In The Middle Of The Week That Was

Do you remember the day you first laid eyes on the love of your life? For Tate Newell and Christina Clay, hero & heroine of my debut book with Escape Publishing His Brand Of Beautiful, it was this week.

Actually, it was last Friday, May 24th. It was supposed to be this Friday, May 31st. And because Christina mucked the dates up in her diary, all hell broke loose.

If she looks back now, I don’t think she’d mind the consequences.978085799030311.jpg

It might surprise you to know that I am really not a winter girl. I love summer. I love the heat. I even like humidity, and one day, I’d love to have a tropical garden in which to potter. But for now, both my novels have been set in a Southern Hemisphere winter. His Brand Of Beautiful in May; and The Goodbye Ride novella is set over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June. (Which by the way, happens to be Saturday week in Australia – June 8, 9 and 10).

So you can read both my stories in ‘real time’ if you’d like to, over the next couple of weeks.

But this week is about Christina & Tate.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of His Brand Of Beautiful. Christina is hosting her sister-in-law’s Hen’s Party and she’s waiting for the evening’s entertainment (the stripper) to show up. When he does, he isn’t being particularly enthusiastic about getting the party started.


His Brand Of Beautiful 

“Miss Clay, there’s been a mistake.”

“I beg your pardon?” She smoked him with her best glare. No way was he wriggling out of this now, she’d paid her deposit.

“Do I really look like a stripper to you?”

“Actually, yes. We ordered the Billionaire Businessman.” She crossed her arms over her chest and a caterpillar-row of bracelets clanked on her wrist.

He held her gaze for a long moment, slipped a hand in his shirt pocket — a beautiful blue Italian silk a shade brighter than his eyes — and extracted his business card. “Christina, I’m Tate Newell. Outback Brands. Tate, not Nate, I thought I misheard you earlier. We have an appointment.”

Something rolled in the pit of her stomach. “Yes we do. Next Friday.”

He fished in his suit pocket, found his mobile and scrolled. “Here. Christina Clay. 5.30pm, May 24. Initial consultation re: Clay Wines’ brand.” He held up the screen. “I thought those balloons on the gate were your idea of a joke.”

“A joke?”

The corner of his lip curved. “I thought you were celebrating that you’d finally got me out here, Christina. That the five hundred phone calls worked.”

Two thoughts flashed through her mind: Dear God. This party’s going to hell in a handbasket and Dear God. My new brand. What she said was: “It wasn’t five hundred.”

With that, her brain started working again, only it couldn’t decide whether the best thing she should do was say shit or sorry and it was still trying to work that out when a voice hollered from the kitchen: “Don’t start without us, CC.”

“Just a minute,” Christina yelled back down the hall and her hand shot to her temple. “Shit.”

Tate chuckled.

Her gaze snapped to the suit-clad body making her hall feel small.


On the premises.

It was a short list.

“Blind Freddie could see what you’re thinking. N.O.” He shoved his briefcase into his opposite hand and leaned his weight toward the door.

“Wait! Tate? Please? I’m trying to think outside the square here. Could you help a girl out?”

“You’re not thinking outside the square. You’re outside the damn hemisphere.”

“You don’t have to get your clothes off. It’s just a paint party. It’s my step-mother’s idea—she lent me all the stuff. There’s just an itty-bitty room full of easels and amateur painters, very low key. You’re a graphic art guru. I bet you’re a dab hand with a paint brush.” The words tumbled from her lips.

“CC! While we’re young, hey?” Marlene’s voice foghorned up the hall and Christina knew she wouldn’t sip champagne and wait. Marlene would come and investigate.

There was an echo of cheers. The girls getting restless.

“Please? It’s my best friend’s Hen’s Night. It’s the only one she’ll ever get.” She ignored the small voice in her head that wanted to add: I hope.

Tate exhaled. “I can’t believe you’re playing the guilt card.”

“You should feel guilty. I’ve been trying to meet with you since February. Every time I called, your receptionist fobbed me off. I don’t think you want my business at all.” She stabbed her finger at his chest. It felt good to be on the offensive. “If you hadn’t been avoiding me, we would have had this appointment weeks ago—months ago—and no way could it have got mixed up with tonight.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. “You can’t keep a diary straight and that’s my fault?”

She stomped hard on her temper. Tonight, as everybody kept saying, wasn’t about her, and if Tate Newell walked out she was up the creek, sans paddle, in more ways than one. She could kiss Lacy’s party and her new wine brand goodbye, because right now the odds of a follow-up appointment with Tate were slim.

“Ready or not, CC, I’m counting to ten…” Marlene’s voice boomed up the corridor.

How far Christina is prepared to go to get Tate to fill-in for the no-show Stripper takes up much of Chapter 1, and in Chapter 2, things get steamy. If you’d like to read more about His Brand Of Beautiful, you can browse the book and buy it by clicking here.
And if you do remember when you first laid eyes on Mr Right… feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.


Amazon Kindle Free Promotions: Doing the math (mutter, mumble)

Let me be blunt. I write books. I’m an English brain. I hate math.

I’d go so far as to say: If math were on fire, I’d stand beside it with a placard chanting “burn, burn, burn”…

Yet this is a post about numbers. It has to be. I want to treat my writing as a business, and much as I’d love to put my head in the sand when it comes to numbers, the numbers are important.

So here’s a few for you.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that my new contemporary novella, The Goodbye Ride, launched with a free promotion last Thursday. It was free for three days with the free promotion finishing on Saturday.

The best that I saw the novella rank was on Saturday morning when it reached #282 on the Free in Kindle Store rank (see below).

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

#282 Free in Kindle Store

#13 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women’s Fiction

#14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction

In total, 2650 people took advantage of my free promotion to download the book over three days. I am over-the-moon thrilled with that.

The US was the most popular (1812); UK next (617); Germany (145); Canada (55); France (16); Italy (4) and Japan (1). The US would include Australia, and I’d say a big part of that 1812 would have been Aussies – wonderful RWA members and friends, and friends of friends.

An Aussie author I admire, said she’d heard that to break into the top 100 Kindle Free list, an author needs to be downloading about 1000 copies per hour. How spooky is that figure! For me, it felt like my sales averaged about 30 per hour, with Saturday (Friday night Australia time) probably hitting about 40/hour when the ranking reached its highest. You’ll forgive me at this point if I say, it isn’t an exact science. (I don’t like science either).

Now the real trick for The Goodbye Ride is what happens now. When the ‘Free’ status dropped out, the next figure I saw was something in the 300,000s… that’s bounced back today and last I checked, was in the 50,000-60,000s.

So if one begins talking about writing as a business, one must have a business plan. Right? And for me, The Goodbye Ride was a choice I made to put a second Lily Malone product into the big library in the sky – in hopes that would help boost my ‘brand’, find me more readers and in turn, help my debut novel, His Brand Of Beautiful, and the novels I’ll write in the future.

One of the great things about self-publishing is the ability an author has to control their own e-book content. I was able to put brief reviews for His Brand Of Beautiful at the back of the book, and mention this title in my author bio, along with my social media links.

When I look at Goodreads, since The Goodbye Ride launched, the number of people marking His Brand Of Beautiful ‘To Read’ has jumped by about 25-30. I can only attribute that to the ‘noise’ I managed to make (with the help of many friends) for The Goodbye Ride. I’ve also picked up two new reviews for His Brand Of Beautiful. 

They are small numbers, but they are massive to me, and they’re massive in percentage terms. It was only November 2012 when His Brand Of Beautiful was picked up by Escape; and it is only March this year that it released. So two titles in two months feels pretty special.

Today I read a post by Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords. Talk about timely! Whether you’re into self-pubbing or traditional publishing, a lot of what Coker says will be of interest to you, particularly when it comes to pricing. Many of the Escape Publishing titles (including His Brand Of Beautiful) are priced at $3.99 on Amazon, which has to be 20% cheaper than anywhere else. Coker says the $3.99 price point is the ‘best place’ to be in at the moment (although this might change)… and he says $1.99 is a pricepoint to avoid.

Enter my next mathematical problem. What do I price The Goodbye Ride? It’s a novella of 32,000 words. I’ve seen novellas of 14,000 words priced on Amazon at $1.99. I’ve seen books of 100,000 words priced at 0.99c and of course, there’s everything in between.

I really wanted to go with $2.99, for two reasons.

  • I think it’s worth it.
  • Amazon’s royalty options.

Yes, Amazon gives you options! You can “choose” (their word, don’t you love it?) whether you go for a 35% royalty or a 70% royalty but there are strings attached to the 70%. One of which is, books must be for sale above $2.99. (I think it was $2.99 to $9.99). The minute you price below $2.99, the 70% royalty rate is no longer an option for you. If anyone out there knows why Amazon does this – I’d love to know?

But, much as I’d love to put The Goodbye Ride in the $2.99 (because 70% sounds so much better than 35%); my gut tells me that’s too high to be competitive on Amazon. So if I revisit my goals for the book, and the plan is to use The Goodbye Ride to complement His Brand Of Beautiful and get a Lily Malone product in more reader’s hands.. then it doesn’t make sense to over-price The Goodbye Ride.

Coker also says:

“When an author sells a book, they receive two primary benefits.  1.  They earn the royalty from the sale. 2.  They earn a reader, and a reader is a potential fan, and fan is a potential super-fan who will rush to buy anything you publish, and who will evangelize your book to everyone they know. I’d argue that readership – the key to building your author brand and fan base, is more important to your long-term success than a dollar in your pocket today.”

I agree with Coker’s premise. So that’s my decision to make now, or over the next weeks and months. Where to price the book? How long to leave it at once price point before changing? I see no point in being stubborn about it and leaving it at $2.99 if it isn’t moving. No sales achieves me nothing.

I’ve chosen the Kindle Select program, which means The Goodbye Ride is exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, and within each block of 90 days (should I renew), an author can access 5 free days for promotion. I’ve seen people advise that if you’re going to make your book free, bump the price up so that people think they’re getting a real bargain… along the lines of, if it’s 99 cents normally, they’re really not saving a lot by getting it free.

There’s so many tips and tricks to learn. It’s lucky I like marketing. I like marketing much more than I like maths!

In the meantime, if you’d like to check out The Goodbye Ride, please click here. And for His Brand Of Beautiful, click here.

p.s. I just joined the Twittersphere… something else for which I have The Goodbye Ride to thank. If you’d like to connect with me on twitter, you can find me @lily_lilymalone

The Goodbye Ride is ALMOST Top 10!!!


Today is the last day of The Goodbye Ride free promotion. By my very bad mathematics, it finishes at 5pm West Australian time today.

Look what I just saw on my Kindle rankings this morning!!!!

I’m so very excited. (Could you tell?)
If you’ve bought the book thank you! Thank you to everyone who shared news about it with friends!
My Lily Pad blog hop continues this morning at the wonderful Jennie Jones site. Anyone who knows me would know I’m not that much of a Country Manor type of girl (I’m a bit more blundstones & beanies), but Jennie is teaching me culture and civilisation and her blog is just lovely. Please come visit!
Lily Malone Promo pic

Jennifer Weiner, Liz Fielding… AND Lily Malone!!!

What an amazing 24 hours it’s been!

The Goodbye Ride (my new contemporary romance novella that released today) is on Day 1 of its Release ‘Free’ promotion. This 24 hours has been beyond my wildest dreams… (and my dreams get pretty wild).

Here are my stats:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

502 people (including myself *blush*) have downloaded the book in the first 22 hours of my ‘free’ promotion. I don’t expect that to hold as I don’t know that many people (or I didn’t think I knew that many people) and I am absolutely thrilled with that. 🙂
I looked at where my book sits on one of those lists today (either the women’s fiction or the contemporary fiction), and the two authors before me were Jennifer Weiner and Liz Fielding… then good old Lily Malone!
That felt pretty special!
I want to thank with the biggest hugs you can imagine, the support cast that is Romance Writers’ Australia and its members who have all helped to share news of my free promo, and three very special book bloggers/reviewers (Monique, Marcia & Bree) who have reviewed, tweeted, blogged etc. I can’t thank you all enough.
And to you – for taking some of your precious time to download my book and hopefully to read it in the not too distant future: I hope you enjoy it and thanks for taking a chance on The Goodbye Ride.
Lily Malone Promo pic
Take advantage of the FREE promotion by clicking here.

The Goodbye Ride – Free – Release Day

My new novella, The Goodbye Ride, is free for Kindle at Amazon to celebrate its launch today.

I’m doing a mini blog hop – a Lily Pad hop if you like. 🙂

Thanks to Australian Romance Readers Association for hosting my new release today.

You can catch me at Jennie Jones Country Door tomorrow (Friday) and over the weekend. Amazing that Jennie had any time to spare with visitors as her new release House On Burra Burra Lane comes out on June 1.

Lilliana Anderson and Laylah Jade (Luscious Laylah Release Day) are also hosting The Goodbye Ride in its release week.

And look!!!! SQUEEEE moment!

The Goodbye Ride: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

Lily Malone Promo pic
Promo image by Lilliana Anderson, author of new release, Alter! Thanks Lilliana!

A few words about the book:

Olivia and Owen both want the same thing: the collector’s item 650 Ducati Pantah motorbike that once belonged to Liv’s brother, and now sits on a front lawn in Liv’s hometown with a For Sale sign at its tyre.

The Goodbye Ride is a story about a boy with a secret, a bike with a past, and what two people can get up to on a birthday weekend (The Queen’s birthday, no less).

Its first review:

“The Goodbye Ride is a novella and the romance takes place over 5 days – so it’s quick … and beautiful.

Lily Malone has some fantastic lines in this novella – my particular favourites were one about a penguin, another about firemen. The writing is smooth, full of the beauty of the South Australian wine growing region, a joy to read.

If you’re looking for a sweet romance, where you can laugh and maybe shed a tear, then this is a great one.” — Cate Ellink (Goodreads review 5 stars)

Free books are a great way to try new authors. Please download, tell your friends, share the love. If you enjoy the book please consider giving it some ‘star love’ on Amazon and Goodreads or any other blogs/sites that you follow. Whether you loved it, or it wasn’t quite for you, I’d love to hear why.

Please drop me a line at

Thank you!!

If it’s good enough for Alex…

One more day to launch! What a ride it’s been… and now I’m on The Goodbye Ride. 🙂

In less than two months, I’ve had my debut book published (His Brand Of Beautiful – with Escape Publishing) and last weekend I uploaded my new self-published novella, The Goodbye Ride.

Tomorrow, I start a blog hop. Not too many lily pads (so to speak), just a choice few.

I chose the Kindle KDP Select program, which means The Goodbye Ride is only available for hire or purchase using a Kindle, at Amazon for at least 90 days. Why did I go with this and not make it available at as many distribution centres as I could? Well… frankly, I’m doing what Alexandra Sokoloff recommends and if it’s good enough for Alex, it’s sure as heck good enough for me.

Under Kindle KDP Select, The Goodbye Ride can utilise up to five, free days amongst the 90-day exclusive listing. I’m using three of those days for the launch and I hope you take the opportunity to pick up The Goodbye Ride while it’s free.

In a nutshell: It’s a short and sweet (not too sweet) contemporary romance about a boy with a secret, a bike with a past; birds, bees, and a birthday. (The Queen’s no less).

Lily Malone Promo pic
Thanks Lilliana Anderson for the graphic
I’ve already had some lovely reviews for the book. You can see what people have to say at Goodreads and you can add The Goodbye Ride to your TBR pile there too.
More details of my lily pad hops tomorrow, plus I’ll give you a big shout out when the book is available free!

The Goodbye Ride – release day May 23

Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.
Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.

Your mission, Lily Malone, should you choose to accept it: Self Publish your new novella, The Goodbye Ride.

So that’s what I’ve been doing this past weekend, and my mission is a SUCCESS! Houston… we had no major problems! Just a little bit of techno-juggling between my MS Word laptop, and my Pages Mac, converting files from Pages to Word then to HTML… sending them to my Kindle so I could watch the e-book take shape and preview everything.

There was also a last minute read through by hubby (my Ducati Pantah 650 resident expert) to make sure I had all the engine details perfect. Ducati’s don’t purr you see, they have far too much of a “stonking v-twin” to purr… A Honda, however, does purr… (That’s why I need my husband!)

And my e-book is working fine! It was so exciting to send my own e-book to my Kindle and read it on there. I’ve even enjoyed adding in all those things like acknowledgements and dedications and promo material into the mix. I’m really happy with the story, and with how the e-book looks. I absolutely love The Goodbye Ride cover, designed by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.

I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned how to hyperlink within the book to create a Table Of Contents that actually works (squee moment), and how to create ‘guides’. My only hiccup was with the fonts – I lost all my italics – (heart attack moment), but I worked out what I’d done and managed to fix the problem. (By then, requiring a stiff Scotch moment).

The Goodbye Ride is now live on Amazon. It’s a few days early, but I have read so much about problems with uploading the files, or time delays in getting the book live, that I didn’t think it would matter to have it online a few days before its ‘official’ release.

But for followers and friends – please don’t rush out and buy it yet (unless you really can’t wait!). On its official Release Day – May 23 – you can get it free at Amazon (time differences and Pacific Standard Times vs Eastern Standard Time willing); and it will be free for several days. Watch here and on Facebook – I’ll be sure to let you know when!

In the meantime (like I said – if you can’t wait) buy it here.

You can also check out my page for The Goodbye Ride and add it to your TBR list at Goodreads.