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Topics - ChristinaGarner

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Writers' Cafe / My most ambitious launch yet
« on: January 12, 2017, 03:37:41 PM »
Hey guys. I'm always so grateful for those who share their launch strategies and results so I thought I'd make one of my own.

Background: I haven't published in over 2 years. (I. KNOW.) Planning 3-4 this year plus some multi-author box sets if they're still viable. Book 2 will go on pre-order just before I hit the 30 day cliff with Book 1.

My goal is to get sticky. I'm willing to miss out on revenue (spending for ads, leaving the price at .99 for awhile) in order to juice the Amazon algo.

The specifics:

- Launched today, 1/12
- The book is Pledge, Book 1 in a new series called, The Witches of Coventry House.
- Priced at $2.99 throughout preorder.
- Adjusted to .99 on launch day
- New Adult Urban Fantasy (College Witches!)

Something I screwed up:
I'd planned to have the paperback version loaded a month in advance so I could have reviews during the preorder for the ebook. Unfortunately, when I received my proofread version back it had too many mistakes and needed another pass which meant I didn't get it to the formatter before he went on his holiday break. A bit of a bummer but them's the breaks.
Having said that, 225 people signed up for an ARC before I turned off the form. 150ish actually downloaded it and so far I'm less than 24 hours in and have 20 reviews. (I sent a reminder email with a link early this morning to those on my ARC team.) Fingers crossed they keep rolling in.

Here are the ads I have booked:

Bargain Booksy
Genre Crave
Book Gorilla

Ereader News Today
Fussy Librarian


Book Barbarian

I Love Vampires


During this time I also have a one cross promo and two NL swaps.

Because I didn't know how long it would take for Amazon to adjust the price, I chose 1/12 to launch, but with no ads. Turns out they adjusted it in an hour so I could have booked some ads, but who knew?

I started 2 AMS ads last night but they were only approved this morning so no usable data. Boosted a FB post and am running a $5 IG ad. Plan to split test a few others. My plan with the ads is to scale up so that 1/17-20 I'll use BB ads, AMS, and IG/FB to keep things going after my paid promo spots start dying up. I also emailed my ML this afternoon.

I did not encourage any sales during pre-order, wanting to launch strong. The final week some started to trickle in and yesterday (final day of pre) I was at around 35k. Woke up this morning at 28k and it's been steadily dropping.

At 3:30 pm PST here are my current stats:

#8,166 Paid in Kindle Store

- #14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales > Folklore
- #32 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Supernatural > Witches & Wizards
- #64 in Books > Teens > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Coming of Age

On the one hand, these are not overly impressive numbers to launch with when compared with heavy hitters. On the other, I am not a heavy hitter 😃  I also have no ads (other than some minor CPCs as referenced above). With today meant to be a soft launch, I feel relatively pleased. When my bigger promos start tomorrow, that will tell the tale.

So far, Amazon has not asked if I'd like to contact my followers. No idea how many I have, but I did have over 2,000 enter a giveaway of my book that I did last year so I'd very much like to email them. Fingers crossed.

Still waiting on my also-boughts. I know the majority of buyers today also bought Gateway, but that was quite a while ago so not sure what I'll end up with.

Not sure if anyone will be interested in these results or not but I have read darn near every launch thread on this board and learned a ton so I figured I'd share mine in case it's of use.

Any questions or comments, fire away! I'll be at my computer all day hitting refresh, lol.

Edited to try to get rid of some of the funky symbols that took the place of apostrophes...

Writers' Cafe / POI/Booksends Promo Results!
« on: October 05, 2015, 10:40:43 AM »
Hey All,

With POI opening its doors again, many people have been curious what the results will be so I thought I'd share mine here. (Anyone else with current promos is welcome to post here also--I'd love to compare!)

Running a sale on Gateway- YA Urban Fantasy

Reg price- $2.99, on sale for $.99

Sales rank yesterday (before promo): 23k
Sales rank this morning: 38k (I guess still weight $.99 books differently?)

I have a promo with Freebooksy tomorrow, so today's results are strictly via POI/BS and my own efforts and that of my street team.

It's 10 am in Los Angeles. Not sure when I would expect to see a sales bump. However, I have noticed something that bums me out a bit. Two years after I published Gateway, (Book One in the Gateway Trilogy) and one year after Chasm, another author used the The Gateway Trilogy as the name for her series. It is also YA Urban Fantasy, and were are each other's "also boughts." Imagine my surprise when I saw that HER Book One in The Gateway Trilogy is the lead book on both sites as FREE.

I also notice on POI's website that under their categories submenu, my book does not appear at all. It is on the bottom of the front page, but nowhere else. (Not YA, Horror, or Fantasy) The "other" Gateway Trilogy book appears in 3 different categories. I can't help but feel disappointed and that it wasn't the greatest planning on POI's part. I mean, I asked for a date in September but OK'd the Oct date. Definitely wouldn't have done that if I'd known both of us would run on the same day--with her book free!

Anyway, still early in the day. Fingers crossed. I'll check back in later with anything else to report.

Writers' Cafe / 2 Questions About Getting Amazon's #1 Bestseller Tag
« on: September 16, 2015, 02:55:00 PM »
A while back I switched up my categories on my first novel for a couple of reasons:
     *It's easy to get lost in the soup of Teen Fiction
     *My sales had hit a slump after several months of doing quite well.

It worked to an extent, although Amazon has a way of categorizing slightly differently than what they put forth for us to choose. (For instance, I can't choose YA or Teen, I have to choose Juvenile Fiction and trust them to plop me in Teen Fiction.) I ended up in Horror a few times that way, but I digress.

I can't remember exactly the categories I chose, (pretty sure I started with Juvenile Fiction but drilled down differently) but I know it's not quite where I ended up, which is:

#3 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Dramas & Plays > Children's
#14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Anthologies & Literature Collections > Drama & Plays

So my questions are:

The number one seller in that first category has a sales rank of 17k. I will easily surpass that with a promo I'm doing in 2 weeks. But does that do me any good to have the #1 tag in a category that seems pretty off? I can change my categories now and go back go the soup, which will probably mean that in some teen category or another I'll end up in the top 10 for a few days, but it's doubtful I'd hit #1.

Also, does the tag stay even if I fall out of the #1 spot? I think the answer to that is yes, but I'm not sure. And would it stay if I ended up switching my category after the promotion? (eg: I go back to Teen Fantasy. And possibly end up in Horror, lol.)

Thanks in advance; I appreciate your thoughts!

Just thought I'd pass along this article for anyone who might have missed it. It's via Jane Friedman.


Writers' Cafe / Buy-Thru Rate for a Series
« on: January 11, 2015, 08:56:29 PM »
Hi All,

My trilogy has been complete for about 4 months and I've been tracking my conversion from Book 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. I thought I'd share mine and was curious to see how it stacks up to others who have a series.

I get about 50% who buy Book 1 buying Book 2.

Book 3 has a much better conversion rate, probably because Book 2 ends on a cliff hanger and Book 1 could stand alone. I sell the same amount of Book 2 and 3 (+ or - 5) in any given month.

Anyone else willing to share?

Writers' Cafe / I got chosen for the Kindle Big Deal. *Results*
« on: December 31, 2014, 05:34:57 PM »
*Updates starting on Page 2 with my results and any others who care to share*

Hey guys!

So, I received an email from Amazon (after I'd agreed to some terms and conditions) that Book 2 in The Gateway Trilogy has been chosen to be part of the Kindle Big Deal between 1/9/15 and 1/25/14. It will be discounted from $4.99 to $.99, which I've never done.

My first thought was yay! But now, of course, I'm wanting to maximize the sales and exposure. Book 2 seems an odd choice to put on sale for them, so the first thing I thought of was to put Book 1 on sale at the same time. They've told me they may be using Book 1 for a separate promo, so of course I can only do that if they aren't. If I do put it on sale at the same time, I'll try for a Book Bub ad.

Is there anything else you can think of? I'd also be interested in anyone else's results from the Kindle Big Deal. It runs for a while but has many books from what I can see, so I'm just not sure what to expect.

I know several of us here got that same email from Amazon, so congrats to anyone else who's been chosen!

Writers' Cafe / Bundling Ebooks Question
« on: September 25, 2014, 11:41:14 PM »
Hey guys! So, I finally finished my first trilogy (yay!) and want to bundle the books. After I get the first two books out of Select, that is. I joined so I could take advantage of the free days to hook in readers, but apparently, if a book is in Select it can't be bundled. Live and learn :/

In any case, next month when I can do it, my question is how. A Google search tells me that I need to just create one long doc and upload that. I can do that, but I'm curious about a linked TOC... I use Scrivener which automatically generates that for me. Can anyone tell me a user friendly way of either modifying something in Scrivener (unlikely) so that I can have 3 separate TOCs at the beginning of each book, or how else I might do that? Or is a linked TOC not standard in a bundle and I'm just making more work for myself??

Thanks in advance!

Writers' Cafe / Huge Sales Bump--but Why?!
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:59:00 PM »
So, I woke this morning to a big (for me) spike in sales. I had 35, which has risen steadily over the day and put me at #48 in Teen Paranormal, yay!

The thing is, I have absolutely no idea why! I've received no Google Alerts about either book or my name. I'd love to find out what happened and thank whomever might be responsible. Any ideas on how to find out?? Also, I'd love to capitalize on this, so if anyone has tips on how to stay in the top 100, I'd love to hear them!

Writers' Cafe / Booksends Promo: Results
« on: July 05, 2014, 09:13:38 AM »
Hey guys,

Just thought I'd post the info on the promo I did on Booksends. I'd seen it mentioned on one of the "Master Lists" of good promo sites so I thought I'd give it a try.

For me, it was a complete waste of money. I sold 9 books at $.99 on the day of promotion. NINE. (I often sell 3-4 a day at $2.99) I paid $20 for the ad, which means I am in the hole not only for the price of the promotion, but for the revenue I would have made if I'd kept the book at $2.99.

I'm wondering if it might have something to do with the description they put up for my book. It's YA Urban Fantasy, and here is the blurb on Amazon:

Everybody has their demons. Some are just a little more real than others...
Ember has always known she doesn't belong in this world, but when she takes matters into her own hands, she winds up in a mental institution.
There she draws the attention of Taren, a mysterious boy with a dangerous secret.
When chaos erupts, they are forced to flee together and Ember learns her secret might be the deadliest of all.
With lives on the line, Ember must face old demons and new at... The Gateway.

Here's what Booksends wrote:

Ember draws the attention of Taren, a mysterious boy with a dangerous secret. When chaos erupts, they flee the mental institution together and Ember learns her secret might be the deadliest of all. With lives on the line, Ember must face old demons and new at...the Gateway.

(Who's Ember? Is she even a teenager? Why is she in a mental institution?) Honestly, to me, their description makes no sense. I'd love to hear what the rest of you think, and feel free to share your own Booksends results.

Writers' Cafe / Large Scale Promo Ideas/Questions
« on: October 23, 2013, 10:30:37 PM »
Hi fellow KB'ers,

I've been brainstorming some promo ideas and I'm hoping for feedback. I'm looking for ways to really move the needle, not just create a short-lived spike. For clarity: as of now, I have Books 1 and 2 of a YA trilogy out. I expect to have Book 3 out in December. They are only available in digital form at this time, though I plan on using a POD service once Book 3 is complete and I've redesigned the covers.

OK, first up--I'm wondering about contests with larger prizes. Any evidence that a $250 Visa gift card produces more sales than just winning a copy of the book or a $20 gift card? I've looked up rules for contests and I have to admit I find them a bit confusing, so maybe what I'm suggesting is illegal, lol, but is there any way to tie some entries to sales? I know you have to provide a way to enter for free, but I'm wondering if I could make a tweet one entry and proof of sale worth, say, five. I'm a travel hacker, (I earn lots of airline miles) so I could even make a roundtrip airline ticket a prize, but I'm not sure if that would pay off sales-wise.

Second--I'm wondering if it's possible to incentivize others to get sales--like having independent contractors who work on commission. Let's say I offered $.50-$1 for each sale. The sales could be tracked through an Associates link. (I'm assuming that this would also track returns so I wouldn't end up paying for those...?) I could then pay through Amazon, PayPal, etc. Do you think this would work, and is there anything about this that seems shady? Of course, the person who posts it to their blog, twitter, etc., would be responsible for alerting others that it was an affiliate link--I'm not looking to "trick" anyone, just wanting to incentivize others to share the books with others. Do you think that would attract "salespeople?"

Thanks to anyone who shares an opinion, and if you have ideas other than these, I'm open!

Writers' Cafe / My Novel is Going to be Used in a High School! *Squee*
« on: October 22, 2012, 03:55:31 PM »
So, full disclosure, my sister is the one setting this up, so it didn't come out of the blue, but...

Because my novel, Gateway, draws on some mythology (Greek, Roman and Hindu) it's going to be used as an example for students. They'll be reading the novel, and I'll be doing a weekly Skype chat with them talking about how I drew on ancient mythology to create the mythology of my book, as well as how certain characters were modeled after Gods/Goddesses. I'll even get to talk to them about their own personal archetypes. It started with just one class, but now another one has requested I work with them, too.

As well, b/c the school is huge (3500 students) they publish their own magazine. The editor/teacher asked if I would speak to the students about self-publishing.

SO excited! This is such a huge opportunity to not only be read, but connect to the readers.

With my sales slowing down and me on a deadline, this is just the shot in the arm I needed!

Writers' Cafe / SOLVED--THANK YOU!!!! Scrivener Won't Save my Work!
« on: October 19, 2012, 03:18:10 PM »
OK, I'm trying not to freak out.

As I was working on my MS today, I got a message that my startup disk was getting full. Not wanting to take time out from writing to delete some files, I kept writing. I just went to save my work and I got this error message from Scrivener:

"There as a problem saving the project. Not all recent edits could be saved. The program will now close."

There is a blue "OK" button, but of course I haven't pressed it. No other part of the program is available. (Sync to SimpleNote, Save As, all greyed out.) I have freed up plenty of space but that didn't work. I emailed myself the current file and when I opened it could see that all 2500 words for the day are gone--none saved.

As of now, the program is still open--I don't dare hit the "OK" button, but what can I do?? I'm going to write Scrivener, but I thought I might get a quicker response here.

Can anyone please help?

Edit* Just to be clear--I can't even click inside the body of the doc--I get beeped, so there's no Copy/Pasting.

Writers' Cafe / Podio and other Audio Books--Share your Two Cents!
« on: October 16, 2012, 01:57:02 PM »
Who's doing them? Did you read it yourself or have a pro do it? How/where has it been selling?

With regards to Podio--does making it free cause Amazon to price match it? (I'd think it could...)

Writers' Cafe / Select Strategies for the Holidays
« on: September 09, 2012, 10:18:47 AM »
Hey Folks,

So, the holiday shopping season is coming up (faster than I'd like!) and I've started wondering how best to use my free days. As of 9/15 I'll have 5 new ones for Gateway, and I already have 5 for Chasm, which is Book 2 in the trilogy. I'm starting to formulate a plan for the best way to leverage them and I thought I'd open it up to the group.

With Chasm being less than a month old, so far I have no plans to offer it free. I'm getting enough borrows to warrant it being in Select, though. Book 3 will be out in December, so I *might* do a short free run then. More than likely I'll contact ENT about doing a 99 cent sale for a week.

I was thinking that a free run (on book 1) of 2-3 days earlier in November might bump me higher in the pop lists for Cyber Tuesday. Although, being free during Cyber Tuesday might bring epic results...

That's about as far as I've gotten, lol. Debating another free run sometime in December that would keep me in the pop lists thru January, since I think that's also a good buying time, but the free runs do seem to reach a point of diminishing returns, so that might be a good time to do a short free run on Book 2, just to drive sales to Book 3. (Which will never go free.)

Anyone else willing to share their thoughts/strategies/ramblings for the holidays?

Writers' Cafe / That Awkward Moment...
« on: August 23, 2012, 03:07:26 PM »
...when a family member who hasn't even read your first book, gives your second book a 5 star rating the day after it's released. Cringe-worthy, but I don't have the heart to say anything. Eventually I'll get more reviews and it will get pushed to the bottom. Had to do the same with a couple I received on my first novel. Love that they want to support me, but well... you know.

Anyone else had that happen?

Writers' Cafe / Amazon Lagging and I'm Feeling Sorry for Myself...
« on: August 22, 2012, 01:46:52 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled the book is finally up on Amazon, but only 6 sales are registering (I know there have been 12-15 since this morning) and 6 hours after my first sale I still don't have a ranking :(

Also, I've sold several copies of Book 1 and my rank hasn't changed all day. I know it happens, I just don't like it happening on launch day, *grumble, grumble*

Question: When I finally do get a ranking, will all the sales be factored in?

Writers' Cafe / Blurb Doctors Needed to the ICU, STAT!
« on: August 16, 2012, 12:19:15 PM »
I am AWFUL at writing blurbs. (As you are about to see.)

Anyone out there willing to take a crack at this? It's a YA Urban Fantasy. It starts off without any supernatural elements, but then Ember (heroine, who starts the book in a mental institution after a suicide attempt) learns that the tattoo on her shoulder is a direct match for an ancient symbol etched into the Gateway. (One of nine access points between our earth and the demon dimension)

As I was writing this, I realized how little of it is actually in the blurb, sigh. I think I was not wanting to give away too much, b/c I liked the element of surprise when the demons show up, but it's just not working. Here is the current blurb:

Everybody has their demons. Some are just a little more real than others...

Ember has always known she doesn't belong in this world, but when she tries to correct the mistake, she wakes to find herself in a mental institution.

There she draws the attention of Taren, a mysterious boy with hazel eyes. He's not what he seems, but what is he?

When chaos erupts, they are forced to flee the institution together, and the secret Taren has been keeping brings Ember closer to understanding her own.

And leads her to... the Gateway.

Any help would be very appreciated.

Writers' Cafe / Has Writing Ruined Reading for You?
« on: August 15, 2012, 06:35:25 PM »
Well, maybe not *ruined,* but...

I noticed this years ago when I started working on films and TV: I still loved both, but without trying, I could see every little mistake. When the continuity was wrong, when there was bad ADR, etc. And it's not just the mistakes--it might just be that while I'm watching something I really like, I'm thinking, Hhhm, how did they do that? Shoot on digital and convert to film? Was that delivery the actor's choice or a director note? How much of that technical jargon was in the spec script? I'd been a fan of LOST long before I worked on it, and watching those last two seasons were definitely a different experience than watching the first 5!

The end result is that it is much harder for me to get lost in movies/TV the way I used to. (Of course, maybe that would have happened anyway, I did start in the business pretty young. Maybe everyone grows out of being a rapt viewer??)
Back to the reading part of my Q: I have been a voracious reader since I was a kid, and in the past 2 years I've read less than normal. I recently made a conscious choice to read more, and I find myself editing in my head as go. It's so annoying! (And kind of arrogant, lol.) Although I did just read Gone Girl, and thankfully my inner editor was wise enough to realize that book was damn good without my input!

I was just wondering if anyone else has that experience?

Writers' Cafe / UPDATED: My Amazon Sales Numbers are All Jacked Up :(
« on: July 13, 2012, 08:23:56 AM »
OK, so I know that most people have the experience of freebies trickling in after the promo ends and actual sales have begun. Even so, my promo was done 13 days ago and it's still happening, so I contacted support just to be safe. They told me they needed an additional week to look into it, so I'm waiting.


Last night I checked my sales before I went to bed. I took a screen shot as I do occasionally, to keep track of when I sold what. Then, my pup woke me up at 4am needing to go out. (Thanks, pup!) When I got back, I couldn't sleep and checked my sales. I'd sold 2 books--cool! I was up for about an hour,  and before I finally dozed off, I checked my sales again. The sales were gone. They units refunded number had not changed, but guess what had? The free units promo. By 2.

Sadly, I hadn't taken a pic of the screen at 4 am (I'm not that obsessed!)  So I can't PROVE that they had once been in the sales column, but seriously, what the ef?

When I checked this morning, no new sales, but I had more freebies tacked on.

Of course I'm going to contact Amazon again, but can anyone come up with a reason why that would happen other than a foul up by Amazon? I've already lost several hundred dollars this month b/c of the price-matching debacle, and now this? Blergh...


I received this response from Amazon:

We are experiencing a technical issue which has resulted in some KDP Select free promotions not ending on time in a few countries. Our technical team is working hard to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

I looked over at the Kindle community boards and saw that this is a widespread problem. What confused me, was that I'd checked every Amazon site and my book was no longer listed as free, so this didn't seem to apply. But, then I followed the instructions one poster gave and saw that when viewing my book by proxy from the Netherlands, my book is still free, 17 days after my promo ended.

For those of you still having downloads after your promo you might want to follow these steps. (Copy and pasted verbatim from Kindle site.)

For all others who have U.S. IP addresses and still getting FREE downloads in your reports, yet your FREE Promo is over, follow these instructions:

1) Enter your book page URL here ==>
2) Click the 'Advanced options'
3) Click the 'Server' drop down menu and select "NL, - Amsterdam"
4) Click the "Hide My Ass!" button

If your book is still showing as FREE, you need to contact support and have them use that link I gave above (copy the instructions for them also, so they make sure to pick the 'NL-Amsterdam' proxy), so they can see that there is indeed a problem on their side regarding this.

Also, link them to this thread so they can see that this problem is abundant and happening to many people.

Writers' Cafe / Anyone used Scrivener's ebook Formatter?
« on: July 10, 2012, 07:43:32 AM »
I recently switched to Scrivener after Storymill ate a day's work  >:( and I'm really loving it. I'm wondering how comprehensive Scrivener's formatter is. I still have nightmares about trying to format Gateway, lol, so I'm wondering if the mobi file the program produces is ready to go or if tweaking will still be required.


Scrivener for Windows
Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X

~~ Added Scrivener links and images. - Admin.

Writers' Cafe / Amazon Lowered my Price... Why?
« on: July 08, 2012, 07:40:02 AM »
Hey Guys,

So, I woke up this morning to see the price of my novel changed from $3.99 to $2.99 with the "you save $1.00."

I don't see how this could be a case of price matching, b/c prior to joining Select I removed it from all other channels. I just did a check on the other retailers and I don't exist there. I wrote Amazon, but while I wait for their response can anyone shed light on this? I'm on a great sales run from my free promo last week and I'm bummed to think I'm losing profits b/c of some glitch!

Thanks in advance.

Writers' Cafe / My First Return...
« on: January 03, 2012, 08:29:00 AM »
My book has been on sale for several months now and I've sold relatively well, but today when I checked my sales I had a return  :'(

I know it's not that big of a deal but it's a little bit of a bummer, and now I'm obsessively checking for a bad review, lol.

Anyone else feeling that pain?

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