orvieto, italy, italia, orvieto duomo

A Little Makeover for Super Simple Book Marketing

As you learned last week, it was a loooooong process to get The Maze: Book Three of The Osteria Chronicles complete, but now that Release Day is looming it’s time to set the book launch plans into motion.

But before the book launch push (aka “be warned, there will be heavy marketing going on in this area very soon”) fully kicks into gear, I’ve been heeding the simplest book marketing ploy ever, trying something that makes me feel dirty, and getting ready for a pre-book launch vacation.

A Little Redesign = No-Brainer Marketing

As I was formatting the print and electronic versions of The Maze (aka “Book Three”), I knew I needed to get into the files for The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Voyage (Book Two) and do a little work.

One of the tasks was to give the first two books an overall tidying up since (in trying to be fancy) I had put in some graphics I no longer liked and some information was way out of date. My goal was to give the interior of all three books a very similar look and I have to say, the first two books look much cleaner now.

Another task was updating the front and back matter to include the upcoming book*, give less emphasis to my non-fiction books (which I’m slowly phasing out because some of them are just embarrassing to admit I’ve written), and to update my author bio**.

I had thought of designing new covers for the first two books, but since the cover you helped me pick for book three (thank you, everyone!!) matched the style of the first two, I decided to put that task on hold for now. I did however, make a little color change to The Voyage to give it that same super-saturated warm tone as the other two books.

I’m still not sure about the change since I do like the ominous darkness of the old cover, but I thought the color-boosted cover might be more eye-catching. Any thoughts?

*By the way, to other self-published writers out there, updating your front and back matter to include your list of current books and your updated bio is the simplest way to market yourself and your books. Your readers have one of your books in hand and, if they liked that book, making it as easy as possible for them to find your other work is just smart business sense.

**This need to make updates is why you MUST MUST MUST double check your publisher’s rules about making changes to your manuscript. Some print publishers charge for ANY change (even fixing a single typo); others charge nothing. Keep this in mind when selecting a publisher for your print books.

I Feel So Dirty

Another task made me grit my teeth, but I thought I’d give it a try. A recent book marketing blog post from Written Word Media gave some tips on how to make your books more searchable on Amazon. One tip, a rather painless one, was to include your genre in your book’s title, but to make that genre something more specific than just “fantasy fiction” or “romance novel.” So, I scanned my little brain and decided to add “Greek Gods Epic Fantasy Series” the the title of books one and three to test this idea out. I also followed their advice to update my keywords…something I’m glad I did because my old keywords were terribly generic!

Another tip was far more painful because it feels so “market-y.” The tip said to include a comparison to a popular book or author in your book’s description. I guess the idea is that if someone is searching for “Stephen King” and you put his name in your description you’ll show up in the search and – even though the person is obviously looking for Stephen King – they’ll somehow end up buying your book instead (drunk shopping, perhaps?).

Since I’m not really sure what books/authors my series is comparable to, I opted for Game of Thrones since it’s an epic historical fantasy and my dad mentioned that the book reminded him of Game of Thrones (but with a Greek-type setting instead of a medieval-type setting). So, grudgingly, I worked up a sentence that included “Game of Thrones.” I know, I’m such a whore.

To see if this does anything but make me feel dirty, I’m trying three different tactics: I tacked it onto the intro description for The Trials of Hercules, put it at the very end of the description for The Maze, and left it off The Voyage‘s description altogether. Then I took a shower to wash away some of my shame.

Speaking of Game of Thrones…

Marketing Plans I Hope to Stick With

Another bit of prep work is filling pages and pages of scrap paper with marketing plans including a behind-the-scenes peek at the series, pre-order specials (coming VERY soon), and book giveaways which you’ll be hearing about over the next couple months (hopefully not to the point that I drive you away).

As for me, in about 48 hours Mr. Husband, Finn McSpool, and I are heading off to Hawaii for (almost) two weeks of snorkeling and swimming and sweating in the tropics. But don’t worry, I won’t leave you blog-less. I’ve got several posts waiting in a WordPress holding pattern – posts that…

  • will give you a big hint on how you can boost your book-buying budget,
  • will clarify how to order print books in a way that gets you the best deal,
  • and a very exciting announcement is coming on the 27th!!

Oh, and I’m sure Finn will want to share a picture of himself sipping a tropical cocktail or doing the hula or riding a sea turtle. Hopefully not all at the same time, but you never know with him.

Have a great rest of the week everyone and, as always, I thrive on comments so be sure to leave one!!

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii

 

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A Double Dose of Good News

Last week on Election Day, I actually started the day with good news. And not just one bit of good news, but a double dose of good news. Of course I was hoping that I could ride that wave of happiness throughout the day, but we all know how that panned out.

Good Tidings Number One

I’ve been accepted for another year with the Clackamas County Arts Alliance’s Artist Exhibit Program (AEP)!!!!

If I was surprised at being accepted last year, I have to say I was doubly surprised to be approved this year. Why? Well, let’s just say that in my 2017 AEP application I submitted a couple pieces of work that weren’t that great.

Cute, but not my best work for an art application.

Cute, but not my best work for an art application.

Of course, right after I hit Submit, I remembered I had some better work I could have included with my application. I actually considered withdrawing my first application and trying again, but didn’t want to anger the Submittable gods by messing with their system.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know about the AEP. For those of you who don’t know about the program, it’s a way to get local artists’ work into local venues such as businesses, libraries, and public buildings. Your work stays up for three to four months and there’s no commission taken if you make a sale.

Through the program, my work went up in a county building for three months this spring. I was then selected for another showing at a hospital this fall. I have to say it’s a great program run by great people and I’m looking forward to another year with them!

Good Tidings Number Two

The first draft of the redo of Book Three of my fantasy series is done!!!!

Actually this is kind of confusing because I was up to draft three (or was it four?) on Book Three before I had to take a step back from the whole series to evaluate just what the hell was going on. Now I’m on draft one of Book Three – it’s all getting very complicated in my computer file keeping all these drafts straight.

Even though it’s set me back a few months on my self-imposed (and now self-abandoned) deadline, I’m so glad I took the time to take a hard look at where the remaining  books in the series are headed. The new draft is 20,000 words longer than the original and has a far richer story that I hope readers will love.

Time to celebrate!

Time to celebrate!

 

My only quandary now is that I feel like I’m on a drafting roll and I am tempted to keep writing and complete the first draft of Book Four. Book Three and Book Four are very closely tied together regarding their sequence of events (as in, many things are set up in Book Three that play a significant part in Book Four), so I’d love to take the momentum and keep going.

I also feel that by drafting Book Four, it would ensure that everything in Book Three is set up properly – nothing is worse than getting into a draft and realizing you hadn’t established certain events in the book you’ve already published – and would allow me to organize and re-sequence events in both books just in case something is a bit off.

The downside of drafting both books is time. Writing a draft of Book Four would probably take until the end of the year. Then again, there’s only about five people in the world clamoring for Book Three, so it’s not like another delay would cause the world to collapse (I’ll leave that task to the Orange One).

Any thoughts on this? Do you every have so much momentum for a project you just can’t stop? Oh and to those five people who do ask about Book Three, THANK YOU, you encourage me to keep going!

Unknown-1

***

Audience Member Question: Are you more scared of zombies, climate change, or an unseen asteroid collision with Earth?

Neil deGrasse Tyson: I have equal fear of all three, but I share all three fears as a second-place fear to my Number One fear….My Number One fear is the consequences of leaders of the world who are not scientifically literate. That is my biggest fear because if you’re scientifically illiterate all the rest of that will happen, but if you’re literate you’ll take precautions and you’ll understand and you’ll put in the kind of legislation and changes necessary to protect the future of the human species because that’s what science has been doing ever since it was invented.

–Star Talk Radio, 11 November 2016

Time to Stock Up for Summer Reading!

Whether you’re taking a journey into faraway lands, making a quick jaunt to the beach, or just kicking back in your garden, summertime means reading time (I guess because the days are so long providing plenty of natural light to read by). And I’d love it if one (or all) of my books were on your summer To-Read list.

A perfect spot for summer reading!

A perfect spot for summer reading!

 

So, through the month of July I’m taking part of Smashwords Summer Sale. From now through 31 July you can nab my books for only $1 each. I know! You can’t even get a cup of coffee for that…unless it’s really bad coffee in which case you should just save yourself the agony and put that dollar toward a book.

If you’ve never shopped on Smashwords let me confess that it is not very user-friendly for browsing (which is why I’ve provided direct links to my books below). However, they are one of the few sites that offer e-books in pretty much every format under the summer sun – formats for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, PDF, plain text, you name it, they probably have it.

To take advantage of this terrific deal….

  1. Visit the pages below, making note of the coupon code at the right-hand side of your screen (either SSW75 or SSW50).
  2. Add whichever books strike your fancy to your cart.
  3. Enter your code at check out. With the coupon code, each book will cost a mere dollar – perfect for stocking up on some summer reading!!
  4. Gloat over your savvy book-shopping prowess.

So, got your dollar ready? Here’s the links for your convenience…

Prefer paperback books? You can find my books on the websites of various book retailers or you can buy books directly through me (follow this link for more info).

trials of hercules, books,

*Do note, that my Summer Sale prices are only valid on Smashwords, not on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

It’s Show Time!!

…or rather Showcase Items Update Time at my Etsy shop.

That’s right, we’ve turned another calendar page and that means we’re inching another step closer to summertime!!

I don’t have any big plans for summer other than continuing to work on the third book of my Osteria Chronicles series (which will be released this year if all goes according to plan), continue to crank out more artwork, tend to my jungle of a garden, steal a tad more honey from bees, and squeeze some time in for a bit of stand-up paddle boarding.

June also means that in many places around the world it’s time to say “Thanks” to Pappy, Papa, Baba, Daddy, Dada, or Ol’ Pops…

I’ve made it easy for you to make Dad (or whatever you want to call him) feel special. During the month of June, the Showcase Items at my Etsy shop will make Father’s Day giving a cinch….

June’s Showcase Items that might appeal to a dad that likes a good story include the first two books of The Osteria Chronicles: The Trials of Hercules and The Voyage.

trials of hercules, books,

Perhaps your father is a car enthusiast? Well, even if a classic car isn’t in your Dad Day budget, a print or two of one just might be, so go on and take a peek at “Yellow Car,” “Blue Car,” or “Red Car.
tammie painter, yellow car, colored pencil, coloured pencil
bluecar_72006
colored pencil, colored pencil art, art, drawing, classic car
Or perhaps Dad would just prefer something “On the Rocks...”

garden path, tammie painter, art, lore pencil

Thanks everyone. I’d love to hear all about any summertime fun you have planned so be sure to leave a comment before you go!

It’s Time for a Revival!!

No, don’t worry, I haven’t called up a fire-and-damnation preacher to spout a bunch of “Hallelujahs” to a crowd of worshippers in a tent in the middle of a field. The revival I’m talking about is that of my Etsy shop which has been dormant for a few months. The revival not only includes new listings, but a few new features as well. And, unfortunately, along with the good news of the revival, there is a death to report.

No, no, no, not THAT kind of revival.

No, no, no, not THAT kind of revival.

Update (1 May 2016)

I’ve decided to make the items featured in my shop follow a theme each month. To me, May means flowers and time in the garden, so….

During the month of May, the showcase items at my Etsy shop are all intended to get you in the mood for spring flowers and gardening. Showcase items include my two gardening books, Going Native and the My Garden Journal.

If you have a brown thumb, then maybe some botanical art such as “Amaryllis,” “Black-Eyed Susans,” or “Conservatory Pink” is more your style. Of course, once you’re done gardening, why not kick back with a great novel.

Continuation of original post…. Continue reading