Riding the eBook Industry Roller Coaster

When Just Ella had been out for just a few weeks, Amazon took notice of the fact that I was selling a few copies a day, which meant I was quite a bit more successful than a lot of self-pubbed authors, so they picked it up and marketed it for me. That made all the difference. I had the power of the great Amazon marketing machine in my corner and my sales shot up.

Knowing that, when Keeping Kinley was published with Kindle Press, I was very excited. I would have the full weight and power of Amazon marketing on my side. I thought I would see a marked increase in sales over my last couple books. After all, surely the combination of my own efforts with the Kindle Press team would equate to many more sales than I had been able to generate by myself, right?

I have spreadsheets of each month of sales for each of my books. It was pretty disappointing to compare my Painting Rain first month with my Keeping Kinley first month and realize that it was pretty much a wash. The numbers were very similar, and if anything, my Keeping Kinley numbers were actually lower.

The why of those numbers has been bugging me, and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.

The eBook market has been an interesting thing to watch as it has developed, not only as a reader, but as an author as well. When Kindle, Nook, and iBooks came on the scene, they broke open the publishing industry. They made both consuming and publishing books as easy as a click of the mouse.

Prior to those platforms, any author who wished to be published had to either be chosen by a publishing company, or they could go the route of “vanity publishing.” My understanding is that it was known as vanity publishing because only people who were too vain to realize that their book just wasn’t good enough would be willing to shell out the money to have their own books published. Vanity publishing was synonymous with bad writing.

A lot of us had a front row seat as that changed. More and more authors who had been summarily rejected by the publishing industry became brave enough to publish their own books now that the big eBook distributors allowed you to do so without the need to cough up a bunch of cash.

When I first finished Just Ella and started querying publishers in 2012, the industry was just on the cusp of of changing. People were starting to read books published by the authors themselves, and it turns out that some of them were really well done. Thus the change from calling it “vanity publishing” to “self-publishing.” There was no longer a heavy stigma hovering over self-published work. After all, we live in a world of computers, and maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing to change with the times. Perhaps we didn’t all need to be held captive by the publishing industry.

Looking back, I realize that Just Ella hit the eBook market at exactly the right moment. Readers were ready to give self-published authors a chance, especially when such books were usually priced at half the cost of traditionally published books. Just Ella was comparatively cheap and with the help of the ‘look inside’ feature that amazon offers, readers could sample the book before committing to the buy.

No one was more surprised by the success of Just Ella than I was. When my first day of big sales numbers rolled in, my husband and I both agreed that it was a technical glitch. But the sales continued the next day and the next. I slowly realized that it had been included in some emails that Amazon had sent to readers. The pump was primed, and I had jumped into the market at the opportune moment.

Since then, a lot of people have read my books. A lot of people have liked them. So with the success of my first, I anticipated that the launch of each subsequent book would be even more successful. After all, I’ve gathered a fairly loyal following and my name is known by a few people (at least in my niche market). However, that hasn’t been the case. Each of my book launches has been less and less successful. The numbers aren’t as high right off the bat, and the sales taper off more quickly.

When even Keeping Kinley (with the Kindle Press team on my side) didn’t compare to the success of Just Ella, I had to wonder: What gives?

My guess is this.

Demand for ebooks rose sharply when:
1) Self-publishing lost its stigma and those books started to be welcomed and anticipated by readers.
2) With the Kindle app and other eBook reading apps, people were given the ability to read anywhere they went. We now have access to hundreds of books from our phones and can consume books at a higher and faster rate.

This demand for more books was met with a response from authors.
1) Authors who had been too timid to publish before decided to give it a try. Many had multiple books finished and just waiting to be published.
2) As self-published authors learned how to navigate that world, they have banded together to cross-promote; they’ve teamed up on series and anthologies; they’ve taken an industry that used to be exclusive to the big publishers and they’ve figured out how to do it on their own. They write and edit and market from their couches and their home offices. Some do it full time, others do it as a hobby in their spare time. Regardless of how they got into this, self-published authors have claimed their spot in the publishing industry.

Huzzah!

However, all of that means that the eBook market has been absolutely flooded with new content. The number of books published every day is staggering. Even just looking at the clean romance genre, which used to be minuscule, I now come across new books constantly. That’s great for readers. As a reader, I love it.

As an author, I have to adjust to it. And I also wonder how long this trend will hold. Is it already turning in a new direction? Will the demand for books stay high? Or will the ability to stream Netflix and other on-demand TV shows and movies right to our phones mean that consumers choose to watch their entertainment instead of read it?

If the demand for books does go down significantly, will some authors decide it isn’t worth their time and pull out of the game? I saw a Facebook post recently from an author who was disappointed with his sales numbers. He was thinking about throwing in the towel and not finishing the sequel he had planned. I wonder how many authors might do the same. Will that become a norm? Will those who can’t find an audience in a bloated industry back out altogether? Maybe.

So then, should other authors be leery of jumping into the publishing game? That depends entirely on what they’re after. Writing isn’t a way to make a quick buck. Books sell well when they’re great books, and it’s been my experience that the best books are the ones written by those who love the writing.

I wrote a piece several years ago about suffering for your art. My advice now would be a lot the same as it was back then. If what you’re doing is truly your art, you won’t mind the suffering. Writing keeps me sane. Writing is my time to think grown-up thoughts and interact with grown-up (though fictitious) people. Any author will tell you that if you’re in it for the money, you should pick a different career. But if you’re in it for the joy of it, for the sanity it brings to your life, and for the love of characters no one else realizes exist, then in the end, what the market does or doesn’t do won’t matter.

I could wonder, research, and try to understand the grand complexities of eBook supply and demand, publishing trends, and marketing, but nothing I learn is going to change the fact that I love writing books—so I’m going to keep doing it.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

80 Clean Romance Novels $.99 Each

Hello!

I hope everyone is adjusting well to school being back in session. I know that I’m still trying to get my footing as I work out a new schedule for mommying and writing.

I have some great news. Not only are the first four Dalthia books ALL on sale for $.99, but they are part of a sale that includes 80 CLEAN ROMANCE Novels.

There are multiples genres included. We’ve got contemporary, historical, suspense, YA, and paranormal. But all are ROMANCE and all are CLEAN. So check them out, see what tickles your fancy and grab up some cheap reading!

*I should clarify that I have not read all of these books. In fact I think I’ve only read two of them (besides my own, of course). This was put together by my author friend Lindzee Armstrong, and she gathered all the authors and info. Each author has asserted that their books are clean, but I cannot personally endorse them since I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. 🙂 Happy reading!

SaveSave

SaveSave

$0.99 Summer eBook Sale!

Heads up! Just Ella is part of a multi-author summer promotion. All 57 of these books are only $0.99! June 19th-22nd.

BE SURE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE HEAT RATINGS! These books run the gamut, so be sure to grab those that you will enjoy.

heat 1 Nothing but sweet kisses, no language, mild violence
heat 2 Passionate kissing, minimal mild language (a.k.a. Bible curses), mild violence
heat 3 Closed-door sex, moderate language, moderate violence
heat 4 Steamy sex with some description, some graphic language, some graphic violence
heat 5 Steamy sex with graphic description, graphic language, graphic violence

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

New Just Ella Paperback

Hello Readers!

The paperback of Just Ella with its new cover is up and running. So if you’ve been wanting one for yourself or a friend, then have at it!

When designing print covers, the hardest part by far is figuring out how to do the spine. I’m so happy with how this one turned out though! It took a lot of experimenting, and a lot of me trying to explain my ideas while my husband looked at me like I was making no sense (because I was probably doing a lot of hand gesturing and not enough actual explaining), but we got it done!

I’m especially glad that I was able to keep the painting from the original cover as the background for the back cover. It all just works, and it’s so light and happy.

June has been great month. The launch of Keeping Kinley was successful, and I get excited every time I see a new review, whether it’s for Keeping Kinley or for any of my other books.

Perhaps now I can buckle down and focus and writing something new!

SaveSave

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to all who entered my giveaway, especially those that wrote reviews and shared on social media. This has been a great first week for Keeping Kinley, and I’m proud of my little book baby for doing so well out in the real world.

Now for the winner!

 

You have won a signed paperback of Keeping Kinley! I’ll be in touch so that we can work out the details.

Thank you again everyone for your support, for reading my books, and for coming back for more.

Keeping Kinley Release Day

It’s launch day!

Keeping Kinley is officially released, which means that all you wonderful readers who pre-ordered should have your copies ready to read on your Kindle.

A big THANK YOU to all who nominated Keeping Kinley on kindle scout and then left reviews. I ended up with over 60 reviews before the official release, which is huge!

In celebration of this 5th (and probably final) installment of the Dalthia series, I’ll be giving away a free signed paperback.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just Ella Cover Updated

All right, my friends. Here it is. My brand spanking new cover for Just Ella!

I feel like there should be a heavenly chorus singing sweet strains of music.

I do love it so.

So, SO pretty! Thank you so much to my model, Sabrina, to my sister and amazing photography, Jen (fausetphotography.com), and to my husband, Cameron, for putting it together. I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out!

The paperback cover isn’t quite ready yet, but I’ll let you know when it is!

 

Just Ella Cover Photoshoot

The decision to create a new cover for Just Ella was not one that I made lightly. The original cover design was entirely my brain child. I scoured images, pulled together the background, the dress and the hair and then sent the cobbled together image to my sister, Cherise, so that she could paint it. The resulting painting was gorgeous, fabulous, exactly what I wanted. It was the perfect representation of my book, a cherished piece of art.

It did not, however, make a good book cover on its own.

I had forgotten about where I would put the title. I hadn’t considered what it would look like in a smaller size. I didn’t know how to make a good book coverbecause I’d never done it before (learning curve of a self published author). I hadn’t thought through what it would look like in postage stamp size. And THAT is a very important consideration when your main format will be ebooks. My covers are my one big advertisement. They have to be able to catch a reader’s attention so that they will click on it to read more. If I can’t catch their attention with that tiny cover when they’re scrolling through the kindle bookstore, I get nowhere.

So when my husband and I were trying to take this painting and turn it into a cover, we had to manipulate the colors and change the image so that it read well as an advertisement. I hated that I had to change it. It felt wrong to adjust the colors that my sister has so painstakingly mixed and applied. I didn’t want to change my pretty painting. But it was what it was. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the end result. I like my original cover, but it’s always bothered me that it wasn’t true to the painting that my sister had worked so diligently to bring my vision to life.

Over the past couple of years, she’s mentioned to me a time or two that if I want to redo the cover, I should. At first I dismissed the idea. That cover came from my brain and from her artistic hands, and I didn’t want to change it. However, as I pondered on the idea over time, I realized that if I ever got the opportunity, I should probably take it. All of my other covers are photos, and it would look better for continuity sake if Just Ella was a photo cover as well.

There was a catch though. If I was going to shoot anywhere, it had to be in the original location that inspired the cover in the first place. Wadley farms is down in Provo, six hours from where I live. So when I ended up planning a trip to a writing conference in Provo (in May, when the plants and greenery would be gorgeous), I knew I had to give it a try. My oldest sister, Jen (Fauset photography) lives in Heber. So I arranged to go down a day early so that we could get together and shoot.

The date was set. The plan was in motion.

Then I had to figure out the dress. I was determined to find a ready made costume so that I wouldn’t have to spend extra money on buying fabric and extra time trying to make a formal dress utilizing my limited sewing skills.

The best laid plans…

I went to a costume place, found something that I thought would work, brought it home, looked at it further…it wasn’t going to work. *banging my head against a wall* So I pulled out every formal dress that I had on hand, trying to see if maybe—just maybe—I could utilize something I had on hand. Make it over, make it gorgeous.

I pulled out a bridesmaid dress that I had worn when I was 15 and started tweaking.

This is what the dress looked like originally:

Yup. That’s me. In all my 15-year-old glory.

I went to goodwill and bought a cream prom dress that I could use for a contrasting fabric color and I started cutting. And stitching. And adjusting. And so much hand sewing.

Laying it out, trying to figure out how it’s going to look.

I sew in the same way that I write books. I make it up as I go and cross my fingers that it works out. Then I re-do it when it doesn’t.

Good glory, but I am proud of this dress.

I was working on little last minute tiny details up until the morning that I left to drive down. I became a little obsessive about it. But it was very satisfying to see the final result when the model put it on.

Speaking of the model. Sabrina was amazing! Her hair was perfection and she was so fun to work with. She was happy to do whatever we asked (including climbing a tree) and we had a great time walking around the amazing grounds, going inside the castle (because they have a castle) and contorting ourselves to get the right poses and lighting. (I really wish I had a picture of me propping open the giant castle doors. Two hands on one door, bent over, stretching to keep the other door open with my foot at the same time.)

In the end, it was so much fun, and so worth it. I’ve almost finalized the new cover and will get it up as soon as possible. I’ve been using the other pictures on Instagram, pairing them with quotes from the book, and sighing over their perfectness as I do.

Happy Pre-order Launch Day!

It’s official! Keeping Kinley is up for pre-order on Kindle, with an official publication date of May 30th. Right now you can pre-order for $3.99. However, that might change. I have absolutely NO CONTROL over the price. Since it’s published by Kindle Press, the price is set by them.

 So what does this mean for all you beautiful people who nominated it on Kindle Scout?

It means that there should be an email sitting in your inbox letting you know how to get your free copy. If it’s not there yet, it will be soon. Some have already received theirs, so I know it’s happening!

I hope those of you who receive copies find joy in reading it. And I hope that you will let me know what you thought when you are finished. As always, I’m anxious to know if you will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed my other books.

When you’re finished, it would mean the world to me if you would go onto Amazon and/or Goodreads and review it. Or tweet about it, or tell a friend. Any help you can give me in spreading the word makes a HUGE difference.

If you see any typos (OH NO!), please let me know! Contact me through my website, or through FB, or tweet at me if you’d like. Hopefully everything is all clean and tidy, but even with all my rounds of edits, sometimes I miss things.

I’m excited to hear early feedback, and I can’t wait for this month to be over so that my little book can go forth into the world. Huzzah!

It’s a YES!

Keeping Kinley has been selected for publication by Kindle Press!

See? It’s right there at the top of the KindleScout site. Doesn’t it look great there?

I’ve already updated my files, so now I’m waiting on the Kindle Press team to review it and offer any suggestions. If I’m lucky, the process will go quickly, but I really don’t know how long it will take, so please bear with me. As soon as I know anything about pre-order or publication dates, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops.