Not sure how I forgot to invite you all to my goodreads group! Join if you like!
Contemporary African American Romance 1 member For stories of Black Love, that focus on realistic and contemporary settings. Romance that is more classic, than being drama filled or rather stories that focus on the romance and building of the relationship. Share Authors and Books that show black people and romance and a positive light.
Hi again! So this is again probably more interesting to other authors or for readers who care about what authors go through. Let's start with the good things.
So marketing. Well I guess I need to backup a little. I finished writing my second novel (YAY) and did the editing and revisions and had it formatted (Boo) and then had it published Sept 21st (YAY) I had excellent (luck, hustle) to secure another Bookbub deal for Nov 4 for the second book Not My Type. So this book release went better than the 1st book. I sold 100 books in a little less than a month. This 2nd bookbub deal also did a little bit better as well. It was .99¢ like the first.
Buy through during the 2nd BB sale for book 1 (Running Into You) was 14 books.
I do feel like I continued to reap the benefits of the bookbub deal well into December for book 2 and book 1 (as folks went back to buy the first book). I gained new positive reviews and new followers on bookbub. I’ve been making over $100 per month since August. More than some new author less than many others. December has been slow overall so I actually don’t think I’ll hit it this month and that leads me into writing.
So they say the best way to make money in this creative business it to continue to release books. And my goal for 2019 was to release a book every quarter so 4 full length books. Also my goal was to write 2 of those 2019 books before the end of 2018 so that I would be ahead of the game and not rushed etc.
Well the best laid plans usually don’t work out...don’t ask me why LOL. You would think they would as they have been planned well. To be fair for ME it was laziness. I had at least 2 full months were I was healthy and had PLENTY of time to write each day and just didn’t. Fast forward to the end of Oct as we were coming upon Nanowrimo. I started writing on BOTH my next releases on OCT 23 and wrote every single day til Nov 31. I get a pat on the back for that.
Then came Nov 29, I went to see 2 doctors as I was having pain, and the next week went to a specialist, then two days after that the emergency room and after that two other doctors. And will be going in for oral surgery 4 days before this is posted. In between there was a lot of “can’t function” pain. Anyway that means at least 13 days there was little to no writing. When my hope was to finish WIP1 (work-in-progress) so that it could be proof/edited beginning of Jan and released late Jan. If God is good and I get this medical issue at LEAST under control We will see a Feb release. I’m hoping for early/mid, but at this point I’d be happy with any time in Feb. With WIP2 still coming out on time in April (got to finish my baby the Instant Chemistry Series).
Writing is like any other job, you have to work around limitations. I’m in a lot of writer/author groups. And a lot of them have chronic medical issues or are out right disabled in some way, but they still write. I’m only as about 55% as I’m writing this but I figured compared to some of the days I’ve had today was a GOOD day to write so I might as well do so.
Maybe I’m being taught a lesson, in that any given day is not promised, so you should make the most of it. And I plan to do that going forward. Between marketing that sucks up your time (making promo post, pics, making and running ads, posting stats etc, I can understand why authors have PA’s (personal assistants-but who has money for that-see above where I said I’m just now making over $100 a month). I have to remember that my main job is to WRITE.
As we rush into the end of 2018 to the new beginning of 2019 think about your goals and make your vision board or goals list and the realistic steps you need to get there. I still see my goal of 4 full novel in 2019 as doable. If I can go beyond that even better.
Wishing everyone a wonderful, healthy and joyful 2019!
So those that don't write don't know how often Authors question that statement. The feeling of completing a major work is amazing. But even after the first book, I still thought, "Can I do it again? Was the first one a fluke? I mean people actually liked it beside me! Do I have the focus, the creativity to do it again?
So when you actually complete that second novel it's "almost" sweeter than the first. It cements that your are not a "one book wonder" in that you can actually produce more of your craft.
Luckily I had characters (Mika and Robert) who were fairly forceful with wanting their story told. They drove me crazy when I was writing book 1. But after Running Into You, I was busy marketing, joining groups (learning the Publishing/Indie world), keeping my social pages up and going, compiling and publishing my poetry book in April that I was behind on starting Not My Type.
Then I had a few life issues that took front seat to writing. However that is all to say-you have these thoughts of “can I do it again.” Finishing a book for most is hard. There are some people who take years to write a book, and even more years to get the courage to publish.
I’m lucky that I seem to be in my season of focus, as for decades I sat with ideals in my head (didn’t really try to write them, but they floated around year after year).
It was a feeling of relief to hit “the end” on this book. That is until editing and proofing started. Those two tasks make me want to drink and I barely drink. But I have dreams of being an alcoholic for the 3 to 4 weeks it takes to make everything “just right”. However I am happy with the final product, happy that my characters told their story in their way. And I look forward to the next book in this Series and all the different books to come in the next few years! Hope you enjoy them as well!
Writing positive SEXY-MODERN-ROMANCE about African American Couples!
So I’m sharing this because I don’t think many folks understand the life of an Indie writer. Now to be sure EVERY SINGLE AUTHOR EXPERIENCE is different. I’m in lots of writer groups and some are doing worse than me (and have been writing longer) some are where I’m at (some new like me and some who have written longer) and some are WAY above me (both newer and longer term writers.)
Also let’s be clear, genre and even me being an African American writer, writing African American stories/characters AND being in the overpopulated field of Romance, plays a part. As does how/when/if I market, what connections I have or don’t have AND what platforms I’m on or use. AND a WHOLE long list of other things, go into how well any induvial author does at any given time.
So sharing this to remind readers that it’s important to give Indie Authors a chance, to share our work, to review (if you actually like it, and even if you don’t-giving “constructive” criticism can help an author grow.) To hype up Indie books as you "traditionally published works". Encourage friends to read it and to BUY it. Yes a full length Ebook IS worth .99, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99 $4.99. I wanted to show you the reality is for the “vast majority” (and this is data driven fact) Indie Authors across “most” genres are not making money hand over fist. Again yes it takes time to build a following but I know folks with 2 plus years of writing that haven’t made what I have in 6 month-it’s never a SURE thing on either end of the scale.
For Authors who may read this. I’m sharing so if you are one that doesn’t know “if you are doing avg or good” well this gives you at least 1 other person to compare to. Though again there are many different factors that go into sales etc. How many books are out, level of writing skill, genre, marketing, book cover, blurb catchiness etc, etc. Also if there are future writers--here is a realistic look at what the journey “may” be like for you. Again don’t let anyone else success or failure deter you. You never know til YOU try.
Now for ME and my realistic expectations (I) had--I’m actually HAPPY with my results! Overall I think with what I have found out about the market and book writing and the huge amount of variables I’m doing fairly decently. So the follow results is with me having 1 novel out. I’m a first time published author as of Jan 2018. I didn’t do ANY pre marketing before my book was released (didn’t know I had too, lol you don’t know what you do know). Not sure I would have anyway, I’m an ambivert and was just focused on after decades ACTUALLY writing and completing a novel. Also didn’t know the process for publishing would be so quick after I put it in the createspace and KDP systems. I actually published before I wanted to LOL.
6 Months to the day Jan 19 to July 19-results So for my Ebook Contemporary African American Romance book it’s priced $3.99 I’ve done several sales usually once or twice a month for short periods of time at .99 and $1.99 and $2.99. I’ve sold (i.e) someone paid some type of money for my book:
120 copies (ebook, paperback, direct sales) that is 19.3 books (avg) per month!
Platforms -Amazon (including PB & KU the first 3 months) Ingram (April on-at one point I had the Ebook and paper back on their ), Google/Kobo/Barnes & Noble (since april). I have a profile and book info on Allauthor, Bookbub, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Mybookcave. I’ve used routinely-AMS ads(about 10 in the 6monhts), did a Google Ad once, did Mybookcave sales a couple of times, done 3 Kobo sales, done Cover Contest on AllAuthor, Ads and small giveaways on Black Love Books done 1 add on each-Instagram and Pinterest. Also on my 3rd Book Bub ad (not deal…lol that would be a dream come true). Was included in a least one that I know of another author newsletter.
I am in a variety of book promotion/reader/writers groups and I promote 1 or 2 times per week. I did 2 events, both extremely small and sold no Romance books at either (sold small amounts of my poetry books at both). Have bought one ad in a big Romance conference booklet, and paid and donated my postcard ads to 3 other events. Okay I think overall all that is the sum of what I have done, as of today. Oops, also recommended my first book to library’s to carry a digital copy (got it in 2 libraries as physical copies TIP-be sure to ask libraries are they accepted your book for CIRCULATION, not just to sit(and not be able to be checked out) in the "local author section") in the hopes that this may help future releases.
See readers I had to do ALL that just to sell 120 books. Some authors do way more, some less and each get a variety of results for their efforts. SN: out of the 120 copies (you never know how many have READ the book) I have received 9 reviews (between Amazon and Goodreads) and a hand full of ratings. All very good except one that was not bad/not good rating. So that is nice, but lower than my expectations before I learned that reviews (good or bad or indifferent are REALLY hard to come by). Sales (how much I have a made from selling the 120 books ( sales & reg price)-hold your hats) = $223.21 cents!
PB-priced $9.25 I get= $2.11 Ebook-priced $3.99 I get=$2.75 That is before sales. For .99 I got .36 per book and $1.99 book I think it was about $1.11 per book
Now this is not real profit. I added it up yesterday and came to what I believe to be a 98% accurate estimate of what I SPENT (cover, editor, formatter, copyright, ISBN, marketing (materials, business cards, table items for events, signage, ads, paying for booth space, etc) anything to do with writing/publishing the book and to market it these last six months is =$1850.25
Now a big portion is I bought 100 ISBN and a few copyright (digital) packages. Those were approx. $1200 By having your own you keep more control over your work and it allowed me to add to Ingram spark (after I researched before publishing (I) thought it was the best route for ME to buy my own ISBN. I didn’t even count what I spent to buy physical copies of my book for events-didn’t pay off yet but I have stock for the many future events I plan to do at least, another investment like the ISBN. If I did add all that in it would probably put me at around $2100
From the advice I’ve seen in groups, if I write more I should make more, and continue to market and try a variety of ways and spaces to market in, until I find something that works “well”. I just started a newsletter about 2.5 months ago and sent out my first one at the end of June. My next release is Sept 2018. Potential and expected releases (not written yet) in Jan and April 2019. So my HOPE is to see a steady increase in sales by/through next April. Do I expect to have broken even from the original expense listed above by next April-no I don’t expect it but I’m hopefully LOL.
Writing is what I plan to do regardless. It’s not free and even outside of money it takes a lot of physical time and emotional drain BUT I love creating and I love sharing what I have created. My original thought from 20 years ago as a teenager was “I want to publish at least one book before I die and know that even one person has read it and enjoyed it.” I’ve been an avid reading since 10 years old, reading of a wide variety of genres has enriched my life in so many ways.
I have accomplished that goal, and moving on to the next goal which is to continue to write what (I) believe to be well written, interesting, enjoyable tales for the (few or many) readers who buy my work!
Remember set your OWN expectations and “levels” of success and work towards them.
- For me Romance deals with a book that FOCUSES on the Building of a relationship between 2 people, them interacting, learning about each other, showing their care and then love for each other often (not always) taking place in dates or romantic settings. It also “can” include sex. From implied sex, soft sex, raunchy/steamy/detailed sex or outright kinky sex. Sex scenes can be only once in the book or a few times (2-4). As long as the focus and majority of the book is how they meet/grow to like/love each other and how they overcome an obstacles (internal/external) to their relationship. Erotica on the other hand (to me) is a fast fairly short book that has a flimsy or light storyline that moves QUICKLY to sex. The sex takes places many, many times. There are very few in-between chapters that won’t deal directly with a sex scene. The sex is pretty much always on the raunchy or kinky scale. The purpose of the book is to overall provide “readable porn” (btw not knocking it or real porn, nothing wrong with either). Both have a purpose but they are not the same-I write ROMANCE with hot sex in it! (though levels/hotness of sex may vary depending on the characters, their personality and their story)
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So as an Indie….normal book institutions are leery on carrying our material. I semi understand, was with online self-publishing and cheap POD anyone can put out anything. So the quality (outside of the story) is up in the air on many books. People don’t take the time to research HOW to do it, or the TIME to edit and review…over and over and over and over again (We put a lot of time into a GOOD book). However I write so my work can be shared with as many people as possible. Most of my life my books have come from the libraries. It helped me discovery authors and genres I’d never read before. I have no problem with people reading my work for free-through a library. So I searched the internet and found a free template for a Marketing Kit (I think it was for sending to newspapers or books stores and it was for a Business Book, not fiction). I had to replace all the photos to mine, and change all of the background colors from red to my purple. Word made this easy to do (for the most part). Of course I replaced all the text with my info and changed section titles when I felt it made sense. The most difficult part was getting rid of 4 extra pages that didn’t make sense for my type of book. Since it was a formatted template I first had to delete all the formatting and then it allowed me to delete those pages. Though I could have just printed to PDF (by only printing the pages I wanted) and then the PDF would have only shown what I needed). However I find on my comp and the programs I’m using whenever I change something preformatted it becomes very sensitive so sometimes a simple process becomes more complicated. After I got it looking as I wanted, I was able to then type up a 3-4 paragraph email to my home town library and my local library. I sent the emails along with the PDF of my marketing kit. I let them know I would love to donate 1 copy to be put into their circulation collection and I let them know I was available for them to buy for Ebook on Overdrive. In the email I included the genre I write in, my background (where I was from, my college experience, where I live now), why I write and my hope that they would support a local artist. I threw in that my book was formatted to match normal publishing house books and had been professionally edited and formatted (which it was-though with practice you can do your own formatting, I do recommend that you get some kind of outside person with SKILL to at least proofread your book) I got a response right away from my small hometown Library and they are willing to carry it so I mailed off their book the next day. For my local library they wanted me to fill out there official short form for Indie authors and send in a book copy (that I could get back if they decided not to carry it). All of this happened just this last Sunday so not sure about my local library yet…I’m hopeful. All these things I never worried about before publishing. In my mind I “assumed” your local library would LOVE to carry local authors and would have no issue with it. It all depends on your book “Look, Genre, Patron Base”. This can be hard for black authors writing Black stories. As if you don’t live in a town that has a big enough POC population libraries may stick with only the well-known African American Authors (since their selection of these types of books in all genres will be limited). I believe that my library has a decent selection and patrons who are African American so my chances are probably 60/40. Some Indie Authors wait until they can “prove” they have LARGE sustained sales and a fan base etc. I think that is unfair, as again being IN a library is a major way that people learn of author’s period. My finger are crossed! I really would love from them to put me on Overdrive as again, I myself found tons of never heard of authors on there before and became a fans of their books, buying many of them. Hope this helps other authors and gives readers a peek at what we have to do to try and get our work to readers. The hard work (I’m finding) is after the book is written!
So, I’m still a new author as of the start of 2018. So I’m trying out a variety of marketing places and techniques. I saw in some author groups some people had video previews, some simple with just a few moving parts, others more like a mini movie with music and all.
Running Into You has been out since late Jan so I figured why not I’d give it a shot. I went to my go to place Fiverr and after an hour or so researching I found someone I was willing to take a chance on. Ended up paying $25 for a 40 secs shot.
So being an artsy person myself I try not to “over give” instructions to other artist. I did give him quite a bit (he had done hundreds of promos) but his first result I was very unhappy with. I watched it 3 times before I finally said outloud “nope don’t like it” LOL I think went and found my own pics and took him frame by frame of what I wanted. He had moveing “video moving shots” in there but none of them worked.
So I decided to keep it simple with still shots and overlay of words. After 2 revisions we got it where I feel it was worth my money and conveyed what my book was about. It was cleaner and also allowed him to show the Book more and the website (he barely had them in there). I’m pleased with the end result for my first try! Each picture has something to do with a scene from the book. So if you are wondering “how” then pick up the book and read it!
So my question is, is there still a market for romance books (boy meets girl vice vs, and they build a relationship) the story going through the following parts
1- meeting/how they know each other 2-getting to know each other/recognizing a attraction 3-sweet and/or fun moments of interaction 4-a couple of light or intense sex scenes 5-problem/issue to overcome 6-reconciliation/HEA (LOL I just learned that HEA is Happily Ever After)
Do people still like that? To me that is romance. Not a book filled with drama from "start to finish" that would be a drama book to me. And not a book filled with sex with no plot or ever other chapter (that would be straight erotica to me). To me a Romance (not any other sub genre) should have a plot, story line and deal mainly with the love interests getting to know each other/falling in love, some good physical interaction and yes a HEA.