Monday, May 30, 2011


ABDUCTEDI started writing ABDUCTED sometime around May, 2008. It was at a time when I was frustrated about writing for so long without a I decided to write a thriller and kill off a lot of my characters and hopefully my frustrations at the same time. My agent read the first 100 pages and said I was off to a great start. Before I got to page 200 though, I was having nightmares and I didn't think I would ever be able to finish this book.

If you're a writer, you know what I'm talking about. Writers are constantly thinking of scenes...while driving, cooking, showering, you name it. It got to the point where I couldn't walk into my kitchen without visualizing what horrific things the killer in my book could do with that gigantic butcher knife on my counter. I put the book away for nine months, then came back to it, read what I had written, and suddenly I had no problem finishing the book. I was having fun writing ABDUCTED and I was sleeping well. I still have no idea why writing about serial killers no longer bothered me. I finished ABDUCTED in February, 2011.

Let me know if you have any questions about anything. I'll be posting sales numbers for May next week!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Sales Numbers for the Curious

These sales numbers are from 5/1/11 thru 5/18/11. A total of 18 days.

A Knight in Central Park, time-travel romance (released on 3/18/11 and offered at $.99)

Amazon:    2,662
B&N:             187

Return of the Rose, time-travel romance (released on 3/2/11 and offered at $2.99)

Amazon:     854
B&N:             51

Taming Mad Max, romantic comedy (released on 4/25/11 and offered at $2.99)

Amazon:      93
B&N:              8

Finding Kate Huntley, romantic suspense (released on 5/6/11 and offered at $2.99) 12 days for FKH.

Amazon:     60
B&N:             2

The reason I think these numbers might be helpful to other writers is because we can all get a snapshot picture of what's happening in self-publishing as more people buy Ereaders. I have never changed the prices of my books because I want to see what happens with the $.99 vs. $2.99 pricing and because I feel that $2.99 is a fair price for all (I know I'm repeating myself.)

Will my newer books slowly rise or slowly drop? How about the time travels? Do time travel romances have a built-in fan base? Do people read more in May or more in October? So many questions. I could go on and on.

In April, 2011, I sold 5,431 of the $.99 book at Amazon. If I double the number above (2,662) by the end of May, I will be close to the 5,431 books I sold in April. If that number keeps up or even rises in the next few months, I am going to assume lots of people are buying kindles and they all like romantic time travels. :)

Truthfully, I have no idea what to do with all these numbers, other than share than with all of you. In a few months, after I release my other books, I might be able to do some concrete analyzing. Believe it or not I am writing and editing more than I am blogging or checking numbers.

I try to spend about 15 minutes a day looking at tweets, another 15 minutes looking over interesting sites or blogs. I probably spend an hour a day over here and I check my sales numbers a few times a day. I'm getting better about that. Checking numbers gets less addicting as time goes by because I'd rather write books than check #'s. I spend a minimum of five hours a day writing.

Disclaimer: I am not promoting self-publishing over any other kind of publishing. If you self-publish your book, I have no idea if you will sell 1 book or 20,000 books. Nobody knows. Self-publishing a book ten years ago or even one year ago is not the same as self-publishing a book today. Writers now have one more option to choose from when thinking about publishing their book(s).

Any questions?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lions, and tigers, and crappy unedited books! Oh, my!

For the sake of discussion, I need to get something off of my chest. I keep seeing writers on different blogs and loops talk about how crappy unedited books are going to hurt us as writers.

Let me see if I have this right...I think what writers are saying is that if everyone in the world throws a crappy, non-edited book on kindle it's going to hurt them, or me, or some other author.

I don't agree. I think it will only hurt THAT author. 

Whether it's books, music, or movies, people have SO many choices...BUT the decent fun books, movies and songs always seem to find their way to the top...or somewhere close to it. I've watched a lot of movies that probably never should have been made...but I could stop watching it at any time.

Readers of books can read a blurb and download a sample for FREE. That's about three chapters to figure out if they want to read that book or not. Even if they go on to buy the book, they can return it!

I think this whole "indie authors are putting out crap" is a bunch of crap. Someone needs to start giving me names and titles because I've been reading a lot of great indie books lately. I don't think the people who are worried about this have even read a book by an Indie author.

I think they're scared...of nothing. Or maybe of a little more competition.

Nobody is forcing anyone to buy a book. Whether there are one million books on Amazon or ten million, and half of them are crap, all the reader has to do is read the blurb, read the sample chapters for FREE, and then decide. I just don't get how having crappy books out there is going to hurt ME or anyone else. I really don't get it.

And, speaking of editing, I have never read a book, EVER, that didn't have typos and/or grammar problems. Suddenly this is a problem? No one has ever bought a CRAP book from Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Wal-Mart???

There are a LOT of books on Amazon that aren't selling. I think readers know what they want to read.

And still, I'm not telling writers out there to self-publish crappy, unedited books, I'm just not worried about it hurting me and my career if they do. In my opinion, a little competition, crappy or not, never hurt anyone. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is Your Book Ready for Publication?

If you self-publish your book, you might sell 1 book and you might sell 1,000 books.
If you sign with an agent and sell your book to a traditional publisher, you might sell 1 book and you might sell 1,000 books.
Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, your book is going to be competing with the big dogs.
Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, your book is going to have readers who love it and readers who hate it.  Go read the reviews of some of your all-time favorite books to see what I’m talking about.
Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, you need to have conflict, interesting characters…and LUCK to sell your book to readers who aren’t family members.  
No matter how many editors you hire, somebody at some point is going to pick your book apart and tell you your writing is amateurish and not to give up your day job. Go read the reviews of some bestselling authors to see what I’m talking about.
Who are you going to let determine whether or not your book is good enough for publication?
One of 50 busy editors in NYC?
Your critique partner?
The judge from a contest?
I like to assume YOU, whoever you are, are smart enough to know if your book has been edited. Have you received feedback from readers, agents, editors? Having a few relatives look over your book isn’t going to cut it.
If you’re still not sure, start submitting to contests, agents, editors and see what they have to say. Is there some interest there? Are you getting feedback?
If you have been at this writing gig for a while now and you’re still not sure if your story is good enough, then it probably isn’t. Put your novel away for a while and read it again in a few months. If your story doesn’t hold your attention, it probably won’t hold anyone else’s either.
Most importantly…keep writing, revise and rewrite, and believe in yourself!
"This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back in again."
--Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 16, 2011

Talking about Self-Publishing

Visit me today at Trish Milburn's site today at:

We'll be there all day! 

I also share dollar amounts. How much did I earn selling 10,000 books?

Come on over and share in the discussion!

Friday, May 13, 2011

10,000 Books Sold!

Blogger had technical difficulties, and they removed my post from the other day and it has disappeared completely. I am rewriting and this time I will save a copy on my PC. Sorry for the inconvenience of coming here and not seeing a post regarding selling 10,000 books. I'll start over. If my old message is restored, you might see two messages with the same header.

I have a pretty good imagination, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would sell thousands of books in such a short time! In under 10 weeks I have sold 10,000 books!

Amazon:             8,987
B&N:                   1,003
Smashwords:          13

On Wednesday night I hit the 10,000 books sold mark and I came to celebrate by writing a blog! Yay!

I also mentioned that I had received some emails from other writers who were interested in finding out more about formatting and publishing their book on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. I'm just going to tell you how I went about self-publishing.

1. Write a great book! This is the easy part. Ha!

2. I learned basic HTML so I could make sure my ebooks would have smart quotes and wonderful looking m-dashes. If you hire someone to format your books, you can skip this part. I do think it would be helpful to download some ebooks on your PC or Ereader so you can look at various formats that other authors have used.
3. I learned a lot about self-publishing by reading Joe Konrath’s blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing at and I read a lot of articles on the internet. I also talked to other self-published writers. If you use Konrath's blog, I suggest you buy a few of his books because he is sharing a lot of great info over there.
4. I downloaded Derek Canyon’s, Format Your Ebook for Kindle in One-Hour
If you DO NOT want to spend time formatting, there are lots of people who will do it for you. Here is one place you can go for Kindle and Nook formatting:
Here is another:
Do some research before you choose. Send them an email and get a quote.
5. My husband downloaded HomeSite5 on my PC so I could make changes in HTML and see those changes as I made them. He already had this software, so this did not cost me any money. You don’t need to do this. Many people use Notepad or Word to format their books and save as HTML for Kindle and Nook.
6. While your book is being formatted, I suggest you ready your bio, backcover blurb, pricing, etc.
7. Once my book was formatted and ready to go, I registered at KDP (this is where you go to download your ebook on Amazon):
8. I registered at PubIt (this is where you go to download your ebook on Barnes & Noble):

9. I registered at Smashwords distributes your ebook to the Apple IBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store. I have a lot to learn about Smashwords. Formatting was time consuming, so I hired Bryan Coker to format my latest book (, but I haven’t had time to download it yet. Email Bryan and tell him you would like a quote on having your book formatted for Smashwords.
10. Promotion/Marketing: Use your blog to promote your books! Help other writers! Send out emails to your friends and family. READ Zoe Winters’ Becoming an Indie Author  This book is informative and interesting. I was wrong. There is LOTS of stuff on how to format, and Zoe Winters will also tell you what to expect when you self-publish. I found this to be a fun and informative read! I definitely use this book as my "how to" when it comes to being an indie author.
When you register with KDP, Pubit, and Smashwords, all of these places will provide lots of tips and advice on how to market your book.
11. Print on Demand. If you want to hold a paperback book in your hand, you can set up POD books with Amazon through CreateSpace. I plan to do this with all of my books before the end of the year. It’s FREE! Or you can go with their pro plan for $39. Read all about it right here:

That’s it for now. If you decide to self-publish, I wish you TONS of success!
If you have any questions at all, let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Indie Author Sales Update

I've been an indie author for a little over two months now. I'm learning so much in such a short amount of time that I think I may be going crazy. Adrenaline is pumping through my veins giving me a constant high. This self-publishing indie author stuff is exciting to me. If you're jumping on the self-publishing train, you're probably going a little crazy, too. For me, this couldn't have happened at a better time. I've been writing for 19 years, and writing and whining for the past 5 years...Why me? Or should I say...why NOT me? I never stopped writing and submitting. I captured some interest from editors, I signed with agents, but selling the traditional way just wasn't in the cards for me. And guess what? I am sooo thankful. Self publishing in 2011 is turning out to be the best possible scenario for me. I love choosing my cover art. I love being in charge of my work. BUT, this is a lot of work.

I was warned. They were right.

How many books should I put out and how fast? Is this the right cover for this book? Should I change the title? Should I beg for reviews? How many beta readers will be enough? Did I catch every typo? I'm so busy editing and formatting my books, I don't have time to answer any of these questions running through my brain. I'm just taking one day at a time, learning all I can, editing every day and...writing! For now, other than a few tweets and emails, my website is the place where I talk to writers and readers and let them know what's going on.

At my last update (end of April, 2011) I believe I was selling 200 to 250 of the $.99 book (A Knight in Central Park) each day and about 20 of the $2.99 book (Return of the Rose) each day.

For the first week of May, 2011, I have sold an average of 150 to 175 of A Knight in Central Park (Amazon Sales Rank Averaging 240) and 45 per day of Return of the Rose (Amazon Sales Rank Averaging 1,300). 

So...the $.99 book is slowly winding down in sales...while the $2.99 book is slowly making it's way upward.  Interesting...

Taming Mad Max, a romantic comedy, started off like the others, selling one book a day the first week and five books a day the second week.

Finding Kate Huntley, a romantic suspense, was released on May 5th and has sold ONE me!

I have a thriller I am dying to release (pun intended) because it's my most recent work. I hope to release Abducted on May 14, 2011. After that happens, I plan to start blogging and doing a little FB promotion and maybe a few emails to my poor friends who will be thinking..."What the heck? Another book?"

A few people have called me prolific. That makes me laugh. My books are 400 pages and they take me nine months to write and then three months to polish. I wish I could write as fast as Amanda Hocking, but that's not going to happen. Abducted is 480 pages. I am trying to cut it down a bit, because as you can see, I tend to get a little wordy. I am just thankful I never stopped writing, even when I was whining I was still writing. That would be my advice to writers everywhere...keep on writing and enjoy the ride. I know I have!

I'm going to try and post twice a week. My next Money Talk Update will probably be posted after the second week in May. Next week I'll let you know what's happening at B&N and Smashwords.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm off to take lots of pictures of my youngest daughter as she goes off to her Senior Ball. Happy Mother's Day to MOMS everywhere!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Talking Money - Part I

I thought I was pretty good at numbers…until today.  Since I haven’t received any $ from Amazon or B&N yet…I thought I’d go ahead and share more numbers…and $ amounts!
Return of the Rose is selling for $2.99. March 2, 2011 to  April 30th I have sold approximately 1,010 books at Amazon and 171 books at B&N.
A Knight in Central Park is selling for $.99. March 18, 2011 to  April 30th I have sold 5,610 books at Amazon and 685 books at B&N.
The reports you get from B&N are straightforward, easy to figure out. Sold X #of books in March and you get this much $. You can see how many of each book you sold on a given day.
The reports you get from Amazon aren’t as easy to figure out. It can be done (I think) but since I am throwing this together, I already have a headache and the numbers are accumulative. For example, I can’t see how many books I sold on April 2nd at Amazon. The only reason I have an idea is because I was keeping my own records every day. So, if I had sold 26 books one day…and the next day the numbers for a particular book showed 35 books, I knew that I had sold 9 books so far that day. See! It’s sort of a pain in the butt. But I’m not complaining! No way!  Go, Amazon!
Okay, now the good stuff. For March and April I am expecting to receive…for two books.
B&N:               $   621.60
Amazon:         $4,310.72
Not bad. I’m pretty sure that’s more than I would have been paid in advance money from many traditional/legacy publishers.  Yes, I realize some of the big guys get much more than that…but hey, I’ve been writing for a while now and I’m a happy gal. Besides, give me until the end of the year.  I’ve got some more great books coming next week!
Okay, once I know how the payment thing works, I’ll be posting again! If you have any questions, you know where to find me.