Welcome to the Great Online Scavenger Hunt! Each day, for 22 days, you’ll have a chance to hunt for clues in the form of a line or quote from Annie Kelleher’s paranormal romance The Ghost and Katie Coyle.
The Grand Prize is a Kindle Paperwhite eReader, which will be won only by correctly identifying and reporting all 22 clues first. See Annie’s site for all the details. The clues will be hiding on various websites which will be listed on Annie’s site one day at a time. You can join any time within those 22 days and will also be entered to win either a digital or print copy of RUNNING in the Great Online Scavenger Hunt giveaway hosted by Annie Kelleher, along with the other wonderful prizes she is offering.
There are now TWO clues on my website… one from Day #4 and one from Day #17. My clues won’t be too hard to find, since some of my website is still in progress… so go forth and find them!
When you find those quotes, copy and email them to KatieCoyleScavengerHunt@gmail.com and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win one of the many prizes. And… if you’re diligent in your hunt and manage to collect every single day’s hunt clue, you’ll be eligible for the final drawing to win a Kindle Paperwhite eReader!
Visit Anne Kelleher’s website every day to see which website holds the next clue to hunt down and submit your entry for that day’s prize.
Thanks for your patience while the new website gets populated! You’ll notice my Progress bars over to the right showing where I am on writing new stories. I have a lot in the pipeline, and much of it is coming out soon. It’s going to be a very productive summer!
And don’t forget to pick up the FREE first episode in the Karma series, The Sky Used to be Blue. It’s available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.
In the meantime, fans of cozy mysteries will have fun with eFitzgerald Publishing author Jerilyn Dufresne’s new series. The first book can be found by clicking here.
Here’s the blurb:
A few minutes after he hires Samantha Darling as a therapist, Dr. Burns is murdered. Stunned by his sudden death and desperate to keep the job she just got, Sam vows to find the killer.
She has two things going for her. The first is that her brother Rob is a cop, and she figures the crime-solving thing has to be genetic. The second is that Sam is a little bit psychic—a trait she’s come to accept, though it can be inconvenient at times.
With the help of her landlord and her dog, Sam sets out to solve the murder. Along the way, she spends time with the hot new guy in town and tries NOT to spend time with her old beau.
Using her “psychic vibes,” her wit, and her charm, Sam bumbles along and finally solves the mystery, but not before going in the wrong direction more than once.
Thanks for coming by, and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to hear the latest first, and to get free stories as they come out…! Click here to sign up.
If you want to write, you should write the stories that are in your heart. Follow your bliss, tell your truths… yadda yadda. But if you want to make a living at writing, there are some techniques that will increase your chances of making an early profit, thus putting you in a position to follow your bliss and write the stories that are in your heart.
Herewith, Patrice’s advice on how to make money–as of the indie ebook world in the spring of 2013:
Write AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Write AS FAST AS POSSIBLE
Personally, I have many different interests, and I’m currently concocting ebooks in lots of different genres, including science fiction/fantasy, political thrillers, chick lit, cozy mysteries, and funky short stories. So I don’t mind concentrating on what works best, i.e., gets me more readers, first.
GENRE – Romance, chick lit, sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, are the easiest sells. I think that’s the current order of popularity. Not that you can’t write the great American literary novel. But perhaps try something hotter first.
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE – This means that if you have a book out that hits big, and you have nothing to sell other than that, you waste a golden opportunity to convert readers to fans. They read the one, think it’s great, and have nothing else to buy… and nothing else to hook them in to you as an author. When you get the next book out a year later, they have moved on to other authors, and have bought their entire oeuvres. That could have been you! (Trad publishers, take note–one book every year or two is not making it any more for readers.) Of course you have to start with your first book. Just keep writing. Don’t wait to see if self-publishing is for you. It won’t be for you if you only write one book. I made that mistake. I had a phenomenal selling streak with my political thriller RUNNING in the hot days around Christmas of 2011 (eons ago in self-pub time). For about a minute I made $6,000 a week. Which slowly simmered down into the summer of 2012, when I made FAR less. I still don’t have a book to follow that one up in the political thriller genre. Which brings me to my next point:
AS FAST AS POSSIBLE – You have a busy life, I know. A day job, a spouse, a house, kids, the dog, friends, TV shows (you’re still watching TV?? You’re a writer. Writing is the new TV. Get away from the screen… unless you’re typing on it.) But write anyway. You may have heard of Hugh Howey, of WOOL fame. He wrote during his lunch breaks while working as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. He scribbled in longhand part of one of his books while sitting in the audience at a book awards presentation… while they were up there congratulating last year’s bestsellers, he was at a table writing the next one. P.S. He made more than a million dollars last year on self-published ebooks alone. And then sold print rights for mid-six figures, and sold the book in 24 countries, and sold film rights and comic book rights and… yeah, don’t get jealous, just write your own book. Books!
SHORT – I have my newest short story out now, 8,500 words, and it’s selling for 99¢. That one short story is going to make me $700 this month. That’s at the 35% royalty rate. Multiply that by several shorts, and you get… more money. Short is fast, short is easy, and readers LOVE short. They can read it on their lunch hour. It’s ideal for iPhones and iPads. Now that the price point for indie ebooks is rising to $2.99 or $4.99, not as many full-length novels are selling for 99¢. Plus, even full-length is dropping in length from 80,000- 100,000 being typical for a print novel (and longer for fantasy and sci-fi titles) to 50,000 – 80,000 being considered a reasonable length. Joe Konrath calls anything over 30,000 a novel now, and anything over 15,000 a short novel. Barry Eisler sells 35,000 words as a novel…. You can now write THREE books with the words that it used to take to make ONE. Faster, shorter, more money for you. They still have to have a satisfying story arc, a beginning, middle and end. Just make the bits move faster.
SERIES – This is pretty obvious from all the millions of Book 1, Book 2, Book 37 titles you see out there. One set of co-writers is publishing “Around the World in 80 Men,” and they’re up to Books 21-25 (Puerto Rico, Nevada, Tahiti, Spain, Holland, FYI). They sell each ebook for 99¢ and collections of of five for $3.99. They’re going for, obviously, 80 of these. This sweet young waitress becomes a high-priced international hooker. (I suspect there is sex involved.) They’ve simplified the process for themselves–no not the sex process!–of preparing the books by using the same cover in different colors. I think these writers are going to make a mint. You don’t need that many fans if they all buy 80 of your books, or 16 compilations of 5 books each. And these writers are putting them out there FAST! I just read the first chapter of the first one, which is currently free, which is another wise move when you have a lot of books out… we could add FREE to the GAASS acronym, but then it would be GAASSF, and what does that mean? The first chapter showed this to be a fun, light read. About a sweet young thing who decides to travel the world and have sex for money. How much you want to bet she pulls a Pretty Woman and falls in love with Mr. #80?
So there you have it. The latest best advice on how to maximize your earning potential as an indie ebook writer. All so that you can make a few bucks and then write that esoteric masterpiece on ancient phlebotomy techniques among the Incans. Which, who knows, could turn out to be your biggest seller!
Because I believe in giving back, I am going to start critiquing (for free) your work. I’m a good writer–I’ve been writing novels for 20 years. I have an English degree (and a law degree and a grad degree in vocal performance, but I’m not sure they will help you much) and I’ve worked as a freelance writer as well as an editor. I’m the CEO of my own publishing company, and my ebooks are on the charts.
After each post I’ll pick one commenter and critique up to 10 pages or 2,500 words.
I don’t have many commenters yet, so your odds are excellent! A comment gets you one chance, a tweet of this post another. Linking to it on your site or FB page gets you another. Subscribing, friending me on FB or following me on Twitter gets you another. Increase your odds by doing as much as you can. And if you become a regular around here I’ll probably just pick you eventually anyway. If I read your pages I plan to be honest, so be ready for that.
So let me know in the comments what you are doing to promote this worthy, pithy, and free advice for fellow authors, and I will put your name in the hat for a personal critique by ME.
Thanks for reading!
Now go out there, fellow writer, and step on the GAASS. Or, GAASSF. Or maybe GAFASS… which sounds really bad.
You know, fellow readers and writers, since my big Christmas break-out with RUNNING, I have been concentrating on money earned. And in the excitement of the sudden flurry of cash (which happened right around Christmas, but only landed in my bank account at the end of February) I got happy but anxious about HOW TO KEEP IT COMING IN at that lovely rate.
And the truth is — I can’t. I can’t control what folks like and buy and read and respond to. I can only control what I write. Trying to psych out the coolest marketing phrase or the optimal tweet will only make you crazy… or at least, it will make me crazy.
So I have vowed to concentrate more on the writing. Last week I dictated a story that I have been thinking about for a couple of years. Just a little short one, but powerful. THE TERMINAL. (That is, if I don’t change the title…)
The story came out nearly all of a piece, because it had “percolated” in my head for some time. It needs only a few small tweaks to finalize and put to bed. Or to press.
I think I’ll make this one free. I plan to post it on Wattpad, which I hear great things about. Possibly also Figment, and Redroom, and Smashwords… though the last time I tried that I had trouble jumping through their formatting hoops. In any case, I hope it will be an important story that gets out to readers and will — possibly — lead some of them to me.
And even if it never does, I will be happy to put that story out into the world, because that’s what we storytellers do. We share our words. Having a reader is what makes a story complete.
So, having said that… Drumroll, please! When I added up the sales of all of my books, I discovered these excellent numbers:
2,400 ebooks sold for real money
860 ebooks borrowed, which brings in money too
And a fabulous grand total of 40,000 ADDITIONAL ebooks downloaded!! [For free, I should add. But still!]
As to money, I am up in the baby five figures, which isn’t bad for a fledgeling business less than a year old.
I only started on the 4th of July, 2011… I became an Indie Writer on Independence Day, get it? (Someday I’ll tell you the story of that looooong weekend and how my husband and I managed to get through our first big formatting and uploading task without our marriage falling apart.)
And I am pretty jazzed about how much I have actually sold. Particularly when you consider the alternative… I could have been submitting query letters to agents for another 20 years instead!
Happy writing to you, friends.
Dear Fellow Self-Publishers:
Did you know that your enrollment in KDP Select, that fantastic tool which allows you to pinpoint five “free” days for your book in exchange for a promise of 90 days of Kindle exclusivity, will automatically renew unless you unclick the magic box to keep it from doing so?
The fine print in the KDP Select rules indicates that they will remind you 15 days before your 90-day period is up, so that you can decide whether or not to “re-up.” But you don’t have to wait till then… you can simply unclick the box right now for any titles that you have enrolled. That way you can be sure that you won’t forget, and will be free and able to sell on any platforms you wish as soon as the 90-day period is over.
Of course, I’m a big proponent of KDP Select, which has worked wonderfully for me in getting downloads and reviews for both my own thriller RUNNING and eFitzgerald author Frisky Dimplebuns’ DREAMBOAT — the first of The Frisky Chronicles. But if you are not inclined to continue with the KDP Select program, don’t forget to switch it off before you are locked into another three months of exclusivity.
And I’d love to hear about your own experiences with KDP Select. Did it work for you?
Though I read over and over that we self publishers should be PATIENT… I am not by nature a very patient person! So when I had a fantastic result in late December with my best-selling political thriller RUNNING after using a single free day on Amazon’s KDP Select program (8,000 free downloads followed by 1,500+ sales in the next 10 days) I was elated. It lasted for quite a while, but by the end of January sales had settled down to about 5-10 copies a day. So I decided to do it again.
The exciting news is that I saw a torrent of downloads – 9,000 over the two days. The day after, I sold only 5 copies. Big letdown! Yesterday I sold 7, with 2 borrows. Oh well, that’s a little better. But this morning I wake up and RUNNING had sold 30 by 11:00 a.m. A significant improvement. I’ll take those numbers, I figured, particularly if they continue throughout the day. And a Tuesday morning doesn’t typically mean a huge rush to buy ebooks.
As several people have pointed out, the endgame in all this is visibility. Building your brand, and your fan base. Getting yourself higher up on the charts. Getting more reviews. All of this works toward a long-term career as a writer. A writer who writes books worth buying.
I should mention that my price point is higher than most self-publishers. My career plan includes being able to live on my income as a writer, so it’s important to me to price my novels up there with Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, and others who are published traditionally.
So what do I need to do now? GET MORE GOOD NOVELS WRITTEN. I met with my critique partner today to fine-tune the synopsis (before starting to write) of my next thriller, which starts with the abduction of the Secretary of State in some war-torn former Soviet satellite. Action, suspense, romance, sex, bombs, helicopters, international diplomacy, and a strong woman protagonist. I can’t wait!
Oh, and P.S. I sold 66 copies of RUNNING today. A fabulous result.
Do you have yours yet?
Works in Progress
"Sand Song” (a novella set in Hugh Howey’s SANDbox) 8,627 / 10000 words. 87% done!
"The Terminal” (a dark futuristic short) 2383 / 2000 words. 100% done!
“ROCKS 1” (the first episode in a dystopian series) 5675 / 10000 words. 57% done!
“Salt & Pepper Mystery #1” (Book one of a cozy mystery series) 22379 / 40000 words. 56% done!
Karma lives in the Silo, deep underground. She lives with a man whom she barely knows and with a name she doesn’t remember choosing. When visions come to her about another husband, another way of life, and another world, Karma struggles to discover what came before.
Five years have passed since the airlock slammed shut on the 4,000 souls condemned to live in the Silo. Karma can remember now that there was a time before--before she was locked into this cylindrical tomb under the earth. But all she can see of the outside are dead hills and the dark clouds swirling through what remains of a toxic world.
Karma lives in a Silo deep beneath the earth. She isn't sure of much else… only that the wallscreen shows an outside view that is barren and swirling with toxic clouds. Most of the other residents seem content. Except for the ones who jump to their deaths from the hundred-level spiral staircase. And the ones who are pushed.
The kids are fighting in the Silo—gangs engage in battles between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.
Karma has endured twenty-five years underneath the earth. Her path in life—a path she never bargained for—has included marriage to a man she never chose, whose powerful position forces her to hide her memories of the time before.
After a hellish three months locked in the private inner sanctum of IT, Karma and her family emerge, bloodied and forever changed. Rick is a man who is no longer in control. Mars has become the power in the Silo.
Daniel is sixteen now, and he can count up to one hundred. He can go all by himself up and down the two levels of the Silo between his home and his job. Daniel knows he's not as smart as some people. But his mother told him he was smart enough to help her, so it must be true. He always believes his mother. His mother is a doctor.
THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN... Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against GOP candidate Jerusha Hutchins, folksy charmer and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party.
Join Harold and Rosemary as they bring together their family and friends for a night of celebration before a long-planned trip... and see just how this journey ends. Mix a little Dorothy Parker and a little Shirley Jackson, add a twist of David Sedaris and a pinch of O.Henry, and out comes a satirical romp. "Till Death Do Us Part" is a 3,000 word short story. This is a sophisticated take on the way people fool themselves. More New Yorker magazine than Asimov.
A pinch of Dorothy Parker and a twist of O.Henry go into the mix to make this Fitzgerald short a bracing sip of satire. There is a free sample of RUNNING, her best-selling Kindle political thriller, at the end of this story.
Another quirky short story from Patrice Fitzgerald about love and the ways people connect. When Felicia gets a special birthday request from her husband Herman, she can't believe what he's asking her to do. Will she say yes? This 3,000 word short story explores the nature of a happy marriage, compromise, and passion. A four-chapter sample of Fitzgerald's best-selling political thriller, RUNNING, is also included.
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