BookFunnel Promotion Results

A year ago, I decided to try regular promotions of my books through BookFunnel. For those who are unfamiliar with the site, it’s a selling and promotional tool for books in various formats. The site helps you to grow your mailing list, sending out ARCs, and other things. You can be either exclusive to Amazon or you can use multiple platforms. It’s up to you.

I don’t use this service for everything yet, but I do use it to build my mailing list by joining group promos to find potential readers. I also use it to offer my books at discounted prices through the group promos. These ongoing events are available in all kinds of categories. There are requirements and restrictions, but I found that after my first event, I easily met each promoter’s requirements. Once you familiarize yourself with BookFunnel, it’s reasonably easy to navigate and set yourself up with ‘Landing’ pages. I understand that there’s a free option but on the advice of others I opted in to pay the $150 annual fee and sync my newsletter provider with BookFunnel.

While setting up my pages, I decided to offer my first Casey Holland mystery, The Opposite of Dark for free and did so for seven months in 2022. I scheduled sales events at about the same rate, and consistently discounted my books for $.99, but you can choose other price points, depending on the promoter’s guidelines. I chose this low price to generate sales of other books in my series at the regular price, which worked to some extent.

The final tally for 2022 is 698 free downloads of The Opposite of Dark, by working with at least five different promoters over the year. What I’ve found, though, is that a percentage of new subscribers stayed only long enough to get the free book then unsubscribe. More left over the following weeks and months, but others joined, so it’s been a constantly fluid situation. Still, I have more subscribers than I started with in 2022.

I sold 72 ebooks through BookFunnel last year, but I’d say that only about 30% of them were purchased at the regular price of $3.99. Now that I have a baseline to work with, I can look for ways to improve my stats in 2023. With my pending move this could be a hit-and-miss endeavor, but if I don’t let readers know about my books, they’re not going to sell. I’ll post the new promos next week. I’m also pondering whether I should raise my ebook price by $1.00 to $4.99 each, although this might not be a smart idea. Any thoughts? And if you want to learn more about BookFunnel, I’ve suppled the link HERE.

Appreciating Breaks in the Routine

2023 has been a daily routine of editing, writing, sorting, and recycling. The sorting and shredding part is already tedious, so I’m switching to bookcases this week. This photo shows just one third of a bookcase that fills the entire wall. I’ve managed to clear out a bookcase outside my office over recent months, but clearly, there’s more to do. Of course, I won’t give up my favorites, but near favorites will be a tougher decision.

I’ve also enjoyed some welcoming distractions this month. One involved meeting new writers and reacquainting with others I hadn’t seen since before Covid. Our area has an organization called the Tri-City Wordsmiths. This year, I attended their annual AGM meeting, which was also a potluck social. By the time we introduced ourselves and described what we were writing, I found myself with five volunteer beta readers for my urban fantasy, which will be ready by the end of February. Honestly, I hadn’t expected such positive feedback. It also speaks to the power of networking.

The following day, I attended an interesting workshop, on psychic and magical development as research for future fantasy and paranormal novels. Next session, I’m learning about psychometry and the six ‘clairs’. Clairvoyance, claircognizance, clairsentience, and so forth. For me, January always feels like a good time to learn something new.

Last but not least, I’ve enjoyed two great visits with my granddaughters, which are always favorite distractions. 😊

How is your month going? Is your year off to a good start?

A New Year Awaits

Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you all enjoyed a restful and/or fun break from your busy routines. It was a happy day at our house, and I’m so relieved that the weather cooperated so my family could be here. The icicles melted and the snow is nearly gone, however, certain areas of the Lower Mainland are now in flood watch.

For the writers among you, did you use whatever down time you had to catch up on writing, editing, or reading? I have much of this week, though other activities will prevail over the next three days.

Are you excited about the arrival of 2023? Do you have some special plans or goals? As most of you know, we’re moving some time in the spring, so the only firm writing goal right now is to finally recruit beta readers for my urban fantasy novel. My current draft is focused on reducing the word count. So far, I’ve gone from 122,000 words to 108,000 without about 100 pages left to edit. With luck, this round will be done by the end of January.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Updates, Discounts, and a Question

Great news! We have now officially purchased the house I mentioned in last week’s blog. 2023 will be another hectic year but in a different way. As we won’t actually be moving until some time in the spring, I’ll be spending Jan. and Feb. sorting, recycling, and packing. As advised by a good friend, we also have the option of hiring help to do this, which we might do. I’ll still keep writing, but will put in far fewer hours. It’ll be a welcome break from the physical activity.

As also mentioned last week, A Gold Satin Murder is now on sale for $.99 until Dec. 31st. 25 authors are offering their completed crime novels or novellas at discounted prices on a variety of platforms. Please check the link HERE

For some time now, writers have been told that to help acquire a publisher or an agent, they should have a strong social media presence. Earlier this week, a writing colleague, who recently attending a local writers’ summit, learned that this might not be the case anymore. Apparently, lots of Facebook and Twitter followers isn’t as important to publishers as it was a couple of years ago. The reason given for the change of attitude is that readers aren’t as engaged with social media as they once were.

There might be something to that. Perhaps it’s due to Covid fatigue, where we had to sit in front of screens much more frequently to connect with friends and family or do our jobs. Perhaps it’s the rise of hate-filled rhetoric or misinformation out there. I suspect it’s a combination of all of the above and possibly more.

Personally, I haven’t changed my social media habits, but I will if things become too intense. I stick with writing communities, yet don’t join any Goodreads or Linkedin groups. Nor do I keep apps on my phone. With all the controversy surrounding Twitter lately, a number of writing colleagues have left and moved to Hive and Mastodon, neither of which I’ve investigated yet.

So, here’s what I’d like to know. Are you less engaged on social media than you were two or three years ago? Do you find it less valuable for connecting or promoting your books? Have you thought about leaving entirely? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Just When You Think…

Just when you think you have things all worked out, life takes a couple of turns in the road. I had planned to spend the fall solely focused on bookselling at craft fairs and writing, however, plans have changed slightly. It’s partly due to time-consuming medical tests I hadn’t anticipated when I committed to the craft fairs. Although I feel healthy, the doctors want to take a closer look at my lungs. The tests were arranged long before I contracted Covid, and honestly, I’m glad the doctors are watching out for me.

Secondly, this weekend we placed an offer on a house only two blocks away from my grandkids, which was accepted. We’re working on arranging financing, etc, before the final documents are signed, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Right now, it’s nearly an hour’s drive to reach my daughter and son-in-law’s home and the older I get the less I want to drive. Downsizing will be tough. We’ve lived in this house for over 35 years. We were married in the backyard and raised our kids here, but I really believe this is the right time for change. Needless to say, I won’t be publishing a book in 2023, and writing and marketing will likely slow down.

This is why I’m making a final push before this year is over. I’m taking part in two or three BookFunnel promotions and first up is a $.99 sale on Casey Holland mystery #5, Knock Knock, and #6, The Blade Man. This is part of BookFunnel’s ‘Black Friday Deals’ promotion, featuring a large roster of authors who have free and discounted books to choose from. You can find it HERE!

A short blurb for Knock Knock:

When a home invasion kills senior Elsie Englehart, security officer Casey Holland is devastated. Part of her latest assignment is to watch over elderly bus riders in an area frequently targeted by a group of thugs. Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man right to his home, only to come under attack by an armed intruder. Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues, and the postponement of her wedding. Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships?

And The Blade Man:

Who is the Blade Man and why has he been attacking Mainland Public Transport bus drivers? And who is trying to burn MPT down? The company’s president orders security officer Casey Holland to launch an internal investigation or face termination. Convinced she’s being set up to fail and with her wedding only weeks away, Casey desperately needs answers. Forced to take deeper risks, how far can Casey go before someone dies?

I’ll be doing another for A Gold Satin murder beginning Dec. 1st, but more about that next week.

Meanwhile, after Christmas, I’ll prepare a lengthy to-do list of sorting and recycling. Christmas and New Year’s will be downtime with the family, and I can’t wait!

Bookselling, Christmas Shopping, and Grandkids

I’m relieved to say that my bout with Covid lasted only ten days before I tested negative, and I was feeling much better before that. The only side effect is more fatigue than usual but that’s fine. I’m a big believer in napping.

Because weekends in November and December are busy with craft fair markets, which also requires some prep time, I’m not writing a lot these days. There’ll be plenty of time for that in January. Right now, I’m happy to spend the occasional Saturday and Sunday, chatting with craft fair customers and selling print books. I meet the most interesting people at the fairs and some incredibly talented vendors, which is where I do most of my Christmas shopping.

Happily, I’ve already started the shopping thanks to last weekend’s fair. I don’t like leaving things to the last minute, but I also prefer to really get going after Remembrance Day, which is almost upon us. We must never forget, particularly in these challenging times.

Best of all, I’ve been spending time with my grandkids, Abby and Ellie, this week and last, which adds a bright light in my life. Really, the smile of a three-month old baby is all one needs to feel better, so I’m sharing a photo . Maybe they’ll bring a smile for you.

Abby’s cheeks are much chubbier than her sister’s were. She smiles a lot and gurgles happily whenever some reads a book to her. She loves book and watching hockey on TV, too. She takes after her grandma!

Ellie loved being a pumpkin on Halloween and insisted on wearing her costume for at least two days after the event.

Writers and Illness

Last week, I tested positive for Covid and have been living a sequestered life and resting a lot. I picked it up from my husband before his symptoms appeared. The moment he started feeling unwell at work, he masked up, left work, and segregated himself from my son and me once he came home. He ate and slept in a separate room. Used a different bathroom, but it was already too late. My son, who put on his mask the moment his dad got home, tested positive a couple of days later, and my turn came the next day.

My symptoms were nothing more than a head cold, accompanied by a low-grade fever on day one and a headache. Low energy was the only persistent symptom, but I’m a hundred percent better and count myself lucky. As it happened, I’d had my fourth vaccine two weeks earlier, which could be why my symptoms were so mild.

Because I wasn’t bed-ridden and had no problem concentrating, I continued on with some of my writing tasks, as I usually do when mildly ill. Of course, the editing process was slower, but the psychological benefit of creativity was so good that I believe it helped me heal physically.

Balancing work and rest with illnesses and other disruptions is a reality that writers face all the time. It’s also something they frequently need to refine with age. It’s perfectly okay to slow down, as I’ve been doing, but at this time in my life, it’s not okay to throw in the towel and sit in front of a TV all day. In fact, I hope that never happens.

The real downside to illness is that I haven’t see my grandkids for a while and miss them terribly. But that will soon change! Stay safe and healthy, everyone. It’s going to be a bumpy winter.

Still Researching, For a Good Reason

Two weeks have flown by since my last blog, but as you from the previous post, life’s been a whirlwind. Our sunny fall weather has officially become a drought, but as you’ll see from the photo, my hubby’s managed to find some beautiful fall leaves. While he’s been experimenting with photography, I’ve been focusing on editing, which is both calming and challenging.

A few days ago, I learned about an intriguing writing contest called the Unchartered Novel Excerpt contest. This contest was recommended by a writing colleague whose agent is the judge. You can submit anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 words of your work in progress and the key is to choose something exciting to attract attention. It took some thinking as I have several big moments in this 122,000-word manuscript.

I wound up choosing two consecutive scenes that contain action, dialogue, and address the heart of the story. I’ve been working on this section a great deal and will be submitting the piece this week, I hope. If you’re interested in learning more about the contest, and I apologize for the late date, click HERE. They aren’t just looking for fantasy, but mysteries and horror as well. There’s also a good FAQ you can read on the home page for more information. I’ll do a little more research before I hit the submit button.

Research for my urban fantasy has been the other focus lately. Although I’ve read plenty of novels in this genre and books on Wicca and magic, I now find myself needing to read more on shamanism. One of the key characters in my fantasy is a shaman of mixed ethnic backgrounds, however, his shamanic training came from North American Indigenous cultures, and therein lies the problem.

After reading a number of articles about the need for sensitivity and the reluctance of publishers to touch anything even remotely Indigenous, particularly here in Canada, I’m reworking the character and focusing on Celtic shamanism, which is my ethnic background.

I found an amazing book on the topic that speaks to me on a level I hadn’t anticipated at all, but that’s something to reflect on later. At the moment, I’m looking at the issue from a writing/researching perspective and have compiled pages of notes. This particular character doesn’t have a lot of scenes, but the ones he does have are crucial and will necessitate some rewriting in the next draft.

The more I work on this book, the more I learn, and the more things need to be changed. Have you found that the longer you work on a project and the more research you do, the extra number of drafts you create? This whole process would be so much easier if I were writing a novella.

I was listening to the great novelist John Irving on CBC Radio this weekend. He’s 80 years old now and is about to release his latest novel. Wow! The interviewer asked him if he has another novel in the works, and he replied that he does, but it’ll be much shorter. He doesn’t have the time and energy for months of research anymore. I can totally relate to that!

Whirling Through Autumn

Autumn’s always a busy time for writers with conferences, workshops, book launches, courses, readings, and many other events. When you’re launching a book during this period, the activity really ramps up. It’s why I feel a bit like an autumn leaf that’s been swept up on the wind and swooshed from place to place.

To be clear, I enjoyed wonderful experiences in September by meeting writing friends and colleagues, most of whom I haven’t seen in over 4 years. Spending time with them was restorative for the soul. Below is a photo of one of four events that took place last week. It was a joint launch/reading with writing colleague A.J. Devlin, who’s just launched his third mystery, Five Moves of Doom. He’s created a great character in former pro wrestler turned private investigator, in ‘Hammerhead’ Jed. If you’re looking for great whodunits with a lot of humor, check out A.J.’s website HERE.

Joint Reading/Launch, Sep. 28

Writing-related tasks continue for A Gold Satin Murder. I’m currently updating back and front matter in all of the Casey Holland ebooks. I’m also taking part in a query letter workshop through the Creative Academy focusing on my urban fantasy, which is proving to be a great experience. Query letters and a book synopsis require many drafts for me, for most writers actually, but I’ve decided to search for a traditional publisher and both are an essential tools in the process.

Today, I’m taking it easy as I had my vaccine booster yesterday and have a very sore arm and a bit of fatique today. Also, here in Canada, Thanksgiving is this weekend and I’m hosting the family dinner. I can’t wait for family time. I see my granddaughters once a week, and little Abby looks different on every occasion. I’ll share pictures next week.

Ordering links for A Gold Satin Murder:

AMAZON

APPLE BOOKS

KOBO

BARNES & NOBLE

GOOGLE PLAY

Book Launch Prep: It’s a Journey

Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, promotion and marketing is your responsibility. This means preparing for a book launch far in advance. For me, the task includes writing blogs, newsletters, and making social media announcements. It also involves updating my website along with other platforms like BookBub and mt Amazon’s Author Central page.

Planning in-person and online events is also part of the process. Book signings, readings, and podcast interviews are the norm these days. For some authors, social media ads are a must, although I won’t use them until I better understand how they work, as they can cost inexperienced authors a lot of money with little results. Then comes the launch date itself, plus post-launch date events such as blog tours and book promotion sites.

To keep track of all this, I prepare a publication checklist, which is now two pages long. I use a template that came from The Creative Academy, as I recall, but a quick google search undoubtedly provides many other sources, if you wish to use one. As many of you already know, book launches take a great deal of effort to gain any attention among the millions of published titles out there.

A Gold Satin Murder which will be launched two weeks from today. I’m very fortunate to have been invited to share a launch/reading evening with a colleague who’s releasing his third mystery. I’m doing a couple of other shared events this fall, which is far more fun than going it alone.

Aside from sending out my newsletter, staying on top of social media and updating my website, I’m also faced with the task of updating the front and back matter in the previous six books. When I first started posting ebooks in 2016, no one seemed too concerned that a work of fiction lacked a list of chapter links, but that’s a thing now. I also need to add a link to book #7 at the back of each book. As marketing gurus also suggest, I should also add a sample chapter of the next installment at the end of each book.

As you can see, there’s still work to be done, but the key is to pace myself and enjoy the process as much as I can. Given that I’ve gone through this before, I feel a little more confident, yet something unexpected can crop up and inevitably there’s something I missed. But I’m also learning not to worry about it as much.

To pre-order A Gold Satin Murder:

Amazon: https://mybook.to/AGoldSatinMurder

Kobo Canada: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-gold-satin-murder

Kobo U.S. https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-gold-satin-murder

Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6443255297

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-gold-satin-murder-debra-purdy-kong/1141951058?ean=2940166433930

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Debra_Purdy_Kong_A_Gold_Satin_Murder?id=FxF_EAAAQBAJ