Social Media Caveat

How’s your schedule? Been busy lately?

Yeah, me too.

Most of the authors I know are currently swamped and scrambling to find time to spend with their families while still making deadlines and advancing their status on various projects.

I’m not sure how others do it all. I’ve noticed that I spend less time on social media, which is great in a way, but is has seriously decreased my visibility. If you know me, you know that Facebook is my playground. I’m on Twitter,  LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and I have this blog sent over to Google+, but all my favorite fun stuff is on Facebook. That’s where I’m most likely to interact.

Hootsuite and other such services are incredible time-savers and allow you to bulk-post all over cyberspace either for free or, to increase visibility, for a fee. Frankly, I don’t know what I did before I used SocialOomph and then Hootsuite. Probably spent all my time posting on each individual site. How did I have time to write? I know I must have, because I do have books out, but I’m amazed. Social media is a massive time-suck. An Orick of minutes and hours.

So, yeah, you’ll hear me singing the praises of anything (like Hootsuite) that’ll save time. But listen to me carefully now as I sing in Latin: Caveat! Caveat! Caveat!

Services don’t replace actual time spent on social sites.

If you don’t spend time on the social sites, you’ll lose visibility. Facebook, especially, resents your absence and knows how to deliver pay-back: your visibility decreases markedly. They also recognize when you’re cheating by using a service.

When I have to be inaccessible for a while, I’ve played the game both ways: not scheduling and scheduling. Either way, I lose visibility.

The thing that’s frustrating about most social sites is that you aren’t visible to everyone who follows you anyway. The sites decide who will see you and who won’t. I’ve followed @KMWeiland on Twitter for years, but if I want to see what she posts, I have to look for her directly. I see people on Facebook that are friends only on Facebook, but have to hunt down my family and personal friends most of the time if I want to find out what’s going on (hence the idea of opening a new personal page).

When you’ve been gone a while and/or rely on services, even those who usually see you are fewer in number.

So what’s a poor writer to do?

First, realize that’s just the way it is and plan a big come-back when you come back. With Facebook, it’s fairly easy: post something that people will respond to. “What’s your favorite rainy-day song?” “What’s your favorite summer snack?” Do it personally and respond.

Second, if you can find time and internet power, respond to your scheduled tweets and FB posts while you’re away. Android apps are great for this.

Third, if you do have internet capabilities and you’re doing something fun, post pictures and video. That will not only keep you visible, it will increase visibility.

Fourth, don’t put all your eggs in one social basket. Keep your website current, increase subscriptions to your newsletter (Ryan Zee is great for this), and link your blog to as many sites as possible. This one is linked not just to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, but it also shows up on LinkedIn, Goodreads, and my Amazon page. I can schedule posts and be visible even while I’m gone.

Fifth, join groups in Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn instead of simply participating in the newsfeed. That way, you can announce that you’ll be gone and easily step back in when you return. Anything that you can do to participate in a more personal level trumps general participation.

I’ve noticed big-name writers spend less time on the internet. Some never post anything until they have a new release coming. Some play occasionally, but nowhere near the extent we lesser being are. For those of us struggling for visibility, however, social media is vital. Despite its traps and punishments and downfalls. We just need to make it work for us. Or become overnight successes to the extent that we no longer need them.

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Especially for Writers

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Who Would Have Thought?—Guest Post by Chandra Lynn Smith

Another of the author contributors to Coming Home: a Tiny House Collection joins me here at 777 Peppermint Place. Chandra Lynn Smith can now declare herself to be a published author! We’re tickled to have her in the collection. She has a great voice and a wonderful story. (PS: the giveaway ends soon—have you entered yet? Be sure to check it out on my website, Linda W. Yezak!)

Now, here’s Chandra:

This past weekend our entire family went to San Francisco to celebrate Don and my first granddaughter’s first birthday. We had a wonderful weekend in an incredible city. But, I have to tell you, those hills are crazy. Who would have thought it made sense to build a city on a steep hillside? I truly cannot imagine how they got supplies up those hills using horses and wagons.

Sitting here in south central Pennsylvania on a hot summer day, I think the current theme of my life could be ‘Who Would Have Thought?’ A year ago, I was an unpublished author. Then I was asked if I wanted to join a group of authors in a collection of novellas. I immediately agreed, figuring I could work one of my already completed novels into a novella.

A few weeks into a weird sort of tweaking process I realized the novel did not want to be a novella. I almost decided to drop out of the collection. Then, late one night, I watched a portion at the end of the movie ‘Hook” when the character found a bag of marbles and was so happy he hadn’t lost his marbles after all. I got this image of a yellow marble under the steps of a tiny house built in the trees. Who would have thought something as silly as that could inspire a romantic suspense novella?

Yet, last weekend as we drove down Lombard Street, the Crookedest Street in the World, in between my squeals and laughter I realized writing this novella was like the streets of San Francisco. November first of last year I began climbing the steepest hill of my life. I had never written anything on a deadline, much less something not even plotted before I began the climb. I had only written settings in the summer, because, well, I love summer. But this one needed a blizzard. I needed a bad guy, but my characters also needed emotional challenges worse than any physical threat. Every part of writing this novella was a steep climb. And, the day I turned the manuscript I had a sense of accomplishment and completion.

The thing is, like we discovered last weekend, making it to the top of the hill is not the end of it. As our car reached the peak we could see nothing but sky. The hood of the car jutted over a road so steep below us we could not see it.

In retrospect, when our book, Coming Home: a Tiny House Collection, went live it was like sitting atop Lombard Street and having no idea where it was going, but knowing it was a ride worth taking over and over.

Who would have thought a movie character who “lost his marbles” would be the inspiration for a novella set in a tiny house built in trees in the mountains of West Virginia? And who would have thought a trip to San Francisco was the perfect visual for this writer’s journey? There is only One Who would have thought of this…the One Who stepped into my story and gave me His stories to tell.

About the Author

“The Light Holding Her” in Coming Home: a Tiny House Collection is Chandra Lynn Smith’s debut novel. Chandra, a 2015 Genesis winner, writes contemporary fiction filled with inspiration, intrigue, romance, and dogs. Her career as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer provides her with a variety of canine characters and challenging situations. She and her husband are the proud parents of four sons and joyous grandparents to the most beautiful granddaughter in the world. They live on a small farm in South Central Pennsylvania with their youngest son and two dogs. Their house is often filled with all four sons, wives, fiancés, friends, and anywhere from four to eight “grand dogs.”

You can find her at www.ChandraLynnSmith.blogspot.com and www.ChandraLynnSmith.com

 

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Great Lesson About POV

I spent a little time this past weekend catching up on my emails and blog subscriptions. I am always behind, and sometimes the only thing I can do when I get overwhelmed is delete the lot of them. I’m glad I didn’t this time—what a treasure trove!

My favorite post came from Writer Unboxed a collaborative blog including some heavy hitters in the industry, including Donald Maass. Julia Fierro (author of The Gypsy Moth Summer) wrote the article that caught my attention, “Three Tiers of Point of View Technique: Observation, Interpretation & Imagination.” Julia defines “get closer to your character” and “every detail should work hard” and presents three different ways to show your reader what’s going on in your character’s head and heart.

I’m not going to rehash the entire article here, because you really need to read it yourself. (Yes, I feel strongly enough about it to use “really” in italics.) But here’s a clip I wish all my clients could understand:

Observation is the most superficial POV technique. Even a young child can observe. The air is cold. The teacher is angry. It is raining. It is important for writers to remember that observations are general—they tell instead of show—and don’t reveal what the character is thinking and feeling uniquely.

When Julia edits, she says, she marks certain things as “too info-only.” My clients can expect to see the same words in the future when I see something that is “too info-only” in their works.

Everything—all external stimuli—is filtered through our aggregation of experiences, memories, feelings, attitudes, beliefs. Everything. And Julia shows how to use that aggregation to deepen POV and draw the readers to the characters.

So forgive me my laziness of not coming up with something new and unique for my blog (since last Monday—sorry) and go peek at Julia Fierro’s article. You’re may have a light-bulb experience.

Let me know what you think.

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What Readers Want

Saturday was our annual Texas Blueberry Festival, one of our favorite events. Every year, my husband and I go through the hassle of loading his pickup with all the things necessary to make an attractive booth: table, chairs, inventory, canopy, weights to hold the canopy frame in place, ice chest full of water and Gatorade, table decorations, a box fan, and my ever-present and ever-necessary air conditioner (you can see it to the right side of the picture). When he retires, we’ll do this more often, but for now, the Blueberry Festival is one of only two events we attend—both in June.

Every year, I learn more about what readers I meet in person want. This year, I’m working to increase my product line to give them what they want. Aside from what I have available for them in person—exceptional books with great covers and professional formatting—readers want these:

  • The Digital Version

Of course. Who would be surprised about this? Whenever I’m asked if the book is available on Kindle, I say yes and hand them my business card. And every time, my heart sinks because I know they’ll forget or lose the card or change their minds. Subsequent e-sales after festivals have proven me right.

What to do? I discovered recently that there’s such a thing as “ebook download cards.” Little plastic cards that look like a credit card that you can sell in person. They give the reader one-time access to your novel. They cost you so much per card to be bought in lots of however many you need (they usually require a minimum purchase) plus the cost of putting your image on them (usually just a sticker you can order from Vistaprint or somewhere similar). You sell the cards in person at a higher price. Whether the buyer actually downloads the book doesn’t matter—you’ve made a sale, and you don’t have to worry about them remembering to buy the book later.

Problem is, Livrida and Enthrill—two companies that create these—are either out of business or I simply can’t pull up their websites on my computer with the funky internet service I have. HarperCollins bought Enthrill and put it up with a collection of other umbrella companies that now serve only traditional publishers (from what I can tell).

I’m getting mine made through Texas Association of Authors. I wrote a note to our president to see if this service is limited to Texas. I’ll let you know what he says. Meanwhile, if you know of another place, fill me in, okay?

Problem #2—if it’s a problem—is that I’ll have to take my books off Kindle Unlimited. I’m not certain just how big a problem that is. If I can find retailers to carry the cards, and I’m certain I can, then I’ve improved my distribution. Getting off KU means I can sell my ebooks through other online distributors too, an idea I’ve been playing with anyway. Folks with a large enough product line have severed the cord with KU, and those who have learned the hard lesson about the dangers of keeping their eggs in one basket are no longer restricting themselves to Amazon in general. I have to admit, though: it’s a hard cord to sever.

  • Audio Books

Again, no big surprise. I’m in the process of turning every book within my control into an audio book. But I’m in a dilemma. Amazon’s ACX service is affordable and, for now, the only way I can create an audio book. Paying a reader outright isn’t an option for me yet, and I don’t have the means to read my books myself. So, ACX it is, where I divide royalties with the reader and pay nothing up front.

One of the big cons is that selling an audio book in person—making CDs, for instance—violates Amazon’s exclusivity clause. The clause makes sense. Any sales made outside Amazon would take from the reader’s share of the royalties and therefore are prohibited. Which leaves me in the same boat I was in for digital book sales. Haven’t figured out a way around it yet, other than to pray my income will eventually be enough to bypass ACX. If you have any tips, please share.

  • Large Print Books

This one comes as a surprise but shouldn’t. We sometimes forget that there are people out there who love to read, but don’t spend their lives in front of a screen or plugged in to an iPhone. Granted, I don’t get a lot of calls for large print, but I get enough to make it worth carrying around a few. Whenever someone says, “I love to read, but my eyes won’t let me,” I’ll be able to whip out a large print and say, “Here, just for you!”

The Product Line

Increasing your product line is just plain smart business, and I’m working at it. Some of it falls in the category of “it takes money to make money,” but in the long run, it’ll be worth the funds and effort.

It’s all part of being independent. Once we’ve published a book, we have to shift focus. We are our own marketers and distributors. We have to figure things out. Fortunately, there are plenty of websites and blogs that give us hints and tips on things to do. Subscriptions to The Creative Penn and Jane Friedman are vital.

Thing is, we’re writers. All of us “just want to write.” Well, kids, you can do that. It’s okay. If you want to wait on a contract from a traditional publisher, that’s okay too. More power to you.

If you want to be a successful indie author, however, you have to learn all aspects of the business. I’ve said this more than once: Don’t wait as long as I did to figure all this out. Learn from my mistakes!

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Especially for Writers

Just one today, because it’s worth pondering over:

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Blue Collar Marketing

Some authors can do it—hire a publicist, head out to interviews all over the nation, pay for TV commercials and glossy, full-page ads in national magazines. Most of us can’t, but all of us need some form of marketing plan if we intend to actually sell the novels we’ve spent so much blood, sweat, and tears developing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no pro at this. I was late to the game. Several books on the market before I started developing a clue as how to reach the market. When I figure something out, I usually run here to 777 Peppermint Place—now known by the less flavorful name of Linda Yezak’s blog—and share with you. Last week, I shared “Effective Linking with Bitly,” This week, I want to mention a few other tools I’ve discovered—and most are perfect for a shoe-string budget.

Giveaway Contest Sites

My promo run on Gleam for Coming Home: a Tiny House Collection is still ongoing, so I can’t really score it yet, but Gleam and Rafflecopter are similar. I don’t know which is best—and at the moment, I’m frustrated with Gleam because I can’t seem to pull up a link to their homepage, just to my campaign page. I probably just need more coffee.

Anyway, what’s great about both of these sites is that they help you grow your visibility and following for little or no cost. Even using the freebie service, you can create contests that send potential readers through several steps of liking your Facebook page or following you on Twitter or, in my case, discovering my new website before becoming eligible to win a copy of your book. So with these services, you’re promoting both yourself and your product. With the paid service, you can also have the participants join your newsletter.

Since I haven’t tried Rafflecopter yet, I can speak only of Gleam—and even then, only partially. But Gleam isn’t totally self-evident. There’s a bit of a learning curve to creating a campaign. I went through and played with it to discover the most effective ways I could use it, and even then I goofed. I used the buttons that allowed contestants to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, then tried to use bonus points to have them follow me on Amazon and Goodreads. Problem is, the “Bonus” button doesn’t allow for links, so all the contestant had to do was poke that they’d followed me to win points in the contest. Actually following me turned out to be optional, and since Amazon itself doesn’t provide follower stats, I have no idea whether folks did. I can tell they haven’t on Goodreads. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good tool, just that I used it wrong. We’ll see its effectiveness at the end of the month.

But the point is to combine your efforts to bring attention to both your book and yourself. People signing up for a giveaway are voluntarily making themselves available for your social media promo efforts.

One of the best things I’ve found for this combo effort is Ryan Zee’s promo service. Not long ago, Ryan ran a campaign for “small-town contemporary sweet-to-mild romance,” and I jumped on board. This is a paid service, and joining that campaign cost me $60, not too bad on my small budget. Ryan accumulated 40 authors, each willing to giveaway two books each to only two winners (can you imagine getting 40 books for free?!). It was great for the contestant, but even better for me—it was a newsletter/Amazon-follower drive. Once the competition ended, Ryan sent me the email addresses of all the participants to use for my newsletter list. Of the over 300 who subscribed, only 22 unsubscribed after receiving the first newsletter.

Email Promo Services

Both of these services work for gaining a following, but for gaining interest in a release alone, I recommend one of the email promo services. There is an amazing number of these sites—I get inundated with “follow” requests from them on Twitter, and I’m sure you do too—but few  are truly effective.

Prices on these vary considerably from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. BookBub is hands-down the best, but it’s also the most expensive and the most difficult to get on with. My go-tos are Digital Book Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, Fussy Librarian, and Ereader News Today, among a few others.

Digital Book Today is great because it gives multiple access. For $30, Coming Home was listed on their blog and went out in two emails to their followers. But the most effective the ones on the list is Ereader News Today. It’s also the most expensive of those I use at $55/ad.

I found a list of email promo services on Indies Unlimited, my new favorite source on all things indie. I’ve been going through the list, discovering which other services are effective, but it’s a slow process because it’s a comprehensive list. If you try any of the other services, let me know what your results are.

The point of these services is to promote books that are free or 99c. If they take anything over 99c at all, they charge more. Some of them charge more or less for different genres too. You just have to look and see what fits your budget, then look them up on Twitter. Although these are email services, Twitter can give you a fairly good idea of the size of their following—though, while I was writing this, I checked my favorite, Ereader News Today. Their following is just under 3000. Go figure.

Combining Efforts

Combine any of these ideas I’ve mentioned with a Kindle Countdown campaign, and you’re likely to get good sales. Combine anything on this page with an askDavid blitz, and you can expand your reach.

Kindle Countdown is a free service through Kindle. You can access it through your KDP page. With the countdown, you can set your book on sale for a certain number of days, and Kindle will raise the price of the book as the days go on.

What’s great about the countdown is that Kindle pays the royalty at the regular price. What’s rough about it is that they won’t accept a book that has been on sale in the past three months, and they won’t allow the price to change after the campaign for three months afterward. Still, this works great to get attention for novels in a series. Play with the pricing of the books in the series to play off the campaign of the one on sale.

Tweet services are another great tool to use in concert with the others or independently. I recently found MelRock on Fivrr. This service has as reach of over 65K last I saw, and I intend to try it sometime, but the one I’m most familiar with is askDavid (on Twitter, the handle is @book_tribe).

David has around 58K followers, so getting on his tweet list alone can have quite a reach, but he encourages each participant to retweet the others, so the reach rises exponentially–all for $10.00. For that low price, you get 30 tweets that you design and schedule yourself using your own copy, images, and links. You’re allowed only two hashtags, so use them wisely.

When you’re designing your campaign, consider what you want it to accomplish and how to make the most of it. Ninety-nine cent sales are more for exposure than income, but they’re effective. Combining services can make them more effective.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Christian Titles!

June 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Engaged by Julie Arduini — Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with egg on her face and apologies to make as she tries to determine what’s next, especially when around paramedic Wayne Peterson. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)


Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter — When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down. But when Josephine drives out to Noah’s North Georgia cottage to deliver the corrected papers, they are trapped there during a snowstorm. Things couldn’t get worse…until they are forced out into the storm and must rely on one another to survive. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Zondervan])

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac — Would you give up everything for a life you hate with the person you love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


An Encore for Estelle by Kimberly Rose Johnson — A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner — When Ex-soldier Seth Howell suddenly becomes guardian of a two-year-old, he needs Rachel Perez’s help. Though she is gun-shy about relationships, this handsome cowboy and his adorable son break through. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Finding Love by Toni Shiloh — Delaney Jones is putting her life back together after widowhood when in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson. Luke had a part in the death of Delaney’s husband–will his secrets widen the gulf in their relationship or will he finally find absolution? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

Cozy Mystery:

The Copper Box by Suzanne Bratcher — When antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome, Arizona to search for a copper box she believes will unlock the secrets of her past, deadly accidents begin to happen: someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to kill for it. (Cozy Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Coming Home – A Tiny House Collection by Yvonne Anderson, Michael Ehret, Kimberli S. McKay, Pamela S. Meyers, Ane Mulligan, Chandra Lynn Smith, Linda W. Yezak — Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


Katie’s Quest by Lee Carver — Katie Dennis hopes for fulfillment as a single missionary nurse after the death of her fiancé. She trusts God for a new direction, but she’ll never fall for a pilot again. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

 


A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller — Rocky Ridge Stage Stop Manager Ezra Reid is put in a difficult situation when two ladies show up on his remote doorstep seeking refuge, one of them being Tori Boyd, the mysterious correspondence partner writing him letters for over a year now. Tori refuses the most proper solution to their circumstance—marriage. But when danger follows, it will take a lot more than luck to ensure Ezra’s heart is the sole casualty. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin — In German-occupied Brussels, a WWI nurse struggles to keep two life-threatening secrets. She’s in league with the British Secret Service, and she’s harboring a wounded British pilot. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Gina Welborn — Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere — When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson — Set in WWII, an Irish woman must choose between her heart and her freedom when she finds a downed combatant pilot. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

Mail Order Sweetheart by Christine Johnson — Singer Fiona O’Keefe must make a wealthy match to support her orphaned niece. Musically talented Sawyer Evans is a self-made, but not wealthy, sawmill-manager. Unwilling to live off his father’s railroad fortune, can Sawyer prove to Fiona he’s the man she needs when she’s already determined to mail-order a rich husband? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson — On a quest to find her mother’s family in Louisiana, Englishwoman Catherine Haynes enlists a dashing Key West man seeking revenge for his own family. When an incredible secret comes to light, she and Tom will face a choice. Can they relinquish their dreams to step forward in faith? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens — Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)

Romantic Suspense:

Hidden Legacy by Lynn Huggins Blackburn — When someone threatens the baby she’s adopting, Caroline Harrison must rely on Detective Jason Drake, the man who once broke her heart, to figure out why. If Jason wants a chance at a future with with Caroline and her son, he’ll first have to help them outrun a hit man. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Weaver’s Needle by Robin Caroll — Pitted against each other to recover a map to the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, two recovery specialists follow the trail to Arizona. But someone doesn’t want them to find the map. . .or the mine. They must work together despite their mistrust and growing attraction, to save themselves. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Speculative:

The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe — Revisionary or Rogue? To rescue her brother, Portia might have to break every rule in the book she set out to rewrite. (Speculative from Write Integrity Press)

Women’s Contemporary:

Redemption’s Whisper by Kathleen Friesen — Desperate to escape her past, a suicidal young woman flies from Toronto to a Saskatoon pastor’s home, the only people who may be able to help her. If only someone could love her, in spite of all she’s done. On the flight, she meets a young man torn between seeking affirmation in the big city and helping his parents in Saskatoon. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love? (Women’s Contemporary from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Young Adult:

All Things Now Living by Rondi Bauer Olson — Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him. (Young Adult from Written World Communications)

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Especially for Writers

 

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Effective Linking with Bitly

Knowledge is everything in business. I know that, but I’ve been regrettably slow in learning how to accumulate it. Several publications down the line, I’m finally figuring things out.

So tip #1: Learn this stuff early.

With this new campaign I’m running to promote my Coming Home giveaway, I’ve learned the wonders of bitly. Bitly is a tool that shortens your long honkin’ links into something short and manageable. So, staying with Coming Home, I went from:

https://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-Tiny-House-Collection-ebook/dp/B072FGMV6V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496231239&sr=8-1&keywords=Coming+Home%3A+a+Tiny+House+Collection

to:

http://bit.ly/2rU6XsxCH

Granted, that isn’t a big deal when all you have to do is copy and paste the long honker. But making it shorter isn’t the entire benefit. Bitly keeps stats, like which links were clicked and from where (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Now I can tell how effective some of my memes are on my Facebook author page without relying of FB stats to tell me (I don’t trust them).

With bitly, you can customize each shortened link. See the last two letters on my shortened link? I put those there. Not really necessary, since bitly has each link named and I can tell at a glance which one I need. But ad a “GIO” at the end of it, and I’ll know how often the Coming Home link is being clicked through my gleam.io campaign (Gleam is like Rafflekopter. More on that at a later date). Gleam gives me its own stats, but this way I can find them all in one spot.

I can customize all my books to the locations where I’ve linked them. CHLWY–my website, CHLW–my blog, CHCWL–my newsletter, or codes for my three email addresses. Even though most of these places have stats, with bitly I can get them all in one place and compare the effectiveness of each site.

I can name the memes and determine which works best. This one:

or this one:

Bitly would tell me whether folks clicked more often on Facebook than Twitter, but customizing the link would tell me which meme grabbed the most attention.

Customizing the link would also let me know which Twitter service works best. Most email services use their own links, but with things like askDavid(.com) and Fivrr’s MelRock, which promote for you on Twitter, you can tell which of the two is most effective. Currently, askDavid has 57K followers and MelRock has around 63K. Which service tweets to the folks most likely to buy my books?

Or customize your links to your hashtag. Same principle. You can see which gets you the most attention. And attention, measurable through clicks, is the most important thing you can get when you have a product to sell.

Now that I’ve figured this out, I’m going to go back and change all my links to bitly links. I’m certain I’ve only scratched the surface of how effective this tool could be.

 

 

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