Here Comes the New Year… Same As the Old Year?

I guess that depends on how you look at 2014. Good year? Yes, let’s repeat and grow. Bad year? Let’s not do that again, thanks. Meh year? Let’s make some changes for the better.

I had a meh year. I got some writing done, but nowhere near the amount I wanted to. I published Danny Dirks, which was great, but I’m struggling to get on with other projects now. The holidays were a complete waste of time for me. I got nothing accomplished and I blame part of that on simply being burnt out from my current job situation. The rest is just sheer laziness.

So, with some unintentional respect to Taylor Swift, I’m trying to shake it all off. That’s what a new year is all about, right? This strange feeling that something is starting over. That it’s an opportunity to change our habits by dropping the bad ones and making better ones. That, perhaps, we’ll look back this time next year and say, “Yes sir! May I have another just like it!” I need one of those. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a year like that. A great year. I mean, truly great, where I looked back and loved every minute. Maybe my expectations are too high? Or, maybe I’ve never dedicated myself to the changes that could make the year great.

Anyway, I’ve started reading more regularly, which always helps. Now I’ve got to get back into a regular writing schedule. In February, my regular commute into NYC will be over, so I’m hoping some things will get back to normal, but not the “meh normal”… the “working-to-be-better normal.” 🙂

So, how was your year? Good? Bad? Meh? And what are your plans for the new year? What, if anything, are you going to do differently?

Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon – Review Tour

NBTMR Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon Tour Banner

I’ve signed up with the lovely ladies from Goddess Fish Promotions (Note: because they run erotica promotions, the link causes blogger to pop up an adult content warning; however, I’ve never seen anything on the site to make me regret opening the link at work) to run a review blog tour for Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon (which also happens to be on sale this week). This 4-stop tour begins today over at Word Menagerie and continues weekly until the 7th of January. Check out the full schedule below. I hope you’ll help out by stopping by these sites and checking out their reviews (whether it’s my book or someone else’s).

December 10: Word Menagerie
December 17: Queen of All She Reads
December 31: Unabridged Andra’s
January 7: Writer Wonderland

When all is said and done, I’ll be posting my thoughts on this review tour. As this is my first time doing something like this, I have no expectations at this point.

Do you have experience with blog tours? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀

Promoting on eReader News Today – Postmortem

So, as I mentioned previously, I ran a $15 ad with eReader News Today (ENT) on Saturday, December 6th. I’m really quite pleased with the results, especially given the cost of the ad. Saturday produced 71 sales and another 14 on Sunday. At $0.69 royalty per book, I’ve almost quadrupled my investment. It was enough to push Danny Dirks to the very top of its sub-categories, which was a first.

ENTrunDannyDirksRank

Even more interesting to see was the change from Saturday to Sunday in the sub-categories displayed. Note the two “Myths & Legends” categories in the image above. Now day 2:

ENTrunDannyDirksRank-differentsubcategories

I’ve never seen this with any of my other books. Not complaining though, because I think the latter categories are better, but strange to see it change in a 24-hour period.

So, definitely recommend giving ENT a shot. Your experience might be different. I’m sure genre, day of the week, and other variables can affect sales. But, at $15-$30 for an ad, you’re chances of breaking even are quite good. Also, it’s hard to tell how many copies of the book sold because of the ad and how many sold due to visibility after it climbed up the charts a bit. Either way, the ad definitely was the only catalyst to sales, so that makes me happy. Hopefully, that visibility will carry through over the next week or so.

Had experience or planning to advertise with ENT? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by! 😀

Promoting on eReader News Today

ereadernewstoday

I have an ad running today to promote my Kindle Countdown for Danny Dirks over at eReader News Today (ENT). I paid $15 for inclusion in their email list, a post to their blog, and a Facebook post. Their Facebook page has ~475k followers, but knowing Facebook, only 400 people will see that post. ENT recently changed their advertising format to mirror that of BookBub, but I don’t think they’re anywhere near the same scale (yet). At $15, I only have to sell ~22 books to recoup the fee. ENT’s book of the day feature is much more reliable, but nearly impossible to land. They have a one-time submission at the beginning of the year and then fill all of their slots in one shot. But, with a rate of $15, it’s hard to not give their new email venture a try. There are certainly more expensive and less effective venues out there. Stay tuned as I’ll post a follow up later this week for those interested in the returns.

Have experience with ENT? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

Get a Book for a Buck ($1)

Mulraney_PENDRAGON_BOOK1_EbookEdition

My young adult fantasy novel, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon (UK edition) is on a Kindle Countdown sale for the next week (12/5 to 12/12) for just $0.99/£0.99. That’s 1/3 of a cup of coffee… and lasts much longer! 😉

Honestly, Don’t Bother With Facebook Advertising

Facebook

Many moons ago (ok, over the summer), I wrote a piece denouncing Facebook as a valid platform for investing your advertising dollars. Well, with the recent news of impending change, I’d say that piece is even more justified. Essentially, Facebook wants you, as an entrepreneur, to pay for 99.9% of your interactions. So, remember when you could reach a few of your followers just by posting a link to your book on Amazon? Well, not anymore. My recommendation? Keep your Facebook page. Post updates on occasion. But, put your marketing dollars and your social media energies elsewhere.

Sometimes You Just Need to Read Your 5-Star Reviews

FiveStars

Ok, I’m contradicting myself here, but hey… we all contradict ourselves sometimes. Right? I’ve written in the past how I’ve stopped reading reviews of my books. How, the 1-star reviews are usually too harsh and the 5-star reviews too glowing. Well, I read a new review today. In fairness, it’s for my new YA fantasy, which had all of 2 reviews up until yesterday, when I discovered there was now a third. It was 5 stars and I broke down and read it. I was happy I did. I needed it.

Being a writer often comes with a certain lack of self esteem. Often self-deprecating and sometimes introverted, we’re the last one’s to want to shout about our work from the rooftops, no matter how good it might be. We’re all just waiting for some bubble to burst. That being said, sometimes you just need someone to say something nice about your stuff. You need that pat on the back. Well, I needed one at least. It’s not like my ego is going to explode. I’m not suddenly thinking I’m the next Rick Riordan. But my writing touched someone so much that they wrote some very nice things about my book. That, for me, is what being a writer is all about.

So, go ahead. You have my permission again. If you’re having a bad day, or feel like your writing isn’t what it should be, go ahead and read those 5-star reviews. Remember that you’ve reached a few readers and you’ve touched a few lives in a positive manner. Ok, now knock it off and get back to work on that sequel. 😉

What are your thoughts on reviews? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Self-publishing Isn’t…

…About Giving Up

Guess what? Despite what you’ve heard, self-published authors share the same goals and dreams as traditionally published authors. We really still all want the same things; recognition of our writing from readers and colleagues. We also still secretly want to see our books on the shelf in the bookstore. But, I get the sense that, to many, self-publishing appears to be a final decision. That is, once you self publish, there’s no going back. But that isn’t true! Self publishing is an option and a valid one at that. You can self-publish and still pursue traditional publishers with your other books. Better yet, if you establish a strong readership, you may be able to pick up a publisher more quickly. Of course, if you establish a readership, you might not need a publisher. And you can always do both! Hybrid authors publish both traditionally and through self-publishing venues. It’s not about giving up. It’s about making the right choice for each book you write.

…The Easy Way Out

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: “Don’t self-publish if you think it’s easy.” It’s not. You have to do a lot of work, or farm out a lot of the work. However, all of the rewards are yours and yours alone if you do it the right way. Professional editing, cover design, internal formatting, proofreading, and marketing will cost you money up front, but it will also allow you to deliver the same kind of content you would expect to find in a bookstore. Will a traditional publisher do all this for you? Sure, but most often you’ll have to give up all of the rights to your work, a huge chunk of your royalties, AND still do a lot of the marketing yourself (unless you’re one of those amazing top 1% authors). Self publishing isn’t the easy way out, but it can be very rewarding when it’s done well.

…Pretend Publishing

We’ve all heard it, “I don’t want to self publish because I want to be a real writer” or something like it. This one gets me. This one hits where it hurts. So, what you’re saying is that I don’t have “real” readers? That the ~90,000 folks who have a copy of my book are make believe. Hmm…I’m not sure who should be more insulted? Me or my readers? Let’s get something straight. I’m a real writer. I write novels and publish them through a worldwide distributor and readers buy them… with real money. That’s what makes a writer. Not some inflated ideal of third-party validation. Have you looked at the NY Times top 100? USA Today? Amazon? All are littered with self-published authors. I bet you might have even read one or two without even noticing. So, go ahead and keep waiting to be a “real writer.” Just don’t underestimate anything about the people doing it or the quality of work being created.

…For Everyone

Lastly, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Do your homework. Read folks like Joe Konrath, Hugh Howey, and David Gaughran. Self-publishing’s gurus have a wealth of knowledge. If you do choose to self publish, be sure to check out sites like Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. Great resources that will point you in the right direction for freelance help and steer you clear of the scams.

What’s your self-publishing experience been like? Share with us in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀