IWSG-The #1 Rule Authors Shouldn’t Break?

*Happy*FoURth*of*July*Eve* Am I the only one hearing constant explosions in my neighborhood this week? Don’t get me wrong, I love explosions just as much as the Little Blue Lady on Jennifer Eaton’s blog, but not between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.  I imagine this is what it feels like to live in Syria. Thank God for our freedom! Sure, it’s annoying when I’m trying to fall asleep at 2a.m. and the fireworks are still going off, but I just pretend the teenagers have just finished 18 Things and it was sooo good, they had to celebrate. Hahaha . . . yep, a “vain” attempt to sleep.

Sorry, that joke was lame, wasn’t it?

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so it’s time for Head Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh’s . . . .

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

Last month, I wrote about my latest pathetic royalty statement. The good news? I was back on Amazon’s top 100 for coming-of-age fiction one day last week, something that hadn’t happened in 3 months! And it seems I had at least one fan, because the very kind Sandy sent me this email after reading my post (and gave her permission for me to share):

“I just read your latest posting regarding lack of sales for 18 Things. I just wanted to mention that I bought 18 Things as soon as it came out and read it in 2 days. I was so emotionally invested in all of the characters and their relationships. I laughed, cried and smiled a lot those 2 days. Please don’t give up writing and don’t change your style. You really have a gift and I am really looking forward to 18 Truths. On top of the many messages I got from reading 18 Things, you also taught me how important it is for me to write reviews for exceptional work, so the author has some idea how well they are being received. I promise to be a more responsible reader in the future. Good luck in your future endeavors and know that I bought a hard copy of 18 Things so I could read it over and over and hopefully give it to my child to read one day.”

How awesome is that? One thing Sandy mentioned was writing reviews. Those certainly are crucial. I have 40 Reviews on Amazon and 22 Reviews on Goodreads. As my publisher submits my book to B&N for nationwide distribution in their brick-and-mortar stores, I certainly hope for newer reviews. I hear that B&N usually likes to see near 100 reviews before deciding to carry a book in their store.

So, I was thrilled when one of my blogger buddies sent me an email saying she was going to post a review for my book. Then I read the review. The review didn’t make me angry, even though it focused solely on the sad parts and didn’t highlight any of the fun *that’s a reviewer’s prerogative*, but it did make me even more interested in a blog I read by Kristen Lamb that same day, Should Authors Write Bad Book Reviews? The blog was in response to a post she did the previous day about The Three NEVERs of Social Media, one being never write bad book reviews. To quote Kristen: “If I can’t give a book a five-star rave review? I just don’t review it. Again, publishing is a small world and we all need each other. The world is already out to throw us under a bus. We need each other to keep from turning into cutters.”

bus image

There was so much discussion surrounding this topic, she did a THIRD post, Is it FAIR for Authors to Review Other Authors? I should note that the review my blogger buddy emailed me (she gave me the option of asking her not to post it, which I thought was really sweet)  gave me 4 stars and I didn’t think it was a ‘bad’ review. She thought 18 Things was a brilliant piece of Christian fiction about dealing with death and learning to live your life again, but felt cheated by my ending so she deducted a star. I’m fine with that . . . I knew not everybody would like my ending when I wrote it.

I still consider 4 stars a good review, and have starred the books I read with 4 or 5. But ever since I became an author, I haven’t reviewed a book if I felt like I couldn’t give it a 4 or 5. I tend to agree with Kristen. I know the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into writing a book now, and writing is sooo subjective, I don’t want to publicly flog a book just because I didn’t agree with that author’s creative work. I think you can still mark it as “read” on your Goodreads page and just not star it. Silence can be very loud.

What about you? Do you leave ‘bad’ reviews? Do you think a 4 star review should still be considered ‘good’ or should I throw virtual eggs at my buddy? Hahaha  . . . kidding! Although that leads me to another thought. Has anyone seen the movie that was released last month, The Purge ? It’s an interesting premise where one day a year for 12 hrs, people can vent their negative emotions by making all crime, including murder, legal. Of course, I don’t agree with going that far, but it did make me long for the same concept, but with egging and toilet papering houses and cars instead. That could just be the foreclosure notice I was served Monday night talking though . . . really makes me mad that there’s no bailout that works for the American homeowner struggling to make their mortgage payment. But that’s a rant for another time. I still love America despite it’s politics–enjoy your BBQ’s and freedom tomorrow, even if that does entail posting a bad review 😉

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99 Cent Kindle Deal of the Day Part II

I’m helping with the 99 cent Kindle sale my publisher, Curiosity Quills, is having through Saturday. If you love to read YA paranormal romance *shameless plug* like 18 Things , then you don’t want to miss this one. I featured Jessa on my blog when her debut novel came out 6 months ago, and I absolutely LOVED her book. Check it out . . . .

Jessa's cover

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.

 Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.

 Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

 Some girls lose their hearts to love.

 Some girls lose their minds.

 Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.


WHERE TO BUY: 

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

ADD EVER TO YOUR TBR!


Goodreads


ABOUT JESSA:

Jessa headshot

 

 An unashamed super fan of all things paranormal romance, Jessa Russo reads, writes and breathes paranormal YA, rarely straying from her comfort zone.

When not writing or reading, Jessa enjoys making memories with her awesome family and amazingly supportive friends, while secretly planning her next trip to New Orleans.

Jessa has won a few flash fiction contests and had a couple short stories published, but feels her greatest accomplishment is raising the coolest kid ever – a little girl with a Tim Burton obsession and a desire to save every animal she sees.

*Isn’t Jessa beautiful? I think that cover alone makes you want to read Jessa’s book, right?! And Jessa is seriously worth following everywhere, like Twitter and Facebook! She’s epic . . . I could go on forever about how much I love her and her book, but I’m supposed to meet her in real-life in May, and I don’t want to creep her out too much;-) Oh, and don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter on Sharon Bayliss’s site for the $75 Amazon gift card–our way of saying thanks for helping to promote this awesome sale~xoxo

99 Cent Deal of the Day–Legasea by Krystalyn Drown

So it’s day 5 of the Curiosity Quills 99 cent Kindle promotion sale for forty of our titles! I know many of you have already purchased 18 Things (Thank You!!), and today I’m highlighting another YA book you can grab for less than a buck this week! And don’t forget to help us celebrate by stopping by Sharon Bayliss’s blog to enter your name in our Rafflecopter for the $75 Amazon gift card!

Check out this cool sounding blurb from Legasea:

Legasea Cover

When sixteen-year-old Aileen Shay sees a dead girl floating in the bay during a midnight yacht party, she never imagines Jamie Flannigan, her new boyfriend, may be involved. The only thing she knows about Jamie is that he personifies the one thing she has been drawn to her entire life – the ocean. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes he knows more about the murder than he’s telling. When another girl is attacked, and Jamie refuses to answer her questions, Aileen searches for answers on her own.

Aileen learns that Jamie’s family belongs more to myths and legends than they do in the real world. They are selkies, and after the Flannigans threaten her family, Aileen suspects they are responsible for both attacks.

But they aren’t the only ones in her small fishing town who can keep a secret.

 As Aileen uncovers the truth about the murder, the selkies, and her own family, she learns why her soul is bonded to the sea. But with that revelation comes a choice – to permanently sever her connection with the water, which comes at a painful cost, or embrace a legacy that just might get her killed.

 

Krystalyn Drown pic

Krystalyn has spent the past 13 years working at Disney as everything from Aladdin’s harem girl to talent coordinator to spider expert. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister. She currently lives in Florida with her family.

 

Personal Blog: http://krysteybelle.blogspot.com/

Short Story Blog: http://fictionfemmefatale.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @KrysteyBelle

*Sounds like a fun read, right? And what a cool name for the MC;-)

Champion In The Darkness and 18 Things Blog Tour Continues . . . .

First things first . . . I’d like to give a shout out for my author buddy, Tyrean Martinson, and the first release in her brand new YA Christian fantasy trilogy (how CoOl is that?!), Champion in the Darkness – The Champion Trilogy, now available on Amazon for only $3.99! What a deal!!!
 
Champion in the Darkness Cover 
 
Clara is younger than most trainees, but she is ready to hold a Sword Master’s blade. While visions and ancient prophecies stand in her way, they also offer a destiny unlike any other. Clara is aided by a haunted mentor, Stelia, whose knowledge of their enemy Kalidess is both a bane and a blessing. As evil threatens their land, Clara and Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness!
 
DOESN’T THAT SOUND A*W*E*S*O*M*E?!?!
 
And in other news–my 18 Things blog tour continues. Here are the stops since the last time I posted, in case you missed the links on Twitter or Facebook!
 
Joylene Butler decided to post her own 18 Things despite missing the blogfest. I say, better late than never!
 
Sharon Sant had me answer this question: Why I Love YA
 
The Autumn Review was nice enough to give me a shout-out and  post an excerpt (Have I ever mentioned that book bloggers are my heroes?!)
 
And today I’m kicking back with an interview with my main characters, Olga and Nate, on Nancy S. Thompson’s blog
 
*Only 8 more stops to go! Now, how is this affecting my sales? Hard to tell . . . it’s 188,098 in rank for paperback on Amazon and 59,815 in rank for the Kindle. So, could be loads better, but it also could be worse!
 
Thanks for all your support! I’ll see you around the blogosphere this week, and don’t forget to check out Tyrean’s new release *throws confetti*
 

IWSG–Do I Have the Magician’s Secret?

When my YA debut novel, 18 Things, released to instant best-seller status on Amazon on January 24th, many people emailed me asking what my secret was. Sure, my sales couldn’t rival those of Stephen King or anything, but as an unpublished nobody, the sales were pretty awesome! (Psst . . . here’s an insider tip  you may not know. Have your buds buy your book AND also a bestseller of a similar sort (something huge like Stephen King) to get Amazon to recommend your book alongside theirs. Didn’t know this until after release day. DOH!)

Anyway, the answer is yesss, I do know magic . . . because I know all of YOU! The first important step I took to success? Immersing myself into the blogging community at the start of 2012. Now, I’ve had this blog since August 2010, but I didn’t give it the love and attention it needed until I made it my 2012 New Year’s resolutions (ha! sometimes those things do work!) So, I thought the Alex J. Cavanaugh’s IWSG was the perfect place to share my journey . . .

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

So, first thing’s first: I truly appreciate EVERY reader who bought my book, even the ones who hated it and gave it two stars. I appreciate you taking the time to give me honest feedback, and it’ll make me a better writer. I know I can’t please everyone, and honestly, my book won’t be for everyone. About that same time I took that leap into the blogging community is when I finally embraced that God had given me a gift besides teaching to empower young people. And the good news it, every teenager that I’ve heard from so far *fingers crossed* has absolutely loved it. They are my target audience, so if I’ve inspired them even a little, that’s my success. I could care less about best seller status . . . I only wanted that to push it to a place of influence to reach others. I took profit off the table a long time ago. Not that I wouldn’t like it. I’m a teacher by day, and Lord knows I could use some extra cash. But if that’s truly what I was after, I would’ve gotten a part-time job a long time ago. It would’ve been less work for way more money. But like teaching, writing is my PASSION. I take it very seriously that people are inviting me to entertain them every time they buy a book.

But let me say this to people asking me how I did it and assuming I’m quitting my day job soon because I’m rich: DO NOT assume that once you write a book and it trends in the top 100 on Amazon in a few categories that you will become rich and famous. Amazon is being stingy with my exact figures, and all I have is how many ebooks were bought on release day . . . somewhere between 120-150. So my cut is anywhere between $245-$340. I’ve already given that much away in charitable contributions. So nope, not in it for money! Still, not bad for one day’s sales, if only the trend would continue!!  *BTW, if you didn’t know, which I didn’t, Amazon’s cut is a 30% commission. Here’s what I watched unfold with tears (of joy) on January 24th:

 

overall sales ranking on amazon 

For one night, I was ahead of John Grisham. This blows my mind!

 

beating James Patterson

And I’m under James Patterson–my literary hero! Here’s hoping his success rubs off on my book:-)

 

18ThingsNewRelease

And #3 in Hot Releases for Paranormal-now THAT is beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.

Now, I was bummed my paperbacks weren’t available release day like they were supposed to be, because I spent a lot of time organizing this Book Bomb event on Facebook. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out here. I have no clue how many paperbacks I’ve sold so far . . . hopefully another 150 since 313 had RSVP’d to my Book Bomb Event (the paperbacks became available the next day, Jan. 25th). But turns out, paperbacks are more of an advertising thing, not profit, especially with other physical retailers. So yeah, beginning to see why Amazon is so appealing to authors from a business side of things. Still, my goal is to get my books into the hands of READERS, so I’m not taking it off of B&N.  But just Fyi, my print sales from B&N leaves me with about seventy-five cents per sale. Yes, I did say CENTS. After 3 1/2 years into this writing business, do you see now why I say it’d make more sense to just get a part-time job at the Outback restaurant or something if money is what I was after? (I say Outback b/c when my hubs worked there in 2005, he brought home more money than I did as a teacher that year!!)

But hey, seventy-five cents a copy is still better than the 3 years of rejections I had piling up. Every book bought is validation . . . every 4 or 5 star review is another validation . . . I’m on the right path. This is what God had in mind for me from the beginning:-) So what if I have no money? I’m rich in spirit, faith, love, family, & friends! You all are truly the magic!!!

But my realm of influence only spreads so far, since I’m not rich and famous. So you might be wondering what will I do now to get my sales up? Because of right now as I type this post, I’m #45, 681 in the Kindle store and #74, 434 for paperbacks on Amazon. Yep, not exactly trending in the top 100 anymore! Well, I feel like I’ve done my part. I did a bucket list blogfest the week leading up to release, with a giveaway of 18 donated prizes *thanks again, peeps!!!* That was helpful in spreading the word. Now I’m on a blog tour with 18 stops, which goes until the end of this month. Here are the most recent posts since last Wednesday’s blog, incase you missed the links around Twitter and my Author’s Facebook page:

Stop #6: Gwen Gardner’s blog: My guest post on writing paranormal: Do You Believe What You Write? I share my real-life story about a time I met an angel, so check it out!

Stop #7: Jennifer Eaton’s blog: Where the Little Blue Lady from outer space interrogates interviews me *highly amusing, IMHO*

Stop #8: Marcy Blesy’s blog: Interview focusing on a first time author’s perspective *Marcy interviewed me on HER release day for her new book, Confessions of a Corn Kid. She didn’t even tell me it was her release day until afterward–how’s that for selfless?!

Stop #9: Amy Kennedy’s blog: 18 Things You Should Know About Writing *things I WISH I would’ve known when starting out!*

9 down, 9 more to go! The other thing I did was sent out a press release. I only got 2 responses so far. Here’s an article from the Grand Haven Tribune. Grand Haven is the wonderful community where 18 Things is set. If you’ve never visited this small town during the summer, add it to your bucket list!

And soon I’ll be going on a local news show called The Morning Blend. What else? Hmm . . . my first local library event is next Wednesday, as well as my first school author visit! I’ll be a part of two book festivals coming up–one in March in the Fort Myers area and another in April in Orlando. I’ll be happy to blog my experiences afterward and tell you if I think it was worth the effort. In the meantime, I’m contacting YA book blog reviewers. Three have already agreed to read and review. I love these girls better than coffee and cakepops!! They provide an enormous service to us little authors, for the love of reading! LOVE it!

Sorry this post was longer than usual, but inquiring minds were asking me. Now I’ve probably crossed the line of TMI (as usual).

Do you have any strategies for magic that I left out?!

Have your read 18 Things yet?

One thing I will caution against is don’t read the whole book waiting for the paranormal. It’s only like 10% paranormal, and it has to do with the God aspect. I didn’t choose the categories on Amazon, and have no idea how those appear, but I was still extremely grateful to be trending in them. But if you only love reading purely paranormal books, then 18 Things isn’t for you. I think it’s still a decent book (although, some people would argue that point!), and if you felt cheated, the sequel is 90% paranormal to  make up for it;-)

OH! One more thing before I return to working on my next book . . . my CQ partner in crime totally surprised me with this book trailer. I didn’t even ask anyone to do it, but she did because she is awesome. Seriously, if you look up awe*some in the dictionary, Courtney Worth Young’s picture is next to it, in all her HP Geek Glory:-) Enjoy!!!

18 THiNGs bOOk bomb!!!

Hi Everyone,

The release date for 18 Things is almost here! You guys have already helped me soooo much over the past 2 1/2 years, but I can’t stop my quest for world domination now;-) Especially with the Little Blue Lady from Jennifer Eaton’s blog trying to stop me! Sooo . . . On January 24th we’re going to try and push 18 Things to the top of Amazon—and I need your help!

This book has a message that obviously, I think, teens (or anyone over the age of 12) need to hear. Many would say an inspirational young adult book put out by a small publisher isn’t supposed to do well. So . . . wouldn’t it be cool to drive 18 Things to the top on January 24th? Will you join me in being part of a grassroots success story? I don’t have the money or resources to rely on slick marketing or targeted ad campaigns— instead my sales have to be driven by ordinary people like you spreading the word in your circles of influence. Here’s how it works: Every book on Amazon.com has what’s called a “Sales Rank” which is updated hourly. Because these rankings update every hour a book can drop quickly out of sight—or come soaring to the front. The Book Bomb will coordinate hundreds (maybe thousands) of people ordering 18 Things on the same day (January 24th) instead of sales being spread out over months, and raising it to a place where tens of thousands of new people will see it.

The book bomb is a great chance to get a copy for yourself (plus one to give away) at a great price—and help get the book in front of thousands of new people—all at the same time! Now, you might be asking yourself these questions:

Why Amazon?

  • Small Publisher: Since I signed with a small publisher, 18 Things won’t be sitting on bookshelves across America. It may be stocked at a few local bookstores in Lee County and in Grand Haven at best. Amazon.com is the easiest way to order 18 Things from wherever you happen to be on January 24th, whether it’s an ebook for $7.99 or a paperback for $12.99.

Why 2 copies?

  • Free Shipping on Paperbacks: If you order two or more copies you get free shipping because your grand total will be over $25. Just make sure you click on the Free Super-Saving Shipping option at Checkout

Who would you give your extra copies away to?

  • Local Library/School/Youth Groups: Order an extra copy to donate to your local library, school, or someone in your church youth group. Did you know that 80% of book sales happen via word-of-mouth? This would help create some great buzz!
  • Birthday Present: Yes, Christmas has past, but I’m sure there’s a young adult in your life with a birthday coming up (maybe even their 18th birthday!)
  • Graduation: Looking for a graduation gift for the young adults in your life (whether it is high school, middle school, or even college)? Order 18 Things! It may not be for another 3-4 months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order it on January 24th!
  • Friends can order together: Maybe you can’t think of anyone to give your extra copies to. But remember, when you spend $25 or more on Amazon, you get free shipping! So order with a buddy!

In addition, I know many of you have asked when you can get your autographed copy. If you’d like your own copy autographed but don’t live in my area, email me through my website at jamieayres.com and I’ll send you an autographed sticker you can place inside your book! Or, can I just say Southwest Florida makes a great vacation spot, so come on down and I’ll sign it in personJ

Finally, please do not feel obligated to participate. It would be easy (and understandable) for you to view this as very self-serving on my part. After all, I’m the author and I’m asking you to buy copies of my book! But being self-serving is not my intention. I’m only asking that if you already planned on buying my book, please do it on release day verses another day. My motivation for the book bomb is the same one that drove me to write the book: to inspire others. Think back to your own young adult days of reading, even if it was you as a very young adult, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.

I can testify that stories made me a better person growing up. I’ve always lived in two worlds. One is the world where I actually live, and the other is where I took up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, sailed the raft with Huck and Jim, laughed at the absurdities of life with Yossarian, ate green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, wept over injustices with Scout Finch, craved romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and learned about being a good friend and a good writer from a spider named Charlotte. These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. Why do I love to read stories? Because I love to know I’m not alone, I want someone to understand me, they remind me of my past, they instill in me a sense of pride in my fellow citizens of the world, they give me a new perspective, they make me laugh and entertain me, and sometimes they make me feel emotions I wish I had in my everyday life. But they always challenge me to become like the characters in the books that inspire me. They challenge me to get out of my hiding place and step out in faith, and to not give up so easily. That’s the heart of 18 Things, and my whole trilogy, and I want to share it.

sm18-things

Do you want to share it too? Do you have any tips on how to plan for success? Do you plan on buying 18 Things on January 24th? Help spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, or on your website or blog? Let me know in the comments so I can give you a HUGE virtual hug:-)  Two weeks until the Amazon links go live on release day! We don’t have much time!

Your Excited and Extremely Grateful Blogger Friend,

Jamie Ayres

P.S. Stop by next Wednesday for the dets on “What’s Your 18 Things?” blogfest! A TON of giveaways, including books, giftcards, bookmarks, and critiques!! My way of giving back to all you wonderful peeps~Love you guys!!