Tuesday, December 29, 2015

10 New Author Marketing Must-dos Before Publishing

Salt Lake Comic Con 2015
Wouldn't it be great if we could use a little HOCUS POCUS to sell our books like crazy? 
I get emails all the time giving advice to new and seasoned authors alike. When I like what I see, I take notes or keep the articles. I chose some things from those emails and posts and added my own 
2 cents to come up with this list. 

This post is to all those newbie authors out there and even the ones who got off on the wrong foot. Already published a book? That's okay, step back and follow these 10 steps to ensure 
your next release is a good one.

  1. Keywords– Brainstorm keywords for your book. what is your book about? Create a list of topics, ideas, similar authors, etc that fit your book. Use these keywords on the various sales channels, in your book’s description, on your blog, and in ads.
  2. Beta-readers – Find people willing to read and give honest feedback on your book. This not only creates early buzz for your book, but also gives you initial reviews to post once the book is published. Ask for these beta-readers on your social networks and through your newsletter.
  3. Hashtags  –what is your genre? What are your keywords? Use Twitter’s search functions and TwiTag.com and Hashtags.org to find hash tags that are used by readers of books like yours. This will not only help you to find readers to follow but also give you a good idea of the hashtags you should use when promoting your books on Twitter.
  4. Facebook groups and pages – Using the keyword list you brainstormed, find Facebook pages and Facebook groups that you can contribute to with what you know and questions you might have. Don't be there only to promote your book. The more people interact with you the more likely they are to read your book.
  5. Google+ communities  – Google Plus has a ton of communities that have to do with your keywords. Search them and then join the communities that are most active and be active yourself. Remember, you are not there to tell them to buy your book all the time. 
  6. Forums Find forums that are dedicated to your genre. If you write YA books, then go to the forums that cater to those who read YA books. Your keywords can also help you find forums that fit what your write. Be sure to link to your author website if it is allowed.
  7. Schedule – Have a plan. Don't just publish when you are finished with the book. You need time to set up all your launch promotions and get all your ducks in a row before you put your book out there. You want buzz that will put you in hot new release categories on book selling sites for as long as possible-you can't do that if you just throw it up.
  8. FB party – Set up a Facebook party and start inviting people. The forums, communities, and groups you became a part of will be invaluable for this. Send an invite (if allowed in that group) once, maybe twice, but that is all. You could even do a review blog tour that links to the party to get more people to come. Use keywords to find blogs to highlight it or hire someone to do the tour. Be active in the party even after the party is over.
  9. Who are your fans and where do they hang out? – You will want to figure out who would love to read your book. Think about your keywords and genre as you brainstorm. Find out where those people hang out online. Just like the forums and blogs-don't spam them with posts to purchase. Become a part of the groups and sales will come naturally.
  10. Cross-promotion  – Find authors that have books similar to yours (genre and content) and connect with them. Form a group and plan and hold promotions together. You will all benefit.
Need cozy read? Enjoy the Castle Collection. Snuggle up. You're going to love it. 
Only .99 cents or free with Kindle Unlimited

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Making Time This Time of Year

by Donna K. Weaver

This is a crazy time. 
So many obligations. 
So many distractions. 
So many opportunities to spend time with loved ones.
While your mind swirls with story scenes
and imagines new characters and conversations,
don't begrudge your commitments
to family and friends.

the time you give
to the people most important to you.
Live in these real-life moments.

It's not only good for you,
it's good for your writing.

Greetings of the Season to you all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gifts for Writers

I know, I'm preaching to the choir, right? You are the writer, you know what to get. Here's where you can send your family still looking for the perfect gift. There's still time.....

Here's 10:

1. A fun shirt

2.  Writers Tool Box--To get the ideas flowing

3. The Emotion Thesaurus If you already have that, look for other writing helps books by this author.

4. Office supplies--think Post-it notes, pens, pencils, notebooks, reams of paper. 

5. A gift card to buy books! (Or an Amazon card for ebooks!) 

6. A writing Retreat!! iWN happens to have two a year.....

7. Scrivener 

8. A new laptop-- Mac or PC 

9. Read their book! and Review!

10. A subscription to a writing magazine

***What would you add?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Di$tribution and Dollar$

Tune out now if you don’t want to hear about it. Still here? Okay.

A little over a year ago, when Deanna and I published our first book as Jo Noelle, we uploaded files to all the major names for indie publishing for paperbacks and ebooks, then we started writing a new story and hoped to collect royalties. 

They came in slowly! As our little brand continued to grow, we saw a little larger returns for the next 6 months, and a very significant detail--ALL the money came from one source.

We switched our distribution plan and saw an immediate jump by 300%, and each month that number continues to rise. The simple thing we did, though we felt like it was a huge risk at the time, was to remove all our books from all vendors except Amazon, and enroll them in KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited.

Kindle Unlimited is a library on Amazon that loans our titles out to subscribers (BTW I’m a subscriber too since I also love reading books.) and then we get paid on how many pages the subscribers read in a month. Before you think this is an Amazon advertisement, it's not. Many authors have their books in various distribution channels and do well. I'm just sharing our recent history.

So we kind of have perma-free books for subscribers, but we still make money on those free books!

For example, on Kindle Unlimited Lending Library we rent 384 pages at $0.005 per page = $1.92 per book read; if that same book is on promotion at $0.99 per ebook, we get 35% = $0.35 per book purchased; and if it’s at the regular price for an ebook of $3.99 and we get 70% = $2.79 per book purchased. Paperbacks seem more profitable with a sales price of $12.99, and we make a little over $5 of that, but we don’t sell many of them.

Our most active book on KULL rented over 100,000 pages last month.
Then + income from selling ebooks,
+ income from selling paperbacks, 
+ the income from these 3 sources for all our other books
= publishing is more than a hobby now. YAY! When we started writing, we didn't see it as a business, but it's turning into one.

This isn’t the right avenue for every author, or every book, but it’s working for us right now. The romance genre seems to work on KULL. In the ever-changing climate of publishing, it’s good to see what options are out there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

BookReport ... Where Have You Been All My Life?

Self-published authors, rejoice!

Maybe I'm massively behind the times, but I just recently started using BookReport, and it has made my life so much easier.

You know how it gets confusing trying to read the Kindle sales board, especially now that we're trying to figure out pages read and all that mumbo-jumbo? BookReport does it for you. That's right - you just open your sales page, click on your BookReport bookmark, and you can see what you've made that day and that month.

You can try it free for two weeks. After that, it's $10 a month.  Click here, and see what you think!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

To our American friends, Happy Thanksgiving! 
To those who don't celebrate, have a great weekend. 

For everyone--write some good words!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I'm sure you're aware of the old adage "Write what you know." And that's so true. But how can you write about a world that doesn't exist because you made it up? Or about technology that's far into the future? Can someone who's never lost a loved one write about loss?

However, we have imaginations. We can do research. Back in the day, that meant visiting a library. Hopefully, a really good library. Now we have the wonder of the Internet. There's a caution there there though. Not everything is accurate, so be sure to look for collaboration from other sites.

When it's possible, we might be able to visit a location, when it's real. I was able to do that for Lewistown, Montana, a location that places an important role in both A Change of Plans and in Torn Canvas. I'm really glad we did because we found out that the information available online didn't account for some wrong assumptions I'd made. Perhaps it was nothing to the general reader, but when writing about a real place, I prefer to make it as authentic as possible. Or you'll hear about it.

I promise you. O_o

The following photos are from a lovely bed and breakfast that we stayed in and was the inspiration for the one Jori stays in while visiting the town in Torn Canvas.

The town:

Fergus County Courthouse (Lewistown is the county seat):

Beautiful view:

But we cannot always visit a place. So what are you favorite a place. I love Google Earth. I've used it to follow roads in American Samoa, northern Washington State, and the island of Kaua'i. Want a good look at a real location? Want to "walk" the streets, so the speak? It's about as good an option right now as is available.

What are your favorite research resources?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Call For Submissions

Spots are available for new (never published before) novellas to be a part of our next anthology Sweet & Sassy Anthology releasing September 2016. 

The theme is Extreme Weather (as a meaningful part of the story, not just a mention) and you must include a strong, clean romance element. (No erotica please.) 

To submit, you'll need 
•A full synopsis (tell all the plot points from beginning to end, including the ending) 
•The first chapter of your story. 
•Email to 2anthologies@gmail.com by March 1st.
The purpose of this anthology is to help provide more exposure for the authors included.

Those who are chosen for the anthology will need to pay $15.00 for cover and formatting and $25 for promotions, agree to adhere to the schedule and word counts, critique for all members of the group, and pay for their own story to be professionally line edited prior to final submission. All other deadlines will be emailed out to those who are chosen.

We are looking forward to reading your stories! 


March 1: Submission of application (full synopsis and first chapter)
April 1: Notification to successful applicants
On or before June 30: Draft (20,000-30,000 word limit) sent to group for critiques
On or before July 15: Critiques back to all other authors
On or before Aug 15: Professionally line edited final draft due

Feel free to email, FB or comment any questions you may have. :)

Other Upcoming Anthology Themes:
  • April 2016: Europe
  • Winter/Holiday/Christmas Stories
  • Parks
  • Historical 
Watch for future announcements!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


The spring retreat will be held

 April 14-17, 2016 in Heber, Utah

How to sign up for this retreat: 

FYI: All meals are included AND there will be mini-workshops, including classes on brainstorming and Save the Cat Beats. Also, there will be an intensive class to create ebook files out of a manuscript to upload to retail sites. This class will require attendees to have requisite computer skills to manage formatting directions. 

See pics of the awesome accommodations for the retreat here. Sign ups open on Saturday, November 14th at 8am MST. NO EARLIER.

1. Pick which bed type/price you would like (see below)

2. Send an email to iWriteNetwork@gmail.com with:
    a) your first and second choices for bed preferences
    b) the email address of the PayPal account you would like to have billed
    c) the name your PayPal account is under 
    d) your author name
    e) if you would like to make 1 full payment or split the cost into 3 payments.
    f) add a roommate name if you have made plans to share a queen bed with someone, OR a name if you would like to be in the same room with someone. We will try to honor as many of these requests as possible.
    g) if you are reserving two spots in one queen bed, tell us

3. We will send you a confirmation email and a link to pay through Paypal- (You may choose to split your payment into three and send one-third immediately, the second third on Jan. 15th and the last third on Feb. 15th. You must pay in full by Feb. 15th.) We must have your initial payment within one hour of receiving your confirmation email or your spot will be given to the next person in line.

NO REFUNDS-thank you. (You can, however transfer your bed reservation to someone else if you discover you are unable to attend.)

The bed options:  If you are planning to choose a queen or a king bed, you might want to find someone to be your roomie (if you care who is in the bed with you.) Otherwise choose one of the single bed options.

*There are only beds. There are no air mattresses in this cabin
**Anything not highlighted is available and are listed as prices for each occupant
***Anything highlighted in red is reserved/paid for
****Queens are $175 each if you share with someone else, or $300 if you don’t want to share.    

Choose the type of bed you’d like:
Shared-King 2 spots; $350 each
1    2

Shared-Queen 16 spots; $175 each
*if you would like to have a queen to yourself the price is $300
1    2    4    4    5
6    7    8    9    10
11   12   13   14   15   16

Upper Bunk 9 spots; $150 each
1    2    3    4    5   
6    7    8    9

Lower Bunk 9 spots; $200
1    2      4    5   
6    7    8    9
We are so excited to have you join us!!!

Have questions or want to register? 

Email us-

*group size is limited to 25