Book Review: Crystallum

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As of 8/19/16 this book is FREE for Kindle. Always check a price before you download.

I found Crystallum in an amazon giveaway while researching authors for my Fantasy Character Cotillion. I always try to review books I received for free.

I work on a five star system, but rarely does a book get 5 stars, so 3 and 4 stars are a compliment.

On the cover: This book looked historical. It is not. It is present day.

This book is about kids in high school (I’m so happy it’s senior year) and there is typical high school drama, as to be expected. It’s been a long while since I’ve read something about high school aged characters.You were warned in the blurb (somehow I forgot), so no complaints. There is more than an occasional peppering of Latin throughout the novel. This reader earned a Magna Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam, so while that pleases me, I am in agreement that it was a whole lot of Latin (and I am not sure if the word order was sorted) and the history was so rich that it was a little hard to follow. The reason no one speaks Latin anymore is because word order, gender, and ending need to match the part of speech something is in a sentence. Can you imagine speaking that way fluently? Eek. Much harder than English (which is messed up anyway).  I’d love to see an acknowledgement in which McMann gets Cole-like and says “I slaved over this Latin so you better enjoy it!”

I liked: The supporting characters’ twists, relationships, and personalities. Diverse and beautiful.

I wanted: A prologue that explained the alternate plane more. I’m still not sure what’s happening, but McMann will clue us in.

You will like this book if you like: Smart and cocky characters. They are intelligent, well-read, Shakespeare-quoting characters at the top of their class. You will also like it if you enjoyed “The Mortal Instruments”, because there are demons and shadows, and a hidden plane only Kade can see in a night club.

Remember: This is the first book in a series, which means you need to read #2 before you form a concrete decision about the series as a whole.

 

Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2 review, and what really happened when we went to concerts in the early 2000s.

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SLC Punk was a cult film about a couple of punks living in the Mormon state of Utah in the 80s (released in 1998), rebelling against society.

 

 

Now that the sequel has been released, the writers stand by their decision to make it the movie it was. I want to uncover why they are being defensive about it on their facebook page in light of hate mail.

When the sequel, Punk’s Dead, came out this year, I was one of the viewers who was left thinking  “wait, that’s the end?” By no means am I telling you not to go watch it. I just did on Netflix. I think it’s important for you to form your own opinion if you were a fan of the first movie.

The movie wasn’t an accident and turned out precisely the way the James Merendino, the writer, intended. Its run time is 1:15 minutes, and it’s a story about a road trip from SLC to SLC, and the climax of the movie is Ross, a Victorian Goth punk, going to his first punk show, in which he realizes punk is dead. Meanwhile, his mom and her old friends search for him because Ross doesn’t go to punk shows. That is a sound story arc, but as far as encapsulating the early 2000s, fans get lost in comparing the first movie and the second one. As weird as it sounds, I think you should take them separately, and that is the key to realizing the beauty of Punk’s Dead.

 

Back in the early 2000s, just before punk bands seemed to switch over to a mass of what I call 4-chords (think power chord=1-5-8, and then move that five to 4, so then your chords consist of root, fourth, and octave, and that’s how “punk” sounded right as I was transferring to state school from community college.), MCR was taking over my rock playlists, and people forgot I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love was ever an album, “but dude, I love the Black Parade”. Also, Ska prom was a thing at the Agora in Cleveland, so we had “emo” and “ska” right out of high school, and we’d listen to older Ska and newer. So if I had made a Punk’s Dead movie, Keasbey Nights would be on the soundtrack, and those five beautiful boys that went to jail would be discussed. Punk’s Dead talks about all of the different genres, but we aren’t immersed in one of them. In the movie we were taken to a huge concert venue that is air conditioned, when in the early 2000s, I was still buying a water from sweaty singles crumpled up in my bra, innocently confessing my love for the woman at the bar who poured me my water, or let’s take you back to a time after an MSI show when my friend who listened to MSI just because I liked them yelled that we had to leave because the streets were getting dark and it was getting unsafe.

So in theory, I think people who aren’t in love with Punk’s Dead don’t think that the decade was encapsulated well enough for concert goers. Ross is a Victorian Goth kid, which is magnificent, and Crash and Penny are dressing like they’re from the 80s. I liked emo Shelly, because she was the kind of kid you’d see walking around in that time period. Cleveland and Utah are different, but I’d imagine their record stores carried the same new releases. Perhaps it did define someone’s existence in that time period, but it did not define the dead punk music in my life.

SLC PUNK! Might have executed some ideas better. Was it Steveo’s narration that helped? possibly.

Things I found awkward:

  1. The old friends. I wanted to love them, and Trish owning a steampunk shop was great, but the other guys were awkward. No one knew Sean was alive, when they live in the same city. Sean also went on a strange tangent about burlesque being prostitution that I didn’t follow, and it seemed out of character. I thought I liked that John the Mod was into Black Metal now, but there was such an awkward exchange in his shop with a guy buying fireworks ( I don’t think this guy was a real actor, though it appears that he might be a director), or trying to buy them, that made me gawk at the screen a moment. Also, when the friends come to the rescue of Ross at the punk show, Ross gets out of the fray quickly and everyone looks perfectly put together in that lovely air-conditioned stadium, as if there hadn’t been a fight. Maybe punks don’ t fight? Compared to the characters in SLC PUNK! These new ones weren’t as cool.

 

  1. Penny’s dad’s scene was odd. So we have this road trip, which really isn’t a road trip because it’s one city over or something, and Penny beats the shit out of her dad’s car. Did I miss a previous mention of him that foreshadowed this meeting? I think it wasn’t as great as meeting Bob’s dad in the original movie, and we are comparing it to that. You got such a great insight to Bob, and Penny’s meeting didn’t tell me much about her character.

 

  1. Ross’s defining moment speech. Ross realizes Punk is dead when he takes over the mic at a punk show, whereas in the first movie, it ends with a death that drives the main point home: All of us are posers. Ross’s speech was confused and drunk, and it’s hard not to compare the defining story arc moment to the original. Pair that with the fight he gets into for his speech that wasn’t a fight of all, and it’s… well I’m not sure what that was.

 

So while I would love to say I absolutely enjoyed Punk’s Dead, I can’t help comparing it to the first movie. I don’t think it’s a reflection that the sequel was bad, I think that the original just did too many things right as a cult film.

 

Go watch it.

Opinions below.

 

 

Dear Author: The Amazon Affiliate Program for Authors

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What it is: You set up a link to an amazon page (your book for example), and get paid a small commission when people buy through your link. Book bloggers often use affiliate links to keep their websites up and running.

Why it’s helpful: Even if you are only making 4% commission by creating a link at Amazon Associates, it can be invaluable for tracking where your sales come from. You can see clicks and purchases by date. You set separate tracking IDs for your different methods of delivery (facebook, twitter, Newsletter). You need to make a link EVERY time you post something about your book. If someone buys another item with your link, then you will credit for that (like an adult coloring book!).

When to set it up: Once approved,  If you account doesn’t make any sales in about 180 (i’m going on memory, someone let me know if they are aware of the time frame) days amazon will close it, so wait until you are a month or two away from releasing your book.

Caveat: cookies expire by computer, so links stop making commission after 24 hours. The cookie expires for each person 24 hours after they click on it. Refreshing your links  by creating new ones before big events could be advantageous. If you’re paying for advertising, it’s probably beneficial to set up a new link.

Dashboard View

associates dashboard

Home+ product links will create a url, able to to be shortened.

Product Linking will create a thumbnail image.

Tracking ID will be the name you set up. To manage tracking IDs, hover over your email address above the menu bar to find “Manage tracking IDs”

Getting cleaner links. Your affiliate links will look crazy-long! Amazon does let your shorten them when you make them, and tells you not to use other link shortening services. You can make a link by clicking  Click the homepage. When you search for your item, in the link box it will say  “Shorten URL with amzn.to?” You must use Home+product links to shorten.

To make affiliate links appear clean for blog posts, you will have to use HTML. This short video explains how to link text in wordpress (by clicking over to the HTML feature and pasting) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db6_rXrI7hM Once you know how to do it, it’s so easy!

Associate IDs you need:

Main website

Facebook

Twitter

Blog website

Book trailer video description

Release day links for street team members and family.

Contest or promotion

This is the research I tracked for Facebook groups that allow authors to post book information:

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By recording which group I posted on specific to the day, I was able to see that I got more clicks on the page I posted to on June 17th than June 8th, and no orders.

You can also monetize your blog or website in other ways, per the rules of the Amazon Associates program. Happy tracking!

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

 

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

Crazy Canuck Blog Hop

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Happy Canada Day! Welcome to my stop!

Author Lisa Emme has invited me to do the Crazy Canuck Blog Hop, and all participants have invited YOU to win bookish prizes. Keep rolling through our blogs to win!

Grand prize: $50 Amazon gift card!

Prize this stop: 

I am giving away a paperback copy of “A Mirror Among Shattered Glass” for USA and Canada residents! It is my debut novel that came out on June 4th, and book two is on its way at the end of this year!

It’s been two decades since an attempt to eradicate the supernatural forces in the city under the guise of understanding them began, and about seven since it ended in chaos.

After their escape, four twentysomething housemates try to learn what being human means, as the hidden part of the city starts to rebuild itself, and they must open their world up to a daft American girl with a dark secret, and potential for their cause.

 

Canada Day, Canadian Slang!

I write about the Supernatural London Underground, an urban fantasy book series, and here is a secret… my favorite character ever is Canadian (and in my next series, so I am trying so hard not to start writing until the SLU is finalized!) ! So what will I have to do? Just like every place I write about, I will have to go to Canada to gain some inspiration. Since this character is in my next series, I think it would be great to look up some Canadian slang to get me started for my trip.

I grabbed the first search result from Wikihow. Let’s see that we have with great SEO settings here:

  • Eh? – Used at the end of a sentence, this expression generally means, “Don’t you agree?” That movie was great, eh?

Thoughts: Don’t we always spell is “Ay” in America when we try to be Canadian? It might be time to break out some Canadian subtitles to see how spelling works up there.

  • Book off work – To take off time from work.[1]I’m going to book off work next week.
  • Write a test – To take a test. I’m writing a test today in English.

Thoughts: I like “write a test”, because when i “take tests” I grade them myself before I hand them in. Just did that with a state license exam the other day, actually. I understand, Canadians.

  • Poutine – A delicious Canadian dish made from French fries, squeaky cheese curds, and gravy. This poutine is amazing!

Thoughts: Squeaky cheese? There will be more googling involved.

Thank you Wisconsin, USA, and Speed Eats!

  • Double-double – A phrase that’s said when ordering a coffee with two creams and two sugars. I could really use a double-double right now.

Thoughts: If you’ve read anything by me, you know I don’t mess around with cream and sugar. My characters drink black coffee. (Perhaps this new one will be drinking a double-double!)

  • Loonie– A Canadian one-dollar coin. Can you lend me a loonie?
  • Back-bacon – Known in America as “Canadian bacon”or thinly sliced and cured strips of ham.[2]I eat eggs and back-bacon for breakfast every day. 
  • Washroom – Bathroom or toilet. Where’s your washroom?
  • Runners – Trainers or sneakers. I wear runners when I exercise.
  • Housecoat – A bathrobe. Where’s my housecoat when I need it?
  • Toque – Pronounced “took,” this word refers to a ski cap or wool hat.[3]It’s too hot outside for a toque.

And now to really trip you up…

Regional differences.

Atlantic Provinces:

  • Caper – A person from Cape Breton Island. My boyfriend’s a caper.

Thoughts: I’m thinking of a salad here.

  • Hollywood North – Another word for Toronto, as this city is known for its film production. I’m heading to Hollywood North this weekend for the film festival.

Thoughts: I’m surprised I didn’t know that one since it’s based on something that started in America. That is an interesting way to put it.

  • The Rock – An endearing term for Newfoundland. I’m going back to the Rock for Christmas.
  • Maritimer – A person from the Atlantic Provinces.[6]Everyone in my extended family is a Maritimer.

Central Canada:

  • Serviette – The French word for “napkin,” this word is commonly used by French and English speakers alike. May I have a serviette, please?

Thoughts: I took 5 years of Spanish, 2 of Latin, and 1 in French, in which Gary from french class asked me out and Jessica gave me way to much information about her personal life. I’d love to incorporate French into my character’s dialouge!

  • Jam buster – A jelly-filled doughnut. I’d like a jam buster, please.
  • Takitish – Conversationally used to mean “take it easy,” or “see you later.” Takitish, John!

Thoughts: This phrase reminds me of American English the most, because we combine words and slur them all crazy. It reminds me of how “today” is “taday” and “water” is “wader”.

  • Lines – Small old country roads, usually dating back to the Colonial era. Which line should I take back to the farm?

Thoughts: Of course this one reminds me of the subway and tube stations in Manhattan and London.

Prairie Provinces:

  • Gitch – Also called “gotch,” this expression refers to men or women’s underwear.It’s laundry day; time to wash my gitch.
  • Kitty-corner – Caddy-corner, or diagonally across from something else. The drugstore is kitty-cornered to the movie theater.
  • Hey – Used instead of “eh” in the Prairies, asking for agreement. That was a great dinner, hey?
  • Bunny-hug – A hooded sweater.[9]I love your new bunny-hug!

British Columbia

  • Squatch – A large, hairy, unkept man. If you don’t start shaving and showering more you’ll look like a squatch.

Thoughts: Awwww, that’s like what i call my husband’s “goat beard”!

  • Terminal City – Another name for Vancouver, BC. I’m headed to Terminal City, wish me luck!
  • Whale’s Tail – Also called Beaver Tail or Elephant ear, this dessert is made from fried dough, lemon juice, and cinnamon sugar.[10]This Whale’s Tail is delicious!

Thoughts: “elephant ears” made it to us, and are a common food for traveling fairs.

Northern Provinces

  • Masi – Thank you, from the French word “Merci.” Masi! Have a good night.

Thoughts: That might trip me up!

  • Twofer – Also called two-four, this term refers to a case of 24 beers. Let’s pick up a twofer for the party tonight!
  • Mucking down – Shoveling food into your mouth. Stop mucking down and get dressed, we’re late!

The site I referred to encourages me to watch movies and read magazines from Toronto to get familiar with Canadian slang. If any of these are rarely used, feel free to let me know!

Prize time:

Grand prize $50 Amazon Gift Card (multiple entries available!)

Win a signed copy of “A Mirror Among Shattered Glass”

If you’re an ebook reader, “Mirror” is only 2.99 on sale this week! Read the book blurb by clicking below!

Dear Author: The Book Trailer

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Dear Author, what is the deal with book trailers?

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A book is meant to be a book, just as a movie is meant to be a movie, so turning a book into a teaser trailer can prove difficult, but  fun. And by fun, I mean for you, and for the people already interested. Across the board, book trailers will not give you extra publicity, and you will usually not see a return on any large investments you make.

In short: Make the trailer if you want, but be wary about paying someone else to make it, or paying to have it posted or featured. If it’s a dream of yours to have a book trailer, it’s up to you how to get it. A book trailer is a companion to the other things you will do, and it is more than likely that it cannot generate interest on its own.

I made my own book trailer by taking the blurb, and then adding my main character’s voice over it—and by voice, I mean her writing. I didn’t want to take it too far off the page.

 

Search for places that will post a book trailer in your genre to get it out there! There aren’t as many sites for trailers as there are for book reviews, however, there are people out there willing to help you by posting your trailer.

It was fun and creative for me, and I enjoyed making a book trailer. Hopefully you will too!

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

 

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

Dear Author: Events and Giveaways–Online and In Person

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Dear Author, are you ready for some events and giveaways?

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Goodreads Giveaway

Most authors love Goodreads giveaways, because you book gets some views on a site that is for readers. Readers might add the book to their shelves when they enter giveaway, and pick it up later. If you’re not on Goodreads as an author you should be there.

Helpful hints:

Many of the helpful hints will come from : http://www.novelpublicity.com/2012/02/how-to-run-a-goodreads-giveaway-with-maximal-results-11-tips-we-know-youll-need/, Emlyn Chand, who mapped out different Goodreads Giveaway options.

3 months and 7 days. Timing should be 3 months in advance, and you can only list your giveaway 7 days out from today’s date and no sooner. I tried to do a giveaway a week in advance, but you can only list a giveaway 7 days from the date you sign up! So mine became June 2nd-9th,, as they have to last a week. The 4th was my release date. The ideal timeframe is 3 months ahead of time, because it’s an advance copy.

Autograph. Make sure you say it’s an autographed copy! Use AUTOGRAPHED COPY in all capital letters, says Chand.

Advertise. It’s free to do a Goodreads giveaway, but some authors say to take out an advertisement to maximize the benefit. I haven’t taken an advertisement, so I do not have too much to report.

A 1 book prize is okay. Giving away one book seems to work well. Authors report little difference on participation with a one book giveaway vs. multiples. If you have multiple books to giveaway, other authors encourage to spread them out instead of putting all books into one giveaway. Emlyn Chand, methodologist and author, encourages alternating long and short giveaways.

Shorter giveaways appear on multiple lists. There is no need to do a lengthy giveaway. You can appear in the newly listed giveaways as well as the “ending soon” giveaways. This is good for readers who are not clicking through the giveaway lists.

Giveaways on other websites:

Rafflecopter is a fun way to make a fair contest, and you can even use it free. Authors will often use rafflecopter to collect entries, and people can get more entries by tweeting a message you set or visiting a facebook page. There are other options that are paid. You can set the contest up way in advance, which I love.

Rule of Wrist: Spread the prizes to different websites. When I did my first giveaway in the pre-order stage of book 1, I was giving away 11 books through my Facebook page. For my next book, I plan to spread free copies throughout the internet to reach more people.

Physical Mail and sending out copies

Always mail your paperback as soon as possible. Some authors wait a good week, and you will surely stand out if you mail it sooner. In the USA, ask for “media mail” and tell your post office that you are sending a book. It’s about $4 cheaper. Postage can put a damper on any small business, and I wish there was a definitive guide to navigating it.

Online events:

Author takeovers were an unfamiliar concept to me at first, but a lot of authors do them now and they are a lot of fun and completely online. Authors post games, giveaways, and contests on a facebook event wall for their designated hour. Usually this is a book launch, but sometimes is another book-related celebration. Think of the funny interactive posts that get shared often on facebook. One author at an event I did a takeover at said type “glamour shot” and your name, and some of the pictures were hilarious. Since Romarin is rosemary in French, this was my glamour shot:

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Romarin Demetri’s kind of glamour shot.

Hehehe.

You never know who you will meet during a takeover. Make sure you’re giving something away somewhere to really make an impression.

Rule of wrist: Author events are only as successful as you make them. If you agree to join one, please interact. It will help you and every other author there. Try and spread the word about your takeover before it happens to get traffic there when it does.

 

Events in Person:

Author events, community shows, and more.

When buying a booth space at an author event, be mindful that it might not be worth the price if you are only promoting one book. You might make meaningful relationships with others, grab newsletter signups, or meet other authors.

To date, I have only done conventions for the pre-release of my book (and it was so much fun that lost my voice after the weekend!) and will not attend events as an author only until I have more than 1 book out.

When I did an event for the pre-release of book 1, I met two local authors that have been helpful and supportive. They are J.L. Gribble and K.W Taylor . I am so happy to have met them. Sometimes author events are about meeting others and making connections.

How to find and choose author events:

Google “author signing event –your city and state- eventbrite” and see what comes up. Look for established signing events, and events in your niche only. Remember, the more specific you get, the BETTER. Really dial in on your genre and subgenre if possible. Also, some events put together by inexperienced or wishy-washy people can be cancelled. I always look for events with little risk, that are in at least their second year, though I prefer at least 5 years. I emailed an event about sending them my bookmarks this year, only to find out that the event was cancelled days before, and attending authors weren’t refunded. They didn’t respond and I did not send my book marks.

While you’re out looking for events, look for bloggers who sponsor book events as listed on the event page. Why? They’re serious, professional, and you should support the people who believe in you.  Many of them will take review requests. Plus, if you end up at the event, go introduce yourself and thank the bloggers if they have featured one of your books!

Sending swag to events you cannot attend in person. I have no indication that my sending of 700 book marks to a Con in a nearby state found me any readers. I thought that cosplayers and creative people might like my series, so I sent book marks for their freebie bags. I did not see an increase in quiz takers for the powers and personality quiz that was on the book mark, and was no able to deduce that I gained any readers through sending the bookmarks. I sent tea time envelopes to the Cleveland Author Event that is to take place the day after I post this blog, and we will see if I can deduce any response. My best advice is to hand “swag” out in person so that you can make a connection. At many of the craft shows I did, I offered a bookmark for a newsletter sign up.

This post will be updated in the future, but the main point of events in person is to make connections!

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

 

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

Dear Author: Blog Tours

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Blog tours are paid endeavors that get you a feature, guest post, or review on a book blog. In my first go, I learned a few things.

Always comment and thank the tour hosts. If they read and liked your book, they will be able to find you on social media and follow you. It is polite to thank them.

Plan your posts out way in advance. You know that you’ll need some guest posts, and the more content you give someone, the more prepared they will be. You could get your tour questions or stops mere days or hours before the release date when you’re used to working weeks ahead. Be prepared for this.

You never know what you’ll get. You will never know where you will appear or what will happen. This is a time saving service, no doubt, but you’re not picking where you will end up. It could go really well, or you might not see much response. If it’s your first book, anything can happen. Keep going.

There could be so many posts that day that your book is 1 of many. Your book might move quickly off the page and on to the next one because there are so many books being featured that day. Maybe this increases traffic, or perhaps potential readers will miss out on your book.

The buzz is only as buzzy as the tour host makes it. Your host is responsible for getting your book out there and if they just want to copy and paste a post, that’s what they will do. It’s unrealistic to think they can type of every post, so you’ll be in charge of content, however, it doesn’t mean that they will promote your post or even space it correctly so it’s optimal. Expect not everything to go as planned, but be thankful that you have the opportunity.

Things I didn’t like about my own blog tour. Time to be honest. It was fun, but I enjoy working weeks ahead on my book series, and got my stop assignments 2 days before. That is not easy when you’re trying to launch a book. One of the stops I was supposed to be on never responded to the tour company about why a post didn’t appear. I don’t know if the stop would have generated interest, but it shows you that stops don’t have to be responsive even if they are booked through a tour company. I also wasn’t fond that one of the book stops was a book blog I had already contacted for a review, and the review was done before the promo stop was booked. Overall, my experience was good.

Remember that these results were from the first book in a series. Who is Romarin Demetri exactly, and should I spend 2.99 to get her book when there are .99 titles out there? A book tour could fair differently when an author is established, so I’m excited to see where we will go from here.

In summary, I can’t say that a blog tour increased my sales or visibility (if i measure my sales), but it was so much fun! Stick with a blog tour for at least 2 books to see what happens. Book bloggers are amazing for spending time and resources on your book. It’s a great experience to try, and I think you should find a tour company and be optimistic about it.

 

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

 

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

 

Dear Author:A little book launch help from your friends

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Dear Author,

When your book launches, a lot of your friends and family will be happy for you! So how are you going to do your book launch?

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“I want somebody to love my book!”

 

We are discussing, releasing your book, virtual and physical launch parties, book sales contest and the Amazon best-sellers list, and the Be Everywhere At Once method. This is a loaded post, and it reminds you that it isn’t just about the physical launch, preparing starts MONTHS in advance.

Releasing the book:

What your early readers or Street Team can do to help. For book one, I released my ebook a few days early so that my team can post their reviews. The print book kept the original publication date.  Ask your friends who read the book ahead of time to leave reviews on amazon as soon as the book goes live. They are more than happy to get the word out, because they loved your book! Consider converting early readers to a “street team”, and offer them prizes. More on that later.

What you should do.

  • Add editorial reviews as soon as your book is up. Make sure you head to Amazon’s Author Central, look under “books”, and click on your title so that you can add editorial reviews. Reader’s Favorite is always a good place to start, and if you have an insightful review from a prolific book blogger, add that to your editorials as well. The professional reviewers list from my reviews blog is a nice starting point. It says it may take 3-5 days, but my editorial reviews went up stat.
  • Connect print and ebook reviews by contacting amazon 48 hours after they go live. Sometimes they won’t link up right away. Find the contact button on this instructional page
  • Remind your readers of the importance of reviews. While you can’t review your own book (come on, don’t!) you can help other people find reviews.

Virtual launch parties.

To launch a book, you have to know how social media works.

Connect on facebook. Before you send an invite someone to your release party or contest, reach out through private message first. I’m talking people you regularly interact with here and there, and EVERYONE who has taken an interest in your books posts during the process. Not people you haven’t typed a word to in ages. Be selective and leave them a personalized message. Everyone is constantly added to groups and events on facebook, and because of this, I feel the need to address people before I do.

My virtual Launch Party. I invited other authors to debut their characters to the social world, because there is a cotillion in book 1. I gave away a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card. If you’re doing an event, you need to give away a prize. I also invited readers to vote for their favorite debut character as “best-dressed”! Rafflecopter is a good, fair site to run giveaways through, and with a free account, you are able to have people click to enter, visit a facebook page, follow a twitter account, or tweet a message that you set up on Twitter. It picks a random winner, which is fabulous.

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Physical book launch. I wanted to find something ingenious about launches in my book launch party research, but it seems there is no trick to reaching an audience you don’t already have with a launch party. The book launch party is for the readers you already have to celebrate with you, but I did meet a few new faces! One thing I did was asked attendees to purchase my paperback on release day and bring it with them, so I’m not lugging a lot of copies around. It also helped sales on release day. These are readers who are invested already. I set my release party to take place two weeks after the book release so that people could read and get my book in time.

I planned a scavenger hunt during the book launch using book clues and the Scavr app for iphone. A disposable camera or camera phone might also work well with paper clues, but you won’t be able to judge a contest in real time or have a leader board. The decision is yours. A Scavenger hunt was a good decision around a town I live in, because they have a historical district.

scavengerhuntwinners

 

 

Other book launch media ideas Be Everywhere At Once:

BEAO was not coined by me, but it is important. If people think you are everywhere and there is a big hullaballoo about your book, they will get curious. This applies to the internet.

* Blog tour. A blog tour will sustain interest for a week or two weeks (or longer depending on what you pick) and I happen to be posting about them in detail tomorrow. This is a paid service unless you organize it yourself, and obviously you want more stops if you have more books out. Always link back to blog stops on social media! Comment on comments on the blog posts! Take off work and camp at your computer, because interaction is key.

*Release Day promotions like interviews, promo posts, excerpts, and release day blasts. After you submit your book reviews, go to your list of promo sites and work down it. Some blogs or services do both, so while I list reviews and promos on different tabs, I make note if they are doing a review on the promo tab. If you are trying to book a few months out, promo people might ask you to email them a few days before with the information. Make sure you do that, and make sure you follow up on the posts they make. A lot of people might end up forgetting, so try to send them as much content as you can for the promo, and even ask them if they have the capability to schedule it. After my first go at a release day promo, it’s most likely advantageous to send anyone who agreed to a promo a thank you 3 days before, as a reminder.

*Have a blog ready to go every day of the week for book launch. You will be on other people’s blogs for your tour, but what about keeping up with your own blog? Post consistently during a release with a series, but try to keep it at one post a day. If people get used to you posting so often, I think they start to get over-stimulated and don’t respond as much. You can do any type of series you want. I did Dear Author to help other Indies on their missions (not just to sell books) and get some foot traffic. Again, this is the concept that you can’t just be a poster that says “buy my book!” you have to offer some goodies too. Your blog series can be anything, just let people know it’s ongoing, and that they should check back! I like setting up an index to generate excitement, and they can see what you will be talking about. Always link to other posts within you posts, to keep people reading the whole series. The best thing I learned: Schedule and complete posts far in advance, because you will be so busy that you could fall behind, or there might be a day your graphic design program is glitching or your computer is going slow.

*Post a related video to your youtube channel. I posted the mini book necklace tutorial on the day of my release, which was super fun, and I’m hoping people will make their own mini books!

 

 

If you have a hobby you can tie into your series, go for it. I also wanted to book guest spots on DIY websites, but have no heard back from crafters yet!

*email lists. See my post about marketing your new release in email lists. You can often schedule them far in advance.

*Tell your friends and family of the free ways they can help promote your book. For example:

Add my book to your amazon wishlist with two clicks! It’s free and helps other people find and buy my book.

Recommend my book to your friends on Goodreads!

Share my release day post on facebook!

Vote for my book on goodreads listtopia lists:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1023.Best_Strong_Female_Fantasy_Novels?page=36

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/51.The_Best_Urban_Fantasy

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/25529.Best_Unknown_but_must_be_Known_books_

There are many ways that even non-readers can help you!

 

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

 

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

Dear Author: Why email is still #1

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Dear Author,

Let’s talk the all-important newsletter!

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Email is still the most effective marketing you can do through the internet.  Authors use newsletters to announce events, new releases, and offer exclusive sneak peeks or writing progress.  The people who subscribe are already all about you; all you have to do is remind them you’re still out there!

Getting people to subscribe. Offer something for free as an incentive to get people to sign up! My email marketing is set up to automatically email the first four chapter of my first novel when recipients confirm their subscription. For my events in the Spring, I offered a free bookmark when people signed up in person at my booth.

Don’t share email addresses or spam. This is common sense, but you need to let people know you are the only one with their email address. Legitimate email services (we will get to that) won’t share email addresses. As for spamming, I let people know that I’m only sending a Newsletter once a month and on release days. Choose whatever works for you.

Pick your email service based on short and long-term goals. Email marketing is expensive, but you know that it works. The truth is that there is no way you can do email marketing yourself on a large scale. It would be far too time consuming. You need to write more to build more, and writing should take up the majority of your time. Some services offer a free trial period of 30 days, while others allow you a certain number of contacts or emails and then charge you after so many participants.

 I found that Mad Mimi was the best service for me! To start, I was offered 100 contacts on the forever free plan. I’m glad someone gets that email is important, but that I need time to build the list to be able to make back the service’s fee.  I’m an Indie, and I’m not going to see income until around book 3, so I need a newsletter I can afford. Mad Mimi was the best cost for long terms plans too, when I priced them all out. They also offer drip campaigns that send one time only when users subscribe, and you can schedule when newsletters go out. They are so easy to use, too!

Support with Mad Mimi. Mad Mimi has a support team who is fluent in English. Chat is available, and they also have a support inbox for email. In trying out other services, I have had problems with a language barrier, because I only know one language. I think it is great when people speak more than one language, do not get me wrong, but in running my book series as a business, I have to make bossy decisions, and an English-speaking support team makes things easier.

The only foreseeable drawback mimi comes with, is that you design how content is set up yourself, and there are no templates. You can add a banner, pictures, headlines, lists, and a combination of picture and text.  I prefer how simple it is, because I want a sleek design that can be viewed on smartphones. Mimi only allows you to upload a set number of images, so keep up on the images you don’t use anymore.

I suggest Mad Mimi, and if you are liking what I’m telling you,  I suggest signing up for free and seeing if you like how the Newsletters are designed!

Topics you can use in your Newsletter:

  • Countdown to releases
  • Events you are attending
  • Thank yous and pictures from events
  • Early excerpts
  • Sneak previews
  • Deleted scenes
  • A note from the author
  • Ways people can help spread the word about your books
  • Contests
  • Reader questions

I send a Newsletter once a month and on release days. Be upfront with you subscribers about how many you will send. I tell people that the first 4 chapters send automatically, and if they decide the book isn’t for them, then they just unsubscribe. It’s easy!

If you want to see how I’ve used Mad Mimi, you can subscribe to my newsletter and see what I have been up to! http://madmimi.com/signups/176318/join

Authors, what email service do you use and why?

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

 

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

Dear Author: Advertising on Ebook Websites and Newsletters

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Advertising on ebook websites and newsletters

Dear Author, did you know you it’s helpful to take our advertisements for your book to keep sales alive?

dearauthorebookmarketing50

Rule of wrist: Advertising is a better bang for your buck when you have multiple books out, and the more tailored you go (hone in on people who read) the better results you get. With a series, your backlist is always there ready for sale, and an ad might spark a chain reaction and sell multiple books.

We are talking about advertising specifically for ebook websites and newsletters, because this is an audience who is reading. You can choose to use Goodreads (recommended) or facebook (here is why I wouldn’t) or even Google adsense.

Advertise book one. Book one is a magical gateway to the rest of the books in your series. You will also have the most ratings on book one, since it’s probably been out longer. More ratings= more readers. Book one will probably be free at some point, or at .99 cents during your promotional period.

Advertise at reduced prices. People are more likely to download your book if it’s 2.99 or under.  .99 is usually the most effective price. If you have a sale going on for your ebook, you really should advertise it, because no one will know that it’s on sale otherwise. Most authors make their money back on the ad even at reduced prices, and end up selling more books in the series. You can set your ebook to .99 cents for a month and take out ads. This might get people to buy your other books at full price. Advertising without a reduced price is not advised.

Update your book info to tell readers the sale won’t last. Use HTML to add a message to your book’s description, and tell readers to get the book while it’s on sale for a limited time. Here is a guide to HTML for Amazon.

A one-day blast vs. week long advertising campaign. If you’re looking to achieve a best-seller rank through your advertising, amazon works on the condition of how many sales you will get in a day, and what else is selling in that day. You could sell 500 books and make it if nothing else is selling, but you might need to sell 5,000 to break the top ten. Focusing advertising into one day might help you break into the top 100, however, sustaining sales for a few days might actually make amazon recommend your book on other lists, resulting in more people buying it. I recommend trying both and seeing which method works better for you.

Reader’s In The Know has the best list ever for sale and free ebook advertising, and some email lists and social media blasts are of no cost to you, but not guaranteed. Readers in the Know is responsible for this gem, which is free, but they also have paid author services as well.

http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites

As I am notorious for spending months on making advertising and blogging lists, I have added books in my genre to my own list and tailored it from there.

Some authors say free advertising spots in newsletters don’t help as much as paid newsletter spots, and that they aren’t worth the time. I recommend looking at the experiences other authors have had with specific paid advertising sites. The case seems to be that you get what you pay for.

The only way to measure a possible increase in sales is by tracking spikes in sales that coincidence with the dates of your promotions. It might not be so possible to track during book 1 because you don’t know what is normal yet, but in time, you could notice some helpful trends.

 

If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Shattered-Supernatural-London-Underground-ebook/dp/B01CIZM6KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457060930&sr=8-1&keywords=romarin+demetri

Click here to go to Dear Author Index for more posts

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