Free Book Reminder – Through 3/31!

Just a little reminder that my book,  An Unexpected Turn, is free through the 31st in celebration of it’s one year anniversary! Even if this isn’t your type of book, please pass it along to someone you know that might be interested. As always, any reviews you feel like leaving are very, very much appreciated!

Amazon Deprioritizes Books

In an effort to ensure it prioritizes much needed products, Amazon has shuffled items not in those priority categories down the list when it comes to shipping. Among those getting dropped to a lower importance level are books.

I have seen a lot of talk about how the current situation is impacting families with regards to work. Many authors are already struggling, but this move will make it even harder for some, especially indie authors if the print versions of their books are not being shipped or shipments are delayed as they do not get credited for a print book sale until it ships.

Please keep this in mind when you are looking for reading material and consider supporting authors by purchasing their ebooks, audio books, or even reading via Kindle Unlimited as they still get paid for those without the shipping delay.

Other options for helping to support authors during this time is to order their books (when available) through independent book stores. Many of those stores are also being heavily impacted by local mandates and struggling as well. Going this route helps both the author and the bookstore.

This is just a tiny point in such a huge upheaval, but every bit may help. Feel free to pass this along to whatever book lovers you may know.

Best of 2019: Moments

Outside of photography and the books I read this last year, I thought I’d note a few of the bigger moments and highlights of my year, things that I did or experienced that I was really proud of or stuck with me as important moments.

There will always be tons of those when it comes to my kids. Yes, I’m hugely biased and think I have the best kids ever, even when they are being little shits. There are a couple that really stick out, though.

BG stepping WAY out of her mostly introverted comfort zone to be a dance assistant. Just the few months that she has been doing this, she has really gained a lot of self-confidence that I haven’t seen in her before. It has been amazing to watch. I’ve also seen her really grow and mature this last year with how she has handled friendships and dating and high school.

This has been MC’s year to really drop the proud mama moments on me. I’m over the moon proud of his accomplishments and getting not only accepted into his school of choice, but winning a top scholarship because of all the hard work he put into is school work. The biggest mush moment from him though is one I never posted about. I never could quite find the words to describe how he made me feel, but… for a project in one of his classes, he had to name the smartest and the wisest people he knew (separate people). His obvious choice, to me anyway, would be my Hubby because he looks up to him so much. He did name his dad as being the smartest, but he said that I was the wisest. When all the other students were naming famous people and other people of note, he picked me. When he told me all the reasons (which I have now forgotten because I’m still blown away by the fact he even considered me) I just almost bawled. I am not, and never have been, the person he really looks up to. I’m just mom. The fact that he feels that way about me, enough to include it in a school project and then tell me about it… talk about feeling like you’ve done something right as a parent! My 17 year old son thinks I’m wise. Just… wow.

There were a few creative projects that I’m still really proud of. While it wasn’t my best cake, by far, but BG’s birthday cake this year was still insanely challenging and turned out pretty well.

Pointe Costume Cake Side By Side
Pointe Costume Cake Side By Side

That costume really hit me in the creative nerve because just doing it in cake wasn’t enough, apparently. I had to paint it as well. Again, far from being perfect, it was something new for me and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

2019 Pointe Costume In Acrylic
2019 Pointe Costume In Acrylic

I was also really pleased with the first piece of jewelry I’ve attempted in a few years. It reminded me how much I love working with stones and silver.

Of course I think one of my proudest creative endeavors this year was publishing my book, An Unexpected Turn. Considering I never planned, expected or even dreamed of writing a book, I’m still a little astonished that I actually did it. It has been this insanely difficult, emotional roller coaster of an experience. I’m even more proud of the fact that it really seems to be received well by most readers. It is selling and getting mostly positive reviews. I still sometimes struggle to believe it has all actually happened.

An Unexpected Turn - Christmas Ad Image
An Unexpected Turn – Christmas Ad Image

Even though I definitely had some rather low moments throughout the year, 2019 was a pretty good year, especially on the creative and mom front. With MC graduating in the spring, BG starting to drive, and my creative muse chafing to get my hands busy, I know 2020 will probably bring a lot of the same.

Some Stats and What Next?

With my recent Amazon ad seeming to be a complete and utter bust, not to mention a huge waste of precious advertising dollars, I sort of feel like I’ve hit this insurmountable wall and I honestly don’t know what to do from here which is insanely frustrating and discouraging. There are all kinds of parts and pieces to my current mood and frustration with regards to the whole self publishing thing.

One of those issues is the need to get reviews (and a range of star ratings) to even get people willing to pick up your book. I’ve really debated for a while posting about this topic because it feels like I’m calling out book bloggers and reviewers and I really don’t want to do that. I’ve gotten some great response and support from some, but others… well, take a peak at my stats (yes, I’m certain the overall numbers here are way lower than what some people see, but I’ve attempted to really target bloggers that have read books that would potentially be in range with mine). I will not be naming anyone, just giving general stats.

Reviewer Stats

Requests sent to bloggers: 24
No response at all: 18
Response, but reject: 0
Agree to review: 6
Reviews written from above: 1
Of those that agreed to review, 1 is still in their projected time frame and 1 has taken the time to post on their blog notifying everyone that they are having issues (which is so massively appreciated). I’ve gotten zero communication from the other few that agreed to review, some of which are from as far back as May on their projected time frame.

Reviewer requested/provided copies (from general call for anyone wanting a copy): 2
Reviews written from above: 1

Book tours approached: 2
Tours responded/accepted: 1 (decided they may not cover my target audience after talking to them, so passed, but left open for future option)
Tours with no response: 1

Other approached review sources: 2
Envie (Previously – Writing Community Newsletter) – 1 review
BookSirens: 2 reviews (requested 10, still running, but no new readers)

Overall, I’ve approached, or been approached by, 30 different sources for reviews and I’ve gotten a total of 5 reviews (and not all have been posted to the bigger sites like Amazon or Goodreads). Is this a reasonable ratio? I have no clue. This is just my experience and numbers.

Another huge part of this is the whole networking thing. I’ve mentioned before how excruciating this is for someone as introverted as I am, but I really made the effort no matter how uncomfortable and stressful this was. I’ve even attempted to be helpful in sharing my experiences along the way. Effort or no, it doesn’t seem to do much more than make me uncomfortable and stressed.

In my last post about my ad, I mentioned the concept of books having a saturation point in the market. That you will eventually reach that point where you’ve been exposed to most of your potential readers and buyers. I’m wondering if I’ve reached that point.

I think some of my frustration also comes from having this really amazing run with my last ad and then suddenly dropping off into nothing. The surge changed some of my perspectives and expectations from where I initially started, but now I’m forced to adjust my views and goals with this and what I consider “doing well” for having self-published my one and only book.

I’m approaching the point where I’m feeling burned out with the work to reward ratio lately. With the frustrations, the poor ad performance, the struggle to get reviews and that big saturation point question, I’m wondering where I go from here. How do you recover the lost momentum? Is it even possible?

 

Book Sirens Listing Update

Just wanted to post a quick progress update on my listing with BookSirens. My book has been live with them for about 10 days now. I have gotten 2 readers download the book and both of them have posted reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon. For as small a range as my genre seems to have, this is a really impressive return so far. Even if I don’t get another reviewer, I’d have to say that this has been a worthwhile resource for such a small cost. Definitely something worth looking into if you are an indie author or even through a publisher and are looking to get additional reviews of your book.

For more information on how BookSirens works, check out my previous post here.

Yes! Finally!

It is official! My book, An Unexpected Turn, is now available through Kindle Unlimited! It took a few too many days to get to the point where I could list it, but I got there. Apparently listing is pretty much instant once you click enroll, so it is already out there and available for anyone that has been waiting!

Perspective & Texture

As of this morning I’m still sitting in limbo on my book. The 24Symbols platform via Draft2Digital still has not managed to get me delisted 10 days after I put in my initial request. I have been off all other platforms with the exception of Kindle since about 8 days ago.

I’m not so frustrated by the fact that I’m losing out on potential sales from those platforms I’m no longer listed on because I hadn’t actually sold any through them in the first place. I am frustrated because I’m potentially missing out on readers through Kindle Unlimited because I can’t set it up until I’m completely off all other platforms with the ebook and I HAVE gotten all my sales through Amazon.

I emailed D2D again yesterday and they said they were working with 24S to get this straightened out. If someone were to ask me today, I’d probably have to say they should avoid the 24Symbols platform at all costs. It seems to be problematic as they were also one of the ones that took the longest to publish out to. I don’t have anything negative to say about D2D at this point as they have done a good job of responding to my emails and may be working to help this along, though that doesn’t do much for my frustration levels.

Yes, I may have just hit the unlucky spot with my timing and this isn’t actually normal for them, but trying to market a self-published book is hard enough without these kinds of roadblocks and speed bumps dropped along the way.

Glitches and Delays

I had said the other day that I was going to try and get my book in Kindle Unlimited. In order to do that, I needed to remove the ebook from all platforms that weren’t Kindle. I requested that my book be delisted on Draft2Digital on the 14th. It is now the 20th and 24symbols (which I’d never even heard of before I went to publish) STILL hasn’t removed my listing.

You cannot list with Kindle Unlimited if your book is available digitally anywhere else. It is an exclusive contract. So still being listed is preventing me from making the shift. On every other platform I was off within less than 3 days, some in less than a day. This one doesn’t seem willing to let go for some reason.

I’ve contacted D2D, so hopefully this will get resolved soon, but it is starting to really tick me off. I did some looking to see how long it is supposed to take and I saw an old post complaining about the 24symbols platform taking so long, so this is not apparently a new issue. I have nothing but good things to say about D2D even if I am switching because they really are an amazing publishing option. I’d just be exceptionally leery of ever pushing to the 24symbols platform if I ever decided to go back to D2D. If I remember correctly, they were also the one that took nearly 2 weeks to load my book in the first place.

So, for anyone that was waiting for this to go to KU… I’m still working on it. I promise.

Making Changes

I am in the process of delisting my book from all ebook platforms with the exception of Kindle so that I can move over to KDP select and be on Kindle Unlimited. I absolutely hated to do this because it takes away my ability to be in libraries, but I wasn’t getting even that, so I’m going to have to go where I might get more traction.

I’ve never really wanted this project to be about sales, but sales have to play a part to some extent. I’ve always been more concerned about getting it read, getting it in front of the kinds of people that would get something out of it and trying to find a comfortable balance between those things. I honestly thought that being available on more platforms would be the better option for me, but it doesn’t seem to be, so I’m making changes.

There is no guarantee that those changes will make a bit of difference, especially since Amazon has now dropped me out of even showing up in results if you search for just my title (at least for a couple of pages anyway), which absolutely blows my mind. There are some seriously random and totally unrelated things that show up above me in the results and only because they have “unexpected” buried somewhere in connection to that item. Yay for algorithms telling us what we should be looking at instead of what we are actually looking for.

I am not giving up. I am trying to not be disheartened by this whole process. I just commented on a previous post and it applies to how I feel about it all at the moment.

“As a massive introvert, this is like facing a mountain with a roll of dental floss and a toothpick to help me climb and I’m standing at the bottom wearing a dress and heals.”

I’m just going to keep sending out my requests and copies of my book and hope that people follow through (thank you to the moon and back to those that have). I’m going to make whatever changes I think need to be changed when the way I’m doing things is no longer working. I am not giving up, just changing course a little bit, even if I feel like throwing in the towel.

Quality of Work?

This is a subject that has been rolling around in my head for a while now and I’ve gone back and forth debating with myself over whether I wanted to post about it or not. Are we diluting the quality of our literature with the advent of self-publishing? Yes, I’m actually asking that as a self-published, indie author.

Continue reading “Quality of Work?”

Pretty and Painful

Life has felt kind of like I’ve been tossed into a food processor on high lately. That isn’t even a really accurate analogy as it does not encompass all the extreme highs and lightning fast changes that bring crazy, insane lows. Sometimes over days. Sometimes it changes in as little as an hour or two. As soon as I’m experiencing one, for any number of reasons, something will come along and yank me to the other extreme. It is maddening.

Continue reading “Pretty and Painful”

Another Goal!

I got notification that my book is finally, fully published on all the platforms I submitted to. One more publishing goal checked off. It’s a small goal, but it is still a pretty awesome one.

I am also probably going to have to place another order of the paperbacks for myself as all the ones I bought for the first round were gone before I could blink. I had about half of them accounted for when I placed the order, but between giving a few away for reviews and BG being a better salesperson than I am, I’m out.

I do still have an opening for a reviewer that wants any of the ebook versions. Just drop me a message if you are interested.

Looking For Reviewers

I am down to one paperback copy for this and a spot or two for another reviewer. If you or someone you know would like a copy (ebook or print) in exchange for providing a review, please drop me a note or pass this along! Every tiny bit helps, especially as a brand new author in the indie field.

TJ Fox: Sharing the Experience

On to the part of the book process that I dislike with a flaming passion. Pretty much begging for help. As a raging introvert that struggles with most any communication, this part is excruciating, but necessary. That said, I do need some help from anyone that is willing to step forward and volunteer to read my little baby and give me a review. Ideally, I’d like to see reviews spread out in various different places like Goodreads, Amazon, B&N and blogs, but I’m not going to be picky.

I am looking to get between 3 and 5 people willing to write up a review in exchange for a copy of my book. I’ll provide their preferred format, ebook for any platform I’ve published on or a print copy that I can mail to you. If you are posting to a blog, I’ll add a copy or snippet of your review…

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Lessons Learned: Week 1 of Being An Indie Author

In the little over a week since I clicked publish on my book, I have learned a lot about being in the indie author community and the overall environment around publishing a book on your own. Or at least, the pieces I have seen or attempted to interact with. Some of those lessons aren’t even things I’ve really learned, but rather things I already knew and got pretty emphatically confirmed.

Continue reading “Lessons Learned: Week 1 of Being An Indie Author”

An Unexpected Turn Availability

I am posting this for an easy share as it is a single link to all the various platforms An Unexpected Turn is available on.

Even if it isn’t a genre (women’s fiction/family life) you normally read, maybe you have a friend that does and you’d be willing to slide this under their nose or at least share the link (or this post) with others. If you are amazing enough to read it, please leave a review! Every tiny bit helps me to get this out there.

Please take a few to check it out. The blurb is below.

“When I take a good look at my reflection, I’m surprised that the face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look different than the one I’ve seen staring back at me for the last 27 years. I see the same brown hair and brown eyes, the same heart-shaped face, the same upturned nose. I feel like I should look different. That my face should show the upheaval and the weight of the last day, that it should somehow show how much has happened, how the course of my life has changed, but everything is still the same.”

Life is rarely ever predictable. It is rarely even kind. But… sometimes… just sometimes, those unexpected turns that throw you into the chaos and upheaval of loss lead you to the exact place you need to be.

This is a story about love, but it isn’t a romance. It is about holding on when it would be easier to let go, about fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. It is about finding and creating family through the unpredictable, beautiful mess that is life.

 

 

IT’S HERE!!!

IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!!

Nope. I’m not excited. I’m all calm and cool and not dancing crazily around the house like a little kid at Christmas. Not. At. All. *as I’m trying not to scare the pets with my squeeing like a loon*

Book release goal #2 has been hit. I have held physical evidence in my hands that I did in fact publish a book. It is SO pretty!

Okay, now I’m done for the day. Maybe.

Looking For Reviewers

On to the part of the book process that I dislike with a flaming passion. Pretty much begging for help. As a raging introvert that struggles with most any communication, this part is excruciating, but necessary. That said, I do need some help from anyone that is willing to step forward and volunteer to read my little baby and give me a review. Ideally, I’d like to see reviews spread out in various different places like Goodreads, Amazon, B&N and blogs, but I’m not going to be picky.

I am looking to get between 3 and 5 people willing to write up a review in exchange for a copy of my book. I’ll provide their preferred format, ebook for any platform I’ve published on or a print copy that I can mail to you. If you are posting to a blog, I’ll add a copy or snippet of your review to my AUT page with a link back to your blog as an additional thanks. (unless you don’t want that, then that’s okay too!)

If you are awesome enough to volunteer, please drop me a note through my contact page, letting me know your interest and the platforms you would normally post reviews along with your format preference. This isn’t a contest, but more along the lines of “if you send me a message you will get a copy” unless I’ve hit my limit. If I see a lot of interest, then I may rethink the numbers, but I’d prefer to keep it small to start.

Massive thank you in advance to those that volunteer! I will update this post when/if I hit my numbers.

For those that haven’t seen it… the blurb… (oh, and I thought I’d mention that this falls into the women’s fiction and family life/drama genres)

“When I take a good look at my reflection, I’m surprised that the face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look different than the one I’ve seen staring back at me for the last 27 years. I see the same brown hair and brown eyes, the same heart-shaped face, the same upturned nose. I feel like I should look different. That my face should show the upheaval and the weight of the last day, that it should somehow show how much has happened, how the course of my life has changed, but everything is still the same.”

Life is rarely ever predictable. It is rarely even kind. But… sometimes… just sometimes, those unexpected turns that throw you into the chaos and upheaval of loss lead you to the exact place you need to be.

This is a story about love, but it isn’t a romance. It is about holding on when it would be easier to let go, about fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. It is about finding and creating family through the unpredictable, beautiful mess that is life.

One Goal Reached!

I didn’t set a lot of goals when I decided to publish my book. The ones I did set were small and, hopefully, achievable. Today, I reached my first one. I am now officially in my local library’s database and An Unexpected Turn can be checked out by anyone in its ebook form! Today is a very good day.

March Was Good To Me

Normally I’d say you can’t get much better than publishing and releasing a book, but… getting to celebrate 18 years with an awesome man ranks right the hell up there. And for that 18th milestone, that amazing, awesome man got me an upgrade for my camera that I’ve had for over 10 years.

Continue reading “March Was Good To Me”

Sweetness And Love Overload

I shared the above image with some friends, over the top excited that I will be holding physical proof of all  my hard work in my hands in just a few days. A couple hours later, one of my friends commented and posted her own tracking image showing her copy will be showing up before mine. I gave her crap for getting a copy before me, just joking and she, quite seriously said that I should get to hold the first copy of my book and she will be leaving hers in the package until I get mine. Cute melting heart. I may complain sometimes, but I really do have some amazing, awesome, beautiful soul friends.