Showing posts with label free ebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free ebook. Show all posts

Book Marketing - To Give Or Not To Give

Recently, I ran a free sale for one of my books and I was fortunate enough to get over 300 downloads. I know there’s a lot of debate about whether we should be giving our books away for free or not but if you’re like me and you’re new to the book biz, you have to do something to get your book into the hands of readers.

I’m not so na├»ve to think all these people will love my book so much that they rush out and buy another one of my books, but I do hope a few will become fans and hopefully a few will leave a review. I know there are people out there just waiting for the next book to become available for free and that this can hurt all of us but I think offering your book for free once in a while to drum up some buzz about you and your books is okay.

The beauty of it is that Amazon makes it super easy.

If you have your ebook in the Kindle Select Program, which means for 90 days your book is exclusively available through Amazon, then you can put your book on sale for free for 5 days. It doesn’t count you anything. Amazon is eating the download fee.

So, other than your original cost to publish the ebook (editing, book cover, and formatting), you aren’t losing anything either. Plus, there’s a lot to gain. I have over 300 people reading my book that would have never known I existed before. That’s pretty cool.

As you probably know, I do a lot of in-person events and I love these! They get me in front of parents and children where I can interact and sign my books to them. It’s great to meet these eager little readers. But, tables are expensive and I get tired standing behind a table all day so it’s not a sustainable marketing plan for me. I have to find a way to get “seen” on Amazon.

The other cool thing is my book soared to the top of the sub-category. For those 5 days, I was either #1 or #2 in one of my categories. I took screen shots and saved the links to these because now I can use that as a marketing too as well. Pretty neat, huh?!

Another side to this is that I give a lot of my paperback copies away, don’t you? Not only that but giving away paperbacks is more expensive. You have your original cost (editing, book cover, and formatting), plus the cost to print and have those books mailed to you. If you also mail these books to give them away, there’s that cost to. Trust me, I’ve done that as well! I give them to ARC readers and to fundraisers and other events that help kids. Recently, I gave several copies away for an Easter Basket that one of the stores who carries my books was sponsoring. I give to the Retired Teachers organization that provides books and a related toy to underprivileged kids. It feels great to give!

So, when you think about it giving away ebooks is really a no-brainer.

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at and follow her on Facebook at

Story Ideas

As a writer, we are expected to always have ideas to jumpstart our stories.  Sometimes the muse just isn't there and we have to look other places for those story ideas.  Last year when I was thinking of possibly writing another in the Kelly Watson mysteries, I printed out a bunch of the stories from contests they held for kids to write as well as some other mystery writers advice and story starters.  One of the pages I printed out was "Mystery Story Starter Ideas - DIY Guide for Children and Adults" by Marillisa Sachteleben.  She states there are 25 story starters but apparently I only found 10 on the first page. 

Here are her starters:
THE WISHING WELL HORROR:  I hated drawing water from the dank, bug-infested well house to begin with.  When the bucket came up heavier and more slowly than usual, I sensed that something was wrong.  But I was totally unprepared for the horror that followed.

THE BOOK SELLER'S ENIGMA:  I hadn't remembered the musty old book shop on that street before, but the old peddler beckoned me.  When I returned the next day with my brother, shop and shopkeeper had gone.  We asked an old-timer passing by, "That shop?" he declared, "why it ain't been around for 50 years."

THE SMELL IN THE CELLAR:  We kept the cellar locked.  No one went down ther.  One day when I went by I smelled an odd, familiar smell, like something I hadn't smelled since I was little.  The odor got stronger, until finally I opened the door and went down the rickety steps.

THE MISSING PHOTO:  I loved to look through our old family photos.  One day, I noticed that a certain picture had been removed.  I asked the whole family and no one seemed to have taken it.  Was someone hiding something?

THE SECRET ROOM:  Tearing down a wall to build an addition to our home, I discovered a small narrow room hidden between the walls for decades and what was in it gave me the shock of my life.

THE THING IN THE POND:  For years, I've visited a pond in the woods near our house.  Recently, I saw something more than sand, rocks and a few fish and turtles.  Something much, much more.

THE PRANK CALLER:  We thought the odd phone calls were just pranks by some local kids.  Until the caller asked me something really scary.  "Did anybody ever find where you buried the body?"

THE LETTER FROM YESTERDAY:  The envelope that came in the mail looked really elegant and I was hoping that it was an invitation to a party.  It was an invitation.  For a party dated July 30, 1927.

THE SILENT BOY:  We were all playing in our fort by the creek.  A tall thin boy with dark eyes and long hair appeared silently from the woods.  He came out every day for two weeks but he never said a word.  Until one day...

THE CREATURE:  My cat likes to bring home an odd assortment of creatures.  Not that he kills them.  I think they are his friends.  One day, the cat brought home something I have never seen before in my life and I doubt that I ever will again.

I've looked at this page many times over the past 6 months but nothing really jumped off the page or screamed "new Kelly adventure/mystery"  A couple of weeks back, I looked over the sheet again and decided that the Book Seller's Enigma would work.  I started a new Kelly Watson story - but have only written a page and a half, which amounts to about an incomplete scene or could be a full scene.  I feel there is something I need to write before this particular scene, perhaps filling in what has happened in Kelly's life during  the 6 months from finding out the house she investigated was her father's to the time she finds this missing bookstore or mysterious bookshoppe.  One of my editor writer friends said forget the Prologue and just write the story.  If I had a direction to take the story, I think I would have written more than a page and a half, although there have been some niggles about the bookstore and the present given to Kelly.  Maybe ther eis a story, I just wish it would hurry up and get out so I can get a second Kelly story under my belt.

What about you, how do you jumpstart your stories?  What if the muse isn't being cooperative and you really feel the need to write a story?  What all do you do to get the muse to cooperate and how do you keep the ideas flowing?  Leave a message with your ideas and thoughts and be entered for a an ebook copy of Finally Home the first of Kelly's mysteries.  E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a Kelly Watson middle grade/YA mystery

Kindle Select - What Works, and What Doesn't (a follow on post)

Last month I ran two Kindle Select giveaways.  The first was for a copy of the Christmas poetry chapbook Blooming Red that I co-authored with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and the second was for my novel Black Cow.  When I blogged about these last month I promised an update with the results of this and here it is.  Here are a few things I learned the hard way:

1.  Promote EARLY. There are a ton of sites that feature free e-books and all of them have unique subscribers who want nothing more than to download your book, but most of them require you to submit your book at least 2 weeks prior to the free day. If you wait until the day your book is free then you'll miss out on a lot of opportunities to get the word out to new readers.

2.  Make sure that your Kindle book is perfect.  When I converted Black Cow to Kindle format, a lot of strange typographical issues crept in.  For example, about 25% of my L's disappeared, leaving me with words like four for flour and fat for flat. I did check formatting but didn't do another proofread after conversion which meant that the fantastic results - nearly 2,000 downloads that I got for Black Cow - were, to a certain extent, wasted because all of those downloaded books were typo ridden.  I was able to get Amazon to agree to send out a link for all of those who downloaded the book to re-download a perfected copy, but it will take them another 2 weeks to get to that (if you've got one of the l-less books, a cleaned-up copy should be with you soon - sorry!).  When you're getting your work into so many new hands, it's important that this be your best work. Anything less is not only a lost opportunity, but can impact on your reputation.

3.  Be prepared to get a few negative reviews (especially if you don't do #2).  If 2,000+ new people are downloading your book, your book is bound to get into the hands of a few non-ideal readers.  Take it on the chin and keep smiling.  Not everyone will like your book and not everyone is your target market.  That's just part of the game.

Overall, both books sold copies in the days immediately following the free days.  That alone was worth it, as was the opportunity to get the word out and attract a number of new readers.  So I'm definitely planning to do it again.  In fact, Carolyn and I are having another go with our book of unconventional love poetry Cherished Pulse in time for Valentine's Day. All you do is go to on Jan 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15th and click.  This time, we've followed all 3 points above.  

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at


As I write this posting, I realize I'm scheduled to post on a significant date or supposedly a significant date - 12/12/12.  According to the Mayan calendar, it will be a day of rebirth or the end of times as we know it.  The world will not end this day or this month, but the collective of society will go through a transformation, or being reborn.  Many religions around the world are also prophecizing this same thought pattern. 

On that note, this past week or so, I've been trying to recreate stories featuring my protagonist, Kelly Watson, and really make her a series like the Nancy Drew series.  I've printed out the winners of the MysteryNet's contests from all the months they actually held the contests; I've printed out several postings of tips on writing mysteries; and I've printed out a few "mystery story prompts/starters" to help me along the way.

The biggest problem I'm up against is having set my first tory, Finally Home, in a small town, population of under 1000, in South Carolina, which is even smaller than the town I live in which has a population of around 3500, and that my girls are only 13 or 14 - upper middle school, about to enter high school aged.  They aren't driving age and therefore can't zip over to the big town to "solve mysteries" and there probably isn't much in the way of things happening in the town to be a mystery.

So, I'm looking to my readers to give me some suggestions on how to bring Kelly and Emma out in several mysteries - shoot me some ideas by way of comment and if I use your idea, I'll send you an ebook copy of Finally Home for Nook or Kindle along with an authorgraph.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave". Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.
For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the  JGDS blog or the JGDS website.

For more information about Elysabeth's other writings, please visit her general writing blog or her author website

Mother's Day Poetry (and freebie)

It's almost Mother's Day (or Mothering Sunday if you're in the UK). Here in Australia, Mother's Day is Sunday the 13th of May. Since I'm both mother and daughter, I've managed to convince my poetry partner (also a mother and daughter) Carolyn Howard-Johnson to let me giveaway our motherly poetry book She Wore Emerald Then.  From now through to May 14th (US time) you can grab a copy of She Wore Emerald Then from Smashwords for the budget-smashing price of $0.00.  Just use Coupon code KT98C at checkout.  You can even use the code to 'gift' the book to someone. Following is a poem from the collection that I wrote for my first child. If you prefer a hard copy, you can get a copy at Amazon.  Happy Mother's Day to all you fantabulous mothers out there.


From this point
everything begins.
He comes out crying
no need for a smack
eyes wide
fighting the light and shocks
slippery, red and incredibly solid.
From this point it all begins.
The whorl
where superfine hair grows
like one of those spiral galaxies
Andromeda or Triangulum
full of stars
and the promise of real life
different from anything we have known
but starting at the same point.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

Authors Need to be Realistic

By Terry Whalin  @terrywhalin Over the years, I’ve met many passionate writers. One brand new writer told me, “My book is going to be a best...