Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Catfish Campaign Final Hooray

You have had a month of my suggestions, now let's hear your's. What have I missed?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 30, Free Reads

Only two more days of the campaign. I wonder if my followers who aren’t interested in marketing are still reading. Just in case they are, I’m going to post the first chapter of my fresh from the editor new novel, The Rhyme’s Library. There’s a huge debate on whether authors are shooting themselves in the foot by offering free reads. By offering the first chapter, I guess I’m shooting myself in my baby toenail. We’ll see if I gather the nerve to shoot off my entire foot.

                                   The Rhyme's Library  

brobdingnagian \ brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn\  adjective:
of extraordinary size; gigantic; enormous.
               Blair brought her finger down on a random word, brobdingnagian. She wrote the word and definition on the chalkboard above the circulation desk and came up with her own sample sentence. Drake Isling is a brobdingnagian twit. Because she gave each of her library patrons a chocolate for every sample sentence they gave, she took one for herself, even though Brobdingnagian was technically tomorrow’s word. Today’s word was tenebrous: dark; gloomy. Tenebrous describes both the weather and my mood, she thought and then realized that she deserved a chocolate for her second sample sentence. My thighs will be brobdingnagian if I don’t stop eating these chocolates. Another sentence— another chocolate.
               Outside, the wind whistled and moaned around the library, tossing branches and bending trees. A near human-like scream tore Blair’s attention away from the open dictionary, but after a moment of wind listening, she returned to her work, collecting words and definitions for the upcoming week. Opprobrious, vitriolic, and vituperative—she looked for derogatory words that could easily be made into Drake-descriptive sentences.
               If the storm knocked out the electricity she would close the library early. Stop eating chocolates, she told herself, drive to the university and confront Drake in front of the students lingering after his American Lit class. She knew that there would be a handful of coeds hanging around Westchester Hall waiting to talk to him, hoping to walk with him to lunch. She knew that because she used to be one of them. Ten years ago when she was a freshman in college she waited after Professor Islington’s class with trumped-up questions.
               Well, not anymore. She’d never wait for Drake again. After today, of course. 
               The lights flickered a warning. Wind storms and power outages were common in tiny Rose Arbor. Candle light, a roaring fire and a good book during a storm were enjoyable at home, but she wasn’t going home—or was she? Gathering up her things, she debated her plan. Confront Drake or wait out the storm in front of a fire with a Mary Stewart novel? Fight sluggish traffic, wind and rain for the hour drive to Bellingham or cuddle under a quilt and read? With wavering resolve, she locked the front doors.
               The door rattled. Was it someone knocking, or just the wind? Over her shoulder, she watched the door knob rattle. It took a moment to unlock the heavy wooden doors. The storm’s cold wet wind flew in the library, and Blair peered into the driving rain. Gray skies cracked with lightning. She was about to go back inside when she saw a huddled figure at the side of the porch.
               Dressed in a ratty brown coat and mud caked jeans, Will Harris crouched in the flower bed, his head bent low to the ground. He appeared to be kneeling in prayer. Will, a regular attendee at the library’s story hours, lived on a farm just outside of town with his brother and grandmother. His rapt attention to her stories, his quiet lisp, and unkempt hair, made Blair both love and pity Will. Not even school age, he typically walked to the library unattended. She knew it was hard to live with an aging caregiver and she guessed that Will’s older brother was his primary, albeit reluctant, care giver. 
               Blair ran to the edge of the porch and yelled over the storm’s noise to him. Rain pelted his matted hair and rolled down his shoulders. He knelt between a rhododendron bush and the side of the library with his face inches from the mud and his hand inserted into a drain pipe.
               Blair came around the porch, pulled her sweater tight across her chest, and ignoring the mud and weather, she knelt beside Will. A tiny, whining meow echoed inside the storm drain. Blair lowered her face toward Will and he gazed at her, his big brown eyes welling with tears. 
                “Miss Rhyme,” Will stuttered her name between gulping back sobs, ““Bacon, Todd’s dog, killed all of Midge’s kittens but this one here and my grandma won’t let any of the cats in the house.” 
               Blair frowned at the rusted pipe. It could probably be cut by a sturdy pair of gardening shears, but she guessed that the easiest, quickest form of rescue would be to unclog the drain. 
               “Couldn’t you keep him? I can’t take him home. Bacon will get him, just like he got the rest,” Will said. 
               She wasn’t sure she wanted a kitten, but she did know she didn’t want to squat in the rain After giving a Will a quick pat on the shoulder, she went to the office to fetch a shopping bag and umbrella. 
               Will trailed after her, still talking. “Everyone knows how you live alone and have nobody but your crazy aunt. And now they say she ain’t talking no more and of course, there’s only whispering at the library. No real talking going on ‘round here-”
               Of course people gossiped. They buzzed about anything and anyone and Aunt Charlotte was interesting. Parading through town in her nightie, throwing apples at passing cars, spray painting neighborhood dogs, Charlotte provided entertainment the town couldn’t get on the local cable stations.
               “Of course, cats can’t really talk,” Will said.
               “And that’s a good thing,” Blair muttered, returning to the porch. Quickly, she explained her plan to Will. “I’m going to climb the trellis and muck out the storm drain.” 
               His wide eyes followed her outstretched finger to the roof, a window, and the trellis that ran up the wall. 
               “You need to catch the cat when the rain washes it out.”
               Will scowled at the trellis and slowly shook his head.
               “It’s like Incy Wincy Spider,” she told him. He still didn’t look convinced, but he did hold the bag. After giving his shoulders a quick reassuring squeeze, she ran up the stairs, threw open the second story window, climbed out onto the ledge and tentatively stuck the toe of her penny loafers onto the trellis.
               Will watched and tightly held the bag. She waved at him. Grabbing the trellis with both hands, she gave it a tug to test its strength, and swung out into the storm. This is a brobdingnagian mistake, she thought, promising herself another chocolate.
               Rain soaked her hair and trickled down her neck. Her straight skirt hampered her climb, and she pulled it up to increase her range of motion. Dormant rose vines plucked at her socks, snagged her sweater, and scratched her hands as she scaled the wall. When she reached the roof, she shot a jubilant smile at Will. But he wasn’t alone. Todd, Will’s brother, had the child by the arm and leered at her.
               Suddenly conscience of the skirt bunched around her hips and the red panties she was quite sure that Todd and Will could see, Blair waved to the boys. Todd grinned back.
               “Nice seeing you, library lady,” Todd yelled at her, his tongue ring making his words slur. He pulled Will away. 
               Blair watched the two figures, one dressed completely in black leather, the other splattered in mud, disappear into the woods that edged the grounds of the library. The bag that Will was supposed to use to trap the kitten lay in the dirt like a deflated balloon.
               Blair stuck her hand into the muck that clogged the drain and threw it at the retreating boys. The dead leaves, mud and sticks felt slimy and cold, but she hurriedly cleared the drain. A whoosh of water washed the kitten out into the garden bed. It stood on shaking stick legs—its fur matted to knobby, protruding bones. It stared, frozen in place, as Blair climbed down.
               Blair jumped and landed hard on the grass, her hands breaking her fall. She stood in time to see the kitten tear into the library through the wide open door.
               At least it’s a smart cat, Blair thought as she went after it. She tried to brush the mud and leaves off her skirt, then slipped off her filthy shoes and soaking sweater and left them on the front porch. 
               Standing in the doorway, searching, she called, “Here kitty, kitty.” A tail, gray and rat-like stuck out from under a rack of books. Blair lunged toward the bookcase, and her stocking feet went out from under her.
               Finding herself on the wooden floor, she turned to see the kitten watching her with one blue and one brown eye. Blair placed one hand in front for the cat to plainly see, and snaked her other hand behind the creature. The cat tried to dart away, but Blair grabbed it. 
               Rolling onto her back she held the squirming, skinny kitten in an outstretched hand in the air above her face. She considered the small, gray, rodent-like animal. “I’ll call you either Mouchard or Rat-Fink after my friend, Drake,” she told the cat.       Blair stood up, slipped her silver bookmark into her novel, gathered her raincoat and umbrella, and headed toward the basement in search of a box. She cradled Mouchard in her arms and he held onto her sweater with tiny claws.
               It had been less than a year since Blair had converted the turn of the century home that her grandparents had bequeathed to the town into a library. Her grandparents’ generosity had stopped at the bestowal of the house and property. Money for upkeep or improvements hadn’t been a part of the will so an outdated monster of a furnace that needed to be adjusted manually heated the house.
                A blast of cold air hit Blair when she opened the basement door. Somewhere an unlatched window thumped. Odd, she thought. Who would open a window down here? She made her way through the dank and dimly lit basement, maneuvering through stacks of books, magazines, and old newspapers. 
               Damp and moldy, the basement was a breeding ground for mildew and fungus that aggravated her allergies. She didn’t want to know who or what else might breed in the basement. Rodents, insects, small mammals? She looked at the shivering kitten cradled in her arms. “Are you a mouser?” she asked. “Because this basement might be a rodent smorgasbord.” 
          She usually avoided the basement. As a child she had been terrified of the roaring furnace, and nervous about the dark, cobwebbed corners. As an adult she was overwhelmed by the flotsam of a family that she had never really known. Blair sniffed and then sneezed. The basement really needed cleaning, but for the moment she was grateful for the clutter because she soon found a fishing creel and an old towel. She dropped the towel in the creel, placed the kitten in the newly created cage and secured the lid with the leather strap. The kitten mewed pitifully at her.
            “Sorry, but I can’t have you roaming free on the ride home,” she told it.
            Clutching the basket she went to turn down the furnace. The natural gas furnace was almost her height, and many times her width. It coughed and burped as if it suffered from a digestion problem. Blair turned the heat down and then glanced around to find the open window.
            The wind howled, and for a moment the lights flickered. She took a deep breath, and followed the thumping noise. It came from a room behind a rough-hewn wooden door. Someone had locked it. Why? She fumbled for a moment with the outdated latch and then wrenched it. It broke into pieces and the door swung open.
            A window beat to its own erratic rhythm. Little more than an air vent, the window was scarcely six inches high and a foot wide. From the outside it sat just above the soil and hid behind a lilac bush, but from the inside of the basement it was high above Blair’s head. Standing on tiptoes, she secured the window at the same moment lightning flashed, a roll of thunder shook the house, and the electricity went out.
            The meager light from the window filled the basement with a soupy darkness. Blair jumped and dropped everything except for the creel. Her spark of frustration matched a flash of lightning. Her books and raingear lay at her feet, but not the keys. Squatting, she patted the dusty, cold cement with one hand. The basement floor sloped toward a center drain. Although she couldn’t imagine the keys rolling, she moved along the floor in that direction.
            A crash of thunder, followed by another moment of lightning showed a gleam of something white wedged between stacks of boxes. Feeling along the floor, Blair pushed against the clutter, hoping to find her keys, but instead found a white sock tucked into a familiar pair of ked sneakers, a dark straight pant leg, and a man’s white shirt.
            Aunt Charlotte. She lay on her side; her head lolled at an awkward angle. Blair touched her, and then peered into blank eyes. “Charlotte?” Gently, Blair picked up her aunt’s limp, cold hand. Blair began to shake. Putting down the creel, she knelt and tried to lift Charlotte into her arms. Her aunt remained wilted and unresponsive. Blair knew she was dead.
            A rustling in the bushes outside distracted Blair. A rat? No, a human face with a sharp nose, barely distinguishable through the mud splattered window. Rain slid off a black slicker, and the tears of rain on the window distorted the features.
            Blair called for help and the person stood in a swirl of slicker and disappeared. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 28, Giving is Good for the Soul

Places to donate your book:
Retirement homes
Bed and Breakfasts
Dentist’s Office
Doctor’s Office

Better World Books
Books for Soldiers
Books Through Bars
Open Books
Kids in Need, Books in Deed
Reading Tree
Darien Book Aid Plan
Reader to Reader
The Book Bus
Book Aid International
Books Abroad
International Book Project
Women’s Prison Book Project

Friday, July 27, 2012

Catfish Marketing, Day 27, Making a Trailer

Remember book trailers? I still don’t have any, but I want some…three to be exact, because soon I’ll have three books out. I’ve watched a number of book trailers and this is what I’ve decided.

1.       A trailer should be no more than 90 seconds.

2.       Most trailers had about ten stills, or photos.

3.       I prefer the stills to the videos with live actors.

4.       I prefer the text to the trailers with voice-overs.

These are, as I said, my preferences, but unless you are a professional actor, I’d shy away dressing up and kissing up to the camera.

Here are some step-by-step trailer instructions.

1.       Write a script.

2.       Take some corresponding pictures or find some that are in the public domain (you don’t want to be sued.)

3.       Investigate sites like Slide Roll, Jump Cut, or Windows Movies and pick your favorite.

4.       Arrange your photos, keeping in mind that a still should be on the screen for about 4-6 seconds.

5.       Add the text.

6.       Find great music, but be sure you have permission to use it. Many artists are happy to have the exposure as long as you give them credit at the end of the trailer.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow I’m writing my scripts.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 26, Speaking Engagements

Most of my marketing tips have targeted groups of numberless people. The online world can do that for you—readers can pass your message with a click of the button. Your blurb can be shared within seconds/minutes to countless people with a phone in their pocket. Speaking engagements are a much more limited audience. They’re time consuming, nerve wracking, and if you’re an introvert—simply not fun. And yet there is something to be said for the personal connection, the eye to eye and heart to heart contact.

Over spring break I went to San Luis Obispo with my husband and daughters. I love San Luis Obispo! Victorian houses, historical sites, farmers’ market with oatmeal cookies, as well as fresh produce, of course, the beach, funky shops, small theaters…happy sigh.

On our way home, they dropped me off in Santa Barbara so that I could speak at the LDS Institute of Religion. That morning was filled with nerves (me) and thunder, lightning and torrential rain (the weather). I worried that no one would come. Five minutes before I was to begin there were about ten guys and one physics major girl. And although I was there to speak on discovering our lives’ missions, I also hoped that maybe some of the audience would rush home and order my books. Guys and physic major gals really aren’t my target audience. But in the end we had about twenty students--more guys than gals—but even guys can appreciate a good ghost story.

Here’s a much abbreviated version of my talk:

Today I want to talk about that discovering and pursuing the course of life that the God wants us to live. Accepting that God is our father, that He loves us and because He loves us he wants us to be happy—we need to ask ourselves if we’re living the lives that will bring us the most happiness. I believe that before we came to this earth, we were given a mission to fulfill. And for each of us, that mission is unique and individualized. If you’re not fulfilling the mission you were sent here to do—you won’t be happy. It doesn’t matter if your dayss are filled with goodness and selflessness—if it’s not in keeping with the promises you made before you came to earth—you won’t be happy. If you’re not fulfilling your personal ministry, you’ll be frustrated and discontent.

Joseph Campbell called our ministries “Your Bliss.” Oprah Winfrey called them “Sweet Spots.” Oprah said, “They’re the moments when we’re immersed in the things we were put on earth to do, the things that tap into our strongest strengths and deepest loves, the things that let us be the most us we can possibly be—the things we are called to do.”

Prayer, scripture study, and spiritual promptings can help us find our bliss, our sweet spots, but even then—sometimes it’s hard. So, please take this simple test with me.
Question 1. When you think about your work, what emotions does it bring? When you’re honoring your calling, there’s an undeniable sense of stimulation and exhilaration. It will just feel right.

2. Are you serving others? Anything that makes you feel strong, connected and aligned with your calling will bless others. Every good work you do will impact those around you.

3. Does it make you excited to start your day? There’s a song by Billy Joel with the line, “Hardly anyone can see just how good I am—Rosalinda says she knows. Crazy Latin dancing solo down in Herald Square, Oh Havana I've been searching for you everywhere. We need to search for our own Havanas. Even if hardly anyone can see just how good we are.

Still, sometimes it’s difficult. I have struggled with this. I’d like to share an experience I had after finishing my novel Hailey’s Comments. I’d made a goal to query fifty agents and after a few weeks the rejection letters were flying in, each bringing a blow to my fragile ego. My friends own successful businesses, they teach in schools, run preschools, take in foster children- I write stories no one reads.

We were vacationing in the San Juan Islands with my husband’s family. I hadn’t written anything in weeks. When we visited Victoria, BC I knew I had to see Craigdarroch Castle.
 My novel, HAILEY’S COMMENTS takes place on a fictional island in the Pacific Northwest. The Dunsmuir home is a stone Victorian mansion, complete with turret and a widow’s walk that overlooks the ocean. In my novel the family matriarch, Helen, is murdered by her grandson, James Dunsmuir.

In Victoria, high on a hill, stands Craigdarroch Castle, but it’s not a castle with ramparts and moat. It’s a stone Victorian mansion complete with turret and a widow’s walk overlooking the ocean. It looks exactly as I’d envisioned my fictional Dunsmuir home. I stood outside on the grounds marveling. When I went upstairs, I read that the home was built by Robert Dunsmuir and after his death became the property of his widow, Joan. Joan and her son James, who shares my villain’s name, had a stormy relationship and were estranged for many years.

Until that day, I’d never visited Victoria, to my recollection I hadn’t any prior knowledge of the city’s prominent families or of Craigdarroch Castle. I’d never heard of the Dunsmuir family. As I stood on the Castle’s widow’s walk and watched the ships moving along the water, I felt a hand resting on my shoulder, pressing me forward, urging me to continue to write my dreams.

(My apologies to the Dunsmuir family. In reality James was most likely a perfectly lovely person and if he had reasons for being estranged from his mother, I'm absolutely sure it's not because he murdered his grandmother. I have since changed the names in my novel, which, by the way, is currently beneath my bed).

George Albert Smith said, “We are living eternal lives. Eternity doesn’t begin after this life but mortality is a crucial part of eternity. I sometimes have said to my friends when they seemed to be at the crossroads, uncertain as to which way they wanted to go, ‘Today is the beginning of eternal happiness or eternal disappointment for you.’” Our comprehension of this life is that it is eternal life—that we are living in eternity today as much as we ever will live in eternity. The intelligence that God has placed within it, that which has power to reason and to think, that which has power to sing and to speak, knows no death; it simply passes from this sphere of eternal life, and awaits. This life is not given to us as a pastime. There was a solemn purpose in our creation, in the life that God has given to us.”

Does this mean that I will become a bestselling author or that you will become an American Idol superstar? Probably not, but I can write, and I can create novels in every spare second I find and when someone takes the time to tell me they loved my stories and characters—it’s more than enough of a reward. And you can do whatever you like, too, even make music—maybe you’ll be singing in a church, or a convalescent center, but if your music brings joy to you and especially to others, our loving Heavenly Father will give you and I all the opportunities and resources we need to fulfill the missions He has sent us here to do

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 25, Freebies

I think one of the tricks to marketing is to give people something that they want and tack on a blurb for something that they didn’t know that they wanted (like your book.) For example, I  made to die for truffles that I served at my book launch and had recipes  printed out which included not only the truffle recipe, but also buying information for my book. I’m pretty confident that everyone who ate a truffle took a recipe card, because the truffles are just that good.

This summer my gargantuan family had a reunion. I had considered making a genealogy chart, making hundreds of copies that had not only 8 generations of ancestry, but also something like compiled by Kristy Tate, granddaughter of William Henderson Dickson, author of Stealing Mercy. In the end, I didn’t do this, because I wasn’t able to go to the reunion as planned, but I still think it was a good idea. Here's a link to a free genealogy chart. http://tribalpages.com/free-family-tree-charts.html

The goal is to think of something not-available-in-stores-unique that everyone will want that is fairly inexpensive (if not free) and give it away, preferably to readers of your particular genre, and tack on your book’s information.

If you have ideas of freebies, please share. And to show I practice what I preach, here’s my truffle recipe:

1pkg.  (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1pkg.  (15.5 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided
2pkg.  (8 squares each)  Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 24, Stuff

Today I'm going to make stuff with pictures of my books on them. Some of my children have already agreed to wear the T-shirts and I will carry the tote bag. Remember the log lines from day 17? I've made them snappier and I'll put them on one side of the shirt and bag. Here's the log line for STEALING MERCY
Sometimes the only way to find happiness is to steal it. And here's the line for A GHOST OF A SECOND CHANCE Is there love after death? And on the other side I'll have pictures of the books. I'd like to stick a QR code somewhere and it would be nice to have, read my mom's book. 

Of course if you live in a small town after awhile no one is going to be interested in your T-shirt. But since I'm going to New York next week--well, I plan on being a walking billboard, only not as wide or as tall.

Stay tuned for pictures.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Catfish Marketing Campaign, Day 23, Tags

Tags and key words are search terms—descriptive words that will help readers find your book. On Amazon, you’re allowed seven key words and seventeen tags. You insert the key words when you upload the book. You can add tags after your book is published. If you disagree with added tags, you can have Amazon remove them. 

These are the tags I added for my novel STEALING MERCY

revenge, historical romance, sweet romance, seattle, mystery, historical, action, american, suspense    

And these are the tags customers added:

historical romance(32)
sweet romance(32)

These are my tags for A GHOST OF A SECOND CHANCE:        
ghosts, paranormal mystery, paranormal romance, gothic, infertility, family, seattle, family history, genealogy, women s fiction, clean romance, sweet romance, marriage

And these are the tags added by others:

paranormal mystery(8)
paranormal romance(8)
clean romance(6)
family history(6)

Here’s Amazon’s ‘tag cloud.’ This is fascinating because it shows you the most popular tags.

Welcome to the Amazon.com tag cloud. Tags are labels customers can use to classify a product. More frequently used tags are larger and more recently used tags will appear darker.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 22, Newsletters

Newsletters. Subscribe to others and create your own. Recently I subscribed to All Mystery E- Newsletter http://allmysteryenewsletter.com/ because I’m so excited about my soon to be released mystery, THE RHYME’S LIBRARY.

 And because I tried to pattern my books after Debbie Macomber, I subscribe to her newsletter. It was in her 20th of March newsletter that I read the knock my socks off news that Ms. Macomber was beginning the Rose Harbor series. Here’s the blurb that sent me into hyperventilation.

My Dear Friends,
I'm blessed with an abundance of good news—

The first tidbit is that I've just had my first peek at the lovely cover Random House has designed for my launch book with them, The Inn at Rose Harbor, which goes on sale under the Ballantine imprint on August 14. Their talented art department did a stellar job capturing the essence of this story, which launches my new Rose Harbor Inn series. 

For those who don’t know, I published A GHOST OF A SECOND CHANCE, the first in my Rose Arbor series, which like Ms. Macomber's series is set in a small town in the state of Washington, on March 7, 2012. If Ms. Macomber had published her newsletter a month earlier, I would have changed the name of my series, even though I mention the town of Rose Arbor in my 2011 published novel, STEALING MERCY and I have two more partially completed Rose Arbor books.

So, yeah. I think newsletters are important.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 21, Author Jacqueline Diamond Talks About Amazon's Select Program

To share a little background, I’ve sold 93 novels—paranormal, mystery, romantic comedy, fantasy and more—to mainstream publishers include St. Martin’s Press, William Morrow and Harlequin. For the past year and a half, I’ve been learning by trial and error to format, post and publicize some of my older books to which I’ve regained the rights. These ebooks are all published under my pen name, Jacqueline Diamond.
As for publicity, I’ve tried everything that’s free. I have a website that I maintain myself, at www.jacquelinediamond.com. I guest blog, send review copies, Tweet, give interviews like this one, and take advantage of whatever other opportunities come along.
As an experiment, I decided to post one book on Amazon’s Select program. Disdvantage: the book has to be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days (which can be renewed). Advantage 1: Amazon Prime subscribers can borrow one Select book per month, and Amazon pays the author about $2. Advantage 2: You can schedule 1-5 days during the period to make the book free as a promotion, and Amazon will handle all the details.
As an experiment, I chose my former Harlequin, By Leaps and Bounds, a romance about an injured ballerina who’s teaching and aiming for a comeback. Then she begins falling in love with the policeman father of her star student. I had rewritten and updated this book before I enrolled it in the Select program.
As Kristy has indicated, I made the book free for three days. During that time, it was downloaded roughly 35,000 times from Amazon.com and about 3,000 times from Amazon.uk. The book made #3 on Amazon’s overall free bestseller list and #1 on the free romance bestseller list.
How did I do it? My guess is that Amazon may have featured it in one of their emails to readers. The folks at Amazon do a great job of promoting self published books (both new and reissued). Sure, I Tweeted and posted the info on loops, but that couldn’t have accounted for that many downloads. 
The results? Sales increased dramatically that month for By Leaps and Bounds, probably because the downloads bumped it up in the search engines. Sales of my other self-issued books also jumped. Especially gratifying for me was to see greater sales in the UK. Previously only my Regency romances (set in Jane Austen’s England) such as Lady in Disguise had sold there. Now my mysteries, fantasy (Shadowlight) and other books are selling too.
How do you get Amazon’s attention? Have a topnotch cover, a professional blurb and other materials, and a great book. Because I’ll bet they hire people who read! 
Would I do it again? You bet! But—no pun intended—very selectively, because I don’t want people to assume they can regularly get my books for free.
@jacquediamond (Twitter) for writing tips

Friday, July 20, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 20, Blog Guests

It’s nice to have visitors. It’s friendly. It’s cooperative promotion. I’ve invited Jackie Hyman, AKA Jacqueline Diamond to visit. Here’s Jackie’s bio: Jackie Diamond Hyman is the author of more than 90 published novels, including romances, mysteries and paranormals. She is also a former Associated Press TV columnist. To read more about Jackie, please visit her website http://jacquelinediamond.com/

Recently Jackie had tremendous success when she entered her novel BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS in the KDP Select program. I want to know how Jackie got more than 30 thousand downloads in her three free days prior to entering the program. I want to know how she spread the word. Did she use a bullhorn? Banners? What?

I also want to know what has happened since she entered the KDP program. Did the downloads from LEAPS AND BOUNDS bump up her other sales? And would she recommend the program? What are her feelings about freebies? A brilliant marketing device—or a flooding of the market?

I also want to know Jackie’s best promotional advice, because my goal is to watch and learn from Jackie.

Not everyone is as lucky as I am to know someone like Jackie, but I really do believe everyone has something to teach us. If you know someone with something to share, invite them to your blog. Share the wealth of knowledge.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catfish Marketing Campaign, Day 19, Bookworm Bags

I love this idea. I won't join in because I don't love erotica, but kudos to the authors behind the Bookworm Bag idea. It's a group of romance authors who put together promotional material for a variety of books and authors and distribute it to readers in a book bag. I'm going to register on the "other authors" form.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Catfish Marketing Campaign, Day 18, A Spreadsheet

In honor of the passing of the great time manager, Stephen Covey, I've created a book business spread sheet. It's pretty self-explanatory. Seven rows for seven days of the week. Write down the date, the writing goals you accomplished, the promotion you did (you are promoting everyday, right?) and the number of sales for the day. I haven't been doing this, but I'm excited to start and track my results. If you have a better chart/spreadsheet, please share. 
Book Business