Category Archives: Writing

Goodreads Giveaway for New Superhero Book

Hi friends! I’m working hard to get out my new novella by Christmas. It’s called A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and it’s about Tori and Joe’s Christmas Eve wedding – amidst a Christmastime crime spree. (Like any Christmas, right?)

While it’s part of the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, it’s not book two. If you’re familiar with Unexpected Superhero, it starts with Tori finding out that she has a super power when she returns from her honeymoon. Much as I want to keep the books focused on urban fantasy, I like playing with the fun romances among the characters, so I’m writing novellas and short stories to sprinkle throughout the series that are more like superhero romantic comedies.

The first short story was “Superhero in Disguise” about Tori and Joe’s fun romantic meeting on Halloween night. A Very Merry Superhero Wedding picks up a week before they get married on Christmas Eve. And here’s the cool part – you can win a free copy!

I’ve created a Goodreads Giveaway for readers in the United States (I’ll try to do an international one later) to have a chance to win five (5) copies of the paperback when it comes out at Christmas. You can click on the link below to sign up. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding by Kitty Bucholtz

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding

by Kitty Bucholtz

Giveaway ends December 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

The Value of Advertising a Single Self-Publishing Book

Unexpected Superhero cover by Kitty BucholtzIf any of you are writers, you might be interested in the blog I posted on my Romance Writers of America chapter blog on Sunday. I hope it helps someone. :)

We’re all trying to figure out what kind of advertising and short-term discounting works to increase sales and readership. I am at the beginning end of the self-publishing curve with one stand-alone book out, and one series with a free short story prequel and a book one. In October, I did several different things and tracked sales daily. Here are my results.

The Specifics
I put Unexpected Superhero (book one of a series) back in KDP Select for 90 days in July, ending October 21. I used my five free days in October with three days on a Wed/Thur/Fri and two days a week later on a Fri/Sat. It was also on sale for three days for 99c at the end of the month (Oct 31 – Nov 2).

I used advertising on several of those days. I purchased the InD’Tale Bargain Book Ad for $25 on October 8, the eBookSoda ad for $10 on October 10 (the first and last day of the first free period), then Ereader News Today for $20 on October 17 (the first day of the last free period).

On another author’s recommendation, on October 31 I used Ebook Boosters’ $25 service where they submit my book’s 99c sale information to 25 other free-newsletter sites (sites similar to BookBub and eBookSoda). I didn’t try to figure out for sure which sites picked up the book, but I know it went out on at least a few email newsletters that day. (I was at a convention all weekend so I didn’t have time to do Google searches or keep track of Amazon rankings.)

Non-Advertisement Promotion
Additionally, I participated in an author book swap with 19 other authors on November 1. We all put one book on sale for 99c, then blogged, Tweeted, and posted to Facebook about all 20 books, and we all bought each other’s books. (So that accounted for 19 out of 25 sales on book swap day.)

I mentioned all of this to my newsletter list (122 people) once at the beginning of October on the day the book was first free, and on the last day of October when the book was 99c. I did one guest blog, and wrote three other blogs on my own two sites.

I also was at Comikaze, a comic book and pop culture convention, October 31 through November 2, and I told attendees that the book was 99c on Kindle that weekend.

The Finances
Altogether, I spent $80 on advertising. Royalties from Amazon (the only place the book was for sale) were about $38 for 27 sales in October plus about $30 for 15 borrows from the KDP library, and about $20 for 32 sales in the first week of November.  Financially, I broke even, about $8 ahead.

But keep in mind that I had 3710 free downloads as well. If those downloads translate to reviews and newsletter signups, that’s worth the cost of advertising. A bigger newsletter list means more sales when new books come out. I’ve had about the same number of newsletter signups already that I had after a BookBub ad last year yielded 17,561 free downloads of the same book. Last year’s free downloads added about 35 new reviews over two to three months. It’s too early to know how many reviews I’ll get due to the 3710 free downloads last month.

While traditional wisdom is that advertising with so few books out isn’t worth your time and money, check out the difference in sales and in reach between the month before the sale, the sale month, and only one week after the last sale.

September (with no sales or advertising) – 6 purchases, 6 borrows, 0 free, about $27 in revenue

October (with three sales and lots of email ads) – 27 purchases, 15 borrows, 3710 free, about $68 in revenue

November (1 week only, end of last sale) – 32 purchases, no borrows or free (not in KDP Select anymore), about $20 in revenue

While my numbers are small, the percentage of increase is excellent. Because last year’s BookBub ad was for a free book, the reviews were easily worth the $90 I paid for the ad, but there was a very small sales tail after the five free days ended. I believe I sold 24 books in the month following. I ended up with a negative net income that month despite the wild “success” of so many people choosing to download the book.

This time, I spent nearly the same amount of money, reached fewer people but over several different audiences instead of one, and had a positive net income for the month. Also, my book was being promoted over the course of three weeks rather than five days. I will likely derive value from that later since people need to hear about a product a certain number of times before they decide to buy it.

Specific Advertisers
If you’re interested in the results from specific advertisers, these are my stats:

InD’Tale $25 ad to about 10,000 readers = 1238 free downloads that day
(NOTE: There were also 551 free downloads the day after the ad came out, and 245 on the third day, on which I also used an eBookSoda ad.)

eBookSoda $10 ad to 700+ readers = 245 free downloads that day
(NOTE: I used eBookSoda in April and May of this year, and had 0 sales and possibly a few sales, respectively with books priced at 99c. I emailed them and was told Little Miss Lovesick was advertised to 681 subscribers in April with 37 click-throughs to retailers, and Unexpected Superhero was advertised to 714 subscribers in May with 43 click-throughs to retailers.)

Ereader News Today $20 ad to “thousands” of readers = 1277 free downloads that day
(NOTE: There were another 391 free downloads the following day.)

EBookBooster $25 ad to 25 sites and potentially thousands of readers = 8 sales at 99c that day
(NOTE: There were 10 more 99c sales during the 3-day sale, and a lot of word-of-mouth promotion as well.)

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. This is data based on having only one book in a series and advertising that book without the next book out yet. I’ll let you know what happens when I do this again when book two comes out.

Meanwhile, please leave a comment with your thoughts, or your advertising experiences. And please share this with your social media friends. Your input could be very helpful for others contemplating advertising and short-term sales.

Unexpected Superhero FREE today on Kindle

Unexpected Superhero cover by Kitty BucholtzHey friends! Since I’m going to be at Comikaze this month (Los Angeles Convention Center, October 31 – November 2, 2014), I thought I’d do some promotions for Unexpected Superhero.

It’s going to be FREE on Kindle today through Friday, October 8-10. Please share the news with your friends so they can give the series a try. Save the money and buy more Halloween candy! :-P

Unexpected Superhero Wins an Honorable Mention Medal

Global Ebook Awards Honorable Mention MedalI’m so excited! Unexpected Superhero, the first book in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, won an Honorable Mention Medal in the Fiction – Fantasy/Contemporary category of the 2014 Global Ebook Awards.

This is the first award I’ve won since I started writing professionally. I’m so happy that the judges enjoyed the book enough to give it the Honorable Mention Medal. Yay!

You can see a list of all the winners here. Happy Reading!

Accidents Happen – And Then You Pick Yourself Up and Walk Again

John on bike in gear 1st dayIt has been a long time – too long – since I’ve chatted with you all here. I’ve missed you!

If you didn’t know what happened, why I disappeared, it’s because my husband John was in a motorcycle accident five months ago. That completely changed my life. Suddenly, my world was about hospitals and surgeries, and then being an at-home caregiver. (Boy, do I have more respect for all you parents and caregivers out there!)

Even as John was healing, there was little he could do with a multi-broken leg. We recently moved out of our apartment and I had to do nearly all the packing. John helped by taping boxes from his chair, and packing up dishes while sitting in the kitchen. But that was a chore I hope to never have to repeat.

As you can imagine, with all my time taken up with taking care of John, and then driving him back and forth to work when he returned (we owned a stick-shift until a couple weeks ago, so John couldn’t drive), the amount of time I had to work felt miniscule. The second superhero book, Superhero in the Making, had to be put on hold (though it should be out later this year). I did meet my deadline for getting Unexpected Superhero out on audiobook in May, though. Very exciting! And I managed to get my booth up at WonderCon and Cherry Capital Comic Con. At least I was able to make some of my commitments.

John home from hospitalLife isn’t back to normal yet, but we’re getting there. I hope to stay in touch with you here at least a couple times a month. Please forgive me that my web site has some issues right now. I’ll fix them as soon as I can. But I figure that getting back to work writing books and stories for you to read is better! :)

I can’t wait to share some fun things with you over the next few weeks. Progress is being made, and there’s nothing more fun than sharing it with friends!

Meanwhile, enjoy these last days of summer. If you’re looking for something to read, remember that “Superhero in Disguise” is a free short story that starts the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series. And if you joined Kindle Unlimited, you can read Unexpected Superhero for free.

Now – back to work with me! :)

Speaking Events On Self-Publishing

Hello friends! Sorry I haven’t been able to post much to my blog lately. If you didn’t know, my husband John was in a motorcycle accident two months ago and life has taken a turn while he recuperates. I’m not getting much work done these days, but it’ll get back on course eventually. :)

Meanwhile, my speaking events in Michigan are still on! Yay! Here is a list for you.

Sat, May 17, 12-2pm – Horizon Books book signing, 243 E Front St, Traverse City

Wed, May 21, 6:30pm – Traverse City Library, 610 Woodmere Ave, Traverse City

Thur, May 22 – Kalkaska High School, Novel & Creative Writing classes

Thur, May 22, 6:00pm – Kalkaska County Library, 247 S Cedar St, Kalkaska

Fri, May 23, 6-9pm – Cherry Capital Comic Con, Grand Traverse Resort, TC – FREE Preview (Everyone gets in free Friday!)

Sat, May 24, 10am-6pm – Cherry Capital Comic Con – I’ll have a table on the show floor

Sun, May 25, 11am-5pm – Cherry Capital Comic Con – Kitty & John speaking 11am-12:30 on self-publishing and the making of Avatar, respectively; on the show floor the rest of the day

Let me know if you’re planning on attending any of these so I can look for you! :-D

My Results Using Ads and Specials

US.v10WEBMost writers are curious about what is and isn’t working for other writers when it comes to selling books. I’m grateful for what others have been willing to share, so it’s only fair to share in return. Even though my results are a bit embarrassing.

I’ve only bought ads three times. I bought an ad last year with The Wordsmith Journal Magazine (online) for Little Miss Lovesick. After one month, I had zero new sales. Ouch.

In August, while Unexpected Superhero was enrolled in the KDP Select program (meaning it was only for sale on Amazon for the first 90 days), I took advantage of the program’s free days option and made the book free for five days in a row at the end of a conference I was attending. I also bought an ad from BookBub that appeared on the first day of the promotion.

There were a whopping 17,561 free downloads during those five days! Over 10,000 copies were downloaded the first day, which I attribute primarily to the BookBub ad. During the next two weeks, I sold only 24 more copies when the book went off sale (back to $3.99). Then the sales dropped back to the 0-3 per week average that has been more common for my books so far.

A month or two ago, I dropped the price of Unexpected Superhero from $3.99 to $2.99 to see if I could see a change in sales. There might have been a slight increase. At 0-3 sales per week, it’s a bit hard to say. :)

My third promotion-with-paid-advertisement was last week. I dropped the price on Little Miss Lovesick and promoted it with 19 other lovely romance authors and their books last Friday. I also took out a then-free ad from eBookSoda, a newer email list like BookBub that advertises free and reduced-price books. (The ads were free, then $5, and I’m sure they’ll keep increasing in price as they grow their list. The problem with this ad is that I don’t know if it went to 100 people, 1000, or 20,000.)

I dropped the price from $2.99 to 99 cents a week before the promo with Smashwords so it would be 99 cents at the other outlets by the day of the promo. I decreased the price on Amazon two days before, and it went into effect the day before. I saw that I sold one copy on Amazon a day or two before the promotion, then two more copies total during the weekend of the promotion and ad.

That’s it – 3 sales. At the high end of “usual” for me.

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALLittle Miss Lovesick got a new (second) cover a few months ago, but it’s barely changed the sales. Unexpected Superhero got a new (second) cover at the end of March, too early to tell if it has affected sales yet. I took out another eBookSoda ad (the free ad that went to $5 when I did it this time) for Sunday, May 4 (my third choice date, Fantasy category, same as last year’s BookBub ad). I’ll leave Superhero at its current $2.99 price and see if anything happens when it’s not on sale but advertised.

And that’s about all I know so far. My second superhero book, Superhero in the Making, was to be ready next week for WonderCon, and which I expected to help sales of the first book. But my husband’s motorcycle accident and injuries trumped anything and everything that used to be on my To Do list. :)

I’ll keep you updated so you get a well-rounded view of self-publishing and advertising. (It’s less embarrassing to write about your successes, so there are a lot more of those stories out there.) It would appear that my experience underscores what other successful writers have said about success coming after you have several books out. Unfortunately, “life” has thrown a wrench in making that happen soon, but as the Brits (used to) say, Keep Calm and Carry On.

And keep writing! :)

One Day Sale on 20 Romance Novels – Only 99 Cents Each!

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALI was thrilled to be invited to join a group of friends who wanted to do a fun cross-promotion for our books. For one day, today, all of our books – all in various sub-genres of romance - will be available on Amazon for only 99 cents! Yay!

If you like my books, you’ll find several in this list you would enjoy. :) And if you’re reading this after Friday, my book Little Miss Lovesick (and perhaps some of the others) will still be on sale through the weekend. Plus, I’ve made Lovesick 99 cents across all retailers, so you can get it for a buck on Barnes & Noble or iTunes or anywhere you like to buy ebooks!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook or other places, would you mind passing this information along? I’d love to feel like I helped my friends find new fans. :-D Thanks a million!

Happy reading!

Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Justice

Kitty Bucholtz, Little Miss Lovesick 

Linda Carroll-Bradd, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart

Kathleen Creighton, The Prince and the Patriot

Jacqueline Diamond, The Cowboy and the Heiress

Gillian Doyle, Mystic Memories

Susan R. Hughes, A Baby for Christmas

Michelle Knowlden, Indelible Beats

Heather MacAllister, Counterfeit Cowgirl

Mindy Neff, The Bad Boy Next Door

Louella Nelson, Cora Lee

Lyn O’Farrell, Worth the Risk

Dee Ann Palmer, Where Eagles Cry

Sandra Paul, Last Chance For Marriage

Michael H. Payne, A Curial Quartet

Edie Ramer, Christmas at Angel Lake

Angie Ray, Ghostly Enchantment

Susan Squires, Waiting For Magic

Kristy Tate, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

Patricia Thayer, Colton Creek Cowboy

My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Thanks so much to Jennifer Brassel for inviting me to join the blog tour. :) Jennifer’s blog can be seen here. Jen and I both have stories in the romance anthology, Moonlit Encounters, and her book Secret Reflection is a modern Gothic tale complete with ghosts, romance, and an unsolved crime.

My Writing Process

j0178677What am I working on? Right now, I am finishing up the second book in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, Superhero in the Making. At the end of book one, Unexpected Superhero, Tori has decided she definitely wants to pursue life as a superhero. But it’s harder than it looks. On top of everything else – family issues, secrets uncovered, and secrets to keep hidden – there’s another woman trying to catch Joe’s attention. Tori is trying to keep in mind that undercover superhero work is a job like any other, and Joe is a professional. But can she trust him?

How does my work differ from others of its genre? The Adventures of Lewis and Clarke is about superheroes living their daily lives as our next door neighbors. It’s about love and marriage, friendships, family, and trying to save the world one person at a time. It’s also about the battle between good and evil, and constantly begs the question – am I up for the task? It’s romantic comedy meets urban fantasy. I really enjoy writing this series and I hope to continue for several books to come.

j0309372Why do I write what I do? I love writing about people in love because I’m in love! :-D But I think it’s more interesting to see the ups and downs and sideways parts of love, not just the happy moments. Falling in love and getting married is awesome, but nothing prepares you for what comes next. It’s hard! But it’s so worth it. Add that to the fact that I am amazed at how God created us to be strong, good, loving people and yet the world and the dark forces around us keep knocking us down so that we’re weak, selfish, and greedy, and there is a lot of room for stories in there! I’m trying to write about both of these elements in my superhero series.

How does my writing process work? Well, that depends entirely on my deadline! LOL! Right now, I am writing six days a week, 8-12 hours a day to finish this book in time for WonderCon. I’ve taken time away to write at a timeshare several times recently, and over the years, because I can focus on just writing. I usually start with the big idea and boil it down to six or eight main points, then whittle those down to a dozen or so scenes each, then create 3×5 scene cards that I spread out on the floor looking for holes in the story. Once I’ve got the first quarter of the story worked out, I start writing based on the scene cards. Then I look at the second quarter, see if anything needs to be changed because of what I wrote in the first part, tweak the scene cards and write the second quarter. Repeat for the last two quarters of the book. Then I talk to my editors (I have two, Marcy and Sarah) about plot problems, etc. It’s intense and exhausting, but I wouldn’t trade it to do anything else. (Though I’m really looking forward to a vacation soon!)

I hope you found this fun and interesting. Maybe you learned a little something about me that you didn’t know. It was fun giving you a glimpse into my world. :)

Moonlit EncountersIf you’d like to read about another of my Aussie friends with a story in Moonlit Encounters, check out Coleen Kwan‘s My Writing Process blog hereColeen Kwan writes both contemporary and steampunk romance. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching Criminal Minds.

And now – back to writing!