Thursday, October 17, 2013

KDP Free Days, My Second Time Around

Earlier this month I did a free promotion with Into the Deep, so I thought I'd share with everyone how it went.

A year ago, when I first released Into the Deep, my debut YA Paranormal Romance, I immediately signed up for Amazon's KDP Free day promotion, and was very happy with the results. Now, a year later I signed up with Into the Deep again and did more than twice the "sales" of my first run. So, here's a look at what's changed and what I did the same.

The Numbers:

2012 Promotion: Gave away 3,000+ copies of Into the Deep
2013 Promotion: Gave away 6,000+ copies of Into the Deep

2012 Promotion: Rose into the top 200 Free in Kindle Store
2013 Promotion: Broke into the top 100 Free in Kindle Store rising to #78 and #2 under Teen and Young Adult

Subsequent paid sales, after my free promotion ended, in 2013 were also more than double what they were in 2012

Things I did the same this year as last year:
  • I ran my promotion for the same book, Into the Deep.
  • I broke my promotion up using three of my free days, saving two for later.
  • I ran my promotion in the same month, September.
  • I ran my promotion on the same days of the week: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Things I did differently:
  • This year I ran my promotion at the end of the month into the first of October, whereas last year I ran my promotion at the beginning of September. (Possibly, the end of the month may be a better time for doing a promotion.)
  • This year I had two books out, Into the Deep and it's sequel Hidden Beneath. When I put Into the Deep up for free, paid sales on Hidden Beneath went up as well.
  • Into the Deep only had a handful of reviews last year whereas this year it had nearly two dozen before the start of the promotion.
  • I created a new cover for Into the Deep before my 2013 promotion, one that I feel looked a little more professional than my 2012 cover. 

Overall I think the things that added most to this promotion being a bigger success than the last one are first that I've been around a little longer. I had a bigger platform to tap into this time to get word out about my promotion. Second, having more reviews on my book helped give it credibility and finally having two books out not only gave me credibility as an author, but since the books were in a series the promotion of one fueled the promotion of the other.

Hopefully you all found this helpful.
For more information on Amazon's KDP program read about my first experience with Amazon in The Pros and Cons of Amazon and KDP

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why We Love Zombies

Sam Javanrouh
Reasons we love Zombie stories:

Zombies have traditionally been at the bottom of the horror monster totem pole, but lately their popularity has been booming, with recent books turned films like “Warm Bodies” and “World War Z”, and the hit show “The Walking Dead” based on the comic by the same name, zombies are everywhere. So what is it about these B-movie kings that we love so much?

They’re still monsters. Zombies haven’t been quite as romanticized as vampires (With the possible exception of Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies). They’re not misunderstood; they’re evil, mindless, soulless ghouls. Zombies are almost always the bad guy. They’re not sexy, seductive, or mysterious; they’re monsters through and through. Zombies decay, and smell, and bare their teeth and bones and we can all get behind bashing them in the head.

We all think we would survive. The thing about a zombie apocalypse is no one ever imagines being one of the first people to go. No, our daydreams jump ahead to when 90% of the population is already a member of the walking dead and we think about what it would be like to live in a deserted, albeit zombie-infested, world. There’s an interesting fantasy element to thinking about living in the remains of human civilization. I mean who doesn’t want to loot the mall?

Zombies represent “other people”. They’re not us. Zombies represent all the bad things we think about civilization and how we separate ourselves from that. Zombies are the mass of angry shoppers on Black Friday, the lane of slow drivers on the highway, the group of teenagers egging your car. They are the friends who’ve stabbed you in the back, the co-workers who make your life miserable; they are all the people that you wish you didn’t have to deal with in your life and then suddenly as zombies its okay for you to shoot them in the head.

Guns are cool. You kill vampires with sticks, witches with buckets of water, ghosts with religious chants, but with zombies you get to pull out a semi-automatic and blast away. Guns are not toys, they’re dangerous weapons. But, something about the idea of shooting one is just fun, and in a zombie apocalypse every day is target practice.

Everyone loves blood and gore. Vampires bite your neck and suck your blood, but zombies literally tear you limb from limb. A werewolf might maul you but zombies rip out your guts, crack your skull open and eat your brain. Zombies are by far the most gruesome of the classic monsters. And there’s something about blood and gore that we just can’t get enough of.

Not all zombies are the same, some are slow meandering corpses, others are scary fast, but what they all have in common is that they’re terrifying in all aspects. They look disgusting, represent probably the worst kind of existence one could face for an afterlife, and they just keep coming. Zombies are inescapable and they often win. People like to be scared, and zombies are possibly the best monsters to scare us. That’s why we love them. 

If you liked this post check out “Why we Love Vampires” and "Why we Love the Supernatural"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review for Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #4) by Rachel Caine

Slower Pace, but Same Loveable Characters

3.75 Stars. While I’m loving this series and plan to continue with it, this book didn’t have quite the fast pace that the first three did. The way these stories create this never ending link makes them feel like a TV show where each episode always ends in “To Be Continued,” and the first few pages that explain “The Story So Far,” only reiterate this feeling.

On that same note this book has so much backstory. I feel like the author took too much time reminding us of things that happened in the first three books. It really slowed down the pace and made this book drag some in the middle.

Also there were lots of annoying inconsistencies. For example Monica had black hair in the first book, but in this one it says she’s blond. I would have sworn Eve and Michael already had sex in an earlier book, or at least that was eluded to, but in this book it’s suggested that they do it for the first time. And, I’d swear Myrin had brown hair in the last book, but it’s black in this one. These weren’t big things, but they were distracting.

On the plus side I did really like Claire and Shane and seeing more of their relationship. They had some new challenges in this book, as did Eve and Michael and all of it was really enjoyable to read. Despite any pet-peeves I may have had with the plot of this book, the characters continue to be well rounded and likeable.

I also liked that Claire’s parents are finally a little less clueless by the end, but I wished she had visited them just once during the course of the story. They were still annoyingly overprotective, but they did feel more real in this book than the ones preceding it. I liked Myrin, and Claire’s relationship with him. They make a really interesting pair. But, one thing I didn’t like was how little of a plan they’d had for the party, it felt rushed and thrown together. Also, Miranda and Jason felt a little underdeveloped, as if their only purpose was to move the plot forward.

One thing I was really excited to see was the book that caused so much drama in Glass Houses came back into play. One of the things I’ve loved about these books is how little threads of plot manage to be woven through the entire series.

The end of this book, while leaving yet another cliff hanger, did leave all of the characters in a really interesting position. There is a divide of power that seems likely to split the entire town in half, and I’m interested to see how this affects all of Morganville in the next book.

While this hasn’t been my favorite book of this series, I truly enjoy the series as a whole and plan to continue with it.

Read my review of Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires Book 1)
Read my review of The Dead Girls Dance (Morganville Vampires Book 2)
Read my review of Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires Book 3)

Indie Book Goal 2018