Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Too Big, Too Late

LateA couple of things happened these several weeks that was pretty fun! Unfortunately, these events should have been posted here BEFORE they started, and not AFTER they end.

Ever been to an Online Conference? Well there was one for Indies on Feb 25-27th. IndieReCon was a fun and interesting event that answered Indie’s questions and gave solutions. I heard about it through David Gaughran’s blog. As long as I have been doing the Self-Publishing thing, there is always something new to learn. The GOOD NEWS about this conference? You didn’t have to attend to still get the information. It’s all still there, so you can head right over there and see what went on during those fun days. Just click the links on the schedule.

The second fun thing that happened was the 2014 Smashwords Read an Ebook Week promotion, which took place March 2-8. I had quite a few books downloaded and purchased for FREE, and also, surprisingly, a few books that were discounted where I did get a royalty fee. If you are an author that has your books on Smashwords, you probably got the email, as I did, and had the choice to option in. I did. For those of you who haven’t put your books on Smashwords yet, it’s definitely worth it–if only to place your eggs in different distribution baskets.

So, even though these things have already past, what you can take from this blog is to make sure you keep tabs on what’s going on out there. Subscribe to other author’s websites, like The Passive Voice for news, or the site I mention where I learned about the Online Conference. Login from time to time on writing forums like the Kindle Boards. There may be months that you don’t hear anything new, but from time-to-time a jewel is dropped that would be worth your while.

Things slow down, and things speed right up! It’s best to try to keep in touch with….well…just about EVERYTHING!

Until Next Time!





Price Massaging

treasureI decided to use a suggestion called “price massaging” where you change the prices of your books from time-to-time to see if it would help raise or lower interest.

My experiment was a failure.

Before I continue my story, I must say Happy New Year! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and experimenting with price massaging is the reason why.

I’m continuously trying out things that may help my book sells, and after my experiences, I tell my story here.

I’m thinking if I had a faster current flow of buys, then playing around with my prices wouldn’t have hurt so much. As many of you might know, I don’t have much in sells, but yet I’m quite happy (and content) with what I do receive. I quite enjoyed my three (3) buys a month, but when I tried increasing the price of my books… I lost it.

I was horrified when my three (3) and only precious, wonderful, adored, and admirable buys, in my eyes, went to: ZERO, Zip, Zilch, Nada, nothing…………GONE!

I finally placed my prices back to what they were, and then the buys went up to… ONE (1). And it’s been quite hard to accept that the one (1) buy is all that I have these past few months.

I’ve lost the small treasures that I had. 🙁

So, I’m back to trying to find another way to regain the months of happiness that I once had. Somehow, someway, I must find it again.

And when I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Until Next time!



When You Don’t Give Up…

GoogleAlertMy previous post talked about all the doom and gloom that’s been going around with self-publishing, so I wanted to give a little pick-me-up about what happened to me recently.

As those of you know, I can’t scream and shout about big numbers of sales or how I can even pay a single bill. I get about three (3) sales a month, which, I’ve always stated, is a great steady and wonderful thing for me because I’ve surpassed family friends and I’ve got people buying and reading my stories–without even really marketing, mind you. I always wanted strangers to read me, and that’s what continuously happens with my peanut sales. 🙂

Then there’s those months that might go by when I didn’t get those three (3) buys, or maybe just two (2) or one (1) or none (0)…something happens that makes those down months very uplifting!

See my picture up top? That’s my Google Alerts email. Google Alerts is something that will send you an email based on text someone would type in the search engine. I’ve put my pen name in there–something that was advised to do some time ago when I first started self publishing–just to see when someone is talking about me. Well, an alert popped up doing one of my down months and made my day! It was a Science Fiction website that put my 3rd book of the Calling Series as a suggestion for people to read. I don’t know who looks at this site, but someone took time to post my book’s image on it and it’s a link to something I’ve created.

And That’s Awesome!

Then something else came about. I found out from the Kindle Boards of the Writer’s Cafe that there’s a season where novels sales are really low or where novels aren’t bought at all, and that season is Summer. From Mid-May to Mid-September is that time period where new self-publishers shouldn’t fret about sales, and it’s talked about by an experience author, Dean Wesley Smith. This is knowledge that should be passed on, and that’s what I do with this blog. Because having that extra help of information always creates that sigh of relief.

From one Lone Self-Publisher to another….

Until Next Time!




Old Ways and New Ways

oldnewshoesHave you been hearing the fears in the air? The waves of uncertainty? The talk of what’s not possible anymore?

There’s been talk that the well has run dry. That the gold rush is now over. That it’s not possible to get that surge of eyes on your work of art because all of the ways to get them there have been overused and overdone and no longer work anymore.

It can get disheartening to hear these types of things about self-publishing, and, oh, how it starts to suck you dry of all of your enthusiasms, your hopes, and your dreams.

But you have to remember

At one time, there was a way to publish your book that would take years and years, and possibly NEVER happened. There was a time when you submitted your work and your voice was not heard. There was a time when it seemed like now…hopeless.

But that time could never get you as close to your dream as THIS time.

So, the sales aren’t coming like they use to.
So, you’re not getting as much attention as THAT author over there.
So, you’ve done EVERYTHING and there’s still no eyes coming your way.

But you MUST remember

Your step today is a step higher from yesterday. And you can’t give up even though things look grim. You keep going because if you STOP, then you really did come to…nothing.

If you’re someone who is getting buys, NO MATTER THE NUMBER, they are buys.
If you’re someone who hasn’t received any buys, NO MATTER, there will be buys.
If you’re someone whose buys don’t go up and don’t go down, NO MATTER… THEY ARE BUYS.

The point is, we all wear shoes, Old and NEW, but we do the same in either case.

We Keep Walking…



Marketing Break!

FrustratedDoing all the things you hear to do to get your book seen can be overwhelming and become very frustrated. I know the list and the time (Especially the TIME) to do all this marketing is the pits!

However, there may be a way that you can market your book but not feel like you have another job doing it!

I mentioned back in November 2012 that I was testing out some marketing stuff for my book. Well, I think I found out that it works!

I’ve decided to go to websites and be a part of communities that I actually enjoy being a part of. For me, unfortunately, being a part of Goodreads, LibraryThing and Shelfari, as well as constantly posting on blogs and Facebook and Twitter, hasn’t been for me. I don’t have time to read, and I don’t have time to do all the blogging and twittering, so none of that socializing works for me. I don’t write enough for Wattpad and nor have the time to read other’s work. However, other things that I’m interested in DO work for me.

Yahoo! Answers

On my Blogger website that I have for my readers, and which I use as another marketing tool to gain readers, I like to talk a lot about feelings and the matters of the heart and life. I do love to talk about those things, and so what I started testing was Yahoo! Answers. It’s a community where people post questions on what’s on their hearts and minds and people respond with their answers. I found that it’s similar, to me, like Dear Abby where I can be Abby! And I’m actually pretty good at it. I get a lot of 10 points for being accepted as the Best Answer, and that makes me feel good to help someone else out.

I have a steady buy of three (3) books a month, and I found while being on Yahoo! Answers, that keeps that going because I see that the books are being bought much earlier in the month than so slowly throughout the month when I get a lot of Best Answers.

Criticker

The other place that I enjoy is Criticker. I found this website when Netflix, for some reason, stopped allowing people to post their reviews on movies. I needed an outlet to put my 2 cents and my opinion on the films I enjoyed. Netflix now allows people to post reviews again, but I’ve gotten so use to Criticker that I mainly post there now, as well as my ratings of the movies I’ve seen that week on Netflix.

Though I don’t think I get any readers from Criticker, I still enjoy being there, especially being a part of the forums every blue moon. I’ve even got an answer of a movie title I was looking for but I just couldn’t remember what it was, and someone answered it for me! Now that was just a great relief.

FanForum

A third site I would go to frequently but it’s forum just loads WAY too slow for me–FanForum. It’s the best place to subsidize my Criticker site, which is for films only, so that I can talk about TV series I enjoy to my heart’s content. I also lurk to find out all the side information and people’s opinions on my favorite TV series. My only problem is that I watch my series so late, so I can’t join in with the current conversations, but I can participate when I catch up.


In all these places, I don’t post, “Hey! I’m a Writer! Buy my Book!” Plus, you really don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be a Spammer nor a Bug-A-Boo. What you should do is just be your witty and special self, and people will take a look at your profile where you have your website for them to take a looksie.

I’m quite enjoying these sites and, what’s importantly, it’s not like I’m working to market. I’m doing something that I already enjoy doing. Though these places aren’t really after my target audience, I do get an ongoing, steady, buy of my three books a month and sometimes four! LOL!! I know that sounds like chump change but it’s great numbers for me since I don’t put the time in to do much marketing at all, and this goes WAY beyond just family and friends, which is your ultimate goal.

Bottom line, go out there and participate in things that you already enjoy. Because you’ll never know who’s interest you might peek.



Until Next Time!!



Happy Happy Happy Year 2013!!!!



Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Good to be here 2013!!!

I wanted to share a video that was posted on the Kindleboards that I thought would be the best thing to have on your mind for this year. It’s a speech that’s definitely worth listening to for the entire twenty (2) minutes. Yes. Very well worth it.

An inspirational speech that we all need. Enjoy!!

OK With Not Recovering Costs

Money. Money. Money. That’s what some potential novelists think about when they enter into the decision on trying to get their book next to a BUY button.

The first thing an author does is to research how to get their books published. And the first thing that they see are these someones. Then, they make a chart of: “them” versus “me“.

They hear all about how much someone else is making; how someone else was able to leave their day jobs; how someone else’s novels are soooo popular; how someone else is getting hundred and thousands of hits on their blog sites a day…. But then when they get into the arena, they’re bombarded with disappointment because their books aren’t selling, or not selling as well as the someone else’s, and they’re not as popular, and no one sees them. They then sulk in a corner, degrade themselves for being failures or tell themselves that they weren’t good at writing anyway, and they disappear from the scene, never to achieve their dreams at all.

I’ve talked about this before, and I wanted to talk about it again. I wish there was an entire blog on the How To Be Successful…Actual Answers. In fact, I wish every single author would write the honesty of being a success. And at every online site there should be a statement as follows:

Their numbers will NOT predict MY success

That statement should be branded into every new author’s mind and have temporary tatooes stamped on the back of both of their typing hands for one week of every quarterly period of the year.

And, again, if you hear writers stating that they don’t write for the money and they don’t care who reads their work and that they’re writing for THEMSELVES, then they are NOT authors…they’re writing DIARIES. An author has something they want to say and they want to say it to someone, a group of someones, or to the entire world. That is what an author is. That is what defines a novelist.

And Money Is Just The Icing On The Cake.

Yes, I spend a lot of money getting my books together and putting this business (and yes, it’s a business) together. I spent a lot more money than I will get back in sells. However, as I stated before as to the WHY I decided self-publishing, I feel that putting money into something you LOVE to do is not a waste at all. Heck, I spent more on my wedding day, for ONE day, than I have on my novels, and my wedding day was in 2008! Also, grant it, I’m not the type of woman who shops, or get my hair “did”, or get my nails done, or wear make-up. I only shop for clothes maybe once a year, and I wear the same pair of shoes to work daily until I have to replace them. So, for me, spending all this money on my novels and not recovery costs is okay. I put my money into buying something I enjoy just like everyone else who spends money shopping. It equals about the same anyway.

So, in the end, one has to think about the WHY they are putting an effort, and your money, into a novel. Think about a realistic goal, and remember that the J.K. Rowling’s and the Amanda Hocking’s are really Lotto winners…and we know how much of a chance it is to win the Lotto, right?

Remember those statement that you made to want to reach just one, just ONE reader, “…and I will be happy!” And when you reach that goal, then what you need to do is try for one more….just ONE.

Currently, I’m up to three buys a month. Yep, just three. For two years I had no buys. But now, somehow, ONE more person has found me. And then another. And then another.

When I have more items on my virtual book store to sell, I’m hoping that will increase. Until then, I will travel the road of the Lone Self-Publisher and be Happy!





My First Blog Interview!

FirstInterviewSo, I was asked by a fellow author to do a blog interview last week, and I think it went pretty good. I’ve never done one before, and I really, really liked the ease and especially the indepth questions I was asked. It didn’t take me much time to answer Alicia McCalla’s questions, however it did take a bit of thinking. I was in a pretty good mood because I was asked to be a guest, and it shows in my responses.

I also really liked that Alicia McCalla read my novel and wanted to discuss it specifically. Her questions were all targetted towards that novel–The 9th Symbol.

The 9th Symbol is the last book in the totem pole to get noticed of my four published and available books at this time, and to have it finally in the light brings quite a smile. This particular novel focuses on a much negative view of the “horizontal dance,” which subject matter is similar to Death’s First Rose, though Death’s First Rose pushes that limit to its max. I shouldn’t even mention that novel because it will be some time before I bring that out and finish it. I’m thinking I could finish it by next year…but who knows.

Go ahead and take a looksie at the discussion of sexual slavery in a Cinderella Tale, and feel free to let me know what you think.

Until Next Time!





Sorry, Wrong Number…

I got a wrong number text message one day at 1:00AM. I didn’t mind in the least. It was a Saturday night and I was up anyway, and, obviously, so was this person, because they texted,

“I’m still awake…dang!”

They then sent another text at 8:24AM. It was at 9:18AM when I finally answered. By the time I answered back, they, of course, figured out that they had the wrong number.

“Sorry, wrong number,” I texted, “but I hope you had a fun night anyway :)”

The person replied, “I know, sorry. Thanks.”

I then told them how I appreciated the text, because I really did. They sent a picture of a nice attractive woman posing for the camera wearing a zebra-striped, calf-length jumpsuit. On her feet she wore six-inch, black, high-heel sandals. She stood sideways with a cool stance, one hand stuffed inside a pocket, with a red, brick wall filling the background.

“Hey,” I texted, “It’s always fun hearing someone enjoying life. It made my day. LOL”

The person replied back with a smilie. 🙂

In a day of technology, where people change numbers like they do hairstyles, I can see how that can happen. And this person was definitely having some fun that night to a point where they switched some digits to send a message to a friend that they thought they knew would love to hear about their 1:00AM excitement.

So, you might be asking yourself…what’s this gots to do with Self-Publishing??? Well, I’ll tell ya.

After thinking about it for a moment, I then sent a text along with a picture. Since I was sent a picture, it was just fair that I send one back. I sent a picture of the cover of my novel IRID.

“I’ll use this as an opportunity for a shameless plug.” I texted. “If you know anyone interested in science fiction or fantasy, have them take a looksie at my site www.zhollis.com. Keep Enjoying life! 🙂

The person then replied back, “Thanks, I read too. Have a blessed day.”

Heh. Heh. So, that’s why I’m adding this post today.

I don’t have that many opportunities to talk to strangers and promote my book. Actually, it’s been awhile, like the post I had when someone asked about my car magnets, and that was back in 2010. That was the last time. But this time, was a little bit More FuN!!!

I’m not a sales person, and I can not really see myself as one, but given that I had that painful experience back in 2010, I’m now in the mindset to look for an opening to talk about my novel… only when there’s an opening for it.

This was quite a fun experience for me, and I wasn’t sure what kind of response I would receive back, if I got any. I was thinking more like I would not get a reply, or that the person would just give me a plain, “Ok. Thanks.” reply. But, I’m glad I got the response back that I did. It was awesome!

“I read, too.”

So, keep enjoying life, “Fight Night Nikka,” and I hope you spread the word about my book, or at least share the experience with a friend.

Until Next Time!






Tweeter button Facebook button Youtube button