Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #12 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#12. Getting eBooks sales at book signings.
One thing I don’t want to hear when I’m at a book event is, “I read all my books on Kindle now,” especially when I have 50+ books sitting on my table to sell. Masking my disappointment, I give them a postcard that lists my eBooks and tell them, “I’ll still get credit if you download, so please support me.”
“I sure will,” is the usual response.
Unfortunately, when I get home and review my sales report for eBooks, I find only a few follow through that first week or even by the second week. One reason could be out of sight, out of mind.

There has to be an incentive for a reader to download your eBook on the spot. I’ve been pondering a solution for that a while now. At this year’s RT Booklovers Convention, I was introduced to a service that allows authors to autograph their eBook covers on eReaders without leaving any permanent marks and the signature will only show up on the screen when that eBook cover is displayed. I haven’t investigated it for myself, but I’ve seen other authors use it with ease. Check out Another option I learned about from author Paris Love at the National Black Book Club Conference is Book stubs. It looks like a playing card with the book cover on the front and its QR code on the back for the reader to scan to download the book. The author could sell the card, say for $5.00, and the readers can download the book at any time. You’ve made a sale!! You can also use it for free download promotions. Of course, you would have to work the logistics of it, but I did a little research into this promotion, and this isn’t cheap.  Check out this blog for more information: Thanks, Paris Love, for sharing! Until Next time, I hope this information has been blessing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #11 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#11. What’s happening at the libraries? But first, I’ve reached out to Kiffer Brown who taught the workshop on +1 and she agreed to answer questions for the blog. I wanted to make sure I am as accurate as possible on these important tools for authors that I am sharing, so I’m waiting for her responses.

At Romance Slam Jam (RSJ 2014), I sat in on a workshop entitled Romance Readers Advisory: A Librarian Prospective with LaToya Devezin. She said the top African-American romance genres checked out at her New Orleans branch was urban fiction, Christian fiction and erotica. YA, graphic novels and paranormal also made the list. She also mentioned—the first time I heard about this. It’s an electronic catalog system where library patrons can borrow eBooks. So I logged onto to see if any of my books showed up from my previous publishers—none at my public library. But on a main database, I did see all three novels from Moody. You can check to see if any of your eBooks under emedia at your local library. So now I’m thinking, why not try to get some of my self-published titles on Overdrive? But author BEWARE. My understanding is you sell one copy of your eBook for $2.99 to a library. That one copy can be download unlimited times from the library. According to a local librarian, this is the way for new authors to get noticed. Since you don’t earn royalties when someone checks out your eBook, you might not be worth it to you, or you might want to look at it as a promotion. Either way, now you know something I didn’t, or maybe you already knew and can add to the conversation. Feel free. I hope this post has been a blessing to you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #10 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

I heard about pre-orders from Mark Coker and his assistant, Jim Azeveo, at the RT Booklovers Convention, Romcon, and RWA. I spoke with both of them one-on-one several times.
The concept is not new, because big publishers have done this for years. Indie authors I met said this is where the $$ is. Until last week, Smashwords was the only option for indie authors to upload an eBook for pre-orders.
In the workshop at RT, Mark Coker seemed to be flexible with the “eBook release” date. If the manuscript wasn’t ready, simply push back the date. I could see this backfiring for new authors. However, life happens, and that at times, we have to request an extension.
Mark said the key to success was having the eBook on the pre-order status for as long as possible. Here’s why. Let’s suppose you decide to release an eBook on October 1, 2014. Mark suggests you upload it on August or September 1st because if you generate one pre-order sale a day for 60 days, when that eBook goes live on October 1st, all those 60 orders will be applied on one day and that will immediately boost your sales ranking. Sounds like a plan!
 Talk to Me
So I tried this exciting opportunity! After I had TALK TO ME reproofed, formatted, and a new cover created, I uploaded it on Smashwords at a reduced price $2.99 vs. $5.99 for pre-orders. Since August 1st, 26 readers have downloaded a sample, but no sales—bummer. Hmm, I must have done something wrong. But since this plan has worked for others, I’m going to give pre-orders another try with my Christmas eBook. I guess I better write it first.
Okay, what happened last week? Amazon jumped on board with pre-order options for indie authors—about time. HOWEVER, they have stricter guidelines. The most important one is there is no flexibility on delivery date. If I say my book will be ready on October 1st, I can’t push it back, regardless of any unforeseen circumstances. If I don’t deliver it on that date, Amazon will suspend me from the pre-orders program for one year. Yikes. That is a serious offense.
So I uploaded TALK TO ME with the same discount price. When I listed my September 2, 2014, release date, Amazon sent me a notice that my final manuscript must be to them by 8/23/2014. These people are serious. Although, I can’t see where I’ve generated any pre-sales, I did make ranking yesterday, but it’s gone today.
So there you have it on what I’ve learned about pre-orders at the conferences. FYI, Apple and Google Books also have pre-order programs.  The key is to have it on pre-orders as early as possible—the longer, the better—but you have to deliver. Make sure your eBook is almost done before you sign on to this commitment.

Next up is #11. Why Google+ is the new Black (I’m trying to reach the workshop speaker to send me one or two highlights), if not, I’ll talk about street teams—my notes from RWA and an actual reader. Until then, I hope this has been a blessing.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #9 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#9. Free means $$. I decided after some recent announcements from KDP (Kindle), I should discuss FREE TIPS before I tackle PRE-ORDER TIPS. So here we go. I’ve been hearing the word “FREE” for years and until I attended Romcon in Denver, I really didn’t know how to go about it without enrolling in KDP Select—again, which I tried years ago without any success. I don’t like the idea of Amazon having exclusive rights to my book and lose $$ by removing them on other sites. However, the author at Romcon shared how I could get around it by using Smashwords to offer the first eBook in my Guilty series to all channels. I groaned. Not that dreaded Smashwords formatting—no! So I turned to Bookaholic on, and my problem was solved!! Thanks to author Tiffany Warren who reminded me about for covers.

Thanks to her, I uploaded GUILTY OF LOVE to Smashwords with ease. Within minutes, readers began to download it before I could even announce it on social media. So to date, here are my stats now after 10 days of being FREE on Smashwords, I had 600+ DOWNLOADS from readers and 27 DOWNLOADS from the library. I thought that was decent, considering those were 600 readers, giving me a try.
Next, I notified Amazon that GUILTY OF LOVE was FREE through Smashwords and could they match it. I was told they would look into it. After about a week of “looking into it”, GUILTY OF LOVE was available on Kindle for FREE. Look at my stats in just 5 days: More than 4200 FREE DOWNLOADS---wow. That’s 4200 readers that have never read me before. GUILTY OF LOVE will be Free until 8/24/2014. I’m hoping to get to 10,000 readers before then. Although it is slowing up.
Okay, I’m sure you’re wondering about how my other books in the series are doing. After all, that is why I’m doing this promotion.
·         Here is GUILTY OF LOVE:  Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

·         NOT GUILTY OF LOVE: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,294 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

·         STILL GUILTY: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,792 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
o    #35 in Books > Parenting & Relationships > Adoption

·         THE ACQUITTAL: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,367 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Thanks to different keywords (from one of my earlier TIPS), I ranked in different categories.

Not only that, contacted me and advised that GUILTY OF LOVE was on their website and invited me to be a featured author because of my ranking on Amazon. Free also had me listed. Wow, now that’s more FREE promotion that I didn’t count on. Look at Jesus as my church folks say.

I’m watching to see in my sales will go into triple digits on each one and earn more reviews. I’ll keep you posted.

In case you want to download GUILTY OF LOVE while it’s free, here’s the LINK:

So, as you can see, FREE has exposed me to new readers, only time will tell if those readers will become fans who buy the rest of my books. I hope this post has helped to bless someone’s business.

Stay tuned, in Tip #10, I will talk about my experience with pre-orders.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #8 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#8. If you’ve set up a Pinterest account, raise your hands. Now, if you didn’t chose a business Pinterest account, dropped them. I had an account for years and had no idea what I was doing except to upload jpegs of my books. Well, here’s the scoop I learned about the site at another workshop at RWA: Pinterest is growing faster than Twitter; it has about 70 million users; most are women who spend a lot of money; and we can write, publish and sell from Pinterest. Wow. What a newsflash! The good news is you can convert your personal account into a business one. Go to Once you do that, the company will email you daily easy step-by-step tips on what to do. The first thing I did was to add the PinIt button to my website and on my book covers.
Previously, I had my covers linked to Amazon, but I changed that and pinned my covers directly from my website. I did this so that anyone who repins my covers will know exactly where the image came from. They can click on my website and find out more, not only about my books, but me.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, find art work, images and sketches that tell your story. The speaker suggested creating a new board for each book. Okay, I experienced with only one book: Crowning Glory. It was fun searching for images I thought would depict my characters: a woman released from prison and a praying man. See my first attempt creating a storyboard at
One exciting suggestion was for authors of the same genre to have a PinIt party. You could also do it with your readers on Pinterest. As you can see, the possibilities for promotions are endless. Happy pinning!

Next up is #9. FREE and pre-orders. I heard these phrases at more than one conference, so I investigated. And don’t miss #10. Google + and why we should +1 people.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #7 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#7. Links: Are the books listed on your website linked to Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Googlebooks? Believe it or not, that is not enough to generate sales. While sitting in on a workshop at RWA, a speaker said if we don’t have links in the back of our eBooks to our other eBooks, especially the ones in a series, we are losing sales. Okay, I agreed with that. However, there was a slight—okay big problem for me. If I listed a Kobo link, Kindle wouldn’t accept the file, or if I listed an Amazon link, PubIt wouldn’t accept the file for Nook. My solution was to list my books, but not the links.
Wrong. For example, my latest eBook THE KEEPSAKE is available on Kindle. That means the document I uploaded to Kindle, should have Kindle links. The KEEPSAKE document I upload to Nook should have the Nook links, and so on for each site. This can be done by having a different last page for each document.
Yes, I hear you groaning. It’s a lot of work for some of us who haven’t been doing it. No more one size fits all anymore—at least not for me. We’re talking about leaving money on the table. Pass the collection plate please.
Also, I’m assuming my fellow authors are on all the eBook sites I listed above. If I missed any, please share.
Okay, in addition to the links in the back of your eBooks, your book covers should also have links to Pinterest (Pin it) and g+1.
Sorry for the delay in posting my tips, I’m not only writing, but trying to implement these tips as I go.

You don’t want to miss #8: Pinterest is open for BUSINESS--big business, and #9: FREE and pre-orders. Every indie author should give it a try.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #6 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#6. Covers, covers, and...title...and FONTS!

This is a short and simple post that I hope will have you take a second look at your covers. Since the rise of eBooks, book covers have gone from amateur desugned to professionally created--thanks to some talented graphics artists and reasonable prices.

One speaker at RWA said all her books in a series were selling except for one book, which didn't make sense. She kept scrutinizing her cover and then realized it was the color of the title FONT. The color "pink" made the title almost unreadable, so she simply changed the color to something darker and within days, her sales kicked in high gear like the rest of the books in the series.

Lesson learned: The image should be grabbing, but folks should be able to make out the title and author name, right. If you have the right combination of a title (with key phrases and key words) and an image, then you should have the making of a bestseller.

Don't miss my post on #7: Links. They are more than Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc. this workshop was an eye-opener.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #5 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#5. Readers, Reviews and THANKS. 
An author could never have too many reviews. I beg readers for them, either at signings, in the back of my book, or when readers email me—please post a review. But it seems most of the time, it doesn’t happen, still I try. While sitting in on Penny’s workshop at RWA, she described a marketing campaign for a new author who didn’t have a social media presence—nothing. No Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Strategy one was to have the author write a short note of heartfelt thanks to the readers for selecting her novel, then asked for them to post a review with a link. Okay, so I need to add a ‘THANK YOU’ page at the end of every novel—got it. That sounds reasonable. Next, Penny advised her client to respond to every review—positive or negative—with “thanks for giving me a try”, or something neutral. For some reason, that personal touch helped the woman’s book reviews to soar in the hundreds. Of course, writing a good book helps, but I thought, really? Who would have thought that a one-on-one with a reader would make more readers buy the book and post? It’s worth a try. If I can beg for reviews, then I ought to respond with a ‘THANK YOU’ to each and every one of them. Okay, I’m on it, beginning with my July 2014 reviews and on.

Don’t miss #6. Covers, covers, covers. We hear this all the time as authors that readers judge books by their covers, but in one workshop, the speaker tweaked one thing and her sales improved almost immediately.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #4. Keywords and phrases. Are we usually them to our advantage?

#4. At RWA, I was able to get a seat in a packed room for a workshop entitled HOWTO SELL YOUR BOOKS BY THE TRUCKLOAD ON AMAZON.COM. That is actually the name of the book written by marketing guru Penny C. Sansevieri.

Penny gave out stacks of tip cards (I think 15 in total) and each one had suggestions like TIP #7: Great Places to Find Cool Keywords. She listed four websites. Here are two: WORDTRACKER— I checked out the site, but it appears there is a fee for the service. Another one is, which gives popular keywords. TIP #13; Headline Enhancers; TIP #8 has Blogger Listings, and on. Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the front of the room, some tip cards were gone, so I don’t have a complete set.
Anyway, Penny pointed out that many of us are guilty of using key WORDS instead of key PHRASES. I heard this from at least three other workshop presenters. One speaker suggested we change our Key PHRASES every other month to find out what works best to improve our sales.
Another speaker said we should have at least 20 keywords per book on Amazon. Our title, subtitle, book description, categories, etc., all should contain key words and PHRASES to draw readers who are Goggling for books or perusing Amazon.
At one workshop, I brainstormed with the speaker about my title selection: A MAN’S TREASURE—a play on the phrase ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE. Not only were there more than a handful of books with that name, but the title alone would not draw readers. So I changed the title to WHAT GOD HAS FOR ME, which will be released at the end of August, early September 2014. Although I don’t have my blurb finished yet, the key PHRASES I plan to use are universal like blended family romance, unconditional love romance, single mother romance and second chances, a daddy’s love romance, etc. One thing I did for an existing title was change not only the key PHRASES, but categories. To my surprise, I ranked in non-fiction for a fiction book. Check out STILL GUILTY and you’ll see what I mean. In STOPPING TRAFFIC, I used A Back to School Romance in the subtitle to draw readers. Check out my key PHRASES.

But having a similar title with an existing book isn’t all bad. Check out my THE KEEPSAKE on Amazon, I’m right under NYT Tess Gerriston and The Keepsake: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel. How about when I wrote GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION and Marcia Clark (Remember O. J. Simpson?) and Guilt by Association.

I hope this post has been a blessing to somebody. Feel free to share and comment. I’ll come back with more of Penny’s tips in future postings. Okay, back to writing. In the meanwhile, you can check out Penny’s website:

Don’t miss #5. Readers, reviews and THANKS. You don’t want to miss this!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pat's Convention Note #3 of 100 things I learned from attending FIVE LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#3. Google Hangout. It's the new Skype adventure on steroids--That's a quote from Daphne Douglas and Deborah Dortch at RSJ 2014.

This was an interesting workshop that I attended just out of curiosity. I quickly learned that this is a valuable tool for authors if you have a Gmail account, which gives you access to Google+. While you're searching for friends to add to your circle, you might have seen the term "hangout".
Daphne suggested the Google Hangout is a great concept for book releases parties. You are allowed to have up to ten participants. Can you imagine talking to ten book club from across the country at one time? Since the space is limited, the talk or session is automatically recorded and uploaded to Youtube, a social media site every author should not only have, BUT use, that's according to another workshop instructor from another conference.
A few weeks ago, I was a guest along with Rochelle Carter and Paulette Harper on Sharon Jenkins's Literary Showcase on Google Hangout. Sharon definitely knew what she was doing. Me, on the other hand, need some tweaking. Go to Youtube to see the one hour show recorded from Google Hangout.

So, here is my game plan. Next month, the eBook version of TALK TO ME will be released. For fun, I decided to upload a clip of a guy signing the blurb of my book since my character is deaf. Remember, YouTube doesn't always have to be about book trailers or authors chatting. Be creative. Oh, BTW, I've become a big fan of where you can get all type of unusual service like the guy making a signing video for $5 or $10.
Thanks to author friend, Tiffany Warren and Rhonda McKnight, for reminding me about

You don't want to miss tip #4. This was an eye opener--keywords and phrases can make or break a sale.
Oh, and please feel free to add comments or tips that you've learned.