Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Release: Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain

From one of my author friends, Anna Del C.! :-)

Andrea, thank you so much for participating in The Roilden Stone of Elf Mountain’s tour. We will have a ebook Giveaway between Feb 24 – Mar 8: You have a chance to win The Roilden Stone of Elf Mountain. Leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. One ebook will be given in each stop in this tour and the entries can be international.

The Roilden Stone of Elf Mountain is book seven and the pre-sequel to all of Anna del C.’s elf books.

The Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain, a Blurb
Liberty … or Monarchy? Should the wisest of races choose such a path, or return to the traditional council? Their queen has lost the Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain to a power-hungry wizard. After all, one can be deceived, but twenty?

With the stones missing, a fatal drought grips Andoriah, the new elfin home. Death to all is imminent. Who will retrieve the Stones when the Gold Elfs won’t act? Will heroes arise before Andoriah burns in eternal fire? Can the missing elf queen and her daughter be found?

The Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain is the long awaited prequel, and final installment in Anna del C.’s elf series. Discover the Elfs, an eternal race who chose to live in a world of woes away from their motherland. Love them, feel their pain and their happiness in a land that will test the core of their beliefs and bravery. Written in the genre of The Lord of the Rings and the Shannara series, The Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain comes alive with battles, heroism, action and romance.

About the author:

Anna del C. has received numerous awards like “First Page” “First Chapter” in three of her books. A bronze Medal for book three in The Silent Warrior Trilogy and honor place for others.
Anna is fluent in Spanish and English and loves to travel the world.

You can find The Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain here:
Anna's website

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


My biggest piece of advice for Indie authors today is this:


Far too often, Indies get caught up in the rush of the moment: the rush to get another book out. The rush to get reviews. The rush to get sales.

One of the biggest reasons you self-published is because you'll be able to have long-term control over your books. LONG TERM, not short. Sit back and enjoy the ride - things will come as you're ready for them! Don't push yourself so hard that you aren't enjoying being an author. Don't stress so much over sales and marketing where you lose joy in the writing itself. And don't worry that no one is buying your books! There's a time and a season for everything. Your time will come, but maybe right now is your season to prepare for that time - to focus on becoming a better writer rather than a better marketer.

As you become a better writer, you'll reach a point, if you don't give up, where sales will NATURALLY come. People won't be able to help but talk about your books.

You shouldn't need to feel like you have to convince people to download your stories - eventually, your writing will do that for you.

In the meantime, CALM DOWN, SLOW DOWN, AND ENJOY THE RIDE! Honestly - it's not a race. How long are you planning on being an author? For only the next two months, or for the next twenty years? Enjoy the now - enjoy the obscurity! Enjoy the opportunity to test things out without everyone watching.

Now go get some writing done. :-)

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Create a Permafree eBook

I've been asked a few times how I got my eBook, The Key of Kilenya, to be permafree. It was easy! For those of you who have wondered, permafree means the eBook is "permanently" free. Or free for longer than just a few days. They're usually listed on the sites of multiple retailers.

Here's how you do it:
  1. Publish the eBook with Smashwords (they are one of the few retailers who allows you to change the price of your book to free)
  2. Choose to distribute it to all sorts of different retailers, but especially Nook (Don't publish your own version directly with Nook)
  3. Copy the Nook link when Smashwords sends the free eBook over (it'll take a couple of days)
  4. Go to your book's page (the one customers see) on Amazon 
  5. Scroll down to Product Details on your book. At the very bottom, you'll find this: "Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?" 
  6. Click on the last link in that sentence
  7. Fill in the necessary info (linking back to Nook) 
  8. Have a few other people do this too, if you'd like.
Amazon only price matches with Nook on a regular basis. They've been known to price match other retailers (not Smashwords, however), but it isn't guaranteed that they will for you. Nook is the one they nearly always price match.

It usually takes two weeks to a month for Amazon to drop the eBook to free. For me, it was two months. I had one friend whose book price was dropped in a couple of hours (but don't expect that to happen to you, because it probably won't). It's very, very, very important to note that you should not schedule any promotions that will be based on this free eBook until after Amazon has price matched. It's nearly impossible to predict how long it'll take for them to drop the price, and some authors are reporting months of waiting now.

And that's it! This isn't a temporary way to promote - you'll want to leave the book for free for a while to gain the benefits of having a permafree eBook.

Having a permafree eBook works best when it's the first book in the series. You'll make your money on the following books in the series. Don't think about free downloads as money lost, think of it as readers found who wouldn't have downloaded otherwise.

This sort of thing (and many other awesome tactics on self-publishing) will be taught at the upcoming Indie Author Hub conference on June 7, 2014. (That's a Saturday.) Learn more about the conference here!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Get Book Reviews

Many authors ask each other what the best/easiest/most sure-fire way to get book reviews is, and the answer is there isn't one. :-) But there are a few things that you can do that will help you move toward those coveted reviews.

First, let's talk about why we need and want reviews. We can debate this all day long (and go very much in-depth), but the biggest reason is that readers don't want to download an untried, untested book. (A lot of people won't download an eBook without having heard of it from someone else first. But that's a discussion for another day. :-))

Another reason we want reviews is so our books can be picked up by popular promoters like BookBub. (My favorite way to promote my books.)

So, how do we get reviews?

The first step is to have friends and family read your book and post HONEST reviews. Don't try to get them to post four- and five-star ones. That's cheap and dishonest. A lot of people say it's even dishonest to have friends and family post reviews, but I disagree. They have opinions too, and not every family member or friend of mine has loved my books. And their reviews reflect that. :-) (Which I love, by the way.)

The next thing is to kindly ask your beta readers, even the ones who didn't like the book so much, to post a review.

Our goal with these initial reviews is to help get your foot in the door to receive the "Amazon Verified Purchase" reviews. Why? A lot of people don't like being the first to review something, and again, if there aren't any reviews at all, most people won't download.

When checking out submissions, BookBub actually looks at the number of positive Amazon Verified Reviews. They know that these reviews are from people who actually bought the book (or downloaded it, if it was free) and weren't asked to review in exchange for the book. Therefore, their reviews are more likely going to be legit. (Arguable, of course, but they need to start somewhere.)

How to get those reviews? The best way, of course, is to sell a ton of copies. But it's hard to do that without promoting, and the best way to promote is through BookBub... but you can't get a slot with BookBub without reviews. :-)

The next best way, in my opinion, is to put your book up as a permafree book.

I've got a tutorial here on how to create a permafree eBook

Once your eBook is free, tell the world. Run a few promotions. Get a blog tour going, and have the reviewers download the free book instead of you emailing it to them. Then nicely ask them to post their reviews on Amazon.

The reviews will start to trickle in. Be patient! The Key of Kilenya has been available as a free eBook for two years. I have 90 reviews on it. It's in a less-popular genre (MG fantasy), and I've had friends with very, very different results, but don't get your hopes up that you'll have massive amounts of reviews (or downloads) really quickly. Because that probably won't happen. :-)

Other ways to get reviews:

  • Use Make sure to pick people who review in your genre and double check that they're currently accepting submissions. Read their submission guidelines.
  • Give away copies of your book - print or eBook. If you don't want to make your book permafree, you can always try to gift it to people and ask them to review. This doesn't always work, though.
  • Ask for reviews on Facebook, Twitter, etc. - tell people you'll give them a free copy of your eBook if they'll post an honest review on Amazon.
  • At the end of each book, ask the reader to write up and post a review on the website where they downloaded the book. Be sure to give them a direct link to the book on that retailer.
  • Netgalley. It costs a lot of money, but it's the same place where the big publishers go when they need reviews. You post your eBook, and if people are interested, they download it (for free), then review.
  • Follow this dude's recommendations here, as he guest posted on Joe Konrath's blog. (Super, super sound advice. Hard work, but everything we do is hard work. :-)) He also talks about all the different ways to get reviews, including family ones, and the problems that can come from those ways.
  • Create an email list of people who are interested in reviewing for you in exchange for a free eBook. Have them send you a link to their review and enter them in to win an Amazon gift card. Do this for every book you're needing reviews on.
  • Use a paid service (you pay a company, the company finds reviewers. Reviewers are NOT paid) like this one:
If you know of any other ways to get reviews, post them in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Liberation in Self-Publishing

I know a lot of my friends and family who love writing have followed my publishing journey off and on over the past six years. I know that many want to get published, but may still shy away from self-publishing. I also know that many pitied me when I left my publisher and decided to go on my own.

To those of you who feel or have felt this way, I want to say the following: self-publishing has been one of the most liberating things I've ever done. My stance on it hasn't changed once in the three years I've been self-published. People say, "But you only experienced ONE publisher. You don't know how they really are."

I don't need to experience something firsthand multiple times to learn: I learn from the experiences of those around me. Nearly every single author friend I have who is traditionally published is either now self-publishing, or is trying everything in their power to get out of contracts with traditional publishers. My mom and I walked through Deseret Book a couple weeks ago, and at least three quarters of the books on the shelves there were written by authors who are now self-publishing. (And are members of my Indie Author Hub group. :-))

Displeasure with publishers isn't limited to authors with local, small companies. I have friends with the Big Five NY Publishers whose series were dropped before they were completed or who are getting absolutely no help with marketing, promoting, and even good editing. With self-publishing, your series ends when YOU want it to. You're in charge of every aspect and can take the necessary steps to ensure your success without worrying about stepping on toes or ending up in breach of contract.

People who successfully and correctly self-publish earn more than those who traditionally publish. Most of my traditionally published author friends make only a few thousand a year, if that. Compare that to many of my self-published friends who make six figures. (And I'm pretty well entrenched in the publishing scene - my friends are from both worlds.)

If you're still wondering if YOU could succeed as a self-publisher, I'm here to tell you that you can. There is nothing holding you back when you go this way, other than your own fears!

You haven't lost your chance. Now that the stigma is fading (thank goodness), it's time. And yes, YOU can be successful at it, so long as you make sure to do it correctly from the get-go.

How do you do it correctly?

Well, first, you write a book. Then self-edit it. Then edit it even more. Then hire an editor, proofreaders, etc. Educate yourself. Learn grammar. Learn how to write fiction (or non-fiction). Join a writers group. Do this while self-publishing. It's a process

Hire a cover designer. There are some really fantastic ones out there who don't charge an arm and a leg.

Then format the dang thing into an eBook and upload it to Kindle. (This is the easiest part, trust me.)

If you're serious about writing, being read, and making money while doing it, then the monetary investments are incredibly necessary and will be worth it. Especially when you read those first few positive reviews. :-)

Many of you have read my first book and know that, well, it's a first book. It's been edited multiple times by different professional editors, but it still has a problems with pacing in a couple of places. Your first book won't be utterly breath-taking either, and that's totally fine. You have to start somewhere in order to go up. Those of you who have read my series know how drastically I've improved. The first book was good, but the last several are truly excellent. I put a lot of hard work into that series.

And if I hadn't ever gone out on a limb and published The Key of Kilenya on my own, I wouldn't have learned nearly as quickly as I have. And I wouldn't have made money while doing so. I wouldn't have published six 80,000 word books in two and a half years. Traditional publishers don't have the resources to put out that many books by the same author in that little time. They're forced to hold their authors back. And believe me - the more you write, the faster and better you get. You'll be chomping at the bits, waiting for your publisher to catch up.

Please email me if you're interested in learning how to self-publish. I'll give you links to all the good places to go to educate yourself and prepare yourself.

This June (Saturday the 7th), my writer's group (Indie Author Hub) is hosting a fantastic writers conference. It'll be in the Provo Marriot and will be all day. The keynote speaker is a NYT Bestselling Indie author named Amy Harmon. The classes will be professional and upbeat and very helpful. If at all possible, please come. (People are flying in from all over the country to attend.) Click here if you want more information.

I WANT to see you succeed! I want to help you down this path! I want you to enjoy the liberation and freedom that comes with taking your writing destiny in your own hands.