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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Friday, February 10, 2017

Genre? I don't need no stinkin' genre!

As a writer you've no doubt heard the word genre. And I'm sure you know about BISAC codes to identify where to place your book. But...do you understand what it all means? I'm just beginning to, as related to marketing--and it isn't pretty.

The list of problems for self-published authors boggles the mind, or at least my mind, since I struggle every day to figure it out. This is just another in a long line of unsurmountable objects put in our way--or I should say, my way, because there are a great many authors who have figured the problem out. I applaud them. I'm just not one of them. And here's why:

If you write to market you choose a genre or a sub genre, or a sub sub genre, and you stick to it. That way your readers can and will find you. No matter that every single book you write has the same themes. Apparently readers do not want to be surprised. If they pick up a cozy mystery god forbid that it has the F-word or a sex scene that isn't behind closed doors. I get it--I understand. You want to know you can trust the genre and whatever author you've grown to love. I am not trying to step on any toes here.

 The problem is, I cannot write this way. And I was surprised to find out how many genres each of my books cover. I use 'cross over' genres, which makes it difficult for me to find my audience. At least this explains it. Phew. I'm not a horrible failure after all. (that is debatable, a voice pipes up)


I found out the true meaning of the problem when doing Amazon ads. Take my coyote book, 'Just Another Desert Sunset'. It is a romance, has a murder or two, has shape shifters, Native American spirituality, and a couple of shamans. The main theme is the coyote who falls in love with a human woman, but this leads to all sorts of other themes and plot lines. To do my Amazon ads I had to search for books similar to list as keywords. The shifter books were mostly about vampires, and the themes were nothing like mine. The paranormal romance didn't cover it at all. HELP! How can I change this? The answer is, I can't. The book would be boring and flat. Is how I write a bad thing? Apparently it is, if I want to make money. Amazon ads need other books that are similar to use as keywords...I finally gave up on the similar part, and put in all the shifter books, all the paranormal romance, and so  on--you get the picture. We'll see what happens.

I do have a paranormal murder mystery series that may be easier to place. Although there's a lot of romance packed in between the murders and the ghosts...but still. And maybe I can market 'A Witch in Time saves Nine' as an historical fantasy romance--oops, there's time travel in there too! See what I mean? Anyone else having this issue?

Thanks for reading and PLEASE leave a comment! I love to know someone is reading this..and ...suggestions and/or insights are always appreciated.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

What happened to her boots?

What did happen to her boots?

Recently I was talking to my niece, who was reading my book, Faery. And the title of this blog is what she asked me. Yes, Maeve's boots got lost in the ether. I couldn't even remember the boots, to be honest. But she did go barefoot into the snowy forest. The mistake I made was having her moan about her boots later, and accuse the evil faery of having taken them, along with her clothing. The faery never saw them because Maeve left them back in Duncan's tree house.  In Maeve's case I can chalk it up to her confused state of mind--I had her moan about them on purpose to show this. Unfortunately this is not true. I'm only glad it wasn't a bigger issue.

At first I was upset that she asked the question, was it such a glaring problem? And then I realized it's very easy to let these things slip by. It's like someone's eyes being green and then turning brown about halfway through the story. So far I haven't made that mistake! And it becomes harder if we're writing a series. I'm constantly having to refer back to earlier events.  Readers pick up on these things and it takes them out of the narrative.

After feeling put upon and upset that I'd made the mistake in the first place, I finally told her, yes, this was a mistake, and thank you for catching it. And by the time I said this, I meant it sincerely. Thank you to the savvy reader who sees these little inconstancies. Not that I can do anything about it now...but....if it was a bigger issue I would have pulled the book from kindle and fixed it. The paperback would have been more difficult, but it can be done.

Beta readers are the way to go. And editors, if you can afford it, or have a friend who is good at it. I had all my earlier books edited, but now I have my husband read and re-read and a beta reader or two. It seems to work pretty well. Being a writer is not an easy task these days, with having to wear so many different hats.

If you have an interest in Book 4 of my Wolfmoon series, here is the teaser for Faery: Her boots are not mentioned :)

AND check out my website for a freebie! www.nikkibroadwell.com

video

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Endings--beginnings



Finally completed the latest book, Finlay's Folly. For some reason the edits have gone on and on, until I realized that there was still a deeper message to impart...read it to see what it is...

Endings are difficult, as are beginnings--the middle takes care of itself. I am glad to be finished, because I have two other stories that I want to begin, and yet, leaving all those characters, those places, the dilemmas they face and faced, is hard. But it is good to move on...

It's raining tonight, a rarity in the desert. I love it and long to hear the rain pounding on the roof. I thought I would have to water tomorrow, but instead mother nature came to my rescue. Full moon changes will lead to what? Thunder is rumbling--a thunderstorm tonight--not something I would have expected in mid January, and yet here it is. A change, something different. Can we roll with it and figure that whatever happens is for the best? Not
an easy thing.

Life is not all all what I thought it would be back when I was twenty. I've had to shift and change with it all--and still I cling to the past, just as the characters in my book hang on to theirs. Ghosts are a reminder of what we were, but they are not here and now. In order to move forward we have to let them go, let them be. Until we do that we will be unhappy and angry, afraid for our future and wondering--always wondering and worried. Why are things the way they are? Could we have done something to help? We are but one drop in an ocean. We do what we can, and then have to let go. The future is up to the ones who come after, always. And it will be what it is according to them and their wishes. What we knew, what we are, will die with us, just as the sun goes down every night and rises in the morning. Everything dies away and is reborn. How can we know what is right or wrong?

And so we move along our path, doing what we need to do until we can't do it anymore. Let that be all right. Don't get caught up in, I should have, I could have...do what you can in the moment. Allow space and BREATHE. It will all be as it is.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 23, 2016

More bragging and some other stuff

A Witch in Time Saves Nine received an honorable mention in the New England Book Festival! I was surprised and delighted! An author friend here in Tucson, Melinda Haynes, has a website dedicated to this subject and swears by it. She recently got an award for her YA book, The Haunting of Josh Weston, and has become a minor celebrity because of it! She recommends finding low cost, smaller contests where the entire goal isn't for the contest holders to make money. There are many online to choose from! We all need to be seen and appreciated, especially authors who spend most of their time like troglodytes caught up in front of a computer screen. On to 'the other stuff'...

During this season of campaigning I have turned to my writing more and more. I'm finding that I can write three books in one year, a fact that utterly boggles my mind. I've realized that writing keeps me sane, calms me down, and allows me to explore certain topics I find troubling within the safe sphere of a novel. It also forces me to learn about topics I know nothing about, and travel to places I've never been-virtually, that is. My writing style places me in a dilemma from time to time, as one of more of my characters lead me down blind alleys and into bad situations that seem inescapable. But somehow a solution nearly always presents itself. As I know I've said before in this blog, sometimes I feel like I'm reading a book instead of writing one!

What I'm trying to say is, thank you to the muse, and thank you to those who have read my books and those who read my blog, and those of you who are my friends and family and give me your support. I am always amazed by the generosity of other authors who will review or help out when things get tough--and believe me, they do get tough from time to time. Writing is it's own reward, but it is nice to know there are people out there who enjoy the books! As an author, trying to make your way through the quagmire that is marketing is an endless slog! And it doesn't end.

On that note I hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2017, and that everything you wish for falls into place! And I send out hope for all those who live in harm's way or have been displaced, hurt or otherwise impacted by war. May we all have peace!



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Black and White and RED all Over

Black and White and RED all Over

Blatant bragging



If not from me, then who?? This year has been better in terms of sales but I still struggle along with
millions of others trying to assure that people find my books on the gaping maw that is Amazon, and then decide to read them!

Here is a list of the FIFTEEN books I have written and published! I have to say I'm proud of myself..number sixteen is in the works, Finlay's Folly, the fourth of the Summer McCloud paranormal series. Book cover reveal to the right-->
Wolfmoon series:

Moonstone-Book 1
Willow-Book 2
Raven-Book 3
                                             Faery-Book 4

Gypsy series: A Time Traveling Romance

Gypsy’s Quest-Book 1
Gypsy’s Return-Book 2
Gypsy’s Secret-Book 3

Coyote series:

Just Another Desert Sunset
Coyote Sunrise

Summer McCloud paranormal murder series:

Murder in Plain Sight
Saffron and Seaweed
Black and White and Red all over

The Bridge
Time Gap

A Witch in Time Saves Nine



Have a wonderful holiday everyone! And don't forget to give books for your gifts this year!!! Happy 2017!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2016

New attitudes in the book marketing game!

I know many of you have felt the way I have from time to time. What is this game we’ve gotten ourselves into? And yet we can’t seem to stop no matter how low our sales or how many of our friends ask us why in heaven’s name we’re doing this. It’s because we love to write, isn’t that so? For me it’s an obsession that will not leave me alone. 
But trying to understand and learn the reasons why some are successful and others are not—this is tricky. It does not have to do with quality—that much I’ve determined. To do well you simply have to wear another hat—a marketing hat. And with this hat on you must read boring and long treatises on how to make a Facebook ad that sells and where to give your book away for free and how to get an e-mail marketing list going. Everyone has said that the more books you have out the better you do—I have not found this to be true. The only thing good about it is that my readers have more to choose from and might end up buying a book or two!
I have balked at the idea of giving my books away, feeling better about offering them for .99. But everyone says that a Bookbub deal will lead to sales for months afterward—I have yet to get them to accept one of my books, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I have also heard that giving the first book in a series away will generate sales for the rest. I did try this and ended up getting myself kicked off KDP select for an entire year! I didn’t go about it correctly—don’t make my mistake! Apparently if you approach this correctly Amazon will price match—look it up on a forum before you do what I did.
Basically we as self-published authors are expected to do everything. And this is hard if you want to spend your time writing. I hired a marketer for a while to help me with keywords and with super urls, the meaning of which I am still attempting to understand. Chris O’Byrne at Jetlaunch is not expensive and can help you through some of the more complicated issues. And he edits! My latest marketing endeavor is sponsored ads on Amazon. This morning I listened to a webinar on the subject given by:
 Dave at Kindlepreneur. If you click on this link soon you will reap the benefits--with what I gleaned from listening I have now placed an ad for one of my books. It is a long webinar but there is a lot of information packed in. Mark Dawson and Jon Loomer also have FREE courses on doing FB ads. So don’t give up hope—you can wear all the hats and still have time for writing! The main thing is not to give up!