Wow, I can’t believe it’s May 1st already! That means only 3 weeks left in the school year *squeeee* Sometimes I think us teachers are more excited for summer than the students, lol. This first Wednesday of the month also means it’s time for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
It’s been 98 days since my debut novel, 18 Things, released. 98 is a lucky number for me since it’s the year hubs and I tied the knot 🙂 But I’d say the thing I was most insecure about these first 3 months is what others would think of my book. Most of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads have been 4 or 5 stars so far (thank you, Jesus *wipes forehead*), but as my publisher submits 18 Things to Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble for in-store distribution, I sure could use some more reviews! So it seems perfect that Susie Levine is hosting a great blog hop to celebrate authors! Here’s what I read about it on Krystal Wade’s blog today:
Without the ratings, without the few sentences from a happy reader, it makes it harder for a new reader to come along and snatch up the book. How many times have you seen a book on Amazon and not purchased it because it didn’t have enough reviews?
Here you’ll find a link back to her original post and the sign-up code.
Make sure you write a review for a book you’ve read, loved, and never mentioned to your friends or family or Goodreads. Post it on your blog. On Amazon. On Shelfari. Wherever you like to rant and rave.
Authors are sometimes insecure and in need of a pick-me-up. So hug them!
I admit I usually star my books on goodreads, but I’m not great about leaving comments. I just went back and updated some of my more recent books to include some kind words, because they go a looong way 🙂 My publisher just sent me two surveys from my book this week, and I wish the readers would’ve posted it somewhere, because they were positive *YAY!* Instead, I’ll share them with you here:
“Great book…very impressed. I normally call the twists early, but this book surprised me. Very refreshing! Can’t wait for the next one!”
“I read a lot of books. YOUR BOOK I got lost in right from the beginning. I couldn’t put it down. It’s now one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read 18 Truths. I love the characters, plot, the quotes in each Chapter, and the flow of the story.
I would love to get this book in hardback, because I think you will be a future Best Seller.”
Awww, pretty cool, right? I seriously appreciate each and every review, even the ones less than 4 stars.
One new release you might want to check out and leave a review for is KIYA: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Teller. Click on the link to learn about her awesome blog hop!
You can now buy it on Amazon and Kobo! To celebrate, here’s a quick excerpt from the book:
A smirk spread across his face and he chuckled.
“You are amusing. I hope you let the Pharaoh see that.”
“Oh, I will.” I smiled. “Once I no longer feel he may throw me to the crocodiles for it.”
He folded his arms and grinned at me.
“He needs someone who can make him laugh. He lives a very tiresome existence and never has a moment to relax.”
“Do you wish me to oblige?” I asked.
He nodded. “Oh yes, Kiya. Make him love you, make him hold you in his highest regard. That will humble our Great Queen and remove her from her station, so she no longer feels she and her daughters have a right to the throne.”
I sighed. “Well, I can do my best, but I am not as pretty as many, or as young.”
“But you are honest, and he will appreciate that among all the liars he is faced with every day.”
*Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?!?
And before I go, I just have to brag on my 12yo daughter for a second. Since the last time I blogged, she was awarded First Place for Level 2 entries in the WHOLE STATE OF FLORIDA for the Letters For Literature essay contest. She even won $100 with it! I’d love to share her essay about Lauren Myracle’s book, Thirteen, but it’ll have to wait until after the national judging is over. Keep your fingers crossed for her!
Oh, and if you’ve read 18 Things, you know all about my fictional band, Cantankerous Monkey Squad. My talented friend sang the spoof of the “Good Riddance” song I put in the book: “Ode to a Septic Tank.” Hope you enjoy a laugh, and if you do decide to post a book review, I hope you didn’t think 18 Things was crap! Hahaha . . . .
Not only does the Kindle e-book for 18 Things go on sale today for 99 cents, but it was just an overall AWESOME week to be an author! A new local bookstore opened up in my town, and I also got to participate in the Southwest Florida Reading Festival yesterday. I sat at a vendor’s table with my local Romance Writer’s group from 10-4pm and actually sold 17 books! I know that’s not breaking any records, but I’m always humbled anyone wants to read my book! Annnd, while I was there, I got invited by the Lee County Reading Council to be the guest author speaker at their End of Year banquet next month *squeeee*
Plus, people left me warm fuzzy messages this week after finishing 18 Things. On Twitter, Cheryl had this to say: “Just finished 18 Things. Way to reinforce my belief in God and life. It was much-needed. I feel whole again after reading your book.” Isn’t that the greatest DM ever?! Thanks for letting me share, Cheryl!
Also got this message on FB from a middle school Language Arts teacher: “I ordered one of your books from amazon and all my students want to read it at the same time. Just placed another order for several copies.” LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!
And finally another FB message from a coworker: “Tomorrow we will be able to check off running a 5k – thank you Jamie Ayres for motivating me to finally do something about my bucket list!” WOW, can you see the HUGE smile on my face from where you are sitting?!?
If that doesn’t make you want to read 18 Things, then you just might be a broken person. Well, okay, I am too . . . that’s why I wrote 18 Things! So let’s get down to the Nitty-Gritty!
For the 99 cent sale, several of us at Curiosity Quills Press wanted to do some kind of shared giveaway on our blogs. The point of the giveaway is to call attention to the 99 cent sale and get people to spread the word (via rafflecopter). We figured it didn’t make much sense to give away our 99 cent ebooks, but we could all put in toward a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift card. Who wouldn’t be interested in that, right? WordPress doesn’t support rafflecopter *shakes fist in air* but you can enter the giveaway on Sharon Bayliss’s site! (The link should be live sometime soon–thanks for helping to spread the word!) Here’s the list of participating books:
Once Upon a Changeling by V.J. Chambers Cappuccino Heaven by Michelle Wright The Space Whiskey Death Chronicles by William Vtika The Charge by Sharon Bayliss Ever by Jessa Russo Blow up the Roses by Randy Attwood Theocracide by James Wymore Fade by Ayden Morgan The Green Man and Other Short Stories by Rand Lee The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt Sanity Vacuum by Thea Gregory Legasea by Krystalyn Drown The Devil You Know (Nick Englebrecht Trilogy Book 1) by K.H. Koehler Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish by Andrew Buckley Nefertiti’s Heart by AW Exley Paradise Earth: Day Zero by Anthony Mathenia Death by Chocolate by Johanna Pitcairn Bone Wires by Michael Shean Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean The Green Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson The Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson Danger in Cat World by Nina Post One Ghost per Serving by Nina Post The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse by Nina Post Wilde’s Fire (Darkness Falls Series Book 1) by Krystal Wade Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls Series Book 2) by Krystal Wade World’s Burn Through (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 1) by Vicki Keire Shadowed Ground (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 2) by Vicki Keire Wet Dream by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr. The God Particle by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr. The Department of Magic by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr. Christmas in the Morgue by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr. Family Cursemas (The Megamillionaire Murders, Vol 1) by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr. Dinosaur Jazz (Jurassic Club) by Michael Panush El Mosaico, Vol. 1: Scarred Souls by Michael Panush The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 1: American Nightmares by Michael Panush The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 2: Cold Wars by Michael Panush The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 3: Red Reunion by Michael Panush
That’s a whole enchilada of awesome books!!! I’m hoping to see 18 Things trend in the top 100 in a few categories again and create some much-needed buzz, and would really appreciate it if you helped spread the word in your realm of influence!
Here’s an easy Tweet you can copy: The Luck of the Irish brings you the YA coming of age love story, 18 Things, for 99 cents! Happy St. Patricks’ Day#99cents#Kindle
Okay, before I go I just have to share my 9yo daughter’s funny relationship with Siri. She saved and saved for an iPod Touch 5 and finally bought it on Thursday. My hubs and I don’t have Smart phones, so this was her first introduction to Siri. On Friday morning, I got out of the shower and heard Ashley talking to somebody. Me: Who are you talking to? Ash: Siri! Can you believe she’s never had pizza? I told her to try CiCi’s. Me: Um, you do know Siri is a computer, right? hahahahahaha! Then this morning hubs and I are talking and Ashley goes, “Shhh, I just asked Siri a question and she needs to concentrate!” LOL. And if you haven’t asked Siri who let the dogs out, Ashley highly recommends it! I do love how Siri is helping my kid with her speech problems. She has to speak clearly in order for Siri to understand her, which leads me to wrap up my St. Patrick’s Day announcement with this:
HaPPy*Valentine’s* Eve!!! And oooh boy, do I have the perfect gift for you!!! A book, of course . . . would you expect anything different from me?
Today marks the release of the Debut Novella for Marisa Cleveland, a very sweet kindred spirit who I met through my Southwest Florida Romance Writer’s Group. She is now a recovering high school teacher turned writer and agent extraordinaire, and she was kind enough to read my manuscript for 18 Thingssoooo many times that it made her head spin faster than if she’d starred in The Exorcist.
Here’s the scoop:
Marisa Cleveland’s novella, The Valentine Challenge, debuted from Entangled Publishing! Join the celebration by visiting participating blogs and commenting the answer to this question: In your opinion, what’s the sexiest part of a man?
Between now and February 28th, Marisa’s super secret judges will browse the blogs and choose up to three winners to receive Valentine goodies!
No purchase necessary, but a Like on Amazon is always appreciated!
Title: The Valentine Challenge
Author: Marisa Cleveland
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Flirt)
Genre: Contemporary Romance Novella
When Stacey Bradford’s hot boss convinces his company’s board to close her best friend’s flower shop – days before Valentine’s Day! – Stacey declares war.
Intrigued by Stacey’s devotion to her friend, the hearts and flowers holiday, and belief in true love, Marsh issues a challenge – prove love exists or deliver the closing documents to her friend herself.
Stacey never could resist a challenge, but when Marsh makes Valentine’s Day the deadline for their deal, Stacey must decide how far she’s willing to go…for love.
Marisa Cleveland loves to laugh, hates to cry, and does both often. As a writer, she writes. Every day. Perhaps because she married her best friend, her adult romance novels focus on playfully naughty relationships developed through friendship and family-oriented values. She loves to connect with writers and readers.
*WHat R U wAItiNG fOR?! What do you find sexiest in a man? *cough cough, please keep it PG-13 since I write for young adults*
Oh, and incase you missed it, here’s my guest post on Talynn’s Ink in the Book blog about my sweet first kiss and my inspiration for writing love stories.
And today, I’m visiting England on Rebecca Bradley’s blog, where she asks me this question: How Do I Fit It All In? You can comment on either blog through Friday for a chance to win a copy of 18 Things:-)
Well, I’m off to help lead Youth Group. Hope you had a very happy Over-the-Hump Day! Mine was full of many firsts: TV interview on The Morning Blend, Library Event, then my first Author School visit with some 8th graders who were one HUGE batch of Awesomesauce. I’ll tell ya allll about it later.
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 . . .
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:
For one night, I was ahead of John Grisham. This blows my mind!
And I’m under James Patterson–my literary hero! Here’s hoping his success rubs off on my book:-)
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!!!
It’s been a whirlwind week since my debut novel, 18 Things, released last Thursday. Terrifying and thrilling all at once! I’ll go into more details on next Wednesday’s post for the IWSG.
But today, I’m guest blogging at Gwen Gardner’s site, a wonderful YA Fiction Author and half of the Indies 4 Hire business. The topic is Writing Paranormal: Do You Believe What You Write? My post focuses on angels, and I share my personal encounter with one when I was eleven years old.
This is just one of 18 blogs I’m stopping by during my six week blog tour! Here are some others in case you missed it:
If you’ve read the book, created your bucket lists, and acknowledged the vast empty hole in your heart that is exactly Jamie Ayres shaped, I hope you’ll recommend it to others and share your thoughts about 18 Things on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble *which you’ll find yourself wanting to do—Jedi Mind tricks were included in your purchase, so I left you no choice* The sales have stayed in the top 100 books on Amazon in one category or another (and those categories are a hoot!), until today *wipes tear* So now it’s up to word of mouth to push it forward.
I’m really BLOWN AWAY by your support. Kimberly at Art of Infiltrationshared twenty-two books she enjoyed reading last year (or wanted to read this year) with her seventh grade class. She said the kids were excited about three books – Possession by Elana Johnson, CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh, and 18 Things!!! WOWIE, WOW, WOW!!! Kimberly, can you see my HUGE grin all the way from Florida?
Well, I hope to see your beautiful faces around the blogosphere during the 18 Things tour! And if you have a book coming out, please let me know. I’ll gladly return the favor and be your biggest cheerleader! I’m really good at those high kicks;-)
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:
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.
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,
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!!