Friday, September 28, 2012

Buy the book or I'll break... your thumb - not

Hmm - despite what the title says, one doesn't want to resort to mob style tactics to sell books.  Of course, I'm not even built to be a physical threat to anyone anyway - so there goes that option.

 Seriously, what does sell books?  Is it giveaways like bookmarks, pens and lipstick holders?

Hmmm - got more pens then I need and last I looked, the house was flooded with bookmarks, some of them, many of them - mine.  And besides I was trying to simplify.  Apparently that means less stuff!

Okay, so again you ask - what sells books?  Will you quit reading if I say right now I don't have the magic answer?  I don't think there is a magic anything unless you have the name - you all know the name, the one that is immediately recognizable like if Queen Elizabeth II decided to write a book or better yet, any number of music or movie stars.  Wait, what do you mean some of them did?  Sigh - as if the market wasn't flooded enough. 
Ring of Desire - Hot or Not in the Dead Sea?

But what else sells books, since most of us aren't destined for fame or even infamy?  I know the obvious things - market presence, known name to consumers and of course a fabulous product that everyone knows about - and sometimes good old-fashioned luck; right time, right place.

Maybe it's consistency and baby steps that gets the job done.  Like my dad, whose been unable to walk since his accident.  To get him moving again we're going to try, rather than a big push to physio and standing up immediately,  pedaling or moving around using your feet to propel a wheelchair.  But whether he pedals or doesn't, walks or doesn't, it is all dependent on my dad's frame of mind, a dicey thing these days, you'll know if you've been following this blog, but maybe that wheelchair will be the magic number that gets him slightly more independent.
Ring of Desire - Hot or not in Petra?

I think selling books is much like that - keep moving forward - write another book, send out a newsletter etc. etc..  But first,  I apologize to Dad right now for comparing promoting to his walking but I know "back in the day", he'd get it and be the first to say I should use the comparison.  Of course he'd add one of his interesting catch phrases which I won't repeat here.

So lets talk about my latest marketing venture.  My e-books were price slashed on Amazon from $4.99 to .99 cents through to the end of October.   I thought sales would be immediate with a few well-placed online ads.


A - the ads may not be not as well-placed as I thought.  Because on day two, no one was getting it.  So going on the recently read theory, that seven ads equal success (where do they get these numbers?) I carried on - and on, and, on. 

From the Dust/Ring of Desire - Hot or not in Swaziland?
The other day, the numbers on Amazon blipped and then they lurched and then they peeled downward by hundreds of thousands.  Smaller numbers on Amazon are good - very good!  But sitting as far up on the queue as I was means you have a lot of room to move.  And even a few sales can give you a big number jump.  So what happened?

Only one thing for sure - a book sold.   "Heavenly days" as my MIL would say.  Now how many books?  Well, I tried the free trackers and they couldn't even verify what I knew for sure.  So maybe I sold five books or ten or... thousands - okay pull me from my "happy place".  I sold a few and I can live with that if it consistently does that from now to the the end of the month.  Because you know, I may be biased, but they're good stories.  So, meantime I'm going to keep getting the word out and  I'm going to be happy if I can continue to shave a small whack of numbers off my Amazon rating and get my books noticed by their darn algorithm!

And thanks to all of you that took the chance - and forked out .99 cents.  Not bought under diress I hope.  Not that there was any threat to your thumb if you didn't - really.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Blow The Doors Off - It's A Sale!

I'm dancing up and down - a sale. I love sales!! 
The e-book edition of my fantasy romance Ring of Desire and my historical romance, From the Dust are on sale now through to the end of October! Only .99 cents over at Amazon.
From the Dust
Picture it - 1935, the Canadian prairies an economic and environmental dust bowl:

 A widow...
A man with a dream...
A farm they both claim.
Sometimes love can be, so unexpected!
What happens when a desperate widow inherits the same farm that a wealthy man claims?
Eva Edwards has given up a lot of things in her life.  She won't give up the farm.  

Tate Prescott Brown believes farming is something he understands.  So when he inherits a Saskatchewan farm he gets in his coupe and heads for the prairies.

"The plot was so well-written, and the people so endearing that it was impossible to not love this book." The Romance Studio

"Kennie writes beautiful descriptions of the prairie.  She paints a pretty picture of the wheat fields and surrounding scenery.  Within the first page, a dust storm overtakes our heroes and I could feel the sand stuck in my teeth.The Long and the Short of It

Ring of Desire

Whispers of an ancient 
draw them together...

In the medieval land of Hafne, a curse has swept through the land leaving it barren and without hope.  As one of the chosen, Vala watches for signs of the prophecy and with it, the owner of a ring who is destined to fight by her side and drive away the darkness.  The newly arrived Norman enemy is an unnecessary complication in Hafne--and in Vala's heart. unspeakable evil fights
to keep them apart

Giles arrives with his Norman men in time to rescue a mysterious woman from a watery death.  Holding Vala in his arms, the stirrings of destiny and desire begin, binding him to a prophecy for which he surely wants no part--binding him to a search for his true origins and a fight to save his soul and hers.

"Great plot, great writing, great love between the hero and the heroine. Action filled pages that keep the heart pounding sometimes with fear for the characters when evil stalks their shadows and sometimes with excitement as love develops."
And if you've already read both these books pick another on sale book - maybe give a new author - someone you haven't read, a try.  Who knows what can be found in the electronic bargain book bin!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wear Purple And Kick The Devil Out of Alzheimer's

The call came yesterday.

"Your dad's wheelchair is ready."

I never thought I'd be picking something like this up for my dad.  Here's the qualifier, he wouldn't need one if he didn't have Alzheimer's.  I mentioned in an earlier post that he'd broken his hip.  Now he can't seem to remember how to lift himself up.  It's the first step he needs, if he is ever to walk again.  And with muscles atrophying daily, whether or not he will, that remains to be seen.  But that's the reality of Alzheimer's - it brings you down and eventually, it doesn't let you back up. 

101 failed research drugs lay strewn on pharmaceutical floors and after years of research few have made it to market and none change the outcome.  Alzheimers is a tough disease, tough on patients, tough on families, tough to find a cure.  But the fight doesn't end.  People like my dad and all those that made the march before him and those that are now beside him - they are the pioneers, the beacons that remind us that something must be done.

So what can we do?

Raise awareness for one.  And one of the best ways is remembering that this disease has a face and it has feelings - it's about people.  Acknowledge them - like the hospital volunteer that took the time to stop by my dad and talk to him, give him a big smile and a wave and then repeat the whole procedure not once, but three times until she got an answering smile.  And you know, that and a coke - I think pretty much made Dad's day.

This month is World Alzheimer's Month and Friday, September 21 is Alzheimer's Action Day.  Tomorrow is a day to draw notice to this disease and to do that, you can donate to the cause in any number of ways but for most of us it's as easy as doing one thing - wearing purple and telling at least one person why you're doing it.  Even if it's a dibble of purple.  Dig out those hideous purple socks or even a pair of purple underwear if you really have nothing else.  It's the thought that counts although I don't know if you want to mention about the underwear, you know, to strangers.  And no, I don't want to know about the lace trimmed, thong beauties you wore when... enough!!  No more, please... I'm covering my ears.

Friday, Sept. 21 - Purple for Alzheimer's.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Get Your Damn Foot Off That Rake

The rake has disappeared again.  And I need the thing even though the trees are still full of leaves, the ground is covered too. 

A shovel when I need a rake!
It seems a workout program, a mini gym, has dropped into my yard.  The cost, free - just pick up the rake.  This is good for those of us who have been whining that they are in need of exercise.  It's time to get the weight machine functioning again.  Never mind that all it needs is a slight tweaking with a screwdriver.  I have my excuses and you have yours.

It's been a hard summer, maybe that's a wrong descriptor - more like difficult.  And as a result I've let a few things go and I'm not feeling good about that.  This blog for one - no more, it's a new leaf (no pun intended) but the change in a season always seems to bring about that feeling of change.  Twice a week I'll post, I'd commit to more than that but lets see how that goes.

All that space and I'm all run out.
Fall is beginning to coat the mornings with chill and the days with that unique scent that seems to have combined endings and beginnings.  I'm ready for the switch to darker, crisper mornings.   It's a time to get things done - when I'm alone and the world is quiet.  But despite the advent of late sunrise, I'm having trouble settling in.  I set the alarm early as usual and sleep in for forty-five minutes passed that.  I suspect, despite my argument to the contrary, that I'm having trouble realizing that it's time to put my shorts away.  Or maybe it's my flip flops that I'm partial to. 

As far as the story goes - a small glitch, something called the middle.  And as for the rest of it, you know what's to come - I've been thinking as the mornings get colder that maybe when fall's edges harden and the temperature drops, a temporary escape is in order.  Somewhere south, over one border, two, three or four.  Fine, I'll go for one for now, just a small break later in the year.  We'll see how things go.

Check out my website for everything that's going on.  It's a work in progress but this fall looks like it may be busy.
And you, planning ahead?


Sunday, September 2, 2012

To Review Or Not To Review

I've been thinking about reviews.  The subject has come up a number of times lately.  Not reviews of my books.  Not that I wouldn't like more, more reviews and more published books but that's the subject of another day or even another few days.  Today I'm thinking of  reviews of other books.

I've been asked to do a review by two different bestselling authors.  One of the books I've been asked to review is a non-fiction book, completely out of my genre as an author,  but as a reader I devour a lot of non-fiction in a year.  The other is fiction by an author who has yet to write a book I didn't enjoy.  I figure if the universe knocks not once but twice in as many days, then it has something to say.  But I'm reluctant to give it a resounding yes without some consideration, after all review queen isn't my gig - I'd prefer to be considered author.   And wearing more than one hat, well doesn't that just become a jumble?

Besides that, there are other reasons I've been hesitant.  I'm a worst-case forecaster.  I suppose you could translate that to worrier.  I'm terrified that four and five star is an expectation.  And I'm not going to lie, if I like the book I'll let you know and if I don't - is there an opt out clause?  I'm not one to post bad reviews I've had my share of great reviews and I've had one or two ouch remarks, and they smart.  I don't think, never mind - I know,  I couldn't do that to another author.  So I suppose worst case scenario would involve a graceful retreat.  I know lackluster reviews are relied on by many readers to keep it real.  I've heard that too many four and five stars and the book becomes suspect.  And while there may be some truth to that - I'm going to leave the reality checks to someone else.  Meantime I've done some research and from what I can see, if past record is any indication, the opt out clause on either book won't be required. 

Still,  I worry.  I worry if reviewing should be something divorced from being an author.
Am I dancing in another's playing field to even consider reviews?

I know a word of praise from a bestselling author is a coveted commodity on any book cover.  And while those remarks aren't a review, they are words that can sway the sale of the book, like a banquet of flowers or neon lights flashing at the reader. And yes, I know that's a different entity than the review I've been asked for, but it does remind me that authors are allowed to have opinions on books too.

So after consideration I think I'm going to give this a shot.  This isn't going to be the norm by any means, in other words I don't think I'll become a full-time reviewer any time in the future.  Nor will I offer reviews as a matter of form to authors I host.  But every once in a while, I may change things up and do the odd review.  So maybe the next book you read will be reviewed by me.

And as far as those coveted cover quotes.  Unfortunately, so far my world does not include requests for quotes on the front cover.  Maybe next year or maybe in another life. 

Speaking of reviews, this isn't just about me - it's about you too.  Do you know that you don't have to do a full scale review to be a help?  Did you know that even a few thoughts on a book you read and liked, placed on Amazon or other online sites or even your local library can be a big boost to an author?  Next time you read a book you love - leave a sentence or two and a rating.  It's another way to pay it forward.  And as I say that, I have to admit that I've been as guilty as I suspect most of you,  for not doing that.  But I'm changing that up somewhat, starting now.  I won't offer a word on every book but once in a while when one stands out...

So - what are you reading today?  Enjoying it....what about a few online words of praise?