My Newest Release… Drifters’ Alliance

Introducing Book 1 in my new Science Fiction Space Opera Series!

**Only $2.99 for a few more days, then the price goes up to $3.99**

DA1.cover

DESCRIPTION
One hand of cards and it’s all over but the crying… Cass Kennedy finally gets what she’s been dreaming of for the past ten years: a drifter ship to call her own. All the sim time and battle training is going to pay off in spades as she sets her course for the future. She’ll be living on her own terms, not those of her father’s. But drifting through deep space with a crew of nutty strangers on the DS Anarchy carries a lot more surprises than she bargained for. Nobody told her that her ship is falling apart, that dead chickens are something you really want to hang on to, and that the OSG has big plans for the universe that don’t necessarily jibe with her plans for herself. Jump onboard with Cass and her crew as she charts a course towards an alliance that will either make her or break her as Captain of the DS Anarchy.

SERIES: This is Book 1 in a series of 3 or more.
GENRE: Science Fiction, Space Opera
AUDIENCE: For older teens and adults
CONTENT WARNING: Colorful language, sexy stuff, and general badassery

Now available here:

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Amazon UK

B&N

Google Play

iBooks

Kobo

Have you read Drifters’ Alliance and want to spread the word? What are your favorite SciFi books?  Come leave a reply to this blog post on the homepage of my website ellecasey.com, come say hi on my Facebook page, or drop me a line anytime at me@ellecasey.com.  Want to join my Facebook Street Team, where we talk about all things book-related?  Click here.

Elle Casey’s Advice for Aspiring Writers

I’ve always known that many of my readers are also aspiring writers because they contact me for advice and encouragement (which I’m always happy to give).  Just recently I realized how many members of my Street Team have manuscripts they’re working on, and I really want to encourage all of them (and you) to GO FOR IT!

Since the requests for help that I get are increasing now, and I tend to give out the same advice over and over, I thought the best way to share my knowledge would be through a blog post.  Read on for my Top Tips for Aspiring Writers, and you can also check out this older blog post that gives some great tips too: Some Things to Consider if You Want to Make a Living Writing Books. These tips are in no particular order.

Jump in there and do it.

Nobody’s going to come knocking on your door asking you to write a book for them, but there are plenty of people out there who want to read what you have to write, I promise. And they’ll pay you for it! Also I wouldn’t bother with the traditional publishing process because it takes so long, and the market is flooded with people doing that. Besides, you really don’t need a gatekeeper between yourself and your readers. Let the readers decide if you’re a good writer. Let the readers give you the very valuable feedback you need in order to improve your skills; and then, after you’ve had some success as a writer with the real people who matter —  that is the readers —  go ahead and send out a query letter if you still feel the need. By following this path you will have the confidence to push through the closed doors you’re apt to find.

Plan your branding strategy from the start.

Make everything consistent: social media, covers, swag, etc. I didn’t do that, and  I’ve been kind of patching it together as I go. It’s much more effective to start it properly and then keep it going consistently. You may not know exactly who you “are” as a writer when you first begin, but you should give it some serious thought and start in a solid direction. Be consistent with your genre too. For example, if you’re writing thrillers, your website shouldn’t be pink and purple with romantic script for a font choice. For someone like me, who writes in several genres, it’s more difficult to have one brand that fits them all, but it is possible to tie your different books and social media sites together with similar colors, fonts, etc. I’m working on all that now and it’s a big project with over 30 novels!

Write a training manual for your publishing business.

Time is precious: don’t waste it.  Keep a log book of all the processes you use in your publishing day. I recently hired a full time assistant (Noelle! Holla!), and we have spent 3 solid months going through the training process. Had I taken notes all these years on what I was doing as I went along, we could have short-cut that process by about 2 of those months.  Keep in mind that if you do self-publishing well and become successful at it, you’ll eventually need help.

Make a good first impression.

You only get one chance to make a good impression, so don’t waste that chance with a crappy cover, bad blurb, and no editing. Saying you’ll pay for it after you make money is completely nonsensical. No reader will read your stuff if it looks and is amateurish, and you shouldn’t expect them to. You can get high-quality pre-made covers for under $100 (sometimes as cheap as $20), editing for a few hundred $ (or free from someone you barter with, or someone who just likes to do it for fun), and blurb help from writing critique groups. If you want a professional career as a writer, treat your business like a professional would. Invest in it, invest in your readers, invest in yourself.

Be yourself, but remember who you are.

Be genuine. Be yourself. But remember, you are a writer. When you start your online social media presence, everything you put out there will be viewable by the public forever. Keeping up a fake persona for years and years will be exhausting and nearly impossible to keep consistent. Just be yourself and you’ll find your audience. If you’re strange and unusual, more’s the better. Authors are creative people; don’t feel like you have to be someone else. You’re awesome just as you are. But also, remember that your online persona should reflect the writer-you. Share your writer-self. Yes, it’s true. We have two selves as writers: one that writes books for a living and one who’s just a person with a family, bad habits, health issues, and any number of other very private things going on. Readers want to know what you’re reading, what you’re writing, what motivates and inspires you to do what you do. They don’t necessarily want to know about your marital troubles, your sick uncle, or your fruitarian diet (unless that’s a big part of your books!) Keep the conversation about your writer-self, and your readers will always be interested in talking to you. Talk about random things that have nothing to do with your readers (that might, in fact, alienate them) and they’ll probably go elsewhere for conversation. In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep the conversation genuine, light, and writer-focused.

Make friends with other authors.

Cross-promotion of your work among a group of authors can be very important. Having someone you can talk to about writer-woes is, too. Sharing ideas is fun and spreads good karma that bleeds over onto our readers, giving them better things to read. There’s no reason to be a writer-hermit, even if you’re writing in a room all by yourself at the top of a mountain. Writing for a living can be very solitary, emotional, mentally exhausting, and just plain difficult. Having someone to share a joke with, sound off on, and strategize with is critical. Just remember, though — what you put in an email or an instant message can be shared with anyone. Guard your brand and your financial safety carefully. I have personally experienced making friends and losing friends in the indie community, and the drama can sometimes come in very high levels.

Have fun.

Write what inspires you to get up in the morning. If it’s a specific genre, great. If it’s money from sales of the most popular genre or topic or writing style, great. Whatever motivates you, do that. Why? Because if you’re heart’s not in it, the readers will feel that, and they won’t buy your next book.

Questions? Comments?  I’d love to hear from you! Come leave a reply to this blog post on the homepage of my website ellecasey.com, come say hi on my Facebook page, or drop me a line anytime at me@ellecasey.com.  Want to join my Facebook Street Team, where we talk about all things book-related?  Click here.

Elle Casey’s YA Price Drop for 3 Days Only! Plus a free book!

books header

Get your teenagers reading!

Did you know that April 16th is National Celebrate Teen Literature Day?  Elle is joining the fun and celebrating with a special 99¢ deal on 3 of her Young Adult titles for 3 days only: Tuesday April 14th-Thursday April 16th.  Oh, and a free book, too!

Read on for more!  Below, you’ll find out about:

  • How to get Elle’s National Celebrate Teen Literature 3-Day only deal (don’t forget to buy a copy for a young reader you know who might be interested).
  • Elle’s favorite reads from her childhood.

 

3 YA books on sale for 99 cents for 3 days only:

Apoc.cover.1

 APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction series suitable for older teens and adults.

APOCALYPSIS, Book 1 (Kahayatle): $2.99

99¢ for 3 DAYS ONLY

 Amazon US: http://amzn.to/10Jn3Ni

B&N: http://bit.ly/1HichpO

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1DqgDLI

iBooks: http://apple.co/19Hiz4R

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1aG8MMQ

My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in a neighborhood outside of Orlando, Florida. I live alone because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world. I’m almost out of food, and the gangs of kids that roam around my town are getting more vicious by the day. It’s time for me to leave and find another place to live … a place where I can find food and shelter … a place where they won’t be able to find me. Alone, it might have been possible; but now I’ve got company, and I’m worried that I don’t have what it takes to get from here to my final destination. And I have no idea what might be waiting for me when I get there.

**Contains violence and some foul language.**


 

Duality 1 (Melancholia)

DUALITY is a 2-book Young Adult/New Adult Paranormal Romance.

 Duality, Vol 1: Melancholia: $4.99

99¢ for 3 DAYS ONLY

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/YantP6

iBooks: http://apple.co/1yi7534

Malcolm’s had a problem for as long as he can remember. No matter where he goes or what he does, he leaves misery in his wake. Sadness and negativity are his constant companions, influencing others around him until they cannot bear to live.

But then Rae shows up in his life, and everything changes. Darkness cleaves to light. Anger yields to joy. The question is whether she’ll be his salvation or his destruction.


 

Wrecked by Elle Casey

WRECKED is a a 2-book Young Adult Adventure Novel.

Wrecked, Book 1: $4.99

99¢ for 3 DAYS ONLY

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CGdikE

B&N: http://bit.ly/1z8iTAg

Is your teen constantly on the go? The Unabridged Audiobook is available from Audible: http://bit.ly/16RHJGs for Free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.  12 hours of listening!

High Seas and High Adventure from the author of the War of the Fae and Apocalypsis series.  If you liked The Breakfast Club and The Swiss Family Robinson, you’ll love WRECKED!

An ill-fated Caribbean cruise and four teenagers: a nerd, a jock, a mouse, and a beauty queen…an island, a treehouse, some nefarious interlopers…life and death…fear and loathing…love and laughter.

Follow Jonathan, Kevin, Candi and Sarah as they find their typical high school lives and their worlds totally WRECKED.

**Contains some foul language and non-explicit sex scenes between older teens.  May not be appropriate for younger, middle-grade teens.**


War of the Fae : Book 1

War of the Fae : Book 1

War of the Fae is a 7-book YA Fantasy series suitable for older teens and adults. (Books 8-10 coming soon!)

The Changelings (War of the Fae Book 1)

Book 1 is FREE!

 Amazon US: http://bit.ly/1111Tpr

B&N: http://bit.ly/1Bq7eRW

iBooks: http://apple.co/1DlHxi0

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1EquIYF

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1E54knF

Jayne Sparks, a potty-mouthed, rebellious seventeen-year-old and her best friend, shy and bookish Tony Green, have a pretty typical high school existence, until several seemingly unrelated incidents converge, causing a cascade of events that change their lives forever. Jayne and Tony, together with a group of runaway teens, are hijacked and sent into a forest, where nothing and no one are as they seem. Who will emerge triumphant? And what will they be when they do?


Elle Casey’s favorite reads from her childhood.

Have you and your teen read all of Elle’s books listed above?  Do you want to read the same books that inspired Elle to become a writer?  Here are some of her favorites:

  1. The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
  2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. Children in Hiding by Charlene Joy Talbot
  4. The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  5. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
  6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  7. And about The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, she says, “I only ever read the first book in the series, but I swear I read that thing maybe 30 times! Even as an adult I’ve gone back and re-read it. That was my first kind of post-apocalyptic read. Of course the world was still turning, but the main characters’ parents died and they were basically shoved out of the real world and into one of their own making, surviving using their own ingenuity. I read anything similar that I could get my hands on after that.”

Don’t forget, the love of reading is a priceless gift that you can pass on to the next generation.

Happy reading! –Elle

New Covers for Apocalypsis!

Apoc.cover.1

I wrote the Apocalypsis series in 2012 and 2013 and was thrilled to find so many enthusiastic readers. There are over a thousand excellent reviews on this series on Amazon and Goodreads, but I thought it might benefit from some more exposure. The old covers weren’t quite getting that done, so I’m giving these a shot. What do you think?

If you enjoyed this series, please share the links to book 1 (below) with your friends! Then you’ll have someone cool to talk about the books with. :)

If you haven’t yet tried it, I recommend you try book 1. It’s only $2.99, and guaranteed to keep you turning pages late into the night!

Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK
B&N
iBooks
Google Play

Amazing StoryBundle Deal … exclusive content, and YOU set the price!

books header

What’s a Story Bundle?

Glad you asked! StoryBundle is a way for bookworms to discover quality books written by indie and traditionally published authors. Finding good books to read is difficult these days with so many offerings out there. StoryBundle hopes to solve that problem.

StoryBundle takes a handful of books—anywhere from 6 to 9 of them—and groups them together to offer as a bundle. Then you, the reader, can take a look at the titles they’ve chosen and decide how much you’d like to pay. Think of StoryBundle as a friend who scours independent books for undiscovered gems, then bundles these titles together for one low price that you set. Yes, you read that right … you will set the price you pay. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT STORY BUNDLES.

What’s this “Crossing Worlds YA” Story Bundle all about?Crossing Worlds YA StoryBundle

MAGIC AND MAYHEM

Step into fantastical realms with the Crossing Worlds YA StoryBundle – Young Adult fiction guaranteed to entertain all ages!

Do you miss that sense of wonder your favorite books used to give you, the fast-paced and exciting reads that would suck you in and not let you go? Welcome to the newest StoryBundle, where 9 top-notch authors bring you tales of adventure and courage featuring younger protagonists triumphing over magic and mayhem. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE BUNDLE NOW!

From international bestseller Mercedes Lackey’s Grey’s Ghost – a short story of ghosts and magic in an alternate-history Victorian England – to NYT bestseller Elle Casey’s sassy modern take on encountering the fae realm with her War of the Fae books, you’ll find plenty of great reading in these stories that explore the places where magic and our ordinary world collide.

In addition, the bundle includes more tales of faerie encounters – from USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp’s Royal, Faery Swap from Susan Kaye Quinn, and Emily Casey’s The Fairy Tale Trap. Nic Tatano (Destiny’s Hourglass) and Julian Rosado-Machain (Guardians Inc: The Cypher) bring the adventure with tales of super-powered heroes who hold the fate of the world in their hands, and NYT bestseller Terah Edun provides another supernatural twist to the bundle with her novel Accession.

Plus, we’re delighted to announce a StoryBundle EXCLUSIVE! The Crossing Worlds YA bundle is the only place you can get the Special Illustrated Edition of Steven Savile’s Moonlands, with over fifteen full color illustrations from artist Lukas Thelin (known for his work for Fenix magazine, illustrating RPG novels, and many other amazing projects.)

Remember, you only have 3 weeks to grab this amazing bundle, and then it’s gone forever.

Indulge your inner youth and dive into these fantastic stories where worlds cross and adventures abound.

All_Covers_Large

Inner Sanctum Revival, Guest Post by Noelle Gaussens, Assistant @ Elle Casey

books header

Have you just read your first Elle Casey book and now you’re excited to spread the word?

Have you been a diehard fan from day one, anxiously awaiting Elle’s next release in your favorite genre?

Do you read each one of Elle’s newest releases as soon as they come out?

Do you wonder what some of her beloved characters have been up to these days and want to get the inside scoop?

EllementalStreetTeamBadge

Become an “Ellemental” by joining Elle’s Inner Sanctum!

Books have always been there for me.

I’m an avid reader, and getting lost in a great book is one of my greatest pleasures.  Without even realizing I’m doing it, I find myself organizing my time each day so that I accomplish all my tasks as quickly as possible, allowing me whatever time is left to delve back into my book.  I do my best to savor the experience of losing myself in a great read, but it’s hard not to race through to find out what happens next!  The suspense of ending on a cliffhanger and waiting for the author to publish the next installment of the story is sometimes unbearable.  The anticipation is sweet, but it can also seem interminable and frustrating!  In any case, when I read the last sentence, on a high from a rich and powerful reading experience, my first instinct is to share it with the first person who’s willing to listen.

Some of the most engaging conversations I’ve had are about books.

As an introvert, I recharge my batteries by spending lots of time alone.  I’m a bookworm who’s not very comfortable in social situations.  I’m anxious about finding topics of conversation.  After the obligatory chat about the weather, I usually draw a blank.  My husband jokes that I should write a list of topics on the back of my hand to sneak a peak at when the conversation gets stale.  (Talk about awkward!)  I find that people are fairly open and willing to talk about themselves, but that’s only if you ask the right questions.  When I figured that out, I found myself asking people the same questions:  “Have you read any good books lately?  What are you reading right now?  What should I read next?”  These always seem to lead to an interesting conversation.  I take out my phone and go straight to Amazon as they’re making suggestions.  After years of doing this, my wish list is stacked with recommendations from family and friends.  Although I’ll probably never get to all of them, there’s nothing like thanking fellow readers for their recommendations and then chatting about the books to build and strengthen a friendship.

Do you want to help spread the word about Elle Casey?

Since I’ve begun assisting Elle, I’ve met several of her fans online.  You guys are the greatest, and I love that you all want to help spread the word!  So, how about becoming an “Ellemental” by joining Elle’s Inner Sanctum? Ellementals are essentially Elle’s street team members who spend a little time each week, or whenever they have the time, talking about their favorite Elle Casey books with other readers, both online using social media like Facebook and in person.

Advantages for “Ellementals,” Elle’s Inner Sanctum members:

Maybe you’ve noticed that Elle’s become a little less present on her social media? It’s because these days, she’s devoting as much of her time as possible to writing the books YOU want to read (hence my new position as her assistant!)  On her Private Inner Sanctum Facebook page, we have lots of fun in the works, including discussions with other like-minded readers, special swag giveaways, sneak peeks and the inside scoop, a member badge to post on your social media, and of course, more personal interaction with Elle.

How you can help spread the word about Elle:

Being an Ellemental is entirely a volunteer position. Do what you can, when you can.  We appreciate any effort you can make, and want you to know that every contribution is greatly cherished.
Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • tell your friends about your favorite Elle Casey books
  • post your reviews and ratings of Elle’s books on Amazon
  • cross-post or share your reviews on your social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter) and your blog (if you have one)
  • share your thoughts about the books on book blogger sites (when they ask for your suggestions or opinions, of course)
  • share fun swag (free bookmarks, key chains, tote bags, t-shirts!)
  • participate in missions promoting a specific book or series that you really like

How do you become an Ellemental?

It’s easy!  Take 2 minutes to fill out the form by clicking HERE.

Your request will be quickly processed and you’ll be added to Elle’s Private Inner Sanctum Facebook Page.  Once there, you’ll find more information about Elle’s special giveaways, opportunities to interact more with Elle, and the ways you can help spread the word about her work.

We look forward to seeing you in the Inner Sanctum!

Spring Fling! Read Elle Casey’s REBEL for only $0.99 – one day only!

page header general

Rebel series ad

Are you looking for a fun read this weekend?

Have you read Elle Casey’s REBEL yet?

Elle has a great deal in the works to celebrate Spring!  If you haven’t read REBEL yet, now’s the time! Or, if you have read it and LOVED it, why not share it with a friend?

Book 1 in the 3-book series is $0.99, but for one day only – Saturday, March 21st.

Genre: New Adult Romance

Teagan Cross, wiseass extraordinaire, goes from princess to pauper in a single phone call. Suddenly, the world is against her. Teagen’s a rebel, determined to live life on her own terms; but when she meets a different kind of Rebel, she’s forced to make the biggest decision of her life.

REBEL on Amazon US

REBEL on Barnes & Noble

REBEL on Google Play

 

Guest Post by Elle Casey Assistant Noelle Gaussens

noelle@ellecasey.com

Reader fans, meet Noelle!

Noelle

NoelleI have some seriously exciting news to share!

I know to you it might sound like just regular old news, but trust me, it’s not. I’ve been wanting to do this for going on two years now … I’ve hired an assistant!! Woo hoo!!

Please join me in welcoming Noelle to the team! She’ll be taking over a lot of the marketing and business management end of things for me so I can focus on writing and chatting with fans.

Over the past three years, as I’ve written more books and my fan base has grown, it’s been getting harder and harder to keep up with everything. At some point I just had to stop doing some things I really enjoyed like creating and sending out swag and attending events, hosting contests, doing fun things with book bloggers, and my interaction with fans slowed considerably. Basically, all the fun parts of the writing business other than the writing itself went on the back burner.

My fervent hope is that after Noelle has passed through the training period (about 90 days of learning the ropes … there are a lot of them!), you will see a huge difference in our little Elle Casey world. First and foremost, there will be more books for you to read this year than in any year before. Second, you’ll see me traveling a little more, so I can meet some fans in person. And finally, we will be starting up some really great projects for our reading communities that you can help us put in place, getting more people reading and providing better access to books for kids and adults. There will be other fun changes and new things too, but I’ll leave those to be surprises. :)

I ask you all to give Noelle a virtual hug when you see her on my Facebook page and via email if you so desire. Show her how amazing Elle Casey reader-fans can be!! So far, she’s seriously impressed with you all and so am I. You guys are the very best readers in all the land. Noelle can be reached at Noelle [at] ellecasey (dot) com.

For the next 90 days, as I’m training Noelle and she’s learning, we may go through some awkward transitions (re-designing our website, Facebook page, newsletters, etc.). I hope you’ll be patient with us during this period and not hold any major boo-boos against us. I promise, we’ll do our best to get everything running like a well-oiled machine ASAP!

 

Squirrel!

squirrel-nut-cute-animal-nature-grass-1920x1280

When I first started writing three years ago, I put my publishing schedule together each year in January. But last year it didn’t work out so well. After several troll attacks that really had me questioning why I bothered to do some of the things I do, I took a step back from writing, from promoting, from pretty much everything involved in publishing books. As a result, I finished fewer novels than I had originally planned. It was a frustrating time for me, but with time came the ability to let it all go.

So now, I’m on a roll. I’ve figured out my publishing schedule through the end of 2015 already, and for the last 8 days, I’ve written over 6,000 words a day. It feels great. I guess the only thing getting in my way is that thing that distracts every writer. I call it … SQUIRREL!

There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank page to a writer. Even for someone who’s prolific, a writing goal set for the day is an obstacle to get over. That’s where the squirrel comes in to make things even more difficult.

Today I was typing out my first paragraph of the day, and it crossed my mind that I hadn’t checked on the health of a friend of mine who had a fall off his bike. I thought I should probably stop writing for a minute and send him a text.

SQUIRREL!  squirrel-nut-cute-animal-nature-grass-1920x1280

Fact of life for a writer: Any excuse to stop writing can and will present itself in the midst of writing towards a deadline.

I knew I’d meet my word count goal by lunchtime, so my friend’s text could wait. I convinced myself to get back to writing and leave the texting for later.

I typed another paragraph, but as I started on another, I thought of a puppy I’d seen online that I really wanted to buy. I could just go look at her adorable picture once more…

SQUIRREL!

I had 1,500 words done and suddenly, I thought it might be a nice idea to do a load of laundry …

SQUIRREL!

And send an email…

SQUIRREL!

And post something to Facebook…

SQUIRREL!

And, and … and …

SQUIRREL!  SQUIRREL!  SQUIRREL!  SQUIRREL!

I think you get the idea. The writer’s bane is a bunch of wild squirrels. The only way to manage them is to herd them into a little corner of the room and deal with  them after the word count is done. :)

The interesting thing is that once the writing is done, the herd of squirrels has dwindled down to almost none, little bastards that they are.

 

 

iBooks kicking it up a notch … for my author and blogger friends …

In case you’re as clueless as I was about iBooks tools and affiliate program, this is for you!! I plan to start putting all of this in place in the next two weeks as I ramp up for an amazing 2015. This goes for bloggers and authors who are looking to earn more income from book referrals and sales, or who are looking for ways to fund great promotions for their readers.

Did you know?…

iBooks offers 7% commission to affiliates, and you don’t need to be a direct upload author to get in on the action.

Even bloggers and regular non-published folk can be affiliates. Anytime anyone buys ANYTHING at the apple online store following one of your links to get there, even computers and such, you get 7% commission on it. [I’m pretty sure about the hardware thing. But if I’m wrong, at least I know it works for music, movies, books, applications, and things like that. Working off memory here.]  This works for 24 hours after they’ve followed your link. And no, you do not need to link to a computer. Link to your books or the books of other authors’ books and if they buy anything in the online store after following that link, you get commission credit.  I use my affiliate money to fund promotions. It’s free, it’s there for the taking, and my readers love promotions, so why not take advantage of it?

iBooks also has these great author tools to help market your books on iBooks. I talked to several authors whose income on iBooks has surpassed their income on Amazon. (whoa nelly) These people are using these tools. I’ve linked to them below.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard this before from the iBooks people directly, here’s the explanation, provided to me by one of the two Apple iBook reps: Apple makes it impossible for iBooks people to contact you about this stuff. They have told their reps they cannot and they don’t give them access to it (email addresses of authors) anyway. They call it a concern for privacy. I call it hamstringing-oneself, but what do I know.

Anyway, iBooks is becoming a contender in the ebooks retail space, despite their inability to properly market their services and despite their ridiculously inadequate book search capability, and what with the KUpocalypse, I figured getting the good word out there about other programs is important. We need to be survivors to be career writers in this day and age; survive to thrive, baby.

Thus, here is a link to the affiliate sign-up: https://itunes.phgconsole.performancehorizon.com/login/itunes/en_us  and http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates

And here is a link to various author tools you have access to, including the ability to make widgets, banners, and other helpful links directing people to your iBooks portfolio:

1. for iBooks badges to use on your sites: http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/resources/documentation/badges.html
2. to make links to your or others’ books: http://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com
3. auto link maker: https://autolinkmaker.itunes.apple.com
4. banner builder: http://banners.itunes.apple.com
5. widget builder: https://widgets.itunes.apple.com/builder
6. general FAQ about iBooks: http://itunes.com/iBooksFAQ
7. guidelines about how you’re allowed to use Apple badges and so on using social media: http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/resources/documentation/identity-guidelines.html

All of these items were provided via this document: https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/ra/resources/download/iBookStoreMarketingAndAffiliateKit/zip
And here as well: http://www.apple.com/itunes/working-itunes/

Best of luck to all of you getting more sales across several platforms!

Want to win an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of a book I contributed to?

telepath

telepath

For My Science Fiction Fans…

I have 5 Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of THE TELEPATH CHRONICLES, a book to which I’ve contributed a story called “Dreampath”.

GET THE BOOK FREE, LEAVE AN HONEST REVIEW, that’s the deal.

It’s a science fiction anthology, with many short stories by several great authors, including: Elle Casey (that’s me, y’all!), Peter Cawdron, Nina Croft, E.E. Giorgi, Autumn Kalquist, Theresa Kay (one of my fab readers-turned-writers), Therin Knite, MeiLin Miranda, Susan Kaye Quinn, Chris Reher, Vincent Trigili, Endi Webb, & Nicolas Wilson.

If you would like one of these 5 advance copies (only available for Kindle), please GO TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE and (1) LIKE the post about this giveaway; (2) COMMENT below the post with the name of the first book of mine you ever read; and (3) SHARE that post to your Facebook wall.

I will select 5 people from that list at random tomorrow. GOOD LUCK!

Who wins in the race to the bottom?

I haven’t gotten up on my soapbox in a long time, mostly because every time I do, trolls come after me online, but oh well. Sometimes the need to express myself outweighs the strength of my self-preservation instinct LOL.  Here’s my latest opinion piece about the reading and publishing communities. >> WARNING: Grab some popcorn because this is long. But I hope you read the whole thing because it’s important. FIRST, I talk about great authors disappearing and SECOND I talk about a very disturbing trend in the publishing market with regard to Amazon.

GREAT AUTHORS DISAPPEARING THEMSELVES

I read a long post from Cassia Leo (an author who writes really fun, very emotional, original romance novels) about how she’s going to kill her pen name and start her career anew with another one and not tell any of her old fans what that new name is.

Does that sound crazy to you? It does to me because I know how much work it takes to build a fan-base; but I DO understand what has motivated her to do this, and I wanted to share those thoughts with you because they concern us all, readers and writers alike. Not only are we talking about author/reader relations but also Amazon and its pricing and promotional strategies and how they’re affecting your reading experience in a negative way.

Cassia spends a HUGE amount of time online talking with her fans. I mean, literally talking to them live in chat rooms, on Facebook walls, on online events, and by private message. She does a TON of promotions, often discounting the price of her books to 99¢ or FREE for long periods of time.

She has done this discounting so much, in fact, that now many of her readers have decided that they’re never going to pay regular price for her work. Some have actually verbally attacked her for daring to price her books at $3.99 — which in case you didn’t know, is still often less than HALF the price of traditionally-published ebooks. Cassia is a single mom who also takes care of an elderly ailing parent. She supports her family solely with her writing income.

Cassia’s books have made it to all the bestseller lists. She regularly launches a new book and has it zoom right to the top of the charts with amazing reviews from readers. She writes well, and readers love her stories. So why is she getting attacked?

The lesson that Cassia has learned, and that I learned a while back, is that if you try to be all things to all people, there is a group of readers who will start to get angry at you when you fail at that, and they will attack you. And you WILL fail at pleasing everyone all the time; it’s just not possible.

Being a writer, having readers attack you –people who you bend over backwards to treat like gold — is soul-crushing. It makes it impossible to write anymore. It makes you want to run away and never come back, which is what Cassia is going to do, in a way.

Writers work in the business of creation. Creators put a piece of themselves into everything they create. Most of us have worked 9-5 jobs before becoming authors, and it’s true to say that writing books is not like other jobs. Each book or short story or whatever ends up holding a piece of US inside it, every time; it’s a very personal thing.

We will sometimes discount the price of that very personal creation to raise awareness of it and hopefully get wider distribution of it. That’s the necessary business end of things. We need readers to be successful! (duh) Maybe you didn’t realize this, but just in case there’s a misconception out there, I’m going to clarify one point: Indie authors don’t EVER discount the price of their work because they think it’s not worth the full retail price.

We price our creations (books in this case, but also music, works of art, etc.) at what we consider to be a fair level, and occasionally lower the price to help sell more of them to more readers. Do we have to do this? No. As indie authors, we are in charge of our pricing. Is it nice for readers when we do this? Sure. Everyone has a book budget, and it’s nice when it can stretch further. Can we afford to do it all the time? No. Absolutely not. And here’s why you shouldn’t expect us to:

When writers can’t afford to support themselves as writers, they have to stop writing.

It’s as simple as that.

The question to ask yourself as a consumer of books is this: Do you want to have great books available to read? Sure you do. There’s nothing more annoying than sitting down with what you hope is a great book and realize you bought a total stinker. That’s wasted time you’ll never get back, and time is very precious to all of us.

As a reader who wants to read great books, it behooves you to support the authors who write books you love, so you can have more of them in the future. And when I say “support” I mean not just online on their fan pages, but financially … by buying their books.

The number one way you can support your favorite authors is to NOT PIRATE EBOOKS. It’s sickening for a writer to go on a pirate site and see her books being stolen to the tune of hundreds of copies an hour, knowing she’ll never see a single penny of royalties for those downloads. It’s ridiculous to me and any thinking, rational person that readers who wouldn’t dream of shoplifting from their local grocery store would happily steal ebooks from writers. Pirating is stealing. There’s no way around that fact. If you pirate books, you’re stealing from an author who you obviously otherwise admire. Crazy, right?

People who steal ebooks are selfish, obviously, and in being selfish they end up hurting not just themselves, but the writer they like and all her other readers. My own writing schedule has slowed way down as a result of the disappointment I’ve experienced seeing pirates steal from me. That means less books for my fans. How is that right or fair to the reading community?

The other way readers can support their favorite authors is to be respectful. Fan-girling is cool, but when it turns ugly, it turns really ugly. Demanding that someone lower their prices or send you a free book because you think you deserve it is being disrespectful and downright rude. (yes, people do this) Threatening to leave bad reviews if the books aren’t priced how you think they should be priced is blackmail and awful.(yes, people do this too) If you don’t like the price of a book, just don’t buy it. There’s no need to go on the warpath over it. Readers should vote with their dollars not their inner mean-girl.

I know most readers wouldn’t dream of doing these kinds of things ^^; it’s the bad apples that spoil the whole barrel of good ones. But sometimes even good people get carried away, especially when they can live in the anonymity of the online world, free of witnesses. You’d be surprised how many of my true fans have stolen ebooks from me on pirate sites and thought nothing of it. I’ve received some apologies by email, so I know this happens.

I know that online social media makes it seem like we all need to be personally connected all the time, but the truth is, it’s the stories that matter. You read to escape everyday life. Being online constantly with thousands of readers doesn’t leave a whole lot of stress-free time for writing or just living. I love being online with my readers, but I’ve had to learn how to temper that with time for family and time for writing too. So if your favorite author isn’t always available to you, please don’t punish her for that. We’re people too, with families, with responsibilities to those people and others, and we have a full time job trying to create, from nothing, new worlds filled with interesting people with exciting lives.

A RACE TO THE BOTTOM

Last, I’m going to send out a dire warning to the entire book-reading community. I hope I’m wrong about all of this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not. I’ve been an indie author for almost 3 years now, with several bestsellers and lots of time spent studying the numbers. I see lots of changes coming very fast that I think will end up hurting us all, writers and readers alike.

Amazon, a company I love to work with and respect very highly, has engaged in a race to the bottom of ebook pricing with several other online retailers and subscription service providers. As a result of their campaign to offer the lowest prices anywhere, the average price of books has gradually gone lower and lower, to the point now that many readers expect all books to be 99¢ or free.

Is this good for readers? On the surface, sure. It’s awesome. You can now buy ten books instead of just one. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, let me tell you…

Have you noticed that the quality of the books has gone down while the quantity has gone up? Because I sure have. And I’ll tell you why I think that’s happening, and why it’s happening at a very accelerated pace right now:

Amazon has this new deal, where if an author joins their subscription service with a 99¢ book, and someone who subscribes to that service downloads that book, the author will earn $2.00 in royalties.

Say whaaaat?  Yes, it’s true. You’ll have to ask the number-crunchers how this equates into a good idea financially for Amazon (who incidentally sells a lot more than just books, so if you save money on books, I guess you have more money to buy other products from Amazon, right? — so they don’t necessarily lose out) but for now, let’s just forget their profitability. Let’s look at the authors involved.

If you’re a writer of quality material, you’re generally not writing 99¢ books, unless they’re just serials or short-stories or on a special promotion (like first book in a series, or temporary sale to increase readership). A good writer can get $4.99 or more for her work without too much trouble, and that’s a fair price: $4.99 for many hours of entertainment is way cheaper than a 2-hour movie.

But a writer who can’t write well or who is happy writing little short stories can churn out all kinds of stuff at 99¢ and then make a killing with this new Amazon deal. All they need is a download, not even a full reading of the book!

Did you know that great authors, people with thousands of genuine 5-star reviews, are talking about taking full novels and breaking them up into pieces and selling them at 99¢ per piece so they can continue to earn a fair royalty? Yeah. That’s how bad it’s gotten. Authors who want to continue to be authors have to be survivors too. When Amazon does something like this, we have to adapt, and unfortunately, everyone loses (everyone but Amazon, actually).

So what kind of material are YOU seeing online? Have you seen quality go down and quantity go up? Do you find it harder and harder to find books you like? If you answered YES, well, you’re not alone. That’s all about the race to the bottom.

Think about it: If you pay 99¢ or less for a book and it sucks, you don’t get too bent out of shape over it. You move on. But if you pay $4.99 for a book and it sucks, well, you definitely have something to say about that. So when books are priced higher, writers have to respond by either upping their game and writing quality material or stopping writing altogether. Bad writing at $4.99 is not a sustainable model. Bad writing at 99¢ is. We’re seeing that now, thanks to Amazon.

So I’m asking you this: which is better for the readers? A glut of crappy books that may or may not be worth what you pay for them, or a system of pay that rewards good writing and punishes bad writing?

I’m no finance wizard, but I AM a voracious reader, and I can tell you right now I’d rather spend $5 on one awesome book than 99¢, 5 times on 5 crappy books that pay some not-so-talented writers $10. Call me crazy.

I’m going to (finally) finish this piece by saying that I LOVE AMAZON. Without Amazon, I wouldn’t be living as a writer. Amazon has changed not only my life but the book-reading experience forever, and mostly in a very good way. And the people who work there are always coming up with new things to improve the customer experience. Sometimes they get it really right, and sometimes they get it really wrong, but at least they’re trying.

But, it’s important to remember that Amazon is not a person; it’s a business — a business struggling to remain profitable. Amazon knows that to be the #1 online retailer, it needs sales. Sales of ANYTHING, not just books. So if books become a loss-leader for them, where they basically give them away for free or it costs them money to “sell” them, but consumers spend more time on the site and buy more things, they’ll do that. I think this race to the bottom is a very short-sighted plan, causing good writers to disappear, but hey, like I said, I’m no finance wiz. All I know is that as my income drops, I have to come up with a plan for myself and my readers that will keep me writing and them buying my books.