Link of the Week – Gumroad

January 21, 2014

I admit, I find this week’s link intriguing. But I have no experience with the site.

Gumroad is “for independent writers, designers, game developers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, and anyone in-between.” It is a web service, a site for selling directly to your audience, a social toolkit, and is user friendly for both the vendor and the consumer. It’s a one-size fits all, including users Bon Jovi and Coldplay.

gumroadLearn more about Gumroad here.

https://gumroad.com/

https://gumroad.com/guide/basics/is-gumroad-for-me

https://gumroad.com/guide/basics/your-first-product

https://gumroad.com/features/customers



On writing, bats & a big giveaway on 8/13/13.

August 11, 2013

It has been FOREVER since I last posted. SORRY!

Many of you may know why. For those of you who don’t, here’s the quick version.

The scene was set. Laptop? Check. Glass of wine? Check. Quiet house? Check. That was until my two youngest sons and my two youngest nephews came careening down the stairs yelling about bats. Two bats to be precise. In the bedroom.

Enter Supermom. Bucket and cover in hand, I go to rescue the poor bats. Yes, rescue the bats, not the boys. I felt bad for the poor little creatures. You would too, if you’d ever been in a room with those four hellions. 🙂

Anywho. I rescue and release both tiny brown bats, only to go back inside and find my youngest son holding a towel firmly to my laptops keyboard. You can see where this is going. Whilst I was slaying the dragon, horseplay ensued, and my laptop  got a full glass of wine dumped over it.

Needless to say. It’s FRIED. Hard-drive heaven.

So, since I’m not uber rich, it’s sharing the family computer until I can save enough for a new (do they make them waterproof yet?) laptop.

 

Until then, I’ll be spotty at best. Ugh.

 

So onto the giveaway!

I have three books out now! Woot.

I released WHAT SHE WAS MISSING in July, and STAY just released from Samhain on Tuesday!

WHAT SHE WAS MISSING

Someone once said, “Running from your problems never solves anything.”
That someone – was a liar.

At least that’s how Marni Leighton sees it. She ran away from her problems and opened a shelter for battered women. Life was great until Donovan Marshall showed up. Now she’s rocked by long dormant desires, not to mention the realization that she turned his little sister away from the shelter – a week before her brutal murder.

But when the deadly intentions of a madman put all their lives in danger, Marni and Donovan have to set aside their mistrust and anger to work together.

Stay72lg

 

Love is the best reason to stay…and the very reason she has to leave.

Changing Tides, Book 1

Fire Captain Bracken Elliot knows how fragile life can be. Ever since a terrible tragedy tore his life apart, he’s played strictly by the rules. But his whole existence has just been turned upside down.

Not only has his sixteen-year-old son been kicked out of school, but the newest member of his fire and rescue team is an ex-Coast Guard diver whose one passion seems to be ignoring every order she receives—and driving him to distraction.

So, Captain Stick-Up-His-Ass doesn’t like the risks she takes? Tough shit, as far as Abby Burke is concerned. Of course ignoring Brack’s orders is easy. Ignoring her attraction to him? Impossible. Too bad staying in one place isn’t her forte.

When Abby takes one chance too many, Brack’s anger lights the kind of fire neither one of them wants to put out. Their night together is hot, intense, perfect…and Abby knows it can never last. Because there’s not a chance in hell her past won’t catch up with her.

 

Soooooo, to celebrate, I’m giving away some downloads!

 

Anyone who comments, shares, tweets or Pins about the giveaway at Candi Wall BooksTwitterFacebookPinterest or Goodreads, will automatically be entered in a drawing for a copy of my books!

I’m giving away 5 e-copies of WHAT SHE WAS MISSING and five e-copies of STAY!

I’ll draw names on Tuesday 8/13/13!

Happy reading and writing.


Carina Press Uncensored

July 12, 2013

I thought I would pass along some very cool information to those authors who might me attending the Romance Writers of America 33rd Annual Conference in Atlanta next week. My publisher, Carina Press is doing a little something different for their spotlight. In the name of transparency, there will be an uncensored, honest discussion of Carina Press. What works, what doesn’t. Why the publisher is good for some authors, and not others. And a unique Q&A with and without Carina Press Staff. Read more about it here!

Look for me. I will be there!

Carina-Uncensored_graphic


Link of the Week – InD’Tale

March 19, 2013

Getty rf penThis week’s awesome link is to InD’Tale Magazine. The online magazine is dedicated to self-published and small press authors. Within the pages and all throughout the website, there are honest book reviews, educational articles and columns, contests, polls, interviews, and industry information.  It’s a great place for both writers and readers.

http://indtale.com/

While you are there, check out the nice review I received earlier this year for A KISS IN THE WIND.

http://indtale.com/reviews/kiss-wind-romancing-pirate-2


You Are Being Tracked- How Do You Feel About That?

January 31, 2013

Did you know your e-reader tracks:

what time of the day you read and for how long?

what passages you highlight?

what notes you might make while reading your book?

if you stop reading the book and where?

how many times you re-read something?

your digital file?

….and we don’t know what they do with all this information?

You just thought you were going to curl up by yourself and read a good book. Who knew you had someone looking over your shoulder and taking notes about you?

th_ebook-readers

From this technology, they now know that the average time to read the Hunger Games is approximately 7hours, nearly 18,000 people have highlighted the same line from the second book, and the first thing that happens on The Nook is that readers immediately downloaded the next book in the series.

In the past when books were tangible items and you actually owned what you bought, the experience was a personal tete a tete with the author. No one was with you two except the wonderful characters that took up residence on the collaborative journey called reading.

Obviously from a business stand point this information is golden. If a significant amount of readers stop reading a book by page 165, then something must be done to bolster that story line. Suggestions have been made that at that point they could then insert a short video or other props to re-capture the readers’ attention. Should they invest in an author if folks only read through the story once or should they only heavily promote those that get their books annotated and highlighted? Amazon is now a publisher as well, this could be the golden ticket to marketing and higher returns.th_doortomoney_zps1709b59f

Certain authors have come out in favor of utilizing this information as well. Scott Turow, award winning author, lawyer, and president of the Author’s Guild says he’s waited for this type of information for years. He once had an argument with his publisher over the fact that he had been with them for years and had sold almost 25 million books yet they couldn’t tell him who bought his books.” He also argues that if you find a book is too long then you have to be more rigorous in cutting.

While I can understand that this information may be useful to authors, are they really sharing it with the authors? If you’ve published, how many of you have gotten reports on your readers’ habits? How many of you know the intimate details of what your audience did with your book? Is that information actually getting back to you? Would you want that kind of data?

Let’s play what if. What if Jane Austen or Herman Melville had access to this, would their masterpieces have been written the same? Would they have written artistically or tailored their stories to marketing feedback? Would it still be their stories or a book written by committee? So many questions.th_magnifying-glass

If I take off my author hat and put on my reader/consumer hat, you’d find that I have some serious issues with strangers being in my head. I don’t want to be a marketing pawn. I don’t want someone looking over my shoulder while I go back and re-read passages or even whole books. This should be my own private fantasy world. I read to escape, to immerse myself, by myself, in worlds and adventures. I’m not a bleeping ride at Disney Land where folks buy a ticket to come along! (Not that I feel strongly about this issue.)

A few of the readers give you the power to turn off these features, but you have to find them and opt out, they come turned on. Most don’t even give you this option. I provided a link on Tuesday to EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and they show a nifty table of all the different formats and how they are set up. I encourage you to glance over the information. You should be informed. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/11/e-reader-privacy-chart-2012-update

Let me know what you think as an author and as a reader!


Link Of The Week

September 11, 2012

Let’s say you’ve finished your book, edited the dickens out of it, put it up for sale, and now want to list it for free.

OK…now what?

How do you make the most of your free book? How do you get the word out there that it’s even available? Well, wonder no more! A friend of mine sent this link to me and I HAD to share it with you. I think you will find it to be a wealth of information!

http://pimpyourbooks.blogspot.com/2012/05/benefits-of-kdp-select-free-days.html


Do You Want To Make Money? Help Yourself!

April 12, 2012

 

Write your first draft with your heart.  Re-write with your head.  ~From the movie Finding Forrester

 

 

Do I want to write as a business?

 

This is a question that has plagued my brain for quite awhile. I’m so very lucky because I don’t depend on writing for a viable source of income and that’s a luxury. I recognize that. While I struggle with wondering whether I want to put a passion to work, I’ve learned some very important things that an author should understand if they want to make a go in this industry.

 

The first thing to ask yourself is if you know your genre. I know a lot of you are shaking your head and telling me to start with something a bit more advanced. I’d like to, but too many authors haven’t studied their genre well enough and make basic mistakes that turn off readers. Have you read books written in the same vein as yours? Do they sell well? What aspects of one book make it a better seller than another? Are there things that readers come to expect and love in that genre? Is it in your book? I know we all want to write about the things we love, but let’s face it, if your book is about something that has a very narrowed window of interest, you might have a tough time making it into a viable seller.

 

I started this journey wanting to write a category romantic suspense, but my characters wouldn’t let me keep the story within the confines of a category book. (At the time, I didn’t even know it was called “category” and that it had all those rules attached to it!) I seem to write bigger suspense/thriller types of stories and with the encouragement of many people who read my pages, I started to swing towards all out non-romantic suspense. There was a problem. I didn’t read that type of book.

 

After jumping in and raiding my husband’s book collection, I discovered two things. Those books were awesome and I didn’t want to write one. I liked the stories, but I always found myself wanting more romance infused into the book. I finally came upon writers like Brenda Novak, Roxanne St. Claire, and Allison Brennan who wrote big suspense with a romantic thread running through the stories. I’m also happy to say that they sell quite nicely. Know yourself. Know your market. Do your homework.

 

Not all of you will agree with my next assertion. You need to spend money to make money. Spend some money on a professional editor and for a professional design of your book cover. Begin with your critique partners, have some beta readers give you feedback and then send your work to an editor. It will cost money, but it should be money well spent if you get a reputable editor. Don’t ever, ever, ever rely on just yourself to edit your work. I can almost guarantee that you will not have a polished product.

 

If you want your book to be placed next to a professionally published book and the reader not be able to distinguish any difference between the quality of the two, then find a cover designer. Unless you have a degree in marketing and are a computer genius, you will be able to spot a homemade cover a mile away. I believe this is almost more important in the virtual world of selling than in the real world. All you have to capture their attention right off the bat is that tiny picture showing up on their screen. Spend the money- make it professional. I know an author who put her book up for sale with a cover she put together for little to no money. It wasn’t bad, it was actually quite attractive until you compared it to others professionally done in her genre. Despite that, sales were fair and then she hired a designer and re-published the book with its new cover. Sales soared and she started receiving fan mail. Does a cover make that much difference? YES!!!!!

 

Once there’s a refined, sleek looking product the author needs to publish it. You have two choices at this point. You can hire a company that will do the work for you or you can educate yourself and do it. Most of my friends are doing this part themselves and saving money. If you don’t think this is for you, there are many companies willing to take your money. Some are quite reasonable and others will charge you a huge amount. It’s just like anything else. Do your homework and research the options. I’m of a mind that if you can figure it out, then give it a try.

 

This is the beginning of the business part. Are you still with me? Are you scared? Are you excited? The next two weeks will be spent talking about marketing, looking at actual authors’ numbers, and can you truy make a living doing this?

 

** Spoiler Alert** Yes, you can! It takes research, trial and error, and a whole lotta chutzpa. 


The Power Of Knowledge- Turn It Into Money

March 29, 2012

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.- Matthew Arnold

 

Do you want to make money?

I’m not sure, but I would guess every person reading this article will answer with a resounding YES! I know I do. I also know that it’s not enough to simply write a good book. This brave new world we’ve entered with the advent of self publishing and e-readers has changed our industry forever. We are now responsible for the business as well as the creative side of making books. (This is true no matter which avenue you take to publishing.) Most sectors of business change over the course of years, we’ve seen huge upheavals in the course of a few months.

Because of the shifting landscape, it is our responsibility to stay current with market research and business strategies for our careers. This takes a bit of time and effort, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A writer can educate themselves by reading blogs, like Muse Tracks, and researching the internet. I decided to take my own advice and have been studying trends and tricks of selling books.

This is me doing the research!

We know e-book consumers are increasing their buying power, both in print and e formats. More people are buying more books online to the detriment of the traditional brick and mortar book stores. Obviously, the ease and number of e-readers on the market has influenced this trend immensely, but a sky rocketing segment of this is found in-app purchasing. According to the Book Industry Study Group- www.bisg.com   which publishes Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading shows that more than half of e-book readers increased their use of using apps to buy books and more than one third of them increased their buying at sites like Amazon. A huge percentage of them said that they’ve significantly decreased their spending at book stores.

Their findings show that dedicated e-readers are still the most used platform for reading books, but even that has changed over the last few months. Take a look at these numbers:

-17% said they are now using tablets, which is up from 13%.

-Smartphones used as readers has gone from 5.3 to 9.2%

– Dedicated e-readers has dropped from 71.6% to 60.9%. Even so, sales for the Kindle jumped 175% between Black Friday and Christmas of this past year.

So how do these numbers translate into dollars and cents? The book trade as a whole has grown and profited over the last year, but the e-book trade has led the way jumping from 73.2 to 128.8 million dollars. That’s a 76% increase in just one year!

This is huge!

So what do you do with this information? E buying, whether print or e-book, is still fueled by the traditional method of “word of mouth”. We all want to read a good book so we listen to our friends. The trick is to take that time honored method and apply it to our digital age. “Word of mouth” now has the ability to extend far beyond a writer’s immediate little world. It’s called social media.

Indie/self published authors have blazed a path of marketing through this outlet pushing their sales to new heights. I was very interested to learn that traditional publishing houses are taking note of this grassroots effort and are using it as well. An anthology will soon be released through a major publishing house and they have each of their authors creating street teams to help market the book. Each author sends out a request to their friends asking them to sign up for a specific week to Facebook, Twitter, blog etc. about the upcoming book. It has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people, if not more. (Interesting twist that traditional publishing is taking a cue from the lowly writers who have made their own path.)

Let me be clear- I am not a business type person. I have trouble keeping my check book balanced, however I am NOT stupid. If I want to steer my writing career, I have to have the knowledge. Knowledge is power, knowledge translates into making money and as we’ve already decided, we all want to do that!


Take some responsibility! by Candi Wall

September 12, 2011

So I hit the purchase button the other night SEVEN times. Yeah, you heard me right. Seven times. For a grand total of $21. and some change.

I don’t part easily with my money, except when it comes to books. I could spend THOUSANDS. (Checking to make sure hubby didn’t read that.) Below is what my house will probably look like some day.

I usually don’t complain. But here’s the thing. I read the first book – LOVED IT – and went on to the next. It was a .99 cent purchase from an author I didn’t know, self-pubbed and I liked the premise. Hey I’ll give anyone a chance. ONCE.

I hadn’t reached the end of the first chapter when I realized I’d given my money away for nothing. I groaned, archived the sucker and went on to the next one. The next wasn’t as bad, but there was a plot hole the size of Jupiter about midway through and by this point I was losing interest in the hero. Too bad, because it started off as a good read. Darn.

I’ve twittered several times about this as well, venting my frustration for the self-pubbed authors who are making other self-pubbed author look bad. Every reader who has a bad experience with a self-pubbed book makes it harder for other authors to sell! Argh, the frustration! And I’m not even self-pubbed.

At this point, hubby was starting to get sick of my ‘waspish’ attitude. After three more days, my results were:

Seven purchases

1- Loved

2- Liked

4- Couldn’t finish

I know – it’s a crap shoot right?!?

NO! It isn’t.

And here’s where dear hubby had all he was going to take.

In his words…

“What did you expect, hon?” Raising a quizzical brow. “If you go to Wal-Mart and buy a vacuum for twenty bucks, you get what you pay for. It’s like buying toilet paper at the dollar store. It ain’t gonna hold up.” (Yep, I’m married to a thinner version of Larry the Cable Guy.)

Well how dare he. I have friends who self publish. That’s not fair! (Insert indignant foot-stomping) “There are tons of authors out there with brilliant books!”

“Really?” says hubby. “Then you would think you’d do your homework before you buy.”

GADS! He’s SO right. And I’m so not going to tell him that. Sheesh.

What was I thinking?!?

We’ve been spoiled peeps. Let’s face it. The publishers we’ve come to trust have given us so many great books, we may have forgotten how to check the products first. Don’t get me wrong, one person’s crap is another’s gold. I hate what you love at times and visa-versa. But we came to rely on what they put out there.

Now if we, the consumer, are going to gripe about prices and go elsewhere to read at super cheap prices, we’ll have to start doing our own research. We’re spoiled again however, because there is this ingenious little thing called the World Wide Web. Search engines abound, and at any time, we can sluice through the crap to ferret out the truth, or at least get a sense of what we’re getting into.

Here’s my new list of things I check BEFORE I purchase:

  • Google the author
  • Do they have blogs?
  • Reviews? (Other than where I’m purchasing from and checking the author’s responses to reviews)
  • Any other books out?
  • Website?
  • And of course – I ask my writing/reading pals
Seems like a lot of work, but hey, there are some amazing authors out there getting lost in the shuffle of self-pubbing. I want to find, support and enjoy them. If that means I have to do a few minutes of research, so be it. I’m a big girl, I can handle the responsibility of checking out my purchase’s history beforehand. After all, who wants a $20 vacuum that doesn’t work, when you can get the fantastic $5 super sweeper that might just be the next big thing?
So take some responsibility as readers! Check it out first.
🙂