‘Tis the Season to Give





UPDATE 1/1/13: I sold 72 books in December and have now given a nice even $100 to First Book plus another $20 anonymous donation which equates to 48 new books for kids in need. I didn’t quite make my goal of $300 – but still made a difference which was entirely the point. Thank you for all your support!

 


Date(s): December 1-31, 2012

Details:
This holiday season, I want to share my love of reading with the community. To do that… for every copy of Blue Violet sold in the month of December, I am donating $1.00 to a charity close to my heart – FIRST BOOK.

First Book provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada

As a child I was encouraged to grow my passion and love for reading which has allowed me to follow my dream  and become an author. Please help me reach my goal to give back to the community and raise $300 (which equates to 120 books) by December 31, 2012 and help make a difference in children’s lives by giving them the opportunity to read and grow. 

How can you help?

Buy a copy of Blue Violet. Give a copy of Blue Violet. Tell your friends about the book. Donate directly to First Book.

This information will remain available at the top of my Events page for the rest of December. I’ll also post a few times on how we’re doing. Thank you in advance for any contributions you may make!

The Pricing Debate

I realize that it’s probably tacky to talk about money/sales/profits quite so publicly. However, as an indie author, I find this topic relevant and probably interesting to other indie authors out there. In addition, I want to ask my fans an important question related to my own books. So I’m taking a bit of risk by being very honest on this topic. I apologize for being tacky, but I think it’s worth the discussion.

When I decided to become a self-published author I knew at exactly what price I was going to sell my book – $0.99.  You’ll find that price is very common on Amazon Kindle – especially for indie authors. I paused for approximately 2 seconds when I discovered that the author receives a 35% royalty when the book is priced like that. So for every book sold I make roughly $0.35.

Let’s put some perspective around this. I spent around $1000 in the publication of Blue Violet. For the curious out there that was spent on cover art and editing (about $500 each). At $0.35 a book I wold have to sell 2,857 books before I’m out of the red and actually making a profit. Meanwhile I have plans on publishing a new book about every six months.

When I published Blue Violet, the business analyst and MBA student side of me kicked in and I didn’t blink at the pricing for Blue Violet because from a business perspective I considered it to be my “loss leader.” My goal with Blue Violet was never profit, but developing a fan base/following of readers. In order to be any kind of successful author you have to have readers who want to read your books. Offering my first book at a low price and doing free promotions has helped me reach readers and has been well worth those decisions. I adore my fans!

(By the way… I’m well aware that as a creative writer who also works with numbers all day long – and loves it – that I’m an odd duck.)

Now – I have no aspirations to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer making millions of dollars (authors of Harry Potter and Twilight if you didn’t know). And while it is a life-long dream to be a full-time writer, I am realistic that the odds of that happening are slim. However, I want to continue writing and publishing regularly. I truly love every part of the process. Therefore, making this “hobby” self-sustaining is a goal of mine.

At the same time, I absolutely don’t want to lose current fans by suddenly changing my pricing, or alienate potential new readers because books are priced too high.

A final data point for you… at $2.99/book on Kindle the author’s royalty % moves to as high as 70%.  So my earnings per book changes from $0.35 to $2.10. I’d only have to sell 476 books to cover the cost of publishing. Based on my “new book every six months” plan and my current rate of sales I would basically cover the cost of each book in the time it takes me to write the next book. And that meets my goal of sustainability.

So here’s my thinking… Make the first book in a series $0.99 and any subsequent books in that series $2.99. My question to my current fans… is that acceptable to you? Or will a pricing change like that completely turn you off? I’m looking for honest feedback.

I’m sure I’ll revisit this topic and my assumptions around it as I continue to publish.  For example, I’m not sure how adding a second, third, and fourth book to my sales will affect things. And I’ve seen indie authors sell for as high as $8.99 on Kindle versions and I’m sure they have good, solid business reasons for doing so. But for now this is how I’m leaning.

Thoughts?

Feeling the Pressure

This weekend I have a personal goal set to finish Hyacinth enough that it’s time to send it to Wendy, my editor. This is going to be a stretch as I’m trying to squeeze writing in between spending time with my family, working, homework and reading for my MBA program, and the holiday.

The time pressure I consider to be necessary and somewhat unavoidable. I know that my editing process with Wendy takes a good 2-3 months. If I want Hyacinth ready to be released in February, I need to get it in her hands now.

Unfortunately, I happen to be in the middle of my least favorite part of writing a book. I’m going back through the completed manuscript and improving/fixing/filling/finalizing. I don’t know why I dislike this part so much. You would think I would want to hone my creation until I’m completely satisfied. But by the time I get to this point, I’m so ready to be done that it’s tempting to rush.
Also tempting me to rush is the fact that I’m really looking forward to getting Hyacinth into Wendy’s hands. I truly enjoy collaborating with her. Her edits and comments help me with getting the book exactly where I want it. I can’t wait to start that process, and getting through my own final edits is the only thing standing in my way.
In addition to the time pressure that I’m feeling, I’m also getting a small sense of pressure to perform. When I wrote Blue Violet it was truly with only me in mind – what I would like to read. No one had any expectations of me whatsoever. With Hyacinth as my second book in a series I’m feeling the pressure of the sophomore effort.
I want to live up to my fans’ expectations. I LOVE my fans who have been so supportive and encouraging. I want to exceed what I did in Blue Violet. I want to address anything I wasn’t completely satisfied with the first time around. And I want the plot to make sense both in relation to Blue Violet and in the set up for books 3 & 4. Yeah – I know – it’s all me, me, me.
Both the time pressures and the pressure to perform are entirely of my own making. I know this logically in my head. And so, while I spend my holiday working diligently toward my goal, I try to keep in mind the idea of writing for myself first and letting the chips fall where they may after that.
Wish me luck!!

Blog Tour Stop #4 – @ She’s Got Books On Her Mind

November 15th – Stop #4 for my first ever blog tour is at She’s Got Books On Her Mind by Adriana.

Adriana is a book blogger who gave a first time author a shot. She wrote a lovely review on Blue Violet a little while ago and I very much enjoy her blog on a regular basis. Thanks Adriana for hosting me for this tour!

For this post, we decided on an author interview. It was really fun to think through and answer all of Adriana’s questions. I hope you enjoy!!

http://shesgotbooksonhermind.blogspot.com/2012/11/blog-tour-blue-violet-by-abigail-owen.html

Blog Tour Stop #3 – @ Free Book Dude

November 14th – Stop #3 for my first ever blog tour is at Free Book Dude .com

Free Book Dude is a website that lists free book promos out there and where extremely helpful when I did my first free promo for Blue Violet in November.  They also help authors out by hosting blog tours, give aways, etc. I love sites like this that are out there to work with authors on their own like me.

For this post, we decided on a “what I’ve learned as an author” type post. I went with my top 5 tips to self-published authors about what I had found most effective for me so far. I hope you enjoy!

http://www.freebookdude.com/2012/11/my-top-5-tips-for-self-published.html

Blog Tour Stop #2 – @ All in One Place

November 13th – Stop #2 for my first ever blog tour is at All In One Place by Kirsty!

Kirsty is a book blogger who very kindly took a chance on a brand new author and reviewed Blue Violet early on.  She has become an online friend and supporter for my writing. Thanks Kirsty for hosting me on this tour!

Kirsty loved my characters in Blue Violet and decided on an interview with Alex Jenner. I had a ton of fun answering all her questions in Alex’s voice. Hope you enjoy!

http://kvlovesbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/character-interview-alex-from-blue.html

 

Blog Tour Stop #1 – @ JadeKerrion.com

November 9th – Stop #1 for my first ever blog tour is at JadeKerrion.com.

Jade is a very talented fellow author of Perfection Unleashed and blogger. She has been one of those folks who has been so helpful to me as I find my way through self-publishing, and very kindly hosted my first stop on my blog tour.

We did an author spotlight and excerpt from Blue Violet as a teaser for the Kindle Free Promo coming up on November 16th-18th. Hope you enjoy!

http://www.jadekerrion.com/2012/11/09/abigail-owen/

 

Book Blog Tour – November 9-15

Book Blog Tour: November 9-15
Free Kindle Promo (Blue Violet): November 16-18

I am so excited to announce my very first book blog tour!

For those of you not familiar, this is the virtual version of a book store tour. Various other book bloggers host me for a day. The types of posts can range from author interviews, to excerpts, to anything I want to write about. I love this concept! It seems like a really fun way to reach readers, and it’s also a neat way to connect with the bloggers themselves.

I’m really having fun with this, although I’ll admit it is a bit of work. I decided to start with a mini-tour – only four or five visits total – and have it lead up to my next Free Kindle Promo days to combine the impact of the marketing. I’ve seen several other authors do this, and they seemed to feel it was effective, so definitely worth a try.

To set up a blog tour I started by contact various bloggers to request a guest appearance. Some I knew from previous reviews, and some I didn’t. I then had to work closely with each of those who accepted. You communicate quite a bit to determine the date, what type of post to do, and other details they might need. I then get to work on each post – trying to make sure it’s complete well in advance of the post date.

And remember, this is all a marketing effort to find new readers, so the posts need to be compelling. No pressure!

Thank you to my friend Elayne, my marketing partner in crime, who has helped with contacting various bloggers to request a guest appearance.

Here is the schedule/details on my mini-blog tour (as of today – some details are subject to change):

Huge thanks to the bloggers hosting me for this tour! I really appreciate it more than I can say.

And readers, please pass on word that, following my book blog tour, Blue Violet will be available for free on Kindle November 16th – 18th!!!

Hyacinth: Excerpt #1 – Griffin’s Dreams

I am very happy to say that Hyacinth remains on track for publication in February and I think it’s finally time for a teaser excerpt!

I can’t believe it’s already time for this. I feel like I only just published Blue Violet. (Which is true, it was released in August). Look for the book cover reveal soon as well as more teasers over the next 3 months or so. I hope you enjoy this one!

******

“Hey, Griff!” Ellie bounded into his room without knocking first and plunked herself on his bed.
Griffin paused in the process of loading his laptop into his backpack which sat on the bed beside his sister. “What are you doing here this early in the morning?” he asked as he resumed what he was doing.
Ellie shrugged a slim shoulder. “Nothing special.”
Griffin paused again, giving Ellie a narrow-eyed look. “Okay. What’s up?”
Ellie flashed him an exasperated look. “Why does something have to be up for me to visit my brother?”
“You only block my mind reading when you want to hide something from me.” He zipped up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. “Alex here too?”
“Yup. He’s downstairs letting Lucy stuff him with breakfast.” She hopped up, following Griffin out of the room. “Where’re you headed?”
“Library. I have to finish this last paper for my economics class.”
“Hmmm. Makes me glad I didn’t do summer school this year. I though you got that paper done last night?”
Griffin grunted. “I need a little more quiet than this mad house affords. Even late at night.”
Ellie laughed. “I guess we were up pretty late playing Trivial Pursuit. You shoulda come down and joined us.”
Griffin paused at the top of the stairs and turned to her. “Hey Elle? You’d tell me if Selene appeared to you in a dream, right?”
“Of course!”
“So she hasn’t?”
“Not since we killed Gideon.”
“Okay.” Griffin started down the stairs and missed his sister’s concerned look as she followed him.
Reaching the bottom he turned, gave Ellie a peck on the cheek, and said, “See ya later.”
“Have fun,” Ellie kept her worry to herself, gave her brother a casual wave, and wandered off to find Alex.
Griffin let himself out of the house and walked around to the shed where he kept his motorcycle. Hopping on he started the bike and headed into town. He loved this ride most of the time. The winding road through the mountains had spectacular views with vibrant hues of blues and greens that nature presented him. But lately the views had been lost on him. His concentration instead turned inward. He hadn’t wanted to bring up Selene with Ellie, but after last night…
It’s got to be coincidence. He reasoned with himself.
Selene hadn’t approached him in his dreams since the last time he’d seen her. An image of her standing in the field in the mountains, regally gorgeous with her silvery fair hair and dove grey eyes, was constantly with him. And then she’d walked away from him.
Initially, after everything had settled down, Griffin had convinced himself that he never wanted to see or hear from her again. Despite the fact that he was positive she was his te’sorthene. He pushed that fact away from him as irrelevant in the face of what she was responsible for.
But he’d missed her. Despite himself.
He’d believed her to be just a dream, and now that she no longer appeared to him at night when he closed his eyes, he did miss her. And somehow that just fed the bitterness in his heart.
His dreams lately, however, had featured flashes of a white wolf.
I only know one white wolf, but there’s got to be more out there. And maybe it’s just my own mind coming up with this, Griffin thought to himself.
But somehow, deep down, he didn’t think so. The images that would come to him periodically in his sleep were never anything very clear. Only flickers, like an old-timey movie but with more time between pictures. And last night…
Last night he could have sworn he’d heard sobbing.

And The Winner Is…

The winner of the Hyacinth Name a Character Contest is in. Drum roll please…

Finalist #1 – Kelli’s submission of Dez O’Moore won 63% of the votes!

Name: Desmond Alexander O’Moore
Nicknames: Nicknames include Dez and Alex
Description: Hes about 6’2ʺ golden tan hair that waves it long enough to slick back but not past his ears and one piece that always falls into his eyes he has a surfers body not to full of and is always tanned he has the face of an aristocratic eyes of a sea green that notice every little detail and pearly white perfectly straight teeth and a set of aways pouting lips

Dez will be appearing in my next book – Hyacinth – as a potential love interest for one of my main characters. I can’t wait to write him into the book.

Kelli has won:
– A $25 Gift Certificate for Amazon.com
– A FREE autographed print copy of BLUE VIOLET
– A FREE digital copy of HYACINTH prior to release
– A thank you in my acknowledgements section of Hyacinth

CONGRATS KELLI!

And huge thanks to everyone who submitted or voted in the contest. This was a lot of fun to run and I’ll definitely have to do another one for book #3 in the series.