Book Launch: The Pup And The Pianist

It is 1814 and war is still raging between France and England.

Thirteen-year-old Max is a powder monkey aboard the HMS Wind, a British warship. His captain is in pursuit of a phantom French frigate, and he will stop at nothing to find it. When they reach the other side of the world, the French are discovered and battle breaks out at sea. Merciless cannons tear both of the warships to shreds right before a storm hits. Left with the choice to either sink along with his burning ship, or make the impossible swim to The Galapagos islands, Max barely makes it to foreign lands alive. He soon discovers an enemy lying on the shore, but the French boy’s face is burned so badly that he can no longer see. Far away from their homes, the war, and their countrymen, Max and his new companion fight to survive in their new reality at the end of the world.

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The Pup And The Pianist is now available on Amazon Kindle and in print on Amazon! Grab your copy now!

– Sara Kjeldsen

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The Broken And The Foolish Now On Kindle & In PaperBack!

Some outlaws kill for the rush. Mary just wants to survive.

The Broken & The Foolish front cover - web

Get your Kindle copy for only $5.99 here.

Get your paperback copy for $9.99 here.

Book Blog Tours

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It is time for me to invest in a book blog tour or two in order to get some more word out there about my ebooks. I’ve done some research on the best blog tours for your buck and so on and thought I’d share it with you in case you’re also interested in blog tours.

1.Blog Tours Are Pricey-ish

I’m an indie author still waiting to get my first cheque from Amazon, so the idea of paying someone $80 to $150 for a week’s worth of blog tours and reviews is steep.

On the other hand, sometimes an up front investment in marketing can be just the thing to boost book sales and move your ranking on Amazon to a better position. I get it.

I am not really a cheapskate, but the angsty artist chick inside of me bristled at the idea of paying so much for a service that claims to help indie writers. That said, it’s not a writer’s world and so it is what it is.

2. Most blog tours focus in YA and romance genres

My two most recent books are neither romance nor young adult, so it’s a little tougher to find a blog tour with a more alternative readership. The ones that specialize in multiple genres require more of an investment.

3. Many blog tours offer more than just blog tours

If you’re really strapped for cash, some blog tour providers offer book cover reveals and book blitzes for a fraction of the cost. I think it’s a smart idea for both parties. Some will even provide you with book reviewers if you can give them free copies to read.

I’ll likely invest in a book reveal blitz for my next publication. 🙂

4. Blog tours save you a lot of time

It does induce a sigh of relief at the idea of someone taking care of my book marketing for a week or two. Despite the surprisingly high cost (In my opinion), I can’t deny that I want the opportunity to be interviewed about my book, to have other readers who have never heard of my blog read an excerpt about my book, etc.

Writers want to write first and foremost. The idea of someone taking care of business is attractive.

5. Blog tour operators like Paypal

I don’t use Paypal for my own reasons. I had a blogger reply to me with an affordable book marketing option, and without asking, she said that once she received my payment through Paypal, that would be my consent for her to run my blog tour.

It was tough for me to decline, but I find it unprofessional to not offer direct email money transfer. If someone is willing to pay for a service, they should be given more than one option.

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That’s my take on the blog tour industry to date. I’ll keep on searching, and take my time. I’m not letting myself become jaded, and at the end of the day, I’ll probably have to splurge on the service that will give me the best results.

I’ll let you all know when my blog tour runs! 🙂

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Writers, what has your experience been with blog tours?  Do you have a blog tour service that you can recommend? Do you know of any blog tours that do not require Paypal payments? 

Cheers! 

(Image Taken From http://www.everystockphoto.com. Titled as “Malecón”)

 

 

 

How to Deal With a Negative Book Review

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So, you’ve recently published your book. After seeing some glowing reviews from satisfied readers, you check back again and notice one nasty little one star review. What do you do?

Do not reply to the review! Even if the review was left by a troll or by a reviewer who prides themselves in trashing writer’s books, do not take the bait. People who look at your reviews might not purchase your book if they see a stream of comments between you and a reviewer debating about why they should have loved your book. Stay professional.

Take a deep breath. You cannot please everyone. This is a fact of life. Many times, bad reviews are very subjective and reveal more about a reader’s tastes than about your writing. Perhaps they wanted more romance from your book, or they did not enjoy the violence. Sometimes, all it takes is one wrong word to agitate a reader enough to stop reading and leave a review. It sucks, yes, but there’s a bright side to this.

Remember all writers get bad reviews. Yes, every best seller gets one star reviews, too. There’s actually a really funny article about literary classics who received one star reviews from readers. It is funny, because it goes to show how taste differs between every individual. People from different backgrounds, education levels, and walks of life will be reading your book.

Think about the legitimacy. It might strike a reader as odd if all of your reviews are glowing five star ratings. As much as nasty reviews suck, just remember how it makes you look more legitimate as a writer. Remember, every famous author gets raked over the coals by certain readers, too. Reputable websites do not tamper with reviews and that makes your work of fiction look reputable in turn.

Use it as constructive criticism. Use that awful little one star as motivation to write your next book with, perhaps, a little more care and detail. Even if there’s nothing wrong with what you wrote, it’s interesting to many authors to discover little quirks and writing habits that don’t resonate well with people. You can even take pride in the fact that your book caters more to a niche market.

Ignore it. That’s right. It’s a little traumatic to read a one star review from a reader that clearly never connected with your book, but it is better for you to ignore it and keep writing. Focus on the good reviews and cherish the readers who connected with your characters and story.

How I Handled It

I got my first one star review a couple of days ago, and it did not bother me that much. Obviously, no one wants a bad review, but when I read that the reader was simply confused by the story, it actually made me feel sort of good. I do aim to write more for a niche market.

Of course, I would love for everyone to enjoy my book, but I know what a lot of people enjoy reading, and I think that my stories are different. My writing is like my mind. It’s quirky, dreamy, and it might be hard to understand unless you happen to be pretty philosophical yourself.

I didn’t get upset. I didn’t reply. Never, ever reply to reviews.

After a little annoyance, I laughed about it and shrugged it off. Then I thought of writing this post! 🙂

By the way, out of curiosity, I took a look at other things this reader reviewed other than my book, and I saw that she rated Fast and Furious 5 with five stars. That explained everything. 😉

Spreading Some Indie Author Love

Here are some free indie books that I am going to download as soon as I get home. Have a Kindle? Then I suggest that you check these out! If you know of any other great self-published books out there that are new or coming out this week, let me know in the comments and I will be sure to add them to the list!! 🙂

Hog Valley by Gary Showalter – Gary is also a blogging friend. Be sure to check out his other books!

A Single Deadly Truth by John Urban 

Wounded Earth by Mary Anna Evans

Suicide Game by Andy Rausch

Updated List of Publishing Expenses (And A New Cover)

Roughly two months ago, I mentioned that I would tell of any further publishing expenses for advertising, print runs, etc. I did a post called The Cost of Self Publishing where I broke down all of my expenses which added up to $1590. Not bad, but I learned that I could have done it for a lot less than that. It was a great learning experience.

The proof of my first print book from Amazon was only $3.80.

Advertising was $25.00 via Full Moon Book Tours. Plus, you can ask book reviewers to do a review of your book on their blog for free! They do that as their hobby so most are more than happy to do it for you.

So, the overall cost to self publish was just over $1600.00. My goal for my next book is to keep it under $1,000.

If you would like to share your experiences with self publishing and how you kept costs down, that would be awesome!

Also, after some honest feedback on my book cover via the blog tour, I decided to change the print cover to something more simple (But still punchy). I kept the original design for the Ebook though, since I wasn’t ready to let it go yet. 🙂

You can check out the new design here.

Happy Wednesday!

Self Publishing: 6 Things I Learned (So Far)

1) Edit. Then Edit Again. Repeat.

Yes, I am serious. 🙂

You will probably edit your work about 20 + times before you are satisfied with it.  With each edit, you find new ways to improve your story’s plot, flow, character development, etc.. You will know your story and your characters inside and out once you’re done.

2) Editors! (Yes, more editing)

So you’ve gone over your manuscript fifty times, but you still need an editor. A fresh pair of eyes will catch things that you missed before. I was shocked that I had actually missed a couple of grammatical and spelling errors after all those self-edits.

3) Stay Productive

Don’t hinder your success as a writer by waiting for that mystical moment where you are dripping with inspiration. I know, nothing can compare to that. But if it isn’t there, you need to power through if you ever want to complete and then publish your book.

If you feel stressed or just uninspired, take a walk, read a good book, or play music that…well…inspires you to get into writing mode.

The only person holding you back from writing is you.

4) Self-Publishing is Affordable

I kept my self-publishing costs below $2,000. Not so bad. But if I had been a little more patient and did some more research, I could have kept the budget easily at $1,000.

5) Networking

The support and guidanceyou get from fellow writers and authors is very helpful. Plus, many friendly book bloggers will feature new writers on their websites for interviews and reviews – free advertising!

6) Feeling Accomplished

After years of writing, editing, and re-writing your novel, nothing feels better than launching your book into the world, then seeing the sales report start to grow in earnings.

By the Sword was so much fun to write, but self-publishing really scared me at first. The challenge gave me a huge confidence (and maturity) boost. It showed me that I have it in me to do anything I set my mind to.

You have it in you, too! Your amazing, unique story idea is also worth the effort.

It has been an overall amazing experience!

Do you have any questions about the self-publishing process? Feel free to ask. Or, do you have anything you would like to add about what you learned on your road as an indie author?