Now that ONSO is finally out, I’m discovering that there are a lot of little details I didn’t expect to have to deal with. I don’t know WHY I didn’t expect it… I guess I just didn’t think about it enough. But one thing that’s taken me by surprise is the need to keep track of so much data! Right now the novel is on three different sites: Amazon, Smashwords and All Romance. So I have to keep track of sales from three different places, which is hard enough already. Add to that the need to track how many sales happen per day per site and suddenly that’s a lot of information to deal with.

I have not risen to the challenge at all. I suck at organization and I’m not very good at keeping track of things. Which sucks because all of this information would be really handy to have in one place but I just haven’t gotten off my butt to make that happen. SIGH.

I can say that ONSO is doing pretty well, all things considered (I’m a new author, haven’t had any reviews or exposure yet, etc.), so I’m very pleased😀 I also know that it will only get better, because the book is awesome and I truly believe anyone who reads it will have nothing but good things to say about it. So there! Not that I’m relying purely on word of mouth. I’m doing my best to get some blogs and sites to review it, and planning other marketing I can do. A friend of mine suggested paying homeless people to read it and then film their reactions, then put it on YouTube. Not sure how practicable that would be though…

One marketing angle I didn’t really consider before but now think is a really good idea is contacting music sites about the novel. It is set in the music industry, after all, and the next novel I’m working on (after Willpower, which will be out in July) goes a lot more in-depth with that world. Plus, hey, Rock n Roll Romance Novelist! I don’t know, it’s just a thought.

See, this is where all that download information would come in very handy! It would be great if I could see what effect if any my various marketing schemes have on sales. Then again, I suppose if I do it right, the spike will be quite noticeable. Still, it would be nice. I might have to make myself do it after all.

How do you guys keep track of all your stats? Is there an easy fix I’m overlooking? And what do you think of marketing ONSO to music fans?

Success!

Posted: May 16, 2012 in News, Self Publishing
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Well, as of this weekend One Night Standoff is officially published and available for your reading pleasure😀 It’s very exciting! For this first week, it’s priced at 99 cents ($1.02 at All Romance), but that will be going up after the 21st so get it while it’s cheap(er)!

|Amazon| |Smashwords| |All Romance|

So far, naturally, I haven’t had many sales, and most of those I’ve had have been from friends I think. BUT I just added it to All Romance last night, and didn’t tell anyone, and two people I don’t know bought it today. That’s the most exciting thing, two people I don’t know saw my cover, read my blurb and the first chapter, and spent $1.02 on the book based on those things. It’s awesome! So hopefully I can increase those numbers with a little promotion. I have a few ideas I’m trying to brainstorm, we’ll see if anything comes of them…

Sorry this blog is so late and so short. Just getting the thing up and published has been very exhausting! I’ll have more information and some stats for you all tomorrow. Please, if you’ve read the book, let me know what you think. I’m dying for some feedback here…

Here’s the excerpt I’ve been including with all my free short stories. It’s the entire first chapter, and I think it ends on a pretty good cliffhanger. Hopefully you’ll agree, and find yourself intrigued. If that doesn’t work, maybe the cover will…

Hope you like it, I worked very hard on it! Now, about that excerpt… Read the rest of this entry »

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written! One Night Standoff goes live in about 24 hours, and getting it all prepped and ready to go has been VERY time consuming. Rewarding, though! I’m very excited, and I really hope you guys like it.

Most of the last week has been taken up with me writing and rewriting my blurb. As you may recall, my previous one kind of sucked. So I tried a few different approaches, and I think the one I finally found is a winner:

“Good morning, thanks for the amazing night! By the way, I’m kind of a big deal, and I’ll be very irritated if I read about it while skimming tabloids in the checkout line.”

Norah Castle’s life as a triple-platinum recording artist and celebrity is complicated enough, even before her mother’s death forces her return to the small town she once abandoned, swearing never to return. She thinks dispensing with her stage name in the interest of privacy might make things less complicated, but that’s before she meets a gorgeous man in a bar and decides to bring him home. What could be simpler than a sexy- very sexy- one-night stand? Plenty of things, as it turns out. Apparently the bold stranger who did such dirty, dirty things to her in the dark is sweet and shy once the sun comes up. Even worse, that sweetness makes her feel something when she’d prefer to never feel anything at all. As she struggles to accept her new emotions and reconcile the small town girl she once was with the star she’s become, the lines begin to blur, and suddenly complicated doesn’t begin to do justice to the mess she’s made…

Better, right? I think it is! It’s more engaging anyway, because the quote at the beginning is amusing and draws you in, while the rest of it does a good job of highlighting the erotic component of the novel along with the subplot of Honor/Norah trying to figure out who she is. Hopefully more people like it than the original one at least.

In other news, I have a guest post going up on Nanny Berry’s site sometime today… I’ll link it once I know it’s up. She’s been very kind, letting me address her readers and hopefully convince a few to give ONSO a chance, and I’m so grateful. But for now I’d better sleep! I have a few final things to do (conversions, etc.) tomorrow, and then… It goes live and I laugh maniacally while raking in the dough! Or, you know, not.

P.S. I have a new website address: http://www.dimydarling.com. Goes nicely with the Rock n’ Roll Romance Novelist theme, yes? (If you don’t know, Die My Darling is a Misfits song.) Anyway, don’t bother trying to go there now. It will just send you right back here. I haven’t gotten around to actually, like, BUILDING the site. Soon.

If you’ve read Those Who Can’t or Fait Accompli, you might be a little confused. Neither story has any rock OR roll in it, and let’s be honest, precious little romance. But really I consider myself a romance novelist first and a writer of erotica second. The novel I will be releasing in exactly one month, One Night Standoff, has a lot more rock n’ roll AND romance. It’s about a very damaged musician who doesn’t realize her fame is empty until she meets a man who doesn’t realize she’s famous. The official blurb is as follows, though I think I need to work on it… I’ve sent it to a billion sites asking for potential reviews and almost all of them have turned me down. I can deal with that, I promise! I don’t care what people say about this novel, I believe it’s good and everyone else can go to hell (see?! Rock n’ roll!), but obviously I need to figure out what’s wrong with my blurb and why it isn’t catching people’s attention. If I can just write a catchy blurb for bait, I have nothing but faith in the strength of my novel to reel everyone in🙂

Norah Castle’s life is perfect. As a triple-platinum recording artist known the world over, she has everything she ever wished for and more. If she sometimes feels that it’s not enough, she ignores it, because what else could there be? When a personal tragedy occurs in her hometown, she grudgingly returns to Westerville, OH, dispensing with her stage name in the interest of privacy. “Disguised” as Honor Castlereagh, the girl who ran away to Los Angeles and never came back, she takes a man home for a one night stand, a casual encounter to get her mind off herself. Little does she know he’s the one who just might force her to face her past, face herself, and want everything she never thought to wish for…

Yeah, reading that it sounds kind of lame even to me. Ah well, still time to work on it! A few reviewers have said they’ll add it to their lists, and I’m lining up guest posts and the like, so… Fingers crossed.

Back to the rock n’ roll thing. They say “write what you know”, and as a musician I know music. I was in a decent band for four years; we had some minor success, toured a bit, and it was awesome. But it was also… Nothing like you’d expect. We (music fans) get an image of glitz and glamour and buy into it, but in my experience the most famous musicians are the most unhappy. That’s where the idea for this novel really came from, a desire to examine that paradox. Some of my friends have teased me, assuming that the heroine is some kind of wish-fulfillment Mary Sue, but no one thinks that after reading it. Norah/Honor is not someone I’d like to be, or even someone I’d like to know, but at the same time she’s why I believe so strongly in this story. She’s a horrible person and she truly needs redemption.

…And now you’re all thinking “Wow, that sounds like something I do NOT want to read.” See! I told you I need help with my blurbs! But whatever. It’s good and everyone else can go to hell (after they buy a copy, svp).

Any tips for blurb writing, guys? I could use them!

Sorry to have disappeared for a whole week! My dad was in the hospital AND I moved to a new apartment so it was kind of hectic. I finally have internet access again so… Here I am!

Things have been going really well with both of my short stories on Smashwords. It’s very exciting! Those Who Can’t has over 700 downloads, and Fait Accompli has a fairly respectable 500+. Those new covers helped SO much! Which reminds me, I haven’t even shown you guys the new one for FA…

See? MUCH sexier. The effect of the new covers on downloads was really startling, as you can see with the charts below:

The big spike on the second day for TWC was when I added the new cover. I added the one for FA the day after publishing, so you can see that spike there too. Anyway. Sexy covers. It’s true, sex sells! Have you guys had any experience with changing up the content of your covers? Did you have similar results?

I’ve been thinking about the two short stories I have available on Smashwords: Those Who Can’t and Fait Accompli. Both are categorized as some kind of erotica, even though I’d consider myself to be primarily a romance novelist whose sex scenes are abnormally sexy😉 So I am, admittedly, not very familiar with the conventions of the erotica genre. In its first few days free on Smashwords, Those Who Can’t had about 400 downloads, which I think is pretty good but not awesome, and in its first day Fait Accompli seemed to be lagging with only 35 downloads after several hours. Which made me think… Maybe my covers, much as I like them, aren’t doing what I want them to.

So I decided to attempt a little mini-experiment with the TWC cover since its downloads had slowed to less than 20 over the course of 12 hours. I hopped on my favorite stock images site, picked out a sexier one, and put a cover together fairly quickly. So I went from this:

To this:

And my downloads have increased🙂 Since last night at 3 a.m., when I changed the cover, I’ve had about 40 more downloads than the day before, so I’m going to go ahead and call this experiment a success!

Which cover do you prefer? Honestly I like the first one better, but the second one probably fits more so… I guess they’re both good. Now I just have to decide if I want to reformat it for Amazon… Not sure I should bother. No one is going to buy that story on Amazon when it’s available for free elsewhere… But maybe they would if I changed the cover… I’m SO GLAD I have the chance to figure this out NOW and not after I publish my novel.

Incidentally, Fait Accompli‘s downloads have actually picked up a little. They’re at 130 after less than a full day, so it won’t do as well as TWC did, but it isn’t doing horribly, either. I’ll give it a day or two and then make a new cover and see if that has the same good effect.

What are your cover art strategies? Or, if you’re not an author, what are your thoughts on cover art?