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So, last time, after blogging about changing one of the categories and many of the keywords for DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING, I promised to discuss changes to the blurb.

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Here’s the original blurb:

Keep your head down. Don’t draw attention. Above all, don’t make yourself a target. Those are the rules seventeen-year-old Ailsa lives by. It’s just part of being the daughter of the disgraced ex-king and living too close to his more-than-slightly paranoid successor.

Ailsa isn’t the only one affected by the new king’s insecurities. The mages backed her father. Now the new king’s repressive policies drive the mages out of the kingdom–and with them the magic that her desert country desperately needs to survive. Ailsa sets out to study magic so she can help keep Far Terra green.

Her plans are nearly upset when her oldest friend, Crown Prince Savyon, proposes. Marrying him would mean giving up her magic. Her family history proves that the barons will never accept a mage as queen. A year of training won’t make her a mage—unless she has insanely powerful magic. And there’s been no sign of that. But at least she’ll know what she’d be giving up before she makes a decision.

A magic-tinted kiss from Jathan, her cheerfully annoying study partner, makes her question what she really feels for Savyon. She and Jathan could do great things together–except that he never wants to go near the desert.

Are magic and love forever mutually exclusive for Ailsa?

See how that basically reinforces the romance, rather than the fantasy elements? It doesn’t sound like much else is going on, does it?

Here’s the new one:

Keep your head down. Don’t draw attention. Above all, don’t make yourself a target. Those are the rules seventeen-year-old Ailsa lives by. It’s just part of being the daughter of the disgraced ex-king and living too close to his more-than-slightly paranoid successor.

The new king’s insecurities and repressive policies drive most of the mages out of the kingdom–and with them the magic that her desert country urgently needs to survive.

Desperate, Ailsa sets out to study magic so she can help keep Far Terra green. But it’s not as easy as just learning to use her own magic. She’s going to need allies. She’s going to need the very kind of political power that is forbidden to mages.

She must decide if she can trust her heart—and Far Terra’s future—to the childhood friend who is also the new king’s heir. Or she could choose to team up with the fascinating and cheerfully annoying fellow student of magic who, it turns out, has even higher political connections to the emperor himself.

It may take all three of them to bring Far Terra back from the brink.

I tightened up the second paragraph and basically refocused everything from there on to be more about the problem of saving Far Terra, rather than the romance, which really is more the subplot. Though I left in a hint that it’s there. I still may make a change to that last line, though.

After making these changes, I ran another one-day free promotion for this book. Ill-timed. It had only been two weeks since the first one. The first time, I gave away 135 copies. Last week, only 12. Nevertheless, this time it’s placement in Amazon’s ranking did improve and so far, while, like all of them, it’s sliding backward slowly, it is still better placed than it was.

So, I guess that’s an object lesson about the importance of the blurb. We all hate writing them, but we do need to get it right.

Next time, after I’ve assessed all I’ve learned through this experiment, I’ll lay out my personal plan going forward.

Tomorrow’s going to be busy, so I’ll go ahead and blog a little early.

My last post was mostly about a new promotional technique I’m trying out. At the end, I mentioned one particular book that wasn’t benefiting from it at all–DAUGHTER OF THE DIGRACED KING.

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That prompted me to take a closer look at that book in particular, paying special attention to how I’d set it up on Amazon–the categories, keywords, and the blurb.

Categories:

DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING was initially in the Fantasy->General and Romance->Fantasy categories. While there is a strong romantic element (in fact, I usually describe it as a fantasy romance), that really is more of a subplot, so the book doesn’t belong in the (overcrowded) Romance category at all. I’ve moved it into Young Adult Fantasy instead. Young Adult isn’t actually a category on Amazon, but a combination of category (Juvenile Fiction->Fantasy), age range (minimum 13 years) and key words (Young Adult) will get it there. (Actually, I’m not certain the key word is necessary any more, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.)

Keywords:

The original key words were: Coming of Age, Magic, Love, Princess, Prince, Forest, and Magic University

Those last three were horrible choices.

After some consideration and consultation with others (Thank you Victorine Lieske), the new key words are: Coming of Age, Magic, Love, Princess, Fantasy, Young Adult, and Rebellion.

Coming of Age is a subgenre of fantasy only available by using that keyword. It denotes a (usually) young character moving out into a wider world and especially learning to accept and channel whatever it is that makes them special. In fantasy, of course, this is often magic.

Magic, though central to the plot, unfortunately gets it thrown into Sword and Sorcery, which, while not totally off base, is not entirely accurate, either. For one thing, none of my major characters ever touch a sword, though a couple of side characters do.

Love should get it into Romantic Fantasy, but that hasn’t shown up as one of its categories, yet.

Princess, well, I’m advised that some readers do search for princess stories and Ailsa is a princess, so I left it.

Fantasy is probably a waste, here, actually. It has some usefulness in the Young Adult category, but likely not for this genre. Perhaps I’ll think of something better later on.

Young Adult may be useful in getting it squarely into Young Adult, rather than Childrens. Though the age range may have done that just as well.

Rebellion, while accurate for this story, may or may not do it any good.

Next time, I’ll blog about changes to the blurb.

After making these changes, I went ahead and tried a repeat of the free promotion to test them out. That was probably a mistake. It hadn’t been long enough (two weeks) since the last promotion. It’s gotten barely a fraction of the downloads it got the first time. I need to be more patient.

Also, something I need to take into consideration as I plan this out for the future. While the rankings of all the other books have improved and, so far, stayed in better position than their starting points, my page reads have tanked over the last week.

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That may have nothing at all to do with this promotion scheme, but you can bet it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on going forward.

Multitasking

For an indie author, the reality is that you’re never working on just one task. There are always other things that need attention, too. And I’m not just talking about real life things like walking the dog, doing the laundry, or fixing dinner.

One of those tasks is marketing the books that are already out. I likely don’t spend nearly enough time on this. I’m not very good at it and writing new stories is so much more fun. Therefore, this month, along with working on the prequel to BECOME and on improving my time management, I’ve been trying something suggested by a fellow writer.

For the last two weeks, I’ve checked on the Amazon ranking of my books, picked the two lowest (with certain caveats) and made them free for a day. The only promotion I do is to create a tweet and post it in a couple of my Facebook groups for retweets. It costs nothing–at least nothing out of pocket and only a little time to put the tweet together.

Each time, I’ve given away about 250 books. Some of those might be new readers who wouldn’t have tried one of my books otherwise. Some might even leave a review. But the main goal is to inch those books up in the rankings to make them more visible on Amazon.

Over the two weeks, I’ve learned a few things:

First, I’m going to have to revise that schedule. Maybe only do one book a week and possibly skip a week now and then. This is because my catalog currently consists of:

  1. Three stand-alone novels. (THE BARD’S GIFT, FIRE AND EARTH, and DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING)
  2. Two series. (Chimeria (currently BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER) and DUAL MAGICS (THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, THE VOICE OF PROPHECY, BEYOND THE PROPHECY, and WAR OF MAGIC).
  3. Three boxed sets (BY SWORD, TALE, OR MAGIC; CHIMERIA , DUAL MAGICS )
  4. And a handful of shorter works. (“Heart of Oak”, “The Music Box”, “Becoming Lioness”, “Wyreth’s Flame”, and “Modgud Gold”)

I’ve already done a one-day promotion for each of the stand-alones and for BLOOD WILL TELL. THE SHAMAN’S CURSE isn’t eligible until March because I ran a Kindle Countdown deal for it already this period and you can’t do both within the 90-day enrollment period.

I have deep concerns about the utility of running this kind of free promotion for subsequent books in a series or the shorter fiction. And I’m not willing to give away the boxed sets. I might do a one-day discount on them, though.

But the other, perhaps more interesting, thing that I learned is that it mostly worked–with one glaring exception. Three of the four books I’ve tried so far have gone up in the rankings and, while they have slipped back a little over time, they have not gone back to their previous ranking yet.

The fourth book actually ranks lower now than it did before the promotion. That book is DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING.

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And now I have to figure out why. I have some ideas I’m working on. More on that next time.

I’m still working on that new chapter for the prequel to BECOME.

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Partly, that’s because I’m still working on overcoming those bad habits regarding my writing time I blogged about last time. And last week turned out to be a very bad time to try to work on that due to several real life show stoppers.

Partly it’s because I backed up a little bit to fix the current scene. I realized that I’d set up my protagonist to be just a little too pure of heart to be truly believable. Now, I still need him to do the thing I was setting up. I just needed to provide a better motivation.

Now, instead of being just a little too good to be true, I’ve set him up instead to internalize a lesson from an earlier episode. This works much better.

Motivation has been the bugaboo through this whole part of the story. The first version set up the brother to be too nasty–a bully. Which is not what I want. The second version set up the protagonist to be a saint. Again, not what I need, here. This version will work better. But it’s probably not the last time I’m going to need to do a little work on the motivations of these two before I get to the final version of “BECOME: Brothers” (working title).

I usually post on Sundays and Wednesdays, but tomorrow is going to be . . . well, shall we say, tightly scheduled. Which actually ties in with the theme of this post pretty well.

I have not been making the kind of progress on BECOME

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or its prequel that I think I should be making. Not the kind of progress I’ve made on previous books–even WAR OF MAGIC

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which sometimes felt like I was trying to carve the text out of granite.

And, yes, part of that is due to my subconscious nudging me to realize that the brothers’ early story wasn’t the right place to start the main story. That part needs to be the prequel, which I am currently working on.

But, you know, that isn’t the only reason progress has been slow. Part of it is that I just haven’t been writing at all the same times that I used to since last September. In fact, right now, I’m mainly only writing on the weekends. And, sometimes, my time gets taken up for other things on the weekends.

My work location changed in September–which isn’t at all unusual. And, all right, the new post really kicked my *$$ the first couple of weeks. It’s also about twice as far from home–but, you know, the difference between two miles and four miles isn’t that big a deal. Except, that in this case, the route I was originally taking had some really rotten traffic at times. But, again, I solved that issue months ago by finding a better route.

So what is the problem now? I think it comes down to forming some bad habits during those first couple of months. And I’m definitely going to have to do something about that. Starting this week. Well, after tomorrow, which is going to be a hopeless case anyway.

I don’t have any books in this sale, but there are plenty of others. Enjoy!

This Valentine’s Day, the awesome authors at Fellowship of Fantasy have banded together to provide an awesome selection of free and discount Fantasy and Speculative Fiction stories. Browse the titles, select as many as your heart desires, and discover your next favorite author!

 

All Fellowship of Fantasy titles are author rated with a guaranteed content level no higher than PG-13, so you shouldn’t encounter graphic sex, gratuitous violence, or excessive language.

 

As pricing can be subject to the whims of the vendors, please verify that the deals are, in fact, still active before purchasing. Thank you!

 

Bargain Books (priced at 99 cents)

Fellowship of  Fantasy

Rebirth—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
Seven Deadly Tales—Frank B. Luke-Amazon

The Hidden Level—AJ Bakke-Amazon

To Save Two Worlds—AJ Bakke-Amazon

The Regency Shifter Series—KM

Carroll-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble

Academy of Secrets—Michael Carney-Author Website

Sunbolt—Intisar Khanani-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo

Wyndano’s Cloak—A. R. Silverberry AmazonBarnes and Noble

The Stream—A. R. Silverberry –AmazonBarnes and Noble

Rainbird—Rabia Gale-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo

Reality Break—Jennifer Kibble-Amazon

Battle for the Throne—EJ Willis-Amazon

Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas—H. L. Burke-Amazon

The True Bride and the Shoemaker—L. Palmer-Amazon

New Scenes

Well, remember that new scene I was going to write for the BECOME prequel. Yeah, turns out it’s going to be more like three–or maybe four–scenes.

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I’ve got the first one written, at least. And a pretty good handle on the second one. But it’s going to take a little longer than I hoped. At least I’ve got a three-day weekend coming up. Two, in fact–one right after the other.