With so many authors jumping into the self-publishing pond, I thought I’d share my experience. First of all, let me just say, if you weren’t already aware … I found the trek from writer to publisher to be a very steep climb. We’re talking ice crampons, ropes and pick axes (can you tell I’m doing research for a new story?) But one that’s going to be worth the view from the top.
I released my three book series in April, June and October (oops … a couple of months late) of this year. I originally released the first two as erotic suspense, but found, much like my experience at my original publisher, they weren’t romantic enough for the usual romantic suspense reader and not erotic enough for the erotic romance reader. Sales by July were non-existent. So I dropped back, reassessed, redid the covers and cut back on all the sex in the stories and put them back up as sexy romantic suspense. They are very slowly hitting their stride.
I’ve tried different price points, $.99, $1.49 and $2.99 (the last one to get the 70% royalty on Amazon). Price didn’t seem to be a factor. And no one complained about the short novel length even at the $2.99. I’m going to continue to mess with the prices until I find a nice balance between price and sales.
I’ve done a blog tour and advertising for the first two, but since I didn’t see any uptick in sales with all the hard work, I didn’t bother to push the publicity for the most recent release. My sales for all three book have remained about $15/month for Amazon and $5/month at Barnes and Noble since the spring. It may be hardly worth the gas to the bank to cash the check, but I remain undaunted!
I now have the books up at All Romance Ebooks and though sales aren’t brisk at the moment over there, it is another venue for people to find my books.
I am happy to report that being part of the BOOK LOVER’S BUFFET (where every book on the website is $.99) has been a shot in the arm this month. I’ve sold just over 100 books at the posting of this blog with another TWO weeks to the end of the month. Obviously the collective marketing of nearly 100 authors is helping to get the word out.
I’m also looking to do some specialized marketing in January with Pixel of Ink (if my book is approved for an advertising spot), a site where thousands of Kindle readers search for their next read. I’m hoping this will boost sales especially to new-to-me-readers.
So there you have it. Total disclosure. Not the millions some authors are selling. Nor the rocket success of author Catherine Bybee, who recently made the USA Bestseller list with one of her self-published books. But I keep plodding along. I’ve made a resolution to myself for the new year though. I WILL step off this crazy marketing merry-go-round and begin writing again. Funny, how people can’t read a book sitting unfinished on my computer!
I’m always happy to answer questions about self-publishing. Feel free to email me at Nina AT NinaPierce.com I’ll happily share with you what I’ve learned and hopefully steer you clear of some of those hidden pitfalls.
A howling opportunity to win a KINDLE, Amazon Gift Cards and a plethora of digital and print books.
Come on over to Night Owl Romance and check out all the details. Visit 25 author sites to be entered to win. Visit at least
40 author sites and you’re entered to win the GRAND PRIZE. (All prizes listed on the Night Owl site.)
Just look for this graphic on each website…
(All graphics are one click from home page.) Type the word you find in the entry form and you’re entered.
Just think of all the new authors you get to meet. All the wonderful books you get to check out. Oh, come on you know you wanna join in the fun! Start with the graphic on my website. Contest runs until Monday, October 31. What are you waiting for? Jump in for your chance to win!
I hope you’ll stop over at SARA TRIMBLE’S BLOG where I’m chatting about what a visual writer I am and how adding small details to your writing can make a big difference.
And if that doesn’t entice you, I’ve got a brand new excerpt from my sexy romantic suspense Deceive Her With Deception and a chance to win a set of my romance trading cards.
1) I had never purchased a book until 4 years ago when my friend had her debut novel released. (I was a library kind of gal.)
2) I STILL don’t own an e-reader. I know … scandalous right? Because I can’t afford an iPad, I vascillate between a Nook and a Kindle and people who own either “think they’re the best”. Anyway, I’m currently reading e-books on my computer.
So what’s the point of “true confession Friday”? Well, I have no idea how the buyer of digital books thinks. Are they looking for bargain books and willing to try new authors and genres? Are they still only buying their auto-buy authors? And what about freebies?
Yeeeeah, what about freebies? Do thousands of people just automatically download all free books on Amazon, Kindle or Smashwords thinking they may read them and if they don’t … whatever? Or do they pick up the free book by an author thinking they may find a new-to-them author? Does that in turn entice them to go buy more books by that author?
Or are so many books being offered for free by so many authors that readers have become leary of the quality of the writing? With the instant availability of publishing to anyone with a computer the writing/story can range from fabulous to OMG! is English the author’s first language? Leaving the reader to wonder if the author knows the definition of “edit”.
Is a reader more likely to read a book if they have to pay even a minimal amount for it? Say $.99? Does even that small amount of outlay give value to the purchase?
Of course I’m asking because I currently have two sexy romantic suspense novels in my “Tilling Passions” series up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Blind Her With Bliss and Deceive Her With Desire. And now that I’m very close to getting the third book in this series published, I’m thinking about my pricing strategy.
Does giving away the first book entice people to read the second and third in the series? Or will it sit unread in the libraries of Nooks and Kindles across the country, never to be opened? I have no idea. This whole self-publishing seems to be a big fat roll of the dice all the way around.
So what about you? When you see a book on B&N or Amazon for free do you assume certain things? Do your feelings change if it’s $.99? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I’m currently BEYOND confused on what is best at this point.
There has been a lot of talk on the internet about authors like JA Konrath and John Locke who have made A LOT of money self publishing their books. Heck, even NYT best selling authors are looking to put their backlist up on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. And why wouldn’t they? There is money to be made from digital savvy readers looking for a fix.
Why shouldn’t it be my book?
I’m not going to talk about HOW to do it. There seems to be all kinds of self-help blogs and books about the actual process. Let me just tell you … it’s easy. Don’t be fooled into thinking formatting is something only IT techs can do properly. Seriously, I did it myself and as the saying goes “If I can do it…”
Of course I decided to upload books that had already been edited and published through traditional electronic publishing routes, so a freelance editor wasn’t something I needed to consider. I did have someone design covers, Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs worked with me for the Tilling Passions series. I would highly recommend her. Her prices are reasonable and she didn’t charge me for all the “tweaking” stages. 🙂
But I digress. Really I wasn’t going to talk about the process. I want to talk about the results. Though many authors are finding HUGE financial rewards within only a month of putting their book on Amazon, some of us … just aren’t. And we don’t know why. I’ve looked at the marketing studies. I’ve read the blogs of authors who are now paying quarterly taxes for the first time because their sales are overwhelming. I’ve tweeted and facebooked and blogged and toured and … well, suffice it to say … for me nothing has been the magic bullet.
I understand it’s a numbers game. And I’m working on that. The third book in the Tilling Passions series, Arranging Love should be on sale by the end of August. I’ve got two more books that require a major round of edits before they’re ready to go up for sale. But I’d like to have both of those out before next spring. Perhaps that’s the answer. I’m not sure.
I know I’m not alone in this. There are many authors whose sales are lackluster at best. Since I’m on a loop with them, I know they’re out there. So just to let you know, not everyone finds gold in this self-publishing venture, let me share my three months worth of sales for Blind Love:
I understand this is a marathon and not a sprint, still it is a little discouraging when someone on an indie loop I’m on is wondering why her sales dropped below 100 that day and had anyone else experienced the drop. I haven’t experienced the sales. Bleh.
I’m not suggesting anyone shy from self-publishing. Like I said, it’s uber easy to get books up on the three venues I mentioned above. (Though I understand All Romance eBooks is a little more difficult with their formatting requirements.) I really just wanted authors to know that their results may vary.
I’d like to welcome all the visitors following the Summer Reading Trail and thank you for stopping here. I hope you’ve found some wonderful stories and been introduced to new authors.
Cautious, and working to keep his jangled nerves from pumping his legs in a dead run, Ayden strolled to the shelter of the dinghy. The noise grew louder. Ayden realized he wasn’t moving away from the sound. He was aimed right toward it. What a fool. It was a beautiful fall night. No doubt lovers were using the upended craft for a little private party of their own.
Turning on his heel, he started to walk away, when the noise came again. It wasn’t the moan of sexual pleasure. It was the keening sound of sadness. Someone was crying. And from the quiet hiccupping, it was female.
Ayden shot a longing look over his shoulder, debating between the refuge of the path and the complications under the boat.
Chivalry won out and he stepped warily around the bow.
The redhead sat on the wooden slats, her bare feet digging restlessly in the sand, her face cupped in her hands. Between shuddering breaths, she sputtered angrily into her bent knees, but her tears and her fingers kept the words from him.
“Uh-hmm.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how else to get her attention.
“Holy shit…” She tried to jump to her feet, but banged her head on the iron rigging attached to the upside of the boat and fell back down. “Damn.” Her hand flew to her head.
“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.
She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the sadness in her eyes.
“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She wiped at the sand on her bottom. “You scared the living shit out of me.”
Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn to fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.
“Again, I apologize.” He held his hand out as a peace offering. “I’m Austin Schaeffer.” How easily that name slipped off his tongue.
“Deirdre Tilling,” She shook the hand he offered.
Her grip was surprisingly firm. Ayden liked the touch of her palm against his skin. Not all soft and pliant, but callused and rough. He wondered how it would feel running up his back.
She was a beautiful woman. Her breasts swelled enticingly just above the bodice of her dress. Her long, muscular legs that he’d admired in the great room, started somewhere around her neck. No wonder Jameson had been seducing this lovely creature.
Jameson. Right. He mentally shook his head. Focus, Ayden. Tonight was about gathering information, not sexual conquests. But then again, there was that two birds and one stone thing.
“You come to Jameson’s parties often?” He immediately slipped into detective mode.
She pulled her hand from his and rubbed at the spot on her head. “What? Jameson? Oh, Shawn. No, never been to one of his parties. I’m one of his employees. Damn, this hurts. It’s already forming an egg.”
Ayden ignored the fact she’d called the owner Shawn. Obviously, he wasn’t getting any action from an employee who referred to her boss by his first name.
“Here, let me take a look at it.” He ran his fingers through her hair. It was soft as silk sliding over his hand. “Oh, yeah. You did a nice job. Probably could use a little ice.” At this rate, so could he, but not on the head on his shoulders.
“I did a nice job? Me? You were the one sneaking up like some pirate looking for lost treasure.”
The woman had no idea how close to the truth she was. “I wasn’t sneaking up on you, I heard you crying.”
And just like that the white knight had rendered her speechless.
Deirdre had started the evening with her moral compass pointing the way to a mindless hookup that would break her sexual dry spell. She’d quickly lost her way after her encounter with the brunette and the mansion’s owner. She was ending her evening hiding on the beach crying into her proverbial beer over not taking a damn risk.
The whole thing with Shawn earlier had been stupid. There had been nothing untoward about the man. Her own insecurities had total screwed with her head, imagining danger where none had existed. She’d run from a perfect gentleman like a skittish rabbit afraid of being snared.
Perhaps she’d been granted a second chance.
“Yes, well, as you can see I’m fine.” Deirdre looked at the guy standing over her. Her head throbbed, but it didn’t stop her body from reacting to his hungry gaze. He had nice features. A strong jaw that softened with the smile he kept flashing her. The light of the moon reflected in his eyes that held an attentive kind of glint. Her pulse rate skipped about with anticipation rather than concern. But he was a man. She hadn’t been with a guy since Bobby Mullins eighteen months ago, and she remembered vividly what a horrible, drunken decision between friends that had been.
Deirdre had sworn off men at that point. She shivered at the recollection.
“You cold?” He rubbed his hands up and down her arms.
“No, I…” His hand grazed the side of her breast, and her nipples immediately pebbled. “Yeah, maybe a little.” She had not just fluttered her lashes at the man. But what the hell? After the rejection from the woman in the great room, Deirdre was feeling more than a little needy. For goodness’ sake, she’d just been bawling her eyes out over not getting laid. What was the difference between the dildos she kept in the box under her bed, and real, live flesh and blood pumping into her? Emotional attachment, that’s what. But she was feeling hopeless enough to risk it.
“You want to go someplace warmer?” Austin’s hands continued to trail awareness up and down her arms.
“I live really far away.”
His head tipped back as if she’d struck him, and he dropped his hands. Then he laughed. “I was thinking up to the house. But I wouldn’t turn you down if you wanted a nightcap at my place. It’s not far from here.”
Heat pulsed in Deirdre’s cheeks. She’d been so focused on going home with someone—anyone— that she was practically throwing herself at this man. How could she have misunderstood? “No…don’t feel obligated. I mean, well…oh, hell, I’m not very good at this.”
He trailed his knuckle from her cheek bone to her chin. “A drink at my place. What do you say?”
“That sounds nice. But I’ll take my own truck.”
I’m very excited. At the end of last week I received word that A TOUCH OF LILLY has finaled in Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal’s Prism Contest in the Erotica category. w00t! w00t!
This is the second final for this book. I’m not sure I mentioned it also finaled in Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume Contest in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.
Also this week, ROMANCE JUNKIES gave BLIND LOVE 5 RIBBONS and Pam said:
BLIND LOVE is the first novel in the series, TILLING PASSIONS, by Nina Pierce. It was an intriguing page-turner from the beginning. I could not put it down…Julie’s character development throughout the story is very inspiring. Damon is the perfect man for her. He slowly coaxes her out of her shell, makes her realize her worth, and that in itself is incredible. BLIND LOVE is by far, the best contemporary romance I have read this year. I am looking forward to reading more by Ms. Pierce.
How about and EXCERPT:
He stopped short when he realized the door to the back offices of the club was blocked. A raven-haired beauty stared down the bouncer guarding the entrance from unauthorized customers. The woman stood defiantly with her hands on her hips. Her breasts pushed forward, brushing the guy’s barrel chest.
“Well, I guess I just don’t understand. You’ve let all kinds of people go through that door behind you. I’ve seen them coming and going. Why not me?”
He recognized the feisty woman. Twenty minutes ago, she’d acted like she didn’t understand what was going on when the dance floor spotlight flooded over her. It hadn’t taken much coaxing from the crowd to get her to join the dance competition. Damon had seen lots of women appear all innocent until they were nearly naked in front of the crowd. Not this one. He’d watched her ride her partner’s thigh, her body swaying sensually to the music, her lids hanging heavy with desire. He was sure she’d be like all the rest, slithering out of her clothes and satisfying herself in public. But she hadn’t. She’d done some kind of slink and roll and extricated herself quite gracefully from the writhing bodies on the dance floor, then disappeared.
She’d definitely caught his attention. Damon’s body reacted to the memory. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t too tired to enjoy a drink or two with a lively number like her.
“As I told you, only members can go through, or guests on the list.” The bouncer looked down his crooked nose at her, the strobe lights reflecting off his bald head. He pounded his stubby finger on his clipboard. “Ma’am, if you’re not on the list, you’re not going in.”
“Ma’am? Do I look like a ma’am to you?” she asked, poking the big man in the sternum.
Damon bit back a laugh. There weren’t many who would stand up to this particular bouncer. Just the size of his tattooed forearms was enough to intimidate most patrons of Starry Knights. She seemed unfazed by his size and gruff scowl. Maybe he could save the poor schlep blocking the door, give the woman access to the back rooms and find if she was interested in a little something more.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
I’ve been pretty quiet on my own blog about my decision to re-release my Tilling Passions series direct to Kindle and Nook. I LOVE these sisters. I was so stoked when Liquid Silver first released them in 2008. At that time they garnered some readers, but really didn’t find their stride at LSB. Sadly they sat with very little attention. And as much as I love LSB and the publishing family I found over there my purpose isn’t just to publish my books, but to get my stories out to the readers.
Soooo, when the rights reverted back to me, it seemed only logical to dip my toe into this brave, new world of self-publishing. Of course the decision was easier for me as the books had already been through the editing process. I just had DAR ALBERT design new covers and I was off.
Let me just say that many people are panicking about “formatting” their manuscripts to upload to the various sites for sale. Since my books were already formatted for digital publishing it was uber easy for me to upload my book. If you’re thinking about stepping into self-publishing I would highly recommend it. I just see it as being market savvy, spreading my books across many formats as to find the biggest audience. I have the first book on sale now. I hope you’ll check it out.
He’s a shock jock looking to reform. She’s an accountant hoping to cut loose. Can love open their eyes to forever?
Uptight CPA and oldest sister, JULIE TILLING, is the glue that binds her family. Everyone depends on her to do the right thing. When her friend from high school dies and Julie is the only one who believes he didn’t commit suicide, she takes it upon herself to investigate his death.
DAMON COREY didn’t come to Maine to become a shock jock. But when his dream career of becoming a concert pianist seems unobtainable, the radio station’s offer is too good to pass up. When mysterious brunette Jewel, hooks up with him at the night club run by a college frat brother, their one night fling wraps around his heart and makes him believe in love at first sight.
But can Damon expose his inner soul without pushing Julie away or will his enigmatic shock jock persona become Julie’s sexual undoing and reveal him as the missing piece that solves the puzzling questions surrounding her friend’s death?
“Does it ever get tiresome watching it?” Julie asked, daring to dip her toe in the waters of seduction.
Good, her question threw him off-kilter. “You know. The people and what they’re doing? You see the two men and that woman over there?” Julie leaned to the side so Demon could see around her as she pointed to a shadowed corner of the bar below. “I thought they were dancing, but there’s definitely something more going on.” A nervous giggle escaped her lips. “The man in front is definitely buried deep in the woman, and the man in back…well, I’m not sure what he’s doing. But with their mouths open that way, I’m thinking they’re all really enjoying themselves.” She leaned back, her bottom grazing his thigh.
“Oh, they’re definitely getting it on.” Demon braced his hands on either side of her, pressing the solid plane of his chest against her back. They were both testing the waters. “And yes, I get tired of watching.” He leaned close to her ear, his breath the only thing separating his lips from her skin. “They put in extra spotlights that shine on the platform for me so I don’t have to stare at them all night. I mean, even a saint would get a hard-on seeing people go at it for three hours.” He rubbed against her. There was no mistaking his arousal.
Julie was enjoying their brazen flirtation. “I suppose you’re right.” She turned around to face him, purposefully rubbing her breasts across his chest. He didn’t move. “Did you originally bring me up here to relieve a little of that tension, Demon?”
“I don’t think you want to know what I was thinking before we got in the elevator.”
She tilted her head and cocked a brow, inviting him to share. “Oh, but I think I would.”
“This is probably a very bad idea.” He took a step back, but she moved with him.
She’d come this far and she had no intention of stopping now. “Maybe I was a little tipsy in the elevator, but I’m stone-cold sober now,” Julie said, laying her palm in the center of his chest. Her gaze swept the strong lines of his face, gauging his reaction. Even in the muted light of the office she could see the hunger sparking in his eyes. “We’re way past the stage of chivalry, Demon. I don’t need your protection.” She slid her thigh up his leg, surprised by her own audacity.
“You think that’s what I’m doing?”
She dragged a nail through the dark whiskers along his jaw, thrilling in the quick inhalation of his breath. “Oh, you play the animal, but the heart of a gentle man hides in here.” She kissed the center of his chest, her body warming with the power of her seduction.
“Then it may shock you to learn I intended on having my way with you when we got up here. That phone call pulling Elvis away was his attempt to give me privacy.”
Me? I’m a recycling fiend. Plastic, aluminum, paper, you name it I recycle it. When we were packing to move my oldest daughter, whose even more into it than I am, even found places for me to send used denim and crayons where they would be recycled. Though I will confess to not composting. I haven’t quite gotten that mess figured out. Maybe we’ll find one of those big containers you can put in the back yard for our next house. But then again, since there’s the whole brown, green, brown layer thing, it may be more than I can handle.
And of course there is the fact that my books can be purchased digitally thereby saving many, many trees in the printing process. As a matter fact I’m chatting about e-books and my newest release BLIND LOVE over at ADELE DUBOIS’ BLOG today. Come on over and tell me how you like your books … print or electronic.
Every once in awhile reality smucks me upside the head. You know those moments when something you’ve been doing every day strikes you as an OMG! moment. Okay, maybe it’s only me, but I’m going to chat about it anyway.
It happened innocently enough. Mr. Nina and I were looking at a house we’re thinking of buying and although two of our children are living on their own, their very interested in the houses we’re looking at. Soooo, Mr. Nina pulls out his iPhone (that came with his new job) and started clicking off pictures (which someone had just shown him how to do). Which is when Beautiful Girl called and he answered it. She wanted him to text the pictures, but he could only figure out how to email them. It was kind of amusing to listen to her try to give him directions on how to text them. Suffice it to say, he ended up emailing them, texting was just too far beyond him at that point. And since the whole touch-screen iPhone situation is beyond my little “regular” cellphone capabilities … I didn’t even try. But that wasn’t a big deal. Baby Girl had slowly walked me through the same instructions for my phone.
But it wasn’t until Mr. Nina pulled up the internet on his phone to look for a good restaurant nearby that I totally freaked. I mean, not like WOW! jumping up and down freaked, just a little, man-even-in-my-lifetime-things-have-changed-exponentially kind of freak. Because, in the grand scheme of things, I’m not that old and yet, technology has changed everything I do.
When my children were little my Nana began emailing. She was 70-something when her children bought her a computer. Mind you, she was born in 1911! She went to a one-room school house by horse and buggy. She saw the inventions of the television, telephone and automobiles. And here she was able to email her grandchildren rather than write a letter. Now, she could only reply to our emails. She had no idea how to type in a new address, but still … it was amazing for her to do that.
One of my first jobs was at a business that had a computer “system”. We each had a terminal at our desks, but it went to a huge computer in the back room. Each day I was responsible for putting on big tape reels and backing up the whole system. It took probably 30-40 minutes. And the internet definitely wasn’t something we surfed. I’m sure it was out there in cyberspace in its infant stages, but it wasn’t something even on the fringes of my world. Heck, Mr. Nina and I had a phone plan where we still paid a pretty penny for long distance calls. Overages on cellphone plans have nothing on my phone bill charges back then. LOL!
I’m such a horrible mother, I refused to have the internet in my house when my children were young. They still used our encyclopedias to do their research projects in elementary school. Try explaining to teachers that two college educated parents really didn’t have the internet and please stop assigning our children silly assignments that required they get on a computer. (Some homework situations just don’t change.)
I’ve been published less than four years. But even at that time my “electronic” books didn’t get any respect at my local writer’s meeting. They weren’t considered real. I’m not passing judgement, just stating the facts. But like everywhere else in publishing, electronic books are getting the same kudos as paperbacks. Why wouldn’t they?
NYT bestselling authors are releasing their out-of-print backlist themselves. With the amazing success of Amanda Hocking and J A Konrath how can anyone argue that technology has turned the publishing world on its ear! There is no doubt that more new things are coming and we all just need to hang on for the ride of a lifetime!
So yeah, that innocent phone call from my daughter just kind of made me stop and think about all that’s come and all the possibilities of the new inventions yet to be revealed. So does this age of technology sometimes blow your mind? Or am I just way out in left field. (Hey, don’t knock it, it’s quite peaceful out here. 😉 )