Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sweetwater Springs is Free!

I've placed Sweetwater Springs free today.  A Great Clean Historical Romance on Amazon.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and for those of you who got (or gave) a kindle for Christmas, be sure to grab Sweetwater Springs for free today through this Saturday.

You can find it here:

I also have it listed at where you can find lots and lots of free kindle books.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

School has finally started and the kids are gone, giving me time to write. It is a bittersweet time, the kids heading off in the mornings on the bus, the baby going to pre-school and three blessed hours of time to myself. This morning when I dropped Jenna off I called my husband to tell him I was "Free" for a couple of hours. His reply, "Are you going to do spelling and grammar checks on Craig's Ridge?"

Well I should do that, and go in and put a little meat on the bones of the story. Work on character development and story flow. I should be rooting out those nasty "LY" words and amping up the dialogue. What I really wanted to do was go back to bed. :)  Instead, I bucked up and made myself a cup of Raspberry Hot Chocolate and settled down in front of my computer. The muse was with me and I wrote and wrote, edited and changed for those two hours before I picked up my baby at school, and low and behold, I got something done!!!

I guess I could have spent my morning in dream land, or doing laundry, or working in the yard, but instead I did something really fun, I worked on a story. I brought people to life, fell in love with them and hoped for their happy ending, and it was well worth the time!

So is my suggestion to you my sweet friends. Get back in the saddle yourself, whether it is writing or, painting, or working on that craft project, or the front garden you have wanted to do, just do it. Take an hour of so and enjoy yourself. Make something wonderful and have a good time doing it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blessings and Challenges

I have the incredibly lucky job of being a stay at home mom.  I love that I get to be here with the kids and spend time with them, or playing with them.  We love to read together and I enjoy the time I get to spend with them watching them grow up.  This opportunity also gives me the chance to write at home during the day.  Some days are better than others. Sometimes the kids are at friends houses, or with their grandparents, these days are easy to write on because I have no distractions. Page after page flows out without a single interruption. These are good writing days.

I have other good writing days though.  Those are the days that my eleven year old daughter gives me an idea and we talk things over and over until the story comes together. Or when I am watching my boys storm the swing set, sending all the neighborhood girls screaming, and I have the perfect scene in my head.  I love to rock my other daughter to sleep and night and think about how lucky I am to have all this inspiration running around my house.

Sometimes said inspiration gets a little to real.  One time about a year ago I was working hard to edit a story and my youngest needed a drink from the kitchen.  I was trying hard to get just this last paragraph done and she was standing next to me asking over and over again, "I a gink!" Finally with just a little irritation, I put the last punctuation on the sentence and hurried to the kitchen to get her a gink. A couple of days later when I was able to get back to the manuscript I was reading though the last edited paragraph and much to my amusement I read. "I need a drink!" Right at the end of my sentence.

Then again there are some days I get no writing done at all. There are so many other things to do such as laundry, dishes, homework, reading, running to and from activities. These are the hardest writing days of all because I usually have plot, or conversations going on in my head all the time.  Once I was at the grocery store by myself in front of the cereal thinking over a complicated scene for my book.  It wasn't until a lady walked by me, giving me a strange look that I realized I had been talking out loud, having a strange conversation with the people in my head. She probably wondered if I was insane.

Over all being a mother is my first choice, and because of that I am willing to have some not so great writing days.  It is never truly easy.  Life is hard all around.  Everyone struggles with getting it all done in a day.  I know some writers who work and have children and I appreciate their struggles.  I know compared to some my silly little life seems like nothing, but I sure enjoy every crazy minute of it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Work on Writing or Work Outside?

Saturday we spent the day outside pulling weeds, mowing and trimming, and planting bushes and trees. The yard looks great but my manuscript is a little skimpy.  For months I have been slowly working on two WIP's, one called Craig's Ridge, a Historical Romance and the second is Silverberry, a Young Adult Fantasy.  I would love to work on both of them but Summer has completely taken over.  Now that things are slowly winding down I hope to be able to spend at least half an hour a day on both WIP's, I would really love to get one or both of them out by the time school starts.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stop Being Afraid!

This is really just me talking to myself, but you're more than welcome to listen in. For weeks I have had a manuscript on my back burner. I open it and look it over then close it again, afraid to really get started.  Every time I finish a book that I am reading I think, Alex, open up that stupid manuscript, stop being afraid!

So why am I afraid, I ask myself as I contemplate opening the word document for the hundredth time today? I guess it is because I am afraid that 1. The story might really be good! 2. If it is good, then I should finish it up and publish it. 3. If I publish it then it is out there in the world for all to see!

I don't know how many of you out there are parents, but remember that first day of Kindergarten when your little one stepped through that school room door and you wanted to cry when no one ran right up and asked to be their friend. Or when your seven year old came home from the first day at a new school and said that no one wanted to play with him? Or when your eleven year old daughter who wants so badly to be popular talks to that popular girl at church over and over in hopes that she might be recognized? All those times as a mom or dad you just wanted to reach out and say, "hey stupid, my kid is great and if you just gave him/her a chance you would see that!" That is how I feel about my manuscripts. Every story is one of my kids being sent out into the world.

Now don't get me wrong. Sometimes we need experiences to help us learn and grow. We need people to not like us so we know what to do, and how to get over it. We need to work hard, and play hard, and put ourselves out there so that people can know who we are, and what we are all about, but that doesn't make it any easier. Sometimes knowing that we are going to have to stretch a little is almost scarier than actually doing it!

I guess in the long run, the only thing I have to be afraid of is myself. Can I write a story? Sure I can! Can it be really good? Yes it can! But it will never happen if I don't click on that little "W" at the bottom of my screen and write the silly thing!

So, to all of you out there who might be just a little afraid, or heck, a lot afraid, lets close our eyes together and click the Enter key and get on with the writing!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Huge Thank You!!

I just wanted to jump on really quickly and thank all of you who have supported me by purchasing or downloading Sweetwater Springs. You don't know how much it means to me to see people interested in my story.  I also wanted to thank all of those who have reviewed the book. I know we all look at stories differently and look for different things in a story, so not all reviews are going to be the same, but I appreciate all of them for what they are. An author doesn't know how to write for her audience if they don't tell her what they want so thank you to those who have spoken your mind, whatever that may be.

Also I need to thank my wonderful husband.  He has worked so hard with me on this book, encouraging, editing, giving ideas and most of all marketing.  Sweetwater Springs would have never existed without him, so thank you!!

Lastly, I have heard from some of you that you are anxious to read the next book and I assure you I am working hard to get it ready. So please be patient and you can hopefully expect to see something new in the next few months.  Thanks again to all of you and all those who have helped me in any way; supporters, beta readers and family who have put up with this wonderful process of writing.

I love you all, and happy reading!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Very Happy with Early April!

It's the 5th of April, exactly 4 days after my free day with Sweetwater Springs.  And I gotta tell ya - I'm happy about it.  I have now passed my all time monthly high in paid sales, and it's only the 5th!  Yeah!  Plus - I'm getting more 'Borrows', then I've seen ever!  And that's always good too.  : )

I'd like to post just a note about some of the thing I'm learning.

#1 - Patience is the name of this game.  I went into this reading lots and lots of success stories about big numbers and big money, and I guess I kind of expected the same, but more moderately.  I posted Sweetwater Springs in early September of last year. sales trickled in the single digits for the first couple of months.  But I persisted and tried and read and studied and now I'm seeing more results.  Patience is truly the game here to wait for things to propagate and get to know the tips and tricks.

#2 - Speaking of Tips and Tricks.  There are Millions! of them online.  It simply takes time to find them and read them and find out how to implement them into your strategy.  But therein lies the tip!  Find, Read, Implement!

For example, I recently read about a trick to garner more attention and downloads when you run a free promotion on Kindle Select.  The author of the article/blog/thread suggested changing the display price of the book up a few dollars more than it's normally listed for.  Then when the book goes free, it looks like an even better discount.  Who doesn't love a great discount!

#3 - Free Days on Kindle Select work wonders!  Sure, you give away hundreds or thousands of books for free, but it generates lots and lots of 'talk' and increases your position in the ranking system.  This, in turn, puts your book in front of more people, more often, which, after your book converts back to paid (and you change the price back to your 'normal' price), you'll see lots more sales.  And sales I'm seeing!  In fact, in another day or so, I'll have more sales in April than I'll have had in all the time I've had my book listed - combined!

#4 - Success is fleeting at best and the winds of non-control will always keep you on your toes.  You can't change the internet.  You can't change company algorithms.  You can't control who randomly will love your book and choose to do an entire blog post on it (I'm still waiting on that one).  And there are myriad of things you can't control.  So don't try to.  Go along for the ride and do your best at what you think you can do.  With a little bit of #1 above, you'll see success.

#5 - Promotion.  There are some authors that can get by without manually spreading their names much and I say good for them.  The luck lands on them.  But I'm not one of them.  I update my blog semi-regularly, I tweet fairly often and I post on Kindle Boards.  My facebook page is updated sometimes.  Telling people about your book, without 'pushing it on them', can only do you good. 

But in the end - patience with study and practice will get you results.  But mostly patience.  :)

Care to comment?  You are welcome to do so in the comment area!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Free Day for Sweetwater Springs

I know this is coming terribly late in the day, and that I should have had this up early, early this morning.  But I am just crazy busy.

Sweetwater Springs is FREE today for Kindle.  You can 'buy' it here:

This weekend is actually our 'Girls Weekend'.  So I'm currently stuck in Denver waiting on a very delayed plane to get me back home.  After a couple of very late nights up with the girls having a blast, I am very tired and I still have some 8+ hours before I'm back home in my own bed.  Wish me strength!

Anyway - back to Sweetwater.  I should have posted this this morning, but things are going well for this free day.  I'm well over 2000 downloads and all signs point to plenty more downloads before the free day ends.

I am climbing in the rankings and that makes me happy.  These free days provide great exposure and I'm excited for all of the people to read my book.  I could sure use some more reviews though - So - hint, hint, those of you downloading and reading my book, I'd love to hear from you and hear your thoughts on Sweetwater Springs!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Busy Times Ahead!

My life is going to get busy.  Really Busy.

Tonight I start with Play Practice.  Yes, I'm participating in the Local City-wide Play production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  I'm excited to have the role of one of the brides.  While that may be enough work for the next few months, I guess I'm a glutten for punishment because I'm also taking on the duties of Choreographer of 3 of the dances, including the crazy-intense challenge dance.

So life is now going to get very busy for me (and my family) and I'll have to cut back somewhere.  That somewhere will be my cyber-social world.  A serious lack of blogging, very little activity on Twitter and almost no blog hopping/reading.

But it's only for a few months!  Besides, in my 'free time' (ha ha), I'll still be doing my best to keep up with the world of Facebook and the writing world too.  My book will remain on sale for Kindle and I'll run a promotion or two as well.  I'll try and remember to post on Twitter about the 'Free Day's for Sweetwater Springs, as well as maybe even finding time to post a blog post or two.

So anyway - for the next 3 or 4 months, life will be very busy.  But busy is better than bored, right?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oh My Gosh! Something's Happening to Sweetwater Springs!

I thought it appropriate to let you know that something is happening with Sweetwater Springs!  It's currently 10:30pm MST and my sales are really starting to move!  (just to be clear, 'my' definition of 'move' is obviously different than everyone elses)

I meant to get on a day or so ago and do an update to my KDP listing of Sweetwater Springs, but found myself just too busy to get it done.

Consider this the update.  :]

Somewhere between 5pm and 9pm today, I started getting sales.  Ok, I've been getting sales since listing on KDP Select, but this is a significant increase in numbers.  While I'm still not breaking the bank by any means, I'm very excited to see the moving of my baby, my book.

Just as a back notice, though - Exactly 2 weeks after I first listed Sweetwater on Kindle Select and did my 2 day free promotion (which was a great success), my ranking took a major nose dive (from the 20K-40K range all the way down below 100K range).  So the next day I used the 'Price Pulsing' idea of dropping the listing price to just $.99 cents in hopes of gaining back some of my placement.  It worked and the next day I was back up in the 20K range.  Yeah!

So I decided that after having my baby at $.99 for a few days, it was time to move back to my $2.99 mark.  So this morning I tweeted that this would be the last day at $.99 and I tweeted once more a little later in the day.

Then - between 5pm and 9pm, something happened and I saw 20 some odd sales.  Between 9 and 10 I've gotten another 10 or so.  Now, while it's currently listed at only $.99, the royalties aren't very big .... but ...

royalties aren't the big deal here right now - it's book ranking.  Check this out:

Right now, my book is currently listed at about the 3500 ranking mark!  YEA!  AND - Even better --  I'm listed in 'Western Romance' at number 54! YEA!!!  54!

Now - for full disclosure, I've been trying to market my book for a while now and I recognize that success in the publishing industry is fleeting at best and tomorrow morning, things may look very different.  But until then ....  I'm enjoying my success.

What happened this evening to make this big change?  I don't know, but I'm very, very happy about it and hope to see lots more of this success.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Follow up to Tracking My Kindle Book Sales

In follow up to this post:

I've noticed a change in the KDP reporting feature.  This is better.  It looks like Amazon has divided up the different methods of 'selling' the book into separate columns of reporting data.  This change sure helps to see better what is happening.

The new columns I see are:
Units Sold
Units Refunded
Net Units Sold
Units Borrowed
Free Units - Promo
Free Units - Price Matching.

Previously, in my report, I only saw 'units sold'.  This, of course, only provided a portion of the needed data to see what kind of money I was making and how many units I was moving.  These new columns provide some important information  for my tracking.

Most importantly, - Separation of 'Sold', 'Borrowed', and 'Free'.  This was the biggest.  With 2K+ 'sales' last week, it didn't tell me much of what was going on.  Were they all free? Paid? How many of each?  This new separation helps me see where my books are going.

So - a quick shoutout to the 'Reporting' team at Amazon for providing us authors with more information regarding our sales at the KDP.

What other benefits do you get from the new reporting layout?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Authors: I'm looking for a new book to read.

Inspired by this post:

In between being a mom and writing, I regularly find time to read (almost exclusively now on my kindle).  I'm on the hunt for another great novel to read.  Authors, feel free to post in the comments your suggestions for a new title for me to read.

Please keep in mind I lean more to the 'Clean' side of romance (no 'bodice-rippers' and/or explicit sex).  If you have a book available on the kindle that you think I might enjoy - please feel free to post it in the comments below.  FREE publicity for your book!

Title: Sweetwater Springs
Author: Alex Taylor Wolfe
Available on: Kindle (free to prime members)
Description: In the spring of 1900, Katie O’Hare returns to Sweetwater Springs ten years after being orphaned by a murderous act that left her with nothing but an old pocket watch and scattered memories. Reluctantly she begins to fall for Tyler Reynolds, a rugged young cowboy with a troubled past. As their romance deepens, they find themselves tragically connected to a secret that puts their love and their lives in danger.

Your Turn:

Available on:

Top 5 Favorite Books - #5

As part of a series of posts, documenting my top 5 favorite books of all time.  What they are and why I love them.

#5 : The Giver

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Why I love it: I love the concept of this book, and it is so well written. If you want a book that will make you really think about the world around you, this is it! 

What are your top 5 favorite books of all time?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Help! Tracking and Monitoring my Kindle eBook Sales.

Having recently signed up for KDP Select and used 2 of my 'free days', I'm now on the hunt for a better tracking system.  Number of sales per day/hour/minute.  Ranking position, in all available categories.  I need to find a better way.

Please help me learn of better ways to track this data.  It seems the KDP reporting feature is somewhat lacking.  Currently, to track my number of sales and my current ranking, I'm having to quickly wear out my 'Refresh' button.  That doesn't seem right.

How do you track your sales on KDP?
How do you track your ranking position?

Please post in the comments (anyone can comment) the ways you track your sales and rankings in KDP.  I appreciate the help.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Marketing Update

I feel like it's time to post an update to the new marketing I'm doing.  As I've posted before, I decided to go exclusive with Amazons KDP Select and try out their service for 90 days.  I 'unpublished' my book from the other platforms and got signed up with KDP Select.

I've been reading about other people's success with this and their use of 'free days' so I decided to start out with 2 free days to really get things going.  And boy did they get moving.  In the first 2 days of being on KDP Select, and with my book listed at $2.99, but on promotion for free, I moved nearly 2500 digital copies. 

On one hand, to see 2500 copies go into the hands of others makes me really excited.  Of course, I didn't make a dime on any of that, but I knew that giving things away for free is a good tactic in marketing. 

As for Amazon rankings,I found my book as high as 138 on all the top free books.  In 'Romance', I climbed to position 38 and in Historical Romance, I hit #9.  These high rankings helped tremendously to get seen and known.  Of course, when the book converted to paid (but still free to Amazon Prime members), it was no longer free so it dropped immediately from the 'Top Free' list.

In fact, when it dropped off the Free List, I found my book ranked all the way down near the 300,000 range.  This didn't make me happy, but my husband encouraged me to be patient and wait to see.  My book converted to paid on Sunday night at midnight (02.26.2012).  Since that time, I'm seeing a 'better than previously' stream of orders.

Over the past 32 hours, I've seen about 20 US downloads and 2 units borrows.  While that doesn't break the bank, it IS better than I've seen before.  I'm also seeing downloads from Amazon UK, DE and FR.

Over the past 32 hours, my book has also climbed back up in the rankings.  I'm sitting at around 23,000 now (much better than 300,000).  The Author Central rank reporting does not provide good data on which to base tracking, but I think I'm bouncing around that 23,000 mark a bit.  I'll continue to watch it.

So, in summary, this new marketing campaign seems to be doing better than I've done in the past and I'm happy about that.  While I'm not yet a millionair for selling books, I CAN say I'm a success because I've sold some books.  :]

Now I'm back off to do some more writing.  Must * Write * More!

Have you seen success using the KDP Select system?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Numbers are Hoppin'!!!

I have been amazed at the numbers with this new marketing campaign!  This morning at 8:11am, I was at 190 books downloaded. Holy Crap!  As the day went on, the numbers kept climbing.  Lunch time it was 345,  dinner time 641, Holy Crap, Holy Crap!!! Just as I am heading to bed I'm about to break 1200, and that is only my Amazon USA, not counting the wonderful people in the UK, DE and the one blessed soul in France!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, my readers!!!

Sometimes as an author you wonder if your book has reached anyone, or if you have fallen into a crack somewhere, and my hope is that with this new Campaign I will reach more readers that will be excited about reading my books.

Please, please, if you have read Sweetwater Springs, post something, anything, tell me what you loved about it, shoot, tell me what you hated about it! Then, post a blurb at the end of the book on Kindle and tell the world. I appreciate every one of you, I know lots of authors say that but I truly mean it. Sweetwater Springs is just like one of my kids; lots of sweat and tears went into it and all moms like hearing how much other people like their kids, so don't be shy, write a review, even if it isn't wonderful, I also love constructive criticism.

Anyway, I need to get to bed, but I look forward seeing the numbers in the morning. Just a quick reminder, the book is free until midnight tomorrow night, that's 12:00 a.m., February 26th. Pick one up and enjoy it today!

Marketing Changes - and Free Books!

I've recently been reading more and more about the Amazon Prime option of KDP Select.  The more I read, the more I'm interested.  While the program is still very new (3 months old?), it seems to have great potential and I'm reading a lot of success stories and reviews on the program.

So I've decided to jump in.  I've made my novel, Sweetwater Springs, available exclusively on Amazon Kindle and enrolled in KDP Select.  Here is some information about the program.

#1 - To be part of Kindle Select, you must offer your digital book via Kindle only.  This means I had to 'unpublish' the book from Barnes and Nobles Nook platform.  : [  This doesn't make me happy because I've been seeing more sales on the Nook than in the other platforms.  But, in an effort to increase my name recognition, to profligate my name and book out there, I've made the difficult decision to remove Sweetwater Springs from Nook, and from Smashwords and go exclusively with Kindle (for now).

#2 - Signup to Kindle Select couldn't be much easier.  Since I already had my book published through their KDP platform, I simply had to click the button and mark the checkbox.  It really was that simple.

#3 - The Kindle Select program is a 90 day contract.  My goal is to use the next 90 days to really offer my book and get noticed more.  I have more books getting ready for publication and name recognition is huge.  90 days seems to be a good starting point to focus on this goal.

#4 - During each 90 period (and they auto-renew you after 90 days unless you 'opt-out'), you get 5 'free days'.  These are promotions you must setup.  You set the price, you set the day it will start, and the day it will end.  The promotion takes effect at midnight (their time) on the day you specify, and similarly, ends at midnight their time on the day you select to end the promotion.

#5 - To get a good start on my marketing in this manner, I setup my first promotion to begin on day 1.  (that's today).  So, at 10:30pm MST last night, my book was enrolled in the KDP select program and at midnight (their time), my book went on promotion.  I decided to offer the book for free for the first two days.  Yes, that means for today and tomorrow, (until midnight tomorrow night), the Sweetwater Springs will be free to anyone who has access to the KDP Select program (Amazon Prime members).  Furthermore, the Select program offers the Borrowing feature, which I'm still learning more about.

#6 - Much to my surprise this morning at 7:00am MST, I had already had 150 'sales'.  And by 'sales', I really mean free downloads, because the book is currently listed for free.  The 'sales' numbers continue to climb and as of right now, 8:30am MST, I'm at over 200 'sales'.  (I'll continue to put quotes around the word 'sales' until I actually start making money.  :] )

And to close this morning, I had done lots of reading about people posting their book's rankings on Kindle.  For the life of me I just couldn't figure out where to get those numbers.  But after significant research, I finally found it.  Amazon Author Central:  There, after registering and logging in, you can see your book(s) and their current rankings.  Since I am still very new to this, I'm still learning and I'll post more as I figure it out.

For now, though - On we go with Kindle Select!  Free book all day today and tomorrow.  Check out Sweetwater Springs, FREE for a limited time, here:

And if you have more insight to the KDP Select program, or comments, please feel free to post below.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Giveaway


The '10 Free Books' giveaway has been canceled effective 10:30pm MST 02.23.2012 due to a change in our marketing plan.  Please stay in touch for a notice of our new plan.


In yet another effort to get me moving on my blog, Twitter and Facebook, I've decided to do a giveaway of my Novel "Sweetwater Springs".  (click here to read about it)  The way I figure it is that if I have people contacting me about this, I'll be forced to check-in, update and follow.  So, You have become my inspiration to get back into the cyber-social world.

So, let's get to it.  Today, starting now, I'm giving away 10 copies of my Clean Historical Romance, Sweetwater Springs".  The first 10 posted comments to this thread will get a coupon to Smashwords to download the book.  I will contact you via the email address you have registered on your comments.

I promise to stay up-to-date on this, reply in a reasonable time-frame and provide you with your coupon quickly.  This is my motivation to get me moving again in the digital world.