You know that feeling you get when you finally do something you’ve been putting off for, like, years?
I got that feeling!
Today I made my two self-published stories, Who Killed The Bride? and Who Killed The Movie Star?available as ebooks in the Amazon Kindle store, and through Kindle Unlimited.
It only took me since July 2016 to get my arse into gear!
The two stories involve the mad-cap adventures of Cally and Sienna in beautiful Butterfly House, as they try to establish their new tourism business hosting murder mysteries in the town of Cowaramup (incidentally – my home town) in South West Australia.
The books have always been available in print, and if you’d still like your copy in print please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will sort that out. Each book costs $18.95 each including postage anywhere in Australia.
I’m lucky enough in my writing journey thus-far to have one book published with digital publisher, Escape Publishing (my debut novel His Brand Of Beautiful); and a novella (The Goodbye Ride) and a second novel (Fairway To Heaven) that I chose to self-publish.
I’m always asked by writing friends, and reader friends about my decisions to opt for self-publishing. Mostly these have been to do with the timing of my books. For The Goodbye Ride, it was written for the June long weekend (the Queen’s Birthday long weekend) and it was ready in May. For Fairway To Heaven, it’s a summer book, written for January/February and I had it ready in December. So the decision for me was about timing. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for a publisher to appraise your book and decide if they will accept or reject or ask you to revise it, and it takes further months from any decision to accept it for publication, before it gets through the process and gets published.
And I’m impatient. Yes, there… I’ve said it. It is so nice having got to the end of the writing process, having bought a customised cover, to actually hit that ‘publish’ button and get your book out there.
Something I like about self-publishing is it removes the awful roller-coaster that is the path to publication. There’s no more ‘will the editor like it, will he/she take it… wait for that email, and wait, and wait some more.’ There’s so much waiting in writing.
And did I tell you I’m impatient?
So, having said all that, here’s my big news.
I’m about to tell you that Escape Publishing, with editor Kate Cuthbert, recently agreed to publish Fairway To Heaven, and this weekend I’ll be signing the Contract to let Escape do exactly that. It means I’ll be removing Fairway from cyberspace, hitting that ‘unpublish’ button that I pressed so happily about 9 months ago, and waiting another possibly six months before Fairway (or it may be called something different at the behest of Escape) again gets launched to the world.
It will have a different cover. It may have a different name. And it may not even be quite the same book, as it will go through another editorial process on the way. But given the lovely Kate responded to me with the words: “It’s great”… I’m hoping any changes will be minimal, captain.
So how did it come to this? Here’s what I can nail it down to.
a) Tax Time. This was the big one. July 2014 gave me a huge eye-opener. I had payment receipts from Amazon US (US Dollars and they have a different reporting year/tax year to Aus). Some of the payments were cheques. It cost me $15 per cheque to bank into an Aussie bank (NAB). The Goodbye Ride is $2.50 (AUS) and I get 35% of that from Amazon so you imagine how many books I have to sell just to pay to bank their cheque! Now at least Amazon pays me direct into my account but it was like pulling teeth to get that to happen. Tax Nightmare! Compared with this the Escape royalty statement that spells out sales and earnings for His Brand Of Beautiful was an absolute breeze.
b) Sales. Yep – that old chestnut. I believe in my book 100% and both Fairway To Heaven and The Goodbye Ride have excellent reviews, not all written by my mother or sister. (In fact, neither my mum nor my sister have ever written me a review. Note to self!) Could the sales be better? (Yes!) What might make the sales better?
c) Marketing. I paid attention to a few social media discussions with book marketers going back a while and they tell me that if reviews are solid, the next thing to look at is the cover. I love both my covers for Fairway To Heaven and The Goodbye Ride, but are they exactly right for the demographic? That’s the question I have to ask, and I’m prepared now to test it with the experts. What about the title? Fairway To Heaven works for me and it just felt right… but does it label the book a sport/golf book? And does that mean prospective buyers are looking at my book and thinking they don’t like golf, so they won’t enjoy the book? Have i missed sales because of either the cover, or the blurb, or the title? Probably. I have enjoyed being able to test promotions, such as the ‘free’ promotions with Amazon Kindle Direct. They are great fun to do because it’s so nice to think how many of your books are flying free off the ‘virtual’ shelves. But at the end of the day you’re giving your work away for free. So where’s the return in that?
d) Costs. I’ve spent about $600 combined on the covers for both my self-pubbed books. I paid $90 to lovely Marion Archer, Marion Making Manuscripts who beta-read Fairway for me – her feedback was gold and she’s worth every cent. I did the editing myself, but I’m an editor by trade. I paid $90 to get Fairway formatted for Kindle and for Smashwords (which feeds to iTunes/Nook/Kobo etc). With The Goodbye Ride I did this myself, but Goodbye Ride was only ever on Kindle. Smashwords is harder to get the formatting right. I didn’t ever spend money on things like Netgalley (I couldn’t afford it), or FB ads. That investment is gone now – I’ll never get it back. But if I stick with the status quo because I’ve sunk money into it, where does that leave me in another year? Still wondering what might have been?
e) Control: Lots of authors say to me: don’t you love being able to control everything? The blurb. The cover. The marketing. The title? They tell me: “I do all this marketing and promotion and my publisher expects that, and my sales are still lousy. So tell me what the publisher actually does for their cut?” Control is good. But remember – if you have all the control and your sales are still lousy… you only have yourself to blame. It’s human nature to find the grass greener on the other side.
f) Quality: I think self-pubbed books can get let down by the mass of badly (or non-existently edited) crap that is out there! It’s easy to get tarnished with the same brush.
I could let things roll along. I could change nothing, and I could continue to feel that my self-pubbed sales could be better, or that I could/should do more to promote them. I also know that having Escape select my book(s) for publication alone will not guarantee me improved, or even ‘good’ sales. They are taking a risk too. The entire business is a risk. My expectations are much different now, a few years along, than when I first got that wonderful ‘call’ that my debut book had been accepted for publication.
There’s no going back. Once I sign that Contract this weekend, Fairway To Heaven leaves my control. Pretty much forever unless sales are so abysmal, Harlequin decide in about 7 years, they don’t want it anymore.
Meanwhile I’m ‘writing the next book’. It’s a follow up to my debut His Brand Of Beautiful, not with related characters, but with the title, currently: Her Brand Of Bargain and because it’s back to the wine industry/vineyard-set books of both His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride. It has always been in my mind to write this book with view of offering it to Escape.
All this is just my opinion, and it’s only my view… but it’s been a long decision and not taken lightly. I can’t wait to see what Escape come up with for Fairway’s cover and blurb… and it will be fun to see what new readers might make of my book about Jenn and Brayden on a Busselton beach. Meanwhile, they’re waving goodbye, until sometime in the new year.
2013 has been a busy year for Australian authors Rachael Johns and Juliet Madison. Rachael released two rural romance novels Man Drought and Outback Dreams this year, to follow up her 2012 best seller, Jilted; while Juliet released her debut romantic comedy, Fast Forward in February.
These two ladies write fast! In addition to writing the full length novels I mention above, both have also written and released novellas this year. Rachael’s new 32,000-word novella, The Kissing Season hits e-book shelves in December. And for Juliet, the latter part of 2013 has seen back to back novellas released with her publisher (and mine) Escape Publishing.
As for little old me – I’m nowhere near as prolific as either of these two. The sum total of what I’ve managed in 2013 is the 32,000-word novella, The Goodbye Ride, and my soon to be published 80,000-word contemporary romance, Fairway To Heaven.
With all of us launching new titles very soon, I thought it’s a wonderful opportunity to get together, to chat about why we write a mix of novels and novellas.
Rachael, Man Drought was 110,000 words, and your ‘Outback’ series ranges from 95,000 to 110,000 words. Juliet, Fast Forward was 75,000 words and the two novellas both under 20,000: so which do you prefer writing, novels or novellas, and why?
Rachael: If I had to choose I’d say novels. I like being able to delve deeper into characters and get more of a meaty plot going on. Also I tend to naturally write long. I always aim for between 90-100k in my Single Title novels and often go over and when I sat down to write The Kissing Season I was aiming for 18-25k and it came in at 32k. It could have been longer. For me, I think novellas are great to let me explore a different kind of setting or type of story and have a break between my rural books.
Juliet: I’d also say novels and for the same reason, they allow you to really flesh out a story and create a more thorough and realistic character arc, which means the reader will be more invested in the characters and story. Having said that, I love that a novella allows me to develop a story idea that might not do so well in a longer format, and because I suffer from idea overload it means I get to write more stories overall and get them out of my head!
Lily: His Brand Of Beautiful was 80,000 words, as is Fairway To Heaven. Goodbye Ride was shorter. I like writing both and I agree with Rachael about how novellas can easily get longer. When I first sent The Goodbye Ride to my critique partners, they asked so many questions of me about the characters, that in no time it had grown from 18,000 words to the 32,000 where it ended. I toyed for a while with writing a follow-up to it, a M/M based on the two male characters who meet right at the end. That might have been interesting. (Could still be interesting one of these days!)
You are both prolific authors (in my opinion), how quickly can you write when you get going? What do you count as a good writing day, in terms of words on the page?
Rachael – Until I look back on what I’ve achieved I don’t actually feel very prolific. Man Drought took me about four months for the first draft and then probably another month and a bit all up to get through the various editing stages. I think I wrote The Kissing Season in about a month and the edits have been very minimal. The fastest book I’ve ever written is Outback Blaze (out May 2014) – I wrote this in 2.5 months, while also doing edits on another book. This occurred because there was a little mix up with deadlines but it was great to see how much I could actually write when I put my mind to it. Saying that, ideally I’d prefer to have between four to six months to write each full length novel.
Juliet: I average about 1500 words per hour.
Lily: OMG – my jaw just hit the floor!
Juliet: When I set aside time to write, I don’t do anything else. I set a timer and sprint. I’ve found this to be the most productive method for me. When I edit or plot however, I often check Facebook and Twitter periodically so I’m not as productive then! A good or ideal writing day for me would be to get 2000-3000 words on the page, which I edit later on. This doesn’t always happen though, some days I don’t get to write at all, but I do my best to work around other aspects of my life!
Fast Forward took about four months to write, and of course my two novellas were much less because of the short word count, maybe about two weeks. I think Starstruck was about 3 to 4 weeks all up because I did a lot of research about the Seattle area. My most recently completed manuscript, the 84,000 word February or Forever (releasing in Feb 2014) I completed in a record 27 days! Not consecutive days, I think all up it was just over two months of actual time passing, but the number of days I worked on the book was 27. I didn’t sleep much.
Lily: I started Fairway To Heaven in July. I’m hopeful of having it published before Christmas. We shall have to see if I make it. I try to write every week night after my kids are in bed (unless Sons Of Anarchy is on TV, or we have Justified DVDs on order). This usually gets me about 2-3 hours. Unfortunately some nights it’s not great quality hours as I might have had a bad day, and just be too darn tired to write.
Do you revise as you go, or are you ‘get that first draft down however crappy it might be’ writers?
Rachael: I write a pretty fast first draft but I kind of revise as I go. When I sit down to write each day I always read the last scene or chapter to get back in the zone and I tweak and edit as I go. I actually don’t do major rewrites until an editor tells me to because I HATE rewriting.
Juliet: I’m the same. I prefer writing over revising. I write a fast first draft, but I also do basic editing as I go. Once I’ve finished the day’s writing I usually edit before the next writing session. Then when the manuscript is finished I do a couple more rounds of editing.
Lily: I’m dreadful at just putting the words down. I’m a constant reviser. I hope that pays off on the flip-side, without too much re-writing being required. I’m a journalist by trade and have edited magazines for years and years. I think this helps me edit my own work and I’ve learned over the years how to kill my darlings. (Stabbing them is always good.)
What are the triggers that make you decide whether a book has a full-length capability, or might be a shorter novel?
Rachael: It’s usually down to my reason for writing. I’ve only written one novella and that was an experiment in a way. I wrote my novella in the beginning because I wanted to submit to the Carina Press call out for holiday submissions for their anthology and the world limit was 35k. I also wanted to see if I could do it, cos as I said before, I’m not that great at writing short. So I guess for me, it’s a matter of thinking about where I might place this novel, who might publish it, how and why. I’d love to write at least one novella a year now because I think they can be a lot of fun to read and write and a good exercise in writing fast and getting a project done!
Juliet: For me, the story idea always comes first, and then I’ll decide whether it needs to be a novella or novel. For I Dream of Johnny, although there was the potential to make it a longer story, I ultimately thought it would be best to be short, sharp, and snappy. The concept (getting a Geek God instead of a Greek God) could have become tiresome if it was developed over a longer format. With Starstruck in Seattle, again there was potential to develop the story further, but I decided I’d rather have a series of short, sweet stories with different characters but linked by the recurring character of Lulu the Love Angel, so I could focus more time on writing the stories that I know need to be full length.
Lily: It was actually a comment by Rachael Johns on Facebook or her website that was the catalyst for me writing The Goodbye Ride. I wrote it for that same Carina Press anthology, Holidays and Harleys. That book just came to me, I think at 32,000 words it was a solid story from start to finish – though as I mentioned, I did toy with developing more of a story based on the two gay characters.
Let’s talk turkey…
Which sells best for you (so far?) And if you broke it down to word length vs return – do you know which is working out best for you?
Rachael: Are you asking me to do maths? Cos let me tell you now that is just NOT going to happen! Okay… let me try and analyse the question a moment. By far my most productive books (profit-wise) have been my rural romances (full-length novels with Harlequin Australia). The majority of my sales are still in print and I found that my Carina Press digital-only sales increased once I had a print book out. I think those who’d found me through print, then went looking for what else I had out there and bought the digitals. My novella is only releasing in December so have no idea how it’ll go, but as it is shorter in size and only digital, my guess is it may not sell as well as my longer novels. Please folks, buy it and prove me wrong. I think to build a successful career as a writer, it would be a good idea to put both types of stories out – novels and novellas. The shorter length books are a nice way to give your loyal readers a little something between longer novels, which (at least with traditional print publishers) are generally scheduled further apart.
Juliet: Ditto on the maths. I’ve only been published a short time so I don’t know for sure yet (the length of time between when a reader buys a book and when the author gets paid is LONG). But so far it seems that my full length novel Fast Forward might be selling the best. Is this because of the story or because most people prefer full length books? I have no idea. I’ll know more in another year or so when the books have been out for longer!
Lily: Yes ladies – I asked you to do maths. We’re all writing brains here, so I hate maths as much as the next author! For me, The Goodbye Ride has sold (or given away) more copies than His Brand Of Beautiful, which is all I have to measure against. The one thing for me that is slightly different to you is that The Goodbye Ride was self-published using Amazon Kindle Direct and so I’ve been able to do free promotions with it, and I’m sure these have helped sales – as they certainly helped me get more reviews for that book. My goal with Goodbye Ride was to get another Lily Malone book in the marketplace soon after His Brand Of Beautiful, and certainly I think Goodbye Ride helped boost sales of my debut book. In the various free promotions I’ve done, I would have ‘given away’ thousands of books. Of course, not everyone reads their free books! Certainly I have a heap of them on my Kindle, and I’ve now lost track of why I clicked to ‘buy’ or ‘download’ them.
What do you think your fans prefer to see from Rachael Johns & Juliet Madison – a new novel, or a new novella?
Rachael: This is kind of only a prediction cos as I said above the novella is only new but I’d say the novel wins hands down. Most of the readers I’ve talked to think the longer the better. They love getting consumed by the world of the novel and I’m scared they’re going to wish my novella was longer.
Juliet – Some of my novella reviews say they wish the story would continue, so I’d say novel too. But a lot of people like that they can read a novella in one sitting, on a lunch break, commuting, or before bed so they get to experience a complete story in a shorter amount of time. The good thing about novellas is I can write and publish one fairly quickly, so there is less time to wait between stories, whereas with novels the reader has to be more patient!
Do you write what you want to write… or, if fans of say, Man Drought or Fast Forward asked you to write a story about other characters that feature in your book, would you let that guide you to writing perhaps, a novella about those characters?
Rachael: To an extent I try to write books that speak to my heart and my passions in some way, but saying that at the moment, most of my readers are expecting rural-set books and I’m trying to give them what they want. I’m definitely open to feedback from readers. In fact, I had a lot of emails and FB messages after my first book Jilted came out – people asked what happened to Flynn and Ellie after the book and wanted to go back to that world. To me Flynn and Ellie’s story was finished but I wanted to give the readers what they wanted, so I’ve just contracted to write another book in the town where Jilted was set. This story is about Lauren (the nasty nurse) in Jilted and it’ll be interesting to see how readers react to me reforming someone not many people liked. Look out for The Road To Hope (Lauren’s story) in 2015!
Juliet: I do focus on writing what I want to write because I think for a book to be authentic and enjoyable the author needs to ‘want’ to write it. Now that I’m published though, I am also looking at being able to provide more of what my readers want, but first and foremost it has to be a story or genre I’m passionate about. I write romcom, women’s fiction, and also YA, so I do need to be strategic in my approach in order to make sure I’m not spreading myself too far and wide.
Lily: If anyone sent me a whisper that they’d love to see me write a M/M novella about Ben & the biker dude he meets at the end of The Goodbye Ride, let me know! 😉
Do you think novellas are only ever going to appear in print if they are part of an anthology? Are they currently stand-alone e-book prospects only in your opinion right now?
Rachael: Yes, I think so. The shortest ‘novels’ I’ve seen in print are Mills & Boons, which start at around 50k words. But I think times are constantly changing so who really knows! The future is exciting!
Juliet: I’d say so. Digital books are easily accessible and novellas are great for this format. Plus, if in print they would probably look more like a booklet or children’s books as many aren’t long enough to have a spine!
Lily: Pretty sure they’ll only be e-books, but one of the beauties with e-books is you can write as short as you like. This is such a new era of publishing.
As readers yourselves, what would you spend on a novella from a favourite author? (Let’s say the novella is around, or less than 35,000 words)
Rachael: If it was a favourite author I’d stretch to about $5 for a novella, but I wouldn’t pay more than $2 on an unknown. I think in Australia readers are still paying quite high prices for all e-books (novels or novellas) but the prices we pay, people overseas would shirk at.
Juliet: I’d think twice if the novella was above $5, as many full length books are below this price. Having said that, if the story was one I just HAD to read for some reason, I’d probably one-click it anyway!
Lily: I’m a cheapskate. I do check page lengths on Amazon and I think I have a reasonable sense of when something’s a novel or novella. I don’t like the thought of disappointing anyone so for me, one of the worse things you could do is have a reader buy your book anticipating a full-length story, and you then give them a short story (and therefore a bad experience). I must say, you both give me heart mentioning $5 as a ceiling for buying a novella! I’ve heard people say “a novella should never have a 2. at the front of the price. Meaning $1.99 would be the highest they’d pay.”
Thanks ladies for joining me here today, it’s been fab!
These are two authors certainly worth checking out online.
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).
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 (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).
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.
Take advantage of the FREE promotion by clicking here.
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.
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).
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!
I finished rewrites of The Goodbye Ride this afternoon. It’s now 28,000 words exactly. I had this ‘thing’ about getting it to 28,000 words when I realised how close I was. I went 28,028; then 27,992 and up and down and then, 28,000. Thank you delete key. Thank you word-count function.
It’s silly really, but when you have a nice big even number like that, it’s fun to hit it exactly.
It’s funny how The Goodbye Ride has inched its way into this very special place in my heart. I think it’s because it’s a story based on true events. I’ve written elsewhere about my inspiration for it, but if you’d like to read it, you can here.
I am going to self-publish it. This has been another momentous decision and there have been various factors influencing that decision.
At 28,000 words it’s a novella, and testing the self-pubbing waters by starting with a ‘smaller’ book seems a good plan
I love the idea of having more control over the book, its cover and marketing
Events in the book take place over the four days of the June Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, and no publisher even in this digital age, can turn a book around that fast.
Tonight I emailed the manuscript to my Critique Partners, and to Musing Maddie (a book blogger and avid romance reading enthusiast who offers a Beta Reading service).
I’m so excited to see what they think. I’m so excited about self-publishing it.
All being well, His Brand Of Beautiful will be published as an e-book in the new year, so I figured it was time I owned a Kindle and thanks to hubby Santa, my wish came true.
I’ve just finished my first e-book. Ex and The Single Girl, by Lani Diane Rich. This was a freebie plugged on Jennifer Crusie’s website some time ago that I’ve had sitting in my Amazon store, just a-waitin’ the Kindle.
So, some first impressions of e-books v print books.
It is SO light. Amazingly so. No RSI in the wrists reading anymore. And when I put it on my bedside table, or the kitchen bench or any handy horizontal surface, well, I feel rather stylish. (Hey, I don’t feel stylish very often – work with me). It’s so very pretty in its little leather satchel!
Now if I had my choice again, I think I’d like a ‘touch screen’ option, rather than press buttons to turn pages. But that’s being picky. Sorry Santa.
The viewing quality is great. I was reading it outside yesterday and there wasn’t any glare from the overhead sun, and I’ve discovered how to make the font bigger… useful given the champagne downed in this house Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Without making any comment on the book itself, it had a few formatting errors that were annoying. The scene breaks were non-existent, which meant every now and then I was completely thrown by paragraphs that continued a new scene from the ending of an old one. No paragraph space. No ****. Nothing. (My blog wants to throw in a line of white space below – but imagine if it was closed up and you’ll see what I mean.)
Here’s an example:
“Bastard.” I swiped an empty bottle of chardonnay off the coffee table and into the trash can, trying to work up some anger. It didn’t come. I put the trash by the door and wandered into my bedroom, falling asleep to thoughts of old flames and British Flyers.
“How’s that eggplant?” Peter asked. I looked down at my plate. I’d had one small bite and was still chewing.
And hunting for that scene just told me a downfall of e-books. How do you quickly skim through to find a specific page/scene?
Aha! She says all-knowing, after five minutes of faffing about because my Kindle doesn’t have touch screen (sorry Santa for being ungrateful) pressing buttons… You can search the book for ‘eggplant’…
As a marketing module, this Kindle is amazing. Every time I close it, when I come back they are promoting a new title. I imagine they have a way of checking my profile on things such as Goodreads or books I’ve browsed at Amazon and they think, right, this girl’s a good fit for the latest Patricia Cornwell Scarpetta book, let’s see if we can sell it to her. Come in sucker…
After I’ve got rid of the marketing page about Patricia Cornwell’s new book, I’m at the same page where I left off. I don’t need bookmarks (proper ones that the kids giggle as they steal) or dog-eared pages that my husband grizzles at me about. I can lay this Kindle down whichever way I like and I don’t get nagged for ‘breaking that book’s back’.
The real test will be: will I read my Kindle in the loo? I have books that only ever get read in the loo. Right now I’m on Lord Of The Rings, so my loo-reading basket is well and truly full for at least another month. That’s a dang big book! If my Kindle makes it to the toilet, it will be my best booky friend forever.
I’ve had some big days in recent weeks, but today just takes the cake. I can only imagine how I might feel the day my book actually hits the shelves, err… cyberspace.
Jenn J Mcleod, who is about to release her debut book House For All Seasons in March, and is also now an official radio and television megastar in the mould of Dame Edna, who by the way I am going to see in Adelaide on her farewell tour in January – but I digress. (I do that). Where was I?
Yes! Jenn J Mcleod has invited me to be part of a blog hop tour called The Next Big Thing. Jenn plus four author friends Allison Tait, Kerrie Patterson and Cate Ellink and yours truly have ten questions each to answer about our book(s). And we also have an official group called the DIGRITS (as to how we got our name, my lips are sealed.)
Plus: Jenn has invited me to be on her Author Harvest blog, which is a series I love reading, and I’ve found out so much about chickens and gnomes from all the talented people who’ve been on her site this year, I am thrilled to be part of it. I had to share just a taste, this was one of my favorite responses to Jenn’s big: “Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road” question, by Kylie Ladd:
JJM: Now for the big question… Why did the chicken cross the road?
KL: Our chickens are so very stupid I have no idea why they do anything. Yesterday a dragonfly buzzed near them while they were sitting together on the lawn. They jumped up in a panic and ran straight into each other. Crossing an entire road would be well beyond them.
Where was I? (Laughing again at the idea of Kylie’s crazy chickens).
Yes! Thrilled to be part of Author Harvest. Thanks for asking me Jenn!
And so, I went off to my email inbox hunting all these blog questionnaires and also looking for notice from OzSales about my Christmas outfit that has YET to arrive and I bought it online WEEKS ago!! (Yep, digressing again…) And there I found this one:
“I have just assigned an editor to work with you on His Brand of Beautiful. Her name is [blanked out – oh this confidentiality until the contract is signed is killing me], and she is really enthusiastic about getting your work ready for publication. She will be working with you directly, which will allow you both more freedom to work to your own schedule.
[Blanked out] has been informed of the final and only due date of February 1 2013, which is when she will need to send us the final edited copy so we can release your title in March 2013. [SQQUUUUEEEEEE] I will be sending [blanked out] your manuscript today, so you should hear from her in the near future.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries along the way, and in the meantime I hope you find the editing process rewarding!”
SQUEEEEEEEEE! Now I think I’m gonna go do twenty cartwheels on the lawn. (ahem-in my dreams).