Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting it Free: Marketing and a Plea

When Drain Me Dry went free a while back in the US I talked about how having a free book on Amazon helps with sales. This is still very true. Will comment about that in just one second.  First off, book 1 of the Deadly Liaisons series is FREE for everyone to try.  You can get it for free in the following places:

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon Germany
Smashwords (carries Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and more)

Now, I REALLY wanna get this title listed for free in the UK, but I need your help.  Amazon works with a price matching system. When multiple people report a lower price elsewhere online they will match it on the main page. I'm sure the number of people is very small because I don't have many readers in Canada and it went free there this month. If just a handful of you would go to the Amazon UK page, scroll down to the "tell us about a lower price" link (under the book/file stats) and give them this link right here: I and all of the gay vampire fans in the United Kingdom would be eternally grateful.  I really would like "Drain Me Dry" to be free there by the time "Bloodlines" goes up for sale in a few weeks.

Now, for the authors/writers reading this page, let me tell you about my experiences with offering Drain Me Dry for free now that I've been doing it for a few months.

I get about a 10% return on all those free stories I give away (20% in Germany--they really like me there).  I give away about 500 copies of Drain Me Dry every month and sell around 50-60 copies of "Addicted to the Bite" and "Club Midnight."  It's totally worth it, given that Drain Me Dry is an 8,000 word short story I wrote last September.

(Indie fantasy author Lindsay Buroker has had great success with this method, btw. Check out her stuff here.)

As a reader I don't want the first four chapters of something--I want an entire, neatly wrapped package.  I feel the author is a kind, generous person and it makes me much more likely to go read more, and spend money on said author. If you're writing a series, I think it definitely helps to make the first book free. Writing a shorter intro story is also a great way to step into a series (while "Drain Me Dry" is a short story, "Addicted to the Bite is a novelette at 12k words and all of the books from "Club Midnight" on will be at least 20k) or even a nice intro to a stand alone novel. A free short which directly ties to a full-length novel would be a great way to pick up readers.

So, free stuff is great.  And UK readers should go whine to Amazon for me. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tools for Tweeting

Not exactly a writing or story related post today, but some of the tools I left out of the Tools for Indie Writers post a few weeks back were social networking tools, and I wanted to share what I use to keep up my Twitter account.

Before I started on this indie author business last year I had a twitter, but I didn't know what to do with it. The only people I followed were Neil Gaiman and my fiance and I never tweeted. But no one will seek out your stuff unless they know you exist, so I got online, learned how to use Twitter effectively, and here I am, making enough money to pay TWO bills every month. (Woo!)

I like Twitter over other social networking options for a few reasons. A gajillion people are on it, for one. For another, it doesn't seem to care how pornographic my posts get. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you know I can get...interesting.  It's easy to use and limiting one's posts to 140 characters is great for the short attention spans of the 21st century.

The best part was getting to the point where I needed tools to manage my twitter account. Most twitter management programs require you to pay them money, but as long as you don't have more than one account I've discovered it's easy to cover your bases with just two management sites.

Manage Flitter
Their paid membership covers all kinds of stuff, but if you don't want to go that route, this is the best site I've found for finding and unfollowing your unfollowers (allowing you to free up space for new followers). It also weeds out spam accounts. Sadly that's about all you can do with the free account, but it allows you to bulk unfollow and while it limits the number of unfollows you have per day you can unlock more with little issue.

Social Oomph
This is the site's shtick is being able to post across multiple types of social media...with a paid account. It has a lot of options for free though. I mainly use it to schedule tweets for later. Back when I had a job I used to work a lot of double shifts w/o access to the internet. I didn't like my presence being gone all day long, so I would write out posts in advance.  You can schedule as many tweets as you want ahead of time with this service's free account, and it also offers a variety of statistics, a URL shortener, and some follower management with the free account.

And those two sites are the only things I use to manage my Twitter account. I've found facebook to be mostly useless and tedious. I have a facebook page, but I pretty much ignore it.  Ditto Google+ (though I get more traffic there than on Facebook). I'm considering the possibilities of Pinterest right now, but I still havent decided if I like it or not. I'm not active on Goodreads because I find the site design tedious.  Twitter. It's where its at.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bloodlines Sneak Peek

Been writing up a storm today, doing a lot of work on Bloodlines.  I've decided to try something a lot of writers do with their books, and that's collaging them. Because setting up with magazines and a glue stick seems tedious and unnecessary, I've decided to use Pinterest for this.  If you're interested in seeing the images inspiring Bloodlines, check them out here:

And because I'm awesome, here's a bit from chapter 1 of Bloodlines
to get you excited:

“The night is young and I am hungry. Find me some succulent young thing to amuse me. What about that boy so keen on you, Damian? Has he been properly debauched? We could share him.”

“I don’t think he would like that,” he said, bristling at the very idea of sharing Jamie-boy with anyone, even his beloved (yet annoying) sire.

“C’est la vie,” Marcello lamented.  “Tell me you have decent alcohol in this place.”

Like magic Jilly appeared at the bar. “Drinks gentlemen?” she asked.

“Why aren't you serving the actual customers?” Damian asked her, annoyed over the whole situation.

Jilly leaned into them. “Everyone wants to know who your delicious boy toy here is, and if he’s available.”

“Very available,” Damian assured, hoping Marcello didn't reveal the truth—that it was the other way around and Damian was the toy.

Marcello appeared willing to play along with the idea that Damian was in charge. “How about you?” he asked Jilly, no doubt amused at her frankness. She actually blushed.

“How is Midnight Star doing?” Damian asked, derailing the train before it had a chance to chug down the tracks. There was no way Marcello was going to seduce away one of his most promising people. Mentioning Star effectively pulled Jilly’s attention from Marcello.

“She’s holding on,” she said. “The scars are gone, but she doesn't like to leave our house. I have to bring her meals to her. Thank you for the promotion,” she added. “It helps to know I can take care of her.”

“My pleasure,” he said.

She reached for his hand and squeezed it before hurrying away to serve a vamp tramp at the other end of the bar.

Damian noticed that the tramp was staring at them. In fact, a large portion of the crowd kept sneaking glances as Marcello, hands down the most beautiful creature in the club. Damian tried not to feel pride that someone like Marcello had chosen him when he could have had anyone as a companion. Being the partner of the best looking person in the room was always satisfying. But this was his club, and he didn't want to look like he belonged to anybody.

The band began to play the first chords of their opening number, the human half of the duo launching into the first words of “Personal Jesus” in her low, raspy voice. “Go dance,” Damian suggested. Marcello loved to dance. “Every human and vampire in this room is waiting for a chance to touch you.”

“They are, aren't they?” Marcello said with a smile. He unbuttoned the jacket of his suit and waltzed into the crowd like it belonged to him instead of Damian.

A moment later Jamie-boy reappeared at Damian’s side. “Please tell me what’s going on. Where are you going with him?”

“Eavesdropping is rude, Jamie-boy.” All the same, he couldn't be mad because he hadn't told him he was leaving. Marcello was ruining everything.  “Let’s go upstairs,” Damian said, handing over Jamie-boy’s discarded sweatshirt. “We’ll talk.”

“You never talk to me about anything,” Jamie-boy pouted, pulling the garment over his head.

“I am now.”