2015 – A Year in Reviews!!

2015---A-Year-in-ReviewWeb

2015 – A Year in Reviews! 2015 was a busy reading year for me. As an Indie author, I realize the importance of reviews. Reviews provide feedback from readers, gives the author a chance to interact with readers, makes new friends, and generally improve his/her writing. In 2015, I decided I would write reviews for all the books I read, post them to as many sites as I could, and try to give constructive feedback to the authors.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I typically buy the books I read so I don’t create any obligation to provide a “good” review. However, since I am trying to help authors, if I cannot give at least a 4 Star review, I try to contact the author directly to offer my comments, rather than post the review. In this post, I wanted to list all my reviews, a link to the Amazon.com review, and the star rating I gave each book. So, without further ado, here is my 2015 review list from newest to oldest!

Darkspire Reaches by C N Lesley: 4 Stars

Scroll Back by Jay Stamatis and Steven Stamatis: 4 Stars

We Journey No More by Sahara Foley: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Lodestone Book 1: Witch Hunt by Wendy Scott: 5 Stars

Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller by Demelza Carlton: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Rys Rising by Tracy Falbe: 5 Stars

Daniel’s Fork: A Mystery Set in the Daniel’s Fork Universe by Zeece Lugo: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

The Wanderer: Book One of the Godsend Series: Section One by Timothious Smith: 4 Stars

The Battle for Brisingamen by Harmony Kent: 4 Stars

Timelapse by Lorrie Farrelly: 5 Stars

Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert: 5 Stars

A Pink Zombie, With a Mist by Jada Ryker: 4 Stars

Hero For Hire (Eno The Thracian Book 1) by C B Pratt: 5 Stars

Think Murder by Cassidy Salem: 4 Stars

The Dark Masters: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume II by David Wind: 5 Stars

Worlds of the Never (Tales of the Neverwar 2) by C J Rutherford: 5 Stars

Haunted Hearts – #1: A Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery by Kim Cox: 4 Stars

The Soldier’s Secret by Heather Anne Osborne: 5 Stars

Simple by Dena Nicotra: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

I Hero: The Beginning by Jason Zandri: 4 Stars

The Dry by Rebecca Nolen: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Glitter of Magic: The Knight and the Fairy (Myth Retold, Book 1) by J. R. Biery: 4 Stars

Dragon Fireside Tales: The Dragon Chronicles by Adam Boustead: 4 Stars

The Revelation Room (The Ben Whittle Investigation Series Book 1) by Mark Tilbury: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Everwud Book 3: Revolution by Marilyn Dieckmann: 5 Stars

Edge of the World: A Dystopian Story Set in the Daniel’s Fork Universe by Zeece Lugo: 4 Stars

Doom (The Heart of the Staff Book 6) by Carol Marrs Phipps: 5 Stars

Crystal Conquest by Doug J. Cooper: 5 Stars

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone: 4 Stars

Born To Magic: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume 1 by David Wind: 5 Stars

Bound to Survive: The Magic Within (The Magic Within Series Book 1) by Sharon Gibbs: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Forever Boy (Clockpunk Wizard Book 1) by Lita Burke: 4 Stars

Origins of the Never (A Prequel to The War of the Neverwar Series) by C J Rutherford: 5 Stars

The Unknown Sun by Cheryl Mackey: 5 Stars

The Reaper Witch (Heart of the Staff Book 5) by Carol Marrs Phipps: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Kyrathaba Rising (Kyrathaba Chronicles Book 1) by William Bryan Miller: 5 Stars

Elevation of the Marked by March McCarron: 5 Stars

The Secret of Excalibur by Sahara Foley: 4 Stars

Crystal Deception by Doug J Cooper: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Alien Nightmares by Sharon Delarose: 4 Stars

A Demon’s Quest: The Beginning of the End by Charles Carfagno: 4 Stars

Riddle of Prague (QuickSlver Legacy Series Book 1) by Laura DeBruce: 5 Stars

Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke: 4 Stars

Division of the Marked by March McCarron: 5 Stars

Hunter’s Haven by Linda Thackery: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Forest Bull (The Fearless Book 1) by Terry Maggert: 4 Stars

There you have my 2015 – A Year in Reviews list. Everything from fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, mysteries, thrillers, adult to middle grades, and a bit of dystopia thrown in for good measure. I hope maybe you can find a new author to read in 2016 based on this list.

If you do decide to read one of these books, or if you decide to read one (or more) of The Gemstone Chronicles, please consider leaving a review. And, if you do find something interesting to read, leave me a comment, send me an email, or connect with me on social media and let me know! I would love to read your review of the books!

Connect with me:

On social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Or, if you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy 2016!!

Happy Holidays! I was in my living room last night, helping Aidan and Maggie (yep, the same two whose namesakes grace the pages of The Gemstone Chronicles series) decorate their Christmas tree (we have 2 – one that is the front window of our house where we place most of the presents and a second one we call the kid’s tree). We put many of our favorite ornaments on the kid’s tree, and it always spurs moments of recollection of when we got the ornaments, why they are special, and then we have to find just the right spot for the ornament to hang. It made me want to share some of our holidays with you, my readers and friends! Without further ado, then, here are some holiday images to share!

First, here is our house, well-lit for Christmas! This year, our relatively new boxwood shrubs are finally large enough to light.

Happy Holidays 2015-Christmas-Lights-Web

I really like our front door, too. Our snowman with his red hat and scarf are a great addition to the decorations!

Happy Holidays Christmas-2015-Front-Door

 

As I mentioned above, we have 2 trees. This is the tree at the front of the that house shines with the rest of the lighted decor to lend our house a festive glow!

Happy Holidays Christmas-2015-Tree

The kid’s tree is beautifully decorated, too. Some of my favorite decorations on this tree are the Noah’s Ark ornaments.

Happy Holidays 2015-Kid's-Tree-Web

Here are my favorite Noah’s Ark ornaments!

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-1

 

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-2

 

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-3

To go along with the season, I want to thank all of you readers out there for visiting my blog, leaving me comments, and reading and reviewing my books. You have no idea how much your comments, connections, and feedback mean to me. Thank you all!!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Tumblr. You can always just drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com, too!

Have yourselves a safe and happy holidays and best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

Book Marketing Part 3 – The Fog Begins to Lift!!

Book Marketing Part 3 Fog Lifting

In my previous posts on the book marketing topic, I talked about some of the things that I have tried from a marketing perspective. Book Marketing Part 3 – The Fog Begins to Lift means that some of this marketing stuff is beginning to become clear to me. Working through some of the topics I have has helped clarify things for me and will help me formulate a marketing plan for 2015. Today, I want to talk about KDP, Kindle Select, Kindle Unlimited and a few others. Let’s get started!

Kindle, KDP, Kindle Select, Kindle Unlimited, and Smashwords

I published all 4 of The Gemstone Chronicles on Kindle, Smashwords, and Createspace. As most of you know, Kindle is the heavyweight in the self-publishing world, so you must have a presence there (at least that’s my opinion). If you are part of Kindle Direct (KDP), then you can publish on other platforms and expand your market options. That is where I personally have seen the best results. If you are part of Kindle Select or Kindle Unlimited, then you can only sell ebooks through Amazon. This can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.

Some authors who unpublished their works on Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, etc. to go exclusive on Kindle Unlimited and have done very well with that strategy. I know others who locked themselves into the 3 month Kindle Select program and didn’t see any boost at all. I tried Kindle Select and it didn’t work for me. While I still get a majority of my ebooks sales through Amazon, I do get a nice percentage of sales from Smashwords (and via Kobo, iBooks, and other outlets with whom Smashwords partners). I haven’t tried Kindle Unlimited as I don’t want to withdraw my books from those other outlets.

As with other book marketing options, you just have to try them to see which works best for your situation. Remember, too, that these companies are all for-profit organizations, so the decisions they make are in their best interests, not necessarily yours. I’m certainly not bashing the companies for making a profit. Without profits, they wouldn’t be in existence, but they are going to make decisions that most benefit themselves.

BookBub

Bookbub is an interesting site to visit and consider. I cannot say that I have used Bookbub, but that is simply a matter of economics for me. As I have mentioned in the previous posts, I have little to no promotional budget, so BookBub just doesn’t work for me at this time. I know authors who have used it and done very well. Let me give you some BookBub stats for what it would be for one of my books.

For Fantasy, Bookbub has 950,000+ subscribers. Depending on the price of the book, there are different prices for the promotion that range between $175 and $875. A fantasy book averages 17,400 downloads and 1360 sales. The range of sales is 210 – 3530. What this means to me is that I could reduce the price of a book to $0.99, pay $325 for the promotion, and, if I sell the average, make $1021. However, if I sell on the low-end (210 books sold), then I lose money.

However, it isn’t simply a make or lose money decision. If I run that promotion and I sell 210 of The Carnelian and sell 210 of The Amethyst (for which I didn’t pay any promotional fee to BookBub) as a result of a reader becoming interested in the series after buying the first book as part of the promotion, then I come out ahead. Remember, this is about promotion and marketing, so getting the book out there to the public is the goal! Here is the link to BookBub’s listing requirements. This page will give you all the information you need to try to get listed on BookBub!

As I sell books, I do try to set some aside for promotional efforts. Once I get enough saved up, I think I will give BookBub a try. I have heard that it isn’t the easiest place to get accepted, and many authors I have talked with have submitted multiple times before getting accepted. Don’t be discouraged! If you don’t get on BookBub initially, try other options until BookBub accepts your submission!

BookViral

BookViral is similar to BookBub in that it is a pay site. Unlike BookBub, though, BookViral provides a review and promotional activity for a period of time. I did give BookViral a try for The Carnelian (here is the link) and did get some sales from it, but I don’t think I recovered the amount spent for the listing. The review was great and they do a good job of tweeting it, posting it on Facebook, and other social media sites, so there certainly is a lot of exposure to be gained from the site. It is reasonably priced, I think, and cost me about $120 to do the promotion. Since the links provided at BookViral are links to Amazon, the selling price is whatever you have at that time. it might be a good option to try while you are waiting on acceptance from BookBub, although BookViral does say that they have standards for approval as well, so I can’t say how difficult it is to get accepted. I know that they did accept mine on first submission.

Clean Indie Reads

Clean Indie Reads is a great website I found a couple of years ago. The site targets middle grade and up and is the home of flinch-free fiction. This means there isn’t any erotica or sexually explicit material, minimal curse words (including no “F words”), and no graphic violence or gore. My books are middle grade and up and meet the other criteria. It was a great place to list them. CIR consists of a great bunch of authors that are always ready to help and will retweet and provide support for the CIR group. If you have flinch-free books, give CIR a try!! Here is a link to my CIR page so you can get an idea of what it’s like.

There are so many options out there for marketing opportunities. This small sampling and those from the previous posts cannot begin to list them all. In my next post, I will try to introduce some other opportunities of which I am aware. If you want to share what has worked for your and your marketing efforts, leave me a comment. I would love to check them out! Let’s all sell more books in 2015!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+! I always enjoy meeting new people and making new connections. If you have read any of The Gemstone Chronicles, I would love to know what you thought and would appreciate a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Smashwords! Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2015!!