Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas present --> His Competent Woman is 99 cents - until Friday!

His Competent Woman is 99 cents - until Friday!

I have used my discount allowance and hope it will make your holiday shopping easier.

The discount only applies to the US and UK Amazon store. Sorry, it's 'Zon that won't do worldwide discounts.

Buy It On Amazon USA

Buy It On Amazon UK

If you like, come and see me on FB

Or check out my new author YouTube as dark romance author AJ Adams

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, October 5, 2018

I'm slowly learning that I can't do it all

Thank you, JohnHain
You know how I asked a while back if you like sweet romance or whether you want a bit of spice?  Most of you said you like both but that you want sweet as it's harder to get than sexy stories.  So, I thought, if I'm going to write sweet, then how about putting it in an era when sweet was the style?

In short, I spent September outlining and starting a Regency romance. I handed over the first three chapters last week to three beta readers and asked for feedback. Now I realise I got a bit off track and as I'm a bit stumped, I thought I'd talk to you.

What I love about Regency romances:
1.    OMG the dresses and the parties and the sheer romance of it all!
2.    I am a huge fan of Jane Austen, Henry Fielding, and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as later authors William Makepeace Thackeray, Marie Corelli, and Wilkie Collins.
3.    Also, Georgette Heyer is a goddess.

The challenge of writing Regency romances for a modern audience:
1.    The language needs to retain the style of the classics but it has to be simpler. I can't afford to alienate readers who find the classics a throwback to painful literature courses at school.
2.    Readers are expert in their fave era, which means I have to make sure that I don't mess up, like having one of my dukes swig gin.

Question: can I do it?
Answer: reading over my three chapters, one beta reader said, "OMG awesome!!!!" another said, "It's great and it will sell" and the third said, "Speed it up and make some adjustments"

Issue: in addition, the third pointed out that I need a series and people like consistency from their authors.

Problem: I have three romances out, all contemporary. If I go for a Regency novel, how many readers will be interested in my non-Regency work?  Whereas if I write a modern story, I (hopefully) have all of you, and maybe some new readers too.

Also, it took me a month to write three chapters, so writing Regency is not easy. If there's one thing you all agree on, you want MORE STORIES.

I do write a lot but the fact is that I have my other jobs: there are the feelgood pet columns in The Star newspaper and I also have an online therapy practice, helping clients overcome depression and stress. Plus, there's my dark side, my AJ Adams novels

Then there's the fact that it's been a bloody difficult year, full of death and sickness. That is not over yet, so I can expect more in the next few weeks.

As I write this, the issues are becoming clear. I can't do it all. I'm okay now but I am at my limit.

I have to set aside the Regency chapters and go back to sweet contemporary. It hurts because I love a challenge and it means a month's writing down the drain but it's not practical to switch.

I have an outline already for the second Winthrop story. I can write it in two months and start my next AJ novel straight after.

Thank you for listening. It's really helped to clear my mind. I have two therapy clients this morning and then I'm cooking Tom a super-duper Saturday lunch. I'll get out my notes, do a little dreaming and start the second Winthrop story tomorrow morning.

See you soon, on Facebook if you like!

PS, if you have a KU subscription, here are some reads to check out. My Laughing Girl is in there, too. And so's my dark romance, The Bonus.

★☆ Amazing Delicious Romance ★☆

Check out this romance collection, and read them all FREE with KU!

Come and visit your fave authors on FB!

Avelyn Paige

Ellen Whyte and AJ Adams

Mary Winter

Suz deMello

L.A. Remenicky

Lilah E. Noir

Ellen Mint

The Naughty Literati

L. Steinworth


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Disaster and Triumph in our KU Author Promo Group

I promised to report on how our romance author KU reads promo went in July.

Well, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong!

First, Nicole’s book was on Kindle Unlimited but when Amazon pulled Worlds, her book disappeared from KU. No notice, just wham - gone.

On top of that, one of us lost a close family member, another had a health issue, and a third was hit by a massive family crisis.

In all the running around, a button didn’t get pushed, which meant the massive blog share didn’t happen.

You’d think the whole process would be a complete disaster but surprisingly, just the sharing of the Facebook and Twitter posts, plus the half a dozen blog posts we generated among ourselves, helped boost KU reads.

This is what we learned:

One email a week with easy share buttons is easy to manage.

On our main Facebook post, we got 31 shares.

On our main Tweet, we got 900 impressions and 28 engagements.

Stepping away from the easy Likes and Shares, we found that several of us don’t blog. So, in terms of the media kit, the cut and paste Facebook and Twitter sections worked well, but the rest of it was of limited use to the group as a whole.

General verdict was that the exercise worked but needs tweaking.

My view:

I was away for the entire month of June, which meant I couldn’t help, couldn’t push and couldn’t fix stuff. In other words, this was a worst case scenario. This is awesome because it means it can only get better.

I tracked my KU page reads after the event, and found that I got mini-boosts of KU reads each day after we ran a Like and Share. This indicates that our timing was good; we caught people at the right time of the week and the month.

I need to make nicer graphics because the promo graphic was meh. This may mean hiring someone to make one.

I need to fiddle with the HTML table in the media kit to present a better view for blogs seen via mobile platforms.

I was using MailChimp to manage everything. It's not user-friendly, the menus are extremely complex, and it's stuffed with legacy system issues. I've got it working now, but urgh what a learning curve.

We also need to see whether having blogs participate makes a difference or not.

So, we’ve had a chat, and we’re trying it again in August. If you’re a romance author, and you have a book on KU, you can join us.

Share. Support. Success.

Getting the word out is the number one challenge for indie authors.

We are a group of KU romance authors who work together to cross-promote our titles via Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub, Twitter and blog posts.
Are you an author with a KU title?
Want to apply to join the August 2018 group?

What do you have to do?
Give us your KU book title and social media links
We will send you 5 email messages with easy share social media post buttons.
All you have to do is Like & Share

Want more?
We will also prepare and distribute an easy cut and paste media kit
Once you post, drop your link into our form and we will push for Likes and Shares


Join the August 2018 KU Romance Author Promo

* indicates required

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Testing FB, Twitter and Blogger Marketing Ideas - Plus FREE KU reads!

I'm soooo excited!

You know how I wrote a few weeks ago about working on my marketing, well, there's a group of us trying to coordinate some promo action based on what I've been learning. 

I'm writing this in the first week of June, a few days after we started, and I've seen a boost to my KU reads!!!

We're coordinating through email once a week, promoting simple group shares, and so far it's looking nice.  How well we do overall, I'll let you know in a week or so after I gather feedback from the group and analyse it all.

In the meantime, if you're looking for reads, FREE WITH KU, check us out?   

Check out this romance collection, and read them all FREE with KU!

Looking for a sweet read? His Laughing Girl
Yearning for hot and sexy? Sins of a Housewife 2
A touch of fairy dust? Sassy Faerie Princess
Dangerous Cartel hotties? The Bonus
BDSM love in the MC? Double Dominance
Brand new erotic romance? Quench
Brand new rocker romance? Guitar God
Paranormal suspense romance? Saving Cassie
MC and action? Captive

Read It On KU Read It On KU Read It On KU
Read It On KU Read It On KU Read It On KU
Read It On KU Read It On KU Read It On KU

wTMO hostedby.jpg

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tips For Facebook and Newsletter Book Marketing

The biggest barrier to publishing is getting yourself noticed. There are so many millions of great books out there, that getting yours on someone’s reading list is a challenge. In the last few months I’ve been spending some money on marketing and here are some thoughts on how it’s panned out.

Facebook Personal Timeline Posts
Word of mouth is very valuable, so if you can get a reader to post a note about your book - WHOOHOO!

Problem: if you like to any page outside of Facebook, then Facebook will ‘hide’ the post. Because they don’t want people to leave, ever. 

Fix: a couple of likes and comments pushes up visibility. So get your mates to help you with a little bit of love.

Facebook Group and Page Posts
Public groups and dedicated pages can be great for reaching readers.

What works: if you have one that’s active with visitors, it’s a great way to get noticed.

What doesn’t work: post-and-run forums are a waste of time because nobody is looking.

Takeaway: avoid a group or page with 10,000 Likes if people simply like, post and run. But a page with 200 likes that’s active can be gold.

Tip: look at the ten most recent posts. If people are liking and commenting, you’ve hit gold.

Also remember: a couple of likes and comments pushes up visibility. So get your mates to help you with a little bit of love.

Newsletter Marketing
In theory newsletters should be great compared to Facebook because they don’t suppress readership.

What works: a newsletter that people like to read

What doesn’t work: commercial lists that go to hundreds of thousands of people, few of whom even look at it.

Tip: don’t ask, “How many subscribers do you have?” but ask, “How many opens do you get?” And if you're asking a company that charges, don’t be surprised if they refuse to tell you! 

From what I can gather, big newsletter get around 10-20% opens. So if you see 10,000 subscribers, some 1000 to 2000 people will open the newsletter. However, it doesn’t mean they read beyond the first book. So if you’re not at the top, even those opens may never see your book.
Takeaway: an author newsletter with engaged readers is gold. If a fellow Indie offers to host you or mention you, offer the woman a mani-pedi.

Worth trying: a promo group with an in-house newsletter that goes to serious fans.

Warning: not all newsletter hosts are honest. To see how they do, sign up for the newsletter you want to be featured in and track their posts for two or three cycles before you send off your $$$.

Coming Soon!
I’ve come to some other conclusions about what works in promos and will be putting together a test kit to see if I can refine everything into one ka-pow package. I’ll be checking it out in June and will write about it in July. Cross fingers it works and I don't fall flat on my face.

Until then, people I’ve used recently who I’ll be using again:
Love Kissed Promotions


Friday, May 25, 2018

We have two winners!

The two names picked randomly were Anne and Tarra. I've sent email and the winners have contacted me.  Parcels will be posted first thing Monday.

Thank you soooo much, all of you for your support. I really appreciate it.

A new post and book review will be up in about a week from now. Then we'll have a break because I'll be off to see my mum.

Cheers, Ellen

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Growing Up In A Male Fantasy World, plus a review of Sherwood Rogue by Kristi Cramer

I’m a huge fan of fantasy fiction but when I read Sherwood Rogue by Kristi Cramer this weekend (the review follows) I suddenly realised something odd.

Apart from the Earthsea stories by Ursula Le Guin, I couldn’t remember a single story with a female lead.

Not one! Isn’t that wild?

I devoured books by Tolkien, Feist, Piers Anthony, Douglas Adams, Pratchett, Stephen Donaldson, CS Lewis, David Eddings, Frank Baum, Micheal Moorcock - and as I started to itemise my favourite authors, I realised something else: they’re all men!

I guess in those days, publishing houses were run by men and for male authors. I can’t say it bothered me because, in my head, I had no trouble at all identifying with the heroes.

Mind you, I did get fed up sometimes of the very dull female characters. I remember moaning to my brother, also a massive fantasy fan, that the girls in the Riftwar series are either princesses or plucky tomboys, and very one-dimensional tropes to boot.

At the time, I grumbled but accepted it, and got my happy reads with rounded female characters from authors like Daphne Du Maurier, Mary Stewart, and Mary Renault.

While it's possibly easier to write from your own gender perspective, I would like know why my favourite fantasy authors generally avoided writing good female characters. Did they think we didn't matter? Or did they try, and discovered they sucked at it?

Anyway, having read Sherwood Rogue, I’m blessing myself for living at a time where online publishing is allowing women writers to share their work with the world. Not only is it great for us, but it means young girls can now pick up fantasy novels with finely layered female characters.

I think it’s also excellent for the genre at large; when a small group has dominated a field, opening it up breathes in new life and new ideas.

So, it’s a happy day today. I’ve got a new favourite book and there’s more to come.

(Update: I've figured out why I still enjoyed fantasy novels! )

Review: Sherwood Rogue by Kristi Cramer
I thought YA and Robin Hood would be dull as dishwater so I’m totally taken aback by this unusual take on the legend. This was an awesome read! 

Unusual and totally awesome!
Unhappy 21st century Kay steps through a time portal and is sent to Sherwood Forest where she joins Robin Hood. While she lives the legend, she’s living her own story at the same time. The result is an adventure story with a love theme - and some excellent twists. (I won’t spoil it for you.)

What I loved about it:
It’s a thoroughly human story with carefully layered main characters.
It retains some of the legend’s iconic points, like the fight between Robin Hood and Friar Tuck.
The gore, the dirt and the rough bits of medieval England are all there.
Kay doesn’t become a sage or a wise woman or any of the usual tropes.

What I didn’t like:
Actually, it was an excellent read. If I’m super critical, then I’d say the first few paragraphs don’t hint at the amazing story to follow. So if you read only the first page, instead of dipping in the middle, you may miss out.

Five star read, and it’s on my re-read list.

Buy Sherwood Rogue on Amazon UK
Buy Sherwood Rogue on Amazon US

Oh, and a message from me: on Saturday I pick the winners for the batik sarong and beach purse. It's newsletter subscribers only, so if you want in, sign up!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Join my mailing list - and enter to win a sweet batik gift!

Hi there,

Do you like pretty things? If so, I have a surprise for you!

As you may know, I live in the tropics, in Malaysia, so for us it’s summer all round. Also, we have some amazing local crafts.

To say thank you to everyone on my mailing list, and to help those of you in colder climates welcome the summer after the super cold winter, I’m holding a surprise giveaway.

I’m giving away two traditional Malaysian batik sarongs and two handmade batik wallets.

If you’ve never seen it, batik is a wearable work of art. The artist draws or stamps a pattern made from beeswax onto plain cotton cloth. Then she dips it in a vegetable dye, lets it dry, and then she removes the wax with hot water.  This leaves a simple two toned pattern. The artist then repeats the process, building up layers of colour.

Although artists all have their own style, classic Malaysian batik tends to feature flowers and leaves. Popular colours are also very natural, with lots of brown, green, cream and dots of red and blue.

As you might guess, we love our batik! All of us, men and women, use it as a casual wrap, as a throw, and to make formal party dresses and shirts. Because it’s so versatile, we also have a cottage industry of ladies making batik wallets, coin purses, fans and more.

I love batik and I want you all to enjoy it with me!  So I’ve made up two prizes, each containing one sarong and one wallet.

What do you have to do to enter to win?
You have to join the mailing list.

Subscribe to my sweet romance mailing list

* indicates required


How are winners picked?
On 26 May 2018, I go to random.org, put in all the names from this mailing list and let it pick two winners. I then write to you, privately, to get your mailing address (work or home) and I post you the gift. If you’re in Europe or North America, it will take about 10 days to get to you.

Winners will be announced to the whole group, via a very short newsletter on the day of the draw. So please be sure to check your email!

Speaking of newsletters: I write about three sweet romances a year, so you’ll only hear from me when it’s pre-order time (you get DISCOUNTS) or if I’m running a giveaway.

I do love to gossip, so I blog every week or so, and I’m online at FB. If you like, do come and chat!

The next Winthrop novel should be ready in August. I’m loving the story line but I’m thinking a little steamier might be fun - let me know your thoughts? Find me online or just hit Reply.

In the meantime, enjoy the spring, and I’ll be in touch on 26 May 2018 to announce the winners.