Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Dawning of Morning Glory

It's almost that time... DOOM.

The writing challenge, that is!

I signed up for DOOM (I'm going with "Determination Overcomes Our Muddling" as the acronym), which takes place March through April, with the goal of writing 50,000 words. (Kind of like NaNoWriMo, but over two months, which sounds nice!) You can check up my sign-up post HERE.

I actually did start writing the first scene of the book the other day, though, and yes, Myghal has made an appearance. ;) I'm sure you'll be hearing more about the story in the days ahead... I'll just have to find the right balance of giving you tantalizing teasers without giving too much away, right? I'm sort of a pantser, so the details will likely be a surprise to me, too. But I've been contemplating the plot a bit, and I have some impressions of the characters and the main challenges to guide me along. That's basically what I had when starting Bleeding Heart, although that story ended up taking some surprising turns... Already my planning has turned to some heavier themes. There is a bit of pressure, knowing that readers come to expect certain things of my books now.

Okay, I'm officially rambling! Let's just say you should be hearing more about Morning Glory, as well as Fairy Slippers, in this next month - and I hope to have some fun posts to go along with the two stories. Stay tuned!

Will you be participating in Speedbo or DOOM next month? What are you planning to work on in March?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bellflower Sprouted Up on Smashwords!

Did you miss the free Bellflower offer for newsletter subscribers? No need to fret - the short story prequel to Forget Me Not is now available on Smashwords!

I decided to look into that option today, and found it rather easy to create a profile on Smashwords and get this short story up there. I really like this option because A) readers can download the story in whatever format they like, including .epub, .mobi, PDF, and more; B) this makes it really easy for readers to find the story without having to e-mail me; C) there's another place for readers to leave reviews besides Goodreads; D) new readers can discover me; and E) it's separate from my Amazon page. That last one is nice because I know short stories can get lower ratings due to their length (or lack thereof), and I also know Bellflower has a chance of getting lower ratings from people who know me as an inspirational author. Not that Bellflower has inappropriate content, but the nature of the story (the fact that it's set in a brothel and it's not overtly inspirational) might not make it as appealing to my target audience.

So now you know why I'm trying out Smashwords. If you're looking for a short read, a chance to learn more about the characters from Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart, and/or if you enjoy Western romance and sweet fairy-tale retellings, I hope you'll give Bellflower a try! You can download your free copy HERE.

If you've already read Bellflower, might you consider leaving a review there? That would be a tremendous help! And what are your thoughts on Smashwords? Do you use it as an author or visit there as a reader?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Audiobook Question

In my last post I noted that making Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart into audiobooks might be a viable option - if I could see that it was something readers would be interested in. I sent out an e-mail to my influencer team, posted about it on several discussion boards on Goodreads, tweeted about it, shared it on Google +, and received a couple of responses here, as well. I thought I would share my findings with you all - so here you go!


Queries sent via:
  • e-mail (41)
  • Goodreads
  • Google +
  • Twitter
  • Blogger

Responses received:
  • 21 by e-mail
  • 4 through Goodreads
  • 3 through Google +
  • 4 through Twitter
  • 2 through Blogger

Total responses received: 34


Question: Do you listen to audiobooks?
  • 8 Yes
  • 8 Seldom
  • 15 No
  • 3 No response to this question

Number of people who mentioned they knew of others who listen to audiobooks:
  • 12

Number of people who noted they would help spread the word in some way if "The Heart's Spring" was made into audiobooks:
  • 13


Now, several things should be noted: some of the responses were from other authors sharing their thoughts or experiences; these are just the responses I received within the two days after most of the queries were sent; not everyone was asked about helping to spread the word; and I didn't specifically ask people if they knew of others who listened to audiobooks - that information was volunteered by some of the respondents.

And I also received some interesting comments from readers and authors alike. Here are some things I gleaned from them:
  • Notes were made about getting audiobooks from the library, for free, or would consider purchasing if the price were reasonable.
  • A couple of authors haven't had overly profitable experiences with audio endeavors.
  • Narrator plays a big part in the success of an audiobook.
  • One author believed it would be a worthwhile endeavor, stating that since the selection is smaller for audiobooks, readers would find me - and if I did a profit share with a narrator, I'd have nothing to lose.



So...while this wasn't a scientific study by any means, nor will it necessarily be overly helpful to other authors (as I think a lot depends on genre, popularity, etc.), I feel like this was very helpful for me! It showed me several things:
  1. The readers who play the biggest part in spreading the word about my books online aren't overly interested in audiobooks. Yes, they might know of others who listen to audiobooks, and they might still be willing to spread the word - but there's no clamor and little interest for this. If it's already a challenge to spread the word about my e-books and paperbacks, imagine how much bigger the struggle would be for a format that no one's really asking for. 
  2. Some of the readers who actually do listen to audiobooks on occasion tend to get them from the library. Or those who might be interested in purchasing audiobooks would prefer for them to be affordable. So...that doesn't really sound promising for making sales.
  3. Other authors aren't necessarily seeing a lot of sales from audiobooks or other audio-type endeavors. Granted, I've only talked to a couple! But as a newbie author, if "audio land" is a hard place for other authors to succeed, it's probably not be for me - at least not right now.

I think it's exciting that the possibility of making audiobooks is available and doable! I could make it work by sharing royalties with a narrator...but only if there was faith in the salability of the product(s). And right now, I don't think my audience is large enough, diverse enough, and eager enough for this sort of endeavor. So I'll file this away under "Someday" ideas, as something that could be pursued after I have more books released and if I gain more attention as an author. For now, I'll stick with my e-books and paperbacks, both of which I'm quite fond of anyway. ;)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Contemplating Audio...

A fellow self-published author is preparing to produce a couple of her books in audiobook format, and one of my editing/publicity clients has already taken that step with two of hers. I really didn't think it would be an option for me at this point, but I'm learning of ways that I could possibly make this work via ACX - to get Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart made into audiobooks. I have to admit, I'm excited at the thought! An author's dream come true. :)

The thing is, I need to have an idea beforehand that readers would be interested - that there would be a place for my audiobooks and a certain level of demand for them.

So here are my quick questions of the day:
  • Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, which types of stories are your favorite in that format?
  • Would you like to see "The Heart's Spring" series in audiobook format? 
  • If Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart were made into audiobooks, would you buy them for yourself or a friend, or help spread the word about them in some way?

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Busy as a Bee in the Garden

I'm keeping busy trying to tend all these "flowers" (AKA my books)! I was hoping to share a post this week with some insider info on Forget Me Not - some changes the story underwent, fun facts, etc. But I think I'll save that for another time after the blog tour... 

Yes, as I'm sure most of you know, the Forget Me Not tour is well underway! You can find direct links to each post (once they're up) on the Forget Me Not blog tour page on my personal blog. There are interviews where you can learn about my dream date, my advice to the next generation, and lots of bookish tidbits...guest posts featuring Virginia City and Bonanza, my writing journey, and the handsome hero of The Journey of Natty Gann...and plenty of thoughtful and lovely reviews. And there's a tour-wide giveaway for my U.S. readers, where you can win a signed copy of Forget Me Not (when it's available), The Journey of Natty Gann on DVD, and a CD by The Civil Wars!

As you can well imagine, my forget-me-not is getting the most attention in this "garden"... But the other flowers aren't being completely neglected!
  • Bleeding Heart - the sequel to Forget Me Not - is on sale for $.99! Don't miss this Kindle Countdown Deal, which concludes at the end of the day on Friday!
  • E-mails are still trickling in from newsletter subscribers, requesting free copies of Bellflower (the short story prequel to Forget Me Not). Have you claimed yours yet? You can learn more HERE. And check out Abbi's review of the short story on Christian Novels!
  • Since Fairy Slippers (the short story companion to Bleeding Heart, featuring Zachary Taylor the cook) wasn't one of the winners of the Five Glass Slippers contest, I now have the rights back. It's possible I'll do something like I did with Bellflower - offering it for free to newsletter subscribers, or maybe blog followers? - but either way, I hope to share it with you all this May! You can add it now on Goodreads and catch a glimpse of the story on Pinterest.
  • And finally, Morning Glory... This poor flower has been waiting for some nurturing in the back corner of my garden. I found out about a 2-month writing challenge along the lines of NaNoWriMo, but on a smaller scale and taking place in the months of March and April. It's great timing, and I do so hope that it will motivate me to get Myghal and Felicity's story on paper! I'm sure you'll be hearing updates here on the blog in the weeks and months to come. :) 

What flowers/stories have been growing in your writerly garden?