First off, I’d like to let you know about another great StoryOrigin giveaway. It’s in one of my favorite categories—All-Genre, with a bent towards Young Adult and family-friendly. Although genre-specific events are great for getting people who are interested in that genre, all-genre events are perfect for any books that don’t fit neatly into just one genre label. For instance, This Merry Summertime, the book in this giveaway, contains a mix of historical, fantasy, and contemporary under its celebration of “Family, Fantasy, and Young Women” subtitle. So any of those genres might cancel the others out for a genre-specific event, but all-genre is right up its alley and the fact the giveaway is clean and family-friendly is an added perk. It’s a big giveaway—74 books & 54 authors—so you’re sure to find something you like in this diverse newsletter builder event. Click here to see all the books!
Finished the first draft of Palladia 3 this week! I’ve got to say, I haven’t written a story like this before. But what I’ve liked about working on each one of my books is they don’t duplicate each other, so readers get to explore a different scenario every time. That keeps things fresh because if authors have created for a long time, as I have, they run the risk of lapsing into staleness, repetitions of previous books, and a dearth of new ideas. But that hasn’t happened, at least so far, to me as this book was an emotionally intensive story to write with one of the weirdest plot premises I’ve ever used. I've put the manuscript aside for a few weeks so I can go back into it with fresh eyes later on and get it ready for beta readers, and I’ll write a full description when I dive back into the story a short time from now.
But just to let you know what it’s about, the story built to a climactic encounter with the villain in which Arielle, inspired by Katia and challenged by Consuela, faced her inner weaknesses and learned to rise past a situation that ate away at her self-esteem and made her bitter. The action takes place in Dorilantz, a country that neighbors Palladia and Belaria but was not visited in the first two books, which has an oppressive regime that still persecutes the EC. When Arielle is chosen for a symbolic ritual called The Princess is Not Pretty, in which she is put on a stage and mocked every day as a way for the two people groups in her country to come to terms, she pretty much gets really frustrated about it. But in choosing the right—yet not natural-feeling decision—to think outside her immediate emotions, she ends up making the world a better place and coming to terms with what she was afraid of.
And the title will be: Celestine Princess. The logic for this naming is simple. The first two Palladia books have titles that begin with the letter C and cover art that shows one girl as the central concept of each book. It keeps the series branding consistent to use these for the third book—title starts with “C” and the emphasis is on the female MC of that book. The title for Consuela also names the MC outright, but City of the Invaders does not mention Katia’s name in the title. So I include Arielle’s identity as the MC in the title (like Consuela) but not her actual name (like Invaders.) I wasn’t sure until the end chapter if this would be the book’s title, but I found it went very well with the book’s ending after all.
Fitting the two girls from the first books into this one in a way that felt believable was one of the big challenges of writing this, but as I worked along towards the conclusion, I did discover that both Katia and Consuela were necessary to represent and portray Arielle’s journey. So I was very pleased about that! When I return to working on the book in a few weeks, I’ll start putting together a street team and that means beta readers. I’m so eager to get some of you reading this book and to hear your thoughts. 😊 Really excited. So stay tuned for that a little while down the road. Meanwhile, I’ve already jumped into a new Palladia story that came into my mind the minute I’d finished typing on Celestine Princess. I’m not yet sure of the length of this story—whether it will be a fourth Palladia book or a short novella/skit to offer as a perma-free download. But I’m working briskly away at it right now.
And there will be more updates.
This month Ryan and Essie is available for free as part of a giveaway of children’s and young adult books. You'll find lots of books about young people of all ages from preschool to high school. This is the first time in years that I’ve made Ryan and Essie free except for review copies—and it will be the last time for the foreseeable future. So now is your chance to get a rare free copy of this book. Follow this link to see it in addition to books by many other authors.
I have given some books over the last few months because I have a specific goal in mind—to get readers who came because they were interested in these books that I made free. That sounds obvious, but it’s really important. I spoke once before about some of my books receiving disproportionate attention. You might think “well, weren’t those more popular, isn’t that good?” But actually, I felt the situation was a little trickier than that. I have only so much I plan to spend on marketing, so I need to know which books are likely to be smart investments. I didn't know for certain that the books receiving more attention were really the viable ones. Perhaps some of the smaller books had a quiet audience I wasn't hearing about. So while I of course wanted to sell my books, I also felt it was crucial to learn how big a draw each book would actually be if it was easily available (free, for instance) and presented to readers in a way that would draw attention (as free always does.)
I've gone through the majority of the books now using this method. There were no winners and losers, just truthfulness. I didn’t find a book to be inferior or less valid just because it drew smaller initial downloads, if it attracted more active subscribers and fewer freeloaders who never opened even one email. Some books with seemingly successful giveaway campaigns actually gave me a lot of unengaged readers who opened and then quickly stopped reading my messages, which left me with a guess as to how they were doing with the book they downloaded. Then there were promotions in the middle, with some of both. The numbers game wasn’t about aiming for lots of downloads. It was about trying to find a trajectory for both the more talked-about and the less-noticed books on my publication list. And I learned a lot of fantastic things.
Using various books as entry points helped my newsletter to become more balanced. I felt as if I had “voices” for most of my books now whereas that had been lacking before. And yes, some of the ones that had always received more attention continued to get it. But I certainly haven’t committed to free as a promotion strategy instead of sales. In fact, as I also ran paid promotions throughout last year, the books started to develop some interesting demographics based on both free and paid events that helped give me concepts like “people would download this for free, but not buy it,” “this has a small, but sincerely dedicated audience,” “this book is JUST small,” “this one is surprisingly popular,” and so on. I put Ryan and Essie through a sale last year, but haven’t cross-matched it with a free event, which is why I’m doing one now. It needs full representation on my list.
And there will be more updates.
This week The Test of Devotion is on sale as part of a nice collection of discounted historical fiction books. All books are priced at $1.99 or less and the sale includes both historical romance and more general historical fiction. Genres include Regency, Christian, and Western. So whatever you prefer (or all of them if you love to soak up lots of historical!) follow this link to scout out some great new authors. I don't see as many sales of historical books compared to other genres on StoryOrigin, so this isn't one to miss.
This Merry Summertime's preorder phase is complete and the book is now live on Amazon. I have enrolled it in KU for one cycle, which means at this time it can be read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. I’m still preparing the book for Apple, Kobo, etc, and KU should open up reading options for some of you in the meantime.
There is also a print edition which you can check out here for those of you who dig the good old-fashioned smell of paper. Just follow the link.
I look forward to posting about the five central characters and digging down into these stories a little bit more in the next couple months. When you know what kind of story you’re telling, it’s much easier to articulate that story to an audience so they can respond to it and locate elements that interest them. But while I have a general idea for how the book is positioned, since it’s new it is also good to let it get out there for the next couple weeks so responses can play a part in putting together exactly where this book falls in the plane of my publishing.
Here is the blurb again if some of you missed last month’s post about the book’s release:
This Merry Summertime is an anthology of seven comedy shorts. 4 of them (Sarcophagus; In the End the Story Ended; The Destiny of Princes; and A Matter of Life and Hair) are entertaining scripts that gently satirize the genres of paranormal fantasy, literary classics, silent film, and western romance while providing fresh takes and strong characters to tell these archetypical kinds of stories. The other 3 (Ella Substituted; Movies at the Beach; and Everwood) are short stories that use comedy adventure and mild fantasy elements to explore family life and young women’s place in the world. The theme of the book is reconciliation and renewal as the characters traverse through fiction tropes to find eventual peace and meaning in their lives and the stories celebrate youth, especially for girls, but for everyone who has happy memories of a time in their lives when life was an eternal—and sometimes hilarious—summer.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Author
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