Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Results From My First Virtual Book Tour!

A while back, I mentioned that I was going to be conducting an experiment of sorts - basically I wanted to see whether or not a virtual book tour would help with the sales of my novel.  When it comes to marketing my book, sometimes I feel as though I am throwing everything at the wall and hoping something will stick.

Like most "indies," I work a full time job, have a family, etc.  I had to consider how much time I could devote to a tour.  I had to consider my budget.  I wish I could say that my novel is on Amazon's best sellers list and that my budget was unlimited, but that's not my reality.  I decided to schedule several one week tours - one per month. 

There are a variety of blog tours from which to choose.  My novel is Young Adult Paranormal.  I say that - but I will admit that most of my readers have been adults.  I looked at tours that seemed to target some of the groups I felt would enjoy my book.

The first tour I selected was Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours.   I scheduled the tour for November 18-22, 2013.  (I know - right before the holidays... maybe not the best timing!)   For $40.00, I was guaranteed five stops and a review at each stop.  The owner was very helpful.  She answered my questions in a timely manner and coordinated a rafflecopter giveaway.

When I first published my novel, I set the price for the e-book at $3.99.  As time went on, my sales slowed.  I decided to lower the price of my novel to $2.99 just before the tour.

The results are as follows:

As promised, I received five reviews - most of which not only posted their reviews to their blogs but also to Amazon and Goodreads.

I choose to giveaway a $25 Amazon Card and a signed copy of my novel.   406 people registered to win - so I figure 406 people were exposed to my marketing attempt.

I picked up 8 new likes on my Facebook Author Page and approximately 50 new followers on Twitter.

15 people added it to their To Be Read List on Goodreads

My total sales for the week of the tour and the week following:  0 sales

If sales were the only thing I measured the success of my tour - than I'd have thought this one a failure. However, my reviews were good - most being 4 and 5 stars (I did have one 3 but honestly, it was the nicest 3 star review I've ever read)   My social media sites increased in followers.  Overall, I thought the tour was a positive experience.

Have others had better luck as far as sales go?  I don't know.  I did wonder if offering a copy of my book in the rafflecopter giveaway was a mistake.  Afterall, who wants to buy what they might win for free?   With that in mind, I changed up my "prize" for the December tour but that tour is the subject of another post!

On a side note:  While my novel was priced at $2.99, I had no sales.  I reduced the price to $0.99 for a 2 day sale on December 4 & 5.  No sales.  Friday, December 6 - my novel went back to its original price of $3.99 and BAM!  Sales again!  Who would have thunk it?!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Self Published Sunday

If you're like me, you've scoured the internet looking for the best information regarding book marketing. Some experts tout the importance of book reviews while others believe exposure is key. There are loads of writers "spamming" G+ and Facebook communities. For the record, I've "promoted" my novel by sharing Amazon links, reviews, etc. - not that it made much difference.  I mean, honestly, how many of us are even clicking on the links?  After all, it's not like we have unlimited time.  When  we aren't writing, most of us aren't looking for the next great story - we're too busy trying to draw attention to our own works.

That being said, there are links that I do check out.  Why?  Because I've connected with the author. Sometimes, it may start out as a request for an honest opinion regarding a book trailer. It may be a connection made on Twitter.  Either way, I am much more likely to buy a book when I get to "know" the author.  I have found some amazing writers in our self publishing community.

With that in mind,  I have decided to host Self Published Sunday on my blog.  As the author, you can decide:  Do you want to do a guest post?  Do you prefer to share an excerpt of your novel? Do you have a photo that inspired the setting of your story?  This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and your novel to those who might not have found you.

We all need a little time in the spotlight.  It may get us noticed and it certainly can't hurt.  If you are interested in participating, contact me.  

(On a side note - As a writer of Young Adult fiction, I do have visitors to my blog that are not adults.  Please understand, I will have to exclude authors of erotica and those whose works are terribly violent.)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shadows of Time: Shadow Queen (Book 2)

Recently, I had the opportunity to review Shadow Maiden, the first book in the Shadows of Time Series.  I really enjoyed the story.  So when I found out the author would be releasing the next installment of the series on January 3, 2014, I invited her to share an excerpt of Shadow Queen. 

Excerpt of Shadow Queen

  Anya sat perched on her mother’s throne, cold as the stone beneath her feet. She ran her pale fingers through her midnight hair, listening to the whines of the aristocracy.
“My Grace, we the nobles of Alainia feel that the city was not meant to be used in such a way. When we lose this war—”
“—If we lose this war,” she said, her voice pouring over them like deep ocean water, sending the blood rushing from their faces. “We will not let failure be a possibility. Do you have such little faith in my decisions as queen?”
Lord Belios snapped his mouth shut, his eyes drifting from Anya’s icy gaze
“May I remind you, all of you,” she said, her black eyes gazing into each of the cowering Lord and Lady’s faces, “that I am your ruler by birthright. You may think you are entitled to these blasphemous opinions, but let me assure you that such words uttered in my presence again will result in your death.”
Anya stood, spilling the red silk of her dress onto the white stone floor. “Now is the time for conquest. We have cowered from the world for far too long.” Her face softened into a frosty smile. “Trust in your queen.”
The crowd of nobility parted, bowing frantically, as she passed through to slip into the royal chambers. The heavy door slammed behind her, leaving her to breathe easy in the peaceful darkness.
“You’re getting quite good at that,” said Luthen, embracing her in the shadows, letting them melting together like the pooling of wax beneath a blazing candle.
“I have a good teacher,” she said, searching for his teasing lips.
Luthen pulled back, teasing her with his closeness. “Ah, no, first you must do something for me,” he said. She could feel him smiling in the darkness.
“Must I always bargain for a kiss?”
Luthen took her hand and led her to the corridor. She knew where they were going before he reached the secret door hidden behind the fading tapestry of an autumn forest.
She followed him down the familiar spiraling stone steps into the belly of the palace. The blue warmth of the Anvalin peeked into the stairwell as they reached the bottom. They emerged into the large chamber. In its center was the Anvalin, a massive blue crystal suspended a short distance from the black iron floor. Tall windows lined the walls, exposing the world that lay beneath Alainia.
“What is it you wish me to do?” Anya pulled up her red skirts away from the dusty floor. The old iron had a way of ruining the best of her silks.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” he said, brushing her hair from her face. “I just need us to change our course. I have something in mind for the southern part of our realm.”
“Is that all?” She laughed a cold and hollow sound.  It echoed in the Anvalin’s iron cage. She stepped forward to the crystal, feeling the vibrations of its power in her chest. She closed her eyes and reached out her hand. Touching the Anvalin was like dipping her hand into hot water, though it was not quite to the point of being unbearable.
Immediately, the crystal came alive in her mind. She fought back its urging to communicate, dominating it to do her will. The Anvalin cowered and obeyed, shifting the city beneath their feet.
“Much better,” said Luthen, gazing out the window, admiring his own work.
“Where exactly are we headed?” Anya pulled herself away from the crystal, shaking off its unnatural warmth.
Luthen laughed, gathering her into his arms. “We’re off to better and grander places, my love,” he said, his breath tickling her neck. “Now come, we have much to do.”

About the Author

B.R. Nicholson has been writing and illustrating her stories since she was a child. The Shadows of Time series began one night when she was fifteen. Bored and with a bed stacked high with books, she decided to fill a notebook with what would become the first draft of Shadow Maiden. B.R. Nicholson is currently a nursing student at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She enjoys learning about Appalachian folklore, prodding at scabs, and creating far away worlds.

Follow the author:


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And the Winners Are...

My tour with Bewitching Book Tours is officially over.  So, you know what that means?  I get to announced the winners of the giveaway!  Congratulations to Cherry Mischievous who won the $10 Starbucks Card and to Katha Pan who won the $20 Amazon Card!

Thanks for participating!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review of Shadows of Time: Shadow Maiden (Book One) by B.R. Nicholson

Amazon's Book Description:

The elf, Lestel, uncovers a deadly secret. 
His daughters, Anya and Astrid, are destined for great and terrible things. 
Evanna, his wife, the queen of Alainia, is destined for doom. 

And Merrick, a low Sage from the Great Desert, may be the only one able to save their bloodline from the wakening shadow and ravenous Phooka. 
For now. 

The Shadows of Time series begins at the end, in a twisted and wicked future. Only the stories of the past can stir the mind of the Shadow Maiden into action. 

Only she can loosen the chains of time. 
If only she can remember her name.

What I thought:

B.R. Nicholson's novella, Shadow Maiden is imaginative and captivating.  The author has envisioned a world full of magic and menace.  The characters are well developed and consistent in voice and action.  Nicholson does a good job setting the stage for the story. As she introduces the characters, she weaves in the back story.  This takes a little time but it is worth it.   The story picks up steam with each turn of the page.  By the end, I was not only immersed in the tale, but quite taken with the characters.

My Rating:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Of Dreams and Shadow Book Tour

December 09, 2013

Romance with Flavor

Fantasy Book Lane

A Mama's Corner of the World   

December 10, 2013

Books Direct

Taking It One Book at a Time 

December 11, 2013

Paranormal Romance Fans for Life

Theresa Stillwagon

December 12, 2013

Mom With A Kindle

Eclipse Reviews

December 13 

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

Booker Like a Hooker

December 16 

So Much To Write

Sapphyria's Book Reviews

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review of War of the Wildlands by Lana Axe

.war of the wildlands web
I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Lana Axe transports the reader to an imaginative world where elves and humans are locked in a bitter war.  There were a multitude of characters in this tale and the author did a wonderful job giving each an individual voice. The characters were consistent in their actions/reactions.  There were certain characters that really stood out for me: the elf twins - Reylin and Reylana, Essa - the leader of the sword maidens and my favorite character Mi'tal - the prince's personal protector. The king and his son Prince Aelryk - the interaction between father and son was intense and in my opinion the most developed.  

I thought the descriptions of the world were spot on - I could see the forest, villages and markets.

The author has a unique writing style. There are no tedious passages that drone on about inconsequential things. Instead,  Axe sticks to the meat of the story and moves it at a rapid pace.  Because it moves so quickly, there were a couple times I was left wanting more.  I like getting into the characters' emotional muck and I felt as though a couple of the scenes were a bit rushed. 

Overall, I found the story very enjoyable.  I was struck by how much of the War of the Wildlands relates to our own world.  While we may not have a king waging war on elves and the forest in the name of kingdom building, we do have the issues of corporate greed versus environmental concerns.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What does your character look like?

Imagination is as individual as it is wonderful.  We can read the same book but how we visualize the scenes and characters are unique to each of us. Recently, someone who had read my novel Of Dreams and Shadow approached me.  She said she knew exactly how the character (bad guy) Silas looked.  She went on to describe him as looking like Robert Carlyle, the actor who portrayed Mr. Gold from Once Upon a Time.  Mr. Gold is one of my favorite characters but I never envisioned him as Silas.
When we think about bad guys, certain characters probably come to mind.  I think about Wild Bill from Stephen King's The Green Mile and The Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz.  These characters are presented as less than attractive - some might say ugly. But where is the rule that states all bad guys have to be repelling? Why can't a bad guy be something more?
The character of Silas developed over time.  When I first started writing him - I didn't see his face but as I spent more time with him - his features came into focus: shoulder length dark hair, a face that would attract a females attention.  (Think Ben Barnes, the actor who portrays Prince Caspian.)  I think the fact that Silas is not only dangerous but beautiful makes him more compelling.
So, what do you think?  Are you surprised by how readers "see" your characters?