Thursday, June 30, 2011

Second Edition Paperback Available!

YAY! It's here!  The new edition is here.  It is available for purchase through Createspace today and will be available at Amazon as soon as they upload it.  I'm also opening up shop for signed copies again.

Mwaah!  You are beautiful! *kisses book*

It is you know!  Get yours!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Last Chance to get The Soulkeepers for 99 Cents

I've had The Soulkeepers on sale during the month of June.  I was toying with the cover and the paperback and getting the website up and running. With so much construction going on in front of the "bookstore", I thought it was appropriate to give buyers a deal!  But, the rubble is finally being swept away.

I just wanted to let you know in advance that the price will go back up to $2.99 on July 1st.  In fact, I've already raised the Smashwords price to get ready for the change. So, if you've been on the fence about buying The Soulkeepers, you have about 48 hrs to get it for the lowest price.

Get yours now on Kindle or Nook!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Google Adwords: My Hundred Dollars Worth

Recently, Google Adwords sent me a coupon for $100 of free advertising.  I'd never used adwords before but I thought I would give it a try since June hadn't exactly been a stellar month for sales.  (Konrath posted recently about potential reasons for this slump and I think he's probably right.)

Anyway, I decided to give adwords a go. Once you sign up for the service, you can choose between a text ad or an image ad.  You can also build a dynamic ad using their builder but personally, I didn't like the templates. If you choose an image ad, you need to create the ad in one of these standard sizes.

I was using someone else's money so I went with the wide skyscraper.  Here's the ad I  put together in photoshop.
If you clicked on this ad you would either be taken to my Amazon page or www.TheSoulkeepersSeries.com, depending on what day it was offered (I changed the link mid ad). I used keywords with this ad to target where it was delivered: teen, young adult, book club, paranormal, etc.

The results?  According to google, this ad had a 20-40% CTR (click through rate) depending on the day which is absolutely fabulous.  When the ad ran, my daily sales more than doubled.  But, it was expensive.  I blew through $100 in four days and that was only because I set a cap of $25/day on the ad.  If it had been my own money, I wouldn't have earned back the cost of the ad at 99 cents per copy.  However, if I was still selling at $2.99, I would have come close. 

Bottom line: in some circumstances, Google adwords is a really great deal.  Say you had a series of books.  A small ad that linked to your website and promoted all of your books would likely pay for itself if it was well executed.  

I found the site moderately easy to use.  Google offers personal phone support the first six weeks after your first ad. Its worth your time to check it out.  Put it in your arsenal of promotional tools.  You may need it for a rainy day or sunny June!




Thursday, June 16, 2011

You Can't Tell A Book By Its Cover- Until Now

Introducing the new look of The Soulkeepers Series!







When Adam Bedore and I designed the original cover for The Soulkeepers, we weren't thinking about the next two books in the series.  Instead we were focused on the tension in the novel between Jacob and Dr. Silva.  With Weaving Destiny coming in the fall, we needed to look at the cover for book one as the launch of a series, not a standalone.  Book one of The Soulkeepers is Jacob's story so it seemed only fitting that he have a central role on the cover.  But we've also added in the red stone, a magical object that plays an important part in Weaving Destiny (Fall 2011) and Return to Eden (Winter 2011).  You can still see the shadow of the forrest, a remnant from the first cover, on Jacob's hood.  I'm super excited about this new cover because I think it captures the essence of the story in a new and more engaging way.

The artist, Adam Bedore of Anjin Design (http://www.anjindesign.com/profile.htm), was perfect for this cover.  He uses a unique technique to build depth, emotion, and a little mystery into the art.   I love how his work plays with light and shadow, masculine and feminine.  I think it takes more than a passing glance to fully digest his covers and that readers will appreciate having a work of art on their shelves.

The e-books have already been updated and a new paperback is on it's way!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Attention Literary Bullies:

I woke up this morning to an inbox full of email from friends calling my attention to a series of tweets by a NYTimes bestselling author about a bestselling indie author.  I want to share this exchange with you but I'm going to remove the names because it's not my intention to drag anyone through the dirt.

NYTAuthor: Wow... just randomly signed in here to find some Amazon wannabe claiming her book is YA? 


NYTAuthor: @Indieauthor Okay, really? You want to call this ? Can you at least respect the genre and advertise as what the book is?


NYTAuthor: And I find advertising a book under the  hashtag icky. sorry.


Indie Author 2: @NYTAuthor Not everyone has a marketing department at their disposal.


NYTAuthor: Some of us worked hard to get that marketing department at our disposal.


As an indie author, I feel compelled to say that I think these comments are made out of an emotional place of fear.  I don't think NYTAuthor is afraid the publishing industry is going to crumble or that this indie author is going to impact her sales.  I think NYTAuthor is afraid that some of us are actually GOOD.  See if people take indie writers seriously, if we are successful competing for the same readership and maybe someday for the same awards, it undermines the notion that she and her writing is somehow better, more validated, than the indie writer's.  I think what scares NYT the most is that people like myself DID work hard on our manuscripts and the fact that she is there and I am here may be more a matter of luck or timing than skill.


Literary bullies repeat after me.  "Just because an author is self-published does not mean their writing is of poor quality."  In fact, you might be surprised at the amazing books that are out there.  


Ironically, I've never read one of NYT's books.  Why?  I found the topics exploitive of troubled teens.  It's just my opinion, and I've never shared the reason I passed them up publicly before.  But I think it's relevant in this context that the pot shouldn't be calling the kettle black.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sedona Magic: How I Found My Next Giveaway

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Sedona, Arizona with my husband.  Sedona is a high desert area in the southwestern United States that is characterized by massive red rock formations and extreme natural beauty.  The weather is temperate and the area has a rich native american history.  But the reason I begged my husband to take me there was not for blue skies and red rock.  It was because I had heard that Sedona was a supposed seat of creative energy.

Sedona is the location of a natural phenomena called energy vortexes that visitors claim drive artistic expression.  Interestingly enough, the Juniper trees grow in a spiral pattern near these vortexes.   I thought maybe I'd have some sort of psychological experience from the visit, a feeling of peace or that my writing would be exceptionally vital. I was surprised the vortexes had an undeniable physical effect. After visiting, I felt like I'd ingested a large cup of coffee.

Anyway, the city of Sedona is peppered with mystics, psychics, and shops that sell things like crystals and Tarot cards.  I recognized Christian,Wiccan, Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist and Native American influences.  You might think those things don't belong together but in Sedona it works. There's a new age/universalist mentality that's pervasive there, they say drawn by the energy of the place.

Now if you've read The Soulkeepers you know that a red stone plays an important role in the story.  What you may not know is the same stone makes an appearance in Weaving Destiny and Return To Eden.  I decided to look for a red stone that was reminiscent of the one in my story.  I visited half a dozen shops with no luck.  There was plenty of turquoise and one shop had stones in every color of the rainbow except red. Oh I found a ruby necklace that was several thousand dollars but that wasn't what I was looking for.  The stone Jacob gets was pulled from the earth by a peruvian medicine woman.  I needed a stone that had character, that looked like it could alter the course of someone's life.

Past the fudge shops and the Dirt Shirts (T-shirts purposefully stained with local red dirt), I saw a little shop called Spiritstone.  It was weirdly empty.  The other shops had been brimming with people.  I walked to the back and there it was sitting on top of a pile of stones, the only red one in the bunch, and round like the one in my book.  The price was reasonable so I brought it to the counter to make my purchase.

A tall man with an amethyst amulet as big as my fist offered me a card to explain what I was buying.  "Sure," I said. "Why not?"

Here's what it said:

Red Jasper -Stone of Counselors and Healers
Used for grounding and strength both emotional and physical. Can assist in providing rescue in situations of danger. Helps facilitate the interpretation of dreams to allow the dreamer to remember aspects which could be consequential in ones life. Helps one learn to progress and to eliminate digression.

I couldn't believe it.  It was the Medicine Woman's stone!  Even more interesting, when I got home I looked up Red Jasper and guess what?  Red Jasper is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible for having these qualities.   And since The Soulkeepers is based on Christian mythology, it gave me a chill to think of the similarities between what I had written and the real thing.


I ended up finding a second stone of the same type in another store with a slightly different cut.  I plan to give away one as part of a promotion in the near future and keep one for myself.  Here's my daughter Hannah modeling them both for your perusal.

Friday, June 3, 2011

News You Can Use

Just a quick note to bring you up to date on what's happening this week...

1.The giveaway has ended and all winners have been notified.  If you haven't been notified, you can still get the book for just 99 cents from Kindle, Nook or Smashwords or $8.99 for the paperback.  That $8.99 price is now available through Amazon.

2. I'm super busy wrapping up the first draft of Weaving Destiny which is the official title of book two! What can I tell you about this book?  There's more action, more romance, and more...jewelry!  It has the thrills and chills of The Soulkeepers but this book is just sexier. I'll leave it at that.

3. Any day now my artist will be sharing his vision for The Soulkeepers Series.  When we created the first cover, I wasn't thinking past book one.  But with the awesome success of The Soulkeepers, I've decided to publish the next two books, which means we need a cover design that shows each books individuality while connecting it to the series.  I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

4. I've got some other surprises brewing but I can't talk about them quite yet.  If you want to be the first to know, click on the Facebook box to your right and "like" The Soulkeepers Series.

Until next time!

G.P.