bought home. One thousand pieces wedge their way between the newlyweds putting their vows and their lives to the test.

6. Confessions of a Good Mother by Kathi Tesone.

Diana, a lonely and neglected, middle age, wife and mother decides to end her loveless marriage of thirty years. On her own for the first time in decades, she struggles to adjust to her new single life, dating and overcoming a devastating diagnosis of  mental illness. Can she learn to love herself so she will be ready to find love with the right man or will she continue to get the thrills her illness demands by engaging in increasingly risky behavior? Will she get the help she needs to live a more fulfilling life before her mental illness wins and she decides to commits suicide?

7. The Hiding Place – By J.K.Tevis.

The bugs were unmerciful in their quest for food. The ants were the most vicious. Her hiding place was their home and she was an intruder. The dried blood on her feet seemed to have driven them into a feeding frenzy making it look as though she wore a pair of black boots. Even though the earth under her was cool the sun had turned the fallen stones over her into an oven. As she drifted in and out of consciousness she kept remembering her mother’s last words…. “RUN,THEY’RE HERE !”

8. Chrysalis by Sharon Gerdes

Joyel is a weapon, a genetically engineered ten year old. When the ruthless faction leader Anson kidnaps Joyel she must fight to save her soul. Anson spends ten years brainwashing her, demanding that she view him as father, embrace a new identity as Joy, and to kill for him. But Joy is determined to be subject to no man.

Cutting is how Joy copes with the years of abuse, etching her hatred of Anson into her skin until the time to mete out revenge has come. Despite her rage, now twenty-year-old Joy struggles to strike out against the man she calls father. Discovering Anson’s plans to restart the genetic program she was spawned from in order to raise an army forces Joy to act. To no longer be a pawn, she must kill Anson and destroy the monster she has become. If she doesn’t, she will never be free.

CHRYSALIS asks which is more important: to know who you are, or to whom you belong?

9. Ember’s Heart by Charca Molson

For Ember Rehksskari, a hated dragon and last princess of a fallen kingdom, there are two kinds of place in the world: those where the people will try to kill her, and those where they’ll try harder. Yet, fleeing from the second to the first, she may just find a third.

The kingdom of Salshira has no interest in hosting a dragon, any dragon, especially not one pursued by the Vohrskrain, but Ean Tavarin, crown prince and engineer extraordinaire, has a plan to make a home for this one…if he can deal with a best friend who wants all dragons dead, a father looking out for the rest of the kingdom, and a romantic interest he didn’t know he had.

It really shouldn’t be this hard to make one damsel safe!

But if Emperor Vohrskrain has anything to say, none of them will be until Ember is dead.

105 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Win a free book cover!