Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stir Things Up to Boost Summer Sales

It's no secret that summer represents a sales challenge for authors. People travel, take vacations and spend more time outside.  This translates to fewer hours in front of the computer shopping.  Two years ago I was caught totally off guard by the summer sales doldrums.  In March of 2012 both Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel landed in  Amazon's top 10 Children's and YA ebooks.  Both books were selling well.  In May and June with no promotion I still sold 500 books, no sweat.  Then July hit and--SCREECH! the bottom fell out. Man, was I depressed.  Sales eventually returned in the fall, but summer was brutal. Last summer (2013) I made sure to have some promo activity (a sale or contest) throughout the summer to help keep sales from slipping too much.

Fast forward to 2014.  I must admit to you this has not been a good year for me.  The final book in The Falling Angels Saga, Falling, was delayed from debuting in November of 2013 to March of this year. It was totally my own fault. I missed the holiday season because I got side-tracked on a TV project.  Despite lots of promotion the new book did not sell well.  That was a first for me. Another first, sales across the entire Falling Angels franchise were in free fall, falling from 500 to 400 to less than 100 books a month by May.

By mid May, knowing that summer was coming, I knew we had to do something.  My publisher (Chris Meeks of White Whisker) and I had been putting our heads together since March with new promo ideas.  We'd see small blips during the promo periods and then sales would go flat again.  So I approached Chris with the radical idea of making Boyfriend From Hell perma-free.  In a long email, I made a compelling argument on how we needed to breath new life into the franchise by creating new fans.  While Chris didn't respond to the idea of perma-free, he did think making Boyfriend From Hell free for the summer was worth a shot.  Heck, we weren't selling any books anyway.  The giveaway began on June 18th, ten days ago, and so far things are going very well.

As of this morning we're up to 6200 free downloads.  More importantly, we're selling books across the franchise.  The final two books in the franchise have been priced at $5.99, a bit more than I would have liked, but surprise, surprise, they're selling.  At the start of the promotion no book was ranked below 100,000.  Heaven Sent and Falling were hanging out around 350, 000.  I don't have exact sales figures, but I know we've sold over 100 books in the 10 days.  Not great, but far better than where we were. Here are my rankings as of this moment.

Boyfriend From Hell (free): #194 in the free store #1 Teen Horror

Earth Angel ($2.99): #40,562
Heaven Sent: ($5.99): #52,987
Falling: ($5.99):  #65,903

Every book in the franchise is now selling.  Every book has been ranked under #100,000 for the last 5 days. I feel as more new readers get around to reading the free books they've downloaded that trend will continue.  If we give away 10,000 free books, and five percent of those readers convert to sales across the franchise (500 readers Xs 3 books), that's 1500 sales during the slow summer months.  If two and a half percent convert, that's 750 sales. Not great, but a lot better than I'd been doing.  It also represents 500 new hard core fans for my next book.  I'll report on my progress in another two weeks.

Boyfriend From Hell is now Free

I know many authors don't have 4 books available and can't afford to give one book away for three months. The idea is not to do what I did, but to do something daring.  Change up your promo patterns.  Hold an oddly interesting contest, package several chapters and give those away. If you try something and it doesn't work, try something else.  But don't stand pat.  Summer sales doldrums can be brutal.  Have fun while trying to think your way out of it.  Oh... and if you haven't read Boyfriend From Hell--guess what?  It's now free.

Keep reading-Keep Writing!

Monday, June 16, 2014

An Update from Sal Conte

Hello my Peeps. It's me, Sal.  My "Pal" E. has allowed me to use this platform to talk to those of you who haven't yet started reading our writing collaboration, The Memory Giver.  What's the matter with you people?  Do you realize I haven't published a word since 2010s short story, The Toothache Man, and before that, nothing, nada, not one word out of me since the 80s.  Most of you were little babies back then, am I right? So if I'm writing now it must be because I have a whole lot to say.  It was back in the 80s that E. left me for dead, but I promised I wouldn't go into that here, and I'm a man of my word.  What I do want to say is The Memory Giver is turning out to be a fun collaboration.  It's a nice combo of our styles:  creepy horror with some light-hearted romance and a kick-ass thriller.

Chapters have been going up on Wattpad Sunday evenings for a few weeks now.  Many of you don't like to read in short busrts, so now's a good time to jump in as there's a nice chunk of story up there just waiting to be read.  It's enough for you to get a sense if you want to stay with it or not, and after you've read it, I'm sure you will.

Just click on the WATTPAD link, sign up and you're all set to follow along.   If you download the FREE WATTPAD MOBILE APP you can easily follow along on your phone or tablet.  What's more fun than creepy horror all summer long?  Free creepy horror all summer long.  Sign-up now.

Monday, June 2, 2014

FREE Horror All Summer Long


Here's the book description of my latest work.  Scroll down and find out how you can get it free.

Adrian “A.D.” Dawson.  Loving son and brother.  Deceased. 1972-1986

When Turtle Dawson’s 14 year-old brother returns after being dead for two years, he brings with him fond memories of the old days, and a chance at redemption for the entire family. But there's something different about A.D., something dark and sinister, and if Turtle continues to do as A.D. tells him, he could wind up in a world of hurt, or worse, he could wind up dead himself.

Is Turtle’s once loving older brother a giving spirit? a vengeful ghost? or is he something else all-together? That's what overweight and under-confident Turtle must to discover.  He needs to find out soon, lives are at stake, including his and that of his very first girlfriend, Rita Calderon.

And who or what is the Teddy Bear?

Written in my typical page-turning style, The Memory Giver is a sweet, romantic thrill-ride. Like most memorable tales of horror, this book is rich in character, and is as much about redemption as it is about the spooky stuff.

Looking for an unforgettable, horrific treat? Read on, dear reader, read on.

**Book Blurb**

The mist played against the moonlight like dust motes in the air, yet these motes hung with deadly purpose.  The mist drifted toward him, a slow moving cloud.  As it neared, the room grew even colder. Turtle hunched the covers up around himself to keep from shivering.

“Close your eyes,” the voice in the mist whispered.  “Close your eyes and remember the good times.”
The chilling mist was hanging just in front of him now.  

“Okay,” Turtle said softly.  A part of him wanted to run.  This was ghostly stuff and he was afraid of ghosts.  Yet the comforting words relaxed him.

Turtle closed his eyes and shivered as the mist split into two wishbone-like streams, travelling up his nostrils.  He breathed in deeply, a wintry chill stinging the membrane in the back of his nose.  It burned, oh, how it burned.

In the vein of  Stephen King's The Green Mile, The Memory Giver is a tale filled with the magical wonder found in memories. It's a story of  love, loss, adventure, horror, and ultimately revenge.

The Memory Giver will be available in chapter-by-chapter installments on Wattpad  beginning Monday June 9th, 2014--FREE.  The freebies will run all summer long. To follow along, go to now. Under the "Discover" box at the top of the page, type in The Memory Giver. That will take you to my page where you can follow along. 

The beauty of launching our latest  WIP on Wattpad is you can leave comments, suggestions, or tell us how you think we're doing.  We're offering it for free hoping you'll read along, tell your friends.  And when the fully edited novel comes out next winter, We'd love for you to grab a copy.

To help whet your appetite for this romantic, horror, thriller, I've made an audio recording of the prologue in two parts.  Yes, I did it myself, so don't look for Lawrence Fishburn. It's crude--you can hear a few slips and background sounds.  But isn't that part of the charm of a work in progress? You can download part 1 of the prologue now: The Memory Giver Download    Or listen to it right here.  It's fourteen minutes, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy the latest by me, E. Van Lowe and my horror writing alter-ego, Sal Conte, read by me--E.

On the recording, I mention that part II will be on iTunes.  It won't be because I couldn't figure out how to get it there. Instead, it's right here.  It's only about 10 minutes.  If you don't have much time, just listen to part II. Download : The Memory Giver pt 2 Download,  or listen here: