A couple of book-release-related announcements: ‘Shadows and Spellcraft’ and ‘Rheia’

Shadows and Spellcraft giveaway announcement

As you’ll have no doubt have guessed by now, given all the posts on my blog lately, the Shadows and Spellcraft book bundle (which contains, among other things, Isla’s Inheritance), comes out on 30 October. Pre-orders are only $0.99 (US), which is such an awesome bargain that I’ve already pre-ordered my own copy for the books in there that I haven’t read — there are fifteen books total.

One of the authors in the bundle, Laura Greenwood, is giving away a Kindle Fire stuffed with ebooks (including another of mine, because yay!) to celebrate the release of the bundle. You can find the giveaway here. Check it out!

Rheia Pinterest page

As I do with all my books, as I was drafting Rheia I kept a Pinterest page for the book. Now that we’re getting closer to the release day, I’ve made the page public so that those of you who want to get a taste for the aesthetic of the book can do so. The link to the page is here. It’s no Kindle Fire, but I hope you enjoy anyway!

(Note that the usual caveats apply: I don’t own any of the art in the lefthand screenshot above.)

 

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Cover reveal: ‘Shadows and Spellcraft’ book bundle

I have a very busy couple of months coming up, what with the release of Rheia and A Hand of Knaves, but (because I am a sucker for punishment) I decided that wasn’t quite enough. So I’m releasing Isla’s Inheritance as part of an urban fantasy ebook bundle that comes out on 30 October. The bundle is called Shadows and Spellcraft: The Ultimate Urban Fantasy Binge Collection.

Because urban fantasy. ❤

If you’ve already read Isla’s Inheritance, I love you … and you should consider buying the bundle anyway. For a start, it contains fourteen other urban fantasy novels and novellas by various authors — that’s over 2500 pages of story! Secondly, the pre-orders are available for US$0.99, or around AU$1.43. What a great way to discover new writers! (I know I’ve already ordered my copy, and I’ve already read two of the other books that are in the bundle.)

Also, check out the cover. If the style looks familiar, it’s because it has been designed by KILA Designs, the same designer I use for my books. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Blurb

Dive into FIFTEEN amazing worlds full of action, adventure, magic and mayhem brought to you by some of the freshest voices in urban fantasy.

Want angels? Demons? Fairies? Witches? Supernatural assassins? Vampires? Whatever you’re after, you’re bound to find it in this incredible collection jam-packed with page-turning adventure.

This bundle features 8 full length novels, 4 short novels and 3 novellas written by:

Laura Greenwood
Jenn Windrow
Tiffany Shand
Victoria DeLuis
Monique Singleton
Chris Coleman
Ashlee Nicole Bye
Kim Richardson
Devyn Jayse
Robyn Jenkins
Tanya R Taylor
Sadie Moss
Cassandra Page
K. A. Last
Thea Atkinson

Add to Goodreads

Preorder links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Barnes & Noble
Kobo | iBooks

 


What Hogwarts Houses Are My Characters?

Sorting Hat

I was asked on Facebook what Hogwarts Houses my characters would be; apparently this was a thing authors were doing back in 2014, and we all know how cutting edge I am! I’ve been chewing over the idea, because—like Harry, who could have just as easily been Slytherin as Gryffindor—most of my characters could fit into more than one house. Still, I’ve donned the Sorting Hat and done my best!

Isla’s Inheritance trilogy

Isla has elements of Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, and could easily go into either house. However, when we first meet her, she is definitely a Hufflepuff, so that’s where she would’ve been sorted when she started high school. Her loyalty in particular drives her to do some very courageous things, but she’s still more comfortable not charging into danger, given the choice.

Like Isla, Jack has elements of Gryffindor (his chivalry and courage, in particular). However, he is a Hufflepuff through and through. Patience and loyalty are two of his defining characteristics, and his desire for justice has gotten him into trouble in the past.

Sarah is a Gryffindor. Although she is musical, which could have qualified her for Ravenclaw, she is the most honest, determined and forthright of the characters in the trilogy. This causes Sarah to butt heads with Isla at times, when she gets frustrated with her cousin’s reluctance to be as honest as she probably should be.

Lucid Dreaming

Of these five characters, Melaina is the hardest for me to sort. She has traits valued by three of the four houses (she’d make a pretty poor Hufflepuff, all things considered). Still, I’d sort her into Gryffindor, given her tendency to leap into situations and think about the consequences later.

Brad is a Ravenclaw. He’s an educated, intellectual sort of person who is very good at thinking his way through a problem or puzzle to find a solution. That is why he struggles at first, when presented with information that doesn’t fit neatly into his worldview. But once he understands the new “rules” of Melaina’s world, he is able to think his way through them.

Are you a writer? Have you ever sorted your characters? It’s a fun little mental exercise that gets you to think about who they really are, beneath it all. (And special thanks to Belle for suggesting it.)


Notebook_coffeeIn case you missed it, on Thursday I was over at Aussie Owned and Read, talking about finding time in a busy life: time to write, blog, review and do the squillion other things I try to get done.

What I really need is a Time Turner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Advertising Strategies: a Work-in-Progress

Maze

Source: Shutterstock

As of maybe six months ago, I’m a fully independent or self-published author, what is sometimes referred to as an “author-publisher“. I like that term, because it conveys the sense that self-publishing is more than just banging out words and then sending them out into the world, all naked and unprepared. There are things one needs to consider, things a publisher usually does. Two of those are editing and book design, and I’ve blogged about those before.

The other thing that a publisher does to a greater or lesser extent (at least, if you’re lucky and they are any good) is advertise your book. In the case of small or independent presses, you may have a small or non-existent presence in bricks-and-mortar stores, so you can’t rely on people stumbling across your work by accident. That’s where advertising comes in.

I’m still feeling my way through the morass, trying to find strategies that work for me and my books. I thought it might be helpful to others (and for my own future reference) to catalogue some of them here.

Book blitzes

These are generally organised to try and raise a bit of word-of-mouth attention when a book first comes out; kind bloggers share promotional content. Sometimes they result in a few adds to peoples’ Goodreads shelves, but I haven’t noticed a huge number of sales as a result. Maybe I’m just not doing them right! Certainly, I wouldn’t do a blog tour with customised posts, as I don’t think the time invested would be worth it. But I would do a book blitz for each of my future releases. Every book deserves a birthday party. 😉

NetGalley listings

Publishers will usually list books on NetGalley, which is a site that allows reviewers to apply for free ebook copies of books in exchange for an honest review. It’s a lot of reviewers’ bread and butter. But it’s expensive to have a NetGalley account, so, for an independent author, it’s generally more cost-efficient to buy in on a co-op such as this one. I had a three-month co-op when Isla’s Inheritance and Isla’s Oath came out (I had each book up for about six weeks), and a one-month co-op for Lucid Dreaming. I got a bump in the number of reviews on sites like Goodreads, but, like a blitz, this is about word of mouth rather than direct sales.

Facebook advertising

I saw a tweet that described Facebook advertising as being as effective as setting your money on fire. The metaphor probably works better in countries where the money is made of paper, but still, it’s not too far off. I have tested a handful of ads and have seen no return. These days, the only thing I’d pay to advertise on Facebook would be occasional posts on my author page; Facebook throttles visibility of page posts so that not everyone who likes the page will see them. If you pay them money (the extortionists that they are), they will share the post more widely. In terms of impressions, this is quite effective … but I’d reserve it for significant updates, such as book releases.

Free book promotions

This has been my most recent effort, and also my most successful to date. Because it is my most recent, I’m going to go into a bit more detail, with some numbers. (This does feel a tiny bit like airing dirty laundry, but if you promise not to oggle my underthings I think we can all ignore that!)

I made the Isla’s Inheritance ebook permafree (ie I have no plans to set a price for it again), and advertised it via the “Buy a Series Post” option at Freebooksy. They have a significant market reach and people loooove free stuff. When I previously advertised a sale of my erotica novella (*cough*), I had a ton of downloads, so I knew it worked.

In the first two weeks after the promo ran, I had almost 5000 downloads on Amazon and a handful at the other sites. Isla’s Inheritance made it to #2 on Amazon US for free Paranormal & Urban Fantasy (as I write this, it’s sitting at 233).

Isla's Inheritance free ranking

There haven’t been a huge number of reviews as a result, but there have been consistent sales on books two and three in the series. I didn’t expect that people who downloaded the book would buy the sequels so quickly, but on the first day of the promo I had four sales of Isla’s Oath and one of Melpomene’s Daughter — suggesting that there were at least four people who read it straight away and liked it enough to keep reading. (If you were one of those people: thank you!)

Within the first two weeks, the promotion had paid for itself with sales on the other books. It’s the first time a promotion has done that for me, so I’m pretty pumped.

There are a few caveats, however. The first is that obviously I didn’t make a penny off those 5000 copies of Isla’s Inheritance; this means that, in order for me to even break even on the trilogy, sales on the other two books have to cover not only their own production costs but those of the first books as well. For this reason, I wouldn’t personally make a book permafree that didn’t have sequels available — because, while I don’t expect to be rolling around in piles of money, I’d at least like to imagine I might recoup my expenses at some point. 😉

The other caveat is that there hasn’t been much, if any, cross-pollination to my other book, Lucid Dreaming. I expect that if people finish the trilogy and enjoy it, and they decide that they’d like to see what my adult (rather than young adult) book is like, that might happen … but it will be slower.

What next?

Now that the sales bump from the Freebooksy promotion has more or less worn off, I’ve decided my next experiment will be with Goodreads advertising. I read a really interesting blog post by Lindsay Buroker on how she made it work for her, and I’m keen to give it a try. Goodreads has a big advantage over Facebook in that at least we know the people on there are readers to start with.

Wish me luck!

If you’re an author-publisher, have you tried different forms of advertising? What has worked for you? What hasn’t?  I’d love to hear about it!


Isla1_Front_smlDo you also like free things?

The Isla’s Inheritance ebook is available free from the following retailers:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords


Promotion: ‘Isla’s Inheritance’ ebook available free

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Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact her mother’s spirit. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Isla’s Inheritance, the first book in my young adult urban fantasy trilogy, is currently available as a free download from all good* ebook retailers.

Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

* Amazon is, as many have noted before me, not a good ebook retailer. In fact, I have it on good authority that it may have been given a lump of coal (delivered free with Amazon Prime!) for Christmas last year. 😉 So if your Amazon account isn’t based in the USA and your Amazon store lists Isla’s Inheritance with a price, you can download the mobi file for free from the Smashwords link instead. Or leave a message and I will email it to you.

If you enjoy Isla’s Inheritance — or any of my other books, or other authors’ books for that matter — please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or your favourite ebook retailer. Reviews make a huge difference to authors; you wouldn’t believe how much us needy creative types need the positive reinforcement. 😉

Puppy review

 


‘Isla’s Inheritance’ is back

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YOU GUYS! It’s been two months since Turquoise Morning Press returned the rights for the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, and in that time the fantastic Kim and I have been working our booties off. I’ve re-read this book (twice), spent an unhealthy amount of time trawling stock websites (the images for the covers and the latest teasers are all courtesy of Shutterstock), and then squeed enthusiastically at the end result. There is definitely something to be said for self-publishing; the sense of satisfaction at the end of the process is enormous.

ANYWAY. I’m pleased to announce that Isla’s Inheritance, book one of the trilogy by the same name, has been released back into the wild. So far the ebook has made it as far as Amazon and Smashwords, and the paperback is only at Createspace. But I’ll update my Isla’s Inheritance trilogy page as I get more links.

Thank you as always for the support of my wonderful friends and family. This re-release has been an unexpected bump on the road, and I admit I wouldn’t have chosen the Lucid Dreaming release month to be doing all this work (let alone just before Christmas, with all the end-of-year shenanigans), but hopefully you agree that the result is worth it in the end.

Ebook

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Smashwords

Paperback

Createspace

Isla_new_covers


‘Isla’s Inheritance’ trilogy cover reveal

Isla’s Inheritance is my first book baby (well, book triplets, really, given it’s a trilogy), so I’m giddy with delight to be able to share the new covers with you. These were made by Kim Last from KILA Designs — the same wonder who made the Lucid Dreaming cover — so it should be no surprise to you that they are breathtaking.

Feast your eyes! Feast them!

All three covers


Isla’s Inheritance

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact her mother’s spirit. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Isla1_Wrap_nobleed_sml

Isla’s Oath

Australia is a long way from the Old World and its fae denizens … but not far enough.

Isla is determined to understand her heritage and control her new abilities, but concealing them from those close to her proves difficult. Convincing the local fae that she isn’t a threat despite her mixed blood is harder still. When the dazzling Everest arrives with a retinue of servants, Isla gets her first glimpse of why her mother’s people are hated … and feared.

But Isla isn’t the only one with something to hide. Someone she trusts is concealing a dangerous secret. She must seek the truth and stop Everest from killing to get what he wants: Isla’s oath.

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Melpomene’s Daughter

Isla struggles to embrace her fae nature while preserving her humanity in the final, exciting instalment of the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy. 

Isla has spent months persuading the Canberra fae that she isn’t a tyrant like her mother, trying to prove that—despite her mixed blood—she’s human, not a monster. That she’s one of them, not one of the high fae who enslaved them.

But a vision of a fresh-dug grave warns that someone is going to die.

When the Old World fae once again move against her family, seeking revenge for old wrongs, Isla will stop at nothing to keep those she loves safe. She just wants to be left alone. But to win that right for herself, her family and all Australian fae, she must cross the oceans and take the fight to the country of her birth.

Isla must prove she really is Melpomene’s daughter after all.

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