Top 100, I’ll Take It!

Secret Agent of God
Secret Agent of God

I’m running a promotion on my novel, “Secret Agent of God.” It’s a Kindle Countdown deal for .99 through this Sunday, 9/5. I went to copy the link for a tweet that I was writing and discovered the e-book had hit one of the Amazon Top 100 lists @#66. So I take this as a sign not to quit writing today.

Amazon Top 100 Lists

The interesting thing about writing is that writers think about quitting pretty regularly. For example, I was considering pulling the plug on this blog as recently as last week. I enjoy writing here periodically, but I am not what you would call a “pro blogger”. I guess my reason for quitting was why do it if I am not going to give it my all? Right? The same could be said about writing. Very few writers have the time and resources for 100% devotion to their craft. So why bother?

I think about giving up writing from time to time. It would be nice to have a hobby like painting or airplane model building or quilting. Do those hobbies drive you to the brink of insanity? Do they cause you to talk to or at least mutter to yourself regularly? Do they fill you with doubt and self loathing? Do they keep you up at night? I wonder if a quilter ever wakes at 3:00 a.m., sits bolt upright and then staggers around in the dark looking for the pen and paper that should by her bedside for brilliant o-dark-thirty revelations. I would be willing to bet airplane model builders sleep like babies with flying dreams all night and that painters spend their REM time skipping through the streets of Paris.

So just quit, right? What is the big deal? One less writer in the world…who cares? There are millions of us after all. Except that quitting is simply not an option, is it? We’re compelled to write, even if no one reads what we write, even if we write for a tiny audience. One person is an audience. It’s all about perspective. Keeping the right one will keep you writing.

Thank you readers! Here’s the link if you are looking for a witty, gritty, page turner to keep you up at night!

Book Link: “Secret Agent of God”

Bored!

The name game. What’s in a name? Well, we’ll see! I just changed the name of my blog and my twitter page. I’m a little bored with my current set up so I’m changing things up.

Lately, I’ve held my breath,

waiting for a gust of fresh air about book promotion and my writing life…

and I then I started turning blue…

wow! That sucked.

I knew I needed a new focus!

I think we can all agree that no one cares to hear any more advice about writing. Writers aren’t really experts on writing anyway. We know what is working for us and that’s about it. Here’s what I’ve learned in eight years of trying to become a professional writer…read more…write more…edit everything twenty-five times before you publish it and then hire an editor…done! That’s all I know! So I will continue to post short solitary fiction that doesn’t fit “Seeing Scarlet” and the odd poem here and there (see The Authors Spouse).

As regards book marketing…three months in and I’ve already had it. I wasn’t cut out for this BS! Buy my book, don’t buy my book, whatever! I wrote it for readers but so did a few million other authors who are selling on Amazon’s site. It’s a fast read. Many folks seem surprised by how much they enjoy it and that there’s humor in the book. Maybe the title scares them a bit. I know eventually word will get out. Meanwhile, I’m working on the sequel to “Secret Agent of God” and writing some more shorts of “Seeing Scarlet”:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332370

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341537

Book Sales:

I have experimented with different promos and what have you. Here’s what I found: twitter and Facebook ads will get you more followers, but do those translate into book sales? I’m not sure. You need to focus your energy on finding people who read, plain and simple. I leave my business cards with my book links in libraries and at restaurants I frequent, everywhere that I can:

Business cards
Business cards

If someone asks me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer, and eventually give them my card.

I post flyers on community selling boards. You have to do this often since most remove them weekly.

People who read buy books. You need a presence on book reading sites.

Pricing: I did some pricing strategy research recently. So many authors are giving their books away or selling their e-books below $2.99 or for $.99 that if you do try to sell your fiction at a higher price you may suffer from lagging sales. My best sales price so far has been  a .99 promo for the e-book but if I always make it .99 then I’m forced to make it free for promotions. Amazon promotes books that are under $2.99 or .99 and take part in the kindle countdown deals, so there you have it. Why not allow Amazon to do what they do best, which is promote stuff like books.

Thoughts on free: I’m a hold out on free. If you want to read my free works please click over to the short story tab or read this blog. There’s something discouraging about busting your butt to write a good novel and then giving your book away. I give my book away to family, my best friends, the library, for fundraisers, etc. So, I’ll let you know how this works out, but for now my e-book is $2.99 and the paperback is $9.95 or $8.95 for prime members. I will occasionally run a .99 promo. The e-book cost less than a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk or a fancy coffee, and I promise it’s worth it, so that’s that. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Agent-God-Eileen-Slovak/dp/1492868191/ref=sr_1_1/178-9819668-1912011?ie=UTF8&qid=1397322662&sr=8-1&keywords=eileen+slovak

Book promotion in general. I come from a sales and marketing background and I would still much rather promote someone else’s work on twitter, my author page or my blog than my own. If I’ve read the book and liked it I may put a review up there as well. I don’t write bad reviews because I have no interest in hurting a fellow writers feelings in a public way. I leave that to the haters. If I have read a sample of your book and didn’t care for it I won’t read any more of it. If you asked for feedback, I will be honest in a private message. If you can’t handle my honest opinion please don’t ask me. I’m one person with one opinion. If you don’t like my opinion, ask someone else.

About Facebook, I keep my personal Facebook page for family and close friends and my Facebook Author page for writing stuff. Please don’t be offended if I divert you to my public page. This way I don’t bore my family and friends with too much book stuff and I don’t have to bore you with pictures of my kids playing sports and my cat.

OK, sometimes Licorice appears in both places. She’s my first ‘Beta reader’ or ‘Beta listener’ since I’m pretty sure she can’t read, although, I strongly suspect she might be trying to figure out how to use the toilet and turn door knobs and is smarter than some humans.

Licorice
Licorice

Since Facebook is really not my thing, I prefer to put a variety of other authors book links on my author page for my fans because how often can I talk about my book without being a total bore and most of them have already read it. I read a post by another writer complaining about authors posting their book links, looking for likes on their pages. I guess if you are famous I can see where that might bug you. I’m not famous but I have some followers who read. If you need some help, send me message, a link or whatever. Some nice writers helped me when I was a flailing newbie and I’m happy to help others in any way that I can.

On my Facebook author page, https://www.facebook.com/authoreileenslovak I will also be adding some pictures and quiz type things about my book, “Secret Agent of God” since it is about Maryland and several readers have begun asking things like, “Is this character based on this person or that person” and “which little Bay front home was Gram’s?” Things like that. I thought it would be a fun exercise and like I said, when I’m not writing, I’m bored.

My favorite medium is twitter. https://twitter.com/EileenSlovak I do follow back unless you are crazy, perverted, naked, racist, bigoted, or exclusively only selling followers. I consider twitter a place where writers like me with ADD and OCD can connect with my audience and with like minded people who also have short attention spans. I love that on twitter I can show off my writing prowess with ‘quippy’ catchy phrases in 140 characters or less. If that audience is 3 people, so be it. If it’s one person, well it’s that much more intimate now isn’t it? Actually, I have a great following on twitter, so join me and if I like your tweets, I’ll share them. Incidentally, I’m trying to get these hash tags off the ground: #Janice #SAOG.

So, my future promotional energy, which is waning as we speak, will go in this new direction. Because I’d rather be writing than doing anything else and for Indies this is a challenge!

So what do I really want to blog about? Being a female writer over 40 with kids who run rings around me and about things I laugh about with my girlfriends. What else occupies my mind? Sometimes I have bizarre thoughts that I’d like to share. I truly miss having fun. To those of you who stuck it out through my boring phase, thank you and wake up!!! Things are going get spicier around here. I’m turning this thing around, putting it in reverse and spinning a few wild donuts in parking lot near you! Come along for the ride, which, I’m just saying, could get wild at times.

Next blog topic: Are you overwhelmed by all of the options in toilet paper?

Thanks for reading and keep writing (and reading!)

 

Sharing the Gift of Literature

“We read to know we are not alone.” – C.S. Lewis

After completing the seven book series “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, my ten-year-old son, asked:

“Do you ever get that sad feeling when you’ve finished a good series and you can’t continue (to read) because there are no more books?”

My heart leapt!

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy

I started to think about my childhood introduction to literature, which began with the first book in the Lewis series, read aloud by my retired neighbor.

My sister and I met our neighbor, Mrs. Olsen one day, while following our dog Cassius on his daily treat rounds.  Cassius performed in a traveling neighborhood show, singing for cookies.  As it happened, Mrs. Olsen kept a stash of human cookies as well and our visits became a routine thing.

An avid reader, she encouraged and inspired us, by reading stories during our visits.  When she read “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” and it was like nothing we had ever heard before.  We began looking for excuses to visit more often, not just for cookies, but anxious to hear more of the adventures of Lucy and her siblings.

C.S. Lewis, according to his Biography, http://www.biographyonline.net/writers/cs-lewis.html and J.R.R. Tolkien were friends who shared a writers group called Inklings, which met in a pub.  Can you imagine being a butterfly on the wall for one of those discussions?

Mrs. Olsen, also a fan of Tolkien, read us “The Hobbit” as well, yet another story my son now loves.  As we all anxiously await the film version http://www.thehobbit.com/index.html due out this fall, he has begun reading the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy.

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of the past centuries.” – Descartes

I am certain I would never have fallen in love with literature had it not been for the kindness of my dear neighbor, Elisa Mitchell Olsen, who also taught me many lessons about life, character and the importance of having a mind of one’s own.  I only recently learned she had spent her career working in Publishing, not surprising.

The last time I saw Mrs. Olsen, in 2001, she was a guest at my wedding.  Sadly, while my family and I were living in Italy, on February 21, 2009, she passed away.  I am forever grateful to her for opening my eyes to the wonderful world inside my imagination, a gift I have since passed on to my own children, as they will for generations to come.