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Clean Indie Read

September 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Books | Marketing | Perspectives | Reviews | Writing Tips - (0 Comments)

Clean Indie Reachs Blog ButtonI have posted about this on face­book but decided to post a fresh link on my blog. The Clean Indie Read blog that started a cou­ple of months ago has got­ten off to a tremen­dous start. It’s a site that lists inex­pen­sive ebooks rated G, PG, or PG-13. As I have watched this blog get started, I’ve been amazed at how fast it has grown. It’s a great resource for both read­ers and authors. If you haven’t taken an oppor­tu­nity to check it out, here’s the link: Clean Indie Reads. The blog is run by the amaz­ing, Lia Lon­don.

Below is a list of gen­res posted on the blog as of 9.22.13.

Have you ever noticed how polar book reviews can be?

I loved it!”

Eh.… it was okay.”

Bleck! Who writes this stuff!”

Clearly, no book is meant for every reader. But as writ­ers, it is imper­a­tive to set our egos aside and deter­mine the valid crit­i­cism from the invalid. For me, a few steps have really helped with this process.

1. Write with a tar­get audi­ence in mind. This is impor­tant for so many rea­sons. Read­ers out­side your tar­get audi­ence will prob­a­bly dis­like (or at the very least, not LOVE) your book. Under­stand­ing this make it much eas­ier when neg­a­tive reviews come in.

2. Crit­i­cism is your friend. Become an ana­lyt­i­cal machine and turn off your ego. Once your pride is set aside, this becomes much eas­ier to do. Look at your work the way a lit­er­ary agent would. They’re crit­i­cal, tough, totally unin­ter­ested in your feel­ings, but very objec­tive. I admit this is dif­fi­cult, but it is not impos­si­ble. Learn­ing to set your ego aside brings a fresh view. You’ll see things you never saw before. An added bonus will be the abil­ity to spot sour­pusses. These are the review­ers with an agenda. Obvi­ously, sour­pusses offer lit­tle con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. And if it’s not con­struc­tive, what good is it? Toss it out.

3. Be objec­tive, even if it’s painful. If more than one reviewer says the same thing, look at the sit­u­a­tion again. Take plenty of time before mak­ing a major deci­sion. Think, think, think.

4. The Aver­age Jane (or Joe) are prob­a­bly the best source for con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. These are the review­ers that don’t have an agenda. They just decided to write a review. Per­son­ally, I think they are AWESOME! (thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to each and every one of them! Whether it was a review writ­ten for my books or some­one else’s. Review­ers like this are golden! Golden, I say! GOLDEN!)

5. Never allow crit­i­cism to put out your fire. Instead, use it. Dis­sect crit­i­cism. Focus through an ana­lyt­i­cal eye rather than an emo­tional one. (You’re a writer, so you have an amaz­ing imag­i­na­tion. Put your­self in the publisher’s seat. Think like a pub­lisher. Think like an agent.)

6. Most impor­tantly, ignore the mean peo­ple. For some rea­son there are a few out there chas­ing indie authors. (Weird.) Ignore them. Period. They’re just not worth your time. At least, they’re not worth my time. I’ve got books to write. Char­ac­ters to cre­ate. Plots to form and sce­nar­ios to twist. I’m busy!

7. Keep mov­ing ahead. Learn from your mis­takes. Embrace them. They are your teach­ers. Don’t beat your­self with a stick. There are plenty of peo­ple will­ing do that for you. Instead, keep working.

8. Write, write, write, write, write! You know you want to! Speak­ing of which, I’ll see ya later. I’ve got more nov­els in the works. Until next time. :D

~Annette

 

The For­got­ten Queen is Annette Mackey’s most recent novel. Avail­able on Amazon.

Readers Favorite

September 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Books | Perspectives | Reviews - (0 Comments)

The Forgotten Queen

Silver Award for THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN from Readers FavoriteI am so please to announce that my new novel, The For­got­ten Queen, has won the Sil­ver Award from Read­ers Favorite in the Fic­tion — Adven­ture cat­e­gory. I am so grate­ful! And con­grat­u­la­tions to all of the other win­ners too!! So many great reads are listed! If you’re look­ing for some­thing to sink your teeth into, take a moment to check out the list of win­ners: Read­ers Favorite Con­test Win­ners, 2013.

 

I wanted to let every­one know about a great new blog that is really tak­ing off right now. It’s the clean indie reads blog. Even though it’s only about a week, the hits are really com­ing in–and so are the authors. Peo­ple who write clean books are com­ing together to help read­ers find them. There is a mar­ket out there for clean books, but with the explo­sion of pro­fan­ity and sex­ual con­tent in mod­ern books, read­ers who want clean books tend to be a lit­tle shy about pur­chases because they don’t like buy­ing some­thing that ends up offend­ing them. That’s why I decided to get the word out. If you enjoy HIGH qual­ity books that don’t con­tain explicit con­tent, then click on over and check it out. :) They have kids books, mid­dle grade books, and gen­eral fiction.

This is an update from a pre­vi­ous post:

I’m com­ing to the close of my first free pro­mo­tion, which ends tonight at mid­night. I can see why so many authors go for this pro­gram. “The For­got­ten Queen” has been at #1 in Arthurian since yes­ter­day, #2 in his­tor­i­cal since last night, and #574 in ebooks. Even though my “sales” have been pretty high, I feel like I need to watch and see how the num­bers land after the pro­mo­tion ends. It will be inter­est­ing to see how “The For­got­ten Queen” ranks tomorrow.

My biggest griev­ance with the KDP pro­gram is that I know so many peo­ple who love their nook and/or other ereader devices. I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether or not I’ll con­tinue with the exclu­sive KDP pro­gram for another 90 days or not. I guess it all depends on how the num­bers go in the next few weeks.

Yes, it’s true, this is my sec­ond post in a sin­gle day. But, I promised I would keep track of my book sales on this, my very first #free ebook pro­mo­tion day.

So this morn­ing I posted that by 9:00 AM I had sold 71 copies of “The For­got­ten Queen.” I use the word “sold” loosely, since there is no actual exchange of money. It’s free today and tomor­row. As of 2:00 PM, I have sold 135 copies today. My rat­ing on Ama­zon have gone from ~68,000 in ebooks and  #20 in Arthurian (yes­ter­day), to 1,733 in ebooks, #2 in Arthurian, and #10 in his­tor­i­cal today. I would be very happy with that, except for the fact that when I actu­ally click on the links to see the place­ment of the book in those cat­e­gories, it does not show up. Ama­zon glitches have been typ­i­cal with this novel for some rea­son. Whereas my “Class Col­li­sion” series always shows up imme­di­ately in the rank­ings, “The For­got­ten Queen” is no where to be found, even though the link is active. I think it might be time to con­tact Ama­zon and ask them what the deal is. Is there some­one on the staff try­ing to sab­o­tage my fab­u­lous book? Surely not.

For other authors out there, you might be inter­ested to know that there is no other pro­mo­tion going on for “The For­got­ten Queen” right now, other than the fact that it is cur­rently free. Soooooo, yeah, … doing the exclu­sive KDP free pro­mo­tion does seem to “sell” the book, but as for this rais­ing my actual rank­ing, … I’m not con­vinced yet. Maybe if “The For­got­ten Queen” starts show­ing up when I click on the link, then I’ll finally admit it. Hmm.… I’ll keep you posted.

~Annette

To KDP or, not to KDP. Now, that IS the question.

My first two nov­els were released to a wide range of dis­trib­uters. As I picked up sales, I began to notice a trend. When I did no adver­tis­ing, I sold more books on nook than kin­dle. (I know, I know, that is soooooo NOT the norm!) I guess that was why I was a lit­tle skep­ti­cal of the exclu­sive KDP pro­gram on Ama­zon. But still, those free pro­mo­tion days were mak­ing me sali­vate. That’s why I opted to “test” the pro­gram. My third novel, “The For­got­ten Queen,” has been enrolled in KDP for almost 90 days. Finally, I decided to run those free pro­mo­tion days. Here’s my exper­i­ment as it unfolds.

With­out any pro­mo­tions, from May 1 — May 7, I sold 15 copies of “The For­got­ten Queen.” This morn­ing my free pro­mo­tion began. So far, as of 9:10 AM, I have “sold” 74 books today. (The word “sold” just seems so wrong.) But there’s a painful kicker here. Ama­zon is cur­rently NOT list­ing “The For­got­ten Queen” in any rank­ing. (What the? Where did my num­bers go? That is sooooo NOT nice! BTW, prior to this morn­ing, I was ranked at ~68,000 in ebooks, and No. 20 in Arthurian.) Now, as every­one in the book busi­ness knows, pro­mo­tions aren’t about how many books you can give away for free. They’re about build­ing a plat­form, rank­ing higher in the Ama­zon algo­rithm, and reach­ing poten­tial read­ers, and hope­fully a few good reviews along the way too. Any­how, I’ll try to update the “sales” progress as the day unfolds, so that other authors con­tem­plat­ing this deci­sion will have a lit­tle more infor­ma­tion to go on before mak­ing the 90 commitment.

BTW, I haven’t reen­rolled “The For­got­ten Queen” yet. My KDP exclu­siv­ity ends on May 24th. I guess I bet­ter decide soon!

~ Annette

So it’s been a few years now since I took the plunge into the pub­lish­ing world. I must say that the quote I heard back in 2009 while attend­ing my first writer’s con­fer­ence in New York has proven to be absolutely true. “The book busi­ness doesn’t run the way read­ers think.” I have referred back to that quote so many times, and every time I do, it rings even more true.

Back when I was a reclu­sive writer, I thought that the best books were the ones that sold off the shelves. I had lit­tle under­stand­ing that mar­ket­ing was the key to a book’s suc­cess. (Duh, you say? Yeah, … duh, indeed!) But it’s prob­a­bly a good thing that I didn’t under­stand, because back then I had zero inter­est in mar­ket­ing. All I wanted to do was write, write, write.

In the time since, I have come to a under­stand more about who I am, what I want to do, and how to go about it. Just in case a new author needs a lit­tle pick-me-up, I’ve decided to out­line some points that have helped me in this piranha pool.

1. Good writ­ing is not rewarded by sales. Good writ­ing has noth­ing to do with sales. Sales are a result of good marketing.

2. To make a busi­ness out of writ­ing, mar­ket­ing is required. Period. A mediocre book will sell off the shelf if a genius is ped­dling it, while a mas­ter­piece may sit and do nothing.

3. Iden­tify your genre and reader audi­ence. If pos­si­ble, do this BEFORE YOU START WRITING YOUR BOOK. Though it’s impor­tant to be true to your inner story, there is no way to mar­ket a book unless you know who you’re talk­ing to.

4. Never knock another author or blog­ger, espe­cially pub­licly. I joined a few chat rooms on Ama­zon shortly after I started pub­lish­ing, think­ing that it was a good way to net­work with other authors. Lit­tle did I expect to be attacked. (Oh yes, the joys of neg­a­tive peo­ple.) But it was actu­ally a good expe­ri­ence, because I learned that no mat­ter who you’re talk­ing to, peo­ple will remem­ber. I know their names. I remem­ber their faces because I googled them. I learned that every­one is a poten­tial aid in the mar­ket­ing process. Back then I may have been a nobody, but that is no longer the case. Be polite. Be supportive.

5. Never com­plain about a neg­a­tive review. Review­ers, espe­cially blog­gers, net­work. They talk. They “spread” the word. You don’t want a back­lash. Remain pos­i­tive. Remain polite. And if pos­si­ble, find a way to thank peo­ple for their review. The same holds true in request­ing reviews. Don’t nag. Never harass. If some­one doesn’t want to review your book, don’t bug them!

6. It’s eas­ier to mar­ket mul­ti­ple books, than one book at a time. Some­times it really is best to do what you love, and write, write, write. Then, after you have a num­ber of books avail­able, push a mar­ket­ing cam­paign. It’s cheaper, more effi­cient, and far more effec­tive. That’s the way the pub­lish­ing houses do it. They have a gazil­lion books and mar­ket them in bunches because it works.

7. Remem­ber why you’re in this indus­try. There are so many peo­ple who are ready to stomp on you. BUT YOU CAN’T BE STOMPED ON UNLESS YOU PUT YOURSELF UNDER SOMEONE’S FOOT. Ignore the mean peo­ple. Ignore the petty. In real­ity, they are irrel­e­vant. They are the ones who will offend and thus, be pushed out of the game.

8. If you want suc­cess as badly as you want air to breathe, you will be suc­cess­ful. (I’m still work­ing on this one. Mostly I still just want to write. That’s my air. Sto­ries and plots.) If you have entered this indus­try for the fun of it, you’ll prob­a­bly be dis­ap­pointed. Not every­one is friendly. Not every­one is sup­port­ive. As I stated before, some peo­ple are down­right cruel. Ignore them, or let them hurt you. It’s your choice.

9. Sup­port other authors. Make friends. Net­work. (Seri­ously, this is cru­cial. NETWORK!!!)

10. Never give up. Dare to dream. Dare to face fail­ure. No one ever suc­ceeded by throw­ing in the towel. You can do it!

The Forgotten Queen

December 27th, 2012 | Posted by Annette in Books - (0 Comments)

I’m so excited about the upcom­ing pub­li­ca­tion of my new novel, “The For­got­ten Queen.” Hope­fully it will be avail­able in late Jan­u­ary or early February.

As an infant Avalon is stripped of beauty so that all that remains are her dra­matic green eyes. She is taught from birth that Arthur is her des­tiny. Out of curios­ity she watches him in the lake and finds it impos­si­ble not to fall in love—and yet he is the king. It’s not until a love tri­an­gle between Guin­e­vere, Lancelot, and Arthur forces Camelot to the brink of destruc­tion that Arthur real­izes what a fool he has been.

Raised in the shad­ows, sub­servient to the Lady of the Lake, Avalon rises above it all to become the true queen of Camelot. She is the for­got­ten queen … and the sole bearer of Arthur’s heart.

Genre: his­tor­i­cal fan­tasy, folk­lore, fantasy

Bitly

September 6th, 2012 | Posted by Annette in Books | Perspectives | Twitter help | Writing Tips - (4 Comments)

Twit­ter help for the new­bies out there.

Some­times it’s the lit­tle things that count. Any­one who works on the web knows that links mat­ter. If you haven’t checked out bitly, the time has come. It’s a fab­u­lous site that cre­ates short­ened web url addresses. And as any tweeter knows, the shorter, the bet­ter. To see for your­self, click on the link below.

bitly.com

Not only can you cre­ate short links on this site, but every link is saved for future ref­er­ence. These can be made pub­lic or pri­vate. In addi­tion, there is a tab for track­ing your link stats. Under this tab you can see the clicks for each link. You can even see where the links are being hit. Seri­ously, if you haven’t checked out bitly yet, do it now.

And since you’re going to love me for this, I’ll just say it now. Your wel­come! :)