If you're looking for the latest news about the writings of Stuart J. Whitmore (author of: Lesson One: Revolution!; Two Boys, Two Planets; Journey to Yandol, and other stories; and, Wolf Block), you've found the perfect blog for that!
This week I decided to try a new approach to marketing Lesson One: Revolution!, for which I just reduced the price for the e-book edition. I've been intrigued by discussions on KBoards.com about using offers on Fiverr to promote books, so I decided to try my first paid advertising for book promotion. After I finally got funds into my Dwolla account, I ordered my first "Gig" (a unit of work on Fiverr). At the current book price and royalty rate, I only needed to sell a few copies to fully cover the Gig cost. The person offering the Gig indicated the promotion would be visible to 4000 people, so I had some vague hopes that I could get those few sales needed to break even. One nifty result was making my first sale of that novel on the NOOK platform, which has always performed vastly lower than the Kindle for my books overall. But did I break even and get a positive ROI? It's a bit of a trick question, as I'll explain below.
“On account of dragons, yes dragons, I must say that it is almost unfortunate that the beastly creatures have to stay hidden in the mountains.” That sentence was how I began my very first novel, as a teenager, somewhere around the late 1970s or early 1980s. While the book itself is nowhere near worthy of being published, that first line serves as a suitable introduction to this blog post. Among writers, a common point of discussion is how different people approach structuring their novels. Often when November rolls around, those participating in NaNoWriMo will identify with one of two groups, the “planners” and the “pantsers.” (The latter term is in reference to writing “by the seat of their pants,” i.e., without advance planning.) In this blog post I’ll explain how I started, how my approach has evolved over time, and what my approach is these days.
When I went to Emerald Downs recently with my mother, I was once again amused and a bit amazed at some of the complex bets that are available, not to mention the amount of money you can win if you get the right combination. For a novice like myself, a $2 win bet is easy to understand, safe, and offers a fun reward if the horse wins. Place and show bets are pretty easy too, although they don’t pay as well. When you get to the exotic bets, though, things get complex! The “Pick 3” and “Trifecta” sound like they might be related, but they’re quite different as I'll explain below. But how does this relate to my writing? As I was driving the other day, I came up with a book promotion idea that would reward you for helping with book sales, and my brain connected that idea with the “Trifecta” bet. While I still like the idea, it turns out the “Pick 3” is a more appropriate name if I want to make that horse-racing connection. Read on to see how you can cash in your ticket on this promotion!
As I mentioned on Facebook earlier this week, I've run into a conundrum for using paid advertising to promote my books. Many places where I might want to advertise them require not only that the books have a high average rating (such as on Amazon), but also a minimum number of reviews that is above what I have on any of my books. It's impossible to get reviews and ratings if nobody knows about the book. However, if you don't have a large and responsive social circle or audience of followers, paid advertising can be an important facet of letting people know about the book; but, you can't buy the advertising to get attention that could lead to reviews without having the reviews first. I've asked people to write reviews of my books but that doesn't accomplish much. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a lot of people just don't write reviews. At all. Of anything. So, rather than asking you to review one of my books, I have a different goal with this blog post.
Starting this Saturday, I will be posting the full text of "Journey to Yandol" on Wattpad. This is the main story in my small sci-fi short story collection, Journey to Yandol, and other stories. It will be posted in four parts, one part per week. If you would like to read it, stop by my Wattpad profile. And yes, this is my whole blog post this week, just a short one this time.